[Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

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Tim Baker
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[Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Tim Baker » Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:47 pm

Could anyone point me to an overview of the Palladium Fantasy campaign setting? I'm not looking for a dry gazetteer entry (e.g., its Wikipedia entry), but a description of what makes it different from other "standard" fantasy settings. Is it high fantasy? Low fantasy? Gritty? Epic? A blog post or a short YouTube video would be great. I did a Google search, but it's tough to find an intro to the setting without a bunch of rules information tied to it.

To be a little more specific, I'd like to pass this along to some folks who were asking about what makes the setting different from other settings. Thanks in advance!

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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Havard » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:52 pm

That's a great topic. I would love to learn more about this setting myself. I always thought the Wolven race looked cool. Also, I think it is connected to Rifts so you can do the crazy dimension crossovers if you want?

Hope we have someone a bit more knowledgable here! :)

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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by thorr-kan » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:36 pm

It's a deep world, with thousands, maybe millions of years of history.

It's a post-apocalyptic world. Defeating the Great Old Ones broke the world.

It's a fantasy kitchen sink. High magic, summoning, psionics, decadent empires, wolfmen, meddling gods. It's all there.

Plethora of sources. It was d20 before d20 was a thing. With only a bit of work, anything from any of Palladium's game lines will fit it.

Unity of vision. Palladium has been around for decades. And regardless of your opinions of its proprietor, it remains very much his vision.

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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Tim Baker » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:12 pm

thorr-kan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:36 pm
It's a deep world, with thousands, maybe millions of years of history.

It's a post-apocalyptic world. Defeating the Great Old Ones broke the world.

It's a fantasy kitchen sink. High magic, summoning, psionics, decadent empires, wolfmen, meddling gods. It's all there.

Plethora of sources. It was d20 before d20 was a thing. With only a bit of work, anything from any of Palladium's game lines will fit it.

Unity of vision. Palladium has been around for decades. And regardless of your opinions of its proprietor, it remains very much his vision.
This is an awesome summary, thorr-kan. Thanks for sharing that! I take it you enjoy the setting? If so, do you still play in/run it?

Is there a favorite spot that you recommend starting adventures in for newbies?

Have you ever tried using it with a different game system? Is the content fairly system-neutral, or tied to the mechanics of the game?
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by shesheyan » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:02 pm

Very interesting description. I never played Palladium rpgs.

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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:14 am

Havard wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:52 pm
That's a great topic. I would love to learn more about this setting myself. I always thought the Wolven race looked cool. Also, I think it is connected to Rifts so you can do the crazy dimension crossovers if you want?
The Wikipedia article says the setting is part of something larger, called the Megaverse. I don't see an article for the Megaverse, but there is a Megaverse category. That's not very intuitive, but if you understand the product lines, you might be able to work out what is going on.
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:16 am

thorr-kan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:36 pm
Plethora of sources. It was d20 before d20 was a thing.
What does that mean?

Is it easy to raid content from Palladium Fantasy books and use them in a 3rd Edition D&D game? :?
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:17 am

shesheyan wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:02 pm
Very interesting description. I never played Palladium rpgs.
Palladium has had some great IP (both its own and licensed) over the years. Rifts is gonzo fun. I spent endless hours playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles blended with Heroes Unlimited blended with Ninjas and Superspies -- their games were compatible with one another. I loved the Robotech line. My mom was wary of fantasy games, so I managed to get the Palladium Fantasy core book, but none of the supplements. I mashed it together with the other games, and had my friends' PCs get transported to a fantasy world with their TMNT/Heroes Unlimited characters. This was before Rifts existed, but goes to show how easy it is to mix and match elements of different Palladium games.
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:18 am

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:14 am
The Wikipedia article says the setting is part of something larger, called the Megaverse. I don't see an article for the Megaverse, but there is a Megaverse category. That's not very intuitive, but if you understand the product lines, you might be able to work out what is going on.
The Megaverse is Palladium's term for all of the settings that use the Palladium game system (technically called the Megaveral system).
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:20 am

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:16 am
Is it easy to raid content from Palladium Fantasy books and use them in a 3rd Edition D&D game? :?
I'm no expert, but I think so. 3e had plenty of support, and I think you could match most of the player-facing options to something that's at least close enough to use in a Palladium game (e.g., psionics, a witch class, summoner, etc.). You may need to build some monsters and magic items to play in the setting, but I think you'd get a lot of mileage by reskinning 3rd Edition content for use there, too.
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:22 am

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:16 am
thorr-kan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:36 pm
Plethora of sources. It was d20 before d20 was a thing.
What does that mean?
I was curious about this, myself. I recall Palladium games using a d20 for combat, but then used percentages for skills. I also seem to recall needing to roll under a d30 for ability checks, although that might have been a house rule. So there were a few different mechanics going on. It seemed similar to AD&D in terms of needing different mechanics for different checks. But it's been 25 years since I last played it, and I may be mis-remembering something.
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Dread Delgath » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:55 am

Palladium is not a d20 based system. I think thorr-kan means that it was a universal system that all Palladium games use. You would have to do quite a bit of conversion to make Palladium game mechanics fit into d20 imo.

