Wednesday 31 December 2014

E14 Presents: The Crazy Train! Episode 28 - "Four! One! Me!"

On iTunes
The Crazy Train Page on E14

Swedish Chef? Public transport weirdness? Mailbag questions? Rob exploding? It can only be The Crazy Train!

Starring: Blake Harmer, Omer Ibrahim, Rob Wade
Main site: Http://
Facebook: Http://
Twitter: @emotionally14

On a personal note, we'd like to say thanks to everyone who has supported E14 in 2014, whether it's by subscribing to the podcast, just downloading the odd episode or reading some of our written stuff. We're very grateful for your support, and we do it because it's so much fun for us as well!

Look forward to us continuing to entertain you as much as possible in 2015 - We'd love to hear your feedback on how we can best do that too. Get involved, talk to us by email ( still works), listen to the podcasts, comment on the posts - We're grateful for any and all feedback, as long as it's constructive.

Thanks again!
Rob W

Monday 22 December 2014

E14 Presents - The Gamecast! Episode 5 - Blake and Rob's Best of 2014 (As Of October)...

After a short hiatus, Blake and Rob come together to bring you the favourite games they'd played at the time of recording. The stuff you'd probably expect makes an appearance, but we like to think there's a few others in there which are off the beaten path.

Starring: Blake Harmer, Rob Wade

We'd love to get your thoughts on the games we talk about!

Subscribe on iTunes
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Listen to the show

Friday 21 November 2014

E14 Presents: The Crazy Train! Episode 27 - "Like This Dog? How About...Racism?"

On iTunes
The Crazy Train Page on E14

In this episode, we talk a bit about Rob's trip to a casino, and Omer dons his tinfoil hat for the purposes of answering questions from the E14 mailbag!

Starring: Blake Harmer, Omer Ibrahim, Rob Wade
Main site: Http://
Facebook: Http://
Twitter: @emotionally14

Monday 10 November 2014

E14 Presents - The Gamecast! Episode 4 - Emotionally14 Hits Eurogamer!

This time round on the Gamecast, Blake and Rob hit the hallowed halls of the EGX 2014 spectacular! Here are some thoughts that they had, expressed in audio form!

Starring: Blake Harmer, Rob Wade

We'd love to get your thoughts on the games we talk about!

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Friday 31 October 2014

Halloween Special: E14 Presents - An Exclusive Short Story By A.J. Waters - The Dread

Before today's post begins officially, please enjoy a brief word from our Editor:

Wow, it's been a fair while since I've put anything up on here, hasn't it? I can only apologise profusely if you've felt put out by that. Life has got in the way of a lot of recording sessions, and so the podcasts have been sparse. However, I can say for sure that there are a few little bits and pieces in the pipeline that should give E14 fans plenty to be happy about. Whether it's Youtube, iTunes or E14 in general, rest assured it hasn't escaped my mind. With that in mind, I thought it best to do something cool for Halloween, as we've always tried to do something good for that. Who better, then, to contribute to our humble blog than recently published author and friend of E14 A.J. Waters?

Nobody, in our opinion, hence the publication of today's exclusive short story, simply titled "The Dread". Enjoy! Well, I say enjoy...

I can hear her, you know. Even as I write this in my study, I can hear her. Her feet drag aimlessly above me as she stumbles from room to room. Though I hear her every night, I am as fearful as I were the first time. Of course, that was seven years and four homes ago. I remember when I first moved home to escape her dreadful clutches. So happy was I to be finally rid of that foul demoiselle and the torment that accompanied her; I felt like a new man. Wrapped up warm in my bed wearing nothing but a smile, I truly believed that I could dream easy. How foolish of me to even yearn for such a thing.

I lay there on the brink of sleep when I heard a commotion coming from down the stairs. That harrowing limp of hers. Those offbeat steps and the sobbing have replaced all frightful monsters within my nightmares.

"Where is my baby?" she moans.

Her voice echoes in multiple tones, each as ghastly as the last. She walks around the entire house, asking the same thing over and over. Some nights she won’t say anything at all; some nights, she just walks. Some nights as I lay on my side, I hear her standing behind me at my bedside, staring down at me as I pretend to sleep. I dare not answer her. Not again. I have done that only once and I will not be so thick-headed to do so again. It was in my home before this that I made such a grave misconception. I was in the foyer after a night at the local pub, where I was trying to find the courage to enter my own home at the bottom of a bottle, and I saw her. For the first time, I saw her.

She looked awful; her skin was darkened, as though replaced with crude clay of sorts, and it hung loosely from her bones. Her white, yet somehow dark hair floated round her head like ink submersed in water. Her dress was filthy beyond repair and her limbs resembled twigs; she was so morbidly thin. Her eyes were like pearls with minute black dots in the center, staring down at me from atop the landing.

"Where is my baby?" She said to me, her head cocked to one side.

I was terrified beyond belief, as I always am, but for once I was more than that. I was angry, nay, furious.

"I don’t know where your cursed baby is, you witch!" I yelled, stamping my feet.

With that, her eyes and mouth widened and she pointed at me with her long, dreadful finger.

"You have my baby!" she screamed.

With that, she took to all fours and crawled with a dog-like speed. Her long limbs arched like a foul spider, screaming as she shot across the landing and down the stairs towards me like a feral beast. That was the last night I spent in that house.

I can hear her now. She’s coming down the stairs.

Last night I finally had enough. This is why I write this for whoever finds it. After I have finished this letter I will take my own life, using my old service revolver; it was the only sure way I could conjure up. I was lying in my bed, waiting. Sometimes, that’s the part I dread the most. The waiting. And there, alone in the darkness, stalked by shadows, I lay in fear. I cannot leave a candle burning in fear of seeing her, but not knowing whether she is there or not is a torment in its own right. The eiderdown tucked almost completely over my head, with nothing more than a small hole through which to breathe, I lay shivering and on the edge of tears when I suddenly heard her. It had to be her.


My first thought was that it was coming from the room directly beneath me. Scratching away as she clambered around on all fours like an animal. She did that sometimes. I prayed that she would remain downstairs, prowling the ground floor in hopes that I was having another late night as I normally would.

That’s when I felt it. The scratching. Vibrations hummed through my bed with every horrid scratch from her long, brittle nails. She wasn’t downstairs at all. She was under the bed. Then came the ghostly sobbing.

"Where is my baby?"

I wanted to die there and then. I cursed my strong heart for continuing its constant labour. I knew that if I ran, she would chase me. But at least I knew that. Lying there helpless like a wounded animal, waiting for that ice cold touch of suffering and the unknowing of forthcoming events, had left a foreboding sense of dread upon my very soul.

"Where is my baby?" she said again, only it did not come from beneath me, but behind me.

I knew at that point that she was stood next to my bed, looking down on me; she knew I was there. Over and over she sobbed, moaned and cried. Asking again and again the whereabouts of her kin. I am not too proud to admit that I cried last night in my bed, as I do all nights. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I have any tears left to shed. Enough is enough.

Even as I write this now, I know exactly of her whereabouts. She is stood in the doorway behind me. I can feel her ice cold stare. Even now, she is asking of her child.

I must leave you now. I can hear her voice getting more agitated as I ignore her. Farewell, my friend. And Godspeed.

Doctor Edgar Flynn

There you have it, folks! If you like the cut of Mr Waters' gib, you can find his works at the links below. E14 encourages you to give his stuff a go!

Amazon Author Page
Official Facebook Page

Monday 8 September 2014

E14 Presents: The Crazy Train! Episode 26 - Jacques Cousteau's African Lovechild!

On iTunes
The Crazy Train Page on E14

In this episode:

  • We discuss party etiquette.
  • Rob has another dream.
  • Omer talks about a date he went on back in the single days.
  • Omer gets Omer'd.
  • Wrestling puns from the most unlikely place.
  • Spike comes out of his shell.
  • Omer puts on Spike's hat.
  • We get a listener question.
  • Spike interrupts to expose Crouch as a bad man.
  • We get sent a link to some Dinosaur Erotica.
  • Rob reads some.
  • We field another question from the mailbag.
  • Rob tells of the contents of the Trash Wizard's window.
  • We field another question from the mailbag.
  • We end on a positive note.

Starring: Blake Harmer, Omer Ibrahim, Sour Crouch, Spike Direction, Rob Wade
Main site: Http://
Facebook: Http://
Twitter: @emotionally14

Monday 18 August 2014

E14 Presents: The Crazy Train! Episode 25 - Lick And Subscribe!

