[RPG] How to create a Prisoner’s Dilemma-style choice in Paranoia


A Prisoner's Dilemma, studied in Game Theory, is when two people are separated and each given a choice between options Y and Z. If both players choose option Y, they receive the best overall result (B). If both choose option Z, they receive the second-best overall result (C). If one chooses Y and the other chooses Z, then the player who chooses Z will get the best personal result (A) while the player who chooses Y gets the worst personal result.

A>B>C>D in order of how good they are for a player, and 2B>(A+C).

This tests the trust and co-operation two players have, so I think it'd fit in well in a game of Paranoia. How can I re-skin it to make it fit better into the setting?

I am hoping to embed it into the setting so it's a byproduct of the situation rather than shown as a Prisoner's Dilemma right at the outset. I'm not sure yet what stakes I'd want to put up, but I think I could go with anything that offers potentially serious consequences.

Best Answer

The PCs do something treasonous, e.g. use items they are not cleared for, talk to someone who is a traitor etc.

  • If one PC snitches on another, he gets a reward (credits or a nifty gadget) and the other gets a penalty (heavy fine or is terminated).

  • If they snitch on each other, they both get the penalty and no reward.

  • If they both keep silent, they both escape the penalty.