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I've got a good handle on most of the rules in Three Sixteen: Carnage Amongst the Stars. I've run a few games with it (a while ago). There's something that leaves me absolutely stumped, though, in a way that kinda impedes successfully doing a full campaign: the vehicle rules (pages 82-83 of the rulebook).

Drop Pods are pretty simple and obvious: you get a free Ambush and that's all they do; try not to lose that encounter or you'll have to re-buy the Pods.

The other two, though -- I just don't understand. They seem rather vague compared to the rest of the book.

How does the dropship actually work, in general?

Based on parsing the rules text, I made this chart:

Vehicle        APC                              Drop Ship
Min. Rank      Captain                          Major
Change range   Automatically every turn         ???
Damage         d6 (driver's NFA)                d10 (commander's NFA)
Health         1 hit cripples, 2 hits destroy   1 hit cripples, 2 hits destroy
Crew           Immune to kills while undamaged  Extra armour tick while inside
When killed    1 kill to all inside             ???
When abadoned  Aliens ignore it                 ???

The "???" represent omissions, as far as I can tell. I'd assume "same as the APC," but the order of presentation in the book is Drop Ship, Drop Pods, then APC. What happens when the dropship is killed? And, for that matter, can it actually move? Is it flying around the battlefield raining down death from above or sitting on the ground like a mini-fortress?

Do repairing and disembarking involve any rolls?

If the APC takes a kill then it is Crippled (but can be repaired between encounters). When Crippled the driver and Troopers inside usually disembark. If abandoned like this the APC is not targeted any further by the aliens and can be rescued at the end of the encounter as long as the PCs win the fight.

...

Obviously, everyone inside the APC is at the same range. Anyone can choose to leave the APC on their turn, and they are placed at the range that the APC is at when they exit the vehicle.

Is "choosing to leave" the APC like changing range, or a freebie action?

Does "usually disembark" mean that the PCs get to exit immediately when the vehicle is damage, or just that it's a good idea to do so next time you could?

Is the vehicle automatically repaired between encounters?

Why would you choose a Drop Ship over an APC?

It seems to me like "immune to kills while undamaged" is just straight-up better than "one extra Armour box" -- essentially the team is totally shielded from damage as long as the driver rolls well; it's like the "cancel your own success" ability but your team still gets to kill aliens. Am I wrong about this?

Can you combine vehicles?

Can you put an APC inside Drop Pods or a Drop Ship, for instance? What happens when you do?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Well looking at what's stated on p.82-83 and p. 39 here's what I can come up with:

I would argue that the dropship inherits any unspecified traits from the APC given that it's basically a flying APC. It's logical from the sense that we know from the limited flavor text that it can fly and from a rank progression we can see that higher ranks get better toys. Flying APC > immobile fortress.

In a similar vein if the dropship is destroyed I would treat it the same was as if in an APC. Theoretically you could argue that because it's flying around the destruction and the resulting drop from the wreckage might be worse that's up to whoever's running I guess. I'd lean toward that the people inside are in fancy powered armor so they'll be alright.

Disembarking would be a freebie action in my book. These are military vehicles designed to make ingress/egress easy. Troopers might be cheap to replace but their equipment is not, have to protect it! Speaking of which for repairing I would say it's an NFA between battles on a planet and instantly done between planets.

Why pick the dropship over the APC? You might not have to, why not have both? However beyond that the dropship does more damage and arguably is more prestigious for an officer to be moving about it above those ground pounders. Keep in mind that the APC only provides immunity when undamaged so one hit and after that troopers are completely vulnerable. It's been awhile since I've read the full rules but in the end I'm guessing the one extra tick of armor and immune while vehicle is unharmed are roughly equivalent.

Finally I'd be fine with an APC inside a dropship. However in that case if the dropship was destroyed I would say that APC would take damage and that the APC would be unable to use its weapon. So possible but not entirely practical.

The thing to keep in mind with a game like 3:16 is that it intentionally rules lite so whoever is running can decides things like this on the fly. If they want dropships to be immobile fortresses that's perfectly fine. The game gives some flexibility in that sense. Heck this way you could say normally dropships fly about raining death from above except on the super heavy gravity planet where it's immobile as a rock. In the same token APCs work great until your in that asteroid field and there's no land connections between asteroids. Use your judgement and have fun!

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