The Driver

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The Driver
« on: August 16, 2013, 12:14:40 AM »

Came the apocalypse, and the infrastructure of the Golden Age tore apart.
Roads heaved and split. Lines of life and communication shattered. Cities,
cut off from one another, raged like smashed anthills, then burned, then

A few living still remember it: every horizon scorching hot with civilization
in flames, light to put out the stars and moon, smoke to put out the sun.

In Apocalypse World the horizons are dark, and no roads go to them.

The Driver has a car, which provides mobility and protection. Her stats are a click subpar to the other playbooks, but when doing moves from behind the wheel she gains the upper hand through awesome bonuses. She has no obvious connections to the world, as a matter of fact her Hx and special move makes her out as explicitly a loner.
The Journey, Book of Eli

My take on it:
I am no expert on the Driver, having MC'd a Driver for a grand total of one single session. Furthermore, as I try to get to know the Driver, try to pin her down, I get a sense that she escapes my grasp, just as she escapes responsibilities and relationships in the fiction.

On one hand, the Driver cannot claim to be the strongest or most important playbook. On the other hand, when she is behind the wheel, backed up by her A no shit driver move,  she is among the most effective, stat-wise.

On one hand, the Driver is independent, a loner. On the other hand, as she controls the dimension of mobility (Rivalled only by the Chopper, who nevertheless has to take the management of his gang into account) and the engine power and metal protection of a car, she is excellent at backing other characters up and potentially has a monopoly on the business of transporting things, people and messages.

And on one hand, the Driver embodies freedom, and on the other hand she is helplessly bound to her vehicle, bound to the simple facts that her vehicle needs gas in the tank, whole tires and her behind the wheel.

I suppose one could say all roads are open to her. She must decide, and be her own driving force. (oh god, the puns!)

So, first of all, both as a player and MC, ask your Driver why she is a Driver, what she wants to do. If she wants to be an action hero, the MC should set her environment up with injustice and violence that only a righteous daredevil backed up by horsepower can set right. Be generous with what you can do in a car – Let her crash down barricades, run over people, do drive-bys and hit and runs.

If she has a more humble vision of exploring relationships with other characters and the Driver's approach-reject dynamic, set her up with interesting NPCs with humanity and complexity. If she wants to explore the post-apocalyptic world itself, prepare to really barf forth apocalyptica on the roads and the landscape. Your Driver just signaled she wishes to have the landscape and the car as her lovers, so make them into interesting characters for her. Make the landscape beautiful, cruel, kind, mysterious, fickle, harsh and/or wonderful.

Or, instead of making strong choices before play, you could stay open and curious and get to know the Driver as you find a balance between these things. The Driver makes for an interesting and complex protagonist, but is easily overshadowed by more direct playbooks. You also might want to set trouble up for the Driver at driving distance, so the Gunlugger won't just come and level the place. Or, you could trust this very balance of the Driver: Perhaps she sees and cares about what the battle-hardened Gunlugger does not? You could potentially turn your apocalypse into a game of Dogs in the Vineyard with your Driver as the righteous dog on the road.

For some reason, I have a hard time imagining the Driver as a ruthless psychopath, even though reckless driving is a diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder, but maybe that's just me. Go for it, If that's your brew! Remember that metal is hard, flesh is soft, and running people over could be judged as armor piercing harm.

I guess my main point is that you should really let the presence of the Driver influence the setup of the game. See, this is one of my very favorite moments of Apocalypse World, the moment the playbooks are chosen, the moment where the game is born. What game will it be this time? A weird, crude, subtle, small or grand game? The focus and the capabilities of playbooks dictate what the game will be about, and when a player picks up the Driver, you all need to listen up and pay attention to this flighty little playbook and make an apocalypse that's as much about the Driver as the Hardholder or the Maestro D'. Let your mind wander to the world and genre tropes of Mad Max and Knight Rider, and... Actually, those are pretty lame. Make your own driver tropes instead.
Mad Max 2, opening scene

Why the Driver is the best playbook to play:
You get to drive cars on roads, cars and roads are awesome. Like the Faceless and the Battlebabe, noone can hold you. You can run through obstacles and be gone on the road before anyone can stop you. If people want to go somewhere far, somewhere fast or somewhere safe, they come to you.

What it brings to the world of the apocalypse:
The Driver brings a grander scale to the world and makes distances a real thing. With the right attention and barf the landscape too will come alive. The MC might want to make sure that distances and travelling is a difficult or dangerous thing for most to let the Driver really shine, and create an interesting dynamic of other characters relying on the Driver for transportation.

