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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: Marshall Burns on November 20, 2009, 08:00:42 AM

Title: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Marshall Burns on November 20, 2009, 08:00:42 AM
I played 3:16 last weekend on a camping trip. The players were:
> my cousin James, with whom I’ve roleplayed often, and with whom I’ve played 3:16 once before.
> my friend Steve, who I hadn’t seen since, like, high school, and who created the game nothing that I’ve mentioned before. Years back, he used to roleplay with me and James.
> James’ and Stephen’s friend Coy, who I’d met once before. Coy, James, and Steve used to roleplay years before.
> James’ friend Heath, who I had only briefly met before, and who had never roleplayed before.
> Heath’s friend Brandon, who none of us had met (except Heath, of course). He’s an ex-Marine, and used to play D&D back in the Corps. He expressed a preference for OD&D over the newer editions, and I knew then that we’d get along. (Because so much of OD&D is strategy centering around Positioning with a side order of Resource, not so much emphasis on Effectiveness – a fact that Brandon grasped when I ran it past him in non-jargon – and I’m really really interested in Positioning-heavy play).

Originally, we were going to play Poison’d, but I opted for 3:16 because we had an ex-military guy, and all of us excepting Heath are interested in guns. I pitched them 3:16, and they decided it was fucked-up in a very intriguing way, so we played.

I GMed. James reprised TPR Shorty (rep: Gung-Ho, but really more like psycho) from our earlier game. Steve had CPL Nicotine (rep: neat), Coy had SGT Lucius (rep: reluctant, which turned out to be true), Brandon had TPR Bad (don’t remember his rep), and Heath had TPR Max Hammer (rep: awesome, which was mostly true).

The first planet, Holbein, was a pretty weak one. I rolled an AA of 3, a low-gravity world, reptiles/amphibians, with Force Weakness (which never worked, because of the low AA). I decided the aliens were toads the size of Volkswagen Beetles.

To start with, I had everyone in the canteen on-ship, to give everyone a chance to get into character, and get everyone associated, since not all of the players knew each other. I arbitrarily declared that Lucius and Nicotine went way back, and asked Steve and Coy to elaborate on it, which they did. Brandon’s roleplaying was very low-key, and, while it was appropriate for his character, I guessed (correctly) that he was in it mainly for the hack-n-slash and strategy. Heath was reluctant to jump in on the roleplaying at first; he wanted to watch us do it before he got into it. But he quickly started talking and interacting in-character, and was visibly enjoying himself. James had Shorty bet cancer sticks with Nicotine over who would get the most kills.

I had Captain Fix give them a very disinterested and vague brief, and they were shipped off to the planet. I should note that I totally flubbed NPCs in this game. I’m very bad at NPCs without prep time.

I explained the mechanics in-play as we went along, which went rather smoothly. I used the term “bust” to describe failure, which made the roll-high-but-under thing easier to understand; everyone was familiar with blackjack. I didn’t introduce Flashbacks until someone started getting in a tight spot where I thought they might want to use them.

Let me back up on that. What had happened was, they came across a cave that contained a nest of frogs, with lots of eggs stacked up. At one point, Max Hammer and Shorty were inside the cave, while everyone else was outside. Nicotine decided to try to collapse the cave entrance with hand grenades. Max didn’t even try to get out, and Shorty busted his NFA roll to escape, so they both were trapped in the cave when Nicotine succeeded his NFA roll.

This is when I realized that these players were crazy. In the aftermath, it was clear to everyone that closing up the cave while people were inside it was a dumb idea. But it seemed like such a good idea at the time.

This was when Shorty and Max started to take a beating, so I explained Flashbacks.

Heath opted to use a Strength. Max Hammer remembered when, as a child, his drunken father would beat his mother, while young Max hid in the closet. The cramped space of the cave reminded him of the closet, and his latent rage exploded on the frogs. I asked Heath, “So, as you’re blasting these frogs, do you, like, call them ‘Daddy’ or anything?” And he just gave a big grin, and we all took it as a yes. My favorite Flashback ever.

While the others looked for other entrances to the cave, Shorty and Max ran across a larger group of frogs. I had more frogs simultaneously attack the others, and ran the encounters simultaneously with a common pool of Threat Tokens; it worked quite nicely.

