Friday 23 October 2009

Dickass DM - Hallowe'en Special

Previously on Dickass DM, Rob has been playing as Captain Braggart through the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Starship Traveller...with many hilarious misadventures!

Now, get ready for our special extra-length two-part one-off Hallowe'en special, as Rob Wade prepares to tackle one of the hardest game books of all time - Steve Jackson's House of Hell!

Brad: The rain is spattering down your windscreen as you drive through the night. It's such a deluge that the wipers and headlights aren't doing anything to improve the visibility.
Rob: What song is my radio playing?
Brad: "Tom Sawyer", of course. The old man's directions must have been wrong. He must have meant a second left turn or maybe even a right...The old man wouldn't have misled you on purpose, would he?
Rob: Stupid local bumpkins. Should have charged up my SatNav. They charge, right?
Brad: Yeah. About £15 a month, I think. Suddenly a figure comes into view in the headlights! You spin the wheel to the left to avoid him, and the car bumps and rocks to the sounds of Rush as you slam into a ditch. You leap out of the car to rush to the aid of the person you must surely have struck. The rain soaks straight through your clothes as you run to where you could have sworn he was. But there is nothing there.
Rob: Maybe he was light and I knocked him flying?
Brad: Was there ever anyone there? There must have been! You remember the old man throwing his arms up in fear...the pain on his face....
Rob: The sound like a golf ball as he got thrown up into the air...
Brad: Was it the old man who gave you the directions? It could have been. Or could it? You hurry back to the car and twist the key in the ignition, but it won't start. You could walk back to the garage...but that must have been a good twenty miles by now. And you're cold. And wet. And lazy.
Rob: It's still raining as well, I would be carrying extra rain weight. Who can be fucked with that?

*Rob has acquired "Rain Weight"*

Brad: Suddenly, a light comes on in the near distance. Someone has switched on a bedroom lamp!
Rob: In the middle of the road?! That's a good trick, where'd they plug it in?
Brad: It must be a must not have noticed it until now. There's a light. Over at the Frankenstein Place.
Rob: Sounds delightful.
Brad: Right, I'm putting the Rocky Horror soundtrack on Spotify. The house is probabaly five minutes walk away. You'll be soaked when you get there, but what choice do you have? You'll be able to dry off inside whilst you wait for the garage.
Rob: What could possibly go wrong, eh? What's this book called again?
Brad: You climb the steps to the front door.
Rob: How many steps? I'm lazy.
Brad: Three.
Rob: Fuck that. I'll set up camp at "Two".
Brad: On the porch you'll be out of the rain. It may be worth making the effort.
Rob: Fine.
Brad: The rain is pelting down, but there's an eerie silence. No lights are on downstairs. The whole place looks deserted...but then again it is five to midnight.
Rob: That'll do it. Maybe there's a panto on in town...
Brad: Suddenly, a light comes on on the ground floor, to the left.
Rob: Ooh, somebody didn't go to the panto! I ring the bell pull.
Brad: You pull the cord, and hear a tinkling noise within. The downstairs light goes off.
Rob: Weird place to put a light switch.
Brad: The door opens. Standing there is a tall man in a old-fashioned black suit.

Lurch: Yes?
Rob: Uh...Hi. My car broke down, and I may have killed an old man.

Rob: What's the definition of a modern black suit anyway? I've only ever known old-fashioned.
Brad: This has tails and so-forth. Distinctly Victorian. Possibly Edwardian.

Lurch: Come in. The Master is expecting you. Follow me.
Rob: That's a good trick...I just got here.

Brad: Lurch leads you into a reception hall.
Rob: Best place to receive guests, I'm led to understand.

Lurch: Please wait here. I will inform the Master of your arrival.
Rob: I thought you said he was expecting me?

Brad: Lurch leaves.
Rob: Without answering my question I notice...Fucking rude, frankly.
Brad: You sit in a comfy chair and investigate your surroundings. The room is very elegantly decorated, and filled with oak panels, tapestries and portraits.
Rob: I study the paintings. Well, I'd prefer to study the tapestries, do I have that option?
Brad: No.
Rob: Bastard.
Brad: The portraits however, are particularly interesting. Three in particular catch your attention: a fit bird in a tiara, a middle-aged fat dude in glasses, and an elderly, stern looking woman. Which would you like to examine closer?
Rob: Are we assuming the character is me, or are they a particular age or anything?
Brad: Your call.
Rob: Right, assuming it's me, the one with the tiara.
Brad: Of course. The plaque beneath the painting reads "Lady Margaret of Danvers 1802 - 1834"...You blink. Did you just see her lips move?
Rob: I don't know. What did they say?
Brad: You think you can hear a whisper. Leaning closer, you can just make out its message.

