Tell me of your Love (Hate) for the Palladium RPG engine [Mega-Damage!!!]

Gwarh

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I've not played allot of the Palladium rpg's other than good ole T.M.N.T. and it's "Road Hogs" supplement back in the day, er wait I did play the original mid 80's Robotech as well. Now my memory is hazey as that is decades ago now but I seem to faintly recall it being a good/fun system.

Leap ahead decades and my never ending search for the "Perfect" + "Generic" RPG I've been taking a new look at the Palladium system as it is today in 2020. In particular my own personal litmus test is Can it do OSR D&D with most of the "classic" tropes (I am weird I guess, I never get tired of the classic 4 classes, 4 races, Dungeon Crawling, World of Greyhawk'n setting) I am familiar with (just haven't played them is all) the vast amount of Palladium books out there, especially for their Fantasy and R.I.F.T.S line

So a few questions in no particular order
  • So to those of you who've played/owned/sold/loved/hated/etc. the system what do you think of it as it stands today?
  • How has it changed over the years? I know the Mega-Damage change was a big deal in the fan community with some loving, others hating it.
  • Not to get into to much drama but I've read that "Kevin Siembieda" is somewhat litigious when it comes to fan websites, is that true?
  • Is the engine more or less universal across all the companies various settings? or is it highly tailored to each setting?
  • Does it scale well? that is how well do Average Humans interact with Gritty Commandos with Super Heroes with Godzilla?
  • What do you think of the various settings? Macross, Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, Palladium Fantasy, etc. Which is your favorite setting and why?
Also that Kevin Long artwork for me really made the games as the old books (and seems the new ones to) layout sure as heck wasn't interesting or inspiring. This coming from a former Graphic Designer with a Font Fetish and Layout Love.
 
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James Gillen

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  • Not to get into to much drama but I've read that "Kevin Siembieda" is somewhat litigious when it comes to fan websites, is that true?
Saying that "Kevin Siembieda is somewhat litigious" is a bit like saying "Napoleon was a pretty good artillery captain" or "John Saxon did a few bad movies."

jg
 

Voros

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I'm a big fan of the setting material for TMNT and After the Bomb which we discussed a bit here and here.

Personally more a fan of the flavour material over the system which feels underinspired although I know there are fans of Palladium Fantasy.
 

James Gillen

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  • So to those of you who've played/owned/sold/loved/hated/etc. the system what do you think of it as it stands today?
  • How has it changed over the years? I know the Mega-Damage change was a big deal in the fan community with some loving, others hating it.
  • Is the engine more or less universal across all the companies various settings? or is it highly tailored to each setting?
  • Does it scale well? that is how well do Average Humans interact with Gritty Commandos with Super Heroes with Godzilla?
  • What do you think of the various settings? Macross, Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, Palladium Fantasy, etc. Which is your favorite setting and why?
Also that Kevin Long artwork for me really made the games as the old books (and seems the new ones to) layout sure as heck wasn't interesting or inspiring. This coming from a former Graphic Designer with a Font Fetish and Layout Love.
More serious answers:
I don't think much of Palladium. It's not that bad; it's just not that good.
How has it changed over the years? Not much, actually. In some respects, that's a plus. No edition-itis and replacing your library every three years. But if I don't like Palladium much, it's largely because it's an old TSR competitor that shows its age and other games have come up with better ideas.
The game system is mostly universal, except of course for Mega-Damage. I like to call Heroes Unlimited Heroes Limited, because there was an attempt at scaling-down and game balance that RIFTS completely threw out the window.
In that regard, I'd say the best setting is arguably the first one: Palladium Fantasy. It has its own themes, its own magic systems, its own races (like Wolfen) and on the AD&D competitor scale it was operating on, it wasn't bad. It was only after they tried going into other directions (like superheroes) that the limits became more obvious.

And yes, Kevin Long really made those books.

JG
 

Nobby-W

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I thought Palladium's alignment system was a nice idea - Principled, Aberrant etc. Assuming you wanted such a thing, it was a distinct improvement on D&D. Otherwise, I found the games a bit underwhelming, though, although Recon has an absolutely classic section about digging a foxhole.

