Episode 19 – Paranoia RPG (with Paul Baldowski)


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INTRO: Thanks to a Poll of Patreons, we are examining a game that we never played back in the day … PARANOIA.

OPEN BOX: (with Paul Baldowski): Paul Baldowski was a writer for the Mongoose edition. He’s also runs Just Crunch which publishes The Cthulhu Hack. Also, make sure you check out the Fighting Fantasy accessories at All Rolled Up.

WHITE DWARF: @dailydwarf provides a survey of the surprising amount of PARANOIA material that appeared in White Dwarf after Games Workshop printed the second edition in the UK

ACTUAL PLAY: A sample from an online game of PARANOIA. You can’t beat a bit of bully.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN: One of Blythy’s clones talks about the game and why we never played it back in the day.

OUTRO: Thanks to Patreons and best wishes to Kalum of the Roliste Podcast

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

9 thoughts on “Episode 19 – Paranoia RPG (with Paul Baldowski)”

  1. Another good one.
    My experiences of Paranoia back in the 80s were exactly what you feared would happen if a load of teenage boys got hold of it.
    Our Simon equivalent at the time, strangely enough called Simon was our GM for the handful of sessions we had.
    His hands were still bloody from butchering many of our long established Dragon Warriors characters in his conversion of S3 Expedition To The Barrier Peaks: “The security droid blasts you with the laser, 96 points of damage!” “WHOOOMF”.
    We enjoyed Paranoia at the time but my memories consist of being killed a lot and an almost constant manic grin on Simon’s face as he turned yet another clone into red mist.
    Needless to say it palled quickly.
    I think you do need maturity to get most out of it, you can bring more cultural references to the table, and be more subtle in your backstabbing, after all, what better way to put all those years of office politics to good use.

    1. Thanks, pleased that you enjoyed it. The music is Pump Me Up (sometimes referred to as Pump It Up) by Gary Numan (feat. Caroline Munro) which was a bid to make her a pop star when they were in a relationship.

      1. Thanks. I’m a bit of a Caroline fan myself. I’ll have to look it up. Naturally, I particularly liked the Bond episode.

  2. Another great show. On the topic of games that never got played it was good to hear Maelstrom get a mention. I remember trying to persuade my mates to help me get a game going with it but it seemed like it might involve something like extra history lessons to get it going! And a magic system where anything is possible a little daunting. If you’re Still planning on doing an episode or two on game books I reckon it needs a special mention.

    1. Yes definitely second that, i remember in the blurb it said the lad who wrote it was a schoolboy at the time! That’s quite an achievement as it’s a hefty book of historical background and solid and simple rules as far as i remember, be good to know the story behind its creation.

  3. A very enjoyable episode, up to the usual excellent standard, it’s a credit you can push out this quality on a regular basis. The interview was a free running as always, I enjoyed Mr Baldowski’s chat and he gave a good explanation on what the game was about and how it could be played. My own encounter was a couple of games back in the day, unfortunately the experience was either a TPK mad GM, or a “murder mystery” type affair. The analysis (or “banter, bobbins and b*llocks” segment was truly excellent and thoroughly informative, and, like the Grogs, I’m pretty old school, so the rules-lite “gonzo” and “killer” style gameplay does not excite me, so I found myself nodding along with Blythy’s comments. The live play excerpts were actually quite funny, but it demonstrated that comedy is always there and doesn’t necessarily need to be engineered by the game itself, which is what the full experience requires. Paranoia is probably a great game done in a Gilliam-esque style, but to pull that off requires a special sort of GM and player group. I have to claim bias, I did not vote for this one, and I think the Grogs were brave taking this on, so well done. Saying all this, I actually voted for TFT and I do now wonder if Security Station would provide the same sort of fun as it did for me back in the day, so perhaps this was the right choice after all. Keep up the good work.

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