Friday 26 February 2010

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 an 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 Keith Martin Fighting Fantasy gamebook Vault of the Vampire.

Brad is the GM, and Rob plays his character, Abraham Van Bragging.

Previously on Dickass DM: Whilst travelling through the village of Mortvania, the fearless adventurer Abraham Van Bragging learnt of a supposedly vampire infested castle, and the hot yet relatively trampy babe the evil Reiner Heydrich had recently captured. Entering a chamber, Van Bragging has discovered a new resident of the castle...

Read Part One
Read Part Two

Brad: He is middle-aged and has a mane of greying black hair tapering to a widow's peak above his face, which is dominated by his pale green eyes.
Rob: The widow's peak has eyes?!
Brad: He is dressed simply in white and grey robes, and he carries a tray with a decanter and goblets, which he puts down as he greets you.

Gunthar: I am Gunthar Heydrich. What is your business here?

Brad: He seems kindly enough.

Van Bragging: I recognise that name...

Rob: I make small talk with him.
Brad: Gunthar gives you some food and wine and tells you of his work as a healer. He is well aware of his brother's evil and denounces Reiner as a cruel vile creature. But Gunthar claims to be no fighter, and in any event he could not bring himself to kill his own brother!

Van Bragging: I'll do it.

Brad: Gunthar seems weighed down by the evil of the Castle, almost in a state of despair. You take a chance and announce that you are going to do away with Reiner Heydrich. His eyes light up with hope, and he says he will give you the one thing he has which could help.

Van Bragging: Is it a ManoWar album?

Brad: From a carefully concealed pocket inside his robes he pulls out a silver crucifix on a chain, adding that, to destroy Reiner, it will be needed.

**Van Bragging has acquired Silver Crucifix**
**Should have thought to bring one on a vampire hunt, really**

Brad: You will also need a stake to drive through Reiner's heart as he sleeps in his coffin, but Gunthar does not have one; you'll have to find this elsewhere.

Gunthar: Unless, of course, you find Siegfried's sword, Nightstar, for that would also destroy him, but it has been lost for many years.
Van Bragging: Nightstar? Win.

Rob: He seems the bookish type. I show him the Book of Healers I picked up.
Brad: Gunthar thanks you profusely for returning his book and rewards you with a magical potion of healing, which he has cunningly concealed in a secret drawer in a cupboard. Thanking Gunthar for this valuable gift, you leave and open the West door on the landing. You see a corridor stretching out before you. It is well lit, and a thick-piled crimson carpet runs along the centre of the tiled floor. There is a door close by you on the north wall, and another a little further along; you can also see that there is a door facing you at the end of the corridor, and that the corridor also turns south at that point.
Rob: I follow the corridor around.
Brad: You follows right round. Baby, right round. Like a record baby. Right round.
Rob: I get it.
Brad: The corridor turns south, and there are four doors before you: two to the east, one to the west and one at the end of the corridor, facing you.
Rob: Fucking hell, I thought this would reduce choice...
Brad: You could open the first door to the east, nearest you; open the second easterly door; open the door at the south end of the corridor; or open the door to the west. This is like that fictional game show american comedians like to reference. "Let's see what's behind DOOR NUMBER DEATH!"
Rob: I pick the second easterly door.
Brad: "First, let's see what you could have had kill you...". You open the door and stride into a spartan room with just a couple of tables and plain chairs, a bunk bed, and similar humble furnishing - a small chest of drawers, a plain wardrobe, and the like.
Rob: Spartan!
Brad: What is your profession? Looking up from his writing-desk is a tall, well-built man in his early thirties with light brown hair and brown eyes. His crooked smile greets you as you enter.

Man: Greetings, stranger, are you so lost that you have come to this wretched place?
Van Bragging: Yeah, why not?

Brad: You could chat with him, or kill the pudding out of him.
Rob: I'll talk with him.
Brad: Wuss.
Rob: I can't just attack everyone...
Brad: You tell Lothar (which is apparently his name) of your quest: to kill Reiner and rescue Nastassia...Wasn't Lothar one of the Defenders of the Earth?
Rob: I see no reason to disbelieve that.
He totally was. I am to Saturday Morning Cartoons what Paul Selman is to Marvel.
Rob: Fucking superb.
Brad: Lothar seems a trustworthy man.

Lothar: It is not only the Count you must beware; keep away from Katarina. His sister is every bit as evil as he is. If Reiner were slain, I think that Gunthar, that's Reiner's brother, the healer, if you haven't met him - and I could deal with her. But you shouldn't make a hard task impossible by tangling with her as well!

Brad: He tells you that her rooms are beyond the west door at the north end of the corridor outside, and you make a note not to go in there! Make a note, Rob.
Rob: Shall do.
Brad: Now.
Rob: I already have!
Brad: Lothar also says he has some items which will improve greatly your chances of success. He asks you to turn round whilst he gets something from a wall alcove with a secret door. Do you have something to bite down on? He comes back with a bunch of keys and a wooden stake with a silver tipped point.
Rob: Right.

Lothar: These will get you into the Count's rooms.

