Sunday 15 May 2011

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 Tom Sheldon gamebook Big Match Manager. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Terry Braggables.

Catch up with previous Dickass DM installments here!
Brad: The Papplewick keeper is braced against the goalmouth, gloved hands held wide.
Rob: That's a weird place to stand.
Brad: Sixty thousand pairs of eyes are trained on the ball just twelve yards in front of him. The ball is struck cleanly...
Terry Braggables: Kick it past the Shoggoth!
Brad: There are nearly two hundred square feet of goal to aim for, and Wood misses all of them. Instead, the ball whizzes high over the crossbar and knocks a meat pie out of the hands of an elderly Hardwick supporter. No points for that.
Terry Braggables: Stitch that, biddy!
Brad: The ref blows for full time, and the game is finished.
Hardwick City 3 - Papplewick Town 0

Rob: We're now first in the league? I'll take it.
Brad: Today is the 29th, which means the highly coveted Manager of the Month Award is due to be announced this evening. You could well be in with a shot.
Rob: Two wins and a draw is as good as the others managed.
Brad: It's going to be close this month!
Rob: For exactly the reasons I just described?
Brad: Both you and Lowdham Athletic manager Bill Drebble are unbeaten so far, with an impressive record of two wins and a draw.
Congratulations! You are announced as this month's top manager!
Rob: Hurrah! That must be the first time my genius has been rewarded in these games.
Brad: It was a close call, but with your impressive goal difference and discipliniary record you were the obvious choice.
Carry on like this and you'll win the league for sure!
McSpindle: And I won best assistant! My Mum says.
Terry Braggables: Couldn't have done it without you.
===Monday 31st===
Brad: Back in your office on Monday morning you go through the post.
McSpindle: You should get a secretary.
Terry Braggables: Congratulations, you've been promoted!
Brad: Four items in particular catch your eye,
a) a letter marked URGENT
b) A letter stamped with the Football Association logo
c) A brown parcel
d) The Hardwick Herald

Rob: Open the parcel. I always like parcels.
Brad: Unless they have review copy in, apparently.
The package is large, about the size of a milk crate, and it is addressed to you in thick black handwriting.
Rob: Thick lines, or poorly spelled?
Redshirt: I bet it's a foetus. In my experience, when that happens, it's usually an aborted foetus.
Terry Braggables: Where did you come from?
McSpindle: Where did who come from, sir?
Brad: There is no stamp.
Rob: Open it. It'd be pointless to just look at it in more detail then ignore it.
Brad: You carefully tear back the heavy-duty brown paper.
Rob: That won't do it, it's heavy duty paper!
Brad: Underneath is a label saying "Dollinger 1989". That's a good champagne. You remove the case from its wrapping, and read the card inside.
"Keep up the hard work, from all at Hardwick City FC"
How nice - your staff are so thoughtful.
Rob: So no fingers inside, no nothing?
McSpindle: I got a similar parcel.
Terry Braggables: Really? What was in it?
McSpindle: Well...not really. No one likes me.
Rob: I save it for the players. Wood's hilarious when he's had a few.
Open the FA letter. They fancy themselves quite important.
Brad: The letter is official-looking and addressed to you..
You rip it open and begin to read.
To: Terry Braggables, Manager, Hardwick City FC

Notification of Transfer Window

The following players are available for immediate transfer. All offers must be received by the end of the week, according to FA regulations.

Brad: This is an opportunity to build up your squad! Two names stand out in particular:

Jonny Steel
Position: Defender
Born: Newcastle 11/03/86
Height: 5'10"
Weight 11st 2lb
Last Season Goals: 1
Last Season Yellow Cards: 3
Last Season Red Cards: 0
Bio: Considered one of the up and coming full-backs at this level of football, and widely tipped to win his first cap this year for the England U-21s. Serious, strong and solid.

