Sunday, 20 November 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 Joe Dever gamebook Freeway Warrior II: Mountain Run. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Brag Phoenix.

Catch up with previous Dickass DM installments here!
Brad: Then another sign appears on the road ahead, pointing to a winding dirt track that leads away to the left.
It reads:
TO THE CAVERNS OF SONORA
Brad: You are desperate to avoid the machine-gunning biker and so decide to take the track.
Brag: Sounds fucking cheerful!
Brad: At least its winding course will give him less opportunity to riddle the trunk with bullets. The track leads to a cluster of log cabins and adobe huts that look as if they have only recently been constructed.
MCSPINDLE: Have you got an Adobe joke ready?
Brag: I always have an Adobe joke ready. In fact, I'm the Premiere Adobe joke teller.
Kate: Wow.
MCSPINDLE: Yeah, that wasn't very good.
Brag: Flash in the pan?
Kate: ...
MCSPINDLE: ...
Brag: Wow, the Air is tense...
Kate: Stop now.

Brad: Nearby, erected
MCSPINDLE: Wa-hey!
Brad: around the entrance to a cave, you see a palisade and, standing at the gate in this wall of logs, you notice a large group of men, women and children. They are dressed in animal skins, and their faces and hair are dyed with bright colours.
Brag: I'm feeling a little Lord of the Flies...
MCSPINDLE: That's the lamest one yet!
Brag: That wasn't Adobe-related!
Brad: At your approach they scurry inside the gate and take cover behind their log wall. The instant you bring The BragWagon to a halt you smellthe strong, oily aroma of gasolene. With trepidation you inspect the bullet-riddled trunk and discover, to your horror, that gasolene is gushing from the spare fuel containers.
MCSPINDLE: Is it bad?
Brag: Oops, they shot your balls.
Brad: They are so badly holed that an attempt at repairing them would be futile.
MCSPINDLE: Oh...they can be repaired, right?
Brag: Uh...sure...
Brad: The road of your pursuer's motorcycle is growing louder, and Kate urges you to abandon the BragWagon and take cover with the others behind the wall of logs.
MCSPINDLE: OH, FUCK YOU, TOO!
Brag: Yep, he can fend for himself! After all, he's a eunuch. What's he got to lose?
MCSPINDLE: You can't leave me...I'm..er...um...Your father?
Brag: Ball-less. Hey, I call a spayed a spayed.

Brad: You run towards the gate, but as you get nearer, a man steps forward to block your access. He is holding a loaded bow. A flint-tipped arrow is drawn taught to his lips and he is pointing it at your chest.
Rob: A "loaded bow"? Surely you mean a bow and arrow?
Brad: Yeah, I suppose. Unless it's a box magazine, I guess.
The man stares at you with fear in his eyes.
Brag: Fear me, me come from strange outside land in broom broom eunuch.
Brad: He is on the brink of releasing the bow string when your pursuer comes roaring up the track, closely followed by the other Angelino scouts. You scream a warning to Kate and throw yourself down as a double burst of machine gun fire strafes the palisade.
Brag: You little shits sold me out! No secrets of fire for you!
Brad: The bullets pass over your head and hit the archer in the chest, dropping him in a tangled heap on the threshold of the gateway. You spring to your feet and rush forward to help Kate drag his body away so that the gate can be closed. The other members of the settlement come to your aid, and once the gate is secure, they point to the cave mouth and urge you to enter. You do not want to abandon The BragWagon to the Angelinos, but to stay here and attempt to fight would be suicidal. Reluctantly you leave the gate and follow them into the cave.
MCSPINDLE: YOU CAN REALLY GO OFF A PERSON, YOU KNOW!
Brag: Hey, you've coped without me before. Besides, aren't you always saying that I'm holding you back?
MCSPINDLE: METAPHORICALLY!
Brag: Well, we'll see how you do solo, yeah? First challenge - you have to learn to drive!

