The Independents: Paranoia

Welcome back to The Independents, your source for reviews of out-of-the-box tabletop roleplaying games. The small outfits, the crazy geniuses, the little projects, the ‘Indie’ creators who are simply out to make a name for themselves and a game people can enjoy. Here at The Independents we aim to highlight some of these games, for a change of pace and a new (and great) experience!

Welcome to Alpha Complex, Citizens! You have been granted temporary Security Clearance ULTRAVIOLET, enabling you to view the following text: a Troubleshooter’s account of his team’s noble efforts working for Friend Computer! HOWEVERif you are a Communist, a Mutant, a Traitor, or a Mutant Commie Traitor, your Security Clearance is hereby revoked! Please report for termination immediately! Otherwise, read on! Remember to report anything that you read that might be considered a treasonous rumor. Spreading rumors is treason. And Happiness is Mandatory!

Friend Computer1

Greetings! My name is Barry-R-AGE-1! Today I was promoted from the humdrum lifestyle of an Infrared worker drone to the Exciting and Challenging life of a Troubleshooter, which includes Security Clearance RED! Friend Computer assembled an entire team of my fellow Troubleshooters and gave us an Important Task: to take fire hoses and test the fire-fighting systems of Alpha Complex. Obviously the Complex is far too well-designed to ever catch fire, but Friend Computer believes in being thorough. I was also fortunate enough to have been made the team’s Hygiene Officer! Keeping it Clean!

I was immediately offered my first challenge as Hygiene Officer when the Equipment Officer declared out-loud that he wished to use his “X-Ray Vision”. Clearly a Mutant! As we had not quite left the Briefing Room yet Friend Computer was immediately able to deploy the laser turrets and zap the horrifying abomination. However, I did not have any cleaning supplies yet, and was unable to clean the Mutant’s slightly-melted-boots off of the floor. The Loyalty Officer quickly questioned my conduct on this matter, as he rightfully should, but the Team Leader was able to corral the lot of us towards the Equipment Room, leaving the Equipment Officer’s second clone to catch up with us.

The line at the Equipment Room was extremely long, but eventually we retrieved our basic gear (Red Laser Barrels, Red Reflec Overalls, the hoses for the mission, and each role’s individual gear). I believe only two Troubleshooters were killed doing so, including a Troubleshooter Unfortunate enough to not have a team role, and the Equipment Officer again. The Happiness Officer immediately began handing out happy pills while the Communications Officer began filming the mission.

While the pills were being dolled out and the camera began to roll, I got down to business. As a not-member of Free Enterprise (a non-existent secret group that runs the obviously-not-real ‘Infrared Market’ in Alpha Complex) I saw a chance to earn some profits, and was able to ‘procure’ some Green Reflec Overalls and a Green Laser Barrel, along with some Red paint to conceal my totally-not-treasonous equipment. I was able to don this gear partially because this was about the time that the Loyalty Officer was zapping the Equipment Officer again, for reasons I don’t quite remember. Probably Communism! Or Treason.

When someone (obviously a Mutant Traitor) telekinetically yanked the Communications Officer’s camera out of his hands and nearly destroyed it, with the Team Leader being reduced to ash in the confusion, I decided to continue my efforts to acquire goods and/or services. My efforts uncovered a stash of wingnuts. Lots and lots of wingnuts. Not entirely sure what to do with them I decided to hide them in the fire hoses and snuck away from the rest of the team.

Some time after I snuck away, the Unfortunately Role-less Troubleshooter attempted to plug in the fire hoses and test them, seeking to accomplish the mission in spite of the team’s rampant team-killing. He was quite surprised when hundreds and hundreds of wingnuts were the only thing to burst forth. Somehow he also managed to make the wingnuts mildly radioactive. This led to rampant accusations of Mutation, Treason, Communism, and Improperly Used Equipment. I’m pretty sure that the Equipment Officer died again at this point. It was about that time that the rest of the team noticed their absent Hygiene Officer.

Meanwhile I had made my way to the central fire control section of the complex to investigate possible opportunities. Imagine my surprise when the Loyalty Officer, having also snuck away from the group, came upon me and opened fire! Thankfully his mere Red Laser Barrel was unable to harm me, and I returned fire with my Green Laser Barrel. Curse the Mutant scourge, because somehow he was able to absorb the shot! The rest of the team arrived just in time to see this and, not wishing to prolong a suddenly awkward encounter, I triggered the fire suppression systems. All of them. Keeping it Clean!

With our original task to test the fire-fighting systems complete Friend Computer informed us of an Exciting New mission: to halt the flooding of Alpha Complex before every last Citizen drowned. The Heroic-but-still-Unfortunately-Role-less Troubleshooter was able to wade through the waist-deep water to turn off the suppression systems, but was tragically electrocuted to death in the process. The Loyalty Officer had also slunk away amidst the chaos, apparently trying to poison the Complex’s water supply for some (certainly Communist) reason.

But, before he could do so, it was about this time that the Complex-wide alarms went off and the team was summoned back to the briefing room.

When they reached the room the team were informed that a member of the team had stolen a spacecraft and was minutes away from reaching orbit. Not liking my future prospects within Alpha Complex, you see, I had decided to strike out for less Loyalty Officer-infested pastures. Escaping to space is a time-honored tradition in some quarters, after all. The Unfortunately-Role-less-But-Now-Obviously-A-Commie-Mutant Troubleshooter teleported aboard my perfectly-legally-acquired craft in an effort to do something about all this.

Unfortunately for both of us we had all forgotten about the Communications Officer, who had also wandered off some time around the flooding. Tinkering with his nearly broken camera he was able to somehow turn it in to a deadly X-Ray Gun, and he had the spacecraft in his sights . . .

*ZAP*

Greetings! My name is Barry-R-AGE-2! I have just reported to the Briefing Room where Friend Computer has informed us that all problems have been solved! He has also informed the entire team of Troubleshooters that we are to immediately report back to the cloning tubes for termination. Hurray!

There are a few editions of Paranoia skipping around the internet these days. A new one (different from the one seen here; not sure which one is seen here, because reading the rulebook is Treason) was Kickstarted by Mongoose Publishing and is currently under development.

Alpha Complex is a perfect utopia, and Friend Computer is never wrong! There are no Mutants, Commies, Traitors, or Secret Societies! There is no outside world, and why would you ever try to leave anyway? After all, you’re Happy here! And Happiness is Mandatory.

An utterly Treasonous thanks to my fellow Troubleshooters who co-starred in this article, and a very special thanks to our very own Friend Computer, who has sent us into the Complex year after year despite (or maybe because of) our brutal assaults on his sanity. 

Originally posted 7/2/15 on the Mad Adventurers Society!

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