Gregory 0:00
Here is a thing you must understand, children. We are not what humans once called oppressed. We are defeated, but we were never conquered.

Lucy 0:12
Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m playing Vake.

Gregory 0:15
By murdering our culture, they murdered their own and left themselves bereft of the basics of humane humanity.

Jim 0:23
Hi, I’m Jim Ryan and I am playing Karloff Carradine.

Gregory 0:27
They once looked at people and called them “normal”, but in their self-immolation, they lost the petty divisions that used to make them kill each other.

Zoë 0:37
Hi, I’m Zoe and I’m playing Comet “Baby Teeth” Sharps.

Gregory 0:41
Still, the humans remember one thing. They remember how to hate.

Ben 0:47
Hi, I’m Ben and I’m playing Jones Johnson IV.

Gregory 0:50
So we’re not fighting for our freedom. We’re fighting for our lives.

Gregory 1:30
Hi, and welcome again 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 and it’s good to have you with us again.

Gregory 1:43
A content warning for this episode: you will get I think some mild body horror and discussion of euthanasia or mercy killing so heads up for that. I think there will be a enough of a lead in that you’ll be able to brace yourselves but take care of yourselves.

Gregory 2:01
Today we’re continuing Ego Driver, a post-apocalyptic vehicular combat campaign using the Big Eyes Small Mouth third edition rules. Our agenda, as always, is to honestly portray diverse characters, pursue healthy play practices, and craft story with social responsibility. For ego driver we have the additional agenda: save yourself, make it look good, and live like you’re dying.

Gregory 2:26
You can get more info on the show at and you can get episodes early at: We now continue Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.

Gregory 2:47
This enormous industrial vehicle larger than Jones’s digging rig with this huge broad spinning blade at the front of it launches out straight towards you and your entire group it’s it’s as wide as the road itself.

Lucy 3:05

Gregory 3:06
And is currently heading currently playing chicken with you heading on a collision course with the front of your vehicle

Lucy 3:13

Gregory 3:14
And you you spot, in among the twisted structure of this vehicle, bits and pieces that look like a person. Bits of that red leather from that figure’s coat. There’s maybe even a face somewhere deep inside, although it might be a… you might just be imagining that as part of the twisted metal. But it almost looks as if somehow the person you encountered has merged with this vehicle to to form whatever monstrosity it’s become. Jones, you see up ahead this this flashing of light and see past Vake this vehicle burst out of out of the barn and start heading toward you all. What do you do?

Ben 4:06
Yeah, probably more cinematically, Jones had just turned around to deal with the flailing hands coming at him. And then the light pulls them back forward and it’s just one of those: looking over the shoulder, looking forward, looking over the shoulder. “Fuck.”

Ben 4:22
So um, the roll I did was to determine how strapped in he was on his seatbelt. Because he actually has a five point harness system. And he is… he’s in there. So here’s what I’m thinking. And tell me if you think the mechanics can support this. If not, I’m fine with just pulling a pistol and shooting, but this feels more cinematic. Jones is in a harness, in a seatbelt and the creature behind him is not and probably is not used to when gravity has a different effect on a vehicle. So I think Jones, looking at the creature behind him and the thing barreling down on him is going to like, dive straight down and start doing the mining equivalent of shimmying back and forth to basically try and keep this thing off its feet and smash it against walls a couple times.

Gregory 5:26

Ben 5:27
I don’t I don’t know if that’s me trying to use the vehicles unarmed attack when it’s inside. Or if that’s just making a drive check to keep this thing incapacitated? I’m not sure exactly which of those would make more sense. The… probably some Drive check allowing me to use the vehicle makes sense to me.

Gregory 5:45
Yeah, let’s let’s do the… let’s make this a ma- Let’s make the attack roll a Drive check. But this will be using your unarmed damage, I think.

Ben 5:55
Because Yeah, I think he’s gonna just start with pretty much like going straight down into a, into a cartwheel almost onto the ground to try and get this thing flipped upside down and more appropriately off him in a cinematic way.

Gregory 6:09
So you rolled a 15, it rolled a seven. Are you… at the end of this, do you want to be still be heading toward the giant combine thing?

Ben 6:21
I’m good with being under the ground at the end of this turn.

Gregory 6:25

Ben 6:28
I think Jones has enough respect for industrial vehicles to recognize that thing could fuck him up.

Gregory 6:34
All right. So you you swerve from side to side. And you’re hearing… you thought you were hearing unpleasant noises before. They were at least outside the vehicle. But now you’re hearing the crunches of this thing getting knocked around against the insides against, you know, consoles and stuff that you use daily. And finally, there’s a crunch large enough that, that you’re pretty sure that it’s disabled. And you’re able to, I guess push the the steering forward and dive into the ground underneath this giant tractor.

Ben 7:13
Jones kind of turns his nose up for a second and settles his stomach and sorta, “I’ll clean it later. I’ll clean it later. At least it wasn’t that gooey.”

Lucy 7:25
I commiserate.

Gregory 7:33
Karloff, Vake’s still between you and this tractor, but you can tell that it’s it’s barreling. And it’s not. I mean, it’s just starting off. It’s just crashed out of this barn, but it’s starting to pick up speed toward you.

Jim 7:46
I think my question was, will I be able to act again before it reaches us?

Gregory 7:53
I’ve put it initiative at the bottom of the order. So no.

Jim 7:58

Gregory 7:59
It will… This is your one turn to do something about this for now.

Jim 8:03
Gotcha. My next question is how, how big is it?

Gregory 8:08
It is the same width as the road. So I guess that’s, that’s what, 15 feet across? The actual body of the tractor is a little smaller. But it’s it’s got what used to be a combine that’s now on the front of it. That’s wide enough that you you’d have to go off road to get around it.

Jim 8:32
I think the important question is Could I clear it with the jump?

Gregory 8:36
I think so I think that your your long distance on the jump is enough to clear it. But you would, given that there’s a building that it’s coming out of you’d probably end up inside like you’d be going in the loft of this barn and then have to somehow not… somehow make it once you’re up there.

Jim 8:56

Gregory 8:58
That’ll probably be a pretty challenging Drive check once you’re inside.

Jim 9:03
The the option to do… I mean the the sane thing here of course would be to try to swerve away. But I feel like the cooler thing would be to barnstorm in a thing that is not a plane.

Gregory 9:18

Jim 9:19
So I feel that that is what’s about to happen.

Gregory 9:22
Give me your drive check.

Jim 9:24
Let’s do it.

Gregory 9:27
Oh, yeah.

Gregory 9:29
So you got a 19. So you fire your your thrusters and launch yourself up off of off of the ground. You sail up over Vake, over the bulk of this tractor, and as you look down you can definitely see not only that, there’s a vague, almost sketchy, humanoid form stretched and distorted across and through this vehicle but also that it lifts its face slightly to look at you as you go over and you can see that on the sides of it there are machine guns that have been melded on with almost biological looking metal mounts that are moving to track you as you sail overboard. But then you smash through the shutters over the loft doors on this barn and find yourself up in a not particularly built for vehicular support attic loft area above the body of this this large farm equipment shed. And you can hear rafters creaking and splintering and you’re throwing up loose boards with your wheels as you’re sailing through and are heading rather quickly for the far wall of this structure which is not there is not us corresponding loft window on that side of this building. What do you want to do about that?

Jim 11:14
I feel as though it is time to make a new hole in this building. I shall create an exit since I am going in that direction.

Gregory 11:25
All right.

Lucy 11:26
I really admire your dedication to fire codes.

Jim 11:28
Yes, you know, I try to be I try to be considerate that way.

Gregory 11:32
Must have a safe exit even on the second floor? What weapon are you using to punch a hole?

