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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 2:48 am
  

D-Bee

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2021 2:37 am
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So we all love Palladium, and to be honest it's complexity is one of it's main draws, but it's also what makes it quite in accessable to a lot of modern RPGers.



I know they've done it a bit with Savage Rifts, but I don't like the Savage system!



So if you were to simplify the Palladium mechanics, not necessarily by a lot, what would you do? Do you have any hacks that you use for home games for example?



To get started here three of my thoughts:-

Universal +5% on all skills for level increase. It's very annoying that some skills go up at 3 or 4%. Having +5% for EVERYTHING makes life a lot simpler.

Simplify combat. Ok this is a cop out one but there must be a way to keep the good things about the combat sysetm but make it easier for new players.

Introduce 'power bands' for character creation. It gets very hard trying to GM groups if there is a lot of disparity between the power level of characters. Having clear 'bands' of power, maybe only 4 would do, would make running a group a lot easier.

EDIT: Lots of really cool ideas here. I wouldn't want a TOTAL rewrite of the system as that would invalidate 30 years of material, and when I've seen games do this they have died quite quickly as fans lose all their inbuilt knowledge.

BUT the main thing it seems is the combat. If you could have a much simplified version without all the bonuses / combat options, that would go a long way I think.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 8:52 am
  

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1. PP bonuses count for guns and unguided missiles just like any other attack.
Unaimed shot don't get PP bonuses, but Aimed does. Apply this to ALL ranged attacks; thrown weapons, archery, etc.
2. Get rid of ROF and just go with melee attacks when determining how many shots you get.
3. Called Shots apply the same in melee and ranged attacks.
4. Simultaneous Attacks apply in melee and ranged (I believe this is already how things work, but some people disagree)
5. Actions/attacks that take more than one "Attack" to perform still take only 1 action's worth of time. So if a character with 4 attacks makes a Power Punch on his first attack, he still gets to go on his next init, and the one after, but he's used that 4th attack he'd normally have on his power punch. If he does 2 power punches, then he's out of attacks on the second round of melee attacks.
6. Roll initiative at the start of combat only, NOT at the start of each melee round. Initiative remains the same until something changes it.
7. Burst/spray rules apply to all weapons as a default, including melee weapons (though this would be called a Flurry). Bursts/Flurries get only 1/2 of PP bonus, use 3 units of ammunition/charges/whatever, and inflict x2 damage. Long Bursts/Flurries only get 1/3 of PP bonus, use 6 units of ammunition/charges/whatever, take up 2 attacks/actions, and inflict x5 damage.
Certain special attacks like Jump Kick, Leap Attack, Flip/throw, body block/tackle, and so forth, cannot be used to flurry.
8. Cut the mage armor rules.
9. PP bonuses apply to all melee attacks/actions as a default, not just strike/parry/dodge. So defensive flips, entangles, etc. all use PP bonus as base.
10. All bonuses to strike from HTH skills, physical skills, etc., also apply to offensive entangles, flips, etc. All bonuses to parry apply to all melee defensive maneuvers, such as defensive flips, entangles, etc.
11. All bonuses to Dodge apply to Auto-Dodge as well.
12. Any character that has auto-dodge and/or auto-parry also has auto-roll-with-impact.
13. Only TWO kind of Physical Strength: Normal Strength and Mega Strength. Mega Strength = (what the normal PS would be after all bonuses from skills, etc.) x 100.
14. Instead of a flat PS bonus for normal punches, there would be a table listing how many and what dice to use for attacks, similar to the current tables for Supernatural and Robotic PS.
This same table would be used for Mega Strength, but the damage would be Mega-Damage.
16. Similar deal with all other attributes: Normal Endurance, and Mega-Endurance, with Mega-Endurance simply meaning that the character a) is effectively tireless, and b) has MDC instead of HP. For other attributes like IQ, MA, ME, etc., bonuses are doubled.
17. Scrap SDC for all living creatures. All SDC bonuses from skills, OCCs, etc., turns into HP or MDC, depending on what kind of endurance the character has.
18. Charm/impress/intimidate/etc. are swapped from percentile die abilities to a kind of mental attack: roll d20, add MA/PB bonuses to charm/impress if applicable (Any character can TRY to charm/impress anybody, not just super beautiful/charismatic people). This roll is opposed by the defender rolling a D20 and adding ME bonus.
MA/PB bonuses are now equal to the same number as if they were PP attributes.
19. Horror Factor is defended against the same way as other mental attacks like Charm/Impress/Intimidate/etc.: roll a d20, add your ME bonus and any applicable horror bonus.
Horror Factor is a flat attack: just use the unmodified number, without rolling dice.
20. Any character can spend 2 attacks to Take A Ten on any attack or defense, meaning that instead of rolling a die, they just use 10 plus applicable bonuses.
21. Skills are assumed to automatically succeed under most conditions. The only time a skill needs to be rolled is when it's being actively opposed by another skill (Prowl vs Detect Ambush), or when the situation is unusually difficult.
A surgeon in an Operating Room with the right tools, a support staff, etc., would never need to make a skill check unless he/she/it/they is/are attempting an unusually difficult procedure.
A surgeon outside of an operating room, without a full complement of tools, full staff, etc., would probably need to make a skill check.
Piloting a vehicle would be automatically successful unless something unusual happened, like a potential collision with another vehicle, unusually difficult terrain/weather, etc.
(All of this is actually how skills are intended to work, as per an old explanation for TMNT, but most people--including a number of writers--don't understand/agree, so I'm adding it. A lot of game time is wasted on not only unnecessary dice rolling, but also on the negative consequences when the dice rolls go bad and what should be a simple action ends up getting overly complicated)
22. All spells get spell strength equal to the level of the mage.