Defensive Warfare
Personal accounts of experiences in Vietnam are often centered around digging. Nearly every U.S. soldier spent a huge portion of their time in 'Nam digging up the countryside. It's also true for the Vietnamese -how do you think they got those incredible tunnels?

The new guys found it all pretty pointless ... until their first mortar attack. Then, after taking a look at a few bodies, they didn't need much persuading. Mostly they were digging their own shelters and bunkers. And they had plenty of enthusiasm for the job since, every so often, a few guys would get killed during a midnight mortar attack -mostly the guys who didn't do quite enough digging. You dug in everywhere. Stationed on a remote base for a month or two? Dig bunkers and shelters. Setting up a watch station? Dig a trench. Pinned down by enemy fIre? Don't bother moving around, just start digging down. At the very least it'll keep your mind off the bullets whizzing by. For a more detailed discussion, let's listen in on William "Red" Dukowski, now a sergeant, as he explains things to some new recruits. Late the previous night they set up an ambush site along a jungle trail. The expected VC bicycle convoy never showed up, and this morning Red received word that they should wait another day or two. He's just announced to the men that they have to start digging into position.

Group: "Why Do We Gotta Dig?" is the question from all the new recruits.

Red: "Well, mostly it's a question of physics. When something explodes, whether it's a rocket, artillery shell, grenade, mortar or land mine, it throws out fragments. These fragments, otherwise known as shrapnel, will kill at least half of you guys that are planning on dying."

Slim: "But we've already got good cover. Why should we do any digging?"

Red: "Yeah, one way to avoid getting killed by shrapnel is to hide behind something that'll stop the fragments. Unfortunately, with the advances in modem munitions, there's not much that will stop a high-powered piece of shrapnel. For example, fragments can penetrate the walls of armored vehicles, concrete blocks, and even thick, earthen walls. The bushes and trees we' ve got out here are completely worthless. So hiding behind stuff isn't usually the best defense against shrapnel.

"Take the bunch of us in position on that hill. Sure, we'll all be invisible in the vegetation. However, suppose the commies decide to drop a mortar round on top of us? Those fragments can't see us, but they'll just rip right through anything in their path ... trees, bushes, and your tender, young bodies.

"The best way to avoid shrapnel is to go below ground. It works like this; since shrapnel is thrown outward from the blast, and since most explosions take place on the ground, the pieces tend to move across the ground. So, sitting in a hole, you tend to see and hear a lot of shrapnel whizzing overhead.

"Of course, a lot of the fragments arc up in the air and come down again. The advantage is that they almost never come straight down, they always come down at an angle. So the deeper you are in the hole, and the narrower the hole opening, the less chance there is that the frag will reach you."

Chuckles: "So what kind of hole should we dig?"

Red: "Well, we don't wanna' make the hole too big .. .'

Slim: "Yeah, too much dirty work!"

Red: "Naw, it's more a matter of keeping the enemy fIre out of the hole. The smaller the opening, the less likely it is that somethin's gonna come inside and getcha'.

"And you don't want to dig down too deep because you've got to fIre out of the hole. The perfect hole should be right up to your armpits so you can easily aim your weapon. That also makes it deep enough so that you can duck down inside when you hear the 'Incoming!' calL"

Slim: "So we each dig a hole?"

Red: "Well, one of you guys should team up with the machinegunner. That way he's got somebody to help feed ammo and generally back him up if he gets knocked out. So that's a two-man hole. On flat land or in the woods, they'd all be two-man holes so you could support each other. Since we're setting up an ambush on this hill we want to be spread out to cover more targets, so most of the holes will be for one man."

Later that day ...

Slim: "It's armpit deep, are we done now?"

Red: "No, now that you've got the hole itself fInished it's time to make a few improvements. "

Chuckles: "Yeah Sarge, can I get a Picasso in my hole?"

Red: "Well, these are more practical improvements. Ways of making your position more effective against the enemy."

Slim: "It's a hole Red, how are we gonna make a hole effective?"

Red: "Okay, for starters you've got to make it easy to fire your weapon. Since the hole is as deep as your armpits it's difficult to lean over and aim your weapon 'cause your arms bang into the ground. So what you want to do is dig some nice small holes for your elbows."

