I have GMed a couple of sessions of Paranoia now, but I suddenly realised the other day a strategic error that I have been making with the setting.

I always imagined Alpha Complex as a series of white corridors, but that would mean only High Programmers could walk anywhere. So I changed my mind, imagining the corridors as a lighter-than-battleship grey. Still, if sticking to the whole security clearance issue Alpha Complex should be mostly black… including cutlery, food and drink, and so on.

In the historical documents of Alpha Complex (that is, the game's previous editions), what's the general colour scheme of Alpha Complex? How strictly are the colour coding rules applied?


1 Answer 1


The colors aren't there to trick anybody. They're there for your protection!

Items in Paranoia will have an obvious color or color band on them. Otherwise, they can be any color that's not a clearance color. Get creative with periwinkle, pink, puce, …

Food color usually doesn't come up, but remember all of the Infrared food comes from food vats and algae tanks. When I run Paranoia, food comes in bland, non-clearance colors (grays, browns) or has an obvious clearance, like if someone is rewarded with a real, RED apple.

Paranoia, 1st edition

Each room and corridor in the complex is painted in a color corresponding to one of the security clearances.

Paranoia, 2nd edition

Each room and corridor in the complex is clearly marked with a color corresponding to one of the security clearances. The security marking is generally in the form of a meter-wide color band running at chest height, but, where practical, the entire space is painted in the appropriate color.

Paranoia XP/2004

Rooms and corridors in Alpha Complex are painted in varying hues of their clearance colors.

Paranoia 2016, Guide To Alpha Complex

[E]very part of Alpha Complex is colour-coded to indicate where you can go…

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, but so anyone can eat it is all the food black? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 17:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I once went so far as to have a red path painted down one side of a (green) corridor. And to get to the (red) conference room they had to jump across the green part of the corridor (under the view of (blue) security guards). Two clones activated before the mission briefing. Just to set the tone for players new to the game. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 20:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I ran a game where two troubleshooters ran down a corridor of a higher clearance with their eyes shut, hoping they could claim ignorance later. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 21:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dmckee About half of the Paranoia games I've played could be described as "pre-mission": Whether it's trying to get the mission, get necessary equipment, get to the mission or just fighting bureaucracy, we never actually got to the mission itself. Also, "red alert" is an incredibly useful state for the complex to be in if you're a new troubleshooter ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 23:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @okeefe That's brilliant! I'd have one of them bump into something and get turned around. Do they open their eyes or continue running? \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 19:46

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