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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

System's We Play: Palladium


This was the first system I remember playing that had more than a single genre attached to it. For those that don't know what I mean, Palladium includes Robotech, Rifts, TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Heroes Unlimited, Palladium Fantasy and so much more. I believe Palladium may have coined the term "Megaverse", meaning that all the games in the system are interconnected. With Rifts, this allowed GM's and players alike to start playing in cross-venue games. People could play their mutants from TMNT into the world of Robotech or Rifts. This opened-up a large realm of possibilities that my fellow players and I took full advantage of.

My first encounters with the Palladium system was through TMNT. I remember making so many different mutants, from tigers to frogs and even a porcupine. There was even a memorial day weekend where to friends and I stayed in a mobile home outside of one of their houses to play a session of TMNT for the entire weekend. Those were the days.

Skills in the Palladium Megaverse were based off of a percentage system rather than ranks or dots. This made it very easy to understand where your characters strengths were. The method of advancement may be a bit flawed in some peoples opinions, but I think it works well.

Most of the games I've played in the Megaverse are:

Beyond the Supernatural: A modern horror RPG along the lines of Call of Cthulhu. Even though my group of friends didn't care for this game, I was able to create several of my favorite characters using is.

Heroes Unlimited: A superhero RPG. This also included Villains Unlimited and Aliens Unlimited. This was the source for all the superpowers you'd want to use in the Palladium system.

Macross II: based on the anime of the same name. The next line of the Robotech RPG several years after it had all but died-out.

Nightbane (formerly called Nightspawn): A horror RPG set in the year 2004 (a near-future setting when the game was released). It differs from Beyond the Supernatural in that the supernatural elements are not as hidden and more open. The series is placed after "Dark Day", an event where the earth was plunged into an unnatural, starless night for 24 hours, and supernatural entities infiltrated or subverted various governments and organizations across the globe.

Ninjas & Superspies: Based on both martial-arts and espionage movies with some science fiction elements mixed in. As Heroes Unlimited is the source for the superpowers, this is the source for the martial arts for Palladium.

Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game: A fantasy RPG set in a unique world, which was the home of Kevin Siembieda's fantasy games. The obvious pull for people who enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Rifts: Set primarily on Earth, four hundred years after a war-triggered magical apocalypse, opening dimensional gateways and heralding the return of magic, Atlantis, and numerous invasions by alien forces. Rifts is Palladium's flagship line.

Robotech: Based on the anime series of the same name. I grew-up on this cartoon and loved this game to death.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness: Based on the original comic books.

Something I recently found out was that Palladium is aggressive in preventing wide distribution of fan-made conversions of their games to other systems (such as the D20 System),
and also strongly discourages converting the intellectual property of
others into their system; while they cannot prevent it, doing so is not
allowed in venues owned by Palladium Books. Palladium also routinely
threatens legal action against fans who distribute conversions in other
venues by issuance of cease and desist
orders. When asked why Palladium was so much stricter in regard to
conversions than other game companies, Siembieda stated that the policy
had been adopted due to advice from Palladium's lawyers, to shield
Palladium from liability for conversions of other parties' intellectual

In the past when I've had to sell pieces of my collection to offset unemployment, I found that the books from Palladium never really held any type of second market value. I wonder if this is primarily due to an overabundance of books being printed by Palladium, or the seeming lack of interest the player community has in the system.

For around 3 years,  2 friends and I played in the Megaverse with multiple characters. Much of this was set in the Heroes Unlimited world. The above picture is what we came up with for a human version of the Invid's Royal Command Battloid from Robotech. If I remember correctly, this was modified to also run on modern or a nuclear fuel rather than what the Invid used.

1 comment:

  1. The other part of the market that has challenge is simply Pallidum has fallen out of style. It is a system that while interesting is highly flawed and seriously unbalanced, and is decidedly a product of its era (late 80s-early90s), and the culture of gaming has shifted and evolved so much that it is simply not a system that draws people.

    Which is a shame because while I am not fond of the system, they get some brilliant writers and write amazing world narratives.

    Reading this was a good memory though. Going back to the time when i was having some of my first gaming expereinces in diving into dark and intense worlds.


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