She told me they would come. Come out of the East like a rising swarm of snakes. An old one, a young one, one in bloody rags and another in clean.
The old one keeps looking for the corpses he loves, and hurts the living as he does it.
I’m Ben and I’m playing Jones Johnson IV.
The young one never knew her mother, and still doesn’t.
Hi, I’m Zoe and I’m playing Comet “Baby Teeth” Sharps.
The one in bloody rags doesn’t show his face or his heart, except when it spills out of him.
Hi, I’m Jim Ryan. And I am playing Karloff Carradine.
And the last one wears clean rags, drives clean rags, is made of rags, right to their core.
Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m playing Vake.
I wonder… I wonder if I can get through to them. I wonder if I can make them understand.
Welcome back 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 and thank you for joining us again. Did you know that if you want to listen to the show at a quicker pace than it’s being released that you can get each episode a week early on my patreon at: patreon.com/GregoryAveryWeir There’s other cool stuff on there as well. So check it out. But now it’s time to continue Ego Driver, a post apocalyptic vehicular combat campaign using the Big Eyes Small Mouth third edition rules. As usual, our agenda will be to honestly portray diverse characters, pursue healthy play practices, and craft story with social responsibility. And Ego Driver’s agenda is save yourself, make it look good, and live like you’re dying. You can get more info on the show at tabletop.garden. We now continue Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.
She pushes herself off from the antenna and lands on those skates and skates up to the to the edge of the building where there have been clearly ramps set up just with cheap metal leaning against the the edges of the roof and skates up over a ramp and jumps into the air and looks down at Comet as she arcs in the air over that street and then lands on the roof opposite and does that cool turning stop that you can do on skates and looks at Vake and kind of shrugs and shouts, “Just looks like some kid to me.” Vake.
It’s my turn?
Yep. So she’s now looking at you across a a gap between two buildings and the street in between is where Comet is.
Well, I’m going to go ahead and do another attempt at an acrobatic leap across the building and join her again in what is likely to be tiresome for her. Do I need to do an acrobatic check?
Nah, just go ahead and give me your attack.
Before I attack, can I ask a question?
Have some dialogue? Okay.
So Vake is gonna hop over and not do a leaping attack. Um, they’re gonna have their pole out.
So you do a vault with that pole and land near her?
Mm hmm. And I’m holding it up, you know, in a aggressive fashion. And I will say, “What did you mean when you said leave y’all alone? What do you What are you talking about? You’re, you’re bandits. You’re… You’re the ones who are who are harassing Niederdorf.”
She says, “We’re just trying to take what we deserve. What’s ours. Why does Niederdorf get to keep all of the power and wealth that they have. That Terror Engine,” she says in a mocking tone, “that they have doesn’t belong to them.”
“Well, I mean, that’s probably true, but it sure is shit doesn’t belong to you either. And also, you’re not being very nice to your child,” and now I’m going to swing. This will not be a leaping attack, just a regular pole attack.
You swing at her. She’s going to use one of her ranks of divine relationship.
Does that mean she rerolls?
You swing at her and it looks like you’re going to hit but she does a pirouette just in time. And your pole swings just right in the spot where she would have been if she hadn’t done that little twirl.
She says, “Speak for yourself. You’re an ego driver. You don’t have any special claim to a moral high ground here.” And you hear the roar of motorcycles again. There’s going to be two attacks on Comet and two attacks on Jones as these motorcycles pull through portals. But first… Comet’s weapon is forward mounted right?
My machine gun. It is on a… it’s on a turret.
I have designed it to spin around. The flame thrower is the only one that’s only one direction. And the…
Ahh! no flame thrower!
You’re tracking around and you prep yourself when you hear that roar and the first motorcycle pops out of a portal behind you. And you’re ready with your attack.
I’ma get it, maybe. We’ll see.
Alright, so a biker emerges from around the corner. They rolled a six on their defenses they did not expect a machine gun to be spinning up right as they came out. You rolled a 16 so you beat their defense by 10 which means you hit three times.
I do. Yikes.
Even with the armor that’s provided just by the fact that they’ve got this motorcycle part encasing them. They are just torn apart by your your machine gun. One of the motorcycles is just gone, shredded. It skids to stop the motorcycle coming from the facing portal to that one still opens fire at you as they steer to dodge the skittering remains of their friend’s vehicle.
Sorry for your loss.
They rolled a 13, you rolled an 18, so their need to avoid their friend results in their their shot going pretty wide and they head through the other portal. Meanwhile, in front of Jones, there’s a pair of motorcyclists. Did you also prep an action?
