Sunday 11 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: With trepidation, the colony agrees to your plan and the convoy is drawn up into its break-out formation. Pete Tyler's tow truck leads the way.

MCSPINDLE: ...which actually makes a nice change.
Brag: We're scouting from the rear this time? That's unusual...

Brad: The convoy is travelling at break-neck speed as it passes through the blazing ruins of Allamore and enters the pass beyond.
Rob: Sounds like how people play Scouts on Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Brad: Sweat trickles down you face as the ominous peak of Slaughter Mountain looms out of the smoke, and you witnes the vicious battle taking place on its lower slopes. The bodies of slain Mavericks and Mexicans lie at the side of the freeway, tangled among the smoking remains of motorcycles and trucks once loaded with looted provisions. Small groups of desperate men are waging bitter hand-to-hand battles among this carnage, whilst others blaze away with automatic weapons, hiding in their foxholes dug by hand from the barren, stony soil. The arrival of the convoy brings a lull in the fighting.
Brad: Some turn their guns on you and a hail of bullets begins to take either side of the colony vehicles. The tow truck approaches a bend in the freeway, and, as it turns, you see a Maverick kneeling at the side of the road with a missile launcher perched on his shoulder.

Brag: Shit.

Brad: He has you in his sights! The only way you can hope to avoid being hit by the missile is by taking evasive action immediately.
Rob: Then that's what I plan to do!
Brad: You swerve to the right to avoid the speeding missile and your swift reactios save you from receiving a direct hit. The armour-tipped projectile burrows into the ground close to your rear wheel, and the resultant explosion buffets your trunk and sends the BragWagon into a skid.

MCSPINDLE: *Punch-Drunk Light Comes On*

Brad: Desperately you fight to regain control as you slide off the freeway and career towards a deep gully.
Rob: Lately I feel like my career's going towards a deep gully.
Brad: With seconds to spare, you steer your roadster away from the brink of disaster. Your rear tyres spin along the edge of the gully, kicking up great clouds of stones and dust before they grip and propel you back on to the freeway. In your mirror you see the convoy coming under small-arms fire, but it is light and sporadic and it claims no victims. Soon you are all safely out of the battle zones and racing away from the Slaughter Mountain run towards Sierra Blanca. It comes as a relief to discover that the town of Sierra Blanca is deserted.
Here the convoy haltes to assess the damage and treat those who were wounded during the run.
Cutter is among those who need treatment, having stopped a bullet in his left forearm.

MCSPINDLE: ...with his grammar.

Brad: However, although you can tell his is in considerale pain, he does his best to hide it. Kate greets you with a kiss that leaves you in no doubt how pleased she is to see you alive and in one piece.
Rob: Which piece is she excited about?
Brad: Together you go to the school bus for some food and water, and while you are there, you listen to Pop Ewell as he tries to make radio contract with the WDL unit in El Paso.
Rob: Do I *take* any water with me?

MCSPINDLE: Good luck. All I've been getting is Galaxy New Radio.

Brad: No.
After several attempts, he manages to raise them, but they refuse to acknowledge his call unless he gives a WDL security call sign, a sort of radio password that will prove he is not a clansman trying to trick his way into the city stronghold.

Pop: Brag, will you go an' fetch Sergeant Haskell? I think we'll be needin' his help to solve this.
Brag: Sounds like a plan, Stan.

Brad: Segeant Haskell is only too willing to speak to his command unit at El Paso. He gives his call sign - Palmito Four Zero - and as soon as it is confirmed as valid, the El Paso garrison relays news of what is happening in their area.

Brag: Right, Palmito Four Zero, now we know in case he gets killed...

Brad: Parts of the city and the military reserve are under siege from HAVOC-led Mexican clansmen. They warn that Fabens is a Mexican base, and they they have barricaded the east freeway approach to that town. In closing, they tell you to contact them again if you make it through Fabens. They do not sound very optimistic.

Brag: Well fuck you, pessimists! We're going to turn those frowns upside-down!

Brad: News of the radio contaact with El Paso is relayed to the rest of the convoy. It is decided that the barricade at Fabens should be scouted before any attempt at a breakthrough is made. As convoy scout, the mission automatically falls to...

MCSPINDLE: Rickenbacker!
Brag: Let's hope!

Brad:, but in the view of the increased danger you are likely to face, Sergeant Haskell volunteers to accompany you.

Brag: Oh, good. Fodder.

Brad: With Sergeant Haskell beside you, you drive out of Sierra Blanca, heading West on Interstate 10. A few miles later, you see a forest of strange plants growing on either side of the freeway. They are ten to twenty feet high, with stiff, spiky leaves and topped with white, bell-like flowers.

Sgt Haskell: Those are Yuccas.
Brag: I don't give a Fucca. Wait, how have they survived?
Sgt Haskell: They must be good at adapting to their new environment. That's the key to survival, Brag. We all have to adapt if we are to survive.
Brag: Being ten to twenty feet tall? I'll say...

Brad: You keep the BragWagon at a steady sixty miles per hour until the ruins of Fort Hancock loom into view. Like Sierra Blanca, this town is deserted, having been looted by the Mexicans months ago. Sergeant Haskell radios back to the convoy to tell them that the town is safe to enter. When they arrive, you continue towards Fabens to scount the barricade.

Brag: I love scouting. I'd have to, wouldn't I?

