Given my relative inexperience, I’ve asked my friend Alan to play a game of “All Outta Bubblegum” with me via email. Its a particularly silly game, designed for a short play through with ridiculous effects. The rules, such as they are, are below:
All Outta Bubblegum
Based entirely on a quote from an 80s action film “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all outta bubblegum“. In AOB you can do one of two types of action; you can do normal things, like walking, answering the phone, getting dressed, etc. Or you can do kickass things, like hacking a computer with a single keypress, flying a helicopter, or barrel-kicking a zombie through a wall.
Characters in All Outta Bubblegum have one stat — Bubblegum. It’s technically a number which varies from 0 through 8, though the designers highly, highly recommend that you don’t do anything so banal as write down a number, and, instead, pass out actual sticks of bubblegum to the players.
Bubblegum always starts out at 8.
Any action which does not fall under the broad category of “kickass” is resolved by rolling a d10. If the number rolled is equal to or less than the amount of bubblegum the character has left, then the character succeeds in his task.
Any action which falls under the broad umbrella of “kickass” is also resolved by rolling a d10. However, in this case, you wish to roll greater than the amount of bubblegum that you have left.
Whenever you fail a kickass roll, you lose a stick of Bubblegum. You may also sacrifice a stick of Bubblegum before the roll to ensure success.
When you lose your last stick of bubblegum, you are officially all outta bubblegum. You may no longer attempt any kind of non-asskicking activity. Simple devices like, say, the handles of doors confound you (eerily enough, you have no problem field-stripping a .50 caliber machinegun to clear a jam in 15 seconds flat). However, you automatically succeed in any kickass-related activity. you are a nearly unstoppable ball of bubblegum-less fury. However, bear in mind that it’s relatively easy to trap a zero-bubblegum person in a situation he’s totally incapable of dealing with.
A trip to the Postbox
We both wake up in a bedroom, the one that we share. We have adult bunk beds, Alan in the bottom bunk, I’m in the top. We’ve been asleep under the covers, when we are woken by an alarm clock going off on the other side of the room. The digital display is blinking 8:00am. Its an alarm, set to remind us that we need to post a birthday card in the postbox at the end of the road by 12pm. The race is on!
I peer over the edge of the bed, but you are showing no signs of moving. “Wake up, you pathetic scottish pillock!”. A vague moan sounds from under my bed, but no visible evidence of sentience.
This is a normal action, which needs an 8 or less to succeed. I roll a 6. What happens Alan?
With a spritely and unexpected burst of energy, I roll out of bed with a cry of “get your ass up muthaf***a!”.
I roll a 1, successfully completing the action of getting out of bed.
I decide to forgo the stifling, square, and outmoded convention of dressing and walk naked to the door.
My book glances off the alarm clock, successfully turning it off, in fact, smashing it completely. From the shards of broken alarm clock, a few sparks flash, and a wisp of smokes starts to rise, unnoticed so far by us.
I sit myself up, and try to somersault from the bed, directly to landing on my feet on the floor, doing a kickass roll. I get an 8, failing it…
You land a wonderful handspring, surprising yourself in the process, rolling otter-like to your feet like a sleek, denuded Chuck Norris. You celebrate by lifting your arms up in the momentary pose of an Olympic child gymnast.
I ignore you, eager to get my s**t for the day done. I got no time for showboating. I have a letter to deliver dagnammit! and Im going to get it in by first post if it kills me. Nothing will stand in my way. NOTHING!
I reach for the door to exit from the room, rolling a 9 in my normal roll, failing it…
Eagerness defines Alan, sweat dripping from his face (and hairy back) as he swings his entire body in anticipation towards the door. Sadly, such enthusiasm has led to a miscalculation and he crashes, testicles first, dramatically into the doorhandle. The entire door mechanism snaps off, impaled as it is into his scrotum, and they fall to the ground as one, a bleeding, whimpering mess at the foot of a firmly closed door.
Next to the bed, I wobble unsteadily, surprised to have completed such a kickass feat when I initially thought I’d failed, and gaze blearily at the misery in front of me. Despite my obvious repulsion, I lean in and offer a hand to Alan to help him get up. I roll a 10, failing a normal roll…
Still unnoticed by either of us, up on the chest of drawers a smoke trail flickers in and out. A small flame rises within the remains of the alarm clock, as the wiring catches alight, and begins to gentle spread along the innards of the broken timepiece.
