You aren’t crazy if everyone is actually out to get you...
Last week I had the chance to GM a day of “Paranoia: Red Clearance Edition.” I can honestly say it was unlike anything I had ever played before.
If you aren’t familiar with Paranoia, it’s a tabletop RPG that originated in the 80’s and has been reworked several times and rereleased. Although the game system has changed over the years, the most important part of the game has held strong. What part is that? That would be Friend Computer.
Paranoia is set in an underground bunker known as Alpha Complex. The computer that runs Alpha Complex is breaking down and beginning to be paranoid in it’s attempts to “help” occupants.
This of course sets up all sorts of wacky scenarios where players are encouraged to betray each other to gain the computers appreciation. They are even given special cards that allow them to manipulate a situation to better do so.
During our game a player tried to fire a grappling gun to save himself from drowning. (Drowning in spilled dessert topping no less.) The player rolled poorly and I very calmly rolled to see if he accidentally hit a teammate. I’ve done this many times in many games. It adds some tension and entertainment versus just missing.
Then everything went bananas.
The player who received the business end of the grappling hook played a card to redirect the attack to another PC. Then another player attempted to lessen the blow by playing a card that caused the shot to destroy equipment instead of causing damage.
But wait, there’s more!
The merciful player failed to realize the PC only had one piece of undestroyed equipment… her uniform. *Insert wardrobe malfunction joke here.*
While I would readily play the game again, I have a small gripe with the current edition. There are several passages in the manuals that break from professionalism severely. (This is saying something, as each book is written like mock propaganda for the computer.) These sections seem to be written by a junior highschooler trying to be cool or funny by forcing profanity into a conversation. They are short, out of tone for the rest of the book, and should have never made it through editing.
The system is overall a good break from the copycat fantasy RPGs that are all over, and I would recommend it, just have a mature adult read the rule books.