Finding the ‘Point

I have been mulling over using a new set of rules to run a PARANOIA adventure, transplanting the setting on to a new system. I have been quietly impressed by the potential of Hollowpoint (a violent game of action, ammo and adrenaline – briefly reviewed on my other blog) as the basis for game about capable characters facing potentially overwhelming odds in pursuit of a shifting objective. Yes, capable people – but, not necessarily well-informed or in complete control.

Hollowpoint boils down to achieving something without getting too bogged down in the business of initiative and hit points. First edition PARANOIA had lasers, sure – but the eye always drifted towards the cone rifle, the plasma generator, and the tacnuke. Why would someone worry too much about getting the right clearance barrel for the right colour Reflec, when you could wipe them all out with a well placed tacnuke strike? I mean… it’s the only way to be sure, right?

It seems to me, that the simplicity of the system and the ultra-brutal potential of the combat make Hollowpoint a potentially ideal fit for the concept. Mind you, I can also see the game needing to be set-up in just the right way. I can’t see a pure Troubleshooter game really working, because they genuinely don’t seem to have the right level of competency. At least, I don’t see them having the right level of competency straight out of the box. I could see them working at agents of Internal Security, however, and having the right resources on hand to get the job done. Perhaps, ORANGE Clearance, a little above the ‘rookie’, but nothing so significant as to make a great difference in the scheme of things. A Troubleshooter Agent can have the backing of an Agency that doesn’t need to worry about being questioned too closely about it’s motives and intent, because in the end a scapegoat will always present itself (or, at least, represent a tertiary Objective for the Agents to achieve in every mission they pursue).

I suspect you could have the game centred on Internal Security members themselves, but then again that might be too competent… and I can see IntSec reps as more sort of Operative level. When an Agent bites the dust and moves on, an IntSec Operative can step in to show the lowly Troubleshooter just how it’s done.

PARANOIA Hollowpoint becomes an act of outsourcing, providing moderately capable Troubleshooters with the weapons and support they need to accomplish the goals of their higher clearance supervisors. At the end of the day, the characters stalk the corridors of Alpha Complex to keep the citizens in line and suppress the threats of villainous terrorists; and IntSec plan to operate efficiently, effectively and without any dangling strings attached in achieving their objectives.

I’ll start to rough out the Hollowpoint essentials over forthcoming posts and then test the idea out on unsuspecting guinea pigs…

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2 thoughts on “Finding the ‘Point

  1. The Hollowpoint rules might also be good for running the Emergency Disaster Response Teams scenario that I contributed to Extreme PARANOIA. In that case, the (narrow) competence of the PCs is expected. Each character is very good… at doing one particular thing. And they are highly motivated to do that one particular thing even when circumstances DON’T call for it. Especially when circumstances don’t call for it.

    1. I’m going to have a look into that mission – cheers. Hollowpoint feels right as a fit for the game, but the need for competence tempers the characters (and roles) that might get involved. Agency represents my first step for Hollowpoint skin definition, so I will have some serious thinking to do. The Agency needs to be a guiding force without have much presence, and the character Agents must have a reason to work for it. The Computer doesn’t fit the bill, because near omnipresence makes It too accessible. A High Programmer might be less ‘present’, but doesn’t instill competence (and, indeed, probably favours moderate incompetence to provide an ideal patsy for ludicrous schemes). IntSec seems the best of the Service Groups because while it would like to be omnipresent it isn’t, and the Group doesn’t want to mess about incompetence because while a scapegoat would be handy it actually wants the job done.