That's all I've got off the top of my head.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 1:39 pm
  

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D-Bee

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For my own house-rules, I've already done this.

Combat was streamlined with Jaymz's 3-phase combat and movement systems. I'm never willingly going back, the flow of combat is so much smoother now. The guy's a freaking genius and deserves money.

I've revamped the skills to make a more unified list, and changed some to have flexible subtypes. (Performance covers a user-specified subtype such as Acting, Improv, Poetry Recital, Musical Instrument, Singing, Miming, reading sheet music, or any other form of performance a player might invent) This makes the physical list smaller, but simultaneously allows unlimited expansion. And let's face it, there are HUNDREDS of musical instrument skills, writing out individual skills would consume an encyclopedia. Same for history and lore skills, I consolidated them into user-definable sub-types.

I usually play modern game settings such as Ninjas and Superspies and Heroes Unlimited. So, I've ditched OCC other and secondary skills, and use a custom list of skill programs so players have more freedom to pick what they want faster, but even that list has flexible options so a veteran can really dial in their ideal hacker, for example. (And using an existing OCC still isn't difficult, but that part DOES need more playtesting)

The result? Character creation took 25 minutes for someone who barely knew how to play D&D, and had never heard of Palladium. And unless you memorized all of Palladium's skills, you'd probably never notice the changes from seeing the character sheet.

I would love to see a simplified explanation of certain things like the Telekinesis powers, there has to be a way of getting it done in fewer paragraphs.

I'd consolodate to one strength type. Augmented would just become maybe a +4 or +5, Superhuman would be +6 or so, Supernatural PS would become a flat +20ish modifier.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 2:17 pm
  

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D-Bee

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there's a ton of changes that could be made, I think its more important to ask 'what feels like Palladium?' if we remove active defense from the game, does it still feel like Palladium to you? How about if we lump dodge and parry into a single defense roll, how about now? What if we lower the attacks per round to one or two total?

I think you gotta start there, get everyone on the same page before you throw a dozen house rules out there.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 5:22 pm
  

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Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:49 pm
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matt.reed wrote:
there's a ton of changes that could be made, I think its more important to ask 'what feels like Palladium?' if we remove active defense from the game, does it still feel like Palladium to you? How about if we lump dodge and parry into a single defense roll, how about now? What if we lower the attacks per round to one or two total?

I think you gotta start there, get everyone on the same page before you throw a dozen house rules out there.



Massive combat overhaul. This right here, folks.

Keeping the "feel" of Palladium will be up to the story and color text folks. Those of us who've played PB games for the last few decades can tell you the main feeling of PB combat is frustration and hand cramping from notetaking. What does hour three of a 15 second fight with a trio of bandits "feel" like?
Ask me how calling out "OK, end of attack round 7, melee round 1, who still has actions?" feels like.
Question for the GMs, what percentage of fights end with you thinking "OK, this has gone on long enough, I have actual story to get to." and then declaring "rocks fall, the monsters all die"?

