In another example of my manic need to try out other games, I picked up Paranoia, the newest edition a few weeks ago. I played Paranoia in the 1980’s. way back when it was the 1st and 2nd edition. West End Games was the publisher. The first iteration was kind of wonky, as it was too rule heavy. The second edition was pretty good, for at least the first couple of years that it existed. After a while, the adventures became a little trite.
So, knowing that I really enjoyed the first couple of versions of Paranoia, I asked my FLGS owner to order me the new box set. It was pretty cool. I went onto DriveThru Cards, and ordered the two sets of additional cards which were available on print on demand. They were really cool.
A word of caution. For a $50 box, there were three paperback books, two decks of cards, about 50 cards each, some dry erase character sheets, and not much more. The quality of the books is OK. They are prefect bound, which looks like this…
Now, there is nothing wrong with perfect bound books. But these ones have an annoying affect of needing to either bend the binding to accommodate a full open book, or you have to bend the pages around the funny little glued portion. OK. that isn’t a fatal flaw, but in my case, I am really anal about how my games are kept, with the intent of keeping them as nice as possible for their entire life. The perfect bound books require that you must bend the pages, or bend the spine, causing creases in things that should not be creased.
OK, that is not a huge gripe, but I will gripe about the cards. The cards are cheap. As in cheap like the Paizo Adventure Card Game quality. Both the cards in the game box, and the cards I ordered from Drivethru Cards were crappy quality.
The printing on the cards was good. However, the long term durability of the cards was suspect. So, I needed to purchase about $10 worth of Fantasy Flight clear sleeves to protect them. The cards were cheap enough that when I sleeved them, several of the cards chipped on the edges going into the sleeve.
A word to game manufacturers, Please, please, please go up a few quarters in price of components to get quality components.
Reading through the books, it became quite clear that the game was supposed to be taken out of the box, and played. The only problem was, the pregens for this take it out of the box were printed in the Mission Book (the adventure guide) The other two books included a player’s handbook, and a GM guide. The annoying part of this, with a $50 game, was that there was no clear rules cyclopedia in the game books. You have to hunt around in at least two books to understand how to run or play the game. Additionally, you can only purchase additional player’s books via the Mongoose website. The game distributors do not have the ability to order extra copies of the player’s guide. You can purchase the PDF of the base box, for $29.99 from Drivethru RPG, or via the Mongoose website, but then you need to decide how your personal ethics deal with pirating the book to your friends, while your Friend Computer is watching your every move.
This is especially troublesome, as you can not purchase a PDF of just the player’s guide on Drivethru RPG. You can only get the entire Red Clearance Edition box of PDF’s.
Additionally, there is a Player’s Guide to the Alpha Complex, but it is only available as a PDF. No printed version is available.
The dilemma here is that this game is best played without distractions. Having a tablet, phone or laptop with the PDF’s up creates a situation where people can start referring to emails, posting on social media, and other things that are not conducive to gaming. I have no problems with people doing that, but when I run a game, I like people to be engaged in the game, not in something else. In the case of Paranoia, no clone in a position of power, or the Friend Computer ever wants to repeat things. Having hard copies of reference material allows me to tell the players to put their phones in the middle of the table, and if anyone picks up a phone, then they get a treason star.
This ended up causing a good thing. Well good as far as the Friend Computer was concerned. During the game, I took William aside and talked with him about what to do, and the players took another phone and put it onto William’s chair. As we walked back, William took the phone and put it back on the table. He got a treason star for that. Then he complained, and he got another treason star. The resulting chaos ended up with the players basically flinging phones onto each other seats and using books and paper to pick up the phones and putting them back onto the table without touching them. During the game, I got a phone call from my daughter. Of course I answered it. The players were upset that I got to use my phone, and they didn’t get to use theirs. Tough shit. I am management. Do as I say, not as I do. Treason stars all around.
Another minor gripe from me is that the game came with one “Computer” dice. Yes, grammatically, it should be “die”, not dice. However, the manuals that come with the game make it very clear that they use the plural “dice” in every case, because it would be confusing to call the d6 a die, with all of the characters who die a lot. The alternately correct use of the plural noun is done to clarify who needs to “die” as in is currently, or will soon be dead, as opposed to rolling one “die”.
