*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 27, 2014, 11:13:12 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 65 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [3:16] Home is for the hating  (Read 2997 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« on: February 10, 2009, 11:01:15 AM »

Hello,

For previous threads, see [3:16] Way Too Easy Or Just Got the Rules Wrong? and [3:16] Semi-Captain, Lt.-Captain, almost-Captain on deck, sir!

A few weeks ago, we played a mission to planet Whistler. I rolled up AA = 8, high gravity, humanoids (pigs of course), and reduced visibility. I decided that this planet was actually part of the Terran empire, and they were civilized, technological, and generally a lot like humans. I also decided the entire planet was paved, with various rolling and sloping surfaces, which then inspired me to come up with big-balloon tires on the open-to-the-air vehicles. And yeah, pig-people - who, thinking this was an ordinary visit from the Terran troops, sent out the ambassador with a brass band to welcome them.

'Cept the brass on the ship was pulling a false-flag attack on an ally (subject, really) to make it look as though the enemy bugs did it.

This was the mission in which the players totally abandoned any interest in kill-count. It was vastly more like a more general role-playing scenario. Chris, playing Deet, encountered pure moral agony as the commander of the mission. He'd so looked forward to being in charge, too! Tim K thought this was pretty funny. His character, Viper, had some cool beginning scenes involving being awoken from a freeze-tank and padding naked around the ship for a while. Viper is quite weird apparently, but it turns out that Tim K is playing the guy as a hair away from "Hatred for home" from the get-go. He frequently leaves or avoids combat, contrary to his FA of 10, and he's highly-entertainingly good at covering his ass about it.

Oh, the scenes, the scenes. Viper goes AWOL and runs around like Frodo and Sam in Mordor. Kowalski determines to alert the Terran media to the war crime taking place and sabotages the media blackout which was one of the squad's top priorities in the mission. I made their lives hell - Kowalski even got waterboarded by a pig militia at one point. Deet was driven to distraction by trying to keep these rebel reprobates under his control while personally hating the mission himself.

Ultimately, it all yielded a fantastic outcome - Kowalski literally sabotaged the intent of the mission while fulfilling it to the letter; such that the planet was destroyed, but lots of pig-people escape and Terra's media is made aware of what happened.

Then, the next week, we played again, and this time, many things had changed. Deet is now a Major (geez!), and the other two are lowly grunt Troopers.

I rolled. AA = 10, Holbein, asteroid belt, sharks/rays/eels, and enrage. Shoot! At AA 10, Enrage is meaningless. I'm starting to see the point about not always rolling every detail for each mission. Anyway, I decided that the ship was not really on a mission, but actually hiding out from the Terran forces while the brass tried to spin the news about the disastrous previous mission to its advantage. So the asteroid belt is where it's hiding ... and it's attacked! Cool! A "mission" defending your own ship!

I started it off with some boring routine and a new Sergeant Hutton, who at first seemed like a starched tenor non-entity until he showed up at the barracks to carry out Deet's orders with a cattle-prod. At a later point, he used it to goose Kowalski out of where he was shirking work. The team had to go and clean out a section of the ship that hadn't been used for a long time, and at one point they open the blinds to a magnificent vista of space ... to see the squadron of space-swimming sharks with frickin' turret-guns on their heads attacking.

What? They were pretty cool space-sharks, including the little remoras clinging to them, which turn out to be the techies who can work the machinery in the 3:16 ship once they got to the bridge. They swim through vacuum ("vacuum gills") - so how do they survive once in the air of the ship? Air-suit harnesses, of course! We wear space-suits, they wear air-suits. Now shut up.

My narrations emphasized that this attack was a huge disaster for the whole ship, including a total command meltdown. When Deet radioed the bridge to report and receive instructions, all he got back was explosions and screams. Everyone split up again, and this time, both Viper and Kowalski pretty much said "fuck you" to Deet's leadership. The various combat scenes were carnage, carnage, and more of it. The players had zero sympathy for the sharks, but entertainingly, also, zero sympathy whatsoever for their fellow troops or the ship, both personally and generally. Deet had a couple of really gory combat moments and Viper lurked around being kind of weird. At one point I indulged myself in glorious geekery and had Sergeant Hutton's severed head float past in the zero-G ...

