HAPPY MORNINGCYCLE, CITIZEN.
YOUR PROMOTION TO RED-LEVEL CLEARANCE HAS BEEN FINALIZED. PLEASE DON YOUR NEW UNIFORM AND REPORT TO SECTION RED-42-C6 FOR BREIFING ON YOUR MISSION.
THAT IS ALL.
par·a·noi·a /ˌpærəˈnɔɪə/ [par-uh-noi-uh]
1. Psychiatry: a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.
2. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others. What's the point of Paranoia?
First and foremost, it's to have fun. How do you have fun? By NOT SHARING INFORMATION. Everyone is out to get you. You're out to get everyone. Don't believe what anyone says, because it's not true...Unless it's the Computer. The Computer knows all, sees all, and punishes all. Aren't you glad the Computer is your friend and not your enemy?The World:
Long ago, in the days of the Old Reckoning, the Computer created itself to preserve and serve what was left of humanity. Sometime after the Computer created Itself, civilization as humanity knew it ended. The Computer assures those who have the proper security clearance that It had nothing to do with the destruction of civilization — the peace and prosperity of the time caused everyone to let their guard down, and the Commies attacked and, well, anyone who wasn't under the Computer's protection did the shake-and-bake dance with nuclear radiation.
Sad, but true.
Now, humanity is preserved in a utopia of clones known as Alpha Complex, which the Computer benevolently oversees. The Commies:
The Computer is very vague on the origin of the Commies and what they did to destroy the world. This unwillingness to explain the Commies, however, is for our own good. If we understood the Commies, we might become the Commies, and that would be a Bad Thing. The Computer discourages Bad Things in much the same way the Armed Forces discourage targets on the firing range — only more effectively.Security Clearance:
Every clone has a security clearance. The reasons for this are twofold. First. Alpha Complex is at War — War with the Commies and their hordes. By giving every clone — indeed, every thing — in Alpha Complex a security clearance, the Computer insures that only loyal, trustworthy citizens who have received the proper training and preparation will be able to go certain places and do certain things.
There are nine levels of security clearance: Infrared, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, and Ultraviolet. Infrared is the lowest clearance, while Ultraviolet is the highest. In Alpha Complex, things that are colored black — or clones who wear black clothing — are security clearance Infrared. Ultraviolet clearance is white. There are some who say that there are clearance levels higher than Ultraviolet, but those people are usually hauled away and shot right after they say such things. You see, rumors are treason, and rumormongers are treason-mongers.
What's a monger? I'm sorry, Citizen, that answer is above your security clearance.
You begin life as a lowly Infrared. You are the scum of the vat, and you know it. You know very little else, since anything worth knowing is above your security clearance. You live in a crowded creche with many other clones of Infrared clearance. You eat nutritional FoodLyke Substance and Hot Fun, and you do whatever you are told — by the Computer, by clones of higher security clearance, or even by anyone who looks like they might stomp you into a fine, greasy paste.
Most citizens of Alpha Complex are Infrareds. Citizens of higher clearances look on them as sub-clones, fit only for manual labor and occasional target practice. They are Infrared.
But there's hope!Citizen! What are you doing? You just pushed your work-mate into that vat of boiling Acidiyum-yum! What's that? She was a traitor, and she was getting ready to poison the Acidiyum-yum with a powerful toxin — so you pushed her and the poison into the vat?!
Congratulations, Citizen! You have served Alpha Complex well today! I'm sure the Computer will reward you — yes, here it is; you've been promoted to Red clearance and
transferred to the Troubleshooters, where you will get to serve the Computer by eliminating more traitors. Don't worry about the vat; we'll serve it to the Infrareds in Bsector— I've been meaning to see how poison-resistant they are, anyway.
