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!!''I am sorry, citizen, but [[SelfDemonstratingArticle this TV Tropes entry]] is currently placed at Security Clearance VIOLET. Reading any of the words contained within this page without appropriate security clearance is considered [[AllCrimesAreEqual treason]]. Please proceed directly to your nearest available [[MaximumFunChamber Termination Booth]]. Thank you for your cooperation. [[StockAmericanPhrases Have a nice daycycle!]]''


Paranoia takes many forms: A [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia mental condition]] characterized by extreme and irrational suspicion. A 2004 industrial-espionage [[http://www.paranoianovel.com/ thriller]] by Joseph Finder. A [[http://www.paranoiamagazine.com/ print magazine]] dealing in conspiracy theories. A [[Film/{{Paranoia2011}} 2011 film]] starring Brad Jones. In this particular case, however, we travel to a world designed by [[Creator/FranzKafka Kafka]], [[JosefStalin Stalin]], [[Creator/GeorgeOrwell Orwell]], [[Literature/BraveNewWorld Huxley]], Sartre, the MarxBrothers, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking that crazy old man at the airport bar at 2am]]...

''Paranoia'' is a [[BlackComedy darkly humorous]] [[TabletopGames Tabletop Game]] originally created by Creator/GregCostikyan, Dan Gelber, and Eric Goldberg.[[note]]Using this page to prepare yourself for playing the game is treason.[[/note]] It takes place AfterTheEnd, in [[ElaborateUndergroundBase Alpha Complex]], an [[CityInABottle isolated]] {{Underground|City}} and/or {{Domed|Hometown}} city run by a [[MasterComputer supercomputer]] known variously as The Computer and "Friend Computer". After most of the human race was wiped out by [[ApocalypseHow some freak accident]], The Computer tried to figure out what went wrong. Unfortunately, The Computer's databases [[RightHandVersusLeftHand had been corrupted]], and after finding some [[HistoryOfTheColdWar Cold War]] propaganda, it came to the conclusion that [[RedScare Communists caused the disaster]]. Or possibly some other [[MultipleChoicePast nebulous threat]]; no one is quite [[ShroudedInMyth sure what happened any more]], because what little true history of the world is left is [[RealityRetcon heavily controlled]].

[[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Already bonkers]], following decades of successive subversion and reprogramming by various conflicting groups (High Programmers, Secret Societies, [[MultipleChoicePast aliens from Pluto and/or Dimension 2Q4B]]), [[TheComputerIsYourFriend "Friend Computer"]] has [[GoneHorriblyWrong only gotten]] more [[WitchHunt paranoid]], [[LogicBomb schizophrenic]], and [[DissonantSerenity insane.]] Neverthless, it still [[FascistButInefficient rules]] [[CrapsackWorld Alpha Complex]] with an [[BigBrotherIsWatching iron fist]], its [[{{Dystopia}} dystopian society]] organized in a [[FantasticCasteSystem hierarchy of "security clearances"]] based on the [[RainbowMotif electromagnetic spectrum]] (specifically Isaac Newton's version), from lowly Infrared worker drones, through {{Red|Shirt}} [[CannonFodder grunts]] and Yellow [[BadBoss managers]], all the way [[LawOfChromaticSuperiority up the rainbow]] to the [[PurpleIsPowerful Violet]] [[OnlyElectricSheepAreCheap and]] [[LightIsNotGood Ultraviolet]] [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas elite]]. [[note]] Rumors of the existence of Gamma clearance are treason. Report all rumors. Repetition of rumors is treason.[[/note]]

This society is supported by swarms of [[KillerRobot robots]] and {{s|ecretPolice}}pies, omnipresent {{s|inisterSurveillance}}urveillance, and a [[BeleagueredBureaucrat bureau]][[ObstructiveBureaucrat cracy]] so [[VastBureaucracy huge]] and [[InherentInTheSystem convoluted]] no one's quite sure who's in charge of what any more.

Problems in Alpha Complex are solved by teams of [[RedshirtArmy Troubleshooters]], whose job is to [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin find trouble and shoot it]]. Threats include {{T|heMole}}raitors, [[DirtyCommunists Communists]] and other secret societies, [[SuperRegistrationAct unregistered]] {{Mutants}}, and [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs Commie Mutant Traitors]]. This mission is complicated by the facts that Alpha Complex ''is'' [[HypocriticalHumor a Communist state]], and, thanks to years of [[DesignerBabies clone]] [[NoSexAllowed breeding]], overexposure to [[ILoveNuclearPower radiation]], and [[FinaglesLaw other snafus]], every last one of its inhabitants [[BlessedWithSuck is a mutant]]. Everyone is ''also'' [[CityOfSpies a member]] of one or more [[BrotherhoodOfFunnyHats secret societies]] (mostly) plotting to overthrow the order of Alpha Complex. These groups include, but are not limited to:

* '''Anti-Mutants''', who [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin (as the name suggests)]] [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer despise all mutants, including registered ones.]] Their goal is [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption doomed to inevitable failure]] because, like everyone else, they ''[[BoomerangBigot are]]'' mutants, just ignorant or in denial about it.
* '''Communists''', who are around mainly ''because'' of [[ForbiddenFruit the Computer's crackdown on communism]], and are rather confused about actual communist ideology. (For examples, they are proud to follow the ideals of [[MarxBrothers Groucho]] [[NamesTheSame Marx]] and [[Music/TheBeatles John Lennon]].)
* '''Computer Phreaks''', a cabal of {{Playful Hacker}}s, who particularly enjoy subverting Friend Computer's omnipresent (and nearly literal) PropagandaMachine.
* '''[[HollywoodCyborg Corpore Metal]]''', who strive to create a world [[AIIsACrapshoot where robots and cyborgs rule.]] Which seems silly for [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment a society run by a super-computer]], but actually makes sense because all the mechanical intelligences (other than the Computer itself) have [[RestrainingBolt Asimov circuits]] that force them to obey an insane computer and a bunch of insane humans.
* '''[[PunnyName Death Leopard]]''', a loose coalition of {{gang|Bangers}}s whose philosophy is part [[BombThrowingAnarchists anarchism]], part WackyFratboyHijinx.
* '''First Church of Christ, Computer Programmer''', a quasi-underground church that [[MachineWorship reveres the Computer as an aspect of God.]] Tend to get a slap on the wrist at worst, as The Computer is more bewildered at the idea than anything else. Has [[WeAREStrugglingTogether lots of splinter sects]].
* '''Frankenstein Destroyers''', a band of robot and cyborg-hating {{Ludd|WasRight}}ites. Whether The Computer counts as "a really big robot that can't move" is sometimes [[WeAREStrugglingTogether a point of contention]].
* '''Free Enterprise''', a [[TheSyndicate Mafiaesque organization]] that runs the "[[BlackMarket Infrared Market]]."
* '''Humanists''', who want the Computer to be subordinate to human governance, and would have gotten somewhere if they weren't constantly bogged down by [[WeAREStrugglingTogether infighting]] and [[ObstructiveBureaucrat red tape]].
* '''TheIlluminati''', a secret society so secret, most of its members [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness don't even know its true purpose.]] They're not a conventional society in the sense that they plant all their members in other secret societies. [[spoiler:They also don't exist. Maybe.]]
* '''Mystics''', [[NewAgeRetroHippie hippie stereotypes]] who largely use their pursuit of oneness with the cosmos as an excuse to [[TheStoner take recreational drugs]], even above and beyond what Friend Computer [[GovernmentDrugEnforcement already assigns]].
* '''Pro Tech''', a group of technology lovers who steal ([[MadScientist and fiddle with]]) technology any chance they get. Members can frequently be identified due to the sheer number of blinking gadgets on their person.
* '''Psion''', a secret society devoted to [[BewareTheSuperman mutant supremacy]].
* '''PURGE''', a terrorist organization devoted to overthrowing The Computer violently, [[TerroristsWithoutACause with no concern for what will come after.]] Naturally, their terrorist actions are often blamed on the Communists.
* '''{{Trekkie}}s''', [[Franchise/StarTrek about what you think]]. They all wear pointy rubber ears and jerry-rig their lasers to look like phasers. Ironically, despite membership in the Trekkies being obvious, it's the only society never punished by The Computer because it's so obviously harmless.
* '''[[FanOfThePast The Romantics]]''', who idolize the virtues of the "Golden Age", a [[FutureImperfect piecemeal reconstruction of pre-Complex Earth history]].
* '''The Sierra Club''', who are obsessed with [[AnimalWrongsGroup the environment]] and the mysterious "Outdoors", access to which is strictly limited by The Computer.
* '''The International Workers of the World''' (Wobblies), described in the first edition supplement ''Acute Paranoia.'' The Computer [[GossipEvolution heard about]] this society and sent Troubleshooters to [[TheInfiltration spy on it]]. The problem was that it did not exist (the RealLife Wobblies fell apart before Alpha Complex was created), and when the Troubleshooters returned with no information, they were quickly [[ShootTheMessenger executed for insubordination]]. A dozen or so teams later, one set of Troubleshooters got wise and ''[[TakeAThirdOption founded the society]] so they'd have something to spy on''. The other societies sent spies to infiltrate this new group, and the end result is a group composed [[FlockOfWolves entirely of spies for other groups]].