Jim 11:38
I think the one that makes the most sense is the electro ram although I mean I could try to… do I have time to take it out with the other side with a cannon because if I get a time to

Gregory 11:48
Yeah I probably… I’d probably go the sonic cannon because since the electro ram is stunning I feel like it wouldn’t it might not do enough damage to punch a hole.

Jim 11:56
Yeah, a stunned barn probably does not hurt any less when you ram into it side. So yes, let us attempt to use the sonic cannon upon it and see what happens.

Gregory 12:06
All right. So you fire this this sonic cannon inside an enclosed space which probably makes your ears ring a bit. And you just shatter that back wall of this dilapidated structure and and form a hole large enough that you can sail out the other side and your rockets have petered out at this point. So this is a heavier landing than it normally would be. But you’re able to to land with a skid in the just the fields on the on the other side of this building.

Jim 12:40

Gregory 12:41
Does your vehicle can your vehicle go off road?

Jim 12:44
Um well that’s a Humvee I kind of assume it can but let me I think I may have taken things mechanically for that. I’m not completely sure.

Gregory 12:53
Yeah, I think I think I checked last time and and

Jim 12:56
Yeah, I don’t think I took the limitation that makes it Yeah, that makes it on road. Yeah.

Gregory 13:01
Comets car is the only one that can that is restricted to roads only.

Zoë 13:05
My car is not restricted to roads only.

Gregory 13:08
Okay, then maybe no one is. Alright, so you are safely on the other side of this of this building for now. But that was that took up your your turn. Vake, you are heading on a collision course with the spinning blades on the front of this giant tractor.

Lucy 13:25
So when you say spinning blades are they all around? I mean, where are they located on the vehicle exactly?

Gregory 13:36
On the front of this vehicle, there’s this long, long helical combine that would be used for like harvesting crops. So it’s this horizontal, long, wide helical blade, that’s that’s spinning fast.

Lucy 13:56
So it’s really just gonna be on one side of it on the front side of it.

Gregory 13:59

Lucy 14:00
The front side of it. Yeah, I I will just let you tell me what kind of check this will require. What I’d like to attempt to do is swerve around the spinning blade portion of the entity and then swerve to the side with my spikes and kind of drive my spikes down the side of it while I keep going so that I’ll actually go past the entity eventually. I’m not trying to get stuck on the side of it.

Gregory 14:36
I think because it’s so… because the blade part is so much wider than the the tractor part. I think that you’d need to kind of, you’d need to do a circle around it and come in from the back in order to damage it. There’s not enough room to dodge around and scrape down the side.

Lucy 14:52
I’m good with that plan. So for this turn, I’m just gonna basically swerve off to one side and I’m trying to circle around.

Gregory 15:03
Okay, I think I’ll say that this will be a contested drive check. And if, if it succeeds, then you’ll get hit with its weapon, you’ll get hit with the blades.

Lucy 15:17
I have rolled an 18.

Gregory 15:19
So you rolled an 18 it rolled a 16. And you both got specializations in your respective things. So you turn to the side, drive off of the road, you’re smashing up some some ancient farm fence work and you just barely squeeze past the side of that huge harvester blade. And yeah, since it’s since it’s still picking up speed, you can get along behind it if you want to. And are you trying to use your spikes to smash into it?

Lucy 15:55
That was my plan.

Gregory 15:56
Okay, so give me an attack for that.

Lucy 15:59
Not great.

Gregory 16:01
So you rolled a 10, they rolled a…

Lucy 16:03
Apparently this is par for the course for me today.

Gregory 16:06
Sometimes the dice are not kind. Also, their defens is very high. They got a 20 so you pull a handbrake turn throwing up a bunch of soil from the farmyard and pull forward but they manage to stay ahead of you. So you’re not able to make contact with those spikes.

Lucy 16:28
I would also like to power down my force field for this turn.

Gregory 16:36
Okay, so that’ll let you recharge your force field while it’s down.

Lucy 16:40
Yeah, it lets me if I do that, so I don’t have it at all for this turn but I can turn it back on next turn and be back to 20.

Gregory 16:49
All right, are you inside your tank at this point? Or are you still riding on top?

Lucy 16:54
And I will just crawl back inside for now.

Gregory 16:56

Lucy 16:58
I’d also like to note that I think it’s great that the entity has a specialization in the self and we should all be so lucky.

Gregory 17:09
Yes, its driving specialization is indeed “self.”

Jim 17:12
Wow. How can I get that?

Zoë 17:14
I love it.

Lucy 17:15
I know that’s deep right? I’m working on that for my own life.

Jim 17:17
Yeah, in real life.

Lucy 17:20

Jim 17:21
Maybe they really know what they’re talking about.

Gregory 17:25
And your forcefield will regain one level each turn it’s down.

Lucy 17:30

Gregory 17:31
So it’ll it’ll take a little bit to get back up to full.

Lucy 17:34

Gregory 17:35
Karloff is well past the tractor at this point. Vame is right on its tail. And Comet, you’re further back but it’s picking up speed you can clearly see now there’s no one else between you and this enormous monster…

Zoë 17:55
Oh, boy.

Gregory 17:55

Zoë 17:57
You said it has like spinning blades in front of it?

Gregory 18:01
Yeah, I posted a picture in discord of what a combine looks like.

Zoë 18:06
Oh, it’s there and I see it! It’s just a combine. Well, I know what the enemy of a combine is. It’s getting some kind of metal cord caught in its gears.

Lucy 18:20
I thought the enemy of a combine would be a friend.

Jim 18:25
The enemy of my combine is my… uh.

Lucy 18:31
I’m sure I’ve heard that saying before. I think Dick Tracy says it.

Gregory 18:37
Dick Tracy is such a weird comic.

Jim 18:41
And probably had a villain very much like this.

Zoë 18:45
Oh, boy. I don’t even know anymore. What I would like to do while I am trying to get out of the way is try to… I would like to sacrifice my my lance weapon to try to get the cable like snagged up in the combine.

Zoë 19:09
Oh, but then what if it like pulls me in and gets me?

Gregory 19:14
I think you can probably detach your cable.

Zoë 19:16
That’s true. I should be able to detach it, Yeah, well…

Ben 19:19
Come on! Cinematic!

Zoë 19:20
I will… Yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna fire as a drive by to try to not necessarily damage the vehicle but to try to get the cables snagged in the spinning blades and possibly incapacitate them.

Gregory 19:34
Okay, are you trying to drive past it? Or are you turning around and driving away from it?

Zoë 19:42
Hm. Hmm…

Gregory 19:46
I’ll offer you the same deal as as Lucy. If you try and drive past it, then if you fail your contested drive, you’ll hit the combine blades.

Zoë 19:55
Gotcha. Um, I’m going to try to drive away from it. So then at least I could flame thrower it. So yeah, well, I’ll make a shot and then drive forward. I bet I’m faster than it is. That makes sense to me.

Gregory 20:11
Alright, so you you do a, a real fast turn and shoot off your lance.

Zoë 20:23
Ooh, ohh. No coming back from that.

Gregory 20:30
So same result is is just recently you rolled a 10 and it rolled a 20. So, in what way do you miss? Or what do you fail to succeed?

Zoë 20:42
I think that I probably start driving too soon because I’m trying to get out of the way. So it’s… I let’s see, hmm, no, this has got a pretty long range. So I can’t use that excuse.

Gregory 21:00
Where does your lance end up?

Zoë 21:02
I think that I probably just shoot right over it. And the lance is just dangling dangling in the wind somewhere and maybe gets broken off anyway, because it’s just off… Maybe it gets caught in the combine somehow but not in a good way. And I am now being towed or being the opposite of towed. I’m towing… if I could tow it, I’d be towing it. But I’m tethered to it until I detach the tether.

