Sunday, November 30, 2008

I ate a grenade!

Friday night and way into early Saturday morning me and my high school friends played some Paranoia. (XP edition, Classic style.) We used pre-made characters, the DM ran an adventure that came in the book, and it ended up being a lot of fun. I ran a REGISTERED MUTANT with the "Matter Eater" mutation and a habit of randomly chewing on things. We'll probably play again when we get together over winter break.

And with any luck, when we do play again, we'll get a little more actual "paranoia" in. I almost shot the Team Leader after she reprogrammed a robot to do something weird and wouldn't let the Hygiene Officer look at her stuff (I was the Loyalty Officer, figured that was my job) but that was the only actual accusation of treason in the game. Even that ended up getting dropped, when we went off to finish--well, what we'd decided was the mission, since we were never properly briefed.

The rest of the time we functioned as a team. I wasn't too clear on how, exactly, accusations of treason worked--was it something I should yell about and then start shooting, or wait until the team debrief and then unload?--so I mostly stuck to keeping a record of all of my Team Leader's "treasonous" actions. And the rest of the team kept focusing on "completely the mission," rather than blaming the complete failure of the mission on the rest of the team.

The near complete lack of treachery ended up not being a problem. The mission was a complete fiasco, but the guy debriefing us was responsible for it being a fiasco and wanted to keep the whole thing quiet, and it was a one-shot anyway so none of us got into any trouble. And by the time the debrief came around, I was too tired to care about reporting the treason list I'd assembled. Debrief anyway ended up being really short, because everyone was tired.

Still, the name of the game is Paranoia, so a little more backstabbing wouldn't have hurt. The big issue was just that we didn't have a good idea of why backstabbing was so crucial. I suspect that the player section of the book has some information on how you actual go about reporting treason to the computer, and on exactly how badly you can get screwed over if management decides you're responsible for the mission failure.

That wasn't the only factor: The Team Leader's player was under the impression that "there were cameras everywhere," which I don't think was true, but it would have helped if we or the game master had been more familiar with the material. It also might have helped if our secret society missions had been in more direct opposition. But basically, since we didn't know why backstabbing our teammates was a such good idea, our natural instincts took over, and we're all pretty veteran roleplayers, especially with each other. Completing the mission and working with the rest of the party come pretty naturally.

Oh yeah, and I ate a grenade, saving everyone. It was a grenade that one of my team mates had thrown, but still.


  1. Yeah I don't think Paranoia did much to "incentivize" the real paranoia and backstabbing, it just assumed you would naturally find that fun and just wanted to enable and encourage it atmospherically.

    Your list of loyalty transgressions sounds brilliant, it's too bad that y'all were too tired by the end of it, a fresher group maybe could have turned it into a hilarious chance to recap and spin the mission where the most disloyal teammate dies. It sounds like there was just not enough threat of arbitrary pointless ignoble amusing death.

  2. Yep, pretty much. We're planning on playing again later this month, so hopefully we'll get a little more paranoid then.