Final Thoughts On Palladium and Rifts

Final Thoughts On Palladium and Rifts

If you missed the previous posts I made earlier this week, I have been posting about Rifts and Palladium Books all week. Check out the posts that lead up this this final post of the week:

I Love Palladium Role Playing Games

My Defense of Rifts

The Player Characters of Rifts

The Palladium System

The Palladium Megaverse

Palladium’s strongest point is by far the world building they did with Rifts and the endless possibilities available in their game system. At the end of the day, I do not know if Palladium will go much further than they have already gone if they do not change directions. They really have not changed much in the last 30 to 40 years. Palladium still does things in a style that is not very in line with what is currently popular. For those of us who have been playing RPGs for a long time now a lot of that might not matter as much, but in a market where game books are flashy and full color on every page this is not the most popular. I prefer Black & White print in books, that is not the current trend, but Palladium books have kept with the same B&W printing style they have always used. I appreciate that. Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian in Palladium, Palladium Books, Rifts, 0 comments
The Palladium Megaverse

The Palladium Megaverse

Continuing day five of my defense of Rifts and Palladium series I want to touch briefly on the many other Palladium RPG’s that exist. If you missed the previous posts I will have a list linking each one in the final post tomorrow.

Now, Rifts seemed to gain popularity for Palladium becoming the flagship title coming out over the last 30 years. It certainly had a certain appeal to me and the people I was playing with at the time in the 90s, but it was not the Palladium game that I played the most. I was really into comic books and we had a lot of enthusiasm about drawing our own comics and making our own comic book world that was inspired by all the comics we had grown up reading and were still reading. Heroes Unlimited was Palladiums Super Hero RPG and we played the game constantly. After every trip to the comic shop we would often come back with more inspiration from what we were reading. For about a decade there myself and the little group I played with switched off building up this world with all sorts of characters intertwined with each other and building a larger Super Hero Universe. It was great and remains very memorable to me as one of the most involved and dedicated games I have ran or played in. We did not keep the same Game Master running the game, we often took turns running games and dabbling in this world we were creating. Continue reading →

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The Palladium System

The Palladium System

Oh, here is one of the biggest points of dislike and conflict in the real world over Rifts. This system has a lot said about it. I have issues with it, but this is going to try and focus on what is positive about the system. Let me start by saying that as someone who appreciates simple streamlined RPG systems, this is not that. But, at the core there are a few simple familiar mechanics that most gamers will pick up on quickly and keeping them simple in Palladium can be helpful. The two elements that are dominant in the system are skills and combat.

Combat is D20 based. You roll a 20-sided die and try to roll high enough to hit. Often this is not done to a static number but can be opposed through parry and dodge by the opponent you are trying to hit with an opposed D20 roll. That means instead of a base AC of 10 like many editions of D&D the base sort of becomes the opposed roll with the bonuses added to it. Now, it gets more nuance than that, but this is essentially the bare bones of the mechanic.

Skills are also a familiar mechanic for many long-time gamers as they are percentile based. In Palladium you get a lot of skills, and you get a base percentage for those skills. You will roll a D100 or roll percentile, essentially rolling two ten-sided dice with one assigned to represent tens and the other to represent ones and they are read as a percentage number of one to one hundred based on that. To succeed at a skill check in a Palladium game you simply roll under the percentage of the skill that you are checking. I strongly encourage you to only use skill checks where there is something on the line, not for every time a character attempts to do a thing. Situations of combat or where the task might be more difficult, and a reasonable expectation of failure would impact the game are times you would make a skill check. Continue reading →

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Player Characters In Rifts

Player Characters In Rifts

The Players have more options of what characters they want to play in Rifts than any Role Playing Game I have encountered to date. This is the nature of the setting, and it rises from the history of the game. So much so that many Game Masters might limit what is allowed in game a great deal, or a more adventurous GM might just go for it all. I suggest if you are starting out to keep is simple.

I love that with Old School Essentials or Swords and Wizardry you can have a character rolled up in minutes instead of hours. I love that I can create characters for Free League Year Zero games in literally ten minutes of less. Palladium characters take time and one of the biggest barriers to the game is just getting a character completed and ready to play. I will put it out there, rolling up a Rifts character takes a long time. On the other hand, most of the modern editions of D&D from third edition on up and Pathfinder also are overly complex in character creation. They are so complex I am hearing often how folks just do not roll up characters anymore in the manner they once did but are relying on software to do it. If we are taking character creation into consideration, I would say there is a big difference from simple systems like OD&D clones or the Year Zero Engine, but not modern crunchy popular editions. One of the things I have noticed people find frustrating is writing up the skills. Palladium is very skill heavy and each skill must be looked up, read, written down and some calculations will likely go with each one. This I think has been the biggest barrier for the system. But, I do strongly believe it can be worth it if you are looking for a good long lasting campaign.

The Classes are often referred to as Occupational Character Classes or O.C.C.’s. And Rifts has a ton to start with across a wide spectrum. Many of these O.C.C.’s or Racial Character Classes (R.C.C.’s) are quite unique to the settings and the system. While there are classic classes you will recognize from other fantasy or sci-fi games there are many more that are not found elsewhere. There are also very specific unique variants of many classes. The Rifts Ultimate Edition breaks up the O.C.C.’s in 6 different categories. Continue reading →

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My Defense of Rifts

My Defense of Rifts

Rifts is a brilliant setting for a Role-Playing Game. It is a post apocalypse world where Sci-Fi and Fantasy elements coexist. The concept behind the setting is that the world faced and apocalyptic disaster devastating it. Loss of life on this scale was unlike anything ever seen in human history. The simultaneous deaths of all those souls contributed to the resurgence of ley lines and magic energy on the planet. You could see the ley lines like a glowing blue river of magical energy flowing across the landscape. Where these ley lines intersected were nexus points that created Rifts. Tears in space and time that opened gateways to other worlds and dimensions. Through these rifts all forms of life, technology, magic and demons could enter our world. Humanity reached new technological heights before the cataclysmic event, and the technology and knowledge managed to survive in various forms. Human augmentation and Power Armor are just two of those future technologies that remained from earths past. So, suddenly we have a world where Dragons and people in suits of giant Power Armor battled it out.

