[19:01] <+GrantHowitt> My name is Grant Howitt, and I’m working on the relaunch of Paranoia with James Wallis and Paul Dean
[19:02] <+GrantHowitt> Here is the Kickstarter: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1990654819/paranoia-rpg)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1990654819/paranoia-rpg
[19:03] <+GrantHowitt> Together we are forming a sort of Voltron Super-team
[19:03] <+JamesWallis> I am James Wallis, I’m lead designer on the Paranoia reboot, working with my friends Grant and Paul.
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[19:03] <+senojmas> hello everyone, I have no idea what I’m doing here
[19:03] <+GrantHowitt> I turn up and vomit rules everywhere and the others tend to boil those rules down into a legible state
[19:03] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest! Please set your name with the /nick command.)
[19:03] <+warcabbit> It’s great to see you all. For those who don’t know, James Wallis is the one person you can blame/credit for pretty much the entire wave of indie RPGs.
[19:04] <+senojmas> I am but a humble backer, but am very excited to see the play-through video
[19:04] <+JamesWallis> Paranoia, we hope, needs no introduction: it’s one of the great classic RPGs, an Origins Award hall-of-famer originally published in 1984 by West End, developed by Greg Costikyan and Eric Goldberg.
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[19:04] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Vordus!)
[19:04] <+JamesWallis> Yeah, the video turned out to be more audio, but should go live soon.
[19:04] <+senojmas> getting paul dean in on this was a stroke of genius
[19:04] <+senojmas> video/audio/PbP i don;t care I just need it
[19:05] <~Dan> (Please hold comments/questions until we get a (done) from our guests, folks!)
[19:05] <+JamesWallis> Paul is awesome. Grant is also awesome, and I urge you to check out his indie stuff like One Last Job… though Goblin Quest is probably closer to Paranoia in terms of humour and anarchy
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[19:05] <+GrantHowitt> my other games – (Link: http://lookrobot.co.uk/games/)http://lookrobot.co.uk/games/
[19:05] <+JamesWallis> fuggit, I can rabbit all night
[19:05] <+GrantHowitt> (done)
[19:05] <+Abstruse> Is this just a reprint of the previous version of the game or a new edition? If the latter, what changes are you making?
[19:05] <+senojmas> I’ve only very recently begun to investigate indie RPGs so thank you for the recommendation
[19:06] <+JamesWallis> I’m best known for (a) Once Upon a Time, (b) Hogshead Publishing, (c) inventing story-games by mistake
[19:06] <+GrantHowitt> It’s an all-new edition, a reboot! We’re changing a buttload of stuff. We’re trying to lend a little more transparency to the game and give some of the agency to the players
[19:06] <+JamesWallis> This is a reboot. We are not building on previous editions, we’re taking Paranoia back to its core values and at the same time bringing it into the 2010s.
[19:06] <+JamesWallis> What he said
[19:07] <+Kyubey-O-ERT-17> Also apparently a change of dice rules
[19:07] <+GrantHowitt> So we have quite a heavy focus on improv, now, with our storygame heritage
[19:07] <+GrantHowitt> Yeah
[19:07] <+senojmas> Apocalpyse engine?
[19:07] <+JamesWallis> So more player-centric in terms of focus and mechanics, less GM-vs-players
[19:07] <+Kyubey-O-ERT-17> Took a look at the cards, the format seems to be xKy
[19:07] <+Kyubey-O-ERT-17> (the two featured on the Kickstarter page at least)
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[19:07] <+Abstruse> Paranoia has always been built around the tone more than game mechanics. How are you keeping that PvP chaotic atmosphere in your version?
[19:07] <+GrantHowitt> We’re using D6 pools now; at present it’s a standard “hit a TN” system, but we’re experimenting with a few things
[19:07] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Willmckie!)
[19:07] <+warcabbit> I wandered out of RPGs for like four years, came back to a con, and was introduced by some very pretentious people to indie RPGs as the cutting edge thing. I was very confused. “I’ve been doing this for years.”
[19:08] <+JamesWallis> The cards are–I’ve been saying Warhammer FRP 3e, which was definitely an influence, but does anyone remember an AWESOME RPG called Lace and Steel, that used cards for its sword-fightinbg combat system?
[19:08] <+Kyubey-O-ERT-17> Never thought of it
[19:08] <+GrantHowitt> senojmas Not Apocalypse Engine, no. The core mechanic is pretty standard stuff.
[19:08] <+warcabbit> Have you considered doing two or more theoretically compatible systems for extra confusion levels?
[19:08] <+senojmas> I like the idea of using cards as well as the dice, i’ve yet to play an rpg that does that
[19:08] <+warcabbit> Oh, Lace and Steel! Early 90s?
[19:08] <+JamesWallis> Yeah we’re in the middle of some A/B testing on the core mechanic right now. One of our major aims for the game is to make it as accessible as possible–we want people to be able to start playing 15 minutes after opening the box
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[19:09] <+warcabbit> There’s Deadlands, for card and dice mechanics.
[19:09] <+JamesWallis> So there’s a lot of… not necessarily simplification, but streamlining. Making a single roll or a single card-draw do multiple jobs.
[19:09] <+senojmas> From a design philosophy perspective do you consider the GM as a brand of player or as a wholly separate entitiy?
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[19:09] <+GrantHowitt> The cards are great. Everyone likes the cards. We have action cards which replace special attacks and, well, the map (so you might play a “Chest-High Wall card” and, as part of the metanarrative, summon cover into the scenario which you then hide behind – and we have Reaction cards, which let you screw over other players
[19:10] <+JamesWallis> Lace & Steel was actually late 80s–I remember it at Gen Con 1989.
