Friday 9 December 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: Anxiously you expect an ambush to take place at any time, but, despite your fears, an attack does not materialise. At length, the stores and houses of Van Horn appear on the road ahead. The town looks deserted but you decide to take no chances. You bring the convoy to a halt within a mile of the town limits and, accompanied by Sgt Haskell, you leave the BragWagon and enter on foot to check that the place is safe for the convoy to pass through.
Rob: I keep forgetting these people.
Brad: The tumbledown buildings are deathly quiet as you walk along the main street of Van Horn, and you notice nothing out of the ordinary until you reach a bar near the centre of town. A motorcycle is parked beside the entrance, its fuel tank emblazoned with the ace of spades emblem of the Mavericks clan. You deicide to search the bar and, if possible, try to capture and question the bike's owner. Haskell suggests that it would be a good idea if one of you were to enter by the rear door and you nod your agreement.

Brag: I prefer to enter by the rea....I got the back door!

Brad: You enter an alley that runs alongside the bar, and make your way to the rear door.

MCSPINDLE: [on CB] Wa-hey!

Brad: Through a cracked glass panel you can see the kitchens. They are empty, but remnants of food lie scattered across the tables and, judging by the amount of fresh garbage strewn on the floor, a large group of clansmen must have eaten here not so long ago. You test the handle and discover that the door is unlocked.

Brag: Ergh, they left their wrappers everywhere, don't they know there are no staff to clean this up anymore?

Brad: You turn the handle and gently push open the door. You have taken but one step into the kitchen when a large glass storage jar falls from a shelf above your head and smashes down on your unprotected skull.

Brag: Argh!

Brad: Wincing from the pain of your wound, you notice that the jar was attached by a thin cord to the inside handle of the door: it had been placed there deliberately. Not only have you lost some blood, but this primitive trap may also have lost you the element of surprise. With your nerves on edge, you advance through the kitchen and into the bar beyond.

Brag: Unless it was a bungee-jumping jar, and I destroyed its only source of fun.

Brad: As you enter, you whisper Haskell's name in case, in the darkened interior, he mistakes you for a clansman.
Rob: Or maybe I'm hoping he's got the horn.
Brad: Suddenly there is a bang and a muzzle flash illuminates the far corner of the bar. You throw yourself at the floor immediately, but you are not swift enough to avoid being clipped in the thigh by a 9mm bullet.

Brag: Jukebox Attack!
MCSPINDLE: Over a CB this is hilarious!

Brad: Seconds later Haskell bursts into the bar and fires three shots into the corner.
Rob: Wait, so a bullet only did one point more damage than a glass jar?
Brad: There is a loud groan followed almost immediately by the sound of a heavy body falling off a chair. He rushes to your side and, using his own Medi-Kit, staunches your would with a sulphonamide pad and a bandage. Once he is sure you are not seriously injured, he goes to take a look at who he has shot. Clutching your wounded leg, you hobble after the sergeant and find him in the corner of the bar, kneeling besides a clansman who is bleeding from a chest wound.
You also notice that the man's leg is set in splints, as if recently broken, and that the leather jacket he wears is marked with the Maverick ace-of-spades symbol.
Haskell lifts his head from the floor and asks him what he is doing here. Stubbornly, the dying clansman refuses to answer.

Brag: Isn't it obvious? He's Maverick AceofSpades! Ol' Broken Leg!

Rob: I use a medi-kit to treat his wound. I feel that this will benefit us long-term. A small price to pay for something that could lead to our untimely death!
Brad: While you do your best to staunch the bleeding, Haskell continues to question the Maverick. Finally on the brink of death, the clansman changes his mind and begins to speak. He says that he is a Maverick outrider, a scout, once of a large group sent here to ambush the Big Spring colony. While drunk, he fell off his bike and broke his leg.

Brag: Burn.

Brad: Unable to ride, his fellow scouts left him here with the promise that he would be collected when they returned. His group are fighting a Mexican clan near Sierra Blanca.
Isn't he in Street Fighter II?
He says that the Mexicans are trying to steal their supplies. Haskell asks him about Mad Dog Michigan, but he refuses to answer. A trickle of blood escapes from his lips and, with his dying breath, he says:

Maverick Aceofspades: Mad Dog'll make sure you never get through...
Brag: How did he die?!
Sgt Haskee: If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was the massive shotgun wound in his chest.
Brag: Oooh, alright, *Doctor* Haskell!

