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Justified Delusions

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.


When RPG Night becomes Poker Night

Last weekend my brother and his girlfriend came over to play thier second session of D&D ever. We’ve been working our way through the Lost Mines of Phandelver starter set, and after some reconissence last session they were ready to plan their assault on the goblin leader.

However, the hotel my brothers girlfriend works at was having a crazy week, losing employees, getting late deliveries, etc. My brother had just worked his first week at a new job, and was trying to fix his “new” used car.

We kept getting distracted by real life, talking about our own little adventures and plans. After three hours of sitting around the table we’d only actually played for twenty minutes, and we realized that playing an RPG wasn’t going to work that night. But we didn’t get upset about it. Instead we broke out the cards and chips to play poker.

There are some times when game night is about losing yourself in a seperate world, but there are nights when gaming is about the real world, approached over a gaming table.

Why is My Character Starting in Prison?

For an upcoming one-shot I’ve been told that the party will be starting the game in a prison. I don’t know if the GM will be telling us why we were all arrested, so just in case he doesn’t I’ve been brainstorming a few reasons and thought I would share them here.

Continue reading “Why is My Character Starting in Prison?”