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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?

Re: "Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:59 am
by Nixitur
I've just noticed that the Free Enterprise character doesn't have mission by their Secret Society. This is important because this needs to create conflict. I think one way to handle it is that they essentially "paid" for their purchase by signing up for the Free Enterprise Voluntary Testing Initiative. The EM Coretech Scrambler is a new product and needs thorough testing. Preferably on the IntSec player character. Obviously, your Free Enterprise PC doesn't know that his target is IntSec.

I've thought about this a bit more and I think there's a bit of a risk of a character simply refusing the call. But I think you can work with that and still get them in a Secret Society. I think the idea of getting them into one later in the mission rather than at the very beginning might work better, so that you can get them in a Society that fits their character.

So, here's a few ideas for more Secret Societies:

Alpha Complex Local History Research Group: This one's easy because Infrared Beard is one of them and their standards are low. If a character shows some vague interest and plays along with their ideas, have Infrared Beard take them aside and give a talk (and a pamphlet) on the ACLHRG. If the character is interested, give them a Map of Alpha Complex software. At first, it only has the nearby surrounding area, but it includes a few secret tunnels and such. This software is uploaded into their Coretech and they can't remove it. There's a big spot missing on the map because where the Dessert Topping is created has been automated since the year 214. They don't know much about what's even there, so see if there's some Dead Zones or something. And if you do find any, you must do everything in your power to keep Friend Computer from fixing them or even finding out about them in the first place.
In future missions, if the ACLHRG deems it necessary, the character gets more sections of a map. Of course, it's always slightly inaccurate, almost definitely out of date, but it should be enough to give extra dice on navigation, hiding in tunnels or finding new paths.

Illuminati: Surprisingly, another easy one because they're so mysterious. The Gamemaster's Handbook has some guidelines on how people join the Illuminati, but those don't really work in this case. You can fudge it, though. If a character has tricked another one into committing treason or played other characters off against each other, Mr. Thursday could notice and either contact them on their Coretech or approach them privately. Their mission is to pretend to be in the same Secret Society as another player character and sabotage their mission. Choose whichever character is currently doing best on their secret mission and give your Illuminati player an appropriate temporary skill package for knowing things about and pretending to be part of the other Secret Society. If the player tries to delete that skill package, there's a pop up informing them that this will fry their Coretech. It's not bluffing.

Death Leopard: If a player character has done something really, really cool, preferably something that got them in trouble with Roz, Death Leopard will notice. A guitar riff plays in their ears and someone will shout at them how extreme they are. But if they want to prove that they're really, really extreme, they gotta check this out. File transfer from somewhere, a virus that makes vending machines play really bad rock music every time a Bouncy Bubble Beverage is dispensed. Install it on as many as possible. Attempts to delete it from their Coretech will fail.

Internal Security 2: It's possible that a character will refuse the call of any of the Secret Societies (except IntSec). This is where I think it's best that the Secret Society has installed something on the PC's Coretech. They will report the unwanted intrusion and after their Coretech has been removed for analysis (this kills the Infrared), that pretty much guarantees that no other player will try this. Have IntSec secretly contact them and applaud them for their loyalty to the death. They are now part (read: lackey) of IntSec and should be proud. Their mission is to keep a close eye on, but also protect another player character. That character is the Commander, the first IntSec PC. Neither IntSec PC should ever find out about the other one's affiliation.

Generally, you should think of a mission to give to each player and a useful, but extremely treasonous possession. If you can't think of something else, give them a new, temporary skill package. I might be overdoing it with the "put something on the Coretech that you can't remove" thing, but these are Secret Societies, so they can be as powerful as you want. And I'm gonna guess that most players won't even try because, really, they're here to have fun and you've just given them a new toy to play with.

Re: "Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:35 am
by Orion
That's good stuff there! I like it. Would be handy to already prepare some secret notes to hand out when the situation arises. That'll save time during the session.

Re: "Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:41 pm
by Jeff Mindlin
I was immensely disappointed with the mission book. Just lacking paranoia flavour. In fact it’s only implausible deniability which has me fired up... I suggest that as a fist mission. It feels like paranoia.

Re: "Upgrade" introduction mission

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 9:44 pm
by euansmith
I guess that pre-generating notes for players before the mission and handing them out at opportune moments would be suitably Paranoia. Especially if the players make choices or take actions that render your notes moot. Simply handing the players the pre-written notes which references the choices you expected them to make would lead to a disconnect that is suitably Phillip K Dick. The Troubleshooter gets given a secret mission which the player chooses to ignore. During the mission they keep on receiving updates from their "Control" that have less and less bearing on the situation at hand.