Bundle of Holding has another interesting offering this week, with a bundle based on the classic Paranoia roleplaying game. Originally published in 1984 by West End Games, Paranoia is a sci-fi game set in a dystopian future that is seemingly modelled on George Orwell’s 1984. In this setting, the city is controlled by an all-knowing computer who stifles and limits the dissemination of information. Players take the role of underground rebels seeking the overthrow of the corrupt system.
The tone of the game is quite humorous and often satirical, usually with a lot of black humour.
The first tier of this bundle is priced at $15 and will net you the first edition of the core game and a selection of supplements. The core book is full of dark humour, but fosters a setting with a serious and sinister tone. The supplements play up the humour, with Orcbusters being a particularly interesting adventure, which features an inter-dimensional portal giving access to a parody of a stereotypical Dungeons & Dragons setting. The full contents of this tier are as follows:
- PARANOIA First Edition (retail price $15): The original three-book set by Dan Gelber, Greg Costikyan, and Eric Goldberg — including the complete Player, Gamemaster, 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 Ken Rolston’s 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), designed by Curtis Smith, makes the Troubleshooters unwitting pawns in a covert contest between rival High Programmers.
The second tier will, appropriately enough, give you the second edition of Paranoia. The tier is set at a threshold price, with the current value set at $33.14 at the time of writing. In addition to the updated set of rules, there are a number of supplements. The adventure that I really like from this set is the highly acclaimed The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues. This adventure features every secret society competing to obtain a black box of unknown content. This scenario won the H.G. Wells award for Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1985. The full contents of this tier are:
- PARANOIA Second Edition (retail $20): The 128-page rulebook and the 16-page supplementThe 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” by Steve Gilbert and Peter Corless. (“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): Explore the Alpha Complex sewers, bureaucracy, and TV studios in the mission (by Allen Varney and Warren Spector) that gave us Bouncy Bubble Beverage and the Alpha Complex Songbook. Yes: This is the one with the Funbot.
- HIL Sector Blues (retail $10): Ken Rolston’s sprawling high-clearance Internal 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.
As usual, you can click here to visit Bundle of Holding and pick up the offer. As an aside, do you reckon that the labelling of this bundle as “Paranoia Classic” means that we will soon be getting a bundle that features newer editions of the game? We’ll have to wait and see on that one, I suppose.
The charity to benefit from this RPG bundle of dystopian, Orwellian sci-fi is, in a wonderful example of synergy, Human Rights Watch.
Farewell, and remember: The Computer is your friend!