**Van Bragging has acquired Castellan's Keys**

Lothar: The Count sleeps in the Crypt, but the Crypt Key is in his rooms to the south. You'll need to go south and open the door at the end of the corridor outside.

Brad: The Silvered Stake, he explains, can destroy the Count as he sleeps in his coffin.

**Van Bragging has acquired Silvered Stake**
**Hate your face**

Brad: Lothar puzzles for a moment.

Lothar: I've overheard the Count mutter to himself about something he's hidden not far away with a magical lock on it. "Forward and back," he said, "forward and back". He repeated that several time, and then laughed to himself. I don't know what he could have meant, but surely he meant something by it - he may be evil, but he isn't mad!

Brad: The story makes no sense to you now, but who knows what you may find later?
Rob: Indeeed....
Brad: You thank Lothar for his invaluable help, wish him well, and follow his directions to the door at the south end of the corridor outside. You push past the unlocked door, and find yourself standing on a stone balcony overlooking the courtyard. This balcony stretches to east and west of you, and also continues round towards the south at its eastern edge. There are three other doors leading away from the balcony. One door is to your right and clearly leads into a chamber next to the south-western tower. A second door is halfway along the southern spur, on the east side. The final door is at the extreme south of the balcony, furthest away from you. Which do you wish to try?
Rob: I go for the second door.
Brad: You find the lock; the key slides smoothly in and the door opens readily. Is it just me, or is there a sexual undercurrent to that?
Rob: Sounds kinda gay.
Brad: See, I think "sexual", and you think "gay". Where do you live again?
Rob: Brighton...? Last time I checked.
Brad: Uh-huh. The room beyond is well lit: there are carpets on the floor, pew-like benches and, on the eastern side opposite you, a great pipe-organ, its sides obscured by heavy purple and black wall-hangings. A set of massive silvered candle-sticks - dozens of them - stands to one side of the organ. The large, hot, pulsating organ.
Rob: Again...
Brad: You can see a door in the north wall of this music-room; as you enter to investigate this, a dismal droning arises from the organ, although it has no player!

Van Bragging: In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida, baby....

Brad: As you wonder what is happening, a scurrying and scratching noise begins, and you seethat the balcony outside is swarming with black rats, vile things with fierce, sharp, yellow teeth which are said to carry the plague - and they're heading towards you!
Rob: I close the door quickly.
Brad: Unfortunately, rats are beginning to swarm in through holes behind one of the wall hangings and they attack you. You lose one stamina point from a nip from a particularly vicious specimen.

Van Bragging: Buggeration.

Brad: You have to make a run for the north door. You reach there just in time and slam it shut to keep the rats out. You're standing in a workroom of some kind. There are unfamilar tools on tables and work-benches prisms and lenses mounted in iron rings, and small caskets made of sandalwood and other exotic and aromatic woods. Did they call it sandalwood because you make sandals from it, or is it the other way around?
Rob: I think it gives you wood when making sandals?
Brad: Searching around, you deduce this may have been a jeweller's workroom; certainly, you find a tiny silver and amethyst pin, worth two gold pieces.
Rob: Pikey Pikey.
Brad: And some bars of silver which are, alas, too heavy to carry.
Rob: So it goes.
Brad: The rats are still scurrying around outside, so you have time to make a really thorough search. You are in luck!
Rob: Rat Poison?
Brad: In a secret drawer in a desk you find a magical Ring of Regeneration, which you can slip on your finger.

**Van Bragging has acquired Ring of Regeneration**

Brad: The ring surges with power whenever you land the killing blow in battle, and you regain 2 stamina poins.
Rob: Sweet.
Brad: Little bit evil, by most definitions, I guess.
Rob: As I said, sweet.
Brad: It's like a Soul Edge Special on QVC...Something nags in your mind about the size of the room you are in.

Van Bragging: This room shouldn't have such wide ceilings...Is that even a feature of any room?

Brad: You guess that is is next to Gunthar's, and you know where Lothar's are, and - there is a missing room in the area, if your hunch is correct.
Rob: Right....
Brad: Checking the west wall very carefully, you find your hunch is right; there is a secret door here. You open it, and use your lantern to peer into the darkened room beyond. This bare room contains only a pinewood coffin. You walk in, like a badass, and tip it over, breaking the wood with the hilt of your sword, and scattering the black earth over the floor.
Rob: Balls.
Brad: What?
Rob: Nothing in it.
Brad: You have destroyed one of Reiner Heydrichs's coffins! After a while, the rats start to retreat to their lair - wherever that may be. You re-emerge onto the balcony and head for the door at the south end of it. You use the Castellan's Keys to open the door, and enter a reception room. Lavishly decorated with comfortable armchairs, a chaise-longue and scattered cushions, this is a very comfortable place...OF HELL!
Rob: Dude, does it say "OF HELL"?
Brad: Maybe. There are some decanters of wine, which could be refreshing, and some sweet round sponge biscuits topped with thin, dark chocolate, which look appetising...OF HELL!
Rob: Come on...I head for the west door.
Brad: Not hungry? Or rape-victimy?
Rob: Nope, I figure after House of Hell I'm gonna fast unless I brought it with me.
Brad: You push open the door into Count Reiner Heydrich's living room. Rich walnut-wall panelling and oak furniture tell you that he is a creature of taste, at least. But you have no time to dwell on details, for two of his pets are racing to attack - a vicious Vampire Weasel - No, I am not shitting you with that one...
Rob: I figured you probably weren't.
Brad: You know what, gimme a sec, I'm gonna scan in the illustration for you. Readers can click on it for a larger image (as you can with all of our pictures).