On iTunes
The Crazy Train Page on E14

In this episode:

  • We talk a little about our hiatus (That's right, another one).
  • We talk loyalty.
  • We talk Spike's Change Of Direction.
  • We talk Spike's leaving do.
  • Spike talks about his new job.
  • Rob tells a terrible joke (deliberately, this time).
  • Rob unveils...The E14 mailbag.
  • Our first question is...
  • We talk about Fun House.
  • We talk bidets.
  • Crouch talks about his farts.
  • Rob talks about a recent pub quiz.
  • Spike talks about poaching the cast for his new show.
  • We enthuse about Brian Blessed.
  • Rob talks about a recent embarrassing event.
  • Omer talks about various falls.
  • Spike talks coach crashes.
  • We devolve into all sort of craziness. #Craazyy.

Starring: Blake Harmer, Omer Ibrahim, Sour Crouch, Spike Direction, Rob Wade
Main site: Http://
Facebook: Http://
Twitter: @emotionally14

Friday 15 August 2014

The Crazy Train: Off The Rails - LEGO MINIFIGURES!

You've been asking about it for a while, but today we can officially and excitedly unveil E14's first foray into the video realm on its own YouTube channel. Behold, and marvel at our real faces!

Episode 25 of The Crazy Train (which should be coming Monday, all being well) was about to be recorded, and Rob decided that to celebrate the year-long status of the show, as well as a fantastic month for downloads already, a gift for the cast members who made it all possible was in order.

Let us know what you think of the video in the comments below (either here or on the video) and keep it tuned to E14's Youtube page for more from the team, including some of the highlights from our flagship podcast, The Crazy Train!

Friday 25 July 2014

Sour Crouch's Super Fantastic Indie Horror Roundup Super Slam...Thing - One Late Night


Today, children, we'll be talking about a game that is masterful in its shittening. That is to say, it'll put hairs on your chest and subsequently rip them off in a shameful rampage that'd put Barry Scott from those Cillit Bang adverts to shame. The sheer terror induced by this gem is proportional to how much you fap over cosplayers (of which many are available) and Yankee candles (Man, those smell good).

The game in question...Oh yes...Is One Late Night.

I don't know whether it's my aversion to any real work or due to playing this that I'll never consider working in an office. Going by my reaction to playing One Late Night, I think I'll go with the latter because it sounds better, and I don't know who's reading this. I mean, when I go for "Best Alternative Male Model...In An Office" I don't want this biting me in the arse.

So, some background. One Late Night is a freeware horror "experience" built in the Unity engine by Black Curtain Studio. There now follows a premise.

You're in that crunch period. You know - everyone is working overtime to ship Tits, Tits, Tits and the Common Macaw, the latest and easily most hotly anticipated review on Blue Tits and the common wild birds since Cocks and Roosters - The Phrenology of Male Birds. You've just got a few bits to finalise, so you've locked yourself in your office as your co-workers slowly siphon off, and with each buddy out of the door the loneliness of the office grows. It starts to storm. Time passes and soon your loneliness becomes rather apparent.

That in itself would be enough to "nope" me straight out of there. There's more though. The kicker here is that your haunted. See, In no way is this deliberately set up to be the perfect environment to scare the shit out of you. Nope, not deliberate at all.

Yeah right.

So that is the set up for One Late Night. Office, "Ghost Bitch", storm, scary. Standard. First off, it's time for some deserving praise.

Straight from the off, you will realise that this is a simple beast. WASD and your mouse control your character. You can't shoot, you can't talk and you can't sprint your way through this one. All you've guessed it, is a flashlight! At least, you have one once you find it! So you're left with the horrifying task of exploring the goings on and ultimately escape the she-ghost haunting you.

The thing that One Late Night does so well is force you to empathise with the player character. It immediately gets you caring about getting your dude out of the building. The first of the very obvious, but in no way misused, devices to anchor you to your character is the first "scene", which takes the form of a text message from your partner Linda:

"Okay, I'll see you soon"
Followed by:
"Hey, Sorry, but I will be later than expected, Not sure when but I'll call you on the way home"

We've all been this person whose infuriating workload causes havoc with plans. We immediately feel for this guy. We want him to go home, get to Linda and give her a hug, a smack on the arse and 2-3 minutes of undulation. But he's stuck at his desk. And that's when shit gets trippy. I don't want to write anything about what happens in the game because to spoil it for you would rid the game of any impact, you've got to go in dry. In doing this you may get a little stuck and frustrated, but there are plenty of walkthroughs/playthroughs on Youtube to help if you've chosen to live your life that way.

Now, I must discuss the beginning of the game. More specifically, I must discuss the office room you spawn in - your office. Again, another device used to get you on side with your character's goal of escape. The first thing you'll notice is the attention to detail in the environments. It's not an overly packed-out office and there's no cliché "picture of wife and dog" sitting on the desk but it feels very "lived in".

Almost as soon as you've left your room, things go a little...amiss. One part in particular involves a conference room and a red balloon, and shittening begins. In some sequences, "Ghost Bitch" appears for a split second before disappearing, only for the radio in your office to start bellowing out quite simply the scariest few notes in game music history. This tune had me hiding in every room, under every desk, half because I didn't understand the game rules as to when "Ghost Bitch" appears, which only added to the terror.

The sound design on this game is fantastic, the audio quality is top-notch and really gets you immersed in the minutiae of office life. It draws you in, from the random clashes of thunder to the printer/scanner machine thingamajig springing to life. All things, even the silence, serve to draw you in so that when "Ghost Bitch" does come around you're usually so entranced in the game that the shitquake it causes in you is so immense you'll probably need some form of surgery to fix the damage.

So, with that, I heartily recommend this game. It's free, it's well-made and it's definitely one of the scarier indie horrors out there. Also, I hear there's a sequel in development, One Late Night: Deadline, which I will be eagerly awaiting (which you can find out more about here

Do me a favour though, play this in a dark room with a few friends that have a sense of humour.

This has been Sour Crouch.

"Ghost Bitch".

Monday 14 July 2014

E14 Interviews....A.J. Waters

Today, E14 celebrates its creative friends. As we've not done an interview in some time, we thought it high time we catch up with one of our site's friends, recently published author A.J. Waters.

The first science fiction novella by A.J. Waters, Olympus A.D., is a fast-paced, futuristic, science-fiction action romp. Jack Tatton is a hitman whose world begins to crash around him after a job goes terribly wrong. Now he must go to the gang-ridden city of Olympus to find both answers and revenge.

Having recently published his first novella Olympus A.D, thankfully Aaron was all too happy to talk to E14's Rob Wade. Behold the fruits of their conversation!

E14: Hi Aaron, thanks for doing this interview. First things first, the world of Olympus seems to be one that has a lot of room for expansion. Did you always set out to build a world within which you could tell multiple stories, or was it a more gradual thing?

AJW: The great thing about making your own fictional world is that you literally are the architect! Absolutely anything can happen in/outside the box. So when my mind designed what I like to call the Protox Universe, I absolutely intended to have more than just the two cities of Olympus and Princeton Falls. So yes, I have left plenty of room for a lot more stories, as this is just the beginning of a series of three or maybe even four tales.

E14: We've seen a glimpse into your post-apocalyptic world through Olympus AD. How similar is the Protox Universe to your vision of what the future holds?

AJW: Well, that's the thing! I think the world would love to go in the direction of Princeton Falls. A civil, civilised, civilian...civilisation where everything is either at the flick of a switch or can be voice-commanded. However, there will always be parts of the world that are living in the shadows of criminals in a third-world state, with savage man-eating desert monsters. So really, it's not that far-fetched of an idea, is it?

E14: What's one piece of tech you'd absolutely love to see arrive in the modern world?

AJW: A single lens that goes over your eye that has a locking-on device so you can laser blast flies out of the air when you're trying to watch telly.

E14: When was the first time you said to yourself "I want to be a writer"?

AJW: I've always wanted to write. Ever since primary school, my favourite lesson was "write a story". I used to love it. Most kids just filled up one side of an A5 piece of paper and they'd get a gold star (because let's face it, most kids are morons). I, however, used to fill both sides of three or four A4 sheets sometimes (although admittedly as a kid, my handwriting was massive).

Most of the kids there just wrote about stupid shit, like unicorns and talking dogs and that adventure they took that one weekend to Brighton with their really affectionate uncle (bit weird, looking back at it...). I liked horror! I loved ghost stories, goblins and monsters! Then at the end of class we had to read out our stories in front of everyone (after the teacher checked them first). I wasn't allowed to read mine as it was "too scary for the other children." . . . bitch.

E14: Do you tend to read other writers' work while writing?

AJW: Absolutely! You have to, man. To me, it would be like me saying "I want to be a professional gourmet chef, but I'm not going to try anyone else's food/restaurants until that happens."

E14: Is there ever a worry that you might unwittingly adopt some element of the story in your ongoing work?

AJW: The worry is always there, but as long as you keep true to your craft and keep looking back and being careful, you should be okay.

E14: Does reading others' work ever make you look at your own work differently? Have you ever been inspired to make a change (either positive or negative) by a book you were reading at the time?

