Now, I’ve said it before: I love Roleplaying games. I also love comedy. And things that are really, really over the top.
Why hello there Paranoia!, I didn’t see you.
What’s Paranoia! Well, it’s a roleplaying game in the vein of Dungeon and Dragons, or any other system of your choosing. You play in the ever expansive Alpha Complex, a vast underground bunker/civilization that was built during World War III to protect GOOD OLD CAPITALISM from those SCHEMING SOCIALIST COMMIES. As part of making sure everything runs properly, you have The Computer watching over everything. And I do mean everything.
Your job is as a group of newly promoted Red Clearance citizens. As part of your duties of being promoted to Red Clearance, you have to serve as a trouble shooter. What do trouble shooters do? They find trouble and shoot it. I’m serious.
This game is amazing.
If you hadn’t pieced it together, which I wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t Citizen, Paranoia! is basically The Three Stooges meets 1984. There is a laundry list of offenses that are punishable from everything from fines up to summary execution (knowing a good swath of the rules is one of those offenses!) which means the characters are on their toes at all times. Plus every character starts with two executable offenses: being a mutant and being a member of a secret society.
Your missions always seem straightforward, move a desk down a hallway, recover missing radioactive materials, increase food productivity. But they always have, well, wrinkles. The first of which is the characters themselves. Each character is a member of a secret society, which leads to each character having a hidden objective they’re trying to complete. Maybe while your group is trying to move that table down the hallway, one guy is trying to break it (highly illegal), another is trying to paint it a different color (highly illegal), and another is trying to cover it in Communist Propaganda leaflets (highly illegal).
You can see this might pose a problem.
Did I mention you also die at the drop of a hat? Your characters are relatively frail, and often packing and facing inordinate amounts of firepower.
But not to worry! Friend Computer has it all figured out. See, rather than worry about people doing the old in-out, The Computer decided it’d be a lot more efficient to just clone people. And why clone one person when you can clone them in six packs! After all, then they’ll never be lonely! So whenever you die, your clone just swoops in and replaces you, letting you carry on in their slightly charred boots.
This game is amazing.
It’s really fast paced and generally easy to pick up. The amount of rules the players have to know are pretty small (basically just knowing how to roll dice) and the GM is encouraged to do whatever they feel like. If I remember a quote from the book, it goes something like “you’re never wrong. You are always right. If you make a call on a rule and find out later that it is different than what’s in the book, it just means you were right twice.”
Even the rules are tongue in cheek.
I totally recommend checking it out. It’s worth it even if it’s just so you have something to read and laugh at for awhile.