Friday 29 November 2013

Dickass DM - The Next Generation! - Under The Wire: Part 5

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 gamebook Under The Wire. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Alistair Braggart.

Catch up with The Story So Far

When last we left our intrepid hero, Braggart had just been introduced to some French prisoner, when he sees a tunnel in the works...

EUGENE LANGE: "As you can see, we are quite busy. Please, move away from here."
Brad: Reluctantly, you do so. You wander off towards your own part of the camp, and spend the rest of the day reading. Pronounced Mun-going. After Appel, you feel rather tired, despite having done very little today, and you go to bed early. At about 3:00am, you awake to the sound of sirens blaring. For a moment, you almost believe that you are back in London, listening to an air-raid warning. You start to panic, remembering that the camp has no air-raid shelters.
MAN IN THE NEXT BUNK: [clambering down] "Someone's trying to escape..."
  1. Stay in your own bunk and ignore the excitement
  2. Get up and have a look outside
Rob : Get up and have a look outside. Any chance to ogle an escapee, to be honest.
Brad: You peer through one of the windows and see a man in civilian clothes running towards your hut. Reacting instinctively, you open the window and beckon urgently to him. He looks frantically around before veering towards you and vaulting head-first through the window.
BRAGGART: "I was only going to show you these new curtains."
Brad: The man is a Belgian and wearing very good imitation civilian clothes. He speaks little English, but is obviously grateful for your help.
Rob : How does one communicate that without language, do you think?
Brad: You manage to understand that his escape attempt went wrong when he nearly blundered into a dog-patrol several huts away. He panicked and ran, but does not think that anyone had actually seen him until a searchlight caught him in its beam for a second. He managed to evade it and is fairly sure that the Germans did not see him enter your hut by the window.

Rob : And you say he doesn't speak much English? I mean, just the term 'dog patrol' is complex enough conceptually.
Brad: Apparently.
Rob : I'm not even convinced *I* understand it.
Brad: La chien de la routine
Rob : Isn't that just a dog who's stuck in a rut? A pug that lives for the weekend? A schnauzer who doesn't do enough for just himself?
Brad: The following day, your visitor manages to merge with the other men in your hut as they leave for Appel and is able to rejoin his own comrades without being spotted.
Rob : Wait, so his hiding place is 'back where he was'? Fool-proof.
Brad: Later on in the morning he reappears and, with a big smile, he takes you to meet the camp Escape Committee.
Rob : Sorry, Fuhlpruhf.
Brad: They seem suitably impressed by your quick thinking of the night before, and offer to co-opt you on to the committee. You may choose in which area you would like to work.

  1. Tunnelling
  2. Escape over or through the wire
  3. Methods of bluffing your way through the gates
Rob : CATERING! God, if I had a quid for every time I've wanted to be responsible for catering in a prison of war....Oh. Well, in the absence of that...tunnelling it is!
Brad: You are introduced to Frank "Mole" Moseby, "The Tunnel King", a jovial Yorkshireman in his late thirties.
Rob : The Tunnel King? And his name is Mole?
Brad: I think it's one of those shitty nicknames.
Rob : You reckon? I thought maybe he was big on that diary fellow. Or had a skin blemish.
Brad: Like when you see someone who has a nickname in a film credits, and you just KNOW they're the only ones who call themselves by that name. "C'mon me 'Crash'!"
Rob: "I will literally give you a tenner to just call me 'Tex-Mex' once."
"MOLE" MOSEBY: "I'm a hard taskmaster, Mr Braggart. Do your bit, though, and I'll see you right."
Brad: He details you to start shift work in the current tunnel.
BRAGGART: "Oh please, call me Mongoose. Since we're going fucking batshit with these..."

Brad: The tunnel leaves from the store hut by the kitchen and runs due west, hopefully to the tree line beyond the cleared ground outside the camp. You soon settle into a daily routine of digging for shifts of two hours each. By the third week, you have grown used to the claustrophobic conditions in the tunnel. Digging at the face one morning, you remove a large rock which is blocking your way but, as you so, the roof of the tunnel caves in.
Rob : Better that than the poor bastards trapped when the cave of the tunnel roofed in.
Brad: Frantically, you begin to worm your way backwards.
Rob : *Mongoose
Brad: IT seems like hours rather than seconds before you feel hands tugging at your legs.
Rob : Having worked in IT, I can confirm this is how it feels.
Brad: The panicked scrabbling of your body turns presently into a smooth slide backwards, and you emerge, choking and spluttering, into the musty air of the remnants of the tunnel. The tunnel has been set back by at least a week - maybe more.
BRAGGART: "Bollocks."

Brad: After your accident, you are given the less hazardous task of a "Stoolie" - a lookout.
Rob : I thought there would be poo involved from that name.
Brad: Several days later, you are on duty outside the storeroom, casually leaning up againt the wall, when you see three guards purposefully striding to wards you.

  1. Create a diversion
  2. Rush into the storeroom and warn those below
Rob : I create a diversion. Most likely getting my dick out.
Brad: Desperately, you come up with a plan. As the Germans approach, you pretend to cower away in fear.
Rob : With my dick out.
Brad: Crouching on the ground and wrapping your arms over your head, you pretend that you have finally gone over the edge - "Wire Happy" they call it in the camp. Despite your act, the Goons know something is up.
Rob : Is that what's referred to as a Section 8?
Brad: Ignoring your act, one holds you at gun point while the other two head straight for the hut. You hear muffled raised voices. Minutes later, three grimy figures emerge under arrest.
BRAGGART: "Three? I only remember seeing two...Are you smuggling people IN?! WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU IN CHARGE?!"
Brad: You and your comrades are given a month in the cooler, and the tunnel is filled in.
Rob : Also, obligatory Mr Freeze joke for the "cooler" reference.

Brad: As far as "Doing the Complete Opposite of the Brief", this escapee is heading the same way as the Silver Braggart.
Rob : Hey, for all we knew, that small child was Hitler. Or was having a heart murmur fixed by electrical stimulation.
Brad: Sitting in solitary confinement, you have plenty of time to think.
BRAGGART: "I need to buy a boat."
Brad: How could the Goons have known about the tunnel? Someone in the camp must have informed.
BRAGGART: "A boat wouldn't *need* a tunnel..."
Brad: During the brief exercise periods, you discuss this with your fellow tunnellers and they agree. An inquiry will be held when you all get out.
Rob : An official one? Seems difficult to organise.

Brad: An official military enquiry is held upon your release. But to your amazement, the line of questioning seems to be aimed at pinning the blame on you. You are the least well-known of the team, and the most likely suspect.
Rob : Makes sense. Of Team E14, I'm most suspicious of Blake.
Brad: Your reasoned arguments and obvious honesty seem to make an impression upon the senior officers.
BELGIAN PRISONER: "But if Braggart did not inform the Goons, then who did?"
Rob : That was confusing. For a second there, I thought I was engaging the prison guards in philosophical debates.
Brad: Suspicion now naturally falls upon the other recent arrivals and the camp, and the officers question you searchingly about them. You tell what little you know, but cannot think that it will help very much.
BRAGGART: "I've mostly been looking at their asses. I'll be honest, I wonder if being cooped up with all these men is having an effect on me. Dahhhling."

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