However, where d20 just added feats, Palladium added new abilities and dice. :lol:

Actually d20 was not the first Great, Universal, Role-Playing System. That would be BRPS. Then GURPS. ;)
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by willpell » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:05 am

I have material related to this discussion, whenever I get around to accessing it.

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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by The Dark » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:09 am

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:16 am
thorr-kan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:36 pm
Plethora of sources. It was d20 before d20 was a thing.
What does that mean?

Is it easy to raid content from Palladium Fantasy books and use them in a 3rd Edition D&D game? :?
It's what I've seen labelled elsewhere as a "fantasy heartbreaker," in that it addressed the creator's perceived issues with AD&D. It wouldn't be too difficult to adapt to any edition of D&D. It expands to 8 characteristics: P.S. is Physical Strength, P.P. is Physical Prowess, P.E. is Physical Endurance, P.B. is Physical Beauty, I.Q. is Intelligence, M.E. is Mental Endurance, M.A. is Mental Affinity, and Spd. is Speed. Five of those translate directly to D&D stats, while either the average of PB and MA can be used for Cha or MA can be Cha and PB can be Com if you're using expanded stats. Hand-to-Hand skills generally come in four flavors: Basic, Expert, Martial Arts, and Assassin, which can loosely be mapped to Wizard, Cleric, Fighter, and Thief.

Flavor-wise, to me it feels more Greyhawkish than FR or DL or any other D&D setting, by which I mean that it feels like jigsaw pieces stuck together with background created to justify the world, rather than a more coherent whole. Part of that may just be the time between releases; the original RPG came out in 1983, with Old Ones released in 1984. Books 3-5 (High Seas, Northern Wilderness, and Further Northern Wilderness) were 1987-1990, and 1st edition ended with Island at the Edge of the World and Yin-Sloth Jungles in 1993-94. 2nd edition came out in 1996, along with new versions of Old Ones and High Seas. From 1998-2003 came 1 or 2 books per year for geographical areas (the last of which updated the two Northern Wilderness book). Then the line went on hiatus until 2009, when a book on magic came out, and then nothing until 2015 when another geographical book was released. There are some areas still mostly untouched by written material, and the Yin-Sloth Jungles book (AFAIK) has never been updated to 2nd edition. That's 30+ years between first release and most recent region book, with (again, AFAIK) no metaplot or anything else changing the world from what it was at the beginning. There are few other settings that have remained static over that amount of real-world time.

One area where it does stand out well is the art. Most of it's incredible, even the stuff from artists whose styles I don't care for (I don't like Kent Burles' "everything-is-made-of-hot-wax" aesthetic, but he does do it very well). That shouldn't be surprising, given Kevin's background in comic book art.

As far as the Megaverse goes, pretty much every Palladium game is compatible enough with the others to allow characters to move between them with minimal difficulty. Power levels may vary wildly between characters from different settings (nothing from Beyond The Supernatural will hold up well compared to a character from Phase World, for example), but that's never been a concern of the publisher.

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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:46 am

Thank you for the summary. I do recall using monsters from the AD&D Fiend Folio in my Palladium game all those decades ago, so they weren't horribly incompatible. If I were to use the setting, I'd likely run it with 13th Age if epic fantasy is the right feel for the setting. That was how I ran it when I was a kid, but I honestly don't remember if that was because the setting was written that way, or because I came from a background of superhero RPGs and didn't know any better at the time.
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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by thorr-kan » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:26 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:16 am
thorr-kan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:36 pm
Plethora of sources. It was d20 before d20 was a thing.
What does that mean?

Is it easy to raid content from Palladium Fantasy books and use them in a 3rd Edition D&D game? :?
Depends on your homebrewing chops. Fluff would be easy; crunch...not so much.

Palladium uses d20, higher is better, model, except for skills and weapons damage. This was decades before WotC released 3.0. Revolutionary? Not really, but not something TSR was doing with *DND at the time...

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Re: [Palladium] Description of what makes the Palladium world different

Post by thorr-kan » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:31 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:12 pm
thorr-kan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:36 pm
It's a deep world, with thousands, maybe millions of years of history.

It's a post-apocalyptic world. Defeating the Great Old Ones broke the world.

It's a fantasy kitchen sink. High magic, summoning, psionics, decadent empires, wolfmen, meddling gods. It's all there.

Plethora of sources. It was d20 before d20 was a thing. With only a bit of work, anything from any of Palladium's game lines will fit it.

Unity of vision. Palladium has been around for decades. And regardless of your opinions of its proprietor, it remains very much his vision.
This is an awesome summary, thorr-kan. Thanks for sharing that! I take it you enjoy the setting? If so, do you still play in/run it?

Is there a favorite spot that you recommend starting adventures in for newbies?

Have you ever tried using it with a different game system? Is the content fairly system-neutral, or tied to the mechanics of the game?
I've never actually played any Palladium game, in spite of owning several dozen of their books. I read them because the *drip* ideas. Regardless of your feelings for the system and the publisher, Palladium's books contain enough fluff for endless adventure.

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