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[19:10] <+Kyubey-O-ERT-17> Ah, so Alpha Complex can truely be yours with Action shenangians
[19:10] <+Kyubey-O-ERT-17> (At least, shape parts of the city to your advantage
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[19:11] <+warcabbit> With the cards, and I apologize for focusing on them, but my question is, how do you suggest handling them in a IRC based game? Someone gets a dicebot up…
[19:11] <+GrantHowitt> We’re still figuring that out, to be honest, but we will design an online solution
[19:11] <+Abstruse> Paranoia has always been built around the tone more than game mechanics. How are you keeping that PvP chaotic atmosphere in your version?
[19:11] <+JamesWallis> We are working on IRC and other online play systems right now, we have a focus-group, it’s… an interesting challenge. We are probably not going to go down a software route because that’s a whole nest of weasels.
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[19:12] <+senojmas> roll20 offers fully customisable token and card play I believe
[19:12] <+JamesWallis> But there will be rules for online play in the core boxed set.
[19:12] <+senojmas> could always release a paranoia card pack on the store for free or more
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[19:12] <+JamesWallis> Frankly you’ve got to be nuts to release a full RPG without that stuff these days. The new edition of Baron Munchausen will have rules for online play.
[19:13] <+GrantHowitt> The mechanics aren’t especially PvP-ish, really, any more than they are PvE. Our conflict comes from the interplay of objectives and desires, the mad rush to get Achievements, and James’ killer character gen system
[19:13] <+GrantHowitt> in which you end up hating every other player before you even start
[19:13] <+JamesWallis> aw shucks
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[19:14] <+warcabbit> … you need rules for online play of Baron Munchausen?
[19:14] <+warcabbit> I’ve been doing it wrong ALL THIS TIME!
[19:14] <+JamesWallis> Mostly it’s about giving PCs better in-game reasons to be working against each other.
[19:14] <+Abstruse> So no more accusing other PCs of being commie mutant traitors before they accuse you?
[19:14] <+warcabbit> I thought you just needed beer!
[19:14] <+senojmas> Would you say the game is equally suited to one-shots of a few hours as well as long campaigns? Or does it have a particular leaning?
[19:14] <+JamesWallis> Just formalising the online rules, is all.
[19:14] <+GrantHowitt> Oh heavens no, everyone’s accusing everyone all the time!
[19:14] <+JamesWallis> We are focusing the game on single-sesson adventures, 3-4 hours in length.
[19:14] <+Abstruse> Sorry, I got nervous at the “It’s more PvE than PvP”…
[19:14] <+GrantHowitt> I for one, though, push for Evidence, because just zapping some guy is a waste of valuable resources
[19:15] <+JamesWallis> Because that’s how the vast majority of people play it.
[19:15] <+Janus> If I can get all the card stats, I could probably add the stats stuff and calculations into our dice server, RPGServ
[19:15] <+senojmas> And i’m sure it’d be easy to string together a bunch of one-shots anyway
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[19:15] <~Dan> Can you describe the core mechanic? (I know that’s a Paranoia no-no, but it’s part of the gig. 🙂 )
[19:15] <+JamesWallis> At the same time, we’re building story-arcs into the adventures so that you can play every collection of adventures as a campaign with a beginning, middle, end, recurring characters, running jokes and a properclimax
[19:15] <+Abstruse> (Dan is Ultraviolet cleared, he can know…)
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[19:16] <+senojmas> I think that’s a wise choice, even if it wasn’t how most people play as it makes the game more accessible and when bringing something to kickstarter you want to err on the side of accessible to secure funding reckon
[19:16] <+GrantHowitt> So for me I’m more interested in a game where players all have awful sub-objectives and they have to commit treason to achieve them, and everyone’s watching out for them to mess up, and you’re trying to pin the blame and manuver away and convince the Computer that you’re on the level… that’s some In The Thick of it stuff right there, that’s gold
[19:16] <+GrantHowitt> That’s more exciting to me than a flat-out laser war, a dice-off
[19:16] <+GrantHowitt> The system is, at present:
[19:17] <+JamesWallis> We don’t want to rule anything out, to say “No, you can’t play it this way.” But Paranoia has always had this weird dichotomoy: it’s not a standard RPG and yet a lot of its mechanics and supplements present as if it is.
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[19:17] <+JamesWallis> We’re going back to first principles, looking at how people play it and designing mechanics to support the narrative structures that make that work best.
[19:17] <+BlasterKyubey210> A bit of mental structuring yes
[19:17] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian! Welcome to #rpgnet, tresi!)
[19:18] <+GrantHowitt> When you do a thing, roll the Computer Dice. (It has an eye instead of a 6.) You add dice to your roll from stats, and sometimes from Action cards. You then add the D6’s together and look to hit a TN that ramps up in increments of 5. And it works – it really works – but we’re quietly convinced we can do better
[19:18] <+senojmas> thanks for answering all my queries! 1am here so gotta scoot
[19:18] <+senojmas> can’t wait for release guys, keep up the good work
[19:18] <~Dan> Bye, senojmas! Come by any time!
[19:18] <+JamesWallis> Thanks!
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[19:18] <+warcabbit> You know what I found the single most useful book for playing Paranoia was, speaking of In The Thicke Of It? Yes, Minister / Yes, Prime Minister. (They aged better than the shows)
[19:18] <+JamesWallis> 1am here too, you know.
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[19:19] <~Dan> (Howdy, rayston!)
[19:19] <+warcabbit> Have you considered stealing from Feng Shui and using opposed dice? If there was ever a game that called out for a negative die…
[19:19] <+GrantHowitt> Yes, Minister is GOLD. I love that stuff. The way they tell jokes about bureaucracy is impossibly clever – I watch it and I’m in awe
[19:19] <+JamesWallis> We don’t have a core mechanic locked at the moment. We’re testing two variants, trying to answer questions about the best level of granularity, accessibility and speed of resolution.
