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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Paranoia - General Questions

    Greetings fellow roleplayers and roleplayettes,

    I was wondering if anyone here had played Paranoia. I saw a vs. thread in the Media forum and the system sounded cool. So I downloaded (Note to kids: bad!) the book to see what it was about, and it looked really cool!

    I was hoping to run a quick campaign over Christmas for some friends. Not sure if they'll like the system, but with my friends...if you run it, they will come. Anyway, I'm nearing exams so I don't have too much time to learn an entirely new system...

    ...so I'm looking for the following advice from people who have played it.

    1. What works well?
    2. What doesn't?
    3. How have do people react to knowing other party members are trying to double cross them in some way? How does that influence party behaviour?
    4. Advice on creating adventures, sidequests.
    5. Advice vis-a-vis roleplaying NPCs in the Paranoia world.
    6. Advice on which classes to assign my characters.
    7. Any other general advice you have about the game.

    I freely admit that because it's almost exam time, I haven't read the whole sourcebook. And since reading pdfs is annoying, I'll probably go look for a book at the local gameshop, but that won't be for another week or so. So if my questions are answered in the sourcebook...well...don't mock me too much.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    1. Throw some Troubleshooters together to investigate some preposterous plot.
    2. Add in some highly dangerous R&D devices
    3. Let Troubleshooters kill each other.
    4. Profit!

    I haven't really seen a Paranoia scenario that wasn't just a thin excuse to get volatile substances in near vicinity to each other.

    And by volatile substances, I mean PCs.

    Really, Paranoia is not a game about plot or NPCs. The players know that they have reasons to kill each other out the gate - it's just a matter of waiting until the characters figure it out as well. Anything distracting from the hijinks is a detriment.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2010-11-30 at 11:12 PM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Which edition of which sourcebook do you have?

    Do you want to play zap, classic, or straight?

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Insert joke about your lack of security clearance for the sourcebook here.

    Insert polite demand for you to submit to voluntary termination here.

    Insert declaration of loyalty to Friend Computer here.



    ..there, got that all out of the way for the thread, so now we can continue to give useful advice, such as the above.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2010-12-01 at 07:07 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    I was considering picking up the Paranoia:Troubleshooters book. The whole game sounds like a blast, in a sort of hilarious deconstruction sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Ring of Evasion means never playing a monk with monk levels again. There is just no reason to dip that stuff. I know we're all about using every part of the buffalo here, but can we just admit that it's inedible?

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    I'm sorry, but you lack sufficient security clearance to read the sourcebook.

    Please proceed to the nearest execution chamber for immediate termination.

    Only commie mutant traitors fail to follow Friend Computer's benevolent directives.
    Fixed that for you.

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    1. What works well?
    Don't tell the players too much about the setting, what's going on, or how Alpha Complex works. Part of the beauty of being introduced to Paranoia is being thrown into a shark tank and learning how to swim (or at least how to become shark food in the most entertaining way possible).

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    2. What doesn't?
    Don't try to be overtly humorous or intentionally slapstick. The really funny stuff in Paranoia hits you in the side of the head at 100 MPH when you're trying to deal with things in the most straight-forward and reasonable way you can manage.

    As the Computer, never maliciously or intentionally kill clones just to be cruel/spiteful/indifferently homicidal. Your job is to make sure the players *kill each other* in as many creatively/deviously/spitefully/homicidally ways as possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    3. How have do people react to knowing other party members are trying to double cross them in some way? How does that influence party behaviour?
    Paranoia has an entirely different dynamic from any other RPG. The PCs are not automatically assumed to be working towards a common party goal. The dynamics of who is trying to accomplish what changes at the speed it takes to pull a trigger. The dynamics influencing individual behaviors is too unpredictable to make any sweeping generalizations except for one, which is how it all ends: *lots of dead clones*.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    4. Advice on creating adventures, sidequests.
    The best Paranoia missions tend to be short. Because of how quickly a troubleshooter team can get horrendously off-track, it's generally a bad idea to try and string together too many plot elements or weave in a lot of side-quests. Some Paranoia sessions effectively end before the troubleshooters can even get out of the briefing room. If a firefight gets large enough, the troubleshooters may completely destroy sub-plots they were supposed to explore later.