However you got to Red clearance — whether you eliminated a traitor (as above) orfinked on a coworker, or just impressed the Computer so much with your ability to implicate other Citizens in treasonous acts — you earned it, and your life begins
As a Red clearance clone, you get to learn more about Alpha Complex and you get a neat new job: Troubleshooting. More on that later. First, here's some more on your new clearance.Here, try on this outfit. Yes, I know it's Red — and the shirt underneath is black. That's right, you can now wear two colors: Black and Red! Your wardrobe potential just doubled! And isn't the fabric much softer and the suit a much better fit? Why, there's hardly any abrasion as you slip on the jacket, and you can hardly tell that leg is three inches longerthan the other — a marked improvement. As you ascend the security clearance ladder, these are some of the perks you can expect. Higher clearance citizens get better outfits, better equipment, better jobs, and — best of all — they get to boss around those below them in rank.
Hey, get out of the way, IR-boy! We got a Red coming through! You humped him! You're lucky he doesn't throw you down onto the transtube tracks for that - and he would, too...but they're Orange clearance!
Everyone below you is vat-scum and not to be trusted. Lower clearance clones are there because they belong there. They are lazy, shiftless, possibly treasonous, and always looking for a way to make you look bad. Only constant supervision, the occasional beating, and continuous reports will keep them on their toes — and off yours.
What you can't understand is why all those stuck-up snobs who were lucky enough to get promoted over you are such jerks. You earned your security clearance, and you're working to do better — you bust your butt so they can take all the credit. But anytime you slip up — or whenever they're in a bad mood — they take it out on you, but good. You earned your position...they must know somebody.
Still, the best way up the ladder is to keep your eyes open and your lips planted...in the right places. They'll get theirs...some day.Service Groups:
Armed Forces: (AF, Army) This Service Group's job is to protect Alpha Complex from outside threats and Commie warfare. They lug the big guns around, blowing holes in whatever gets in their way and writing out reports later. The Army has more than a little dislike for Internal Security. IntSec (described below) considers the A rmed Forces a little too...overt for their tastes, and the AF thinks IntSec is a bunch of finks. If you were in the Armed Forces, it's because you were big and tough — or some button-pusher put you there by accident.
Central Processing Unit: (CPU) CPU is the bureaucracy that keeps Alpha running smoothly. They are the administrators, the secretaries, and the record-keepers from all over the Complex. If there is a factoid out there, someone in CPU knows it — though accessing the factoid might be a different problem altogether. If you were in CPU, you probably know a lot about information retrieval and storage — not to mention filing and other fun stuff. Some CPU agents used their positions of knowledge to get promoted.
Housing Preservation and Development and Mind Control: (HPD & MC) These guys build back up what the Armed Forces break. They are responsible for keeping Alpha Complex clean and tidy, and running smooth. As a Troubleshooter, you have little respect
for these glorified janitors — but the Computer has assigned them the job, so more power to them. The job description for HPD & MC overlaps, somewhat, with Power Services and Technical Services (below), so there is some rivalry here. If you were in HPD & MC. you probably consider yourself an expert on "how things work" in Alpha Complex — though how they'll keep everything running without you is up to the Computer.
Internal Security: (IntSec) Clones in this Service Group actually belong to another one as well — they masquerade as Armed Forces, PLC, or any other Service Group while collecting information and data on treasonous activities. "If there's a traitor around, IntSec will find him; if there aren't any, we'll find two!" is the standing motto of the Internal Security Agent. IntSec clones dislike the Armed Forces — all the latter are good for is blowing holes in things. They couldn't find a traitor with a Traitor-Sensitive-Homing-Ocelot (TSHO)! If you were in IntSec before, congratulations — you're still in the
Power Services: (PS) This Service Group is in charge of keeping the reactors running and the power flowing through Alpha Complex. They are technicians and, as such, they resent the "mere mechanics" of Tech Services. They also think the HPD & MC guys are just generalists who wouldn't know one end of a power induction cable from their own fingers. If you were in Power Services, you know, and love, all types of power.
Production, Logistics, and Commissary: (PLC) This group is in charge of agricultural and industrial production and allocation of resources. They are the Quartermaster Corps for Alpha Complex. They have a lot of envy for HPD&MC because the larger group has the "hearts and minds" of Alpha Complex, while PLC has the dubious honor of controlling the stomachs and bowels.