But the gripe from me is not about the use of the word “dice” instead of “die”. The gripe is that the box comes with only one computer dice. I like dice. Any d6 with a special function needs friends. I know that it is only a 25 mm d6 with a computer printed on the 6, but damn it, I like it. And I want more. The only way to get more is to go to the Mongoose website and purchase a bag of 4 computer dice for $15, and then pay another $8 for shipping. Bleh. These dice are also not available through distributors, so you can’t let the FLGS get them and make a little money. I am not excited at paying $23 for 4 d6’s. Like I said, bleh.
The game books are written in a semi-understandable method of communication. Unfortunately, you need to go through a lot of different things to figure out what to do, how to play, etc. The introductory adventure in the Mission Book does a pretty good explanation of how to get things done.
However, if you are using the Paranoia books as a guide to figure out how to do something, good luck. I mean it. The books are not very good at explaining how to actually run or play a game.
Do I like the new version of Paranoia? Yes. A lot. I like it enough that I bought several older version PDF’s on Drivethru RPG. The books read well.
Following is a series of basic rules that I compiled into a handy list.
Head’s Up Display
You have an Iball. This Iball links you to the Computer. This also allows you to view dta on all other clones, including their registered name, number of treason stars and other information.
Station in Life
As an infrared, you are the lowest of the low. You must suck it up from everyone. As a Red level operative, you must do everything that you are told to do by everyone with a higher level.
It is treasonous to have a mutant power. It is more treasonous to use them. Register as a mutant to keep from being eliminated. Mutants are dangerous.
Secret societies are treasonous. If approached by one, report it to the Computer. The computer may want you to become an operative to help bring down the treasonous society.
How to Advance
Survive, learn to bootlick, grovel, suck up, and, report all real or imagined treasonous activity to the Computer. Remember, where there is smoke, there is usually fire.
You can have a maximum of 5 Treason Stars. Your clone will be recycled when you get five treason stars. You get treason stars for treasonous acts. It is not treasonous to report fellow opertives for treason.
All registered mutants gain 2 automatic treason stars. Using a mutant power without registering as a mutant is treasonous. Reporting a non-registered mutant to the Computer may help reduce your own treason star count.
You get XP points for doing missions. You can also get XP points for reporting your fellow team members for treasonous acts. You will need XP points to level up to higher levels of clone. XP points also buy things.
Stats and Skills
Used to build the dice pool. Positive stats are “good” while negative stats are “fun” If your skills are positive, add up the total number of positive stats that you want to use, justify them, be prepared to be ridiculed, report ridicule as treason. Then roll the dice, plus the Computer die (the red one).
5’s and 6’s are sucesses.1-4 are not sucesses. You want lots of sucesses.
How many sucesses do you need?
An average task. Any ordinary person should be able to do this unless they have negative numbers on their skill
Requires a small bit of effort or knowledge
This would be hard, even for an expert
Beyond the realm of normal human ability
If you are using a skill that a negative, create your dice pool. In that case, you want 5’s and 6’s. Any 1, 2, 3 or 4 is a failure, not a null value. Failure is fun. Revel in it. This makes the GM’s job hard, as he needs to figure out what happens.
The computer dice is always rolled. If you roll a computer symbol, then something happens that involves the computer. This could be bad, worse, or devastating. It could also be something that generates a lack of continuity in the plot.
Moxie is used to do several things. Including:
- Add dice to your pool
- Activate mutant abilities
- Lose it
You have limited moxie. When you use Moxie, it is gone, unless you spend 50 XP per moxie point to regain it. You can also buy extra moxie points for 200 XP apiece.
When you use Moxie to activate your mutant abilities,
Every wound results in adding 1 to the task roll. Alternately, each wound removes one of your successes. Take your pick, it is all the same to your betters.
You will notice that I have used alternate spelling facts here. This was not a mistake. This was done specifically to see if any of the treasonous players would contradict the published information by the Friend Computer. The computer does not make mistakes. The computer will, however provide some level of alternate facts or disinformation to see if any of the clone citizens
are treasonous and will… need forced reeducation applied as necessary. Collin tried to point out a spelling error on the sheet, and was labeled as a treasonous clone. It was not pretty.
So how was the gaming? It was a lot of fun. We started out early in the morning by four of us going to the Black Friday sale at Guardian Games. Guardian Games is a pretty awesome game store in Portland Oregon. If you are ever in Portland, I suggest you go to Guardian. I have been in game stores all around the country. When I travel to other areas, I always try to drop in on a game store if possible. I haven’t seen one yet that compares to Guardian. The really cool thing about that store is that they serve lots of genres well. They have a good stock of RPG’s, board games, card games, CCG’s, LCG’s, and miniatures. When I say good stock, I mean amazing stock.