[19:20] <+JamesWallis> I have all the Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister diaries.
[19:20] <+warcabbit> Red Boxes are a detail I have used _many_ times to good effect.
[19:20] <+Alaren> You’ve said that you want the game to be playable within 15 minutes of opening the box. Would you say that the rules are fairly accessible to people with little to no RPG experience or is that 15 minute timetable for ‘experienced gamers?’
[19:20] <+warcabbit> Even the bit from House of Cards where they put a bug in one once the players grew to expect them
[19:20] <~Dan> What are the stats?
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[19:21] <+JamesWallis> One of my holy-grails of RPG design has been to create a game that’s as accessible and as quick to grasp as a good board-game. That’s what we’re after. So rather than reading the rulebook first, you plunge straight into
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[19:22] <+JamesWallis> the first adventure, which is tightly structured and explains the rules and the game-world as it goes along–but only the bits you need to know at any given time.
[19:22] <+GrantHowitt> Kind of a tutorial really
[19:22] <~Dan> That’s a good idea.
[19:22] <+GrantHowitt> And seeing as we have clones, we can really easily play out worldbuilding and background setting as indoctrination
[19:22] <+JamesWallis> I’m taking cues from Ghostbusters RPG here, and also from Sandman: Map of Halal which is a curio from the 80s and tried the same thing in a really interesting way. And adding my own twists and ideas to it, of course.
[19:23] <+GrantHowitt> “Here is the Computer, citizen! You love the Computer. Do you love the Computer?”
[19:23] <+GrantHowitt> “I love the Computer!”
[19:23] <+warcabbit> Have a skittle.
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[19:23] <+JamesWallis> Think of the best kind of tutorial levels in video-games, like the first level of Halo. That’s what we’re after.
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[19:23] * ~Dan nods
[19:23] <~Dan> How are characters created?
[19:23] <+GrantHowitt> It’s a big challenge, but I reckon we can make it work.
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[19:24] <+JamesWallis> There’s several chagen systems, but the one we favour involves creating a party rather than a group of characters. When you choose a skill at a particular level, you have to give the same skill to another PC, but at a negative level.
[19:25] <+JamesWallis> So you get Melee at +3, you have to give melee -3 to someone else. And now they hate you.
[19:25] <+GrantHowitt> It means you build a party of Specialists and Rivals
[19:25] <~Dan> How do you determine who gets to pick?
[19:25] <+GrantHowitt> which is marvellous, because we’re pushing to have every skill represented in every adventure, so you’re relying on each other to not die, and you loathe each other
[19:26] <+GrantHowitt> I dunno. Tallest player goes first?
[19:26] <+Alaren> 9 rounds of bare-knuckle boxing
[19:26] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:26] <+GrantHowitt> Live bat-eating
[19:26] <+GrantHowitt> All of the above and more
[19:26] <+JamesWallis> In theory you can minmax brilliantly and get an amazing team of people with their areas of expertise. In practice it gets completely recriminatory, with people going “You know your lovely +4 in Programming? IT’S A -1 NOW HA HA HA”
[19:26] <~Dan> Wow. Metagame hatred.
[19:27] <+JamesWallis> So you end up with a party who are a bit useless and who have reasons for wanting to get back at each other.
[19:27] <+Alaren> I like it.
[19:27] <+JamesWallis> It works really well. It’s based on a system from a thing I developed fifteen years ago called Cop Show and never published.
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[19:27] <+Willmckie> for who goes first it should be who last watched 2001 a space odyssey
[19:27] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, OttawaTom!)
[19:28] <+GrantHowitt> I think we can have an excellent boxout entitled “Who’s on first” and make it as confusing as possible
[19:28] <+OttawaTom> Heya!
[19:28] <+JamesWallis> Who goes first in my group is whoever brought the nicest bottle of wine.
[19:28] <+GrantHowitt> James has a nice group
[19:28] <+GrantHowitt> Full of grown-ups
[19:28] <~Dan> Are you using the same attribute/skill breakdown from the last edition? What do characters look like?
[19:28] <~Dan> (OttawaTom: Here for the Q&A? 🙂 )
[19:28] <+tresi> Whoever had the best Paranoia death last game, perhaps?
[19:29] <+JamesWallis> You should have been at the last playtest, man, Manar’s flat in Covent Garden, Kieron Gillen and Dan Nye Griffiths playing… it was sweet
[19:29] <+BlasterKyubey210> Basically, work out systematically somehow
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[19:29] <+JamesWallis> Characters are a lot simpler than in XP. Four stats, each with four skills hanging off them.
[19:29] <+warcabbit> Frankly, I like whoever answers The Computer most convincingly.
[19:30] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Jake-R-EID-3! I’d normally ask if you’re here for the Q&A, but somehow I think I know.)
[19:30] <+JamesWallis> “Friend citizens, agree among yourselves who should go first.”
[19:30] <+GrantHowitt> hah
[19:30] <+OttawaTom> Yup, lurking mostly but enough of a CMT to keep tabs on people. Citizens won’t report themselves…
[19:30] <+JamesWallis> There’s more character definition stuff than that, but that’s how you determine if you can do stuff or not.
[19:31] <+GrantHowitt> And we’ve got secret socs and mutant powers, still, which are a bit more free-form in the current build
[19:31] <~Dan> What are the four stats?
[19:31] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Are mutant powers more defined and explicit, or is it still the Succeed/Die in a Backfire dichotomy?
