Just ran a PARANOIA one-shot
Hey guys. Never redditted before so... Hi and all that.
TL;DR: I ran a PARANOIA one shot for my other (non-fun) rpg group. This post describes some of the mechanics of how I ran the game to maybe help other new GMs and then I list some rooms and items I created for it.
First, the preparation: I used the XP ruleset, sort-of. I like how the book constantly tells you that YOU make up the rules, so I kinda mushed together Zap and Classical for a fast-paced but not overwhelmingly deadly experience for new players (which was everyone).
This mostly affected the health system which was FAR too complicated for me, and now had only four states: healthy, wounded, unconscious, dead. If you're unconscious you have one turn to be stabilized by a friend or die. If you're stabilized you come back wounded and the next hit kills you (airsoft rules :P). I also let the players heal from scene to scene because I forgot to tell them to track their health and didn't do it myself. The players were grateful for a merciful GM and were ready to be vaporized in the next room.
For inspiration on how to run the game I watched Ivan Van Norman
run his PARANOIA game, and amazingly, my players did some things that I saw happen in this video and never thought would actually happen in my game. I also stole the idea to put marching music in the background from here. I watched a couple of other videos for the first few minutes until I realized everyone interprets the theme differently. This was the first important lesson I learned as a new GM, and it helped me feel free to design this world as I want.
The whole time I kept my players in the dark, mostly. I asked them to roll 6d20 without telling them why (it was for deciding on mutant powers, access, societies and all that) and sent them the skills list and let them pick the skills they wanted. If I run another game I'd probably mess with the skills list. It's too long and too complicated and I found myself sometimes looking at that list during the game to find which skill would best match the players' actions. I just discovered the new PARANOIA has a much shorter list, so I'd probably use that list, instead.
The game went great. One thing I would change is giving one of my players the Doom Magnet power. I feel I need some more improv experience (first time GMing) before I tackle this one again, or I might use it like Ivan did and create cool spontaneous unanswered scenes instead of the Final Destination description I tried to make up on the spot.
Not much else to say on that topic, so I'll list my creations for anyone else who'd like to use them:
The disco room: Players have to cross a floor that lights up in different colors and whoever's not on the right color gets shot by a hidden turret. I switched to disco music for this part. I also gave them three sets of skates (party of four): two red and one green. The skates let them move faster on the deathfloor, provided they succeeded in their agility check. The green set would identify them as red citizens and blow up instantly. Midway to the other side of the room I threw five PURGE guys at them so they all fought in this deathtrap of dancing.
MECH: A basic huge mech thing. Two turrets on its arms which can be manned, one driver seat in the head for movement, and the last seat in the stomach area was kinda for utility and provided five switches:
- Engine - basically is the mech on or off.
- Smokescreen - activated an arm holding smoke grenades from the mech's top, making it look like a giant smoke monster but also obscuring players' vision.
- Shield - damage reduction for me to consider how to use when they get hit (if it suits me).
- Turrets - empowers the turrets (AOE damage and more powerful shots for insta-kills and all that)
- Oil check - gives a report about the mech's oil status.
The catch here was that switching more that two on, would cause a malfunction and the robot would shut down until the engine switch would be turned on again.
It was meant to make them feel really powerful for a short scene. They ended up tripping and blowing it up using the Doom Magent, after the gravity cotrolling guy failed his roll and caused everyone to "fall" towards the mech.
This can be reskinned, and is probably similar to how a tank would function (like in Ivan's game, which inspired this part immensely). The important thing is everyone should have something to do.
Black Hole Gun: looks like a giant pen with a tripod. After setting it up it shoots ink at an incredible speed. It creates a hole in anything it hits on the way. The ink is black, therefore it creates black holes. When it slightly malfunctioned it just sprayed black ink all over the place.
Code Breaker: uses brute force hacking to hack through any lock. When used, the screen shows: "0000: code denied. Continue?" and then "0001: code denied. Continue?" and so on and so on. My players gave up at 0008.
Grenades (a case of five):
- Anti-flashbang: basically a flashbang, but it sprayes a black cloud of white-noise emitting nanobots, so everyone sees black and can't hear anything for a turn.
- Projection: the grenade rolls forward and projects an image of a walking citizen. When it gets close enough to someone the projection starts panicking and the grenade explodes.
- Remote-controlled: one grenade is activated using a remote control. AFTER the players left R&D a robot found them and gave them a remote, saying "Terribly sorry, R&D forgot to give you this" so they don't really know what it's for.
- Marbles: This grenades sprays marbles all around the area, hitting anyone close enough and forces agility checks on anyone who moves.
- Aerial strike: Nothing happens for a turn, and then a flying drone appears, shoots energy weapons at whoever's closest to the grenade, then fires rockets, gets hit because it was too close and crashes and explodes too.
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