Brad: Kate grips your hand tightly as you descend with a group of the cave people into the depths of the Sonora caverns. An astounding speleological feast greets your eyes as you follow them through a series of monumentous caves that have been eroded over millions of years by subterranean rivers and streams. The group stops frequently at specially prepared defensive hides, which are virtually impossible to see. One or two of their number, armed with rocks, spears and slings, occupy each of these positions. At once you see that it is their intention to lure the clansmen into the caverns and fight them here, where, despite their lack of firearms, the odds are in their favour.
Soon the sound of gun fire begins to penetrate the caverns, announcing the arrival of the clansmen.
Brag: You could just shout out!
Brad: You stop with Kate and crouch behind a clump of stalagmits, while the three remaining cave people arm themselves with rocks and take up a position on a ledge directly above a narrow defile. For several minutes theh sound of gun fire and the screams of the wounded fill the caves with clamouring echoes. Then two of the Angelinos appear at the entrance to the defile and come running towards you.
Brag: What have you come to defile...oh wait...
Brad: The cave people hurl their rocks and bring an Angelino crashing to the ground with a broken skull, but his partner avenges his death by sweeping them from the ledge with one long burst of automatic fire.
Rob: I use my pistol! I've seen one too many Bond movies I guess, but I probably will never use that rifle.
Brad: Does Bond hate rifles, or something?
The gun fire stops and you hear the unmistakeable sound of the Angelino reloading his machine pistol. Finally, he draws back its firing bolt and stars walking slowly towards your position. Your pulse is racing as you wait for the optimum moment to launch your ambush. The clansman's footsteps seem unberably loud by still you hesitate.
He stops and instinctively you spring to your feet...aim and fire.

Brag: Surprise, bitch!
Brad: Your ambush catches the clansman by surprise. But your aim is poor, and although your gun fire wings him and makes him cry out in pain, it does not prevent him from returning a burst of fire at your position.
MCSPINDLE: You suck!
Brag: How's that solitude treating you?!
MCSPINDLE: You're never alone with a CB radio and a dickhead to heckle.
Brad: The clansman's bullets whistle within inches of your head, and tear chunks of mineral from the stalagmites behind which you have dived. Razor-sharp splinters pepper your face and you skin your hands as you land heavily on the jadded, unyielding stone floor. Moments later the gunfire ceases and you hear the clansman utter an agonised scream.
Brag: Argh, motherfucker! I just had this face cleaned!
Brad: You lift your head in time to see him staggering slowly towards you, his eyes wide with pain as he works his hands frantically behind his back as if he were trying to clutch at something. Then his body stiffens, and, as he falls to the floor, you see what it was that he was trying to desperately to clasp. It is the spear-like tip of a broken stalactite, hurled from the ledge above the defile by a mortally wounded caveman in a last desperate act of defiance.
MCSPINDLE: Bit fucking convenient, if you ask me.
Brag: Hah! Ended by your own savages!

Brad: Kate moves forward to check that the clansman is dead and to search his body. She keeps what she needs: his machine pistol, a quantity of ammunition and his water canteen, and offers the rest of his possessions to you:
One Meal
One Medi-kit
+2 Flick KNife
Compass
Binoculars
Rob: Right...I take the med kit and use it immediately. I take the meal and leave the rest.
Brad: As soon as you are ready you retrace your way along the defile and return to the surface. When you emerge from the caverns you are astounded to see that the Angelinos have been completely overwhelmed by this colony of cave dwellers.
Brag: Wow, where were you on the Island of the Lizard King?
Brad: The few clansmen to have survived the ambush have been trussed up like turkeys and are being guarded by a circle of spear-wielding women. The rest of the colony are so busy stripping and searching the bodies of those they have killed that they fail to notice you and Kate, as you leave the entrance quietly and make your way back to The BragWagon.
MCSPINDLE: *cough* I'm dying, Brag...
Brag: Bullshit.
MCSPINDLE: If you see Cutter, tell him I said...*wheeze*...'Grammar Fail'.
Brag: Wait, are you fucking serious?!
Brad: You inspect the damage.
Brag: Please be Spark Plugs...
MCSPINDLE: Tell your sister...you were right...
Brag: My sister is a pile of nuclear fallout. You know that!

Brad: Your fears are confirmed: you no longer have sufficient fuel to reach Kent. You syphon the tanks of the clansmen's bikes, and save what you can from the bottom of the two perforated fuel cannisters, but you estimate that in total you have only enough to take you 120 miles. As you are leaving, you notice that the cave people are preparing a funeral pyre for those who were killed in the fighting. It strikes you as a very sensible and civilised way to dispose of the dead, and makes you think that perhaps your suspeicions about these people were groundless after all. Your illusions about the cave people are soon shattered, however, when Kate points out that they are not burning the dead at all: they are cooking them.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Words: Brad Harmer & Robert Wade
Brad Harmer: Facebook Twitter
Rob Wade: Twitter
This is intended as a loving tribute to Joe Dever, the Freeway Warrior series, Slaughter Mountain Run/Mountain Run, and all other gamebooks of yesteryear.

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