The way I figure, the Jacko Gang ain’t from around here. Showed up a couple decades back kitted out with all manner of equipment.
Hi I’m Lucy and I’m playing Vake.
Fairly typical practices. Raiding caravans, stealing from settlements. I ever heard of them recruiting. Far as I can tell, you got to either be born in or marry in.
Hi I’m Zoë and I’m playing Comet “Baby Teeth” Sharps.
But they got bold. They say they once drove up to Niederdorf making demands no wasteland rats should make.
Hi, I’m Jim Ryan and then I am playing Karloff Carradine.
Got laughed out of town. But I reckon they made their mistake when they raided that old mine.
Hi, I’m Ben and I’m playing Jones Johnson IV.
Killed the wrong folks, stole the wrong stuff, now they’ve got some Ego Drivers on their asses. And ego drivers don’t give a shit where you’re from. Only where you’re going.
Welcome to Tabletop Garden, an actual play podcast where we collaborate on short, self contained stories about interesting characters. And we do it with an agenda. I’m Gregory Avery-Weir. Today we continue Ego Driver, a post apocalyptic vehicular combat campaign using the Big Eyes Small Mouth Third Edition rules. As always, our agenda will be to honestly portray diverse characters, pursue healthy play practices, and craft story with social responsibility. Additionally, for this campaign we’ll be following the agenda: Save yourself, make it look good, and live like you’re dying.
If you like Tabletop Garden, you can find more info on us at tabletop.garden. We appreciate recommendations to your friends or reviews on podcast platforms. And if you want to financially support the show, my Patreon is at patreon.com/gregoryaveryweir. We now continue Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.
I guess I will roll… Okay. Good roll. I rolled a three for “mysterious thing that I won’t mention.”
It’s at least a three.
So are the rest of you going to peek heads out?
I think Vake will get out of the tank and go on foot.
Okay, that aperture opens up in this weird layered metal tank and Vake, wrapped in bandages, slides out. Do you look any different given your recent armor modifications or is that all disguised?
It’s not going to be visible.
Is everyone else staying inside?
I want to turn my car… have we scoped out the exits to this place?
Yeah, there are two roads out here. There’s the one you came up and then there’s another road that goes to a to a highway leading along this mountain range.
I’m going to get my car oriented so my my butt is towards the camp so that I can shoot some fire at people if I need to. And oh, I don’t know if I want to get out of the car. I’m very weak. I might hang out.
I was thinking about coming along but then I just noticed that I have no stealth skills whatsoever, so I probably should not.
So, Vake, are you like going through the underbrush and peeking on folks?
Yes, they are slinking toward the BBQ-wanting pigs that we want to wipe out.
All right, so you creep up behind some scraggly bushes, and you can see more clearly what’s going on here. There are indeed nine vehicles in a rough circle around this camp fire. Eight of them are that sort of standard Jacko Gang makeshift decent muscle car that’s been repaired over time, all in different colors and clearly assembled from parts from various different cars. One of them looks very different.
It is bright white and is like no car you’ve ever seen. Its tires are strangely shaped… like they’re fatter; they almost look spherical. And the windscreen and windows are all kind of one roughly dome shaped bubble on the top of the car just segmented where you’d be able to get in and out. And it looks more technologically advanced than pretty much any vehicle you see around other than maybe your own car.
Does it look like the pope car?
No, it looks like a like a fancy experimental future car like like the pod cars From Minority Report. It’s all sleek and bulbous and organic shaped.
I hate it.
Sitting around the campfire are assorted gang members in those black leather outfits with a lot of zippers and buckles and unnecessary fasteners on them. And there are two other people. There’s a woman in a practical but pretty nice, like, sun dress with armor on over it like like a heavy leather coat that matches pretty well but is a little out of place with how she’s clearly kind of trying to look good. And she’s got a heavy rifle slung over her shoulder with a very good scope on it. And next to her is a man in a white suit and hat with a blue dress shirt under it. Clean. Like, this white suit is clean. You don’t see white cloth much at all in this world. But he’s somehow has managed to get ahold of bleach, presumably, or something and has been able to keep clean enough that his outfit is looking real fly.
And all of these folks have sticks. And they’re roasting lizards or rats kind of game animals over this fire as they chat and they laugh. And they’re drinking bottles that… I don’t know if Vake would necessarily recognize this. This is the sort of thing that if Jones saw it, he’d recognize as the bottles of beer that’s mostly made from corn that the city of Niederdorf ships out with their caravans to mines and, and farflung farms, kind of as part of their… “Here’s part of your payment for giving us the things that we value. We’re not giving you the, the fancy liquor, but you know, you can have, you can have some beer to keep yourself happy enough.” They’re clearly at least partly enjoying the bounty of a raid on a caravan.
Okay, I’m going to slink my way back to the rest of our caravan.
All right, please give me a stealth check.
What does that entail? Exactly.