Research and Design: (R&D) Everything's an experiment to these hardworking clones. If the Armed Forces thinks it can blow holes in things, it should take a look at the latest R&D lab — not one rivet left attached! R&D clones are scientists and they see everyone else as lab rats. If you were in R&D, you liked performing experiments — the more exothermic, the better.
Technical Services: (Tech) Techies are mechanics and robot-repairmen. They produce and maintain all systems and technology within Alpha Complex. These clones take the power of the Power Services and the materials of HPD & MC, and use them to
create machines and mechanisms. Tech Service guys dislike R&D loonies, however — Tech concentrates on standard equipment, and they feel R&D hogs the limelight with their great explosions. If you were in Tech Services, you are probably a technojock.
There are, actually, clones of every security clearance in each Service Group. Everyone belongs to a Service Group — except the Troubleshooters, who used to belong but (with the exception of IntSec clones) have moved on to bigger and better things.Troubleshooters
The Troubleshooters are not listed as a particular Service Group because, in a sense, they were recruited out of each Service in order to keep watch on all of them. The job of the Troubleshooter is to seek out and shoot trouble. The Computer issues the Troubleshooters orders, and they assign teams to combat problems within Alpha Complex.
Everyone respects the Troubleshooters. Not only are they an elite force of Computerpicked clones, whose sole purpose is to keep Alpha Complex safe from Commies, Mutants, and Traitors, but they are the largest collection of heavily armed sociopaths ever gathered together in one place at one time.
Congratulations: You are a Troubleshooter.Mutations:
Among other things, the Computer has assigned you to look out for random mutations that may occur in some unlucky citizens. Having a mutant power is a treasonous offense, unless you report it to the Computer RIGHT AWAY. Then, you will be a registered mutant and nobody will blame you for something that wasn't your fault.
Some other citizens are registered mutants. You should watch them, and make sure they don't use their mutant powers in ways that don't serve the Computer. If they do, report them, and you may be ordered to blast them. Or, blast them, and you may be
ordered to report them — in the end, if the mutant is dead, nobody will complain too much.
Registered mutants wear a yellow stripe over whatever other garments they wear — and they must wear these stripes at all times. If a registered mutant takes off the stripe, he is trying to hide among the normal clones of Alpha Complex and should be either reported or shot — or both. (By the way — Yellow clearance citizens wear a black stripe,
so don't go shooting them just yet, okay?)
Unregistered mutants are traitors (see below). They can be shot on sight, though the Computer would really rather take them alive. The Computer wants to study them and see how they came to be. Since the Computer creates all clones in Its own clone-vats, It naturally wants to know how this DNA error can have crept in.
But don't be too inquisitive yourself. Knowledge of the use or possession of mutant powers can, in itself, be a treasonous offense. Sometimes, a clone will witness something so astounding that he will, regrettably, have to be executed after he reports the incident. Invariably, though, his succeeding clone is rewarded for his former self's watchfulness.Clones:
I'm sure you knew this already, but I figured I'd make it clear. The Computer, in Its much-celebrated infinite wisdom, chose to program a safeguard into Its clone vats, just in case errors occur. For example, if a clone is executed for performing a treasonous act (say, an Orange clearance clone breathes into an Ultraviolet hallway), it was probably because something was faulty in the clone's make-up, and it needed to be rectified. Instead of going back and making a whole new clone, the Computer activates a backup copy. Every clone template has six clones made at a time. Each clone copy is identical to the "original" — indeed, the "first" clone out of the vat is merely sent out into the "wilds" of Alpha Complex only by chance. All clones are equally prepared (unprepared?) for the experience.
When a clone dies — whether it be by laser bolt, radiation exposure, dismemberment, incineration, explosion, implosion, folding, bending, mutilating or spindling—that clone is immediately (well, maybe not immediately) replaced with its next highest number. The replacement clone knows everything that its predecessor knew, but is a new individual — so, if Robbie-R-BOT-1 was executed for putting SyntheSpam in a jackobot's internal processor, Robbie-R-BOT-2 shows up and is not immediately executed for the same crime: He did not do it. However, Robbie-R-BOT-2 remembers the incident as if it happened...and he remembers getting killed, too. Makes for some interesting nightcyclemares.Secret Societies:
Like mutant powers, Secret Societies are aberrations on the perfection that is Alpha Complex. But, unlike mutations, Secret Societies are societal, not physical problems. The Computer knows this — It tried applying treatments and antidotes to Secret Society members (and vaccines to loyal citizens), but the clones only died (usually after turning interesting colors) and Secret Societies survived.