AJW: All the time. Definitely. And when that happens it's always welcome. Especially when it comes to character traits too. I wanted to make one of my newer characters more appealing to the reader by having them get to know him a little bit more, so perhaps they could care/worry about him, because that's what drags people in. So I find the odd anecdote about his youth from time to time is good (when it's relevant), but also little things like (for example) '"Oh well, onwards and upwards!" as his mother used to say when he was a lad' can be useful too. It just makes you know that little extra about him. So at least now, knowing that, you can't call him a stranger. So whenever I find things like this, It's always inspiring.

E14: You went down the self-publishing route for your first novel. What is the piece of advice you'd consider most useful for those thinking of going down the same path?

AJW: Don't rely on authors who *aren't* self-published. 90% of them are high & mighty pretentious wankers who think their shit doesn't stink and have forgotten that *they* were once a budding first-time author. Get in touch with other self-publishers on Facebook, Twitter, Gmail groups, web forums, even magazines if need be, and just promote the shit out of them! If you're promoting 20 authors, then ideally you'll have 20 authors promoting *you!* Now how's that for a slice of fried penis, me ol' mucker?

E14: Any especially good groups you can recommend?

AJW: Certainly! On Facebook, there's the "Indie Author Promotion Page", "Short Fiction Writers & Readers", "Kindle Publishers", "MARSocial Authors Business Enhancement" and "Sci-Fi Fantasy and Book Lovers". All good ones!

E14: What's one single book you consider 'required reading' for those interested in knowing more of your influences?

AJW: Tough one, but probably something from the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

E14: Ooh, I like that one too. What is it that appeals to you so much about that series?

AJW: To be honest, I just love how anything can happen and anything *could* happen! You expect the unexpected with so many different extraordinary races, weapons, quests, villains, anything! Languages, sceneries, the lot! But, if we are talking "What one book would I choose to have above any other?", then that would be "The Lord of the Rings". I was introduced to that book at a very, very young age, and have been in love with it ever since. I have read it more times than I can count and every time still seems like the first. And how that book has so many layers and such a vast existence inside those 1300 pages, plus the appendix, to me, is so inspiring. It really shows that the only limit is your imagination.

I also recommend you check out "The Bumper Book of Bunny Suicides" as well. Fuckin' right laugh, bruv.

E14: And finally, any hints on your next non-Protox project?

AJW: Well, I am writing a book of short horror stories, but that'll be a long old while yet, son. Mainly I'm focusing on the sequel, "Olympus Reborn" at the minute. So expect plenty more horrific deaths, colourful language and substance abuse. Hell, there's even sex scenes in this one!

E14: Well, if you needed any more incentive to pick up the next one...

There you have it, folks! If you like the cut of Mr Waters' gib, you can find his book at the links below. I can say from experience that the world of Olympus makes for a cracking setting, and the man shows definite promise as an author. E14 encourages you to give his stuff a go!


Monday 30 June 2014

E14 Presents The Gamecast - Episode 3: The Best Of A Generation

So this episode is all about us waxing nostalgic for the games that shaped our fun over the last generation of consoles.

Franchises include:

  • Gears Of War
  • Alan Wake
  • Halo
  • Splinter Cell
  • Mass Effect
  • Fable
  • Dead Rising
  • Crackdown
  • Infamous
  • Heavy Rain
  • Beyond: Two Souls
  • Uncharted
  • The Last of Us
  • Demon's Souls
  • God of War
  • Killzone
  • Resistance
  • Half Life 2
  • Metal Gear
  • Bayonetta
  • Devil May Cry
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • Mario Kart
  • Sonic
  • Zak and Wiki
  • Mad World
  • Red Steel
  • Deus Ex
  • Dishonored
  • Portal
  • GTA
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • LA Noire
  • Fallout
  • Arkham Asylum etc
  • Dead Space
  • Diablo
  • Dragon Age
  • Bioshock
  • X-Com
  • Tomb Raider
  • Crysis
  • Far Cry
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • Dead Island
  • Eternal Sonata
  • Prince of Persia
  • Borderlands

Starring: Blake Harmer, Sour Crouch, Rob Wade

Think we've missed one? We'd love to get your thoughts on the games we talk about!

Subscribe on iTunes
Listen to the show

Friday 30 May 2014

E14 Presents: The Gamecast! Gamecast 2 - What Games Have You Been Playing?

So there's no real agenda to this Gamecast, we talk a bit about what we're playing.

This includes:

  • Titanfall
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • Half-Life 2
  • Some assorted mobile games
  • Doom 3: BFG Edition
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Pokemon X
  • Crystal Warriors
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • WWF: No Mercy
  • Nintendo 64

Starring: Blake Harmer, Omer Ibrahim, Rob Wade
Subscribe on iTunes: Listen to the show

Tuesday 13 May 2014

E14 Presents: The Crazy Train! Episode 24 - Thermistocles' Hot Love Explosion!

On iTunes
The Crazy Train Page on E14

In this episode:

  • The cast talk about Facebook Like whores.
  • Omer talks about Salute, the wargaming convention.
  • We talk about the new 300 movie.
  • We talk a bit of history.
  • We talk about Wrestlemania
  • We talk gambling
  • We talk about spoilers

Starring: Blake Harmer, Omer Ibrahim, Rob Wade

Friday 9 May 2014

Dickass DM - The Adventures Of Hercule Braggart: Trouble At The Track - Part 7

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 a classic Sherlock Holmes gamebook. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

When last we left our hero, Braggart was poised to interview a veterinarian (not the kind who fought in 'Nam). How will that go? I wonder...

Catch up with Part 1 Here
Catch up with Part 2 Here
Catch up with Part 3 Here
Catch up with Part 4 Here
Catch up with Part 5 Here
Catch up with Part 6 Here

Brad: Shall we make him the Viennese cake from the Halloween special?
Rob : Ask about the drug.
BRAGGART: "I hear you're a Viennese whirl. Do you know much about horse medicine? Only I received a bottle of Hastings Distillate of Opium the other day, and I'm worried my horse might explode. It's the kind of prank my mate does, he's a real prick."
Brad: You hand him the bottle and wait as he stares at it. Finally he begins to say something:
ANTHROPOMORPHIC CAKE: "I didn't know there was any of this left in the country...seeing as there was never much of it."
BRAGGART: "Hastings a bit of a hoarder?"
ANTHROPOMORPHIC CAKE: "Dr. Hastings was a good horse doctor who liked to experiment. He mixed this up as something to calm wild horses but died before he could decide how well it worked."
BRAGGART: "Do I have some with me then?"
ANTHROPOMORPHIC CAKE: "Only a few friends of his ever used it, and no-one ever found the formula. I'm very surprised to see it at a track, I can tell you. It's something you'd use back home at the farm."
BRAGGART: "Any idea who tested it?"
ANTHROPOMORPHIC CAKE: "I don't recall all the names. I believe most of them were Scots or Irish. Dr Hastings was a Scot himself and tended to people from his own part of the country."
BRAGGART: "Right..."
ANTHROPOMORPHIC CAKE: "The only one who runs horses down here was Lord Hampton."
BRAGGART: "Cheers."

Brad: Having gathered all the evidence you seem likely to get, you return home to await the arrival of Mr Holmes and Dr Watson. You turn your mind to useful reading of the sort Holmes recommends, hoping to avoid constantly rehashing the case, but night after night you still find this case a distraction. "Have I uncovered the pertinent information and interpreted it logically?" you wonder. It is a relief to receive a note from Mr Holmes, informing you of his return and asking you to come around to Baker Street and give him your solution. You waste no time going to see him. Watson and Colonel Stuart are with the detective when you arrive, the latter willing to explain some of the unusual elements of the case. Before requesting your solution, Holmes listens to Colonel Stuart, who has some other information to offer.
COL. STUART: "Yes, Mr Holmes, it's more clear than ever than Irish Star was drugged. Now that there has been time for it to wear off, the horse is back to his old energetic self."
BRAGGART: "I imagine the comedown was a bitch."
HOLMES: [to Braggart] "Did you discover what drug was used to slow Irish Star?"
BRAGGART: "Indeed. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you....Hasting's Distillate of Opium. Well, not literally give it to you. You'd get off your tits."
HOLMES: "Yes, I have heard of that. It would be an excellent method of slowing a horse, though Dr Hastings developed it for a much different use."
Brad: Colonel Stuart looks sharply at you.
BRAGGART: "Ouch! You almost cut me, you fucker."
COL. STUART: Why, Mr Holmes, that's remarkable!"
BRAGGART: "Sorry, am I here?"
WATSON: "Pfft. Get used to it."
COL. STUART: "That is just what the track veterinarian found when he examined Irish Star."
BRAGGART: "Did he find any gratitude for me under there?"