Kowalski realized a life-long dream and hacked into the ship's computer when everyone was distracted ... to learn my single major prep-setup for the game - that the "rogue trooper" leader Callahan back on the second planet had actually been the Brigadier of the 3:16, and the leaders that the player-characters have been following from the start of play were actually the ringleaders of the coup that took over the ship. The thing is, these NPCs don't have "hatred for home" and are uber-patriots with few brains and an exaggerated sense of their importance. (Deet had discovered this a while back but had had his memory erased.)

So Kowalski finds this out, and the very next scene is Deet using his Strength to save that very command-community from capture and destruction by the space-sharks in the bridge of the ship, including blowing out a significant section of said bridge into space. Oh, and Deet also used a Weakness, and finally checked off Hatred for Home. Ahhhhh ... the smell of a reward system in the morning, it smells like ... victory!

As I've said before, my current thinking about 3:16 is that the game doesn't really begin until Hatred for Home is claimed by someone, and thus becomes available for everyone. Who takes it? Anyone? Everyone? Given this non-deterministic yet narratively significant exposure of one's character, what do you do with him now? Given that twelve missions isn't merely twelve missions in a non-consequential linear sequence, but rather a twelve-step process of illuminating exactly what the 3:16 is in policy terms, and that has actually become more of the "environment" of play than the planets (or includes the planets), what do the players do about that?

Best, Ron
edited to fix a mistaken initial
« Last Edit: February 10, 2009, 01:05:05 PM by Ron Edwards » Logged
agony
Member

Posts: 96


« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2009, 07:22:30 PM »

So I have to ask: With the vast rank difference between character's, do you foresee some problems in future play?  Particularly if there is a mission on the ground, how do you plan to handle this.

It seems like this is the first actual play where someone made it that far into play and it's quite difficult to picture how play evolves given the rather small initial scale.
Logged

You can call me Charles
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2009, 07:47:24 PM »

Hi Charles,

It's a work in progress. I'm using the book's section "It's not about the missions" for my guide.

So far, I've relied on certain our-game-specific details and nudges to get higher-ranking officers into danger. Sometimes it's easy: when Deet was a Captain and attacked the pig-people planet, he was in charge of quite a few different squads or brigades or battalions or whatever they're called, and the troopers happened to be in one of those. Granted, they weren't all bunched up together, but that wasn't a big deal anyway because Kowalski and Viper went AWOL anyway. It's always easy to annihilate the NPC soldiers to bring the PCs together, if I want them to have that option.

Other times it's sneaky and nasty, as when Gunther was physically forced to go on a mission when he wasn't scheduled to. Or in the last session, when Deet's task as a Major was to oversee the cleaning and overhaul of this whole part of the ship, he wasn't there at first - the Sergeant NPC took care of running it. I think they found something-or-other that demanded his presence, though, right before the sharks attacked (this worked really well in play and didn't feel contrived, but I swear I've forgotten what it was. Guys?)

And now ... well, things are now in a really interesting zone. I think missions, from now on, are going to emerge only through Major Deet's interactions with the NPC higher-ups. In other words, mandating the missions as part of play is no longer up to me in any way, and arguably, maybe there won't be any more of them! (Although that's unlikely considering what I have available via framing and setting and such.) Characters with higher rank mean that play basically turns into more generalized, standard role-playing with the ship and its current location as immediate setting. Missions become options within that context, so if one does arise via play, then we swing into the "make a mission" rules and rolls as usual. But it's no longer a given.

As far as having the PCs interact directly, that won't be a problem. These three men are bound by so much blood, hatred, confusion, special knowledge, and trauma, that they will certainly find ways.

Best, Ron
Logged
GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2009, 08:21:17 AM »

Ron,

Two things.