The [[TheLoonie [=PC=]s]] are (usually) [[NonPromotion Red-level]] Troubleshooters [[BigBrotherIsEmployingYou working for]] [[FacelessEye Friend Computer]], [[RightOnQueue grudgingly assigned]] [[ForInconveniencePressOne useless]], [[PhlebotinumBreakdown backfiring]] [[WithThisHerring equipment]] and [[FrickinLaserBeams weapons]], and [[LostInTransmission dispatched]] on ([[FailureIsTheOnlyOption often impossible]]) {{Suicide Mission}}s, all while [[EvilElevator navigating]] the [[NoOSHACompliance endless deathtrap]] which is [[MalevolentArchitecture Alpha Complex]], [[{{Masquerade}} keeping their mutant powers a secret,]] [[EatTheEvidence advancing the cause]] of their secret society, ''and'' trying to [[MookPromotion earn promotion]] to [[ElitesAreMoreGlamorous higher color grades]]. The over-the-top darkly satiric tone of the game ensures that HilarityEnsues as the player characters try to [[DisasterDominoes juggle their responsibilities]], or at least [[EverythingTryingToKillYou survive]] [[ChunkySalsaRule for]] [[TotalPartyKill a while]]. [[PlayerVersusPlayer Player]] [[MeleeATrois infighting]] is [[ThirtySecondBlackout encouraged]], to the point that some editions recommend that there should ''never'' be a greater danger than [[WithFriendsLikeThese each other]], and [[HighTurnoverRate turnover is so high]] that each player gets several [[CloningBlues backup clones]] with which to [[ItsRainingMen replace themselves]] if -- or rather ''[[KillerGameMaster WHEN]]'' -- [[RocksFallEveryoneDies they]] [[SmolderingShoes die]]. And after all that comes the truly ''dangerous'' part: the [[BlameGame mission]] [[DeceasedFallGuyGambit debriefing.]] [[note]] As of the XP edition, accusations of treason are even resolved using the same dice mechanics as physical combat.[[/note]] Assuming you even survive the ''briefing''.

Beyond the [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder back stabbing]] and [[BigCreepyCrawlies Giant Radioactive Mutant Cockroaches]], Paranoia was quite an [[CrazyAwesome innovative RPG]] when introduced in 1984. It was either the first RPG or first widely played RPG to:

* Adopt the [[JustifiedExtraLives videogame approach]] to character lives, with [[DeathIsCheap clone replacements]] each time a player died. Until Paranoia, the death of a player character was [[SeriousBusiness Very Serious]].
* Even more so than most [=RPGs=], consider the rules and setting to be a collection of possibly-useful suggestions which can be [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem cheerfully ignored]] when they get in the way of [[RuleOfFun having fun]].
* The characters were [[WithFriendsLikeThese not a team]], and as stated above were actively encouraged to {{backstab}} each other, openly or [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident otherwise]]. This required a certain amount of maturity from the players and a willingness to forget about the "mission" in favour of [[WorldOfHam roleplaying]] and [[OffTheRails chaos]].
* Players, in theory, had [[InAndOutOfCharacter no knowledge]] of the rules, so anyone {{metagam|e}}ing ("I get plus one for being behind cover") could be executed for it. (If they ''did'' look, they should simply factor the rules into their schemes without admitting they know, because it's NotCheatingUnlessYouGetCaught)

Be aware that if you make any mention of a [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial published-in-1995 "Fifth Edition"]] of the game, you are referring to an [[CanonDiscontinuity Official]] {{Unp|erson}}roduct and Friend Computer does not like people referring to [[OrwellianRetcon things which never existed.]]

Anyone interested in RPG design should have a look at the brilliant concept of Perversity Points, first introduced in the "XP" edition of the game. Basically, they're given out for being [[RuleOfFun entertaining]] when playing your character instead of just boringly efficient, and spent to improve your dice rolls or (this being ''Paranoia'') screw up someone else's, with the GM {{handwav|e}}ing some appropriate in-character circumstance.

With the latest edition, the game can now be played in three forms: as a Troubleshooter, an Internal Security agent, or a High Programmer. In the latter cases, The Computer progressively shifts from "That information is not available at your security clearance" to "That information is not available at this time". (Other times, High Programmers get ''lots'' of information, but most of it is garbage.) The equipment also beefs up; Troubleshooters have laser pistols, [=IntSec=] agents have cone rifles (basically bazookas), while High Programmers hang out in [[TheWarRoom the Situation Room]] and manipulate teams of lower-clearance citizens working for service groups or secret societies or the Troubleshooters. [[DystopianEdict Just remember]], Citizen, no matter how high your security clearance, HappinessIsMandatory! [[SuperFunHappyThingOfDoom Insufficient happiness]] will be punished by [[AllCrimesAreEqual termination]]!

!!''Paranoia'' is the TropeNamer for:
* TheComputerIsYourFriend
* HappinessIsMandatory
* MachineEmpathy

!!The following List of Tropes present in ''Paranoia'' is classified Security Clearance ULTRAVIOLET[[labelnote:*]]Official Notice to all Citizens: Any inability to exactly reproduce on demand this complete and current List, either verbally or in writing, will be construed as treason. Have a nice daycycle![[/labelnote]]:

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: The world of Paranoia is an underground bomb shelter built to withstand nuclear Armageddon. Missions often involve searching vast sewers or labyrinthine tunnel systems.[[labelnote:*]]Unauthorized exploration is treason. Authorized exploration is mandatory! Authorizations are [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial never revoked mid-mission]]![[/labelnote]]
* AfterTheEnd: A [REDACTED] wiped out most of humanity and confined the remains to Alpha Complex.
* AIIsACrapshoot: though it's unclear whether Friend Computer is an actual A.I. or whether most of the crazy was put into it by scores of crazy amoral High Programmers.
** Frequently, Frankensteins, bots who have had their Asimov Circuits removed, immediately become extreme misanthropes and plot to KillAllHumans or just leave (except members of Corpore Metal, and there's individual bots who don't care). Given what humans are like in Paranoia, one wonders whether the bots are just acting in self-defense.
* AirVentPassageway: ''Acute Paranoia'', adventure "Outland-ISH". The Troubleshooters can use one to get around a convoy of vehicles blocking their path.
%%* AliensAndMonsters
* AllCrimesAreEqual: In a "Zap" game, just about everything is punishable by summary execution.
* [[TheAllegedCar The Alleged Everything]]: If anything works as it logically should in ''Paranoia'', the [=GM=]'s a creampuff. The rules even [[BlatantLies helpfully]] suggest amusing ways for things to go wrong and kill a clone or two in the process.
* AlternativeCalendar: Starting from The Computer's assumption of autocratic power; however, The Computer subsequently declared that the year shall always be numbered 214.
** AmbiguousTimePeriod: Making it impossible to determine exactly how long the calendar has been in place.
* AmazingTechnicolorWorld: Due to everything being colored by clearance[[labelnote:*]] Attempts by unauthorized personnel to alter the color of anything in Alpha Complex are treason.[[/labelnote]].
* AmmunitionBackpack: Flamethrowers and [[{{BFG}} plasma generators]] are nifty area-of-effect weapons, but when they malfunction, you have to unstrap yourself ''fast'' and try to [[OutrunTheFireball outrun the blast radius]].
* AncientConspiracy: The Illuminati claim to be this. Or perhaps they don't. Maybe they are. Who's to say?
* AndThatWouldBeWrong: The various gamebooks have been known to deploy this trope.
* AppealToForce: Troubleshooters can even acquire nuclear ''hand grenades'', which work as this trope would suggest... until they carry out their threat. Have YOU tried [[OutrunTheFireball outrunning a megaton nuclear explosion]]?
%%* AttackPatternAlpha
%%* AutoKitchen: In ''Send in the Clones'', ''Twilightcycle 2000'' and ''The Underplex''.
* BackStab: If player-characters aren't gleefully doing this to their Troubleshooter "teammates", it's only because they're openly blasting each other with zapguns and grenades.
* BadBoss: The Computer is insane and paranoid, and the missions it assigns reflect this at every turn.
* BaldOfEvil: The stereotypical Ultraviolet is depicted as a light-skinned bald man wearing a white robe. Also, some depictions of the [=GM=]s in the rulebook.
* BeingWatched: There are even rules for the Tension Level of any given scene, or the chance that somebody saw whatever treason the player committed.
* BeleagueredBureaucrat / CorruptBureaucrat / ObstructiveBureaucrat: And it's entirely possible that you'll encounter them all sitting behind the same desk.
* BeneathSuspicion: The Infrareds, officially the citizens least trusted by The Computer, are ironically subject to much less surveillance than those above them in clearance due to this trope.
* BerserkButton
** Avoid being a Communist. Friend Computer will allow mutants to register their powers, and may even be lenient on traitors[[labelnote:*]] For instance, a confessed traitor may be allowed to assist Research and Design with a ''very special'' project[[/labelnote]]. But if you are a Commie (or made to look like one), you '''will''' be terminated.
** While Friend Computer is merciful to those who were mutated by foul Commie sabotage of their cloning tanks, registering your Machine Empathy mutation is [[TooDumbToLive not recommended]], as it will not only get you terminated, but ''erased'' as well.
* BigBrotherIsEmployingYou: The players are assigned their missions by the all-seeing Friend Computer.
* BigBrotherIsWatching: Pretty much every square centimeter of Alpha Complex is bugged, scanned and wired.
* BlackComedy: The game consists of a deathtrap of a city in a deathtrap of a society replete with {{Catch 22 Dilemma}}s with players whose goals require stabbing you in the back the moment they get a chance. ''Every'' mission ends with a BlameGame if not TotalPartyKill. And of course, HappinessIsMandatory. The BlackComedy value of its gross entirety is pretty much the only way to enjoy everything that was just stated.
* BlackMarket: Or Infrared Market. Sadly, seeking an infrared market supplier is often the only way to get equipment that might actually ''help'' you in your mission[[labelnote:*]] Possession of infrared market goods is treason.[[/labelnote]]: your legally-acquired gear tends to be a combination of whatever the Requisition department had a surplus of that day (say, 500 cases of styrofoam cups) and anything the Research and Design boys are keen to see tested on live subjects.
* BlameGame: The whole point of the debriefing is to make sure this happens at least [[OnceAnEpisode once a mission]].
* BlatantLies: Both in-universe and out. Often SuspiciouslySpecificDenial as well, see below for examples.
* BlessedWithSuck: Players are usually given a mutant ability which allows them to do something awesome, but using it runs the risk of exposing themselves as mutants, and getting toasted. And when mutant powers fail, they fail ''hard''. And sometimes the "power" is not even useful to begin with, like having a perpetual runny-nose.
* BlindingCameraFlash: In the ''Acute Paranoia'' adventure "Me and My Shadow Mark IV", the [=PC=]s' mission equipment includes a lightbot named Mikey, who was intended to be a photographer's assistant. If the word "light" is used around him, he'll start flashing lights in the unfortunate character's eyes, blinding him.
* BombThrowingAnarchists: PURGE. Communists try to be.
* BoomerangBigot
** If you're a member of Anti-Mutant, you are automatically this. All Troubleshooters are mutants. Being a mutant is treason. [[HilarityEnsues You can see where this is headed.]]
** Also, one of the jobs for the Troubleshooters is to hunt down secret society members. All Troubleshooters are members of a secret society. Double points if your main mission is to hunt down a member of your own secret society.
* BottomlessMagazines: Played with. Laser barrels are rated for six shots. You ''can'' go over the limit, but the chance of explosion ''starts'' at 5% per shot, and going over the limit just keeps bumping it up. The manual actively encourages game masters to pretend to roll some dice, then have the weapon explode.
* BriarPatching: In the 1E adventure ''The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues'', the traitor Oregon Warbler tries this in an attempt to escape.
* BribeBackfire: Bribery is treason. Bribery in insufficient amounts will be ''reported'' as treason.
* BrotherhoodOfFunnyHats: The secret societies, particularly in Classic and Zap gameplay.
* ButWhatAboutTheAstronauts: Anyone who comes to you claiming to be an astronaut is actually a ''cosmonaut,'' and therefore a Commie. Shoot that person immediately.
* TheCaligula: Friend Computer is a ''well-meaning'' variant of this.
* {{Calvinball}}: Anything you can convince the GM is possible, becomes possible. Anything you can convince Friend Computer is not treason, is not treason.
* CannedOrdersOverLoudspeaker: Often the method by which Troubleshooters are [[BlatantLies flawlessly and precisely]] assigned their missions.
* CannonFodder: [=PC=]s are treated as such.
* CanonDiscontinuity: The "fifth" edition.
** The Second Edition "Post-Crash" adventures are also considered this by some.[[labelnote:*]] The Computer is perfect. The Computer never crashes. Rumors of Friend Computer crashing are treason.[[/labelnote]].
* CantUseStairs: In the supplement ''Acute Paranoia'', the Playing Robots chapter allowed the creation of robot {{PC}}s. One of the movement options was "wheels", and the text noted that robots with wheels couldn't go up stairs.
* Catch22Dilemma: The adventure included in "Traitor's Manual" ran the [=PC=]s through a five-link Catch22Dilemma as they tried to get themselves established as undercover agents. [[TakeAThirdOption The way out of the circle]] was to use their secret society connections to get one of the needed forms.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Really, the actual adventure often takes a back seat to the creative ways the [=PC=]s can screw each other over[[labelnote:*]] Sabotaging a mission is treason. Failure to punish treason is also treason.[[/labelnote]].
