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Author Topic: Paranoia (Interest Check)  (Read 512 times)

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Offline EbbTopic starter

Paranoia (Interest Check)
« on: June 09, 2014, 03:20:27 PM »
SERVE THE COMPUTER. THE COMPUTER IS YOUR FRIEND!

The Computer wants you to be happy. If you are not happy, you may be used as reactor shielding. The Computer is crazy. The Computer is happy. The Computer will help you become happy. This will drive you crazy. Being a citizen of Alpha Complex is fun. The Computer says so, and The Computer is your friend. Rooting out traitors will make you happy. The Computer tells you so. Can you doubt The Computer? Being a Troubleshooter is fun. The Computer tells you so. Of course the Computer is right. Troubleshooters get shot at, stabbed, incinerated, stapled, mangled, poisoned, blown to bits, and occasionally accidentally executed. This is so much fun that many Troubleshooters go crazy. You will be working with many Troubleshooters. All of them carry lasers. Arenít you glad you have a laser? Wonít this be fun? There are many traitors in Alpha Complex. There are many happy citizens in Alpha Complex. Most of the happy citizens are crazy. It is hard to say which is more dangerous, traitors or happy citizens. Watch out for both of them. The life of a Troubleshooter is full of surprises.

Stay alert!
Trust no one!
Keep your laser handy!



Paranoia is a tabletop RPG that came out around 30 years ago. It was revolutionary for its time, and holds up very well today. The basic premise is that some unknown calamity has wiped out humankind -- at least as far as you know -- leaving only the sealed underground environment known as Alpha Complex. Alpha Complex is ruled by the Computer, an omniscient and omnipotent entity that has everyone's best interests at heart. Trust Friend Computer.

As you may have gathered, Paranoia is a comedic game. There are rules, but these are largely visible only to the GM (me) who will ignore them regularly. Knowledge of the rules is considered treason, and is punishable by termination. Termination is actually a pretty common punishment, but your saving grace is that every player has six clones. When a clone is terminated, or misplaced, or goes rogue then another clone is immediately activated to take their place. The effect is that you have six lives, so death isn't as big of a deal as it might be in other games. It is not uncommon at all to lose one or two clones prior to or during the initial mission briefing.

This thread is an interest check. My plan is to run a single Paranoia adventure. In real life this might take a couple of hours. On the forums I'd expect to go for about a month or two, depending on how responsive players are.

Important Points:

- In my role as GM / Computer I will lie, cheat, steal and ruthlessly god-mode in service to the game. It's just that sort of game, and if that's not your cup of tea you probably won't be interested in what's being served.

- There will be backstabbing and PvP conflict. Everyone's primary mission, after all, is to root out traitors. Mutants are traitors. Members of Secret Societies are traitors. I can guarantee there will be at least one of each in the party. Think of this much like a Mafia/Werewolf type game and try not to take it too seriously -- your fellow players are all out to get you, but ideally the result should be comically tragic rather than dark and bloodthirsty.

- In the original Paranoia game sex isn't even an issue. Thanks to cloning technology, it's quite possible that no one in Alpha Complex has had sex in hundreds of years. This being Elliquiy, however, it's possible that the reintroduction of this lost art might form part of the plot of the adventure. Of course, engaging in the act would be considered high treason. Engaging in the act repeatedly without really understanding the mechanics of how its supposed to work, using extra equipment that you strongly believe must fit in somehow... well, that's just high comedy right there, folks.

- We'll use some kind of mostly randomized system to make characters, and you'll have your little sheet with your little numbers and abilities and so forth. I might even ask you to roll dice at some point. But most of that's just for show. If you're not the kind of person who likes system-based games, you'll do just fine in here. If you're the kind of person who gets upset that your +7% flanking bonus was computed incorrectly, then you're liable to get quite frustrated.

If you'd like a little more information about Paranoia and Alpha Complex, please visit your local library. Or read this link: http://io9.com/5973846/why-the-paranoia-rpgs-alpha-complex-is-the-greatest-dystopia-of-all-time  Reading is Fundamental!

Feel free to ask questions or express interest here, because that keeps the thread a-bumpin' up to the top of the sludge pile.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2014, 04:15:52 PM »
Never played and don't have the book but I've heard fantastic things.