[19:31] <+JamesWallis> We’re fine-tuning a lovely health/wounds system that Grant devised, the cards have given mutant powers a completely new lease of life, and there’s a new stat we’re calling Reserve (though that may change) which is
[19:31] <+BlasterKyubey210> So Machine Empathy is still a big No-No for registering your power?
[19:32] <+JamesWallis> somewhere between your San level and your Hero Points.
[19:32] <+JamesWallis> Do not tell the Computer you can read its mind.
[19:32] <+GrantHowitt> one thing I’ve pushed for is mechanical feedback, so the societies power… well, I’ve been calling ’em spotlight moments. You get +X when you act in a certain way once per game, and for Death Leopards it’s “when you ROCK OUT!”, for FCCCP it’s “when you show your love for the Computer,” and so on
[19:32] <+JamesWallis> Mutant powers now cost a point of Reseve to activate.
[19:33] <+GrantHowitt> I like Reserve. It’s like Willpower, but looked at from the other side
[19:33] <+JamesWallis> We’re about to test a thing where they come in major and minor flavours: 1 point for minor effects, 3 for major.
[19:33] <+GrantHowitt> “How messed up are you willing to become to do what you want to do?”
[19:33] <+JamesWallis> Reserve is your mental state. Use it all up, you fall off the mental edge.
[19:34] <+Alaren> And what are the other attributes?
[19:34] <+JamesWallis> We have cards dictating what happens next. I think the ‘Screaming’ one is on the Kickstarter page. Oh, we’re having fun with them
[19:34] <~Dan> What Alaren said. 🙂
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[19:34] <+GrantHowitt> At present they’re not quite succeed die, but they’re very fluid. I don’t want to slow the game down with loads of rules for mutant powers that you need to reference; in the current build they make your roll much more likely to succeed but also much more likely to go Interestingly Wrong.
[19:34] <+OttawaTom> Can Reserve go back up during play?
[19:35] <+GrantHowitt> Current stats are: Violence, Chutzpah, Mechanics, Science
[19:35] <+JamesWallis> I couldn’t remember Science. Thank you.
[19:35] <+JamesWallis> Reserve goes back up when you get a new clone.
[19:35] <+GrantHowitt> It can! You can play cards which boost it, or you can spend XP to regain it through the use of handily applied drugs
[19:35] <+GrantHowitt> I mean
[19:35] <+GrantHowitt> we’re testing that
[19:35] <+JamesWallis> You can also burn a point of reserve to get an extra dice in any roll.
[19:35] <+GrantHowitt> I wrote that yesterday
[19:36] <+BlasterKyubey210> Violence explains for itself, but Chutzpah is… old Hebrew comedy?
[19:36] <+JamesWallis> Everything is still in playtest. Nothing is locked.
[19:36] <~Dan> So if a player asks for an extra die, you can tell them, “Sure! Go nuts.”
[19:36] <+JamesWallis> ‘Knock yourself out’
[19:36] <+GrantHowitt> We’re toying with having it as re-roll fuel, too, so you have the capacity to mess up and do worse than you initially performed, which is comedy gold
[19:37] <+Alaren> and when you are creating a character you get to assign a number to one of these stats arbitrarily and someone else gets a corresponding negative in that stat, or… howzat work?
[19:37] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Can players spend Reserve to affect other people’s rolls as well?
[19:37] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:37] <+JamesWallis> Yes. Working towards a set of mechanics that reinforce the game’s humour. Humour in games is _hard_, Paranoia was pretty much the first one to make it work, and trying to maintain that and keep it fresh is a big ask.
[19:37] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Theoretically to “help” them with a roll, more likely to cause an embarassing failure?
[19:38] <+JamesWallis> Hadn’t thought about using Reserve on other PCs. My gut is to say not, because you’ve already got cards that can affect them.
[19:38] <+OttawaTom> The classic definition for Chutzpah, after murdering your parents you ask for mercy from the court because you’re an orphan.
[19:38] <+JamesWallis> We’d call it “Balls” but that might be misinterpreted
[19:38] <+GrantHowitt> Yeah, we have more than enough ways to mess up other players. (One card forces them to spend reserve to re-roll a check)
[19:38] <~Dan> Yeah, people would go nuts.
[19:39] <~Dan> You might get sacked.
[19:39] <+GrantHowitt> Chutzpah is social, really. And stealth, too, because it takes a lot of chutzpah to try to sneak into somewhere you shouldn’t be
[19:40] <~Dan> How have you reworked combat?
[19:40] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Glad you said nads to that then
[19:40] <+JamesWallis> Combat is completely different.
[19:40] <+JamesWallis> and it’s all my fault.
[19:40] <+warcabbit> Hurrah!
[19:41] <+JamesWallis> We have five-second combat rounds, but that’s five seconds of real-time, not game-time. Players choose a card from their hands–they get as many cards as they have remaining Reserve points, you see how all this is fitting together
[19:41] <+GrantHowitt> And the cards are ways to a) power yourself up or b) affect other players
[19:42] <+GrantHowitt> (They’re also a nice initiative system, as each action has its own init value)
[19:42] <+JamesWallis> You can play an Action card, which is an extra-special thing. You can also play Equipment as an action, or your mutant power, or a ‘Basic action’ which is just a regular skill
[19:42] <+JamesWallis> All cards reveal simultaneously, and resolve based on initiative value
[19:42] <+JamesWallis> But there are also Reaction cards, which can be played on any card at any time by anyone.
[19:43] <+JamesWallis> And this is where it all goes a bit Munchkin
[19:43] <+GrantHowitt> Reaction cards are played out of your turn on other people’s cards. (You can play ’em after you’re dead, which is tremendously important.) And not all the Reaction cards are negative, some of them boost damage, say, so if your goals align with a particular troubleshooter you can help ’em out
[19:43] <+GrantHowitt> You can’t play ’em on your OWN cards, though, I don’t think.