At some point, Steve wanted Nicotine to scout for something in the cave. He rolled NFA, succeeded, and asked me, “Okay, what do I find?”
And I’m all, “Uhh… what do you want to find?”
“Like, a tactical nuke, in a small box about the size of a suitcase.”
“Okay, sure, why not?”
We later decided that the nuke was old Corps technology, outmoded by decades, and left behind on some old mission. Which was odd, because CPT Fix had claimed that no one had been on Planet Holbein yet. A conspiracy?

They made short work of the rest of the frogs, including the Toad Queen Mother, and then I took them through the post-mission stuff, which was a big hit. Heath’s eyes lit up when I told him he could get an electric katana (Heath trains in a form of ninjitsu, and is very interested in contact weapons). Furthermore, everyone cared about the medals. I was very pleased by that.

At this point, James wasn’t feeling very well, so he bowed out of play to go lie down in his tent. We decided Shorty was in the sickbay with some weird toad-alien disease.

The next planet, Bosch, was much tougher. AA 7, poisonous atmosphere, artificial beings, Impair (which I used every fight). I decided that the aliens were Terminator-esque robot soldiers with cowboy hats, which went over well. Their Impair was through the use of a smoke screen.

The mission this time was search-and-destroy: find the factory that the cowboys were using to build themselves and eliminate it.

I should note that, between missions, Nicotine bribed his way into the tech lab and hooked his smuggled tactical nuke up to himself on a deadman’s switch: if he died, the nuke would go off. Again, this seemed like such a good idea at the time, but soon proved to be a dumb idea. With an AA of 7, he almost died in every encounter.

The factory was fortified, with automated turrets all along the wall. Everyone managed to run past the turrets with an NFA check, and, once inside, they managed to hack into the network and take control of a turret before the aliens swarmed out to attack them. So, hey, all you people out there that think NFA rolls don’t really matter? You’re dead wrong.

I decided that the turret had the same stats as a maxed-out rocketpod. Max Hammer took charge of it, and, on the first round, managed to get 100 kills from it, I shit you not.

Some people were about to die, including CPL “I’ve got a nuke strapped to my back” Nicotine, so Lucius used a Strength and saved everyone’s asses.

At this point, the scheming began. You should remember that the squad’s faith in the Corps was shaken by the fact that CPT Fix had clearly lied to them about Planet Holbein. Nicotine realized that, in this factory, they had the means to create an army. With enough planning, and the proper timing, they could throw a coup and take over the Expeditionary Force. Everyone went for it; they disabled the factory without destroying it, caused a large explosion in the wasteland outside it to fool the orbital sensors, and swore each other to secrecy.

Like I said, these players were crazy.

After the post-mission stuff, I was feeling kind of worn out from the demands of GMing without prep. So Steve offered to GM. Why not? I sketched up a quick character (about whom I remember nothing), and served as rules-expert, and Steve gave us a really fucked-up mission: the cat people of planet Durer wanted to welcome their new Terran overlords with a ceremony, and our squad was picked for the detail. We were to go through the ceremony, accept their gifts, then kill all the cat-people in their sleep. (AA 5, temperate planet, felines, Boost Ability)

It all went wrong when Max Hammer failed to sneak his powerblade into the ceremony. From there, it was a fiasco, including:
> killing an ambassador and hiding his body behind some curtains
> my character and Bad being sealed in a room and forced to escape with a sticky bomb improvised from radium gum and grenades
> Max trying to get some cat-people poontang, which went horribly wrong and ended with the roof blown off of a singles bar
> LT Lucius (he got promoted) killing the new sarge in the sewers because he wasn’t down with the cabal, and then almost getting killed by giant rats (I loved Steve’s Color here: “Imagine how big rats would have to be to survive on a planet of cat-people. That’s how big these are.” And then later, “You know those giant rats you killed a second ago? Yeah, those were babies. Here comes their mother”) after planting the nuke under the city hall cum temple where all the cat-people of the world had gathered for the ceremony.

After a bloody, scrambling encounter consisting of three engagements run simultaneously, everyone managed to regroup and get off-world, then detonate the nuke, netting Lucius some 800-odd kills. (I had decided a tactical nuke was as devastating as orbital bombardment.)

