Friday, 11 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: Once you are safely across the bridge, you keep your foot on the gas pedal until the town of Christoval disappears from your rear-view mirror.
Rob: Ahhhh.
Brag: Ahhhh.
Brad: Ahead, the highway crosses an especially bleak and barren land-scape, seemingly devoid of even the hardiest flora and fauna. It looks more like a moonscape than a landscape, and, were it not for the setting sun and the welcome cool of dusk, you could easily believe that you had been the transferred to the surface of another world.
MCSPINDLE: Yes, because other planets don't have "days".
Brad: It it almost dark when the outline of a town appears on the horizon. Its shattered building are thrown into relief by the ashen moonlight.
Brag: Now entering...Silent Hi....oh shit.

Brad: A battered sign reflects the glare of your headlamps and announces your approach to the town of Eldorado.
Brag: We're unlikely to find any riches in such a derelict town.
Kate: I guess you're right.
Brag: Mainly because I see a Netto.
Kate: But we might find us somewhere to rest up a while. I sure could use a few hours' sleep.
Brag: I could watch you sleep...I mean....masturbate while watching you sleep.
Brad: The dangers you have encountered during the day have kept you mentally and physically alert, but now that the immediate threat has passed, the fatigue of your ordeal catches up with you all at once. Your need to rest makes the thought of stopping here almost irresistible, but, no matter how tired you feel, you cannot ignore the fact that you are being hunted by the Angelinos.
Rob: Stop and rest in Eldorado. Fatigue is a fucker, I should know.
Brad: Having chosen to stop here and rest, you pull off the highway and search among the ruins for a safe shelter. You are looking for a place where you will be able to hide the roadster and observe the road; if the Angelinos appear during the night, you will need as much forewarning of their arrival as possible in order to make a successful getaway.
Rob: Is there a Premier Inn?
Brad: Is it a good thing if there is?
Only one place meets your needs: a warehouse and factory complex near the middle of the town.
Rob: Close enough.
Brad: The cracked and tarnished facia above its entrance tell you that this was once the Eldorado Woolen Mills. You park the BragWagon in a covered lot at the rear, then settle yourselves on the first floor in a workshop that has an unobstructed view of the highway. Kate curls up beside you and falls asleep in your arms, while you, heavy with fatigue, force yourself to stay awake and watch the highway.
Rob: So hang on...what was the point of stopping?
Brad: Your vigilance pays off when, two hours later, you see a line of lights in the double doors leading to the kitchen and you head straight for them.

MCSPINDLE: I said drive in shifts, but you wouldn't listen.
Brad: You try to wake Kate but she is in a deep sleep and does not respond imediately. When at last you succeed in rousing her it is too late to attempt a quick getaway by car. You watch tensely as the bikers ride into the town. You give a silent prayer that they will pass through Eldorado without stopping, but to no avail. They bring their machines to a halt in the middle of the town and begin a search of the surrounding ruins.
You look around the workshop for somewhere to hide.
Brag: [to Kate] Shhhhh.
Brad: The sound of footsteps echoes through the building as you help Kate to conceal herself in an old stationery cupboard.
Brag: Think like a stapler...
Brad: Once she is well hidden, you slip inside an adjoining storage room that is filled from floor to ceiling with musty mohair blankers.
What is a mo, anyway?
Rob: A short moment.
Brad: Minutes later, you hear a clansman walk into the workshop. You hold your breath and listen to his every move, but your concentration is suddenly broken when you feel something crawling up the back of your left hand. You flick your hand and the tickling sensation stops, as do the footsteps of the clansman. He has heard you moving. There is a click of a pistol hammer being cocked and then you hear his footsteps once more as slowly he approaches the store room door.
Rob: I draw my flick knife, ready to defend myself.
Brad: You tighten your grip on your close combat weapon as the door handle turns. The door flies open and you stare at the startled face of your enemy as you spring forward and strike the first blow. Your speedy attack opens a gash across his forehead and knocks the pistol from his hand. He reels back, clutching his face, and immediately you press forward to strike again, eager to silence him before he can raise the alarm.