Let me check what an unskilled attempt would be…
I’d assume Body.
Yeah. Okay, so you you’re accustomed to stealth, so just give me a straight Body roll.
My pole also gives me an advantage. My pole has sensory block for vision and sound.
All right, give yourself a plus three to that role just to represent like the fact that you can silence yourself. You probably… I’m assuming the sensory block is more like a… is going to be more visible? Or is it like Predator style invisibility?
Yeah, it’s it’s sort of Predator like to allow me to pop on somebody is how I normally would use it.
All right, so give it… Yeah, give me a plus three to that to that stealth.
I’m just gonna roll with straight Body then plus three. So 14.
And I will do another roll real quick because the circumstance has changed sufficiently since the last one. I rolled an 11, but they’ve got some minuses because of how far away you are. So you are able to sneak away from the encampment and get back to the rest of the group.
Does anybody keep your vehicle unlocked or can I come plopping in?
Mine is electrified.
I’m gonna go to Baby Teeth’s vehicle, then.
So. So what do you see out there?
Yeah you wanna get uh… anybody else on the, you know, the the thing that makes all the noise to let them know?
Yeah, yeah, I can I can do that just just make sure you close close your close your door behind you. I don’t want to be loud.
I crank it on it probably makes like a sort of a that feedback sound a little bit and sort of a good staticky sound with a little bit of feedback at first.
“Aaagh.” I cover my ears.
I’m sorry. All right… Hello, fellow barbecuers, we have some information coming about…
We’re not barbecuers. We’re not barbecuers! We’re the opposite of barbecuers!
Uh, Vake, do you want to tell us what you saw out there?
It was it was awful. It was exactly the the number of them that Jones had told us about with their vehicles and you would not believe the smell. They were roasting something and smoke was… oh it was disgusting. I couldn’t get any closer because I couldn’t tolerate the smell of it. Ugggh.
Well that’s probably good that you didn’t get any closer because then they might have seen you. Which… they didn’t see you did they?
No, they didn’t see me!
Oh and there’s one person had an appallingly bright sun dress and then a rifle which… that seemed significant. And then another person has this white vehicle with really weird wheels, like science fiction wheels. This person, like, somehow they’re wearing all white.
I mean I know. It’s after Labor Day. Makes no sense. It was appalling. Whole thing. It was appalling
I swear every day’s Labor Day.
We should prob–static –gon– static —p on them.
Could you could you repeat that please?
Could you not?
I said, static –up on them.
I think he’s trying to say that we should get the jump on them.
You wanting to go cowboy on these and just go run in there and try and run them down before they can do much of anything?
I just want to wait till they’re done, like… cooking, whatever kind of thing they’re doing is awful. Maybe when they’re sleeping. People are really nice and quiet when they’re sleeping.
I’m not really a fan of of waitin’ until they sleep, at least let them die behind the wheel.
Alright, so are y’all attacking while they’re awake or waiting until they fall asleep.
Sleep sounds like an awesome idea. Oo, but what if they sleep in their cars?
Yeah. After a couple of repetitions you probably get the Karloff is trying to say that they’ll have some system in place for when they’ve got watches that might make them harder to attack when they’re asleep. It might be better to hit them while they’re focused on the meat.
I think getting them while they’re awake is a great idea.
So you get yourselves ready and prepare to make this assault. Before we do that, let’s have a quick OOC chat about one of our principles for this game.
So one of our agenda items is “Make it look good: be dramatic and cinematic. Never do something boring when you could go over the top instead.” And so there’s this weird thing with games where often planning out the exact optimal strategy for dealing with the situation can mean that it reduces a lot of the lot of the drama potential in it right? If you plan it so that you’re sure to win. There’s a little less room for excitement. So… What do y’all think about that, especially in thinking about how you all were very careful to sneak up on this group and figuring out when the exact right time it was to to assault them?
Well, I can say from experience that no good plan survives a few rounds of combat. I mean, it’s very rarely that even the best laid strategy is going to hold up after the dice decide, well, that’s nice, but we’re going to do this instead.
How about like, even on a round around basis where you could… I see this a lot in Dungeons and Dragons where a person might have, especially someone who uses a weapon might have one attack that is their optimal attack. And they can use that again and again, every time every round is the same. And it might be less interesting than doing dramatic stunts and swinging from chandeliers. But it’s more reliably effective in combat.
I think one of the fun things about doing shorter story arcs and shorter games or games or it’s okay if you die and you haven’t been you know, playing the same character for two years in a row. Like one of the things that this game is I want to make sure that I actually use all of the things that I have. And I didn’t, I mean, listening to all y’all describe your characters I feel like I could have could have added a lot more stuff but since I’ve only got you know a couple a couple tools in the toolbox. I want to definitely use them all. I mean, in this context I’m… well I won’t tell you what I’m going to do because I want to be cinematic. But it’s gonna be it’s gonna be a little silly.
