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Showing posts with the label Paranoia

The Mission Will Be Very Safe and Fun for Everyone: Some Thoughtcrimes on Running Paranoia

  I'm sorry citizen, but the question "why hasn't there been a Paranoia post in over fifteen months" cannot be processed. Records indicate that the previous post, " [Backstory Redacted] - Getting Ready to Run Paranoia " was activated in the Year 214 of the Computer, and, as this is currently Year 214 of the Computer, your internal chronometer must be malfunctioning. Rumors that is has always been Year 214 of the Computer are treason. Please report to Internal Security for cerebral re-adjustment. Have a nice daycycle. So, why hasn't there been a post about Paranoia in fifteen months, anyway? The previous two have been quite popular , and, as I'm fond of saying, I've put more thought into this game than nearly anything else in my life, formal education included. As time went on, I found myself procrastinating on the follow-up. I didn't have enough time to work out everything I'd want to cover, I'd tell myself, or that some other top

Don't Watch the Monsters! (Don't Watch Them...)

It's no secret that we at Never Say Dice have been... strongly influenced by The Simpsons over the years, as we've mentioned before . The two of us can (and have) hold entire conversations with nothing but classic Simpsons quotes, something that's probably not too uncommon for our generation. (And portrayed in Rebecca Sugar's heartbreaking short comic Don't Cry for Me, I'm Already Dead .) And, while we both drifted away from the current run of the series, we still enjoy reminiscing about the older episodes we grew up with. This time of year in particular always turns our thoughts to the "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween specials and their numerous inspirations. In particular, one segment that often crops up in our conversations is "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" from Treehouse of Horror VI. While it may not be our favorite "Treehouse" segments (that would be "Time and Punishment" for me and "Dial Z for Zombies" f

You're Dead! What Do You Do Next?

The spiked mace crashes through the warrior’s helm, the fully charged energy rifle burns a hole right through the smuggler’s chest, the vampire detective lost in the desert, unable to escape the deadly sun, is consumed by flames… if there’s one thing tabletop roleplaying games are good at, it’s finding ways to kill characters. But how often should that actually happen? We’ve talked before about dealing with bad rolls and how you can use to them to advance the story , but sometimes killing a Player Character is the right thing to do. How do you know when that should happen, and what happens after that? In worlds where resurrection is just a roadside temple or replacement clone body away, what implications should character death have, and when should a character be killed off for good? - B   A: Death is a tricky enough subject to deal with in our regular lives, not to mention including it in what are supposed to be our games. If you’re playing a lot of roleplaying games though, characte

Gaming Out Stress

It's been a tough week, a tough month, a tough year... If your lives are anything like ours, things are a bit hectic right now. Whether it's climate anxiety, the "open everything up" push running smack into the Delta Variant, the conflicts and contradictions of school reopenings, or plain, everyday, run-of-the mill chaos, it all gets to you. This week, we thought we'd return to the topic how real-life stress intersects with gaming... and the stresses gaming can bring. - B   A : The fighter just went down and is starting to bleed out. The magic user appears to be out of spells and seems to be floundering on what to do next. The rogue? They're looking pretty rough, and without the fighter to play off of, they might be brown bread after the next assault.  The Big Bad Evil Guy looks like he may be on the ropes, though.... but maybe they're faking? What do you do? Should you rush to the fighter and dump your last healing spell on them? Perhaps you should launc

The Space Between Blows: The Audience's Role in Narrative Combat

POW! BIFF! ZOT! Fight scenes have been a part of narrative media for... well, as long as there has been narrative media . The Illiad , for instance, is full of the granular blow-by-blow we expect of fight scenes today, regardless of medium . So this is not a topic for which I can do any kind of justice - I'm sure there are people who have dedicated their entire careers to the study of narrative combat, and there will always be more to talk about, more to discover. Rather, this post will explore some recent thoughts inspired by (what else) a mostly-forgotten twenty-year old video game. Oni is a third-person action game with a focus, despite the arsenal of weapons featured in the official art, on melee combat. Today, it's remembered mostly as the game Bungie made after Marathon and Myth , but before Halo . Culturally, it's a rather bizarre relic: a western attempt at making an "anime game" based on limited reference points that the creators lifted wholesale, partic

[Backstory Redacted] - Getting Ready to Run Paranoia

Greetings, Citizens! For scheduling reasons Due to Commie sabotage, the benevolent and exceptionally well-prepared individuals in charge of Never Say Dice have chosen to follow up the recent Paranoia post with another, this time about what you need to do before the game. Readers unfamiliar with Paranoia should take this opportunity to educate themselves before their ignorance is discovered and punished, and any readers uninterested in Paranoia should join the line for the nearest Termination Booth forming here . Please fill out the Citizen Satisfaction Survey before stepping into the booth. Have a pleasant daycycle! When we last spoke, I had covered the setting and talked a little about my first (successful) Paranoia session, but closed without sharing the lessons I had learned from my years of running the game. Players: Welcome to Alpha Complex, Six Death Minimum I must admit to having a certain advantage in my pool of available players that other Gamemasters might not: I live in

I'm Sorry, Citizen, but This Post is Above Your Security Clearance: My (Un)-History with Paranoia

I find it only fair (and, like Friend Computer, your humble Gamemaster is only ever fair) to introduce my favorite RPG the way it was first introduced to me: Isn’t this the game that gives each player six duplicate characters because they croak so fast? The very one. And doesn’t it encourage players to lie, cheat, steal, and backstab each other? Correct. Paranoia is a lighthearted game about terror, soulless bureaucracies , mad scientists, weird mutants, and insane robots. Paranoia is fun. The Computer says so. Do you want to play? Sounds kinda dumb to me… Say, why are you looking at me that way? The Computer says not wanting to play Paranoia is treason and grounds for immediate termination. Any last words, traitorous scum? Gulp. Uh… Sure I want to play! Paranoia is fun! The Computer is my friend! Oh boy! Let’s go terminate some traitors! Excellent! You’re learning, citizen. Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy! That text was on the last page of the original hardcover editio