[3:16, Actual Play] The Hellworld Chronicles, Mission #1: Planet Caravaggio

edited July 2008 in Actual Play

Some folks may give lengthy retellings of the events of the game, but not me! No siree bob! Only the finest of high technology for me, which is exactly what'll be coming to you, the listener, when you tune into my play-group getting down with the gunnery in 3:16, which I recorded live from chargen to the end of their first mission.. The actual time invested in getting chargen done and much killing of the innocent aliens? Less than half an hour. OK, possibly more when you add in my mission briefing which hinges on the fact I tend to be ... rambly.

Ultimately, this one comes out as a big, fat win. 3:16 plays fast, furious, and very well online with the use of RPTools' MapTool. I have the basic stats and rolls coded on macros, the board setup for range settings, and all was largely very, very well.

I posted the notes for Planet Caravaggio over on my blog for folks to look at if there's interest. Undoubtedly overprepared and I absolutely have to get my players to be more elaborate with descriptions, but they'll get there. They'll get there.

Comments

  • I'm listening to it now. Great stuff. Are you all in the same place or is it an online meet up?

    I'm amazed by the detailed interface you're using for sharing info with the group.
  • Well, Ray in this case was in my next room on the guest computer, Eric was in Conroe, TX and Heather was in St. John's, Newfoundland. We're a geographically distributed lot. Next week we'll probably be adding Jandi to the squad as "medic" ... likewise from my den. I'm looking forward to the increased insanity.

    MapTool is actually quite the useful thing. Since you can drop Macros on each of the tokens that actually reference stat values / properties set on them, it's just nice to be able to put essentially all the stats that matter in 3:16 in one place, have it displayed directly, and go with it. Pointedly, Hix and Reese now both have new icon pics on their tokens which are taken from online pictures they've found. (Unsurprisingly, Hix is Kyle Reese from *Aliens** ...)

    Great fun, though. A blast. I really need to get around to setting up next week's missions. :)

  • You know, speaking of adding characters ... There's no text about adding players to the game after the initial setup. I was just going to essentially hand her a new character since there's only been two Level Ups since the first Mission, but later on that'll be a larger spread. My gut would suggest just bring them in at the lowest FA+NFA of the group. That accord with yours, Gregor?

  • For me, a new character starts as a new character (i.e. 10 points in FA + NFA) but... if the group wants someone to come in with a higher level then they should make it happen.

    My reasoning for someone starting at the bottom is that they get just 2 Flashbacks to start. If someone came in at Level 14, say, then they'd have 6 Flashbacks to spend.

    The way the game plays you want people to earn their unspent Flashbacks (it's hard to hold on to them), and just throwing in a load of unspent ones will likely unbalance things far more than a new character having only a low FA+NFA.
  • Listen to a little of this in the car today, I have to say it's absolutely brilliant. Love the description of the commanding officers and the back chat from the characters.

    Any chance you'll make the stuff you did for MapTool available? I'd be very interested in giving this a go with a disparate group here in the UK.

    I intend to finish listening to the rest tonight, I so keen to see how much of a mess the new troopers make of things ;)

    - Neil.
  • I managed to listen to this at work today, thanks for putting it up, I enjoyed it.

    One question, what did you feel about the balance of FA and NFA rolls? To me it sounded like a surprisingly large number of NFA were used
  • Posted By: Gregor HuttonFor me, a new character starts as a new character (i.e. 10 points in FA + NFA) but... if the group wants someone to come in with a higher level then they should make it happen. My reasoning for someone starting at the bottom is that they get just 2 Flashbacks to start. If someone came in at Level 14, say, then they'd have 6 Flashbacks to spend. The way the game plays you want people to earn their unspent Flashbacks (it's hard to hold on to them), and just throwing in a load of unspent ones will likely unbalance things far more than a new character having only a low FA+NFA.