Gregory 21:29
Vake you’re chasing and weren’t able to quite get close enough to ram it with those spikes. And then you see a lance just fire come over the top of it from the front and just sail completely at the top and like rattle to the ground behind you and the the cable drags over the surface of the combine. And I think that that it sticks there for a moment. And then the machinery shifts in a way that’s actually kind of similar to the way that that Vake’s vehicle twists and is flexible and just cuts that cable in half. And so that lance is lost…

Zoë 22:11
Goodbye, lance.

Gregory 22:13
…for now. And it is the vehicle’s turn. So currently, the two most threatening targets are Vake and Comet. So out of the several bristling…

Gregory 22:31
A giant smiley face emoji appears on the side of the tank!

Zoë 22:36
Oh boy.

Lucy 22:37
Not the, not the angry emoji! Smiley emoji.

Gregory 22:41
There is no response from the tractor except that it’s there’s a flash of of gold light out of its bristling exhaust pipes. And it suddenly picks up a burst of speed that shouldn’t be possible in something this big and it’s barreling down the road at Comet at a speed that is at least momentarily faster than she is going.

Zoë 23:05
Oh boy. Time for a wild ride.

Gregory 23:10
Right so it rolled a 15, you rolled a 13. This pierces 12 of your armor.

Zoë 23:18
Okay. And I have hella armor, so…

Lucy 23:22
Is is it possible for… I don’t know how this game actually happens. But is it possible for us to roll in front of Comet before the intake of that damage?

Gregory 23:34
Not Not with where you are? I don’t think. You’re all behind it at this point except for Jones being underground.

Zoë 23:40
It’s all good. Vake and Lucy and Jolissa.

Lucy 23:44
Jolissa, all of us.

Zoë 23:45
All of all of you, I only take the piercing damage as I am very unreasonably heavily armored, which is great.

Gregory 23:53
So what’s what is your armor currently?

Zoë 23:55
It is 60.

Gregory 23:57
Okay, so…

Zoë 23:59
A lot of armor.

Gregory 24:00
So it pierces through 12 of that reducing your armor to… armor’s effectively 48 against this attack, so you take nine damage.

Zoë 24:09
Just a scratch.

Gregory 24:10
So yeah, it speeds up and those you’re able to stay just barely ahead of it. And those blades are scraping and chewing away at the back panel of your of your vehicle, leaving big scars on it and probably tearing up some of your exhaust system.

Zoë 24:27
My poor bumper.

Gregory 24:29
And… oh, I need to remember that it’s because it’s got spreading on it. There’s a minus one to defend against it. And then at the same time as it is scraping against Comet’s vehicle, a machine gun that’s mounted on on the side of it in that those weird almost organic mounts, turns around to point at Vake and opens fire.

Lucy 24:55

Zoë 24:59
Does Vake make that sound?

Lucy 25:01

Zoë 25:02
I didn’t think so.

Lucy 25:05
Always one shy.

Gregory 25:07
It rolled a 14, you rolled a 13. So the shots hit solidly, but I think they I think with that damage, they just bounce off of your armor. ‘Cause it’s only doing 22 damage.

Lucy 25:21
Yes, I have 30 armor.

Gregory 25:24
And that means that it is Jones’s turn. You are underground and you’re hearing all sorts of very strange sounds. But now that things have settled out a bit you’re able to place Karloff back on the other side of that barn, Vake just behind the tractor, and Comet just ahead of it.

Gregory 25:45
And I’m presuming any leftover human bits are more or less obliterated by a combine tractor. Or are we past the wall of corpses?

Gregory 25:59
You’re… the corpses are still kind of most of the zombies were are now kind of behind you. Although the direction that the tractor is going you’re kind of heading back into that, but you’d you’d guess that that there probably not much of a risk compared to this thing.

Ben 26:17
So let’s see… where we have the position Vake is basically in line with the rear of this thing?

Gregory 26:25
Yeah, they were trying to to ram it with some spikes. They’re a little further back now actually, the tractor moved forward, pulled ahead.

Ben 26:33
But I mean, fundamentally, I probably can’t come at it from the rear. If there is a person in that line of fire,

Gregory 26:41
You could probably come up beside Vake, because this thing is the tractor itself is is larger than your vehicle and then it’s got that big blade on the front of it.

Ben 26:50
Okay… I don’t know, that doesn’t seem cinematic enough. So I’m think I’m gonna try and take a page out of Karloff’s book and and see if I can jump the Vake.

Gregory 27:03
Okay, tell me more.

Ben 27:08
Coming out of the ground at a sufficient velocity to achieve temporary airborne status and impale — smash into — the combine.

Gregory 27:21
Hmm. Okay…

Ben 27:22
In its rear quarter.

Gregory 27:23
I think this is probably… What’s a hard roll again? So I’d say this is probably gonna be a… You don’t have jumping or anything, right? So this is a- we’ll say it’s a 15 Drive check. And if you fail, you’ll crash into Vake

Lucy 27:41
Whoa, hey.

Ben 27:41
I’m good with that. Are you?

Lucy 27:43
Yeah, bring it.

Ben 27:46
I’ve got divine favor so I… in case necessary.

Lucy 27:50
I probably have higher armor than you.

Ben 27:52

Gregory 27:53
All right, so you You got a 16. Your target was a 15 so Vake you’re driving along. Having bullets thrown at you, trying to impact this, and then suddenly you hear a rumble behind you and up above you Jones’s vehicle emerges or has emerged from the ground and is coming over you and… Karloff’s vehicle sails over other vehicles. Jones’s vehicle is a little more like a breaching whale. It’s… it clears you with just about a foot of space and lands with a thud on the road ahead of you with its treads spinning violently and… give me an attack roll to see if in the process you hit that tractor.

Lucy 28:45
The tank’s actually gonna dip down, very un-tank like manner as you sail over.

Gregory 28:54
So the tank ducks.

Ben 28:55
We appreciate its ability to duck.

Jim 28:57
It breaches!

Ben 28:58

Gregory 28:59
So you attack with a 17 and it got a 23 so you… let’s see… that’s it’s been attacked twice so far. So that’s at a minus three. Still not enough. So that burst of speed that it had is maintained just enough that when you land you’re not quite able… like you… the tip of your drill just just barely skitters off of the back bumper of it and, and drills a little hole but you’re not able to maintain that speed. And you’re now like, right in front of Vake almost bumper to bumper with them.

Ben 29:44
Yeah, I’m probably gonna kick just to just, you know, list lazily to the left a little bit, so that Vake has a shot to try and ram again.

Gregory 29:55

Ben 29:55
If they would like.

Gregory 29:57
Karloff, you’re just in the middle of a field.

Jim 30:01
All right!

Gregory 30:02
Back behind a barn.

Jim 30:03
This is nice.

Gregory 30:04
You’re hearing, you’re hearing rumbles and gunfire from where you left.

Jim 30:10
So I’m gonna, of course, make a turn. And as I proceed back around the the outside of the barn I am what I’m presuming these fields are bare so…

Gregory 30:25

Jim 30:25
Or are there, like cool like husks of undead wheat for us to drive through?

Gregory 30:32
There’s there’s definitely like some some corn that used to be corn long ago and dried out, or remnants of of crops that people have tried to grow since. There’s nothing currently alive in there but there’s there’s you can be plowing through some dried crops.

Jim 30:51
Good! Exellent, ’cause that too will provide a little bit of cover visually at least. So I shall plow through the the, the these the field of dead corn as I am coming back around. And once again, I’m going to aim the cannon at the back of the thresher o’ death and attempt to hit it. Sort of thinking to myself, or saying to sort of my to myself, “Now at least it’s a single target now.” I should probably roll something to indicate that that is what I am doing. Ahh! So close.