HOLMES: [turning to you] "Now, young man, suppose you tell us just how this deed came to happen, and who is responsible."
BRAGGART: "Mm. I thought you might ask for that."
Brad: You run through the case for your hero.
HOLMES: "A fine summation of the evidence...but get to the crux of the matter. Whom do you accuse of drugging Irish Star?"
BRAGGART: "The jockey. I shall give you my reasoning, gentlemen, for I believe it to be a much grander conspiracy than it may first appear."
Brad: Holmes looks astonished.
HOLMES: "How could you bring such a charge? Or think such a thing?"
BRAGGART: "I'm not prejudiced against short people, if that's what you're getting at."
HOLMES: "With the drug that was used, the horse must have been doped long before the jockey ever touched him."
BRAGGART: "Yes...that's true. I still think he was in on it, though."
HOLMES: "Irish Star was already showing the lethargy from it when he approached the starting line."
Brad: Holmes lights his pipe and settles back to explain the case.

HOLMES: "The evidence points to John Oliver, Colonel Stuart's groom, as the man who drugged Irish Star. He certainly would have had access to the horse at the right time for the drug to work, a fact that is true of few others."
BRAGGART: "There is that, but the jockey had a lot of money and seemed in good spirits at the bar, which struck me as odd."
HOLMES: "Oliver also predicted that Irish Star would run badly when everyone else around the track expected him to run well, and a groom, especially a poorly-paid one, would be an easy target for a generous bribe."
Brad: Colonel Stuart blushes at the mention of his financial woes.
BRAGGART: "All right then, smart-arse, so how did the jockey get the money?"
HOLMES: *stares*..."Of course, while knowing who drugged the horse is important, it is critical to prove who paid him to do the deed."
BRAGGART: "Ah, see now that I do have a better idea of."
HOLMES: "Oliver will likely have little chance to repeat this crime, but his master might strike again through some other agent. So, Braggart, who bribed John Oliver to drug Irish Star?"
BRAGGART: "Lord Hampton."

Brad: Holmes smiles.
HOLMES: "And how did you deduce that?"
BRAGGART: "Elementary."
HOLMES: "You must have evidence to bring so serious a charge against peer of the realm."
BRAGGART: "Lord Hampton was looking to expand his horsey collection, and had made Colonel Stuart an offer to purchase the horse before the race for 500 pounds. The fact that he offered a lower sum in advance of the terminus of the race led me to suspect that he knew that the horse would perform poorly, and that Colonel Stuart's hand may be forced through financial hardship. Add to that the fact that Lord Hampton was a colleague of the late Dr Hastings, who created the Distillation which caused all this bother, and it is not hard to imagine how he obtained the means."
HOLMES: "Very good."
BRAGGART: "Of course, Colonel, if you hadn't been so motherfucking poor, he couldn't have done this."
HOLMES: "His Lordship will be here himself in a few minutes. How shall we command justice from the villain?"
BRAGGART: "I suggest a double-dog dare. Or a game of 'I have never'."

Brad: The plans made, you are all seated and ready when Mrs Hudson introduces Lord Hampton. The peer looks dapper and distinguished as ever.
LORD HAMPTON: [eagerly] "Your invitation, Mr Holmes, indicated that you would help to settle the matter of my purchase of Irish Star?"
Brad: Then, noting the intensity of Holmes' look and the hatred in Colonel Stuart's eyes, he stops, his smile faded.
LORD HAMPTON: "What is this? Why are you looking at me like that?"
BRAGGART: *stares*
LORD HAMPTON: "I demand that someone explain this inquisition!"
BRAGGART: "Who are you?!"
MCSPINDLE: "Chimney sweep. That's why I'm in the chimney."
BRAGGART: "Right...You realise this is not the top floor?"
MCSPINDLE: "Is it not?"
BRAGGART: "No. Not that that's relevant, but I thought I might flummox you and maybe you'd fuck off."
MCSPINDLE: "Oh. Didn't work did it?"

HOLMES: "I wonder, why a man of your reputation would see his name dragged in the mud, just to buy a horse more cheaply. You are wealthy, your Lordship; you could have paid more than the horse was worth and never noticed the loss. What will people say, I wonder? Will they ever let you on a track again? It's difficult to believe, but I have solid evidence now."
Brad: Lord Hampton does not deny the charge, or try to defend himself.
Brad: Instead, he turns so pale that you see Watson stir with professional concern. Then he bows his head in shame.
LORD HAMPTON: "I do not deserve mercy."
WATSON: *reflex clothesline*
LORD HAMPTON: "It was greed that sealed my fate. I hated to see that great horse running so far below himself, when under my silks he would achieve fame. It is idle to say I would never repeat my crime - the stewards will warn me off for life, now."
BRAGGART: "You must have been sitting upside down to think the horse was running like that."

Brad: The man looks crushed. Holmes' face softens a little.
HOLMES: "Perhaps it is not too late. I am not Scotland Yard."
BRAGGART: "He doesn't have to know that!"
HOLMES: "I suggest that you give orders to your solicitor that Colonel Stuart's stable be financed as it should. For yourself, I know that you have been offered a foreign appointment that would occupy you for the next two years. Purge your crimes by service to the Queen and with restitution to your victim."
BRAGGART: "Better that than the other way round!"
HOLMES: "Thus, when Irish Star becomes a champion, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you assisted him in his climb to excellence."
Brad: After a moment, the peer accepts Holmes' terms. He leaves with Colonel Stuart to arrange their financial agreement, and after a little more talk, you leave Holmes and Watson to walk back to your own quarters. One question fills your mind: What will your next case be?...

Friday 2 May 2014

Dickass DM - The Adventures Of Hercule Braggart: Trouble At The Track - Part 6

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 a classic Sherlock Holmes gamebook. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

When last we left our hero, Braggart had been given permission to search the stables, horse shit and all. What will he find? Only time will tell...

Catch up with Part 1 Here
Catch up with Part 2 Here
Catch up with Part 3 Here
Catch up with Part 4 Here
Catch up with Part 5 Here

Brad: You stand poised to search Colonel Stuart's stables. You could search the groom's room, Irish Star's stall or the tackroom.
Rob: What's a tackroom?
COL. STUART: "One of these"
BRAGGART: "...I don't know how you did that."
Rob : The groom's room.
Brad: When you glanced over the stables, you had thought the groom customarily slept in the tackroom. Now you see that a wooden partition breaks the space into two little rooms. John Oliver's quarters consist of a shelf with his razor and combs, a cot with blankets folded on it, and a chest shoved under the cot. Clothes hang on three hooks on the wall. A small window with a sliding shutter provides a little air. You find a small medicine bottle wrapped in a man's handkerchief hidden between the shutter and the outside wall. Turning it around, you look at the label. A handwritten label reads:


You recognise the bottle drug as something that could make a horse run more slowly, but it would have to be given to the animal several hours before the race to hamper his performance. You carefully put the bottle in your jacket pocket and wonder whether you should search the other parts of the stable. Later, certain that you have learned everything possible at Colonel Stuart's stable, you decide to leave. Bidding the Colonel a good day, you remind him that you will continue your investigative efforts elsewhere. Walking back towards the track, you see a group of high-spirited men congratulating a slender, well-dressed fellow. As you get closer, and the men shout of how well his horse ran, you realise that this richly appointed man is Lord Hampton.
BRAGGART: "Oh, that tosspot."

Rob : Talk to Lord Hampton. The tosser.
Brad: You boldly approach Lord Hampton and introduce yourself.
BRAGGART: "Lord Hampton, well done on winning the money of a fair few chumps. I'm here simply to make sure that there was no foul play."
Brad: After looking perplexed for a moment, Lord Hampton nods and leads you to a small, tidy office beside his stable.
LORD HAMPTON: "With a matter this delicate, I prefer to talk in private. Now, how can I help you?"
BRAGGART: "Wow, you're quite nice. Now I feel awful. Why do you think Irish Star had such a dour race?"
Brad: Lord Hampton takes his time before answering.
LORD HAMPTON: "It certainly surprised me. [slowly] The horse trained with my best earlier this week and all but beat him. Irish Star should have finished lengths ahead of Maiwand and the rest. But that's racing. You can never be sure what a horse will do, no matter how good it is."
BRAGGART: "Indeed."
LORD HAMPTON: [deliberately] "I shall be glad to see this matter cleared up. Any hint of scandal is bad for all of us."
BRAGGART: "I can do more than hint, if that'll help."
LORD HAMPTON: "And it's doubly revolting to see a horse as fine as Irish Star perform so poorly."