You fall forward, missing your balance and tumbling – eye first – into the corner of the chest of drawers, which obligingly pokes it out. You tumble to the floor grasping desperately to steady the eye swinging out of its socket.
I have no time for your sufferings. Posting mail is a serious business, and its a business I intend to do well in! I grasp my swollen balls with one hand, and with the other I reach up to the door handle to help right myself.
I roll a 4, passing a normal roll…
You stand up with no difficulties, and pluck the doorhandle out of your scrotum, ignoring the trickle of blood trailing from the prominent gash it has left, and attach it to the door. It clicks back into place masterfully, and the handle turns. Sadly, the door appears to be locked, and stays firmly shut.
There is little of the alarm clock visible anymore, and the top of the dresser has started to catch. Cheap and cheerful chipboard is great for building an ikea special, but it doesn’t half throw off a lot of smoke. Alan notices that his letter is around 10 inches away from the crater that used to be a timepiece.
I scream. And scream. My eye is hanging out. I scream some more.
My action this turn is going to be to simply attempt to stop screaming. I’m going to make that a kickass roll by attempting to turn my scream into a manful “Oooooh yeaaah”. I roll an 8 (a fail, and my bubblegum number has dropped to 7)…
Your scream raises in pitch, through the little girl octaves and right up into the ultra high range of 80’s symphonic metal singers. A crack appears in the window pane. Suddenly there is a short ‘twang’, like a rubber band breaking, and all sound other than a gurgle instantly stops emanating from your throat.
It would appear you have broken a vocal chord (spare me yer scientific doctor bulls**t about how this is physically impossible – remember – the correct reponse in improvisation is always ‘yes’).
Seeing the peril of the hallowed letter I manfully stride over to pick it up. Your face is showered with my testicle blood as I attempt to straddle you en route to retrieve my precious cargo from the flames.
I roll a 2, passing a normal roll…
You deftly swipe the letter from the top of the chest of drawers. The air above the unit is starting to shimmer from the heat, and you step back from the blaze. It’s already started to curl up the curtains, and presents a formidable barrier to anyone wishing to reach the window.
You cough a little, as the smoke irritates your lungs. Visibility is reducing, and its hard to even see the other side of the room properly. You wonder briefly why there is no fire alarm ringing, but recall that your evil landlord is the exact kind of person to skimp of that sort of “luxury”. As you peer at the blackened wall and obviously smoke damaged ceiling, you suspect you are not going to get your rental deposit back either…
My world has gone into slow motion. If you’ve seen 28 Days Later, there’s a bit where the dad gets angry and kicks a post, and you see a single droplet of infected blood inexorably drop into his eye, and he rapidly deteriorates into a rage filled monster. I’m already half blinded, and barely able to talk, due to my laryngeal luxation (yep, that’s the correct medical term), and I can only draw breath in horror as I see a gush of scrotal blood fall from your ravaged groins towards my face.
Slight break from the rules, because why not? I’m going to roll for the result. Not an action, we just get to see what happens to me from mundane to insane based on the roll. Maybe I turn into a were-Alan…I roll a… 9!
You rise up in a frenzy, breathing hard and contorting in the grip of a terrifying, and obviously painful transmogrification…. you drop to your knees as your fingers extend – one of them forcefully pushes its way in between your teeth, which are reforming themselves into gangrenous, yellowing icebergs…
Your face itches as a pair of tangled pelts speedily sprout from your jowls….
More hair begins to form a greasy blanket over your back and your genitals take on herculean, bulbous, proportions….
Your effete middle class English exterior is successfully transformed into a heinous mockery of humanity which draws itself up to its full height, glorying in its new found, hitherto unexperienced, masculinity…
Much like Harry Potter under the influence of polyjuice potion, your spectacles are still in place (one eye still dangling below the lens), and your accent remains unchanged as you exclaim “bloody hell!”.