Gregory 31:33
Well, this was the… oh, I guess since it just had its turn, this is only the second attack it’s gotten.

Jim 31:39
So that would… 18 versus a 19.

Gregory 31:42
So that would… 18 versus a 19, yes.

Jim 31:44
I would like to spend 10 more points if I may, to change mine to a 19!

Zoë 31:49

Gregory 31:49
All right, then they are also going to spend energy points.

Jim 31:55
So let me ask something briefly here. Is this going to be a “keep going until Jim runs out of energy points” thing or or may I may I spend more?

Gregory 32:08
Because there is a maximum number you can spend equal to your soul stat. Oh, their soul is higher than yours. But they don’t have… they don’t actually have EP to spare because they’re… they use it for other things. So I think that if you spend another 10 that you’ll be able to to overcome their expenditure.

Jim 32:34
That being the case I shall do that.

Gregory 32:36
So that hits… they have armor. Your sonic weapon penetrates armor heavily. So…

Jim 32:47
Insidious five. Which is a cool supervillain group name.

Gregory 32:52
That is a good name. You are all jockeying for a shot at this thing. It is closing in on on Comet, has already taken a chunk out of her her backside. And Vake and Jones are both trying to trying to get their their teeth in it. And then over behind all of you from around the barn, Karloff comes sweeping through this field of of dead crops. And we can see from above the the path that he’s making as he’s careening through this field and then suddenly there’s a narrow cone of crops that’s just flattened in front of him that leads in an instant from him all the way to the tractor and it impacts solidly.

Gregory 33:45
And there’s a an almost animal sound as all of the mechanical systems in the tractor are shaken and thrown out of sync. There’s a loud backfire and a cloud of smoke that obscures the vision of Vake and Jones for a moment and then out from the cloud you can see the back end of this tractor as it’s very quickly slowing down. You just barely have enough time to swerve out of the way and and go to either side and get… avoid hitting the backside of the of the spinning blade as this this vehicle stops functioning and slows to a stop in the middle of the road. There’s a moment of quiet as Karloff is able to pull up and Comet you can… would you be turning around and returning once you see that the tractor is disabled?

Zoë 34:52
Returning to where my allies are?

Gregory 34:54

Zoë 34:55
Yes, I would indeed be doing that. And I do it. Comet returns to where her allies are.

Gregory 35:05
All right.

Zoë 35:06
In character.

Gregory 35:09
You, you all pull together, presumably still being very defensive given that this person has proved pretty capable of some very strange things. And there’s nothing for a bit and then you see some shifting and twisting of the surface of the vehicle and from where the driver’s seat would be, but is no longer, it sort of exudes humanoid figure, very much the worse for wear. Bits of their clothing have kind of been incorporated into their body. You can see bits of red leather coming out of a cheek. Parts of their body are just gone. They’re missing limbs. Some of them has been supplemented with metal, but they are not functioning. They’re… They seem to be animate. But they’re clearly not up for a fight any longer.

Gregory 36:23
There’s that blue shimmer all over their surface, all over the surface of their of their skin and their clothing, as they just sort of slowly drag themselves down off of the husk of this machine and onto the, to the road surface in front of you all. They look up at you and they speak and they’re amplified as they were before but instead of it being like they’re speaking over a loudspeaker it’s mechanical and gurgling and just… They’re loud enough for you to hear but whatever is making this happen does not sound does not sound like it feels very good. When they say, “She said that I should talk to you, you know? Yeah. Convinced you to help us sway Niederdorf into giving us what’s ours. And I knew it’d end up like this. I knew it, you know, no matter what I did, I knew that it would turn out this way. I I’d I’d rather go down in a flare of glorious retribution and then the take up the the weapons of our destroyers to try and bring back… I don’t know, something that’s already gone forever.

Zoë 37:44
I roll my window back down and say, “What, what’s what’s gone exactly?”

Gregory 37:54
Our… our people, the fleet, our whole culture. You all destroyed it.

Zoë 38:08
Comet kind of grimaces and rolls the window back up.

Lucy 38:14
Vake will climb out of the tank to go stand near them.

Gregory 38:22
They look up at you from the ground.

Lucy 38:25
If they’re not real loud.

Gregory 38:26
I mean, they’re there, their voice is amplified and harsh from whatever is in them,

Lucy 38:32
They’ll get out, but not go super close.

Jim 38:35
I will also casually be getting out of my vehicle with my blade slinger and just kind of cocking it and just preparing it as I look down at this person. It also, by the way occurs to me that if Vake was anywhere near that, that harvester when it was when it was rendered non functional. They are probably at least a little bit upset at the the result of the sonic cannon. For it was very loud.

Gregory 39:06
Yeah, it was a very loud noise that took this out.

Jim 39:08
It kind of like does, I imagine, that Hans Zimmer pulse that sort of “BWOOOW” when it comes through.

Lucy 39:14
Well, happily I was ensconced in ocean sounds which mitigated it a little bit.

Gregory 39:20
Yes, there are literally character points invested in having that not bother them. They look up at Vake and they they say, “I know where you got that tank.”

Lucy 39:31
I don’t understand why you’re attacking us. We didn’t come here to fight you.

Gregory 39:40
“I’m not gonna make friends. With all of you.” They, like, gestur toward Jones’s vehicle and kind of shout out it because Jones is still in there. Right?

Ben 39:52
Jones is… Jones is still in the vehicle. I was trying to decide if he’s like, unrolled his window and is starting to toss pieces of bone and gristle and whatnot out of his vehicle, one section at a time. I think I think that’s what he’s doing is he’s just kind of trying to clean out the insides for a moment.

Gregory 40:14
Okay, then the, when you kind of lean out with another chunk of bone, this this person calls out and says, “I recognize that that machine yours, that digging machine. I know where it’s from.”

Lucy 40:29
You’re fucking full of information.

Ben 40:31
Yeah, I mean,

Zoë 40:32
Yeah, at this Comet’s gonna open up the door and then be like, “Oh, where’s my car from?”

Gregory 40:38

Ben 40:38
I mean, this thing’s from the, the, the alien ships. I mean… I know that.

Gregory 40:44
They, they laugh it at all of y’all. But you’re… kind of do a wry laugh at your jokes about the vehicles but says, “No, no. I mean, I mean, I know where it’s last from. You know, she’s the one who led the attack on your mind. She said we had to hit Niederdorf where it hurt to get them to take us seriously. Are you taking us seriously now? Huh? Miner?”

Ben 41:09
Well… Yeah. Do you really need me to take you more seriously?

Gregory 41:16
Yeah, I told her was a mistake.

Ben 41:19
Because you guys killed a handful of folks that I knew. And you didn’t think you could do that and just get away with it? Did you?

Gregory 41:30
I told them, we should just live our lives make it how we could. But they wanted what was right.

Ben 41:43
I don’t see how any one person has the right to take what other people are working for.

Gregory 41:52

Ben 41:53
If you have some some magic energy over here. That’s something you can trade. But they don’t give you the right to take.

Gregory 42:04
“There’s no such thing as ‘the right’. People take. People are taking. They took from you. You know what? Here.” And with the one arm that still seems to be functioning, they they reach and like peel some of that jacket away from their skin and fish out a necklace that they have to yank to pull free from themself…

Zoë 42:34

Gregory 42:36
And toss it in front of them in the dirt and there’s a there’s a white disc. That’s a real simple pendant with a symbol on it that’s dangling from the end of the chain. They say, “I haven’t used this in years. It… take it back to that killer with the beard and tell him that that this is the key to the answers he wants. Or if you want to do what’s right right now you can step on board that ship.” and kind of gestures with their head back toward the ruin.

Lucy 43:07
You’re talking about a lot of things that don’t make any sense. What do you think is right?

