On The Air

(Steve Criddle)

GM Stuff

    What follows is a mission outline.  Unlike the missions you will find in books by West End Games, this is purely an outline.  Add whatever ingredients you like to turn it into a fully-rounded mission.

    This mission is best suited to players who like drawing maps and a bit of puzzle solving.  There are still plenty of opportunities for them to shoot at each other.

    This mission makes use of Dynamic Environment Mapping.  If you want to run this mission, you are advised to read that section first.


    This is a mission which features the activities of Communists.  Since one of the features of Paranoia is the fight against Communism, it seemed like a good idea to give the Troubleshooters some Commies to persue.

    The Communists of RAD Sector have decided it is time to educate the citizens of Alpha Complex.  They have set up a radio station which is broadcasting Communist Propaganda. The Computer has swiftly retaliated by ordering a nearby communications station to broadcast a jamming signal on the same frequency.  As far as The Computer is concerned, the problem is now solved.  All that remains to be done is for the Troubleshooters to track down the Commie radio station and shut it down.

    The mission seems pretty straightforward.  The Troubleshooters will be issued with a signal strength meter by R&D.  They go into RAD Sector and use the meter to track down the station and then shut it down.  (Read: blow it up).

    Of course, things are never quite that easy.  This mission has a couple of problems associated with it.

    Firstly, the jamming station isn't jamming the entire signal.  While most of the sector can no longer hear the radio station, areas near the radio transmitter can still hear it.  Because of this, the signal strength meter has no audio output (so that the Troubleshooters won't be exposed to dangerous Communist Propaganda).

    Secondly, the Troubleshooters won't actually be told about the jamming station.  The Computer doesn't want to appear totalitarian, so it doesn't tell anybody that the radio station is being jammed.  This means that the Troubleshooters will undoubtedly track down the wrong signal and shut down the wrong transmitter.

R&D Signal Strength Meter

    The meter issued by R&D is a rare thing indeed - it actually works properly.  R&D have preset the frequency so the Troubleshooters don't need to worry about that.  All they have to do is look at the lights to see how close they are to the target.

    The meter is very simple to use.  There are six lights on it, which light up to indicate signal strength.  The closer you get, the more lights you get.  The only (minor) drawback is that the scale isn't linear.

    R&D know that the Troubleshooters will be issued an autocar for this mission, so they have fitted the unit into an autocar for them.  The unit is fitted in front of the front passenger.

RAD Sector

    The map below shows the location of the two transmitters, and the associated signal strengths.  The Troubleshooters enter on the left-hand side of the sector, where the blue line is, and the other blue lines are other exits from the sector.

    The squares represent buildings, and the lines represent where the roads may be.  Use Dynamic Environment Mapping to map out the roads in the sector as the Troubleshooters explore it.  The rings show the signal strengths the Troubleshooters encounter as they close in on the target.  The only time they will get a signal strength of 6 is when they are halfway between intersections and right next to the building housing the transmitter.  All they have to do then is figure out which side of the road the signal is coming from.

    The grey and white colours are purely to help you to determine the signal strength.  They don't signify anything other than that.

    As the team drive around, let them argue as much as they like over which way to go.  The final decision should always be made by the driver - since he's the one controlling the autocar.

    Feel free to add whatever random encounters you want.

    There are several possible outcomes:

    • The Troubleshooters figure out they have two targets.  If this happens, it is left to the GM to decide whether they manage to pick the correct target.

    • The Troubleshooters destroy the wrong target.  If this happens, you can let the Troubleshooters go back for their debriefing - only to be sent straight back out to disable the right target.  Alternatively, you can let the Troubleshooters notice the Signal Strength Meter is still showing a reading after they have destroyed the first target.

    • The Troubleshooters somehow drive around the wrong target and turn up at the right target without realising what they've done.  If this happens, you can simply swap the targets over.  If the Troubleshooters don't know there's another target, they won't know if you swap them over.

    Once the Troubleshooters have disabled one transmitter, don't forget to ignore the effects of that transmitter when they use the Signal Strength Meter subsequently.

Paranoia and The Computer logo are registered trademarks of West End Games
Authors of submitted items are indicated where appropriate
All other text and graphics by Steve Criddle