Chuckles: "Hey, elbow holes; I like that! So we dig two elbow holes so that we can lean over and fire in comfort?"

Red: "Not just two holes! You've got to put in elbow holes for each firing position that you're going to cover. "The next step is to make some weapon supports. Basically, these are mounds of dirt you'll use for your rifle barrels. This will give you a little bit more protection and also brace the weapon for firing. "

Slim: "Is that it?"

Red: "One more thing. I'm going to teach you how to shoot in the dark."

Chuckles: "Don't we already know how to do that?"

Red: "Not if you really want to hit something. Slim, get some sticks, about a foot and a half long. Here's how it works, Chuckles get down in your hole."

Chuckles: "Okay."

Red: "Now aim at the farthest point on the trail to your left. Okay, now Slim, you put a stick in the ground just left next of Chuckles' rifle barrel. Yeah, push it in so it's solid ...

"Chuckles, now I want you to aim at the farthest point on the trail to your right. Slim, you push in another stick on the right side of the barrel this time. "

Okay Chuckles. Close your eyes."

Chuckles: "What? Oh, okay."

Red: "Now pretend that you've got to shoot at the trail."

Chuckles: "Hey! That's neat; I can swing the gun back and forth, and I still know I'm pointing at the right area!"

Red: "You got it! Now these are called aiming stakes or firing stakes. Use as many sticks as you need. For example, you don't want to shoot that big tree right in the middle of your fIeld of fire, so block it off with aiming stakes. For elevation you use a forked stick or a mound, so your gun is at the right level.

"The beauty of this thing is that you'll be able to shoot accurately even if you can't see a damn thing out there."

Once again, the VC have failed to show up. The next morning Red is getting everybody ready to work again.

Red: "Okay kiddies! It's time to start digging again!" Chuckles: "Groan! Why? Yesterday you said that the holes were no good if they were too big."

Red: "That's true. Your holes are just right for you. Now you've got to start making room for an occasional visitor."

Slim: "Sarge, this hole is so small I gotta step outside to change my mind. How the hell am I gonna' fit anybody else in here with me?"

Red: "The particular visitors I'm talking about are grenades. What happens when Mr. Charles drops a grenade into your hole?"

Slim: "Hmmmm ... I pick it up and throw it out?"

Red: "Sure, just reach down there in the dark and grope around for a live grenade. Remind me to send a note to your mother telling her what a brave soldier you were! Anybody else got any bright ideas?"

Chuckles: "How about jumping out of the hole?" Red: "Well, assuming that you were fast enough to get out before the grenade goes off, that might work. However, since some VC put the bomb in there in the first place, it's a safe bet that he's gonna' be aiming in your general direction."

Slim: "So if we can't throw the grenade out, and we can't jump outta' the hole, what's left?"

Red: "What you wanna do is dig another hole for the grenades. The holes are called sumps and the idea is to kick the grenade down deep enough so that it can explode without killing you. In a one-man hole it should be along one side wall, and in a two-man hole you need two, one on each end."

Chuckles: "How big a hole we talking about, Sarge?"

Red: "First off, the top of the sump has gotta be as long as the side wall of your hole. That's so you can't miss when you kick it. Second, you want it pretty narrow, so the blast is contained, but wide enough so the grenade will get in easy. Then you want to dig it as deep as you can get it. Usually a sump is about as wide as the blade of your entrenching tool and about as deep as you can dig without making the hole any wider."

Slim: "Sounds like a good idea. Let's do it!"

Red: "Wait a minute. One more thing you want to take care of while you're digging. You want to put a slope into the floor of your hole. "

Slim: "What kind of slope?" Red: "A slope that'll make that grenade roll right into the sump hole. It'll also be useful for water drainage. Later that day. Red has just finished talking to his commander on the radio.

Chuckles: "So what's happening?" Red: "We'll be squatting here for a couple more days at least."

Slim: "Well, at least we got our holes finished."

Red: "Wrongo! Time to get to work again."

Slim: "What! More digging?"

Red: "Naw! Today we're going to build stuff. Namely, we're going to make some overhead cover. That'll protect us from overhead fragments."

Chuckles: "You mean we're going to put roofs on our holes?"

Red: "Exactly! For starters we're going to gather roofing material. That means that we need logs. So some of you guys are going to form a work party to cut trees and collect fallen logs. We need big logs, from 4 to 6 inches in diameter.

Slim: "And the rest of us?"

Red: "At least half of you guys are going to watch the work party, just to hold their guns and make sure they don't get ambushed. We'll start really working when everybody gets back."

Chuckles: "What are we gonna' do with the logs when we got 'em?"

Red: "Well, depending on where you are on the hill, you'll either build a roof on the side or the back of your hole. The two-man hole will have a roof right in the middle. You'll dig in a little ways, plant the logs sideways, cover 'em with a tarp, then with dirt, and finally, camouflage 'em."

Slim: "Hey Red! I got a question. How much work are we going to keep doing on these holes?"

Red: "Why Slim, you're just getting started. We can still dig storage compartments for ammo and gear, and we can brace up the whole works with more logs."

Slim: "All that?"

Red: "That's just the start. The next step is to start connecting all the holes together. That means digging trenches between the holes. Why, in the next couple of weeks, we can tum this hill into a regular World War I bunker!"

Slim: "You've got to be kidding!"

Red: "Hey, it's no joking matter. The more holes, trenches, and cover we got on this hillside, the better off we are. The deeper they are, the safer we'll be. Think about it. We can move from position to position, helping our buddies or moving to different firing points, all without getting our tender bodies shot up. In fact, there's only one time when we can stop digging."

Slim: "When'?"

Red: "You can bet that the day we got this hill finished, they'll pull us out and put us on some other friggin' hill. And then we can start digging all over again."
 

Rogerdee

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The only game that works RAW is fantasy, the rest no so much.

As a whole the system is fairly terrible, and plain does not work. Mega-Damage doubly so, such that there is no game balance - which Kevin seems to think is okay but in actuality is just poor design and planning on his part. Not the least of which, in a high magic setting like Rifts, mages are absolutely useless. Two or three spells and they run out of juice, yet a superhero can keep blasting away. Yet people on the Palladium forums think this is okay, and not the least bit problematic.

Yeah right! Kevin even has Savage Rifts, yet learns nothing from them, at all. Savage Worlds where it does not really matter what kind of powers you have you will generally draw on the same set of spells / abilities, such that things are balanced. He is so blinkered, and set on his path that he cannot realise something is seriously wrong.

Both Heroes Unlimited and Nightbane are absolutely great settings, but as a whole the system fails, again. With NB he attempted to insert Cenobites, and various other anti-heroes into a dark gritty setting - which considering some of the stuff in later books; he would have been better just a standard horror setting. In my re-write I removed the weirdo NB forms, and kept to mythology; then inserted the Immortals (Daevas from Everlasting - minus their bane).

And let's not get started on Rifts vampires! Nuke proof FFS!

As to Heroes, it needs a re-write and to draw upon things like Arrowverse, something I did when I created a narrative system to allow it to play a lot better. Currently doing the same for Fantasy at the moment. As all the magic using classes are pointless, there just needs to be descriptor from where they draw their power from, and a method of casting. No more, no less!

The fluff for all the settings is absolutely amazing, whether Nightbane, Heroes, Fantasy, Phase World, & Rifts, just in a different system. As a whole though, Rifts, and to some extent, Nightbane, considering they are powerhouses would work better in either Lords of Gossamer Diceless, or Mutants and Masterminds. Both designed to handle the power levels fairly easily.
 
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Steve Dubya

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So to those of you who've played/owned/sold/loved/hated/etc. the system what do you think of it as it stands today?
Depending on which iteration of the rules you're using, it might not be too much of a problem for a good number of groups.

Having said that, there's not a lot of internal consistency to the rules, which is one of the biggest downsides to getting a group of players familiar with Your Palladium Houserules℠ - depending on which portions of the rules you've decided to go with when you inevitably run into either vagueness or outright contradictions in the RAW, this is going to end up having you playing the game possibly quite differently than other groups might play the same gameline, which means that trying to either port your game to another group or attempt to get clarification/recommendations as to how to handle various situations that arise from play becomes nearly pointless.
How has it changed over the years? I know the Mega-Damage change was a big deal in the fan community with some loving, others hating it.
So the "generic Palladium engine" is more or less stealth-editioned with each major core release, and then subtly so after that when new sourcebooks are released. Trying to use one gameline supplement with another probably won't cause too much issue (depending, possibly), but if you try to integrate more than one you're probably going to run into issues of, "Which skill rules are we using? Which version of HTH are we using?" and so on.

The addition of MDC to this tends to make things even more of a pain, because of how MDC was originally intended (giant robots from Robotech).
Not to get into to much drama but I've read that "Kevin Siembieda" is somewhat litigious when it comes to fan websites, is that true?
I don't have any way of verifying this one way or another, but I suspect that this used to be a bigger problem than it might be now for two reasons: 1) Palladium has fewer resources to try to track down anyone that might be a Thought Offender, and 2) the number of people willing to bother doing conversions of anything to Palladium has died down owing to lack of enthusiasm for the company's products overall.

I also suspect that folks now are less thrilled with Siembieda/Palladium over their handling of the Robotech Tactics KS, which turned into a $1.4M trainwreck.
Is the engine more or less universal across all the companies various settings? or is it highly tailored to each setting?
Depending on how high of a level view you take of the rules, they do tend to be very similar for the Megaversal stuff. It's only once you start trying to see how the mechanics as presented for a given gameline are implemented that you're going to run into issues with integrating them.
Does it scale well? that is how well do Average Humans interact with Gritty Commandos with Super Heroes with Godzilla?
This is going to tend to vary depending on the setting (and thus core rules you're using), and certain gamelines handle this far better than others.
 

Picaroon Jack

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Here's my take:
  • What do you think of it as it stands today? The artwork still holds up for me.
  • How has it changed over the years? I don't think it has really changed much at all outside minor revision which is part of the problem.
  • Not to get into to much drama but I've read that "Kevin Siembieda" is somewhat litigious when it comes to fan websites, is that true? Yes.
  • Is the engine more or less universal across all the companies various settings? It sure seems cut and pasted for the most part.
  • Does it scale well? that is how well do Average Humans interact with Gritty Commandos with Super Heroes with Godzilla? In games like Rifts, there are HUGE balance issues with characters, but I sort of like the lack of balance. A vagabond hanging out with a dragon could happen. It reminds me of the crew of the Argonauts. . . .Some average Greek sailor had to set next to Hercules. Palladium trie to make up for it by making the vagabond and average sailor loaded with skills, but hey, they are still sitting next to freaking Hercules.
  • What do you think of the various settings? Macross, Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, Palladium Fantasy, etc. Which is your favorite setting and why? Rifts #1 for me just because it is so wild. Next would be Robotech because it is Robotech. LOL
 

VisionStorm

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It’s been ages since I’ve played, and I LOVE RIFTS as a setting, I’ve also often seen OSR types list “Forget about 'Game Balance'” as one of the core principles of old school play, but compared to Palladium RIFTS, old D&D is a lean mean well-calibrated machine, moving with near-infallible clock-like precision.”The game doesn’t scale well” would be an understatement. RIFTS doesn’t make the slightest attempt to maintain any semblance of consistency across supplements—or even within the same manual—when it comes to power scale between characters.

The idea of MDC itself is broken at its core, but at least in Robotech they tried to tone it down. In RIFTS there are creatures and armor with more MDC than normal human characters have SDC. And 1 MDC is a hundred freaking times 1 SDC. I remember some attacks that could do like 3d6x10 MDC—-Jeeses Christ! That’s enough to take out a Veritech fighter, IIRC.

The core rules themselves are nearly identical across games, but power levels are all over the place, sometimes even in the same book.
 

Gabriel

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So to those of you who've played/owned/sold/loved/hated/etc. the system what do you think of it as it stands today?
The system as it stands today is a mess. It's a hodgepodge upon a hodgepodge and hasn't been written by anyone who knows how it was supposed to work for about 25 years now. Furthermore, it's edited by someone who doesn't give a fuck. .


How has it changed over the years? I know the Mega-Damage change was a big deal in the fan community with some loving, others hating it.
Palladium has changed pretty drastically over the years. Lots of people say it is still the same system as it was in the 80s, but if you actually read it, you realize that things like combat have been massively changed by people just haphazardly copy/pasting without regards for what they're doing, as well as the systems being explained by people who never knew what they originally were or used those original systems in the first place.


Not to get into to much drama but I've read that "Kevin Siembieda" is somewhat litigious when it comes to fan websites, is that true?
Kevin Siembieda is very possessive of what he sees as "his" intellectual property. His attitude about this is very much a one way street and hypocritical in the extreme.

Is the engine more or less universal across all the companies various settings? or is it highly tailored to each setting?
The answer is both and neither. When it is convenient for the company and fans, the system is universal. When that universality is not convenient, then the system is stated to be tailored for each setting and rules for one game are not intended to be used in others.

Does it scale well? that is how well do Average Humans interact with Gritty Commandos with Super Heroes with Godzilla?
No. Not at all. At best there are two scales which cannot reasonably interact. There is the "street level" sort of human scale. And then there is the MDC scale of mecha versus Godzilla.

What do you think of the various settings? Macross, Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, Palladium Fantasy, etc. Which is your favorite setting and why?
I used to think I liked Palladium's Settings. I do still have some residual fondness for some elements of them because of familiarity. But I've since realized the only reason I ever tolerated Palladium was because of Robotech and Macross II.
 

Caesar Slaad

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My quick takes:
RIFTS was zany cool. Despite never playing it anymore, I keep some of the books with cooler concepts around. By which I primarily mean Atlantis and England.
Erik Wujcik was a fantastic RPG author, operating under the aegis of a very clunky system.
My favorite Palladium books are RIFTS Atlantis, Mystic China, and PRPG Book II: Old Ones, which I plundered for maps and ideas. I even based a D&D campaign around the immortality mechanics in Mystic China.

The system is SOOOO clunky. I really loved Ninjas & Superspies and Mystic China from a theoretical standpoint, but every time we got together to make characters, we never finished. All the percentile skills are kind of like tabulating rolemaster skills if rolemaster made you extract rates from the body of text rather than having a table. If I had ditched the fidgety percentages and just swapped in something that looked like AD&D 2e's proficiency system, it would have been much easier. But I wasn't that savvy and willful back then.
 
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Brock Savage

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As a kid I thought the system was cool; I owned Robotech and TMNT but never actually ran them because I gamed with older people. I dimly remember playing some Recon and really wanted Beyond the Supernatural. I played some Rifts in my early 20's but the setting feels like it was created by a 12 year old who got bored of Dungeons & Dragons.

I don't think the Palladium system has aged well at all.
 
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Gwarh

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Yeah right! Kevin even has Savage Rifts, yet learns nothing from them, at all. Savage Worlds where it does not really matter what kind of powers you have you will generally draw on the same set of spells / abilities, such that things are balanced. He is so blinkered, and set on his path that he cannot realise something is seriously wrong.
I backed the Savage Worlds Rifts books but was really disappointed when I got them. Not so much with the rules but the art. To me the art (and layout) was so bad It hurt to actually read through the books. Bad Art for me at least kills a game and makes it near impossible to look past it and see the "forrest" underneath all the "trees".

I should maybe just copy all the text out of my PDF's and just paste it into a plain google do, add some of Long's artwork in and read it all that way.

I also suspect that folks now are less thrilled with Siembieda/Palladium over their handling of the Robotech Tactics KS, which turned into a $1.4M trainwreck.
Jeebus! I'd hear it was a bit of a fail but I went and looked at the kickstarter again and there are 103,309 comments!!! Cheese & F'n Crackers that's allot of angry customers. That's even worse than the Dwimmermount drama.
 

James Gillen

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" Not to get into to much drama but I've read that "Kevin Siembieda" is somewhat litigious when it comes to fan websites, is that true?"

I don't have any way of verifying this one way or another, but I suspect that this used to be a bigger problem than it might be now for two reasons: 1) Palladium has fewer resources to try to track down anyone that might be a Thought Offender, and 2) the number of people willing to bother doing conversions of anything to Palladium has died down owing to lack of enthusiasm for the company's products overall.
The thing is, people love the intellectual property enough (especially RIFTS) that you had all these homebrew conversions, and thus Siembieda felt the need to squelch the threat to his rules systems. In that regard, Savage RIFTS is either testimony to how much people love Siembieda's ideas or testimony to Steve's point that people no longer love Palladium as much as they used to, and Kevin finally wised up to that and realized this was his best chance to get money by licensing to a hotter publisher.

JG
 

Chris Brady

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What I like about Palladium? RIFTs, TMNT, Ninjas and Superspies... My favourite lines of theirs.

Rules wise? The combat system's basics, the multiple attacks, Parrying, Dodging, the loop is fun.

I have issues I have everything else.
 

David Johansen

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My answer is always the same. Kevin lost his way after Mechanoid Invasion Book 3 which is the ultimate expression of the Palladium system. It's clean, it's fast, there's like two pages of rules and everything else is just cool stuff with a bit of text and arbitrarily assigned numbers. Palladium Fantasy first edition is okay if a bit wordy but once people get SDC and physical skills add bonuses to stuff it goes down hill fast. Also it's Centa Damage not Mega Damage.
 

Brock Savage

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Besides the clunky rules and primitive cut n' paste publishing, there is the Mega-Damage problem. Mega-Damage makes sense when you're dealing with tanks, mecha, and starships but it falls apart once individuals are toting around Mega-Damage weapons.

Conventional heavy weapons are at the low end of the MD scale and they wreak tremendous damage on civilian buildings. How can someone have a shoot-out in an alley using Mega Damage weapons without reducing their surroundings to rubble and slag?

Edit: Please don't tell me all the buildings, furniture, vehicles etc have Mega Damage Capacity. Everything having MDC is idiotic. Okay maybe that is being harsh but it just doesn't jibe with the setting. I can imagine a spectacularly wealthy high tech setting where commonplace items have MDC but that's not how I imagine Rifts.
 
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sureshot

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It's a serviceable system with a lot of issues imo. Too many copy and paste error and too many rules just spread all over the place. Too many bad business decisions also don't help. While a lack of balance is sometimes good Kevin and the freelancers lost their way with sometimes not everything needs to make it into the books. Too often it feels something should not have made it into the books and just tossed with the attitude of "would it be cool if we included this". The fanbase is also an issue where they simultaneously do't want anything to change and god forbid a new edition. Then complain that they can't find players or product in stores. In my experience every rpg has it's bad GMs when it comes to Palladium they seem to be the norm and not the exception imo.

I was on Discord a few days ago and the GM complained that the players who were told it was an open world concept by the GM did everything but follow the main quest. If a GM does not want players going their own way on't advertise the campaign world as an open concept sandbox then complain when the players do their own thing.

That being said I like the art and sometimes one does not want to play with an overly balanced system like Pathfinder. Next to Robotech and 1E D&D the third most longest game system I ean and played with
 

sureshot

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My answer is always the same. Kevin lost his way after Mechanoid Invasion Book 3 which is the ultimate expression of the Palladium system. It's clean, it's fast, there's like two pages of rules and everything else is just cool stuff with a bit of text and arbitrarily assigned numbers. Palladium Fantasy first edition is okay if a bit wordy but once people get SDC and physical skills add bonuses to stuff it goes down hill fast. Also it's Centa Damage not Mega Damage.
I would not say lost his way. Just that unlike many properly run rpgs companies some of the product released make no sense in what the fans want . The fanbase have been asking for books on Lazlo and more books on the Coalition States we get Rifts Antarctica or Rifts World Book 60 "an area of Rifts Earth no one but a handful of fans, Kevin and the Freelancer care about". Most rpg companies give the fans what they want. Palladium release schedule seems to be at the whims of Kevin and a freelancer and not want the fans truly desire.
 

TristramEvans

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I never got into Palladium. It always reminded me of Dragonball Z - one of those things lots of people I've met were really into back in my teens, but I never understood the appeal, and just seemed crude to me.

But as a comicbok reader in the late 80s/90s, Palladium ads were ubiquitous.





 

Gwarh

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I never got into Palladium. It always reminded me of Dragonball Z - one of those things lots of people I've met were really into back in my teens, but I never understood the appeal, and just seemed crude to me.
I'm with ya on Dragonball Z, that is I've never understood it's appeal. To me it's just a bunch of Anime characters with Hydrocephalus beating each other up.
 

The Butcher

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Dear Lord, this is going to be one long post...

It's a serviceable system with a lot of issues imo. Too many copy and paste error and too many rules just spread all over the place. Too many bad business decisions also don't help. While a lack of balance is sometimes good Kevin and the freelancers lost their way with sometimes not everything needs to make it into the books. Too often it feels something should not have made it into the books and just tossed with the attitude of "would it be cool if we included this". The fanbase is also an issue where they simultaneously do't want anything to change and god forbid a new edition. Then complain that they can't find players or product in stores. In my experience every rpg has it's bad GMs when it comes to Palladium they seem to be the norm and not the exception imo.
...never mind, @sureshot nailed it.

I never got into Palladium. It always reminded me of Dragonball Z - one of those things lots of people I've met were really into back in my teens, but I never understood the appeal, and just seemed crude to me.

But as a comicbok reader in the late 80s/90s, Palladium ads were ubiquitous.





Ah, those adds. Bullet point lists of awesomeness topped by Kevin Long art. That’s what drew me in; I look at them and feel my soul being tugged again.
 

Rogerdee

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Thing is Palladium need to a second edition of everything. Now the best way would be to release a narrative based system, then licsense the products to other rpg companies to make actual rules.

Then after a while release their own in-house rules.

This creates product, rules the people will actually play, and then tailor their in-house rules accordingly. Though not sure which systems have the chops to handle the power levels besides the ones I mentioned in a previous post.
 

TristramEvans

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Why would you think that?
The Palladium system is as traditional as they come. To suddenly replace that with a narrative system would seem like a finger up to the extremely devoted fanbase that have supported it for decades. It's a small but tightnit community that have, it's worth remembering, on two occassions pooled together to prevent the financial failure of the company.
 

Rogerdee

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The Palladium system is as traditional as they come. To suddenly replace that with a narrative system would seem like a finger up to the extremely devoted fanbase that have supported it for decades. It's a small but tightnit community that have, it's worth remembering, on two occassions pooled together to prevent the financial failure of the company.
But if they let other systems license it to produce in their own game system would that not alleviate it?
 

Rogerdee

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Haven't they done that? I thought there was a Savage Worlds Rifts recently
Yeah, but what I'm suggesting is to let others do the same - so do it in Cortex, M&M would be the ideal system for it to be honest let's be honest. D20 base, plus it really is designed to handle the kind of power level present in the games.
 

James Gillen

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Savage Worlds is hardly a narrative system, even if it has elements like bennies and letting players run mobs that might suggest such.

jg
 

Rogerdee

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Savage Worlds is hardly a narrative system, even if it has elements like bennies and letting players run mobs that might suggest such.

jg
Never said SW was a narrative system, but it is a step in the right direction though.
More towards a system that works.
 

TristramEvans

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Savage Worlds is hardly a narrative system, even if it has elements like bennies and letting players run mobs that might suggest such.
No, I wasn't suggesting as such, rather that completely replacing the original game with a narrative game would seem potentially disastrous.

Licensing the IP out to be translated into a narrative system is something different altgether, but I have to wonder how high a demand for that is. Is the Palladium IP itself valuable? Rifts is so kitchen-sink it seems odd anyone would bother licensing it. But I don't know, again, I'm not the target market.

Does anyone know how well SW Rifts actually did?
 

TristramEvans

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Pinnacle's Kickstarters for it are always massively successful, like ~3000% funded sort of thing, if that is any indication and it often sells out of their online store.

I guess I may be completely wrong then, there's a big demand for the Rifts IP out there
 

Rogerdee

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I guess I may be completely wrong then, there's a big demand for the Rifts IP out there
But that is only SW, how true is that of normal Palladium brands? Especially with Kev's penchant for non-pdf stuff. For instance I really want Fantasy book - Garden of the Gods, in pdf. But are they doing it atm - seems not.
 
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