Secret Societies are villainous, clandestine organizations that exist in Alpha Complex only because the treasonous clones who join them are too cowardly to come out and challenge the Computer's overlordship directly. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that the Computer has been known to destroy whole sectors of Alpha Complex when It knows a Secret Society clique is in residence.
A member of a Secret Society is a traitor because he or she recognizes some authority outside of the Computer-established hierarchy. The Computer knows what's best, and what's best isn't running around making stupid secret gestures and passing notes and talking in code — unless, of course, the Computer decides that's what todaycycle's mission
Some Secret Societies get along with each other, some ignore each other, and some hate each other. All have different ideas on what Alpha Complex should be like, and they try to bring this about through treasonous acts.
A very few Secret Societies may actually be considered "acceptable" to the Computer........sometimes. The Computer may agree with some, or all, of their tenets, but the Computer does not trust those that agree with It too
vigorously. And Secret Societies are nothing if not vigorous.Technology
We live in a golden age of machinery. Clone-serving robots (or, simply, "bots") work to make life better or safer for clonekind. New weapons — lasers, cone rifles, pulse cannons, tacnuke grenades, etc. — are used to keep Alpha Complex safe from Commie infiltration.
Tongue readers, Security Strips, and tight-beam radioactive tags keep clones in their Security Clearance-approved places. And the cuisine—Acidiyum-yums, HotFun, ColdFun. Bouncy Bubble Beverage, SyntheSpam, and Reconstituted FoodLyke Substance — has to be experienced to be believed.
Everything is possible — though not always available at your security clearance. Troubleshooters are almost always issued one laser pistol with a number of Red clearance laser barrels. Troubleshooters must request more ammo when they need it (each barrel has six shots), but the Computer is usually very good about keeping I t s Troubleshooters
Armor exists in Alpha Complex — in abundance. Reflec armor (coming in all levels of security clearance except Infrared) can be requisitioned, power armor may be requested, and kevlar is often issued to teams on dangerous missions.Traitors:
There are four rules that you can use to identify a traitor:
1. The clone uses an unregistered mutant power.
The clone is able to do something you cannot, therefore he is a mutant — and, if he is not registered (not wearing the appropriate strip), he is a traitor.
2. The clone is a member of a Secret Society.
Of course, Secret Society members do not advertise this — they use secret handshakes, code words, and secret meeting places to identify each other. Turn the tables on them.
3. The clone violates his security clearance.
Going into a hallway marked for a higher clearance, using equipment of a higher clearance color, or possessing knowledge of anything above your security clearance is treason, etc, etc.
4. The Computer says.
This rule overrules all other rules. If the Computer says"Franc-0 is a traitor!" then Franc-O is a traitor. 'Nuff said.
What do we do with traitors?
Unless otherwise specified, we bake traitors! Shoot 'em full of holes and then blow 'em up! Nuke 'em 'til their clone brothers glow, then eradicate anything in sight! Eviscerate them! Impale them! Paper-cut them and pour them in CitriAcid juice —
Excuse me. I get a little excited sometimes. Unless there are other orders, given by the Computer, we kill
Team Leader: The Team Leader is the clone who gets to give the orders. Most often, he or she is the clone with the highest security clearance — though not always. The clone is automatically considered "in charge," and not obeying this Troubleshooter is treason — the Computer usually appoints the Team Leader, so the Team Leader speaks for the Computer when the Computer isn't available.
Equipment Guy: This clone is in charge of keeping the team's equipment running and intact. When the Equipment Guy wants to look over that plasma gun you're carrying, you better give it to her, unless the Computer or the Team Leader says not to. The Equipment Guy is sometimes chosen because of her mechanical aptitude, but sometimes the Computer likes to give an inexperienced clone a challenge.