    Most of the larger Paranoia missions are structured as essentially a half-dozen side-quests that are loosely related to one another. You present the troubleshooters with a simple problem that has absolutely no reasonable solution. When they're done cleaning up the dead clones and have identified a suitable scapegoat, move them on to the next scenario. When the troubleshooters don't have enough clones to finish the rest of the mission, bring them back to the debriefing room and watch them attempt to wrap things up.

    For example, "Whitewash" is a classic Paranoia scenario, extremely simple, would probably be considered a short sidequest in any other game system, but tends to be very memorable. A corridor between the infrared barracks and messhall has mistakenly been painted white. Anyone setting foot into the corridor can be instantly terminated for treasonous behavior. The troubleshooters can't repaint it (paint isn't available at their security clearance) and the Computer refuses to believe that an infrared corridor could possibly be any other color than infrared. There are no sidequests. There are no other mission objectives. You can spend the entire session dealing with just that corridor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    5. Advice vis-a-vis roleplaying NPCs in the Paranoia world.
    There are usually two types of NPCs in Paranoia: Unkillable Superbeings (much like shopkeepers in a MMORPG) and Cannon Fodder. In either case, there's no point in trying to develop long-term relationships with the troubleshooters or get into much deep character development, so just use as many Monty Python charicatures as you can think of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    6. Advice on which classes to assign my characters.
    Roll semi-randomly, as in, roll once, look at the result, check for any other results that might be funnier, and then either pick what you rolled or pick something else. Duplication and unreasonable results are more likely to fit the setting/theme.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    7. Any other general advice you have about the game.
    Make sure each player has post-its or notepads. A good Paranoia game will have a horrendous amount of secretive note-passing before the lasers start to get hot.

    When speaking as the Computer, cover your mouth with a styrofoam cup and deliberately mumble (speaker was vandalized).

    Mutilate a few mission orders. Run them through the washing machine. Or freeze them in a block of ice. Deliberately give the wrong orders to the wrong troubleshooters.

    Make the players physically fill out a few forms. The rulebook should have a few examples, but feel free to grab some examples from school/work.

    Make the players leave the room for private conferences, or if they're not supposed to see/hear something. If you can't find an excuse to send people out of the room, get them to stand up and do kalisthetics/warm-up stretches/jazzercise (Improves Troubleshooter Team Morale!).

    I always like to give at least one clone a cone rifle (AKA bazooka) with a random box of unlabeled shells. If the clones keep using it, one of them will eventually discover which shell was the TacNuke...

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post

    ...so I'm looking for the following advice from people who have played it.

    1. What works well?
    2. What doesn't?
    3. How have do people react to knowing other party members are trying to double cross them in some way? How does that influence party behaviour?
    4. Advice on creating adventures, sidequests.
    5. Advice vis-a-vis roleplaying NPCs in the Paranoia world.
    6. Advice on which classes to assign my characters.
    7. Any other general advice you have about the game.
    Before I give any advice: buy the book.

    Now that that's out of the way...Paranoia is a game that can take on vastly different forms depending on your play style. Before you start playing, figure out which type of Paranoia you want to play. Do you want an ultra-serious and depressing game of 'straight' style? Do you just want to have your game go like this: "You're a mutant!" *zap* *zap* *zap*? Or do you want a balance, where roleplaying is encouraged and Alpha Complex is still insane? Each group of players has a sweet spot; and it's very important that you play with people who have a similar sweet spot because they generally don't mix very well(I've seen it lead to violence and players getting expelled from gaming session!).

    By far, the most important advice that I can give you is from the book: Paranoia is all about the atmosphere; it will make or break the game. The book is very good at helping to get you in the right mindset. The GM plays the biggest role in this. If you can create the right atmosphere, even players that never roleplay at all will start to get into character. For a first time Paranoia GM, I recommend running one of the two pre-written adventures in the back of the book(assuming you to run a 'classic' style game). They are both very good and, aside from demonstrating a typical adventure, they will also give you tips for creating a successful adventure(such as including a darkroom scene toward the end).

