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Classic PARANOIA RPG. There is no other.

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PARANOIA collectible card game.

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Beginners Guide to Life as a Troubleshooter
Beginners Guide to Life as a Troubleshooter, page 1
High Programmer takes newbie on a tour of Alpha Complex
Jazzer Tuesday 17 February 2004

In the Beginning There Was The Computer

Hi Jazz-U-RRR. Thanks for taking time out to tell me all about Paranoia.

It is my pleasure, citizen.

Ok then, lets start at the beginning? What era is Paranoia set in?

Early in the 21st Century, World War III happened. Real big mess. The surviving nations formed a global government. The Age of Peace came about. Then a few years later, a natural disaster destroyed civilisation as we know it and survivors were forced to live in underground complexes.That was a couple of hundred years ago.

Underground Complexes?

Right. Paranoia is set in one such underground base called Alpha Complex. Alpha Complex is truly massive; covering what was once the entire San Francisco area.

So what's life like in Alpha Complex?

Life in Alpha Complex has many outstanding elements but the most important thing about Alpha Complex, and therefore Paranoia, is The Computer. The Computer governs every aspect of life in Alpha Complex. The Computer decides where you live, what you do, what you eat, where you can go and when you can do it. Is that fun? You bet it is! Why? Because The Computer says so.

Oh, I see. This is one of those dystopias? Like George Orwell's 1984?

Dystopia! Alpha Complex is a Utopia! The Computer says so.

Right, I'm getting the idea. The computer, sorry, The Computer... What's it like then?

The Computer is benevolent, polite, insane and incredibly paranoid - often all at the same time. Having once served San Francisco as just another civic computer, The Computer is always anxious to please its citizens and so always maintains a polite and concerned tone. Well, nearly always.

Unfortunately, The Computer is worried. Insanely worried, in fact. The source of this worry and paranoia is a strong belief that it is under constant threat from Communists. You see, around the time civilisation collapsed, The Computer mistakenly thought that it was under nuclear attack from the long-gone USSR. It's never been quite the same ever since.

The Computer sounds wacko to me!

The Computer has been programmed by many different people. Important people with high-level security clearances named ULTRAVIOLET Programmers. Unfortunately, these people often have conflicting interests and that means The Computer is a mixture of many different personalities, fears and desires. This makes The Computer a little... unpredictable.

Richard of York Was Deleted For Security Reasons

You mentioned something about security clearances?

Absolutely! Everyone in Alpha Complex has a security clearance. Your security clearance more or less determines where and how you live your entire life as an Alpha Complex citizen.

How many security clearances are there?

There are actually nine. They are easy to remember, based as they are on the colour spectrum. From lowest in importance (INFRARED) onwards they are:

... RED
... BLUE



NOTE: INFRARED is denoted as black, whereas ULTRAVIOLET is white. Just so you know.

Some traitors have said that the mnemonic rhyme 'Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain' is useful for remembering the sequence.

So how does the life of, say, a RED citizen differ from a VIOLET citizen?

In just about every aspect! Citizens can only (legally) make use of items that are marked for his or her security clearance or lower. So, a RED citizen can only go into areas that are marked RED (or lower), for instance. He can only eat in RED mess halls, use RED equipment and request information available to RED citizens. Which isn't a hell of a lot.

The quality of goods and services differ greatly across the security spectrum too. Whereas an INDIGO citizen would enjoy his own apartment, for example, a RED citizen is obliged to sleep in a dormitory with many other RED citizens.

Perhaps most importantly, citizens are able to give orders to anyone of a lower security clearance. This makes someone of a high security clearance very powerful. Failure to obey the orders of a superior security clearance is treason. Treason is punishable by summary execution.

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