I gaze at the horrific transformation in front of me with a sense of awe which overpowers the rising panic at the burgeoning blaze and gather my thoughts. Quickly thinking through the weight ratio, I grab your form and attempt to break the glass by lobbing your sweating form at the window….
I roll a 5 for kick ass…
Secondly, whilst almost laughably oversized, your upper body is comicly misproportioned. Your forearms snap audibly, arms hanging limply as you stare at them disappointedly. (Your bubblegum number is now 6).
Under the onslaught of your full strength attack, I have been moved across the floor towards the window almost three eighths of an inch. Shrugging it off, and temporarily ruling out the window as an exit point, I decide the door is our best opportunity for escape. Whilst I could use the key that is in my pocket, I attempt a triple backwards somersault scissorkick into the upper panel of the stout Edwardian door.
And that’s a 1 on my kickass roll, an epic fail…
As you breathe in deeply to begin the wind up for your kick you fall to the floor in a coughing fit, vomiting several times and almost inhaling your swinging eye in between heaves, accidentally crunching it like a ripe lychee between your teeth.
I nudge you with my foot in an effort to motivate you “mone man – get yer s**t together, eh” and reach for a discarded t-shirt to cover my mouth while I decide what to do.
I roll a normal 1 – an epic win…
Firstly, your old tshirt is, predictably, disgusting. It’s a soggy greeny brown that belies it was once sold to you at an Avril Lavigne concert as a “medium white”. Almost a decade of abuse has imbued it with colonies upon colonies of anaerobic bacteria. Given that they have evolved to dwell in close proximity to your body, they are able to survive in incredibly inhospitable environments, and can generate their own oxygen.
As you hold it to your face, you realise that the air entering your lungs has become a) powerfully nauseating but b) safely breathable. You have saved yourself from any danger of smoke inhalation.
Secondly, that nudge with your foot had unpredictable consequences. Hitting me on the side of the head, it has caused a frontal lobe haemorrhage in *exactly* the right place to give me an excellent idea…
Temporarily ignoring the vitreous fluid dripping down my jaw, I attempt a normal roll to open the door with the key in my pocket! That’s an 8…
In your haste to get the key to the door, it flies out of your hand and it ricochets around the room before – with a comedy ‘plop’ sound – lodges itself halfway into your arsehole, sticking proudly out like Excalibur,
Arms flopping at my side , barely gripping the letter between my aching teeth, I run at you, pelvis first, in an attempt to push your bulbous frame to batter the door down. I attempt a normal roll with a 3…
As we lay in a bundle, an influx of air passes through, nearly ripping the letter out from your teeth. The heat behind us triples in intensity with a roar, blistering any exposed skin on the back of our legs.
Finally, a smoke alarm begins to wail in the corridor, and you can hear raised voices from down the stairs. I try to put my feet out from the flaming room, with a 2 on a normal roll…
“You alright boys? Whats happening?”
“BA***RD!” No one – CHUFFING NO ONE – is going to get between me and this letter getting into the first post of the day. From prone position, I launch my self head-first at him trusting that his body will act as a soft and mushy springboard by which to get a good head start at the mail box.
I roll a 10, on a normal roll…
Unfortunately, as well as being a bad person, he is, of course, a triple dan sumo ninja. Before you manage two paces, he pulls out a pair of nunchucks and crashes them into your teeth. They all crumble. Each and every one falls outs, and your letter falls to the floor.
“I HrrrAAAATTTE DAAAAAFFFFE!!!!!” I scream, my shattered voice roaring out a death rattle. I pull double samurai swords from the dual holsters on my back, and swing them out in a symmetrical arc, centring on Dave’s neck.
My kickass roll is… 4! (My bubblegum drops to 6 due to my reliably failing rolls)
You leap like a hero, silhouetted against the flames, like a mongoose falls upon the cobra, eye bulging red, intent on dismembering this, the author of our ills. Dave deftly flicks his wrist and in a flash speaks a commanding word… “leviosa!”
You halt, suspended in mid air, eye stalk dangling and limbs flailing furiously against fresh air. It will take you a while to ‘swim’ through the ether, that’s for sure.
“Basthad!” I cry through bleeding gums. Woozy from the loss of blood and smoke inhalation I decide there is only one chance of bringing this to a decisive end. Using my bollock blood as lubricant, I attempt to leap upon the bannister and surf down it like Orlando Bloom.
