[3:16] Astartes! 3:16 in 40K

edited August 2010 in Actual Play
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?

Comments

  • Just run it like you would a campaign of 40K. Realize the detail in your planets and NPCs.

    Have a Governor send them to rescue a Navigator and her ship stuck in Warpspace (gotta love Genestealers). Put down a rebellion on a Grox-farming planet. Go save Cantor's ass and his Ultramarines from the Space Orks. Have some Chaos Space Marines start hunting the squad.

    Dark Angels are a chapter rich in history. Do you have the Codex for them? I'd totally flesh that stuff out. Flashbacks could be of anyone who had the Marine's seed before. I would totally do that if I was a player.

    Oh and that ship in warpspace? Full of psykers. After all the Imperium needs 100 psychic souls every day to sustain the Emperor, and retain him as a psychic beacon at the heart of the human universe.
  • Posted By: Chris GardinerSo we decided to play 3:16 in the Warhammer 40K setting.
    A nice read this! Really got me thinking about ways of using 3:16, or parts of it ...

    Thank you for being so inspiring!
  • Great stuff! Here are Gregor's own thoughts on a 40k variant of 3:16

    http://316carnage.com/2009/10/21/warhammer-40k-variant-by-gregor-hutton/

    Can I post your write-up to the above website? And are you using the new Spotlight rules?
  • Wow. I did say that too.

    Mordheim's site is the best 3:16 one on the web. Thumbs up.
  • Posted By: Gregor HuttonDark Angels are a chapter rich in history. Do you have the Codex for them? I'd totally flesh that stuff out.
    Yeah - the history was what appealed. I don't have the codex, but I've been plundering Lexicarnum.
    Flashbacks could be of anyone who had the Marine's seed before. I would totally do that if I was a player.
    Aargh! That's brilliant! I'll add it to our list of flashback-topics.

    Cheers!
  • edited August 2010
    Posted By: mordheimGreat stuff! Here are Gregor's own thoughts on a 40k variant of 3:16

    http://316carnage.com/2009/10/21/warhammer-40k-variant-by-gregor-hutton/
    Oo! Cheers for that - great site! I'd changed Hatred of Home to Hatred of the Emperor already. I really like weaknesses becoming Corruption - I need to think about that. I'm going for a specific take on Chaos.
    Can I post your write-up to the above website?
    Please do!
    And are you using the new Spotlight rules?
    The what, now?

  • The what, now?
    Gregor Hutton has added some additional rules to his 3:16 game, most importantly Spotlight scenes and Accomplishments. The rules for these can not be found in the 3:16 book, but in his upcoming variants 316AD and Carnage Amongst the Tribes. The new rules greatly enhances gameplay and makes the game feel 'deeper' and less beer-and-pretzels.
  • Are the Spotlight and Accomplishment rules online anywhere?
  • I haven't played with the Spotlight or Accomplishment rules, so take this with a grain of salt, but it kinda bugs me when people say that 3:16 is a bear and pretzels game. It's not. I mean sure you could play it in a very light, video-game action/violence sort of way. But all the tools for something "deeper" are there. The game doesn't hit you in the face right away, but the themes do kinda creep up on you over the course of a few missions. Then it essentially becomes all about conflict between the marines. The missions themselves are just vehicles to drive the inter-human conflicts.

    As for PVP conflicts, I wouldn't expect too many on the first couple of missions. But if you, as the GM, put the players into situations that challenge their sense of humanity and pit one character against the other via NPC orders, then the PVP conflicts will come. In my experience, they start out almost passive aggressive, and eventually erupt into all out murder. You do have to give it some time. Don't rush. Just enjoy the missions at first. Push the PCs' buttons and let the players drive when they want to start disobeying orders, etc.

    The best part about 3:16 is figuring out why the players are going after one another or breaking away from the military hierarchy. That's the good stuff after you get past the initial enthusiasm of: "Holy crap, I just killed 50 bugs on one roll!" -- which is still great fun.
  • Posted By: Tim C Koppang3:16 is a bear and pretzels game
    Gregor, I have a new quote for your website.
  • Posted By: ndpGregor, I have a new quote for your website.
    NATHAN! *shakes fist dramatically*
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