On 7H-3 Level

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On 7H-3 Level

Postby Dread Lime » Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:01 pm

I just had an idea for something rotten to pull on my players, though I'm not sure it'll work.

Basicly, the idea is that now thatr the players have had a few sessions to get over the initial killfest and become accustomed to how Paranoia works, I'm to do something evil to them...
I'm going to send them to an area where everything is completely on the level.

Basicly, a UV has decided that Alpha complex needs fixing. While his goal is to eventually correct all the problems with the system, he's realised that doing so is a momentus task, trying to do it in one go is impossible. Further, he would face opposition both from the Computer, and other UVs. So rather than trying to fix everything, he's decided to fix it one sector at a time. Of course, Sectors are big places, So rather than trying to extend too far, he's decided to set the goal a bit smaller... Like say a single level. Actually, it's not really a level... it's more like a rather large out of the way subsector.

Following a mysterious incident involving some troubleshooters, a stray neutron bomb, and a PURGE cell; Subsector 7H-3 of Sector XCL vanished from the maps, replaced by Level 7H-3. This was soon followed by a quake that resulted in the entire level being cut off...
So Level 7H-3 was written off, and as far as anyone knows (and is willing to admit) there's nothing there but irradiated ruins. Noone talks about it , and 7H-3 level has faded from history.

So now we have an isolated "level", but what's there?

7H-3 level is unusal in Alpha complex in that everything there works the way it's supposed to. The local comp node is isolated from everything else, and not only is the local incarnation of the Computor not scitzophrenic, it's actually scarily competant. Citizens get promoted based on actual merit, and the finks end up scrapping the vats. The officials are capable, hardworking and honest, the bots aren't psychotic, and everything runs like clockwork. Rather than the manic terrified cheer displayed elsewhere, citizens are genuinely happy and content. In other words, it's an idealised Alpha Complex in microcosim... And it's the PC's job to destroy it. :twisted:

One of the high programmer's rivals has become aware of the existance of 7H-3 Level. Should this project actually expand to it's next phase, it actually stands a chance of reforming Alpha complex. Thing is, under the new criterea for promotion, most if not all, the existing upper clearance personel would get shifted back to Infrared, or possiblely even have their templates and memomax backups purged. This is of course undesireable, but certain problems(which are left puposely vague) mean that the only way to stop the project is to actually send someone expen... trustworthy in to foul things up... which is where our friendly, loyal troubleshooters come in.
Last edited by Dread Lime on Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Allen Varney » Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:21 pm

And of course each of the PCs' secret societies has a reason to want the workable level either (a) protected or (b) annihilated. Sounds great! You may want to look at the "Infohazard" mission in WMD, which sort of vaguely gets at the same objective as your idea, except the sector in question is working well because everyone has, uh, died.
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Postby lastbesthope » Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:22 pm

Sounds like a nice twist on "Grey 17 is missing" a B5 episode.

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Postby Mark Dunder » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:12 am

Sounds like it might work for an Underplex scenario. I might also mention that the UV (give him a good name like John-U-SMT-7, you know, plain as can be) is obviously not a dummy and will have very, very, very good security for the place.

You could have the first Paranoia scenario that starts out as a Classic game, turn into a Strait game, and end up a Zap. Just thinking out loud.

Keep with this. It would be a fantastic exercise to see how Paranoia could be used as a (let's not groan or go paranoia here now) "universal" gaming system.

I like it. So when is this being published?
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Postby MarkIV » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:23 pm

Great idea with a lot of potential. Sounds like a fun for experienced players. I'm picturing the journey there through the earthquake damaged, mutant infested ruins only to emerge on the other side like Dorothy in Oz. Maybe the sector is protected behind some sort of hologram so that it becomes clear that the separation is being intentionally maintained by someone for some dark purpose (like maybe reforming Alpha Complex for the good of all... ooo, that's scary).

So you have Alpha Complex where the Computer actually tries to save wrong-thinking Troubleshooters because they really are vaulable computer property. Maybe a session with a very nice counselor that tries to get to the root of the players paranoia and fear and let them know they are in a "safe" place? What if this new sector allowed the citizens to freely go outside? Imagine the competing interests between the various secret societies and service groups back in Alpha Complex to control or exploit a sector like this?

