Friday 10 September 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 Stephen Thraves gamebook Suspects!. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

Read Part One

Braggart's suspects photo. Click to enlarge:

Previously on Dickass DM: Assigned to investigate the murder of movie director Larry Redshirt, famous detective Hercule Braggart boards the Olympic Express with a view to solving the heinous crime.He has only been on the train for a few hours, and already ther murderer has made two attempts on his life...

Brad: Pierre enters.
Pierre: Are you all right?
Hercule Braggart: No, I'm half left. LOLz. Can I have some Pringles?
Pierre: Pringles. Very good sir.
Hercule Braggart: Oh, and bring me a couple of murder suspects.
Pierre: As you wish, sir.
Hercule Braggart: And Guacamole!
Pierre: Whatever you say.
Hercule Braggart: Whatever I say, eh? A hooker!
Pierre: Might I suggest that you start with Miss Cripps, Mr Grimace, or Mr Clank first? I believe they're all in their cabins at the moment, and so it means that you can question them privately. I will also do my best obtain a hooker for you, whilst on a high speed steam train travelling through the alps, sir.
Brad: Agreeing that this is good sense, all you have to do now is decide which of the three to visit.
Rob: Let's go with Iris Cripps.
Brad: Is she your current lead, then?
Rob: She's the one I'm thinking it might be.
Brad: You knock on Iris Cripps' door.
Iris Cripps: Who is it?
Hercule Braggart: Crap...erm...A feeble old lady who likes the feel of the wind against her face, can I use your window?
Iris Cripps: You can't come in unless you announce yourself!
Hercule Braggart: Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages...It is my pleasure to introduce to you at this time...
Brad: Christ.
Hercule Braggart: He is the greatest detective ever to have been held out of a window...Weighing in at too much for a feeble old bitch to shove, please welcome... Hercuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuule............... Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt! Let's get ready to sleuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuth!
Brad: See, I don’t know why people say you’re the unfunny one. Iris is huddled in the corner of her cabin.
Iris Cripps: I thought you might be the murderer. I really won't be happy until he's been caught. I'm frightened that he might strike one of us next. Say he thinks that one of us saw him push Lawrence off the train... and he wants to make sure that we don't talk.
Hercule Braggart: What makes you think it's a he? Or that there's
Brad: It seems a very convincing display of nerves by Miss Cripps, but you're not totally taken in by it.
Rob: Do I let on?
Brad: After all she did know that you would soon be coming to question her.
Hercule Braggart: I knew I shouldn't have updated my Twitter feed first!
Iris Cripps: The reason I didn't say she is that, apart from myself, the only she on this train is Jacqui. I'm sure it couldn't have been her!
Hercule Braggart: How sure?
Brad: Thinking this statement over, you soon excuse yourself from Miss Cripps' cabin. After you have interviewed each of the three suspects resting in their cabins, you return to your own cabin. As you unlock the door, you notice that a folded sheet of paper has been slipped underneath. Curious, you sit down to read what's inside.
Hercule Braggart: Front...towards...
Brad: It says:
I'm one of the junior stewards on the train but I don't want to give my name in case it puts my life in danger. I was just stepping out of one of the empty cabins when I glimpsed someone's back at the other end of the corridor. The person was leaning over the exit door where Mr Redshirt had been pushed out! I realised that it must be the murderer and bravely jumped back into the empty cabin...Why did I realise that? Because he or she was obviously cleaning finger prints from the door. I'm sorry I was too frightened to take more in about that person, but I did notice that following small detail...
Hercule Braggart: Fuck, why didn't I take fingerprints quicker?
Brad: The murderer was wearing a pullover.
Hercule Braggart: A pullover you say...interesting...
Brad: Who the fuck are you talking to?
Hercule Braggrt: That narrows it down to...two thirds of the...fuck.
Brad: You decide to delay going to find the other three suspects for a while, taking a short rest in your cabin. You feel you need it! And as a precaution, in case the murderer is hiding somewhere down your corridor, you lock your door.
Rob: Typical horror movie mistake! They're in my room!
Brad: It isn't long, though, before you have to open it again because the express crosses the frontier into Switzerland. A customs official comes to check your passport.
Customs Official: Will you be stopping at this border station long?
Brad: He stamps your passport. That's probably Prison Slang.
Hercule Braggart: Long enough to catch a killer...then maybe some souvenir shopping...
