"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Monday, July 11, 2011

HIL Sector Blues - WEG, Cassandra's Mystical Barrier

Paranoia is a game that I like playing as a one up or maybe a few sessions but I have never been a big enough fan to make it a long term game. I think it because when I was playing it I was younger and the level of discord it created amongst characters seem to migrate out of the game and into the real world among the players.

HIL Sector Blues is a campaign pack for Paranoia. I never really had a chance to use it as it was intended but there are still components of it that I found useful. If I were going to play Paranoia today I think I would go this route as it is much more Machiavellian in nature than normal Paranoia. In this you don't shoot your friend in the back every other session. You spend that time framing them so the computer does the dirty work and the player may never know who did it.

The premise of the campaign is that you have served the computer well enough that you have been transferred to be part of the internal security force that does the day to day security work. It is set to to have you create a character from scratch and build them with some back history similar to Traveller. I guess you could promote previous characters if you wanted though.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to the design of HIL Sector adventure design. This lays out for the GM the game mechanics basics that should be present in every adventure for the campaign. Not every aspect needs be in them all but most should be. The Paranoia adventure is very much a series of long running gags or situations that repeat themselves. Many of these ideas could be adapted to other games but I would use sparingly as I think they would disrupt other games too much if they happened all the time.

The module also presents the GM with a number of actual adventure ideas that the players will encounter. These very much mirror what would be considered every day crime in the real world though with a Paranoia bent to them if possible. You get a list of crimes both general and specific to the sector as well as roles and missions. There are then some specific plot hooks provided for the GM to get them started.

The GM is given a number of fold up cardboard miniatures that they can use. There are also specific rules for the use of the miniatures. We forget that these were not always present in games or available online. When this was released in 1986 this was probably a very big deal though the intervening twenty-five years make it had for me to recall. These are present in color and a b&w version as well. These are referred to as Cardstock Commies.

The last portion of the book are a number of mini-adventures that can be inserted into the campaign or perhaps used as starter adventures to get the campaign rolling. These are designed to use the miniatures that are presented in the game as well so the GM can get experience in using them.

I can't say if this is something that the average player or even GM would want to have or need to have. If you are a regular Paranoia player then yes you will want it. There are items that can be mined from it but not so much for regular use. It is rare for me to say this but this is perhaps one you could pass on. Just hope the computer isn't listening on this one.


Spell:

Cassandra's Mystical Barrier


Level: Fifth
Range: Special
Duration: 1 Hour/Level
Ares Effect: One Room
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 3 Rounds
Saving Throw: None

This spell allows the caster to create a mystical barrier that will prevent  the passage through entrances to and from a room. The effect is not limited  to man made areas and the room to could be a natural cavern. The room size  can be anything from a broom closet up to a space no bigger than 4" square  per level of the caster. All points of ingress or egress will be covered by  this spell no matter how small or if known by the caster.

The barrier that is created is specific in what it will prevent passage of.  The specification must be made at time of casting and can be general in nature  as any living thing, dwarves or non humanoid creatures. It could also be  something like enchanted items or invisible creatures. There is not a real  limit to what can be specified but the DM needs to make the final decision.

The caster may only have one barrier up at any given time and casting a  second will fail and not bring down the one previously cast. Once the barrier  is created it can not be brought down except through use of a Dispel Magic  spell or stronger magic. Even the caster can not bring the barrier down prior  to the expiration of the duration. This will make use of specifications of  "living things" dangerous as the party could not leave the room.

The material component of this spell is a cube of amber. The size of the cube  is not important nor is the value. The cube of amber is used up in the  casting of the spell.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups  last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology  may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I  did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any  duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :)  Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If  anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in  advance and all I ask is proper credit.

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