Sunday, 27 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: His blond hair is cropped close to his head and his eyes are hidden behind a pair of dark sunglasses. Pistol in hand, he walks slowly towards you, then stops at the entrance to the pay booth. Two more men in uniform emerge from the doorway - the rifleman and one other - armed with a sawn-off shotgun.

Rifleman: They don't look like clan punks, Sarge.
Kate: We're not. We're running from the clans.
Brag: I can handle this, sweetheart.

Brad: Bemused, the blond-haired man scratches his chin and turns to say something quietly to his two companions.

MCSPINDLE: 28 Days Later totally ripped off this gamebook.


Brad: It is them that you notice the faded sergeant stripes and the circular globe-of-the-world emblem that adorn his sleeve. Instantly you recognise the latter: it is the emblem of the World Defence League. At length, he turns to face you once more.

Sgt Haskell: [much friendlier tone] I think you two had better tell us your story.
Brag: Can I hold my gun?

Brad: You tell the soldiers who you are and how you cameto be here in Fort Stockton. At first, they listen to your fantastic account with cool scepticism.
Rob: How is scepticism cool?
Brad: How isn't it?
Rob: Whatever, not bothered.
Brad: That's apathy.
Rob: I doubt it.
Brad: That's more like it.
They cross-examine you both in an attempt to find a flaw in your story, but when they are
unable to find any, their attitude begins to change. By the time they have finished their interrogation, you have managed to win their respect and admiration. Once they are convinced that you are genuine colonists they recount their own tale. They are WDF marines who, before 'The Day', were stationed at an underground tracking facility in Brownsville, Texas.

MCSPINDLE: That sounds like gay code...


Brad: Twelve of their unit survived the post-holocaust years, but soon after their return to the surface they were the victims of a clan attack. They were the only survivors of the attack and were forced to flee Brownsville on foot.
Rob: Racists? Out here?!
Brad: Eventually they managed to find a vehicle that worked - the pick-up truck - and had got this far when the fuel ran out and the engine broke down. They are trying to reach their command headquarters at Fort Bliss, located just north of El Paso, where they hope to rejoin remnants of their unit. They arrived in Fort Stockton three days ago and have been rpevented from continuing theirjourney on foot by the blistering day temperatures and the fierce night storms that have swept down from the Barrilla Mountains. They have set up camp in the ruins of a nearby motel and they invte you there to share their food and drink, and to formulate a plan to find some fuel for The BragWagon. Their provisions are basic, but you receive them gratefully.

Brag: Cheers for that.
Kate: Parma Violets? Really?

Brad: After your meal you try to think where you might find some gasolene.

MCSPINDLE: I'm pretty sure that's pronounced 'petrol'.

Brad: Sergeant Haskell and his men - Marines Gunter and Knott - have searched every square inch of Fort Stockton and know that there is none to had here.

Sgt Haskell: What we need is an old road map. One that would show us where the freeway rest stops and gas stations in this are were located.
Brag: Here, maybe this map might be of use. And hopefully it's within about half a mile.
Sgt Haskell: [examining the notes and markings on the map] Hey, where did you get this?
Brag: Some guy.

Brad: He scrutinises it at length.


Sgt Haskell: What you've got here is a blueprint of a major HAVOC operation to take over the country.
Brag: Seriously? Those douchebags?
Sgt Haskell: This is one hot piece of property: it shows clan strengths, supply areas, HAVOC strongholds, controlled cities, everything - even pockets of WDL resistance on the eastern seaboard. We've gotta get this to El Paso. If there's anything left of WDL headquarters then they must be warned about what it happening in the East.
Brag: Okay, but what about fuel? Douchebag out there has barely enough fuel to make it another twenty miles. All we need is enough gas to get as far as Kent in time for the rendezvous with the colony. Then we can refuel from the tanker and you can catch a ride with us all the way to Fort Bliss.
Sgt Haskell: There's a rest stop here...
Brag: No there's not. Oh, on the map?