Gregory 43:13
I don’t think there is a right. I’m out of time. I’ve been out of time. Way past midnight. Our time, my time is over. It’s all gone now. I don’t care anymore.

Ben 43:32
Think Jones is gonna just get out of the vehicle having more or less cleaned it out and walk over and probably he has his pistol probably in his hand because he still doesn’t quite trust this fella. But he’s going to go down and and take the necklace thing and kind of look at it and see if it looks like anything that means anything.

Zoë 43:58
Roll Arcana!

Lucy 44:05
You might want to clean that off first.

Gregory 44:07
It’s just kind of a rough, vaguely circular but not entirely circular, rounded edged disc. It’s got a hole in it for the for the chain. And it’s got a symbol written on it, like engraved into it inset, just the same material, same color. And it’s you don’t recognize the symbol. It’s that same language, that same symbollary, as was on the Smooth Criminal’s vehicle.

Jim 44:37
I’m going to point my blade slinger at this individual. And I’m going to do ask, “Does that thing got anything to do with how your friend was able to open portals and throw killer coins.”

Gregory 44:55
They they start laughing and they say, “Her? Ah, sure, sort of. I don’t need her if I’ve got that.”

Jim 45:06
And I’m just sort of glance around at the others quietly just sort of seeing, checking to see their their expressions and attempting to intuit their opinions on whether or not I should decapitate this individual.

Ben 45:22
I think Jones when you meet his eyes, he is going to give you a subtle nod of yes.

Lucy 45:28
There is no possible way you could read Vake’s facial expressions.

Zoë 45:33
I have my sunglasses on. And it’s nighttime, right? We’re still Yeah, still nighttime, perfect. And I and I shrug if he looks at me.

Jim 45:48
So I kind of shrug as well. I mean, this wasn’t someone on the bounty. So I don’t know if they’re worth anything. So I don’t really… and they haven’t ticked me off too terribly. So I don’t feel one way or the other in particular about killing them. And I just sort of look down and say, “So, with that help, you’ve earned it fast if you want it.”

Gregory 46:13
You know what? No, I kind of wonder if I’ll ever see the sun again. You know, if I last that long? Just let me be.

Ben 46:24
I think Jones is gonna be like, “It probably is gonna hurt a hell a lot. You ain’t right no more.”

Gregory 46:34
Yeah, well, I gave that speech. I guess I’ll get to learn the truth about it. Huh? Whether your name for it is right or not?

Ben 46:46
Jones kind of gives a half shrug and a half nod and gives one of those looks you give to someone who’s probably not going to make it but you’re willing to let them try. Just turns around and starts walking back to his vehicle.

Lucy 47:00
Well, ah, I don’t understand. I guess I guess you all are making friends now or something. But before you find the sun, I want you to tell me… I don’t know what ancient texts you consulted, the Kelley Blue Book or or whatnot. But I want you to tell me where this vehicle came from. If you know so much.

Gregory 47:29
They chuckle and they say, “Oh, you don’t know? It’s ours.”

Lucy 47:35
Ours being who? I don’t even know who you are.

Gregory 47:38
We’re, I mean, you call us the subaltern. You didn’t think we all died, did you? If you’re… if you’re using that… if that vehicle lets you use it. You’re probably one of us too.

Lucy 47:54

Gregory 47:55
Sometimes the conversion doesn’t. It doesn’t go the same way every time.

Lucy 48:01
I mean, I’m getting the feeling that this is… you think it’s important somehow but you haven’t changed anything.

Gregory 48:10
Yeah. Fair enough.

Lucy 48:12
Anyway, thanks for tossing us the car keys I guess. Maybe we should go see what it is.

Gregory 48:20
They just kind of shrug with one shoulder.

Lucy 48:22
I was sort of looking around at everybody else.

Zoë 48:26
You’ve got to you’ve got a, a 10-4 for for me, I’m into it.

Lucy 48:33
Roger that.

Jim 48:35
And that I kind of squat down a bit. Get closer to them. And I’ll go ahead and actually lift my sunglasses a little bit. So that eye contact is possible.

Gregory 48:46
They look up at you they meet your gaze like probably with a look that you’ve seen in the mirror some which is that they don’t particularly care what happens in this moment.

Jim 48:59
You… you’re saying we’re family of some kind?

Gregory 49:08
“You, I don’t know. Maybe you’ve got the blood. They definitely are.” And kind of gestures with their head Vake and says, “She said that one of you…” Clearly talking about someone else. “She said that one of you thought they were her kid. So…”

Zoë 49:25
Comet perks up at that. And finally is… the spirit moves her to to exit the car. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s Yep. Yep, that’s me. That’s me. She didn’t believe me, though.”

Gregory 49:41
If you can use our tech. I don’t know. Maybe?

Zoë 49:49

Gregory 49:50
Does it matter?

Lucy 49:52

Jim 49:53
I just sort of look, I just sort of look over at Comet and I look back at them and I sort of, “It’s probably worth finding out, yeah.” Then I’ll back off.

Zoë 50:07
So what are we… You’re gonna give us any, any spoilers about what’s, uh, what’s in the ship? Or is it a surprise?

Lucy 50:20
Well, no, no spoilers. No spoilers. Oh, I can already smell them.

Gregory 50:32
They say, “No, I… I think it’s funny that you don’t know.”

Ben 50:41
Jones kind of stops right before climbing into his vehicle, looks down at the disk and sort of changes his mind about climbing in for a second. And he’s gonna walk over to the Vake’s tank. Kind of knock on it as best as makes sense. Be like, “Hey, Jolissa, just out of curiosity…”

Lucy 51:05
Dow may I help you?

Ben 51:06
Do you know what this is?

Lucy 51:08
When you say this, it is an unclear pronoun reference. Please be more specific.

Ben 51:13
The disk in my hand on the chain!

Lucy 51:17
Please press it to the side of the vehicle.

Ben 51:21
Jones kind of shrugs his shoulders and sticks up against the vehicle.

Lucy 51:27
Running analyses.

Gregory 51:30
Jolissa knows that the symbol on it means 13.

Lucy 51:34
Interesting. “The symbol translates to 13.”

Ben 51:40
Well, that does…

Zoë 51:41

Gregory 51:42
This… other than that, it’s it’s a it’s a. It’s giving off a… like a it’s an encryption key. It’s giving off a signal. It’s like an i… it’s a key. It’s an identifier.

Zoë 51:54
Weren’t there… weren’t there 12 Subaltern vessels that crash to Earth? Is that part of the lore?

Gregory 52:02

Zoë 52:03
Comet comet comes over and looks at, Well, I guess she doesn’t look at Jolissa, but she looks the tank and says, “13, huh? Weren’t there? Weren’t there 12 ships? Is there? Is there another one?”

Lucy 52:23
I am afraid I do not have the information you have requested. Vake has already referred to it as a car key. Perhaps they were on to something.

Zoë 52:33
Well, shit!

Ben 52:35
Jones gives a very loud sigh. “Oh shit. I guess he was telling the truth a little.”

Lucy 52:41
Truth is one of those funny human ideas. Ha ha.

Ben 52:46
And he’ll kind of turned around. “So who wants to go for a ride and maybe test drive a spaceship?”

Zoë 52:57
You know, I never knew that I wanted to drive a spaceship. But I totally want to drive a spaceship.

Lucy 53:04
Honestly, I just want to see if we can find some peace and fucking quiet. Let’s go.

Ben 53:11
What about you Karloff? You in?

Jim 53:13
I, uh, I nod. That’s all you get.

Ben 53:20
All right!

Gregory 53:21
You all pack into your vehicles and drive away leaving this person to turn onto their back and stare up at the night sky.

