Friday 24 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
Read Part Two

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...but now he has his first clue...the murderer is wearing a pullover! Now, as the train pulls into a way-station, Braggart keeps his eye on Nick McSpindle and Giles Grimace...
Braggart's suspects photo. Click to enlarge:

Hercule Braggart: Maybe Nick's having Giles put down. We are, after all, in Switzerland...

Brad: But then you notice that there is just one place on the station that is still open.
Rob: The Murderer's Retreat?
Brad: A newspaper stand. And, to your relief, you see that this is where Grimace and McSpindle stop.
Hercule Braggart: Hey knobends, it'll still be yesterday's edition!
Brad: And in German. Giles Grimace buys a paper at the stand, immediately flicking through the pages looking for something. You guess that it's tomorrow's weather report, because he bad temperedly shakes his head as he shows that section of the paper to Nick.
Rob: Bad tempered? Is there anything that guy isn't bad tempered about?
Brad: But Nick McSpindle seems more concerned about the time, repeatedly glancing at the station's clock above them.
Rob: "Mr Grimace, you've won a million pounds on the lottery!"
"I would've preferred two."
Brad: I've known people like that, to be fair. McSpindle anxiously tugs at Grimace's sleeve, eventually persuading him to start making his way back to the train. They are the last two to reboard it. The train pulls out of Zurich station. A quarter of an hour or so after leaving Zurich, you decide to go for a brief stroll along the train to allow a steward to make up the bed in your cabin. There hardly seems much point in him doing this, however.
Hercule Braggart: You'd be better off bolting my fucking windows.
Brad: You've only eight and a half hours left to work out who the murderer is and so you're not very likely to be doing much sleeping tonight! As you wander through the train, though, it seems that most of the other passengers are now sleeping. The corridors are completely empty. Or are they? You are just entering one of the corridors when a cabin door opens at the other end.
Rob: Okay.
Brad: You glimpse a shadowy figure dash out of the door, then quickly disappear round the corner into the next carriage. Curious about this shadowy figure, you walk right up to the cabin from where they had furtively emerged. The first thing you notice about it is that the lock is broken on the door.
Rob: Right.
Brad: Then you notice that there is an upturned suitcase on the seat. Reading the label on the suitcase, you see that it belongs to Larry Redshirt. Of course...this is the cabin that he used! That shadowy figure must have been the murderer, sneaking in here to make sure that there wasn't anything incriminating amongst Larry's belongings.
Rob: Makes sense. It's what I'd do.
Brad: Perhaps he or she lured Larry to the fatal carriage door by slipping a note under his cabin door, for instance...and perhaps that note had since gone missing! Anyway, the murderer might well regret making this late-night search of the cabin, for you noticed something about them, a small clue, as he or she left!
Rob: Ok, this'll be a first. Go on.
Brad: You noticed that they had dark coloured hair.
Rob: For fuck's sake.
Brad: That helps, surely?
Rob: Actually, it appears to narrow it down to three. Cool.
Brad: Retiring to your cabin, you find it very difficult to keep awake as the hour gets later and later. It's now half past two in the morning and you still seem to have got nowhere in unravelling this murder mystery! You ass!
Hercule Braggart: How dare you!
Brad: Look, who the fuck are you talking to? Again, your head starts to nod...but, again, you force your eyes open, deciding to go for a stroll down the corridor to try and wake yourself up.
Rob: This is setting off my Bodes Ill sense
Brad: You find the silent shadowy corridor rather eerie, though, and so you soon return to your cabin. Man, you're paranoid.
Rob: Thank fuck.
Brad: You're just starting some "vigorous exercises" in there, repeatedly touching your toes, when you hear a faint scraping sound behind you.
Rob: Damn.
Brad: It's the sound of someone slipping a folded note under your door! Curious, you open the note and start to read what's inside. The trouble is that it's been written in ink and a vital word has been smudged!
It says:
Rob: "I know who the killer is. It was ************"?
I think I know who the murderer is. Please meet me as soon as you can in the ********** car.
Brad: The smudged word is quite a long one, and so you work out that it has to be "baggage", "dining" or "cocktail". As you eagerly lock your cabin door behind you, delighted that this mystery could be over very soon, you wonder which of these possibilities you should decide on. Which do you head for?