    Makes sense. Since they're just starting out there's not enough difference from a starting Trooper to be an issue. Just thinking of the future, to be careful. Though as ranks go up, responsibilities and scope of descriptions shift, so it kind of works itself out, narratively.

    Poor Doc. She's going to be so out of her depth this week. :)

  • Posted By: NeilFordListen to a little of this in the car today, I have to say it's absolutely brilliant. Love the description of the commanding officers and the back chat from the characters. Any chance you'll make the stuff you did for MapTool available? I'd be very interested in giving this a go with a disparate group here in the UK. I intend to finish listening to the rest tonight, I so keen to see how much of a mess the new troopers make of things ;) - Neil.

    Sure. Once I get the Macros tweaked to my satisfaction for all the Ranks, I'll be happy to package the whole thing up and put it somewhere. MapTool really does make a huge difference for running things online, making it roll from "awkward" to "quite a pleasure."

  • Posted By: HituroI managed to listen to this at work today, thanks for putting it up, I enjoyed it.

    One question, what did you feel about the balance of FA and NFA rolls? To me it sounded like a surprisingly large number of NFA were used
    In retrospect, I called for a LOT of NFAs ... but then again, the Alien Ability was only 2 (lowest NFA), so they were going to be a wash as a threat no matter what happened. The NFA rolls were the really challenging rolls, in terms of failure.

    This week there'll be a good chunk of NFAs, but the Aliens are a lot stiffer competition so we'll be seeing FA move into the fore as the tensioner more.
  • Posted By: fnord3125I listened to the recording the other day and I found it really interesting and entertaining!

    I've been asking a lot of dumb questions about this game lately, so this might be one of them: did you forget to let the players make a development roll? I just remember the player of the corporal asking if there wasn't any other benefit to her using a strength and thinking "I thought that was a requirement for a check to gain a rank . . ."
    They all failed the Development Rolls. The dice were really cruel to Corporal Reese and really didn't like too many other folks, either. So two Level Ups and no Development. Sad, but them's the breaks. The Corporal will have to get better ranges and breaks for her E-Cannon this week ... or subtly arrange for Trooper Koch to be in Grenade range ...
  • It's interesting because when I read the book I was thinking, "Boy, in a game like this FA seems to be a lot more important than NFA." And that might be true, if you focused entirely on combat. But even in that case, if lots of people went for 8 FA, 2 NFA starting characters, they'd be in trouble since some crucial stuff uses NFA. It's an interesting balance. I'm really eager to try this game out for myself!

    Oh, I'm curious. If the Trooper and the Corporal keep fighter, are you going to take it to full combat rules at some point?
  • Posted By: fnord3125It's interesting because when I read the book I was thinking, "Boy, in a game like this FA seems to be a lot more important than NFA." And that might be true, if you focused entirely on combat. But even in that case, if lots of people went for 8 FA, 2 NFA starting characters, they'd be in trouble since some crucial stuff uses NFA. It's an interesting balance. I'm really eager to try this game out for myself!

    Oh, I'm curious. If the Trooper and the Corporal keep fighter, are you going to take it to full combat rules at some point?
    Some really crucial things use NFA as their core, and I like hitting it hard during play for various things. 3:16 is so obviously "a game about shooting things" as it were that I feel compelled to go the other way with it. Next session'll be a lot more shooting things than last, pointedly, with aliens that can actually SHOOT BACK effectively.

    It's just so fast and easy and beautiful. I'm absolutely running it at Anime Weekend Atlanta, right along Bliss Stage which, last year, crescendoed with a giant space vagina underneath Stone Mountain, GA.

    Yeah, it was weird.
  • I enjoyed this, especially the impending infighting in the squad.
    If Heather really [ireally[/i] doesn't like roll under systems, you can easily convert it to a RollUP system: Roll d10, add rating, 11+ succeeds. Then count successes down from highest to lowest. It's identical odds to the standard system.
  • Oh, yeah, Eric came up with the same system suggestion. Me, I like the roll-under. I'm chalking it up to just a matter of rustiness with the unders; a lot of designs have been ups over the past few years.

