PBP Paranoia?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Weng said in Mafia 8 - Club Ded:

    @izzion said in Mafia 8 - Club Ded:

    @weng for WTDWTF D&D DM

    I've been wanting to run a super serious dark and gritty take on Paranoia (post apocalyptic dystopia RPG where the closed society is ruled by a quasi benevolent but utterly bonkers computer. Usually played in a very light and lulz heavy manner, but can allegedly be done super seriously).

    Anyone want to play Paranoia? It's a tabletop pen-and-paper RPG (similar to D&D and such).

    Set in Alpha Complex, a massive, apparently underground, closed city with no contact with the outside world (assuming there still is an outside world) governed by the benevolent Friend Computer. Friend Computer has been charged with caretaking the residents of Alpha Complex and has done so for centuries. Society is stratified into colored security clearances - starting with the lowliest (and most numerous) Infrareds, who basically live out Idiocracy day in and day out, and working up through Red, Orange, Yellow, etc. to the Ultraviolet High Programmers who work on and maintain Friend Computer itself!

    Security clearance determines everything - what you can touch, where you can go, what equipment you can use, etc. Almost everything - walls, floors, items, etc. is helpfully color coded to help in enforcing this security protocol.

    Players take the role of individuals recently promoted to Red - they have attracted Friend Computer's attention and been made Troubleshooters - so named because they are sent to find trouble, and then they shoot it.

    Friend Computer has a few primary security concerns:

    1. Treason of any sort.
    2. Commie traitors and saboteurs. These guys are naturally treasonous.
    3. Secret societies. Membership in a secret society is high treason. Naturally, you are a member of a secret society.
    4. Mutants. Being an unregistered Mutant is high treason, but mutants are allowed to register their mutant powers as soon as the mutant discovers they are a mutant. Naturally, you have a mutant power.

    It's generally played more or less as a light comedy - the core conceit is that players can die easily because Friend Computer provides a supply of clones and seamless neural backup technology, and traditional RPG elements like 'Party cohesion' and 'Collaboration' all go right out the window at the drop of a hat. After all, you need to constantly reassure Friend Computer that you aren't a commie, aren't in a secret society, and aren't a mutant, and what better way than to do that than to rat out your friends and colleagues?

    But if you play it straight, things can get absolutely, terrifyingly dark.

    Crucially, Friend Computer considers any demonstrated knowledge of game mechanics to be treasonous as well, so there's no need for you to read any damned books.

    Does anyone want to play? Light, dark, I can go either way.

    Things would start up in a few weeks after I get back from Gencon.

    A party of 6 is about the practical maximum.



  • Sounds interesting over here!

    @Weng said in PBP Paranoia?:

    Crucially, Friend Computer considers any demonstrated knowledge of game mechanics to be treasonous as well, so there's no need for you to read any damned books.

    What if you read all the books and pretend you didn't? Wouldn't that be incredibly advantageous?


  • area_can

    @Weng I'm down!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @CreatedToDislikeThis Not really, because Friend Computer has eyes everywhere, and his justice is swift and killy. That rule is basically an excuse for the GM to kill players who try to be unfun and metagame.

    And really, the actual mechanics are quite thin on the ground and Rule Of Cool heavy.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Sure, I'd be up for a try



  • I've never actually played Paranoia, though I have read through some bits about it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @e4tmyl33t It's some of the most roleplaying fun you can have with your pants on!

    Although I've had in-person Paranoia games where pants came off. I don't recall why, but it happened.



  • @Weng It's definitely one of the RPGs I've wanted to give a go at, however I'm mentally debating whether I'll be able to keep my attention on a PBP game.


  • BINNED

    Sounds fun. I'd be up for it


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    Count me in



  • Paging @ScholRLEA


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    Might be interested :)


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    I believe I've heard of this before, so it might be interesting.



  • @Weng *waves* Sign me in! This time for real.

    I wonder if a straight pen-and-paper RPG won't be too demanding in a forum environment, but we'll see.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @Maciejasjmj said in PBP Paranoia?:

    I wonder if a straight pen-and-paper RPG won't be too demanding in a forum environment, but we'll see.

