[3:16] Carnage Amongst the Stars

Rain242

Refugee from Reality
Validated User
#1
I ran my first game of 3:16 last Thursday and, although we didn't get to finish the second planet, it was a great session.

Here, then, is a quick Actual Play account of our first time with the game. This may very well be continued if we have a second session later this week, in which case I'll update this thread accordingly.

First, then, our cast of characters:

Sergeant David Sarpe
Reputation: Gets it done
FA: 6
NFA: 4
Kills: 20
Weapons: Slug Rifle, Sidearm

Corporal Dave Burns
Reputation: Gung-Ho Charlie!
FA: 7
NFA: 3
Kills: 42
Weapons: E-Cannon, Grenades

Trooper Mickey Doolan
Reputation: Up Close and Personal
FA: 7
NFA: 3
Kills: 40
Weapons: Energy Rifle, Grenades

The squad pumped up and ready to go, they embarked upon their first mission: Planet Holbein...
 

Rain242

Refugee from Reality
Validated User
#2
Planet Holbein
Planet Description: Poisonous Atmosphere
Basic Creature Form: Oozes
Alien Special Ability: Reduce Visibility
AA: Lowest FA (6)
Threat Tokens: 15

Planet-side, the squad were a little confused about their orders. Told little more than their mission was to 'clear a landing site', the clearing they had been dropped in was scarcely big enough for their dropship to land in, much less the troop transport that was to follow. Were they supposed to thin out the surrounding forest? (Conscious of having limited time, I'd quickly run through the briefing OOC to get straight to the action. I left their orders purposefully vague to put the onus on the players to drive the game)

The dense mist surrounding them making visibility difficult, Sgt. Sarpe ordered Trooper Burns into the treeline to investigate the area. It was then they heard a groaning sound.

Suddenly besieged by giant ooze beasts, the aliens were upon the squad before they had time to react (all the PCs failed their Dominance Roll, while the aliens succeeded - An ambush for the aliens and I set the range to Close).

THREAT TOKENS: 3

Forcefully hit across the body by one of the oozes' tentacles, Tpr. Doolan's armour took most of the impact. Opening fire, the Sergeant and Corporal tore through the remaining oozes, quickly dispatching the aliens. The area seeming clear, the squad moved on.
***​
Before long, the squad's path was blocked by a twisted mess of foliage. Seeing no way past the obstacle and, with the mist limiting visibility, Tpr. Doolan threw a flare to light up the area. Seemingly vanishing into the mist (with a failed NFA roll), this proved ineffective. Undeterred, the Trooper threw another to much the same result (failing his roll again).

As Cpl. Burns pointed out that the Trooper may have more luck if he used his MandelBrite suit's internal trajectory calculator, so busy were they, they failed to notice more of the oozes moving towards them.

THREAT TOKENS: 3

Seemingly 'melting' through the barrier, the oozes managed to subdue Sgt. Sarpe and Tpr. Doolan, while the Corporal opened fire with his E-Cannon. Somehow getting hold of his sidearm, the Sergeant opened fire on the creature which was attempting to smother him and blasted his way free.

A few moments later and the aliens were no more, and the squad continued through the forest.
***​
The trees suddenly parted, revealing the landing site - A small rise in the middle of a clearing. The rise, however, was swarming with more of the now-familiar oozes.

THREAT TOKENS: 4 (+1 for Reduce Visibility)

Releasing some sort of gas, combined with the usual mist, the oozes disappeared behind an impenetrable cloud (using the Reduce Visibility Ability I had thus far forgotten to use). Hearing the troop transport's engines approaching, Sgt. Sarpe knew there was only one thing to do. Recalling an old mission on Whistler's Mother (Strength: "The Whistler's Mother Hail of Lead!"), he unleashed a hail of gunfire, tearing through fifteen of the oozes, clearing the landing site without a moment to spare.

