Month: June 2021

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 →

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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

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

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

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 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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