Friday 2 May 2014

Dickass DM - The Adventures Of Hercule Braggart: Trouble At The Track - Part 6

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 a classic Sherlock Holmes gamebook. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

When last we left our hero, Braggart had been given permission to search the stables, horse shit and all. What will he find? Only time will tell...

Catch up with Part 1 Here
Catch up with Part 2 Here
Catch up with Part 3 Here
Catch up with Part 4 Here
Catch up with Part 5 Here

Brad: You stand poised to search Colonel Stuart's stables. You could search the groom's room, Irish Star's stall or the tackroom.
Rob: What's a tackroom?
COL. STUART: "One of these"
BRAGGART: "...I don't know how you did that."
Rob : The groom's room.
Brad: When you glanced over the stables, you had thought the groom customarily slept in the tackroom. Now you see that a wooden partition breaks the space into two little rooms. John Oliver's quarters consist of a shelf with his razor and combs, a cot with blankets folded on it, and a chest shoved under the cot. Clothes hang on three hooks on the wall. A small window with a sliding shutter provides a little air. You find a small medicine bottle wrapped in a man's handkerchief hidden between the shutter and the outside wall. Turning it around, you look at the label. A handwritten label reads:


You recognise the bottle drug as something that could make a horse run more slowly, but it would have to be given to the animal several hours before the race to hamper his performance. You carefully put the bottle in your jacket pocket and wonder whether you should search the other parts of the stable. Later, certain that you have learned everything possible at Colonel Stuart's stable, you decide to leave. Bidding the Colonel a good day, you remind him that you will continue your investigative efforts elsewhere. Walking back towards the track, you see a group of high-spirited men congratulating a slender, well-dressed fellow. As you get closer, and the men shout of how well his horse ran, you realise that this richly appointed man is Lord Hampton.
BRAGGART: "Oh, that tosspot."

Rob : Talk to Lord Hampton. The tosser.
Brad: You boldly approach Lord Hampton and introduce yourself.
BRAGGART: "Lord Hampton, well done on winning the money of a fair few chumps. I'm here simply to make sure that there was no foul play."
Brad: After looking perplexed for a moment, Lord Hampton nods and leads you to a small, tidy office beside his stable.
LORD HAMPTON: "With a matter this delicate, I prefer to talk in private. Now, how can I help you?"
BRAGGART: "Wow, you're quite nice. Now I feel awful. Why do you think Irish Star had such a dour race?"
Brad: Lord Hampton takes his time before answering.
LORD HAMPTON: "It certainly surprised me. [slowly] The horse trained with my best earlier this week and all but beat him. Irish Star should have finished lengths ahead of Maiwand and the rest. But that's racing. You can never be sure what a horse will do, no matter how good it is."
BRAGGART: "Indeed."
LORD HAMPTON: [deliberately] "I shall be glad to see this matter cleared up. Any hint of scandal is bad for all of us."
BRAGGART: "I can do more than hint, if that'll help."
LORD HAMPTON: "And it's doubly revolting to see a horse as fine as Irish Star perform so poorly."

Brad: You realise that Lord Hampton is an ambitious man and wonder whether that ambition might include owning Irish Star.
BRAGGART: "I understand you were looking to pick up a horse of the same sort of type as Irish Star. As in that specific horse."
Brad: Lord Hampton raises one eyebrow in surprise, then laughs softly.
LORD HAMPTON: "I always say that there are no secrets around a race track. I knew that Colonel Stuart was in financial trouble and I offered to buy the horse. I thought I might get a bargain, and now I shall likely strike an even better deal."
BRAGGART: "I didn't realise Hampton was a cheap bastard name."
LORD HAMPTON: "I've heard that if he didn't win the purse, the stewards might take legal action to force the Colonel to pay his track debts. But I gave him fair warning."
BRAGGART: "In what way?"
LORD HAMPTON: I told him I would pay 500 pounds before the race, or 250 after. A wager between us, you might say."
BRAGGART: "Interesting...I'm amazed that the stewards let the horse run."
LORD HAMPTON: "Oh, the stewards would be very reluctant to scratch him, especially considering the popularity of the horse."
BRAGGART: "How does a horse become popular? I don't imagine they're a charismatic interview."

Brad: As you talk, you look around Lord Hampton's small office.
Rob : That can't take long.
Brad: Light reflected from a medicine cabinet catches your eye; as the glare fades, you can clearly see the bottles inside. One reads:


Brad: You consider an immediate confrontation with Lord Hampton, then remember Holmes' instructions of tact. You thank Lord Hampton for his time, stalling as you think of what loose end to pursue next. What timely task remains to be done, you ask yourself. Checking your watch, you see that it is almost time to meet Holmes' irregular; you must leave the track now.
BRAGGART: "I hope he's not a mutant, that'll be so awkward if he is."
Brad: You walk to a pub near the track, where Holmes instructed the irregular to meet you. While you wait, you order supper. As you eat, you see Irish Star's jockey enter boisterously and order a round of drinks for a group of men who entered with him.
Rob : Talk to the jockey.
Brad: You approach Irish Star's jockey.
BRAGGART: "Hello, my name's Hercule Braggart...Alright? Would you care to talk about the race? Colonel Stuart asked me to chat to people about it. I'm trying to work out what happened, but I keep coming up short....Oh.....sorry."
JOCKEY: "Well, if the Colonel hired you, I suppose I can spare you a moment."
BRAGGART: "Great stuff. I don't need much time, just a little..."
JOCKEY: "Though I don't know what there is to talk about. The horse ran bad and got its tail whipped. I just take what the trainer gives me and ride as best as I can."
BRAGGART: "What was it you gave the horse before the race started? Why leave it so late to feed him?"
JOCKEY: "Aye, I guess it might look a little odd to you...but it's a habit of mine. I ride many and many a different horse each day, you see. Some of them are a little unfriendly, and a morsel makes them more willing to have me aboard. Sometimes, with a horse like Irish Star was today, I think a bite wakes them up a bit."
BRAGGART: "I find Relentless works better."
JOCKEY: "The horse was dead on his hooves when I warmed him up. Didn't do no good though, as you saw."

Brad: He turns away and waves for the bartender to serve more drinks, ignoring you. As you finish your supper in the pub, young Stanly peeks in, looking for you. It takes a word from you before the proprietor allows him entry. Stanly hurries to your table.
STANLY: "Evenin', guv. I followed that man Oliver like you told me to."
BRAGGART: "Great stuff. Where'd he go?"
STANLY: "It took some time, guv, but I did finally see something interesting. He wove here and there through the crowd, but he wasn't looking for a little fellow like me to be following him. And he finally led me to someone else."
Brad: Stanly smiles, preparing you for the climax
MCSPINDLE: "Wa-hey!"
Brad: ...of his story.
STANLY: "Yes, guv, Oliver led me a chase, he did, but I kept on him and he finally went to Roscoe's gambling table, and Roscoe gave him a big handful of money - without nothing being said about no wager. I snuck around behind where I heard everything they said, guv, and there weren't nothin' about any wager."
BRAGGART: "Moooost interesting."
Brad: You thank Stanly for his good work and leave the pub. You contemplate what you have learned. At a nearby table, you see a man who is slowly drinking himself into a stupor. A black bag rests on the table beside him, and from the teasing of people who speak to him, you realise that he is a veterinarian. That's a Vet, not someone who fought in Vietnam.
Rob : Okay. So not a Vietnam Veterinarian. How did I glean his occupation, from the jibes?
Brad: I guess...
BRAGGART: "Aaaaaaah, horse wanker."

Stay tuned to E14 for the next thrilling edition of Dickass DM, coming May 9th!

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