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Author Topic: Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised  (Read 27763 times)

RunningLaser

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« on: November 12, 2012, 10:57:28 AM »
Hi, the following was originally posted on another forum.  I was asked to re-post here.  I haven't finished this yet and haven't added much in a bit, but hopefully I will be able to continue time permitting.

I’ve been thinking of this for a while, and finally have decided to take the plunge and write a “Let’s read! The Palladium Role-Playing Game 1st Edition Revised”.

There was a “Let’s read!” here about Champions The Roleplaying Game (aka the BBB, and the thread is here if you’re interested) that had a very nice line at the beginning that I’d like to have my own version of-

“Palladium can be very polarizing. I cannot enforce anything, but I do hope that the posts are kept civil. It’s about The Palladium Role-Playing Game 1st Edition Revised and nothing more. If things start going south, I’ll bail. “

Throughout these posts, I will reference the pdf I bought online, which states that it was from the 12th printing of the game, and my book, an 10th printing (which is complete with house rules from the previous owner penciled in)

I’ve never played any of Palladium’s games, though I have many years experience drooling over them. TPRPG1ER (as it will be referred to from here on out) has been winning me over in a huge way. To players who have had experience with AD&D 1st and 2nd editions, the game may be very familiar to you. It’s been said that PRPG1ER can indeed be seen as the authors attempt to “improve” or heavily house rule AD&D. I can see that. There’s something about TPRPG1ER that makes me feel right at home. The game gives me the right amount of eagerness to play, a relatively easy rules set, and the feeling that “handwavium” is A-OK and encouraged. There are only two rules that I can think of in the book that the author is adamant that you adhere to- hopefully I will remember to bring those up at the appropriate time going through the book. Reading the book cover to cover for the first time (and this was very recently) it occurred to me that I found that fantasy rpg that I've been looking for the past 25 (and then some) years.


The book starts off with a blurb about rpg’s being fictional, and that the game is just there for fun make believe. The belief and practice in the occult is condemned. Guessing this was a general “cover thy ass” line for them.

There is no table of contents in the book, nor are there chapters. There are headers, but that’s about it.

The next page has a rather long poem about a group called the Defilers with a picture* showing the Defilers in all their glory. This was a group that KS GMed for. If you had any questions about what kind of games KS played, the pic would give you an excellent idea We have a giant, a wolfen, men in armor with guns, a robot, a man named Lt. Death, a little bunny rabbit and a bunch of others. A motley crew indeed. The picture is sweet, black and white, drawn and inked (I assume) by the author, Kevin Siembieda. KS’s art happens to feature prominently throughout the book and I figure now is as good a time as any to say that he’s a damn good artist. Most of his art here is pencil, and does a great job of conveying a fantasy feel. The other artists in the book are also very good.

*note- this picture and poem are not in the pdf of the game. I don’t know why it was left out, and think that if possible, should be put back in.

Next up is the official introduction for the game and a standard “what is a (fantasy) role playing game”, but with the assumption that you already know what such a game is and that the author will not plow over that same ground with you. I like that. Maybe it’s not “newbie-intro” friendly, but not every game has to hold your hand. Once past the intro, there is a small list of materials needed to play and then a glossary of terms which is about 3/4th’s of a page long.

We then get into character creation. Here we are introduced to the bare bones of making a character- attributes. There are eight attributes in TPRPG1ER- IQ, Mental Endurance, Mental Affinity, Physical Strength, Physical Prowess, Physical Endurance, Physical Beauty and Speed- with a description of what each attribute entails. Attributes are rolled via random generation, with your race determining how many dice you will roll for each attribute. Humans being the standard in the game, roll 3d6 for each attribute. Depending on what race you choose, you may roll more or less d6’s to determine those values. The author heartily recommends playing a character with lower than normal values.