The Expeditionary Force's anthem blaring out from the landing ship's speakers, the Sergeant suddenly realised that, with the size of the ship taking up the entire clearing, there was nowhere for the squad to go but back into the treeline to avoid being crushed.
***​
With the transport ship bearing down on them, the three troopers dived back into the forest. Not realising where he was putting his feet (and a failed NFA roll), Tpr. Doolan put his foot straight through the loose bracken-covering of a hole in the ground and fell several feet down into a cavern.

THREAT TOKENS: 4

From out of the adjoining tunnels a number of oozes approached the hapless Trooper. The senior officers provided covering fire from above, but were soon beset with more aliens on the surface, only surviving thanks to their armour (the Sergeant and Corporal both used it in this encounter). After a hard-fought skirmish, the tide of the battle was turned by Tpr. Doolan's experience as a tunnel fighter (calling on his own Strength). Single handedly killing eighteen of the oozes, the conflict was won and, after retrieving Tpr. Doolan, the squad made their way to the troop transport, whilst the squads therein spread out to mop up the rest of the oozes.
 
Last edited:

Rain242

Refugee from Reality
Validated User
#3
Between Sessions
Gaining Level
Following the mission on Holbein, both Sgt. Sarpe and Tpr. Doolan gained a level. The Sergeant added a point of NFA, while the Trooper decided to focus his efforts on FA (this giving them 6/5 and 8/3 respectively). In addition, both unlocked a new Strength.

Automatic Improvement
Sgt. Sarpe chose to improve his Slug Rifle's Near Range to d10.
Cpl. Burns upped his Grenades' kills to d6 at Near Range.
Tpr. Doolan increased his Energy Rifle's Close Range to d6.

Development Roll
Sgt. Sarpe made his Development Roll and, although eligible for promotion due to his use of a Strength on Holbein, he passed on the opportunity. Instead, he obtained some grenades for himself, thus giving the entire squad the ability to frag future targets. And not always enemies - See below for more...

Other Actions
Possibly feeling left out of development, Cpl. Burns decided to gain a point over the beleaguered Tpr. Doolan by sabotaging his locker with grenades. Whilst suiting up for their next drop, the Trooper failed an NFA roll to spot the trap. The subsequent explosion in the locker room meant that the Doolan was already A Mess before even making it planetsite.

Onwards, to Goya...
 

Rain242

Refugee from Reality
Validated User
#4
Planet Goya
Planet Description: Arid World
Basic Creature Form: Felines
Alien Special Ability: Suicide
AA: 5
Threat Tokens: 15

Their mission to locate and extract a reconnaissance team of scientists sent in ahead of the troopers, Sarpe, Burns and Doolan were dropped (literally - The dropship didn't even come to a stop) into the sandy wastes of Goya at the height of the day's sun. Accompanied by five other troopers, they wasted no time in spreading out to look for tracks left by the scientists' downed shuttle.

Ahead of the main group, one of the Troopers called over the Sergeant - Looking down into a small depression, they group saw a large cat-like creature, bright-red and covered in black spots. Wasting no time in making up for his lack of kills on Holbein (having bagged only two of the oozes), Cpl. Burns broke out the grenades.

THREAT TOKENS: 3

Perhaps misjudging the range (although, due to his mention of the MandelBrite suits' trajectory calculators on Holbein, who could be sure?), the Corporal's first grenade not only blew four of the cats to pieces, but also caught Tpr. Doolan and Sgt. Sarpe in the blast. Fortunately, the Trooper's armour took the brunt of the blast (already A Mess from the grenade in his locker, Tpr. Doolan used his armour to avoid being Crippled). The Sergeant, however, was not so lucky, the explosion of Cpl. Burns' grenade leaving him A Mess.

Despite his Sergeant's shouts ordering him to desist, a second grenade from the frag-happy Corporal heavily damaged his Sergeant's MandelBrite suit (the second use of Armour in as many rounds).

Unable to pull back (having failed his FA roll), Tpr. Doolan was left crippled by the second explosion. Soiling himself, he ran from the carnage. Claiming that he had learned urine scared cats when attacked by a housecat back home on Terra, no one was entirely convinced (his Weakness reads "Feline Terrification AKA Piss Myself". Make of that what you will :confused:).