  • The latest ep is up over there on http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/23290. Mission #2 starts out with Trooper Koch laid up in the hospital with a concussion and another Trooper coming in with the group, Tpr Medic Susy Jones (the original Koch's RL girlfriend, playing while he recouperated from a headache on my couch). I think her character description could actually be said to be "Kiss Ass." Which was a wonderful counterpoint to Koch's ... The Sergeant and Corporal both felt a little bit better about that sort of thing.

    This week's antagonists were giant apes with advanced technology and jetpacks. Jetpacks, man! Monkies with jetpacks! (Full notes for this session are over on my blog at http://zamiel.livejournal.com/1158838.html.

    I need to tighten up the orderings of the turns after the rolls; that's just not coming together as well as I'd like, given that the numbers are all there in front of me. Still have to bang on that a bit. And I note with some understanding now that 3 encounters per mission is too few when you really only have one character in the group able to hit the broad side of a barn. Combine a Special Ability that doesn't require a Token burn with two characters whose FA's are under 6 and those Tokens hang out a while there, doing damage as they burn.

    Borrowed a line off someone else's game that suggested that whenever the PCs get down to Crippled, an NPC Trooper buys it. This led to, "Davey! It ripped Davey in half!" which will easily be Flashback fodder later.

    I'm still loving the speed and smoothness with which 3:16 runs. I really haven't had a game nearly as successful in online contexts. Totally worth every thought about it I've invested. If I can get and keep the Players attentive and focused on the game at hand, I think we'll be getting somewhere.

    This coming Saturday will slide away from the open field warfare and the 60's space monkies to a much, much darker place which borrows more heavily from Apocalypse Now and Vietnam than Saturday Morning Cartoons, and the gloves come off that much further.

    SOMEONE WILL DIE! Who will it be?

    Tune in next week for the continuation of ... The Hellworld Chronicles.
  • You've seen the AT-43 minis, right?

    There is nothing like a Gorilla in Powered Armour ... except an Energy Rifle on full auto :^)
  • Posted By: Gregor HuttonYou've seen the AT-43 minis, right?

    There is nothing like aGorilla in Powered Armour... except an Energy Rifle on full auto :^)
    I wish I HAD seen them, because I'd have used them for the Alien Token images. Nothing beats seeing an appropriate image peering up from the tokens that get counted in and out.

    I really do like the automatically-scaling threat provided in the system design. It makes a lot of things just "work." I'm probably being too liberal with the sort of thing I'm letting them get away with in the course of NFA checks, but since it seems to result in them actually feeling like they can make better decisions with effect than otherwise, I'm thinking it's a net win.

    I need to add a new Encounter to this week's write-ups. Last week's taught me that 3 Encounters were simply too bulky, in terms of situation, to play out well for my group yet. In part, it's because with three PCs, two of which are relatively focussed on NFA, they can't chew the Tokens out fast enough. I need to work them more into seeing Encounters as areas they can spread out more within, letting them take the lead in shaping it. One day at a time, I guess.

    I really like the new house rule to kill off an NPC Trooper every time a PC hits Crippled. There's a lot of great potential there for colour -- and future Flashbacks. If you're debating future editions or add-on books (Sik, maybe), I think it should probably make it in there as an explicit option.

    It's really rolling well, Gregor. Thank you for putting together such a fabulous thing. Feel free to drop in on one of our sessions directly if you'd like. I try and make sure the times are pretty close to when we crank up. :) That applies to anyone on the thread, by the way. Drop by. I might even unmute you to do some voicing of the aliens' actions. Save me some work. :)
  • Alexander, when you put up your Maptool stuff, let us know... I'm intrigued! :)

    Also, publish both the macros AND the tokens... btw, Maptool lets you save a token with all its associated macros and stuff in a shareable file: some downloadable files would be golden... I bet Gregor would like to have them on his website, also (but using no copyrighted art, obviously :) )

    Am I right Gregor?
  • Yeah, don't break any laws!