[19:43] <+JamesWallis> People nobble each other’s effects, steal the glory, divert things… even steal each other’s good reaction cards. As with chagen, in theory you can use them tactically to be an elite fighting force. In practice, though…
[19:43] <+Jake-R-EID-3> The positive cards can’t be played on yourself? They force teamwork?
[19:43] <+GrantHowitt> So you need to make very short-term alliances to get the most out of them… which is lots of fun in a firefight
[19:44] <+Willmckie> Thats not usually a good way to sell the game james by mentioning munchkin
[19:44] <+JamesWallis> it’s bloody chaos
[19:44] <+GrantHowitt> Yes sir. You can only boost other players’ actions with positive reactions, so you have to play nice
[19:44] <+GrantHowitt> Except you don’t, because you hate each other!
[19:44] <+GrantHowitt> And you end up with enemy-of-my-enemy stuff on the daily
[19:45] <~Dan> Hmm… If I could rewind just a bit, I have a follow-up question about Reserve.
[19:45] <+GrantHowitt> But the core mechanic of combat is still dice-based
[19:45] <+JamesWallis> Of course
[19:45] <+GrantHowitt> Sure, go for it
[19:45] <+JamesWallis> Yes, once you’ve resolved the cards, you roll to work out who shot what.
[19:45] <~Dan> Namely, if it’s used to power mutations, and is also sanity… does that mean that there are no insane mutants running around using their powers?
[19:46] <+JamesWallis> (wavy hands) It’s a PC mechanic. NPCs follow the beat of a different drummer.
[19:46] <+JamesWallis> Probably Phil Collins
[19:46] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:46] <~Dan> Fair enough.
[19:46] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Would this be an example of an NPC being forced to spend a point of Reserve they don’t have, thus triggering mental instability?
[19:47] <+Jake-R-EID-3> And as part of mental instability they start using mutant powers, which triggers another Reserve spend, which they don’t have, which triggers more insanity?
[19:47] <+JamesWallis> It’s a kludge at the moment. if we can think of a good way to fix it, we’ll include it.
[19:47] <+JamesWallis> (makes notes frantically)
[19:47] <~Dan> 😀
[19:48] <~Dan> Sorry. I’m a game reviewer. I pick apart game systems. It’s what I do.
[19:48] <+GrantHowitt> NPCs are… different. PCs get a lot of rules. NPCs don’t
[19:48] <+GrantHowitt> because it’s Paranoia, you know, no-one cares whether this NPC has a 4 or a 5 in energy weapons
[19:48] <+JamesWallis> I normally do as well, but it’s different being inside one like this. You can’t see the wood, because there is no wood because it’s Alpha Complex.
[19:48] <~Dan> Speaking of NPCs, how much of a bestiary of robots, loonies, and critters do you provide?
[19:48] <+Abstruse> So if I want to back the Kickstarter, what level do I want to do to get the base game and everything I need to play?
[19:49] <+GrantHowitt> Oh maybe mutant powers suck D3 reserve, that’s a fun idea. You never know much you’re spending
[19:50] <+JamesWallis> If you want the physical edition, Green gets you everything you need. The boxed set will be self-contained: adventures, rules, background, cards, dice, character sheets, forms.
[19:50] <+GrantHowitt> But everyone should definitely get the special edition with the audio commentary
[19:51] <+JamesWallis> That said, Grant and I aren’t involved with the production, we’re just putting the game together. What Mongoose does with it once we’ve delivered it is up to them. Introduce some typos, based on their past record.
[19:51] <+JamesWallis> The audio commentary is going to be aces.
[19:52] <+GrantHowitt> We’re going to do a chapter-by-chapter recording
[19:52] <+GrantHowitt> I’m always very interested to get behind the scenes of RPGs when I read them – I really liked the anniversary edition of Sorcerer for that – so it’s really exciting to be able to do it
[19:53] <+JamesWallis> Stuff about development, playtesting, where the ideas came from… Video-game teams have started doing this kind of thing and I recommend to my design students that they listen to as many as possible. RPGs really don’t do it enough, and Kickstarter gives us the opportunity to spend a bit of time and make it work.
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[19:54] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest! Please set your name with the /nick command. 🙂 )
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[19:54] <~Dan> (Or not.)
[19:54] <~Dan> GrantHowitt, JamesWallis, did you guys catch my bestiary question?
[19:54] <+JamesWallis> I fear we’re not conveying the humour of Paranoia properly. Here’s a joke: Why did the mutant cross the accessway? Because she was a [rest of response is above your security clearance. Have a nice day.]
[19:55] <~Dan> 😀
[19:55] <+Abstruse> Please report to the nearest suicide chamber. Computer is your friend!
[19:55] <+JamesWallis> There will now be mandatory laughter
[19:55] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Wait, mutants are allowed access to the accessway?
[19:55] <+Jake-R-EID-3> I may have to report that joke for treason
[19:55] <>Ambiance<> laughter
[19:56] <+OttawaTom> Wait there’s an access way?
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[19:56] <+JamesWallis> Laughter is good for your cardio-vascular health. You will laugh for at least half an hour a day, citizens, or there will be repercussions.
[19:56] <+GrantHowitt> Dan, ask the bestiary q again
[19:56] <~Dan> Oh, I just asked if there will be any sort of bestiary of robots, loonies, and critters.
[19:57] <+Abstruse> If you are not laughing, then either you must not have taken your mandatory Fun-a-Tol pill or you are a mutant commie traitor.
