Sunday, 28 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 Joe Dever gamebook Freeway Warrior II: Mountain Run. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Brag Phoenix.

Catch up with previous Dickass DM installments here!
Brad: Supplies of food and water were adequate but the colony lacked sufficient firearms and ammo with which to defend itself. So, on the day before the colony was due to leave, one of the colonists was sent north to search the town of Sherman for weapons. He radioed back to say that he had found a cache of hunting rifles and ammo, but that his truck had broken down and he was stranded in the town. He had also found a survivor - a beautiful teenage girl - and he requested that you be sent to Sherman to pick them up.
Brag: 'Beautiful' is generous; I'd say "pretty good from the waist down".
Brad: As soon as you arrived you were ambusehd by the scouts of a brutal gang of bikers known as the Detroit Lions and, in the ensuing gun battle, you killed Stinger - the scout's leader.

Brag: Ah yeah, he was a cunt.
Brad: Later, you learned that the girl, Kate Norton, was the sole survivor of a Kansas City colony, which had been attacked and wiped out by the Detroit Lions. The Lions' leader, who calls himself "Mad Dog Michigan" had taken a liking to her and spared her life. Mad Dog had once been a high-ranking HAVOC agent.
Brag: I remember him, but I didn't remember that he was ex-HAVOC!
Brad: He had escaped from the Pontiac Deep Pen near Detroit, and he and his gang, most of whom were also HAVOC escapees, were heading for the Fort Hood Military Reserve near Killeen, Texas, the largest armoury in the whole of the United States. There he hoped to find enough weapons to equip the other HAVOC clans who were now in control of cities all along the eastern seaboard. Kate had managed to steal a motorcycle and escape from their camp, but Mad Dog had been determined to get her back. He sent his brother - Stinger - and a handful of his best scouts to track her down. They had finally caught up with her Sherman.
When Mad Dog learned that you had killed his brother, he vowed to get even with you at any price. He abandoned his plans to loot Fort Hood and embarked instead on a relentless pursuit of your colony as it crossed the sun-scorched wastelands of central Texas. The journey to Big Spring was filled with great danger.
Yet, in spite of the many perils you faced, perhaps because of them, you felt yourself falling in love with Kate and you sense that she, too, was becoming increasingly fond of you. Sadly, the convoy was only a few miles from Big Spring when disaster struck.
The land surrounding the settlement was controlled by a gang of bikers, a renegade clan called "The Mavericks" who had been the bane of the Big Spring colony for many months. As the convoy drew neareer to its destination, the Maverkicks launched an attack, and, in the running battle that ensued, they captured and abducted Kate.

Brag: Again, I don't remember falling for her.
MCSPINDLE: You totally made out with her on a riverbank.
Brad: The convoy entered the fortified gates of Big Spring to a rapturous welcome from the colonists of that settlement, but for you the mood of celebration was soured by the vivid memory of Kate's abduction. You vowed to rescue her, and, from that moment on, every waking minute of every day at Big Spring was spent thinking about little else.
Brag: Unless I wanted to fuck her (which as I said, I'm not ruling out), I doubt it.
Brad: By chance it transpired that the leader of the Mavericks, a blonde-haired murderer called Amex Gold, was a former HAVOC agenct who had served under Mad Dog Michigan before The Day. He offered to join forces with the Lions, and, as a token of his loyalty to his former commander, he returned Kate to him. Together, the Lions and the Mavericks launched a hasty attack on Big Spring. However, although they outnumbered the colony by more than three to one, they were unable to breach the settlement's fortified perimeter wall, and were repelled with heavy losses.
Rob: As all the American Sports teams slowly began to hate my face.
Brad: On the day after the attack, Pop Ewell discovered the radio frequency that the clansmen were using and was able to eavesdrop on their communications. He learned that Mad Dog had ordered another HAVOC clan, based in New Orleans, to come and reinforce his command; they were expected to arrived within the week. He also overheard Mad Dog arrange a meeting with Alcatraz, the leader of this Angelinos, a gang that controlled the city of San Angelo.
Brag: I hardly remember any of this! Stupid Absinthe!

