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!

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