We’ll have a hard time explaining that one to the captain.
“You used a tactical nuclear weapon that hasn’t been approved for use in decades? You got it how? You didn’t turn it in why?”

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on November 20, 2009, 01:07:36 PM
Boring question, but did they have access to a orbital bombardment via the rules at that time, or indeed are there rules along those lines? My emotional responce isn't all that relevant, but if the answer is yes and yes, I'll go 'Heh, that's cool!', but otherwise it's 'Uegh'.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Marshall Burns on November 21, 2009, 09:12:07 AM
Yeah, once Lucius hit LT (right before that mission), he had access to orbital bombardment.

I'm not sure what you mean by "rules along those lines." Do you mean rules for arbitrating the damage ratings of weapons that aren't in the rulebook? In that case, no, that was an arbitration.

3:16 has very few rules, but they're loose and easy to apply to a wide range of stuff. Whatever they don't cover is in the realm of common-sense fictional positioning, similarly to Poison'd or OD&D. It would be my guess that 3:16 is, like Poison'd and OD&D, designed for a great deal of play to occur on that metagame layer, just above the "game layer," as it were (meaning, mechanics and math).

(Yeah, I can guess that you'll probably recoil at "common sense," but you probably know by now that I think the argument against it is worthless. Human brains aren't computers, and don't suffer from the same limitations as computers.)

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: JoyWriter on November 21, 2009, 10:31:15 AM
I used the term “bust” to describe failure, which made the roll-high-but-under thing easier to understand; everyone was familiar with blackjack.

That's the kind of metaphor I like, clumps up a mechanic very rapidly into a single object; my own mental model of "high but under limit" is a coordinate reversal on margin of success, so this should allow me to explain it to my friend who doesn't do maths. At the moment his response is pretty much "I'd take your word on it, but as I'm running this game I'd rather work with things I fully comprehend" (translated from non-verbal).

At this point, James wasn’t feeling very well, so he bowed out of play to go lie down in his tent. We decided Shorty was in the sickbay with some weird toad-alien disease.

Some good old memories there, I love it when the arbitrary forces outside the game fiction can be transformed into arbitrary forces within it. You could utilise that in future, but I think it's good as background detail.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on November 21, 2009, 03:07:20 PM
Hi Marshall,

It's a bit off topic of me, but I find I already own 'loose and easy to apply to a range of stuff' rule sets. And I find the looseness makes them much of a muchness, since I or whoever else uses them uses the looseness to do pretty much what weve always done. For myself I actually want rules that throw a wrench in how we usually do things, otherwise it's like I'm just pretending to myself I've left my comfort zone somehow. And 'loose and easy to apply' rules tend to throw a jello wrench in since the loose they are, the looser the wrench, which pretty much means sweet FA in terms changing what weve always done. This is hardly alien stuff - I don't go to movies or read books just to have everything pay yes man to how I want it to go. I don't know if anyone else matches this, but it's a note in case there are.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Marshall Burns on November 23, 2009, 09:37:03 AM
Oh, hang on, Callan, I didn't mean to imply that the rules don't make you do anything in different ways. They do, in certain, specific areas; just not all areas. In fact, it's only a few areas, but it makes a difference.

I'm gathering that you don't own a copy of 3:16, yes? I'd like to explain what the special thing about it is, what it's own particular brand of monkeywrench is, but it's a bit difficult. The game is far more intricate than it looks at first blush.

The big thing about it, for my money, is the relationship between the damage track, advancement mechanics, Flashbacks, and promotion mechanics. These do all do a dance together that's really really fucking neat, generating increasingly impressive results the longer you go on. They are most definitely a monkeywrench. Just about everything else is kinda squishy, but it all hangs on that synergy between those mechanics. It Will Make Things Happen.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on November 23, 2009, 03:38:38 PM
To me it's a question of what hangs on what. At 800 kills it sounds like it's the other way around and it's actually those mechanics that hang on the synergy of that squishy made up stuff, not the other way around. Which is traditionally lauded as good gaming in most gamer culture as it 'doesn't let mechanics get in the way of the story'/fiction comes first and mechanics come in, if at all, where fiction sees it as suitable to do so. Mechanics hang on squishy stuff, traditionally. Rather than squishy stuff hanging on mechanics (where designers can actually influence squishy stuff with mechanical design)

From what I understand kills are mechanically significant in 3:16? They're not ephemeral, like whether your characters mohawk is green or orange?