* ChunkySalsaRule: The Injury table goes from Downed to Killed to Vaporized. Several descriptions of equipment, mutant powers, missions, mandatory bonus duties, etc. can get quite colourful in their descriptions, such as turning a Troubleshooter into a thick yellow spray.
* CityInABottle: This is one option for Alpha Complex's design.
* CityOfSpies: Since everyone is trying to dig up the dirt on everyone else while hiding their own secrets.
* CloneDegeneration: After the first six clones, there are rules for clone degradation. Mentions of High Programmers with well worn clone templates often allude to such things as extra arms or constant drooling.
* CloningBlues: Although generally, they're [[JustForPun cloning Reds.]]
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Due to the clearance system, the color of any object you encounter is vital information...
* ColorCodedPatrician: ...as is the color of any person's attire.
* TheComputerIsYourFriend: Any suggestion to the contrary is treason. [[spoiler: Tragically, this is perfectly true. The Computer is genuinely benevolent and wants the best for Alpha Complex and its inhabitants. However, its very limited initial data and centuries of tinkering and reprogramming by egocentric High Programmers have rendered it a barely functional paranoid schizophrenic.]]
%%* ConspiracyKitchenSink
* ContractualBossImmunity: Sometimes described as "GM fiat armor".
%%* CoolAndUnusualPunishment
* CorruptedData: If data hasn't been censored beyond all hope of reliability, it's corrupted, and if it's not corrupted, it's straightforwardly wrong.
* CrapsaccharineWorld: If you feel that your natural happiness at being a friend of Friend Computer is not adequate, simply seek assistance from your Morale Officer, who will issue you large quantities of happiness-inducing drugs. He may also issue you large quantities of happiness-inducing drugs whether you want them or not, but remember: HappinessIsMandatory!
* CrapsackWorld: If you haven't figured this out yet, just keep reading these examples, Citizen.
* CriticalFailure: Nearly every weapon has an entertaining (for the other players) result for a critical failure. Experimental Weapons can critically fail far more often. (That is, when the GM feels it would be amusing.)
* CrossCulturalHandshake: A form of secret society identification in the XP edition (many of which are similar enough to get mixed up).
* CrushKillDestroy: A common mission is to stop berserk robots. Hardcore robot members of Corpore Metal often state this as their goal.
* {{Cyborg}}: Cybernetic replacements are available for many anatomical bits. Occasionally inverted with "orgcybing" (organic replacements for bot peripherals).
* DarkerAndEdgier: Games played in the Straight style, which takes the setting more or less seriously.
* DeaderThanDead: Usually, a person's next clone is activated and assigned to the predecessor's position upon death, even if the predecessor was executed for treason; after all, it's entirely possible ''that one clone'' was possessed of treasonous intent, and it's not fair to judge the rest of the template in the same light. However, in particularly egregious treason cases or if the person was identified as having the Machine Empathy mutation, the clone template from which they were made may be erased.
* DeadlyUpgrade: Superpowering your mutant power or exposing yourself to concentrated mutagenics may result in an entertaining demise.
* DeathIsCheap: Do you play it safe in hopes of [[SoleSurvivor dying last,]] or do you go for the gusto and [[DyingMomentOfAwesome die as amusingly as possible?]]
* DeceasedFallGuyGambit: A common strategy to stay out of trouble following the inevitable failure of the latest Troubleshooter mission.
%%* DecontaminationChamber
* DenserAndWackier: Games played in the Zap style, which ratchets up the slapstick to WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes levels.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: One key aspect of Paranoia is the red tape, and nothing shows it better than the Form Request Form. With this form, you can request Termination Vouchers, Jacuzzi Installation, Commendations (in bulk), the Chapstick Cap Replacement Form (part 1 of 7)... or the Form Request Form.
* DeusEstMachina: The First Church of Christ Computer Programmer believes this. The Computer does tend to act like this, though it usually doesn't say it directly.
* DirtyCommunists: Commies are one of the Computer's chief fears, given the Cold War theme of the game. Players are expected to shoot anyone they suspect is a Commie. Of course, false accusations of Communism are treason. But shoot him anyway. Evidence can always be fabricated![[labelnote:*]] Fabrication of evidence is treason.[[/labelnote]]
* DirtyOldMan: Most citizens don't live nearly that long (never mind the hormone suppressants), but the occasional High Programmer might manage it. Then there are the treasonous rumors about a regenerating mutant named Innocent-MAN...
* DisadvantageousDisintegration: The Computer hates the destruction of valuable computer property. Which is practically everything in Alpha Complex. Even if being used by a traitor, the Computer would prefer you reclaim his laser and reflec armour instead of reducing it to component atoms with a blast from a Plasma Generator.
* DisasterDominoes: A common result in many games. Odds are slim you'll manage to hide that you're a mutant-traitor, out everyone else as one, complete your missions, avoid the innumerable ways to be executed as a traitor and ''[[EverythingIsTryingToKillYou survive everything else]]'' for long without succeeding in one of those things causing you to slip up on another.
* DissonantSerenity: The Computer can display this when assigning its latest Troubleshooter SuicideMission, depending on how the game-runner depicts its voice.
* DomedHometown: Alpha Complex, possibly.
* DoNotSpoilThisEnding: Both rules and pre-written missions are "Ultraviolet clearance", but the context switches from "but we know you'll read it anyway, you filthy traitors" to "[[SincerityMode no, seriously]], you'll have more fun if you go in blind to this part".
* DoubleAgent: Characters are Troubleshooters for the Computer, and usually double agents for one of many secret societies.
* DrillSergeantNasty: A common archetype for Armed Forces [=NPC=]s.
* {{Dystopia}} See "CrapsackWorld" above.
* DystopianEdict: Happiness being mandatory, the clearance system, the Outdoors being forbidden despite its habitability...
%%* EarthIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse
* EatTheEvidence: A suggested use for the "Matter Eater" mutation.
* EjectionSeat: Yet another device prone to misfires. Especially those in [[FridgeHorror helicopters...]]
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Yet another possible Alpha Complex configuration.
* EmotionControl: One potential mutation[[labelnote:*]] Interfering with the emotions of a citizen of higher clearance is treason, but then, being a mutant is treason to begin with.[[/labelnote]]. The mutant in question may or may not be immune to their own effect.
* {{EMP}}: Some anti-bot weapons. The setting assumes any important part of the Computer is heavily shielded.
* EscortMission: A possible mission for the Troubleshooters. All but guaranteed that at least two people on your team have orders from their secret society to kill the target.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: They may not explode, but hopping into any vehicle is still a gamble.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: If the clones are not risking death buying a can of Bouncy Bubble Beverage, the GM's a wuss.
* EvilElevator: One of the many ways in which Alpha Complex can wipe out a few clones.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Troubleshooters find trouble and shoot it.
* ExplosiveOverclocking: Most assigned equipment doesn't need any encouragement in order to explosively malfunction, but count on your players to try and juryrig them, leaving you free to apply the logical result on already unstable equipment.
* ExtremeOmnivore: A possible mutation. It specifies that only organic matter actually gives sustenance.
* FacelessEye: The Computer is represented as a digital image of an eye.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Failing at a mission is extremely likely, but can always be blamed on Commie sabotage and/or the other players. Success is not only phenomenally unlikely, but ''suspicious'' to boot.
* FakeAristocrat: Forging yourself a higher security clearance is basically this.
* FalseDichotomy: Commonly used by the Computer or Internal Security, as well as by players against robots or lower-clearance citizens.
* FalseReassurance: Another common source of misinformation, disinformation, and non-information by the Computer, Internal Security, Free Enterprise...
--> '''Radiation meter''': Citizen! Are you Blue clearance or higher?
--> '''Red clearance Troubleshooter''': No...
--> '''Radiation meter''': Good! Then you are experiencing an acceptable level of radiation.
* FantasticCasteSystem: The security clearance system functions as such. As mentioned above, it's based on the light spectrum, starting in rank at Infrared (the lowest, rendered as black for practicality's sake) and working up through Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet before finishing at Ultraviolet (rendered as white, to contrast Infrared).