Rob: "And a Were-Marmot!"
Brad: and an evil-looking, leathery winged - horned vampire bat...FROM HULL!
Rob: I can only imagine the conversation between the artist and the writer
"So Dave, what enemies do you need illustrated?"
"Well Barry, I need a vampire bat with horns..."
"And a Vampire Weasel..."

Bat bites Van Bragging.
Van Bragging twats the Bat.

Van Bragging: Taste rhyming bitch!

Van Bragging slices one of the Bat's wings off, causing it to only fly in a circle.
The Weasel bites you on the leg.

Van Bragging: Taste...Easel...Weasel! Better yet...Hey vampire, taste camp fire! I set it alight.

Brad: You incinerate the bat, and the weasel runs off, but it takes a while for the weasel's bite to stop bleeding. Ring of Regeneration heals you.

Van Bragging: Vampire Weasel lives again...

Brad: You search the room and pick up some small trinkets worth 4GP. There is only one other door in the room, so you decide to open it.
Rob: Makes sense.
Brad: As you unlock the door, a small, sharp blade whips out from the doorframe and very narrowly misses inflicting a very unpleasant wound on your hand. You push the door open. You enter the count's bedroom, a nightmare of garish horror.

Van Bragging: Oh. My. God. Who did the decorating? They must have been undead...

Brad: A large mahogany coffin with silver hinges and handles stands in the centre on a high wooden table, surrounded by black and crimson coverings.
Rob: Oh, bollocks.
Brad: On the walls, tapestries and paintings show the count's ancestors, all with the black hair and widows peak which betrays their vampiric nature. By that criteria, I have a vampiric nature...
Rob: You come from Sittingbourne, and your dad's a Driving Instructor...
Brad: That's still only a tenth as lame as the Cullens, dude. Some are show gloatingly draining their victims of blood, and one even stands next to a Fire Demon! They seem to glower with menace at you as you look in. Walking round the room, you also find a locked safe underneath a second table, and a writing desk with two drawers and a pile of neatly stacked vellum and quills on top. Fearfully, you move to the coffin, and throw it over. One day you'll do that and there'll be someone in it, and there'll be tears before bed time...
Rob: Doubtless.
Brad: The wood splinters, the top falls off, and rich black earth cascades over the floor. You smash the coffin lid with the hilt of your sword. These coffins are made of fucking nothing. Are they fucking Argos flat pack jobs or something?
Rob: You know, I honestly thought he'd be in that.
Rob: I open a desk drawer.
Brad: Top or bottom?
Rob: Top.
Brad: The desk drawer is unlocked and you find a small leather bag with four fold pieces in it.
Rob: Pikey pikey. I open the safe.
Brad: You unlock the cunt's safe. Inside you find a pile of credit notes, all bearing Reiner Heydrich's signature; but these have no value to you, worse luck! Hunh. I guess that should be "Count's". Rummaging around the papers OF HELL, you lay your hands on a large black iron key...The key to the crypt where the evil vampire dwells!
Rob: Hunh. "I must hide this where nobody will find it... my bedroom. And now to leave indefinitely and allow a random moron to wander around.

Brad: The hairs on the nape of your neck rise as you sense that something intensely evil is in the room!

Van Bragging: I'm nervous and have a stomach complaint...

Brad: Spinning around, you see a green, ghostly, human shape beginning to take form in the doorway. You cannot run - combat is inevitable - but you do have time to perform one action before you are forced to fight.
Rob: Hmmmm....Hmmmm...Pondering doesn't count does it?
Brad: I'll allow it for the mo.
Rob: Eat food. Fuck grammar. In hurry.
Brad: Lose one provision, +4 stamina. Your weapon is useless against the Spectre, which strikes you. -2 to Stamina. You run from the room, trying to get back to the balcony, and the swiftly moving Spectre easily keeps pace with you, striking at your back.
Rob: That's just summoned up the best mental image. Me being chased by a ghost screaming "Quit it!".
Brad: The monster strikes you once, and you lose two further stamina points. You run out to the balcony with the Crypt Key and back to the Northern part of the Castle. Fortunately, the Spectre won't enter this well-lit area to the north - but less fortunately, even though you're still alive, you have lost one point from your Skill through the life-draining power of the undead horror.
Brad: You run down the corridor towards the landing. You follow the corridor north and then east, towards the stair leading down. Just before you get to the landing, you reach a closed door on the north side of the passage. From behind it you hear a brief noise, some kind of crunching sound.

Van Bragging: Shreddie Monster!


1 comment:

  1. Now I want a pet vampire weasel.

    Also: Referenced in Dickass DM! Awe-some.