These two Support Squad members are remarkably similar. As awesome as they sound, they’re a very strongly niche concept that can possibly be taken by only 1 member of the team, and usually that member suffers from not getting the spotlight much during game.
On closer observation, they share very similar traits:
- They’re both perceived as “cool” activities – Driving a car and hacking into a secure network are a crucial part of the things that make espionage movies cool
- They’re both perceived as “solo” activities – Drivers are cool, but two people managing a single car seems a little weird. In the same way popular culture makes it look like a Hacker can only work alone when trying to penetrate a network’s defenses.
- They’re both only occasionally featured in a game – Unless the game is like Hackers or The Fast & the Furious, which would be better classified as a One-Class Campaign, you can bet that chase scenes and hacking scenes will be fairly uncommon.
- And yet, both have supporting game systems – At one point or another there will be a ruleset for Chase Scenes and Hacking Attempts.
So, given their similarities, the quickest (and laziest) solution from me would be to suggest to increase the number of scenes related to their expertise… while it may seem like a stupid (and perhaps snide) answer, let’s take a bit to determine how their abilities come in handy:
First off… the Driver:
- Area Knowledge – Shortcuts and landmarks are useful when you need to locate someting or someone as soon as possible.
- Vehicle Knowledge – Drivers often know how machines work, and how to best disable them. Furthermore there’s also the little quirk that a creative GM can put in that a Driver can actually analyze an opponent’s vehicle for weaknesses in terms of speed or ability, which may come in useful in a later chase scene.
- Hijacking Vehicles – Anyone who has ever played a Grand Theft Auto videogame knows how this goes.
- Technology knowledge – Hackers aren’t just constrained to their know how in breaking and entering secure networks, but they’re often tech heads who obsess over most everything, or know some kind of trivia that becomes relevant.
- Counter-intelligence – It’s easy to be on the offensive in most games, but it’s also a time to shine for Hackers if they suddenly find themselves under attack. This raises the tension in the scene as all of a sudden, Hacker Pride and ability are both insulted, and the Hacker must do everything he can to stop the other person (and maybe even go so far as gain the offensive.
- Other Kinds of Hacking – From Dumpster Diving to Seducing a Technician from the opposing team, Hackers don’t just rely on a computer to get their job done, they’re pretty good off a keyboard as well.
Well, that’s it for this entry of the Support Squad, hopefully it’s given people a few ideas on how to better accomodate players of these interests and concepts in their campaigns.