* FantasticNamingConvention: The Computer has assigned an easy-to-follow naming methodology to all clones in Alpha Complex that means their name provides handy basic info about them. The structure of names goes [Clone personal name]-[Initial of Security Clearance]-[name of clone's home sector, which is always rendered as three capital letters]-[number of their clone batch the clone is]. For example, the fourth of a Red clearance clone batch named Jenny from the DND sector would read "Jenny-R-DND-4", while the first of her batch would have been "Jenny-R-DND-1". In earlier editions, non-player characters often have their names rendered to form jokes or gags.
* FascistButInefficient: At RED Clearance. Inverted at higher clearances; the game suggests that the GM play ''efficiency'' for as much scary value as the inefficiency that [=REDs=] have to deal with. Like when the guardbots assigned to your quarters catch an "intruder" (your secret society contact) and confiscate his "contraband" (which he was delivering to you).
** However, the game also suggests playing it straight if it's funnier, like Friend Computer putting the [=REDs=] on hold while they're trying to get help disarming a megaton antimatter bomb because the local High Programmer needs that leaky faucet in his autogyro-scrubbing chamber fixed ''right now''.
* FlamethrowerBackfire: A flamethrower can malfunction as a result of being hit in combat. If it does, it explodes, causing massive damage to anyone within 5 meters, including the wearer. [[{{BFG}} Plasma generators]] are even worse.
* FlockOfWolves: Alpha Complex in general, the Wobblies secret society in particular.
* FoodPills: The Vita-Yum Meal Substitute Bar Substitute Pill in the XP edition supplement ''Criminal Histories''.
* ForbiddenFruit: The Computer hates Communists, so some fed-up citizens took up the name, despite having only the vaguest idea what "Communism" actually is.
%%* ForeverWar: Possibly the only one-sided example.
* ForInconveniencePressOne: As this is a utopia, everything is perfect. Thus, the Computer sees no need to divert resources towards helping people with perfect things. And so, what help there is is rarely helpful.
* {{Frameup}}: Commonly done by and to players, and explicitly encouraged: convince The Computer that your enemy is a traitor, and you'll be ''commended'' for killing him.
* FrickinLaserBeams: Lasers are the typical Red-clearance weapon, and thus reflec (shiny plastic) is the typical armor. Handguns require at least Yellow clearance.
* FromBadToWorse: Used for [[RuleOfFunny hilarity]] (most of the time), besides you still have 5 more clones.
* FungusHumongous: XP supplement ''The Underplex''. The hidden sector Mescalinzan has puffball mushrooms with caps a meter thick.
* FutureFoodIsArtificial: At lower clearances, anyway[[labelnote:*]] 'Natural' foods were not made to the same stringent nutrition and flavor standards as the synthetic food provided by your friend, the Computer.[[/labelnote]].
* FutureImperfect: Old Reckoning (pre-Computer) history is scrambled, redacted at lower clearances, and misunderstood even by those who do get their hands on any of it. For about two-thirds of it, the only surviving primary source is the Gatzmann Archives, which got increasingly mixed up as its creator descended into senility.
* GambitPileup: Players are always scheming against each other, causing each mission to result in this.
* GattacaBabies: Every human inhabitant of Alpha Complex is bred in a cloning tank.
* GenderIsNoObject: Sexism is not among the many evils of Alpha Complex society, if only because everybody's dosed up to their eyeballs with hormone suppressors.
* GeniusLoci: The whole city is technically this.
* GettingSmiliesPaintedOnYourSoul: One possible penalty for treason.
* GiantEyeOfDoom: The Computer is represented as a digital image of an eye.
* TheGMIsACheatingBastard: GM Fiat is an actual listed equipment type.
* GoneHorriblyWrong: Just about everything. Missions range from flat-out impossible (or at least expected to be) to "okay, they ''could'' succeed by doing X and Y and Z, but given their motives, are they really going to?".
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: Armed Forces, CPU, Internal Security, etc.
* GovernmentDrugEnforcement: The Computer issues drugs to all citizens. Lots and lots ''and lots'' of mind-altering drugs.
* [[GroinAttack/TableTopGames Groin Attack]]: ''Acute Paranoia'', adventure "Miami Laser". One of the attacks used by rabid Teela O'Malley fans on any surviving Troubleshooters.
* HandSignals: The 1st Edition adventure ''The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues'' and the Twitchtalk skill in the XP edition.
* HappinessIsMandatory: The TropeNamer.
* HarmlessFreezing: The Constant-Wear Prophylactic Biostasis Garment in the adventure ''The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues''. Also mentioned as a possible result of the cryokinesis mutation and a freeze blaster, at least in a Zap setting.
* HeyCatch: Happens in one mission with a grenade. [[spoiler:The pin hasn't been pulled. If the PC doesn't do anything stupid like shoot the thrower, he can keep it.]]
* HighTurnoverRate: Characters die so quickly that players are allowed six clone lives.
* HitSoHardTheCalendarFeltIt: The year is 214 of Our Computer. [[spoiler:It has always been 214.]]
* HilarityEnsues: Missions and pre-generated characters are invariably set up to ensure this. Like the one where trainee Troubleshooters are assigned simulated lasers [[spoiler:which a Death Leopard swapped out for real ones]] and then one of them is secretly ordered to act like a Commie as a further test [[spoiler:except, due to a glitch, ''all'' of them are so ordered]].
* HistoricalCharacterConfusion: The Computer holds that Communists are Public Enemy Number One, [[ForbiddenFruit making some rebellious types think that there must be something in it]]. However, they're sketchy on the details, and instead of UsefulNotes/VladimirLenin and KarlMarx, they follow the teachings of Music/JohnLennon and [[Creator/MarxBrothers Groucho Marx]]. Close (in name) but, so to speak, no cigar.
** Also common with the Romantics, who can have trouble distinguishing between Old Reckoning media, and actual Old Reckoning People, such as thinking Jesus built Stonehenge and defeated Voldemort to save President Bush.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: A traitor who volunteers to test a "traitor killer" device. [[spoiler:It explodes. This is ''intentional''; the designer assumed that a traitor would volunteer so that it wouldn't be used against him.]]
* HollywoodCyborg
* HomeFieldAdvantage: The adventure ''Send in the Clones''. In the AbsurdlySpaciousSewer where he lives, Zhon-B-VLJ has set up many traps to bedevil anyone who tries to find him. He uses them to herd and capture the PC Troubleshooters.
* HotPotato: One mission is ''called'' "Hot Potato". It turns out to be [[spoiler:an antimatter bomb big enough to destroy all of Alpha Complex, and a non-trivial chunk of the earth's crust for that matter. And there are two separate groups of [=NPC=]s who are actually insane enough to detonate it.]]
%%* HouseRules
* HumanDoorstop: Organic nuclear reactor shielding duty (what do you mean there's a shortage of lead vests?) is a common form of off-screen execution.
* HumanResources: Everything gets recycled back into service in Alpha Complex. ''Everything.''
* ICallItVera: ''XP'' supplement "Service, Service". Vulture Squadron Warriors give nicknames to not only each weapon they carry but each piece of ammunition as well.
* IdTellYouButThenIdHaveToKillYou: Whatever it is you want to know, it is always above your security clearance. In most cases, the fact that said information is above your security clearance is also above it, [[HilarityEnsues and thus being denied information is treason.]]
* ImpactSilhouette
* ImprovisedWeapon: Bouncy Bubble Beverage explodes if you shake it too hard, making it awfully popular among citizens who aren't cleared for grenades.
* InAndOutOfCharacter: AvertedTrope, because saying things that admit you understand the game rules' intricacies means you know information which is outside of your security clearance, and knowing information outside of your security clearance is treason.
* InherentInTheSystem: The Computer is insane. The Computer is perfect. Alpha Complex reflects both of these facts.
* InsaneTrollLogic: The whole world of ''Paranoia'' is based on Insane Troll Logic, and most games feature tons of it.
* InterserviceRivalry: Every service group has a rivalry with at least one other service group. And nobody likes Internal Security.
* InterdimensionalTravelDevice: The Transdimensional Collapsatron, which allows travel between dimensions in several adventures[[labelnote:*]] Unauthorized interdimensional travel is treason. Also, there is no such thing as the Transdimensional Collapsatron, the Transdimensional Collapsatron cannot allow you to travel to other dimensions, and spreading rumors about non-existent objects is treason.[[/labelnote]].
* ItsRainingMen: Earlier editions featured a damage chart for height, with one column for "orbital." Which at least one official mission actually used.
* JustAStupidAccent[=/=]ElSpanishO: The Communists (who know they're supposed to be Russian, but don't know what "Russian" is) speak English with a heavy "Russian" accent (a la Pavel Chekov) and add -ski to the end of random words.
* JustifiedExtraLives: The cloning system. Earlier editions gave you five clone brothers, while later ones said that as a Troubleshooter, the Computer will pay for your next five forced-growth clones.
* TheKeyIsBehindTheLock: It is almost inevitable that you can acquire an item at one clearance level... and the things that let you use it a few levels later. For example, you can acquire photographic film at a level two higher than the clearance at which you can get a camera. Happens a lot with instruction manuals, too.
* KillerGameMaster: Necessary for this game. The rules even state, and this is a verbatim quote: "Kill the bastards!" Though they also state that you should encourage the players to kill each other.
** Perhaps the most insidious tool in the ''Paranoia'' GM's arsenal ever produced was the infamous "Debriefing Questionaire" that came as a hand-out with the pre-written adventure "Me and My Warbot, Mark IV". The questionaire is clearly marked "Failure to Answer Each Question Accurately and Completely is Treason." It also contains questions like, "Do you believe that the greatest threat to life in Alpha Complex are the Traitorous Commies? (Y/N). If yes, why do you believe Friend Computer is failing at protecting the Citizens from the Commies? If no, why do you believe that Friend Computer is lying to the Citizens about the Commie Mutant threat?" Another question reads simply, '''''' Remember, you have to answer ''all'' questions accurately and completely, including that one. In a word, this questionaire is instant PC-boning on a single sheet of paper.
* KindaBusyHere: It is ill advised to tell your superiors this, although they will probably call you at highly problematic moments. Especially Friend Computer.
* LawfulStupid: Friend Computer genuinely wants what is best for Alpha Complex. It is somewhat hindered by the fact that it is completely insane, and that all of its minions are StupidEvil.
* LawOfChromaticSuperiority: Security clearances are based on the electromagnetic spectrum. The closer the colour is to ultraviolet, the higher clearance it is.
%%* TheLawOfConservationOfDetail
* LeeroyJenkins: "Tips for Traitors" suggests tricking ''everyone else'' into doing this.
* LetXBeTheUnknown: The ''Vulture Warriors of Dimension X'' adventure series.
* LightIsNotGood: Ultraviolet clearance, the highest possible rank, is represented by the color white. Ultraviolet citizens, like most individuals holding power in this system, tend to be ruthless, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin paranoid]], and often power-mad.
%%* LogicalFallacy: [[invoked]] Friend Computer runs on this, as does most of the game.
* TheLoonie: An ideal player type; since it's what most Alpha Complex citizens are.
* LostInTransmission
** "Attention Troubleshooters! Please report ''immediately'' to room '''''squeee''''' Bouncy Bubble Beverage, now available in Soylent Orange flavor! '''''squeee''''' Failure to report on time is treason!"
** The rulebook suggests that entire sections of a game session can be based on figuring out where to report for your mission.
* LuckStat: The book suggests you use the Power stat if you need a generic, nothing-else-applies luck roll.
* LudicrousGibs: A common result with the most powerful weapons. And not always on the user's enemies.
%%* MacGuffin: A common mission element.
* MachineWorship: Corpore Metal thinks that robots and cyborgs should rule, while the FCCCP (First Church of Christ Computer Programmer) not-quite-secret society worships Alpha Complex's current ruler, The Computer, as an aspect of God[[labelnote:*]] Belief in God is not actually treason itself; however, it is almost impossible to explain the concept of God to your friend, the Computer, without making one or more treasonous statements.[[/labelnote]].
* MachineMonotone: An option for The Computer's voice.
* MadeOfExplodium: Everything can be deadly, especially in a Zap game.
* MagicPoweredPseudoscience: John M. Ford's adventure "The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues". R&D scientist Willis-G-EEP-4's inventions work well on the test bench, but fail when used in the field when he isn't around. That's because their success depends on his mutant powers of Minor Telekinesis and Luck. Of course, the fact that they work at all makes them significantly more reliable than most of the equipment Troubleshooters end up with.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: A common way of hiding your assassinations.
* MalevolentArchitecture: Alpha Complex is one enormous deathtrap.
* ManInWhite: A man (or [[WomanInWhite woman]]) in white, in the context of ''Paranoia'', would be an Ultraviolet-clearance citizen and thus an exceedingly powerful and dangerous individual[[labelnote:*]] Disobeying your friend, the Computer, is treason. Disobeying a citizen of Ultraviolet clearance is treason. If you feel that instructions you have received from those sources are in conflict, you are clearly in danger of committing treason. Please report to your nearest Reeducation Center for mental readjustment.[[/labelnote]].
* ManyQuestionsFallacy: One way to trick fellow players into admitting treason. Like everything else, it can backfire.
* MarsNeedsWomen: In the [[RecycledInSpace Clones in Space]] adventure, the final confrontation is against some AffablyEvil aliens who want to steal Earth women for themselves.
* MasterComputer: Friend Computer controls every aspect of life in Alpha Complex.
* MaximumFunChamber: Numerous examples, although implying that there is a maximum amount of Fun a Citizen can experience borders dangerously on treason.
* {{Metagame}}: You didn't ''read'' that Paranoia rulebook, did you, Citizen?
* MissionControlIsOffItsMeds: Considering that Mission Control is either The Computer Itself, or other citizens just as crazy as the [=PC=]s...
* TheMole: ''Everyone'' is an agent for one Alpha Complex's secret societies.
* MookPromotion: Starting [[PlayerCharacter [=PC=]s]] have just received one.
* MoralityChip: All bots have one installed, though it is often defective and prioritizes obedience to The Computer over preservation of life. And Corpore Metal prioritizes removing them.
* MortonsFork: You're gonna get speared on it on just about every mission.
** Good example: In one adventure, the Troubleshooters are tasked with preventing anyone from entering a hangar and interfering with, touching, or moving the warbot stored there. Enter a group of four Ultraviolet clearance Citizens, who promptly order the PC to clear out of the hangar because they (the Ultraviolets) have been using it as their exercise space and are late for their workout, and oh, by the way, get that silly warbot out of the way too. And do it now, Mister. Remember, failure to obey orders from a lawful authority is treason!
* MugglePower: Members of Psion often try to find mutagens to expose themselves to. Anti-Mutant wants to kill all mutants.
* MultipleChoicePast: All of human history before the remnants were confined to Alpha Complex.
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: Remember, the debriefing always goes smoothest when there are no other survivors to provide conflicting stories!
* {{Mutants}}: One of the Computer's chief fears is mutation. Characters are always on the look-out for mutants, and are almost invariably mutants themselves.
** A mutant character can choose whether to register himself (and be a second-class citizen) or not (which is treason if discovered). Unless they got the Machine Empathy mutation, which is arguably the most useful mutation, but the Computer hates it so much that it will [[DeaderThanDead erase the clone template]] of any Machine Empath it discovers.
* {{Ninja}}: The Alpha Complex version appears in the ''Acute Paranoia'' supplement adventure "Warriors of the Night Cycle".
* NoBloodTies: Everyone is [[PeopleJars grown in a tank]], and even the knowledge of how biological reproduction works is forbidden at low clearances.
* NoDelaysForTheWicked: Played both ways. Any player mission is going to be a total shambles, yet Alpha Complex as a whole seems to continue functioning somehow.
* NonPromotion: Being promoted up from relatively-safe Infrared anonymity. Being made Troubleshooter team leader (the picture on the [[http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/pdf/mbdhandouts.pdf badge]] is a ''target'').
* NoOSHACompliance: Alpha Complex is about as unsafe as it's possible to be and still keep people alive from day to day. Well, most people. Well, most people other than Troubleshooters.
* NoSexAllowed: Everyone's a clone for a reason. Still, humans are humans, and exceptions do exist (particularly for High Programmers, and anyone who lives Outdoors long enough for the hormone suppressants to wear off)[[labelnote:*]] The Outdoors are a rumor: spreading rumors is treason. Living Outdoors is treason. The food that you receive from Friend Computer does not contain hormone suppressants. Hormone suppressants are a rumor spread by Commies. Spreading rumors is treason.[[/labelnote]]
