Sunday, 6 November 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: You tell her as much as you can about your planned rendezvous with the colony; how in six days from now you are to meet at Kent. There is so much you want to tell her, but the sudden arrival of four clansmen in an open-topped jeep puts an abrupt end to your conversation.
Brag: And that's why it's called Memorial Da...shit!
Brad: The vehicle screeches to a halt and the four grim-faced men leap out, brandishing machine pistols. The driver grunts something and they fan our and start searching the ruins.
Rob: They all look like The Thing? Oh sorry, Grim-faced.
Brad: Beyond the wall there is fifty yards of cleared ground sepearating the stronghold from the ruins of the southern suburbs. To reach The BragWagon, you will somehow have to cross this killing zone.
MCSPINDLE: It's times like this that I wish I could eat popcorn.
Brag: It'd be your upholstery which would be stained. Your call.

Rob: I stay hidden until they pass, and then attempt to steal their jeep and drive across the cleared ground. The world loves a coward.
Brad: As soon as the clansmen have disappeared from sight, you break cover and run. Kate circles around to the other side and climbs into the passenger seat while you search for the ignition. To your horror, you discover that the ignition keys are missing.
MCSPINDLE: Yeah, weren't expecting them to, you know, take the keys with them, were you?
Brag: Honestly? I wasn't, no.
Brad: Placing your hand under the dashboard, you pull down a handful of cables and isolate two - a red one and a black one - that are connected to the ignition lock. Quickly you rip these out and touch the exposed copper braids together. There is a bright blue spark and immediately the engine growls into life. After twisting the wires together, you throw the jeep into low gear and take off towards an open section of the perimeter wall. A wheeled screen partially blocks this access point, which is guarded by two clansmen armed with automatic assault rifles.
You are fifteen yards from the screen when suddenly they realise that you have no intention of stopping. The clansmen dive aside as you crash through their barrier and accelerate across the open ground twoards the safety of the southern ruins.
Brag: Yeah, ruins in a nuclear wasteland! That always goes well!
Brad: But they recover quickly and soon the stacato hammering of their assault rifles is echoing in your wake. Bullet slam into the rear of the jeep and whistle past your head as you steer the vehicle towards the remains of a building with an open, unobstructed entrance. Bullets continue to ricochet off the bodywork until you skid to a halt inside the derelict building, where you abandon the jeep hurriedly.

Brag: Leave it! It's a four-wheel drive! Some single mum will doubtless take it!
Brad: You follow Kate as she runs through the debris towards an exit at the rear. You watch as she races through the open doorway and collides head-on with a clansman, who is hurrying into the building. The two rebound off each other and fall to the ground, stunned and bruised. Drunkenly, the clansman grabs Kate by the throat and fumbles for a pistol that is holstered beneath his shoulder.
Rob: Use my pistol! This time I read the signs, he's going to shoot me if I don't shoot him!
Brad: You jab the barrel of your gun into the clansman's ribs and squeeze the trigger. At point blank range the effect is awesome; he is torn away from Kate and spun around like a top.
Rob: Shit, I have this bad feeling.
Brad: His whirling dance of death finally comes to a halt when he hits the wall of the alley in which you are standing. You know what's sad?
Rob: What's that?
Brad: I just know you were visualising that happening in VATS.
Rob: I wasn't, actually, I had it as a FPS "try to shoot the baddie without killing the hostage", but I admittedly misread that I was behind her.
Brad: You help Kate to her feet and check that he wind-pipe has not been damaged by the clansman's attack.
Rob: Do I do it with my penis?
Brad: Her throat is badly bruised, and although you can tell she is in great discomfort, stoically she ignores the pain and suggests that you both get out of here before the dead man's confederates turn up.
Brag: Hang on, I'll mish-mash this radio into one of those throat mics.

Brad: After stooping to snatch his pistol, she follows closely in your wake as you hurry south towards the ruins of the Sears megamarket. News of your escape into the southern ruins of San Angelo is relayed to Mad Dog Michigan.
Brag: Hah! Stitch that, bastard!
Brad: Already he has told the leaders that you have mocked, humilated and defenestrated their leader, and, in the prevailing emergency, he has appointed himself their new commanders. He orders the Angelinos to saturate the southern sector and to kill both of you on sight.
Brag: Saturate? How many Angelinos are there?
Brad: You manage to reach the megamarket without further clan encounters and are relieved to find that The BragWagon has remained undisturbed since you left it this morning.
MCSPINDLE: What time do you call this? Do you have any idea how many games of Minesweeper I've played waiting for you to come back?
Brag: Well, it's been several hours...four?
Brag: Thought so. I've never understood why you take so many notes.
Brad: It takes a few frustrating minutes to start the engine, but as soon as it is running smoothly you leave San Angelo s fast as you can, heading south on the remains of Highway 277. Expectantly you keep an eye on your rear-view mirror as you power The BragWagon along the rock-strewn asphalt of Highway 277. You are convinced that the Angelinos will soon be on your tail. Yet, you have covered fifteen miles and still there is nothing to indicate that you are being pursued.

MCSPINDLE: That was too easy. They let us escape.
Brad: You are beginning to relax when Kate points to a small town in the distance. It is built around a bridge that crosses a stream of shallow black water that was once known as the South Concho River. Near the middle of this town, on the highway approach to the bridge, is a rising cloud of dust.
Rob: Sorry. Nachooos...
Brad: Quickly, you stop the BragWagon and peer through your binoculars at the little town of Christoval.
Kate: Can y'see what's kickin' up that dust?
Brag: Hope they've got a Wilkinson, I'm sweating fucking buckets!
Brag: [squinting into the distance] Well, I see dogs fighting.
Kate: Uh, Brag...that ain't the dust I'm talking about.
Brad: Lowering your lenses, you turn to see her pointing back along the highway at another dust cloud, which is fast approaching.
Brag: Then it's Aaaak-Ti, the Dust Monster.
Brad: You do not need binoculars to be able to see that it is being kicked up by a pack of bikers, who have come racing out of San Angelo.
Kate: I think it's time we were movin' on.
Brag: Yep...yep.
Brad: You reach for the ignition switch. With your foot holding the gas pedal flat to the floor you roar towards Christoval with a score of angry Angelinos hot on your heels. On entering the town, you see that the coyote on the road ahead are fighting each other in two seperate packs.

Brag: The Sharks and the Jets!
Brad: Each pack is being urged on by men who are conducting some sort of wager on the outcome of the fight. So engrossed are they in the dog fight that they seem oblivious of the fact that you are speeding straight towards them. It is not until you sound your horn and flash your headlights that the men and dogs begin to scatter, but by then it is too late for some of them.
Brag: Oooooooh, murder...!
Brad: The car shudders as you plough into a dozen of the fighting dogs, sending them spinning into the air.
MCSPINDLE: Aaaagh!!!
Brad: One tumbles over the widshield and lands between you and Kate. Maddened by the pain of its wounds, it lunges at you and closes its fangs around your right forearm. Desperately, Kate tries to pummel it unconcious with the butt of her pistol as you fight to maintain control of the speeding car.
MCSPINDLE: When did this turn into a Steve Martin road movie!?
Brag: Arrrrrgh! Arrrgh! Why are you choosing now to ask?!
Brad: Kate manages to pull the snapping dog from your arm and despatch it swiftly with a pistol shot to the head. Its fangs have penetrated the leather sleeve of your jacket and gouged your arm but you are relieved to see that there are no signs that the animal was rabid. Quickly you regain full control of the BragWagon and steer it towards the Christoval bridge.
Rob: How would you know about rabies at that speed?
Brad: I made a Spot Rabies roll for you.
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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