No, I ended up taking the action to try and take a shot through the portal because I just figured I needed more than one attack to be able to take these guys down.
That’s right. So you get two attacks on you. You’ve already had one so the I guess the second of these attacks is going to be a minus one. First attack, you roll a 17 to defend, they roll an eight so that one just goes completely wide probably as they stare with shock past you at their friend getting gunned down. And the second attack here on Jones is seven and you defend with a 15. So they are, they also shoot wide and zip through the portals.
That could have gone way worse.
Now it’s Jones’s turn.
A question about the one that survived behind Baby Teeth. Was I able to potentially track if it was this one that was on that backside?
Boy Hmm, well, yeah, I guess you can you can match the timing of when they leave your clear sonar and when you hear the muffled bit. So yeah, we’ll say it’s, we’ll say it’s that one.
Okay. So I’m gonna, I’m going to do something very foolish, but I think it needs to happen.
And so you can see this glowing light on a distant building.
So whichever one of these two portals it is, I’m going to drive past Baby Teeth. And I almost want to be kind because this feels wrong to do to someone on a motorcycle. It just just feels right Wrong to go through the portal?
Yeah, I don’t really want to turn off the drill because that seems that seems just unnecessarily brutal.
Alright, so you’re driving straight through the portal and just trying to crash into
Yeah, My objective is to crash into the bike and and basically do a j turn so that I don’t run off the building.
All right, give me your unarmed attack. Alright, so you attack with an 18 they get a six to defend.
That is beat by 12 I’m glad I didn’t do the drill.
That’s a critical hit, which means you do double damage. And this was just an impact right? This wasn’t this wasn’t a grab.
I’m just trying to smash them out of the way. I’m I’m of the opinion that I am in a three ton death machine and they’re on a motorcycle, rules of the road mean I win.
All right, so with 52 damage.
I mean, at best, this is a trip attack. But…
Yeah, I think what that means is you slam into them, there’s a crunch and they they get knocked to the other side of the roof. There, their bike goes skidding off of the roof edge and plunges to the ground below and they’re they’ve lost track of where their their Uzi is and they sort of just lift up into a crouch and are just ready to dive out of the way if you decide to drive into them again, but they’re out of the fight other than that,
Yeah, I’m gonna probably…
But they’re real beat up.
pop open just enough of the window. I’m afraid to leave it barges because of madam throws coins in places, but I’m just going to pop it out and like “You stay down. I ain’t gonna come back.”
Yeah, he just nods emphatically. So Comet, you probably were able to catch a glimpse of Billie Jean jumping over the the street above you. You also managed to take out one of those bikes there, the remains are still there. And you couldn’t quite see what Jones did. But whatever he did is likely to have taken care of the other one that attacked you.
And he’s still up on. He’s up on the roof of the building now.
Yeah, he’s, he’s up there. And you can see you can probably see a few bits of that building’s facade kind of stripping off as it’s, that’s a very heavy vehicle to be on a building.
How’s he gonna get back down? Jones? How are you gonna get back down from there? What if she moves the portals?
Well, I’ve fallen from greater heights before?
Oh, geez. Okay.
I will seek out a remaining biker. I guess they don’t actually know how any of these portals are connected. But anyway, I can get away from well, ironically, away from my mom. Who I’ve been trying to seek out. I’m trying to go there and see if I can see a biker through either direction.
Alright, you drive up in between the portals and like before, you’re seeing hints of shadows and others things that suggest that there’s a biker on each side of the portal that’s taking cover.
Great. I’ll go for the one… I’ll go for this one. I still just really don’t want to go through a portal. But I will…
You’ll take a left?
Yeah, I will take a left because I feel like that gives me more cover from dear Mama. And I will use my stunner attack through the portal again with whatever penalty partial cover gives the biker.
Alright. So they’ll be at a plus three to their defenses. You rolled an 18 they rolled a 12. So you zap them with that stunner
Zappy, zappy. Got them and they have to succeed against a body stat roll of a 12 or be stunned.
Right. They succeeded but they still take damage. Which one is this? Not that one. This one. So you again see that electricity arc to something on the other side. Jones and Vake you can see the motorcyclist that’s sort of on the eastern side of the city get zapped. That was Comet.
I really wish all these bikers would go away so I could talk to my mom.
Are you saying that over the radio?
I’m saying that over the radio, she’s listening now and actually I might put on some music as well. I don’t know what but something that I imagined that she could like. I don’t know if I can make some sort of, like, dig deep inside my childhood memories,
Baby come back!
something like that.