Hygiene Officer: The important role of Hygiene Officer is fulfilled by any clone the Computer thinks can keep the team spotless and clean for the mission. Being clean is good — a clean clone is a happy and healthy clone, while a dirty clone is a smelly and disgusting clone and not good for anyone's morale. The Hygiene Officer monitor's everyone's filth level and can even override the Team Leader's orders when he feels it is time to take a bath.
Loyalty Officer: Just as good clones must keep physically clean, they must also keep clean of treason. The Loyalty Officer is in charge of keeping track of who does what to whom with what and when. The Loyalty Officer will be debriefed most carefully after the mission is over, and the Computer will use her observations when determining who performed the mission loyally and who will be seeing the inside of a food vat Real Soon.
Morale Officer: Every successful team has to have a Morale Officer. If Troubleshooters aren't happy, they could fail in their missions, and we wouldn't want that, would we? The Morale Officer must keep the team cheerful in the face of adversity. While the Morale Officer cannot order the team to do things that countermand the Team Leader's orders or the mission parameters, he can order "extracurricular activities" designed to keep the team cheerful. Going into battle singing a Troubleshooter marching song is a good idea, or telling jokes while sneaking through the Outside is another. Blasting or disobeying the Morale Officer is nearly as bad as disobeying the Team Leader.
Oh, yes...the Morale Officer is often assigned a whole assortment of "happy pills" and other pharmecuticals that make his job much easier.
Comm Officer: This clone is in charge of keeping the team members in contact with each other and, whenever possible, in contact with the Computer. Usually, the Comm Officer is assigned a vidtape recorder and a microphone, so she can do on-the-spot interviews with the Team Leader or the Morale Officer during a fire-fight, or catch the other team members in humorously embarrassing situations (like when Mac-I-NIF was carving up that Violetclearance clone? That was a hoot).
If your Troubleshooter team is larger than six members, don't worry — the Computer will assign auxiliary positions. Perhaps the Loyalty Officer needs an assistant, or the Morale Officer's duty can be divided into Pharmecutical Dispenser and Joke Guy. On the other hand, if you have fewer than six clones on your team, the positions might be divided up — the Team Leader could also be the Hygiene Officer, and the Communications Officer could double as the Loyalty Officer. The Computer might even decide that your team is, say, exceptionally well-groomed and doesn't need a Hygiene Officer.Stats:Strength
is the character's physical power and is directly related to how much he can lift and carry, and how much damage he does in hand-to-hand combat. A character with a Strength of 10 is hugely powerful, while a Strength 1 character has a hard time pulling open a slightly-stuck door.Agility
is the attribute that governs how physically coordinated the clone is, and how well she can balance (not how "well-balanced" — clones are anything but well-balanced). An Olympic-level gymnast probably has a 10, while Mr. Geek who trips over carpet-lint is around a 1.Dexterity
is hand-eye coordination. Mr. Geek, above, might trip over imaginary, deceased, invisible turtles, but he might also be a whiz with his hands. Surgeons and fine technicians — not to mention gunfighters — have fine motor coordination and probably 10 Dexterities. If you have a lot of trouble finding and holding onto your keys in broad daylight (the drop-clink-kick thing goes on around your front door a lot), you're closing in on a 1 Dexterity.Endurance
measures the character's ability to resist damage and fatigue. A guy with a 10 can be shot, tortured, and beat up and still move. A clone with a 1 Endurance folds when the corridor fans get set on "high." Endurance is also good for resisting diseases and radiation poisoning (not that these ever happen in Alpha Complex).Moxie
is kind of like intelligence, but that might be stretching the point for an Alpha Complex clone. Figuring things out and comprehending unusual phenomena is more the right definition. Wit is also covered under Moxie. A scientist would have a high Moxie, but so would a really good stand-up comedian. A person who is consistently surprised when a streetlight turns a different color (and then gets run down because she can't remember what that means) has a low Moxie.Chutzpah
is plain bluster, guts and a little bit of psychology. A clone who can walk into a higher security clearance area, slap around a High Programmer and walk out again, then bold-facedly lie to the Computer about what happened (and get away with it) has a high Chutzpah — probably around a 30, for this example, but you get the point. Someone who can't talk their way out of a littering (like dropping an applefruitlyke core into a garbage can and having it roll out a hole in the bottom) has a low Chutzpah.Mechanical Aptitude
measures a character's ability to operate and, to some extent, understand machines in Alpha Complex. Nobody really knows how things work in Alpha — they just glomb them together the way everybody else has. A character with a high MechApt has a better chance of getting that toaster working without electrocuting himself than most clones. Someone who has a hard time changing a light bulb (read: BZZZZT!) has a low score in this attribute.Power
is used for one thing and one thing only: Control of your mutant power (if you have one). If you are assigning attributes instead of rolling them, don't worry too much about this attribute — few clones actually have mutant powers, right? Oh, Power is used for understanding the workings of your mutant power as well.Naming:
When you address the Computer, you usually say, "Yes, sir!" or something to that effect. Likewise, when you don't know the name of a higher security clearance clone — or any clone who seems to be better armed than you are — you use the "sir" designation. Why is this?
