Gregory 0:00
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.

Lucy 0:06
Hi I’m Lucy and I’m playing Vake.

Gregory 0:09
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.

Zoë 0:19
Hi I’m Zoë and I’m playing Comet “Baby Teeth” Sharps.

Gregory 0:23
But they got bold. They say they once drove up to Niederdorf making demands no wasteland rats should make.

Jim 0:29
Hi, I’m Jim Ryan and then I am playing Karloff Carradine.

Gregory 0:34
Got laughed out of town. But I reckon they made their mistake when they raided that old mine.

Ben 0:38
Hi, I’m Ben and I’m playing Jones Johnson IV.

Gregory 0:41
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.

Gregory 1:25
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.

Gregory 2:00
If you like Tabletop Garden, you can find more info on us at We appreciate recommendations to your friends or reviews on podcast platforms. And if you want to financially support the show, my Patreon is at We now continue Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.

Gregory 2:29
I guess I will roll… Okay. Good roll. I rolled a three for “mysterious thing that I won’t mention.”

Ben 2:36
How mysterious.

Jim 2:37
It’s at least a three.

Gregory 2:38
So are the rest of you going to peek heads out?

Lucy 2:40
I think Vake will get out of the tank and go on foot.

Gregory 2:45
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?

Lucy 2:57
It’s not going to be visible.

Gregory 2:59
Is everyone else staying inside?

Zoë 3:01
I want to turn my car… have we scoped out the exits to this place?

Gregory 3:06
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.

Zoë 3:15
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.

Gregory 3:32
All right.

Jim 3:32
I was thinking about coming along but then I just noticed that I have no stealth skills whatsoever, so I probably should not.

Gregory 3:38
So, Vake, are you like going through the underbrush and peeking on folks?

Lucy 3:46
Yes, they are slinking toward the BBQ-wanting pigs that we want to wipe out.

Gregory 3:53
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.

Lucy 4:21

Gregory 4:22
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.

Zoë 4:52
Does it look like the pope car?

Gregory 4:54
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.

Lucy 5:04
I hate it.

Gregory 5:07
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.

Gregory 6:01
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.

Lucy 6:48
Okay, I’m going to slink my way back to the rest of our caravan.

Gregory 6:54
All right, please give me a stealth check.

Lucy 6:57
What does that entail? Exactly.

Gregory 6:59
Let me check what an unskilled attempt would be…

Ben 7:03
I’d assume Body.

Gregory 7:05
Yeah. Okay, so you you’re accustomed to stealth, so just give me a straight Body roll.

Lucy 7:09
My pole also gives me an advantage. My pole has sensory block for vision and sound.

Gregory 7:17
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?

Lucy 7:31
Yeah, it’s it’s sort of Predator like to allow me to pop on somebody is how I normally would use it.

Gregory 7:38
All right, so give it… Yeah, give me a plus three to that to that stealth.

Lucy 7:41
I’m just gonna roll with straight Body then plus three. So 14.

Gregory 7:47
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.

Lucy 8:05
Does anybody keep your vehicle unlocked or can I come plopping in?

Zoë 8:11
Mine’s unlocked.

Jim 8:12
Mine is electrified.

Lucy 8:16
I’m gonna go to Baby Teeth’s vehicle, then.

Zoë 8:20
So. So what do you see out there?

Lucy 8:23
Yeah you wanna get uh… anybody else on the, you know, the the thing that makes all the noise to let them know?

Zoë 8:32
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.

Zoë 8:40
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.

Lucy 8:51
“Aaagh.” I cover my ears.

Zoë 8:55
I’m sorry. All right… Hello, fellow barbecuers, we have some information coming about…

Lucy 9:04
We’re not barbecuers. We’re not barbecuers! We’re the opposite of barbecuers!

Zoë 9:07
Uh, Vake, do you want to tell us what you saw out there?

Lucy 9:12
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.

Zoë 9:33
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?

Lucy 9:40
No, they didn’t see me!

Zoë 9:41
Well, good!

Lucy 9:43
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.

Lucy 10:10
I mean I know. It’s after Labor Day. Makes no sense. It was appalling. Whole thing. It was appalling

Zoë 10:10

Ben 10:23
I swear every day’s Labor Day.

Jim 10:27
We should prob–static –gon– static —p on them.

Lucy 10:30
Oh God!

Zoë 10:33
Could you could you repeat that please?

Lucy 10:36
Could you not?

Jim 10:38
I said, static –up on them.

Zoë 10:43
I think he’s trying to say that we should get the jump on them.

Jim 10:46
static –es.

Ben 10:48
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?

Lucy 10:56
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.

Ben 11:08
I’m not really a fan of of waitin’ until they sleep, at least let them die behind the wheel.

