Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dickass DM

Remember good, old-fashioned gamebooks? They promised all the fun of a role-playing game, with none of the social interaction - what more could a teenage boy desire? The thing is, that while the gamebook became a great gaming experience in its own right, the only RPG it could possibly have simulated was one being GM'd by Satan himself. 90% of decisions led to certain death, and combat was often fatal.

Satan wasn't available, so Brad will be GMing Rob through an RPG based on the classic Ian Livingstone gamebook Island of the Lizard King. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Brag Slytherin.

Catch up with previous Dickass DM installments here!
Brad: You lead your band of fighters out of the mines and attack the mud huts where the guards live. The last of them is soon slain and the former prisoners begin to celebrate by cheering and singing. An old Dwarf begins a jig and is soon encircled by a clapping, happy audience. For the moment, all sufferings and troubles are forgotten.
Brag: Now? Really?
Brad: While everybody is still revelling in their freedom, an Elf comes up to you and asks to speak with you alone. You walk away from the others to listen to what the Elf has to say.
Brag: Okay, let me guess. You don't want to play with the other boys because you...have a bum leg? Have a leg bum?

Brad: With a worried expression on his face, he tells you that an attack on the Lizard King's fort would be suicidal. For the sake of power and near-immortality , the Lizard King has allowed a hideous parasite, the Gonchong, to attach itself to his head.
That's a really stupid sounding name.
Rob: Gon...chong?
Brad: Mind if I come up with a better name?
Rob: Please.
Brad: Right...a good name for an obnoxious parasite...
Rob: Careful...
Brad: With the Br'an-re'sen'shon's proboscis implanted firmly in his brain, the Lizard King remains invincible, telepathically controlling his mutant warriors. To kill the Lizard King, the Br'an-re'sen'shon must first be destroyed. But only the island's Shaman knows the secret of its magical powers. It cannot be harmed without the knowledge of how to break the link with its host.
Rob: Throw money at it, if it's from the Re'Sen'Shon family.
Brad: Alas, the Elf has never seen the Shaman in his four years on the island. Shamans lead solitary lives, away from other natives, practising their elemental craft.
Brag: How do you know he exists...?
Brad: You thank the Elf for his information and walk back to the others, raising your arms to silence them. You explain about the Br'an-re'sen'shon and tell them that you are going to find the Shaman alone; it would be impossible to track him down in a group.
Dwarf: And by 'impossible', surely you mean 'easier'?
Brag: Louder is almost like impossible.
Brad: You tell them to make their own way to the fort and that you will meet them there to lead the attack in one or two day's time.

Dwarf: That's the kind of military precision we've come to expect from you, sir.
Brag: Fine, 36 hours. Ish.
Brad: They reluctantly agree to the plan and you set of immediately to find the Shaman. You walk down to the river and jump on your raft. Progress against the current is slow as the river, narrows and the water runs faster.
Rob: Continue to journey by raft.
Brag: See, this is actually why I stopped the big group of dwarves coming. I could end up fishing out sixty dead tiny corpses out of a fast-moving river.
Brad: There are several large rocks jutting out of the water which you have to steer around. It is hard work and you grow tired. You decide to pull into the bank for a while to rest. Under the shade of some trees you lie down and fall asleep. When you awake, you see that you are covered with large mosquito bites.
Although the itching is almost unbearable, something worse is happening. You break out in a sweat and then start to shiver. You are in the early stages of malaria.
Rob: Fuck it.
Brad: The malaria grips your body and you become wracked with fever. You lose track of time as you sink into a delirious nightmare.
Rob: Am I just about to watch my character succumb to death slowly? I could just keep eating provisions until I die, but then I die fat.
Brad: When you finally recover from the disease, you have no idea how long you have been ill. You check your backpack and find that all your provisions are gone, perhaps eaten by ants, or maggots. You wash yourself in the river and climb on board your raft to continue your quest.
Rob: I wonder if I'd have been bitten if I walked...
Brad: For no apparent reason, the water becomes very turbulent. A whirlpool forms in front of the raft and you have to cling on to stop yourself from being flung off.
Rob: Wa-he....wait...
Brad: Suddenly, a great wall of water rises out of the whirlpool, forming itself into a vague humanoid shape. You are about to be engulfed by a Water Elemental. The Water Elemental crashes down on top of you, smashing the raft to pieces. Above the roar of the water you can hear the gurgling laughter of the Water Elemental.
Rob: This book really likes you to know you're about to get fucked, doesn't it?
Brad: You gasp for air as you are forced under the pounding water. You summon all your strength and try to swim to the bank. You somehow manage to escape the raging torrent and fall breathless onto the right hand bank. The Water Elemental's fury subsides behind you as you lie exhausted into the mud. Although you were too concerned with swimming for your life to notice, the force of the water ripped your backpack off your back.
Fortunately, your sword remains in its scabbard.

