Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

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Seji
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Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby Seji » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:54 am

Hi,

I need some help understanding dealing damage to NPCs.

Player's handbook states that:
"For each extra success you roll – each 5 or 6 that is above the difficulty level set by the GM – you do one level of damage to your target."

While the Mission Book says that:
"When a player rolls to hurt an NPC (or a group of NPCs represented by a single stat-block), they inflict one level of damage if they equal the target’s defence, two if they beat it by two, three if they beat it by three, and so on."

GM book says nothing about the above apart from defence while speaking about armor but apparently in the Mission Book some clones have defence but no armor.

So, let's say there is a traitor that a Troubleshooter wants to shoot at.

Case 1 (Players book): difficulty level is 1. Player needs 2 successes to hit the target and inflict 1 damage. (This is actually backed up with "breaking stuff" rules)

Case 2 (Mission book): traitor's defence is 1. Player needs 1 success to hit the target and inflict 1 damage.

In the Mission Book some targets have defence, others don't. My guess is that damage procedure got changed somehow during production.

Which version of the rules is correct? Maybe I'm missing something and hitting and damaging targets is a separate case from hitting and damaging targets with defence?
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby msprange » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:40 pm

The official answer is: Either, both, or nothing at all!

Consider this like the armour rules - you can use these methods, or simply choose the result. It is important to remember that Paranoia is not like other RPGs at all,and we absolutely encourage GMs not to slavishly follow the rules all the time. Or at all. Once you move behind the GMs screen, the mechanics become kind of irrelevant (which is why we pushed the functioning of combat onto the players - a Paranoia GM need not engage in anything so mundane). What is key is that the players are having fun.If they are, then no one gives a traitor's left foot whether a given NPC has taken one hit or two.

Let the players run the mechanics, and go with what seems most appropriate/funny. When you are sitting behind the GM screen, any mechanics of the game are absolutely secondary to the mission being played.

I would suggest re-reading the rules on armour in the GMs book (such as they are!) and then apply that thinking to everything you do behind the GMs screen.

That is how we would suggest approaching the mantle of Paranoia GM.
Matthew Sprange

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http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
allenshock1
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby allenshock1 » Sun May 06, 2018 3:33 am

I am confused.

I understand that NPCs don't roll, only PCs do, So how do I figure out how much damage an NPC weapon does to a PC? is there a fixed number? Because PC armor would eat successes (or wounds).

Allen
Shai
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby Shai » Mon May 07, 2018 9:05 pm

I would suggest to read the GM's book sections: "But that is not fair" (page 15) and "How do I know what happens?" (pages 16-18).
To make a long story short* you have 3 factors to how much damage PC's take:
1) Player action/reaction (Including cards). How a player reacts to a situation will determine if he is damaged and how bad.
2) Player roll, including Computer Dice, failures, cards and armor.
3) Narative/Whatever is interesting.

If you still feel that it is too confusing: I, occasionally, give the NPCs (the powerfull ones) a rating to guns\throw\melee\other, and that rating is the amount of damage that the PC's need to resist (In accordance to armor\other rules).

If you still feel that you don't get the hang of it, complete page 18 ("...and I mean it").

*in contrary to "Too long; Didn't read"- accepting that one didn't read their security clearance guides as instructed is treason.
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby wjmacguffin » Tue May 08, 2018 1:12 pm

Seji wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:54 am
So, let's say there is a traitor that a Troubleshooter wants to shoot at.

Case 1 (Players book): difficulty level is 1. Player needs 2 successes to hit the target and inflict 1 damage. (This is actually backed up with "breaking stuff" rules)

Case 2 (Mission book): traitor's defence is 1. Player needs 1 success to hit the target and inflict 1 damage.

In the Mission Book some targets have defence, others don't. My guess is that damage procedure got changed somehow during production.

Which version of the rules is correct? Maybe I'm missing something and hitting and damaging targets is a separate case from hitting and damaging targets with defence?
This is my personal take on this and not necessarily the views of the Paranoia Gods.

I treat defence ratings as increasing the difficulty. If the difficulty is 1 and the target has Defence 1, then the difficulty is really 2. That means the player must roll 3 successes to cause a Hurt condition (1 for the difficulty, 1 for the defense, and 1 to cause a wound). If the defence rating comes from armour, I degrade that by reducing its defence rating by 1 for each success it blocks.