But yeah, I think that having these lower stakes games or having the attitude that like, yeah your character might die. Yeah it’s okay if you screw up. The game master can certainly make choices if they wanted to lead a cinematic game so that, you know, it encourages you to do cool stuff. Like, maybe going easy on you and not killing you immediately if you fuck up.
Or at least I hope that might happen since, you know, we hope to have a few more sessions and not have to rebuild our characters just yet.
I’ll also say part of that is the system. You reference Dungeons and Dragons, and Dungeons and Dragons doesn’t have a mechanic for the rule of cool.
Some of the other systems like Dungeons: the Dragoning or World of Darkness, or even Hero System, like in Martial Arts or Fantasy Hero… Those have mechanisms for: Okay, you have done something cool. You’ve used the world. Fate has this as well. Using the world appropriately gives you a Raise basically. So, uh, some systems kind of have that built in where they want you to do something interesting with the set dressing. And I… you kind of highlight… D&D, despite it being the the poster board of role playing tabletop games, it is kind of the blandest when it comes to, here are the rules, please follow them. Thank you.
Yeah. And I think that that’s something that that that system and a lot of the other older systems have struggled against over the years is like: Oh, hey, we want to allow this sort of thing and still stay true to what we are. I think that BESM’s equivalent of that is their energy point system, where if you want to do something cool, you can kind of try really hard and do it. But I think there are alternate rules in the game for, like, here. Give a bonus for a cool thing you do.
I think a lot of it has to do with how you tackle it as a group also. And especially also as a Game Master. The idea that you do something to take a lot into account. I actually saw this happen on a game of Call of Cthulhu that I was watching just the other day. They essentially decided that they were going to assault a castle full of nearly 200 clones of a person. They weren’t exactly clones. There was a weird sort of eldritch temporal thing going on with them. But they decided that what they were going to do was one of their characters had developed a bio weapon and so they thought, okay, let’s just use this virus on them. And they rolled really well. They had great success in putting it together and pulling the plan off, but it still didn’t take out every single person in the building because there were certain realistic things and also certain things just in terms of the storytelling of something that made sense in the context of what was going on that made it so they still had some mopping up to do. They had to go in and deal with things. And that part was very dramatic.
I think that really the question is just making whatever you do, whether it’s success or failure, interesting. The situation is going to change somewhat no matter what the protagonists do. But it’s just a question of how you can make that change a thing that is interesting and something that affects the plot.
I just wanted to say a positive thing about recon, at least in this situation that we just played out where we were checking on this group. And now we know a little bit about some of the major antagonists and that’s like building suspense, or maybe foreshadowing or something like that, right? Which is a good narrative strategy and not, I think, a boring narrative strategy.
Yeah, it sounds like it’s feeling like making things interesting is not necessarily incompatible with strategic play, but that it’s more the attitude you take towards it, and what you do with the things that come out of it, rather than just whether you do the cool thing or the effective thing.
I think the fact that we did recon means there’s potential for more drama.
Because of that build up.
Yeah, I think so too.
I mean, I don’t know about you guys. But the fact that he’s wearing a white suit in this wonderful desert of of dust and dirt has somehow offended my character, who basically walks around into perpetual cloud worthy of Pig Pen.
Yeah, you see, now it means something.
Can’t wait to get it dirty.
Excellent. Let’s find out how that goes.
While you all roll initiative I will review a couple rules things. I checked the rules and did some thought experiments after last time and I think that I’m going to take back what I said about Auto Fire. So Auto Fire lets you hit multiple times if you roll high enough, and each hit will be a normal hit normally affected by armor. So if Auto Fire hits multiple times, it won’t drill through armor.
The other thing is a mistake that I made, which is that multiple defenses, I said that it worked one way. The way it works is the second time that you are attacked during around your defenses are at minus one. The third time it’s a minus three, the fourth time it’s a minus six, and then it caps out at minus six.
I wondered why it didn’t follow the same rules as the rest of the system.
Yeah, so it uses the same difficulty progression as the rest, it’s just you’re penalized and one step each additional attack that’s made against you until you cap out at negative six. And if you’ve got the Extra Defenses attribute, then it’ll delay that progression.
Those additional attacks happening at the same time? Or is that for additional attacks that happened after the initial one?
It’s however many attacks happened between your turns.
So that that clock resets when you take a turn.
Cool, cool. Cool.
So just to make sure I’ve got the terrain after you guys, basically rev your engines, take a potshot, or whatever it is to start this this shindig on the roll… the route that we’re on is the winding through a cavern route?
Through a canyon, yeah.
I thought we agreed we were not going to have a shindig, though.
We will try not to.
And there’s a side path off of the left side of the map that I haven’t drawn out because it’s much simpler. That’s a relatively straight linear road.
