Back when I was writing for the Paranoia RPG, I was working on a project called Brave New Complex. It took all that made Paranoia fun to play and put it in different settings, keeping the Paranoia rules but with some modifications. I took on the job of translating Paranoia into your generic fantasy game setting, and it was a lot of fun. Too bad Mongoose Publishing canceled* the idea before we could finish the damn thing.

Their loss is my gain. I’ve played the fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and while it’s more a miniature game than a roleplaying game, it’s still fun. But it got me thinking: Could I combine 4E and Paranoia? Should I?

So I tried … and I love it! New roles in battle, new classes, new powers, all facilitating Paranoia-esque backstabbing and fear but all with that familiar D&D smell. Next month is EN World GameDay 25. I will be running a playtest of this 4E/Paranoia hybrid, complete with minis and battlemats. During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more about this new game and the playtest results, but until then, here’s a tidbit for you.

Paranoia does not focus on combat like 4E does, so I made four new roles to fit the Paranoia mindset: Uncontroller, Agitator, Manipulator, and Betrayer.

  • Uncontroller: Focused on affecting multiple people at once, allies and enemies alike. Uncontrollers hurt their allies by causing indiscriminate debuffs or damage, especially when altering the terrain. “Hey, it’s not my fault you were in the area of effect!”
  • Agitator: Focused on getting enemies to attack allies, either accidentally or purposefully. Agitators hurt their allies by bringing aggro to others and dodging just in time so an attack hits an ally instead. “The cleric over there killed your master! Attack him instead!”
  • Manipulator: Focused on debuffing and controlling allies against their will. Manipulators hurt their allies by causing them to lose bonuses or make bad moves. As a whole, this role is not focused towards melee or ranged combat. “Friend Paladin! Stand here and … oh, that’s gotta hurt.”
  • Betrayer: Focused on exposing individual allies to heavy damage, sapping their mobility, and avoiding their attacks. Betrayers hurt their allies by exposing weak spots, tripping them up, and dancing away from retaliatory strikes. “I didn’t mean to trip you, allowing the enemy to strike your vulnerable, prone body. Honest.”

Tell me this doesn’t sound fun?

* By canceled, I mean the project fell apart and Mo0ngoose never picked it up.  I pitched the idea myself to Mongoose, and they politely said no.