This makes the first round(s) harder (to give players more time to shoot things, they really like that) but the subsequent rounds easier (to prevent combat from taking forever, yes Pathfinder, I'm looking in your direction).

However, like it says above, don't sweat it. As weird as it may sound, think of the Paranoia GM as less referee and more artist. Don't explain that you're changing the rules to the players. Just describe the results as you think they should happen.

- Is the team having way too much luck so far? Huh, combat is now harder. Go figure.
- Is the team shockingly incompetent even for Troubleshooters? Huh, combat is now easier. Go figure.

Adjust things as needed to craft a positive, funny and engaging Paranoia experience. This is one of the few games that lets you do that, so go hog wild with it!
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby allenshock1 » Tue May 08, 2018 5:38 pm

I'm not opposed to the idea of the GM not rolling but I would have found it more helpful if the game included a mechanic for the PCs defending against NPC attacks, so when the Pc act, they roll to attack, and when they are attacked, they roll to defend. It just makes things a little easier for me. I know I can do this, but I wish it had been in the game itself.
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby Shai » Thu May 10, 2018 8:11 am

The game includes mechanics for GM rolling (GM book page 18) and for PC defense (GM book pages 15-18):
The GM gives the PC's a chance to react (as long as the PC's don't "block, dodge or evade" Players book page 39), the PC's could react by taking an action that makes things interesting (pull the fire alarm, jump out of/into a moving vehicle etc.), reacting to the situation (if the PC sees someone shooting while he opens the door-he can close it, if he just picked up something-he can throw it towards his attacker etc.) or using a reaction card.

Another mechanic that could be used is the "up close and personal" (Player's book page 40) it says that a player may spend an action card to avoid taking damage. (It says between two characters, you may decide if it's between 2 players or between any 2 characters.)

If you prefer to simplify you can make melee or athletics as a defense roll for melee attacks and armor is the defense for ranged attacks.
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby euansmith » Mon May 21, 2018 9:02 pm

I find this version of the game so depressing. I purchased a game that basically says, "Just make stuff up". I could have done that myself and saved the price of the kickstarter. Sorry to be negative, but I has hoping for a game with a fun setting backed up by some elegant and inventive design. Instead, I just get a fun setting. :cry: I was kind of interested when I heard there was going to be a new kickstarter, as I thought this would give the designers a chance to revisit and clean up the rules, but it looks like this will not be the case.

Edit: reading a post lower down the thread, it looks like there will be a bit more detail added to the rules in Acute Paranoia, so I'll keep my eyes open for the new kickstarter. I really want to like this game (there is a lot in the background that appeals to me), but the rules as they stand are woefully fuzzy, and "just make stuff up" isn't what anyone should be asked to pay for.
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby wjmacguffin » Fri May 25, 2018 1:36 pm

allenshock1 wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:38 pm
I'm not opposed to the idea of the GM not rolling but I would have found it more helpful if the game included a mechanic for the PCs defending against NPC attacks, so when the Pc act, they roll to attack, and when they are attacked, they roll to defend. It just makes things a little easier for me. I know I can do this, but I wish it had been in the game itself.
You're in luck, citizen! Pg. 18 in the Gamemasters Handbook explains how GMs can roll dice for NPC attacks. For example, it recommends rolling five dice (little more for competent NPCs, little less for incompetent ones) to see if an NPC can hurt a Troubleshooter. While it does not cover Troubleshooters dodging or defending, that's already covered in the rules since the player will be rolling dice, not the GM.
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby wjmacguffin » Fri May 25, 2018 1:38 pm

euansmith wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 9:02 pm
I find this version of the game so depressing. I purchased a game that basically says, "Just make stuff up". I could have done that myself and saved the price of the kickstarter. Sorry to be negative, but I has hoping for a game with a fun setting backed up by some elegant and inventive design. Instead, I just get a fun setting. :cry: I was kind of interested when I heard there was going to be a new kickstarter, as I thought this would give the designers a chance to revisit and clean up the rules, but it looks like this will not be the case.