Alright, so you start playing music and she
Uggh! Vake puts their hands over their ears and looks at Billie Jean and says, “I blame you!”
Yeah, she looks around and she, she kind of makes a fist with that hand that has the portal device on it. And the portals shift. And you see, those of you who are on the rooftop, see portals open between in front of each of the four people who are still on bikes. But you don’t see where the other side of the portal is. And with her other hand, she like reaches into her coat and messes with something and you see her, Vake, you see her forcefield shimmer a little bit and seem to come back a little stronger.
And then she keys her radio again and says I see any sign of y’all attacking me. truces off and we’re going for blood. But I don’t want to see any more people die today if we don’t have to.
Seems seems fine. Is everyone okay, who is still alive? Everyone okay with that? I’m okay with that. I think that’s fine. I think that’s fine. Let’s have a let’s have a momentary pause to the bloodshed. Other disfigurement. All in favor?
Just turn off the loudspeaker.
Okay, it’s off. Now, I turned it off. It’s off.
Yeah, I’m good.
Well, I said that out loud, but really Jolissa relays that to you.
All right. So the motorcycles go through the portals, and don’t emerge from anywhere clearly. And she, I guess, reopens a portal for you, Jones, that you can see leads down to street level?
Yeah, that’s probably the better way to get down. But… what about?
She, she pulls a blue vial, about violet blue out of her jacket, and tosses it to Vake and says, “Look, I don’t want to talk to you anymore. So you should go take care of your friend before he bleeds out.”
All right, but I’ll be back.
Why did you say that like that? You know what? I don’t I don’t care.
You ask a lot of confusing questions.
And she she opens up a portal to ground level and skates out and she places herself on a on a pile of rubble that’s that she could kind of dive behind to give cover if Jones or Comet decides to open fire with any of the vehicle weapons. And she kind of is is dusting herself off and you can see her her forcefield constantly shimmering as if it’s regaining the strength that that it lost from all those attacks. And she kind of opens her… she spreads her arms wide and she says, “All right, so why the hell are you here if you’re not here just to kill us?”
Um, are we are we kind of all in the same place now? Are we not in this… or are we all spread out still?
Yeah, I think Unless Unless you want to be split up Vake would be heading to Karloff presumably and then Comet and Jones would be kind of parked in this, on two sides of this intersection that Billie Jean is standing in.
It’s totally cool. I know I’ve been killing it at diplomacy, but I’m gonna go try my hand at being the cleric. So good luck.
That’s a weird thing to call it. So, so so Billy Jean. Well, normally,
Is that what they’re calling me.
I, I guess so.
That’s not my name.
Do I remember Do I have any recollection of the name of my parent? I recognize her face.
I don’t think so. You were you were really young when you were separated, right?
Yeah, her name was Mom. I remember that. I panicked once when I was a… this is me real person me. Zoë Little. I remember a time in kindergarten when there was like somewhere where I had to write down my parents names and I was like, I don’t know them. It’s just “Mom.”
Anyway, that’s what that made me think of. So yeah, I mean, it feels weird calling you Mom but also very natural, but you know, that’s anyways. Yeah, normally, normally we would go around and kill a lot of Jacko Gang bikers and
She snorts again as if that sounds like a stupid name.
Sorry, I didn’t come up with it. Normally we that’s what we would do. But then this thing happened where they showed us a picture of you and I had this weird memory montage type thing like they had in the old movies. And it was it was I just remembered riding in the car with you when I was a little kid and I I really, I really don’t want to kill you. I don’t even know. I don’t know what I want to do. Uh, look, Niederdorf just wants to know where you’re getting all this high tech shit, okay.
She She says, “Ah, look, kid, I’ve I’ve written in cars with some kids before. People I know have families. I don’t know what to tell you. And honestly, if you were my kid, the fact that you only don’t want to kill me because you think I’m your mother would make me not want to be your parent. That’s fucked up.”
I know. It sounds crazy. It’s a crazy world we live in. Okay. You do what you can to get by and some of us just, I mean, I’m sure you can understand you don’t fit in so good in the big shiny cities. You want to do something else. And this is what I did. Okay. But I wish there was this. There was some way to prove it to you.
She says, “Look, kid, you’re past the point where I’m responsible for any of the choices you make. All right.”
Of course I’m an adult.
You’ve put in your chips with Niederdorf
This week. Yeah.