Once the area was secured, the squad's ears still ringing, they pressed on.
***​
Finding tracks from the missing shuttle's landing skis suggesting it had 'bounced' off the sand-covered surface several times (a successful NFA roll, although I forget from who), the team followed them to a huge canyon. Looking down over the edge, it became apparent the missing shuttle had dropped down into the canyon, its bouncing path propelling it off the edge.

Although several of the cats could be seen stalking ledges on the way down, a successful attack couldn't be made from the squad's height.

Leading the way, Tpr. Doolan attempted to climb down the rockface. Evidently overconfident in his abilities, the wounded Trooper fell and landed heavily on a ledge (yet another failed NFA roll) and was quickly surrounded by several more of the hostile felines

THREAT TOKENS: 4 (+1 for Suicide)

Rappelling down the side of the canyon, Cpl. Burns opened fire on the aliens besieging Tpr. Doolan, downing seven of them before they could attack. Following up this strike, with the creatures surprised, the Trooper used his knowledge of Artillery Training (his second Strength), finishing off the remaining creatures with a hail of gunfire from his Energy Rifle.

The remaining squad members descending to the ledge, they began to decide on their next move...
 
Last edited:

Rain242

Refugee from Reality
Validated User
#5
...and, running out of time, that's as far as we got. As a quick note on the above account, there are a couple of things that I wasn't sure about (for which, I blame my sucky note-taking), and I'm pretty sure we had three encounters on Goya, but this is mainly accurate. Amongst the stuff not mentioned above, Cpl. Burns also used the Strength "My Suit Sees me Through", but I can't for the life of me remember when or what for.

Overall, then, bearing in mind that I was called upon to run this with only an hour's notice, I think it went incredibly well. Although fuzzy on a couple of rules (I'd only read them through once before playing), I managed to keep most of them in my head during play, without needing to consult the book too much.

I think my biggest mistake was probably repeatedly forgetting about healing between encounters, but it didn't become an issue as I remembered before any of the PCs were killed because of this. On the players' part, they forgot about their Combat Drugs and there were a lot of failed rolls they could've used them to reroll.

I think they would also have benefited from one of them having a higher NFA to start off with. Their highest on the first planet being the Sergeant's 4, I wasn't surprised that this was raised to a 5 when he levelled up.

Also, grenades - The Corporal's over-eagerness to use them aside (note that this isn't necessarily a bad thing :D), I didn't realise they only frag your teammates if they fail their rolls. As it happens, I don't think there actually was an instance where a successful roll would have negated the friendly-fire, but I'll be keeping a closer eye on this next time.

I'm also quite impressed with the lethality of the system. Although we have a couple of encounters left to go, Tpr. Doolan's looking unhealthy - Out of Flashbacks, Crippled and his Armour used, I don't know how long he's got left on this world, but it doesn't look good. He'll be healing before the next fight but, if he suffers just two more Kills, his only chance is if the Sergeant uses his Strength to save him. I'm honestly not sure if the Sergeant's that noble. I mean, war is Hell, right? ;)

I've also posted a couple more thoughts in these two threads in Open: [3:16] Newbie questions and [3:16] How much chatter between violence?. I'll also no doubt have more to add once we finish up the planet and the Between Missions phase, so I guess I'll see you then...
 
Last edited:

Rel Fexive

Terrifying Space Monkey
Validated User
#6
It all seems pretty much as I remember it. Only there was more yelling of "stow those grenandes, marine!!!" than you've mentioned.... ;)
 

Gregor Hutton

Causing Carnage
#7
Thanks for posting this -- sounds a lot of fun. I was running it at the weekend at IndieCon in the UK and I find that having pages 18 and 19 (I think?!) open in front of me during combat keeps me right.

