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Author Topic: Thoughts on the Palladium system  (Read 941 times)

weirdguy564

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Thoughts on the Palladium system
« on: September 21, 2022, 12:33:09 AM »
I started out with Palladium system.  It was a bit rough around the edges as a rules system, and still is, but we got the hang of it pretty quick.

The main thing I took away from playing it was it beat D&D hands down once I saw another group of friends play that game.  They had THAC0.  We had Strike vs Parry/Dodge.

The second big advantage.   We had all the genres covered in one rules set.   We had anime Mecha Macross, post apocalypse After the Bomb, super heroes Heroes Unlimited, traditional fantasy, kung-fu action Ninjas and Super Spies, and the big one, all of the above mashed together into another super post apocalypse with magic and hi-tech Rifts.  You could even do space opera with Rifts Phase World, complete with Uber powerful Cosmo-Knights as stand ins for Jedi.  Or zombie apocalypse in Dead Reign.  A sort of Terminator vibe with Splicers via biology vs technology.  Even the Vietnam War, but using different rules than the other games.

However.  I’m older now.  I know what I like.  I’m not the fanboy I used to be.  If somebody wanted to restart a Palladium game group today I’m not sure it would appeal to me.  With the OSR and other game companies that put out tons of prducts, many for free, my library of games to choose from is insane.  I think I have enough to keep me busy.

Honestly, to get back into Palladium they need a rules lite core book, and each setting could just be an expansion to that.  I won’t hold my breath for that. 
Saying D&D is the best RPG is like saying Bud Lite is the best beer.  Maybe we shouldn't equate "popular" with "good"?

David Johansen

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2022, 12:43:04 AM »
The core of the Palladium system as seen in Mechanoid Invasion Book 3 and The Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game is great.  The problems start with Heroes Unlimited and continue to be compounded to this day.
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Ratman_tf

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2022, 01:14:08 AM »
What hasn't been said about Palladium at this point?

I like Palladium games settings, with the caveat that Siembieda has a very juvenile writing style, that tends to grate after a while.
The system is clunky as hell, and I've got a bunch of house rules to even get me to tolerate running it.

But man, giant robots fighting demons! Whizz! Bang! Pow!  ;D

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PulpHerb

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2022, 08:31:03 AM »
To my mind the secret to understanding the Palladium writing style is to remember KS originally published some indie comics and at one point set out to NYC to break into comics. After not having much success he went back to Detroit and started publishing games.

If you view Palladium's product line an attempt to recreate 70s Marvel and DC, but in RPGs instead of comics, it makes a lot of sense.

As for playing Palladium games, at least once every couple of years I get down my Palladium stuff to look at starting a new game and within a few days I get frustrated by the lack of organization and give up. I'm facing that temptation with HU right now.

Chris24601

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2022, 09:30:32 AM »
Palladium Fantasy 1e is as close as I get to something OSR. Robotech also saved me from abandoning tabletop rpgs entirely after my utterly toxic DM experience with AD&D. I’ve done some engraving work for Kevin back during Palladium’s 25th anniversary and had lunch with him a few times at Origins.

So, yes, I have a very sentimental attachment to Palladium Books.

Could the rules be tighter and things laid out a little better? Probably. But do they need to be? Probably not. The rules work perfectly well at the table regardless of how badly they might read. A good chunk of the appeal of Palladium is it’s genuinely old school with no “R” needed because it never went away.

Kahoona

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2022, 09:37:28 AM »
Love big Kev. Waiting for the next book.


Jokes aside. I love the settings, hate the rules. Nearly every table I've played at has a dozen house rules to make the game work for them. And even then it feels clunky. Despite that I love the Scavenger Hunt for making a character that's optimized. Finding the right skills that give certain buffs or other skills in the case of things like gymnastics. The many interesting vehicles and weapons you have to choose from and I do like the core combat rules. Being able to parry attacks is neat and fun.

