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Hovel Paper Model
Publisher: Dave Graffam Models
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/21/2022 18:54:04

Great introduction to papercrafting, to see if you like it. If you don't have cardstock, you can use index cards. Score the lines with the back of a hobby knife to make folding easier. The house didn't need the base to stand, and try assembling it without the tabs. I'm still not sure if I like papercrafting, so will try out the carriage house. I'll still be picking up the Battle Systems Village, but these papercraft houses should work fine to make my village even larger!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hovel Paper Model
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A Tale of Two Sitters
Publisher: Loke BattleMats
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2022 11:01:10

This is a potentially humorous 5e encounter, consisting of two combats, that can be dropped into any urban adventure. The adventure is for up to 4 characters, levels 3-5, but can be modified for lower and slightly higher levels. There's something odd with the plumbing, and is the party greedy, charitable, or foolish enough to explore it? The underground storage area is on the old and decomposed side, so the hook (other than the upcoming 5e adventure by Loke that this preview is from) could that a PC or NPC has bought or inherited an urban building that needs some fixing, and the PCs do a little investigating before the cleanup crew arrives.

The preview is from an adventure included in the Loke Battle Mats "RPG Encounter Toolkit" KS, which also includes fold-out maps, random encounter generators, monster cards, and, of course, Loke's battle mats, which are foldout so you can make not only huge dungeons, but also large areas for miniature skirmish games. If you would like an idea of Loke's random encounter generators and fold-out maps (or want a retail copy now), look for their "Untold Encounters" supplement and "Box of Adventure: Valley of Peril" map set. (The physical Valley of Peril also comes with a digital code for digital content.)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Tale of Two Sitters
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Lasting Tales - Demo Rules
Publisher: Blacklist Games
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2022 14:07:13

The Best Part of the Game is in the Actual Rulebook

This review will include some impressions of the core rulebook. And the short answer to Lasting Tales is that it's a standard coop "IGO/UGO" miniature skirmish game for newer gamers, and those who want a flexible campaign system. In contrast to "simultaneous combat", "IGO/UGO" is a miniature skirmish game term for one side taking its turn (eg. Move, Attack, miscellaneous Action), then the other side doing the same. Combat typically has the attacking model making some sort of die roll with modifiers against a target number and missing and taking no damage if it fails. In contrast, in "simultaneous combat" typically the attacking model initiates combat (preferably to their advantage!), both sides roll a die with modifiers, and the higher number wins, meaning that the attacker may suffer some sort of damage if it fails. By standard, I mean that the movement and combat rules alone don't really make the game stand out from other game sets. (However, for magic-users, the magic system has ten levels of spells, plus cantrips, six spells each. Priests have three levels of miracles.)

As for coop, the game uses an unending supply of enemies as a timer. Each turn, so many enemies appear (up to a limit), so you typically need to fulfill the scenario objective sooner than later. The game AI is pretty basic -- most of the time the enemy just goes after the nearest opponent. You could easily replace the enemy AI with a gamemaster playing enemy forces. (The terrain setup rules are pretty broad, so it's up to the players to make a fair or challenging setup.) Like many miniature skirmish games, the Lasting Tales core rulebook has an extensive beastiary of stat blocks for generic fantasy miniatures. (Song of Blades and Heroes, btw, allows you to make your own stat blocks for miniatures in your collection.)

The core rulebook comes with 20 scenarios, and a 10+ scenario campaign. The game is designed so that you can mix and match enemy types with scenarios, as well as the level of your heroes. (The campaign scenarios can also be played outside the campaign.) The scenario rules scale for both number of heroes and their levels. Additionally, between scenarios, both the party and individual heroes can have encounters and visit locations in the local settlement. New skills are gained randomly, or players can spend their experience points to select a skill. Players dropping into the game are awarded enough experience points to match current heroes and follow the character creation and levelling up rules. It's the bestiary, scenarios, and between-campaign content that separates Lasting Tales from non-campaign miniature skirmish games. However, most of these features are in the core book, not the demo. The demo comes with one scenarios and some first-level pregenerated characters. You'll want four buildings and several undead miniatures for the game.