Painting: Stranger, beware of this place, for it is cursed! Many have succumed to its power, myself included. The Evil Lord Kelnor will already be plotting your death!
Rob: Ok...thanks...
Painting: Do not drink his white wine. Or, if you can, begone! Escape while you may!

Brad: A cold prickle tingles the hairs on your neck. You gain a Fear point. Eight more and you've gone mental.
Rob: Okay. I'm going to wait and see what happens next. Haven't I lost that rain weight by now?
Brad: Guess so.

Rob has discarded Rain Weight

Brad: Lurch opens the door, admitting a tall man in a purple smoking jacket.
Rob: Is he on fire? Or has he recently been set on fire? If so, I go near him to get rid of the rain weight.

Lurch: May I present Lord Kelnor, the Earl of Drumer.
Rob: You may.

Brad: The Earl holds out his hand for you to shake.
Rob: I shake it.

Kelnor: Please, I can see that you have been caught in this storm. Let us sit by the fire and we will see whether we can help. Franklins, tell the cook to prepare some food for out visitor.
Rob: Oh! Let him know I'm allergic to white wine!

Brad: The room and company seemse comforting and friendly. Lurch leaves, and then returns swiftly with two glasses of Brandy.
Rob: I wait to see what the Earl has to say.
Brad: Kelnor seems a little annoyed by your nervousness.

Kelnor: Come, come, there's no need to be afraid. Has your little accident caused you to lose your nerve? Drink your brandy, you'll soon forget your fears.

Brad: You wonder at his expression. Is he genuinely concerned, or is there an ulterior motive there? Add 1 FEAR point. Seven left to go until Happy-Happy-Doo-Dah Land. Lurch returns.

Lurch: Your meal is served, sire.

Brad: Kelnor accompanies you to the dining room, which is magnificent. A long table is laid with fine silver cutlery, and the red wallpaper lines the walls sumptuously. A candle chanderlier hangs from the ceiling. Lurch offers you wine.

Lurch: Red or white, sir?
Rob: Red, please. I'm allergic to white.

Brad: The wine is an impeccable vintage. Soup is the starter. For your main course, will you have lamb or duck?
Rob: Duck.
Brad: The Earl has the same, and you chat as you eat. The duck is good. He asks what you were doing lost in the road in the middle of the night, and you explain about the old man and his directions. You ask about his family.
Rob: Does the duck come with pancakes?
Brad: For the sake or argument: yes.
Brad: The Earl is the last surviving member of his family. The land he owns stretches for acres around the house. It was once prosperous farmland, but then things went wrong. His sister died age 32 under mysterious circumstances. She was found dead in a clearing with strange marks on her neck. The peasants began to talk of witchcraft and Black Magic. They believed the house was cursed and began to move away. You finish your meal, and Lurch offers you desert. The choices are A) Fruit, coffee and brandy, B) Cheese, coffee and brandy or C) Cheese and coffee. Fruit and brandy not an option, obviously.
Rob: Apparently he's got coffee going out of date or something. Cheese and coffee, please.

Lurch: Coffee and coffee...very good sir.

Brad: Lurch brings cheese and pours you a strong coffee.
Rob: Yeah, definitely using up the last of it.
Rob: After you have finished, The Earl rises.

Kelnor: Our conversation has been most enjoyable, but now you must be very tired. Franklins will show you to your room. Let us retire.
Rob: I'm only 25.