Customs Official: The train won't be leaving for another twenty minutes.
Brad: You decide to get a breath of fresh air.
Rob: Just the one? that seems wasteful.
Brad: As you sit down on one of the benches right at the back of the platform, you notice that you are not the only one to have left the train. All the six suspects have done so as well. You're determined to keep your eye on them - a task made little easier by the fact they have split up into three pairs.
Rob: Again? Jesus...
Brad: Who will you keep your eye on? Giles Grimace and Iris Cripps, Tom Heydrich and Nick McSpindle, or Bob Clank and Jacqui Max?
Rob: Tom Heydrich and Nick McSpindle. Wait, Giles Grimace and Iris Cripps.
Brad: What's your logic?
Rob: Two pullovers.
Brad: That...makes a large amount of sense. You feeling okay?
Rob: What day is it?
Brad: Tuesday.
Rob: Yeah, then fine.
Brad: You're relieved to see that Giles and Iris haven't wandered too far from the train. In fact, they're standing right next to it, Giles with, one foot still on the carriage step. He seems to be rather angry with Iris, wagging his finger at her. You wonder the reason for this.
Hercule Braggart: Something to do with dogging, I'd wager...
Brad: But perhaps there isn't a particular reason - for Giles Grimace seems to be permanently cross. Just like Larry Redshirt was, by all accounts.
Rob: Interesting...Maybe their souls switched in his moment of death.
Brad: You're thinking of that Denzel Washington movie. The Taking of Pelham 123.
Rob: Ah yeah, I've Fallen for that old trick again.
Brad: They certainly disliked each other. But did it come to rather more than just dislike, you wonder...Did it actually come to Giles pushing Larry off the train?
Hercule Braggart: All I know is my gut says “maybe”...
Brad: It's at last time for the train to start moving again and you prepare to reboard it. But you won't make a move until you're sure that all the suspects have stepped back on. Tom and Nick do so as the train's whistle blows; Bob and Jacqui soon after. But Giles and Iris continue to talk on the platform.
Hercule Braggart: This isn't good...
Brad: Is one of them keeping the other in conversation deliberately in the hope that the train will leave without them? Your suspicions are unfounded, though, because they both now climb into the train. You reboard, also.
Rob: Makes sense.
Brad: Making your way back to your cabin for a quick warm-up after being out on the platform, you notice that the heater has been switched off. You wonder why one of the stewards has done that. It's colder in here than it is outside, you think, as you turn the control right up. However, you seen realise it wasn't one of the stewards who interfered with your heater; it was the murderer!
Rob: ...
Brad: For unpleasant smelling fumes soon start to blow from it.
Rob: Ahhhh...
Brad: I sense Mike Patton's hand there...The murderer had obviously put some sort of deadly chemical in there which would be activated when the heater was switched on. Coughing and spluttering, you desperately make your way over to the window! Your only hope is that you will be able to open it in time!
Rob: The window?! Am I retarded?!
Brad: With the window open, the gases quickly disperse. You end up taking a much longer rest in your cabin than you originally intended! It's a whole half-hour before you step out of it again and go off in search of the three remaining suspects. Fortunately, you bump into Pierre in the corridor.
Hercule Braggart: Ah, Pierre! Where's my Guacamole?! I need to speak to Jacqui Max, Tom Heydrich and Nick McSpindle, now. Any idea where they may be?
Pierre: I last saw Ms Max in the observation car, and Mr Heydrich in the cocktail-car - but I haven't seen Mr McSpindle since the train left the last station.
Rob: I wait in the corridor, waiting to catch Nick McSpindle.
Brad: A cunning plan.
Rob: Indeed.
Brad: You were right to decide to linger in the corridor because it is not long before Nick McSpindle comes walking through.
Hercule Braggart: Well, helloooooo simpleton!
Brad: He obviously has a lot on his mind, though, because he doesn't see you standing there until he has nearly reached you.
Nick McSpindle: Oh, it's you.
Brad: McSpindle looks anxious.
Nick McSpindle: I suppose you were waiting here to interview me, were you?
Hercule Braggart: Among other things...
Nick McSpindle: Go on then - but I didn't do it, you know!
Hercule Braggart: Well, that's all my questions.
Brad: You wonder if this nervousness is just an act of Nick's. Perhaps he's a better actor than the real actors on the train.
Hercule Braggart: What were you doing when news reached you about the moider?
Brad: You've gone Brooklyn. You gonna lock him in the Tazmission next?
Nick McSpindle: Yes, of course. My hands were very greasy because I had just been repairing some of my sound equipment. So I went to one of the washrooms to clean them.
Hercule Braggart: Sure, which you obviously mean your wangophone.
