So far, I’ve done Top 50 rankings for two years. Paranoia appeared in both sets, at number 21 in 2016 and then an even more respectable number 2 in 2017. So, yeah, needless to say, I really like this game.
Paranoia feels unique. It is often described as a cross between 1984 and Monty Python and though I might use that description myself at times, it doesn’t really do the game justice. There’s so much more scope to it and this bundle really showcases that range.
Let’s get down to it, shall we? Bundle of Holding has a cool Paranoia bundle up at the moment and it is, as usual, split into two tiers for two different levels of purchase. The first tier will set you back $17.95 and net you the following titles:
Here are the details for these titles:
- PARANOIA First Edition (1984): The original three-book set, including the complete Player, Gamemaster, and Adventure Handbooks, about Troubleshooters in a future underground city in service to an insane Computer.
- Gamemaster Screen and Adventures for First Edition: The 16-page insert booklet includes the classic introductory adventures “Robot Imana 665-C,” “The Trouble with Cockroaches,” and “Das Bot.”
- Orcbusters: Ken Rolston’s much-loved 1986 sendup of fantasy RPGs.
- Clones in Space: The late Erick Wujcik (Amber Diceless Roleplaying) wrote this space-operatic exercise in explosive decompression.
- Vapors Don’t Shoot Back: The first full-length PARANOIA mission (1985), written by Curtis Smith (with Geoff Valley), sends the Troubleshooters into a covert contest between rival High Programmers.
- Form Pack: Three forms (the Equipment Request Form, Equipment Complaint Form, and Form Request Form) and a three-page “Code 7” bureaucratic-runaround mini-adventure guaranteed to make new RED-Clearance Troubleshoooters use all the forms.
If you’re looking to explore the first edition of Paranoia, this tier will give you everything you need. You have the rulebook, some GM accessories, some forms (but see a previous post on this blog for more forms) and some adventures. The core book is full of dark humour, but fosters a setting with a serious and sinister tone. The supplements play up the humour, with Orcbusters being a particularly interesting adventure, which features an inter-dimensional portal giving access to a parody of a stereotypical Dungeons & Dragons setting.
The second tier will, appropriately enough, give you the second edition of Paranoia. It’ll also give you loads of goodies to go with it. It’s priced on a threshold, which at the time of writing was sitting at $26.32. I reckon that, for the difference between the two prices, you should really get both tiers. Here’s what you get in tier 2:
The details for these titles are:
- PARANOIA Second Edition (1987): The complete 128-page rulebook and the 16-page supplement The Compleat Troubleshooter (the one with the Mandatory Bonus Duties).
- Acute Paranoia: The First-Edition rules supplement with longtime fans’ best-loved adventure, “Me and My Shadow Mark IV.” (“Something falls off.”)
- The YELLOW Clearance Black Box Blues: A virtuoso 1985 work by the late World Fantasy Award- winning author John M. “Mike” Ford. One of the most highly regarded scenarios in roleplaying history.
- Send in the Clones: The one with the Funbot.
- HIL Sector Blues: Ken Rolston’s sprawling high-clearance Internal Security campaign supplement/mission/thingy.
- The People’s Glorious Revolutionary Adventure: Comrades! Now to be visiting Comrade Edward Bolme’s Alpha State, glorious Communist Controlled Complex Population (CCCP) ruled by Tovarich Computer where every comrade is being RED Clearance. Is nyet true some comrades are more RED than others.
- Alpha Complexities: Edward Bolme’s 1988 extravaganza of invisible Commies, bloodthirsty scrubots, and the return of the Mark IV warbot.
- Excessory Pack: The Second Edition GM Screen plus forms, a character sheet, and Cardstock Commies.
The second tier will, as mentioned above, give you the second edition of Paranoia. Second edition is my preferred version of Paranoia (though I’m giving the new version a chance) and that alone makes the jump in price worth it. It’s just a better, more fully realised game than the first edition. They’d also found their voice more, particularly in balancing the humour with the menace of the setting. In addition to the updated set of rules, there are a number of supplements. The adventure that I really like from this set is the highly acclaimed The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues. This adventure features every secret society competing to obtain a black box of unknown content. This scenario won the H.G. Wells award for Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1985.
As usual, you can click here to visit Bundle of Holding and pick up the offer. As an aside, do you reckon that the labelling of this bundle as “Paranoia Classic” means that we will soon be getting a bundle that features newer editions of the game? 5th (3rd) Edition or XP, perhaps? We’ll have to wait and see on that one, I suppose.
The charity to benefit from this RPG bundle of dystopian, Orwellian sci-fi is, in a wonderful example of synergy, Human Rights Watch.
Farewell, and remember: The Computer is your friend!