Mission ideas


Cosmic Mongoose
I've recently picked up the new Paranoia (love it) and I'm looking at (re-)introducing my local player group to the fun of Paranoia as a one-shot.

As ever, ideas for the mission are welcomed.
They've previously played How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb and Security Theatre 3000.

With a brand new rules set, I was thinking something simple, but I wanted something a little different to the intro mission(s) - they know Alpha Complex as a setting, so it's more about introducing the new rules and cards than it is the setting (although cerebral coretech will be new to them)
Since dice rolls pop up most often in most RPG systems when doing combat, it makes sense for their (re)intro to Paranoia to follow this logic. Therefore I plan on having them be shot at. A lot.

I had a couple of thoughts for this:

1 - with our movie nights featuring stuff like Dredd and 6 Days, a full on "building clearance special forces" operation sounds like a plan.
2 - Doing that properly, of course, would require them to be much more competent than they'll actually be, being RED-clearance troubleshooters.
3 - Whilst 'attack a building full of mutant commie traitors' opens up a lot of opportunity for the players to be repeatedly and painfully terminated, it doesn't have that true Paranoia-esque 'zing' of creeping terror as you realise how much they've screwed themselves over.

More importantly, the usual rules apply; there has to be a reason for things to happen which makes sense to someone (said someone not necessarily being any of the players prior to debriefing) and you can't just spontaneously kill a clone; they have to in some way actively participate in their own demise, either by poor dice rolls, poor life choices, or both.

Therefore, the questions needed to sort out are:

1 - Who has seized the building and why?
- Obviously 'generic mutant commie traitors' - at least as far as the briefing goes
- Part of me thinks I should come up with a specific group for this adventure (or it's just a single clone who's gone futsie....maybe with his other clones as backup?). This avoids a situation of someone drawing the secret society in question (which whilst funny for me probably isn't for them - things will, in my experience, go wrong fast enough without active sabotage).
- With cerebral coretech being a new thing, DAIV is also a new thing, so might be worth mentioning. I guess it could be virus-related, but then the question is why it's contained (which then basically just turns it into the last mission in the starter set). A non-replicating DAIV that's somehow locked to a coretech serial number?
- As a basic start point, an administration building makes sense. Offices are an 'interesting' environment for a firefight with lots of enclosed rooms and large, open-plan bits. Both low ranking and high ranking clones share the space, Printing facilities mean powered machinery, and file storage areas offer rooms where ABSOLUTELY NO COLLATERAL DAMAGE IS ALLOWED (yeah, right....).

2 - Why are a troubleshooter team, rather than IntSec goons or Vulture Squad, being sent in?
- It's certain death. But the players should at least have some chance of pulling it off.
- The local IntSec personnel are tapped out, dealing with actual crises. Which leads to the possibility of it turning out to be much worse than the supervisor thinks?
- They have a 'cover' for a bunch of RED clearance clones to get in past some initial level of security so the supervisor decided to roll with it rather than risk having someone more important hurt
- The route in is really unpleasant (sewer tubes?) and the Vulture Squad said "no thanks, get some troubleshooter scrubbers to do it."
- There's a time element - a 'proper' strike was being prepared but the mission just got massively more urgent and they're the closest group who know which end of a laser not to point at themselves (probably).
- The team is subject to termination post-operation because of potential DAIV infection or witnessing something inconvenient
- The recruiting party are doing an off-the-books mission.

3 - What should happen?
- Hostages are always good. The higher ranking, the better - although they can't be too high ranking or they'd have their own security and not be relying on trouble-shooters.
- A bomb could work, or - if there's a (currently) hardware-locked DAIV, some sort of transmitter
- I read Altered Carbon many years ago, and loved the Netflix adaption - a lot of the plot elements - a high clearance individual is killed and the memofax jammed, forcing the Computer to switch to an hour/day/week old backup for the next clone, for example, work perfectly well in paranoia.

4 - What options are there for everything to go catastrophically wrong?
- My first thought, if the terrorists are under observation from a forward command post, is how to make the troubleshooters think the command post is the terrorist holdout and storm that, guns blazing.
- If a DAIV is involved, obviously anything they see, hear, feel or are told via coretech messages is subject to tampering once they enter it's area of effect.

Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly welcomed!
I like the idea of the "building clearance spec ops".
Some thoughts:
How about sending the TS to plug a leak (either plumbing or reactor). That job is too simple (or dangerous) for the higher clearance members or any of the service groups to fix themselves. Have the building infested with traitors at a turf war. That way the Trouble Shooters are actually on their way to fix something while trying to survive the laser fights.
For hostages: why not robots? They are considered more valuable than clones, they don't have their own security (unless we're talking tankbots- they are the security) and no one (lower clearance) wants to take the fall if the robots are destroyed.

