Though I didn’t feel like macho space-jocks, I was definitely up for some austere nihilism in the name of a corpse-god. So we decided to play 3:16 in the Warhammer 40K setting.
The reskin was light-touch. No rules were changed, just different names for gear and ranks. Combat drugs became the Grace of the Emperor. Stuff like that. Also added a couple of roles people could take that added an extra order to their list:
• Chaplain: defend the spiritual health of the squad
• Librarian: keep the secrets of the chapter.
• Apothecary: Sanctify the dead (remove the geneseed from fallen marines so it can be used to make more)
The mission was the final battle of an Imperial crusade against the Eldar. The Dark Angels space marines have to seize the city’s God-Tower and hold it. We had a fun time. There was a charge across a sniper-watched square, a fight up an Eldar mausoleum to find high ground and locate a missing squad, a battle against possessed marines in a park of crystal trees, and a final assault on the God-Tower in a commandeered APC. More info on the in-game events can be found over here
An interesting thing happened at the end: one player pre-empted the final encounter by invoking a Strength. That left a bit of a bitter taste in some players’ mouths, I think. Everyone else was geared up for a big fight, and hadn’t quite clicked onto the semi-competitive nature of the play. At least one player is very wary of PVP elements in games, but 3:16’s competitive element is quite…mild? A poke in the ribs, not a stab in the gut.
Killing or totally inconveniencing another player is hugely dangerous to you, but ensuring they’re operating a peak kills-efficiency doesn’t help your chances of victory either. People tend to see weapons’ kill stats as damage, but they’re not. The number of kills you score has no bearing on whether you win the encounter. It’s not your job to ensure everyone else is at optimal range, but you want them at a range that lets them remove a threat token.
I'm curious how serious player-vs-player conflict has got in other people's games of 3:16.
I’m completely in love with the combat system. As soon as the dice are rolled at the start of a round, everyone at the table has absolute information on how the round will play out. That makes for fascinating tactical choices.Lessons learned
A key trick to GMing seems to be throwing concrete fictional details out there. We had a fight on a spiral staircase, a crystal forest, captured space marines controlled like puppets by elder that rode them, an abandoned APC. Tangible elements that the players can interact with and bounce off. Don’t just leave the burden of narration to the players.
Oh, and NFA rolls, NFA rolls, NFA rolls. To get stuff working, to find stuff out, to get from one place to another. Throw them out like confetti. Stuff I need to do better next time
Pull back a bit from seizing the narration-reins. If a player seems at a loss I tend to jump in to help out, and sometimes do so a bit quickly or in too much detail. I’ve also not yet been using superior officers as adversity. Need to have more of a think about this.
Anyone else got tips for ongoing 3:16 play? What should I know?