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Marshall Burns on November 25, 2009, 12:36:31 PM
Kills have only one mechanical significance: the guy who gets the most automatically "levels up" at the end of the mission. Other than that, kills are just cosmetic.

That makes it sound like kills are a priority, but they're really not. The whole levelling up thing is just fuel into the fire that's created by the level up/promotion/damage track/Flashback thing.

It's hard to explain, but resolution in this game is not important, compared to that other stuff. It's okay for it to be squishy, because it doesn't need to be anything else. (And, for my money, that's a great innovation of 3:16. While all these other indie games are making hawt resolution mechanics to make special things happen, 3:16 has this other thing going on, a thing that's sort of a Situation and Conflict engine, while resolution can be all but handwaved. It's very clever.)

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Jaakko Koivula on November 26, 2009, 01:52:01 AM
Sorry to barge in in the middle, but Im having rather hard time following this discussion in general.

From what I gather, Callan is worried that Marshall has been bending the rules and thus taking the game towards the traditional fiat-driving-GM -direction?

Callan's main argument is, that the squishy story-stuff shouldn't affect the hard mechanics. Because that would be GM using Force that he really shouldn't be using.

Marshall argues that the things that happened in the AP weren't an example of this. Kills outside mission are actually just squishy story-stuff, and some resolution thingies are not important compared to something in 3:16 anyways, or something.

I completely agree on the general idea about not bending rules in these kind of games. It's pretty much an instant way to smuggle back the auteur-GM where he isn't wanted. But Im just having trouble understanding the arguments, as they are so brief. It's an interesting discussion and I have some questions of my own on it, so I'd like to be able to participate better. Maybe more examples would help me?

But one of my own questions is this:

How should GM handle narrating things into 3:16 via fluff? Im suddenly feeling very paranoid about what I could throw at players. Ghost planet with precursor technology caches, for example. Can the GM cook up an ancient martian gun, that does XX kills at far range, even if it's better than the ones in the book and you could use it without being a colonel (for example)?

On one hand, it would sound somehow dubious. If GM gives someone a huge gun and they get 2000 kills a mission and get all the promotions, it would seem arbitrary and maybe de-protagonizing for the other players.

On the other hand, it would seem just blatantly absurd if the GM couldn't do that. No narrating in super-weapons in a space marine -game, because then the players might get to use them, what? And it would be even worse narrating in super-weapons and then having to drive your fiat over everyone repeatedly to get them into hands of the NPCs.

And if anything, 3:16 doesn't seem like a type of game where everything should be fair for the characters. "Did Sgt. Masculin get more kills again than you, Trooper Sniwel? Well BOOHOO, now here's a dress you can wear around the barracks! Don't you come CRYING to me, you sad waste of recycled air! You should have had the balls to test the alien-doohicky yourself if you like super-weapons so much, eh!" etc.

Ok, I've might've answered that question for myself a bit, but what do you think about this? Is this as non-issue as I made it look, or is there something more into it?

Also, did I interpret correctly what was happening here in general?

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Marshall Burns on November 28, 2009, 09:33:41 AM
Rules clarification: having the most kills causes you to level up, not get promoted. Getting promoted requires using a Strength Flashback in the mission, surviving it, and then succeeding an NFA check -- assuming that you don't use that NFA check to requisition gear instead. (Or, you can get field-promoted; if you're a corporal, and the sergeant just beefed it, you're sergeant now.)
Of course, levelling up is necessary for the second and further promotions, because you have to level up to unlock Strengths.

Regarding GM Fiat:
GM Fiat is not automatically evil. It becomes a problem in Narrativist play (which is what 3:16 supports) when it crosses the line into GM Force. Force being taking away the player's ability to make his character's significant decisions. None of any of 3:16's squishiness does that, and it never happened in the game.

Furthermore, the squishiness goes both ways. Once it's established that, f'rinstance, a character has positioned himself on the high ground, his player can quite easily say, "Hey, I've got the high ground here, which ought to be an advantage in this situation," and the GM ought to apply a bonus for that. Sure, he could refuse, but, seriously, it?s common sense, and we?ve established that the guy has the high ground.