    I'm happy to host them or have SquidLord host them/make them available if he wants to. It sounds like it makes it real easy for him to run the game. That's a big thumbs up from me.

    If you want to have tokens made up of art from the book then let me know and we can work it out. I have the high-res originals and I could even do some specific new illos if that would be useful.

    By the way, I'll be giving away some of the original art at GenCon on the Design Matters booth. I think I'll have one piece a day to randomly give away to customers in a prize draw.
  • Cool... unfortunately I'm stranded on the other side of the ocean, so no gencon for me.

    But the maptool setup I'll probably make good use of, in the future: it's a neat tool, and having "official" tokens would be a boon.
    (btw, Gregor... you've got a customer in Italy: just got the pdf from IPR :) )
  • Hi, oh great lord of Squids. I have listened to and enjoyed both podcasts. I'm also interested in the Maptools stuff, as I might try running this game online - or with my PC at the gaming table.
  • I've just been pulling random art off the Internets for the token images, and that's what I suggest you do too, if only because the RPTools TokenTool literally makes it a drag-n-drop proposition. (Drag art from Firefox to TTool, center image on edge, drag token to directory, drag into token proper, done. Google is a fine source of art so you, too, can break the law in the privacy of your own homes! :)

  • I've never used Maptools, though I have it, so I'm more interested in how you set up the character sheet and dice roller than the art side of it.
  • Squid, paste here your macros, so that we can start poking around, please! :)
  • As soon as I finish the Ranking Token macros I'll package up the lot and post them somewhere.

  • edited August 2008
    In the meantime I got up my lazy backside, and made some "generic" tokens for 3:16. The starting 3 ranks, and the "blips" of Alien Threat, for now, but i guess I'll do more in the future. Oh, and a board: not as fancy as the one in the book, but functional (and the bars are of the right size to hold two tokens side by side).
    They are 64x64 pixels, so if you are using maptool set your grid to that size to avoid ugly resizing.


    Photobucket

    Here is the url to the album
    http://s99.photobucket.com/albums/l313/renatoram/ThreeSixteen/

    Oh, if anyone's interested, whisper me and I'll send you the source .svg file (the font is a free stencil font from dafont.com named JJ Stencil)
  • I notice you have a Range band there. One thing that I'd like to alter the range band to include is:

    "Too Far" or "Out of Range", and on the alien side, a Total Threat, so I can jsut slide tokens from that to the This Encounter bit.
  • edited August 2008
    Posted By: demiurgeastarothI notice you have a Range band there. One thing that I'd like to alter the range band to include is:

    "Too Far" or "Out of Range", and on the alien side, a Total Threat, so I can jsut slide tokens from that to the This Encounter bit.
    I can do that: I'll upload the modified range band soon.

    --EDIT--
    Photobucket

    There you go, like it?
    The total threat is small, but the tokens can be stacked, so...
  • Passingly relatedly, the latest episode of The Hellworld Chronicles is up on the server along with a little blurb explaining why the crew is taking the next week off.

    The real reason is that I've got a staff meeting for Anime Weekend Atlanta in the one time slot that Heather, our Real Life Doctor isn't on call that weekend, but I like my suggested alternate reasoning better. Far more exciting, anyway.