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2014, 04:22:20 PM »
Never played and don't have the book but I've heard fantastic things.

Terrific. Having the rulebook and having played it before are two things which are entirely unnecessary to enjoy this game.

One edition of the rules gives the following movies and TV shows as inspiration. If you're familiar with any of them you get the general idea. Just add more humor, in most cases:

Brazil, Terry Gilliam (1985)
THX-1138, George Lucas (1971)
The Prisoner, TV series (1967)
Equilibrium, Kurt Wimmer (2002)
Logan's Run, Michael Anderson (1976); TV series (1977-78)
A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick (1969)
Soylent Green, Richard Fleischer (1973)




Online Blythe

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2014, 04:26:28 PM »
I've read a bit about this game, and I've always really wanted to play it. I'm totally down with being backstabbed, betrayed, and comically destroyed. I'd be totes willing to try this sort of PvP game here on E, where I think it could prove to be very fun! I'm not super familiar with it, though, simply because I've never gotten to play. (I think I saw a 5th edition book, once?) Quick learner, though! Would that be a problem, or would the most gracious Computer be willing to guide a loyal citizen along learning about Alpha Complex?  ;D

Offline AndyZ

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2014, 04:31:37 PM »
Terrific. Having the rulebook and having played it before are two things which are entirely unnecessary to enjoy this game.

One edition of the rules gives the following movies and TV shows as inspiration. If you're familiar with any of them you get the general idea. Just add more humor, in most cases:

Brazil, Terry Gilliam (1985)
THX-1138, George Lucas (1971)
The Prisoner, TV series (1967)
Equilibrium, Kurt Wimmer (2002)
Logan's Run, Michael Anderson (1976); TV series (1977-78)
A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick (1969)
Soylent Green, Richard Fleischer (1973)

Out of all of these, only saw Equilibrium, but I did read 1984 and have heard a goodly amount about the game.  I also live in a country where intolerance has exceeded levels of 1950s anti-Communism, and even though execution doesn't happen as a result, it's not that far of a stretch to imagine.  Dark humor also provides its own fun crazy times.

If Blythe (Hi, Blythe!) doesn't have the book either, and if you'd be willing, perhaps running it freeform would be best?

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2014, 04:33:40 PM »
The less you know, the better. In fact, it's often encouraged to prevent new players from reading the rulebook at all, just to give them that complete sense of being thrown into the deep end of the pool. I'll communicate at least 50% of the things that your character would absolutely have to know to avoid summary termination. Plus a handful of incorrect things, just to keep you on your toes.

The main thing is to come in with the right attitude, and not to get too upset about being screwed over by your fellow players or most merciful GM. Or just by dumb luck.



Online Blythe

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2014, 04:35:38 PM »
Hey, if the GM is willing to give me information about how to create my character, I'm willing to go in a bit blind, especially if Ebb thinks it's better that we should avoid reading the rulebook. I think that might be half the fun of this game.

If I don't get killed by a fellow party member at least once in this, I'd be sorely disappointed.  >:)

But if you'll all have me, count me in!

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2014, 04:40:13 PM »
If Blythe (Hi, Blythe!) doesn't have the book either, and if you'd be willing, perhaps running it freeform would be best?

My intent is to run the game about 90% freeform. There will be character sheets, because those are useful to let you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, what special mutant powers you have (if you're the traitorous mutant), what special resources and connections you have (if you're the traitorous member of a secret society) and so forth. But for the actual play of the game I imagine that any system details will be entirely hidden, and you should be able to treat it generally as a freeform game.

Characters will be largely randomly generated, with some player input and decisions. Mostly you play the hand you're dealt.

Book inspirations, from the same source as above:

Stanislaw Lem, Memoirs Found in a Bathtub (1973)
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)
Franz Kafka, The Trial (1937) and many other works
Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1962)
Philip K. Dick, The Penultimate Truth (1964) and nearly everything else
Yevgeny Zamiatin, We (1921-22)
Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, the Illuminatus! trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan (1988)

I'd add Kurt Vonnegut to that list as well. And again, more humor than might be indicated by some of the above named sources. Not that Brave New World wasn't a laugh riot and all.


Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2014, 03:18:10 PM »
Aha. In a move that can only be described as either completely coincidental or diabolically evident of tampering at the highest levels, the Bundle of Holding people have just released the complete Paranoia rulebook (plus some other goodies) at the measly price of ten bucks:

http://bundleofholding.com/index/current

And if you pay $23 (at last reckoning) you get at least five other sourcebooks as well. (Everything is non-DRM PDFs, not physical copies.)

This is an incredible deal if you're at all interested in one of the most unique (that's right, I said "most unique") and funniest set of RPG rules ever published.


In other news, sign up to play my damn game, people. If it's just Blythe and Andy it's going to be difficult to have them play a solid round of "Who's the traitor?". Not impossible, just difficult.


Offline Autocad

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2014, 07:23:54 PM »
Count me interested.

I suppose we'll at least receive instructions on how to create a character at some point?

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2014, 07:54:23 PM »
Count me interested.

I suppose we'll at least receive instructions on how to create a character at some point?

So counted.

And yes, at some point there will be instructions on character creation. It's a bit different from many games, in that there's not really any history to speak of. Chemicals are added to a vat, various organic substances are pumped in, energy is applied.... Presto, you've got a happy clone family of Troubleshooters, all ready for action. Mostly ready.

Offline Faeli

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Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 11:13:35 PM »
Faeli raises her hand!
Faeli looks up, and notices that her hand is above her head.
Faeli reaches up and yanks her hand back down firmly
Faeli glowers at her hand and mutters
"Don't call attention to us, idiot!"
Faeli thinks her hand is bad at this whole incognito thing

Offline Strangefate

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2014, 04:35:31 AM »
I'm up for giving it a try if this is still in the works.  Comedic sci-fi is one of my favorite genres (is it even a genre?)  I don't have the rulebook either though and the only RPG rulebooks I'm in the market for these days are free ones.  If that's alright though, sign me up.

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2014, 06:51:44 AM »
Excellent. Five warm bodies -- well, five warm bodies and twenty-five cold ones in backup storage -- should be enough to accomplish any task, no matter how trivial. Possession of the rulebook is not required, Strangefate, and in fact may be punishable by summary execution. I encourage anyone who does have a copy of the rulebook to therefore deny owning it.

I'll spin up an OOC thread for character creation soon and spell out the simplified rules we'll be using. If you have the time, dear players, then reading this page:

http://www.crd-sector.com/explain.htm

seems to cover all of the necessary background information.

Offline Yugishogun

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Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2014, 07:34:13 AM »
Do you still have a spot for one more person? I've always heard about this game from several others and I would be eager to play it. :)

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2014, 07:58:42 AM »
Sure thing, Yugishogun, you're in.

But let's cap it there for now, unless anyone who's expressed interest wants to give up their slot.

Offline Yugishogun

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Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2014, 08:45:38 AM »
Thank you :)

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2014, 09:20:00 AM »
Character Creation is Open!

All players, please report to the Character Creation Thread:

https://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=206695.0

Or if you've had second thoughts about playing, please PM me so that I know not to wait up on you.


Online Blythe

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2014, 10:22:49 AM »
Yesss, this is getting off the ground! I was hoping it would!  ;D

Offline Anon315

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2014, 12:02:21 PM »
Drat, I was just thinking this morning while reading 1984 that I'd love to be in a Paranoia game. Alas, oh well.

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2014, 12:07:08 PM »
I'm happy to keep you on the waitlist, Anon, in case someone else drops out.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2014, 03:35:28 PM »
I don't really have the money for the books right now, so I'll drop and let Anon get my spot.

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2014, 03:36:20 PM »
I don't really have the money for the books right now, so I'll drop and let Anon get my spot.

I've stated a couple of times explicitly that owning the books is neither required nor even recommended. If you'd like to drop that's fine, but don't do it for that reason.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2014, 04:16:03 PM »
You did.  Apologies; it's been a long day.

Offline EbbTopic starter

Re: Paranoia (Interest Check)
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2014, 08:13:57 PM »
You did.  Apologies; it's been a long day.

No problem. I'm quite familiar with the long day phenomenon.