    Here's some general advice to help you, as the GM set the right atmosphere:

    *Use the carrot and the stick:hard and fast. If a player does something that you want to encourage(be it good roleplaying or good backstabbing, or giving you the last slice of pizza), reward them immediately(perversity is a good reward, but it shouldn't always be the only one). Likewise, if they do something wrong(turn the game into 'zap' style, break character, take your favorite seat), give them the stick hard and fast.

    *Use props. No, not like CarrotTop. Remember perversity points? What if they're not abstract points, but physical objects? I use poker chips as perversity in my games. In this way, it encourages players to try to hide the amount of perversity they have, to try to steal others perversity, and it makes it painfully obvious when players are dumping perversity into rolls. Having a physical object made the concept of perversity that much more real, and really helped the players get into the game. Another example *minor spoiler* in one of the prewritten adventures, the players are plagued by spam on their PDAs, and the spam becomes worse throughout. What I did for this, was to print out the sample spam from the book(I had free printing at the time), cut them out and stuff about a hundred of these paper 'spam messages' into a backpack that I 'conveniently' left sitting around the game area. When a player would get spam, I'd reach into the backpack, grab a wadded-up spam message and chuck it at the player "DING! You have a message on your PDA." The players never saw it coming. Needless to say, the rest of the night involved a lot wadded up paper being thrown around to shouts of "DING!" It really helped the players get into the game.

    *The players should never really know what's going on. Paranoia missions never go right, and the players should never know the whole story, until *maybe* after the game is over. Death and seemingly random events are around every corner: this is a staple of Alpha Complex, if you let the players relax too long they'll become complacent, always keep them on their toes.
    Also, this next part is CLEARANCE LEVEL:ULTRAVIOLET(only read if you're going to GM)
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    Absolutely, DO NOT let players know their power ability score or their access ability score. In fact, if you're doing it correctly, the players shouldn't even know that these scores exist. Personally, I like to roll each of these twice for each player, then before the session starts, I ask each player, "Pick a number: 1 or 2" and then "Pick a color:red or blue". I then pick which access score and which power score they have based on that. Most of the players still think I'm just trying to unnerve them....


    *Remember 'Rule 0' in DnD? In Paranoia, it's the only rule. Ultimately, all the rules are optional and what the GM says goes. Don't go on a massive power trip with this, but neither should you be a pushover. If players have a problem with a ruling, encourage them to present their arguments logically. Listen to their arguments, ask questions, make a decision and then continue with the game. In this way, you will be a fair GM and bring the players around to your point of view, rather than alienating yourself from them. Also, don't revisit something on which you have already rendered a decision.

    *Be slightly arbitrary, and let actions outside the game affect the game. Again, don't get carried away with this because it will ruin the game if taken too far. Let the players try to bribe perversity out of you, let them compete for the favor of the GM and fear incurring disfavor. When the party is working together coherently, interject a comment to make them argue amongst themselves. Implant doubts about their plans or equipment reliability into their heads. Make them think that you want them to succeed, or that you're on their side. Subtle manipulation is key. Paranoia is an intensely psychological game.

    *My last piece of advice, for now: Find ways to mix it up, be creative. Try out new rules or stat generation methods every once in a while; or maybe having secret societies play larger or smaller roles. Just make sure that it adds to the atmosphere. I've found that it really helps to present players with tough or random decisions; to that extent I implemented the following rule in my sessions: at character creation you roll for a power. If you dislike your mutant power, you can roll again, but you are stuck will the result of the re-roll. To mitigate players getting mad that they didn't get the power they want, I also employed a basic psychological principle and added the following rule: when you die, you can keep the power you had or re-roll once for a new one. In fact, players being forced to make due with the power they have has often led to some...interesting situations; it forces them into relatively abstract thought and removes them from their comfort zone.

    To summarize: Buy the book, be creative, and always promote the atmosphere: Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!