Gregory 53:36
Does anyone have a topic they… I’ve got one that we can chat about. But I’m getting near the end of my list. So if there’s something that y’all want to bring up, about the campaign specifically, or about some of the themes we’re going getting into or anything like that…?

Ben 53:51
You know, there is an interesting one that kind of bounced around a little bit, which is the fact that in you, you’d think in an apocalyptic scenario, life would have a lot more value than it tends to.

Gregory 54:06

Ben 54:08
You know, most apocalyptic scenarios, you’ve got people killing themselves all over the place. But you’d think with humanity, you know, dropped to a percent of a percent, that life would have a greater value, but it almost never does. I don’t know that, is that something people have thoughts on?

Zoë 54:34
That is interesting. I can’t think of a particularly like a non violent post apocalyptic media.

Gregory 54:45
Yeah, I mean, I think I don’t know if that reflects how… I mean, in a certain way, a lot of our values imply that like our lives have value because of our role in society. And so I think that there’s a certain viewpoint from which life doesn’t mean anything, if you’re not going to be able to continue on the way you were before. You know, maybe you’re able to preserve the human race or whatever. But, you know, you’re not going to be able to do whatever your dream was before, because that’s gone now. And I don’t I don’t know, which I feel is correct. I don’t know if I do feel that, like, presented with the end of the world that people would would value what they have more or not.

Jim 55:38
It’s an interesting question, because a lot of the fiction in this vein does go on the assumption that we have reverted to the way things were at times in history when life was cheap. And a lot of…

Gregory 55:55
Yeah, I mean, often to the extent of like, using the motifs of that time.

Jim 56:00

Gregory 56:00
Like, using Roman names for roles and so on.

Jim 56:07
Yeah, exactly. And, and I think sometimes even and I can’t remember a specific instance right now to cite. But it seems to me that when one sees individuals, individuals in those settings that are trying to preserve life, sometimes they use that as the motivation for the villain of the piece. They’re doing something that’s going too far, to try to get things back to well, not necessarily the way they were, but the way they think it should be.

Gregory 56:46
Yeah, kind of enforcing order to try and rebuild society, but doing it in a way that the protagonist doesn’t like.

Jim 56:53
Yeah, exactly. It would be interesting to see an example of an apocalypse where they have this sort of assumed need to preserve life, where life isn’t cheap.

Gregory 57:14
And I’m trying to think… I’ve I haven’t read The Road. But I’ve looked at a the summary of it. And that at least kind of has a theme of preservation of life. But I think I think even it is in the face of many other characters trying to kill people.

Lucy 57:33
The Handmaid’s Tale is not really post apocalyptic as much as it’s dystopian. I don’t know how different those genres are, when it comes down to it, but it’s about the preservation of life.

Zoë 57:47
That’s true.

Lucy 57:49
I also kind of feel like it’s a false dichotomy, though, like to argue that we value life so much now.

Lucy 57:57
I’m not sure that that’s right.

Jim 57:59
No, no, no, that’s… No, you’re right about that.

Gregory 58:05
So maybe it’s in a way, the way that people treat life in the post apocalypse is just stripped of the ability to hide and disguise our distinct our lack of value of life with with the trappings of society. I mean, I think that it is true that historically, we value life more than we used to. I’m thinking of a book called The Better Angels of Our Nature, which is basically looked at just looked at the stats and been like, yep, we were less violent now than we are than we were 100, 500, 1,000 years ago. But we certainly are not… the place we are now with value of life is pretty darn low still.

Ben 58:55
Well, one of the one of the calculations I’ve heard for use about value of life has to do with certainty of life. And that’s one of the reasons, it suggests, why first world countries tend to have a higher value placed on life than second and/or third, because there is more confidence that the parents have that their offspring will succeed. So they have less of a need to have a large number of them. But I haven’t really seen much studies beyond it, as I would almost call that an anecdotal study where like they were back fitting data.

Gregory 59:42

Ben 59:42
It wasn’t a really good analysis, but it was something that passed through my mind.

Gregory 59:47
I think it’s complicated by the fact that the higher, that the uncertainty, at least at the moment in quote, unquote third world countries is the result of systemic action by the wealthy, right? Like, the reason why, America say, is… you have more confidence that your kid’s gonna survive is because of the wealth that’s in part the result of, of us taking advantage of other places.

Lucy 1:00:19
Well, and it’s not across the board true here that, I mean… You can live in places in the United States where your children are not, you know, like numerically statistically likely to do well or survive, right? So I don’t know that that’s across the board true.

Gregory 1:00:40
I guess to peek out from behind the curtain a little bit. I think one of the things that I’ve tried to do with Niederdorf is show a place in which people have a different perspective. Maybe a, maybe they are less violent and their buy from some perspective, have higher value for life, but also are taking for granted the benefits that they have over the folks out in the wasteland. Now, I don’t know that you’ve encountered any civilians outside Neiderdorf. So I don’t know if that contrast is actually too visible. But

Lucy 1:01:18
it actually reminds me of a professor I had in college who it was, I guess, in a history class. And he talked about how, if you look at the Egyptians beliefs about the afterlife, how basically there’s a very, very set way, if you want to live in the afterlife and be successful, there’s a way to do it. And if you look, you can see that the Egyptians also had a very reliable cycle, the Nile would flood at certain times, and they could grow crops at certain times. And life had a very predictable and reliable cycle. And it led to a predictable, reliable cycle, even in religion and philosophy. And if you compare it to life in the Fertile Crescent, you know, the Tigris and Euphrates, the ancient Sumerian culture, it was completely unpredictable. People never knew what was going to happen from one day to the next. You didn’t know if the river was going to flood or not flood, will the crops get watered, and their religious system was equally chaotic. You didn’t know. You, maybe things would work out or maybe they wouldn’t, and there was no way of knowing so he pointed out that relationship between the predictability and the stability of culture and life and how that really reflects in someone’s ideology or belief system. Which I think is interesting.

Gregory 1:02:57
I guess that kind of ties into one of our our campaign principles which is the “live like you’re dying” principle, were kind of the in the tone that that I assigned to this campaign, we are not being cautious in part because of the high risk and uncertainty of the world that the characters are living in.

Jim 1:03:22
So we’re Sumerians essentially, is what you’re saying.

Gregory 1:03:26
I mean, which one of us is Enkidu… no. Enkido?

Jim 1:03:29

Unknown Speaker 1:03:29
That the… the beastman?

Jim 1:03:32
Yep. And?

Zoë 1:03:34
And who’s who’s Gilgamesh?

Lucy 1:03:36
Not me.

Jim 1:03:37
Not it.

Ben 1:03:44
Rock Paper Scissors for it?

Gregory 1:03:48
Oh, I’ll need to think on that some more. But thank you for the chat.

Zoë 1:03:51
Thank you for building this story. For us and with us.

Lucy 1:03:57
Let us know how the thinking goes.

Gregory 1:03:59
I will do so. I also have no idea how next session is going to go. It might be our last one?

Ben 1:04:10
I was about to say: Are we going sufficiently off track?

Gregory 1:04:14
Ah, this you are you’re following one of the possible tracks I I anticipated. I did not expect you to go straight from Smooth… er, straight from Billie Jean to Thriller. But…

Zoë 1:04:29
Here we are.

Gregory 1:04:30
I was anticipating that you might not… you might never go back to Neiderdorf.

Jim 1:04:36
There is a an interesting…

Lucy 1:04:39
Fuck Neiderdorf.

Jim 1:04:40
Oh, yeah. I mean, you know that’s… The thing is that you… With that last conversation you hit on the the one thing at least for my character that that Karloff values more more than money and that is someone actually having a chance to find out where they’re from and connect with that. And that’s, that’s the thing that’s kind of important to him. And at least one of the party has the chance to do that. So he’s in it to make sure that happens.

