"Alpha Complex" - the PARANOIA Fiasco playset

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Allen Varney
Banded Mongoose
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"Alpha Complex" - the PARANOIA Fiasco playset

Postby Allen Varney » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:08 pm

Too-long-didn't-read: "Alpha Complex," Dan Curtis Johnson's authorized PARANOIA-themed playset for Fiasco, is now available as a free download from Bully Pulpit Games.

Fiasco is Jason Morningstar's tabletop storytelling game of "Coen Brothers roleplaying." From the Bully Pulpit Games site:
Fiasco is inspired by cinematic tales of small time capers gone disastrously wrong -- by films like Blood Simple, Fargo, The Way of the Gun, Burn After Reading, and A Simple Plan. You'll play ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won't go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will probably all go south in a glorious heap of jealousy, murder, and recrimination. Lives and reputations will be lost, painful wisdom will be gained, and if you are really lucky, your guy just might end up back where he started.

Fiasco is a GM-less game for 3-5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with six-sided dice and no preparation. During a game you will engineer and play out stupid, disastrous situations, usually at the intersection of greed, fear, and lust. It's like making your own Coen brothers movie, in about the same amount of time it'd take to watch one.
Of course you're thinking, "Gosh, what a perfect match for PARANOIA." So was Dan Curtis Johnson, author of "Mister Bubbles" in the 2004 Mongoose Publishing PARANOIA rulebook and contributor to several of its supplements, with such acclaimed missions as "Stealth Train" (from the Crash Priority supplement), "The Lightbulb Mission" (Service, Service!), and above all, "Hunger" (WMD).

Dan is a fervent Fiasco fan, as shown by his memorable blog posts recounting past games, such as "Objective Zebra," "What's in Kaku Inlet," and "Manna Hotel" (where Dan was joined by comics writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction as well as Wil Wheaton -- yes, that Wil Wheaton). For years he's wanted to compose a Fiasco "playset," a collection of story elements that recasts the game in a different setting. Published playset topics range from an Antarctic base to Beverly Hills to mythic China to the Salem witch trials. In creating "Alpha Complex," Dan drew on a wide range of published PARANOIA material, and he managed to allude to all his previous work for the game.

"Alpha Complex" is authorized by the PARANOIA owners and Mongoose Publishing. The "Alpha Complex" playset is available for free download from Bully Pulpit Games, and will eventually be posted to the official PARANOIA development blog and at Ultraviolet Books. "Alpha Complex" isn't the first playset that crosses Fiasco with another RPG -- that would be "Bookhounds Fiasco" by Kenneth Hite and Will Hindmarch, a crossover with Ken's Pelgrane Press Trail of Cthulhu supplement Bookhounds of London. Fiasco designer Jason Morningstar and a cast of writers with poor impulse control have produced many other free Fiasco playsets.

A couple of related plugs: Jason is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for his latest RPG, Durance. And feverishly productive novelist Matt Forbeck has offered to design a new Fiasco playset as a stretch goal for his own current Kickstarter, a trilogy of convention-based murder mysteries called Dangerous Games.
-- Allen Varney
PARANOIA (2004 edition) writer and designer
Bundle of Holding: http://bundleofholding.com

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