As you're seeing the GM might not be killing anyone yet but you are driving to get them to spend Strengths and Weaknesses. Those do two things: (a) they bring the characters to life and really feed into the story that we're making, and (b) they burn through the Flashbacks until we get to the point of Replacement. At some point it will be to the groups advantage to have some PCs die. Whether they want to let that happen, or whether the dice say it will happen, is something that you might be seeing soon.

E-vacs, as I saw at the weekend, are another way for a party to kill a good proportion of themselves off while trying to "save" everyone.
 

Rain242

Refugee from Reality
Validated User
#8
Down a player (and, subsequently, we deemed that Tpr. Doolan had been airlifted out following the previous combat), the PCs ranks were bolstered by a new character:

Trooper Dave Monroe
Reputation: Cool Under Fire
FA: 8
NFA: 2
Kills: 43
Weapons: Energy Rifle, Grenades

As a note on his Stats, I stressed to the player beforehand that the characters didn't have a huge amount of NFA. Why he then dumped eight points into FA, I cannot say. :confused:

As the squad had five NPC troopers with them anyway, we just figured he'd been there all along, without needing to awkwardly crowbar him into the existing party.

Also, as a quick side note, Cpl. Burns had written down his weapon as an E-Cannon in error. He was actually using the Stats for the Heavy MG, if there's any discrepancy above.

So, picking up where we left off:

Planet Goya (cont.)
Reaching the bottom of the canyon, the squad saw smoke drifting out of a cave ahead. Sent ahead to investigate, Tpr. Monroe went ahead to investigate and saw the scientist's shuttlecraft inside (his failed NFA test meaning he didn't see the cats prowling around just inside the cave entrance). He waved the squad forward.

THREAT TOKENS: 4

Once inside the cave, the felines pounced (winning the Dominance Roll and causing a Kill to each of the PCs due to their ambush). As they moved towards the squad, Sgt. Sarpe and Cpl. Burns attacked. The Sergeant cut down four of the beasts with his Slug Rifle, while the Corporal blew apart six more with his grenades. Tpr. Monroe, meanwhile (having failed his roll), was caught unawares and struggled to bring his Energy Rifle to bear.

Unleashing more grenades, Cpl. Burns effortlessly took out another eleven of the aliens. Tpr. Monroe, now having regained his composure, hosed the final four of the felines with gunfire, eliminating the last aliens in the cave.
***​
Moving in to examine the downed shuttle. The crew were dead although, with the devastation the squad encountered inside, it was difficult to determine if it was the crash that killed them or the cats (Cpl. Burns' player actually suggested they'd been partly eaten, and I couldn't help but agree).

Returning to the drop ship, the squad started back to the fleet...
 
Last edited:

Rain242

Refugee from Reality
Validated User
#9
Between Sessions
Gaining Level
Having taken out the most kills, Cpl. Burns gained a level, adding a point to his NFA and unlocking a new Strength.

Sgt. Sarpe rolled highest on the d10, buying up his NFA to six and making a new Weakness available.

Automatic Improvement
Sgt. Sarpe improved his Grenades' Close Range to 2d6.
Cpl. Burns increased the Near Range of his Heavy MG to 2d10.
Tpr. Doolan added a step to his Energy Rifle, giving it 2d6 at Near Range.

Development Roll
Succeeding on their Development Rolls, Sgt. Sarpe and Cpl. Burns increased their other weapons: The Sergeant improved his Slug Rifle's Close Range to 2d6, whilst the Corporal boosted his grenades to d10 at Close.

Medals
Having successfully completed his first mission, Tpr. Monroe received not only his Campaign Badge, but also a Crimson Sword and Wound Badge into the bargain. The other two PCs went away empty-handed this time, but that was to change after the next planet...

...The next planet being the forest world of Rembrandt.
 

Mortality

Outside a white house
#10
As a note on his Stats, I stressed to the player beforehand that the characters didn't have a huge amount of NFA. Why he then dumped eight points into FA, I cannot say. :confused:
Maybe he thought they knew what they were doing, since they'd been playing longer than he had?
 
Top Bottom