Jim 11:14
static –watches.

Gregory 11:18
Alright, so are y’all attacking while they’re awake or waiting until they fall asleep.

Zoë 11:23
Sleep sounds like an awesome idea. Oo, but what if they sleep in their cars?

Jim 11:27
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.

Zoë 11:41
I think getting them while they’re awake is a great idea.

Lucy 11:44

Gregory 11:47
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.

Ben 12:01
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?

Ben 12:40
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.

Gregory 13:00
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.

Zoë 13:26
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.

Zoë 14:02
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.

Zoë 14:28
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.

Ben 14:34
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.

Gregory 14:45

Ben 14:45
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.

Gregory 15:28
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.

Jim 15:55
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.

Jim 17:09
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.

Lucy 17:32
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.

Gregory 17:59
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.

Jim 18:18
I think the fact that we did recon means there’s potential for more drama.

Lucy 18:22

Jim 18:22
Because of that build up.

Lucy 18:23
Yeah, I think so too.

Gregory 18:25

Ben 18:25
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.

Jim 18:40
Yeah, you see, now it means something.

Zoë 18:42
Can’t wait to get it dirty.

Gregory 18:43
Excellent. Let’s find out how that goes.

Gregory 18:50
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.

Gregory 19:15
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.

Ben 19:33
I wondered why it didn’t follow the same rules as the rest of the system.

Gregory 19:36
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.

Jim 19:52
Those additional attacks happening at the same time? Or is that for additional attacks that happened after the initial one?

Gregory 19:58
It’s however many attacks happened between your turns.

Jim 20:02

Gregory 20:03
So that that clock resets when you take a turn.

Jim 20:04
Cool, cool. Cool.

Ben 20:06
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?

Gregory 20:20
Through a canyon, yeah.

Ben 20:21
Canyon, right.

Lucy 20:22
I thought we agreed we were not going to have a shindig, though.

Ben 20:27
We will try not to.

Gregory 20:29
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.

Gregory 20:38
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.

Gregory 21:02
Any questions before we start?

Jim 21:04
Where are we on this map when we begin?

Gregory 21:06
I have the three of you lined up at the mountain side, the the windy road exit.

Jim 21:11
Okay so that’s not very far away at all.

Gregory 21:13
Jones, you have the first opportunity to act.

Ben 21:16
I suppose the one last question left is how are you guys wanting to start?

Zoë 21:20
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.

Ben 21:33
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.

Gregory 21:49

Lucy 21:50

Gregory 21:52
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.

Jim 22:16
Anyone mind if I attempt to blow something up?

Zoë 22:18

Jim 22:19
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.

Gregory 22:35

Ben 22:36
So each

Ben 22:38
Eesh. Heck of a mine thrower.

Gregory 22:41
Do they have Indirect on them?

Jim 22:42
Well, they’ve got… Homing.

Gregory 22:44
So you will need line of sight.

Jim 22:46

Gregory 22:46
But you can definitely do them from a distance.

Jim 22:48
I must have gotten rid of Indirect during the one of the purges that happened.

Jim 22:54
Can I see the Wonder Car from here?

Gregory 22:56
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.

Jim 23:04

Jim 23:05
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?

Gregory 23:10
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.

Jim 23:15
Okay, I think I’ve just nominated myself to be bait.

Zoë 23:18

Jim 23:19
My plan is to be heading down this way, to jump the vehicle over about here, to end here.

Gregory 23:29

Jim 23:29
In mid air I will release the mines and start down this road.

Gregory 23:35
Excellent. Give me your… I guess your drive check first.

Jim 23:40
Excellent. Let’s do that. 21.

Gregory 23:43
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.

Jim 24:35
Excellent. Oh, this is very important. Perhaps I can’t tell from here. But does she appear to be wearing sensible shoes?

Gregory 24:41
Yeah, she is wearing like, like good, solid boots.

Jim 24:45
Oh, dear. We’re in trouble then. Good. Good to know. Good to know. And then shall I fire the mine?

Gregory 24:50

Jim 24:51
All right.

Gregory 24:51
And you’re aiming at the Wonder Car?

Jim 24:53
I am aiming at the Wonder Car, yes. Here we go!

Gregory 24:55
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…

Jim 26:02
Hopefully softened it up a bit.

Gregory 26:04
And its force field is down to 36.

Zoë 26:07

Gregory 26:07
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.

Zoë 26:21

Gregory 26:21

Zoë 26:22
What’s up!

Gregory 26:23
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.

Zoë 26:37
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?

Gregory 26:56
Well you just won’t be able to see where you’re going, otherwise it’d be fine.

Ben 26:59
C’mon! Sure you can.

Zoë 26:59
Won’t I drive into my flames?