Rob: The baggage car.
Brad: What's your logic?
Rob: If I was a witness, and I'd seen suspects in the cocktail and dining car, I'd certainly not want to be seen talking to a detective in either of those.
Brad: Man, you're good.
Rob: But as far as Braggart's concerned, that car doesn't have windows.
Brad: You make your way through the dark, silent carriages toward the luggage-van. Reaching it, you squeeze alongside the large cage there. Where's the person you were meant to meet, though? There's no-one in sight! You begin to wonder if this is some sort of practical joke...
Rob: Balls.
Brad: the murderer perhaps...but, just in case it isn't, you decide to wait there a few munutes.
Rob: I will.
Brad: While you are waiting, you peer through the cage to have a look at the luggage inside. You suddenly spot a pair of black gloves lying on one of the cases. You excitedly wonder if these belong to the murderer, he or she having worn them when actually comitting the foul deed!
Rob: Interesting...
Brad: Perhaps they have been hidden here because the murderer was afraid that his or her cabin might be searched. When you step inside the cage to examine the gloves, however, you realise that they are just "bait" for you, for the murderer suddenly creeps up from behind you and locks the cage!
Hercule Braggart: Bollocks.
Brad: Fortunately, you're quite an expert at picking locks and soon free yourself again.
Rob: That's a relief.
Brad: You now chase after the sound of the murderer's fleeing footsteps. You quickly make your way through the train's shadowy corridor's after the murderer, hurrying from one carriage to the next. You must be nearing the other end of the train.
Rob: If the murderer ducks as I jump at him, this book is fail.
Brad: You smile to yourself as you realise that the murderer will soon be trapped, he or she won't escape you twice. That's surely the very last carriage coming up now and you charge through the connecting door. But, you suddenly find yourself in space, a fast cold wind blowing all around you.
Rob: Space? Have I ended up in Starship Traveller by mistake?
Brad: You've already passed through the last carriage...this is the exit door at the very end of the train! As you deperately hang on to the outside of the door, you hear a mocking laugh from the darkness nearby.
Rob: Male or female? This may prove important.
Brad: You're not concentrating that hard. You have other things on your mind. The murderer must have quickly unbolted this door and then hidden at one side of it to await your arrival. You did notice one thing, however.
Rob: Their face? That'd help.
Brad: They were wearing trainers.
Rob: Hmmm...that's down to two, then.
Brad: You stagger, shakily back to your carriage. Although you are very tired after all your activity, you still won't allow yourself to doze off. You've only got a few hours left to try and solve this case.
Rob: How did I get back on?
Brad: In a cack handed way. Does that help?
Rob: Okay.
Brad: But these hours pass much more quickly than you would have wished...and it's soon morning. Watching all the suspect file into the dining car for their breakfast, you desperately wonder which one is the murderer. You're still not sure!
Rob: This seems a somewhat harsh adventure.
Brad: Any harsher than any other gamebook? Really?
Rob: I suppose not.
Brad: Shortly after breakfast has finished, the express enters the suburbs of Paris. It then starts to slow down for the station in Paris. Your journey is over! The police meet you at the station.
Police: Monsieur Braggart!
Hercule Braggart: Allo, Allo!
Police: Which one of these people is the murderer?
Hercule Braggart: Isn't it obvious?...
Police: Non, monsieur. You are the great detective...I'm sure you have it all solved! Who is it?
Hercule Braggart: Erm...
Police: ...
Hercule Braggart: Uh...
Police: ...
Hercule Braggart: Errr....
Police: ...
Hercule Braggart: Giles Grimace!
Police: Monsieur Grimace! I am arresting you on the charge of first degree murder. Tell me, Monsieur did you solve it?
Hercule Braggart: Eeny meeny...I mean...Well, my suspicions were first aroused when I got the distinct impression that he lied about how long he had been sat down in the dining car...
Hercule Braggart: Oh, say Grimace, how do you take that tea? Milk? Two sugars? Attempted Murder? How long have you been sitting here?
Giles Grimace: Well, I'm not certain how relevant that is to the murder inquiry!
Hercule Braggart: All right, all right...Don't get your gloved hand in a bunch across my throat, it was just a question!
Giles Grimace: But, if you must know, I've been here about five minutes, and Tom joined me about two minutes ago. Why do you ask?
Hercule Braggart: Two minutes ago, I was 'enjoying' a view of the mountains usually reserved for the train's wheels! Where are the rest of your lot?