Nick McSpindle: While I was in there, I suddenly heard this loud, panicky voice in the corridor. It was a steward telling someone that he'd just learnt that a person had been pushed off the train!
Hercule Braggart: All right. On your way.
Brad: It takes a good hour to find and interview all three remaining suspects - but you at last wearily make your way back to your cabin. You suddenly stop, though, horrified, a shiver running down your spine, for one of the carriage doors is wide open, swinging in the fast breeze!
Hercule Braggart: God, I'm fucking knackered. I could do with a Coke. Diet Coke.
Brad: It's the very same door where the murder took place!
Hercule Braggart: Has nobody thought to close this yet?
Brad: Wondering if the door is now haunted in some way, you hurriedly reach out to shut it. But it wasn't Larry Redshirt’s ghost who had opened the door - it was his murderer! As you reach for the door, a silent figure suddenly steps out from the washroom behind you. He or she pushes you in the back, trying to make you follow the doomed Larry's path!
Rob: I kick him/her in the penis/lady penis
Brad: You grab hold of the door frame to prevent yourself falling. By the time you recover your balance, your assailant has fled. You return to your cabin, a little paranoider for wear. An hour passes in your cabin...
Rob: “Paranoider”? Really?
Brad: then two...but you still seem to be getting nowhere in trying to work out the identity of The Pullover Murderer. The problem is that every one of the suspects despised Larry Frost - and so every one of the suspects had a motive!
Rob: Fine, we'll arrest them all.
Brad: Why did the police hire you again?
Rob: Wait, their name is The Pullover Murderer? Did they pull him out from outside?
Brad: He's...your only clue is that the murderer is wearing a pullover, remember?
Rob: I know, I was just kidding.
Brad: Ah, I see. I'm just the Lestrade to your Holmes. The Hastings to your Poirot.
Rob: I get it.
Brad: The Rodney to your Del Boy. The Rob Wade to your Brad Harmer.
Rob: Wait, I don't get it.
Brad: The courgette to your garage.
Rob: ...
Brad: The Marillion to your wallpaper. Shall I stop now?
Rob: Yes.
Brad: Anxiously glancing at your watch, you see that it is nearly midnight now. That means that you have less than nine hours to work out this problem as you will have reached Paris by that time, and unless you have some concrete proof, you will not be able to prevent all the suspects from leaving the train! Oh, no! It's too late - the express is now pulling into the station in Paris!
Rob: ...Is my watch slow?
Brad: The gentle rocking of the train must have caused you to dozeoff and you slept right through the night!
Rob: Fuck! I hate when that happens. Like remember that time when I fell asleep on the train back from London and that murder didn't get solved?
Brad: Yeah, they never did catch me. But just before the train comes to a stop, one of the platform signs slowly passes your window. To your immense relief, you see that it reads Zurich. That means it's only just after midnight. Although you did indeed doze off, obviously it was only for a few minutes. Continuing to look out at the large station, you're surprised to see all six of the suspects suddenly appear there. They must be intending to stretch their legs before turning in for the night. At least, you hope that's all they're intending.
Rob: That would be ideal.
Brad: Just to make sure one of them doesn't try and make a run for it, you decide to keep a close eye on them.
Rob: I'll do better than that and keep two!
Brad: The task isn't made any easier, though, by the fact that they don't keep together on the platform.
Rob: I sense a theme.
Brad: But at least they go off in pairs.
Rob: This is familiar...
Brad: On which pair should you concentrate your attention: Jacqui Max and Bob Clank, Nick McSpindle and Giles Grimace, or Iris Cripps and Tom Heydrich?
Rob: Have I focused on Nick and Giles yet?
Brad: I don't know and I don’t care. Have you?
Rob: Two secs, I'll check...nope. Nick and Giles.
Brad: Hunh. As Nick McSpindle and Giles Grimace stroll further and further from the train, you wonder where they are heading - it can't be for either of the station cafeterias, because they are both closed. And, you know...there's a dining carriage on the train.
Rob: Yeah, there is that.
Brad: In fact, everywhere on the station is closed. It is after midnight, after all.
Rob: ...
Brad: And these foreigners can't stay up after sundown. Except the Transylvanians. They're usually livelier, if anything.
Rob: The Spanish are mental as well. Not in a bad way. Just...evening people.
Brad: I've only really known one Spanish person. He studied for three years at my Uni and still by the end of it, the only English he knew was the words to The Final Countdown.
Rob: That's fucking superb.
Brad: So, you begin to become rather concerned about McSpindle and Grimace, wondering if they are intending to stroll right out of the station.

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