Masashi Suda
Position: Attacker (Skill: 6)
Born: Osaka 09/12/84
Height: 5'8"
Weight 10st 6lb
Last Season Goals: 7
Last Season Yellow Cards: 1
Last Season Red Cards: 1
Bio: Since Japan's impressive showing in the 2002 World Cup, the floodgates have opened for signings of young Japanese soccer players. An ambitious young centre-forward, Masashi is no exception to the Japanese reputation of playing tireless, high-speed football.

Brad: This is also your opportunity to make some sales. Interest has been expressed in two of your current squad: Michael Hurley and Joe Fry. The market is open!
Rob: Right. Put in a bid for Jonny Steel.
Brad: Gunthorpe United are asking six million for Jonny Steel. Is he worth it?
Rob: Ouchies. I only have five, so it's sort of academic.
Brad: You can make an offer, but it may not be accepted.
Rob: Four million.
Brad: Your offer is refused.
Rob: Shocker. See what I can get for Hurley.
Brad: This is your opportunity to do some pruning. Is Joe a prize orchid in your team, or just dead wood?
Rob: Wood's fucking dead?! This gets worse and worse.
Brad: You are offered three million for Michael Hurley.
Rob: Done. Put in a bid for Suda.
Brad: Epperstone Town want five million pounds for Masashi Suda. What is your offer?
Rob: Five is fine. Open the URGENT letter.
Brad: Really? I like the idea of you opening the champagne, spending some money then reading the paper whilst a letter marked URGENT sits there unread.
Are urgent letters ever good news?
Sure enough, it's a letter from your team sponsors telling you they are pulling out of their contract "because of all the bad publicity surrounding Mr. Knox".
McSpindle: How dare they - of all the selfish things to do...

Brad: This could mean financial ruin for the club, unless you can broker a new deal soon.
Rob: If our club relies on the shirt sponsorship, we deserve to go bankrupt...
Brad: Two other local companies expressed recent interest in getting their logos on the Hardwick strip, and a phone call to one of them could do it. But which is the right choice: SureTech Phones or Topflight Sportswear?
Rob: Topflight Sportswear. I was paying attention when SureTech's share price dropped.
Brad: Some good business-talk from you ensures that Topflight will be the new name on the Hardwick shirts.
Rob: I leaf through the paper.
Brad: You turn the paper to the back page as you always do, and you are shocked to see some familiar faces looking very much the worse for wear. One has a split lip and a torn ear, another appears to have had his nose broken and all three have black eyes.
"Gonalston Thugs In Nightclub Brawl" reads the headline.
"Just before midnight on Saturday," the story continues, "three members of title hopefuls Gonalston City were seen fighting outside The Black Orchid Nightspot. One eyewitness has described all three men as 'ripped to the britches on booze'. They are currently recovering in hospital."
You're playing Gonalston on Saturday!
Rob: "Ripped to the britches" sounds like they've been raped.
Brad: They should be easy to beat now, and it serves them right, you can't help thinking with a smile. But then your ringing phone startles you and you pick it up. It's none other than Jules Torrence, Gonalston's manager.
Terry Braggables: Hello, mate, I was intrigued to find out about your boys, hooooow unfortunate...
Jules Torrence: [shakily, on phone] This isn't funny.
Terry Braggables: It is a bit...
Jules Torrence: [on phone] Whatever you read in the paper - it's a lie. Yes, they were out, but they weren't drunk and they weren't fighting. I've spoken to them.
Terry Braggables: Okay...less amusing...go on.
Jules Torrence: [on phone] All three swear they were jumped by four men with bats and chains after they left the club. This was a professional beating, they're out for the season.
Terry Braggables: Well, great, now I've lost my erection.
Jules Torrence: [on phone] I thought of Danny straightaway when I heard. Do you think it's the same crooks?
Brad: Your thoughts are racing. It certainly seems too much to be a coincidence.