So it is still late afternoon. You’ve had enough time to chat amongst yourselves a little bit about how you’re going to approach this, and they are now chowing down on their roast beast eating it just directly off the stick like a kebab. And they’re still out of their cars. You can’t see them clearly. So you don’t know exactly what they’re sort of armament situation is at the moment because you’re you’re no longer in those bushes.
Any questions before we start?
Where are we on this map when we begin?
I have the three of you lined up at the mountain side, the the windy road exit.
Okay so that’s not very far away at all.
Jones, you have the first opportunity to act.
I suppose the one last question left is how are you guys wanting to start?
Well, we have the element of surprise already. My plan to start the parlay was with a flame thrower coming out of my butt and filling up the whole area with smoke but that’s that’s just me.
I will use my first turn to slowly move closer to the surface. Actually… well, I’ll use my first turn to get closer to the surface. I’m going to be preparing for Operation: Land Shark.
So Jones is kind of positioned near that entrance ready to come up out of the ground. The rest of you, now that you’re motionless and he’s doing this, you can feel a slight rumble to the ground. And you… you hear over from the fire someone be like, “Oop, heads up for rockfall. Everything looks fine here.” But they don’t seem tipped off other than that. All right, Karloff.
Anyone mind if I attempt to blow something up?
I don’t actually say that. I wouldn’t I wouldn’t say that with that many words. I’d just do it, but… just thought I’d check ahead of time. Okay. Funny thing, not that I really need it at this distance, but I realized the range on my magnetic mines are a kilometer.
Eesh. Heck of a mine thrower.
Do they have Indirect on them?
Well, they’ve got… Homing.
So you will need line of sight.
But you can definitely do them from a distance.
I must have gotten rid of Indirect during the one of the purges that happened.
Can I see the Wonder Car from here?
I don’t think you can see it clearly unless you yourself come up over the rise so I think you would need to make yourself visible to get a good view of the of the Wonder Car.
Okay, well then, in that case I think I’m about to do a thing. You said there’s also a road off to the left?
Yeah, it’s, it’s not connected to this road but it’s sort of the other exit to that parking lot they’re in.
Okay, I think I’ve just nominated myself to be bait.
My plan is to be heading down this way, to jump the vehicle over about here, to end here.
In mid air I will release the mines and start down this road.
Excellent. Give me your… I guess your drive check first.
Excellent. Let’s do that. 21.
Okay, that is very solidly enough to make that jump. So you speed off on this downhill road along this stone wall and then you take a sharp right and engage your rocket boosters and launch yourself up this very, very steep stone wall and launch yourself into the air over this parking lot. And below you, you can see these cars spread out and these people in a circle around the fire, and thanks to the enormous roaring noise of the rocket engines on your car they’re like looking around in panic. Most of them are looking uphill because they just been worried about rockfall, but the woman in the dress immediately pinpoints where you are and is watching you closely and shoves the man in the white suit down and kind of prepares to dive away herself.
Excellent. Oh, this is very important. Perhaps I can’t tell from here. But does she appear to be wearing sensible shoes?
Yeah, she is wearing like, like good, solid boots.
Oh, dear. We’re in trouble then. Good. Good to know. Good to know. And then shall I fire the mine?
And you’re aiming at the Wonder Car?
I am aiming at the Wonder Car, yes. Here we go!
All right. How does this work? He is out of his car. So I think that you’re just trying to hit a base number of 12. Because this car can’t dodge. You rolled a 15, your mine goes arcing through the air beautifully. It blinks as it as it homes in and is pulled towards this car. But when it gets near, it stops in midair just like a few feet off of the surface of the car. And you see a shimmery static bubble around this car that looks very similar to what you saw around Vake when they got shot. And your mine explodes. And that force field shimmers heavily and blinks out for a second and the armor, that that beautiful white shiny surface of the car, gets all beaten up and bubbly and damaged and you see a few small fires start inside the car. But almost all of the damage from that mine, almost all of that 98 damage, was absorbed by a combination of that force field and the car’s armor, so it has taken eight…
Hopefully softened it up a bit.
And its force field is down to 36.
And Karloff lands dramatically, probably with a skidding of tires, at the far side of the parking lot and he zooms out the exit down that that highway in the opposite direction of where the rest of you are waiting.
You have your back to the parking lot. I think that you’ve got two of the more junky cars are within your range. If you just kind of position a little bit where you are. You’d have to move your car to get in better range.
Oh yeah, I’m down to move my car. I was going to make a run through with the flame thrower going because I think I’m going more for the smoke effect and going to hit who I can on the way through. See I was going to dramatically drive back… well. Hmm. I can’t really drive backwards with the flamethrower on all that well, can I?
Well you just won’t be able to see where you’re going, otherwise it’d be fine.
C’mon! Sure you can.
Won’t I drive into my flames?
Push the flame harder.
Yeah I’m assuming that your your flame thrower is probably got good shielding for heat. It’s probably makeshift enough that you have to have heat protection around the area where it comes out otherwise you your car would just catch on fire anytime you turned it on.
