Sunday, 11 September 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: The clansman is wild with fury, but a single shot to the head, delivered with chilling precision, is all it takes to stop him dead in his tracks. Before you bury these two Detroit Lions, you search their bodies and their bikes, and discover the following useful items.
Pistol (containing three rounds of 9mm ammunition)
+2 Dagger
Water canteen (containing 1.5 pints of drinking water)
Leather Face Mask
Machine Pistol (containing 18 rounds of 9 mm ammo)
Cigarette Lighter
HE Grenade
Enough pain-killers for one medi-kit unit

Brad: You want any of that shit?
Rob: Right. Let's go with the ammo, the water and the med kit equivalent.
Brad: There remains no trace of the bikers of their machines when eventually you complete the grisly task of burial. Wearily you return to your roadster and begin the next stage of your journey to San Angelo. Less than a mile beyond the bridge you see a deserted stretch of Freeway 87.
MCSPINDLE: I am so glad you left the rope and the leather face mask behind. Like, so glad I can't even begin to describe it.
Brag: Really? Drag.
Brad: You join the freeway, heading south, and within a few minutes you catch sight of a town on the road ahead. A glance at your map confirms that you are approaching Sterling City.
Brag: Sounds like a lovely place. With lots of currency...
Brad: What little of Sterling City that survived the icy, post-holocaust years has long since been gutted or looted by gangs of roving clansmen.
MCSPINDLE: Sucks to be you.
Brag: Sure does...wait, what are we doing?
Brad: Many have left their mark, sprayed on the sides of auto wrecks or scrawled in jagged letter aross warehouse walls. You bring your roadster to a halt and survey the ruins for some sign of life. The place reminds you of the city punk zones of Fort Worth, and, as you scour the shadowy doorways, an uneasy feeling grows in the pit of your stomach.
Brag: Stupid cheap burritos...

Rob: Stay on the freeway. Sod's Law in effect, I suspect. i.e. I go around, they're around.
Brad: You are expecting a rough reception as you drive into town, but your fears are misplaced.
Rob: See? They're off at a thrift sale or something.
MCSPINDLE: Maybe they heard we were coming and got scared.
Brag: Maybe they just didn't want to be seen near such a homotastic car.
MCSPINDLE: Maybe your face.
Brad: The only inhabitants you see as you speed through Sterling City are a pack of feral cats scavenging for food amongst the debris and rotting garbage. Beyond Sterling City the freeway follows a wide, dust-filled gully that was once the North Concho River. You are staring at this dead watercourse, trying to imagine what the river must have looked like before 'the Day', when a road sign flashes past. You stop the car and turn back to read it.
It says:
Brag: That's a fucking long broo....oh, it's a town.
Brad: It occurs to you that the colony may still be close enough for radio contact. As it may be the last chance you will get to speak to them before your rendezvous at Kent one week from now, you deicde to give it a try. You invert the handset of your CB and key in the frequency that Pop Ewell monitors aboard the school bus.
Rob: Sounds sensible.
Brad: But, for some unknown reason, the frequency is saturated with static and you are unable to transmit.

MCSPINDLE: Maybe they're all dead?
Brag: That's a cheerful thought. Nice one.
Brad: You search for a clear channel and, by chance, you lock on to part of a two-way conversation:
Voice 1: Okay, Gold...Sit tight and quit y'bellyaching...I'm sending some o' my men back to cover it. You just put a tail on 'em...Keep 'em in sight. We'll let 'em run a while and then hit 'em when they reach the mountains. D'you copy...Over?
Brad: There is a loud burst of static, then a voice replies:
Voice 2: I copy...Gold out.
Brag: Bollocks.
Brad: The channel falls silent and you are left staring at the handset, trying to make some sense of what you have just overheard. They you hear quite a different sound, a sound that sends a shiver of fear coursing down your spine.
Brad: The unmistakable roar of motorcycle engines is coming from the direction of Broome, and, as you focus on that distant town, you see a tell-tale cloud of dust rising above its ruins.
Brag: Bollocks, it's an Elemental.