Brad: Old ones are the best. Especially Cthulhu. When you stand, you realise how tired you are. You stumble and have to grab the chair to steady yourself. Did you maybe drink too much?
Rob: Apparently so.
Brad: You collapse to the ground unconcious. When you awaken, you have your hands and feet tied. The room you are in is empty, but you think you have a plan. You can hop over to the window, break the glass, and cut yourself free! This can't possibly go wrong, right?
Rob: Yeah, that sounds better than my original plan of "crying-until-he-let-me-go".
Brad: Do you want to smash the glass with your hands - or do you want to "test your luck" (game term for trusting in the Force, I guess).
Rob: Hmmm...I'll test my luck. This can't possibly go wrong.
Brad: You manage to break the glass without hurting yourself.
Rob: Cool.
Brad: You cut your bonds, and massage your wrists to get the circulation going again. You decide to try the door, and are pleased to discover it is not locked. You push the door open gently. The room is on a first floor-landing. Facing the door is a balustrade, and looking down, you can see the entrance hall your left are two doors in the corner of the landing, which then runs along to the right. Looking right, the landing continues to another door, and then turns left. Do you want to go left or right?
Rob: Right.
Brad: Is that a decision, or are you pondering aloud?
Rob: I was toying with the latter, but it is a decision.
Brad: The door has the word "Azazel" on the name-plate.
Rob: Well that bodes well. I open the door.
Brad: You open the door and peer in. There's no one in there, but the room is full of clutter. It looks like a rudimentary laboratory.

Rob: Ah, scientists, those notoriously messy beasts...

Brad: A telescope points through the window. Charts and mathematical formulae are pinned to the walls. A demonstration human skeleton hangs from a hook, and vials and test tubes are arranged across the desk. They look old. At least a hundred years old.
Rob: I'm going to investigate those test tubes, motherfucker.
Brad: Well, that was just uncalled for...You enter the room and close the door behind you. A squeaking noise comes from the far corner. It's just some rats in cage. Despite all their rage.
Rob: I examine the drawers.
Brad: You find some ornate letter openers. They could easily be used as a dagger.
Rob: Yeah, take one.

*Rob has acquired "+3 Letter Opener"*

Brad: You hear footsteps, coming closer. You creep into the shadows and wait.
Rob: Worst case scenario, I find myself prepared in the event of sellotaped envelope openings.
Brad: The footsteps stop outside the door, and you can hear two voices talking.

Voice 1: Hadn't we better ask the Master's permission?
Voice 2: Hmm. Maybe you're right. And we'd better get a light for the lamps.

Brad: The footsteps head off in the direction you approached the room from. It's probably best you make a move. You head back onto the landing. You decide to head away from the odd couple.
Rob: Probably best, they're busy anyway. Following the landing, you reach another door on the right hand side. The name plate reads "Erasmus". At the end of the corridor, facing you, is another door. Which do you want to try?
Rob: The Erasmus door.
Brad: Because you've been watching? You've been waiting? In the shadows?
Rob: Maybe it'll take me away for a year, to another country. Year Abroad gag FTW.
Brad: The door is locked, and probably too sturdy to break down.
Rob: Let's try the end door, then.
Brad: Just as your hand reaches the handle, you hear a rustling noise behind you.
Rob: Someone's got crisps!
Brad: You turn around, and see the wind is rustling the wall-hangings.
Rob: Oh. I'd got my hopes up for Wotsits.
Brad: Turning back, you're surprised to see a ghostly white figure in front of you. It' appears to be a woman in her early twenties, wearing a tattered and dirty wedding dress.

Rob: Great Thor's Hammer!
Woman: Oh, thank God I have found you in time! I must talk to you immediately! Come, let us go into this room!

Rob: I follow her. Nothing ventured, no ghost woman nailed.
Brad: You gain one Fear point for the encounter (Now at 3/9). She passes straight through the door, and you use the more traditional method. The name plate reads "Apollyon". It is an elegant bedroom, with fine curtains, dressing table, mirror, and a huge bed. The ghostly woman hovers in the centre of the room and gestures you to sit down on the bed.
Rob: Giggedy.

Woman: Your coming here has been no accident, and I must warn you of the terrible dangers you will face here. The house is ruled by the Master, a powerful Black Priest of the Night, named Kelnor, Earl of Drumer. I would guess that you are to be offered to the Demons of Hellfire, if you survive that long. Yesterday they trapped a girl, a pretty young district nurse who happened to call. She is to be offered tonight. I cannot let this devilry continue!
Rob: Thoughtful of you.
Woman: There must be some way it can be stopped! If you can find the Kris knife, you might defeat Kelnor, for this weapon is his only weakness. Please help me! You will probably find it in...
Rob: The stationery drawer? Is this it?
Woman: No! Quick! We are discovered! I can hear the Hounds! Go! Leave this room!