  • Posted By: renatoram
    There you go, like it?
    The total threat is small, but the tokens can be stacked, so...
    It looks good. I'd probably reverse the sizes of the Total Threat and Encounter Threat.
  • I was thinking about having the "big pile" of the Total Threat stacked, just for convenience (being able to drag the tokens to the encounter, or to move them away/delete when spent for special abilities), while having enough room to lay the threat tokens side to side, clearly visible an countable, in the encounter threat space, so that all players can clearly see how many of them there are, and see them go away when blasted by the troopers :)

    But yeah, I guess I can upload a reversed one: this evening (GMT+1).
  • I use misshapen stones that don't stack very well :)
  • edited August 2008
    Ah, but that "sheet" was intended for online play with maptool, so the tokens can stack easily :)

    So, here is the enlarged range strip with extra boxes, scaled to print on a A4 sheet, at 150dpi. Enjoy!
    image
    (right click and save: i've scaled it down in the html tag to avoid messing with the thread, but the source image is big)
  • Y'know.

    I'm going to have to make a new medal for you guys.

    Great stuff.
  • :)
    My pleasure, really.
  • Huzzah, mission #4 on Planet Michelangelo is finally up on TalkShoe. After the hiatus from last week, it's just double-plus-good that we got things going so early in the day (for me; seeing the sun when you're nocturnal sucks).

    This week, we had our first death! Which is all kinds of fun, and the first two promotions, keeping the chain of command intact but getting further away from the Troopers at the bottom. They'll have to bust hump to catch up, soon.

  • edited August 2008
    It was about time, also! I was running out of stuff to listen to on my commute to work! :)

    Your recordings are really funny (even if sometimes the audio seems to disappear, or weird echoes show up.

    The shift voice from "normal player" to "wide eyed super friendly tooper on drugs" of "Susy Jones" is particularly fun.
    "Yes ma'am, ma'am!"
  • edited August 2008

    [laugh] You can always add my other live show to your list, Operation BSU. Very, very different, but equally as psyche-destroying.


    The funny thing is that the "Susie Jones" voice is more like her "normal" voice than her "normal voice" is, but Jandi's always been a bit of a wack-job. :)


    Oh, yes, a screenshot of the MapTool screen during a game looks, well, like this. But with Alien Tokens:


    316 MapTool Screen

  • Don't forget to pack and publish your macros somewhere!
    (or maybe even full rptok tokens)
  • SquidLord: I really would love to see your Macros. It would actually enable me to run the game.
  • FWIW, I've made mine while waiting for squidlord :)
    I'll send them tomorrow, together with full featured campaign file and standalone rptok files for the three ranks you'll start with (white colour). Copying the macros to new tokens is easy, even if mortally tedious.

    If someone knows how to replicate the macros to new tokens, plese represent!
    (if it involves tinkering inside the zip on the xml files... I figured that myself, but had hopes that I was wrong!)
  • As promised, here you are: a full table with tokens to play 3:16 online, included tracking of the wound states, kills, rolling FA and NFA, switching weapons and healing.

    Find the screenshot and links to the download on my blog

    Enjoy :)

    And let me know if you find bugs: it's my very first try at maptool macros.
  • Thanks - I'll be playing with it soon.
  • And since we're there...Tokens for Officers!

    All the ranks form Lieutenant to Brigadier.

    In my tokens I've skipped all the stuff relating to gear that was not a simple weapon (all the one-shots, basically), so remember to point to your players that they have it (or create some handouts to stick to their tokens).

    Also, customizing the macros for each player when they upgrade their weapons is pretty straightforward. The only gotcha is that (probably ignorance on my part) the simplest way to represent 0 and 1 kills I've found is a convoluted "1d1-1" and "1d1". But it works. Also, no difference is made between "zero kills" and "range not available" so check your manual there.

    And, remember to save your campaign and your player's customized tokens with new names: all the customizations (stats, weapons, and so on) will be available ready to be dropped in a new campaign, if necessary.
  • Renato: That's awesome. I'll have a look at these. I have players all over germany eager to play, and I'll be in greece for two weeks – which will make this a really interesting test …
  • Well, Harald... we're also in the same timezone (Italy here), so who knows, we might even arrange an "international" skype game.
  • renatoram: Great idea. I will keep it in mind for things to do after my vacation (which is next week).
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