One thing that should be noted is that there are no penalties for having low attribute scores- just bonuses for attributes with a score of 16 or higher. There is an odd rule for having naturally rolled attribute of 17-18 (but only if you used 3d6 to generate the number) or 12 (but only if you used 2d6 to generate the number). If the above circumstance happens, you roll an additional 1d6, add it to the number you rolled previously just for the purpose of consulting a chart to see what your bonus is. If I am reading correctly, you could have someone with an 18 PS(physical strength) with the same bonus as a creature with a PS of 24 if they rolled well on the bonus chart. They wouldn’t have the same stat, but the same bonus. If anyone out there can correct me on that, please do so. Anyway, there are different bonus’s that can be applied to skills (which are percentile based) or to other rolls (which are d20 based).***  I've since been corrected on this.  You just add the 1d6 to your total and go with that.

We’ll end this post with the next chart, the Racial Attribute Chart, which details the various races in the game- which there are many, and the amount of dice that each race gets to roll for each attribute. The chart also lists the average lifespan of each race and the percentage of cannabilism to be expected. There are thirteen races to choose from here- Human, Elf, Dwarf, Goblin, Hob-Goblin, Kobold, Orc, Ogre, Troll, Troglodyte, Changeling, Gnome and Wolfen. In my next post I’ll get into the different races and start touching on just what makes TPRPG1ER so damn special to me.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 11:02:24 AM by RunningLaser »

RunningLaser

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 10:58:55 AM »
(figured I'd put two of these up today)

Today is a good day, well aside from my jeep's water pump giving up the ghost and dumping life giving anti freeze on my driveway, I bring you another installment

Forgot to mention in the first post that TPRPG1ER is an all “all you need” book. As per the blurb on the cover it’s billed as “A 274 page fantasy extravaganza containing 20 character classes, 290 magic spells, 60 wards, 50 magic circles, character races, psionics, dragons and adventure”.

Again, there are 13 races that are available in the book (with a bunch more to potentially play in the monster and races section) to play along with a picture showing all thirteen standing in a group. There are a couple of paragraphs on the racial prejudices the races have towards one another, letting you know that while you want to play a member of that monster race who is in this for the greater good, other races will more than likely consider you evil and treat you as such. It then goes on to give a small historical overview of each race and here is where the game starts to shine for me.

The overview begins to give you an idea of what the race is, and how they stand in the world and how they tend to interact with other races. Humans appear to be the dominate race, but that’s being challenged. Elves were the big world power thousands of years ago, condescending and jerks to the other races, who got into a terrible war with the dwarves and both races are on the verge of extinction. Both races stand in the shadow of humanity and really don’t have a place to call their own. Goblins, Hob-goblins and Orcs are large in number (except for the hob-gobs) and a threat to humanity (as well as other races). Ogres are literally large Neanderthals. Kobolds are cruel mining people who get along with dwarves, eat gnomes and are exceptional craftsmen, surpassed only by the dwarves. Wolfen are your large anthro race of giant wolves, who once were scattered warring tribes but have since forged a very roman empire in the north. It’s the Wolfen who are humanity’s greatest threat at this point. They’re not evil, just another people trying to carve their own little place in the world. Troglodytes are a simple race of underground dwellers who just want to be left alone. Gnomes are nearly extinct as well, must be the kobolds and trolls eating them. Changelings are an asexual race that can assume any humanoid form within certain parameters. They have been hunted to extinction, though there are thought to be survivors still out there. Trolls are nasty giants who get along with dwarves and kobolds, but hate elves and humans. Then there are three other races listed, giants, faerie and dragons. Following this part is a list of the languages of the world and what races have a written language.

It may not mean much to most, but I like the fact that the game is starting to give you little tidbits of what kind of world you’ll be playing in. Right here is your first bit of flavor. The author does a good job with getting your imagination started up, of how things can generally interact. There's a lot of fantasy rpg's that feel bland and lifeless, TPRPG1ER is not one of those games.