That is Positioning exchanged for Effectiveness, via a fiat Technique. Which is okay. It?s the same thing as bonus dice in Sorcerer. And the applications go far beyond ?the high ground? ? Positioning is the character?s relationship to other characters and elements of the Situation, and if it makes sense that an element of Positioning would provide advantage at a given moment, and the rules say to award Effectiveness when that happens (like Sorcerer, or the Rustbelt, or 3:16 do), then do it.

I?m not saying that every game should be played that way. I?m saying that certain games are designed to be played that way and benefit from it.

How should GM handle narrating things into 3:16 via fluff? Im suddenly feeling very paranoid about what I could throw at players. Ghost planet with precursor technology caches, for example. Can the GM cook up an ancient martian gun, that does XX kills at far range, even if it's better than the ones in the book and you could use it without being a colonel (for example)?

I don?t sweat it, really. But for improvising weapons, I just pick one out of the book and re-skin it. It?s also worth noting that, every time I?ve done this, it?s been a one-time weapon kind of thing. Hell, they even had to roll NFA to sneak that nuke into the barracks.

But, really, fucking with the kill economy doesn?t hurt anything. It doesn?t matter when people level up, get promoted, get demoted, only that it happens. The when and why become fodder for the playgroup, as they turn it into bonafide elements of Situation (and especially Conflict), which they can and will do, all by themselves.

It?s worth noting here that, as PCs get promoted, they receive new standing orders that put them at odds, eventually even diametrically. See, to start out with, you?ve got troopers, a corporal, and a sergeant; their responsibilities are to kill as many aliens as possible (trooper), maximize trooper kill efficiency (corporal), and protect the squad and make sure no aliens survive an encounter (sergeant). But when that sergeant gets promoted to lieutenant, suddenly he?s responsible for enforcing discipline on the lower ranks.

That?s just a small example of the stuff. I don?t want to give it all away, because this is probably the most important thing in the book. You can always buy it. But, my point is, THIS is where the game happens, the way that PCs are promoted, the circumstances of it, how they discharge their duties (or fail to do so), and what impact all of that has on the other characters. It?s really really fucking cool.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on November 29, 2009, 02:09:13 AM
Whoa, Jaakko, a 'should' slipped in from somewhere and I think Marshall took it up too. I've described that I think imagination in a group becomes harmoginised and stagnant and for myself, I look for rules that fuck up that harmoginisation, for the new ways we go when were can't do the very first thing that comes to our imagination. It's not a matter of should, it's a matter that when imagination is in charge of whether rules are followed, that harmoginisation pretty much remains perfectly intact. Perhaps I'm wrong about the whole harmoginisation thing, but I take it to be true and I'm pretty much over games where imagination comes first and foremost/imagination controls whether rules are followed. That's me. Now I'm assuming something about 3:16 prompted or encouraged Marshall to simply do as imagination dictated (he does mention above that 'the rules say to award Effectiveness'). If not and he did it off his own bat, well I'll still go with my first comment - if the nuke thing had been within the rule structure, I admire the art made and skill it took to make it/to fit imagination within a rules construct. But just ignoring rules makes me go 'Uegh', mostly out of anticipating something else and not getting it at all. Not that that matters a great deal, I was just expressing my hope (that's why my posts were small, as it's not a terribly important subject)

Marshall, the above might explain me better, because force shmorce, my positions not about force. But taking your high ground example...what I'd like to see is when everyone including the GM think he's on higher ground and want to give the bonus, but can't as the rules stop them from doing so! How does their imagination get around that, aye? There's a bit of an imagination workout, stretching the imagination from the usual harmoginsed group way of thinking into a direction they, without the game, would not have gone. But then uegh...ignore the rule because clearly blah blah subtext imagination first blah blah. Ie, No work out (ugh...okay, to dilute my point but be pedantically accurate - in this particular instance (perhaps not in the rest of play), no work out).

But, really, fucking with the kill economy doesn?t hurt anything. It doesn?t matter when people level up, get promoted, get demoted, only that it happens. The when and why become fodder for the playgroup, as they turn it into bonafide elements of Situation (and especially Conflict), which they can and will do, all by themselves.
Well, as I've basically said above, I'd like to see the kill economy fucking with your imaginations, rather than the other way around. Okay, you've worked this nuke into the fiction and it's gone off, with the apparent idea of massive devistation. But hey, let's say the kill economy fucks with your imagination instead - how do you fit your imagination into the kill economy? How can you fit this nuke explosion in somehow WITHOUT breaking the rules structure? That's the imaginative hurdle/hundred kilogram imaginative weights to work out with.

