Monday, July 20, 2009
3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars
"Out-Verhoeven's Verhoeven." - Robin D. Laws
There are a handful of new RPGs to come out in the last couple of years that have piqued my interest, but nothing has quite grabbed me as Hutton's 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars. Wow, just at initial glance and read-through I was pretty much hooked, everything about it, from art to story screamed "Mik".
The premise is simple enough, and nothing we haven't seen before; grab your gun, lock and load, and go rid the galaxy of an alien threat. But that's it, in its simplicity there's little more to it, no overly complex genre or timeline or storyline, just you and your squad mates hitting dirtside and squashing a few bugs (or cephaloids, man-apes, dino-troopers, oozes, etc...).
Your character sheet has two stats, Fighting and Non-Fighting, that's it. Either you're pulling a trigger, throwing a grenade, using a knife...or you're running a bypass on a door, driving an APC, calling in air support, etc. Your hit points/wound tracker is summed up as "A Mess", "Crippled", and "Dead". Your goal is to go to a variety of alien worlds, and destroy them before they can threaten good ole Terra back home. Your guns do damage/kills by die type, there's no saving throws or what not, if you roll a 12 on 2d10, then that's how many aliens you just wiped out. You gain levels by achieving new ranks, and you get new ranks based solely on how many kills you've racked up in your career.
Your MandelBrite armor will only save your hide once per planet, so your other ace in the hole comes in the form of flashbacks. If you're taking a hammering and about to become ground beef, you can use a flashback (positive or negative) and either win, or lose, on your own terms narrating the outcome and how your flashback ties into it.
There's a deliberate, nebulous atmosphere to the game, it's light on...pretty much everything, to give the GM and players ultimate control and flexibility to really make it their own. There aren't any combat mechanics other than 'close', 'near', and 'far', and where your characters are in relation to those ranges (determining weapon effectiveness). The flavor of the writing is very down-to-Earth, and humorous at times, including a chapter titled "Other Trooper Sh!t" detailing non-combat equipment and gear. And it's the artwork that takes the cake, as with the rules, the images give a glimpse of something larger, but done in a non-obtrusive way to let the viewer draw their own conclusions from what they've seen.
I just ordered my hard copy of the rules (for less than twenty bucks) from FRPGames, or you can get a PDF copy even cheaper. We've got our first game scheduled in just a couple of days, so I'll post back and let you know how it went.