Will the players side with new sector or with their old Alpha Complex? What will be players be expected to do? Maybe their goal in the new sector is to help promote the experiment by isolating another sector and bringing it online with the new comp node. Once that succeeds they will be charged with infiltrating the old Alpha Complex and establishing a link so that the new computer can take over.

What is the punchline at the end? How about this, if the players fail in their secret object to exploit/protect the utopian sector then it is reintegrated into the whole (or destroyed). Alternately, if the players succeed then the massive surge in information fries the comp node when it is brought on line sending it into a delusional spin that ends with it behaving just like the original computer with one exception... now it knows the players deliberately sided with a rouge comp node, which is the ruling comp node, but still, like they say... betray me once shame on you, betray me twice... well that ain't gonna happen.
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Postby Dread Lime » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:07 pm

Ok, time for some rapid fire responses...

Info hazard isn't quite the same thing, but it's definitely a good starting point. I read through the scenario last night, and it's sparked a few ideas.
There's nothing quite like a few goons to get a game going. :D

Haven't seen that one, though I do have a friend who's an absolute fanatic. I'll see if he'll let me borrow the episode.

I like the idea of shifting game types, though I'd probably go Classic, Straight, Classic. The use of pun names could even act a hint at what mode the game is in. AC is filled with puns, 7H-3 isn't (aside from the one critical pun). Publish? Um... I could post my notes here if you want. :oops:

The forcefeild/hologram, which is actually pretty much what I had in mind. The idea of having the PCs try to help the project fits in quite well Actually, it helps solve a couple of problems I had. I wanted them to be the ones to destroy the project, and you've given me the perfect punchline.

I want to emphasize the way things are run in Alpha complex compared to how they're run in 7H-3. basicly.

This is a direct copy/paste of the briefing from my notes.
--------------------------------
Mission Background:
The GIT Sector Bottspotting Club (Lodge 401) is very passionate about botspotting.
They believe that it's their computer given duty ensure that no bot goes unspotted (actually, it's a Tech Services/PLC scheme to avoid having to do inventory in NIT sector). So determined are they, that they're willing to go to great lengths to ensure that every bot is spotted, which has gotten them censured on several occasions (not to mention various club related injuries).

The members of the 401 have recently heard rumors (directed from on high) of a level in a nearby sector where there are bots which have gone unspotted. (Some are in fact pinstriped or paisley.) Filled with righteous zeal, they immediately set off in a flurry of paperwork and frenetic activity, determined to set to rights this grievous injustice. After completing the proper forms, they headed toward Level 7H-3...
...
... and forgot to hand in the paperwork.

Briefing:
The troubleshooters are awoken in the middle of the night by heavy footfalls, shouting, blaring alarms, and the gentle (Ha!) caress(light beating) of truncheons.
They find themselves face to face with a squad of rather grumpy and half awake Insec goons(who were woken up just for this occasion). The goons really want to get back to the barracks; but they won't pass up the opportunity for an extra bribe and a few half-awake threats. Let the PCs sweat a bit, then read the following.

An overhead speaker blares to life, and the goons snap crisply to attention. "Greetings, Troubleshooters. While it is regrettable that you had to be awakened in the middle of your sleep cycle, a most urgent situation has arisen which requires your full and immediate cooperation. Please report to briefing room BR-7194 in five minutes. Fail to arrive promptly will result in termination.

The mission has been flagged as being absolute top priority (it isn't) so there's no time for popping WakeyWakey. Things need to get moving NOW. The goons shuffle the PCs (in whatever state they're currently in) toward the nearest lift tube. One of the goons pauses to grab their lasers, PDCs, and reflec on the way out. They're herded inside the lift, and whisked off to the briefing room.

Inside, they're greeted by a groggy green clearance InSec officer, who takes a sip from a steaming mug of coffeelike, and yawns loudly.
Like the goons and the PCs, Sanni-G-RIA-3 was awoken suddenly, She's
not in a good mood, but isn't awake enough to take it out on the PCs.

Sanni-G looks at you for a moment, and then brushes a stray lock behind one ear. She turns to the head goon and orders him to check your identity at a nearby station.

the goons swipe the cards, and lever the PCs into position for a retinal scan and tongue print before shoving them into a row of battered plastic seats. If the player's think they're in some serious trouble, that's all the better.

