Design Notes – Dust Drivers

First up, went to see the Hobbit today. It was snowing/raining, that annoying slush mixture, but I went anyway. And I liked it. Maybe I’ll put up my full thoughts once the entire trilogy is out. They do have some divergence from the book, so those that read the Hobbit can get something new here and there.

Anyway, this time, I want to talk about the Dust Drivers. They were briefly mentioned in the book as an organization primarily found in Sorcnon. At the time of the story, they are not in use as much. Their original purpose, was to safely bring people between cities. All Dust Drivers are strong, cunning and well-equipped. They defend their passengers from bandits and, more importantly, dizaks.

With new technologies, such as armored trains, use of the Dust Drivers have quickly fallen out of favor. They are still among the most dangerous people in Sorcnon, rivalling most of the military forces.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about something only appeared for that one section. Well, it’s because the Dust Drivers were based on another one of my stories (not finished, not shown yet), the Railway Drivers. It was a science fiction story, my desire to do a space western.

I need to look up the name of the planet again, but the main character was called Milli. This Milli Cadgall was made before Amelie “Milly” Randall from my Nanowrimo book. Their names just happened to be similar for some reason. Anyway, Milli was a Railway Driver, an employee of a company that focuses on transportation of people and goods.

On most planets, there are no fuel for traditional crafts, and shipping it in from off-world is expensive, so most people use old-style, animal-drawn carriages with the local animals providing the labor.

The planet Milli is on is full of dangerous creatures, rocky plains and other harsh enviroments. Many rich people do like coming to the frontier planets because regulations there are looser, and there is always the chance of finding valuable materials or minerals.

Railway Drivers take clients where they want to go, no matter how dangerous. Of course, its up to the passengers to decide if they want to trust the drivers to go into dangerous locations. Each Driver is skilled and has a personal armory that could outfit a platoon of soldiers.

They also have license classifications ranging from 1 to 10. This denotes the danger level a particular Railway Driver is ready to handle safely. There are also specialty marks, signifying that a driver can handle certain dangers even above their current level. Of course, this means the planet has been divided into danger zones, though it is just a rough estimate on the part of the company.

Each driver has a second and a puller, as in carriage-puller. I forgot the name of Milli’s second, but her beast was named Shoti, a prickly lizard. Shoti is a giant lizard with a back full of quills, not as fast as other pullers but hardy and tough to injure. The second’s job is to be backup during dangerous situations, and if the primary driver falls, get the passenger to the destination.

The story wasn’t that much about grand plots like Feast of the End. Railway Drivers is more about the passengers and the characters doing the driving. I originally gotten the inspiration from a manga (Japanese comic) called Aria. Aria is, in short terms, a space gondelier. Railway Drivers is just a bit more violent.

I do want to complete Railway Drivers someday as I really like the stories without a definite goal. A new passenger pops up as the last one departs.

Next time, I’ll finish up the dizaks, this includes the character of Runi. Later.


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