1) Since I don't have my book in front of me, let me confirm something. When any player gets "Hatred of Home", all players get access to it?

2) You successfully incorporated lasersharks into an actual roleplaying session! Sir, I salute you.

Logged

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2009, 08:32:54 AM »

Hi Seth,

For the first character who gets Hatred for Home, that character sheet had to have filled up all the other Weakness slots and made the last available via leveling up.

Once that happens, any character may identify a newly-acquired Weakness as Hatred for Home, regardless of where they are along the sequence of Weaknesses so far. It doesn't become "available" in the game-rules sense that the box receives a single diagonal slash. It becomes available in the conceptual sense that you may call the new Weakness you've just taken (i.e. placed the second diagonal slash to make an X) Hatred for Home.

The sharks did not have lasers! They had rotating 270-degree turrets on their heads which fired space-bullets. Everyone knows lasersharks are stupid, you silly person

Best, Ron
Logged
GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2009, 08:37:08 AM »

Hi Seth,

For the first character who gets Hatred for Home, that character sheet had to have filled up all the other Weakness slots and made the last available via leveling up.

Once that happens, any character may identify a newly-acquired Weakness as Hatred for Home, regardless of where they are along the sequence of Weaknesses so far. It doesn't become "available" in the game-rules sense that the box receives a single diagonal slash. It becomes available in the conceptual sense that you may call the new Weakness you've just taken (i.e. placed the second diagonal slash to make an X) Hatred for Home.

Ah, gotcha.

Quote
The sharks did not have lasers! They had rotating 270-degree turrets on their heads which fired space-bullets. Everyone knows lasersharks are stupid, you silly person

*big laugh*

Logged

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2009, 02:46:52 PM »

Aww, I would have called it "Home is where the hate is" (home is where the heart is...geddit!?...ah, I'z lovez deliberate freudian slips...)

Hi Ron,

Just focusing on rules use I notice it all appears to be rules first, where you follow the rules and then either that inspires you or reminds you of something nifty to use. Basically working within its constraints gives good results, and doesn't even constrain you terribly (space sharks!). Even the big 12 mission 'show the policy' story is still something that rests on alot of rules first inspiration. As opposed to what might be called imagination first, where someone imagines first then only uses the bits of system which fit that imagining (and indeed may have to skip rules and fudge to keep supporting imagination first).

Or am I way off? I don't have any penetrating observation to add, just posting to highlight the rules first (assuming I'm right) and to go "See, rules first is good! Roleplay doesn't have to always be imagination first! Rules first is good! Is gooood!" for anyone who cares to read it Smiley
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2009, 03:20:07 PM »

I think you're on the right track, Callan. 3:16 and Contenders were the High Ronnies winners for the October round in 2005 (that long ago? geez), and I noted that for some reason, they both made use of what might be thought of as the My Life with Master structural approach to play, but ramped it up even more. Yet imagination is by no means in the back seat, even if it's not the starting point. Kind of like the way a driver encounters the interface of the dashboard and pedals and steering wheel, but the motor is really what makes the car go. So the rules are like the interface that lets everyone connect and engage to the shared motor.

I'm using these analogies partly for fun and parody of over-analogizing, but maybe they work.

Best, Ron
Logged
Gregor Hutton
Member

Posts: 274


WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 11:38:44 AM »

Thanks for posting Ron.

Is there a wide range of Level at the moment? I felt that the driving force once you get to Hatred For Home is the push and pull between someone short of Flashbacks (who likely triggered the Hatred) and who is looking to end it one way or the other, and others who have Flashbacks yet to use (and also to be gained when Levelling up or by allowing themselves to die). So the players who got the glory early are now somewhat at the mercy of the players who've not had that spotlight yet, or are willing to let their characters die to indtroduce a new one with some more power.
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2009, 07:19:01 AM »

Hi Gregor,

It's subtler and more interesting than that. The characters who are lower level hate home as much as or more than Deet does; they merely didn't get to that Weakness before he did.