    People have been doing it for years. Some of them even on this very forum!



  • @Yamikuronue yeah, but judging by the Mafia games, we tend to have a problem with commitment, time, etc. People dropping out or going silent for days will be a bit more problematic here.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @Maciejasjmj Yeah, that's a major game-killer >.>


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Paranoia has plenty of tools to use to mask absences, sudden player quits, substitutions, etc.

    Also, combat is nonblocking. A player who doesn't speak up is just kind of standing around.

    Initiative, for example, is first come first served. This theoretically gives a small advantage to people near my posting times, but meh, I'm all over the place anyway.



  • Eh, sure, why the hell not. I'll at least start off and give it a shot, and if all else fails and I can't keep up with it you can always have Friend Computer terminate me for conspiracy to commit sudoku or something. :D



  • @Maciejasjmj said in PBP Paranoia?:

    we tend to have a problem with commitment, time, etc.

    No difference between a game on a forum and a PBEM, then.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    A favorite in person gambit is to issue the party with various experimental pills to test as a side mission from friend computer. These are represented with props - an actual bowl of candy, per usual gaming refreshment protocols.

    As the session progresses, players naturally want to be typical gamers and eat the candy sitting on the table.

    The look of horror on the first few people who just grab some and you ask "What color was that Skittle?" is delicious.

    And then nothing serious happens. And after awhile, people start just chowing down and you as a GM basically have license to do more or less anything you want.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Something else I learned playing this at Gencon. Alpha Complex is bureaucracy heavy. There are forms to be filled out for, well, prettymuch anything.

    So you pass out physical forms that the players need to fill out to, for instance, gain access to an area that would normally be restricted to them (and therefore treasonous to set foot upon). You give out one too few copies. And pencils. That aren't sharpened.

    This gets the infighting and necessary treasons rolling quickly. And handily reenacts that scene from MIB.

    And then at the end of the mission during the debrief, you try to collect the pencils, which were issued equipment.

    And damaging issued equipment is, you guessed it: TREASON.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Really, this game taught me to be a bastard.



  • See, I just learned that with Shadowrun, since you have to be bastardy as a GM to keep a party of SINless criminals on track enough to not let them burn down every building to escape a single Lone Star patrol officer.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I see no reason why entire cities should not be burned.

    It just means your player characters just became the villains.



  • @Weng said in PBP Paranoia?:

    Really, this game taught me to be a bastard.

    Your stories remind me of the skills necessary to survive as a Cubmaster.



  • @Weng said in PBP Paranoia?:

    Alpha Complex is bureaucracy heavy. There are forms to be filled out for, well, prettymuch anything.

    0_1469262961867_formrequestform.png

    The originals from the second-edition GM screen and the Form Pack are in triplicate (white, yellow and red) with carbon paper between them, which unfortunately is kind of hard to reproduce with a scan.

    @Weng said in PBP Paranoia?:

    TREASON

    You need one of these:

    0_1469263020329_terminationvoucher.png



  • @e4tmyl33t said in PBP Paranoia?:

    See, I just learned that with Shadowrun, since you have to be bastardy as a GM to keep a party of SINless criminals on track enough to not let them burn down every building to escape a single Lone Star patrol officer.

    In that case you’re using the cops wrong. Lone Star can always throw more resources against PCs who think they’re invincible, and so will soon find out they aren’t. I don’t think I ever had a Shadowrun group who didn’t make haste to get away when I merely mentioned them hearing sirens in the distance.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @Gurth said in PBP Paranoia?:

    I don’t think I ever had a Shadowrun group who didn’t make haste to get away when I merely mentioned them hearing sirens in the distance.

    It's a game-tone thing: classic DnD players are used to being the invincible heroes, and therefore if the GM is sending back up after them, they read "free XP". With shadowrun you want to encourage your players to think about good heist films they've seen, to get into that mode rather than heroic adventure mode. "Cheese it, it's the fuzz! We're made!"


