[Inspired by "Skinner effectiveness"] Your experience with the Driver

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This is inspired by the "Skinner effectiveness" thread, which has received some fantastic replies and some great discussion. I've never had trouble understanding the Skinner.

But the Driver... now that playbook, I don't really understand. (To the point where I'd be tempted to pack it away when playing AW.)

Sure, there's the surface appeal of "Hey, I got a cool car". But is that all there is to it?

I can see that it potentially enforces a larger geographical scope for the game, as well. That's... somewhat interesting.

If you love playing the Driver (or MCing for one), why is that? What's under the hood, what makes it cool, what makes it tick?

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lumpley

  • 1293
The driver changed A LOT from 1st Ed to 2nd Ed. As you answer, be sure to say which edition!

-Vincent

(Thanks, Vincent!)

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Spwack

  • 138
[Message begins]

If you hit someone with an ambulance, that has a spiked cowcatcher attached to the front (oh, and tooting the horn redirects the defibrillator into the spikes), they get F*CKED UP.

[Message ends]

Same as with the Battlebabe, having a high cool score gives you a freedom (?) that might not be immediately apparent. "My other car is a tank" is as amazing as it sounds, and way better than "Collector", but only because I made getting vehicles for too easy. "Reputation" kick-starts character develop like nothing else. And finally, "Daredevil".

I keep hearing 'mindshare effectiveness' being thrown around, and I'm not sure if this is it or not. Maybe a cousin? Anyway, it's a paradoxically tricksy move, and one that can be frustrating if "hedging your bets" isn't strictly defined. Are you allowed to Read a Sitch? I'm not sure. At any rate, once an agreement can be made, the atmosphere changes: The cool, reckless, transient Driver can get you out of this shit. She might be the only person that can. But only if you let them lead you. We decided that NTBFW meant the Gunlugger was included in that list. So suddenly the Driver, who cannot doubt themselves for an instant must make snap decisions, and act as a herald of destruction.

And it was cool.

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lumpley

  • 1293
(You can definitely read the situation. Always read the situation.)

-Vincent

Have you ever seen Mad Max? Because Max is the perfect example of the Driver
Quote
I am the one who runs from both the living and the dead. Hunted by scavengers... Haunted by those I could not protect. So I exist in this wasteland... A man, reduced to a single instinct: Survive.

The driver isn't about driving, they're about movement. They're about moving on and never getting tied down. They're the person who connects distant settlements.

By playing the Driver you want to draw attention to the scale of the world, while simultaneously being the one who can ignore it. Other people are tied down to their home town, where they have a support structure. Travelling should be an ordeal, something which requires serious effort and some planning. Unless you can get a ride from the driver that is.
Sure, you could buy passage with a merchant convoy, or you could get the chopper and her gang to let you ride in a side car. But if you want freedom, the ability to just raise anchor and move on, you wanna be the Driver.

Look at the Driver's special move
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If you and another character have sex, roll+cool. On
a 10+, it’s cool, no big deal. On a 7–9, give them +1 to
their Hx with you on their sheet, but give yourself -1
to your Hx with them on yours. On a miss, you gotta
go: take -1 ongoing, until you prove that it’s not like
they own you or nothing.

While pretty much everyone else gets something out of sex, the Driver just gets obligations. They get tied down, their freedom is hindered. A driver should draw attention to the dichotomy of Freedom/Obligation and Separation/Connection

(Truth be told, I've not actually played with a Driver yet. But this is the impression I get from the playbook and the aspects I would try to push as the MC)

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Munin

  • 417
(You can definitely read the situation. Always read the situation.)
No, don't read the situation; it's funnier that way. But then again, I'm pretty free with giving out information to people about to do crazy things.

In the last AW campaign I ran, the Driver (Ace) provided quite a bit of the drama in the game. Just by having him there, it gave the game a much wider scope (helped by the fact that none of the other PCs were tied to a specific location). And because the scope was wider, it led us to include the following custom move we had in the game (inspired by an old thread on this very forum):
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When you return to a settlement which your character has visited before but which has not yet previously come up in-game, roll+Hot.  On a 10+ hold 3, on a 7-9 you and the MC each hold 1.  On a miss the MC holds 3.  Any time you encounter a new NPC in that settlement, you may spend your hold 1-for-1 to take +1forward with them - they like you, owe you a small favor, or maybe just remember you fondly.  The MC can similarly spend hold 1-for-1 at any time to give you -1forward with a new NPC - they dislike you, you wronged them, or they remember you being an asshole.