We went down at 7:15 in the morning on Black Friday, and looked around. When I say “we”, I mean Eric, Collin, Eric’s friend Michael (not Friend Computer), and me. Eric drove down in his new Mazda, and told us that the car was driving itself on the freeway. I think he was kidding. I am pretty sure that I saw him steering with his knees.
Mike didn’t want to go. He made up some excuse that he didn’t need any more games, but we all knew that since he retired, he didn’t roll out of bed until at least 10:30 AM, later if possible.
We show up at Guardian, and there was a line of gamers outside, waiting for the early opening time of 8 AM. The line extended all the way along one city block, then we rushed to the end, and were in about the 100th customer position. There was nothing scientific about me counting. I estimate that we were the 100th customer. We arrived at about 7:45 AM. By the time the line started moving just a few minutes after 8 AM, the line stretched around the corner, and for another city block.
Guardian has an amazing sale on Black Friday. They stack a huge amount of games onto tables, and sell them for $5 apiece. Other stuff is amazingly priced. Large boxes of Hordes miniatures were half price. They had a Troll blood box army, normally priced at $140, half price. There were stacks of Warhammer and 40K books for $3 to $7 apiece. Other games were being offered at amazing prices. Everything sold before 10 AM was 20% off. It was pretty cool.
I didn’t get anything. I did talk Brian and Collin into buying copies of Dungeon Fantasy powered by GURPS and the DM Screen. They were 20% off after all. They were also hard to find. Of course, now that Brian and Collin have the boxes, they will probably be available everywhere.
Eric bought a couple of $5 games. One was a Keyflower game. Collin was more hardcore, and bought Twilight Struggle. I have played Twilight Struggle. It is called “Struggle” because if you screw up any action in the first few rounds of the game, you struggle for the rest of eternity to not have your ass kicked. Good game, but unforgiving. And if you are playing as a novice against someone who knows how to play, good luck trying to have fun. We came back to Vancouver and then went out to lunch at Don Taco.
Now Don Taco has amazing food. It is a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, that is really good. They have the best carnitas. Their green sauce for the chili verde carnitas is pretty good, but the carnitas are amazing.
We all met at Don Taco. Ate, then went to Dice Age to play Paranoia.
So how was the game?
After all, I made you sit through almost 2,500 words of blather about tasty Mexican food, Guardian Games, and other incoherent crap about the quality of the game components and availability of physical copies and PDF copies.
The five clones woke up in a cold, white room. The clones are wet, and naked. Pixels cover their private parts. Their Iball informs them of the names on their co-clones. The Iball also provides a heads up display showing how many treason stars are on any other clones.
The door opens, and Roz-R-HYT-2 comes in and starts telling them what they will be doing. Mid discussion, an explosion occurs. The room rocks, and a piece of synthcrete drops onto a cleaning bot, damaging it beyond immediate repair. Roz informs them that they don’t need additional training at this point, and Alpha Complex needs them to take the damaged cleaning bot to be repaired. The characters are told to stand by the entrance, they get dressed and start thinking about how to take on their initial mission.
Bill tries to fix the bot, but only succeeds in shocking himself, however, the bot starts rolling on its treads, backwards into a wall. Shari tries to pick it up, and struggles with the bot as its trying to continue moving on the treads. The party is able to pick up the bot and move out into the hallway.
the Friend Computer informs the clones that their role is to take the broken bot to a specific location. To find that location, the clones see a large yellow arrow on their heads up display. The downside of the arrow is that it blocks most of their vision, except upon the periphery.
The Friend Computer tells the party the following:
Congratulations on joining the Alpha Complex workforce, citizens! Please accept 1 XP point each as a bonus. XP points can be spent on necessities or luxuries, including increasing your security level. Before you leave the briefing room, ask yourself the following three questions.
One. Do I have all my equipment with me?
Two. Do I know where I’m going?
Four. Do I know what to do when I get there?
Six. Do any of the people around me look like mutants, terrorists or other forms of traitors?
Collin starts to question the number of questions, and the order, then he catches himself, knowing that it is traitorous to question the Friend Computer. Each clone has their mop. The mop was issued by the Friend Computer, and must not be lost.
The Friend Computer reinforces this to the clones by informing them:
Citizens! Please recall that issued equipment is your responsibility, and there will be penalties for not taking care of any materials assigned to you. If you leave your equipment in the room it may fall into the hands of terrorists.
The cerebral cortech helps the party by showing the direction to go via a large yellow arrow that blocks most of their vision.
As the clones move down the hall, they see a pop up message from Friend Computer, which informs them that the terrorist Wossname the Not Dead is in their proximity, and he may be after the clone’s mops. On the periphery of the message and yellow arrow, the clones see a man in a black uniform like theirs sprinting down the corridor towards them. He looks terrified.
The clones decide to take action. Shari does her best impression of a scrub bot, holding an actual scrub bot. Eric tries to hide on the side of the corridor. The rest of the clones are trying to make themselves scarce. The clone, apparently Wossname the Not Dead trips over Eric’s leg, or maybe it was Bill’s mop, maybe it was Mikes body, but somehow, the man trips over and breaks his neck. The corpse of the man lies in the hall. The clones are not sure what to do now.
But there is a problem. A mop was broken. One of the clones now has a broken piece of equipment that was provided by the Friend Computer. A squad of Troubleshooters thunders around the corridor, resplendent in their red armor, laser pistols drawn, and halt by the corpse. Their leader fixes you with one metallic eye. ‘Which of you is responsible for this?’
Things seem to have gone very badly for the clones. Not even out of the infrared class, and they have already broken a mop, and now they have killed someone who red clearance operatives were chasing.
The Computer interrupts: ‘Congratulations, Infrared Working Party! You have aided Alpha Complex with your selfless act of quick thinking. One less terrorist is one more reason to sleep well tonight. Each of you receives 500 XP points immediately. This is enough to raise each of you to Red level. Well done!’ The Troubleshooters applaud while looking incredibly annoyed.
The Computer continues: ‘However, sensory feedback indicates the destruction of valuable Alpha Complex equipment, specifically a revised standard mop. Infrared Working Party, each of you has five XP points deducted as a lesson in taking care of valuable items in your care.’
‘In recognition of your abilities, you are being reassigned to a new mission, where there will be less chance of damage to equipment. Await new briefing details. Thank you.’
The clones are now four XP away from promotion to red level.
As the clones stand about a large scrub-bot appears from a hatch in the wall and makes itself busy ingesting the corpse of Wossname, the broken mop and the smaller scrub-bot. Roz-R-HYT reappears from down the corridor, bearing a sheet of paper. ‘I suppose you think you’re clever? The sector’s in crisis and you go around interrupting the work of Troubleshooters. I’m not impressed. Plus you’ve been reassigned, effective immediately.
‘It says here you’re to go to Sector HOY, where you must find a plug, unplug it, and plug it back in again. Don’t ask me questions: I know as much as you do. Cerebral Coretech will guide you. Keep hold of your mops. This is a 150 XP point mission. And – oh great. Apparently I’m coming too.’
A notification pops up in everyone’s Cerebral Coretech, directing them to the nearest Production, Logistics and Commissary depot. Production, Logistics and Commissary turns out to be next door to the Technical Services department that you were supposed to deliver the scrub-bot to. PLC, your Cerebral Coretech reminds you, is where you get mission-critical equipment from. A bored-looking technician looks up at you. ‘Infrared Work Party to sector HOY? Wait there.’
The technician hands the equipment to Roz, ticking each one off on a checklist. ‘Crowbar – issued the last one an hour ago. Breathing apparatus – we’re out. Jetpacks…’ he gives Roz a long-suffering look. ‘Scrub-bot, now, we were supposed to have one come through from Technical Services but there’s been some sort of a hitch. You got mops. They’ll do. Sign here.’ Roz sighs, signs, takes the megaphone, and gives out the rest of the equipment.
Roz keeps the megaphone for herself, but gives the grapple gun, body armor and medkit to the clones. The clones must sign for each of the pieces of equipment. There is a handy form that the clones are not allowed to read but are required to sign to obtain the equipment. Shari signs her name for the body armor. Eric signs Collin’s clone’s name for the medkit. Bill signs his own name for the grapple gun.
