Paranoia, the new ketchup

A quick word about creating Paranoia, it can easily be overdone and completely destroy your game. Paranoia is a topic that I do like to pepper into my game, but there are degrees. If you're PC's spend the entire game completely on the run from the law and unable to trust any NPC's whatsoever, then you aren't playing the game fairly. While this can be tons of fun for the DM, PC's get really fed up with it quickly and get discouraged.

Subtle paranoia is best, especially if you want to really bring something within the story to light, which leads to my first point, Make sure that the paranoia that you create within your players is directly related to the story that you are telling. An element of it.

A murderer seems to be following the party around, no matter what village they go to somebody turns up dead, is it somebody in their own party, or perhaps an old enemy that is stalking them? An assignment to deliver an important message to a politically powerful NPC, upon arriving to his fortress they are invited to stay the night while the NPC writes a response to the person who hired them, but this turns into a few days before the PC's realize that they aren't guests, but political prisoners. PC's are admitted into an insane asylum, perhaps they are hired with transporting a prisoner but find out that a mistake was made and now they are locked in with the inmates and must some how prove that they are not insane to the Doctor who may or may not be a villain himself.

Turning the PC's into fugitives should be a last resort of the villain, you want to use it to emphasize the darkness consuming all before they win the game, destroy the evil and restore light to the universe. Reserve this kind of stuff for your BIGGER THAN THE BIGGEST GAMES, because it will be a long time before you get to try it again.

You can also spread paranoia with magic items, some have more uses then what is listed, perhaps a mystic Bastard Sword+2 also has a curse where it must taste blood once per week else it attacks a random victim on it's own. Be creative, don't just do the same thing over and over, repetition is boring! We aren't computers, that is the one thing that DM's have over videogames.


Anonymous said...

Good post. Too many hostile or backstabbing NPCs are prone to lead to player turtling; trying to keep the character as safe as possible and disengaging from anything looking vaguely threatening (interesting).

ChattyDM said...

Great addition to your previous Paranoia discussion in your villain post. I agree completely!

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