Yeah, them and us. We’re at. We’re in opposition. All right. They have what we want. And it’s not a question of us settling for something else. All right. They want to know, of course, they want to know where our tech comes from, because they’ll never understand. Just like they didn’t understand when we told them to give us what’s ours. You want to know more? Hey, I’ll tell you what, you can find out a lot more if you if you look to the west, I think your mayor will know what I’m talking about.
Uh, Comet sort of looks down to the ground disappointedly and starts walking back towards the car.
So um, during this conversation Jones who actually probably got out of his vehicle is about as close as a show to good faith. I mean, he’s still armed but principle of the thing. He’s probably been smoking a cigarette leaning up against the corner. I do have area knowledge. Are there any unusual things that I might know of to the west?
Give me your roll.
Probably Mind, which is not my best? Yeah, it’s just a 10
The only thing you can think of… well so there’s there is a major feature to the west, which is to the west of Niederdorf, you’re currently kind of off to off to the northeast of Niederdorf. But pretty much directly to the west is a major ship crash. So the the Subaltern ships that that got knocked out of the sky by the Old Earth nukes. The engine of one of them is the Terror Engine that powers Niederdorf, and the forward section of that ship crash landed off to the west of Niederdorf.
woof Hmm. So before while Baby Teeth is walking away, I’m going to check on headset. So Jolissa, can you relay a message over and ask Vake if she’s had any luck being of what what being a clerk, what’d she say?
I will communicate with Vake to find out if they are successful in their current endeavor. However, I would also say to this parental unit that… and my knowledge is perhaps limited to say all of recorded human history. However, most parental units do not abdicate responsibility for their children’s choices when they are the mere age of one. So perhaps they are awfully quick to assign responsibility to innocent parties.
Yeah that I’m gonna kind of look at Billie Jean to just shrug my shoulders at that one.
Billie Jean shrugs and says, “Guess I’m not parental material.”
I suppose not.
So is Vake trying to administer stuff to Karloff?
Vake vaults over to building C4? I don’t know, whichever one has Karloff on it. And although I think he is currently unconscious Vake will poke him a couple of times.
You feel incredible pain. You’re still very fuzzy but you sort of come to a little bit and everything hurts and Vake is making it hurt worse.
Hey, hey, do you have strong feelings about slickness or stickiness? This is a really important question.
You gonna help or finished me off with your damn prattling. Just do whatever you’re gonna do.
All right, I tried to check on you regarding the texture issue first though. And now I will donate the blue stuff on to the wound.
All right, it takes a bit of fiddling for you to figure out exactly how this applicator is supposed to work. But you you figure out how to how to spray an even coating over into and over the wound. And…
I am super careful not to get any on me.
Okay. I’m not going to say that if you feel better Karloff. It’s… but it’s got that sting. Where you know it’s working.
Ah. Feel that horrible sting. That’s that means it’s working.
That means you’re still alive.
You feel a little less dizzy. You know, you’re like your blood. You’re You’re no longer losing blood quite as fast.
That’s good. Do I have the capability of moving at all or am I still kind of like have to kind of still recuperate?
Yeah, you can you can shift in your seat a bit. You probably just from the pain and the fact that you’re still recovering from shock and being unconscious. Probably don’t want to do too much moving.
Karloff, great news. It turns out that I’m real good at doctoring too.
So what probably happens is that Karloff is like looking around is like, “Where is she?” and they start reaching back to pick up my blade slinger and I’m like, “Gonna kill the bitch!” and I probably am trying to get up and it’s too difficult for me and I I probably am going to pass out again in a moment. I’m clearly trying to resume my attack even though I’m in absolutely no condition to do so.
I’m sure there’s many bitches worthy of your attention but we’ve decided not to kill anybody else today.
Contract… gotta take… shape
and I think at that point I fall unconscious again because I’m trying struggling to get up and and get out of the car and it’s just not happening
Down on the ground, Billy Jean spreads her arms wide again and says, “Anything else?”
I think that’s all the disappointments for today
I’m back in my car now and I’ll say over my loudspeaker, “No, just just fuck off.”
It’s funny cuz I was just gonna say if you if you run into Mayor Leopold again, tell him the same thing.
She gestures and a portal opens up and through it you can see this white space. This just gentle white glow and rounded shapes. And she steps through and the portal closes.
Well, I have some excellent news team. It seems that Vake has successfully administered the substance and Karloff is ready to kill some bitches.
That sounds about right.
So Jones is Going to put out his cigarette and head over to Baby Teeth’s car. Kind of open up the side door. Make a bit of a show of checking how badly injured she is. And then he’s just going to kind of very quietly, stoically give her the the old man hug.
