Sunday, February 15, 2015

Paranoia HERO

My Friday night gaming group runs what we call Casual Fridays. Basically, they're relatively short games, lasting about a month (4-5 sessions), just so we can try different things, have fun, and not have a huge commitment requirement. So, right now I'm running Paranoia, however Mongoose Games is currently between editions for the classic science-fiction spoof RPG. I have the previous edition which has no other books out for it right now, and the new edition only recently got Kickstarted. On top of that, I really don't want to learn the old version's system!

What to do...?

The obvious answer is, of course, porting to a different system. I've been meaning to teach the group HERO System for a while now, but it is a bit of a bear in regards to its learning curve. They're used to D&D, Savage Worlds, and other systems, but nothing quite like HERO. So, I figured the best thing to do is to hide as much of the underlying crunch of the game (ie, HERO's infamous power creation system) as possible, and come up with an alternate way to create characters.

  • Given their background, I figured rolling dice would work best. We're currently running a D&D campaign on Monday nights, so using 4d6 drop the lowest die would be immediately familiar to them.
  • Derived statistics would *not* be a factor since I am using 6th edition rules. Also, by keeping them all at the same Speed, PD/ED, etc., it would result in keeping power levels a bit more manageable. The only thing that has any variability was their Stun, which I made to being twice their CON.
  • Skill points were basically all their rolled stats added together and subtracted from 100. In true Paranoia fashion, it was entirely possible for someone to roll so well that they would have no skill points. In fact, that indeed happened to one of our players! Likewise, on player rolled kind of meh, and ended up with 30 skill points! I did have to make a quick, custom list of skills and their associated attribute, of course...
    • Shadowing (DEX): Following someone without being noticed. 
    • Security Systems (INT): Jiggering locks and alarms. 
    • Persuasion (PRE): Trying to bootlick your superior? Bluff a guard? Try to con someone? This is the skill for you! 
    • Hygiene (INT): Maintaining cleanliness in yourself, your surroundings, your teammates, and innocent citizens passing by. 
    • Stealth (DEX): How not to be seen. 
    • Concealment (INT): Hiding stuff or finding stuff. 
    • Demolitions (INT): Blowing things up that aren’t you. Hopefully.
    • Bot Operation & Maintenance (INT): How to operate and fix docbotsguardbots/warbotsjackobotsscrubots, etc. 
    • Electronics (INT): What people used to go to Radio Shack for before it turned into Cellphone Shack. 
    • Habitat Engineering (INT): Knowledge of the air, communication, transport, power, water, and waste systems. 
    • Mechanical Engineering (INT): How to make really neat Rube Goldberg-type contraptions. 
    • Vehicle Ops & Maintenance (INT): How to use and repair all vehicles like autocars, crawlers, flybots, copters, and Vulturecraft. 
    • Programming (INT): Revising bot and computer instructions. Surely not for hacking. That’d be treason. 
    • Medical (INT): How to heal the injured and cure the sick, or ensure they don’t heal or get cured. 
    • Weapon Familiarity: Pistols (can use without the -3 OCV penalty for nonproficiency) 
    • Weapon Familiarity: Rifles (can use without the -3 OCV penalty for nonproficiency) 
    • Weapon Familiarity: Heavy Weapons (can use without the -3 OCV penalty for nonproficiency) 
    • Weapon Familiarity: Melee (can use without the -3 OCV penalty for nonproficiency) 
  • I was lazy, and didn't port the mutant powers. Instead, I had them roll a d4, a d10, and another d10, each corresponding with the hundreds, tens, and ones on the page numbers of Champions Powers. 4's on the d4 were treated as 0. Everybody rolled the dice, and I started looking there, and kept going until I found something I thought was interesting.
  • Equipment was bought via a point budget. Using the Active Cost of items in the core book, they got a selection of items to choose from, and each mission they got a point budget to buy gear with.
So far, so good!

Their first assignment as troubleshooters was to keep the peace at McKelp's, as it was the first day the McRib-like Sandwich was being served (man, everyone loves the McRib-like Sandwich! With Slurm and imitation french fries? Dee-lish!). Things turned into a frenzy, with the trouble shooters calming people down with laser fire and "persuasion sticks" (nightclubs). One player fired a smoke grenade into the kitchen, trying to get everyone to think the place was on fire... that only caused them to stampede into the restaurant to try and rescue the McRib-like Sandwiches...

Fire doors and windows shut, halon starting to pour into the restaurant to put out the fire.
Then the family of giant mutant cockroaches came up from the drain grate, wanting to buy dinner. They even had coupons!
Long story short, everything went downhill from there. Needless to say, it was a team wipe and everyone is on clone #2. But all six players had a great time, we all laughed, made jokes, and just generally enjoyed the absurdity of the game. They also got used to figuring OCV/DCV target numbers, counting BODY/STUN with normal attacks, check STUN versus CON, skill rolls, Killing versus Normal damage, etc.
Second game was wonderful. They all woke up from the same dream of accidentally outing themselves as mutants. And were like, "wow, glad that was just a dream! Hey, wait, why am I handcuffed with a bag over my head?"
That's when the Secret Society Job Fair started :D
A bunch of the secret societies did little presentations, including the HP Lovecraft Historical Society (which I absolutely made up), and they were all told the only way they were leaving alive was to join a secret society. No pressure! One player didn't choose, so I made the Benevolent Society of Ponies Brotherhood, whose sole goal is to foster friendship among all Alpha Complex citizens. THAT'S what you get for not deciding, punk!
Now, everyone was in their underwear, out of their mandatory jumpsuits, which is of course, treason. So, when the security systems reactivated, Friend Computer noted all of them were guilty of indecent exposure and failing to display rank, "please wait for security to come and arrest you." Naturally, everyone ran, and instead of a combat it was them trying to escape.

Well, there was one fight... one of the troubleshooters tried to get a bucket of red paint from a scrub-bot, but oh dear, the scrub-bot was a member of Corpe Metal, and that wasn't a bucket of red paint... For the record, brooms do 3d6 Normal, but illegal and treasonous weaponized dustpans do 1d6 Killing. Good thing he started running - he only lost half of his BODY, and was down to 1 STUN.
Another player was stealthing and failed his Perception roll... he had the super-hearing, and heard himself going "AAAAAAAH!" as he fell into an open man-hole, right into the sewers. When he came out, he went to the nearest hygiene station, explained his normal jumpsuit was too filthy/contaminated to wear, and the sympathetic bot gave him a cleaning like no other. Like, a 6d6 Normal damage cleaning.
A player who joined the Illuminati had another bag thrown over his head, and they attempted to sedate him to "rescue" him from the incoming security forces. Sadly, he kept making his CON rolls, so by the third time they told him they were going to use something more powerful to knock him out. Like a steel chair. But, hey, 30+ STUN worked!
Hell, the only casualty was one of the players mouthing off and breaking the 4th wall in game. Oh dear, he's gone insane! Well, thankfully, clone #3 was much more mentally coherent...
It was a silly, ridiculous game, and they all laughed throughout most of it. Good times, good times. Certainly, a nice break from our D&D 5e campaign which is fairly serious right now (Hoard of the Dragon Queen). I'm not sure what the next game will be, but I still absolutely want to spoof 40K for the 4th and final game of the set... Because Friend Emperor is waaaaay better than Friend Computer, of course. And flaming hot plasma for the Mutant Heretics that say otherwise!

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