Gremliny Stuff

Mar 18, 2011

A Taste of Troubleshooter

So, as a departure from my usual way of doing things (a.k.a. putting up random posts of meandering ideas and then never mention them again), since I am so inspired right now (read as: bored out of my mind at work), I figured I might as well post some of the introductory flavor text that I've writen up so far for Troubleshooter.

Now, I should note that Troubleshooter is a hack of Paranoia, and its setting is pretty much Paranoia, with most of the serial numbers filed off and license plates removed, but before it can get a new paint job. My intention is making Paranoia somewhat more...accessible...than it has been previously. Ever since the first edition of Paranoia, all those many years ago, the rules had never been simple. There were always lots of charts, lots of details, and lots of little ideas. Now, as a humorous read, it was GREAT. Not to mention Jim Holloway's artwork was absolutely phenomenal. But as a game, it was a bit clunky sometimes. Particularly later editions, were you had to have a chart to figure out how much damage was inflicted, even when most of the time, your characters were being vaporized anyway.
Troubleshooter seeks to take the great ideas of Paranoia, and condense them into something more...small. Where the current "official" version is Paranoia XP, think of this instead as Paranoia Linux.

...maybe I shouldn't use computer analogies...

The rules will be similar to what I'm using for the next revision of Screw You Rebel Scum!, and, if anything, is sort of a pre-playtest of those rules (since it's taking me much, much longer to get everything put together for it).

Anyway, the game will be posted in about a week. Most of it is done, but I just need to clean it up a bit and do a little more work on Treason and Cheating. So, in the meantime, here's some of the introductory flavor text.

"The Computer
The Computer protects and manages all within the Complex, the last refuge of civilization after the Crash. In its great wisdom, the Computer recruits loyal Citizens as Troubleshooters, who are tasked with uncovering traitorous activities, combating the Commie scourge, and keeping the Complex safe from the terrors that lurk Outside.

The Crash

The Crash was the event that ended the old world. No one is quite sure anymore what the Crash actually entailed, but the Computer assures the Citizens that it was, indeed, terrible, and it was the fault of Commie mutant traitors. That is why Troubleshooters are tasked with hunting down Commie mutant traitors. Claims that the Crash was not caused by Commie mutant traitors is treasonous.

The Complex

Built as a shining example of a perfect ecology, the Complex became a haven of safety for the Citizens who survived the Crash. Over the centuries, the Complex has been expanded and fortified, to keep the growing Citizen population safe from the dangers Outside. Sometimes, areas are sealed off so that new structures and facilities can be built over them, leaving a honeycombed maze of tunnels and chambers that are best forgotten. Rumors of there being other Complexes aside from the Complex are treasonous.

The Outside

The Outside is a terrible, brownish, radioactive wasteland, the remains of the Earth after the Crash. The Computer decided that the Outside was too dangerous for Citizens, and has kept them safe within the confines of the Complex. The Outside contains nothing that any loyal Citizen would be interested in, and is filled with giant insects, homicidally insane pre-Crash war machines, and wandering tribes of cannibalistic mutants. Suggestions that the Outside is not hazardous, and is, in fact, a nice, green, peaceful place are treasonous.

The Troubleshooters

You, the players, are the stalwart Troubleshooters. Each Troubleshooter needs a blank Citizen Profile Form to record their test scores and innermost thoughts and a carbon-based stylus. The use of rubberized deletion tools is strictly prohibited – the Computer requires all data, no matter how insignificant, irrelevant, or incriminating, to be preserved. A selection of standardized polyhedral plastic randomizers is also necessary, ranging in size from 4-sided to 12-sided. The use of 20-sided randomizers is restricted, and the use of such randomizers for any task check is treasonous.

The Programmer

The Programmer oversees the Troubleshooters and their Mission. The Programmer is the most loyal of all the Computer’s servitors, and administers important information, rewards, and citations. The Programmer, in addition to a copy of the operations manual, will need several blank forms (ruled lines optional) with which to record important revelations and events during the Mission, a carbon-based stylus and rubberized deletion tool, and his own collection of standardized polyhedral plastic randomizers. In fact, two or three sets of randomizers might be useful, including 20-sided randomizers. This will emphasize to the Troubleshooters the great importance of the Programmer.

The Mission

It is the duty of a loyal Troubleshooter to complete his Mission, which, no matter how demeaning, dangerous, or doubtful it may seem, is essential to the continued safety of the Complex and the safety of the Computer. You may need to root out Commies, traitors, unregistered mutants, Commie traitors, traitorous mutants, Commie mutant traitors, and other insidious foes. You may have to uncover lost pre-Crash technologies, or lock down and perform maintenance on overheating reactors. You may be required to exterminate an infestation of giant, toxic beetles that have infiltrated from the Outside, or deliver a stack of completed and painstakingly collated Forms 28849032.B.3893 through 55934329.F.9054, in triplicate, to the Civil Administration and Reprogramming Office, suite J-433, within 15 minutes. Failure to complete your Mission, even after death, is treasonous."
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