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Paranoia

Paranoia

I have stumbled across a new table-top, pen and paper RPG that goes by the name of Paranoia. A quote from the Wikipedia entry:

The game is set in Alpha Complex, an immense and futuristic domed or underground city controlled by The Computer, a schizophrenic civil service AI construct. The Computer has made happiness mandatory. Failure to be happy is punishable by summary execution. […] To deal with [threats], The Computer employs Troubleshooters, whose job is to solve problems: they go out, find trouble and shoot it. […] In most scenarios, each player character is in fact a mutant, commie and/or secret society member, and is given a hidden agenda separate from the group’s goals, often involving swindling or killing teammates – hence the name Paranoia. Therefore, Troubleshooter missions invariably turn into a constant comedy of errors as everyone on the team seeks to double-cross everyone else while keeping their own secrets. The game encourages an air of suspicion between the players, offering several tips on how to make Paranoia as paranoid an experience as possible.

I had not read more than this before I went over to RPGShop.com and bought the latest core rule book. I wish I could make this post longer by saying more but I honestly know next to nothing about the game and it’s rules. Since I am so obviously enthralled before even setting eyes on any of the actual rules let us tally up the score, shall we?

    The primary NPC is called “The Computer”
    The PCs are constantly looking for ways to screw each other
    Troubleshooters go out and shoot trouble
    I am a sucker for sci-fi and post-apocalyptic themed fiction

There is even a fan-created online server/client Java-based application that allows people to play over the ‘net called JParanoia!

I am so there.

Trust The Computer. The Computer is Your Friend.

Unknown Armies Online

Unknown Armies Online

After some research I have discovered there is no good way to run an Unknown Armies game online. This brings me to my next thought:

What would I include if I were to make my own “Unknown Armies Online” system?

Obvious stuff includes character sheets, dice rolling, a chat system– both PC-to-PC/GM and public– and a map. I imagine it being a web-based, AJAX application. This way the platform is already deployed (virtually everyone already has it) and is low bandwidth.

I am not saying I am going to make my own but it is tempting.

Update 2007.07.20
I just had a fellow ask me if I needed any help with this project. I am not sure how he/she found out about my blog but I am happy he/she did. There may be interest in this out there after all.

For anyone wondering I responded with a “I would like this to be a personal project”.

PC vs Console

PC vs Console

I recently came across this article. It contrasts this article (sort of) but my focus will be on the former. In typical Nick style instead of bringing you peace I will bring you conflict as I enjoy it. Take this, console fan boys!

I feel the article hits on some key points on why to choose a PC over a console. Instead of me reviewing a review– the “review” being nothing more but a self-answering questionnaire– I will instead just agree or disagree with each point. As you may have assumed it would help if you read the article first.


HD is So Last Gen
As much as I love to blow stuff up in games just to blow them up I tend to focus on content over awesome graphics.

Mouse & Keyboard for the Win
As much fun as Golden-Eye for the N64 was the controls are inherently bad. Even with such a game that did the best possible job they could have they still sucked. I sort of got the hang of it but come on! 3D space calls for 3D controls!

Now You’re Really Playing with Power
This is not an argument that is all that strong in my mind. Sure you can get more raw power in a PC at will but there is something you would be forgetting. Consoles (at least the well made ones) are controlled platforms machines. What I mean by that is since they are not general computing machines you know what you are getting and can write very tight routines to take advantage of every last bit of power. No abstraction layers, no guessing or checking bit-fields. What you are left with is code that may very well run circles around superficially similar code on a PC. Pains me to say it but console for the win on this one…

Will Wright = Game God
Huh? I could not hear you over Carmack‘s mighty roar.

Kids’ Play
This argument holds a lot of water. Before anyone says “Halo has blood!” or some such stuff (read: shit) remember you are playing the dumbed-down version of another game. Consoles are built for mass appeal and the masses are finicky.

With that said the Super Monkey Ball series is great fun.

Blame it on the Console Gamers
“Console gamers are responsible for the decline of some of the PCs best franchises.” Plain and simple. Halo looked awesome when it was coming to PC. Then Microsoft stepped in, changed everything and now we have… this. For every Metroid there are 10,000 whiny little brats with a headset and microphone screaming “wall hack” for no other reason than they lost.

Their culture is among the bottom of the food chain and it shows.

You Think That’s Realistic?
PCs are the ones pushing the limits. Consoles imitate. Cutting-edge technology is the PC.

But again: content > shiny.

GamerTags are Overrated
What the fuck? GamerTags? Are we six? A gold star for you…

The Invincible PC
I do not doubt this is very much a cutting edge sword. If a PC can be considered “invincible” because you can keep upgrading it you will be poor pretty soon: PCs can be expensive. If they are worth it or not depends on how serious you are about gaming.

Nyah, Nyah, Console Tools
Suck it.

Unknown Armies Lives Again! AKA The Counting My Chickens Before They Hatch Post

Unknown Armies Lives Again! AKA The Counting My Chickens Before They Hatch Post

I will once again be GM’ing another Unknown Armies game. This time at Parallax LAN Center in Mineola. We played a (very) short game last night and everyone really enjoyed it so we are attempting to setup a weekly thing. As much as I love my Dungeons and Dragons group the game is way to complex for its own good. Unknown Armies gives you all the tools you need to create an alive, often crafty world without the weight of adding 16 different kinds of modifiers to each roll (unless you want to, of course).

I am still not sure if I want to create a new scenario or go with one of my existing ones. Normally I would create a new one for each group but none of my other ones got very far and I want to see where they can go. I could wing it like I have done with a number of one-shots– not sure how well that would work out in the long run not to mention the coolest of recurring themes almost out of the picture due to my horrible memory. There is the All Alone-themed one I modeled after System Shock 2 complete with Shodan-esk final boss battle and mutilated monkeys. I have my Stuck-in-an-Evil-Mob-Boss-Controlled Town game where players walk a thin line between carrying out orders or being killed. Also a few I have not put much work into but the general idea is there.

What to do what to do? Either way I will be meeting with the owner of Parallax to discuss how this is going to work. I hope to see continued interest as I love doing this.

“Content is Bad”

“Content is Bad”

Interesting article entitled “Content is Bad“.

This– at least in my mind– touches on the “why hire local [insert job title here] when I can out-source to [somewhere] for a fraction of the price“? Just a thought…