Edit: reading a post lower down the thread, it looks like there will be a bit more detail added to the rules in Acute Paranoia, so I'll keep my eyes open for the new kickstarter. I really want to like this game (there is a lot in the background that appeals to me), but the rules as they stand are woefully fuzzy, and "just make stuff up" isn't what anyone should be asked to pay for.
I'm the lead designer for Acute Paranoia. Are there any rules in particular that you would want to see clarified, cleaned up, or added?
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby euansmith » Fri May 25, 2018 5:33 pm

Hey, thank you very much for responding to my ill mannered moan.

Having read through the rules, they do just say, "Make stuff up."

What happened with my group was, we were playing the introductory mission from the mission book, and we got as far as page 28, when we were introduced to NPC's with skills. This was followed by some head scratching, some searching through the player's book, the gm's book, the mission book, the background book, online, behind the couch, and then finally expressions of exasperation when it became clear that the game didn't actually have any rules for interacting with NPCs beyond, "Make stuff up."

We'd played previous iterations of Paranoia, and so we were familiar with the idea that the GM might play fast and loose with the rules, to make a more entertaining game. However, in those previous versions, there were at least rules to follow if the GM and players wanted a more simulationist version of the game. This version appears to jettison that, leaving us feeling we'd got half a game. This really killed our interest in game; like seeing how a magician pulled off an illusion and discovering it was all a lazy, empty camera trick all along.

Weirdly, if the game hadn't given the NPCs skills, we'd probably have sailed with over this speed bump, and would have been happy with a game that concentrated solely on the PCs and treated NPCs as a generic hazards.

So, I'm still conflicted. I like the background (especially the Coretech, which I think is a really fun bit of satire), but the rules seem half finished. The style of presentation didn't help either. The conversational style helps communicate the themes of the setting, it also made tracking down the lack of NPC rules more aggravating and disappointing than it might have been.

Actually, having read back through the rules while composing this reply, I've discovered a bunch of stuff we missed when we played the game months back. However, re-reading the rules also highlighted for me just how fragmented they are; skipping back and forth, and, for me, not following a logical scheme.

In answer to your question, "Are there any rules in particular that you would want to see clarified, cleaned up, or added?", I guess I would say, "Can we please have some actual crunch to back up the GM's fiat?"

I've stuck a quid on Acute Paranoia to see what's coming in the new book.
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby wjmacguffin » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:56 pm

euansmith wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 5:33 pm
Hey, thank you very much for responding to my ill mannered moan.

Having read through the rules, they do just say, "Make stuff up."

What happened with my group was, we were playing the introductory mission from the mission book, and we got as far as page 28, when we were introduced to NPC's with skills. This was followed by some head scratching, some searching through the player's book, the gm's book, the mission book, the background book, online, behind the couch, and then finally expressions of exasperation when it became clear that the game didn't actually have any rules for interacting with NPCs beyond, "Make stuff up."

We'd played previous iterations of Paranoia, and so we were familiar with the idea that the GM might play fast and loose with the rules, to make a more entertaining game. However, in those previous versions, there were at least rules to follow if the GM and players wanted a more simulationist version of the game. This version appears to jettison that, leaving us feeling we'd got half a game. This really killed our interest in game; like seeing how a magician pulled off an illusion and discovering it was all a lazy, empty camera trick all along.

Weirdly, if the game hadn't given the NPCs skills, we'd probably have sailed with over this speed bump, and would have been happy with a game that concentrated solely on the PCs and treated NPCs as a generic hazards.

So, I'm still conflicted. I like the background (especially the Coretech, which I think is a really fun bit of satire), but the rules seem half finished. The style of presentation didn't help either. The conversational style helps communicate the themes of the setting, it also made tracking down the lack of NPC rules more aggravating and disappointing than it might have been.

Actually, having read back through the rules while composing this reply, I've discovered a bunch of stuff we missed when we played the game months back. However, re-reading the rules also highlighted for me just how fragmented they are; skipping back and forth, and, for me, not following a logical scheme.

In answer to your question, "Are there any rules in particular that you would want to see clarified, cleaned up, or added?", I guess I would say, "Can we please have some actual crunch to back up the GM's fiat?"