Good thing we got a bit of flavor, because the next section deals with hit points. Your base hit points are determined by adding your starting PE (Physical Endurance) and adding the roll of 1d6 to it. Each time you go up a level, you roll and add another 1d6 to your hit points. Next are entries on recovering hit points through natural or magical means and going down in combat and death. Basically, if you are at zero hit points you are in a coma and near death. Once you are brought down to your PE value in negative numbers, you are dead with the only hope of changing that situation being resurrection. The rules also detail recovering from a coma and then lists optional recovery side effect charts for those looking for more detail.

Encumbrance is gone over in the next part. This being just being a few short paragraphs.

The next section has optional charts that you can roll on with percentile dice to determine things such as a character’s birth order, weight, age, social background (which can give bonuses to skills), disposition, racial and personal hostilities and land of origin. It’s worthy to note that we see our first picture of the world that is presented in the game.

The next few pages cover random tables of Insanity, to be rolled on if the character is subject to traumatic experiences. It details the different kinds of traumas and insanities that can manifest due to said traumas. It also goes over how the character can be affected by these insanities and what cures are possible (if any).

Now we go on to Alignments. There are three basic alignment types, Good, Selfish and Evil, with each having a further sub alignment type. All told, there are seven different alignments and here is where we encounter the first unyielding rule of the game. The author states that there are to be no true neutral aligned characters and then goes on to give his reasons for this.

He does a good job of giving you a nice range of alignments to utilize. I know that there are many people who do not like alignments or have any use for them, and I can understand where these people are coming from. However, I do like them and appreciate its’ inclusion. I always found that it was an extremely easy way to see what a character is about at a glance. Anyway, you are given a good breakdown of what a person of said alignment would or wouldn’t do. For the Good alignments we have Principled and Scrupulous. For the Selfish alignments (which is stated not necessarily evil) Unprincipled and Anarchist. Finally we have three Evil Alignments- Miscreant, Aberrant and Diabolic.

Lastly for this post, is the section on Experience Points. It is stressed that experience points shouldn’t just be awarded for killing things and taking their stuff, but for a whole list of things that enrich the role playing experience. The list seems useful and flexible enough for the GM to apply it to whatever situation they desire.

From here I’ll stop and continue on the next with O.C.C.s

Zachary The First

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 01:52:40 PM »
Awesome! Thanks so much! :)
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everloss

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 02:32:25 PM »
Nice.

About rolling stats; an 18 and a 24 will have very different bonuses - not the same, no matter what dice you used to roll.

If you roll high on your attribute, you get a bonus dice to add to it. Then you consult the chart. but a 24 will always have a better bonus than an 18.
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Zachary The First

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2012, 07:10:21 AM »
What strikes me in that first part is that consideration is given to the typical "monster" races, giving them a bit more dimension, and some potential player hooks for playing. It's also cool that the various races all have differing attitudes towards one another--it's not just the usual Elf/Human/Dwarf Axis of Goodness.

I always liked kobolds. Cruel, sadistic even--but terribly clever, and pretty well-organized.
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RunningLaser

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2012, 09:46:18 AM »
Here's another entry-  Feel free to make any corrections:)

*As a little aside- the rules for the game are scattered throughout the book. In some cases I will reference a rule that appears later in the book, but for the most part I will try to only bring them up as they appear. If it is something that appears later and if I can remember to do so, I will inform you that it appears later.

TPRPG1ER is a class and level game. The game calls character classes Occupational Character Classes abbreviated to O.C.C.. All told, there are 24 OCCs in the book, roughly divided into four groups- Men At Arms, Men of Magic, Clergy (which are considered Major OCCs) and Optional OCCs (which I’m guessing would be classified as Minor OCCs). Each class has a list of minimum attribute requirements in order to qualify for that class. So unless you roll well, there may be some character classes that are unavailable to you. Here’s a list of the following OCCS-

Men of arms
Mercenary Fighter Soldier Knight Palladin Long Bowman Ranger Thief Assassin

Men of Magic
Wizard (spell magic) Witch (devil worshiper) Warlock (elemental magic) Diabolist (circles/symbols) Summoner (demonology) Mind Mage (psionics) Alchemist (Non-player class)

Clergy
Priest/Priestess Druid Shaman Healer

Optional O.C.c. 's
Peasant/Farm/Stable hand Squire Scholar Merchant Noble

*Some of the classes are race restricted and these restrictions are listed further along in the book, towards the monsters section.