I would recommend the PDF over the hardback. With the PDF, you can print out the rules and character generation for each player, and have one player print out the scenario and beastiary statistics for the day's game. Print out the between-scenario and level advancement content before the next game, and go throught it while waiting for everyone to show up. Some between-scenario content can even be played over email.

I should mention that the Lasting Tales rating may be artificially low because of negative backer reaction to the long delays Blacklist Games had with fulfilling their Fantasy Series Miniatures. This line of miniatures can be used with the Lasting Tales rules system. As a backer myself, I hope that situation is resolved reasonably so I can better enjoy this game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lasting Tales - Demo Rules
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Doomtown Reloaded: Revised Rulebook
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/10/2019 00:33:20

This rulebook is available in physical format with the Doomtown: Reloaded "There Comes a Reckoning" expansion. The rulebook is digest-sized and compiles the expansion rules added to the base game. It's all in on place -- almost! Some rules, like Harrowed Dudes, are missing, so you'll need to look them up on the Rules Compendium from the Doomtown Database (or the base game rulebook). The rulebook doesn't have an index, although the Table of Contents includes most of the terminology. If you don't already have this rulebook from the "There Comes a Reckoning" expansion, I would download it and the comprehensive, longer, rulebook from the Doomtown Database. : https://dtdb.co/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Doomtown Reloaded: Revised Rulebook
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Doomtown Reloaded: RPG Conversion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/09/2019 20:05:28

The Doomtown "Deadlands RPG Conversion" booklet is a 30-page digest, of fiction, map, and Savage World mechanics for key personalities and relics in Doomtown. It's also available in the dead tree Doomtown: Reloaded card game expansion, There Comes a Reckoning. The booklet's four-page story provides yet another a tantalizing glimpse of the developing Doomtown mythos. The tale suggests the return of the Guardian Angels and a certain Hooded figure, though possibly in a future expansion. My personal favorite of the book is the map, where Gomorra, located south of California's Sacramento, can be spotted. I like how, on the map, it and dozens of other places are small dots referred to as "Strange Locale". In other words, the goings on in Doomtown may not be unique to the city, and similar nightmarish shenanagens may be spread in otherwise overlooked areas throughout the map. The map is yet another hint of the Doomtown mythos of what may be going on. The major personalities of The Fourth Ring, Law Dogs, and Sloane Gang, as well as Drifters and Relics, are statted out. Most of the stats are printed a single page or on facing pages. The background of the personalities and relics provide more looks into the Doomtown mythos, beyond the quotes and flavor text on the cards. For more fiction, just search on "doomtown fiction". Finally, if you want more Doomtown Savage Worlds, pick up the Deadlands Savage World RPG!

The Fourth Ring: Ivor Hawley, Kevin Wainright, The Brute, Bobo, The Harvester, Tyxarglenak, Pagliaccio, Ken Wainwright, The Flying Popescus Law Dogs: Sheriff Dave Montreal, Xiong "Wendy" Cheng, Lucinda "Lucy" Clover The Sloane Gang: Sloane, Barton Everest, Pacho Castillo, Ulysses Marks Drifters: Clmentine Lepp, Genesse "Gina" Tailfeathers, Steven Wiles, Androcles Brokelhurst Relics: Legendary Holster, Tlaloc's Furies, De Annulos Mysteriis

Deadlands RPG : https://www.peginc.com/product-category/deadlands-reloaded/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Doomtown Reloaded: RPG Conversion
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Spawn of Azathoth
Publisher: Chaosium
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2019 14:17:43

This "new" edition is nearly fifteen years old, and could have done with more playtesting with the first chapter, Providence, during that time. I've run this chapter several times, and, while gleefully open-ended, have found finding the information necessary to answer player questions difficult to find, as players, even moreso, may go in directions or ask for details not covered in the book. At the same time, this is my favorite CoC chapter, since it involves various NPC subplots and interactions, that, unlike too many CoC adventures, don't revolve around the scenario mystery (indeed, players may find it head-scratching that everything seems perfectly normal -- but not quite). It's almost like a game of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. The Providence chapter furthermore has curious leads to the other adventures in the book, stumping players who expect clues to be neat and self-contained to the current scenario. The PDF version and printing single-sided is suggested, since this lets you cut out the handouts from the adventure text as you play; I've also used maps, background text, and pictures in the text as handouts. You can also print out only the chapters you need for your current game session. In any case, if your play group can commit to a campaign, consider this imperfect candidate.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spawn of Azathoth
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Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
Publisher: Chaosium
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/22/2018 23:37:06

Call of Cthulhu's written adventures are some of the best on the market. But The Haunting isn't one of them. It's a very straightforward scenario, but, as written, little of the investigation during the scenario actually helps the investigators rid themselves of the menace at the final location. Thankfully, Alone against the Flames is an excellent adventure to introduce you to the mythos, as well as give you ideas how to run a CoC adventure.

As for the ruleset, CoC's skill check system is easy to pick up for roleplayers familiar with other roleplaying games. However, the way most CoC adventures are designed, investigators have to follow a trail of clues -- and if they fail their skill checks, the game master has to find some way to put them on track again. 7th edition added a "push" mechanic which allows a player to attempt another skill check, which helps address this problem, but we now play a homemade rules-light system that takes care of this.

Finally, of course, these rules are free, and you only need to print about ten pages for each player so they have their own set of rules. No more "passing around the rulebook". I'm not sure what the best free adventure is, however.

SPOILER: I highly recommend removing the glowing symbols at the Church, since they're not even explained why they're there. You may wish to modify the tome found at the Church to contain a spell that will help the party at the climax.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
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One Shot World
Publisher: Yochai Gal
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2018 18:17:49

Had a blast playing this rules-light ruleset. Great introduction to Dungeon World. Might want to read some DW reviews to get an overview, then use this ruleset to start playing!

EDIT: I think this session report does a good job at "pitching" DW. : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w9J802SnXhaAVrTlHHAXiAMlZMuQSRXNi1n8A3gZ2bo/edit



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
One Shot World
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One Shot World
Publisher: Yochai Gal
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2018 18:17:49

Had a blast playing this rules-light ruleset. Great introduction to Dungeon World. Might want to read some DW reviews to get an overview, then use this ruleset to start playing!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Great Big Random d100 Table of Interesting NPC's (5e)
Publisher: Aurican's Lair
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/29/2018 01:07:04

Aurican's Lair's "The Great Big Random d100 Table of Interesting NPC's (5e)" isn't exactly random, and can be used for more than D&D. The free supplement is a table of 100 NPCs. Each NPC has the expected description and stats, but also a relevant plot hook and carried equipment, as well as a link to a picture of the NPC. (I haven't checked if all the pictures work.) Entries were made by individual redditors. Most of the NPCs are better in villages and urban environments, rather than as adventurers on the road.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Great Big Random d100 Table of Interesting NPC's (5e)
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Random Encounter Compilation
Publisher: Windmill Slam Games
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/27/2018 02:08:15

I was browsing DriveThruRPG for random encounter ideas for Dungeon World (a narrative rule-light game where the players are involved in worldbuilding), and found Joran Heimering of Windmill Slam Games' Random Encounter Compilation. I particularly recommend it if your narrative games are high on improvisation, namely asking the players to flesh out the background "what and why" of a seed, rather than having you do the work.

The booklet is only six pages long, but each of the five terrain encounter charts, each on one page has 100 entries. Each entry is a brief but often intriguing description. The download is for the On the Shoulders of Heroes campaign setting, but can be used for any generic fantasy world.

