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I've been getting my friends into Paranoia, and so far they seem to love playing as Troubleshooters.

I've been looking through the IntSec and High Programmer books too. While Intsec fundamentally seems a lot like Troubleshooter, High Programmer is totally different. High Programmer focuses on politics over zany slapstick and has a totally different method of play.

I'm wondering from those of you who have played, what are the good parts and the bad parts of it? How does it play differently than Troubleshooter? And how RP heavy is it? It seems more so than Troubleshooter or Intsec, but I'm not completely sure.

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@Gorelab: I've tried to edit your question so that it's more clear what you are asking. If I've mucked it up and it's not asking what you want, please revert my edit. – Simon Withers Sep 4 '11 at 20:36

2 Answers 2

I have not played either, however there is a thread on that discusses many of the same things: The RPG.NET thread on the topic

However, on reading it only the first comment is useful to you, so I am going to quote the relevant parts here:

Troubleshooters is the 25th Anniversary edition of the Mongoose 2004 PARANOIA rulebook (formerly known as XP). There are minor tweaks to the rules, but it is basically the same game. Likewise, the companion Internal Security rulebook uses the same system, though there is extensive new material there for BLUE-Clearance IntSec missions. Neither is mechanically complex, and both place unique emphasis on the Gamemaster's supremacy. Every rule in both books exists as a non-mandatory advisory to the GM's incontrovertible authority.

In contrast, High Programmers is a completely different game with an unusual and innovative rules system. It isn't necessarily complex, but the players have more options and hence a greater cognitive load than in Troubleshooters or IntSec.

Each book offers copious advice on designing missions, plus pregenerated player characters. Troubleshooters, in particular, adapts the XP GM Screen's "mission blender," a collection of tables that lets you generate an entire mission randomly with the roll of a mere five dozen or so d20s. Troubleshooters also includes Ken Rolston's classic introductory PARANOIA mission "Robot Imana-665-C" as well as a fine new mission by Gareth Hanrahan, "The Quantum Traitor." High Programmers includes one mission, "Disaster Management."

Allen Varney, 04-16-2010

Other comments in that thread indicate that the Official Paranoia Development Blog has information on the designers goals with each system.

I hope this helps, it seemed a shame to have this thread with no answers for so long.

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This doesn't really answer the question. It does say that there are differences between High Programmer and Troubleshooter, but it doesn't actually describe what those differences are. – GMJoe Jul 7 '14 at 6:47
@GMJoe Yeah, looking over it again it isn't a great answer. It establishes they are different product lines, but nothing else. The development blog might have more. Also: My answer hasn't been accepted, so hopefully a better one will come along. – Canageek Jul 7 '14 at 19:02

I have only played what was formerly known as XP, but I found a thread on Paranoia-Live which goes into more detail. Once again, only the original post, by The Bad Kind of Puppy, is useful, so I will quote the most relevant parts here:

The upshot of everybody being clearance ultraviolet is that the game can be run without a GM. Optional rules in the back provide a variant of the game in which each player devises crises for their opponents to deal with, and then must confound the efforts of their fellow players while simultaneously dealing with the crises provided by their peers. I suspect that the GM-less rules variant plays rather differently in terms of atmosphere, as the game becomes much more of a resource management game without a GM to make the lives of the players a living hell. Still, it's a welcome and logical inclusion.

On the subject of resource management, the authors want to make it absolutely clear that the game shouldn't FEEL like a resource management game, and that it is largely up to the GM to prevent the players from feeling too comfortable with the Access system.


-You don't go on missions with your team of Reds, you SEND teams of Reds on missions.
-You don't belong to a secret society; you play the secret societies against each other, and to a certain extent, aim the secret societies at problems you'd like to solve like well placed, highly unreliable carpet bombs.
-You have as many clones as you want, and death becomes a drain on resources and stats rather than a permanent imposition.
-Your mutant powers are EPIC. As long as you have power, you can solve any tactical problem like Batman, create duplicate bodies like Multiple Man, regenerate from injuries like Wolverine, or turn into a giant monster like the Hulk. Of course, since most of the game takes place in a locked subterranean control room in clear sight of the other players, the way you exercise your power becomes more nuanced.
-You can PROGRAM the Computer. To do ANYTHING. (This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that every player can program the Computer to do anything, and turnabout is fair play.)


Upon first glance, I thought, "okay, if the players are the rulers of society, what can I throw against them that is even remotely challenging?"

Enter the "What UVs Worry About" section. [...] There is so much you can do to utterly terrify your players with High Programmers that you just can't pull off in XP. In simple terms, if your players are constantly in fear of getting terminated for failing to file a report to change a lightbulb in triplicate, they are less inclined to worry about the possibility of the Caucasus Complex. If your players have to answer to their own secret society, they will be less inclined to worry about the existence of the Illuminati, which operates independently of High Programmer influence, if they even exist.

In summary, the whole game of High Programmers can be summarized by the phrase "the more power you have, the more worried you have to be about losing your power."

I hope that this is a satisfactory answer. Perhaps when Gorelab comes back, he could provide an answer based upon experience?

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