"Stay Alert! Trust No One! Keep Your Laser Handy!"


Paranoia is a humorous role-playing game set in a dystopian future similar to 1984, Brazil, Brave New World, the "downunder" civilization of A Boy and His Dog, and especially Logan's Run; however, the tone of the game is rife with black humor, frequently tongue-in-cheek rather than dark and heavy. The game is set in Alpha Complex, an immense and futuristic domed or underground city (GM's decision) controlled by The Computer, a schizophrenic civil service AI. The Computer has made happiness mandatory. Failure to be happy is punishable by summary execution.

The Computer fears a number of threats to its 'perfect' society, such as The Outdoors, mutants, secret societies and of course communists. Ironically, Alpha Complex is inhabited solely by mutant secret society members. To deal with these threats, The Computer employs Troubleshooters, whose job is to find trouble and then shoot it. These are usually the player characters (PCs) (although later game supplements offered other roles for player characters, such as robots or Blue IntSec troopers), and they are invariably traitors of the very sort feared by The Computer. The PCs are given incomprehensible or self-contradicting mission goals, faulty or experimental futuristic gizmos as equipment, and sent off to their (usually humorous) deaths.


The Troubleshooter's credo is, "Stay Alert! Trust No One! Keep Your Laser Handy!"

The Computer's credo is, "Trust The Computer. The Computer is Your Friend."


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