Friday, 2 July 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 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 Ian Livingstone Fighting Fantasy gamebook Armies of Death.

Previously on Armies of Death: Rich and stupid adventurer General Braggart has raised an army to march forward and destroy the forces of Shagglax the Shadow SDemon. After buying a crow that proceeded to immediately fuck off, buying pretty much every item he came across, and encountering the least opportunistic leprechaun in history, Braggart decides to enter a sewer for a good old-fashioned Goblin smashing.

Brad is the GM, and Rob plays his character, General Braggart.

Read Part One Here
Read Part Two Here
Read Part Three Here
Brad: Indeed. And you hates Goblins. With your sword gripped in your hand, you walk cautiously down the tunnel. The light from the flickering candle grows brighter as you approach it. A figure comes into view and you see at once that it is much taller than a Sewer Goblin: it is a man, carrying a pole-axe and a shield, and muttering to himself.
Rob: It's nerves.
Brad: When he sees you emerge out of the shadows into the light of his candle, he stops and says:


Man: Have you seen any Sewer Goblins come this way?
General Braggart: Not since the two I skinned.
Man: Good. I'll go and cut their ears off so that I can collect my bounty. That's my job, see? Zengis has a lot of trouble with its Sewer Goblins, but not many people like to work down here cleaning them out. You did me a favour, now, can I do one for you in return?
General Braggart: If I'd known I'd have brought you some.
Brad: You could ask him if he knows anything about Starstone Caves or ask to buy his helmet for 5GP. I don't like how suggestive the second option is.
Rob: Ask him about the caves.
Brad: Have the caves been mentioned before?
Rob: Not that I can recall.
Brad: Bad gamebook. Naughty.
Man: The Starstone Caves, you say? Yes, I've been there. Dangerous place, full of traps.
General Braggart: Sounds delightful.
Man: They were put there by the Oracle, who hates visitors. But the Oracle will speak to most people who can survive his traps and make it to his inner sanctum. It's a challenge, you see. He hates time-wasters. He'll only spend time with people who really need to see him, but even them he'll want a few gifts, depending on what information you seek. I suggest you get yourself a guide. Go to Karn. That's about the only place where you'll find one.
Brad: You thank the curiously well informed bounty-hunter for the information and walk back with him along the tunnel. Leaving him to collect his evidence from the dead Sewer Goblins, you decide what to do next. You walk back down the alley and turn left down the street. At the corner of the street, you arrive at a stone building; it has a sign painted on the window in crude whitewash letters which reads "Max's Marauders - Swords for Hire".
Rob: I enter the building.
Brad: The street door opens into a single room, in the centre of which, two men are engaged in a practice sword-fight with wooden swords. They are being watched by seven other men.
Rob: Ahhh, pervs. I get their game...
Brad: At the far end of the room, a striking blonde woman wearing leather armour is shouting out instructions to the two fighters.
Rob: Hellooo...
Woman: Stop! Take a rest whilst I see what this intruder wants.
Brad: She walks over to you.
Woman: I'm Max, and these are my boys. Do you want to join them, or hire them?
General Braggart: Maybe I'll hire them; can I get you free with them?
Max: My boys are the best. 200 Gold Pieces, and all ten of us are yours.
General Braggart: Deal.
Brad: You tell Max to go and meet Omer at your camp outside Zengis where she will receive her payment of 200 Gold Pieces.
General Braggart: Max's Swords? Lame...What about Mad Max's ThunderJugs?
Max: Hmm...Perhaps we should alliterate more?
General Braggart: Max's Mammaries?
Max: Works for me. You will not regret hiring us.
Brad: Max leads her men away. You watch her for a few moments, before turning the corner and walking on up the street.
General Braggart: Nice arse...
Brad: The street soon turns to the left again and, as the shadows of darkness start to creep out from the sides of buildings, you decide that it is time to find an inn. One called "Helen's House" is the first that you come to and it offers rooms for 1GP a night.
Rob: Spend the night at Helen's House. Maybe she's hot.
Brad: Maybe she's a man?
Rob: Helen's a girl's name dude. Maybe you're thinking of Jeff.
Brad: In this universe. Maybe not in Zengis. After all, I'm fairly sure "Max" is a dude's name in this universe. The door opens into a small reception room which has low oak beams and white walls. In the wall opposite, a fire is burning in the hearth, and above it is a painting of a small sailing boat. I really hope that's the Magic Eye picture from Mallrats.
