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Gregor Hutton's 3:16

manwhat

Thoroughly mediocre GM.
RPGnet Member
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I think the one thing that could be made clear in the rules if you're new to this kind of game is that a session shouldn't be just a generic battle-to-battle procedure. You still need to have an actual fictional layer where you do things like set up a temporary base, scout for the nest, etc - use those NFA stats!
I also demonstrated the existence of other members of the brigade with handing out 'temporary troopers' to the squad, NPCs who had some useful ability that they should try not to lose.


I've had fun with it in the past.
 

Tensen01

Go, Play; For Justice!
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One of my all-time favorite RPGs. Been playing it since it came out, written hacks for it, houserules, etc. It is way more robust than it seems. And is so light that never hinders your ability to tell a story... I had an entire session that was a baseball tournament versus other ships.

If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

One thing NEVER describe how anyone dies. Always leave that to the PC to explain how they got those dozen kills, or how they died. Also I feel this game benefits from a never say No attitude. Someone comes up with something interesting to use NFA for? Yes! Someone wants to know if their armor has this silly thing on it? Yes! And if it's something you're not sure about? make them roll, or give it to them at the cost of something else. but I guarantee you'll have a better time.
 
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Tensen01

Go, Play; For Justice!
Validated User
Oh also, I had a house rule that everyone always enjoyed. Name every other member of the squad, maybe give them a personality. Now, If a PC ever gets to Crippled, also kill one of the NPC troopers... And make the player describe how they getting injured also got the trooper killed.

if you're interested in hacks and stuff...

Here's my optional Trooper specializtions. To give the rank and file a little more variety.
Trooper Specilizations

And here's a Sword and Sorcery hack I was working on
Roads of Blood and Carnage
 

Ashigaru

Registered Yojimbo
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3:16 is my group's favorite "filler" game. Every time we're down a player or two or circumstances otherwise prevent us from playing our main campaign, somebody will inevitably ask me if I can run it. As a result I've run 14 missions, but sessions tend to be months apart. My players absolutely love it.

The premise is easy to explain to new roleplayers or people who weren't around for previous missions: "You ever seen 'Aliens'? It's basically that..." and you're off to the races. Surviving characters can be used in subsequent missions, so players get to enjoy the rank promotions and equipment improvements, but apart from recurring NPCs there's not a lot of continuity or backstory for players to remember. Most of my 3:16 NPCs are broad archetypes (Disinterested Lead-from-the-Rear Lieutenant, Mad Scientist, Reckless Pilot, etc.), so new players catch on quick and veterans have their memories refreshed instantly.

At my table, I think 3:16 has also acted as a sort of gateway to more narrative game styles. Our standard fare tends towards pretty traditional GM/player division of labor, but the flashback mechanic and having players narrate their own successes and failures helped accustom them to working with more narrative authority.
 

Wightbred

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Oh also, I had a house rule that everyone always enjoyed. ...
if you're interested in hacks and stuff...
Love the house rule and the hacks. Did half a D&D one myself back in the day I called Butchers and Thieves. Must dust it off.

Big fan of 3:16. I find you can get to the ‘WTF are we doing?’ pretty quickly by making the officers heartless and the aliens have cute offspring. Our favourite joke is the Intelligence Officer calling a circle on a piece of paper a ‘map’ of the know features of the planet, wishing them luck and then releasing the drop pods.
 

Wightbred

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...
At my table, I think 3:16 has also acted as a sort of gateway to more narrative game styles. Our standard fare tends towards pretty traditional GM/player division of labor, but the flashback mechanic and having players narrate their own successes and failures helped accustom them to working with more narrative authority.
Have a similar experience. Couldn’t grok the two stats when I first read it, but got into it after trying Mouse Guard and we loved it. Stepped us on to sharing narrative even in more traditional games.
 

Ashigaru

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None of the mechanics map over directly, but I suspect my group had an easier time getting into Apocalypse World after dipping their toes into narrative play with 3:16.
 

Ante

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I think the one thing that could be made clear in the rules if you're new to this kind of game is that a session shouldn't be just a generic battle-to-battle procedure. You still need to have an actual fictional layer where you do things like set up a temporary base, scout for the nest, etc - use those NFA stats!
I also demonstrated the existence of other members of the brigade with handing out 'temporary troopers' to the squad, NPCs who had some useful ability that they should try not to lose.
That's a great point, and actually a helper to my own point about fleshing out the basics given in the book. Add serious scoops of satire and dark humour and those NFA based rolls basically writes themselves. It is a great game.
 

Ashigaru

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Regarding avoiding the generic battle-to-battle sequence, I think the mission briefing is an important part of every 3:16 session. It's a great opportunity to really drive home how disinterested the officers are and subtly prod players towards the Hatred for Home weakness. Useless (or fuzzy or upside down) maps displayed on old-school overhead projectors, flickering fluorescent lights, tiny community college-style desks, and hungover Lt. Goodman sitting at the front giving a woefully incomplete sitrep in either a monotone or a sarcastic voice. All of my briefings end with "Any questions?--SHUT THE FUCK UP!" which always catches the first-time players off-guard (it's always fun if someone has raised their hand) and makes the returning ones grin. Once I even gave them the exact same briefing from their LAST mission, and the dawning realization on my group's faces was priceless.

Another running gag I do every mission is have science department staff member Doc Spex (think Hans Moleman from The Simpsons) take a moment during the briefing to "debunk some rumors going around" about the PCs equipment while inadvertently confirming and demonstrating them. Maybe the combat drugs cause impotence or mood swings or narcolepsy, etc. I keep the actual missions gritty and violent, but 3:16 GMs can learn a lot from Paranoia for the briefings.

Another thing I've done was--after running about a dozen sessions emphasizing the woes of ground-pounder life--run a session using the So Few online magazine article about space fighter pilots. I leaned into the "Best of the best" Top Gun angle with a pre-mission slow-motion volleyball game, respectful and collegial officers giving detailed briefings on holographic equipment, high quality quarters and food, attractive people with gleaming white teeth, etc. The players loved the contrast and, having invested so much time in their poor and mistreated grunts, absolutely hated the pilot characters they were borrowing for the one-shot. The session was a great success.

One final tip: during combat, if a player seems to be considering their options, always recommend they use grenades. The friendly fire potential is both fun and hilarious.
 
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