I roll a mighty 4, failing utterly, and dropping my Bubblegum to 5…
You surf completely successfully down the banister. Sure, you totally lose your genitalia, but what good were they anyway? The reason this is a failure is that you left the letter upstairs, next to the fire…
I hang in the air, head entirely engulfed in smoke from the raging tempest behind us. Bleary from the lack of oxygen, I decide to move fast.
Whilst I am floating in the air, both my arms are free, so I attempt to fling both swords at Dave at the same time. Each one a normal roll… a 1 and a 9.
Your first sword splits Dave’s skull like a melon, but your second falls to the ground with you on top of it. Your next d10 roll will also indicate how many fingers you loose as you try to grab it. If you roll 10 you lose all your fingers and are impaled on your own blade.
I try to stem the gush of blood from my genitals. I roll an 8 on a normal roll…
Lacking working hands, you attempt to make a bandage and apply it to your groin using your feet. The contortioning required to do this proves too much, and the increased strain in an already injured area causes your femoral artery to rupture on one side. This is bad now, blood is absolutely torrenting out, spraying on the walls and all over the bottom of the stairs. You’ve got about 2 minutes before you bleed out, tops. You could call for help, but its hard with no teeth.
It does seem that help may be on the way though. You hear a siren as a fire engine makes its way towards us. Given that the flames are now licking up the outside of the house, that’s not hugely surprising.
Meanwhile, I fall to the ground as my second blade bounces off the carpet and swings up towards me. My devastated vocal cords allow me only a gurgling cry as 7 of my fingers are sliced clean away.
Despite my ruined eye, my hideous transformation, my burned legs, all my destroyed possessions and the fact I’ll never play piano again, I give a smile. 2 fingers and a thumb remain, the perfect number to give a thumbs up on one bloody stump of a hand, and pick up the letter with my remaining pincer limb…
Its a successful normal roll of… 4!
I arch my back in attempt to elevate the bleeding area, while simultaneously trying to put pressure on the wound with one of my feet.
I roll a 4, succeeding a normal roll…
The bleeding stops, finally. Panting for breath from the loss of blood, you stagger to your feet. There you stand, in a pool of your own life fluid, your legs blistered by fire, and absolutely caked in darkened blood. Everything from the hip down is a mass of clots and ravaged flesh.
Your arms have the appearance of having two elbows, the normal mid arm joint and then a horribly unnatural twist just after, with bone and gristle poking out, your hands hanging flaccidly and uselessly below.
Finally, a face, already horrific before you awoke this morning, now dominated by a toothless, gaping maw. You are truly a fearsome sight to behold. Worst of all, you realise you have not had breakfast.
Oblivious to all else, you decide clearly and triumphantly that everything will be better once you have gone to the kitchen and had a bowl of cereal.
The flames are truly ferocious now, 6 feet high, and hundreds of degrees in temperature. All clothes and skin on that half of my body is actively smouldering. I decide that enough is enough. Despite the sound outside of competent firemen arriving to put out the blaze, I decide to vehemently urinate so copiously that I put the entire fire out.
This is a kickass roll of… 9! A dazzling success!
I meet the firefighters at the door and, passing them a tenner, attempt to sweet talk them into praying for me to be completely
I roll a spectacularly miserable 2, dropping my bubblegum to 4…
It was an audacious move, trying to call down God’s healing power through the intercession of strangers. Unfortunately, these particular firemen are staunch secularists, and are wildly offended by your suggestion. Together (and this move has been suggested by my 5 year old) they lift you up and push you into the kitchen bin. Your useless arms flap impotently against them, and they easily wedge you in and close the lid.
The fireman then rush back out to the truck, and start several hoses spraying into the top of the house. Coupled with the thousands of gallons of urine I already discharged, the fire has been abruptly replaced with a flood. A tsunami-like all of water appears in the corridor, and, still triumphantly holding the letter aloft, I jump onto Dave’s desecrated corpse and surf him down the stairs, voraciously pirouetting all the while…
I roll a kickass of 6, failing and dropping my bubblegum to 5…
…in progress, refresh for updates…