Brad: You realise that Lord Hampton is an ambitious man and wonder whether that ambition might include owning Irish Star.
BRAGGART: "I understand you were looking to pick up a horse of the same sort of type as Irish Star. As in that specific horse."
Brad: Lord Hampton raises one eyebrow in surprise, then laughs softly.
LORD HAMPTON: "I always say that there are no secrets around a race track. I knew that Colonel Stuart was in financial trouble and I offered to buy the horse. I thought I might get a bargain, and now I shall likely strike an even better deal."
BRAGGART: "I didn't realise Hampton was a cheap bastard name."
LORD HAMPTON: "I've heard that if he didn't win the purse, the stewards might take legal action to force the Colonel to pay his track debts. But I gave him fair warning."
BRAGGART: "In what way?"
LORD HAMPTON: I told him I would pay 500 pounds before the race, or 250 after. A wager between us, you might say."
BRAGGART: "Interesting...I'm amazed that the stewards let the horse run."
LORD HAMPTON: "Oh, the stewards would be very reluctant to scratch him, especially considering the popularity of the horse."
BRAGGART: "How does a horse become popular? I don't imagine they're a charismatic interview."

Brad: As you talk, you look around Lord Hampton's small office.
Rob : That can't take long.
Brad: Light reflected from a medicine cabinet catches your eye; as the glare fades, you can clearly see the bottles inside. One reads:


Brad: You consider an immediate confrontation with Lord Hampton, then remember Holmes' instructions of tact. You thank Lord Hampton for his time, stalling as you think of what loose end to pursue next. What timely task remains to be done, you ask yourself. Checking your watch, you see that it is almost time to meet Holmes' irregular; you must leave the track now.
BRAGGART: "I hope he's not a mutant, that'll be so awkward if he is."
Brad: You walk to a pub near the track, where Holmes instructed the irregular to meet you. While you wait, you order supper. As you eat, you see Irish Star's jockey enter boisterously and order a round of drinks for a group of men who entered with him.
Rob : Talk to the jockey.
Brad: You approach Irish Star's jockey.
BRAGGART: "Hello, my name's Hercule Braggart...Alright? Would you care to talk about the race? Colonel Stuart asked me to chat to people about it. I'm trying to work out what happened, but I keep coming up short....Oh.....sorry."
JOCKEY: "Well, if the Colonel hired you, I suppose I can spare you a moment."
BRAGGART: "Great stuff. I don't need much time, just a little..."
JOCKEY: "Though I don't know what there is to talk about. The horse ran bad and got its tail whipped. I just take what the trainer gives me and ride as best as I can."
BRAGGART: "What was it you gave the horse before the race started? Why leave it so late to feed him?"
JOCKEY: "Aye, I guess it might look a little odd to you...but it's a habit of mine. I ride many and many a different horse each day, you see. Some of them are a little unfriendly, and a morsel makes them more willing to have me aboard. Sometimes, with a horse like Irish Star was today, I think a bite wakes them up a bit."
BRAGGART: "I find Relentless works better."
JOCKEY: "The horse was dead on his hooves when I warmed him up. Didn't do no good though, as you saw."

Brad: He turns away and waves for the bartender to serve more drinks, ignoring you. As you finish your supper in the pub, young Stanly peeks in, looking for you. It takes a word from you before the proprietor allows him entry. Stanly hurries to your table.
STANLY: "Evenin', guv. I followed that man Oliver like you told me to."
BRAGGART: "Great stuff. Where'd he go?"
STANLY: "It took some time, guv, but I did finally see something interesting. He wove here and there through the crowd, but he wasn't looking for a little fellow like me to be following him. And he finally led me to someone else."
Brad: Stanly smiles, preparing you for the climax
MCSPINDLE: "Wa-hey!"
Brad: ...of his story.
STANLY: "Yes, guv, Oliver led me a chase, he did, but I kept on him and he finally went to Roscoe's gambling table, and Roscoe gave him a big handful of money - without nothing being said about no wager. I snuck around behind where I heard everything they said, guv, and there weren't nothin' about any wager."
BRAGGART: "Moooost interesting."
Brad: You thank Stanly for his good work and leave the pub. You contemplate what you have learned. At a nearby table, you see a man who is slowly drinking himself into a stupor. A black bag rests on the table beside him, and from the teasing of people who speak to him, you realise that he is a veterinarian. That's a Vet, not someone who fought in Vietnam.
Rob : Okay. So not a Vietnam Veterinarian. How did I glean his occupation, from the jibes?
Brad: I guess...
BRAGGART: "Aaaaaaah, horse wanker."

Stay tuned to E14 for the next thrilling edition of Dickass DM, coming May 9th!

Monday 28 April 2014

E14 Presents: The Crazy Train! Episode 23 - Enjoy A Cold Glucoraid!

On iTunes
The Crazy Train Page on E14

In this episode:

We talk a little about our short absence.
Omer talks about his birthday and Vikings.
We enthuse about science and such.
We talk about museums as a whole.
We talk a bit about Twitter.
Rob talks a little about McDonald's.
We talk a bit about one of Omer's arsey customers.

Starring: Omer Ibrahim, Blake Harmer, Rob Wade
Editing: Rob Wade
Facebook: or Search "Emotionally Fourteen"

Saturday 26 April 2014

Claymore Division Presents: Stop Mucking Around - A Painting Guide!

Omer doesn't like it when people over-complicate miniature painting, and he's here to show you how he bodges together a half-decent result.

Shot on a phone in wobbly-vision!

If you like the video, check out the Claymore Division Facebook Group!

Friday 25 April 2014

Dickass DM - The Adventures Of Hercule Braggart: Trouble At The Track - 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 a classic Sherlock Holmes gamebook. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

When last we left our hero, Braggart was trying to get a client list, and had decided on a way to distract a man, using an unfortunate patsy, also known as John.

Catch up with Part 1 Here
Catch up with Part 2 Here
Catch up with Part 3 Here
Catch up with Part 4 Here

BRAGGART: "Watson, act dazed when I bump int-THINK FAST!"
Brad: You immediately trip and bang into the doctor. He crashes theatrically into a chair next to Roscoe's table and falls to the ground as if injured. He is such a fucking drama queen. As you bend over the list, Roscoe grabs your shoulder and yells.
ROSCOE: "Just what do you think you're doing, mate?"
BRAGGART: "Just browsing."
ROSCOE: "Now get away from this or I'll teach you what snoops get!"
Brad: He shakes his big fist in your face.
Rob : I leave. No sense getting into a fight unnecessarily.
Brad: Sensing that you have all the information you can gather, you stroll to the tables to talk to Colonel Stuart and his employees. A groom walking a horse tells you which barn to go to. The Colonel greets you affably, although he is still obviously agitated.

COL. STUART: "I hope you learned something. My men are waiting to talk to you."
Brad: You and Colonel Stuart have a small barn to yourselves; the only visible stall is Irish Star's. The barn appears old and worn, although there are signs that the owners of the track have been working to repair it. Colonel Stuart notices you studying it and laughs.
COL. STUART: "It may not be the best barn here, but they let me have it for nought as it is being repaired. We shall be here for a week only, and like my Scots ancestors, I'll save a penny wherever I can."
Rob : I question his men.
Brad: Colonel Stuart leads you to other stables. Here, he rents two stalls, both of which are clean and well-tended. A neat tack room holds a cot, where the groom sleeps. Stuart's two men are waiting for your arrival. Henry Raines, the trainer, is a thin, dried out man with a sharp nose and narrow eyes. He has the air of a man who knows his business. Beside him stands John Oliver, the groom, dressed in work clothes.

BRAGGART: "So you're Raines, who does the reins? And you do all of the cleaning, Oliver?"
Brad: He has an open, red face and seems a very ordinary sort of working man.
COL. STUART: "This gentleman is a detective. It is obvious that something was done to slow Irish Star today, and I have hired him to investigate the matter."
RAINES: "Investigate? [eyes flashing] Does that mean you think we did owt to the horse, sir?"
COL. STUART: "No, no. I shall explain. [to you] You had better start with Oliver."
Brad: At a nod, John Oliver follows you into an empty stall.
BRAGGART: "Sorry, I know very little of horses and the work that goes into making them raceworthy. I seek only the truth behind the matter of Irish Star."
OLIVER: [eager] "Sure thing, guv. I'm always glad to help the gentry. Just shoot your questions and I'll tell you anything you need to know."
BRAGGART: "Can you tell me what exactly you do here?"
OLIVER: "I do what you might expect, guv."
BRAGGART: "Yeah...I don't know what that is."
OLIVER: "I muck out the stall and lay own fresh straw in the morning. I feed the horse and I cools him out sometimes. Now, on race days like today, Mr Raines has a boy of his who walks him after the race, so I can have everything shipshape when he comes back to his stall. And, o'course, I groom him couple times a day, keep the big boy pretty as a picture, I do."
BRAGGART: "Gor Blimey trousers, guv'nor, and no mistake! I know an Oliver, actually. A Tom Oliver, who works at a local club. Any relation?"
OLIVER: Tom? Now why do you bring him up, I wonder? Well, it makes no difference - he's my brother. Strange you should meet us both on the same day, eh?"
BRAGGART: "Indeed...Did you mention the horse to your brother at all?"

