Between May 1986 – September 1988 (with a final non-standard offering in April 1989) White Dwarf magazine, Games Workshop’s Roleplaying Monthly, published a whole bunch of PARANOIA-related material. Primarily these were missions, but there was a spot of advice and a review or two to boot (smoking, presumably?). Some of the material was good, some of it – well, not quite so good to be honest. The following page (or three) will catalogue these offerings (over time) for your personal reference, with links to possible sources of acquirable copies on C-Bay.
If you are anything less than Ultra-Violet clearance, don’t read any further. Failure to comply with this security notice is punishable by summary execution – you know the drill.
Little Lost Warbot
Details: White Dwarf 91 (July 87), written by Marcus Rowland
Actually, can I place more emphasis on the style here than just the word Zap? This is ultra-Zap. Given an overly keen Gamemaster with an eye to sticking to the written word, there is the chance to lose a couple of clones before you leave sight of the Alpha Complex and plenty of opportunity to log a bunch of treasonous acts. And, yes – you heard right – leave sight of the Alpha Complex means that this is a trip into the Outdoors.
With some basic supplies and a few choice R&D items, the Troubleshooters are assigned to venture into the great Outdoors to track down a missing Warbot, or destroy it if rescue isn’t possible. Notable amongst the supplies are a box of eight Igniter Sticks assigned to each Troubleshooter – as the R&D bods proudly recreate the common matchstick. Except, these little buggers have the potential to accidentally explode (either in the box or when used), and using one requires completion of an individual Igniter Stick Expenditure Report form. In addition, clone delivery – triggered by an alert of prior clone deactivation transmitted through a body function monitor chip – is managed by way of bundling fresh clones into a barrel. Tech Services attach the barrel to the back of an unmanned missile with a tiny bot brain, and tracking sends it towards the last known location of the monitor chip. 50% of replacement clones don’t survive the trip.
The Troubleshooters follow the trail of the warbot in a steady crawler transbot, and ultimately find another Alpha Complex enslaved by an alien invasion. The warbot has fallen into the grasps of the invaders who are interrogating it for information about it’s home complex. The Troubleshooters are overpowered by zombified citizens of the other complex, but find rescue and possible success in following the plans of a bunch of rebellious aliens intent on overthrowing their tyrannical leader.
Those aliens – think pepperpot metal creatures with eyestalks, sucker manipulaters, lasers and a general dislike for stairs. For the rebels, just add a Mexican accent – YOU COME WITH US, MAYBE YOU LIVE. YOU STAY HERE AND EVEN THOUGH WE LIKE YOU WE HAVE TO EXTERMINATE YOU A LEETLE BEET! No, really – I’m not kidding here – they even have pictures of them in sombreros and everything.
Ultimately, the Troubleshooters need to enlist the aid of the rebels and the warbot to blast there way out and put an end to the threat of the invaders. A traditional clone family would be hard pressed to expect to see the end of the mission, though a new improved clone line may stand a chance of basking in the glory of a commendation showered Debriefing (followed by a brisk dressing down and summary execution more likely than not).
It is genuine pantomime Zap, with a flexible Gamemaster essential and players who don’t mind a linear (but very good) plot to wade through. Well worth a session with some appropriate salsa-style nibbles, but absolutely impractical to convert to any other style without seriously re-writing the whole plot.
Details: White Dwarf 84 (Dec 86), written by James Wallis
This is an introductory mission, covering the final test faced by INFRARED candidates seeking to rise to the coveted rank of RED Clearance Troubleshooter. The Computer chooses to test promising INFRARED candidates in a simulated Commie-hunting situation. Alas, Captain Zapp, an infamous Death Leopard, serves as one of the briefing officers and switches out harmless synthelaser training pistols for the real thing. Each INFRARED receives a personal mission from Friend Computer, with at least one of them (OK – all of them) outlining a super secret sub-mission to infiltrate the team as a pretend Commie agent (this will in no way affect your possible selection as a RED Clearance Troubleshooter – really). The pretend Commie(s) has the task of subverting, misleading and shooting fellow team members in an appropriately underhanded, secret fashion.
The mission itself involves creeping around a semi-abandoned area of the Complex seeking out a group of five Commies (in fact five RED Clearance Troubleshooters armed with proper synthelasers and dressed like Communists). As well as the synthelasers, the team receive a Laser Jammer – a device with a single button that emits a thick cloud of black smoke in a 10 yard radius. The cloud does indeed stop all laser fire from entering or leaving for about three minutes, but it also makes breathing incredibly hard and with a Violence check anyone inside can expect to spend several minutes coughing almost hard enough to choke their own guts up. Imagine the fun you can have with real lasers, billowing clouds of smoke, confused sub-missions and five bewildered, basically unarmed, ushanka-wearing Troubleshooters.
I am rejuvinating a paranoia campaign, and do appreciate the game ideas!