I accept the old man hug with the
Not the LMH!
With a little bit of a wince. As he probably has contacted at least one of the five spots where I’ve been shot. “I just I I have nothing really prepares you for that kind of a situation and I don’t”
I don’t know if I did the right thing…
You didn’t do anything wrong.
Well, I mean, I could have shot at her.
Even that wouldn’t have been wrong. Sometimes family are real hard to have to deal with. Looks like you’re going to have one of the more difficult families to deal with.
I think I liked it a little bit better when I didn’t have one. Well, there’s still hope for dad.
Statistically that is not accurate.
You just keep on hoping, there Baby Teeth
You can say that again, Julissa and Lucy out of character.
Statistically that is not accurate.
Let’s have a bit of an out of character chat. So in in genre fiction and in stuff like… we’re kind of playing with with two different genres here, we’re doing post apocalypse. And we’re also using an anime-based system and I’ve, I think that we’ve we’re drawing pretty heavily from the over the top nature of, of anime and that sort of, of often action fiction. And those are sort of melodramatic settings, like… we’re all pretty over the top characters here. Both the the villains and the player characters. And that’s a an interesting place to live when it comes to characterization, like one of the principles of Tabletop Garden is to is to… oh, hell, how do we put it?
Honestly portray diverse characters.
Yes, to honestly portray diverse characters. And that’s, that can be tricky when you’re playing over the top characters. How have y’all toed the line between portraying kind of melodramatic kind of tropey characters in in the case of some some of you and also portraying those characters as people?
Well, given my recent foray into difficult family situations, while while I may go from from eating a corn dog and complaining about my denim jacket, in one episode, I think that the the situations that you’re put in, like, if you take a moment to step out of the, over the top side of your character and into the “Yeah, but what if shit gets real? What do they do?” That’s a, at least a fun opportunity for me and has been in other role playing games as well to have the more humanizing moments where you know, the answer isn’t always to blow shit up or to make jokes. There’s, there’s more substance underneath, possibly not that there needs to be. But I think that’s a fun way to explore a character and to grow both out of character and in character by playing through those experiences.
I thought you had some real pathos in this session with Comet.
Well, I was a quite quite the community theater actor when I was 13.
That perhaps goes for several people on this on this game!
So the way you talk about kind of, it sounds like you’re kind of talking about switching modes with your character from either in the the over the top mode or in the pathos mode. Is that… Does it feel to folks that that’s those are two distinct sides of a character?
I feel like that a lot in my everyday life like I, I feel like I have a an internal private self that is, you know, shared in intimate situations and with close friends and then I have like, a public, like work self or whatever. And I don’t think either of them are like disingenuous. It’s just that different different modes of behavior require different levels of effort and are more more conducive to different situations. So I don’t… that feels natural to do in a role playing game because, I don’t know, the situations are different, but the but the modes are the same.
Do you think that your characters experience that same sort of, of public self and private self division? Something that that came up with Billie Jean is that she’s clearly there’s clearly a facade that she’s putting up where she is not sharing her private life with y’all. And presumably, she’s not constantly this cocky badass all the time. Is that the same case with with your characters?
Like Jim. Carla has a very standof- standofis-. standofis-. Wow. standoffish and surly persona is that I mean, I guess that maybe there’s, it’s, there might not be anyone to whom he opens up.
You know, I will say that as the concept started, there wasn’t a lot of depth to Karloff. But I sort of have been tackling it from the idea of just grabbing a couple of touchstones about the character and kind of just moving in one way or another from there. One thing I’m kind of doing, which I guess I’ll go ahead and reveal this, despite how it may affect how people view the character, is I’m kind of, sort of, as I’ve said earlier, I’ve mashed him up with a couple of different characters from a few different few different movies. But essentially, one of the core aspects is I’m kind of keying a lot off of the character from the most recent remake of Death Race. The sort of the, the main character there who is played by an actor named Manu Bennett. I’m sort of borrowing a good portion of his voice as just kind of a touchstone for me to go back to if I forget how to how to do the character, I just sort of think about that. And I’m like, Okay, this is how this would sort of be. And but then as time has gone on, I’ve also started trying to figure out part of the reasons why Karloff is the way that he is. And I do actually have now a backstory which I have not… I don’t think I’ve told anyone what it is. But I’ve got kind of a, of an idea of what Carlos background is and why it is to a certain extent that he he values peace and silence and doesn’t really want to necessarily mix it up too much with the quote unquote civilized folk.