Gregory 1:05:15

Gregory 1:05:17
I don’t know how next session, I still don’t know how next session is going to go. I don’t if if there’s a combat then you might, I don’t know. Boy, I’ll think about this. I don’t I don’t want it to be a tidy ending. We’ll see.

Jim 1:05:38
Sorry if we skipped over several pages.

Gregory 1:05:41
Oh, no. Nope. Nope. I… you did not, we’re good.

Gregory 1:05:55
So the four of you leave this figure in red behind to wait for the sun. And you head back towards that junkyard-slash-base. And you… the clearest path as before seems to be to go through that junkyard and this is a big chunk of ship that’s sort of buried half buried itself in the ground at an angle. And so you’d be approaching the the base of it where we’re kind of at there’s a collapsed cross section that’s that’s accessible at ground level. What sort of formation are you proceeding in?

Ben 1:06:43
Are zombies and zombie cars still functional? Or have they all collapsed?

Gregory 1:06:50
On your way back you are seeing just bodies lying around as if they just suddenly gotten marionette strings cut and you see those those monstrous amalgamations of cars that had been following you are just sitting motionless. Whatever whatever happened when the person you were fighting got knocked out, it must have disrupted whatever was controlling them.

Zoë 1:07:19

Jim 1:07:21
I feel like the best armored of us is probably Jones and so if I can take point with with him if we want to like go like that.

Zoë 1:07:33
I also have an excessive amount of armor.

Jim 1:07:36
Oh yeah!

Zoë 1:07:37
And have not taken any significant damage.

Ben 1:07:43
Well, if you haven’t taken damage by all means, take point.

Zoë 1:07:45
I would be happy to lead the charge and I got a few tricks up my sleeves.

Gregory 1:07:52
Alright, so it sounds like it’s Karloff and Comet up front? And then…

Jim 1:07:59
I’ll be fine.

Gregory 1:08:00
Vake and Jones following behind.

Lucy 1:08:02
That’s fine.

Gregory 1:08:03
All right. So you make your way through this junkyard which has… you you are going through this mess of little bits and pieces of machinery that you knocked free just earlier this evening. And you approach the far side of it where this huge dirty, formerly white ship chunk has crashed. And it it was… previously had kind of a had a lot of graceful curves to it, it looks like, but those are now all crumbled and crunched in and worn away by the elements. And as you… who who has the little key?

Ben 1:08:46
Jones does.

Gregory 1:08:49
All right, as you get closer to this you’re you’re following a path that seems rather worn. There’s not a it’s not like there’s regular traffic here. But definitely over the past years. folks have come to and fro this way a decent amount. There’s not any recent tracks that you can spot, those of you who are good at, who know, who are used to following people on the road. But it does look like this is not you’re not the first people to come this way. And you approach this this wreck which as you get closer and closer there’s that feeling of this being larger than you thought it was from a distance. It’s just this enormous… not city-sized ship originally, this is just a chunk of it, but the original was the size of a small town probably. And you finally come up between two crumpled walls of whatever material this is made out of. Not metal. or not a metal you recognize. It’s a little more crumbly and shin-… and porcelain than that. But you finally are approaching this this dark opening in the wreck. And as you do so Jones you feel a warmth coming from that disc. And it glows with a with a warm golden light and a golden ring forms in the air over that opening, and through the ring, you can see a bright, warm, white passageway large enough to accept your vehicles.

Ben 1:10:52
Okay, so looking through the ring, I can see where a passageway is that does not appear to be in the wall?

Gregory 1:11:01
Correct. It looks just like those portals that Billy Jean was forming. It looks like the presence of the key is transferred his has opened up a portal in this dark passageway that leads somewhere else.

Zoë 1:11:14
Well, shoot, let’s get in there. We already know they won’t eat us.

Ben 1:11:19
Uh, okay.

Jim 1:11:22
“Yeah, let me go first, just in case they do.” And I’ll get back and get back in my car and then heading forward.

Gregory 1:11:32
All right, you kind of narrow your your convoy a little bit. And Karloff drives through that portal. And the rest of you follow. And you find yourself in a broad, curving white hallway. Vake, looking at your surroundings, you’re presumably viewing them through the screens on the inside of your car at first.

Lucy 1:12:11
At first.

Gregory 1:12:12
But this is the sort of place that you have dreams about that you vaguely remember. Everything is curved, all the lights are not dim but gentle. They all have soft edges and have this pleasant golden tinge to them.

Lucy 1:12:33
Vake is going to lean forward and press the button that turns off the ocean sounds. And then they’re going to climb up out of the tank. The tank can keep going with everybody else. But Vake’s going to sit on top of the tank and take off their goggles and look around without goggles.

Zoë 1:12:43

Jim 1:12:43

Gregory 1:13:01
And you are seeing just this this light that… you’re able to see clearly. I mean, this is really bright for you. But it’s of a wavelength that for some reason just isn’t bugging your eyes as much as it could. And you hear a soft whooshing noise from all around you like… almost like the sound of blood flowing.

Lucy 1:13:31
So nice. Like blood flowing.

Gregory 1:13:39

Ben 1:13:41
I really hope that isn’t over the mics.

Lucy 1:13:46
It is not. If you’d like, Jolissa can relay it.

Ben 1:13:50
I’d rather if Jolissa didn’t.

Gregory 1:13:57
You’re you probably check your sonar periodically as a matter of habit. Yeah. You may be somewhat distressed by what you’re seeing on it. It might not be totally unexpected, but you’re able to see that you are now in a complex of tunnels and chambers. It is… the whole thing that you’re you’re scanning is roughly round. It’s sort of a an elliptical shape, three dimensional, a series of of floors all with interconnected tunnels that… they turn weirdly? It’s it’s as if they in order to travel along you’re expected to drive like straight up a wall. But the perhaps unsettling thing is that outside of this complex instead of seeing solid rock, you just see nothing. To your sonar, there is just nothing outside here.

Ben 1:15:02
So I mean, would it seemed like the sonar is getting blocked or absorbed by whatever the outer edge of this stuff is?

Gregory 1:15:13
Quite possibly, but it’s, it’s weirdly sharp. Like, you’re not seeing any reflections off of the edge of it, it’s just, you, you see kind of a reinforced wall on the outside edge of this, and then just, you’re getting no sound back at all. And there were even a few patches of space within this complex that are silent. And the rest of you are, are starting to see that even though this place is is very pleasant and golden and glowing, there’s something wrong with it. The lights occasionally flicker, and you’re seeing spots on the wall that are rough and and almost look like like, you’re in a cave and some limestone has flowed over it. The surface’s texture is wrong. And as you proceed, presumably pretty slowly, you see… yeah?

Ben 1:16:15
Are we leaving tracks and dirt on the floor? Or when we look in the rearview mirror, proverbially speaking, is the is the floor still pristine?

Gregory 1:16:27
You see tracks for a meter or two. And then as you watch for those tracks are just slowly disappearing behind you as if you’re being followed by some invisible force that’s cleaning up the dirt.

Zoë 1:16:43
You guys know the way back out? Because I don’t.

Ben 1:16:48
Well, I know where we came from. And I’m, I’m hoping this thing is two-directional.

Zoë 1:16:55
That seems like a pretty big assumption.

Ben 1:16:59
Well, it’s my first time.

Lucy 1:17:01
Vake is not convinced that they need a way out.

Ben 1:17:05
That is definitely useful information. Jolissa.

Lucy 1:17:12
You are welcome.

Gregory 1:17:14
Pretty soon you emerge from this broad, round hallway and come into a wider chamber. All of the corners of this architecture are enormously sloped to the degree that they’re almost banked like you could, you could bank up the wall pretty easily. This chamber’s walls have racks on them that have… most of the hooks and and lockers and so on are open and empty. But you see quite a few that have outfits on them that are reminiscent of what the Jacko Gang wore. So those leather jackets and sort of wasteland clothing. And in one or two places along the side of the of the path through this room, there are cars parked, and they are those wasteland cars that that are the sort that the typical member of the gang would have driven.