Excellent. Well, as a as part of my gear shift I think right past “reverse” is “flames.” So I’m going to engage the the flame gear and try to get one or the other of the cars that are behind me and then drive backwards so I can be facing forward again for my next turn.
So you slam on your your gas pedal and zoom into reverse, zooming past the car that’s most directly behind you and sweeping it with this flame thrower and ending up kind of with the with the back of your makeshift ambulance pointed mostly towards this group of raiders who are diving out of the way and taking cover as you do so. I don’t think you need a drive check…
To go into reverse? I’m really good at parallel parking. I think that’s on my character sheet.
Okay, well in that case, then just make the attack roll.
Awesome. So 16!
So that is solidly enough to hit that car…
Do I get any people or do they all run away?
I think since you weren’t like doing a spread or anything, since you were just attacking the one target and you don’t have anything special in your flame thrower, people get singed and probably have to pat out flames on themselves, but none of them are actively injured. That car, however, is now on flames.
It is completely burning.
And the Sensory Block. So I have a Sensory Block of one on the flame thrower. So…
Yeah, so that’s an area of a one meter radius. There’s this cloud of smoke that’s completely obscuring your vehicle. So from the raiders’ perspectives, what they saw is just something or emerge in a cloud of smoke and flames, set one of their cars on fire, and then has briefly paused and just this billowing cloud of smoke that they can’t see through.
Perfect, amazing, love it.
The man in the white hat scrambles for his car. He activates something in his hand and there’s a fizzle of the the force field as he hops inside. And a cannon emerges from the hood of the car on a swivel and turns in the direction of where Karloff is running away. Comet, you’re probably looking at this, right?
In my rearview mirror. No, in my front view mirror.
You see this bright light building up inside the barrel of the cannon. And then there’s a sudden flash that that hurts your eyes and a beam of light…
I have sunglasses on. It’s fine.
Excellent. You’ll get a bonus on this roll.
A beam of light shoots out and goes toward Karloff’s car. Karloff, give me a defense roll please.
He rolled a 14. You rolled a 16. So it just barely goes over your car, but because you were keeping enough of an eye on your rear view mirror to be able to defend against this you also see this flash.
I should point out that as established last session I am also wearing sunglasses.
Excellent. So Karloff and Comet, give me a Body roll at a plus one.
All right, well…
Oo, beefy there, man.
Karloff rolled a 20, which is very good. 21. Comet rolled a total of eight. The target number was 13 here. So Comet, you are dazzled. You can’t see much except for this, like electric blue splotch in the middle of your vision from where that shot. So for the next round, you are effectively blinded. You can still drive but you’ll be at penalties you anything you need to see for.
Yes. Karloff, you’re doing all right. Presumably as you saw the light flashing you like flipped your rearview mirror into night mode and straighten your sunglasses and managed not to get blinded by this.
So the smoke around me didn’t help at all?
It would but it wouldn’t help…
…that much. Yeah, I think the smoke probably would have increased that to plus three. So you still wouldn’t have hit target number 13.
Hallelujah. I’ve seen the light of God.
Four of… well, three of the raiders manage to get to their cars. The remaining raider, whose car is currently on fire, hops into a car with another one of the raiders and I think that two of them are spraying… they pull out weapons that are big, heavy pistols that they’re barely able to hold them in one hand and they’re spraying bullets in bursts. Two of them are shooting at Comet and two of them are shooting in the distance at Karloff.
For Comet, give me two rolls. Your second one will be a minus one. Right, so there was a seven and a 10 and you’ve got a 15 and a 13. So you’re able to to hunker down down and avoid any bullets that make it through the gaps in your armor or through windows and you’re not… you don’t take any damage.
Karloff, bullets are flying your way from behind now. And you’re already at a penalty because you already got shot at by that huge cannon. So give me two defenses. There’ll be at a minus one and a minus three.
One, second one.
Right. So they roll 12 and 14. You roll an effective 13 and 11. So the second raider’s bullets manage to strike true and they hit for 29 damage. They ignore eight of your armor.
Let’s see… I have armor level 12.
I think I wrote– noted down that your total armor is 28. Because you’ve got two armor on yourself as well.
So you end up taking… yeah. So nine damage ends up getting through and hitting you. You probably got winged by a bullet, would you say?
Probably. Yeah. If my personal armor comes into it at all, then maybe one or two of them bounce off my arm?
…my metallic arm and then only one of them does sort of graze me.
All right. You’re a little torn up and bleeding. But you’re doing just fine. And Vake. There’s suddenly been a bright flash that you didn’t… weren’t seeing directly. But it was very, very bright. There’s also a fire there now and a bunch of smoke and there’s been a lot of loud noise.
Yes, this is all within the realm of expectation and yet entirely unacceptable. I am going to drive my tank directly into Smooth Criminal’s vehicle.