Brad: You stand can hear barking. The woman points to the door, and you look outside, but can see nothing. Spinning back, you can see the woman fighting two Ghostly Great Danes. You step forwards to help, but you just pass through the dogs.
Rob: Makes sense.
Brad: The Ghostly Woman and the dogs fade. So what will you do, Brave Adventurer? Will you help as she has asked, or just try and escape the house?
Rob: Help her. She was ethereally hot.
Brad: You walk back down the passageway, and pass two doors, labelled Azazel, and Mephisto. You can try one of these, or continue down the corridor.
Rob: Mephisto. I think I already went in Azazel. I could always check for some sort of enchanted staple remover.
Brad: The door opens a little way, but catches on something - stuck. Do you want to try and force it, or give up and move on down the corridor?
Rob: I force it. Using the force. Or physical force. Whichever I can actually do.
Brad: You heave the door, and it opens enough to allow you entrance. It is cold and damp. A window pane is smashed, and ther eis nothing unusual besides from frayed knotted rope. A shard of glass was blocking the door from opening properly. Sound familiar?
Rob: Oh, yeah...Okay, so I was in Mephisto.
Brad: There's a Marvel gag there somewhere...You leave, turning left this time. You reach the two doors in the corner. The one on the left is labelled Balthus, and the other bears no plate. Do you want to try one of these, or continue along the corridor?
Rob: I try Balthus.
Brad: This is a dungeon crawl, isn't it? Albeit a well-appointed, one. This room is relatively bare. The walls are covered in pin-stripe wallpaper. There is a firepace in one wall, with a small box on the window sill. Curtains are pulled along one wall...but they seem to be bulging in...odd....places.
Rob: Odd like human-shaped, or odd like at random intervals every six inches?
Brad: Human-ish, but not-quite right...possibly posed oddly.
Rob: I investigate the curtains. With knife ready.
Brad: You grab the left hand curtain and fling it open! There is nothing there but a barred window.

Rob: Taste blade, bitch! Aaaggh! A window!

Brad: You reach out to the other curtain, but suddenly the bulges come to life!
A heavy blow hits you on the chest, and you are knocked to the floor (+2 Fear, now 5/9)! As you push yourself up, the curtain pulls aside revealing a rotten green zombie! Ragged clothes hanging from its frame, it advances towards you!
Rob: Why do zombies always dress in ragged clothes? It's never a dinner suit is it?
Brad: The zombie rakes at you with its claws, shredding your shirt.

Rob: Bastard, bringing me down to your level, this was Armani!

Brad: You strike out with the letter opener, slicing across its legs giving you a chance to get to your feet. You stab the opener deep into its guts. It moans and thrashes at you. You slice the opener across its jugular, and it collapses to the floor.
Rob: Hmm...I investigate the box.
Brad: The box rattles when you touch it.
Brad: Inside is a small key.
Rob: Oh.
Brad: The book here details that this key unlocks the door and lets you out. However, due to a loophole, we never found it was locked. Nice one, Jackson. Back out side, you can try the unmarked door. Alternatively, the corridor ends at the main staircase, leading downwards.
Rob: I try the unmarked door.
Brad: The door opens unto a passage ending at a window. Half-way along, on the left-hand side, is a door labelled "Diabolus".
Rob: I investigate the window.
Brad: You reach out towards the curtains...

Check back next Friday for the exciting conclusion of the Dickass DM Hallowe'en special!


  1. House Of Hell: the only way I ever found to win it was to completely ignore Fear points. Technically, that would cheating, though.

    Awesome Dickass DM, guys! I'd say it was very seasonal if not for the fact that I hate people who refer to Hallowe'en as a 'season'. (It's one fucking day, O.K.? One fucking EVENING, even! One evening does NOT constitute a season, losers...)

    One note of concern: we WILL be returning to Starship Traveller once the House Of Hell special is done, right? I need to know how all the other redshirts die...

  2. Next Friday will be the conclusion of this Hallowe'en special - Starship Traveller will be returning sometime in November.