[19:57] <+Jake-R-EID-3> I get my Computer-mandated laughter period during my mandatory attendance of the traitor execution ceremony
[19:57] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Sometimes they claim they were innocent. It’s pretty great.
[19:58] <+JamesWallis> There won;t be a bestiary as such, but there will be a section of the typical inhabitants of Alpha Complex, including different standard bot-types.
[19:58] <+GrantHowitt> There will indeed be a “list of people and things that will try to kill you probably”
[19:58] <+Abstruse> How much of the game book do you guys have locked in at this point of the design process?
[19:58] <~Dan> Are there any mutant creatures? Or are those only outside of the complex?
[19:59] <+JamesWallis> The only living things in Alpha Complex are humans and mould
[19:59] <~Dan> Really? I thought that when they built Alpha Complex, they broke the mould.
[20:00] <+Jake-R-EID-3> So are zombies still part of the game?
[20:00] <+JamesWallis> at least, in my version. The Alpha Complex briefing will begin “This is Alpha Complex. There are many like it, but this one is yours”. Customise away.
[20:00] <+JamesWallis> No, they broke everything else
[20:00] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:01] <+GrantHowitt> I like bees, so I had bees in my Alpha Complex. But I appreciate that I’m different in that
[20:01] <+JamesWallis> There are exceptions to that, of course. Grant has a thing about bees, which is great and very funny. But they’re non-standard, and they wouldn’t be interesting or funny if they weren’t.
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[20:01] <+GrantHowitt> Honestly though, people are the core of Paranoia, so I’d rather you fought at corrupt police officer than a slavering mutant beast
[20:01] <+GrantHowitt> Hell is other people, after all.
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[20:02] <~Dan> So when you stopped by a few days ago, JamesWallis, you mentioned that Terrorists have replaced Commies in the new edition?
[20:02] <~Dan> (And wb!)
[20:02] <+JamesWallis> Just had a scammy “Update your Java” popup take me away
[20:02] <+Alaren> burned through a clone already
[20:03] <+JamesWallis> Yes. We’re refocusing bits of the background. When the game came out in the mid-80s, Communism was still a real threat, the cold war was ongoing. nuclear annihiliation was a genuine fear. As time has gone on that’s changed
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[20:04] <+JamesWallis> and the Commies have become a joke baddie, kind of a blunt parody. We want to sharpen the satire back to its former razor edge, and talking about terrorists (and security theatre) is probably the best enemy to do that.
[20:04] <+JamesWallis> It was either terrorism, radical Islam or Gamergate. I think we made the right choice.
[20:04] <+GrantHowitt> Commies are still there, they’re a secret society. But Terrorists are the main threat.
[20:05] <+Willmckie> Gamergate paranoia i’d buy that
[20:05] <+GrantHowitt> we could release a bonus decl
[20:05] <+GrantHowitt> deck
[20:05] <+JamesWallis> Because everyone could be a terrorist. Particularly when your secret society has realised that Alpha Complex is doomed and they’re telling you that to save everyone you have to go and blow some stuff up.
[20:06] <+JamesWallis> The most retweeted thing @Friend_Computer has ever said was “Actually it’s about ethics in games journalism”
[20:06] <~Dan> Is the setting still post-apocalyptic (or, at least, supposedly)?
[20:06] <+GrantHowitt> No-one thinks that they’re the bad guy. No-one sits down and says “I’m a terrorist, time to do some terror!”
[20:06] <+JamesWallis> “I’m a freedom fighter! I’m saving the ignorant masses from their own ignorance!”
[20:07] <+GrantHowitt> So that’s a fun thing to explore. Terrorism is an identity thrust upon undesirables; Communism is a focused ideology
[20:07] <+JamesWallis> From a game perspective it’s a lot more flexible.
[20:07] <+GrantHowitt> Trying to think what cards we’d put in Game-R-GAT edition
[20:07] <+JamesWallis> Bomb Threat
[20:07] <+JamesWallis> SWATting
[20:07] <+GrantHowitt> SWATting
[20:07] <+JamesWallis> ha!
[20:08] <+BlasterKyubey210> Maybe after WMD
[20:08] <~Dan> Jinx!
[20:08] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Wouldn’t it be SECTing?
[20:08] <+GrantHowitt> jesus we did the same capitalisation as well
[20:08] <+Willmckie> that was very odd
[20:08] <+GrantHowitt> Obvious Smokescreen
[20:08] <+GrantHowitt> False Flag Operation
[20:08] <+OttawaTom> Doxxing Teela-O
[20:08] * +Alaren waits to see the Game-
[20:08] <+GrantHowitt> Some REAL Journalism
[20:08] <+BlasterKyubey210> However, we got plenty of material shenanigans
[20:08] <+JamesWallis> Diagrams with Circles and Arrows
[20:09] * +Alaren waits to see the Game-R-GAT stretch goal hit the kickstarter page
[20:09] <~Dan> Paranoia XP had its three modes of play. Will the new edition do the same, or something similar?
[20:09] <+GrantHowitt> I think Diagrams with Circles and Arrows would form a fundamental part of the the system
[20:09] <+GrantHowitt> that would be your character sheet.
[20:09] <+JamesWallis> I sense a new game coming on.
[20:09] <+GrantHowitt> We’re sticking with classic, and offering advice on Straight and Zap, but not in the same “throughout the book” way that XP did it
[20:10] <+warcabbit> You can get anything you want…
[20:10] <+GrantHowitt> I think there’s plenty of room to have a distinct Zap deck and Straight deck coming out later
[20:10] <+JamesWallis> I don’t have time for a new game! I have to finish this, finish Munchausen 3e, and then I’ve got the Cubicle 7 thing I can’t mention!
[20:10] <+JamesWallis> Absolutely.