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Yamikuronue and in Paranoia, the same instinct should be "Who can I blame?"



  • @Yamikuronue said in PBP Paranoia?:

    It's a game-tone thing: classic DnD players are used to being the invincible heroes, and therefore if the GM is sending back up after them, they read "free XP”.

    Yep, and in a D&D-style game that’s no problem. Hell, we play AD&D when we need a break from the more serious RPGs, exactly because we can then play it as invincible heroes hacking-and-slashing — until they underestimate an opponent or make some stupid mistake that gets most of the group killed, and we go back to a real game :)

    With shadowrun you want to encourage your players to think about good heist films they've seen, to get into that mode rather than heroic adventure mode. "Cheese it, it's the fuzz! We're made!"

    I’m very lucky in having exactly no players in my current group (not counting myself) who got a start in RPGs with D&D. Or, come to think of it, with another GM than me. I like to delude myself into thinking I taught them well.



  • Computer Phreaks secret society member here to offer treasonous information and propaganda. I've just finished a Paranoia XP campaign manager tool app website type of thing to help GMs out. It might work well for online games, I'm not totally sure yet. It was designed for table-top, but everything is logged and it can do 95% of the stuff in the book. http://rpgsheets.retrofix.net/paranoia_gear/


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Terry-X Ah good. That's my insane urge to build an app to manage things taken care of.



  • @Weng said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @Terry-X Ah good. That's my insane urge to build an app to manage things taken care of.

    The Computer already exists to handle those things for us, Citizen. You aren't suggesting creating ANOTHER Computer, are you? Why do you think The Computer needs to be replaced? It is infallible and to think otherwise is treason. Oh my, you're a Communist, aren't you?!?

    {opens fire}


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne-Kates You damn fool Red, why would you shoot a High Programmer? Do you know how much paperwork that's going to cost?
    Nevermind clones!



  • @Lorne-Kates said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @Weng said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @TerroX Ah good. That's my insane urge to build an app to manage things taken care of.

    The Computer already exists to handle those things for us, Citizen. You aren't suggesting creating ANOTHER Computer, are you? Why do you think The Computer needs to be replaced? It is infallible and to think otherwise is treason. Oh my, you're a Communist, aren't you?!?

    {opens fire}

    That's why I called it "The Computer's" yadda yadda yadda. BTW: Shooting a High Programmer shows a lack of trust in The Computer's judgement circuits... you all saw it, zap zap zap. hehehe... Извините, но мне пора идти. До свидания!



  • @Terry-X said in PBP Paranoia?:

    I've just finished a Paranoia XP campaign manager tool app website type of thing to help GMs out.

    Last time I ran Paranoia, as preparation I built a simple app on my laptop that would say whatever I’d typed into a text box and had a number of stock phrases I could click on to have it say them immediately. Stuff like “Are you unhappy, friend citizen?”, “That information is not available at your security clearance,” "At your service,” etc.

    On the one hand it worked well in making Friend Computer more like a computer, especially given the voice I selected, on the other it was awkward in that his responses to questions always came after a delay because I had to type them in first. Players also sometimes had difficulty understanding what was said. Not an unqualified success, and I’m not sure I’d use it again. OTOOH, maybe all these are reasons to definitely use it again.



  • @Gurth said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @Terry-X said in PBP Paranoia?:

    I've just finished a Paranoia XP campaign manager tool app website type of thing to help GMs out.

    Last time I ran Paranoia, as preparation I built a simple app that would say whatever I’d typed into a text box and had a number of stock phrases I could click on to have it say them immediately. Stuff like “Are you unhappy, friend citizen?”, “That information is not available at your security clearance,” "At your service,” etc.

    On the one hand it worked well in making Friend Computer more like a computer, especially given the voice I selected, on the other it was awkward in that his responses to questions always came after a delay because I had to type them in first.

    Yeah I noticed that potential, so I built into the forms system an audio button to dole out pre-written text applicable to the choices they make on filling out forms. Given that the GM has to pre-write the texts for various answers, it is mostly relevant for simple cases and it automatically inserts the name of the form respondent :) "Joe-R-DUD-1 to the question, Am I commie? You answered, YES, please report to Internal Security for termination".