Terry Braggables: Hang on, I'm working out which of my thoughts are going to win. Wait. Ohhhhhhh...Yeah, it could be.
McSpindle: It seems he's as innocent as we are in all of this. I think we should eliminate him from our suspects.
Terry Braggables: We can't kill....oh, eliminate him from our suspects. Yeah, makes sense. Unless it's a double bluff...
McSpindle: Anyway, now the post is all sorted, I guess we should talk tactics with the players.
Terry Braggables: Sounds like a plan.
Brad: You enter the noisy locker room where your squad is preparing for their week's training.
Terry Braggables: Why is this room always so noisy? Are we next door to an international airport?
Brad: You've got an away game against Gonalston City coming up on Saturday afternoon.
McSpindle: Do you have a strategy for this week?
Terry Braggables: Do I ever...
McSpindle: What is it?
Terry Braggables: No. I I ever?
Rob: I think we should contain the oppositions attack and score on the break.
McSpindle: In what?
Terry Braggables: I dunno, jars....
McSpindle: [to players] Okay, boys, we're going over the top into No Man's Land on this one, and I want to make sure that our truncheons stay in our back pockets. [point to defenders] You, you and you, I want closing down on every ball like a wicker goat in a sandwich factory. [points to forwards] And you, I want you to stay back like Napoleon's finest backpack brigade and be ready for when the James Taylor Quartet over there lob the black sacks over the calamari squad.
Brad: The players nod in agreement.
McSpindle: I really think I've found my calling, you know.
Terry Braggables: It's hard to imagine what you could have been more suited to...
Brad: Monday comes to an end, and your team has worked hard for you. You could really make their day something to remember here.
Rob: Yeah. Treat them to that champagne I received.
McSpindle: [as you all head back to the locker rooms] Right, you lads have done the Dalai Lama's own ghostbusting this past stint, and Mr Braggables, here, wants you all to know that it doesn't go unnoticed.
Ant Bostock: [joking] Can we have the week off then?
Terry Braggables: Fuck o- Oh, yeah, very funny.
Brad: John Hoggart hits him over the head with a sweaty sock.
Terry Braggables: Right, drinky and ch....inese is on me boys, and if you get shitfaced you can come in later tomorrow!
Brad: There is general excitement as the bottles are passed around and corks start whizzing through the air. But suddenly Dmitri Duval stands up and sprays a mouthful of champagne across the room.
Duval: Zut alors!
Terry Braggables: Qu'est-ce que c'est?
Duval: Zis is deesgusting! 'Ow am I supposed to drink zis English rubbish? It 'as all zis poudre in it!
Brad: You grab the bottle and look. Sure enough, there is a layer of white sediment lying at the bottom.
Fitzgerald: [moaning weakly] I feel funny, boss.
Terry Braggables: Oh...bollocks...
McSpindle: Fuck! This champagne has been laced with tranquilisers!
Terry Braggables: Stop drinking, everyone!
Brad: Bostock, Parker and Leslie have all had a few mouthfuls too many and are considered "injured" and may be unable to play on Saturday. First Danny, now someone is trying to take out your entire squad.
You resolve to try and get to the bottom of this without delay.
Words: Brad Harmer
You can become Brad's "friend" on Facebook, or you can "follow" him on Twitter. Depends how creepy you want to sound really.


Destiny does not share its secrets...

Plymouth, England, as the 19th century draws to a close...

After a strange aristocrat dies and his body goes missing, a series of gruesome murders shake a small town. Rumours of a supernatural monster abound, and this latest atrocity has the entire town shaking in fear. The local police are beside themselves and have made no headway in solving these crimes.

Does evil ever die?

Detective Briscol, a man of logic and principle, and Timoth Moor, a petty thief, become unlikely partners in solving the grisly murders. Alternating between these roles, players will investigate the strange events and gradulayy reveal a dark secret. After all, when evil has more than one face, you need more than one perspective...

Thanks to our friends at Iceberg Interactive, we've got two copies of Alter Ego on PC give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to before midday on Sunday 22nd May, making sure to put "Alter Ego" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Alter Ego" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Alter Egois available from Friday 20th May, priced £19.99.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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