In Nomine Revisited: the Computer’s Personality And History.

That’s all of it, folks.

The Computer’s Personality and History

Well, anyone who’s got this far probably played Paranoia obsessively anyway, so what’s the point? You all know that (feel free to sing along, folks) “the Computer is happy. The Computer is crazy. The Computer wants to make you happy. This will make you crazy.”

Anyway, for those who have never experienced the glory that is Paranoia, the Computer is an insane artificial intelligence running an underground city-state (Alpha Complex).  It has managed, thanks to obsessive use of both bad assumptions and corrupted data, to produce an extremely warped society. The Computer has the power of summary execution, and it sees traitors everywhere, but it still can’t quite manage to pull off either omnipotence, or omniscience. Heck, it’s lucky some daycycles if it manages to appear omnipotent or omniscient. This fuels the Computer’s paranoia no end.

The other thing about the Computer is that it wants everyone to be happy. Most Citizens do manage to be happy, thanks to a certain (read, “massive”) amount of biochemical therapy: the rest soon learn to smile like loons. Unhappiness is a sign of discontent; discontent is a sign of opposition to the will of the Computer.  And guess what opposing the will of the Computer is?

Fast learners, you all are.

Through the In Nomine Lens

Once upon a time, there was a Balseraph of the minor Princess of Madness. Said minor Superior was a victim of the early days of the War, alas; few of her Servitors were stable enough to carry on and seek service with other Princes. This particular demon seemed to be the exception; he ended up serving Beleth, Demon Princess of Nightmares, and he seemed untouched by his earlier Word. After a while, the demon was sponsored for the Word of Paranoia, and filled it well.

No one knew that he was really quite mad until this century, when the rise of tensions among humans also resulted in increased power to the Word of Paranoia. After a certain point, the Balseraph (who would never, ever tell anyone his name) grew strong enough to become a Demon Prince. This had unfortunate results.  The new Prince of Paranoia went to the edge of the boundary between Hell and the Marches; there, his madness fueled the creation of a new Principality, simultaneously existing in both the celestial and ethereal planes. 

He called this new realm ‘Alpha Complex,’ and infused it with his very being, becoming ‘the Computer,’ perfect custodian of a perfect society. Those demons and damned souls that came too close were drawn into his madness and accepted the roles he crafted for them, becoming the loyal (and not-so-loyal) Citizens of Alpha Complex. The demons that he has created have no memories of anything different.  And the new Computer shows no signs of remembering his past life, either.

Why don’t the Princes do anything about this?

The Real Reason

I don’t want them to.

The Fairly Believable Rationalization

They would, but Ethereal Tethers that are the size of a Principality don’t exactly grow on trees. The Computer has somehow manipulated reality to conform to his rules — and his rules can do ‘trivial’ things like dictate the appearance, memories, and behavior of its inhabitants. This is serious power, and none of the Princes want to destroy the Computer until they can understand and duplicate the effect.

Besides, Alpha Complex is kind of neat.

Paranoia and its characters, situations, stories, and world are (c) Copyright 1983-2001 by Greg Costikyan and Eric Goldberg. Used with permission.This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games. In Nomine is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.