Brad: The groom recoils from the question, as if struck a blow.
OLIVER: "Tom said I talked down Irish Star?"
Brad: His mouth is wide open in astonishment.
OLIVER: "Why, that fool got me advice turned straight around, guv - I told him to bet his all on the horse. I'd never talk down me own master's horse, guv; it'd cost me my job and all chance of getting another one."
BRAGGART: "Very interesting. A lot of people seem shocked that Irish Star ran badly, and Colonel Stuart suspects foul play. Do you know why the horse struggled?"
OLIVER: [surprised] "Me, guv? Why, if I knew what made a horse run good some days and bad others, I'd be making a better living than I gets for mucking out stables."
BRAGGART: "Indeed."
OLIVER: "Even the best horse is unpredictable as the weather. Why, there's men what say there's fifty ways a horse can lose a race, or more! So, the Colonel's just grasping at straws when he claims that somethin' was done to the horse."
Brad: Rocking on his heels, Oliver pauses, expecting a reply.
BRAGGART: *stares*

Brad: There is an awkward pause before Oliver continues.
OLIVER: "Yessir, I think it was just a bad day for the horse. Shook me, cause he trained well for the race, but it happens to the best of 'em sometimes. [winks] Before you spends too much time detecting, just remember that the Colonel ain't all that good at paying his bills, right?"
Brad: Gazing out the open door, you consider further questions for John Oliver.
BRAGGART: "Who did you see near the stable?"
Brad: Oliver thinks for a moment, squinting his beady eyes, then nods.
OLIVER: "I seen a couple of gents named Bowser and Fitzhugh, what bets a lot. But then, them two hangs around the stables all the time, lookin' for a word to guide their wagerin', if you gets my drift. Course it would cost a man his job and a beating on top of it if he was to tip off a couple of touts like that."
BRAGGART: "Naturally. Do you say useful things, or just more like this?"
Brad: Satisfied that you have gotten all the information possible from John Oliver, you dismiss him.
BRAGGART: "You're fired."
Brad: The groom takes a bucket and goes out after water. As Colonel Stuart has calmed down Henry Raines, the trainer is now willing to talk to you. Up close, the man shows the quiet self-confidence of the true professional. You search for just the right question to ask Raines.

BRAGGART: "Do you know why the horse ran badly?"
Brad: Raines hesitates for a moment, then shakes his head.
RAINES: "I really don't, unless Colonel Stuart is right, and someone drugged the horse. I was certain, as sure as I ever have been, that my horse was going to win. I swear."
BRAGGART: "Why were you so sure?"
RAINES: "I'm one of the best in the country at training winning horses - I know when a horse is ready to win!"
BRAGGART: "Well, you seem sure. Or arrogant, I can't tell."
RAINES: "Ah, I told the Colonel it'd be a waste of time to talk to the likes of you. Good day."

Brad: Angry, Raines walks away, leaving you in his wake. Colonel Stuart approaches you.
COL. STUART: "I trust you have all the information my men can give you. Is there anything else you wish to do in the stable? I have an appointment."
BRAGGART: "Can I search them?"
Brad: The Colonel looks surprised, then nods.
COL. STUART: "Well, if you think it's necessary...Hope you like horse shit."
BRAGGART: "Thanks. Love it."

Stay tuned to E14 for the next thrilling edition of Dickass DM, coming May 2nd!

Monday 21 April 2014

Dickass DM - The Adventures Of Hercule Braggart: Trouble At The Track - Part 4

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 a classic Sherlock Holmes gamebook. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

When last we left our hero, Holmes had just been given a request to investigate a matter of great importance involving horses and drugs. Friday night. Made.

Catch up with Part 1 Here
Catch up with Part 2 Here
Catch up with Part 3 Here

Brad: Holmes' chill warms, slightly.
HOLMES: "I did notice something amiss."
BRAGGART: "Really? What gave it away?"
HOLMES: "I will admit that it might be an interesting investigation. However, I must catch a train tonight, and I fear I have no time for any other case until I return. You might try Dr Watson's nephew here. Mr Hercule Braggart."
COL. STUART: "Do you recommend him?"
BRAGGART: "I don't like where this is heading..."
HOLMES: "He is young at the trade, but he is no more blind and foolish than the police detectives. You could do worse."
WATSON: "Yeah, he's *alright*."
BRAGGART: "...Thank you?"
Brad: Colonel Stuart offers you the job.
BRAGGART: "Yeah, all right. I could do worse than cutting my teeth on a horse."

Brad: You quickly begin to question him.
BRAGGART: "Whodidyouletseethehorses? Wherewerethehorses? AREYOUAHORSE?!"
COL. STUART: "What? Who? No?"
BRAGGART: "Who takes care of the horses when you're not there?"
COL. STUART: I employ Henry Raines as a trainer."
BRAGGART: "Raines?"
COL. STUART: "He is a well-known man in the field and trains horses for several owners. He is one of the most respected men in the field. The heavy work is done by my groom, John Oliver."
BRAGGART: "Oliver?"
COL. STUART: He's been with me for two years and has been loyal even when I've been a trifle slow with the pay. Sorry, are you just repeating the last word of every sentence as a question?"
BRAGGART: "Question?"
Brad: Oh, for fuck's sake.
Rob : Fine, I'll behave.
BRAGGART: "Behave?"
Rob : What just happened?
Brad: I have no idea.

BRAGGART: "Can you think of anyone who might have wanted to hurt"
COL. STUART: "Why, of course not!"
BRAGGART: "You say that, but it's literally just happened."
COL. STUART: "If I did, I would have confronted him and not come chasing after Mr Holmes."
BRAGGART: " suspected Holmes."
HOLMES: "What?!"
COL. STUART: "Most likely some blackguard did it to make a profit on another horse."
Brad: Holmes whistles sharply, and a rather grubby looking youth in his early teens runs up and snaps to a dubious imitation of attention.
HOLMES: "Young Stanley here is one of my irregulars."
BRAGGART: "I'll say, what's that growth on his neck?"
HOLMES: "His head. He practically lives with the horses and knows everyone and everything that happens in and around the track. Assign him to watch one of your suspects, and you will be able to cover more ground."
BRAGGART: "Follow Oliver. I have a suspicion about him."
HOLMES: "Well, you seem settled into the case."

Brad: He looks at his watch.
HOLMES: "Be careful in this matter."
BRAGGART: "You off? Happy hour at Madame Cocaine's?"
HOLMES: "Do not make any charges or draw undue attention to what happened until you obtain solid evidence."
BRAGGART: "Sounds sensible."
HOLMES: "Hints of a charge in a case like this are every bit as bad for the reputations involved as a conviction itself. Unless you can force the guilty to confess, I suggest that you merely assemble the evidence and present me with your conclusions when I return to London. I will send you a note when I get back to Baker Street."
BRAGGART: "Do a doodle on it."
HOLMES: "Watson, meet me on the train platform, if you please. Good luck."
Brad: The detective turns away, then swings back, as one last thought strikes him.
HOLMES: "Remember the dog who didn't bark in the night."
WATSON: "What do you mean, Holmes?"
BRAGGART: "Yeah, what the fuck?"
HOLMES: "It occurred to me, Watson, that whoever arranged for Irish Star to lose may not have intended Maiwand to win."

Brad: He turns and walks off with his characteristic long stride.
Rob : I join Dr Watson as he collects his winnings. This may prove explicit.
Brad: After telling Colonel Stuart that you will join him at his stable in a few minutes, you accompany Dr. Watson as he walks to the tables to collect his winnings. One or two men are seated at each table, with big ledgers in front of them. They make various marks in their books as they accept winning tickets from their successful customers, few in number as far as you can see. One table, protected by an awning, sports a large sign that reads:


BRAGGART: "This may prove useful."
Brad: Watson hurries towards Roscoe's booth, stopping to speak to a man who hurries from table to table, collecting from each. Watson taps him on the shoulder.
WATSON: [teasingly] "You should be paying out, Roscoe, not collecting! Roscoe, this is my cousin."
BRAGGART: "Hi. Did I win money?"
ROSCOE: [booming laugh] "Glad to meet the doctor's family, for he's one of my best customers!"
Brad: Roscoe is powerfully built, though running to fat, and wears a rough brown coat and derby hat.
ROSCOE: "Well, doctor, I'm always glad to see you though I'm just as happy that your friend Holmes isn't with you."
BRAGGART: "Why's that?"
ROSCOE: "That bloke makes me fair nervous - he seems to know every wicked thought that comes in me head before I think it myself."
BRAGGART: "How did you do winnings-wise? I must say, I'm somewhat surprised that you dabble in the wager side of things in both directions, and with your competitors no less."
ROSCOE: "I just laid the money, you see, like any man in my trade would."

