Posted on Leave a comment

3Deep in the Doom Universe

For me one of the classic games of all time was Doom.
As a fun one off game you can put your players through the Doom maps using 3Deep as your system of choice.

The best game is probably had by playing it collaboratively. The main enemy on the first map are the zombie marines, shotgun wielding armoured marines and imps, those firgeball throwing humanoids. The objective being to run around the map, killing everything, find the secret locations and then the exit. This is classic first person shooter action. Playing it as a one off RPG is a fun session. Players respawn when killed so no one is going to have to sit out should the very first encounter go badly.

As a GM it is an interesting challenge. Can you bring this setting alive? Can you describe the scenes with the flickering lighting, barrels of toxic waste and lumbering undead to bring the setting to life?

I used this as one of the play test scenarios for the original 3Deep rules and ran is as a dream sequence. The characters in a regular modern day setting went to sleep and all woke up inside the Doom game world. At first they did not recognise it and feared death but after one of them found a chainsaw the players started to make their own Doom jokes and references. After the first character respawned they realised what was going on. They wrongly assumed that they would have to complete the game to escape but actually I wanted to do a total party kill (TPK). Once they were all dead in the same encounter the characters all woke up in their own beds, unharmed but in a cold sweat.

map of the first level in Doom
Episode 1 Map 1

Playing Doom

To play this setting you are going to need to add a few bits of equipment. The classic chainsaw, shot guns, machine guns right up the the BFG9000 if you get that far. There are several sets of armour including the standard armour, improved body armour and the helmet. The standard should be Medium Rigid and the improved is Heavy Rigid. The helmet is medium Rigid for the head only. The body armour covers only the chest and abdomen.

Doom Weapons

Shotguns would be a 2d6 piecing firearm. Up this to 3d6 for a double barrelled version.

The default pistol would be 1d6 or if you are feeling generous a 2d6 piecing attack. The 1d6 version eats up ammunition much faster. In practice more than twice the rate as a good 2d6 roll can take out an enemy in a single hit but this is much more unlikely with a 1d6 weapon.

The chaingun would be 2d6 per target when strafing or 3d6 when focused on a single target.

The dagger is a 1d6 slashing weapon and the all important chainsaw would be 2d6 slashing.

You can use standard zombies from the core rules for the marines but give the black armoured sergeants some body armour.

An Imp

The imps get to use their mana for producing fireballs. I would pay the 4pts for 1d6 of damage. Any special damage from rolling a 6 would be fire. They also have claws for a natural attack of 1d6 slashing damage.

Medipaks will give a +1 to first aid rolls and will heal 4 points of damage to any one stat. The full blown first aid kits are more powerful and five the same +1 to first aid rolls but restore up to 12 points to any one stat.

If you get taken out by an imp or zombie then I think you can assume you will be killed. At that point you respawn back at the starting point with the original pistol, knife and no armour.

Environmental Doom

There are a few environmental hazards. These are rivers and pools of toxic waste, rivers and pools of lava and exploding barrels.

Firstly the protective suits do prevent damage from toxic waste. They have a finite life time and the way I played it was to have the suits 10 points of v.strength (vehicular strength) . Each second the character was exposed did 1d6 of damage but only the special damage is applied to the v.strength. Once it reached zero the suit was effectively destroyed, eaten through by the toxic waste.

The invulnerability power up can be treated the same way. Or simply make the character invulnerable for a minute. That is easy to track with 1 second combat rounds!

If you click the map above you can get all the maps from all the versions of the game.

If you want to have a go then you can pick up the 3Deep rulebook for $9.99 as either print or PDF or both for $14.99 from RPGnow. Click here to more info or to buy.

Posted on Leave a comment

Roleplaying Sense8 part 2

This is the follow on post to last weeks introduction

The biggest standout feature of the Sense8 world is ‘Visiting’ where each character astrally projects themselves to any other Sensates location when they think of them. The visitations start as short and disorienting ‘visions’ but all members of the cluster soon adapt. Simple tricks like sharing a phone number and then calling it prove that the experience was real and not imagined. It was almost a case that the more faith they each had that the vision was going to work on demand then the more likely it was to work on demand.

So how does this work in 3Deeps game mechanics? Does it complicate the game?

No it doesn’t. In fact no game mechanics are needed at all. As all sensates have the same powers and abilities no rules are needed. The visitations initially happen only at the GMs instigation and he or she slowly hands over control to the players. As long as no player decides to try and break the universe and go off the genre material, and that is just down to the GM to enforce.

How do you play a sensate visit?

When one character jumps into the space of a fellow sensate then although the world (and any NPCs) see the original person, all stats and skills of the second sensate are the ones used in the scene as long as they are there. So you can have one character with a strength of 2 and no combat skills replaced by a character with a strength of 12 and +4 in combat. For the duration of the visit then the warrior type will do the fighting. In terms of game mechanics the only apparent difficulty is the characters speed. If one character acts on round 3 and 6 and the second character acts on 2, 4, and 6 when do they act if they are swapping in and out during the same turn? The answer is they can act on their round regardless. It is as if both are there and acting independently but occupying the same point in space.

What about damage?

The sensate who is actually present will take the damage but the effect of the damage is applied to who ever is currently acting as long as the physically present sensate is still conscious. So in the example above with a strength of 2 and 12. If the 12 strength sensate is fighting and takes 8 points of damage to their strength then they continue fighting but with a strength of 4. If they were to swap out then the current strength of the sensate would drop to -6 (2 minus the 8 damage).

If a third sensate wanted to join the fight and jumped in then they would have their full strength until they took some damage.

Posted on Leave a comment

Roleplaying the Sense8 universe

Sense8 is a visually stunning science fiction series from Netflix in which 8 individuals from around the globe find themselves mentally linked. Initially they only experience violent visions from each others lives but those connections develop to the point where they can step into and out of each others lives and are able to share skills and literally put words into each others lives.

Turning this into a role playing game is a challenge for any GM but the crux of the story telling in Sense8 is about skills and natural strengths and abilities be it Will’s experience as a Chicago cop or Sun’s kickboxing.

Everyone has their own story

As each sensate can see, hear and experience everything that every other sensate experiences and can set into their life at any time what you as GM need to do is run eight interconnected plots at once. Sense8 had a single season long story arc that ran though each each of the two seasons. Within that each character had their own lives; Wolfgang is involved with the Berlin underworld, Van Damm is struggling with drugs and gangs in Nairobi.

So to play this you can start with the birthing of the cluster. Maybe start each player in an individual adventure but then invite another player along. From that point on role play each players character in their own stories but each player can swap roles at any time, they just take their character sheet with them. One second their character may be cracking a safe in New York, the next second they are having to fight corrupt prison guards. As you introduce new members to the cluster then you run more parallel adventures and anyone can hop into anyone elses adventure.

At first it will seem chaotic but this is role playing like your players will never have experienced.

Sense8 was such a ground breaking series that even after the show was cancelled (each episode cost $9Million to make) the fan base protested to the point where a 2hr finale special is going to be make to finish the story.

The two season cannon means that you can easily binge watch the entire story to bring yourself up to speed before attempting this.

As a roleplaying challenge it is a once in a lifetime experience and this is exactly the sort of challenge that 3Deep was written to make possible!