Yeah, that that situation of starting off with a fairly straightforward or you know, easily described character and having them deepen and grow and and become more complex as you play them, I think is something that I’ve experienced and that I’ve heard a lot of other people talk about when it comes to role playing games.
Yeah, yeah. And that’s totally what’s going on here. I think. For me with it. It’s still a character that I haven’t had a lot of time with as of yet. So, you know, we’re not talking a lot of depth yet. But there’s more I think now than there was to start to start with, even though probably not much of that has been shown.
So is there a when when you’re playing characters when y’all are playing characters in an over the top setting like this one… Does it feel like there are some directions that it wouldn’t be thematically appropriate to take a character? Like there’s a certain amount of nuance that it almost feels to me would get lost in all the explosions and buildings falling down. Where if you tried to play a character too too deep, it wouldn’t… It wouldn’t come across.
I don’t know, I, I’ve kind of when you say that I’m kind of reflected back towards, you know, the movies or the comics that many of us may have read where they have some ridiculous over the top fight scenes, but it’s, I’m not sure it’s a limitation that any character concept couldn’t: it’s a limitation of, “is there narrative space.” Like, I mean, I’m just gonna say from Jones is the moment that just had his even having that little 15 second vignette of him going over to, to hug Baby Teeth that he has sort of one of those, “This is an extended member of the children in the family of the village,” so to speak, that has to be looked after. You know, that fits his over the top, patriarchal “I’ve been here for so many years, I’ve got to look, after all these people, you guys are in my way.” You know that, just giving those those few narrative moments to allow the explosions to die down for a brief second, and for the people to have the moment? May all it needs just so that you can have a character that has those unusual dichotomies that, as you say, might get lost. It’s very hard to have a moment like that in the explosions. But yeah, just a few seconds here and there might be all you need.
Do you have any thoughts on this, Lucy?
I mean, I do. I’m sort of thinking trying to, to think them right now. I mean, I think something that Zoe said early on, is important to me, which is that everybody has multiple ways in which they can discourse and those discourses change depending on who you are around, right, what community it is that you’re a part of. So I think what she said is right: there’s no real such thing as an authentic identity, right? There’s only the identity that you have in whatever context is happening. So when you apply that kind of thinking to characters, like, our contexts don’t particularly change very much in the game, so I think you don’t see those different identities. Although I guess when we did like the cutaway scenes like in Niederdorf. And then we had the moment there with Billie Jean, where you see some differences to, I think, the kind of discourse that’s happening there. But, I mean, I think identity is super complicated in real life and and character.
No, it’s not Lucy! Come on.
Okay. Okay, you’re right. It’s real simple, straightforward shit. I don’t know anybody who spends their whole career thinking about that sort of boring ass shit.
That doesn’t seem real.
But it’s, It’s kind of like in certain sorts of genre fiction, though the volume of the context is high enough, that that some of the more subtle aspects can get lost unless you have those quiet times when the the more subtle bits can shine through?
Yeah, for sure. Right, that, I mean, I don’t think that the subtlety that, I mean, I don’t know, right? I mean, I don’t know if our subtlety is being successful or not. But I know that when I read about characters, or watch TV shows with characters or listen to other podcasts with characters, right, a lot of times if you relisten to things or you’re thinking different things when you’re listening to them, you’ll get different things out of them. So I suspect that having multiple layers, whether or not those things are super obvious, I think maybe a lot of that is still communicated, I think, I suspect, I hypothesize.
Anybody who wants to read my dissertation, I’d be happy to send you a copy.
Can we find it at rosettediceless.com?
Can it be a supplement because that would be awesome. It could be turned into a supplement somehow.
It cannot be no.
You say that as if you’ve seriously considered it.
So, are y’all thinking you’ll head back to Niederdorf now?
I don’t know. That’s actually is a question. I was going to to wonder is is are our characters the type that will then return to the mayor and say “what the Nelly?” Or, you know, when I mentioned, “Well, you know, out west is the crash of the remains of part of one of the ships” are we going to say take initiative and just check it out on our own?
I think that it would be fun to at least beat ourselves up a little bit more before we go back.
I’m not sure what fake thinks about that. I mean, Karloff thinks about that though.
Well, that is a question, because…
Karloff, he’s good enough. He’s he’s beat up the right amount. But I think I could take another couple of hits and go back looking like looking like we really had a good fight.
Are we in character or out of character right now?
I am unconscious in character right now. So I know that I am out of character unless Karloff has gained the ability to astrally project himself.
No, I’m definitely out of character.