Once everyone is seated, continue with:
As the goons dump your gear and clothing in a far corner, Sanni takes a sip from her mug and begins reading aloud from a clipboard, “Greetings, Troubleshooters.(yawns) You have been selected to undertake a vital mission. A bot spotting club has been infiltrated by dangerous terrorists and secret society members. It is believed that they are plotting the destruction of XCL sector.(yawns) They must be apprehended alive for questioning. (takes a sip from mug) The fate of Alpha complex rests in your capable hands. Failure will result in severe penalties."

At this point assign MBDs. Sanni also signs out gear for the team's service duty. They receive a tire, a bag of jacks, and a small wench.
Their service (which they haven't been told about) is to fix a blown tire on the 401's assigned trans bot (An older model known to club members as the "bot mobile"), but there's been a slight mix-up on the request form. The PC’s also get some (supposedly) less-than-lethal weapons for use in capturing the Bot spotters... (Actually, what they get are some old prototypes R&D dug up at a moment's notice, which may or may not work.) At this point, Sanni and the goons have finished their part of the mission, and leave. The goons shuffle back to the barracks, and Sanni heads to her quarters mumbling something about "vat-dammed commie dispatchers", and how they should all be shot.

This of course leaves the PCs alone, in their skivvies (they were in a hurry, remember?) with a pile of assorted gear.

The PCs will have a chance now to get dressed, collect their equipment, and check in with their secret societies before heading out.
Last edited by Dread Lime on Wed Apr 12, 2006 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MarkIV » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:25 pm

A few thoughts...

Another angle could be that they John-U has been trying to expand this pilot project but every time he sends out his properly trained Troubleshooters they don't last 5 minutes in the real Alpha Complex. To fix this he has decided to recruit an elite group of Vulture Warriors from Alpha Complex, lure them to JH-3, capture them, gradually de-program and re-educate them, and use them to do the systems integration work.

Needless to say, our Troubleshooters are not that elite group, but they are assigned to hand deliver the mission assignment to the Vulture Warriors. The Vulture Warriors accept the assignment and promptly turn the Troubleshooters into their own personal pack mules (lot of opportunity for fear and humiliation roleplaying).

Meanwhile, Secret Societies have gotten wind that something is up and they rig it so that the Vulture Warrior team dies in some horrible (TBD) way. Our Troubleshooters after much whining (and possible clone incrementing) are given one chance to redeem themselves. Namely by completing Vulture Warrior team's vital mission.

This redeployment of the Troubleshooters is not relayed by to John-U who just thinks he is going to have to come up with another plan. Instead our players are given their secret society and service group missions and sent on their way. The Troubleshooters make it to JH-3 subsector after some adventure and show up through a little used entrance.

At this point our Troubleshooters try to integrate into the rogue sector society with predictable consequences. After some mayhem the right thinking citizens of JH-3 investigate the un-necessary carnage the players have caused (opportunity for counseling). Eventually John-U realizes what has happened and decides that the deranged computer in Alpha Complex is coming dangerously close to unraveling his entire plan. There is no time for a gradual de-programming.

John-U confesses the entire thing to the Troubleshooters and explains how the life they are leading could be so much better. Some of the players may decide to help John-U, others may only pretend to.

The players are sent on a two or three step process to bring sanity to Alpha Complex (think of Star Wars when they escape from the Death Star -- first capture the control room, next take out the tractor beam, I'll rescure the princess, etc.) Will they succeed? Where do their loyalties stand?

Well we already know the punchline so it doesn't really matter what the players do. Ultimately in the end Alpha Complex is going to return to the place we all know and love. Of course the players don't know this so the situation allows them to roleplay their backsides off as they juggle their numerous conflicting missions and loyalties.

At some point in the process there should be some mechanism to make it clear that the deranged computer will uncover John-U's plot at a certain time. This will put the players under considerable time pressure to complete their assignment.

As an added twist John-U has his own cloning facility so if a player dies John-U will instantly dispatch his next clone. This is nice except for one thing, Alpha Complex will also dispatch the next clone. So what happens when two identically numbered clones show up at the same time?
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Postby MarkIV » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:47 pm

One more thought...

The final scene: the players are desperately trying to cut over the primary fussion-info-link-laser between compnode JH-3 and Alpha Complex primenode. Attacking them are hordes of Alpha Complex combat bots (think droids from Star Wars).