    [EDIT]
    I did forget to mention that some perversity spending should be kept secret(it adds a lot to the game). In this way, I usually keep track of the players' starting perversity and will allow them to spend it in secret if they wish; all awarded perversity is in poker chips. This makes secret perversity into a valuable(and possibly tradable) resource. Did I mention that I also put responsibility for keeping track of the secret perversity on the players? I keep the actual tally of hidden perversity secret from them all and I allow them to spend from their reserves whenever they want, under one condition: if they try to spend more secret perversity than they have left, then I may penalize them(secretly, of course; usually by spending some of infinite GM perversity against them). This makes it a risky resource towards the end of the session when players are in desperate need of perversity and have failed to keep up with their secret perversity bookkeeping(they always fail at this). When they need five perversity to succeed and they're wondering, "Do I have four perversity left or six?" They'll almost always make the wrong decision. Is this a bit cruel? Yes. Does it fit in perfectly with the paranoia atmosphere? Oh, yes. Make the players make tough decisions. Atmosphere is key.
    Last edited by TSGames; 2010-12-01 at 03:04 AM.
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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    1. What works well? Parodying your favorite movie, TV show, or roleplaying game. Got dungeons & draongs players? Put them in DND sector to fight pointy-eared mutants with glowing iron sticks. Like Harry Potter? Throw them at a secret society in HOG sector and have them assassinate Dumbbell-O-REH-4.

    2. What doesn't? Munchkinry. Paranoia is hilarious to play with powergamers or minmaxers (for the DM, at least) because knowing the rules is treason and gets your character killed.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Now this may seem odd to bring up, but make sure all your players are ok and willing to accept a PvP game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alabenson
    Evil Intelligence is knowing the precise ritual that will allow you to destroy the peaceful kingdom that banished you.

    Evil Wisdom is understanding that you probably shouldn’t perform said ritual while you’re standing in the estimated blast radius.

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    1. What works well? Pretty much anything funny. It works awesome as a ludicrous comedy game, where anything, no matter how weird or wacky is allowed so long as it's offbeat and funny.

    2. What doesn't? Campaigns. Paranoia fits one shots very well, but I've never seen a campaign in it survive at all. It might be theoretically possible to do a dystopian power struggle within such a world, but it's sufficiently rules light that it doesn't really lend itself to it.

    3. How have do people react to knowing other party members are trying to double cross them in some way? How does that influence party behaviour? Forget teamwork in general. Forget about players accomplishing much of anything without a body count in party members. Doublecrossing will happen early and often. If you are strict with computer enforcement of rules by death, it will mostly take the form of setting other players up. If not, well, they'll just shoot each other a lot.

    4. Advice on creating adventures, sidequests. Wouldn't bother. Keeping them on track for the main mission is trouble enough. Have the computer give them a perfectly reasonable mission that involves some level of travel. Don't bother to write up more plot unless they actually survive that.

    5. Advice vis-a-vis roleplaying NPCs in the Paranoia world. Well, think about any horror movie. Consider what NPCs are like there. Then go read the book "I have no mouth and I must scream". It's short.

    Be aware that some games never even make it out of the briefing room.
    Last edited by Tyndmyr; 2010-12-01 at 07:38 AM.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    The most recent rulebooks describe THREE ways of doing Paranoia games. Of those... has anyone HERE ever done, you know, the "Play it straight" sort of game?

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    I have had some considerable fun playing Paranoia (I got one character to Green before running out of clones) but I've never Gm'd it.

    Paranoia CANNOT be taken seriously. Everything seems to be a pun, a gaff, or just plain stupid.
    The party are actively encouraged to attack and kill each other for a huge number of reasons.
    Anything with 'R&D' stamped on it is a death-trap.

    Colours are a HUGE part of the game, IC and OOC. one game the party were to go to 'Outside Sector', and no-one would step through the door because the 'floor' was green and the 'ceiling' was blue.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    1. What works well?
    Letting the players get each other killed.
    2. What doesn't?
    Trying to tell a story. Let the players go through the world. Only prod them with the Computer saying something like, "What is your mission's status?" every time they go into tangents that don't lead to killing each other

    3. How have do people react to knowing other party members are trying to double cross them in some way? How does that influence party behaviour?