Brad: Pushing Roscoe further might lead to trouble, you sense. Your conversation brings you to Roscoe's booth, just as a very distinguished-looking man comes up. Roscoe hurries behind the table to deal with him personally, accepting a ticket and handing over a handful of money.
ROSCOE: [grinning nervously] "There you are, Lord Hampton. Five pounds at eight to one will give you forty-five pounds back. Surprised you didn't back him more heavily, him being your own nag."
BRAGGART: "Mmmmmm?"
Brad: Lord Hampton stuffs the money into his pocket, chuckling.
LORD HAMPTON: "Don't tell my people, Roscoe, but I didn't have much faith in my horse. Just two days ago, Irish Star ran against my champion, Queensland, in a workout and matched him stride for stride. Since Queensland is much faster than Maiwand, I didn't think he had a chance, so I just bet a little for form's sake. If I'd known Irish Star was so off his feed, I'd have bet my all."
BRAGGART: "Yes. Of course...If you'd known..."
Brad: Tipping his hat, Lord Hampton strides gracefully away. You notice two men collecting eighteen pounds from the clerk, while Roscoe is paying off Doctor Watson. You realise that the two men collecting their winning are Bowser and Fitzhugh, and find it interesting that the two notorious gamblers had bet so little. As various people collect money from Roscoe and the clerk, you notice that the clerk puts a mark on a sheet of paper every time someone is paid. You guess that it must be a list of those who wagered on the race.
Rob : I try and get a look at the list. Worst case scenario, he kills me where I stand.
Brad: Yeah, I don't think it'll be that kind of an advenELEMENTAL!

Stay tuned to E14 for the next thrilling edition of Dickass DM, coming April 25th!

Friday 11 April 2014

Dickass DM - The Adventures Of Hercule Braggart: Trouble At The Track - Part 3

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 a classic Sherlock Holmes gamebook. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

When last we left our heroes, Holmes' face had just hardened at the racetrack. We're still not sure what that entails, but presumably it's impervious to most types of damage.

Catch up with Part 1 Here
Catch up with Part 2 Here

HOLMES: "[mutters] I'm surprised those men are allowed anywhere near a stable..."
BRAGGART: "Who do you mean? Is it the men over there who look shifty, or the small children playing in the puddles?"
Brad: Holmes points out two men in the crowd.
HOLMES: "Those two men there."
BRAGGART: "I thought it would be those, but I can never tell with you."
Brad: One is dressed in the elegance of the upper classes, while the other wears the loud clothes of the sporting toff.
BRAGGART: "Is this like Trading Places or something?"
HOLMES: "The men I saw are gamblers."
BRAGGART: "Well, it's not hard to see which one's better at it."
HOLMES: "They've been implicated in one or two races that had odd results, though no charges could be proven in court. I wasn't asked to look into the cases, as it happens. But even if it were impossible for the club to warn them off the turf entirely, I'm surprised anyone would allow them near the horses."
BRAGGART: "Maybe they're on the pull. They look the type."
HOLMES: "The gentlemanly one is named Fitzhugh, while his partner is called Bowser."
BRAGGART: "Surely not...Oh, you *don't* mean the giant fucking green lizard?"

Brad: Watson leads the way to one of the low hills between stables and track and shakes out a blanket for the three of you to sit on.
WATSON: "I always sit here."
HOLMES: "[sardonically] A lucky seat?"
Brad: Holmes sits down. Watson tries to wither Holmes with a look.
Rob : "Yeah, best of luck with that. He's not a plant."
WATSON: "Luck has nothing to do with it, Holmes. This gives us a good view as the horses warm up and is convenient to the wagering tables."
Brad: The truth of this observation is proven during the early races. Watson takes full advantage of the convenient location, with a success that has him crowing in delight.
BRAGGART: "Who does your bets then Watson? Losey McLose of Losertown?"
WATSON: "I always bet with Roscoe."
Brad: Holmes seems to stiffen a bit at that name.
Rob : Wa-hey!
BRAGGART: "Roscoe O' Bastard? Why?"
HOLMES: "Doesn't the man's reputation concern you a little, Watson? There's been mention of Roscoe benefiting from some of the major upsets."
WATSON: "Oh, there's that sort of talk about every such chap. I know that Roscoe is honest with his customers."
BRAGGART: "Only the ones he respects."
WATSON: "He always has the cash on hand to pay me when I win, and one cannot say that of all his rivals. And he has booths at every track, which I find convenient. Also, you often get better odds from a man who does a good deal of trade."

Brad: Watson's really pissy in this, isn't he?
Rob : He really is.
Brad: This gamebook is making them out to be even more of a gay couple than Doyle does.
Rob : He lays it on a bit thick, no doubt. His characters though, he's allowed.
Brad: Searching your memory of crime news, you remember the name "Roscoe".
BRAGGART: "Roscoe P. Coltrane!"
Brad: There had been reports in the sporting press that he had unusual luck in anticipating the failure of some highly-touted horses and made large profits as a result. All the evidence indicated, however, that his profits came from purchasing information from stable employees rather than from actually fixing a race. Watson looks at his watch.
WATSON: "Come along, Holmes. Let's place our wagers before the horses for the main event are brought out."
BRAGGART: "It's generally better to bet before the race."
WATSON: "There's no sense waiting when we know which horse we want to back."
Brad: The two men walk toward the wagering tables, leaving you unattended. Awaiting their return, you overhear two men talking behind you mention "Irish Star", causing you to look at them. One is Phillips, the grain dealer pointed out to you earlier. From his massive size and leather apron, the other man appears to be a smith. Phillips is doing the talking.
You decide to try and sneak close to them and overhear their conversation.
BRAGGART: "Excuse me, did you say Irish Stew? Is this a raid?"

Brad: As you mingle with the people near Phillips and the smith, Phillips notices you.
PHILLIPS: [looking around] "No, Bench, I think we'd better talk this over later, when we can be a little more private."
Brad: With a nod of agreement, the two men separate. Wow. Victorian London was *really* gay, wasn't it?
Rob : I'm amazed English people are still around. I can't imagine people were having kids, considering all the gayness.

Brad: It's not just me, is it? This is *really* gay.
Rob : At least it's not a zombie carrot, dude.
Brad: Holmes and Watson return from placing their bets...which probably involved some sort of hand job...still continuing their earlier very gay argument about the horses.
Rob : It's about dick measuring I take it?
Brad: As they settle comfortably on the grass, trumpets sound for the horses to enter the track, and outriders lead the thoroughbreds onto the track. Doctor Watson rises eagerly.
Rob : Wa-hey!

WATSON: "[mincing] There they come, Holmes! Irish Star is the handsome gray under the yellow and blue silks."
HOLMES: "Oh, fabulous."
WATSON: "Maiwand is the black: his rider wears brown. Do you see them, duckie?"
BRAGGART: "Yes..."
Brad: See if you can spot when I'm gaying up the text and when I'm not. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Rob : I never shrink from a challenge.
WATSON: "Irish Star is a fabulous looking horse."
Rob : Not gayed up.

Brad: But as he runs through a patter of admiration (even though he didn't bet on the horse), it seems to you that Irish Star looks dull and heavy-footed, as if he is sleep-walking. Watson appears to be watching Irish Star in a very gay way, perhaps hoping to notice some flaw that will prove the wisdom of his choice.
WATSON: "Why, the jockey's feeding something to Irish Star! This is a funny time for that, I should think?"
BRAGGART: "Might be crack. Can't help when the shakes come."
Brad: After the horses warm up, the starter quickly gets them lined up at the white chalk and gives the signal for the start. The horses break, but Irish Star erupts more slowly than the others and doesn't respond when his rider whips him. The heavy favourite is running well behind the field, and the two or three leaders seem intent on building their advantage, apparently afraid that the grey's superiority will still emerge. Under the jockey's constant whipping, Irish Star tries to respond, but the big grey doesn't run well.
Rob : You said "grey". Do you mean "gay"?
Brad: Three horses cross the finish line in a bunch, and Watson's girlish squeal of delight reveals that Maiwand might have been the winner.

BRAGGART: "You're awfully quiet, Holmes."
Brad: Irish Star finishes ten lengths back, looking tired and almost bored by the effort.
WATSON: "So much for science, Holmes. [laughing] This will make my leg-ache feel better on rainy days."
Brad: Holmes' eyes hold something of disdain as he looks back at the doctor.
HOLMES: "Indeed, Watson? Has the bullet moved from your shoulder to your leg again? I should think it would be obvious even to your prejudiced view that something was very wrong with the running of that race."
BRAGGART: "Do you mean to say that Watson is a racist?"
HOLMES: "Without doubt! If you consider yourself a detective, it should be obvious to you that something was very wrong with Irish Star. Your question surprises me. But it doesn't matter. It's good for Watson to score off of me on occasion, and I have no time to look into the case before my train leaves."
Brad: Holmes turns away, unwilling to go into any detail. He's a dick.
BRAGGART: "He scored from you? I thought you kept the good stuff for yourself."