Continuing to the next page are explanations of the three major OCCs types, a brief discussion on attribute requirements and a four paragraph discussion touching upon skills, which are more fully discussed later in the rules. Here the author states that certain skills are not included in the game- those where the character would be expected to role play. So if you are looking for skills such as haggling, diplomacy i.e.- skills of a social nature, you will not find it here. Again, this is something that I am fine with, but others may not be.

There is then a paragraph on OCCs not just being a class you choose, but viewed as a way of life for that character. I believe this is done in an effort to explain the next part- multiple OCCs.

Multiclassing, as in having two or more classes being developed simultaneously, is not allowed in the game. Having multiple OCCs is. In a nutshell, once you gain enough experience to level up, you can “freeze” your old class and begin a new one. It then continues on with a list of nine rules for changing OCCs. From what I’ve been able to gleen on the web, early editions of the game did not have rule number 9 listed. Rule 9 states that there is a period of time that the character must practice their new OCC before they get the benefit of that OCC’s first level. The amount of time is equal to experience levels with Men of Arms having to equal 2nd level of the OCC and Magic and Clergy having to equal 3rd level of the OCC. My understanding here is that having multiple OCCs in earlier printings was open to abuse since you would still get the d6 roll for hit points starting a new OCC at level one (an easy way to build hp).

The intro to OCCs is then ended with a brief list of starting gold and equipment that each OCC should get when first creating the character.

TPRPG1ER jumps around in content. As we continue reading, we hit a continuation of skills.

In the game, there are two general categories of skills- Elective Skills (those skills that apply directly to an OCC) and Secondary Skills (skills that may not apply directly to an OCC- like cooking, dancing and so forth). Then we have a section on skill bonuses, improving skills, gaining new skills and how to make skill rolls.

Skill rolls are made using percentile dice with rolls equal to or under being considered successful. Some skills will have two sets of percentiles separated by a “/”. The first number indicates the general use of the skill and the second number the use of an additional area of knowledge related to that skill. The skill section is further fleshed out with the each skill getting an overall description of what it can be used for. Note that combat is a skill- more on this as we continue.

As we read on, here comes something that should make old time d&d players either smile or cringe (I was smiling). Reminiscent of the D&D Thief class, skill improvement in PTRPG1ER is fixed by level, modified only by an attribute (if applicable). The next few pages have charts showing how each skill you choose improves with each level. This means that if you had four 4th level OCCs all with the same skill, and all four had Identify Plants/Fruits and all four didn’t have any OCC or attribute bonuses, all four would have the same percentage in the skill (32%/34% for the curious). In the previous paragraph I mentioned that combat is a skill- it is, and each Men At Arms OCC gets their own chart for combat progression. Non-Men At Arms use a single chart. Weapon Proficiencies are also listed in this section and again, they go by a level chart. Depending on your skill level, there are bonuses to striking, parrying or throwing. There is also a level list for shields and missile weapons and oddly, a small list of shields and missile with stat lines and cost. This is not done for the other weapons until later in the weapons and amour section.

Now, here’s one thing that makes the set ability by level flat across the board awesome- it makes it very easy to create NPC’s on the fly. You need to make a 5th level Knight villain right now? Just take a look at the chart for the Knight OCC hand to hand skill and you have what you need. You can do the same for the other skills as well.

