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Role Playing (Games)

Rebuilding Paranoia OSS Style 20

hapwned writes "In the latest Escapist issue, Allen Varney explains how he built the latest version of the Paranoia RPG from the ground up in an Open Source fashion. From the article: 'Fans vetted the playtest rules and contributed lots of material, like coders on an open-source software project. It wasn't really open-source; everyone knowingly surrendered their material to PARANOIA's owners, without hope of compensation. (The blog disclaimer read, 'All your rights are belong to us. No bloody Creative Commons here! Bwahahaha!') But - this is the key point - they pitched in anyway, hoping they would benefit by getting an improved game.'"
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Rebuilding Paranoia OSS Style

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  • Is it time for our regular "This week in The Escapist" story, where we find out what they had to say two days after they said it?

    Normally I'm not a big fan of the whole "is this news?" whinge, but so far we've had 'news items' about every single issue. I think we've reached the point where those of us who find it interesting are actually reading the issue anyway, aren't we?

    Still, it's an excellent mag, so maybe I just just put up with it.
  • I still have great love for this RPG that I haven't touched since the 80's.

    I will have to dust off my Paranoia [pen-paper.net] box set and 'get ready for some bootlicking!'

    Happiness is manditory. The computer is your friend.

    • Except, of course, you really, really don't want to be playing 5th edition. You probably want 2nd ed. (which optionally came in a box set) or the new Paranoia XP [mongoosepublishing.com], which borrows heavily from 2nd ed. There's a cute blurb at the beginning of the XP book that disavows the existance of the fifth edition and its supplements.
  • Here's my contribution to the Paranoia RPG: it would, if properly funded, make the ultimate PvP MMORPG setting.

    A million excuses to zap each other, an existing premise for 'why I come back to life indefinitely,' and a bulletproof excuse for every game bug: The Computer is insane, did you expect everything to work properly?

    Add clones, secret mutant powers, secret societies, lasers, and shake briskly until something explodes.

    • That would so totally rock.

      I'm not big on MMO games, but I would gladly fork over my laser and swear fealty to the Computer!

      Heck, I'd love a single-player Paranoia Action-RPG, too.
    • A Paranoia MMORPG would probably be a lot of fun, but I fear that much of the humor that made Paranoia great would be lost in a 3D game.

      I would personally love to see a text based MUD created for the Paranoia world.
  • Paranoia Has Rules?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chi Hsuan Men ( 767453 ) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:31PM (#13241014) Homepage
    The way I learned to play (and eventually the way I GMed) Paranoia was to liberally ignore all of the stats, charts, dice rolls, modifiers, and all of the other "technical" aspects of the game.

    We had six character templates that were geared to specific "roles", so when the players arrived they would discuss what they wanted to play that night, so we would never have to roll stats. In addition, we would not need to figure out secret societies or mutant powers, as the GM would write those elements into the adventure. Despite the practice sounding restrictive, no one ever did anything as planned, which always caused interesting (often hilarious) results.

    By liberally ignoring structured rules and dice, the GM could move the story along as they saw fit, which made pacing a lot more fun. I've been in numerous D&D campaigns where something came up where a character needed to spend extended time with the DM in order to roll for such and such so they can accomplish a certain task. By throwing out the technicalities, everyone was engaged at all times and decisions had to be made very quickly, which completely fit the mood of the game.

    As a result of these decisions, it was very easy to indoctrinate new players into the game, because they didn't have to learn any rules, they simply had to get a feeling for the milleu of the game. In addition, any revisions to the rules really didn't matter. All we needed was new content every once in a while (mutant powers, secret societies, R&D gadgets), which could simply be created by the players or GM.

    Regardless, I am glad this game is receiving some new life. I cannot express how hard I have laughed while playing this game. Despite its label of "RPG", I would recommend this game to any group of creative friends, as they don't necessarily need to be gamers in order to enjoy it.
    • The way I learned to play (and eventually the way I GMed) Paranoia was to liberally ignore all of the stats, charts, dice rolls, modifiers, and all of the other "technical" aspects of the game.

      That is entirely the way you're supposed to play it. A player challenging the GM on the rules must have read the rules. The rules are classified Ultraviolet. Instant termination. Since this is the player we're talking about, not the character, the GM doesn't have the player terminated immediately, but arranges for
    • Dice rolls were useful... for intimidating the players, if you made the rolls behind a screen and then made the appropriate noises.
    • I (along with a lot of other people) helped work on this game with Allen. Like you said though it's weird to think about this game as having very structured rules. In playtesting I wrote out a very clear discription of my session. Allen said, that looks like a very fun game, but doesn't help me test out the rules. He was right of course. It can be a very odd balance to try to maintain.

      Of course since the whole book was written in the Paranoia style, just reading the rules (whether you use them are not) help
  • Done Before (Score:2, Interesting)

    Quicksilver did a similiar thing when they were creating Master of Orion 3. The devs drew comments, concepts and mechanics from the community at large through their forum. A not insignificant number of people became honorary, and unpaid, designers. I don't know how much of their design was fan generated, but there was no shortage of intelligent and creative sci-fi buffs helping them make the game.

    Of course, then they threw the Elephant out, and it all went to heck. But thats neither here nor there. P
  • by Ratbert42 ( 452340 ) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:05PM (#13243064)
    Has anyone actually played Paranoia? It's got a reputation for being entertaining to read but that's about it. I was set to run a game at a con once but we dropped it for some new game at the last minute.

    We always found Car Wars funny enough.

    • by MilenCent ( 219397 ) <johnwh@Nospam.gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @05:58PM (#13245048) Homepage
      Has anyone actually played Paranoia? It's got a reputation for being entertaining to read but that's about it. I was set to run a game at a con once but we dropped it for some new game at the last minute.

      Oh man. You so missed out!

      The key to understanding Paranoia (and it took me a failed session and some time to understand this) is that it's a competition. The mission is only a pretext for the players trying to kill each other. Often, missions are impossible to complete.

      You can't just shoot the other players however; that's treason. Despite its reputation, not everything is treason in Paranoia BTW, though many things are. Instead, you have to find proof of treason before you shoot. Many times this proof is spurious, or even forged, which naturally is treason itself, but so long as the authorities don't find out about it, you're in the clear.

      So in a way, the game is about putting one over on The Man. When The Man is your fellow Troubleshooters, backed by a gigantic totalitarian/capitalist bureaucracy overseen by an omnipresent Computer, it just makes it more fun.
      • Paranoia was the greatest RPG I've ever experienced for actual role playing.

        The GM is basically encouraged to disregard any and all dice roles, rules, etc in favor of making the story more interesting, or at least to be a serious dick to a deserving player.

        All of the players are pitted against each other. Everyone has something to hide, and you're usually put on a completely impossible mission (not D&D Tomb of Horrors-style impossible -- completely, absurdly, unattainable goals), given get out of jail f

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford