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I am planing on running Paranoia (2017 edition) to give my D&D DM a rest for a few weeks. My players love social engineering boardgames such as Resistance and Secret Hitler but also would prefer to have an adventure run over a couple of weeks rather then 1 session.

Reading the rules and online it seems that generally the death rate is very fast and PCs struggle to last a whole session with at least 1 clone left, let alone 3-4 which I hope to run.

How can I keep the crazy Paranoia feel and treachery without having to make my players create new profiles every session? Is there existing guidance on campaign-style Paranoia?

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A slow burning Paranoia is possible. The Paranoia XP/2004 edition included the Classic mode of play and introduced two additional modes:

  • Zap is frenzied violence, cranked up to 11. Alpha Complex is basically a backdrop for shooting the other Troubleshooters and lying to the Computer about treason.
  • Straight, which attempts a slow burn of suspicion, tension, and fear a la 1984. It's the closest thing to campaign play.

However, the 2017 edition returns to only Classic mode and doesn't offer Straight. Straight is also very hard to pull off, and requires complete buy-in from the players in order to work.


Rather than dig up a previous edition, I suggest this instead: Embrace the new edition and make a series of connected missions. Any survivors from the first mission get dumped into the next mission, the conspiracy gets bigger, and these Troubleshooters are there to unravel it. Give them a chance to upgrade their Security Clearance. When someone loses all their clones, maybe give their replacement a bumped clearance, too. Also consider randomizing other elements between sessions, like the mutant powers, as it's unfun when the other players have figured out what your mutant power is.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I didn't mention straight because I could never get it to really work, and it could very well be because my groups after mission reports tended to end in summary executions, and as you mention once you know who has what for mutant powers the game just isn't as much fun. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jim B
    Jan 9 '18 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have just run my first 2 sessions. The players have no issues with the fact they all died and lost all 6 clones in the first game, partly because they wanted to stich each other up in charachter generation the next game. There was real politicking about who was sitting where session 2 prior to generating charachters. Of course knowledge of the rules governing charachter creation is treasonous and anyway instead of going clockwise I went anti clockwise this time :). \$\endgroup\$
    – Richard C
    Jan 14 '18 at 1:58
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If everyone but 1 doesn't die you've likely gone off the rails. This isn't a "keep my favorite character" style game. You CAN keep the world. You CAN keep events that affect the world and each new session your players can interact with the world again, (of course acting on the knowledge they have from prior sessions may raise suspicion, they may be mutant commies). You CAN allow the players more than a Sixpack, but hotly I don't think the game really requires it. You can give them faster upgrades to clearance (which will either hasten their demise or help forestall it, depending on the group).

After reading this please place your tongue in the experimental intsec mutant identification device, then happy troubleshooting!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Surely you should ask the computer? It is wise and knows all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Jan 9 '18 at 14:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @protonflux far be it from me to ever question the Computer \$\endgroup\$
    – Jim B
    Jan 9 '18 at 16:17

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