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"Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:57 pm
by Orion
I haven't run my first game yet, but from what I can tell, the first introduction mission in the new game is lacking a lot of "Paranoia spice". It seems like an all out coop mission and I'm afraid my players will get used to not-backstabbing which I will later have to coerce out of them again. Also, the second mission doesn't really seem to introduce it until late on, which I don't really like. Also if the players go "this isn't really what I expected" after one mission, there might not be a second.

So I decided to tweak the first mission and introduce secret societies early on.

One player will immediately after waking up receive a secret note along the lines of:
A floating message appears before your eyes: "Welcome back, Commander. You have been cloned undercover. IntSec has critical information that a dangerous enemy of Friend Computer is among your group. Detainment or termination of this traitor is of absolute priority. We have safely stored your personal memories for post-mission retrieval. Should you blow your cover, we will not acknowledge your existence. Good luck, Commander. This message will now self-destruct." The message disappears, with faint smoke leaving your ears.
Another will also immediately receive a note:
A large popup appears in the middle of your view: "Congratulations! You are the lucky winner of this 70%!!! discounted one time* offer of a brand new* >>EM coretech disruption device<<! (Free Enterprise terms of service apply)". You see a large "Order Now" button at the bottom of the message. There is no close button.
Until the player gets rid of the message, he can't see very much. If/when the player pushes the order button, he gets a second note:
The popup text turns into: "Thank you for your purchase! Your >>EM coretech disruption device<< is on its way! Also, enjoy this bonus Free Enterprise coretech toolbar! PS: You owe us." A bar with an ominous "Go shopping!" button appears at the top of your view. Shortly after, the message disappears.
By next opportunity, the player will receive a neatly wrapped box with his name on it. Inside he finds a hand-sized horseshoe magnet that, when held to the head, disables / errors out the coretech of a clone and irritates bots.

When putting on their clothes, one of the remaining players will receive this note:
While putting on your clothes, hidden ... on your body, you find a tiny scrap of paper saying: "We, the Frankenstein Destroyers, have chosen YOU to carry out the good work! We will reward you greatly for every oily, motherbeeping robot you can break! This is more important than any silly mission you may be on. Do well, and you will join our ranks. Should you help the machines, on the other hand... we WILL find you. We are everywhere."
After some action went down, the last player receives his note:
A chat box with UNKN-O-WNZ-4 pops up at the side of your view. The picture of his face is garbled. The box says: "-secure connection established- See the camera to your left in the corner? We've been watching you. You've handled the situation like an expert. We could use an expert like you. I've marked a location on your map. There you will find a hidden device that I want you to pick up. Unseen. Expert-like. I'll send you more instructions when you have it. PHREAKZ OUT. -disconnected-"
Once the player finds the device, he'll get the next:
The device looks like a computer chip with a small antenna glued to a piece of band-aid. You get a new message from UNKN-O-WNZ-5: "Very good. You have the hack-a-tron-3K. I happen to know that you will encounter a massive robot on your mission that we want to get under our control. Plant this device on the core of the bot and make sure the bot is not destroyed. The device will make it look like the bot shuts down. Good luck. PHREAKZ OUT. -disconnected-"

What do you guys think about this? Too complicated? Not engaging enough? Not enough conflict? Bad idea?

I'm aware that this will mess with the point of the second mission, but I'll deal with that when I get there ;)

Re: "Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:50 pm
by Shai
Sounds pretty good.
Suggestion: Because the first mission is an introductory mission to the system, I would have ordered the players to become leaders of the group by outranking the others (A.I. becoming red clearance) so that the game won't get dissrupted too easily, before they get to the important part (mutant powers, pirates, etc...).
Have each secsoc take responsibility for the XP Point boon that the players get. (Something on the lines: "we'll help you most of the way, giving you the rank will cause suspicion, so we gave the whole group the needed points. Prove your worth by getting the rank.")
Edit: the suggetion is better for a time constrained game. If you've got time spare time, let 'em loose.

Re: "Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:52 pm
by Nixitur
I really like this idea and might use it in my game. I'm a first-time GM and my group are seasoned RPG players, so I feel like they might be bored by such a heavily railroady, strictly co-op mission as the first one. And for what it's worth, it doesn't seem like the second mission is all that necessary for getting to the third one, apart from some NPCs they share. Not to mention that the secret societies that the players are in might just have their own reasons for wanting something from sector [SECTOR_NOT_FOUND].
Although this leads me to something I've been wondering about and that is how you would handle players going off to talk to someone from their secret society. Having a lengthy IM conversation while everyone else waits is kind of suboptimal, but having the rest of the group continue while one clone stays behind is also kinda weird. This gets even worse when there's multiple people meeting different contacts, as described, for example, in Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues. You can hardly do that in the open, but doing so in secret with multiple people is not really feasible either.

Re: "Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:11 am
by Orion
While I haven't tried it yet, my take on this is that if you really need a more lengthy dialog, you could take the person outside the room.
The rest will have to wait, but I guess that's better than if you are pm'ing for 5 minutes.
I've watched two YouTube sessions playing paranoia recently and in one, everyone was on hangouts or something for the session, and in discord or so for private messages.
The other one completely did away with secret stuff and everything was talked out in the open. They had received their secret society instructions up front.
I'm curious to hear how a more seasoned GM would go about this in a "normal" game. Maybe worth a separate topic?