I think that that just from a from a rules and jamming standpoint, I am perfectly fine with you all. If you end up heading somewhere else instead of Niederdorf. Even if you are wrapped in in bloody bandages, those of you who for whom that’s not your normal state, for you like to still be at max health and stuff like that. I think that that a combination of of Karloff’s blue goo healing and just you all being used to fighting through injury. You can be at full health, even if your physical wounds haven’t healed.
Okay, well, that’s easy. I figured I might have like a med kit or somewhere in the car just for emergencies, that kind of thing. So, that being the case, I think Karloff is not going to want to turn back yet. I think he’s just very specifically is going to want to hunt down these people that just kicked their butts and find out if there’s some way to get at them. He’s probably going to be a little more cautious about it this time. He’s not necessarily going to go immediately in guns blazing unless he sees an opportunity but he’s he is very much on the warpath at this point.
We could also just go west and check it out without going to Niederdorf, couldn’t we?
I think that’s what we were suggesting.
I’m into it.
Yeah, I mean, Karloff would be okay with ch- with checking that out first, since that does seem to be something that’s important to Billie Jean, and therefore at least makes sense to him strategically to learn more about it.
Alright, so we’ll I think see a driving montage of you all heading back and probably taking a break to change Karloff’s… for Karloff to change his dressings and I assume sew himself back up with a rusty needle and thread. And this is this is a journey of I’ll say a couple days because you’re you’re crossing over through some around Niederdorf and over to the west. And soon you’re able to stop on a rise overlooking a a broad area that’s dominated by this crash. Yeah.
Hey, Greg. Is it possible to for us to have a quick scene while we’re still on the driving montage?
So at some point while we are traveling, Jolissa will come on the radio in just Comet’s car.
Hello, Comet. How are you?
I’m I’m doing okay. I’m I’m not I’m not bleeding anymore. And I’ve been I’ve been listening to some some music that I like. So definitely nobody shot at me in like… it’s probably been like over 12 hours
That is a goodly amount of time.
I simply wanted to let you know that I understand organic beings view family relationships and parental units as complicated systems. But I do not find you reprehensible, Comet. I think you are good.
Thanks. Thanks. Thanks Jolissa, that, um, I’ve never, I’ve never had a artificial intelligence tell me anything like that before. Thank you. Thanks. Thanks.
Ah, well, there is really no need to delineate between types of intelligence is it? At any rate, Vake appreciates the level of sound at which you are listening to the music you like.
Thank thanks. Tell them, tell them that. You’re welcome.
I shall do so.
Over and out.
Thank you for that indulgence.
I loved it. I truly, I truly did.
So at the end of your drive, you all get to the top of a rise over a large flat area of land that’s dominated by this ship crash. And it looks like this was this used to be farmland back in the before times, you could see a lot of various very square patches of land, that virtually all of them are just dead now. You see a few spots where someone’s trying to eke out a little garden. But most of it is just various shades of brown and gray. In the middle of this big flat valley is a complex of buildings that looks military. Definitely old world it’s it’s in ruins. A lot of the fences are in disrepair and rusty. And a big chunk of the of the space is occupied by just this graveyard of vehicles. A lot of military trucks and, and armored vehicles just lined up in rows. A lot of them have parts missing from them either from time or from scavenging, but there’s just a whole lot of them. And just adjacent to this, some sort of military base is an enormous pile of debris. A lot of it is white, covered in in moss and dirt over the years, that kind of gray moss and brownish lichen. But it it’s this enormous shape that you think was once somewhat organic, but now is just shattered on the plain. And the base and the pile of rubble are at about the same scale. It’s difficult for you all to even wrap your heads around how big this this intact ship must have been. But it looks like the best way for you to get to a part of the rubble that’s part of the of the crash that’s that’s not just a sheer wall of armor is to go through that military base through that that sort of vehicle graveyard.
Is there room for vehicles? In the vehicle graveyard?
Yeah, yeah, there’s there’s broad paths between each row of vehicles. And you can see that that the main gates that would have been used to get in there have long since been torn down and moved aside so that there’s it’s easy to drive up through that graveyard into the up to the more broken open look, looking part of the wreckage.
Jones is probably one of those folks who who believes in the terror that is nuclear weaponry. So he’s probably somewhere in his equipment got a Geiger counter of some kind, and is going to be somewhat religiously paying attention to it as they get through here. Just to start seeing if they’re spiking up if it’s getting risky, deadly etc.