Rob: It's a schooner!
Brad: A man is sitting in a high-backed leather chair in front of the fire, vigorously polishing a silver cup.
Rob: Sure..."It's my silver cup, I'll polish it as fast as I want!"
Brad: You clear your throat to get his attention and he turns towards you.
Man: I beg your pardon, but I didn't hear you come in. I can assure you that, if I had, I would have stopped masturbating with quite such vigour.
Rob: No fucking way does it say that.
Man: As you can see, I'm busy polishing up this...
Brad: ...
Rob: ...
Man: ...cup we won at sailing. But I don't want to bore you with my sailing stories. A room will cost you two gold pieces, including breakfast.
General Braggart: Breakfast must be shit...
Brad: You pay for the room and wait for him to give you the key. He stands up, but instead leans against the hearth and looks admiringly at the painting.
Man: Ah, Harem was a great boat with a great crew. We left all the other boats clean behind and won all our races except for one, and that was lost only because of Spike's navigation.
Rob: I listen to his story.
Brad: You're feeling tolerant today.
Rob: I have a feeling.
Brad: The man, whose name you learn is Obigee, goes on at length about a whole series of races, walking round the room and mimicking the antics of the crew.
General Braggart: Obigee, Oh blah da, life goes on...
Obigee: Would you like to see a drawing of the crew?
Brad: You can say that you would, or you beg for your key and/or the sweet release of death?
General Braggart: Yeah, I've got nothing on.
Brad: Obigee opens a cupboard drawer and pulls out a leather-bound book. He opens the book at a marked page and hands it to you. There are eight people in the picture, each dressed in heavy oilskins.
Obigee: That's me, and that's our skipper Preece with the funny hat on.
General Braggart: That's the Funny-Hat Preece?
Obigee: Spike's the one with his hair sticking up, and Euan is the young one going bald before his time. Werewolf's the bearded one, Kwil's son is the one with the long hair and the couple there are Klaak and his lass, Welz. Perhaps one day we'll take on Conner himself. He's the best in all Allansia.
General Braggart: Ahh...John Conner...I've heard of him.
Obigee: Sails in the The Old World across the Western Ocean, but his reputation is known to all. But that's enough about me, what about you?
General Braggart: I've been buying mercenaries like Monopoly, and I've yet to win a decisive fight.
Brad: You decide to tell Obigee about your quest and his eyes widen in amazement.
Obigee: I'm afraid I'm too old to help your cause.
Brad: He disappears into a back room. He reappears in a moment, holding a magnificent sword.
Obigee: If this cannot slay a SDemon, nothing can. Leave me yours, and you can have it.
Rob: My what?
Brad: You examine the sword and see that it is of remarkable craftsmanship; you do not hesitate to make the swap.
**Rob has Acquired +1 Sword**
Brad: Obigee then hands you the key to your room, and wishes you goodnight as you climb the stairs.
Rob: Sweet! See, I told you! It's well worth listening to an old man now and then.
Brad: You lock the door behind you and slump gratefully into the soft bed. You are asleep in seconds and do not wake until the morning, when there is a loud knocking at the door.
Obigee: Breakfast is ready!
Brad: After a plate of ham and eggs you feel ready to take on Shagglax himself. The peaceful sleep and plentiful food have done you a lot of good. You finally say farewell to Obigee and walk out into the street. After walking less than a hundred yards, the street ends at a junction.
Rob: Hmmm. On the one hand, maybe I should consider this carefully. On the other hand, Left.
Brad: The street turns sharply right and you soon find yourself back at the main entrance gates to Zengis. Remembering your promise to Omer, you decide to return to your waiting army. You arrive at the camp before noon and are greeted enthusiastically. You give the order to march.
General Braggart: March east towards the Forest of Fiends!
Sir McSpindle: The Forest of Friends sounds good to me.
General Braggart: ...Prick.
Brad: The army marches east along the bank of the River Kok until you reach a major fork, Before you rises a dark wall of trees twisting skywards: the sinister-looking Forest of Fiends.
Clank the Barbarian: It's only a model.
Brad: You march north for a while until you come to a safe section of the tributary to cross. There is much whispering among your troops as you march into the forest where the daylight quickly fades under the thick canopy of leaves overhead. Only the high shrilling of frightened monkeys occasionally disturbs the strange silence of the forest.
Sir McSpindle: I'm scared of monkeys.
TO BE CONTINUED...

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