You snap his neck.
Armalite is defeated.
Brag: Well, that was...well.
Brad: Kate emerges from her hiding place and helps you search the dead clansman's body. Apart from his pistol and a quantity of 9 mm ammunition, which Kate chooses to keep, you discover that he was carrying the following items:
Water Canteen (containing 1.5 pints of water)
Two MediKits
+2 Hunting Knife
Flexible Saw
3 x 12-gauge shells
Bolt Cutters
Brad: Let me know what you want.
Rob: Water. Medkits. 3 shells.
Kate: But you don't own a shotgun...
Brag: Yet...And somebody bogarted the 9mm ammo.
Brad: As soon as you have hidden his body beneath a heap of blankets, you gather up your equipment and leave the workshop before his disappearance is noticed. You manage to find your way back to the roadster without running into the clansmen and waste no time in making a hasty escape from Eldorado.
Brag: See what I mean? No riches.

Brad: The enemy are slow to react to your getaway and you are more than ten miles from the town before you see their headlights in your driving mirror. Your speedy escape may have wrong-footed them, but they have caught up quickly. Fearing that you will not be able to out-run them, you leave the highway and hide your roadster behind a rocky ridge that runs parallel to the road.
Rob: Rocky Ridge sounds like a shitty ice cream.
Brad: The sound of their engines grows louder as they approach, then fades quickly as the pack roars past, oblivious to your presence. With the immediate threat now gone, you decide to remain where you are and get a few hours sleep before continuing your journey at dawn. In the clear light of early morning you can see for miles across the rocky plain that surrounds the highway south of Eldorado. It appears empty, although you remain on the alert every second of your drive to Sonora, the next town marked on your map, for it is in this direction that the Angelinos were heading when they passed you last night. You are less than a mile from the ruins of Sonora when you are greeted by the welcome sight of Interstate 10, stretching east-to-west across your path.
This is the freeway you hope will take you all the way to your rendezvous with the colony at Kent, and then on through the mountains to El Paso.
Brag: Hooray, this could end up in a non-rape scenario! But I douuuuubt it.
Brad: You join the freeway and enjoy the feel of a firmer, clearer road surface beneath your wheels as you begin the long drive west. Still you can see no sign of the Angelinos, and Kate voices her hope that they have decided to search Sonora, thinking you may have hidden there last night.
Brag: Yeah, probably. Lucky I slept...

Brad: You want to agree with her, but suddenly, in the distance, you see something that proves her wrong. Beneath a road bridge, a line of Angelinos is strung out across the freeway, each one sitting astride his bike with a rifle or a machine pistol resting across the handlebars. They are the clansmen whom you saw last night.
Brag: Hello!
Brad: Having realised that they must have passed you in the dark, they are waiting patiently for you to show up.
Brag: Wait, that's bad isn't it?
Brad: To your right you see an exit ramp that ascends to the bridge itself and, as the clansmen open fire, you steer your car towards it to avoid the withering hail of bullets. With tyres screeching, you turn on to the bridge and gun The BragWagon across it at top speed. Beyond the span you find secondary road that has barely survived the post-disaster years. A sign flashes past, identifying it as Road 1989, but you fail to see this number as you fight to avoid the boulders that lay strewn in your path. Kate has drawn her pistol and is firing over her shoulder at a biker, who is closing fast.
A pair of belt-fed machine guns are mounted atop the headlamp of his motorcycle, and he fires them in devastating bursts whenever the BragWagon fills his sights. So concerted is the fire that you are both forced to cower in your armour backed seats to avoid being hit.
Brag: They're armour backed, don't be a ponce!
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.


At its peak in the 1960s, the legendary Hammer Films embarked upon an ill-fated new horror movie that was Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors all rolled into one...

Christopher Fowler, who created some of the most memorable taglines in movie history – including Alien’s “In space, no-one can hear you scream” – and whose company designed the iconic Trainspotting and Reservoir Dogs film posters, has crafted a terrifying tale set in the halcyon days of British horror cinema.

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When American screenwriter Shane Carter is asked to revive the classic studio’s fortunes and, inspired by an old board game, writes a script where four strangers who meet on a train journey through Eastern Europe during the First World War must solve a terrifying mystery if they are to survive.

As they race through the war-torn countryside, they must uncover the secrets of a locked casket and of the veiled Red Countess who travels with them. And what exactly is the devilish riddle of the train itself?!

Thanks to our friends at Solaris, we've got three copies of Hell Train to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Friday 25th November, making sure to put "Hell Train" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a copy of this awesome book!

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Hell Train is available from 5th January 2012, courtesy of Solaris.

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

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