I was born behind the wheel.
None of you kids know what that means, but I was a young squirt when I left home and I’m a toothless old sonofabitch now, and that’s why you’re here: to learn how and why a few hundred mean and ignorant knuckleheads, the hellcats and bastards of the human race, raised a middle finger to the broken and blasted land of our birth, turned our pox-ravaged faces to the most inhospitable place we could reach, and set off for what we rightly considered a better life. Because what we left behind, what our kind had made of our once-green home, had become something worse than any of you soft-bellied kids can imagine.
So let me imagine it for ya:
The week I was born there were seven billion people on Earth. That’s a lot, and it turned out to be what you call a “critical mass.” Disease and sectarian warfare and famine hadn’t done a good enough job in thinning out the herd, so I guess Death gave his fellow horsemen a swift, bony kick in the ass to motivate them to ramp up their efforts. That kick might have been too hard. The world’s diseases mutated beyond the capability of medicine to keep up, culminating in the Zombie Apocalypse of 2017, which wiped out a third of the world’s population. Climate Change resulted in the Long Drought of 2020, which resulted in starving another third and bringing about the Cannibal Holocaust. Finally, the sectarian strife escalated into Chelsea’s Little War, which leveled the cities of the world, turned most of the terrain into a rubble-strewn waterless wasteland that glowed with an emerald hue when the sun dipped over the indistinct horizon, and killed off nearly every mammal left. The blasted landscape stretched from sea to boiling sea, interrupted only by the giant mutated critters and the cannibal zombie raiders, along with the occasional crumbling edifice left over from once-proud cityscapes, now populated by armor-plated giant cockroaches, enormous and strangely intelligent scorpions, and the very occasional sane human, armed to the teeth and not inclined to share anything with anyone.
Most of what you know of Old Earth history comes from a fairly vast digitized library, largely corrupted by the EMPs of the Little War’s warheads, but which contained most of the cultural knowledge you’ve learned to date. There is one development that was too recent to be included in the database, besides the War. Two developments, actually, that at the time were heralded as triumphs of human ingenuity and reminders that, as a species, we were a technological force to be reckoned with. Experiments in telepathy had, at long last, yielded results, albeit not between two human telepaths, but rather between certain disease-resistant, radiation-resistant, and coincidentally foul-tasting humans, and machines of a certain level of complexity. Initially, this development was hailed as a breakthrough toward home-automation and consumer-level driving interfaces, as these people were able to control their vehicles as quickly and accurately as a ballerina controls her limbs. Inevitably, however, the breakthrough was weaponized with an eye toward faster and more-accurate aerial drone control and the like. Still, many people “became one” with their cars.
And that brings us to the other development. After centuries of reliance on fossil fuels, someone finally managed to make an internal combustion engine that ran strongly and efficiently on human waste. Further experimentation revealed that the best raw material to eventually yield fuel with the highest thermodynamic output was pepperoni pizza. This was going to revolutionize the world’s transportation problems, as battalions of bus drivers dropped their pants and climbed onto their buses’ thrones and chowed down on pizza, rocking out to their favorite tunes as they telepathically controlled the movements of their sixteen-ton steeds. Gasoline was still the fuel of choice for high horsepower output at high engine speeds, but SHITGO (as the human-waste fuel came to be known) generated low-speed torque far beyond what diesel ever accomplished.
The world was ours… but too late. A few short months after most vehicles were converted to hybrid SHITGO drivetrains, Chelsea lost her temper and the Earth burned. But out of the ashes rode what can only be called… The Drivers.
Practically another species by now, they hauled ass over the wastelands, amusing themselves by jousting with the giant scorpions and ransacking the truck stops of the great Interstates for the last few drops of gasoline. Psychically welded to their cars and seated semi-permanently on their Recaro racing-crappers, most Drivers never left their vehicles after being installed in them. The Little War’s EMPs rendered the electronics of most modern vehicles unusable, so the Drivers adapted their SHITGO systems to older vehicles from the pre-electronic era. Essentially, if it still used a carburetor and a points-and-condensor ignition, a Driver adopted it, armored it, armed it, and then became it.
My mom was a Driver that last year before we left. She was a black 1970 Mercury Cougar, with a 351 Windsor V8 gasoline engine with a Gen III SHITGO conversion. Running on the petrol she made 300 horsepower and could reach 157 miles per hour on level asphalt. On the ass-juice she could tow six tons at 20 mph, if there were enough pepperonis on the slice. Hell yeah, she was proud of it, too. My dad was a ’72 K5 Blazer that could pull a house up a 45-degree sand dune while he munched pizza slices topped with bullets, but Mom was the real badass in a world populated only by the badasses who could survive other badasses. For most of a decade she’d been outwitting, outdriving, and outliving the miscreants, monsters, and madmen that chewed up the chunks of L.A. that the zombies and the War had vomited out. At first she got by on foot, living by her wits and her iron will, but then she won her Cougar and found her calling and her name. Over the years, people came to know her name… and fear it. She made some friends along with the hundreds of enemies she’d met, and one day she sent out the Call. All her friends, all those favors, all those debts… every chip was cashed in. The word went out to the Drivers she felt she could trust, and even some of those she didn't: come to Huntington’s Bitch. If you know what’s good for you, get your cracked ass out here. We need you… and you need us.
Come to the Bitch.