The real kicker here was that Ace was Hot-1 and for all of the times he made this move during the course of the campaign, he rolled a hit exactly once. So everywhere the PCs went, there were jilted lovers, jealous boyfriends, and double-crossed arms dealers wanting to have a candid word with Ace. And his player decided early on that Ace had been everywhere, so he always made the move. This was a fantastic way to play up the transient nature of playbook, and worked out really well throughout the campaign.

Lots of interesting answers so far.

One of my fears with the Driver is that she is so much more mobile than the other characters. This means not only that they will be traveling more easily than the others, but also that they can easily escape concerns, Fronts, and obligations the other characters are tied to.

* When you played with a Driver who wasn't tied down to a specific location, what was their relationship like to the other characters? Did they visit a common location? Travel together?

* Was it ever a challenge to keep everyone "on screen" for a sufficient percentage of play time, and, if so, how did you manage it?

* In your game, was a Driver with a vehicle a really unusual thing - the thing that made this character special? Or did most people/characters/gangs have access to vehicles most of the time (like in Mad Max)?

If the latter, did you find it a challenge at all to see the Driver as special/unique/unusual? How did they distinguish themselves from other "drivers"?

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Ebok

  • 415
People drive down the road to get to where they're going. They're probably in every day type cars. IN the apocalypse world, maybe those cars are diesel fueled war-machines, but the in the end, they're still just the trash people put together.

In my games, the driver is the luxury car, the racer, the real damn tank. For whatever reason they've got a relationship with their vehicle that tends to go their way. The vehicle and the driver both care about each other, and it shows. The other crap on the roads just don't compare in the same way, hell, the other cars are probably jealous.

Driving is a drivers art.

The driver also has access to vehicles that other people just don't. If you've got a bunch of people sailing on the coastline with rickety old fishing vessels loaded with arms and small speed boats with front gun turret. The Drivers the guy I'll let say. I want a Helicopter, a Submarine, A hovercraft for the marshland, a small airplane. They get access to things that change the scope of the game.

Drivers don't escape threats. He can try, but the threats might still come after them, and word-gets-around. The driver also generates threats, because he's got shit that other people want. He can access things that other people cant. When you've got a driver on the move, then probably the most relevant threats are also on the move. The game probably covers a larger area. Just because the driver moves, doesn't mean he doesn't need the road. Or he doesn't need friends along the way that help him resupply. Think Firefly (the movie) and what happens to Shepard with the Crew tries to go to ground. A driver still has to eat. 

I dont do mad max type of games, not even close. But My games normally encompass a larger area. Usually it all plays around a few hardholders and whatever is in between. Getting through the middle of that and all the threats, that's always dangerous and I'm always pushing problems in into it. The driver can get ~anywhere~ more reliably then someone else, but that doesnt mean he's just gonna drive off into the sunset.

Drivers also pretty much swallowed up the operator. Far as I'm concerned, all the cool things an operator could do are now in the drivers hands. So I talk about how he gets his jingle, and play into that pretty hard. These places probably sit pretty still, and thus are vulnerable to all the things the driver might out run.

As for playtime, keeping people on scene can always be a challenge. Doesn't have anything to do with a driver though. I don't see how its related. I rarely if ever have all the players in the same place at the same time. That's just too much firepower, and they're not always friendly towards each other.


Good answers, Ebok, thanks.

Most of that sounds like "soft" reframing, and really "being a fan" as the MC in terms of helping the player celebrate their character's "cool car" schtick.

I really like the advice to lean heavy on the barter economy, and try to treat the Driver as an Operator of sorts.

Almost makes me wish we had some version of the Moonlighting move to handle the type of person who gets their hands into all kinds of pots...

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DWeird

  • 166
Re: [Inspired by "Skinner effectiveness"] Your experience with the Driver
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2017, 07:36:46 AM »
Paul, a question. The Driver isn't the only immensely mobile playbook. Do you have similar issues with the Chopper?


Re: [Inspired by "Skinner effectiveness"] Your experience with the Driver
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2017, 03:50:55 PM »
No, because, to me, the Chopper comes with a very clear thematic focus as well as a very clear relationship dynamic:

He's got a gang, which includes a bunch of individuals who are threats but also have needs he's somewhat responsible for. We're exploring the power dynamic between the Chopper and the gang; there's a lot there to latch onto.

Less importantly, a gang isn't really quite as mobile as a single vehicle, in any case. I mean, a Chopper is still a Chopper if he's camped for the whole duration of the game - we still have in-fighting in the gang, he can order his brutes around or send them to threaten others, and they have needs, too.

I feel like a Driver who spends a whole game without driving the car around would be... somewhat disappointing, at the very least.

The Chopper doesn't need opportunities to travel in order to satisfy the playbook's creative focus, in other words.

With the Driver, I'm not sure what the focus IS, except for "I have a cool car and I don't like being tied down."

