Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game (1996)

Like many RPG publishers that started out in the early 80s, Palladium’s birth was tied inextricably to Dungeons & Dragons. Siembeda came to RPGs through D&D, which he heavily modified into what would eventually become the Megaversal System used in Rifts. He tried to sell this early fantasy-based system to other publishers, but they all passed (he did spend a couple years illustrating a number of Judge’s Guild publications). When Siembieda founded Palladium 1981, his intention was to publish Palladium Fantasy (though it took a couple years to get there: the original edition appeared in 1983).

This is the 1997 second edition of the Palladium Fantasy rules, which brought the old 1983 rules into line with the Rifts Megaversal system. If you like Rifts, you’re going to love Siembieda’s minutia filled approach to fantasy. If you don’t like Rifts, you’re going to not like Palladium Fantasy for the exact same reasons: it’s density, its over-powered feel, its lack of anything approaching balance.

As usual, the main appeal of this book is its art. It is a massive book (336 pages!) and that means it is packed with illustrations. I particularly enjoy illustrator Martin McKenna’s work (he’s a prolific guy, probably best known for his Games Workshop work).

There is a decent amount of skulls present in this book, but a disappointing dearth of badass masks.

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