But hey, if the author wrote it with the vibe (or however you might put it) that you ignore the rules at that point, hey, your playing right. I just already own games like that. For myself it's not enough anymore. I'm basically just expressing my hope for what products are available, when I've responded in this thread.

And wow, I can preview without the forge stalling the first few times!

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Gregor Hutton on November 30, 2009, 06:09:11 AM
I'm finding the thread a bit hard to follow because some of the posters have the book and Callan doesn't, so Callan I've PMed you. Hit me up with your e-mail address and I'll send you the PDF.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on December 01, 2009, 02:55:16 PM
I've recieved the PDF Gregor was kind enough to supply me. However, in a technical sense I don't have a copy. By that I mean in casually trying to comprehend the ruleset, eventually the number of ever increasing options was greater than my mental capacity to hold and comprehend at a casual basis. More specifically ever increasing options which didn't appear to tie to any game end. Just more and more options towards no fixed point. Without that fixed point my comprehension falters after reading a certain amount of structure. I will say for me, escape from tentacle city boardered on this as well, at a mere 16 (IIRC) pages, with options that seemed to just exist for their own sake. However, it did have a game end point and I'm not sure, even after a quick flipping through looking for one, that 3:16 does.

I'm saying this because to do otherwise, it seems to me, would be to give the impression (and inductively, pretending to myself) that in owning a copy, I know what it's all about now. By and large I don't know much more than before I was able to read a copy.

Probably alot of people wouldn't say that because they'd fear looking too stupid to understand it, or lazy. I'll face looking stupid and just note this here, regardless. You've given me a copy and I'm still not much more up to speed than before.

So, now that notes out of the way, any page references in regards to the nuke stuff?

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Gregor Hutton on December 02, 2009, 10:15:10 AM
The book is ordered in when you will meet stuff in play, with reference material and index at the back. Without reference to play then it's maybe tough to figure out. To summarize how the game is played you just need to read pages 64 to 76, which show examples of creating a planet and then a mission on it.

But, for the "Bigger Picture" stuff in 3:16 you want the following things:
Ranks Pages 38 to 41 are the Higher Ranks of the military. They get more orders and weapons than the grunts (on pages 12 and 13).
Weapons and Gear Pages 79 to 89 show the weapons for the game. The nukes are on 85 next to the giant mushroom cloud, with the Device and Starkiller missile on page 84. The Orbital Bombardment is on p. 88. (The "ordinary" weapons that grunts can get are on pages 79 to 81 for comparison.)
Hatred for Home The final Weakness that can be made available in game is mandated to be "Hatred for Home", you can read about it on p. 33. Weaknesses live on page 24 to 27.
GM stuff Page 48 gives an overview of how the GM's role changes over the campaign.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on December 03, 2009, 02:18:15 PM
I think the presence/absence of a game end condition is important to pin down here, as in if someone is thinking there is a game end and all their discussion revolves around that, when they are actually wrong and there is no game end, it clearly borks discussion. Both Universalis and Capes, as I understand them, have no game end condition, so it's not a biggie to not have one. But if we talk and talk as if there is a game end condition when there isn't, that's when it becomes a biggie.

If that can be pinned down, I'd then be trying to construct some sort of mental flow chart towards the whole nuke thing, looking for traditional bleed points along the way (some people might call it 'murk'). Bleed points being stuff like 'Do what makes sense' (a traditional RPG crutch), which doesn't indicate who in particular does that, and whether it's their own idea of sense (which may not match others) or some sort of galactic standard of 'sense'. Before my comprehension of all the options ran out, 3:16 had shown no bleed points as yet.

But that's me. Gregor, you said you were having trouble following the thread. I can't assume that means your interested in the flow chart layout or even the pinning down like I am?

