Thursday, April 16, 2015

12 Games April: Paranoia (Week 3)

The time has come and your clearance has been raised so let's talk about game play in Paranoia.

I will say right off the bat that ever the book admits that the themes and play style of paranoia can be converted to any system you might prefer.  The biggest asset of this game is its setting and it knows it.  I'm currently looking at how to make a Savage Worlds version personally, but fear not because they do also have their own system.

The mechanics are actually so simple I find myself wishing more D20 based games would do something similar.  The basic rule is you have a skill at a number, you then roll a D20 a try and roll under your skill number, the further you are from your skill (Both above and below) is your degree of success and failure.  It's an incredibly simple system that allows for a fair amount of depth as the not only does a higher skill increase your odds of succeeding, but it also increases the amount you can succeed by and reduce just how badly you can fail by.  I will admit that like with most D20 based games there is a fair amount of "swing", but in Paranoia the randomness is cranked to eleven so it's hard to say how much of that is this dice mechanic alone and how much is it interacting with the way the game is meant to be run.

Speaking of how the game is run, in Paranoia rules are an after thought with GM rulings being the unquestionable word of god.  This emphasizes GM rulings and quick interpretation of the rules.  Some times things don't come up "fair" or "balanced", but that's not the point of a game like this.  Nothing is meant to be taken too seriously and someone tends to take what happens at the table too seriously or even worse want to question what's happened because they don't like it they will have a hard lesson when playing this.

Death is all around in Paranoia and while there are rules for wounds and damage, it's just as likely for the GM to  skip over all that and rule that a spray of lasers will dice your character to pieces regardless.  IF you happen to be playing the more serious play option these rules will come into effect much more often as well as a few other rules that only apply to the most serious of games, but even then it's fair for the GM to determine that if an action  would kill the character then they are dead.  This is mitigated by the fact that players fave multiple lives, 6 in fact, with the opportunity to purchase more if they survive long enough.

With the multiple lives, instant death, and crazy near impossible scenarios I expected this game to be a fun one shot game but not much else.  So far however my players still have lives and are looking forward to their next game to see if they can actually get promoted.  Sure it probably wont be a 6 Month or longer campaign, but I'm starting to see that Paranoia adapts to what you want out of it letting you play just as long as you want. I could go more on what I think of the game as a whole, but then I'd have nothing for next and that's no fun.

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