Brad: You leave the bar and return to the convoy to tell the colony what has happened. After considering the likelihood of running into a Maverick ambush on the way to Sierra Blanca, probably in the narrow pass that separates Slaughter Mountain from Devil Ridge, the maps are consulted.

MCSPINDLE: Consult the bones, too! Luddites.

Brad: A proposal is put forward by Sgt Haskell that the convoy detours north, across the Salt Lakes to Cornudas, and approach El Paso on Highway 62. It looks like the safest route to follow and it is soon agreed. The convoy is turned around and you lead it north, but you have not travelled very far when you see something on the road ahead that forces another change of plan. You have reached the place where the highway passes through the Finlay mountains, and from this high point you have a commanding view over the valley and salt lakes beyond.

MCSPINDLE: Why do I sense that giving you a 'commanding' anything is a really dumb idea?

You stop to survey the scene and, to your horror, you see a hige group of clansmen riding across the valley, heading towards Van Horn.

Brag: They've got the Van Horn!

Brad: With your pulse racing, you raise the binoculars to your eyes and focus on the approaching bikers. They ride machines bedecked with a strange symbol; a priest or some other holy man, dressed in flowing white robes, with a halo above his head. It looks like a curiously pious sybol for a clan to adopt, until you remember that before The Day, the name of the professional football team based in New Orleans was 'The Saints'.

MCSPINDLE: Thank God it's not a fudge factory in Green Bay, Wisconsin, huh?

Brad: Suddenly you realise that that his pack of riders, some 400-500 strong, are the New Orleans clan that Mad Dog Michigan sent for. It would be disastrous for the convoy to run head on into a group of this size, and you hurry back to the colony as quickly as you can to break the bad news. With the New Orleans clan approaching from the north, a large Mexican clan crossing the border to the south, and the threat of a Maverick ambush to the west, the prospects of reaching El Paso unscathed now look decidedly unpromising.

MCSPINDLE: I saw we lock and load.
Brag: Well, you're a car. You don't have a soul. And it's a good thing too, otherwise it'd be tainted with murder.
MCSPINDLE: Actually, I think, therefore I am. Suck my Descartes.
Brag: Murderer...
MCSPINDLE: Do you want me to tell everyone about the 'specialist' porn you keep in the glovebox? I thought not. Let's have no more of this 'murderer' nonsense.
Brag: Hey, I'm proud of liking nurses.
MCSPINDLE: Yeah, but THESE nurses?
Brag: All right, all right, no need to get your head-gasket homicidal.
MCSPINDLE: Good. Then I won't tell whatshertits about 'Pregnant and Triaj'. Among other
Brag: You leave whatsertits out of this!

Brad: With no time to discuss the situation at length, the colony reverts to the original plan: to stay on Interstate 10 and approach El Paso from the west. It is the shortest, most direct route, even though there is a very real chance of falling prey to a Maverick ambush.

Brag: Especially as we killed him. there more than one?

Brad: A cloud of fearful anticipation hangs over the colony as it passes through Van Horn and begins the journey to Sierra Blanca. You feel especially vulnerable as the freeway approaches the narrow mountain pass between Devil Ridge and Slaughter Mountain. Even the names of these landmarks serve to increase your dread of what could happen there. You are a little over five miles from Van Horn when you hear gun fire in the distance, and see a pall of black smoke rising into the cloudless sky. At its base, the buildings of a tiny town called Allamore are feeding the flames, and in the pass beyond this burning town, a gun battle is raging between the Mavericks and a group of invading Mexican clansmen.
You assess the situation and decide that the best hope for the convoy lies in speed and surprise.

Brag: Right, let's take some speed and act surprised!

Brad: If you can drive straight through this battle zone while both sides are busy shooting at each other, the convoy will be long gone before either side can redirect all its firepower.

MCSPINDLE: Now there's a plan Cutter can get behind.
Brag: Or at least molest grammatically.

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