[20:10] <+warcabbit> The funniest thing about gamergate right now is Jimmy Wales, by the way. You’ve all seen that?
[20:11] <+warcabbit> He’s offered to let them write the article… if they can stick to NPOV.
[20:11] <+GrantHowitt> So the Zap deck is all rampaging bots and out-of-control vatspills and, I dunno, clowns or some guff. And the Straight one is “your pistol runs out of ammunition, buy some more” and “Innocent Bystanders” and so on
[20:11] <+JamesWallis> Although I like the idea of Straight, I think it was something most people played once or maybe twice.
[20:11] <+warcabbit> Classically Paranoia.
[20:11] <+JamesWallis> We haven’t talked about XP and Achievements yet!
[20:11] <+BlasterKyubey210> Oh no…
[20:11] <~Dan> Well, by all means, please do so! 🙂
[20:11] <+BlasterKyubey210> Is it still costly to get a new 6-pack if everyone gets knocked around VERY badly?
[20:12] <+JamesWallis> So the game has experience points, of course, but they’re not awarded by the GM. It’s the Computer who gives them out, as an incentive to undertake adventures (“There’s 5000XP available, citizen!”) and as bonuses for good behaviour
[20:13] <~Dan> …Experience points actually exist within the setting?
[20:13] <+Jake-R-EID-3> You mean they are an in-game concept?
[20:13] <+GrantHowitt> I just cobbled together a list of generic achievements and costs yesterday actually, I’m pretty chuffed with it
[20:13] <+Willmckie> doesn’t the dm runthe computer though?
[20:13] <+GrantHowitt> yep! They’re a currency
[20:13] <+JamesWallis> XP can be spent on equipment upgrades, status boosts, new skill packs (“I know kung-fu!” “Sounds treasonous” ZAP) and of course, upgrades in Security Clearance
[20:13] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Or does the rules still promote the idea that the GM and the Friend Computer are two separate personalities?
[20:13] <+JamesWallis> A currency that PCs can only spend with the Computer.
[20:13] <+GrantHowitt> Precisely
[20:13] <+JamesWallis> They’re an in-game concept.
[20:14] <+GrantHowitt> So the GM runs the computer, but the CHARACTERS get the XP, not the players
[20:14] <+GrantHowitt> if you get me
[20:14] <+OttawaTom> Any XP awards given in the for of achievement unlocked for a given scenario? Those can be fun.
[20:14] <+GrantHowitt> they are indeed
[20:14] <+Jake-R-EID-3> How does new gear acquisition work? Are there still credits and (un)licensed vendors as well?
[20:14] <+GrantHowitt> so that lets us push play in certain ways
[20:14] <+Willmckie> ahh ok so if the character dies does the xp carry over?
[20:14] <+JamesWallis> And then the Computer notifies you that certain achievements are available, which give XP boosts or special equipment, and so on. It’s turned out to be a fantastic player motivator.
[20:14] <+GrantHowitt> It does, yeah
[20:15] <+GrantHowitt> Achievements are one-shot, too, only one person can claim them
[20:15] <+OttawaTom> Well of course
[20:15] <+GrantHowitt> So you have a mad scramble to earn them. The whole game is mad scrambles really
[20:15] <+JamesWallis> Credits may appear, but I’m tending towards a black economy based on barter, favours, and trade in pre-Whoops artefacts.
[20:15] <+BlasterKyubey210> The reason I asked about Clones is because in XP, due to the risky nature, each PC has a starting pack of 6, and can buy more 6 packs if they expect alot of pain (if they can even afford them)
[20:16] <+BlasterKyubey210> (Else, after they run out, last one is Uh-oh)
[20:16] <+JamesWallis> And of course some Achievements aren’t as random as they appear, they’re mission objectives placed by the Computer… or by a High Programmer with an agenda.
[20:16] <+GrantHowitt> with regards to buying stuff, at the moment I’m toying with a “how hard is this to find?” rating for a piece of equipment, and spending XP gives you extra dice on the “can I get it” roll
[20:16] <+JamesWallis> Oh, nice.
[20:16] <+GrantHowitt> and if you fail, you get an inferior, dangerous version of what you wanted
[20:16] <+Willmckie> are the supposed to play anew game each time, or are theyre enough achievements for longevity?
[20:16] <+JamesWallis> It’s a new set of achievements for each mission. It’s not like WoW
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[20:17] <+GrantHowitt> We have a few generic ones in there too I think, to add flavour
[20:17] <~Dan> (Howdy, Ettin!)
[20:17] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Are there also global achievements that anyone can earn?
[20:17] <+GrantHowitt> All achievements are tied to the mission, at present
[20:18] <+GrantHowitt> So even if the achievement doesn’t relate explicitly to the mission, it’s still part of that mission’s pack of cheevos that appear in the briefing room
[20:18] <+Willmckie> do you have any examples of an achievement you could give us?
[20:18] <+OttawaTom> And secret society achievements?
[20:18] <+Jake-R-EID-3> How are Clearance levels handled with regards to XP then? Can you buy a new security clearance if you save up long enough?
[20:18] <+JamesWallis> Clones: you can probably buy more. Something I tried in the last playtest was a step in chagen where people can trade a clone for a stat upgrade. So you get much better abilities at the start, but you’re already four clones down.
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[20:19] <+JamesWallis> Oh yes! Higher security clearances is what everyobe’s saving up for–it’s how you rise through the ranks.
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[20:19] <+GrantHowitt> You quite literally spend XP to level up
[20:19] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Do they have any bonuses or grant access to new items, or is it just for the prestige/ordering people around power?
[20:20] <+GrantHowitt> 100XP – Report treasonous activity to friend computer.