What I hate however is you have these giant robots and mech suits. But you only ever use one weapon type until you run out of it (missiles) in which case you switch to your next best weapon. I would love the game that much more if it gave me a reason to use the 7 different laser weapons I have on my mech suit rather then just the highest damage ones every round. I also wish there was more variation of weapons rather then everything being 3d6 mega damage to 6d6 mega damage. Besides explosives. Since those have variation.

Side note. Palladium Robo-tech I still feel has the best character creation due to the MOC rules. Wish the  Rift books had stuff like that for the CS. Makes me sad. But despite everything I've said about Palladium. I still love it, even if I find the rules terrible at times. It's truly a game where you can do whatever you want with it.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2022, 09:39:00 AM by Kahoona »

3catcircus

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2022, 09:59:13 AM »
What hasn't been said about Palladium at this point?

I like Palladium games settings, with the caveat that Siembieda has a very juvenile writing style, that tends to grate after a while.
The system is clunky as hell, and I've got a bunch of house rules to even get me to tolerate running it.

But man, giant robots fighting demons! Whizz! Bang! Pow!  ;D



I dunno, I always thought it was too clunky. If you wanna have robots fighting demons, I preferred TORG (which has its own warts).

PulpHerb

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2022, 11:52:10 AM »
Could the rules be tighter and things laid out a little better? Probably. But do they need to be? Probably not. The rules work perfectly well at the table regardless of how badly they might read. A good chunk of the appeal of Palladium is it’s genuinely old school with no “R” needed because it never went away.

A decade plus ago I wrote that Palladium was the oldest living OSR company...yeah, you don't need the R but the point I was after is Palladium is the last big tie left to the early days of the hobby. Reading the last regular The Rifter (I haven't bought the recent annual) was a lot like ready my first issue of The Dragon.

While the rules aren't a barrier at this point, I think the layout is, although the big "Book of" series helped a great deal.

One thing that helps with the layout is to look at Palladium as GURPS more than D&D. You need to sit down, say "this is what is in bounds", and stay firm.

tenbones

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2022, 12:03:46 PM »
The core of the Palladium system as seen in Mechanoid Invasion Book 3 and The Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game is great.  The problems start with Heroes Unlimited and continue to be compounded to this day.

That was my literal experience back in the day. And I have deep love for Palladium... but that system just festered out of control.

Savage Worlds Rifts has got me back on the Palladium bandwagon, but only to re-buy their books for conversion. And yeah the dense dense setting material is just delicious.

tenbones

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2022, 12:06:34 PM »
What hasn't been said about Palladium at this point?

I like Palladium games settings, with the caveat that Siembieda has a very juvenile writing style, that tends to grate after a while.
The system is clunky as hell, and I've got a bunch of house rules to even get me to tolerate running it.

But man, giant robots fighting demons! Whizz! Bang! Pow!  ;D

Some of us are still fighting the good fight against those demons...

« Last Edit: September 21, 2022, 12:09:06 PM by tenbones »

TheShadow

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2022, 07:40:46 AM »
Could the rules be tighter and things laid out a little better? Probably. But do they need to be? Probably not. The rules work perfectly well at the table regardless of how badly they might read. A good chunk of the appeal of Palladium is it’s genuinely old school with no “R” needed because it never went away.

A decade plus ago I wrote that Palladium was the oldest living OSR company...yeah, you don't need the R but the point I was after is Palladium is the last big tie left to the early days of the hobby. Reading the last regular The Rifter (I haven't bought the recent annual) was a lot like ready my first issue of The Dragon.

While the rules aren't a barrier at this point, I think the layout is, although the big "Book of" series helped a great deal.

One thing that helps with the layout is to look at Palladium as GURPS more than D&D. You need to sit down, say "this is what is in bounds", and stay firm.

Regarding being the last old game companies standing, Steve Jackson Games is older than Palladium and still publishing The Fantasy Trip and GURPS. Chaosium is still there publishing RuneQuest and CoC. And Flying Buffalo, which was sold a year or two ago, was until the death of Rick Loomis still operating much like it had been since 1970.
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PulpHerb

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2022, 03:49:48 PM »
Is SJ Games older than Palladium?  Regardless, I think of them primarily as a board game company and their old school RPG was a recent revival. I mean, it is the second most I've spent on a KS, but the most was also SJ Games, for the mini-games of the 80s revival.

