Paranoia, the game

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Paranoia, a role-playing game by West End Games breaks several of the
established traditions of role-playing games.

Role-playing games are played with paper, pencils, and imagination.
There is generally no board or playing pieces, although these may
be used or improvised as necessary during the game to help the
players visualise a particularly difficult or critical part.

One of the players, the Game Master (GM) runs the game. The action
of the game takes place in the imaginary world which the GM has
created. The players interact with this imaginary world through
the GM, with the GM describing the setting and the actions of the
various non-player characters that the players meet, and the players
telling the GM what they want their character in the story to do.

The goal of the players is to solve problems set by the GM in their
search for a happy ending. If the players are not careful, the
ending may not be quite so happy. This is the source of the drama
in the game.

Some games are set in a fantasy world where players fight strange
monsters, intract with mysterious and magical creatures, and get
extremely rich by stealing treasure from dragons lurking in dungeons.

Other games are set in space, where players fight strange aliens,
interact with mysterious and unusual creatures, and get extremely
rich by stealing from, selling to, or otherwise profiting from
the people they meet.

To summarise: Players cooperate to solve problems and find the
solution to the problems in the plot of the story.

In Paranoia, which is set in a futuristic, post apocalyptic
human society, the players are presented with a problem by
the GM, and must co-operate to solve it.

However, they are presented with several obstacles to this goal,
which cause most players to abandon the quest for a happy ending,
and attempt to kill, staple, explode, poison, or otherwise damage
the other players while following their own, incompatible agendas.

The world of Paranoia

As previously stated, the world of paranoia is a futuristic
post-apocalyptic world. Human society has taken refuge in a
huge sheltered environment known as Alpha Complex. Alpha
Complex is huge. It's actual size is classified information.
There is nothing outside Alpha Complex, and no citizen in their
right mind would want to leave Alpha Complex.

Unfortunately, a citizen in their right mind is a rare sight indeed.

The Computer

Alpha Complex is run by The Computer. The Computer is your friend.

The Computer is crazy. The Computer has calculated that all of the
problems that beset Alpha Complex are caused by 'Commies'. It has
evolved many complicated security mechanisms to try and prevent the
commies from taking control of Alpha Complex.

The Computer controls access to information and resources through
security clearance levels, which are organised according to the colours
of the rainbow. The lowest security clearance, Infra-Red, represents
the great unwashed; the masses of ordinary citizens who do not need
to know anything about anything.

Higher security levels are Red, which is the level that player
characters start at (see 'Troubleshooters' below), through Orange,
Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, and the highest security
clearance, that of the great high-programmers, of Ultraviolet.

The typical conversation between computer and troubleshooter goes something like this:

Troubleshooter: How do I work this equpment?
The Computer: What is your security clearance?
Troubleshooter: Red, friend computer
The Computer: That information is not available at your security clearance
Troubleshooter: Is this experimental equipment I have dangerous?
The Computer: What is your security clearance?
Troubleshooter: Red, friend computer
The Computer: That information is not available at your security clearance

All of Alpha Complex is classified by security clearance. Simply being found in an area not appropriate to your security clearance is good grounds for summary execution. This can sometimes be awkward, as to travel a short distance, many troubleshooters will have to take a ten-mile round trip just to avoid using a ten-foot length of higher security-clearance corridor

Traitors: Commies, Mutants and Secret Societies

The computer considers Commies, mutants, and members of secret societies
to be traitors. Traitors will be rooted out and summarily executed.
Loyal citizens will be rewarded for rooting out and terminating traitors.

Due to the eagerness with which loyal citizens try and root out
traitors, it is hard to say which is more dangerous; traitors or
loyal citizens.


The job of the troubleshooter is, quite literally, to find trouble,
and shoot it. Being of red, or higher security clearance, troubleshooters
are authorised to carry weapons, and to use them to root out trouble
in the forms of commies, mutants, and members of secret societies.

The life of a troubleshooter is full of suprises. They get shot at,
stabbed, incinerated, stapled, mangled, blown to bits, and occasionally
they get accidentally executed. This is so much fun, that many troubleshooters
go crazy.

To make life more interesting for the players, if it wasn't already
terminally interesting, what with unlimited numbers of deranged weapon-
carrying loyal citizens about, all players are mutants, and members of
secret societies. All of the players know this, and are looking for
the first sign of treason by any of their fellow players, ready to
execute them, and claim the credit for rooting out and destroying a


All players are mutants. Being a mutant is treason. Having a mutant
power, such as levitation, telekinesis, telepathy, super-strength,
precognition, or any of the other interesting abilities can be useful,
both for avoiding trouble, and for dropping your fellow players right
in it.