[20:20] <+GrantHowitt> 200XP – Bring a fellow troubleshooter back from the brink of death. 200XP – Fall 50ft.
[20:20] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Is there GM discretion there? I notice you didn’t put in “Report ACCURATE treasonous behaviour”
[20:20] <+GrantHowitt> 400XP – Save a crowd (10+) of citizens from imminent danger.
[20:20] <+GrantHowitt> GM discretion is half of the rules of Paranoia
[20:20] <~Dan> GrantHowitt: You gain XP for getting the drop on’em?
[20:21] <+JamesWallis> I’m nicking a lot of material from Keith Johnstone on status levels within narrative and improv for this–status is a huge motivator, pecking orders are powerful things and establishing one and then swapping people around in it–or letting them swap themselves–is huge fun and a great source of story
[20:21] <+GrantHowitt> That last one – the 400xp one – is my favourite, because it’ll lead to the troubleshooters intentionally endangering large groups of people in an attempt to level up
[20:21] <+Jake-R-EID-3> I’m trying to work out how to do all four at once
[20:21] <+JamesWallis> Bungie!
[20:22] <+GrantHowitt> Status exchange is a huge part of Paranoia. We’ve tried to play some of it out with the reaction cards, too
[20:22] <+GrantHowitt> They form a sort of natural comeuppance mechanic
[20:22] <+Jake-R-EID-3> “My fellow troubleshooter fell 49 feet to the floor below with a bomb illegally strapped to him. I had to jump 1 foot in the air, then fall an equal distance in order to land on him to disarm the bomb and save the crowd. I then saved his life for interrogation.”
[20:22] <+OttawaTom> Wow can you imagine the people driving the trains, or as they call them XP carriers
[20:23] <+JamesWallis> Many of the changes we’re making are natural evolutions of the structures and ideas that are already in the game, we’re just fitting them to more of a narrative structure than a cultural one. The game will still have the secret societies you know and love, but their role has changed slightly.
[20:23] <~Dan> From what you said earlier, it sounds like mutant powers are going to be quite different in this edition. Can you give an example of one?
[20:24] <+GrantHowitt> We’re still using the same lists as XP, I think
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[20:24] <+JamesWallis> They’re the same powers, but the mechanics behind them work differnetly
[20:24] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Rand-Y-ROK-4!)
[20:25] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:25] <+GrantHowitt> At present, and these are all being tested obviously so there’s no guarantee this is how they’ll play out:
[20:25] <+JamesWallis> The differnet, of course, is the underground computer network in Alpha Complex that I just invented
[20:25] * ~Dan snickers
[20:25] <+Rand-Y-ROK-4> Nice.
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[20:25] <+JamesWallis> We are limited by the number of cards we can fit into the basic set. But we want to get as many powers as possible in there.
[20:26] <~Dan> Is the overall tech level of Alpha Complex the same as in previous editions? Are laser pistols still standard issue, for example?
[20:26] <+GrantHowitt> You describe how you use your power. The GM determines whether it’s a great use (+3 dice) a stupid use (+0 dice) or something in-between. Then you roll… but, effectively, all your dice are Computer Dice, so there’s a 1-in-6 chance on every dice that something’s going to go really entertainingly wrong
[20:27] <+Jake-R-EID-3> How does skill rolling work?
[20:27] <+GrantHowitt> It gives you a massive jag of Risk versus Effectiveness. It’s worked in the playtests; we might make it a little more codified so the powers feel more different from each other, but as I said, I don’t want to bog down the game with excess rules
[20:27] <+GrantHowitt> We’re still working that out, to be honest, testing is going well but we want to do better.
[20:27] <+GrantHowitt> But basically – more dice is good.
[20:28] <+GrantHowitt> You should be rolling about 2D6 on yer average roll.
[20:28] <+JamesWallis> Tech level is mostly the same–so yes, laser pistols–but what was gosh-wow technology in 1984 or even 2004 is old hat now. So there are changes there. But bots and lasers aren’t going anywhere.
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[20:28] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Ronmartin!)
[20:29] <+GrantHowitt> I’m afraid, folks, that I’m going to have to head off relatively soon as I have to go and run some errands before my wife returns from the office
[20:29] <+GrantHowitt> so if there are any burning questions you’ve yet to ask, ask away
[20:29] <+GrantHowitt> before I flee into the night
[20:29] <+GrantHowitt> (well. Afternoon.)
[20:29] <+JamesWallis> We’re trying to find the best mid-point between a system of mechanics that’s purely fun to play, and something that still feels at least part-way grounded in a real world.
[20:29] <+Rand-Y-ROK-4> Later!
[20:29] <+JamesWallis> I’m still here, but it is 2.30AM and I have a full day ahead of me.
[20:29] <+Guest> I missed this whole thing 😦 will there be a transcript?
[20:30] <~Dan> Yes, let’s go ahead and wrap things up for our gracious guests. Thanks very much for spending time with us, folks!
[20:30] <~Dan> And yes, I’ll be posting the transcript in just a moment, in fact.
[20:30] <+JamesWallis> It’s been excellent. Many thanks for all the questions.
[20:30] <+OttawaTom> Night all!
[20:30] <+Guest> Perfect! Thank you
[20:30] <~Dan> And for those of you who showed up for the Q&A, please feel free to continue to hang out with us!
[20:30] <+GrantHowitt> thanks for the questions, folks, it’s been lovely
[20:30] <+Willmckie> Night guys
[20:30] <+Jake-R-EID-3> Night!
[20:30] <+GrantHowitt> laters!
[20:30] <+Rand-Y-ROK-4> Ah. Well, I caught… some of it.
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[20:31] <~Dan> Just a moment here, and I’ll get you guys the link to the chat log…