Sunday 18 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: An underground parking lot situated below the looted ruins of a Sears megamarket provides just such a safe haven, and it is here that you hide your car. You are tired after the rigours of your journey, so you decide to get a few hours sleep and attempt your rescue at first light. You awake shortly after dawn, your neck stiff and aching after an uncomfortable night's sleep.
Rob: I will insist on sleeping in car parks.
Brad: Little light is filtering from the surface of this underground lot, but there is sufficient for you to be able to take stock of your surroundings and make sure that you are alone. After checking your equipment, you leave The BragWagon and ascend to the surface, where you make a mental note of this location before beginning your trek towards the downtown stronghold of the Angelinos.

MCSPINDLE: Bye, then.
Brag: Laters.
MCSPINDLE: You think there are rabid ghouls down here?
Brag: My knowledge of Fallout says "Yes".
MCSPINDLE: How about Rakghouls?
Brag: Yes.
MCSPINDLE: How about Ras Al'Ghul?
Brad: It's times like this I wish there was one actor linking Fallout, Star Wars and Ras Al'Ghul, but I'm buggered if I can think of anyone.
Rob: I know...Ah wait! Nope, Ron Perlman wasn't in Batman.
Brad: Uh...Rob?
Rob: Yeah?
Brad: Do you remember the awesome 1990s Batman cartoon? The one with Mark Hamill as The Joker?
Rob: Yeah, I do.
Brad: Apparently Ron Perlman played Clayface.
Rob: No fucking shit, seriously?
Brad: According to Wikipedia: The Bastion of All Reliable Knowledge.
Rob: Awesome.
Brad: The heat is bearable at this early hour and you encounter no sign of the city's occupants as stealthily you make your way through tht eshattered streets. An hour later you reach the southern section of their perimeter wall and stop to observe those who are guarding it. They look like a motley group of criminals armed with an assortment of weapons and equipment, much of which appears rusty and incapable of functioning. All that identifies them as Angelinos is the symbol they wear on their jackets and T-shirts: the skull of a long-horned steer.
Rob: Balls.
Brad: After having studied the defences and watchd the guards for the better part of an hour, you decide that the best place to gain entry to the stronghold is through an office block that interrupts the perimeter wall.

Brad: The wooden planks that have been used to seal it are warped and split, and gaining entry to the building should not prove too difficult.
Brag: Hello...wait, how can I hear you?
MCSPINDLE: I just remembered you have a CB! Remember? Awesome! I can help from afar!
Brag: Great...So...
Brad: Patiently you wait for the right moment before you break cover and spring across the rubble-strewn street towards the main entrance.
MCSPINDLE: Breaking the law! Breaking the law!
Brag: Why do you always have that song in your head?
MCSPINDLE: Sorry, I was singing with my headphones on.
Brad: The rotten timbers are easily torn away from the front door and in minutes you have gained access to the building. In the middle of the lobby you discover a stainless steel replica of an oil derrick, standing twelve feet high, on which there is an inscription that reveals the former owners of the block:

Brad: In order to emerge somewhere inside the perimeter wall, you must discover an exit on the north side of this building, so you set off in this direction. Beyond the lobby area you can see a row of elevator doors, and two corridors disappearing to the left and right.
Rob: Hmm...This will require some serious tho...Left.
Brad: This corridor services a number of offices and conference rooms before it ends at a wide staircase leading downwards. You descend three floors and discover the remains of a large private restaurant which, along with the kitchen, occupies most of the sub-basement level. A small 'fire exit' sign hangs over the double doors leading to the kitchen and you head straight for them.
Brag: Bollocks, and here's me inappropriately dressed.
Brad: As you are crossing the restaurant floor, your rumbling stomach reminds you that you have yet to eat anything today. Then the thought occurs to you that there could still be some canned food in the kitchen, and you decide to search it before you leave the building. You push open the doors and enter the gloomy kitchen. Out of the corner of your eye you notice a movement.
Brag: This restaurant is failing its health review then...
Brad: You turn around and see a clansman crouching in front of a food locker, trying to prise the door open with the edge of a meat cleaver. He sees you and his eyes open wide with shock. Before you can draw a weapon and fire, he draws the cleaver back and hurls it at your chest. You dive aside, but your reactions are not quick enough to save you from the cleaver's spinning blade. It slices through the arm of your jacket and lays open half an inch of flesh below your right bicep.

Brag: Argh! That was my favourite half inch!
MCSPINDLE: What's going on there? I thought I could hear a small girl, crying?
Brag: She...ran...away...
Brad: You grit your teeth against the pain as you try to stand, but before you are back on your feet, the clansman comes rushing across the kitchen with a knife in his hand. Instinctively, you leap away from his first strike, and manage to kick the weapon away from his hand when he stabs at you a second time. Angered by your moves, he leaps for your throat and tries to drag you to the ground.
Brag: Well, stabbing me would've done fuck all...
He stabs a picture of you and says 'That's you, that is'.
You inform him of all the voice acting parts Ron Perlman has done, and his mind is blown.
Clansman is defeated.
Brag: Yeah, suck it Clansman!
Brad: The surly clansman clutches at his wounds, curses, then falls dead at your feet.
Brag: He fucking cursed me?!
Rob: I kick him.
Brad: Judging from the long-horned skull painted on the back of his leather vest, you have just laid to rest your first Angelino. On the floor close by, you find his weapons and equipment:

Machine Pistol (containing 18 x 9mm rounds)
+2 Knife
And a backpack, which holds the following items:
Flexible Saw
HE Grenade
Water Canteen (containing 1 1/2 pints of water)
Small Blanket
Three med-kits
Brad: In addition to these items, a search of the kitchen also reveals the following:
Rob: Right...
+3 Meat Cleaver
+2 Bread Knife
Enough canned food for up to five meals
Brad: Do you want to take anything?
Rob: Medkits, ammo, water, food.
Brad: You can take the water and medkits, but you're currently maxed on 40 mm ammo, and will have to drop items if you want to take any food. One meal takes up one space in your backpack.
Rob: 40mm?
Brad: Sorry, maxed at "40" on 9mm ammo. I have seen a 40 mm round, but I have been to Bovington Tank Museum.
Rob: Right.
Brad: So, just the medkits and water? Or are you dropping stuff for food?
Rob: I will drop the gold nugget and the spark plugs to take two meals. Scratch that, the nugget and the lighter.
Brad: Before leaving the kitchen, you hide the clansman's body in an empty refrigerator.
Brag: I must remember to do something funny next time I see a person.

Brad: Then you hurry through the fire escape door and make your way up a flight of rusty steps that leads to a service alley at the rear of the building. Your escape from the building goes unnoticed by the few clan patrols that are operating in the area. Alcatraz has brought most of his men up to the central and northern sectors, partly as a show of strength to Mad Dog Michigan and partly as a precaution in case Mad Dog's talk of an alliance turns out to be a bluff, and he is really here to try to take over the city. The further you venture north, the more clan activity you find, and you are forced to stay hidden longer periods as you snake your way through the ruins towards the centre of the stronghold.
MCSPINDLE: I spy, with my little eye...
Rob: How far am I going again?
Brad: You are working on the assumption that Kate is with Mad Dog Michigan, and he is likely to be found where the number of clansmen is greatest. Does that answer your question?
Rob: ...I guess...
Brad: It is shortly before noon when you catch sight of a building that dominates the centre of San Angelo - the Reagan Memorial Stadium. Score of motorcycles and their riders are gathered around its entrance where two large, tattered banners are fluttering symbolically in the breeze.
Brag: Seems like a fair few clansmen might be here...
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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