Sounds like a stupid low-budget movie, right? Barbarians who drive around all day and night, fueled by pizza and looking for trouble. How could such misfits ever live through the week, let alone work together to... to bring us to...
Well, thereby hangs a tale...
As a reminder:
At 12:01 AM, Pacific Standard Time, this very night, I will post a “Start Your Engines… GO!” post in a new Signup thread. The first five people who respond with some form of “I’m in!” or “Sign me up!” or “I’m the Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rolla!” (or whatever) are in. The sixth is put on the waitlist. Four hours later, at 4:00 AM PST, we do it again: I post “GO!” and the next five who post are in, the sixth waitlisted. And again at 8:00 AM, and 12:00 noon, and 4:00 PM, and 8:00 PM, and finally for the last time at 12:01 AM Saturday. The idea is to allow the same opportunity to get in, no matter what timezone you’re in. Of course, everyone can try all six opportunities if they want (including the previously waitlisted), but you knew the job was dangerous when you took it. If, during the first two Rounds of the game, a player flakes out and doesn’t play their turn before the deadline more than once, a waitlistee from their same 4-hour time window will take their place.
Once you’re in, you’ll get PM’d a link to a Google Docs form wherein you enter your BBS username, your Character Name, the Year, Make, and Model of the vehicle you’ve essentially become, and your Class (Scout, Escort, Mule, or Mechanic), and away we go.
Class descriptions are in order. You can pick any pre-electronic-ignition vehicle you want (even fictitious ones as long as they're essentially analogous to pre-1975 internal-combustion passenger vehicles: no hovercrafts or atomic-powered Chryslus Corvegas, please! Gasoline is an important part of the game economy.), keeping in mind that your vehicle must logically fit into one of the four Classes.
Description: small, agile, fast. Two- or four-wheel-drive, max engine displacement 5.8 liters. Medium firepower, light armor (heavier armor upgrades will slow you down), high speed, low torque, high maneuverability. Medium Hit Points to begin. Gas tank capacity: 10 gallons. Fuel Mileage: 40 mpg.
Description: medium to very large. Two- or four-wheel-drive, no max engine displacement. High firepower, medium armor (upgrades won't slow you as much as it would Scouts), medium speed, medium torque, medium maneuverability. High HP to begin. Gas tank capacity: 20 gallons. Fuel Mileage: 20 mpg.
Description: medium to very large. Four-wheel-drive (conversions permitted), no max engine displacement. Medium-High FP, Very high AR, low SP, very high TQ, low MV. Very high HP to begin. Can carry twice as many Inventory items as a Scout. Gas tank capacity: 40 gallons. Fuel Mileage: 10 mpg.
Description: Any vehicle, any size, any engine displacement. Low FP, low AR, low SP, low TQ, low MV. Relatively low HP to begin. Gas tank capacity: 50 gallons. Fuel Mileage: 10 mpg. Can perform repairs, and gets 75% discount on parts from merchants. CAN READ. (Other Classes can not. This will be to their sorrow, unless they're friendly to a Mechanic.)
Your vehicle determines your class, and your class determines what you’ll be able to do, at least at first. Somebody wants to be a Lotus, they’d better be happy starting off as a Scout. Somebody else wants to be The Last Of The V8 Interceptors (that is, a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT “Pursuit Special”), they have a bit more latitude at first. Blazer’s Blazer is happiest as a Mule, but can also be an Escort or Mechanic, though it’ll never fly as a Scout. Mechanics seem particularly wimpy and slow, but they can repair themselves cheap (free labor, 75% discount on parts), sell repairs to other Drivers for fat profits, and they can read. There will be many signs up ahead, some warning of pitfalls, others pointing the way toward stashes of loot. Mechanics get these signs sent to them by PM, and they can share that info with whomever they deem appropriate. Everyone else can see there’s a sign, but won’t know what it says unless a Mechanic clues them in.
Mechanics are valuable allies.
Mules will spend much of the travel time between rounds chained to the Ark (what does that mean? You'll see, but it won't affect your gameplay appreciably), but can detach themselves at will to engage in side-missions and combat. If a vehicle’s stats rise to that of another Class and the Driver would like to change Class, they may make that request. Becoming a Mechanic midgame requires special circumstances. Certain missions will be Class-specific. All Classes will have exclusive things to do.
Saturday morning we will have rolled all your stats and we will present you with those results and your first missions in the Round One thread. Your choices must be made and posted in that thread before 8:00 PM PST on Sunday evening. You are enthusiastically encouraged to be as creative and idiosyncratic as possible in your presentation of your character/vehicle, your backstory (which only you know, after all), and your choices, but we ask that your stats and purchases and upgrades and mission choices are presented in a relatively standardized format somewhere easy to see in your post. And you will be PM’d a link to a short Google Docs form where you plug in that same data (username, upgrades, purchases, mission choices).
Keep the shiny side up, if you have a shiny side.
There's a new Signup thread here: http://bbs.boingboing.net/t/badass-dragons-of-the-wasteland-sign-up-here/20517
Only room for one contestant and one waitlistee at the moment, but in four more hours (well, 3:40) it'll be time to admit five more people. Watch that thread, not this!
Clinton, or Handler?
Why... I don't believe I rightly remember. I was just a kid then, and these days I have trouble remembering where I last put my teeth.
Maybe one of you guys can recall?
Guys I have a problem
Now whenever I use the throne I think of Donald.
It'll happen to you!