A little-known Tabletop RPG from the early 1993, Pandemonium! took us outside our nice comfortable world...
All those things you read about supermarket tabloids? Backwoods lake monsters, alien abductions, Elvis sightings, they're all true. The players control Paranormal Investigators, or rather reporters for one such rag, The Weekly Weird News, after attaining Enlightenment. Besides simply being able to accept all the bizarre events most people write off as hooey, becoming Enlightened allows people access to unusual abilities like walking through walls and clairvoyance, as well as being able to call up the abilities of who they were in past lives. With these abilities the players are sent to investigate everything from bigfoot sightings to secret conspiracies.
Sadly the game found little support from the gaming public and was shuttered after the release of the rulebook and a single booklet containing premade adventures. Not to be confused with the 1982 Movie of the same name, nor the PlayStation 1 series of games of the same title, or the Books of Pandemonium. Or, you know, that place...
This tabletop RPG provides examples of:
- All Tabloid Stories Are True
- Backup Twin: An offered explanation for a quick and simple bout of reincarnation.
- Brought Down to Normal: Players can temporarily lose their Englightenment, and with it goes all their special abilities.
- Canada, Eh?: The Damnation Army adventure has the players traveling to Canada, where acting on any Canadian stereotypes will get their vehicle searched at customs
- Death Is Cheap: Since the game's going for humor, if a player dies their character undergoes reincarnation and the abilities they had as their old character become abilities they can access as their new character by recalling the past life.
- Da Editor: The GM is called the Editor, and the in-game editors have borderline superhuman stats to show they aren't to be messed with.
- Elvis Lives: The pack-in adventure has the players investigating why there haven't been any Elvis sightings for an entire month.
- The Illuminati: While secret conspiracies are all over the place, the Illuminati, (or the Bavarian Illuminati as the game insists on calling it) is the big daddy of them all.
- The Masquerade: Although it's achieved by most people having a particular state of mind which prevents them from believing in paranormal phenomena, which can be alleviated through alien technology or psychic occurrences. If a player loses their Englightenment, they stop believing in all the weird stuff.
- The Men in Black: And they are not your friends. Even Paranormal Investigators like the players don't know much about them, except they show up to suppress evidence of particularly dangerous paranormal events, and have abilities that make them more or less unstoppable. Their entry in the rulebook points out how experienced P.I.'s know to quickly get out of their way.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: One of the available powers.
- Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: Naturally, many an adventure can be woven around having the players investigate the activities of one cryptid or another. There's even a power in the game, Cryptozoology, that allows a player to identify evidence of one.
- Reincarnation: Everyone has a past life and can try to summon it up to make use of its special abilities (such as making rousing speeches as Abraham Lincoln or advanced mathematics as Albert Einstein). If a character dies, they're reincarnated and can do this with the abilities of the character they'd previously had. Villains have past lives too, but ones like Hitler, Ted Bundy and Richard Nixon.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Every character has a phobia of something. A few of the pregenerated characters are scared spitless of role-playing games.