Monday, March 14, 2011

Planets Whistler and Kandinsky

My 3:16 Carnage Amongst The Stars campaign continues full pace, but clearly working towards a conclusion. It's been a few weeks since I lasted posted about it, so I'll be condensing those sessions into a rather short summary.

I've been cranking up the zaniness as we go. The game is "meant" to be played straight - very much Band of Brothers or Platoon, but with aliens.  As we've gone, I've found it harder and harder to take seriously. Mostly this is my "fault", as I've had mad streaks of (what I imagined to be) inspirational genius that have created a convoluted and bizarre plotline (far more Going After Cacciato than Tour of Duty, but that's been on purpose). Some of it has to do with the rules of the game, though, which make some pretty hard "suspension of disbelief" demands upon the players. So what started as reasonably serious military sci-fi has become rather something else over time.

Given then that there's no choice but to go down the rabbit hole, I figured why not dive in head-first... and thus I've been cranking up the psychedelic references and "you might all be crazy" implications further with every session.

A few planets back, on Whistler, I actually asked the PCs the list of questions from Power Kill. There was a big explosion, and then for one brief scene, everyone was in straight jackets, taking part in a group therapy session. Psychiatrists who looked like former commanding officers were assuring them that no, they really weren't "in some space army", and that it was a junior high, not an alien world, that they'd assaulted. Major Sanguine strangled an orderly, and then they were magically all back on the alien planet they'd just cleansed.
A nerdly aside: Yesterday I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie called "Sucker Punch", and I blurted out "hey, that's my 3:16 campaign!" I guess next session I need to have them chase after a map, a fire, a knife, a key and something we can't reveal in the trailer...
As the sessions have passed, our PCs have pushed their way up the ranks (often into gaps left when NPC commanders were mysteriously fragged). As of the end of the most recent game, Sanguine was just promoted to Colonel... so, there's just one more NPC commander left for them to mysteriously frag. Potentially a couple good die rolls could wrap my campaign up at any moment. At this point the PCs have no love for Terra, have been threatened and mistreated as they rose through the ranks, and are half-convinced they're just psychotic sociopaths anyhow... so I expect them to turn the big guns on the homeworld at the first opportunity.

The details on Whistler and Kandinsky are immaterial at this point. We're just shy of 20 sessions, so I've got the dregs of the description and ability lists left - each week I pick between the remainder of things that didn't inspire me earlier. I may just jump ahead to the "recycling" phase of the game, where each planet gets two alien abilities and you revisit some races. Technically the rules don't let you do that till mission 21, but since the PC's will likely probably vaporize Earth by #19, I don't want to wait. I'm certainly not likely to ever run another vanilla 3:16 campaign for this long, so I'd like to see how that "doubled up" phase works while I've got the chance.

One other development worth noting... One of our players has moved across the country. It's not a permanent move, but she won't be back in Seattle till after the campaign has wrapped up. So, we lost Lt. Flowerdew. She will be missed. On her way out the door, she stole the invisible alien scout-ship the PCs had been hiding from high command, went AWOL, faked her own death, and framed another PC for it.

1 comment: said...

Don't forget that Sergeant Harrington is blissfully ignorant of everything that's going on. Yes, he denies seeing the white rabbit or having the pocket watch. Maybe he's not what he seems to be...

Pending GM's permission of course.