That's just wrong.
GREETINGS HAPPY CITIZEN.
Um...Greetings. Can I help you?
AFFIRMATIVE. THIS IS THE COMPUTER, AND THE COMPUTER IS YOUR FRIEND.
Well, that's good to know.
PLEASE STATE THE PURPOSE OF YOUR CURRENT ENDEAVOR.
Oh, sure. I'm going to tell my readers about one of my all time RPGs, West End Games' Paranoia.
THIS IS WONDERFUL! PLEASE CONTINUE! BE SURE TO AVOID ANY TREASONOUS THOUGHTS OR ACTIVITIES OR YOU WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE NEAREST DISINTERGRATION CHAMBER.
THANK YOU HAPPY CITIZEN. REMEMBER, HAPPINESS IS MANDATORY!
Trust No One.
Keep Your Laser Handy.
I forget how I discovered Paranoia, but I know that it wasn't long after it first hit the shelves. After playing it just once, I went to my FLGS straight away, and purchased it.
Ah, those were the days. Games came out that I wanted to buy, and I had the money to buy them. Such fond memories. Now where was I?
Oh right, Paranoia.
Everything about Paranoia spoke to me in 1984 the way few other games had, even FASA's Star Trek. Don't misunderstand, it's not that I thought it better than all of my favorite games of the time, but that it connected with me in a way the others hadn't. It made sense to me.
Paranoia was surely one of the games that contributed to the development of my personal Gamemastering outlook and style. Techniques developed reading, and running, Paranoia, factor into the way I run games today. Or rather they would, if I felt I had all of my old mojo back.
So what made the First, and Second Editions of Paranoia (my preferred editions) so special?
To begin with, the rules were simple. They weren't especially crunchy, or realistic, or complete for that matter, but they did what they needed to do, and let the PCs do the same. The rules were very much secondary to the ideas of the setting, although the weapon damage rules were nifty, and very much in line with the theme of Paranoia. They were quick, deadly, and resulted in things like Stun, Wound, Incapacitate, and Vaporize. No hits points. Saw that, loved it.
Picture if you will, that this was 1984. I started gaming in '77.
That means 7 years in, and I had already been exposed to a combat system very different from the those in the early round of games, and one that made a hell of a lot more sense to me than its predecessors. And from a humorous game no less! Big eye opener there.
Another thing that grabbed me was that it was indeed a comedy game. One of my first, along with Toon, and a welcome change from the more serious fare that permeated most of my gaming up to that point.
The comedy wasn't just from the circumstances, and characters built into the game. It also came through in the way the book was written. Contrary to the serious, and often dry manner in which most RPGs were written at the time, Paranoia was written with the author's tongue firmer in his cheek, using normal, everyday speech.
As a related aside, I often come across blogs holding high on a pedestal the writing of Gygax, Moldvay, and others of the Golden Age of Gaming. Personally, I don't think those men, creative, and skilled as they were, wrote half as entertainingly as those who worked for West End Games in the mid-to-late eighties. The WEG guys were funny, personable, and as I noted above, they spoke plain English.
YOUR ASSESSMENT OF LIFE IN ALPHA COMPLEX IS EXCELLENT SO FAR CITIZEN.
Why thanks. Um...what is that sound?
NO ONE IS SCREAMING, THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.
I have been wanting to run this game again for some time, but I have some concerns over how it would go over with my current group. Instinctively, it would seem the perfect game for a group of individualistic, espionage-loving types whose PCs often display trust issues. Thing is, it might end up as nothing but repeated TPKs. Not normally a problem in Paranoia, but definitely not conducive to a long term campaign (which is what I am hoping to build).
Alternatively, given the opportunities for back-stabbing, boot-licking, and deception intrinsic to Paranoia, I can just see my guys teaming up for once, and focusing all their efforts together, as a cohesive unit, sharing the patriotic goal of routing out actual traitors, and enemies of the Computer.
Nevertheless, I guess you don't know until you try.
Perhaps it's time.
IT IS TIME - TIME TO STAND TRIAL FOR TREASON! TRIAL COMPLETE. GUILTY!
Treason?! I just got done saying how awesome Paranoia is!
YES, BUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF ITS VIRTUES IS VERY HIGH. SUCH KNOWLEDGE IS WELL ABOVE YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE. THANK FOR YOUR COOPERATION CITIZEN!
THE COMPUTER IS YOUR FRIEND.