Friday, 15 November 2013

Dickass DM - The Next Generation! - Under The Wire: Part 4

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 gamebook Under The Wire. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Alistair Braggart.

Catch up with The Story So Far

When last we left our intrepid hero, Braggart had just arrived at Stalag Luft 14 and had just walked towards the main camp.

Brad: Looking through the wire into the main camp you can see a large group of prisoners gathering in front of a series of huts inside the compound to welcome you. Your group is ushered into a building on the left which appears to serve both as a reception centre and a guard barrack room. In turn, the seven of you are searched. Then issued with two blankeys, washing equipment, a fork, mess-tin and a small packet of tobacco.
Rob : I get two blankeys this time? Was one meant to go to one of the corpses?
Brad: Walking with Clank and Wheezy, you enter the main compound to be greeted by the rest of the inmates. Instantly, a stream of questions are thrown at you.

BRITISH GUY #1: "The Germans haven't landed in England, have they?"
BRITISH GUY #2: "Where were you shot down?"
BRAGGART: "...Hang on, I'll just go and check...It was right in the aeroplane."
BRITISH GUY #3: "How's London getting on?"
BRAGGART: "It's getting on getting on. Or something."

Brad: With a series of nods and monosyllables you answer the questions without stopping in your walk forward to meet the Senior British Officer. Group Captain McSpindle's hut lies in the centre of the British part of the camp and you are led there by a group of other prisoners. Straightening your uniform, you knock on his door.
BRAGGART: "That's better. Had my cock out all afternoon without noticing."
Brad: The Senior British Officer is a fairly tall man in his middle forties, bespectacled and with a vaguely aristocratic air. He welcomes you warmly and offers you a seat.
Rob : How does one welcome warmly? Does he rub my arms a bit?

Brad: His quarters are quite comfortable, if a little cramped. In a soft voice he asks your names, ranks and serial numbers, jotting them down in a ledger on his desk. He assigns you to Hut 113, in the south-east corner of the compound and suggests you get some sleep after your journey. You stand again, salute and leave.

  1. Go directly to Hut 113
  2. Have a look around first
Rob : Have a look around first.
Brad: The camp is alive with activity: football (Sorry, Omer), open-air language classes and many men just walking around the perimeter.
Rob : Are they guards?
Brad: Doesn't say.
Rob : Otherwise they're just orienteering, in the lamest possible way.
Brad: Everywhere there are RAF uniforms, mixed with those of other nationalities - French, Dutch and Belgian. It appears that roughly a third of the prisoners are French, a third British and the remainder a mixture of Dutch and Belgian. Many have been here since just after war broke out in 1939. Feeling that you need a rest before you inspect the camp properly, you make your way to Hut 113 with Clank Wheezy.
Rob : Clank Wheezy?
Brad: Sorry, typo. Clank and Wheezy
Rob : Ahh ok. I thought our new reboot involved making old characters collide/bang.
Brad: As you enter, a Flight Officer by the name of Read introduces himself and shows you to your bunks. Taking the top bunk in a tier of two, you nod off into a deep sleep.

BRAGGART: "Is that pronounced Red or Reed?"
READ: "Neither."
READ: It's spelt R-E-A-D. But it's pronounced "Mun-go".
BRAGGART: "Right."
READ: *stares*

Brad: You awake to the sound of a bell ringing.
Rob : Wait, wait, wait. I've been captured by the Jerrys with a guy named Mungo?
Brad: The officer on the bunk next to yours explains that this is the call to "Appel" - daily parade and head-count.
BRAGGART: "How's *that* pronounced?"
READ: "a.pɛl"
BRAGGART: "That doesn't help me. I'm not up on my phonetic alphabet."
READ: *stares*

Brad: As you trot along to the assembly area at the rear of the camp you discover that this happens at 8:30am and 4:00pm every day. Apart from Appel and the ritual of locking the prisoners into their huts at 6:30 every evening, the Germans appear to leave the POWs to their own devices. Arriving at the Appel area, you see ranks of airmen, lined up by nationality, with their superior officers at the front.
Brad: Most look sullen and despondent - hardly surprising when they have been here for so long.
Rob : I thought they were the soldiers. Why would *they* be depressed? If they're unhappy with their lot in life as prison officers, DON'T RUN A PRISON!