Chaosium is a better case for Old School RPGs older than Palladium, especially with RQ back home.

T&T wasn't in active development most of the period. That's sad as one of my big KS was Deluxe and it has long been my goto pickup game.

I still think a case can be made that Palladium is the oldest Old School RPG company that never gave up the faith.

Jaeger

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2022, 07:29:06 PM »
...
Honestly, to get back into Palladium they need a rules lite core book, and each setting could just be an expansion to that.  I won’t hold my breath for that. 

Palladium fantasy is a system that is in need of an honest to goodness streamlined and reorganized 2e. The system has good ideas, it's problem is that it started out a bit clunky and then just kept going. It needs to be pared down to it's essence, then rebuilt for each line up from there.

That will never happen. SW Rifts is evidence of that.
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TheShadow

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2022, 07:32:47 PM »
Is SJ Games older than Palladium?  Regardless, I think of them primarily as a board game company and their old school RPG was a recent revival. I mean, it is the second most I've spent on a KS, but the most was also SJ Games, for the mini-games of the 80s revival.

Chaosium is a better case for Old School RPGs older than Palladium, especially with RQ back home.

T&T wasn't in active development most of the period. That's sad as one of my big KS was Deluxe and it has long been my goto pickup game.

I still think a case can be made that Palladium is the oldest Old School RPG company that never gave up the faith.

You can alter the definitions to suit your claim that Palladium is the oldest surviving RPG company, even though  Iron Crown has been publishing Rolemaster since 1980, Chaosium Call of Cthulhu since 1981, Hero Games Champions since 1981, Flying Buffalo Tunnels and Trolls since 1975, etc. I grant you that Palladium is pretty unique on that KS has been doing his thing continuously since 1983 or so, as both a creator and a business owner with an actual staff and physical premises the whole time. The only real peer there is Steve Jackson, since 1981 although not exclusively an RPG company.
(I won't even mention FGU, which technically qualifies and last time I checked was still in existence. That's one guy in a home office who bought some games from their writers in the 80s and stubbornly holds on to the copyrights.)
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PulpHerb

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Re: Thoughts on the Palladium system
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2022, 12:54:29 AM »
You can alter the definitions to suit your claim that Palladium is the oldest surviving RPG company

I said oldest "OSR company" but without needing the R...not RPG company. It was a claim they are the oldest producer of a specific subset of RPGs, not RPGs in general.

Quote
even though  Iron Crown has been publishing Rolemaster since 1980, Chaosium Call of Cthulhu since 1981, Hero Games Champions since 1981, Flying Buffalo Tunnels and Trolls since 1975, etc. I grant you that Palladium is pretty unique on that KS has been doing his thing continuously since 1983 or so, as both a creator and a business owner with an actual staff and physical premises the whole time. The only real peer there is Steve Jackson, since 1981 although not exclusively an RPG company.
(I won't even mention FGU, which technically qualifies and last time I checked was still in existence. That's one guy in a home office who bought some games from their writers in the 80s and stubbornly holds on to the copyrights.)

Now, ICE is something more comparable to the actual claim I made about Palladium.  They have stuck to pretty much the same system which represents what I'd consider old school mindset about games.

Not sure why you're mentioning CoC for Chaosium in this context as Runequest, essentially the same system, is even older and was in your first post.

While I've been playing with Hero, through Champions then Fantasy Hero (which was the D&D replacement for one of the two groups I was in my last year of HS and the one I told to college with me) I don't consider it an Old School system, but a representative of the changes coming in the 80s. While I group GURPS with Hero in that sense, The Fantasy Trip is more like a hybrid step between the two mindsets.

Again, FBI has had T&T the whole period and competes in that sense, but T&T pretty much stalled sometime in the mid-80s and FBI focused on their core business, computer-moderated PBM games.

FGU is a weird case, but I'd argue qualify even less that SJG simply because of what you mention: sitting on copyrights and stock but doing nothing to create new products or bring in new fans most of the intervening years.