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Jasper Flick on December 04, 2009, 02:24:15 AM
What I got from reading the book was the following:
Advancement through ranks leads to the objective of staying away from Earth at all costs.
"Advancement" through weaknesses leads to "Hatred for home".
These two are at odds, when "Hatred for home" manifests as a desire to go back to Earth with ill intents. While you might interpret it as "I never want to think about that place again!", the game suggests the "I'm gonna go blow that place up! NOW!" mentality.

So I guess the endgame starts when "Hatred for home" is touched. Then it becomes a question whether Earth goes down, or the Brigadier activates The Device. (If the Brigadier is a PC with "Hatred for home", then I guess you can get both.) Everything before that is a game of learning to hate home.

But all that would take many sessions, and I personally haven't played a single one yet. So it's purely speculation from me.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Gregor Hutton on December 04, 2009, 12:33:44 PM
The game has a distinct number of Levels for any given *player*. You can only ever go up to Level 18 (10/8 or 9/) and you can only ever have 5* Strengths and 5 Flashbacks. Players may go through the Levels with one character or more, depending on how the dice go and player choice too. Having more than one chartacter potentially allows you to have more than 5 Strengths over the Campaign (if you allow your character to die Strength-less). So, as a player you are only going to get X resources, though some may get them "early" by advancing more rapidly, while others might get those Resources "later" (which may not be a bad thing tactically).

The final Weakness available is "Hatred For Home". It could mean anything, that's up to the player that uses it, when they use it. It's also only true for a character when they use it -- which means losing on their terms because of their Hatred for Home.

As far as a strictly mechanical end-game goes there is none. This is not "first one to Level 10 wins" territory, or "everyone gets 5 circuits of the board" then we're done.

Even having no more Levels or Flashbacks left to gain doesn't end the game. It ends when it ends.

However, the "Hatred For Home" kicks the game into a new phase of play. It means someone is very close to maxing out on their Resources and how do the characters now feel about the war? And about home?

In the early part of the game PCs are relatively successful and the enemies are relatively week. Here people build charcaters in play, get to be heroes and get tied up in more complicated situations. By later on the GM may be using multiple Special Abilities and bringing all the shit from earlier play home to roost.

Does that make sense?

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on December 04, 2009, 07:41:55 PM
In terms of assigning resources ad hoc, it doesn't make any more sense to me than before. I can think of a model of 'Hell, weve been playing all this time and the moral issues are (genuinely) building up to a climax - I'm just gunna start doing things as it seems to fit now and assign resources that way'. But that doesn't make it make any more sense to me, I'm just noting it as a traditional approach.

There's never a point where the imaginative or moral level is so big or strong that it makes sense to ignore the rules. Sure I may give up on them or give way at a given point in play, but that's me caving in and I know that - it not that it makes sense to do that, it's just me caving in. Just noting that - it may not be relevant.

So in terms of the nuke, either there's some rule for the bypassing of other rules (and is somewhat reminicent of the golden rule) or it doesn't make sense to me. For myself, if I set out to follow the rules, it doesn't make sense to latter on stop following the rules. It could happen, but it's just a failure on my part to meet my own goals.

You know, for other people I can imagine them thinking "Oh no, it was just the right time for X to happen, so of course it made sense to give them that (subtext: ignore the rules on giving X)". But that's exactly what I was refering to with the gym weights from before - what happens when imaginatively it makes absolute 'sense' for someone to get X...and they don't?

I think that's what's shocked and amazed people since they first roleplayed - all the books and movies tell them heroes win the day and that's what makes sense and...then the PC just dies, on a die roll. Their imagination has to stretch outside of the old bullshit hero always wins the day comfort zone. They can't keep imagining in the old ways.

That's part of why it doesn't make sense to me to break from the rules.

Or maybe that's a rambly point as well.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: contracycle on December 05, 2009, 06:56:43 PM
If I may.

Lucius player created the tactical nuker out of thin air.  Later, Lucius was credited for 800 kills due to this weapon.  Neither of these events came about as a result of the system rules governing kill counts and threat tokens etc.  It may or may not be considered to be merely different colour applied to the systematic special ability "orbital bombardment".  If it is not directly and rule-legally equivalent to this special ability, then the non-systematic act which created the tacnuke subsequently had the systematic consequence of giving Lucius top kills and therefore promotion; to whit, in effect Lucius' player promoted himself by co-opting GM authority when given the opportunity, and that authority over-rode all the other rules.  Does that or does that not undermine the point of the system?