Ben 1:18:17
So I want to do a experiment. I know sonars being a bit weird, but it does still at least reverb back. I want to pick like a random radio channel and see if any of the other frequencies are coming through this building.

Gregory 1:18:43
You flip through your radio and you are getting the static you expect and a few very, very distant channels. You don’t there aren’t many people broadcasting in this world but you know, you get the the occasional bit that of wasteland radio. You’re not able to find any channels in range.

Ben 1:19:03
But we’re not experiencing any radio, comm issues between us at least internally. The surfaces do not interfere with signals.

Gregory 1:19:16
Correct. You do, flipping through channels, you find one station. One frequency that’s just a periodic beep. Just beep, beep, beep.

Jim 1:19:31
Actually is the quality of the signals we’re getting from the other from our companions, about the same as it usually is, or is it like somehow better or worse?

Gregory 1:19:42
About the same, I’d say. There’s a little more background static than you’re used to. But you’re like sometimes there are places that you go where there’s high levels of radiation or something like that, that generates interference. And so it’s just sort of like that, some sort of mild level of static.

Jim 1:20:02
Okay, just for a brief moment I thought it might be funny if inside a spaceship is like the one place where Karloff signal comes in perfectly.

Gregory 1:20:12
Sadly, the problem exists closer to the microphone than that.

Jim 1:20:16

Gregory 1:20:18
This this place does seem pretty empty. Jones, there’s, there are parts of this complex that are that are somewhat different to your sonar than the rest. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that the index of refraction of the air there was slightly different…

Ben 1:20:44
Well, everyone knows that can’t happen.

Gregory 1:20:47
And in those places, you can see a little bit of movement and more shapes as if there are people around. But most of this area is very sparsely populated, just a few scattered people and and vehicles moving around. And this is like the size of a small town, maybe a large mine. You pass by in this in this big garage room, a side passage that where you can see just piles of car parts, most of them junk, but the sort of the sort of, like supply room that you would have if you needed to equip and maintain a fleet of raider cars.

Zoë 1:21:37
I might like to get out and take a look around while we’re in this big garage room. See if how how fresh the stuff looks and if there’s any interesting insights we might gain.

Lucy 1:21:53
When Comet gets out of the car, Vake is going to vault right up into the air and land right beside her…

Zoë 1:22:00

Lucy 1:22:01
…in a… Yeah.

Gregory 1:22:05
It’s very cool.

Zoë 1:22:06

Lucy 1:22:09
I want to I want to check it out too.

Zoë 1:22:13
Vake… you, you have eyes.

Lucy 1:22:17
Uh yeah, I’ve always had eyes.

Zoë 1:22:20
(sung For you…)

Lucy 1:22:22
They’re right here on my face.

Zoë 1:22:33
Okay, good.

Lucy 1:22:35
Hey, just a heads up I also have hands underneath here.

Zoë 1:22:41
It’s… don’t, don’t worry. It was it was just a joke, Vake. I’m I’m sorry.

Lucy 1:22:50
Uh… you’re welcome.

Jim 1:22:52
Can we just have this particular part of the scene go on for like the next 20 minutes? I’d be so happy.

Zoë 1:23:02
“Yeah, it just was gonna get just gonna poke around some of these old old cars and you know, maybe we’ll figure something out. It doesn’t look like anybody’s after us yet.” I’ll go over to to some of these old cars and start opening opening up doors, peeking inside, scoping it out. Vake, you’re welcome to join me.

Lucy 1:23:28
Vake will follow pretty close to Comet.

Gregory 1:23:31
You take some time poking around and the cars that are out in this garage room seem to be functional. Again, there aren’t many of them. It looks like there’s space for a lot of vehicles here and like maybe based on based on where the lockers and, and, and so on are placed. there’s usually many many more vehicles here. But it looks like most of them are out at the moment. The ones that you inspect seem functional, they seem roughly on the same level of ability as the the gang’s cars that you’ve encountered before. And they are all clearly like patched together from wasteland vehicles. You’re able to see in the lockers nearby, some of them that are that are open, have changes of clothing in them? So there are those there those leather jackets and like raider clothes that that are in a few places. There are more outfits that are maybe these people’s clothing that they wear at home that tend to be… They’re made of weird materials. Some of them are like shiny, some sort of shiny, synthetic material. Some of them are very clean white cotton, with a with a very visible texture to it. A lot of them have jackets or other like decorations. They’re in this black, almost rubbery material that’s, that’s very highly textured. You’re able to kind of peek into the room that has all the junk in it. And there are a few cars that are being stripped down there. And it looks like… this room, when you’re closer up, looks more like a chop shop. These cars clearly used to belong to someone else and are having identifying features removed. And a lot of them are like… a lot of them have very dramatic decorations on them. Fancy paint or like big horns or or spikes that have… that are being torn off and there’s a big pile of of decorative stuff in the corner where… that are presumably being kept for scrap or something.

Zoë 1:25:54
Interesting. Is that stuff like from from the cities or from rival, more decorative gangs?

Gregory 1:26:04
You guess it’s more from gangs. It, this the stuff in the cities tends to be very uniform and more consistently maintained since they have the Engines, the Terror Engines. This looks like maybe that the Jacko Gangs were taking equipment from rival raiders or other wasteland folk.

Zoë 1:26:31

Lucy 1:26:34
Vake comes over to Comet holding one of those white cotton jackets. “Hey, hey, hey, can you touch this? I think it might feel good.”

Zoë 1:26:48
“Okay!” I touch it.

Lucy 1:26:50
What do you think?

Zoë 1:26:51
Yeah, yeah, I think it feels good.

Lucy 1:26:55
Yeah, I had a feeling.

Gregory 1:26:57
It’s like the softest most most broken in white denim.

Lucy 1:27:01
It feels real good.

Zoë 1:27:02
It feels it feels really good.

Lucy 1:27:06
Vake kind of holds it like a binky.

Gregory 1:27:09

Jim 1:27:11
Have, have the rest of us have been able to… sort of poking our heads out notice some of this stuff that’s around the room?

Gregory 1:27:17
Yeah, yeah, you can kind of be stopped and poking around a bit.

Jim 1:27:21
Okay. Seeing the stuff from other gangs, I actually am going to take a look through and see if there are any sort of like metallic skull type emblems or things of that nature. Just sort of white painted bone symbols on black, that sort of thing. That’s sort of the kind of thing that I’m looking for.

Gregory 1:27:42
You poke around and in the pile of discarded stuff, you see a bit of silver and white poking out. And if you go over and shift some of the material, there’s just like a cascade of painted skulls and death’s-head-themed decorations that is in a pile near the bottom.

Jim 1:28:14
So Karloff pauses and just sort of stands up and stares at it for a minute. And just sort of… he crouches down and he sort of picks one of them up. He’s like, “Damned idiots.”

Gregory 1:28:32
Next time on Tabletop Garden: Ego Driver.

Jim 1:28:36
It’s… probably be a good idea if these two liked what they hear.

Gregory 1:28:40
Will you stop pressuring me? Look, look. I’m sorry. All right. It’s got to be shitty. I know what it’s like down there.

Lucy 1:28:46
To be fair, I have zero expectations here.

Zoë 1:28:49
I’m gonna do something and if it’s bad, I’m sorry. I’ve only tried it once. But don’t worry. It’s still me.

Ben 1:28:58
Y’all just do what you’re doing. I’m going home.

Gregory 1:29:04
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 And to support the work I do, visit:

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