Brad: I think some of this is filling in the gaps between the end of the last book and the start of this one. I thought it ended with your bird being kidnapped. Or shortly after, anyway.
He wanted him as an ally and was prepared to offer guns and ammo in return for his help in destroying Big Spring Colony. Two days later, Mad Dog Michigan set off for San Angelo at the head of a motorcycle pack 200 riders strong.
Those few clansmen who remained with Amex Gold tried myriad tricks to convince the colony that the Mavericks and the Lions still surrouned Big Spring in strength, but to no avail.
Rob: Are you just adding in random financial terms with Amex Gold?
Brad: The senior members of the newly enlarged colony convened a meeting at which it was decided that, with the clansmen now at their weakest, and with the appearance of the New Orleans gang expected at any time, a breakout had to be attempted without delay.
There is only one way for the colony to reach Tucson overland and that is to follow the remains of Interstate Freeway 20 through the arid, mountainous territory of western Texas.
Rob: Remains of freeways, of course, are the most reliable places to travel.
Brad: Precisely half-way between Big Spring and Tucson is situated the city of El Paso, which is chosen as the colony's first destination. The city lies at the end of a long, steep and torturous stertch of mountain highway, and few doubt that the journey to El Paso will prove the most exacting test of strength and endurance any of you are ever likely to face during your long journey to California.
Rob: Bit of trivia for you if you're interested.
Brad: What's that?
Rob: 'El Paso' is Spanish for 'The Paso'. Probably.

Brad: Throughout a long and moonless night, the colony loads up and manhandles into line the vehicles that are to transport you west to Tucson. Preparations for the breakout did not begin until an hour after sundown. Amex Gold has men positioned on nearby Signal Mountain with orders to observe and report all activity within Big Spring. Theses lookouts are especially vigilant; their leader is expecting the colony to attempt an escape and they know that their lives will be forfeit should they fail to predict exactly when it will occur.
MCSPINDLE: Jesus...I only said 'shall we have some music on?'.
Brag: And I said 'Rick Astley or nothing', it's your choice!
Brad: In near-blackness you service and refuel the BragWagon by sense of touch alone, while all around you the chill night air is alive with movement and whispering as your fellow colonists furtively attend to their allotted tasks. Although you cannot see them you know exactly the positions of the five other road vehicles that comprise the colony. At the head of the line, twenty paces back from the west freeway gate, is the armoured tow truck that will lead the breakout. The drive is 'Pecos' Pete Tyler, and beside him you can picture his brother Rex riding shotgun.
In the open back of their truck is Rickenbacker, a former flying curcus stunt pilor, who has chose to ride out in the open so that he can look after 'Icarus' - his motorised hang-glider - which by now he will have carefully dismantled and strapped aboard.
MCSPINDLE: Jesus...we're two of the sanest ones here, you know that?

Brad: Next in line are two Amcorp Landcruisers - solar assisted buses that carry the Big Spring colonists, and behind them is positioned the gasolene tanker with Uncle Jonas at the wheel. The DC1 school bus is next and the BragWagon last, the back marker until the convoy is clear of Big Spring. Once your preparations are complete you leave the BragWagon and feel your way along the side of the school bus towards the boarding door.
Cutter is sitting in the driver's seat, staring thoughtfully at the night sky, his face lit by the faint green glow of the instrument panel.
Cutter: Brag, you'd better get back and watch out for Pecos Pete's signal...We're outta here in fifteen minutes.
Brag: I'm not going to Tucson. For some reason I'm determined to pick up that sort of average looking girl I can probably bang. I reckon I can.
Cutter: [sympathetically] I understand how you feel, Brag, but you've a duty to the rest o' the colony that you can't just ignore. You're the convoy scout, the convoy's eyes and ears.
Brag: When did you start speaking correctly?
Cutter: We're gonna need you to get us across the mountains in one piece.
Brag: Nobody else has ears or eyes?! Rickenbacker can do that, he's got a radio, and he's more useful than me. Remember that time I developed cataracts?
Cutter: *stares*
Brag: Why are you staring like that? Do you know something I don't?
Words: Brad Harmer & Robert Wade
Brad Harmer: Facebook Twitter
Rob Wade: Twitter
This is intended as a loving tribute to Joe Dever, the Freeway Warrior series, Slaughter Mountain Run/Mountain Run, and all other gamebooks of yesteryear.

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