Frex, from the Forest, Moors, and Bogs section:

  1. Entrance of strange flooded crypt
  2. Elf wizard with human apprentice
  3. Tipped over halfling cart in ditch
  4. A suspicious scarecrow by road side
  5. Carpenter shop owned by old elf
  6. A wounded unicorn


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Random Encounter Compilation
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Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game Starter Kit
Publisher: Greater Than Games, LLC
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/10/2018 05:19:58

If you're a fan of Sentinel Comics, pick up this game! The PDF version is a few dollars cheaper than the printed version, so consider buying the print. The mechanics do a good job of supporting superhero cinematics, particularly the GYRO (Green-Yellow-Red-(Knocked) Out) mechanics, which support more abilities as combat becomes more intense. Other mechanics support superhero roleplaying, including roleplaying, itself. My only minor complaint is that you'll often take, after rolling three dice, the middle die result, which is normative, but doesn't feel superheroic (various abilities will allow you to use the other dice, though). I prefer it to the Marvel Cortex system, since the rules are easier to understand, yet still support superhero roleplaying. As for gamers looking only for a superhero system, wait for the core rules. The Starter Kit, as the name suggests, doesn't include character generation, and only uses premade characteres from the Sentinel Universe. Myself, I'm not a fan of the card game, so didn't feel much attachment to the characters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game Starter Kit
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Paranoia Forms Pack
Publisher: Mongoose
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/16/2017 05:44:47

Paranoia: Forms Pack consists of a pad of 60-some color sheets. The pad is the same size as the Paranoia rulebooks, and fits in the boxed set. Besides the character sheet, the forms consist of, and have five copies of:

  • ALPHA COMPLEX IDENTITY FORM - 1 page, identical to the wipe-off character sheet in the boxed set
  • ACCUSATION OF TREASON / TERMINATION PERMIT REQUEST - 2 pages
  • XP POINT ASYNCHRONOUS CLAIM REQUISITION - 3 pages
  • CEREBRAL CORTECH ISSUE REPORT - 3 pages
  • SECTOR TRAVEL PERMIT - 3 pages

Forms can distract play by diverting attention, but they can greatly enhance the chaos of the game. Rather than handing a player and waiting for him to fill it out, give the sheets out without the intention of them being filled out. Start off by giving only the first page of a form, then call them out when they haven't filled out the other pages. Or give one page per player, and demand a copy of each form per player. Design a subplot (or adventure) where the players find out the previous troubleshooter party was terminated because they didn't have the right form. The players now must scrounge, threaten, or even turn to the black market or Secret Societies for remaining form or pages. Then there's the ol' giving out the wrong form and demanding the correct one, as well as scribbling Secret Society messages or other important information on the back of a form. And, if you can't think of what to do when the Computer icon shows up on the Computer die, give out (or demand) a form.

The PDF contains the same forms as the physical product. The PDF replicates the entire pad, however, meaning that it's sixty-pages plus a cover page long, rather than only having one copy of each form. You might still want the PDF, since you can then print out all the sheets, hand them to the Team Leader, and have him distribute all five copies of each form to all six Troubleshooters. Should be a little surreal when coming to generating characters. Then have the Team Leader berate the troubleshooters for submitting A5-sized forms on letter-sized paper. Then berate the Team Leader for submitting five copies of A5-sized forms on letter-sized paper. And execute him (after he's executed the rest of the troubleshooters for filling out the forms incorrectly, of course).

The character sheet can also be found on the Mongoose website, in the downloads section. This sheet is a form-fillable PDF.

Have a nice daycycle, Citizen.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Paranoia Forms Pack
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Paranoia Interactive Screen
Publisher: Mongoose
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2017 03:09:40

INTRODUCT-I-ONN: I usually find gamemaster screens a waste of money. One side has reference sheets I rarely use, and the other side has art that nobody cares about.

INSERT TONGUE HERE: Rather cleverly, though, one side of the Paranoia screen is actually a play area where, during the combat phase, players place their cards on various areas of the screen for both a bonus as well as side effect. Play? I meant more like slam since some slots are better than others. This, of course, means quick play, fast thinking, and hilarity ensuing. The spots have cryptic "labels", such as HELP, CONTROL, and the ever-present INSERT TONGUE HERE -- and, if a certain one of the spaces is selected, the spaces have entirely different meanings, though still related to their unhelpful labels. (I'm not sure how well this plays with the screen at its usual vertical standing, so I'll assume you just lay it flat.) A sheet included with the gamemaster screen explains these effects, such as TROUBLESHOOTER IS TERMINATED, START SINGING THE BATTLE HYMN OF ALPHA COMPLEX, and TROUBLESHOOTER GETS INJECTED WITH HAPPY DRUGS. I would have preferred the sheet itself printed on stiffer paper.