I’m going to end it here for now and next post on this will deal with the actual OCC’s as well as this part went on a little longer than I thought it would

RunningLaser

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 09:23:46 AM »
Much like the rules themselves, it looks like I will also jump around with information One thing that I should have mentioned right from the get go was the physical product itself.

TPRPG1ER is a 274 page soft bound book… that has a sewn binding. I’ve never encountered a sewn softbound book. I'm sure there are plenty out there, but this is my first experience with one. Mine was purchased used off of amazon a few weeks ago. The cover itself has begun to delaminate and my picking at it didn’t help, but with the wonders of clear packing tape it’s fine. My copy states that it is a 10th printing and it is heavily battered. It’s page edges are filthy- extremely noticeable when closed. House rules are penciled in (and if I can remember to do so, I will mention these house rules that the mystery gamer has entered in and additions they made as we read through) throughout the mighty tome. This book was rode hard and put away wet so to speak. Enough so that I bought another copy (also because I loved reading this book so much) that was in far better shape. My point is, this book might get the snot beat out of it, but it will hold up. My kids, 4 and 1 1/2 both like looking at the book and so far it's held up well to their use. If they tear it, well, I got that packing tape.

I completely forgot to talk about Weapon Proficiencies! Ugh… Briefly, they are skills and each weapon type- long sword, short sword, spears, long bow ect, has their own level list just like the rest of the skills. Very easy to navigate.

Now back to the read.

OCCs follow a similar pattern in how they are presented to you. First there is a flavor description of the OCC, followed then by types of armor allowed, what alignments are available, attribute requirements, elective and secondary skills (and any OCC bonuses that one receives for choosing that skill), and lastly an experience level chart which should be very familiar to anyone who has ever played D&D.

Generally armor allowed and alignments are quite unrestricted. So yes, you can have a wizard with a long sword and full armor, but they might get some penalties. Also, you could have a Miscreant Palladin roaming around performing nefarious deeds that fly in the face of their knighthood. There’s only a few OCCs that have definitive restrictions, with the rest having guidelines as to what is recommended, but not law. I’ll do my best to point these out as we get to them.

The first section of OCC’s deals with Men At Arms. The first OCC listed is the Mercenary. These are described as all-rounder fighters, those types who received no formal training, but through watching others and picking up what they could along the way, managed to gain some proficiency. Here is where we are also introduced to an aspect of TPRPG1ER- there are certain benefits and disadvantages that are given to the OCCS that have no mechanical boon or penalty. It’s up to GM/Player enforcement. As you read through the Mercenary and compare that OCC to the other Men At Arms(abbreviated to MAA from here on out), numerically the Merc falls a bit short. One advantage to the Merc is that they can come and go as they please and answer to no one. Other OCCs are more limiting in what they are able to do- i.e.- tied down with responsibilities.

The Merc is the easiest of the MAA OCCs to qualify for- a mere 7 in PS (physical strength) is all that is required. They are able to wear all armor types, get the least amount of starting elective skills for a MAA (but a good amount of secondary skills compared to others), but with the exception of the Thief, need the lowest amount of experience to level up. We get to the next form of balance that can be a hot topic for some- varied experience points required to advanced dependent upon OCC. To me it’s a feature, not a bug, but I’m just one drop in the mighty gaming sea so take it as you will.

Next in line is the Soldier. Soldiers are solid fighters with good training - a step above Merc’s in combat prowess. On the downside, they don’t have the come and go life that Merc’s enjoy, they are enlisted servicemen/women. Soldiers are generally told where to go, what to do and how to do it and how fast to do so. Failure to obey orders results in getting the boot or the gallows. The upside is training, a salary, a roof over one’s head, and equipment. There are no alignment restrictions, a table of salaries (pretty good size) different soldiers can earn, and a list of standard equipment a soldier can be expected to have.

Soldiers are not restricted in choosing alignments, can wear any armor, but wear what they are issued. Soldiers are also allowed to buy from sub-contracted armories where ever they are stationed. Further on is the both the elective and secondary skill lists. I do like how being a soldier implies that you are currently employed as one.

