Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's all about killing things

Almost everyone in gaming have heard the old adage that D&D is all about killing things and taking their stuff. We might all have different ideas about the truth value of that statement, and some of its implications. I have now twice been behind the screen for a game of 3:16, and I am enjoying some carnage. It's a game that's by the book is only about killing things. Usually you don't even take their stuff, you just kill some more of them.

Taking a few moments to browse the web for discussions about XP awards and game systems for advancement and rewarding this or that behaviour, I find myself seeing a lot of the same stuff gamers have been talking about for decades! 3:16 is awfully neat in both avoiding all that stuff, and embracing it.

Imagine a game where you will get better from killing things, only. Imagine that you also can narrate, not the GM you, how you fail and succeed. This is a marriage the newest of the New School design (Forge style) and the simplistic summary of Old School gaming with less focus on story.

So what kind game is the mechanic supporting? Well, you have rules for killing, and rules for using a flashback to get out of trouble. That's it, simplifying a bit. But, this is one of those new-fangled "story games". It's probably not strange that for some of us, games which gives us a rough sketch of a PC will be the ones where we manage to develop some real personalities, through play. We have seen some very interesting character development in our two sessions of 3:16, and all we have been doing have been killing things.

Try it out, it sure is enlightening.


  1. I want to preface this by saying it is not meant to be condescending, because this analogy is often used that way. I am just trying to understand clearly what you are describing.

    So it is basically like Diablo RPG? The mechanics only exist to support combat, the only way to advance is combat, etc?

  2. I have never played Diablo, but it sounds right, yes.

    The only tweak is that you can narrate your own failure and success, using flashbacks and fail on your terms.

    Then you roll dice to see how much you kill, again.

  3. Not a big fan of xp for killing things, I might be tempted to give xp for avoiding combat but still achieving your goals.

    Of course, if the game is designed specifically about combat, that changes things. I get my combat fix through Lord of the Rings Strategy battle game, and in our campaign rules, you get one xp for every opponent you kill.

  4. 3:16 is the ultimate irony, and you get xp for killing stuff while the game is a "story game" where you explore new ways to do "interactive storytelling". I love that.


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