Good News-Bad News
Good morning, Gentleclones!
The title of this update would make for a good Paranoia adventure...
Anyway, I have some good news for you, and some bad news. Which would you like to hear first?
The bad news, you say? Good choice, get it over with quickly, and then it is nothing but Bouncy Bubble Beverage for the loyal Troubleshooters...
The Bad News
Here at Mongoose HQ, we have all but given up on Ultraviolent. It is hellishly late, every self-imposed deadline Mr Wallis has given us for it has been broken, and now communication has ceased altogether. For the past few months, we have only been able to reach Mr Wallis via another writer (which is a ridiculous situation for grown adults to be in), and the last thing we heard was 'there are only 3,000 words to go'. That was a couple of months ago.
So the bad news is... we are now considering Ultraviolent to be a dead project.
Given the delays the Paranoia Kickstarter has endured (almost all of which have come from this one source), along with posts I have been reading on RPG.net of delays in other projects Mr Wallis is involved in, I do not believe we will ever see it.
The Good News
Hmm. So what is the good news then, you ask.
Well, we kinda anticipated this would happen. In fact, we so anticipated it, we commissioned a brand new adventure, drew up art specs and had the front cover done a little while ago. We are now very proud to present to you... Implausible Deniability!
For this task, we employed the services of Gareth Hanrahan, who will need no introduction to Paranoia Veterans. For the rest of you, in the past I have described Gareth as one of the two best writers in the RPG business, and he has proved this in spades with Implausible Deniability.
In short, Gareth delivered the complete manuscript this week, and he has really knocked it out of the park.
When it pops through your letterbox, I believe you will think this is one of the best Paranoia adventures ever written. I cannot sell this enough, it really is that good.
As you can see, we already have the front cover done, and we started the interior art a while ago. We are now fast-tracking the editing, layout and remaining art to get Implausible Deniability to you as quickly as possible - expect to see the PDF ready for download towards the end of the week after next.
We'll let you chaps and chapettes have a read, gather your comments, and then both Implausible Deniability and Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues (Remastered) will go off to print, and you should see them both arrive before Christmas!
So, what makes Implausible Deniability good (as an aside, the title of this adventure has been the subject of more discussion behind the scenes than just about anything else Paranoia-related, and we reserve the right to change the title right up until it goes to print!)?
Gareth has hit the nail right on the head with this one - the Paranoia 'voice' flows from him as easily as you and I breathe, he has grasped the new rules and made them intrinsic to the adventure and, well, the text is just hilarious. It is one of life's little joys to edit a good Paranoia adventure, and I have spent this week quietly (and not so quietly, I admit) giggling away to myself in the corner of the office as I have worked through the manuscript.
It is just brilliant. Here is the introduction:
Alpha Complex! Tis of thee I sing! What strange delights and wonders await in thy storied corridors?
Welcome, O Gamemaster of Above-Average Erudition and Absolutely Unquestionable And Not Even Slightly Peccable Taste, to Implausible Deniability, a three-part PARANOIA mission. No doubt you’ve already noticed the title of this section. Possibly you even paused, wondering if it was a reference to some obscure Beckett play, or perhaps a witty pun in Sumerian. In fact, it’s the literal transcription of the electronic noise that a Troubleshooter’s Cerebral Coretech makes when that Troubleshooter gets a new Direct Priority Message (DPM, if you’re down with the kids).
For the purposes of this adventure, you may find it useful to cultivate your own rendition of Bleepy-Boop-Boop. You might, for example:
• Have your phone or other electronic device to hand, so you can make such a chirp at will.
• Send all the messages in this book to your players using SMS or the messaging app of your choice, so their phones make a veritable celestial chorus of Bleepy-Boop-Boops.
• Have the Computer say Bleepy-Boop-Boop out loud, in whatever vocal style you customarily employ for in-character communications. A deadpan, monotone bleepyboopboop perhaps, or a cheery, customer-focussed super-enthusiastic BLEEPyBoop!Boop!
• Just grab the communicator sound from Star Trek.
We have now said Bleepy-Boop-Boop so often the words have lost all meaning, and we’re only a page into this bleepy-boop-boop-saga.
Progress marches ever onwards in Alpha Complex, under the benevolent gaze of the Computer and the threat of termination if the scientists in R&D fail to make their Brilliant Innovation Quota for this monthcycle. (Under such circumstances, progress would march onwards even if you broke both its legs.) Sometimes, progress produces inventions of questionable utility: The Reverse Grenade, the Solar-Powered Parachute, and Self-Heating Fun. On other occasions, even if the concept is sound (for values of sound that count Scrubots, Bouncy Bubble Beverage and Troubleshooters as entirely reliable success stories), there are problems with rollout and implementation.
In other words, sometimes progress trips, stumbles and falls across the corridor of history. And then that progress gets trampled into a bloody mess by the rest of the marching progress behind it.
So it is with the Direct Priority Message. The basic concept is, and hold onto your preconceptions, a good one for Alpha Complex. The basic gimmick is that it lets a suitably qualified middle-clearance supervisor broadcast a message to all citizens and bots near the Troubleshooter team. So, if the Troubleshooters are – purely hypothetical example – zooming down Corridor 75/A at the controls of a crazed TruckBot, the supervisor can broadcast a friendly ‘please clear Corridor 75/A’ message that bleepy-boop-boops into the consciousness of anyone in the way. The supervisor can send messages directly to the team. And, most important of all, it lets the supervisor issue orders to nearby systems. If the team need emergency access to a sealed corridor, the supervisor can direct the corridor door to open without having to fill out any paperwork/appeal to the Computer/resort to demolition charges.
What could possibly go wrong?
Here is what could possibly and does actually go wrong.
1. The system is buggy, untested and has a few flaws, the severity of which is directly proportional to your answer to the question ‘how hot does the interior of my skull need to get before it become uncomfortable?’
2. It’s also insanely hard to use. We’d make a joke about vi here, but half of you wouldn’t know what the hell we’re talking about, and the rest would write us angry emails about vi’s superiority to EMACS. Anyway, it’s really easy to screw up while operating the DPM control console.
3. The system only works on citizens fitted with the DPM modules. It also works on bots, but they interpret its instructions as direct orders from the Computer.
4. One of the other supervisors involved in the trial might just take advantage of the gaping security hole and send his Troubleshooter team to hijack a warbot.
Hooray for progress! It’s almost enough to make you nostalgic for absurdly non-functional R&D death rays.
What Comes Next
Don't you just want to inflict that on your players right now, eh?
So, to summarise:
- We are working on Implausible Deniability as I type this; the manuscript was delivered on time (actually, three days early), the artists started before that, and just across the office, it is being laid out, page by page.
- All going well, you will see the PDF version in a couple of weeks or so.
- Both this and Yellow Clearance will then go off to print, and they should be in your hands before Christmas.
- Much celebration will then commence in Alpha Complex as this Kickstarter project is completed!
As for Ultraviolent... if it turns up (by some Computer-given miracle - at this stage, we really, really do not expect to see it), we will print it, and a copy will be sent out to everyone who pledged for it, in addition to Implausible Deniability.
So that would be good.
As things stand though, we hope you will enjoy Implausible Deniability as its replacement (it really is that good), and I would like to thank each and every one of you for keeping the faith this long.
You truly are loyal Troubleshooters of Alpha Complex.