Fundamental scarcities of the playbook:
So, I've spent this focus telling you to really pay attention and care to the Driver and her motivations, so that's a given. Of course, that goes both as an MC and a player. Find your motivation and connection to other characters! The Driver's dynamic of escaping connections won't work unless there are also connections drawing her in, yeah?

Another thing you might want to try if the Driver spends most of her time driving in silence is agressive scene framing to cut between the potent moments and meetings with others - If the Driver is indeed rootless, she could end up anywhere. Cut to the Driver arriving when the slavers just torched the village. Cut to the Driver on a cliff overseeing the secret deal between the Brainer and the Hardholder. Cut to the Driver meeting the devil in the desert.

And remember: Cars and roads are awesome. Make the landscape alive. Barf forth apocalyptica.

Moves and crap analysis:
So you've got a great car. Maybe ask the Savvyhead if you can owe him a favour for having rigged a remote-control device for your car?

A no shit driver is your lifeblood. Too bad any other character can get that move and be an even more awesome driver than you, seeing as they have better stats from the start. To be honest, that's kind of lame, so you might want to ask your MC to somehow restrict that move for other characters. Jonatan used the rule that if you wish to pick a move from a playbook in play, you have to ask that player first.

Seeing as you have an advantage at the basic moves while in your car, you can look forward to The ungiven future and expanding those moves!

What about the other moves? Good in the clinch is great, as anyone wants to be good at acting under fire, especially a daredevil Driver. Weather eye is also a good deal to improve your brain-opening. Daredevil is also great as it protects you, your car and those following you. and one more move. My other car is a tank speaks for itself. Hey, maybe get Collector and ask the MC if you can have an helicopter?  Moonlighting is awesome if you have a hard time finding things to do, and you can get it without using up your ”pick a move from other playbook” allowance – Yay!

Concerning other playbook moves, there are actually a whole lot of interesting ones for you!

The Skinner move Hypnotic is perfect for you. It means everyone taking an extended ride has a chance of becoming fixated with you, and then helping you out with stuff. And if you sex, you might have to stay away from them because it's awkward. Ha ha! Brilliant.

Likewise, if you ride a motorbike or anything else where the passenger has to scoot up next to you, ask the MC if you can use the Brainer moves Deep brain scan and In-brain puppet strings on the same terms! Eugh.

Professional compassion is another way to benefit from your good Sharp and could make a good dramatic turning point for a lonesome Driver opening up to others. Reputation and Lost could also help you get friends.

The Savvyhead has some interesting moves: Bonefeel is great for aformentioned scene framing, Things speak lets you get a closer relationship with your car, and Reality's fraying edge could turn your car into a ghostmobile!

Indomitable is a pretty cool move to have on a battlefield, it let's you cancel attacks, neutralize guys and appear where you need to be. Now imagine doing that, only you're also in a car!

If you want to prove that you're badass, take a look at the Gunlugger moves Bloodcrazed, Insano like Drano or NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH. Prepared for the inevitable might save your life when no Angel is around, and Oh yeah is good for improving your smashthroughability. Get Visionary and Towering presence if you want to play Dogs in the Vineyard in Apocalypse World.

Relationships and dynamics:
Questions to create a relationship to others: ”Who could you never stand losing?” ”Who do you owe your life? Who owes their life to you? Who do you desire?”
Questions to create a relationship to your car: ”What does it smell like inside your car? What is the prettiest thing on the inside of your car? What is uncomfortable about riding in your car?”
Questions to create a relationship to the world: ”What place do you keep returning to? What place do you avoid? What is the first thing you see/hear when you approach this place?”

Consider for a second framing the game as a mobile one, centered around a caravan (led by a Hardholder, Chopper or neither) or a Hardhold placed on a train or ship.

Or just cram a Battlebabe, a Skinner and an Operator into a car, and hit the road. Maybe the Quarantine has a water ship you need to go get. Maybe the Touchstone or the Hocus has a pilgrimage you need to take them on, and you got the premise for a little campaign right there.

The Skinner probably has as many complicated relationships as you do. Get a complicated relationship with them! The dynamics with this character could potentially go any god given direction, but I think it would be interesting. Remember what I said about Hypnotic?

The Savvyhead, the Operator and the Angel might really benefit from your services and just like you they need friends to play with. The Hardholder could probably use you too, but can you stand working for The Man?

Make awesome friends with the Savvyhead and have them make your car awesome.

The Battlebabe is a free spirit, just like you, and potentially smells better than the Gunlugger or Faceless. Good potential for teamwork or messy relationships there.

The Chopper is the one character you'll probably keep running into. Makes a great rival if you don't join his gang.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 10:28:51 AM by Arvid »