I like the flavor that is being presented in the OCC descriptions. It’s giving you ideas without burying you with them, just enough to get your brain in gear so you can do the rest.

I’m going to stop again here and when I resume again I’ll go over the Long Bowman and Knight.

RunningLaser

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2012, 11:09:17 AM »
Quote from: Zachary The First;599662
It's also cool that the various races all have differing attitudes towards one another--it's not just the usual Elf/Human/Dwarf Axis of Goodness.


I agree.

Zachary The First

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 11:55:58 AM »
You might be getting into this in a minute, but I think it’s pretty cool how the Men-At-Arms OCCs have a pretty nice combat advantage. A lot of folks harp in various fantasy RPGs on how the fighter types are eclipsed by magic types, but by giving the fighters the free parry in PFRPG 1e, I think that’s a pretty nice inducement to play a fighter. Playing in active/reactive combat (hit/dodge/parry), that’s a big plus, without getting into anything too fancy.

Attribute requirements….there’s a lot of gamers who allow a preset array of stats so this isn’t as big of a deal, but if roll your dice straight, qualifying for some of these classes is a pretty big deal in and of itself. Not all classes are created equal; that’s a bug or a feature, depending on your POV. I always found characters across the board still had plenty to do, so I didn’t mind it.

Anyhow, thanks for keeping this going, RL! Great fun!
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Bloody Stupid Johnson

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 06:55:41 AM »
Yeah I've never seen the interpretation of the bonus dice at 16-18 just adding to the bonus before - it should add to the base attribute (say you roll a 16, you pick up the d6 and roll say a 3, you now have a stat of 19). Yes its weird, but IMHO its still an improvement on having stats of 18/47.
 
Good thread and I hope it continues. Quite a few of Palladium's innovations have been caught up with by other games nowadays, like having skill systems and attack bonuses that add to rolls, but its still pretty fun, very gritty with all the armour degradation and parry rolls (and impairments if you lose too many HPs? Or is that not in the original?).
 
Love the multiple OCCs rules - I like multi-class characters and for me these find a sweet spot between old school D&Ds setup where dual-classing is difficult, and the madness of 3E where the 10th level dude can have 10 different classes and you need to add them in the right combinations and order. 2 or 3 classes is a good number and the system lets characters grow organically, so your noble who ends up in a sea campaign can take pirate levels or your assassin can have a religious conversion and become a priest.

One Horse Town

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 07:00:01 AM »
I was always tempted by the adverts in White Dwarf, but i never took the plunge.

Zachary The First

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 07:36:21 AM »
Bear in mind there were two covers for first edition, I believe. The first one, the crimson-and-black cover, was the earliest. The second (and later), with a knight combating a dragon while riding a pegasus (which possibly sums up the mid-80s in gaming as well as anything ever) was used in subsequent "revised" editions, up until the 12th (and I believe final) printing, in 1994.  





I love both, though I'm partial to the 2nd (knight-pegasus-dragon) cover. I don't believe there are a huge number of differences between the two, outside of the semi-infamous table that listed homosexuality as a mental disorder that disappeared from all subsequent editions.

The version available on DrivethruRPG and RPGNow is the Revised Edition.
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RunningLaser

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2012, 10:26:15 AM »
@ Zachary-  I have both covers as well, the red dragon and knight and the revised knight on pegasus fighting the dragon.  I like the revised better.  I think the sexual deviancy chart is stupid.

I’m going to try and explain something and hope that I get the right words to do it, so here it goes.  This is a game that will allow you to play a tank of a knight right beside a wide eyed stable hand and not apologize for the knight being a better fighter than said stable hand.  If you rolled good enough to become a knight, or even a Palladin, then you can bring a heavy hitter to the plate in mechanical terms.  Now nothing’s stopping that stable hand to pursue another OCC as soon as they are able to, and I’d recommend it, but it is what it is.  It’s not for everyone, but one of the beautiful things about the game is that it doesn’t try to be.  I’m glad it does what it does.