I've stuck a quid on Acute Paranoia to see what's coming in the new book.
For the record, I didn't think of your post as an ill-mannered moan. :) You have concerns and voiced them. That's a good thing!

It's hard for me to speak about the core rules since I did not have any hand in designing or presenting them. That said, here's my take on the pg. 28 NPC skills thing.

1) The mission book is specifically designed to introduce rules a bit at a time. That's why NPCs had no stats before pg. 28; it was a way to gradually bring more rules into play.
2) The designers wanted to address the very concern you have about crunch and simulationism, so they included a few skills for NPCs that are most likely to be relevant. This tries to balance between adding crunch with the GM fiat you accurately pointed out.

Paranoia has never been about crunchy rules, not really. That said, I hear you. It's much easier to have crunch in the rules and just ignore it than having to add crunch yourself. While I cannot promise that Acute Paranoia will add enough crunch to satisfy your tastes, it does add more rules and fiddly bits for players and GMs alike.
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Re: Paranoia RCE - contradictory NPC damage rules?

Postby euansmith » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:27 pm

That you for taking time from being involved in a kickstarter to respond.

I'm currently juggling some ideas on a homebrewed version of game designed to use all the cool stuff in the boxes set (cards, dice, setting and everything), but using a more crunchy resolution mechanism.

Though, as a youngster, I was happy enough with using GM's Fiat to crush parties of Troubleshooters; as I've aged, I've become more interested in allowing the players to be the authors of their own inevitable demise. As a result, I'm looking for something that is clear, easy for the players to judge their chances of success, and that ties in to the settings core mechanism (Security Clearance).

The system I'm currently working on is called "THSC0"; or "To Hit Security Clearance Zero" (I think it has a nice Old Skool sound to it). It works as follows:

  • The Player calculates their Troubleshooter's NODE as usual; however it is now treated as a die roll modifier. The only difference is that the Player does not add in the Computer Dice when calculating the NODE.
  • The GM sets the difficulty of the task. This is normally 10 + the opposition's Security Level (Infrared is "0" and Ultraviolet is "8"). However, a particularly able opponent might be counted as having a higher Security Level; and a particularly rubbish opponent might have a lower effective Security Level than expected.
  • The Player rolls 3D6 (including the Computer Die), adds up the numbers rolled, and add their Troubleshooter's NODE to the result. The Computer Symbol is counted as both a "6" and the Computer Symbol (this is done to keep the maths simple and intuitive).
  • The GM deducts the task's effective Security Level from the result. If the final result is "0", the Troubleshoot scores "1" success. If the result is more than "0", the Troubleshooter gains one additional success for each point rolled over the effective Security Level. If the result is less than "0", the Troubleshooter suffers one failure per point the roll was failed by.
For example: Troubleshoot Forex-R-PUL is attempting to bypass the lock on a Yellow Clearance Personal Space Enhancement Receptacle (footlocker). The PSER is a standard model without any treasonous upgrades; however, the owner is known to be lax about security. As a result the GM considers this to be an Orange (2) Task instead of a Yellow (3) Task. Forex-R-PUL's player adds up the Troubleshooter's NODE, including Stat, Skill, Gear, and any Moxie expended, rolls the dice, works out the final result, and is looking to get a total of "12" or higher. Forex-R-PUL's total is 16, and so the Troubleshooter gains (16-12+1) "5" Successes. The GM announces that, not only did Forex-R-PUL open the locker, they did so without triggering any alarms or leaving any incriminating evidence... that they are aware of.

The following table shows the percentage chance of rolling THSC0 based on the Troubleshooters' NODEs. This does highlight one issue I really need to work out; the fact that Troubleshooters' NODEs are so hugely divergent. I'll need to look at character generation to maybe rein them in a bit; possible so that Stat + Skill falls in to a range of -3 to +3 or something.

Maybe something simple, like:

  • Go around the table clockwise, with each Player selecting one of their Troubleshooter's Stats to be +1. Their neighbour to their left gets the same Stat at -1.
  • Go around the table four more times, with each Player selecting one of their Troubleshooter's Skills to be +1. Their neighbour to their left gets the same Skill at -1. A player cannot select as Skill that they already have a score assigned to.
  • After this, every unassigned Stat and Skill gets assigned a score of "0".
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