Well, I ran my second session of Paranoia the other night, and I’m not completely sure what to think about the system. It is fun and enjoyable, but there’s not much substance to it. As much as I like running Paranoia, I don’t think I’ll do it that often and not just because I’m running out of modules.
My Dad calls it the chocolate eclair syndrome. Chocolate eclairs sure are nice, but would you want to eat them all the time? The same with Paranoia, I do like running it but even for the fact that Paranoia sessions are shorter, much shorter, than other gaming sessions, it can get a little tiring.
So let’s take a look at what happened, then…
Treason in Word and Deed
If you haven’t been paying attention, I have been running modules with Paranoia for the simple reason that they have elements I like in them. “The Quantum Traitor” which I ran for the first session I rather liked all the conflicting orders the players had regarding the box. This one, “Treason in Word and Deed”, it was the basic premise of the mission itself.
I am now going to describe it in some detail, so if there is anyone who reads this blog who plays Paranoia, feel free to skip the rest of the post. As half the fun in playing Paranoia is not knowing what is going on.
So, “Treason in Word and Deed” has a much more basic premise than most other Paranoia missions. There are no instructions from the player’s service service or their secret societies. There are no zany and strange contraptions that R&D wants them to test run. There’s not even the Mandatory Bonus Duty. All there is are the players and allegations of treasonous actions that they know nothing about.
And that was why I loved it, as it boiled down to Paranoia in all it’s simplicity: the players trying to get out of this room by implicating the others in these treasonous acts, and at the same time little by little implicating themselves. Turning on each other, making alliances, making allegations that ended up blowing up in their faces. Yes, it was fun.
To be honest, it took the better part of two hours to get this to happen and I had to work harder in this game than I had before, particularly in the part of Friend Computer. I think this is why Friend Computer was heard so little in the second session, he was taking a much-needed break.
But after two hours of working the players, of handing out weapons discreetly, of separating them and giving them seemingly conflicting information and advice, I had the players turning on each other like rats. Which is precisely what I had wanted in the first place. Three players were neck and neck as far as treason points went and then finally we marched off one of them for termination, and there was much rejoicing.
I did run another Paranoia module after that, a more regular one “The Heroes of Our Complex”, as it was only a few hours in to gaming night and towards the end I was getting a little tired.
Next week, I’m in the chair again for Tomb of Horrors. I know you are waiting for a write up of those sessions, but I would rather wait until the players finish the current dungeon so I can look at it as a whole. Sorry, guys, it’ll just have to wait.