3:16 - Starting Advice

Started by Akora, May 04, 2009, 04:37:32 PM

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This is my first post here, so please bear with me :)

I am doing my best to prepare a campaign of 3:16. I've read through the purchased PDF and have a pretty good idea of how the system works, and what its goals are for cooperative storytelling and character exploration. That being said, I play RP games with a fairly "gamist" set of players who are very much accustomed to the classic, DM-driven story with little initiative being placed on the PCs for story ideas or narration.

My fist question is, should I have each of them study up on the rules, or explain them as I go? I feel a lot of the allure of 3:16 is the setting itself, with the very powerful ideas of cynicism within the military, corrupt bureaucracy, etc possibly driving the story. A part of me wants to keep those ideas "secret" and from the PCs, forcing them to discover the theme on their own. My group is pretty savvy mechanics-wise, so I think explaining game rules along the way is workable.

Moving on to my second question, I'd like to run a portion of the campaign "before" the Expedition actually reaches its destination- specifically have the first 1-2 missions be "training" missions where the PCs face computer generated opponents and easy objectives. I want to really set them up as if the whole campaign is going to be a glory-filled cake-walk and then throw them into hell on their first real time "in the shit".

And advice you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.

Lance D. Allen

I'm really, really fond of the method where play starts as soon as you sit down at the table. Maybe you read the little setting blurb from the book, but then, without any further warning, you begin playing.

"Listen up maggots, sit down and shut up. We got a lot of work to do to get you sniveling momma's boys processed into the 3:16, so don't make me start having flashbacks to Michelangelo, and nobody fucking dies before personnel has your paperwork, you got me?"

Pause, look around at the confused looks on their faces. Savor the fact that the expression you're seeing is reminiscent of the expression I wore for a week solid when I first arrived at Ft. Knox.

"In front of you is the standard form for keeping track of your worthless accomplishments and certifications. Don't worry about Rank. You don't have any until I say you do. Write down your name, or your favorite nickname your mommy gave you when you were still sucking at her teat, I don't give a shit. Next, where it says reputation, tell me about yourself. When I say tell me about yourself, I mean in brief. If you write more than three words, so help me, I'm going to toss you out of a fucking airlock."

And so on.

Then hit them with the mission, hard. Make it a 'training mission' if you want to, but don't tell 'em about it until afterward. If someone dies, they die. The 3:16 ain't got time for no nancy-boys who can't even make it through a piddly little training exercise. When you're done with your 'training missions', tell 'em that playtime is over, and now they'd better be ready for the real shit, or else their mommies get the photograph of the Terran Expeditionary Flag, a Form TF-27 listing your non-existent accomplishments, and a small ziplock baggy with your teeth in it, as that is all that the TEF requires to be sent home for proper burial.
~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls

Gregor Hutton

Question One:
Oh, I think you can explain the rules as you go and you don't have to worry too much about absorbing everything at first. And don't worry about the first few missions being short. Going through a couple of missions quickly is no bad thing. Everyone learns the rules and you get some development rolls between missions.

If your group wants a strong GM lead then you should do that. I've found that when players strongly want, and expect, the GM to tell them what their characters see and hear then you get a kind of paralysis if you leave that detail up to them. So, I'd say start off showing them the world through your eyes.

Game-mechanics-wise Flashbacks will be the point where they have to tell the rest of us about some point in their history and about how they uniquely see the world. Once you've had a few of those the world view will be more collaborative -- pick up on the things they put in their Flashbacks.

Where the game will go? That will come out of what the players want to do in game. You can't make them feel remorse or hatred or pity or anything else. So I'd recommend just playing the game and seeing where the group wants to go with it. I think it helps to be open and up front, to be honest. Sure, throw corrupt officers in as the GM, but throw in good guys too. Leave it up to the players to how they react to these people and situations -- that's part of the fun.

Question Two:
I suggest playing the game without the "training" missions you talk about. When someone wants to have a Flashback you can suggest a Flashback to training or whatever, and see how they see it. But playing a planet with a low AA is relatively safe and gives the feel you want anyway. If you scratch a few of the low choices off the list for AA for the first few planets it will be a cake-walk. Then pick a planet with AA 10 and something like Lasting Wounds, then hit them with a succession of 3-Threat Token encounters. That'll smarten them up.

Oh, and be aware that Levelling Up isn't "winning", it's just getting access to resources. Everyone gets to level up in the end if you keep playing.