Character advancement

Maybe I'm missing the correct page in the book, but are there any defined rules for improving skills/specialties? I remember some vague reference to 20 Pervisity points, but I can't seem to find it.

I can see a few possible ways to handle advancement.

1. Perversity Points: The characters have to spend a certain number of Perversity points to raise a skill or improve a specialty. The upside is that it similar to XP expenditures that are familiar to so many gemers but that it puts the players in something of a tight spot because they have to divide their Perversity point expeditures between survival and advancement. The downside is it reduces the incentive to spend Perversity on rolls. I know of at least one player who would positively refuse to spend Perversity on rolls if they were also essentially the same as XP.

2. Natural 1: Whenever a skill check results in a natural 1, the relavent skill check goes up by 1. On the plus side, it's ludicrously simple to adjudicate. It is, however, a fairly arbitrary system of advancement.

3. GM's Call: The skill/specialty goes up when the GM says it does, usually as a reward for a clever use of that skill or specialty. In some cases, training might also give a PC an excuse to improve a skill or specialty. This injects logic into the mix and also encourages players to curry favor with the GM based on the conditions under which she is prone to reward a character with a skill boost. It means more work for the GM, however, and it can result in dissatisfied players who feel like the GM is forgetting to let them improve their skills.

4. Training: The skill only improves if the PC can get a more skilled character to train him in it. This means that PCs can train other PCs, but Paranoia certainly makes this scenario less likely than it might be in other games. If training is provided as a reward for service to the Computer (or service firm or secret society), it becomes just another bennie. That way, if a character is getting hosed for training, the PC and player can blame it on bad luck, poor performance, or NPC unpleasantness. If a player feels he is being consistently getting hosed above and beyond the fates of other PCs, he is likely to feel more comfortable approaching the GM with his concerns.

Thoughts?
 

Allen Varney

Mongoose
All of those look like workable options, Eric, depending on your chosen play style; option 4, training, would work best in a Straight series, whereas the "increase on a 1" option seems to me best suited to Zap style (as if anyone cared about skill increases in Zap).

The specific rule offered appears on page 47 of the Service Pack One revision of the rulebook:

"Increasing specialty or Secret skill ratings: A specialty or Secret skill rating increase of 1 costs 5 points, regardless of the new rating number. You can spend points when the GM allows it."

By the way, nice work on the PARANOIA XP game-in-progress on your site. I just plugged it on the XP development blog (http://www.costik.com/paranoia). In future installments you may want to spell-check for "Perversity."
 

PaulB

Mongoose
I've considered some options regarding character progression in an article in this months Signs & Portents:

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/detail.php?qsID=930&qsSeries=
 
Allen Varney said:
All of those look like workable options, Eric, depending on your chosen play style; option 4, training, would work best in a Straight series, whereas the "increase on a 1" option seems to me best suited to Zap style (as if anyone cared about skill increases in Zap).

The specific rule offered appears on page 47 of the Service Pack One revision of the rulebook:

"Increasing specialty or Secret skill ratings: A specialty or Secret skill rating increase of 1 costs 5 points, regardless of the new rating number. You can spend points when the GM allows it."

By the way, nice work on the PARANOIA XP game-in-progress on your site. I just plugged it on the XP development blog (http://www.costik.com/paranoia). In future installments you may want to spell-check for "Perversity."

Pervisity? Where did that come from, and how did it follow me here? Thanks for pointing it out.

I'm glad you enjoyed Poet RPG. It was quite a pleasant surprise to see the large spike in traffic, and having the game's designer plug it in the development blog is certainly encouraging.

I agree that the training method is probably best for Straight games. It's like trying to convince your bosses to send you to classes so you can keep up in your field. You probably have to make a formal request for training in any useful specialty. Then, your superiors (or the Computer) may approve or refuse your request, based on whether you actually need it, in their opinion.

Then you have to seek out the training in your free time. Can't you just see some poor Troubleshooter trying to keep up with his classroom reading and homework while on a mission? It would be even worse for him if someone claims that some disaster resulted because he placed his timed, online take-home final ahead of a routine equipment check that might have caught the sabotage of the R&D equipment before it exploded and killed two of his teammates.

The inconvenience might be worth it if the Troubleshooter is studying medicine, nuclear physics, or some other useful skill that might increase his chances of survival and promotion. As we all know, though, increased focus on so-called soft skills often means being forced by your superiors to take classes with little or no practical application.

"The Computer acknowledges that vehicular combat training might make you more useful in the fight against the Commie threat, but your Hygiene Officer's report indicates that you required ESP no fewer than six times on your last mission. This indicates a troubling pattern of sloppiness that reflects poorly on your team and on all of Alpha Complex. Therefore, you have been enrolled in a remedial hygiene awareness class. Won't this be fun, citizen?"

Just because you all carry lasers doesn't mean you can't engage in dirty office politics with your fellow Troubleshooters, right?
 
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