My school started an RPG club around January this year, and it has been very fun. We learned Pathfinder, and rules have been learned, adventures have been taken, etc. As me and my friends are all new to tabletop rpgs we have been ignoring the complicated rules. Everyone is having a great time playing together, even though rules and missions can be confusing.

However, the only game that we play is Pathfinder. The instructor is perfectly fine with playing other games. After discovering Paranoia, playing it and loving it, I have decided to attempt to introduce it to the group. (I play with my friends outside and I usually GM)

Some problems include:

  1. I am the one of only 2 in the group able to gm Paranoia, and the other person does not want to.

  2. Everyone else is still getting used to tabletop rpgs, and team ones at that.

  3. I don’t have easily accessible materials for rules and such, and the club has none.

  4. I only really know 3 members of the club.

  5. I really, really would prefer not to talk to the teacher who runs the club because it is awkward.

  6. I am in the middle of a campaign as a player for another gm.

How exactly would I introduce the game in a way that would interest players?

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want to introduce paranoia into a Pathfinder group. Tell the players that one character has had a body part possessed by a demon and that an army of Celestials is going to show up in 3 days and kill every member of the party unless they get rid of the demon. Then you have paranoia with no need to learn new rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadoCat
    Jun 6, 2017 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seriously, you might want to try a different, simpler game. an early version (3e or 4e) of Gamma World would work well. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadoCat
    Jun 6, 2017 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


Don't do this, it's a trap. Each one of your problems suggests that you play a simpler and more pro-social game with free, simple, easily distributed rules.

You might think that because knowing the rules is treason in Paranoia, "As me and my friends are all new to tabletop RPGs we have been ignoring the complicated rules. " is an asset here. Unfortunately, that's rather the opposite. In my experience, Paranoia is best communicated through tone and tradition, inculcating the appropriate levels of treason and back-stabbery. I have also found that the primary skill for enjoying a game of Paranoia is a level of social acumen to know how to twist words and back-stab appropriately.

For a group of new, junior highschool students seeking rules-light games, I'd recommend browsing our questions to see what spark your interest.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ In addition, Paranoia works best with roleplayers who understand the genre conventions that it is savaging / parodying. Without enough time playing other games that emphasize teamwork, cooperation, and mandatory stick-togetherness, those jokes will simply fall flat. Finally, Paranoia is a game that demands maturity- both emotional and gameplay experience. A game of betrayal and backstabbing in the face of a nakedly antagonistic GM will often be tough for new players. \$\endgroup\$
    – J Kimball
    Jan 21, 2016 at 19:53

Everyone's in a room, tell them who they are, tell them how confused they are, tell them that the only thing they remember is they were put there because one of them is a traitor and they won't get out until that traitor is dealt with. Tell them how they all notice, at the same time, a single blaster gun in the middle of the room.

And then turn off the lights.

I'd approach Paranoia RPG as an introduction to narrative RPGs (as opposed to simulation RPGs, like Pathfinder or D&D).

  • Teach them their actions are more important that their rolls. Don't tell them any rule: they dont need them. Show them how little the GM himself and the game care about the rules. Tell them to describe their actions thoroughly. Make them roll and then continue narrating the consequences before the die stops rolling.
  • Once the (real) mission starts, assign the MBD team roles. This will give them a sense of purpose and responsability when they feel lost. It's an anchor that helps to direct the action and creates tension. Fantastic! You have the test and badges here. Don't be afraid to use props and bury them in tests and forms. Also, their badge will be asked back when the mission is over. It better not be damaged/lost. They don't know this.
  • Teach them how to use notes and half-cooperate. Put them in situations where their goals align but not completely. Give each of them a tiny piece of paper with a simple "personal quest".
  • And over all, teach them to have loose fun. Also, have fun yourself. They should be able to laugh at their own misery. Your third character died? No problem, the situation was so fun that you will keep telling the story while having a beer for YEARS.

After a few sessions of Paranoia my gaming group really learned to loosen up, and their attitude really improved in other "more serious" games :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect they may be too young to legal enjoy a beer. \$\endgroup\$
    – aslum
    Jun 6, 2017 at 13:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @aslum but when (and if) they CAN enjoy beer, they will remember those oh so young times and tell the stories of how that explosion ended with 3 of his clones dead and a fourth one seriously injured (his shuttle was damaged by the debris propelled in the opposite direction). \$\endgroup\$
    – xDaizu
    Jun 7, 2017 at 7:52

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