************  Long Bowman, Knight, Palladin- note on OOC skill charts

I wanted to mention something about the OCC skill list that each class has.   I think, but am not sure, that you can only choose from skills on that list.  If anyone knows different, please chime in.  Thanks!

The next OCC is the Long Bowman.  This OCC is a little bit harder to qualify for as one needs a PS of 10 and a PE of 12.  In this game, not just anyone can pick up a long bow- long bowmen/women have the training to use these powerful weapons.  No other OCCs can be proficient with the long bow, save for the Ranger.  I find that pretty cool.  Adds some mystique to a weapon that most people just look at as another bow.  We learn that LB’s are highly sought after in armed forces and often can dictate the terms of their enlistment.  They have no alignment restrictions and can use any armor, mostly preferring the lighter types.  According to the level charts, they look to be relatively close to the Merc in hand to hand combat effectiveness, although the Merc might have a slight edge.  Later in the book we learn that a long bow does 2-12points of damage while a regular bow is 1d6.  Naturally they also have a far greater range.

The LB has a decent selection of skills available and progresses in level at just a slightly more expensive xp rate than the Soldier.

The Knight OCC comes next.  While the text states that they are generally in the service of a liege, they are allowed to wander the land righting wrongs..  Knights are excellent fighters, definitely a cut above.  To become a Knight, you need to have IQ 7, PS 10, PE 10 PP 12., making them one of the toughest OCCs to qualify for.   They are privy to superior arms training and education.  Their experience level progression chart is the higher than the previous OCCs.  They can wear any armor and be of any alignment.

Knights have  a code and the code is provided for you.  Depending on your alignment would determine how closely one follows the code or disregards it.

Following the Knight we have the living embodiment of knighthood- the Palladin.  Palladins are the knights of myths- wandering the land righting wrongs (or if evil, wronging rights I suppose)  These men and women are the best of the best and the attribute rolls necessary to unlock this OCC back that up.  A IQ 10, PS 12, PP12 and PE10 are necessary to join the ranks of these mighty warriors.  They are the best hand to hand fighters here and have some  of the highest amount of skills available for selection available to them.  They also have the most expensive experience level cost of any Men At Arms OCC.  Like the knights, they share the same code, and like the knights, how they follow that code is dependent upon their alignment.  Palladins can wear any armor, but prefer the heavy types are most preferred.  

It’s interesting to note that the book states that Palladins follow the same code as Knights and are held to the same restrictions.  My guess is that this is inferring that while you can play a jerk Knight of Palladin who ignores the code, the rest of the world will take notice and it will affect you at some point.  

I’ll finish here and the next post we’ll get into reading about the final three Men At Arms OCCs, the Ranger, Thief and Assassin.

RunningLaser

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2012, 08:55:44 AM »
Before we get started, I’d like to mention a few things- mostly stuff that I overlooked earlier.  All OCCs get class skills that they don’t have to purchase.  Also, I got in another main rule book and the binding isn’t as good.  It’s an 8th printing and separating from the spine a tad.  Also, there is a loose thread, or a double thread in the center of one of the pages.  This one is in far better shape than my 10th printing.  Can print run make a difference?  Just a one off error?   Who knows- too little info to go by, but just wanted to let people here know. (as an addendum - since this was written, the 8th printing hasn’t gotten any worse, so that’s fine by me.)

The Ranger presented here is your classic woodsman/tracker/scout and unlike the AD&D version, is not privy to spellcasting.  There is latitude here with the kind of Ranger you would like to play.  Armor and alignment are not restricted- though Rangers do prefer the lighter armor types.  As stated earlier, they are the only other OCC aside from the Long Bowman who are allowed to be proficient in the use of a long bow.