Brad: He points to the map at a place on Interstate 10 that is half-way between Fort Stockton and a town called Brogado.

Sgt Haskell: There's no knowing if there's still any gas in its storage tanks but it's our only hope. It looks like a twenty-five mile drive - do you think you can make it?
Brag: Well, we can but try.

Brad: You decide to leave Fort Stockton at dawn the following mornind, but the weather deteriorates, putting a swift end to your plans. For two days and nights the town is hit by lightning storms and tornadoes, forcing you to remain in the basement of the motel. It is not until the morning of the sixth day of your mission that the tornadoes blow themselves out and you are able to leave the town in safety.


Brag: No books down here, are there?

Brad: With Kate beside you, and the three marines clinging to the hood and trunk of The BragWagon, you crawl the twenty-three miles from Fort Stockont to the Balmorhea rest stop that Haskell found on your map. It is located at the entrance to a pass through the Barrilla Mountains and at first glance it appears to have suffered extensive damage in the recent storms.

Brag: On second glance, it's a shithole.

Brad: You bring the roadster to a halt with your fuel tank virtutally empty, and it is with great trepidation that you and Sgt Haskell go to inspect the fuel storage tanks while Kate and the others watch the road. Of the eight underground fuel tanks located beneath the gas station area, only one look promising. Of the others, six are empty and one is contaminated with diesel oil.

Brag: That's no good! It'll make my engine...what does diesel do to a petrol engine?

Brad: A coded security valve locks the access pipe to the tank and, after a brief examination, you realise that the code must be cracked if you are to get at the contents. Any attempt to break off or cut through the valve would be sure to cause a spark that would blow the tank, and whoever was tampering with it, sky high. You are studying the valve when you hear Marine Gunter shout a warning:

Marine Gunter: Clansmen on the freeway!
Brag: Sounds like a Golden Earring song.


Brad: Six black-clad bikers are riding along Interstate 10 twoards the rest stop. Affixed to the rear of their saddles are long, whiplash aerials, which are topped with black pennons that bear a lion's head symbol. You stare at these small black flags and a tingle runs down your spine: it is the emblem of the Detroit Lions clan. The bikers catch sight of The BragWagon and bring their machines to a hlat a hundred yards from the rest stop. Then all six spread out and, using the rocks and boulders that litter the landscape, they make their way forward slowly.
Sgt Haskell orders Gunter and Knott to take cover and open fire at the advacing clansmen; they must not be allowed to capture or destroy the fuel tank. From behind an old gas pump you watch as two of the Lions start to edge their way around the service area.

Brag: Don't shoot it, whatever you do.

Brad: They are trying to circle around the rest stop and launch an attack from the rear.
Rob: Use the pistol!
Brad: You abandon your cover and shadow the two clansmen as they circle around to the rear. An old tyre rack propped against the side of a derelicy car was offers you a good defensive position, and quickly you scurry towards it. You reach the rack

MCSPINDLE: Wa-hey!

Brad: in time to see the Lions halt. For a moment they duck out of sight, but soon the reappear and come running, half-crouched with guns at the ready, towards your new-found hiding place. You pull back and release the slide of your pistol, feeding a bullet into the breach, then take careful aim at the first clansman as he scorries between the rocks that litter the edge of the service area. He is less than twenty yards away when you squeeze off your first shot and bring him crashing to the ground.
Rob: What is he made of, glass?!
Brad: His partner hesitates, then abandons his stealthy approach and comes running towards you, screamin hysterically, his machine pistol blazing at his hip.
Rob: Fire again.
Brad: Bullets rip into the tyre rack and whistle past you on all sides as the clansman rushes your position. Calmly you stay hidden until you hear his gun stop in mid-burst, then you spring to your feet and fire at point-blank range, hitting him in the chest. He doubles up, falls forwards and lands in a lifeless heap at your feet.

MCSPINDLE: Shake n' VATS, bitch!

TO BE CONTINUED...

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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