Brad: You are less than three miles from Fort Hancock when you see a vehicle approaching on the highway ahead. Rather than run the risk of a head-on confrontation, you pull your car off the freeway and hide it among the yuccas. As the vehicle grows nearer, you see that it is a military truck, loaded with munitions, and manned by a group of Mexican clansmen. Both you and Sergeant Haskell realise that if this truck is allowed to reach Fort Hancock, it could destroy the colony's hopes of ever seeing El Paso.
Rob: I aim a single bullet at the fuel tank!
Brad: You know that you must prevent the truck from reaching Fort Hancock, and the only sure way to do that it is to ambush it. You leave the roadster and take up a position at the edge of the freeway. When the truck is twenty yards away, Sergeant Haskell opens fire at its tyres with his machine pistol. The bullets explode the tyres, causing the driver to lose control and run the truck into the freeway crash barrier.

Brag: Yeah! In your fuckin' face!

Brad: It hits a broken section of the barrier at speed and is tipped on to its side, spilling its cargo and crew across the highway. Only four of the Mexicans survive the crash: the drive and three others, who were riding in the back. Sergeant Haskell and yourself despatch the clansmen with a volley of well-aimed shots before taking a closer look at what they were transporting.
Rob: This is where I find out I killed children.
Brag: You discover several crates and lockers filled with munitions: mortars, anti-tank weapons, heavy machine guns and the like. However, you cannot find any ammunition for these weapons. You are about to set fire to the truck, to prevent the weapons from falling into the the hands of other clansmen, when you discover one item that could be of some use after all.

MCSPINDLE: Is it a vampire weasel?

Brad: In a sealed locker at the bottom of the heap, you discover a portable Leviathan ground-to-air missile, a weapon with approximately eight times the destructive power of a bazooka.

MCSPINDLE: YES! We are going to FUCK Rickenbacker's shit UP!
Brag: I don't think we should be using it on allies...

Brad: Do you with to keep the Leviathan missile? It will have a -2 penalty to your Stealth all the time you're carrying it, due to its size.
Rob: Yeah, I guess I should. I already have no stealth anyway, might as well be heavily armed as I do it.
Brad: You'll need to throw away something first, as you are overburdened.

Brag: I am overburdened.

Rob: Chuck the Geiger Counter. I haven't heard it go off ONCE, and we're in a fucking nuclear wasteland!
Brad: You start your car and steer it back on to the freeway towards Fabens. Ten minutes later, you see the town in the distance, and once more you hide the BragWagon in the yucca forest before going forward to scout the clan-held town.

MCSPINDLE: You're trying to tell me something...

Brad: A formidable barricade has been thrown across the freeway approach. It consists of auto wrecks filled with earth and broken chunks of concrete, stacked three deep. It would be virtually impossible for the convoy to break through the barrier. On the perimeter of the town, the Mexicans have dug pits to entrap any vehicles attempting to bypass the barricade. It looks hopeless, but if you are to reach El Paso, you must find a way through this freeway defence.

Brag: They've put a freeway in the way? What, at ninety degrees or something?

Brad: After observing the barricade at some length, Sergeant Haskell evolves a plan to blow a hole in it that is large enough to allow the convoy through in its entirety. You return to Fort Hancock and inform the colony of the plan. Then a message is sent to El Paso, requesting that they be ready and waiting to receive you once you break through. Uncle Jonas hands you a Signal Flare to use once the breach has been blown. You tell the others to watch for your flare.
Brad: When they see it, they are to start their engines, drive through the Fabens barricade in break-out formation and not stop until they reach El Paso. Having briefed the colony, you return to Sergeant Haskell on the freeway outside Fabens.

Brag: Once I shoot this, they'll come running. I'm pointing to the flare, right?
Sgt Haskell: That's great. Now all we need to do is open up the gate and let 'em go! [taking the Leviathan from you] This should open the gate nice and wide!

Brad: He settles himself into position at the edge of the freeway.

Sgt Haskell: Stand clear!
Brag: Hey, I sacrificed my Geiger Counter for that...

Brad: Haskell releases the trigger mechanism and sends the HE missile screaming towards the centre of the barricade.

Brag: Is there the slightest risk that they'll mistake *that* for the flare?

Brad: There is a brilliant flash followed by a thunderous explosion that rips a wide hole in the centre of the barricade. Those clansmen who have survived the blast run in confusion as the hot remnants of their mighty wall rain down on their heads. Haskell fires the flare, and within a few minutes the convoy appears, thundering along the freeway with the tow truck in the lead. You climb back into your BragWagon and follow in their wake as they stream through the shattered barricade and on towards El Paso unchallenged.

MCSPINDLE: Oh...HE'S the hero. I was wondering when he was going to turn up.

Brag: Works for me, we're just effective scouts.

Brad: You receive a warm welcome from the WDL troops, who are defending the city and the military reserve. Then you celebrate the success of your mission and your bold defeat of the Mexican clansmen at the Fabens barricade.

Brag: Those muchachos never stood a chance!

Brad: You have indeed earned the right to celebrate, for you have freed Kate from her abductors and reached El Paso, thereby achieving everything you set out to do when you left Big Spring one week ago.
Rob: All in all, 100% successful trip!
Brad: The celebrations continue in El Paso for several days until the victorious mood is soured by the arrival of Mad Dog Michigan, and an army of clansmen over a thousand strong.
Rob: Uh-oh.
Brad: He has persuaded the Mexicans to join his cause and now they surround El Paso with a ring of steel. Mad Dog has promised to avenge the death of his brother.

Brag: Remind me? I killed a *lot* of people.

Brad: Now he reaffirms that vow and delivers the additional threat that neither you, nor any of your colony, will ever get out of El Paso alive. For you, Brag Phoenix, the chance to defy Mad Dog Michigan's threat and continue your life or death journey to California...awaits you in the next book.
Which terrifyingly probably won't hit the site until at least early 2012.
Rob: Jesus.

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