Okay, give me a Drive check. He’s in now, so he’s able to make a Drive check as well. Are you trying to…
I’m trying to use my spikes.
I’m going to un-retract them. I guess I’m going to… extend them?
Protract them, perhaps?
There you go.
Then in this case, it’s an attack vs defense.
Okay, so I’m gonna make an attack roll with the spikes.
All right. So he rolled a…
…12. You rolled a 13. So you hit. What are the tags on those…?
I’ve got penetrating, piercing, undetectable and tangle.
Okay. So you ignore some of his force field… So the total damage on that was 126. Let me just do some math real quick because that’s a complicated situation.
Well, you’re very welcome.
(sotto voce) Force field is currently at 36, you ignore 32 of that, so 124 once you get through the force field… armor is 50, so that drops that to 74… All right. And then… oh, except you ignore 16 of that… so that’s 34… that’s 90 there.
Alright. You slam real hard into Smooth Criminal’s vehicle. You’re dealing 90 damage to him. Your spikes stab straight into those fancy tires near the back. You’re clearly doing some major damage to this car. He is slammed forward. Clearly kind of smacks his head against the against the windshield and is slumped over with blood dripping down his forehead. You don’t see any obvious lethal wounds on him, but he looks unconscious at the moment. And your two cars are stuck together by those spikes.
If we could have a brief cut scene to the interior of my tank, Vake is actually not watching any of that. They are listening to ocean sounds that are very loudly reverberating throughout the inner tank and they’re sort of posed in lotus position trying very hard not to hear any sounds at all.
Awesome. Seeing their leader apparently taken out with one solid crash — by the way, that force field shimmered and dropped and then came back on weaker again, but the car itself looks, at the moment, real out of commission. But the remaining four slower raiders are not having this at all. As they’re heading towards their cars they are just opening sustained fire on your vehicle, determined to at least get payback for you possibly killing, at least taking out, their leader.
I guess that’s me?
Yeah they are definitely targeting you. The first attack on you is… again using those machine pistols. Let’s let’s resolve each one individually. So give me a defense combat for that. They rolled a 13 to hit.
You rolled a 10.
So this first one hits you for 29. Does that even graze you at all? Probably it hits your — the armor of your car first, right?
Alright, so it’s not doing much there. The second raider, seeing the bullets just glanced off of your armor takes a little more careful aim and tries to get kind of in between two plates of your armor.
And this one’s going to be at a minus one for me?
A minus one for you and a minus three for him since he’s trying to aim for weak spot in your armor. Right, so he rolled a 10 which drops to a seven. You rolled a 14, which is a 13. So this one is just glancing off of the armor around the spot that he was aiming for. The third one will, again, kind of try and be drilling at the area, at a similar join between armor that the other one was aiming for.
And now I’m at a minus two?
You’re at a minus three now.
So he got a 10 to hit. You rolled a 12, which ends up as a nine. So this one hits. Your armor is half as effective against this attack. Let’s see… the outer armor of your car only blocks 30 which is still enough to just glance off. So the fourth Raider runs up to your car and like aims directly at that aperture that’s just barely visible on the surface. He is trying to bypass your armor, so he’s a minus six to hit.
And I’m at minus…?
You’re at a minus six as well. All right, so he rolled a 16 which drops to a 10. You rolled a 12, which drops to a six so he manages to hit and it manages to bypass your armor entirely. He’s, like, firing into the spot where that aperture would open up. And bullets enter your your cabin, disrupting that beautiful peace that you had. And they impact upon your force field so your force field is currently at 20, correct?
So it drops to 16.
And what is your personal armor
My personal armor is level five?
Okay, so it’s 10. So a few bullets splash off of your force field and your force field momentarily flickers out and the rest of the bullets impact on that armor and it’s absorbed. So you take no damage from these four people firing on you. One of the Raiders is standing on your car and the other three have made it to their vehicles. So we have…
However, my peace is shattered and I am fucking pissed.
Yes. There are now six raiders in cars and conscious. One car on fire, one car empty, and then Smooth Criminal is slumped over in his car. The woman who had shoved Smooth Criminal down and then was a little bit behind on kind of scrambling up and following runs over to Smooth Criminal’s car and hops in the passenger seat. And like real quick checks him over. And we see, inside the car, he groans in pain and holds his head with a hand and he says, “Annie, are you okay?”
God damn it.
She says, “Shut up.” And she hits a button on the dashboard with her elbow and the back window of the car opens up and just kind of slides down into the body of the car. And she aims that big fuck-off rifle that she’s been carrying on her back directly into the front of Vake’s car.
Yay. And I’m still at only a minus six. It doesn’t get worse, right?
This situation is like the opposite of the song.
All right. So she rolled a 12, you rolled an eight, which drops to a two. It’s not a crit. She did not roll 12 higher than your defense. It does ignore a decent amount of armor, however. So she ignores 40 of your armor. What’s your external armor again?
