Thursday, April 9, 2015

12 Games April: Paranoia (Week 2)

As it has been in months before week 2 is dedicated to Character Creation.

So as a disclaimer I want to say that what I'll have to say about Paranoia's character creation will 100% be at odds with my opinions with last month's Marvel Heroics and I am fully aware of that. I'm bringing this up because I know tore into last month's game pretty hard for at first not having any real character creation rule and then later providing random character rules and calling it a day.  In paranoia all they have is random character creation rules and here I am completely ok with it.

That might seem odd at first, but Paranoia follows it's own path and ideas that at times go completely against the grain of what is expected of a table top role playing games.  The key difference is in Marvel I felt offended that the game expects players to more or less only use the characters they provided while playing in a full campaigns where characters evolve and grow.  Paranoia isn't that kind of game.  Sessions are only expected to last 3 hours TOPS and by the end of that time it should be a miracle that anyone is left alive (and that's including all 6 of their clones).

Wait what, clones? Yes, Paranoia expects players to die so often that they start their game with six lives before needing to even worry about buying extras. If this were a more serious game I might even have issues with this as it makes player risk much less important, but in this game all a player needs to do is say the wrong thing (or not) at the wrong time and poof they're dead.  This game is deadly, but dying is actually the point.  From everything I've seen this is by no means a game meant to carry on a campaign (unless this really hits an itch you need scratched and with some effort can make it work), but is instead more of a pallet cleanser when things get too serious or stale in your regular game.

I know I'm going on and on about why it's ok to die in Paranoia and not actually about the character creation process, but as I said before it's random.  There is little to no choice in the matter and after a few rolls of the dice you are done.  I will say there are a few fun things about those character's though.  First is the fact that every one will be part of a secret society (a treasonous act worthy of termination), but unless another player can PROVE they are part of such a group without also proving that they too are guilty then it simply serves as a bit of extra back drop to what kinds of ideals your character is following.  The group also provides mission and story objectives, but that's more reserved for our discussion on game play so I will leave it where it is for now.

The other big defining aspect of your character is their mutation (another treasonous act if not registered).  This actually does bring in one of the very few choices a player has in creating their character as they get to choose if their power is registered or not.  The decision comes in to play as a registered power can be used openly, but registered mutants are considered second class citizens and can make most of their life much harder.  Players that don't register still have powers, but need to use them in secret.  If at this point you're thinking it's odd that all the players are part of groups and have powers that are illegal then its about to get a bit weirder for you as it's not just the players, but everyone in this world follows these rules.  Every character PC or NPC is a mutant that's part of a group that both can get them killed.  If this sounds stupid or you're going over in your head reasons why mutants would have already risen up and just be considered normal, then this game might not be for you.  It's not about ignoring these issues either by the way, but instead knowing that they make no sense rationally and that sometimes life isn't rational.

The rest of character creation is simply rolling random numbers for skills and the GM rolling your two attibutes (which you are not allowed to know).  What do these things do and how do they work? well palyers aren't allowed to know, but I'll cover them anyways next week.

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