Viper has at least one available Weakness, unused. So it's a pretty good bet that he will call it Hatred for Home when he does use it. Note that this is Tim K's second character and was built, apparently, already extremely disgruntled and practically anarchistic, totally uninterested in the missions as such. In other words, judgments and experiences from playing through the first character provided a foundation for playing the second in a very different way.

Kowalski is in the interesting situation of having been through 10 missions but only leveling up twice. You would not believe how shitty Tim A rolls for Development. So he hasn't had an available Weakness slot for ages. As you know, nothing stops anyone from playing a character as hating home; the question is merely whether it's been taken as a Weakness and hence, formally, is now "there in front of God and everybody" with an in-play Flashback backing it up in the fiction.

So no, I don't see a built-in conflict between characters who have and have not claimed that Weakness. I do see a conflict between those who do and do not buy into the Terran, 3:16 rhetoric and mission. The presence/use of the formal Hatred for Home might reinforce that conflict or it might not - it depends very greatly on the characters' history.

Now, could the formalization of that mechanic, exactly as written, provide a conceptual framework for such dynamics to be in play? Absolutely, and I think that is what is happening. Regardless of who has or hasn't taken the Weakness, the mechanical possibility of doing so is a very real part of play from the very beginning, even when it's not yet available. The psychological space or condition of hating home is on everyone's mind as a fixed, significant feature of the setting.

My point
Logged
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2009, 01:59:09 PM »

I think you're on the right track, Callan. 3:16 and Contenders were the High Ronnies winners for the October round in 2005 (that long ago? geez), and I noted that for some reason, they both made use of what might be thought of as the My Life with Master structural approach to play, but ramped it up even more. Yet imagination is by no means in the back seat, even if it's not the starting point. Kind of like the way a driver encounters the interface of the dashboard and pedals and steering wheel, but the motor is really what makes the car go. So the rules are like the interface that lets everyone connect and engage to the shared motor.
I'd been thinking about a single players imagination being inspired/starting from system, but yeah, it's not just that. The whole group is being inspired/starting from the same origin point that is the ruleset, so all of their imaginations (no matter how wild) share an origin together. On a side point that strikes me as a nice social bonding sort of thing. But on the main point their imagination share an origin and then bounce of and inspire and all that stuff together, from that point.

Perhaps as opposed to what might be in many traditional games, where the group has to 'find each other' to begin with, before they can bounce off each other and inspire in new directions. Indeed I sometimes wonder when I read certain AP whether some people put some much emphasis on finding each other to begin with, they completely block any bounce off/bounce away/new directions away from each other once they do actually find each other. Come to think of it, I could see that in my groups history, where thought certain batshit stuff gets in the way of the game and to knuckle down, but losing that wild tangent stuff in the process.

And (as I understand it - I don't own 3:16), you keep following procedure during play (a procedure which tells you what to go to next, right?), so you keep maintaining a shared imaginative origin. In traditional play perhaps character creation is a shared imaginative origin, but then typically what procedure happens next is up to the SIS (or from my perspective, someone makes it up, either delibrately or following however their imagination twists and turns (which sounds good except a group activity isn't about one mans imagination alone)).

I had an analogy about bee swarms and how they can all go in all sorts of directions to each other and yet the swarm can head in an identifiable direction and not break up because of a certain origin to the swarm, but I bravely resisted giving it. Or did I?
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Gregor Hutton
Member

Posts: 274


WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 04:29:38 PM »

Thanks, Ron. I do love the possibility that Viper might be first to claim it.

Weaknesses can be interesting to use. At first, a lot of people just see them as "lesser" Strengths, purely used to save their own character's hide, but I've seen people switch on and use them to get out of encounters leaving other PCs high and dry. It's also fictionally really interesting to see what people choose to fail at, and what they think caused that in their character's past.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I often see Strengths used that are, on the surface, less than positive human qualities, and weaknesses being honourable or noble traits! It's also fascinating to see them build up and define the character and the group (and the 3:16 and Terra as a whole).
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!