ITEMS OF QUESTIONABLE PROVIDENCE: The gamemaster's side, meanwhile, is part obligatory reference sheets, and another part new material.

The reference sections are: /// PART ONE: DETERMINING NODE >>> Add STAT plus SKILL. NODE Difficulty levels. /// PART TWO: ACHIEVEMENT REWARD LEVELS >>> How much XP for what mission level of achievement. /// PART THREE: IMPROVEMENT >>> XP cost to recover or increase moxie, boost stat, boost skill, acquire new specialist skill. /// PART FOUR: INCREASING SECURITY CLEARANCE >>> You're not cleared for that. /// PART FIVE: EQUIPMENT >>> XP cost for various equipment. Equipment obtained at each level of security clearance.

The new material are lists of ideas the gamemaster may find handy. These ideas are categorized into groups. /// PART SIX: CONSPIRATORIAL MOTIVATION >>> SINISTER / COERCED / IDEALOGICAL /// PART SEVEN: ALPHA COMPLEX LOCATIONS >>> DANGEROUS / UNPLEASANT / ABOVE YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE /// PART EIGHT: ITEMS OF QUESTIONABLE PROVENANCE >>> TREASONOUS / EQUALLY QUESTIONABLE UTILITY / BIZARRE /// PART NINE: ACHIEVEMENTS >>> SOCIAL ENGINEERING / VIGOROUS TROUBLESHOOTING / WHIMSEY OF THE HIGH PROGRAMMERS

Here're some examples of these lists. Which part they belong to is left as an exercise to the reader.

OVERMEDICATED AND HALLUCINATING / HACKED CEREBRAL CORTEX / OLD-SCHOOL BOMB-THROWING COMMIE WARBOT FOUNDRY / LOYALTY CHOIR PRACTICE HALL / STATELY PLEASURE-DOME DATA DISK JUST FULL OF SECRETS / LEFT BOOT. RATTING NOISE SUGGESTS A SECRET COMPARTMENT IN THE HEEL / BRAIN IN A JAR. DEMONSTRATE EXCESSIVE LOYALTY. / TRUST NO ONE! / DO 500 JUMPING JACKS

PDF VS. PHYSICAL PRODUCT: With the PDF, you could make a flat playing surface for the Action cards, and separate reference sheets for the GM, either as a gamemaster's screen, or other reference use. Plus, you wouldn't want to get that pristine gamemaster screen touched by those grubby player hands, would you? Review the Discussion comments to the PDF, though. Personally, I'd pick up the physical product.

CONCLUS-I-ONN: The Paranoia Gamemaster screen is certainly cleverer than other gamemaster screens, and a useful game aid for those who want even more [REDACTED] with their Paranoia.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Paranoia Interactive Screen
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Paranoia Red Clearance Edition
Publisher: Mongoose
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/12/2017 22:34:56

INTRODUCT-I-ION

I'll admit that I was backer #1 for the Mongoose Paranoia KickStarter campaign -- and dropped my pledge several days later. None of the original game designers? No James Holloway art? Cards?? I was quite happy with my first edition Paranoia, with its Falls from Great Height chart and specialized skill trees. And, I'd like to think that Paranoia isn't a game where you know all the rules. It's an atmosphere you create with the game as a framework. So, with that level of skepticism, I passed on the KickStarter, thinking that I pretty much had a High Programmer's trove of Paranoia, from first edition through XP.

Well, you know how dangerous thinking is with Paranoia.

OUT OF THE BOX

The boxed set comes with three softcover digest sized books: Player Handbook, Gamemasters Handbook, and Mission Book. Additional Player Handbooks can be purchased separately. The set also has 110 cards, four regular dice, one Computer die, and six wipe-off character sheets. The graphic design and art are perfectly fine (and the books are entirely in color), with the artwork a splended "next generation" of uncomfortableness suited for the complex of Paranoia.

PLAYERS HANDBOOK

The Player's Handbook covers character generation, basic actions, moxie, and combat. The game is appropriately rules-light and don't expect the gamemaster to follow them, either.