Brag: Ha! Joke's on you! I had fuck all in the way of possess...awww.
Brad: You have no choice but to continue on foot. Looking west, you see the sun slowly sinking until it looks like a big red balloon sitting on the sea. Soon it will be dark and so you decide to camp down for the night between two rocks which you cover over with branches and leaves. You are very hungry after your ordeal in the river and realise that you must eat something soon. Not far away from your shelter, you find a cluster of banana trees.
The fruit is out of reach and you have to climb up to get it. This is getting finger bangier by the minute, isn't it?
Rob: This game might as well be called Island of the FUCK YOU, ROB.
Brad: I love how you've gone from Aragorn to Frank Spencer in a matter of minutes.
You do not see a Tarantula crawling down the trunk of the banana tree in the semi-darkness. Your hand presses down on its plump, hairy body and before you realise what you have done, the spider has bitten you. The shock makes you slip.
Rob: Fuck, and me with no provisions. Why did I even climb that tree anyway?
Brad: You manage to cling onto the tree with one hand and knock the Tarantula off the trunk with your other hand. You continue your climb and cut off a bunch of bananas. Back on the ground you devour them quickly and walk back to your shelter. You crawl into your shelter to settle down for the night, wondering what events the next day will bring. Probably best not to think about it, given the events of the previous day.
Looking up, you see whispy clouds in shapes of pink and purple gradually deepen in colour as the night sky takes over from the day. Despite the deafening noise of thousands of insecs enjoying the cool night air, you are soon fast asleep. While you are asleep, a Vampire Bat flutters down to feast on your blood.
Rob: This Shaman had better fix all my ails. I'll kick his fucking arse if not.
Brad: You do not feel its fangs sink into your ankle and it is only when you awake that you see the punctures in your skin.

Brag: You little fucking wanker! Oh, sorry, mate, didn't realise I accidentally brought a dwarf with me. I didn't mean you. I...why are you crying? Look, I said I didn't mean you want an ice cream or something?
Brad: You shudder at the sight of the wound and pack your belongings before starting out again. It is a little hot and you are soon concerned that your water bottle is nearly empty. You search for water and eventually find a shallow pool of rain water in a rock basin. You drink your fill and top up your water bottle.
Brag: This can only end well...I'm assuming that Water Elemental got bored and went away...
Brad: You are about to set off again when you notice some chalk marks on the rocks by the pool.
Brag: Front...toward...
Rob: Read them. I need to know how fucked I am.
Brad: The marks are a simple request, written by the Shaman you are seeking. They ask you to find a feather and tie it in your hair, if you wish peaceful contact with him. You wonder how the Shaman knows you are looking for him, and realise it is important to find a feather. You set off immediately to find one. You are walking in a determined way towards the volcano, when a large creature springs out in front of you from behind a large rock.
Its grotesque torso is covered in ugly warts and saliva drools down its long chin.
Rob: And a mass of feathers?
Brad: You have been ambushed by a Hill Troll. The Hill Troll has sex with you up the wrong'un.
You are defeated.
The End.
Rob: Wow. That was...Well, the final battle pretty much reflected the theme of the last hour.
Words: Brad Harmer & Robert Wade
You can become Brad's "friend" on Facebook, or you can "follow" him on Twitter. Depends how creepy you want to sound really.
This is intended as a loving tribute to Ian Livingstone, the Fighting Fantasy series, Island of the Lizard King, and all other gamebooks of yesteryear.


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