Since Palladium had already done games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Robotech, Heroes Unlimited, the Palladium Fantasy RPG and others they already had quite a few various genre games that you could pull from and Rifts seemed like the perfect setting to grab all those other games and throw them in the same sandbox to play with. As I mentioned in the last post there seems to be a lot of folks out there with negative things to say about it. Pulling together that many various games might hit a hiccup or two, but I can work around those. Continue reading →

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I Love Rifts and Palladium Books

I Love Rifts and Palladium Books

I hear a great deal of hate and negative talk these days about the Role Playing Game Rifts, and Palladium Books who publishes the game Rifts. I was looking for podcast episodes that discussed the game and all I was able to find were folks who played newer games and had only bad things to say about it. I made a comment in a game group suggesting someone try playing a Palladium RPG and it was only responded to by people just saying vague bad things about the system. This kind of thing I have seen more and more frequently over the last decade or so. Because of this I am ready to talk about Rifts and Palladium, this is only the beginning.

I dabbled in various Role Playing Games when I was first getting into the hobby back in Elementary and Junior High. I played the games wrong. I had no idea what I was doing. Then my friend who had a love for all things Robotech and Giant Robot Suits brought over a game that I was sold on. I could make a superhero from another book and play that superhero in this game. The game embraced almost any absurd idea our Junior High School minds would come up with. We could be Magic Users, Superheroes, Mutant Animals or even Cyborgs. It was a free for all of all the cool muscle men and crazy characters we were drawing in our notebooks. This great fusion of all genres was Rifts. It was released in 1990. Continue reading →

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XP Rewards / Other Rewards 

XP Rewards / Other Rewards 

XP Rewards / Other Rewards 

In RPGs, how do characters get more power, spells, better skills?                                         Usually by level advancement.

People act on what they are rewarded and punished for. In game, they will make decisions to maximize reward and minimize punishment. 

Rewards usually revolve ultimately around:

  • Gaining XP: Defeating monsters, finding treasures, completing quests and adventures.
  • Getting Magic Items or Other unique items: Getting magic and unique items to help build their character out.

XP is doled out for Defeating Monsters (killing, out smarting, getting around etc.) with most parties defaulting to killing monsters if they can. The more powerful a monster is (either HD or special features), the higher the XP. Finding treasure (1 GP = 1 XP) is another though there are variations on how to count: counting everything that you find, counting only what you can carry back, counting only what you spend or donate out. Challenging adventures or quests can also result in more XP upon successful completion. Continue reading →

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OSR vs. Modern RPG Tabletop Games:  Pros/Con

OSR vs. Modern RPG Tabletop Games:  Pros/Con

OSR vs. Modern RPG Tabletop Games:  Pros/Con

D&D has become more popular than I would have ever imagined in my youth. This is great for the RPG tabletop industry and RPG gamers. However, 5th edition of D&D / Fantasy is by far the most main stream. I grew up playing AD&D 1E, B/X, and BECMI primarily, and then Call of Cthulhu (1E-3E) with some Warhammer 40K – Rogue Trader mixed in. Today, our group play mostly OSR game/systems. I have played 5E and do enjoy it too. 

There appears to be a pretty hardline with old school gamers in disliking 5E and Pathfinder / 3.5E. As with anything, there is a balance and OSR and modern systems (post 2000’s) both have pro/cons pending your gaming group preference. The strength of one system is the weakness of the other pending preference. Continue reading →

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DM / GM Prep and Game Aids

DM / GM Prep and Game Aids

DM / GM Prep and Game Aids

This article is about being a DM/GM and some basic prep/game aids that will make your life easier and more organized when running the game. We all have busy schedules with work, family, and other obligations so having some basic tools and systems in place will help you enjoy gaming vs. spending time during game doing prep work or looking for basic info. For many folks with busy schedules, game time is their only personal time and time to escape. Maximizing that time is important.

If you play online with like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds, those platforms already have many things prepped for you like dice, character sheets, maps, managing combat initiative, monster/enemy stats etc. which is great. There are still things that you need to manage or if you play pencil/paper, you’ll need to manage yourself. Continue reading →

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New Year of Gaming in 2021

New Year of Gaming in 2021

It’s a New Year, 2020 is finally over, and we are moving on to 2021. None of the problems that led to all the horrors of 2020 have been really fixed so I expect to see the world to be heading in the same direction until we can make real changes. Then there is my Role Playing Games. This is my escape from the every day horrors of our shared capitalist imperialist police state dystopia here in the USA. It is no secret that my blog before this one was a political blog, so my political leanings are no secret. I am happy to see the Silver Spoon Spoilt Brat on his way out of the White House. On the other hand, I am not thrilled with the election of Biden. I am frustrated with Democrats selecting such a far right politician. So, while I feel positive for the new year, I also have a great deal of doubt the year will be a great improvement over 2020. My personal life was amazing over 2020, and I am hopeful that will continue into 2021.

I am looking forward to the games I plan on playing over the new year. Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian in 5th Edition, Books, Open Gaming, OSR, Year Zero System, 0 comments