    Everyone should know that they are to kill each other but they should realize that they need evidence to support killing someone. Killing someone without a proper reason is treasonous and punishable by immediate liquidation.

    Also side missions to protect someone make sure TPK is not possible. If a person is down to their last Clone end the mission and go straight to Debriefing and killing of Traitors in the Party.

    4. Advice on creating adventures, sidequests.
    Secret Missions are given to players that either support, go against, or are random to the main mission. The Deliver a Letter mission is a perfect example:
    Player should steal letter and replace it with a fake,
    Player Should open the letter, read it and put it back into place without notice,
    Player should stop letter from being delivered,
    Player must get letter to the rightful reciever without letting it out of their sight.

    Also add in a bunch of teammate missions:
    Player X should eliminate player Y's clones
    Player Y should make sure that Player X does not get hurt
    Someone is going to kill Player X find them and eliminate them.

    5. Advice vis-a-vis roleplaying NPCs in the Paranoia world.

    All NPCs should be paranoid and/or drugged up if of low clearance level. As they get higher up they are more sly and cunning. A Blue Clearance Level member will likely be clever enough to make sure that you are the one to die of treason instead of him.

    6. Advice on which classes to assign my characters.

    There are no classes, just abilities. They should go through and randomly roll characters for most fun. Its not about having a character you are attached to, but having one that has both good and bad qualities.

    7. Any other general advice you have about the game.

    Find the Deliver the Letter game. It has literally nothing to it besides delivering a letter. Yet I have never heard of a team successfully finishing it.
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    an example in one scenario was Ramb-O-hhh- 1 (something like that) with a mutant power making is skin oily so the bullets and lasers can't hurt him (they just avoid him...); your mission : kill him , you can't you are a traitor ^^

    or protect with just a knife a gigantic robot tank (with all the destructive and latest imagined uberpowerful weapons) from hordes of ultra-equipped commies. let the tank be scratched is a treason punishable by death ! (of course the tank want to go around and discover the world)
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by umbrapolaris View Post
    an example in one scenario was Ramb-O-hhh- 1 (something like that) with a mutant power making is skin oily so the bullets and lasers can't hurt him (they just avoid him...); your mission : kill him , you can't you are a traitor ^^
    For that matter, a classic one is this: the briefing officer tells you that all equipment assigned to you must be returned undamaged, and not doing so is treason. R&D then assigns you a new brand of flash detonation grenade that must be tested, and not doing so is treason. Um, what?
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    For that matter, a classic one is this: the briefing officer tells you that all equipment assigned to you must be returned undamaged, and not doing so is treason. R&D then assigns you a new brand of flash detonation grenade that must be tested, and not doing so is treason. Um, what?
    and suddenly, I wish to do something about the fact I've never played paranoia...

    this made me laugh.
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by big teej View Post
    and suddenly, I wish to do something about the fact I've never played paranoia...

    this made me laugh.
    This is a really good example. Never, *ever* forget that the Computer was originally a civil service computer, and still retains much of that personality.

    Bureaucracy, pointless forms and authorizations, and Catch-22s should rule the day. But all with a friendly, happy tone. Alpha Complex is not a dreary, oppressive place - it's a cheery, oppressive place.

    After all, you *are* happy, aren't you, Citizen? The Computer wants you to be happy. Failure to be happy is treason.

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    I've always thought Paranoia should be rife with irony. The Computer genuinely cares about the citizens, including the PCs, but can't see the mess it makes with its paranoia, drugs and lunacy. The bureaucracy could be fairly efficient if the Computer's right CPU knew what its left CPU was doing. Alpha Complex could collectively achieve great things if people didn't plot and scheme against each other. The mission could be achievable with leadership and teamwork if the team leader actually had leadership qualities and the players concentrated on the mission rather than their own agendas.
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Good First Mission:
    http://home.comcast.net/~tirdun/para..._overview.html

    The Letter mission.