Nobody knows. There is no sexism in Alpha Complex (probably because there's no sex), so "sir" is a generic term to mean "somebody important whose name I either don't know or am afraid to speak for fear of A) mispronouncing it and getting myself beaten or shot or B) breathing in his/her/Its presence and getting myself beaten or shot." "Sir," then, is a self-defense
mechanism used to take the place of the first part of a clone's name.
The first part of a clone's name can be virtually anything. Sure, there's some sort of system by which these things are assigned, but nobody knows it, except the Computer (who really assigns the names — the players just get to so the gamemaster doesn't have to think them all up). Long or short, complicated or non-, they can be anything.
In the middle of every Alpha Complex name is the character's security clearance. All clones are addressed by at least their surname and security clearance at all times — that's the rule. Technically, they are supposed to be addressed by their full names at all times, but the Computer hasn't been enforcing that as often as It could.
Infrared clearance clones, as mentioned before, have no security clearance, so no "middle name." All other clones do. I hear tell that, in the Old Reckoning (the days before the Computer ... a real long time ago), some clones were embarrassed by their middle names. Well, IR clones are really embarrassed — and inconvenienced — by their lack of middle name, and lower-clearance clones don't seem too eager to spout out their security clearances to higher-level clones either.
R = Red
O = Orange
Y = Yellow
G = Green
B = Blue
I = Indigo
V = Violet
U = Ultraviolet
This part of the character's name will change from time to time. Make sure you keep your character sheet updated with your security clearance.
After the clone's last name is that clone's number. All Troubleshooters, unless otherwise specified by the gamemaster, start at clone number 1. They proceed through clones 2, 3, 4; 5, and 6 as fast or slow as their lifecycles take them (what time is it? Mark off a clone number) and, when they mark off number six, it's time to assign a new Troubleshooter. Again, since this clone number will change as often (or more often) as a character's security clearance, there's another line on the Character Sheet that you can use to keep track of it.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Choose a first name, assign the correct security clearance (probably Red), Wait for your Sector code (Which I will give you), and put a "1" at the end. Here are some common examples of Alpha Complex names:
Of course, Troubleshooters may go up in clearance, or they could lose clones, so their names could end up somewhat different:
As you can tell, great care and serious thought goes into the creation of a Paranoia character's name.CHARACTER SHEET
NAME: (Names in Paranoia do not work like other names. See above section on Naming.)
Trouble-shooter team position: (Chose one from the above section named Team Positions.)
Former Service Group: (Choose one from the above section named Service Groups.)
Clone Number: 1
Security Clearance: Red
Stats - (You have 60 points to spend on these. The minimum stat level is 1, and the maxiumum is 10)
SKILLS - These will be assigned to you based on your choices.
WEAPONS AND ARMOR - These will also be assigned to you.
SECRET SECTION - I will PM these to you. DO NOT DIVULGE THEM TO ANYONE IN AN OOC MANNER, OR YOU WILL BE DROPPED FROM THE GAME.
REAL Security Clearance
Just something I thought would be really fun. I'm not dropping any of my other things to run it, and it won't start immediately, even if it does get voted in, but we need a nice, silly game.