Character Generation: You have Attributes, and you have Skills. Random generation? Spending points? You may have remembered the Amber roleplaying game (okay, you didn't), where you bid against the other players to rank your ability score against them. Well, Paranoia has another "meta-generation" mechanic, where you screw your buddy before your character is made. Starting with the player to the left of the gamemaster, you pick a Skill (not Attribute) at level 1. Okay. Except that the player to that player's left gets the same Skill at NEGATIVE level 1. Then, it's that person's turn to pick a different Skill at +1. Once every player has a +1 and -1 Skill level, it goes to +2 and -2. Then +3 and -3. You get the idea. And, nope, you can't select a skill you already have (no adding a positive to your negative skill), and, double-nope, the direction of skill chargen is to the left, you're not going to get back at the player who gave you the NEGATIVE skill level -- at least not yet!

Okay, you do, thank The Computer. From the Skills you will generate your Attribute values, except that, yep, the player to the left, the same player who's received all these negative skill levels, gets to assign the values to the attributes. And, also, before you met your frienemies, you picked three adjectives to describe your character, such as "handsome, brave, loyal", and that player to your left gets to change one of the adjectives to its opposite. So you could be "ugly, brave, loyal", "handsome, chicken-hearted, loyal" or even "handsome, brave, traitorous filthy terrorist mutant scumbag". (Oh, and any rumors you have have heard about ditching Communists for Terrorists are untrue. Report to re-education for brainscrubbing.)

You can, of course, create characters in the boring conventional way (or use, gasp, pre-gens). Players can improve their stats by burning their Moxie and even Clone lives, but tell 'em later, once you and your bretherin find your comfort (or at least dead traitor) zone with the system. (I think the record number of clone executions in a briefing I've had was five. For a single player.)

Basic Action: Roll dice. Specifically, the GM tells you what Attribute and Skill, equipment, and other modifiers you will use, and you roll that number of dice. This is called your NODE, which is short for "Number of Dice [You're still not cleared for that]". For every five or six, you succeed. You need blah number of successes depending on the difficulty level. Huzzah! But, wait. What if your total number of dice is negative because your CHUTZPAH attribute is 0 and your STEALTH skill is -3 and you're sneaking past two Blue IntSec guards with neuro whips and too much free time? The Computer, in its infinite glory, encourages troubleshooters to try new challenges, and allows you to still roll the absolute value (hah! you thought you'd only use it once in that other RPG) of dice. Except that, for every one through four, you subtract a success. Huzzah! Oh, and did we mention that The Computer has blessed you with an additional credit-free die you roll with the six replaced with an icon of our beloved Computer (and not a Ghostbusters symbol)? The result of rolling this icon is that you lose one Moxie of stress and also [you're not cleared for that]. And the regular dice you roll are a combination of white high-programmer plastic with black infrared pips, so make sure you don't touch the white part when rolling the dice.

Moxie: So we've mentioned Moxie twice, and it's (ugh) hit points. But it's roleplaying hit points! Much like Call of Cthulhu's Sanity Points, where the more earnest players would say, "Hey, pass the Necronomicon", when you run out of Moxie (you can also spend it on stuff like rolling an extra die and [you're not cleared for that]), you can play one of your adjectives to the hilt, or the GM can roll your roleplay on the Losing It table. (Strangely enough, the text says that when you've lost all your Moxie, you may feel "All-consuming hatred of something or someone in the immediate area" which seemed to be SOP for most Paranoia players I've encountered even before combat.) You can regain Moxie through stimulants, spending XP, or activating a new clone. (You gain XP through surviving missions, achieving other objectives, and other Alpha Complex carrot sticks. You can spend XP on Moxie, Equipment, Clearance Level and... what happened to credits? What do you mean by "credits", Citizen??)