    Good R&D gadgets:
    Magic 8 Ball - there are 20 choices on an 8 ball. Make a list 1-20 and roll a d20 for results
    Treason Detectors - Make an alarm noise every so often, basically reskin of an alarm clock.
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Here. In this webcomic, gaming systems are alternate universes. Here is a person from our reality, thrown into the world. It gives you a good feel for the system, and how to screw with people.

    http://gamingguardians.com/2001/10/09/b/
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    You'll quickly determine how serious your group is. The greatest Paranoia fan in my group will try to kill everyone first, and quickly sets the game into ZAP mode.

    In a more serious game, you can do different things.

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    Plot Ideas for "Deux Alpha Complex"
    I like to go against the grain of the setting. I like stretching systems to their limit. In this vein, consider the serious ("straight game") plot below.

    -Send the group off to some lost sector after a team of lost troubleshooters.

    -This sector is mostly abandoned. The only life the group finds is thus:
    *A few troubleshooters. Things seem amiss when some troubleshooters are especially large in the belly or show signs of loving or sexualizing one another.

    *Several children. They must be obviously young.

    *A man with a full beard in a white jumpsuit. (He's a High Programmer possibly backed by the Frankenstein Destroyers.)

    -After the group notes the horror of the situation (irony, natch), they return for debriefing. After this, chaos ensues.

    -A voice comes in over the Alpha Complex-wide public address (PA) system. The High Programmer says, "The Computer is dead. Long live humanity!"

    -With that, almost all digital devices in Alpha Complex immediately cease functioning. The cloning vats are also held for ransom and a firefight has broken out just beside the vats.

    -If you feel like it, blow up the cloning vats anyway. That'll get the group's attention.

    -Now that Alpha Complex has even more chaos, and everyone probably is on their last life, decide how you will end this.
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by DontEatRawHagis View Post
    Good R&D gadgets:
    Magic 8 Ball - there are 20 choices on an 8 ball. Make a list 1-20 and roll a d20 for results
    Treason Detectors - Make an alarm noise every so often, basically reskin of an alarm clock.
    Friend Computer gave these gadgets to the Troubleshooters in my Paranoia game:
    - The Destroy-o-Matic 3000, a ridiculously oversized and overpowered machine gun. Due to comically bad rolls, ended up hitting only the Troubleshooter who fired it.
    - Traitor-B-Gone commie mutant traitor repellant spray. Turned out to be concentrated acid in a spray can. Used by the Troubleshooters to test people for commie mutant traitorness.
    - The Tensile Force Generator. A rope. Ended up being the most useful of the three.

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    You'll quickly determine how serious your group is. The greatest Paranoia fan in my group will try to kill everyone first, and quickly sets the game into ZAP mode.

    In a more serious game, you can do different things.

    *snip*
    I think you can be serious without destroying the setting -- just read about playing the Straight game in any of hte three current books.

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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
    - Traitor-B-Gone commie mutant traitor repellant spray. Turned out to be concentrated acid in a spray can. Used by the Troubleshooters to test people for commie mutant traitorness.
    We had a similar one, the Treason Detector. It was given to one of the players. He was told it would go off whenever anyone near him commited a treasonous act. In effect, the GM had a small alarm clock behind his screen he had set to go off every five minutes, regularly.
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    We had a similar one, the Treason Detector. It was given to one of the players. He was told it would go off whenever anyone near him commited a treasonous act. In effect, the GM had a small alarm clock behind his screen he had set to go off every five minutes, regularly.
    I did a mutant detector helmet once. Basically, a big helm with heads-up display and some fancy electronics. Since everyone was (of course) secretly a mutant, they ended up fighting over this because they knew that whomever would get it would detect the rest to be mutants, and execute them.

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    After the smoke cleared, the victorious clone triumphantly took the helmet and put it on to scan his teammates. Then, the helmet detected the closest mutant at range zero, i.e. the wearer, and self-destructed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    1. What works well?
    2. What doesn't?
    Literally any material works great in Paranoia -- for the most part, it's backdrop to allow the murderous double-crossing to commence.

