Playing Paranoia with a Small Group

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Golan2072
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Playing Paranoia with a Small Group

Postby Golan2072 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 1:47 pm

I've just ordered the Paranoia mainbook (Troubleshooters) yesterday and I'm looking forward to playing it once it'll arrive. Anyhow, I've heard that a lot of the fun of Paranoia revolves around conflicting goals and secret societies within the PC group; the problem is that I usually only get about 1-2 people to play RPGs with me rather than 3-4.

How well will the game play with a small group, say, two PCs?
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Allen Varney
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Postby Allen Varney » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:35 pm

With only two PCs it is hard to capture PARANOIA's characteristic atmosphere. When something bad happens to one PC, he automatically knows who did it.

That said, you should really look at the rules supplement Criminal Histories, which expands character generation options to develop a trail of past offenses that other players can uncover and investigate. This was specifically designed to enhance small-group play.

Also, consider running Straight-style missions such as Dan Curtis Johnson's "Hunger" in WMD, which doesn't necessarily depend for its best effects on intra-party betrayal.
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Gentleman John
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Postby Gentleman John » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:00 pm

Playing with a single player is going to be easier than playing with two. After all, as the referee you can play the conspiracies besetting your player. However, it will take a bit more work on your part. After all, the players aren't going to be backstabbing each other.

If you are more likely to have two players, try and get them co-operating at first. Pit them against things that are out to get both of them: Alpha Complex's mindless bureaucracy, malevolent machinations of High Programmers, that sort of thing. Then, set them up to betray each other and see who cracks first.

They can't complain. It's Paranoia. They knew what they were getting in to when they signed up.
Golan2072
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Postby Golan2072 » Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:01 pm

Thanks for the advice :)

I will probably have only one player. So you say that more Straight play with dark humor would work better than Classical/Zap gaming? Interesting... This means that as the GM I get to screw up the player in some inscrutable bureaucratic conspiracy (with some dark humor thrown in for good measure) , which would probably interesting in play.
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Postby Danforth » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:59 pm

Let us know how you get on, Golan. Think you have it right that a convoluted conspiracy in Straight will work great for one player, you as the GM can really get into personally crafting your player's unavoidable fate.

In other, normal Paranoia game type circumstances, I'd say three players is the absolute minimum. Give each player character a personal goal (secret society mandated, for instance) that involves befriending one player and eliminating another. Then each PC has one teammate who wants to kill them, who their secret society wants them to befriend; and one who they're trying to kill, who has been told to try and befriend them, but is trying to kill the PC *they* are trying to befriend :)
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