March 14th, 2016

marcus 2013

Another RPG bundle offer - Paranoia 1st / 2nd edition

This one is a real blast from the past - the first PDF re-release of some of early material for possibly the most twisted RPG ever, Paranoia. As with some of these offers, it's stuff that I would be VERY pleased to get if it wasn't for the fact that I already own it in dead tree format.

"By far the most popular comedic RPG in tabletop gaming, PARANOIA inverts many roleplaying tropes: Players compete instead of cooperating; they can't know the rules, and rules lawyers are aggressively curtailed; the Gamemaster really is out to get you, and your character will die repeatedly. PARANOIA is unique in awarding supreme, insuperable, unquestionable authority to the GM, who dances the players like puppets for entertainment. It's less a roleplaying game than a psychological exercise.

Yet it works, hysterically well. In the authoritative Game Index of over 17,600 games, the current Mongoose Publishing edition of PARANOIA ranks #18. In November 2014 Mongoose completed a spectacularly successful PARANOIA Kickstarter campaign that raised £217,517 from 4,380 patrons for a new, streamlined edition to be designed by James (Baron Munchausen) Wallis, Grant Howitt, and Paul Dean.

Designed by Dan Gelber, Greg Costikyan, and Eric Goldberg, and originally published by West End Games in (appropriately) 1984, PARANOIA has had several editions. This offer presents the First (1984) and Second (1987) Editions from the game's original publisher, West End Games. Previously available only in pirated versions of varying quality, these all-new image scans, approved by PARANOIA's original designers, are the first authorized PDFs available anywhere of all the best books that made the game great. This collection includes some of -- actually, most of -- the funniest writing in the history of roleplaying.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Human Rights Watch.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$97. Customers who pay just $17.95 get all five titles in our RED-Clearance Starter Collection (retail value $39) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • PARANOIA First Edition (1984) (retail price $15): The original three-book set from 1985, including the complete Player's, Gamemaster's, and Adventure Handbooks, about Troubleshooters in a future underground city in service to an insane Computer.
  • Gamemaster Screen and Adventures for First Edition (retail $6): The 16-page insert booklet includes the classic introductory adventures "Robot Imana 665-C," "The Trouble with Cockroaches," and "Das Bot."
  • Orcbusters (retail $6): Ken Rolston’s much-loved 1986 sendup of fantasy RPGs.
  • Clones in Space (retail $6): The late Erick Wujcik (Amber Diceless Roleplaying) wrote this space-operatic exercise in explosive decompression.
  • Vapors Don't Shoot Back (retail $6): The first full-length PARANOIA mission (1985), written by Curtis H. Smith (with Geoff Valley), sends the Troubleshooters into a covert contest between rival High Programmers.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $32.95 to start, also get our entire ULTRAVIOLET-Clearance Bonus Collection with seven more titles (retail value $64):
  • PARANOIA Second Edition (1987) (retail $20): The complete 128-page rulebook and the 16-page supplement The Compleat Troubleshooter, the one with the Mandatory Bonus Duties.
  • Acute Paranoia (retail $10): 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 (retail $6): 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 (retail $6): The one with the Funbot.
  • HIL Sector Blues (retail $10): Ken Rolston's sprawling high-clearance Interal Security campaign supplement/mission/thingy.
  • Alpha Complexities (retail $6): Edward Bolme's 1988 extravaganza of invisible Commies, bloodthirsty scrubots, and the return of the Mark IV warbot.
  • Excessory Pack (retail $6): The Second Edition GM Screen plus forms, a character sheet, and Cardstock Commies.
At least one more title will be added after launch. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid higher than average. This is their reward for buying early."

This is a game I love and have run and written for, and if it wasn't for the fact that I already own every item in this offer (including the secret one(s)) I'd be all over it. If you don't already own this RPG, and want to understand all those jokes about Friend Computer and security level (Where did you hear the words security level, Citizen?) it's a must have. Even if you own a later edition there's stuff here that's well worth having; I personally feel that these are some of the best RPG adventures ever written, and revising them for later versions of the rules (Where did you hear the word "Rules," Citizen?) is pretty easy.

As usual I have to declare bias - apart from having written one of the best Paranoia adventures ever published in White Dwarf (swollen head? Moi?) which unfortunately isn't part of this offer, I'm probably inclined to look favourably on stuff I can download free if I want it. I think it's a pretty good deal, but if you have to pay for it YMMV.