    Things I've seen or done that work well:

    * Rapid fire resolution. Don't give the players time to think or plan strategy, make them simply react.
    * Don't be afraid to kill a clone if they deserve it (or if they're just unlucky) -- mortality rates of appx. 500% should be the target objective.
    * Simply toss the rulebook and reward a player's character for doing something unorthodox -- or let them fail, but spectacularly.
    * Pass notes. Lots of notes. Many of them can just say things like, "write some gibberish and pass back to me".

    3. How have do people react to knowing other party members are trying to double cross them in some way? How does that influence party behaviour?
    Rather negatively. Which is the point of the game, honestly. This isn't a venue for cooperative roleplay, after all.

    4. Advice on creating adventures, sidequests.
    Literally anything. Don't overplan in this regard, as you'll likely never finish the planned adventure anyway, due to PC death and/or completely getting off the rails. Similarly, sidequests generally aren't necessary -- use a variety of conflicting mission objectives from service organizations and secret societies (even to the point of the same character getting multiple conflicting missions).

    To really mess with your players, give two of them the same secret mission, but for rival organizations.

    The standard mission formula is:

    1. Briefing - players get potentially (not likely, though) useful information about the mission
    a) Assign the players a semi-random collection of "useful" equipment. Some is, some isn't, but they have to account for it all. Even that 800 pound outdoor survival kit they're issued when they're heading down to the recycling vats.

    2. R&D - players get assigned experimental equipment that is typically dangerous, useless, unreliable, or all of the above.

    3. "The Mission" - should they actually get out of R&D alive, they can attempt to complete the mission, however:
    a) their information is likely incomplete or contradictory
    b) there are bureaucratic nightmare obstacles to overcome
    c) and so on...

    4. Debriefing - the post mission review is the player's last chance to shift blame, and can make for spectacular firefights when someone is denounced as a traitor.

    5. Advice vis-a-vis roleplaying NPCs in the Paranoia world.
    Everyone is quirky. Everyone. NPCs are one-shot encounters typically, so pick a personality quirk, and build the NPC around them. Small things can lead to big results.

    Example: I had a briefing officer call all of the troubleshooters by the wrong names, that is, called each of them by another PC's name. Even to the point of assigning team roles and equipment, along with clumsily passing a note meant for character X to character Y instead. (It was gibberish anyway, but really, is that the point?) Result: PC brawl in the hallway outside the briefing room. Shame it was all nonlethal, although they did have to drag a few team members around for a while until they regained consciousness...

    6. Advice on which classes to assign my characters.
    Classes? I don't recall Paranoia having classes. Let the dice determine service organizations, secret societies, and mutations. Assign team roles based on characters and roleplay, although putting someone in exactly the wrong job is the "right" thing to do. (The Computer, after all, tries to encourage personal growth. Personal growth makes citizens happy. Happiness is mandatory. Failure to be happy is treason.)

    7. Any other general advice you have about the game.
    Make sure all involved treat the game as a one-shot. Give the characters personality, but don't get too attached to them. Let them know that death is common, often unavoidable, typically messy, and usually funny. And best served by their own hands.

    Settings, locations, people, organizations are all dysfunctional. Mistakes are common, and people are generally more interested in shifting blame than fixing them. Got "happy pills" instead of a first aid kit? Well, at least they won;t feel much pain...

    Example: Troubleshooters report to the equipment requisition office for important mission equipment. Despite the time-critical nature of their assignment, they have to wait in line for their turn ("All Requests Are Processed In The Order In Which They Are Received"). Just as the PCs turn in their form, a Blue Vulture squadron comes storming in, shoving people aside (PCs have to dodge the infrared mobs scattering or take nonlethal trampling damage) and submitting their own request. When the package comes out, they take it and leave. Of course, since all requests are processed in order, the Blue Vulture squadron just got the PCs equipment, and left the PCs a box of Blue clearance heavy weaponry...