Brad: For a time, there is little talk, as you wait for the signal that the race results are official. As you stand waiting, a tall, heavy man hurries up to you.
BRAGGART: "Oh,'s the family?"
Brad: He looks like the stereotype of a former Army officer (which is handy for the writer), ramrod-backed, with a red face set-off by a greying moustache.
COL. STUART: [to Holmes] "Mr Sherlock Holmes?"
Brad: Holmes nods.
COL. STUART: "I thought I recognised you. I am Colonel Ian Stuart, owner of Irish Star. As you may be aware, he was the heavy favourite for the race today."
HOLMES: "I am aware of that fact. I lost a pound on him, as it happens."
BRAGGART: "He bet on him. Touchy subject."
Rob : A pound?! What's the problem?
Brad: I think that's a significant amount of money in the 1880s. That's probably like £200. Possibly more.
Rob : Christ, what's he betting £200 on a lethargic horse for?
Brad: He's Sherlock Holmes. He'd only waste it on enough drugs to stun Keith Moon, anyway.
COL. STUART: "Then if you know racing, sir, you know that something was done to my horse today. I should like you to investigate the matter."

Stay tuned to E14 for the next thrilling edition of Dickass DM, coming April 18th!

Friday 4 April 2014

Dickass DM - The Adventures Of Hercule Braggart: Trouble At The Track - Part 2

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 a classic Sherlock Holmes gamebook. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Hercule Braggart.

When last we left our intrepid hero, Braggart had just noticed Holmes' expression change. Not very exciting, I know, but it's only part 1. Catch up with it Here!

Brad: From Holmes' expression you see that his mind is drifting away towards some other problem. As quickly as politeness permits, you bid them good day and leave. Some small matters delay you on Friday, and Holmes and Watson are boarding their cab as you run up Baker Street to meet them. The driver is busy piling their luggage on top of the groaner.
Rob : They sound like 1890s hooker names.
WATSON: "You almost missed us. It should be an interesting afternoon. Holmes is certain he already knows the winner in the feature and mocks my choice. Get in, and let's be off."
BRAGGART: "That's not all he mocks, I've heard him. I've even heard the phrase 'gimpy walk' used."
Brad: You do not need a second invitation, and soon the three of you are rattling through the streets, where most of the populace is concerned with far more serious business than a day at the races. You pay little attention to the London crowds, though, given a rare chance to talk with the world's greatest consulting detective.
HOLMES: "How is your education progressing?"
BRAGGART: "Oh, Auntie Sherlock, I'm too smart for conventional education, you know that very well! I'm good enough at the evidence bit, but I struggle to narrow the field down to one suspect like you can. I suspect I'm a long way off. And there's this bloke at school who keeps trying to shove me in a locker. The strange thing is that he almost always tries to follow me in on the occasions where he comes close to success. I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that if two people want to engage in such things, but it's not for me."

HOLMES: "It is a lifetime's study..."
BRAGGART: "What, homosexuality?"
HOLMES: "...and even then, there will be more than one time when you prove yourself a fool. That has happened to me, as Watson has told the world in his tales."
BRAGGART: "I understood it was some careful application and the right pressu...let's not talk about this. Oh yeah! You got totally humbled by that American bird."
HOLMES: "But one thing to consider - wherever you are and whatever you happen to be doing, keep your eyes open for things that might lead to crime. My greatest successes have come in matters where I have had an idea in advance that something was going to happen, and have been able to take steps to prevent the crime or catch the perpetrator in the act. That was how Watson and I saved Dr Roylott's stepdaughter from his evil designs and solved other cases."
WATSON: "Surely you downgrade your genius, Holmes."
BRAGGART: "Does that bring down the price?"
WATSON: "You make the most difficult tasks seem simple, you know."
HOLMES: "Not at all. But if you know a wealthy man has an heir desperate for money, you can prevent a crime by a word in the heir's ear. Or if we should see a notorious gambler bet heavily on a long shot today, we would protect the purity of the turf with a word to the stewards."
BRAGGART: "'Fucking Stop it!'?"

HOLMES: "A man who would make a career of detection must always have his eyes open to everything around him. It is the only way to do one's job."
WATSON: "Oh, enough talk of detection, Holmes! Why don't you tell my cousin about the race this afternoon?"
BRAGGART: "I already know there's a race... See? I learn..."
WATSON: "Explain to him why your logical and scientific approach to handicapping will do better than my foolish 'hunch'."
Brad: Watson laughs merrily, even as Holmes frowns.
HOLMES: "Watson, you should know better than to mock logic. You must admit that your attempts at picking winning horses have cost you half your pension."
WATSON: "Now, now, Holmes; I've done better than that."
BRAGGART: "So, Holmes, which filly do you like the look of? Not that I mean girl, oh my no! Not in this context, anyway. Not that I'm suggesting you don't like...I...So. Horses. Which one? Please."
HOLMES: "I am going to bet on Irish Star. He is a very strong horse and runs consistently well. He doesn't belong on the same track with the rest of the field - it is only an odd quirk in the conditions that allow him to run. From every point of past performance and current condition, there is simply no way that the horse can fail to win."

BRAGGART: "What do you mean he doesn't belong on the track with the rest? Is he a greyhound? Watson, why won't you put your money on him? Are you scared? Worried a greyhound on the track might upset your precious status quo?"
HOLMES: "Doctor Watson intends to bet on a horse called Maiwand, because it is named for the battle where he was wounded. He considers it a lucky omen, I believe."
Brad: Watson squirms slightly, although his usual bulldog expression indicates he will not change his mind.
BRAGGART: "Considering you were wounded there, I doubt that. Is Irish Star a bad omen for you? Were you wounded by some Protestant Shuriken?"
WATSON: "Well, what Holmes doesn't understand is that a horse doesn't always run true to form, and I have heard that Irish Star isn't going to run well today. And if you eliminate Irish Star, why, Maiwand is quite as good as any other horse in the race. Whatever Holmes thinks of me, I'm not fool enough to bet a bad horse just because I like his name."
Brad: As Watson chuckles, Holmes remains aloof and unresponsive to his teasing.

BRAGGART: "So your argument to Irish Star, so yes to any other horse? Who told you Irish Star wouldn't run well? Maiwand? Is there a conspiracy?"
WATSON: "Oh, Tom Oliver, a waiter at my club. When he saw me looking over the entries this morning, he warned me about the horse."
BRAGGART: "Is he a horse?"
HOLMES: "A waiter at your club, Watson? But if he is so expert on form surely he wouldn't have to spend his days at such menial labour."
WATSON: "The man has connections at the track, nonetheless."
BRAGGART: "I ask again: Is. He. A. Horse?"
WATSON: "Holmes, you must admit you have found sources in more unlikely places many a time."
Brad: This riposte leads Holmes to a discussion of some of the more unlikely witnesses he has encountered over the years.
BRAGGART: "Remember that story where you interviewed a postage stamp?"

Brad: Holmes fills the rest of your trip to the track with stories from his past investigations, recounting many of the odd sources of information which have yielded clues. You sit, drinking it in, hoping you can use some of his ploys when faced with similar problems yourself. Finally, you reach the Thameside Racing Grounds. It is a simple place, for races are run here only a few weeks in the year.
Rob : Seems wasteful.
Brad: Low hills near the track provide alternative seating to the small grandstand and also shield the stables from some of the noise raised by the stands and the nearby railroad. Fresh paint on the stands and fences as well as the excellent condition of the turf show that the groundskeepers have made every effort to get the oval track ready for the races. As you pass through the gates, Holmes glances around him, following his habitual pattern of seemingly observing everything.
WATSON: "Anything interesting, Holmes? I hope we shan't have to give up these pleasures to pursue some rogue."

Brad: Watson laughs. Holmes smiles thinly.
HOLMES: "No rogues, but there's a man who once crossed the line."
Brad: He indicates a plump little man dressed in tweeds who is giving directions to a wagon driver.
HOLMES: "His name is Phillips. At his wit's end, he was about to steal from an Uncle to get the money to go into business. I warned his uncle, who listened to his plans and lent him the money. Now he supplies grain and hay to half the racing stables in the south of England."
Brad: Suddenly, Holmes' face hardens.
BRAGGART: "What the hell just happened to your face?"

Stay tuned to E14 for the next thrilling edition of Dickass DM, coming April 11th!