Drop APM to ONE for everyone, and put in a bonus action mechanic for super-fast classes, but even juicers would only get one extra APM.

Condense combat into Strike and Defense rolls, and limit bonus stacking. Move Disarm, body flip, and all the odd maneuvers into one category and set a single combat roll for them, in a vein similar to CMB for D&D3/pathfinder.

Combat often takes several real hours, but only covers 15-30 seconds game time. I'd be OK with a MASSIVE simplification in a hypothetical "Palladium 2.0" if it cut down combat time.



As far as skills? PB skills are Crunchy. Hundreds of choices for few slots, but many of those are must-takes. Languages, literacy, basic math, survival and basic tech skills compete with weapon proficiencies and combat skills. The net effect is most characters have the same basic loadout, but a handful of unique skills per character. The player also has a hand cramp from writing all those skills down, and has blown an hour of character creation time.

I'd reduce skills a LOT. Maybe down to "science skill, engineering skill, medical skill" level, and give in-class bonuses to skill specializations.

Such as: Anyone can choose the science skill, but rogue scientists get a +20%(+4) on all science rolls, and can choose a specialization at lvls 1,3,5,8,11,15 that applies an additional +10%(+2) to a specific field (Geology, biology, genetics). Similarly, a spy could get +20%/+4 to "Tradecraft skill", a combined pick locks, pick pockets, intelligence, streetwise skill.

And in my perfect world, skills also drop the percentages and become D20 with modifiers. That makes opposed skill rolls so much easier. Rolling a D100 Prowl followed by a D20 perception roll and then deciding whose unrelated roll was more successful kind of SUCKS, am I right?


Simplification for 2.0, that's what I would like, hypothetically.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 6:55 pm
  

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D-Bee

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Percentages remain one thing I love about Palladium. Percentages have always made sense to me. The phrase "this has about a 50% chance of working" feels natural to say, and I actually hear real people use similar vernacular.

I've never heard anyone say "Oh, getting this machine installed? yeah, that's about a 34" When I started, I wondered why the heck AD&D 2nd Edition had such intuitive thief skills, and used d20 rolls for the non-weapon proficiencies.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:10 pm
  

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D-Bee

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Comment: wrote several power cat updates for the Rifter, and Cascade
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1. Active combat. Anything else feels like I'm helpless
2. Armor degradation
3. P.P.E.

everything else is negligible to me, in terms of mechanics. Yes I like SDC, and percentile skills, but those three are my necessities.

I think I can do without
Five hundred frickin skills
A dozen attacks per round, especially with like, boom guns or whatever.
fifteen spells that all accomplish the same thing
sourcebooks that are half 'these are the same weapons you saw in every other book, except this one! look it does slightly more damage!'
more SAMAS and glitterboys
and abilities that are all but useless, 'detect waterfalls within twenty feet' oh good, I'd never know without that! (Yes I realize its an exaggeration, but some water warlock and psionic powers are just so useless)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:34 pm
  

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Comment: "Your Eloquence with a sledge hammer is a beautiful thing..." -Zer0 Kay
Okay, the BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT thing to simply the system and speed up game play just occurred to me:
Come out (finally) with at Palladium Core Rules Book, with coherent and well-described rules that work with each other.
Each game setting can have a specific list of rules that apply in that setting.

Most of the problem with Palladium's rules are:
-They're scattered not only across various books
-Not all rules are included in all games, but we're left in the dark if this is deliberate or not.
-The rules have been updated randomly, scattered in obscure places.
-The writers often don't seem to know or agree what the rules are.
-The rules are very often vague enough to cause arguments, and some of these argument have lasted 30 years with no official clarification.

Ultimately, when it comes to bringing in new players, I think it might matter less what the rules ARE, and more whether they're CLEAR and EASY TO LOCATE.

Like when the -10 rule came out, it showed up in Rifts Japan, IIRC.
So a core game mechanism was changed in a World Book that took place on the opposite side of the planet from the core setting, and it took a long time for that rule to be added to the core game book where new people could find it.
Every time my game group tried to get new players, we'd have to teach them how to play the complex set of rules based on our memorization of obscure rule locations, AND based on our own personal house interpretations that resulted from a lot of arguing.
Yes, GMs can always just say "I'm the GM, so we're doing it this way" to settle arguments during a game session, BUT this often happened when a player had a key plan or character design or whatever that hinged on one specific interpretation of the rules. When that interpretation was overruled, hours of game play or character-making could be rendered moot.
Which isn't the best way to get new people into the game.

The rules should be clear and easy to find.
AND they should remain the same until a new edition of the game comes out.

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Last edited by Killer Cyborg on Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:35 pm
  

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Comment: "Your Eloquence with a sledge hammer is a beautiful thing..." -Zer0 Kay
The Narrator wrote:
Percentages remain one thing I love about Palladium. Percentages have always made sense to me. The phrase "this has about a 50% chance of working" feels natural to say, and I actually hear real people use similar vernacular.

I've never heard anyone say "Oh, getting this machine installed? yeah, that's about a 34" When I started, I wondered why the heck AD&D 2nd Edition had such intuitive thief skills, and used d20 rolls for the non-weapon proficiencies.


Agreed, 100%!!!
:ok:

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:08 pm
  

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D-Bee

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Comment: wrote several power cat updates for the Rifter, and Cascade
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yeah I do agree that you shouldn't just throw in new rules in a supplement. If you do at least errata the main books. Heck do what Jolly Blackburn did, print out the updated/fixed rule in its new place, and let players paste the addendum into their rulebook. it was really novel


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:29 am
  

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The Narrator wrote:
For my own house-rules, I've already done this.

Combat was streamlined with Jaymz's 3-phase combat and movement systems. I'm never willingly going back, the flow of combat is so much smoother now. The guy's a freaking genius and deserves money.



Genius? Hardly. Honestly when I sorted it out I was kind of surprised to see no on else had done it in quite that way. I knew of people who did "phases" but 5 phases or 15 phases but not 3 phases and not mate movement to the phase as opposed to attacks per melee.

Obviously that is my big change and it still lets those with more "attacks" HAVE more attacks.

Another big one is how skills work....I've kept percentages BUT it's now a high roll to be similar to d20 rolls in combat. In addition skills now have a set "difficulty". This attained by converting the current base skill percentage into a difficulty percentage by subtracting it from 100. IE if the base % is currently 45% it is now a difficulty of 55%. Any and all bonuses are literally bonuses to the percentile roll. So now much like you have +5 to strike but -3 to strike a small target you can have +40% to your skill but -15% for not having the right tools to perform the skill. I have found in some home testing this makes head to head skill tests WAY easier as well. Literally higher margin of success wins.

Now those are my big two changes. I have a number of changes (I'll list a coles notes below) I have made over the years and am incorporating them into what I call my Palladium 2.0 (which I'd gladly discuss elsewhere as to not write an essay here) but those two alone to me would go a long way to getting the Palladium ruleset back on track.

Core, specialization, and focus tiers for skills
Using a modified class system from Ninja's and Superspies (picking skill programs instead of individual skills etc)
Changes to the core attributes and introducing some secondary attributes (7 and 3 respectively for 10 attributes total)
Modified MDC to 10-1
A revamped AR/Armour system
Modified combat rules (range brackets for ranged weapons, using the Ranged Combat Training for example from the Rifter and disassociating actions/attacks from HTH Training altogether and now start based on class category)
Using a modified PPE channeling system along with magic foci from the Rifters


Now granted I also have a significant interested in making Rifts specifically more easily used in a "wargame" environment as well so it can be argued some of my changes are in an effort to more closely tie the two together in some ways (That said DnD has done amazing in easily using maps and tabletop miniatures in their games from damn near day one).

Anyway that's my take on this.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:24 am
  

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Comment: "Your Eloquence with a sledge hammer is a beautiful thing..." -Zer0 Kay
jaymz wrote:
The Narrator wrote:
For my own house-rules, I've already done this.

Combat was streamlined with Jaymz's 3-phase combat and movement systems. I'm never willingly going back, the flow of combat is so much smoother now. The guy's a freaking genius and deserves money.



Genius? Hardly. Honestly when I sorted it out I was kind of surprised to see no on else had done it in quite that way.