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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    I've been lurking in this thread for a time because I also wanted to start a Paranoia game in tabletop. It seems like awfully good times to me.

    Does anyone have any good advice for the voice and personality of the computer? I have a few considerations.

    1. Type out the computer's speech on my laptop and use Microsoft Sam to read it. I can type pretty fast, so this wouldn't be to difficult. I wouldn't fix my typos either. That could make for some amusing and confusing instructions.

    2. If I could pull off the imitation, I would use the voice of Robin Williams. I think that would capture the schizophrenic nature of Friend Computer.

    3. If I could get enough of a back log of sound bites from old tv/movies/ etc that I could use to convey whatever Friend Computer needs to say. This may be a little too work-intensive for me.
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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Oh, on the subject of R&D devices, I find Wile. E. Coyote cartoons an excellent source of inspiration.

    E.g., a "magnet gun". In the lab, it works great, pulling small-sized metallic objects to the wielder. In the field, the power is quite variable, alternating between useless and overkill, with the latter pulling really, really large metal objects toward the wielder. At speed.

    A clever troubleshooter can figure out how to make this work for him/her, at which point you let them get away with it. Once. Then things change again.

    As for possible missions, one I drafted but never got to actually run was the players had to hunt down the rogue Mag-U-FIN who has created a video transmitter that can override The Computer's own broadcasts. Naturally, this is highly prized by every subversive element in Alpha Complex. Your official mission: recover the device (and secondary goal: capture/kill the traitor). Your secret society mission, of course, is to recover and/or destroy the device, depending on society goals.

    The twist? During the climactic chase/firefight/whatever, the device accidentally gets turned on, and therefore a significant percentage of the misdeeds that the Troubleshooters do have video evidence despite how well they normally could manage to shift blame...

    Quote Originally Posted by Skami Pilno View Post
    *Remember 'Rule 0' in DnD? In Paranoia, it's the only rule. Ultimately, all the rules are optional and what the GM says goes. Don't go on a massive power trip with this, but neither should you be a pushover. If players have a problem with a ruling, encourage them to present their arguments logically. Listen to their arguments, ask questions, make a decision and then continue with the game. In this way, you will be a fair GM and bring the players around to your point of view, rather than alienating yourself from them. Also, don't revisit something on which you have already rendered a decision.
    I'm a little less generous. My style is more like: If players have a problem with a ruling, encourage them to present their arguments logically. Listen to their arguments, ask questions, make a decision and then summarily execute their characters for daring to question The Computer.
    Last edited by Duke of URL; 2010-12-03 at 02:28 PM.


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    Default Re: Paranoia - General Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of URL View Post
    I'm a little less generous. My style is more like: If players have a problem with a ruling, encourage them to present their arguments logically. Listen to their arguments, ask questions, make a decision and then summarily execute their characters for daring to question The Computer.
    I'm the same way. This is a game where even knowing the rules is a good way to get yourself killed. Questioning the GM is a major no-no.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghotifish View Post
    I've been lurking in this thread for a time because I also wanted to start a Paranoia game in tabletop. It seems like awfully good times to me.

    Does anyone have any good advice for the voice and personality of the computer? I have a few considerations.

    1. Type out the computer's speech on my laptop and use Microsoft Sam to read it. I can type pretty fast, so this wouldn't be to difficult. I wouldn't fix my typos either. That could make for some amusing and confusing instructions.

    2. If I could pull off the imitation, I would use the voice of Robin Williams. I think that would capture the schizophrenic nature of Friend Computer.

    3. If I could get enough of a back log of sound bites from old tv/movies/ etc that I could use to convey whatever Friend Computer needs to say. This may be a little too work-intensive for me.
    Well, there's always the classic: HAL (I'm sorry, I can't let you do that, Dave...). Or there's also GLADOS or SHODAN.

    Personally I like the matronly, caring Computer. "I'm sorry, Citizen, that information is beyond your security clearance. Please report to the nearest Termination Booth."
    Last edited by Cristo Meyers; 2010-12-04 at 08:53 PM.

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