My external armor is 60.
Okay. She punches through some of your armor, 12 of her damage gets through, but it splashes on your force field. Your first field does not go down this time.
And she drops down and kind of shoves Smooth Criminal over and drops into the driver’s seat. So, Jones, you’ve been waiting and you’ve heard a lot of stuff going on. I’m not sure that you’ve got perfect vision on exactly what’s happening. But you’re able to put together all of the major beats here. You didn’t hear all the cool lines, though.
Probably the big thing that I don’t know about is the beam cannon because I doubt that would register to any of my senses.
There was definitely some sort of huge “pchew!” noise. So you know there was some sort of energy weapon, but you don’t know exactly what.
Well, I still have to do Operation: Land Shark because, seriously, if I don’t do it at least once, I’m going to kick myself. So I am going to redefine what physics likes…
…and have two objects occupy the same space.
Sounds like a good plan.
Specifically the middle car here. I would like to come up underneath it.
Up underneath one of the raiders’ cars.
Middle car on the lower side. I moved my vehicle into position. And basically I’d like to just kind of breach right under and into it.
I am here for this.
I believe you.
Everyone feels that rumble in the ground get stronger and stronger and stronger. And suddenly there’s an enormous explosive noise as Jones emerges from beneath. There’s a big spray of rock. Let’s see if this raider is able to start his car in time. No. You rolled a 15 and he rolled a nine. You all see this dirt and rock spray outward from under this car as if something underneath it is suddenly spinning and throwing gravel all around. The raider’s frantically starting his car and trying to get it into gear and it’s not quite catching. And then he looks behind him. And in the back seat out of the floorboards, a hole opens up and there’s just a whirring metal death cone coming up through his car and he screams as it gets higher and higher and wider and wider in the space in his car. And the rest of you see Jones’s vehicle just drive vertically up out of the ground straight through the raider’s car and there is just a red mist that sprays across the inside of the windshield and Jones’s vehicle finally beaches… toward the camp fire? Or do you want to go downhill?
I’d like to go in the direction I’m pointed. Towards the left.
Okay. So it kind of emerges and then levels out and just chews through the back end of this raider’s car and is now face to face with a raider behind it who is looking very scared.
I believe over the CB radio there will be a definitely very loud “yee ha” that I will not do over the mic just because I think that would be painful.
Very kind of you. Karloff, you have avoided that flash of light but there seems to be some other stuff going on back there. You’re hearing explosions you’re seeing some movement that’s probably a little hard to make out from this distance but there’s clearly some fighting going on and no one has started chasing you yet.
So, well, let’s improve that. On my way down, I would like to harpoon this car on the furthest left hand side and drag it along behind me.
The aim being that when I get down to about here, I’m going to jump again over this, with that car is still attached behind me, and I’m just going to sort of let physics do what it does.
So you’re going to jump down the mountain again, taking the switchback road the hard way?
Why yes. Yes. I think so.
With this other vehicle behind me hopefully taking considerable collateral damage.
I think it’s real thoughtful that you’re taking that car on sort of a tour.
Yes, yes, I am the magnanimous one.
It’s nice when someone else is driving, you know, you get to see the scenery.
Look, kids! Big Ben!
And over there, a Cuisinart.
My hope is that they’ll actually just be smashing into stuff. But we’ll see what happens. So what shall I roll here?
Give me your attack first. Let’s see how this harpooning situation goes.
Yeah, ’cause if that doesn’t go then I may have to change my strategy a bit here. Harpoon gun…
All right, so their defense was a 14 but you handily hit that with an 18. Your harpoon punches through their armor and snags inside their car. You deal a not-inconsiderable amount of damage to them. You you end up with 25 damage coming through. The driver is not looking happy about this. He’s struggling. But his car still seems to be functional. But it is…
…firmly stuck to your harpoon. Now give me a drive roll. And he’s going to make a drive roll to try and stop you.
Excellent. Let’s do this.
He rolled an 11 total and you rolled a 19. You’ve both got specializations in your vehicles. And so you have won it out. You gun it. His back was towards you. So he’s managing to gun in the opposite direction. He manages to pull out a little bit as you’re heading toward him again, briefly. But when you turn down the mountain, his car is whipped around and your Humvee’s torque is just no match for his makeshift hot rod. And he’s dragged backwards with his tires squealing and burning down the road. You hit that rock wall on the first… down to the first hairpin, skipping one entire stage of this road. And his car careens left and right. You’re pretty sure it’s not going to be drivable after this. But as long as it’s attached to you, it is coming along for the ride.
Excellent. Well, that’s good. I can I can do more cool physics stuff. Next time. My idea was that I would be headed in this direction.
So you’ve kind of hit a hit a turn and are actually going to be driving on the road for at least a little bit now.
Yeah, for a moment.