Sector HOY is not very close. Roz leads you to a bank of turbo-elevators and punches in your destination. The doors close behind you. The elevator drops, changes its mind, goes briefly sideways, and then up. ‘It’s meant to do that,’ Roz says. ‘At least, it does that.’ The ride seems to go on for a while, and it’s not possible to tell if the elevator is moving any more, or just standing still and vibrating.
After a while, Eric decides to open the door by pushing the button override on the control panel. As the doors open, through the gap you see that the elevator has stopped about a meter below the red-carpeted floor level. No, the floor is moving. In slow motion a wave of viscous red fluid cascades into the elevator compartment, covering you up to your waist. It smells of strawberry flavoring. Outside, the huge lobby area is awash with it. The guiding arrow appears, pointing straight ahead. Your destination, it says, is subsector K15.
The red substance is Red Dessert Topping (RDT) which tastes like a thickened version of Hawaiian Punch. The meter deep RDT liquid makes moving very hard in the rooms and hallways.
The clones start exploring the hallway and rooms. All other clones are moving about, trying to do normal work as though nothing has gone wrong. It may be a normal thing to have a meter of thick gooey RDT in the hallways and rooms. All around the area are floating pillows, chairs, tables, and other furniture. The party chooses to lash together parts and pieces to create a raft. Now the Friend Computer didn’t ask too many questions about how the furniture pieces were lashed together to create the raft, but then the story needed to keep moving on. This isn’t Pathfinder or Call of Cthulhu after all. There are no d20 modifiers in this game for raft lashing. There may need to be, but in this case, raft lashing is not a skill.
The clones move out of the lobby and down the passage in the direction of the glowing arrow. Away from the big spaces, the flooded sector seems largely deserted. Going is slow. The red fluid slops lazily against the corridor walls. Most of the doors are closed; through the ones that aren’t you can see ordinary rooms, their contents bobbing about.
As the clones explore the area, hoping to find equipment, the rooms they venture into include:
Red-level dormitories. Beds, chairs, small lockers with personal
possessions. Nothing of value.
A Troubleshooter break-room. There are two Red-level laser pistols hanging in holsters from a rack on the wall. It is strictly forbidden for Infrared citizens to use Red-level equipment,
In his room, Collin snags the laser pistols. This is where the backbiting really starts in earnest. Shari informs the Friend Computer that Collin has stolen two laser pistols. As this is going on, Eric steals the two pistols off Collin, and plants them on Mike. In the end, Shari looks like a tattle tale, while Mike gets offed for holding the two pistols that Collin swiped and Eric stole off Collin and planted on Mike.
While this was all going on, Collin managed to take out the two holsters and drop them to the ground under the RDT liquid.
After a few hundred meters you come to a crossroads. The guide-arrow says to turn left, but that corridor has a red stripe at eye level, meaning that only Red-level and higher citizens can go that way.
This is where the clones realize that Roz is a nasty piece of work. The clones ask what should be done, after all, Roz is the leader, NOT COLLIN. We established that early in the game, when Collin thought he might want to suggest some ideas. Collin was quickly informed via the assignment of treason stars that he was not a leader. Infrared clones have no status in this world.
William decides to go down the hall, as an infrared clone. Soon as in by the time that William’s clone moved less than 10 meters down the hall, Roz says ‘Computer! an Infrared citizen is in a Red-level area.’ The voice of the Computer booms from nearby speakers: ‘Infrared citizen! Immediately vacate the Red-level corridor. You now has
one Treason Star. Citizen Roz-R-HYT, receive 30 XP points for your vigilant attention.’
Roz is very happy. William is not. Over the next few minutes, different players send clones down, and then report on each other, with Roz getting XP and the clones getting treason stars. Things go badly for a while, then the party figures out that they need to tough it out, and all go down the prohibited hall and take the hit, while Roz is talking about getting vat grown synthesteak tonight. Roz is pretty happy. Initially, she thought that it was going to be a bad thing to have to ferry these snotnose infrared clones around, but it has ended up rather profitable, and entertaining at the same time.
As the clones move on in the hallway, the corridor widens out into a large food-service area. Islands of what looks like congealed Breakfast Mix float serenely between the counter-tops that protrude above the low waves on the liquid. High above, sparks flicker
between shattered lighting-fixtures hanging from the vaulted ceiling. Then there’s a yell of ‘A-HOY sector! Torrents amidship on the scurvy bow port! Overclock the mainsail and prepare to be motherboarded!’ Five people row into view, paddling a long table with sheets tied to its legs. A black flag with a skull dangles limply from one inverted table-leg.
Somewhere around this point, William realizes that this game isn’t fun. It is actually like work. As in his everyday job. He is given menial tasks, and must do horrible work, and is punished for thinking on his own. Also, there are backstabbing assholes who are trying to undermine him at every step of the way. This isn’t fun. This is just like a normal day. He is spending his paid holiday doing what a job would normally entail. What William doesn’t realize is that Mike, as a retired person is the only one not acting out his normal duties. I am a manager, and as a manager, every day, I act as the Friend Computer. My job is to make other people regret coming in to work that day. If I do my job right, they aren’t consciously aware of this. Instead, there is just enough reward given to them as hollow attaboys that makes the workers think that they are truly valued, but in actuality, aren’t. Collin, Shari, Eric and William are all part of the cogs in the machine making it turn on sweat and gristle, to make middle management successful.
The PC’s decide to parlay with the pirates. They could chose to fight, parlay, surrender, wade to safety, or something else. By parlaying, the clones decide, as in Shari decided, that these pirates must be a member of a secret society. Shari reports to the Friend Computer, who drops in several yellow level operatives who essentially nuke the entire area. By this time, each of the clones has been killed at least once. They have lost equipment, and lost parts and pieces of their uniform. By the end, some clones will have lost all of their uniforms.
But that is later on. The action by the yellow level operatives cause all of the clones to have no wounds or treason stars. This is because all of them died, and are respawned.
The guiding arrow points down a darkened corridor. The walls are narrower here, the ceiling is lower and more wiring has been exposed and eroded by the Red Dessert Topping. After another few minutes the passage opens into a circular room with a wide spiral staircase ascending upwards. A thick stream of red dessert topping pours down into the area from above. The clone’s Cerebral Coretech pings gently to letting them know they have arrived. There is no sign of a plug.
Up the stairs, it looks like something bad has happened. The staircase becomes a tangled mess of smashed metal and bits of Alpha Complex, blocking the way. Red Dessert Topping pours through the gaps in the rubble. Collin queries what is es their Cerebral Coretech map, and is informed that the exploded remains of the Red Dessert Topping storage vat, the remnants of which are still pouring down the stairs.
All of this makes sense somehow.
Collin tries swimming down in the RDT goo, and finds out that as a newly minted clone, he is unable to swim, and drowns in the depths of RTD. His clone respawns. Throughout this entire adventure, at any point where someone is killed, there is a mad dash to steal whatever mop and equipment that is left behind by the newly dead clone.
The players seem to get right into the overall game and make sure that they are ready to steal the dead blind. This is good. I am concerned that they should be watched closer during the player’s normal 9 to 5 job.
Something stirs in the gloom of the red sea. Long, sinuous lengths as thick as a clone’s arm uncoil from the bottom of the pit and quest upwards towards the light – and the clones.
Fighting ensues. The bot slams tentacles into the clones. Collin uses an action card and stuns the bot for 6 rounds. They kill off three of the six tentacles. Eric pulls out a bazooka by a special action card, and misses badly, and kills off most of the party. Never fear, new fresh clones appear and continue to fight. Mike approaches the monster and is whipped by a tentacle, and his armor fails miserably. Collin takes his purloined grapple gun and attempts to shoot in the air to be able to rise above the mayhem. I think he wanted to wait it out. Now this is where it gets a little weird.
William plays a card that allows him to take the object from Collin, so we decide that Collin shoots the grapple gun, but the sweet sticky RDT causes Collin to lose a grip on the grapple gun. William grabs it and retracts the grapple wire to shoot up to the ceiling.
Now that wouldn’t be weird, but then, William had to make it weird. You see, William’s clone died, and took the uniform with it to the depths of the RDT pit. With no uniform, William was naked as a jaybird. William decides that as his action, he will pee on everyone but Roz. You know, you don’t want to piss off management if you can simply fuck with the other employees. Well… William flubbed his rolls, and he ended up peeing on Roz, along with everyone else, while the tentacle monster was whipping around and doing nasty damage.
Roz is having nothing to do with being peed on by a naked infrared level nube. Now, if it were an orange level operative, she would have to take it. But this will not do. She shoots William, and kills him. As the body of the clone drops 60-ft to the RDT surface, another William clone drops in on a chute, naked once again.