Secret Societies

All players are members of secret societies. Being a member of a secret
society is treason.
Each secret society has it's own rules and goals. Some secret societies
have goals that aim to help the computer, such as FCCCP (the First Church
of Christ, Computer Programmer).
Others are resonably neutral, such as Pro Tech (whose members beleive
that all problems can be solved by a better gadget).
Yet more are seriously anti-computer, such as PURGE, who aim to
destroy the computer at all costs, and Death Leopard, whose members
like to party, and beleive that expensive equipment dropped from a
great height makes a nice noise.
Some are just downright detached from the real world, such as Moo.
Moo members attempt to reach a state of serene unconcern by meditating,
asking silly questions, and being mellow.

Research and Development

Research and Development are an institution within Alpha Complex who
attempt to generate gadgets and gizmos to make Alpha Complex a better
place to live in.

Research and Development's devices have a wholly deserved reputation
for being unreliable, and are usually extremely dangerous.

Most troubleshooters would rather work as reactor shielding than test
experiemental equipment, however all troubleshooter teams are routinely
assigned experimental equipment to test during the missions. The
equipment is usually completely inapropriate to the goal of the mission,
but can usually be relied upon to fail to work in a most amusing fashion.


Finally, because the life expectancy of a typical troubleshooter player
character is less than ten minutes, the computer in it's infinte
wisdom creates six clones of each character, so that if a clone is
lost, due to the carelessness or treason of their predecessor, they
can be easily replaced.

Beureaucracy gone mad

If you thought it was difficult requisitioning a new biro from the keeper
of the office stationery, you haven't lived alpha complex beureaucracy.

In Alpha Complex, apart from the dangerous and experimental devices
thrust upon the troubleshooters by overzealous Research and Development
mad scientists, the departments of PLC (Production Logistics and Commissary)
and HPD and MC (Housing Preservation/Development, and department of Mind Control)
exist to help troubleshooters with their daily needs. Of course a large organisation
like Alpha Complex needs to keep track of it's precious resources. Therefore all
requests must be in writing, and where necessary, several forms have to be completed in triplicate. Carbon paper is available if you fill out a carbon paper requisition form, and have it authorised by a higher-security-clearance citizen (after completing the request for authorisation form). You probably begin to see a pattern emerging.

Obviously, this crazy, overcomplicated form-mad world gets to people, mostly to the
people who have to fill in, and check the forms. This lessens the chances that the troubleshooters have of getting their request approved, or if approved, getting it either complete, or in one piece.

A typical mission

The typical mission begins with a mission alert. Some mission alerts resemble line noise, or are so unintelligible that the chances of the mission team being able to find their assigned briefing room is somewhere between remote and impossible.

Assuming that, after being terminated a few times for failure to follow the computer's instructions (namely to arrive at the mission briefing room), they make it to the mission briefing itself; several high security clearance characters will be waiting, standing behind blast-proof plexiglass to give the team it's objective. The typical mission briefing will usually result in several cries of 'traitor!' and a few clones being activated (which is why the briefing team are behind the blast-proof screen)

The next step is for the team to pick up their assigned mission equipment from PLC (Production, Logisitcs and Commisary). Their mission equipment will contain several useful items (such as laser guns, armour, explosives), as well as several random assorted items, (such as one five thousand ton battlebot, two million pieces of paper with 'Warning' written on them, and one hundred four-inch lengths of rope).

Next stop on the trail to almost certain death is Research and Development, where they will be assigned all manner of dangerous equipment. Such equipment may be ancient artefacts from a bygone era (such as twelve-inch black vinyl discs with a small hole in the middle, presumably some kind of ancient weapon) or something brand new which usually has hilarious plot value as the team attempt to work out how to make it go, and then try and work out how to make it stop.

Finally, the mission itself. Some missions go Outside. Most troubleshooters should be terrified at this prospect. Many are taken aback completely by the total lack of ceiling. Simply being on a green surface is typically misinterpreted by zelous computer-servants as treason (more cries of 'Die Traitor! followed by more gunfire).

Should the team actually succeed in their mission, or even get back in one piece, the mission debrief (equally as nasty as the mission briefing) assigns commendations, punishments, and executions based on the troubleshooters performance.

Request for Information denied

For more information, you could consult the Paranoia Web ring HERE, but be warned, leaving h2g2 without permission is treason, punishable by summary execution

Thankyou for reading, friend citizen

By the way, this page is classified security clearance BLUE. If you are not security clearance blue or higher, you should report for termination immediately.

Your Mission

Citizen! Welcome to Alpha Complex

The Computer has selected you to participate in a secret mission
in HHG sector. You will be working with many troubleshooters, all
of which will be armed with the latest in experimental weaponry.

Your mission is to participate in discussions by clicking on the
links below. You are cautioned against using any words which may
reveal you to be a traitor. The list of words you should not use

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