Combat: Combat consists of rolling a number of dice based on your VIOLENCE and GUNS, and saying "I hit it". Well, not just that. Each combat, player will receive a hand of shiny color cards, called Action Cards, typically one hand of four for the entire combat. Each round, each player chooses an Action card. After every player places their card face-down, the GM counts down, from high to low, and a player reveals his Action card at the Action Order number on the card. Okay, not just that. A player claims his Action card is at such-and-such a number (preferably higher than the other player pointing his laser barrel at them), and any other player may challenge him. If the challenger is wrong, the challenger loses an Action card. If the challenger is right, the challenging player immediately gets to make an action (so can have more than one action during a combat round), and the challenged player discards the card and takes a Basic Action at the end of the round. (So look forward to claims and challenge cards when players only have Action Order 0 cards in their hands!) You can always perform a Basic Action instead of playing and discarding what's written on the card. Yes, I do think that player wielding a Megaphone that lets him to act at Action Order CHUTZPAH +3 works in tandem with his laser pistol (until somebody like the GM gets tired of it and shoots him). Equipment cards and Mutant Powers cards are also Action cards. (Although they have no Action Order number, I suppose you could use your Secret Society and Bonus Duty cards as Action cards if your real-life Chutzpah was high enough...). And some of the Action cards are Reactions, used only during another player's turn (including GM). You can still play Paranoia with just Basic Action roll. But I think the cards do a good job as inspiration to do crazy things you might not think of at the moment. The cards certainly don't restrict options during combat. (Myself, I'm thinking of sticking post-its over the text of each card to encourage good roleplaying.) Paranoia also has wounds, which are entirely different from hit points (of course not). For every additional success rolled during combat, the target suffers a wound. Wound states are Hurt, Injured, Maimed, and Dead. Sadly, "vaporized" is no longer a status (and the Falling From Great Heights table seems to be misplaced), but, hey, there's always that computer icon on the red die when that character is out of Moxie...

GAMEMASTERS HANDBOOK

Much like previous editions of Paranoia, the boxed set does a very good job of providing the gamemaster helpful advice -- including for breaking rules -- to help him run a game of Paranoia. The handbook also tells us about Alpha Complex: Alpha Complex itself, The Computer, DAIVs, the Cerebral Cortech and Data Feed ("All data is recorded and stored. Not analyzed, however."), XP points (treason stars are still used, but gasp credits are now gone -- and, yes, Free Enterprise has something to say about that!), while service groups and societies have pretty much been relegated to a mention. Wait. Credits are gone?? Among other changes, Paranoia uses XP instead of credits to purchase equipment, luxuries, and higher security clearance levels. DAIVs are Deviant Artificial Intelligent Viruses, which the Computer is naturally afraid of, and will shut down entire sectors to get rid of. And, of course, DAIVs can infect a clone's Cerebral Cortech and Data Feed. The Cerebral Cortech and Data Feed is a HUD-slash-augmented virtual reality that every clone has (specifically every clone has Cerebral Coretech hardware on the inside of his skull). It's a useful way for the Computer to transmit data, and slow burn way for the Computer to helpfully interfere with troubleshooter activity. Alpha Complex does have "dead zones" which a gamemaster can conveniently use whenever troubleshooters need to or otherwise can do treasononus acts, like Secret Society shenanigans. Speaking of which...

About a fourth of the book are the secret societies (including Communist, which I though was announced as [REDACTED]). Personally, I thought the Secret Societies didn't get enough attention in previous editions (about half a page in first, second, and XP editions). Here, the gamemaster is provided specific tasks he can drop into an adventure, and bennies he can hand out to secret society members. We're also given some paragraphs of several High Programmers involved in their secret societies, as well as an "alignment graph" so gamemasters have a high-level view of how the secret societies have overlapping and opposing interests.

With Paranoia being a rules-light game system with its own uniquely absurd atmosphere, the Gamemasters Handbook also encourages you to modify and even relegate to heresay and rumor any aspect of Alpha Complex that you wish. It shouldn't be too difficult to bring back CBay (or, at least, Free Enterprise's attempts to bring it back!) or the ever-popular tongue-tattoo ID. ("Show me your ID." "NYAAAHH..." Fun times.)