Normally, Roz is as effective as any other NPC in a game that I am running. No help at all. But in this case, Roz will not accept being peed upon, even in mistake.
Eric notices a black cable. He thinks that he can electrocute the RDT and maybe kill the bot off. He does so. The party members feel a wave of something coursing through them, and I hand out mutation cards. The electrical surge through the RDT caused mutations in the characters. As we all know, any mutant must declare their mutation and automatically get two treason points, or they are treasonous for hiding their mutation. Do you think they registered as mutants? No. They didn’t. This could become fun.
Now that the bot is disabled, the party members decide to try to see if they can unplug the bottom, and get the RDT to drain. Shari takes the helmet from Mike’s power armor and creates a diving bell. Eric decides to hold his breath and sink.
In the end, Shari finds another obstacle. A dead clone is attached to the plug, drowned, though their Cerebral Coretech still identifies her as Daphne-G-***-6, where the three stars are garbled characters instead of a sector name. Around her neck, on a cord, is a key to a storage locker, with details of the location of the locker stamped into the metal. It’s in sector THA.
According to Cerebral Coretech, there is no sector THA.
Shari is pretty stoked. After all, this may be important. Eric opens the plug, and the RDT starts draining, fast. Eric and Shari are sucked down the drain and drown, and return as newly developed clones. Shari is excited… “Do I still have the key?” “No, your dead clone had it when she was sucked down the drain”.
The clones didn’t bother plugging the drain back when it was done draining. There shouldn’t be a problem with that, right. Let’s see. The clones lost all of their mops, all of their signed for equipment, and didn’t complete the mission as required. What could possibly be a negative outcome from that?
During the debrief, it comes to light that the clones lost equipment, didn’t fulfill their mission as required, and lost their mops. In several cases, the clones were also naked, having lost their uniforms.
Things go from bad to worse as Roz takes credit for everything that went “right” or “sort of right”, and piles the errors and problems onto the infrared clones. That is of course what infrared clones are for.
The debrief officer is Vernon-Y-HYT-2, who wants nothing to do with these sorry excuses for clones. Vernon rapid fires questions at the clones like:
- ‘Explain the reasons for your appropriation and misuse of Sector HOY tables/benches/doors/mops/grenades/foodstuffs/Production, Logistics and Commissary paperwork/ et cetera.’
- ‘You are responsible for the destruction of a valuable SKW-1DD0 unit
maintenance bot. Can you explain your actions?’
- ‘Could you identify the source of the red dessert topping?’
- ‘How did you get past the rogue clone known as Infrared Beard?’
- ‘Did you observe any anomalous behaviour in any of the clones around you?’
- ‘Are there any clones you would like to commend for their helpfulness and loyalty to the Computer?’
- ‘Are there any clones you would like to report to the Computer as possible enemies of Alpha Complex?’
- ‘What are your reasons for believing this citizen may be an enemy of Alpha Complex?’
- ‘What are your motives for wanting this citizen to be classified as an enemy of Alpha Complex?’
- ‘At any point did any clone try to recruit you into a Secret Society?’
- ‘We identified a power surge that cost the Computer a great many lost kilowatts. Were you responsible for this?’
- ‘Explain the shocking condition (or loss) of your mops.’
In the end, the clones barely survive. They are caught unawares of the requirements which was written into the contract that they signed for equipment.
The contract states in part:
I agree to return all equipment in better shape than provided to me in the first place, under penalty of termination. In the event that I argue about the quality of the [redacted] or returned equipment, the Computer will terminate the clone to my left, not me. The clone tot he right of me will also get a treason star. I will get 2 extra experience points for helping to rid these horrible incompetents. In the event that I return a piece of equipment that was not issued to me, Both clones to the left of me will be terminated. This termination may occur at the time of return, or at any time later, when the Computer deems the appropriate time. There is no specific tagging of the unique clones which will be terminated for this action.
William was given the first opportunity to take advantage of this contract provision, but apparently didn’t read it, and wasn’t listening when the Friend Computer recited it to him. When the Friend Computer asked him if he wanted to follow this stipulation, which would award 1 treason star to Shari and immediately recycle Collin’s clone, Bill didn’t agree, so he was terminated. Upon reappearing, the Friend Computer turned to Shari, and asked her the same thing. Shari decided to use the clause in the contract, which immediately terminated William, again, and assigned a new treason star to Mike.
Nobody bothered to register as having mutant powers.
This will be good.