As you approach assuming that you’re trying to get closer. You are seeing definitely radiation above background and as you’re moving into this, passing through these gates into this graveyard, it is raising to not hazardous levels, but there is this constant chatter of clicks from your Geiger counter. At the same time, you’re also your anomaly detector that that registers when other kind of fundamental physical constants are getting thrown off is also, the the needle is flicking a bit. You put this in like “don’t eat food don’t eat fruit from the nearby trees and don’t try try not to kick up the dust too much and breathe it in.” But it’s not currently not a danger if you stay in your vehicles
Yeah he’s probably still kicking on his self contained breathing system.
I have a hole in my window. I will probably patch that before going in
i’ll put up my I’ve got a little disposable dust mask but the future version so it’s better
All right in the in the time that you’re all making the necessary like patching holes and just double checking all your all your radiation seals the the sun is is falling. And as you’re making your way through this graveyard it’s it’s getting solidly dark again. And this is the… I guess the… you you fought Billie Jean in the in the night and then this is the second night after that that’s that’s just fallen. And you’re moving through these these rows and rows of dead vehicles and up ahead you can see this this rise of this ship and there’s actually still lights here and there glowing within this wreckage, just gentle white lights shining through parts of it. You don’t know whether that means they’re still power or whether there’s some sort of whatever radiation they use is still glowing in there. But you can see silhouetted against this a crane that presumably is used to what used to be used to move vehicles around but now is very clearly rusted in place and… Who’s who’s up front at the moment?
If no one else I probably would be just because I think Jones figures if he runs into a pocket of radiation they’ll want to like move or something.
Okay so you’re you’re taking the lead and you’re driving and you get, as you’re getting close to this crane you suddenly realize that a bit of of twisted what you thought was twisted metal up the top of the crane is in fact a person standing up there. Maybe… how high would that be in the air? Stories and stories in the air just kind of standing there with a looking down at you all.
Hey you guys got any good eyes It looks like there’s somebody or or a mannequin or something like that way up on that crane.
Got lights. That’s about it. I mean I think I can see good?
Are you gonna illuminate?
Vake has excellent visual acuity if you would like them to check it out. They would be willing to do so.
Guess you are… you have heightened senses or whatever that… If you think it’s safe it makes sense to me. You’re also going to jumping. That could come in handy.
Well I myself do not have a physical form but I will communicate this with Vake.
Right, I’m not talking to Vake. You’re right. I see that. You’re much nicer to talk to you than they are anyway.
static …take them out?
Not not yet. Not sure whose side they’re on yet Karloff.
Well Vake will climb out of the top of the tank and take off their goggles and try to see whatever they can see of whatever is up at the top of the crane.
All right. You… presumably you’re all kind of stopping your vehicles. Vake climbs out and and peers up and you see that this this person that’s standing up there is in a red outfit like a… It’s a similar sort of suit that you’ve seen a lot of the gang members, the Jacko Gang members in. This one is bright red and has very wide lapels and they’re stand staring down at you all with a with a really wide eyed look. And once you stop and you’re you’re looking up at them, they gesture with their hand and lights turn on on top of the crane to illuminate them. And they they speak and their words are amplified like they’re talking over a loudspeaker.
Well then Vake will first clap their hands over their eyes and then plunge back into the tank. Seems like everybody else can hear and see things now.
They say… how do they… How do they open here? They say, “In the old world the supreme power was that of radiation. Old earth feared radiation. It was… is… It’s like a pair of scissors, you understand. It attacks what it encounters. It cuts it apart. It It literally tears free parts of you from other parts, important parts. But Subaltern technology is different. Terror Energy — your word, not ours — Terror Energy is about healing, construction, life. Radiation tears apart while Terror Energy…”
I got on the loudspeaker while this person’s talking and say, “Are you going to shoot us?”
They spread their their arms wide and say, “I just want you to understand!”
Okay, I’m sorry, keep on going.
They say, “Perhaps an object demonstration would be appropriate?” and they raise one hand up and this golden glow comes, like, forms in their hand above their head and then seems to burst and drift downward in glittery, shimmery gold down onto the vehicles around you. And you see little blue glows gleaming in among the machinery that that is all around.
Next time on Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.
I think there may be somewhere back in the back of Jones’s head that just goes, “these were people once.”
Were you just kind of waiting for somebody to show off to? What’s the deal here?
Tell me more about your feelings toward destroying non human things.
All right, well, I will I will do that in midair then.
They were engines of death, and now… who knows? Don’t you find that exciting?
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 Non Commercial No Derivatives License. For more Tabletop Garden and to subscribe to us visit tabletop.garden and to support the work I do visit: patreon.com/GregoryAveryWeir
Transcribed by https://otter.ai