You are surrounded by a cloud of smoke. Behind you a car has just been chewed apart by a giant mining device. There’s some very angry people assaulting Vake outside your driver side window that you can see over a burning car. And there is a raider in his car right next to you looking mean at you.
Well, I wouldn’t see any of that, because I’m currently dazzled. So…
That’s right. You’re just kind of seeing… you’re hearing things just fine. So you have a hint of what’s going on. But you’re having trouble figuring out all the details.
Exactly. While these last turns have been going on. I’ve been sort of like angrily slamming at the steering wheel, like like banging on it with my hand, mashing buttons and just like very frustrated that I can’t see because seeing is very important for driving. So what I think I’m going to do on this turn is attempt to put my car in reverse and you know, go somewhere. I’m going to fail so I might scoot over a tiny bit and then mash some buttons. One of the buttons turns on the loudspeaker on top of my car where it’s: “God damn it, mother fuck, shit shit shit!” And then while I’m in the middle of a word I will slam another button and then “Little Red Corvette” by Prince comes on, very loudly, and then shuts off a few seconds later as the stunner weapon engages, affecting all cars within a area of three.
An area of three is 10 meters.
So yes, 30 feet.
So that’s probably… I’m going to say that that’s everyone except the two left most cars in the parking lot. So you also have Jones’s car and Vake’s car in your in your stunner range.
I did want to reverse a little bit and then give up. Do I need to make a drive check at penalty to try to get them out of range like to get sort of back here?
Yeah, yeah, you can find a position where they’re not in range. Give me a drive check. You’re at a minus…
But I also can’t see, so…
…three I guess? Because you’re… Yeah, you can’t see.
Sorry, y’all, in advance maybe. So that’s a 12.
Alright, 12 is going to easily be enough for for backing up so you managed to back into a position where you’re not quite getting them in. This is electric, right?
Boogie woogie woogie.
So you get little like sparks and static catch on the edges of their vehicles. But there’s they’re not at risk of taking damage and give me an attack roll. A single attack roll, and then each of the opponents will roll to defend against it. So you rolled a 12 to attack. You’ve got one, two, three… we’ll say five. No, four of them. One of those is on fire.
One of those doesn’t have a driver in it. So the raider behind you rolls a 13 to defend.
As he sees you careening blindly towards him he steps on the– in reverse and backs up just far enough to not take the brunt of it. You completely fry the circuitry of the empty car that’s this to your left.
The car that used to be to your right that had the guy growling in it rolled a 14 so, again, manages to drive away just far enough to get out of the range of it. The car that is on fire, you’re really not sure whether or not it took much damage. But it’s Smooth Criminal’s car. That’s going to be the important one here, as Annie is still in it.
Is she okay?
She is just fine. She rolls a 17 so she kind of sees you coming and she’s in the driver’s seat and she presses a few buttons and that force field flickers stronger and she is wiggling the wheel from side to side and not doing much since she’s still impaled on Vake’s spikes, but the force field itself and her kind of hunkering down makes it so that that electricity splashes over the surface of her car and it doesn’t do any damage to it.
I hate myself for asking that now.
It’s already been asked, it’s okay.
It’s it’s such a good joke.
Greg, hats off to you. It’s a beautiful and terrible… well…
With Prince still going in the background. I hope to provide some some yin to Michael Jackson’s yang in this story.
Hold up, that’s still playing?
Oh, yeah. After the stunner goes it cuts back on.
Vake, are you paying attention to what’s in front of you?
Vake is currently torn between being aggravated at what is right in front of them and being aggravated at Baby Teeth.
So you can probably see a little bit of movement in the car as Annie elbows Smooth Criminal again and he, barely conscious, pulls something out of the glove compartment. And we just see it slightly in his hand. It’s some sort of vial that contains a glowing blue liquid and he just squeezes it hard and shatters the glass in his hand, and this blue slimy, but not sticky, goo bursts out and splashes all over his hand and spreads across him and across the car. And he holds his head in pain but kind of seems to shake it a little bit and and regain a little bit of his composure. And the blue glow seeps out of the the wheel well — somehow it ended up there — and spreads over the back tire, and it is now intact again.
Gotta get me some of that blue glowy stuff.
Next time on Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.
She says, “Where the fuck did you get that car?”
Electricity surges out from the electroram as it slams in and the whole vehicle, and probably the ones connected to it a little bit, have this electricity coursing over it for just a moment.
I’m not in here with y’all. You’re in here with me.
Hey Karloff, I’m going to toss one down your way!
And there’s just a spray of blood that you can see out the back of Vake.
“This one’s for you, Vake!” And I turn off the music.
Big Eyes Small Mouth Third Edition was created by Guardians of Order. The theme music for this campaign is “Wasteland” by Phantom Elite, available under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives license. For more Tabletop Garden and to support subscribe to us visit tabletop.garden and to support the work I do, visit patreon.com/gregoryaveryweir.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai