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Malleustein

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Kev' should probably never have been the boss.

But would anyone have put with Kev' as an employee?

Perhaps in an alternative world, he'd have been the genius creative director, kept focused and timely by more sensible guiding hands...
 

Bunch

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Kev' should probably never have been the boss.

But would anyone have put with Kev' as an employee?

Perhaps in an alternative world, he'd have been the genius creative director, kept focused and timely by more sensible guiding hands...
Kev needed what many businesses owners need. A co-owner who compliments their abilities. I think duos succeed higher than most individuals because it allows a nice balance between tight control and different opinions.
 

Malleustein

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I wonder if Kev' would have flourished or floundered if he had been answerable to a co-owner or partner from the start.

It would have needed to be someone with an iron will to keep him on track. Imagine what could have been...

As a throwaway question, when do folks think that Kev' and Palladium Books went out of control? I've always thought that right after the success of RIFTS and those fantastic early supplements we really started to see what would become the tradition of unfulfilled promises.

Up until then, it seemed to be late books and a somewhat creaky system due an update. DTP wasn't an industry standard, so none of the output looked bad, plus Palladium Books' stuff always had the coolest covers on the shelves.
 

Gabriel

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Unca Kev was always there in the background, waiting to take control.

Things basically went wrong somewhere in the mid-90s when he started half-assing everything, and it still sold well because he slapped Rifts on the cover. That just festered until the whole post-Crisis® thing of fans throwing money at him for nothing and otherwise praising him. Kevin was seduced by the dark side. He ceased to be Kevin Siembieda and became Unca Kev.
 

Malleustein

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I firmly believe that Palladium Books' early success (and for a small creator-owned/operated publisher they had great success through the eighties/early nineties) paved the way for Kev's blinkered view of the industry and his/his company's place in it.

The Crisis of Treachery® sucked for all involved, no doubt. But the company should have collapsed. Ideally to be restructured or bought out and the opportunity used to revitalize the game lines, with or without Kev'. But the fans confirmed (in Kev's mind) that he could do no wrong and keep their support.

It's a shame because post-Crisis® Palladium Books did get a motivational kick up the arse and release Dead Reign, which I think is great, but the momentum didn't last or was squandered on Robotech. The roleplaying game line was good, but Tactics became an industry joke.
 

Bunch

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For a long time I loved the Palladium books ideas and strongly disliked Kevin S. for his litigious nature. The later seems to have faded away so I'm inclined to like the company more now than ever. That said I wouldn't pre order a thing from them because that's just not their strong suit. Wait until it comes out.
 

Halda

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Unca Kev was always there in the background, waiting to take control.

Things basically went wrong somewhere in the mid-90s when he started half-assing everything, and it still sold well because he slapped Rifts on the cover. That just festered until the whole post-Crisis® thing of fans throwing money at him for nothing and otherwise praising him. Kevin was seduced by the dark side. He ceased to be Kevin Siembieda and became Unca Kev.

Yeah I would agree with this. Look at the older books Palladium Fantasy 1st ed, Revised Heroes Unlimited, BTS 1st ed etc. They were all compete in one book. Extra stuff came out but it was gravy to the base meal.

Look at Heroes Unlimited 2nd Ed. There were some cool additions to the various classes, especially the Physical Training and Special training ones. But the quick roll villians, magic creatures, guns (bar a section of gun caliber damage) and from memory military vehicles all went onto the Heroes Unlimited Game Master’s Guide. Same with a bunch of stuff from Palladium Fantasy 1st ed when second ed hit. It really culminated in BTS 2 which is a joke given the second two core books were never released.

You used to get a lot of bang for your buck in older 80's/early 90's Palladium, but it felt like even though the books got bigger you really didn't get any extra in them after the mid 90's. Now it was probably great for Unca Kev's bottom line for a while, but it really seemed to piss a lot of people off. For a LONG while in Sydney you had palladium stuff fall over the place, but gradually it shrank away to nothing as people just gave up on it. A few places got in Robotech when it was re-released and Rifts Ultimate Edition, but after the first couple of years of the 2010's they all just stopped getting it in. no more core books unless you special ordered.
 

Gabriel

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Over in the Game Balance thread, Black Leaf indirectly reminded me of something I've wanted to vent about for a while regarding Kevin Siembieda and game design.

Every Palladium book during the 1e Revised era had the justification of the experience system. That justification may still be in the more recent books. I don't recall. However, to summarize, the justification for the experience system is that it's realistic because that's what happens in comic books.

And this probably first appeared in Heroes Unlimited, so it does make a certain amount of sense there. What KS is trying to say is that he's using an experience system because he feels it emulates comic books.

But...

There was a podcast sometime after the release of Dead Reign. I guess this was somewhere around 2010. The hosts of the show asked Siembieda about his design process for a game and how he brainstormed ideas. And what was interesting is how he never talked anything about a creative process. Everything he spoke about and connected with "game design" was solely what I'd call business concerns. It was all about advertising, getting pre-orders up, making sure the book would pull in certain numbers, negotiating rates for art. I don't think he mentioned writing even a single time. It was really all focused on how much he had to pay to produce it and how much money he predicted the product would bring in.

And OK, maybe that's fair. He's a businessman. And he is still in business.

But then they got to Dead Reign. And this was far more interesting, because Kevin lit up. This was the moment of the podcast where it was visible there was someone who really did have some portion of his being who was excited about and interested in games. He wasn't just advertising the game. Instead, he was talking about a game he played.

Now, maybe he was putting on an act. Maybe he wasn't as psyched as he came across. Who knows. Since I can't point you to the podcast, all I can do is tell you that in this moment I felt Kevin was being genuine.

Then the most interesting thing happened. He started talking about a rule in Dead Reign. It seems in Dead Reign that zombies have shitloads of HP (really? In a Palladium game? I'm shocked), but a hit to the head will eliminate them immediately. The catch is that in Dead Reign, the aiming rules have been removed, and headshots only occur on naturally high die rolls (like a natural 20 or something). Kevin stated that he had severe misgivings about this rule and didn't agree with it at first. Setting aside that KS was claiming he had written this rule all on his own and it was entirely his creation, he clearly stated he didn't see the purpose for the rule. Then he played.

He stated that the rule in question made combat far more frantic. It added more tension. It encouraged players to spray fire in desperation, hoping for that lucky hit. He stated that this was the very first time he had ever realized that game mechanics can encourage players into genre appropriate behaviour and simulate genre reality.

He had been in RPGs for about 30 years. He had written a licensed game. This was allegedly the first time he had ever considered that mechanics reinforce setting, encourage player behaviour, and simulate the game world reality.

So, if you take that at face value... Once again, it's iffy if you ever can... Then the XP system of Heroes Unlimited isn't simulating comic books. The XP system of Heroes Unlimited is doing exactly what it says. It's realistic because that's what happens in comic books. It's not a genre emulating mechanic because KS didn't realize that mechanics could do that kind of thing.
 

Voros

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Over in the Game Balance thread, Black Leaf indirectly reminded me of something I've wanted to vent about for a while regarding Kevin Siembieda and game design.

Every Palladium book during the 1e Revised era had the justification of the experience system. That justification may still be in the more recent books. I don't recall. However, to summarize, the justification for the experience system is that it's realistic because that's what happens in comic books.

And this probably first appeared in Heroes Unlimited, so it does make a certain amount of sense there. What KS is trying to say is that he's using an experience system because he feels it emulates comic books.

But...

There was a podcast sometime after the release of Dead Reign. I guess this was somewhere around 2010. The hosts of the show asked Siembieda about his design process for a game and how he brainstormed ideas. And what was interesting is how he never talked anything about a creative process. Everything he spoke about and connected with "game design" was solely what I'd call business concerns. It was all about advertising, getting pre-orders up, making sure the book would pull in certain numbers, negotiating rates for art. I don't think he mentioned writing even a single time. It was really all focused on how much he had to pay to produce it and how much money he predicted the product would bring in.

And OK, maybe that's fair. He's a businessman. And he is still in business.

But then they got to Dead Reign. And this was far more interesting, because Kevin lit up. This was the moment of the podcast where it was visible there was someone who really did have some portion of his being who was excited about and interested in games. He wasn't just advertising the game. Instead, he was talking about a game he played.

Now, maybe he was putting on an act. Maybe he wasn't as psyched as he came across. Who knows. Since I can't point you to the podcast, all I can do is tell you that in this moment I felt Kevin was being genuine.

Then the most interesting thing happened. He started talking about a rule in Dead Reign. It seems in Dead Reign that zombies have shitloads of HP (really? In a Palladium game? I'm shocked), but a hit to the head will eliminate them immediately. The catch is that in Dead Reign, the aiming rules have been removed, and headshots only occur on naturally high die rolls (like a natural 20 or something). Kevin stated that he had severe misgivings about this rule and didn't agree with it at first. Setting aside that KS was claiming he had written this rule all on his own and it was entirely his creation, he clearly stated he didn't see the purpose for the rule. Then he played.

He stated that the rule in question made combat far more frantic. It added more tension. It encouraged players to spray fire in desperation, hoping for that lucky hit. He stated that this was the very first time he had ever realized that game mechanics can encourage players into genre appropriate behaviour and simulate genre reality.

He had been in RPGs for about 30 years. He had written a licensed game. This was allegedly the first time he had ever considered that mechanics reinforce setting, encourage player behaviour, and simulate the game world reality.

So, if you take that at face value... Once again, it's iffy if you ever can... Then the XP system of Heroes Unlimited isn't simulating comic books. The XP system of Heroes Unlimited is doing exactly what it says. It's realistic because that's what happens in comic books. It's not a genre emulating mechanic because KS didn't realize that mechanics could do that kind of thing.
System...matters? :clown:
 

Ralph Dula

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He had been in RPGs for about 30 years. He had written a licensed game. This was allegedly the first time he had ever considered that mechanics reinforce setting, encourage player behaviour, and simulate the game world reality.

I’m not surprised. There have been several stories over the decades that when he runs a game he takes a fast and loose approach to the rules. Someone on another forum once speculated the reason that we don’t see certain rules changes in the Palladium system is that Kevin handwaves them when he runs, and has been doing it for so long that he’s forgotten detailed mechanics exist in the rules for those situations.
 
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