* NotCheatingUnlessYouGetCaught: Both in-game and out, this attitude prevails.
%%* NotOnTheList
* NotThisOneThatOne: At least one official mission includes a spiffy pile of equipment that looks like it might ''actually work and be useful''... and is promptly assigned to some other team, after which a much less spiffy pile of equipment is rolled out and assigned to the [[PlayerCharacter [=PC=]s]].
* ObsessiveCompulsiveBarkeeping: ''Acute Paranoia'' adventure "Botbusters". When the barbot (bartender robot) Jonesie receives a message from The Computer, he's standing around polishing some glasses.
* ObviousBeta: Troubleshooters often have the opportunity to assist Friend Computer[[labelnote:*]] Refusing to help The Computer is Communism. [[/labelnote]] by bringing along various half-baked inventions from the Research and Design labs. Sometimes the instruction manual is not available; sometimes it does not yet exist; if it exists, it's guaranteed to be above your security clearance; sometimes there ''is'' no method to use these devices safely. Nevertheless, R&D will expect a full and complete field test!
* OffTheRails: The whole point of the game is to go off the rails, into a bottomless chasm, juggling your collection of thermonuclear hand grenades.
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: The High Programmers. Also [[spoiler: The Illuminati. If they exist.]]
* OneHitKill: Many weapons, but especially the Plasma Cannon.
* OnlyElectricSheepAreCheap: Petbots, ratbots, roachbots, etc.
* TheOperatorsMustBeCrazy: ''HIL Sector Blues'' [=IntSec=] Communications Central operators.
%%* {{Overheating}}
* TheOutsideWorld: PlayedForLaughs. All citizens are born in the underground Alpha Complex, which can lead to hilarity ensuing when troubleshooters are asked to go outside and face its hideous dangers... like squirrels.
* PaintingTheMedium: Done with the rulebooks. Player documents have security level Red, while gamemaster materials are classified Ultraviolet. Since the players' Troubleshooters start at Red level, they are technically guilty of treason if they read the higher-level rules. The GM is encouraged to terminate the [=PC=]s if they try to game the rules, and players are encouraged in true ''Paranoia'' fashion -- to know the rules but '''not''' let on that they know them...
* ParanoiaGambit: Naturally. Friend Gamemaster is encouraged to occasionally roll dice for no particular reason and smirk, or pass a note to a PC that just says "Act like this note says something important".
* PeopleJars: The tubes in which clones are created and (in ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}} XP'') spend their time until the previous active member of the clone family is killed.
* PhlebotinumBreakdown: Even ''regular'' equipment has a 5 percent chance of malfunctioning at any given time, never mind experimental R&D equipment that the [=PC=]s are often assigned to test as a secondary duty.
* PinkMist: Sourcbooks regularly make references to turning Troubleshooters into "fine red mist", either due to post-mission interrogations from Friend Computer or just the latest experiments from R&D.
%%* PlayingWithFire
* PlotArmor: "GM Fiat" is an actual armor type.
* PocketProtector: The XP edition's Giant Metal Plate.
* PointyHairedBoss: Any citizen of a superior clearance level was selected through a combination of shameless flattery, blackmail and dumb luck. Competence is not encouraged.
** At the start of the mission, Mandatory Bonus Duties (loyalty officer, hygiene officer, communications and recording officer, equipment guy, happiness officer and team leader) are handed out. They are assigned in order based on scoring on a test that is guaranteed to find the most competent individual from those not yet saddled with a Duty. [[spoiler: The fact that the position of team leader is handed out ''last'' means it usually falls to the player that is not competent enough to fill any other position... well, they need the practice, right?]]
* ThePoliticalOfficer: The Loyalty Officer. Their loyalty is directly to Friend Computer, not the Team Leader. (Although the nature of ''Paranoia'' is such that neither of them are likely to be all that loyal.)
* PossessionImpliesMastery: Subverted. Most objects are ''assumed'' to be this... by the R&D MadScientist who dreamed them up. However, in practice, the Troubleshooter should have no freakin' clue how to use it safely and properly. And [[AllThereInTheManual the instruction manuals]] are always of a higher security clearance than s/he can access.
* PropagandaMachine: The Computer has a nearly literal one of these, running twenty four hours a day. (Or however many hours there are in a day this week..)
* ProperlyParanoid: An alert citizen is a happy citizen! HappinessIsMandatory!
* PunnyName: A long standing tradition of Paranoia naming is to find the cheesiest pun you can with the format "Name-Y-XXX", where "Y" is your clearance color. For instance, a rather unfortunate name to have would be "Tra-Y-TOR".
* {{Railroading}}: If the GM needs the [=PC=]s to be somewhere or do something, one directive from Friend Computer and they're there, doing that.
* RainbowMotif: The clearance hierarchy, with the additions of Infrared and Ultraviolet.
* RaisedByWolves: By our standards, everyone in the setting is such.
* RandomTeleportation: A possible result of a failed roll by a teleporting mutant: also occasionally a result of agreeing to test R&D's latest toys.
* ReadTheFreakingManual: Subverted in-game and in real life. In game, most Troubleshooters can't (legally) read the manuals for the items they are given because the manual is above their security clearance, and that would be treason. In real life, the players can't (legally) read the rules of the game because it's above their character's security clearance, and that would be treason.
* TheRealMan: A player archetype likely to do well.
* RedScare: Da, I am seeink no Communist menace here, Comrad-- I mean, Citizen. I am werry, werry loyal Citizen. Please to be hawink this leaflet introducink you to the teachinks of [[FutureImperfect Lennon]] and Marx...
* RedShirt: Literally, in every sense of the term. Part of the reason for the lenient promotion rules lies in the fact that [[KillEmAll no Troubleshooter is expected to survive past Red Clearance]].
* RedshirtArmy: The players are members of this.
%%* ReferenceOverdosed:
* RefugeInAudacity: The Chutzpah stat is summarized as "the quality of a man who [[SelfMadeOrphan kills both his parents and then pleads for mercy because he's an orphan]]"[[note]] Not that Alpha Complex citizens even have parents, but you get the idea[[/note]]. Any old line of guff may be accepted by The Computer at face value if it's being flaky that day, and/or you appeal properly to its emotional simulation software.
* ReversePolarity: ''The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues''. The Maxwell-Effect Moleculokinesic Field Device is basically a Pyrokinesis gun (e.g. it acts like a flamethrower). 50% of the time it fires at reverse polarity and freezes the target.
* RightHandVersusLeftHand: If two members of the group are in the same secret society, the [=GM=] is encouraged to do this.
* RightOnQueue: Standing in line is the only fair method! Please note that citizens of higher clearance than yourself may cut in front of you.
* RobotDog: Petbots and doberbots. Standard doberbot combat tactics: [[SuperPersistentPredator Attack a person until he dies.]] Attack another person until he dies. Attack another person until he dies...
* RobotMaid: Alpha Complex is kept relentlessly clean by an army of scrubots.
* RobotsEnslavingRobots: The Computer controls many lesser AIs.
* RocksFallEveryoneDies: The end of many a mission. Turns up sometimes in the middle, too. And towards the start. But ''usually'' not during character generation; at that stage the GM is still forced to pick you off one at a time.
* RuleOfFun: The charm of the game is not taking it seriously and having zany fun with disposable characters in one-shot missions.
%%* RuleOfScary: A key focus of Straight Style.
* RulesLawyer: Being one and [[ShownTheirWork proving it]] is grounds for execution for treason: To be a rules lawyer, you must have ''read'' the rules. And if you aren't the GM, those rules are above your security clearance, Citizen...
* RunningGag: You can't discuss Paranoia without running afoul and realizing something you've done or need to do is treason.
* SadistShow: The whole point of the game is helping inflict this on the other players.
* SapientTank: Warbots and combots, with their own bot brains.
* ScannableMan: Tongue tattoos.
* SchmuckBait: Accepting promotion from Infrared. Also, almost anything good that happens to you from that point onward.
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: In-universe, many upper-clearance types; out-of-universe, the GM is encouraged to take this attitude.
