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The classic RPG of a darkly humorous future; Rebooted by James Wallis to be faster and even easier to play!
The classic RPG of a darkly humorous future; Rebooted by James Wallis to be faster and even easier to play!
4,380 backers pledged £217,517 to help bring this project to life.

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 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.


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    1. Matthew Sprange 8-time creator on

      Euansmith: I would beg you to read Implausible Deniability before you make any judgements - Paranoia will not necessarily 'click' for anyone but if it does for you, it will be with that adventure...

    2. euansmith

      I like the new title; though I've rather lost interest in the game since working out that the rules basically say, "Make stuff up". In a world that contains nice balanced games like "Blades in the Dark", this seems rather poor. Still I might get the scenario to run with another system or to see if it explains some clever wrinkle in the rules as written that has escaped my Infrared brain.

      If Mr Wallis is having trouble with deadlines because he is busy on other projects, then maybe he should learn to say no. If Mr Wallis is having trouble with deadlines because of personal issues, then I wish him all the best and hope for a speedy recovery.

    3. Douglas Bailey on

      I'm a great fan of Mr Ryder-Hanrahan's work; by contrast, I actively dislike John Wick's writing and design work, and agree that James Wallis is, sadly, no longer someone whose delivery can be relied upon. So for me this is entirely good news.

    4. Oli Palmer on

      Excellent update. Its a shame to hear that Mr Wallis couldn't sort himself out after several years of drama, but Im impressed to see you take a strong stand publicly highlight his actions (as opposed to trying to cover up or excuse his behaviour).

    5. Bill Wilson on

      vi is far superior to EMACS

    6. Edgar Burke on

      I think that's a great title! Don't change a thing

    7. Thomas Egebak on

      Obviously Mr Wallis is a mutant traiter and must be troubleshooted... perhaps a scenario about this? ;)

    8. Kimmo Kulovesi

      As far as I'm concerned, things turned out for the better this way, so there were no "bad news" in this update.

    9. Missing avatar

      Frank McKinney

      Well that is truly bad news, but with a heap load more good news on top of it. That sucks about a missing adventure, but looking forward to getting its replacement!

    10. Matthew Sprange 8-time creator on

      Blake: I would love to. But I probably shouldn't :) Probably best kept for a conversation over drinks at a convention sometime...

      Unseen Giraffe: Perhaps that is the proper collective noun? A Disaster of Players?

      Ross: Gareth is really knocking things out of the park for us at the moment - we are in the midst of releasing his epic Pirates of Drinax for Traveller...

    11. unseen Giraffe on

      Thanks for the update. You managed to head that one off at the pass. Kudos for getting the replacement sorted in advance. I feel Mr Wallis had done some damage to Mongoose's reputation. You have sorted that one well. Look forward to reffing the disaster that will be my group of players.

    12. Steven Leicester on

      Given Mr Wallis' disgusting 'Alas Vegas' Kickstarter this news comes as no surprise. I for one will never ever back another project he is in any way associated with.

    13. Matthew Sprange 8-time creator on

      Thank you, everyone!

      Adam: A while back, James told us that he thought Ultraviolent would be better if he did it alone. It was already seriously late, so we gave the nod to that, hoping to just see something. Anything.

      Gordon: I am afraid, as far as the Kickstarter is concerned, he is an ex-Art.

    14. Ross Meredith on

      Wait. Wait.

      You lined up Gareth Bleedin' Hanrahan on the sly? Gareth "Eyes of the Stone Thief" Hanrahan? Just based on the variety, quality and dynanism of that 13th Age megadventure I'm treasonously excited.

    15. Missing avatar

      Blake Steele on

      Given that James Wallis has been cut loose, would you like to give a more open account of exact;y what went on with the delays to the core project? I'm an ultraviolet backer and it would be nice to get a clearer picture of what went wrong, as we're waiting longer than anyone else while all the supplementary rewards are being written and published.

    16. Missing avatar

      Gordon Crozier on

      This is awesome! Thanks so much, great to get information and to hear you're not seeing us go without!
      Am I the only one that came on, panicked whether Art had seen this yet, half expecting a furious rant about how we were being ripped off and then felt a wave of relief that he got a refund?

    17. Missing avatar

      Adam M

      I thought John Wick was writing Ultraviolent? When did that change?

    18. Missing avatar

      Fredrik Lyngfalk

      This is above and beyond in terms of customer service. As a long time RPG player, delays and even dead projects is nothing new but a company that expects such problems and acts to reduce the issues in this manner I have never seen before. Considering that RPG publishing isn't exactly a cash cow, this has to be a burden on you financially so I want you to know I really appreciate your excellent handling of this situtation.

    19. Murray Lewis on

      Thanks for the update! It's a shame to hear about the problems with Ultraviolent, but I'm hugely thankful that - as ever - you've not only kept us up-to-date, but adapted to the situation to keep things rolling.

      Much respect.

    20. Shervyn von Hoerl

      Thank for going out of your way to have such a hilarious and clearly well written replacement prepared. I truly appreciate it. I am sorry the Ultraviolent has been such a point of stress for everyone.

      I am looking forward to reading all of this as a giggled my way through the excerpt.

    21. Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan on

      For what it's worth - I'm sure that James will deliver ULTRAVIOLENT in the fullness of time and that it'll be great. Sometimes, a project just takes way more time to come together than planned. I speak from experience: I knocked this adventure out quickly, but I'm months behind on another project that _should_ have been easy. Writing isn't always a smooth or predictable process. And while that may frustrate publishers, it is the fate of publishers to be frustrated, just as it is the fate of writers to be seized with inspiration for the wrong project at the wrong time.

    22. Michael Botterill on

      A real shame it has come to this, but obviously you guys have done the decent thing and are putting out something to replace it.