One Off

I had one of those PARANOIA moments while out roleplaying last week. Asked what games we could run, I went through various options and mentioned PARANOIA. The immediate reaction – “Isn’t that more of a one off?”. Well, that rather depends, I suppose.

To go off on a tangent, my sons wargame. They wargame irregularly these days, as Magic seems the game of the moment, but they still do and cart their great black 40K boxes around filled to the brim with plastic figures. In the past, I have offered non-Warhammer models to them, fully painted, and been snubbed. ‘Yes,’ they’ll say, ‘it is a vicious flesh-rending android in disguise, but it doesn’t have a plasma cannon and a chain-sword.’ If the figure doesn’t fit the stats and equipment, they’re not interested. Even if you use the same not-right model for a whole unit – thus clearly identifying the type of troop they represent – it isn’t good enough. I could never get them to see the point. They could buy models from anywhere or – shock horror – make them or print them or something, and then it would cost so much to create a full army. Why link one thing to another when it’s all about creativity and imagination.

My roleplaying mind works the same way. Why can’t I run a Doctor Who game with the Gumshoe system? Or Star Trek with Traveller? Or Primeval with QUERP? And, why can’t I play a more serious strain of PARANOIA over more than one mission? Or with a different system? For a hobby about imagination, sometimes the systems create their own bottleneck to creativity, especially those systems with a ‘name’. Got a great system intended to run a game about a certain TV or literary property? Dump it and improvise. Create something new and pepper it with house rules to make it work – then note down those that really work and use them again next time.

So, yes – I’ll be running PARANOIA at some point. And, rather than running a one off, I’ll break the ‘rules’ and try for something a little different… another mission after I’ve finished the first one!

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