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Shit, I want in on this. Am I too late?


  • sockdevs

    I'd be in on this if I could guarantee having the time to be in on it but sadly that's just not a thing any more :(


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @error Nope, just gauging interest level at this point. Will assemble the party later.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Gurth said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @Terry-X said in PBP Paranoia?:

    I've just finished a Paranoia XP campaign manager tool app website type of thing to help GMs out.

    Last time I ran Paranoia, as preparation I built a simple app on my laptop that would say whatever I’d typed into a text box and had a number of stock phrases I could click on to have it say them immediately. Stuff like “Are you unhappy, friend citizen?”, “That information is not available at your security clearance,” "At your service,” etc.

    On the one hand it worked well in making Friend Computer more like a computer, especially given the voice I selected, on the other it was awkward in that his responses to questions always came after a delay because I had to type them in first. Players also sometimes had difficulty understanding what was said. Not an unqualified success, and I’m not sure I’d use it again. OTOOH, maybe all these are reasons to definitely use it again.

    CC @sockdevs - can we make the DM be a bot?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @sloosecannon Er, I'm fairly certain that sockpuppetry is the core feature of sockbot.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Weng said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @sloosecannon Er, I'm fairly certain that sockpuppetry is the core feature of sockbot.

    I mean make a sockbot module that acts as the DM.

    I'm joking.

    Kinda.


  • sockdevs

    @sloosecannon said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @Gurth said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @Terry-X said in PBP Paranoia?:

    I've just finished a Paranoia XP campaign manager tool app website type of thing to help GMs out.

    Last time I ran Paranoia, as preparation I built a simple app on my laptop that would say whatever I’d typed into a text box and had a number of stock phrases I could click on to have it say them immediately. Stuff like “Are you unhappy, friend citizen?”, “That information is not available at your security clearance,” "At your service,” etc.

    On the one hand it worked well in making Friend Computer more like a computer, especially given the voice I selected, on the other it was awkward in that his responses to questions always came after a delay because I had to type them in first. Players also sometimes had difficulty understanding what was said. Not an unqualified success, and I’m not sure I’d use it again. OTOOH, maybe all these are reasons to definitely use it again.

    CC @sockdevs - can we make the DM be a bot?

    I see no reason you couldn't write a plugin for SockBot to do that.

    Let me know if you have any questions about how it all works.



  • Gotta love Paranoia! It's much better than those not-fun RPGs!

    Paranoia has been my favorite RPG/world for a long time, despite only really being suited for one-offs. I've been running events off and on at conventions for years now and will be running one at Gen Con next week.

    You might find something useful at the Paranoia portion of my website: MAN Sector. Notably there's one adventure I finally wrote up, a PDF character sheet, and some graphics. Feel free to laugh at its out-of-dateness. :/

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



  • @Parody said in PBP Paranoia?:

    Gotta love Paranoia! It's much better than those not-fun RPGs!

    For the better part of twenty years I’ve been wanting to run a game of HōL but have never actually gotten to doing that yet :(



  • @Gurth said in PBP Paranoia?:

    @Parody said in PBP Paranoia?:

    Gotta love Paranoia! It's much better than those not-fun RPGs!

    For the better part of twenty years I’ve been wanting to run a game of HōL but have never actually gotten to doing that yet :(

    Sounds like me and Tales from the Floating Vagabond. Also some more serious RPGs, but who cares about those? :)



  • @Parody said in PBP Paranoia?:

    will be running one at Gen Con next week.

    Still sad I haven't gotten to go since 2012, but at least I took the same time off this year so I can state I'm there in spirit with my friends who are going.

    I'm going to do my damnedest to try to go again next year, funds and personal paranoias be damned.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Parody Any open slots? If so, PM me the event code, we are WOEFULLY short on Paranoia (actually, we're woefully short on events in general - the one year we're all on deck for event reg we get basically nothing)

    And are you the guy I stole the damned unsharpened-pencils bit from?


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