Compared to other OCCs, the Ranger takes up the least amount of real estate in the book- a mere half page.  It also comes across as one of the more straightforward classes.  Especially when compared to the next OCC.

Here we have the Thief and this OCC has some meat to it, with the information taking about two pages (although spread over several due to art and so forth).  The only attribute requirement to be a thief is to have a PP 9.  They are not restricted in armor worn, although it should be a no brainer that lighter armors are quieter.  Thieves are restricted from any alignment that is good- the act of stealing prevents it.  The next portion of the rules go on to describing some of the benefits to being a thief, namely, thieves’ guilds.

What’s nice is that the game not only describes what a thieves’ guild is, but what they do and how they treat non-guild members trying to operate on their turf.  It then goes on to describe possible ways of joining a guild, sponsorship and the privileges of membership once accepted.  We are then treated to a very nice section on fencing stolen goods with how percentages of value for either being bought or sold on the black market modified by the rarity of such items (rates for determining prices for magic items are also included).  Also included are two lists of rates for services performed- one theft and the other assaults and assassinations.  Thieves are also the least expensive experience point wise to level up- just a hair under the Merc.

The final MAA OCC we have is the Assassin.  These are not just thieves of a different stripe, but brutal combatants whose job is to kill.  While being able to wear any armor (often owning several types), and doing so depending on the job, Assassins are restricted in their alignment choices.  They can only choose from the evil alignments.  Applicants to this OCC must have an IQ9 and a PP14.  While they perform most of the same services as thieves, they charge more for certain services- assaults and assassinations- their bread and butter.  Assassin guilds are not as involved as thieves’ guilds are.

In terms of martial prowess, the assassin ranks right up there with the Knight and Palladin.  

 (continuing on....)


The next few OCCs wouldn’t be in your typical game if I were to hazard a guess. A single page lists five Optional OCCs for use- the Peasant/farm or stable hand, the Squire, the Scholar, the Merchant and the Noble. These five classes would be the weakest classes in the game. They have some of the lowest numbers of class skills and the least amount of elective and secondary skills. Their inclusion would be a sticking point for some. I have my own opinion on why these classes are present.

I get the impression that they are here for those games where the players are starting off as something other than a more “advanced” character. These five classes are meant to be a rough overview of the more “regular” types that inhabit the world. You’d start off as a young stable hand and through your adventures, become something else- namely one of the other classes listed throughout the book. These would be the starting points for such souls before they were swept up into adventure. I don’t believe that they are here just so you can be a 9th level Noble- although I suppose you could do that if you wanted. A GM could require that all players start with these optional OCCs before moving on.

I’ll stop here and when I continue next, we’ll get into the next section of the game- combat.

Zachary The First

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Let's Read- The Palladium Role-Playing Game- 1st edition revised
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2012, 09:20:04 AM »
Certainly I think it’s possible that you’re right, that the Peasant, Merchant, Noble, etc. OCCs are included as “starter” classes. Certainly they don’t normally seem as inherently powerful on the surface. But I will say I have played games where a Merchant or Noble played right alongside an Assassin, Ranger, and Wizard, and had no issues whatsoever. That’s because I generally saw the Merchant as having his own niche in terms of haggling and having a support network through his guild that proved invaluable. No, he couldn’t sling spells like the Wizard or handle a bow as well as the Ranger, but he was the only one who could get them a boat out of the Western Empire on any sort of short notice. With the Noble, he was able to get into social situations and events that the others simply couldn’t.

I think even back then (though not to the degree we’d see with Rifts much later on), Palladium was admitting, “Yep, not all classes are created equal”. They essentially admit this when you think about the prerequisites for the various Man-At-Arms OCCs. I think there’s an inherent expectation in their products that the GM, not the product, is responsible for niche protection. That might not sit well with all gamers, but there’s something cool about starting as a Peasant that can eventually class to become a Mercenary Warrior. It builds nicely, especially if you’re playing a game featuring conscripts or the like.
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