Re: [Inspired by "Skinner effectiveness"] Your experience with the Driver
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2017, 07:25:44 PM »
The Driver has lost their "thing" - they used to be a badass behind the whell of any vehicle but now they feel like the most generic of playbooks.

I'm not seeing a lot of reasons in this thread for what makes the Driver so special - using the rules themselves.
"The Driver is mobile"
"The Driver is a loner"
"The Driver makes the world larger"
These are unique perspectives based on what people played and how they interpret the playbook, but not how the playbook is written.

I've got a Driver in one of my current games and he has literally never left the town he started in and he has spent all his time putting down roots and making a name for himself. Every single thing people define Drivers as in this thread is refuted by this one player (who has also never played AW before and so he's not coming to the game with baggage or preconceptions of *how* he's supposed to play a Driver). Yet, he is also kind of shafted because the other players (a Brainer, a Hocus, a News, a Maestro d' and a Savvyhead) all have their "things" that make them special. Starting with a vehicle didn't even make the Driver in this game special because both my Brainer and Savvyhead asked to start with vehicles, and now the Hocus has even managed to acquire a bus for his family.

I'm tempted to just give the Driver combat driver for free since that's the most driver-y move, and he's managed to avoid taking it simply because he hasn't gone anywhere and he has no compelling reasons to. Believe me I've tried to lure him out, but he's a single-minded player.

I hated the Driver playbook before. Now it's one of my favorite. So... disagree. :)
Your entire post here is weighed down with how you perceive the playbook. As I said in the other thread, personal preference doesn't carry any weight with me. I would really like to know what the 2nd ed version has for you that the 1st ed doesn't.

Almost makes me wish we had some version of the Moonlighting move to handle the type of person who gets their hands into all kinds of pots...
I'm gonna write one.

Paul, a question. The Driver isn't the only immensely mobile playbook. Do you have similar issues with the Chopper?
The Chopper also starts with a decent Cool, there is very little separating the two mechanically. One starts with a car, the other starts with a bike (and a gang).

I feel like a Driver who spends a whole game without driving the car around would be... somewhat disappointing, at the very least.

...

With the Driver, I'm not sure what the focus IS, except for "I have a cool car and I don't like being tied down."
The player of my aforementioned Driver has expressed dismay that his "thing" is that he starts with a car. He's mentioned several times that he wishes he started with a different playbook because he doesn't see what the appeal of the Driver is since there are other characters that started with vehicles, and he thought starting with a car would make him more unique. (He added a prosthetic to his character to give him an extra layer of coolness: a laser eye that he uses to spy on people whenever he opens his brain.)
Looking for a playbook? Check out my page!
http://nerdwerds.blogspot.com/2012/12/all-of-playbooks.html

Re: [Inspired by "Skinner effectiveness"] Your experience with the Driver
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2017, 07:34:57 PM »
Before, the Driver was a handicapped cheat. Things were too easy behind the wheel, and there was nothing once he stepped outside the car.
That was never my experience with it. I played a Driver and got screwed on many of my rolls, also the only character I ever played who died (in his car even).

No. I dont think I need to persuade anyone.
Abjectly false statement since you typed out a response.

The Drivers moves now let him be whoever he wants to be. It lets the player decide how they wanna roll, and if that's locale, then so be it. Reputation, Escape, Big ass toys; It's fucking awesome. Driver decided he wants some heavy fucking machinery to do construction work around town, deciding he's part of say a savvy heads agarage and they're do big things here. Fuck yeah, it's what I've got to say. No savvy head? Meh, still all the same, just pick up your own workshop through the moves and do it that way.
This sounds more like it. You make a good point, the Driver does have a bit more freedom now that the Operator's moves have been handed over to the playbook.

I still think freedom isn't the Driver's "thing" or else the Driver's freedom wouldn't be a hindrance from the sex move. Freedom should be revelatory, not anxiety-ridden. Or maybe it should have the freedom to be either, but the Driver playbook makes your interpretation of freedom almost obligatory.
Looking for a playbook? Check out my page!
http://nerdwerds.blogspot.com/2012/12/all-of-playbooks.html

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Ebok

  • 415
Re: [Inspired by "Skinner effectiveness"] Your experience with the Driver
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2017, 09:24:29 PM »
What I meant is, feel free to hate it, hack the old one back, etc. I don't think you need to like the driver, much like I don't need to like or appreciate the rock and roll crap-noise-thing in the alternative play books. Only reason I kept going after that line is that if Vincent reads this, I wanted him to know I love it.

So like what you want, hate what you want. Driver has plenty of things, and if you and your player cannot figure out what he wants his to be, then, maybe a brain storming session is due.

IMO some of the play books just come with a lot of noise.