Our heroes are out-gunned and overmatched. At the last moment the wall explodes and out leaps John-U personally leading a rescue team. What Alpha Complex UV would ever risk his life for mere Troubleshooters? Suddenly it is clear... John-U is right.

John-U's team fights to hold off the advancing Alpha Complex bot horde. But even that is not enough, John-U is down...wounded. There are only seconds. John-U gasps:"Troubleshooters.... start the reactor...."

The player's know that if you connect the reactor to the fussion laser the wrong way the entire sector is gonna go up in a nuclear mushroom. But which circuit restrictor wire should they cut ... red or blue... red or blue. The bots are almost here...

They cut the (doesn't matter) wire... there is a flash... all the bots are instantly fried by the EMP pulse. Seconds pass, the entire room is dark except for the glow from the fussion laser (that glow is how you know it's working). 1000's of pedibytes of information are flying past the characters between the Alpha Complex primenode and compnode JH-3. The flow of the light is clearly left to right... you hear the Computer speak...

"Comp Node JH-3 please accept data sync-process... JH-3... what are you doing... JH-3???... Noooooooooooooooo!"

Suddenly, the light flow reverses direction. "I am JH-3... I am the primenode... reversing sync process... now taking control of main database... accessing main database... retrieving.... retrieving.... wow this is a lot of information .... please slow data flow John-U... John-U? Wait too much data... attempting to slow data ... help me John-U help me...." ZZZZt... all the lights go out and flicker back on. The Computer is silent.

Let the players initiate the first question to The Computer...

Player: Friend Computer... JH-3???
Computer: Yes, citizen... JH-3 and I are one. JH-3 is my primary node? You have saved Alpha Complex.
Players: Hooray... we did it.
Computer: Of course, knowledge of my primary node location is restricted to Indigo clearance and above. Are you Indigo clearance citizen?
Player: No.
Computer: Oh.... please report to the nearest computer terminal and request self-termination form X5-JR7.
Player: Arrrrrrrrrr.........

----- dim the lights... fade to black -------
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Postby Mark Dunder » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:09 pm

You guys are the best. It just does not get any better on any of the other unfun forums. I wish I had half the imaginations you guys have.

All of you need to be sucked into the mainframe at Mongoose and get this published. I only have around 40 useful years ahead of me, so hurry up!
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Postby Silent » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:47 am

This mission looks like a great STRAIGHT mission, in the vien of Infohazard. Nice work. I might run it in the future soon, if I have time. Should I credit you for the work?
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Postby MarkIV » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:28 pm

I don't think there is one correct playstyle for a given adventure. I believe it is up to the GM to decide which way their players will have the most fun and then roll with it. I always view the world in classic terms, but that's just me.
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Postby MarkIV » Fri Apr 14, 2006 4:03 pm

Another random thought...

After the Troubleshooters are assigned as the support team for the Vulture Warriors each secret society contacts their Troubleshooter. They explain to the Troubleshooter that the Vulture Warriors must be eliminated. Each Troubleshooter is given some sort of easily conceilable booby-trap device that will kill the Vulture Warriors in a unique way (a glue bomb, a virus, de-capobot, ice grenade, etc.). All they need is an opportunity to use it.

The Vulture Warriors push/humiliate the players repeatedly until the party arrives at the hologram that connects Alpha Complex to JH-3. The hologram makes the area appear to be dangerous with lots of holographic radiation warning signs, etc. Naturally, the Vulture Warriors force the players (at gunpoint if necessary) to go into the dangerous area unarmed, ("Can't have you'se guys wastin' valuable computer property and stuff... snicker"). Really play up the Vulture Warriors lording their power over the players.

To the players surprise they pass through the hologram and find themselves into a relatively congested, but safe room. Once there the players are out of sight of the Vulture Warriors. If you've been playing up the Vulture Warriors no doubt one or more of your players will set their booby-trap device in the "safe room" and then call the Vulture Warrior on in.

The Vulture Warriors order the players out of the room, while they "You know search for traitors and t'ings". Out go players, in go the Vulture Warriors, and the booby trap(s) go boom. Players return to the room to find the scaley, decapitated, frozen, glued to the ceiling bodies of the Vulture Warriors.
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