Older D&D/AD&D and Other SystemsThe forum for discussions specifically related to the rules and procedures of either any of the older editions of Dungeons & Dragons (1e, 2e, BECMI, OD&D) or any other non-D&D roleplaying rules (Vampire: The Requiem, Dread), including non-fantasy d20 systems (such as Mutants & Masterminds).
I've played in, and GM'd a couple Zap-style games, and had a lot of fun doing so. Never knew the rules much(I know I know, Paranoia), so my system was "if someone wants to do something, either let it happen, or roll a d20 and base what happens on that".
My group usually plays DnD 3.5, and lately we've gotten burnt out on the system. So in trying to find something new for us, I'm considering trying to Paranoia.....but something that can be long-term.
Any suggestions on this? Pre-made modules in the style? Any actual rules I should try to be aware of/use? What should the players know?
Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.
If the players question your grasp of the rules, they are obviously demonstrating treasonous knowledge of the rules, which is grounds for execution. Hopefully their clones are wiser for it.
That's really not a Straight-style way of doing things.
Anyway, on subject.
Long-term Paranoia is very doable, but it takes some work. If your players are used to Classic or (ugh) Zap style, it'll take extra work. Here are my three big suggestions:
1) Non-lethal responses for failure, insubordination, and mild treason, including that pointed out by other players. Draft up a long list of punishments that are annoying and entertaining, but also reasonable. A shock collar that punishes people for speaking out of turn, or the confiscation of property or living quarters, that kind of thing. If one player uncovers anothers' treason, give them a bonus taken from the traitor - the ability to control the shock collar, for example. Make it clear that abuse of this privilege could lead to the situation being reversed.
2) Big rewards for corruption and secrecy. In the first mission, make sure that the main quest is as difficult as usual, but that there is at least one easily-accomplished way to game the system, and provide some relatively simple secret society missions. When players complete those missions, give them benefits. Make sure that they start equating their secret societies with "getting stuff done" and "success" while being aware of what an immense pain Alpha Complex is. Positive and negative reinforcement should have them not caring about the mission but caring a great deal about their only source of useful things pretty quickly.
3) Missions and obstacles that are immensely frustrating, but rarely lethal. Since the game's going on a while, you don't want people to die too much. This also allows you to introduce long-term penalties such as a broken leg or the like that will actually matter. Give out equipment and property, and then ruthlessly break it. Keep the players cycling near death, but don't generally kill them. How often they die should be based on how long you want the game to run. ;)
__________________ Patchwork Magisters - Volume III is now available! You know, if you like that sort of thing.
First, watch a lot of dystopian movies to get into the mood. I recommend 1984, Brazil, Equilibrium, and Gattaca for starters. Next, decide how you want to run your Straight game: players against each other, or against the world.
While it is tempting to arrange all of your players to be from opposing secret societies, that tends to devolve into Classic solutions to problems, especially if your players are familiar with Paranoia and have some "bad habits". Far better to have them belong to societies that are friendly to each other or with complementary goals, and have service groups provide more of the rivalries between characters. I find Straight games are more fulfilling and run a lot longer if the players are devoting their time to improving their positions and showing up their opponents rather than constantly going for their lasers. Straight characters should fear for and value their lives and not want to throw them away blindly. Remember, MemoMax transfers can go wrong, so why pin your hopes on a successful cloning when you can be subtle and careful and get yourself promoted to Green clearance while still on your first clone?
For a fantastic Straight module that can be easily stretched into a mini campaign, I highly recommend the "WMD" supplement. It has a mission for each playstyle, and the Straight mission is one of the best pieces of writing I've ever seen. Rather than denying the pc's at every turn, it awards them for their cleverness and greed, and lets them dig themselves deeper into trouble at each stage. Where most Paranoia missions center around weird and wacky characters and incidents and exist mostly as an excuse for troubleshooters to shoot each other for a couple of hours until the few survivors are killed during the debriefing, this one gives them a real long term job with rewards and consequences, and lets them feel like the masters of their own fates. Give them power, give them more choices than they've ever had in their lives... then make them pay for it.
IntSec is basically Paranoia rejiggered into a more long term format. I'd say give it a go. Troubleshooters are lunatic, low status, low skill people sent into suicide missions by the mad, and seen as so expendable that their success is probably a bad thing. They also hate each other and will descend into complete anarchy nearly instantly.
IntSec is similar but it changes a lot of the things that make Troubleshooters expendable. IntSec troopers are quite competent, they're relatively high status and can't be killed without consequence. They're still sent on insane missions by the mad, but the madmen want them to succeed and give them various criteria to be responsible for. They still hate each other and want to kill each other, but they will be investigated if they do anything overt, and their are cortex bombs implanted in their skull and their guns are only released by a trigger.
If you want to do a longer term Alpha Complex thing, I would definitely say IntSec is the way to go. But if you want to ease into the system, first run a crazy troubleshooter game with them taking on a problem and predictably splatting. Then the next game session, run them as IntSec troopers attempting the same mission and succeeding... to an extent.