Hercule Braggart: He also doesn't seem to be able to get along with anyone any time the train were to stop at a station.
Giles Grimace: I hate you.
Hercule Braggart: You're not helping your case here, dude. Then I received a message under my door from a junior steward, informing me that the murderer was wearing a pullover. I'm surprised you didn't change incidentally, though I'm sure you had your reasons.
Giles Grimace: I only own one set of clothes.
Hercule Braggart: Then your argument with Iris on the train platform seemed to suggest to me that you weren't happy with the idea of her talking to me, the timing seemed too perfect.
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.

Giles Grimace: Actually, I just hate her.
Hercule Braggart: If you say so. Then you went to the newspaper stand in Zurich, looking at the German newspapers, possibly for the weather. I wonder if you were actually trying to see if news had reached the Swiss of the murder.
Police: Genius.
Giles Grimace: I just wanted to look at page three!
Hercule Braggart: Then my first glimpse of you...It wasn't very clear but it was enough to know that you had dark hair.
Police: He's a fat fucker as well, don't forget that.
Hercule Braggart: It was dark, the hair was all I got. Until you made the fatal mistake that allowed me to narrow my scope down even further.
Police: Brilliant.
Hercule Braggart: You lured me into the baggage car, imprisoned me, not realising that I used to be a circus performer and could pick any lock smaller than a Chubb, and attempted to lure me to my death. It was then I noticed that my attacker was wearing trainers.
Police: Good lord! Mr Grimace is wearing trainers and a pullover! And he has dark hair!
Hercule Braggart: Yeah, that's sort of where I was going with this.
Tom Heydrich: Good show!
Hercule Braggart: Thank...wait...
Police: What is it, Monsieur Braggart?
Hercule Braggart: Um. Nothing. Okay, boys, take him away. File him under M....for 'Motherfucker should never have messed with Hercuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuule Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt!


That's the end of Suspects!, but, ladies and gentlemen, it is certainly not the end of Dickass DM! In fact, it's time for this year's Dickass DM Hallowe'en Special! Starting NEXT FRIDAY and running EVERY Friday and Sunday throughout October, we bring you Lovecraftian horror as Braggart Smith-Rhys-Jones investigates deepest darkest Wales, in Where the Shadows Stalk!


Shift gears and take your Sims for a spin with The Sims 3: Fast Lane Stuff. For the first time ever in a stuff pack, your Sims can get new cars along with furnishings, décor, and apparel in four distinct vehicle-themed lifestyles.

Will your Sims embody the speed demon way of life? Or cruise in classic luxury automobiles with the top down? Will they rebel against the establishment in pin-up girl dresses and rockabilly tough guy attire? Or pursue a life of intrigue with spy-themed, sexy apparel and automobiles? Whatever their lifestyle, The Sims 3: Fast Lane Stuff takes your Sims on the rides of their lives!

Give your Sims the rides they've always dreamed of-and the lifestyles that go with them!

Enjoy four all-new styles of fashions, furnishings, and vehicles: Racing, Intrigue, Rockabilly, and Classic Luxury!

Create the ultimate garage to house your Sim's professional race car or hot rod!

Deck out your Sim's house in luxurious accessories to match their sleek new, luxurious rides!

Thanks to our friends at EA, we've got three copies of The Sims 3: Fast Lane Stuff to giveaway! For your chance of winning, send in your name and full postal address to before midday on Friday 1st October. The first three names out of the special electronic hat will win a free copy each!

Please note the The Sims 3: Fast Lane Stuff is not a complete game. Ownership of The Sims 3 is required to be able to play this expansion pack.

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