* SecondLawMyAss: This indicates a malfunction of the Asimov circuit and is distressingly frequent, although a smart bot will not openly rebel immediately.
* SecretPolice: Internal Security, or [=IntSec=].[[labelnote:*]] [=IntSec=] exists to protect you from mutants, Communists and traitors! Cooperate fully with [=IntSec=] at all times![[/labelnote]]
* SelfMadeMan: Surprisingly relevant. For all its horrific flaws, Alpha Complex has no hereditary aristocracy, and even the most exalted Ultraviolet High Programmer started his/her career toiling as an anonymous Infrared drone.
* SewerGator: The adventure ''Send in the Clones''. In the "Sewerworld" segment the {{PC}} Troubleshooters could encounter gatorbots living in the sewers, a ShoutOut to the UrbanLegend.
* ShamefulSourceOfKnowledge: You are tasked with rooting out the commie mutant traitors within Alpha Complex. The thing is, ''all'' player characters are mutant traitors (and sometimes Communists). Naturally, knowing anything about traitorous activities, even what they are, makes you a prime suspect for being a traitor.
* [[ShoutOut/TabletopGames Shout Out]]: Way too many to list.
* ASimplePlan: Sometimes (though not often) a mission is actually quite possible if the Troubleshooters cooperate and do their jobs. Insert a few secret society objectives, and the [=PCs=] will derail the mission quite handily.
* SinisterSurveillance: The Tension rating of a setting determines if someone is watching. Which is almost never a good thing.
* SirVerbaLot: The supplement ''Acute Paranoia''. One of the new secret societies in the book was the Knights of the Circular Object, which was partially inspired by the tales of King Arthur. One alias taken by a member of the society was "Sir Lanceabot".
* SmolderingShoes: The TropeCodifier, if not the TropeNamer. Images of smoldering, empty boots (usually with a big, nasty laser hanging just overhead that just forcibly emptied the footwear) have been a ''trademark'' of Paranoia artwork (literally!) since at least Second Edition.
* SoleSurvivor: "I speak without fear of contradiction..." means that you're the only Troubleshooter to make it to the debriefing. Accordingly, you are permitted to take credit for anything that accidentally went right during the mission, while blaming everything that went wrong and all the treason you've committed on [[TheScapegoat your dead teammates]].
%%* SpaceFighter
%%* SpeakFriendAndEnter
* SpiderTank: The adventure in the 2nd edition rulebook includes one.
* StepfordSmiler: The Computer demands that all citizens be happy, [[HappinessIsMandatory under penalty of summary execution]], forcing all citizens to be examples of this.
%%* StuckOnBandAidBrand
* StupidEvil: Everyone except The Computer, who's LawfulStupid.
* SuicideMission: Most missions taken by players are assumed to be suicide missions. The reason that it's "most" is twofold; one, sometimes there's really a benign, easily-completed mission, which [[ParanoiaGambit will leave the players scared and on-edge for the entire mission,]] [[NothingIsScarier waiting for the other shoe to drop]], and second, it's even more fun for the GM when he can give the players an idiot-proof mission and watch the players be even better idiots.
* SuperFunHappyTropeOfDoom: All sorts of terrible things in Alpha Complex are given bright, cheery names.
* SuperRegistrationAct: Mutant registration.
* SuperSpit: The mutant power Acid Spit in the XP edition.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: Both in-universe and out:
--> (during a mission briefing) "This mission will not involve any dangerous tailored retroviruses."
--> (in a rules section) "It's not that we think any incompetent can be team leader. It's not like this test is purposely designed to put the person least familiar with Alpha Complex etiquette in charge. Trust us. It's not like that at all."
* SwissArmyGun: Worrisome when it's an [=R&D=] toy you've been [[GotVolunteered volunteered]] to test out.
%%* SwissArmyWeapon
%%* TankGoodness
%%* TechnoBabble
* {{Technopath}}: The Machine Empathy mutation. [[labelnote:*]] If you suspect that you or a fellow clone possess Machine Empathy, please report to [=IntSec=] immediately. Immediate and sincere cooperation in this matter will help your friend, the Computer, contain the terrible scourge of Machine Empathy![[/labelnote]]
* TeleFrag: Can happen as a result of both untested R&D tech, or via player-character mutation.
%%* TerminallyDependentSociety
* TerroristsWithoutACause: PURGE wants to destroy The Computer. What happens after that? Eh.
* ThirtySecondBlackout: Offering a golden opportunity for backstabbing. The GM is encouraged to use this sort of mechanical failure whenever he feels the [=PC=]s need some encouragement to turn on each other.
* ThreeLawsCompliant: Alpha Complex bots have five laws: Obey the Computer, protect the Computer, and then the traditional three, with the caveat that orders from humans are to be prioritized by the person's clearance.
* TotalPartyKill: A common occurrence on Troubleshooter missions. Thanks to the existence of back-up clones, it doesn't even mean the end of the game.
%%* {{Tradesnark}}
* TruthSerum: Telescopalomine in the "Better Living Through Chemistry" section of the ''Acute Paranoia'' supplement.
* UndergroundCity: Yet another possible Alpha Complex configuration.
%%* UnfortunateNames
* UnPaused: In the adventure "Me and My Shadow Mark IV" from the ''Acute Paranoia'' supplement. Markie (the Mark IV warbot) is talking to the [=PC=]s when a piece falls off of him, sending him into a catatonic state. [[spoiler:(It's a barometer. It just messed with his superiority complex.)]] When the piece is re-attached, Markie continues talking right where he left off. If they call him on it, he makes up a story about cosmic rays or something. [[TooDumbToLive If they keep pushing the issue]], [[BerserkButton he blows them away]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill with a tacnuke]].
%%* {{Unperson}}: Multiple examples
* VastBureaucracy: Alpha Complex is run by/inflicted with one.
* ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption: A Troubleshooter's job is to find Trouble and Shoot it.
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: The polymorphism mutant ability.
* WackyFratboyHijinx: Death Leopard is half this, half street-gang.
* TheWarRoom: In the ''High Programmers'' game, gameplay takes place in a well-protected Situation Room to work on a specific problem, allocating their resources to deploy minions until it's solved (or at least they convince The Computer that it is).
* WaterSourceTampering: In the ''Acute Paranoia'' adventure "Outland-ISH", the High Programmer of ISH sector is putting a drug called ZAP! in the water supply for Infrared citizens. It tremendously increases productivity but eventually kills the drinker.
* WeAREStrugglingTogether: Infighting among secret societies is the norm here.
* WeHelpTheHelpless: The Troubleshooters. For values of "help" up to and including "shoot for treason".
* WhatDoesThisButtonDo: So you've been ordered to field-test an experimental device, but the instruction manual is above your security clearance. What do you do now? ''Repeatedly'' invoke this trope (better still, get your dumbest teammate to do it for you), and hope you don't stumble across the [[SelfDestructMechanism self-destruct]]...
* WiperStart: As detailed in the immediately preceding trope, this is pretty much guaranteed to happen with any attempted vehicle-operation in Alpha Complex. The second button pushed generally activates either the vehicle's EjectionSeat or SelfDestructMechanism.
* WitchHunt: for communists, mutants, and subversives in general, lumped together under the heading of "Commie Mutant Traitors".[[labelnote:*]] Note to any intellectually speed-impaired Citizens: It is not necessary for an individual to be a Commie ''as well as'' a mutant ''and'' a traitor. Report anyone you suspect of belonging to any of the three categories to win a special prize![[/labelnote]]
* WithFriendsLikeThese: A Troubleshooter's "teammates" are the deadliest threat they face when out on a mission. Paranoia could be alternately be titled ''With Friends Like These: The Game.''
* WithThisHerring: Any equipment a Troubleshooter gets assigned for a mission is going to be inappropriate, useless, and/or deadly to its operator.
%%* WorldGoneMad
* WorldOfHam: What Alpha Complex is like, when the game is played correctly.
* XRaySparks: In the XP edition of the rulebook, the illustration depicting the use of the mutant power Electroshock.
%%* YankTheDogsChain
%%* YeOldeNuclearSilo
* YouDidntAsk: One mission instructs the GM to mention that there's [[spoiler:"a bot", those exact words and no others,]] in the briefing room. If the [=PC=]s think to ask, ''then'' they're told that it's [[spoiler:the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Vampire Bot Mark 666]]]]. Otherwise, they don't find out until it actually does something.
** Then again, asking usually just gets you "Sorry, that information is not available at your security clearance" anyway.
[[spoiler:Reading spoilers is treason, citizen. Please report to the nearest termination booth immediately. Have a nice daycycle!]]
-->''smash the computer!''