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[Let's Read] Paranoia: Internal Security


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I recently obtained of this game, which was part of Paranoia's 25th Anniversary Edition line, alongside Troubleshooters and High Programmers. For some reason, Troubleshooters is by far the hardest of the three to obtain cheaply; copies online generally go for around $150. I got Internal Security for only $20 though, so that's good.

This will be my first Let's Read. So bear with me.

WARNING: The following thread is Ultraviolet Clearance Only. Reading the information presented in this thread at Clearance Violet or lower is treason, punishable by serving 100 hours cleaning the inner barrels of experimental laser weapons. Have a nice daycycle.

So, let's dive into Paranoia: Internal Security!

1. IntSec

Despite being listed as "Introduction" in the table of contents, this section is actually called "IntSec." It starts off with a dialogue between bold text and normal text, as the bold text explains the core duties of an Internal Security Officer: ensuring all citizens of Alpha Complex are loyal, happy, and obedient. Oh, an also hunting down Commie Mutant Traitors (and the by the way, you are a mutant, and you belong to a secret society, which is treasonous)

The dialogue concludes by informing us that we'll need a d20, some paper and pencils, and three to six people to play. It also assures us that it's perfectly fine if we have no idea how to play, but if we must know, then there's a Players chapter later in the book. This section is BLUE level clearance, and as such is available to all IntSec officers, but the rest of the book is ULTRAVIOLET and therefore GM only. If you are not the GM and you read those sections, you will be hunted down by the other players, unless you do so in secret. But can you ever really be sure the others aren't watching you?

There's also an image and caption that sets the tone for the game perfectly: a picture of a man in battle armor, firing off a weapon while destruction and chaos reigns around him. The caption? "To Serve & Protect".

Next, there is a small aside to Gamemasters, informing us that we should read the whole book, and that running the included mission in the back is a great way to get the hang of things. Next, there's a brief section of dialogue between a citizen and The Computer which explains the differences between this game and classic Paranoia. Basically, while Troubleshooters are given nonsensical, contradictory missions that ultimately lead to death traps and betrayal, IntSec Officers are given nonsensical, contradictory missions that provide much more freedom in regards to which death traps you jump into and how well you betray your team mates. Also, IntSec Officers have cortex bombs. Incidentally, this book is entirely self-contained. You do not need any other Paranoia books to play (though Friend Computer encourages you to collect them all!)

Next up is the Non-Example of Play. Instead of providing an example of people playing Paranoia, the book provides an example of what it might look like if people played "a certain popular horror roleplaying game based on the works of HP Lovecraft" as Paranoia. Some Investigators kill some cultists, find a cult document, and argue about who will read it, wince obviously anyone who wants to read it must be a cultist. One player reads it while the others argue and realize that his own secret cult is about to be attacked by these cultists, and tells the others he knows where the cult is meeting because the document is an "evil memo" and there's no time for them to read it. Another player to kill him and take the document, while a third player fills a car with dynamite and sets the fuse the explode before reaching the cult headquarters. Not gonna lie, the example really wasn't as amusing to read as the build-up to it was.

Next up is Welcome Trooper


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For some reason, Troubleshooters is by far the hardest of the three to obtain cheaply; copies online generally go for around $150. I got Internal Security for only $20 though, so that's good.
Really? I picked up one for $10 in the used section of my FLGS, and then gave it to a friend when I got it home and realized it was 90% identical to ParanoiaXP, which I already had.


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Yeah, I imagine it would be much cheaper if I found it at a local store, but I haven't seen any Paranoia books at my FLGS. Every copy I could find online was mega-expensive.


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2. Welcome Trooper

It is established here that player characters were once lowly Troubleshooters, but have defied the odds and managed to become promoted all the way up to Blue clearance. Now, they are members of a Sector Security Team, charged with keeping the peace in a specific sector. To aid in this, they have been given a few "Teamwork Upgrades," including a bomb in their head that their leader can detonate whenever they wish. So basically, it's DC's Suicide Squad, except more fatal.

There's also a box labeled Orientation, to be read by new players and old players who "have recently sustained a serious concussion". Well that's nice of them. The Orientation box informs the reader of the ROY G BIV Security Clearance system (well, more I ROY G BIV U: Infrared, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Ultraviolet), a brief explanation of how Alpha Complex is an underground city run by The Computer and at war with Commie Mutant Traitors, and how every citizen of Alpha Complex has 6 back-up clones. Luckily though, IntSec workers are given extra clones due to the hazardous nature of their work.

There's a brief rundown of Service Groups, of which Internal Security is just one. Most SST's are made up of IntSec employees, but occasionally people are assigned to one from the Armed Forces, Central Processing, Housing Preservation Development & Mind Control, and Research & Development. I love how the housing development people are also in charge of mind control.

Next we have a section on Sector Security Teams, as outlined under the Sector Security Team Initiative (SSTIV, Reference CPU/211/54423-a, page 1129, paragraph 4, Clearance INDIGO). There is a SST for every Sector of Alpha Complex, and the team's duties are combination of detective work, SWAT work, bomb disposal, interrogation, hostage negotiation, and "psychological engineers." SSTs are mostly identical to normal rank-and-file IntSec workers, as they just keep the peace, give "say 'yes' to drugs" lecture, etc. You know; normal police stuff. However, SSTs have the additional duty of investigating allegations of treason among high-ranking citizens, all the way up to the Ultraviolet High Programmers themselves. The book makes a note that high clearance citizens like to use their influence to stuff SSTs full of traitors and cronies to undermine this duty, though what's not mentioned is how this conflicts with the general Paranoia rule of never disobeying people of a higher clearance than you.

At this point, it becomes clear that IntSec officers have to navigate a world just as insane and dangerous as the Troubleshooters.

We then get a section detailing IntSec Troopers' stylish blue uniforms, including jackboots with tiny rockets in them, which is awesome. The next section is about how IntSec troopers bunk in barracks at a big blue base, and should thank the Computer for letting them sleep where they can immediately answer the call to action (those Blues who are given their own house should also thank the Computer for letting them have leisure time before answering the call to action). These Blue Bases are all called Central, even if there's more than one in a Sector. The book assures us that this never causes confusion. There's also an amusing aside about how unsuccessful missions may lead to a visit to Room 102 (Room 101 is being cleaned). I understood that reference!

The very section is called "Big Brother's Bestest Buds." Laying it on a little thick with the 1984 stuff, ain't ya guys? It basically just talks about how IntSec officers have been entrusted with a great duty by the Computer and should not squander it. They also strive to remain marketable, because the best troopers get their own action figure lines, and failure to market success is treason.

This chapter is also I believe the first time the book uses footnotes. I like it. The footnotes are very Terry Pratchett esque in that they are full of extra jokes that add to the humor of the text.

Next chapter is Internal Security (wait, I thought that was the whole book)
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