Good luck with your game.
Was literally typing up as you posted! Thanks for the suggestion!
The comment about bots as the hostages is a good one. I may have to work that in somewhere....

Players Briefing:
DAA Sector's CPU Ministry For Administrative Affairs is a multi-storey office building set inside a relatively open dome, part of a row of office facilities which hold various CPU and HPD&MC departments of varying importance.

As of eight hours ago, an unknown mutant commie terrorist traitor group armed with illegal weaponry has seized the building, with at least twenty RED-clearance hostages.

More importantly, at least two additional hostages are high-clearance citizens; the BLUE clearance department manager, Ka-B-OOM-3 and INDIGO clearance [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE], which means that a simple frontal assault by IntSec or the Armed Forces, especially since the terrorist's weaponry and numbers are unknown (it is believed that there are a maximum of five terrorists).

To prevent a panic, adjacent buildings were not been evacuated, and the local citizens have been going about their working day whilst a plan of action was formulated

The terrorist's demands are [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE], which it has been agreed by [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE] will not be met.

Your troubleshooter team is being activated as the need for action has suddenly become urgent. It has become clear from outside observation that the terrorists are assembling a [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE] from containers bearing R&D logos, corresponding to a shipment which [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE].

Coretech feeds from the building are not available as [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE]. Building plans (redacted to your security clearance) are available to plan your assault.

(The initially provided redacted building plans will be a blank outline of the building, showing the front door. secret societies may be able to provide more details.)

What's going on?

The INDIGO is an R&D manager called Nefar-I-OUS whose pet project, along with co-worker Dev-I-OUS was a plan to help ease the catastrophic load carried by DAA's CPU departments. Realising they needed more man hours but that a hiring freeze imposed from above meant that they couldn't recruit the people they needed, they came up with the idea of decanting the backup clones of all existing employees.

Obviously this is not allowed either, but a quick coretech patch solves that problem - a perceptual filter to stop people noticing that there are multiples of the same people floating around, and a modified version of conferencing software so that Friend Computer only receives one Coretech feed from each clone ID, as it should.

Yes, they only get one person's wages and supplies, but they figure that by the time the clones start starving to death they'll have enough of a dent in the paperwork backlog that it can be (discretely) justified to the higher-ups and covered up from anyone further down the food chain (or Friend Computer).

Interesting fact: if your clone #2 is already awake when your clone #1 is killed, and the cerebral coretech tries to overwrite your mind onto a non-blank mind of the #2 clone, it's agonisingly painful for them and can cause insanity. And since, in this case, clones #2 to #5 were all already awake, this is a problem.

Terro-R-IST was a relatively chipper RED-clearance data entry clerk who moved to DAA sector from IST sector a month ago when she was 'personally selected' in an interview with Nefar-I-OUS (imagine! meeting an Indigo clearance citizen in person!). Terro-R was blissfully unaware of Nefar-I's plan, and - like the rest of the administrators in the building - didn't notice that the other five people in her office looked extremely familiar, as she was seeing a randomly chosen face digitally superimposed over their features. All would probably have continued to go to the plan, had Terro-R-IST-1 not been hit by a transbot on the way to work that morning.

The trauma has sent #2 to #5 homicidal, and also seriously distorted the networking programming to the point there's a nascent DAIV bubbling away in their heads, urging them to violently 'get even' with everyone responsible. To make matters worse, the faces of everyone they meet now keep randomly switching continuously, which is very disorientating.

The proto-DAIV is aware where the coretech 'patch' came from and has helped them steal some weapons and a programming workstation they can use to turn it into a transmissible version (it's currently serial-number locked) if connected to a sufficiently high-power server (like the one in the office building), and - with a particularly nasty frame of mind - noted that Nefar-I was coming to visit, making it the ideal time to seize the building and him with it.

The demands are bogus to buy time to get the workstation on line and run the programme, and if the players actually obtain a copy of the demands they'll be inconsistent and clearly ridiculous.

Dev-I wouldn't mind her co-worker getting terminated per se, but the single most critical thing is that absolutely no-one can find out what happened. This is a getting-erased-level screwup. The coretech feeds for the building have 'suffered an unfortunate failure' which will convince no-one who looks closely but should buy enough time.

She has a team of BLUE-clearance 'IntSec' (not really, but they'll claim to be if needed) henchmen on her payroll watching the building from a nearby observation post, and has reached for the nearest, most heavily armed force she can activate without going to one of the service groups - a troubleshooter team. As a senior R&D official, she can make sure they're well armed with cutting edge weaponry (i.e. R&D prototypes!), which will hopefully mean they can take the place - or at least do enough damage the BLUE henchmen can mop up afterwards and sanitise the site before the real IntSec turns up to find out what the hell is going on...