Ben 27:01
Push the flame harder.

Gregory 27:02
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.

Zoë 27:13
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.

Gregory 27:36
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…

Zoë 27:58
To go into reverse? I’m really good at parallel parking. I think that’s on my character sheet.

Gregory 28:03
Okay, well in that case, then just make the attack roll.

Zoë 28:06
Awesome. So 16!

Gregory 28:07
So that is solidly enough to hit that car…

Zoë 28:10
Do I get any people or do they all run away?

Gregory 28:12
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.

Zoë 28:27

Gregory 28:27
It is completely burning.

Zoë 28:30
And the Sensory Block. So I have a Sensory Block of one on the flame thrower. So…

Gregory 28:34
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.

Zoë 28:58
Perfect, amazing, love it.

Gregory 29:02
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?

Zoë 29:27
In my rearview mirror. No, in my front view mirror.

Gregory 29:30
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…

Zoë 29:41
I have sunglasses on. It’s fine.

Gregory 29:43
Excellent. You’ll get a bonus on this roll.

Zoë 29:46

Gregory 29:46
A beam of light shoots out and goes toward Karloff’s car. Karloff, give me a defense roll please.

Jim 29:54

Gregory 29:54
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.

Jim 30:08
I should point out that as established last session I am also wearing sunglasses.

Gregory 30:12
Excellent. So Karloff and Comet, give me a Body roll at a plus one.

Gregory 30:22
All right, well…

Ben 30:23
Oo, beefy there, man.

Gregory 30:24
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.

Zoë 30:49
Like driving?

Gregory 30:50
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.

Zoë 31:03
So the smoke around me didn’t help at all?

Gregory 31:05
It would but it wouldn’t help…

Zoë 31:06
Not enough.

Gregory 31:07
…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.

Zoë 31:13
Hallelujah. I’ve seen the light of God.

Gregory 31:15
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.

Gregory 31:47
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.

Zoë 32:08
Hell yeah!

Gregory 32:09
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.

Jim 32:22
One, second one.

Gregory 32:23
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.

Jim 32:39
Let’s see… I have armor level 12.

Gregory 32:43
I think I wrote– noted down that your total armor is 28. Because you’ve got two armor on yourself as well.

Jim 32:48

Gregory 32:49
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?

Jim 32:57
Probably. Yeah. If my personal armor comes into it at all, then maybe one or two of them bounce off my arm?

Gregory 33:03

Jim 33:03
…my metallic arm and then only one of them does sort of graze me.

Gregory 33:07
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.

Lucy 33:23
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.

Gregory 33:39
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…

Lucy 33:45
I’m trying to use my spikes.

Gregory 33:47

Lucy 33:48
I’m going to un-retract them. I guess I’m going to… extend them?

Gregory 33:52
Protract them, perhaps?

Lucy 33:54
There you go.

Gregory 33:54
Then in this case, it’s an attack vs defense.

Lucy 33:57
Okay, so I’m gonna make an attack roll with the spikes.

Gregory 33:59
All right. So he rolled a…

Ben 34:02
Beefy spikes.

Gregory 34:04
…12. You rolled a 13. So you hit. What are the tags on those…?

Lucy 34:09
I’ve got penetrating, piercing, undetectable and tangle.

Gregory 34:15
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.

Lucy 34:26
Well, you’re very welcome.

Gregory 34:27
(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.

Gregory 34:53
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.

Lucy 35:31
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.

Jim 35:55

Gregory 35:56
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.

Lucy 36:32
I guess that’s me?

Gregory 36:33
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.

Lucy 36:45

Gregory 36:46
You rolled a 10.

Lucy 36:47
Womp womp.

Gregory 36:48
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?

Lucy 36:56

Gregory 36:57
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.

Lucy 37:10
And this one’s going to be at a minus one for me?

Gregory 37:12
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.

Lucy 37:38
And now I’m at a minus two?

Gregory 37:39
You’re at a minus three now.

Lucy 37:40
Minus three.

Gregory 37:41
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.

Lucy 38:08
And I’m at minus…?

Gregory 38:09
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?

Lucy 38:41

Gregory 38:42
So it drops to 16.

Lucy 38:44

Gregory 38:45
And what is your personal armor

Lucy 38:46
My personal armor is level five?

Gregory 38:50
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…

Lucy 39:11
However, my peace is shattered and I am fucking pissed.

Gregory 39:14
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?”

Zoë 39:47
God damn it.

Gregory 39:47
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.

Lucy 40:06
Yay. And I’m still at only a minus six. It doesn’t get worse, right?

Gregory 40:11

Jim 40:12
This situation is like the opposite of the song.

Gregory 40:14
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?

Lucy 40:31
My external armor is 60.