Brad: I mean officers in the Allie...never mind. The head-count is slow, with the Goons [prison staff], running back and forth along the lines of prisoners. Presently you are all dismissed and rush off to line up for breakfast.
Rob : Wait, not *the* Goons, surely. This is turning into a prison-based fucking Royal Variety Performance.
Brad This is your first real opportunity to meet the rest of your fellow Britons.

  1. Bring up the question of escape
  2. Start by asking for more details about the prison layout and routine
Rob : Ask about more details.
PRISONER: "There are nine towers, with searchlights and a constantly manned machine-gun in each."
BRAGGART: "Do they have any constantly gunned machine men?"
PRISONER: "Then there are about half-a-dozen dog handlers and thirty of so other guards, plus the Ferrets, of course."
BRAGGART: "The Ferrets?"
PRISONER: "Yes. The Abwehr men."
BRAGGART: "Ab-who?"
PRISONER: "That's the ones. They just snoop about looking for anything suspicious."
BRAGGART: "Where is the camp?"
PRISONER: "About twenty-five miles from Frankfurt, near the Rhine Valley. It's about a hundred and fifty miles to the Swiss border. Thinking of escaping?"
BRAGGART: "I don't really feel strongly about escaping to Switzerland."
  1. Avoid this question by asking one of your own
  2. Ask him if the camp has an Escape Committee
BRAGGART: " you taller than me? Why, how many people have escaped?"
AIRMAN PRISONER: "Not many. Six, I think. The French try it all the time, but most of them get caught. They're good tunnelers, though."
BRAGGART: "Yeah? I thought they'd be...good at surrender. Still got it."
  1. Ask if there is an escape committee
  2. Decide to try to escape on your own
Rob : I think I should escape on my own. Worst case scenario, it'll be funny.

Brad: You walk out into the compound.

  1. Inspect the wire perimeter
  2. Look around the huts first
Rob : BY MYSELF?! Fine. Look around the huts. Best case scenario, I find some stuff to pike.
Brad: Walking towards the huts, you see a group of French prisoners loitering around in front of one particular building. They look pretty suspicious.
Rob : That' that racist?
Brad: You decide that they must be up to something - planning an escape, perhaps. Curiosity turns your steps towards them.
READ: "BI-Curiosity..."
BRAGGART: "Did you say something?"
  1. Try talking to the Frenchmen
  2. Ignore them
Rob : Try talking to the Frenchmen. I need recommendations on cheese and/or bread.
EUGENE LANGE: We are keeping an eye on the Goons. My name is Eugene Lange, Chief Goon-Baiter.
BRAGGART: "My name is...Alistair Braggart. Sorry for the delay, I had to look back life?"
EUGENE LANGE: "You have not been here, long. Perhaps you will get enough excitement soon."
BRAGGART: "Why do you describe people based on their most distinguishing feature, nose?"
Brad: You shrug and look past him at the compound. Only a few yards away, around the corner of a hut, one of the Ferrets is appraoching the German snoopers.
  1. Try to warn Eugene, and risk having the Germans think you are an accomplice.
  2. Do nothing
Rob : I do nothing. And in the game.
Brad: One of the other Frenchmen has spotted the German. Casually he nudges Eugene, who turns nonchalantly to and taps on the window behind him. Looking past him for a moment, you see four men quickly pull a cover over a hole in the floor of the hut and scatter. Another man walks over to the window and chats casually to Eugene until the German has walked past and disappeared.
BRAGGART: "Couldn't...couldn't I have done that conversation bit?"
Brad: Eugene turns back to you and smiles.
BRAGGART: "I'm just saying the guy walking over seemed kind of unnecessary."

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