MISSION BOOK

Although conventionally last, this book actually should be read first. The book consists of three related missions, and a new version of the classic White Wash scenario. The first mission actually starts the players at Infrared level (completely with bossy Red troubleshooter), and gradually introduces the game mechanics. Given Paranoia's rules-light game system, a gradual introduction isn't necessary, but not all gaming groups will be used to its game style, and it's novel for regular Paranoia players to play as Infrareds. The next two missions are of the more conventional SNAFU side. I did feel that, compared to first edition Paranoia adventures I own, NPCs took a greater role in the missions, and the missions were not as detailed as other adventures (not that a rules-light game system has to be). The missions do have more involvement by Secret Societies, which I felt was overlooked in adventures from previous editions. So, overall, while relatively lightweight, you do get four missions versus one in (some) previous versions.

CARDS

One reason I overlooked the KS was that I thought the cards were going to be the focus of the game. They're not. Think of them as mini-supplements, player inspiration, that sort of thing. Whee.

EQUIPMENT CARDS: The boxed set comes with twenty-two Equipment cards. Paranoia has three categories of equipment: Regular, Non-Standard, and R&D. Regular equipment, such as laser pistols and armor, don't have cards, nor does R&D equipment (you know what this stuff is). Non-Standard equipment includes combat-oriented stuff like The Minigun and Grenade X3, with some odd but usefull stuff like a Friction Enhancer and Fake Moustache. Their Action Order (see Combat) is an attribute plus a number, such as CHUTZPAH + 4 for the Fake Moustache. The add NODE dice based on their level, such as SMALL Level 1 for the aforementioned Fake Moustache. Equipment cards have additional text, which can be easily covered up with a small Yellow clearance Post-It if the Gamemaster so desires. In the meta-spirite of Paranoia, you could make additional Equipment Cards, hand them to players you don't like, then, later in the game after they've used the cards, question them why their Equipment Cards look like some gamer scrawled on them when they shoule using official shiny color Paranoia boxed set cards.

SECRET SOCIETIES: The boxed set comes with fifteen Secret Society cards, two printed with "NO SECRET SOCIETY" and two of the Computer's own Internal Security Secret Society (yep, it's official). During character generation, the Gamemaster deals each player a card. This assists character conflict, since each player will be in a different Secret Society (the Gamemaster Handbook's Secret Society chapter does give suggestions for faction play.) If you do enjoy factions (always fun to root out the competing splinter group, or participate in a friendly competition against your fellow Death Leopards), just make photocopies or use the PDF version. Use treasonous Magic the Gathering cards as backs, slip the card and photocopy into the card sleeve, slip the secret message from the player's Secret Society also into the card sleeve, maybe or not maybe tell the player that he has a secret message, and have his secret society chew him out when he doesn't find it. The cards are essentially player aids, to give them something sneaky to do. That's always a good thing.

BONUS DUTY: A set of six cards, either the team leader or The Computer assigns the role of each party member to their duty during the mission: Team Leader, Science Officer, Happiness Officer, Combat Officer, Equipment Officer, and Loyalty Officer. Again, these cards are player aids, assisting overt roleplay, as troubleshooters obstrusively abuse their role to annoy their fellow party members.

YOU ARE NUMBER ONE: A single pretty card that the troubleshooters will compete for to be The Computer's special [REDACTED] to receive special treatment from NPCs and The Computer. Use arbitrarily. Reassign favor when warranted and/or bored.

PDF SECTOR vs. PROCESSED DEAD ORGANIC MATTER WITH SPLENDED BINDING

Paranoia also comes in PDF format, but the cards and computer die make me recommend the boxed set. The Players Handbook, GM handbook, and Mission Book are separate books so there's none of that icky sharing stuff (at least between the GM and the riff-raff). The boxed set also comes with wipe-off character cards, or you can download an editable PDF from the Mongoose website. You're entirely welcome, citizen.

CONCLUSION

Paranoia's latest incarnation is a streamlined, rules-light, game system with new mechanics that should be easy to follow, and additional ideas you can add or ignore at your leisure. The missions were, imo, a little light, but, considering how much I ignored and faked my way through earlier edition adventures, I'm not going to worry about that. There is nothing to worry about. The Computer has everything under [REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED].



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Paranoia Red Clearance Edition
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