Gregory 40:35
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.

Lucy 40:44

Gregory 40:45
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.

Ben 41:04
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.

Gregory 41:11
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.

Ben 41:17
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…

Gregory 41:28

Ben 41:30
…and have two objects occupy the same space.

Gregory 41:33
Sounds like a good plan.

Ben 41:34
Specifically the middle car here. I would like to come up underneath it.

Gregory 41:38
Up underneath one of the raiders’ cars.

Ben 41:40
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.

Lucy 41:48
I am here for this.

Ben 41:49
I believe you.

Gregory 41:50
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?

Ben 43:04
I’d like to go in the direction I’m pointed. Towards the left.

Gregory 43:07
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.

Zoë 43:20

Ben 43:21
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.

Gregory 43:31
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.

Jim 43:49
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.

Gregory 43:58
All right.

Jim 43:59
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.

Gregory 44:09
So you’re going to jump down the mountain again, taking the switchback road the hard way?

Jim 44:15
Why yes. Yes. I think so.

Gregory 44:16

Jim 44:17
With this other vehicle behind me hopefully taking considerable collateral damage.

Gregory 44:22
All right.

Lucy 44:22
I think it’s real thoughtful that you’re taking that car on sort of a tour.

Jim 44:26
Yes, yes, I am the magnanimous one.

Zoë 44:27
It’s nice when someone else is driving, you know, you get to see the scenery.

Jim 44:31
Yes, precisely.

Lucy 44:32
Look, kids! Big Ben!

Ben 44:36
And over there, a Cuisinart.

Jim 44:39
My hope is that they’ll actually just be smashing into stuff. But we’ll see what happens. So what shall I roll here?

Gregory 44:43
Give me your attack first. Let’s see how this harpooning situation goes.

Jim 44:47
Yeah, ’cause if that doesn’t go then I may have to change my strategy a bit here. Harpoon gun…

Gregory 44:54
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…

Jim 45:16

Gregory 45:17
…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.

Jim 45:24
Excellent. Let’s do this.

Gregory 45:25
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.

Jim 46:16
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.

Gregory 46:26
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.

Jim 46:31
Yeah, for a moment.

Gregory 46:35

Zoë 46:35

Gregory 46:36
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.

Zoë 46:59
Well, I wouldn’t see any of that, because I’m currently dazzled. So…

Gregory 47:04
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.

Zoë 47:11
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.

Gregory 48:06
An area of three is 10 meters.

Zoë 48:07
10 meters.

Gregory 48:07
So yes, 30 feet.

Zoë 48:09

Gregory 48:09
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.

Zoë 48:22
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?

Gregory 48:30
Yeah, yeah, you can find a position where they’re not in range. Give me a drive check. You’re at a minus…

Zoë 48:35
But I also can’t see, so…

Gregory 48:37
…three I guess? Because you’re… Yeah, you can’t see.

Zoë 48:40
Sorry, y’all, in advance maybe. So that’s a 12.

Gregory 48:45
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?

Zoë 48:53
Boogie woogie woogie.

Gregory 48:55
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.

Gregory 49:19
One of those doesn’t have a driver in it. So the raider behind you rolls a 13 to defend.

Zoë 49:26
Just barely.

Gregory 49:27
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.

Zoë 49:41

Gregory 49:42
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.

Jim 50:04
Is she okay?

Gregory 50:05
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.

Jim 50:33
I hate myself for asking that now.

Zoë 50:35
It’s already been asked, it’s okay.

Ben 50:38
It’s it’s such a good joke.

Zoë 50:41
Greg, hats off to you. It’s a beautiful and terrible… well…

Gregory 50:45
Thank you.

Zoë 50:46
With Prince still going in the background. I hope to provide some some yin to Michael Jackson’s yang in this story.

Lucy 50:52
Hold up, that’s still playing?

Zoë 50:53
Oh, yeah. After the stunner goes it cuts back on.

Gregory 50:58
Vake, are you paying attention to what’s in front of you?

Lucy 51:02
Vake is currently torn between being aggravated at what is right in front of them and being aggravated at Baby Teeth.

Gregory 51:11
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.

Ben 52:05
Gotta get me some of that blue glowy stuff.

Gregory 52:09
Next time on Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.

Gregory 52:13
She says, “Where the fuck did you get that car?”

Jim 52:15
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.

Lucy 52:26
I’m not in here with y’all. You’re in here with me.

Ben 52:30
Hey Karloff, I’m going to toss one down your way!

Gregory 52:34
And there’s just a spray of blood that you can see out the back of Vake.

Zoë 52:38
“This one’s for you, Vake!” And I turn off the music.

Gregory 52:43
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 and to support the work I do, visit

Transcribed by