Monday, September 01, 2014

3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars, session report

Last night was my first game in quite a while of 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars, and my first time GMing it with remote players. Three brave players dared the adventure with me, and all of them newbies to the system.

We started the session in a Google Hangout. This gave us the audio visual link, and then I opened up Roll20 where I had what they call a "campaign" set up to play. I normally just roleplay in the Hangout, without board and without minis, but 3:16 has an abstract map that is core to the play and without visuals I thought newbies would be struggling.

So I set up a Campaign in Roll20 with the range map on screen and counters for each of the players characters.

I'd also set up a series of "HandOuts", these are documents that I could flash on-screen for the players. I had one for a rules run-through, one for each rank detailing weapon choices and one for the domination results table (as I can never remember how that works).

We met up in the Hangout, I posted a link to the Roll20 campaign into the chat box and everyone joined me over there. Thus we had Roll20 in one window and the Hangout in another. It is possible to open Roll20 within the Hangout, but when I've tried this I found the Roll20 window is far too small and cramped.

We had a couple of problems the first of which was that one player was suffering a lot of interference. Fortunately one of the other players knew what was happening and advised that we should all turn off the audio/visual setting within Roll20. Once they were turned off the sound settled down nicely.

Then I tried to show the players the handouts I'd made and run into another problem. This time it was what I'd not-done within the settings of the handouts. Again another of the players stepped in and put me straight, telling me where I'd gone wrong. What I'd not done was set the "In Players Journals" to all players. This had to be done for all the handouts. It's a neat feature allowing handouts to be shown to some or all players. Sadly I didn't know that at the time and so no one could see it for a few minutes.

I'd previously posted a link to an audio introduction (the link) for the game into the Hangout and I checked that everyone had listened, thus I was able to avoid reading a long boxed-text.

The adventure was Mission 1 from my published campaign Death Bringers. In this mission the players are set to battle aliens within the rings of planet, so no gravity, no up, no down and lots of fun.

I like this mission because it's an unusual. There are living sentient ice-rocks within the rings, that can throw themselves at the good guys.

Hilarity ensued. The Sergeant only had an Non Fighting Ability of 4, the highest of the bunch, so anything they tried not related to fighting was like watching the three stooges at work. Feet were frozen to an asteroid, ropes caught around codpieces, and being stuck head first in a giant snowball with legs kicking in the vacuum.

The story eventually moved on. From battling moving space rocks, they bussed over to a moonlet and battled sentient ice-trees that threw ice-trunks into their ranks. Then it was time to find the L.T. who had disappeared. Turned out he had been captured and dragged down a tunnel. They found him in the centre of the moon a prisoner of a blobby beast. Three vivid incidents here have stuck in my mind.

A trooper punching his fist onto the end of an ice-spike.
A corporal ripping a massive living vein from a cavern wall.
A sergeant being bloodily blinded by an impact with his face plate.

From here they returned to the 3:16th capital ship and discovered that the 3:17th had crowded on board as their ship had been taken over. The heroes rearmed and headed over to 3:17ths ship to clear it out. Things didn't go well. For the first time ever in a game I've played, the aliens got an ambush, which they followed up with further hits. The PCs were about to die when a Strength was used that ended the scene and saved all their lives. There ended the game.

Sadly I brought the session down a bit at the end. On Sunday nights I have a strict two hour window for playing and I had to rush the players through what should have been the climactic ending thus ruining the pace. I'd been so wrapped up in the game that I'd lost track of the time. If I'd been concentrating I would have cut that last encounter and built up the previous one into the climax. If we'd had one more player and one less encounter, it would have been timed perfectly. Hopefully that's a lessen learned.

I really enjoyed getting back into 3:16 and if the opportunity comes up again I'll be playing again and hopefully some of these players will come back, they were brilliant!
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1 comment:

matt jackson said...

I LOVE 3:16, for me it hits all the story-crafting elements I like while still letting me get bloody and slay things like a space marine should. Write up of the game is great, and thanks for the idea about opening the Roll20 and Hangout separate, never thought of doing that before.