That's kind of what genius IS; seeing something nobody else sees, and being surprised that nobody's done "the obvious."
;)

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:28 pm
  

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Comment: Yeah yeah yeah just give me my damn XP already :)
Honestly in the end I am not sure anything I've done has "simplified" the system rather then made the system more cohesive and integrated as a whole to me.

THAT in and of itself would make running it SEEM more simplified I suppose as cohesiveness and integration can and will make a games rules perform more simply in practice.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:36 pm
  

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D-Bee

Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:31 pm
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I actually was meaning to look into the phase style combat. Can I get a link?


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:11 pm
  

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Comment: Yeah yeah yeah just give me my damn XP already :)
PM sent

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Email - jlaflamme7521@hotmail.com, Facebook - Jaymz LaFlamme, Robotech.com - Icerzone

\m/


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:02 pm
  

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Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 7:48 pm
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Location: Boise, ID (US)
Scott105 wrote:
So we all love Palladium, and to be honest it's complexity is one of it's main draws, but it's also what makes it quite in accessable to a lot of modern RPGers.

[snip]

So if you were to simplify the Palladium mechanics, not necessarily by a lot, what would you do? Do you have any hacks that you use for home games for example?

EDIT: Lots of really cool ideas here. I wouldn't want a TOTAL rewrite of the system as that would invalidate 30 years of material, and when I've seen games do this they have died quite quickly as fans lose all their inbuilt knowledge.

BUT the main thing it seems is the combat. If you could have a much simplified version without all the bonuses / combat options, that would go a long way I think.

Greetings and Salutations. I've dealt with a few people who are hesitant because they're unsure about the difficulty of learning a new system. This is usually how I break it down to new people.

1. Skill checks use percentile dice (2D10), and you want to roll under (or equal to) your skill level.

2. Combat uses a D20, and add bonuses. High roll wins.
2a. Basic combat uses Strike to make an attack.
2b. When attacked, you can either Parry or Dodge as a defense, but a Dodge uses up your next action. That means if you Dodge, you won't be able to attack when your turn comes up. Usually you want to Parry, but some attacks can't be parried or you may want the bonuses.

3: Everything else we can deal with when the situation comes up.

This leaves out a lot of combat features such as Roll with Punch, Disarm, and Entangle. I like those options, but I don't want to overwhelm them at first. Then when the player says something like: "I want to ...", "Can I ...", or "is there any way ..." I can just say, "Yes, you can do that, and this is how that works." So my goal isn't to change the rules (I usually prefer to teach as close to official rules as I can before going to house rules), but to keep a simplified version (more of a Palladium lite than Palladium 2.0). If the players are happy with the simple one, great. If the players want more options, great, and the rules can be taught over time so it should always feel simple.

Depending on the group, the one thing I may change is Attacks Per Melee (APM), and instead just tell everyone they get 1 attack, and we just keep initiative throughout the battle. Typically most characters tend to have a similar number of attacks anyways (starting at 4, or 5 with Boxing ... but I hate the +1 APM from Boxing anyways). So it's just easier for everyone to keep track that way.

When making new characters, I'll be there to help them. I also strongly encourage the use of an electronic character sheet. For my games (I tend to run PF), I recommend this: https://palladium-store.com/1001/produc ... sheet.html

Since I made the character sheet, I'm probably biased. I also recently did a minor reskin for my current group to use with the Nightbane setting. Why is the character sheet important? Having an electronic version is convenient, but that's not my reason. The character sheet does all the math, factors in bonuses from Extraordinary Attributes, levels up your skills as you go, calculates your running speed as well as lift and carry capacity, and can do things like add in bonuses from a high P.P., hand to hand, and W.P. without the player risking the player accidentally forgetting something. This tends to make Character Creation easier, playing easier (to avoid the math), and leveling up easier. Note: With my Nightbane version, I added an option for transforming. This means the player can have their Facade stats, and then transform and have their Nightbane stats with just a click of a button. This keeps stats and bonuses separate, and avoid confusion.

Anyways, those are some of my methods for trying to make Palladium simpler to learn and use. Hope some of that helps. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:16 am
  

D-Bee

Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:11 am
Posts: 1
Anyways, those are some of my methods for trying to make Palladium simpler to learn and use. Hope some of that helps. Farewell and safe journeys.


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