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Beyond Fear and Ignorance

I'm getting all geared up to run my first Paranoia session in over - it must be, what, twelve years since I ran (or tried running) Into the Outdoors with Gun and Camera from the Second Edition Paranoia rulebook? Yeah, twelve years, maybe thirteen. I tried running it fro a bunch of friends in high school, including the Hayama and the Cazman. I remember Caz was unfortunate enough to get saddled with the "big, dumb lunk" character of the team (Steve-R-STN-1) and had something of an allergy toward paying big, dumb lunks afterward. Might've been what put him off RPGs in general too.

Anyway, this weekend I'm going to be running Mister Bubbles from the Paranoia XP rulebook. Thankfully, I have a full complement of six players. I've been printing character sheets and photocopying handouts over the past week, and I'm fully expecting those poker chips I bought a month ago to get a workout; they're used to track Perversity Points (which the players can spend to add to or subtract from their or each other's rolls). I am really looking forward to this; although Paranoia is free-wheeling enough that I don't have to stress about detail, the mood - that uniquely Paranoia atmoshpere of fear and ignorance - is going to be the real challenge.

Thankfully, there are no big, dumb lunk characters this time.

I was thinking of running a bit of Alien Summit beforehand for thse who turn up early, but I'm not sure - even if I'd like to playtest it for an RPGnet review, I think we'll probably have enough to talk about (what with Vickie and I heading North in under two months) without need for a conversational RPG.

Speaking of RPGs, here's an interesting PDF book you might want to get your hands on. It's called Beyond Role And Play: Tools, Toys and Theory for Harnessing the Imagination, and it was the book that was published for a Finnish roleplaying convention, Solmukohta 2004. (Don't worry; it's entirely in English.) It's heavy on theory and quite LARP-centric, but having read some of its essays, I recommend it as a worthwhile read if you're interested in the "work" of roleplaying and LARPs.

You'll also probably come away with the idea that these Nords not only have some crazy ideas when it comes to gaming, but also that they probably take RPGs way too seriously. Then again, it's gratifying to know that someone is willing to invest time and effort in serious investigation and study of what many of us consider "just a hobby".

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