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on December 05, 2009, 07:40:29 PM
Gareth, assuming I'm understanding you right, I'd phrase your question as 'Assuming your goal (or one of your goals) is to follow the rules as they are, isn't assigning the nuke ad hoc undermining yourself/undermining your own goals?'

I prefer to aim at either any internal conflict of interests the other person has, or identify a signficant difference in goal between us in the early stages. From experience people try and ascribe their prior reflexive responces as a concious choice/a system. It gets well into 'blind brain' territory, where system they actually have control of and system (physics) that happens whether they think they have control or not, get interminably intermingled.

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 08, 2009, 08:38:46 AM
I want a thread-check from Marshall. It looks to me as if your thread has been hijacked. If you see it differently, and are reasonably happy with the current issues being discussed, then correct me. If you agree, then let me know.

Everyone else, please wait for Marshall's reply.

Best, Ron

Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Marshall Burns on December 10, 2009, 10:11:21 AM
Hi everyone,
I've lost track of this thread, because I've been sick and been away from the internet for a while. It'll take me a bit to catch up, so I'm not really sure if it's been hijacked or not.

One thing I do want to clarify: Lucius had access to orbital bombardment, and the nuke functioned exactly like it. Because it was available. I was careful to keep effectiveness within available parameters so that I didn't short-circuit the Currency interactions that lead to the Cool Thing I've hinted at but still can't put my finger on. Even in the case of the turret, several of the characters could have had a weapon that effective by now but didn't because they chose to improve other weapons, but even then it felt okay (i.e. like it wouldn't fuck the Currency) if I let it be a one-time use thing.

I haven't thrown out or ignored rules anywhere. I bent one, in the turret case, but otherwise I've stuck with the rules. Where the rules don't go, I have made rulings to translate the fluffy, non-ruley stuff into concrete, actionable terms that feed into the system. The flexibility of the mechanics that are present made this quite easy. This was primarily done, as I've said, through a process of exchanging Positioning for Effectiveness and/or Resource; it's one of a family of Techniques that is taken for granted in OD&D (don't ask me about other ones) and Poison'd (Vincent said so), and, as I read it, 3:16. It's taken for granted because, so far, nobody's figured out how to write about it (Poison'd has a nice leap forward on it, though); that's the state of the art, unfortunately, and I don't lay any blame or flaw on any of the above games or their authors.

I think that Callan and I had a misunderstanding on the issue of ignoring rules and making ad-hoc decisions, versus taking the "fluffy stuff" (for lack of a better term) and making it feed into the system through existing channels. Much of the dicussion between us has been nonsense as a result. That's given this thread a bit of an ugly look, but, from what I've been able to absorb so far, I wouldn't say hijacked.


Title: Re: [3:16] These players are crazy
Post by: Callan S. on December 10, 2009, 06:12:47 PM
Yah, I said sorry to Marshall over PM. Basically stuff like 'exchanging positioning for Effectiveness and/or Resource' confused me into thinking he meant something else, repeatedly, and it's actually still confusing me. Even while 'making it feed into the system through existing channels' is quite clear to me and it seems to be what Marshall meant (having a copy of 3:16 helped clear things up too, I think, thanks again, Gregor)

I'm gunna be dreadful and just say something about part of what's confusing me there - there is no exchange of positioning for effectiveness. The player with the orbital bombardment could have declined to use it (using it to represent the nuke), even though this whole detonated nuke has has been entered into the fiction. He would not be dishonouring some exchange to decline it. The whole thing I call an imagination coupler is the point where currency exchanges end and someone may give you game currency of some sort, not because it's an exchange, but simply because they feel moved by the fiction to do so. To me now, that's what the AP appears to contain - the player was moved by the atomic detonation and felt mechanics aught to be spent over it. Even though he didn't have to. The very fact he doesn't have to, but did, proves that the fiction itself is in motion (inside of him) and it's not simply an exchange of this for that. That also means the rules connected/coupled up with imagination.

That and I thought you were making up alot of new rules cause of fiction, but weren't. But that's enough dreadfulness from me. Though I'd like to go on about GM's who aught to be moved to granting a high ground bonus, but people apply force to them instead of allowing the fiction in the GM decide. A kind of prima donnaism.