Brad: You know that it can only be a large pack of clansmen and that you must find somewhere to hide yourself and the BragWagon before they show up. The dried-out bed of the North Concho River offers the only feasible place to take cover from the approaching bikers. Quickly you pull off the freeway and search for a place to enter the river bed as the first of the bikers comes riding out of the town. Fighing back your fear, you try to ignore the sound of the engines and concentrate instead of finding a place where you can descend the steep bank and enter the riverbed.
Rob: Wait, there's only one? I shoot him!
Brad: Your determination pays off and you are able to get yourself and the BragWagon under cover before the clansmen are close enough to spot you. With bated breath you watch as the pack, fifty riders strong, roar along the freeway.
MCSPINDLE: Fifty? We could take them, right?
Brag: Yeah, totally. You go first!
MCSPINDLE: I'll just run the little pussies over. I mean, I've done it bef...Oh, God!
Brad: The sight of them passing raises your spirits a little, for at least there will now be fifty less to face when you reach San Angelo. When the pack are nothing but a cloud of dust on the northern horizon, you start up your engine and head back on to the freeway towards Broome.
Brag: They call it 'The Handle'...

Brad: You pass between the shattered stores and houses of Broome with your nerves on edge, half-expecting to run into a clan patrol or fall prey to an ambush. Yet your visit passes without incident and soon you find yourself back on the open freeway, heading south east to San Angelo.
Rob: Result.
Brad: When you first see San Angelo, the sun is a quarter hidden below the skyline, its soft red glow reflecting upon a cluster of tall buildings that stand at the city's centre. They are the ravaged shells of banks and state offices that were the pride of this once-prosperous city before 'the Day'. Surrounding then, for many miles, is a sea of dust and rubble. Your skin prickles when you realise that this is all that remains of the city's suburbs, an area that once was home to more than a million Texans.
Rob: I misread that as 'You shit pickles'. No word of a lie.
Brad: You are about to drive towards the centre when you notice that a fortified wall has been erected
Brad: around the tall building of the downtown area, and the northern freeway approaches are controlled by roadblocks. It would be near-suicidal to approach any closer, so you make a wide detour around the city limits and try and approach from the south. It takes nearly two hours to reach the south side of San Angelo, by which time night has fallen.
Brag: Ouch!
Brad: Fortunately, your decision to go south has paid off: this section of the city is virtually uninhabited by the Angelinos and your approach goes undetected.
Brag: This is going too well...

Brad: Hidden by the darkness, you are able to get within a mile of the downtown area before you encounter any sigh of clan activity.
Brag: The Klan is here?!
Brad: You know that if your rescue of Kate is to be successful, you must not allow the BragWagon to fall into enemy hands, and with this though in mind, you search for somewhere safe to leave it while you venture into the downtown area on foot.
MCSPINDLE: Oh, so you don't want my help this time? Fine. I'll sit here getting pissed on by meerkats while you fuck off into some abandoned mine. I hope you get jumped by ghouls. Cunt.
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.


From Raphael Rocher (producer of the acclaimed French zombie shocker The Horde) and first-time feature director Olivier Abbou comes Territories, a chilling and twisted thriller that literally brings home the horrors of Guantanamo Bay-style detainment facilities for a small group of unfortunate US citizens.

What starts as an apparently routine border check for five friends – Jalil, Leslie, Michelle, Gab and Tom – driving home to the US from a wedding in Canada quickly descends into the realm of nightmares when a small amount of pot is found in their car. The fact that they are driving with a broken headlight after colliding with a deer further up the road doesn’t make things any better. But it is the two suspicious officers keen interest in Jalil’s background that results in the group being arrested, blindfolded and dragged off to a makeshift prison camp in the heart of the forest.

Incarcerated in small cages, the innocent victims are subjected to humiliation and psychological and physical torture as the two officers – in reality a pair of crazy ex-servicemen with seriously deranged patriotic concerns – do what they believe is their duty in keeping their country safe from intruders.

Superb performances, along with impressive gore effects and coldly effective cinematography combine to make Territories a shocking, controversial and utterly compelling entry in the “survival horror” genre.

Thanks to our friends at Arrow Films, we've got two copies of Territories to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Sunday 18th September, making sure to put "Territories" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a copy of this awesome movie!

Don't forget to put "Territories" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Territories is available from Monday 12th September, courtesy of Arrow Films.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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