A company that makes various Tabletop RPG products. The company was principally founded by Kevin Siembieda. Along with the late Erick Wujcik, Sembieda has designed and written the lion's share of the company's products.
All of the company's products use the Megaversal system (also called the Palladium system) of mechanics that was developed in the 1980s as the homebrew system for the founders' tabletop games and has changed little since that time. Some of its notable features include its lack of a "neutral" character alignment, a scaled damage resistance known as "Mega-Damage Capacity" and preponderance of initialisms for game terms.
- After The Bomb — Post-Apocalypse with Funny Animals(orignally a TMNT spinoff).
- Beyond the Supernatural — Modern-Day Horror
- Dead Reign — Zombie Apocalypse
- Heroes Unlimited — Superheroes
- Macross II (no longer holds the license)
- Mechanoids — Alien Cyborgs destroy worlds
- Nightbane — Dark Urban Fantasy with shapeshifting heroes
- Ninjas And Superspies — Martial Arts and Espionage
- Palladium Fantasy — Medieval European Fantasy
- Recon — Military Action in Southeast Asia
- Rifts — Post-Apocalyptic+Fantasy Kitchen Sink+Space Western+Humongous Mecha+everything else.
- Robotech (no longer holds the license)
- Robotech RPG Tactics — Miniatures game, never completed after loss of license.
- Splicers — Robot War with Bio-Technology
- Systems Failure — The Millennium Bug becomes literal as an Alien Invasion
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness (no longer holds the license) — Predated the cartoon, so based primarily on the original Mirage Comics.
Tropes associated with Palladium Books products include:
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: The Megaversal system has most game terms rendered into initialisms. This is particularly pronounced in Rifts.
- Asian Rudeness: Ninjas and Superspies has a section that describes how people in Asian countries can be rude and racist to Westerners, complete with a rather darkly humorous example. One wonders if Erick Wujcik had a bad experience on vacation.
- Auteur License: Kevin Siembieda has a stranglehold on the company and its products.
- Author Filibuster: You can tell that it's a Palladium book if Kevin Siembieda goes off on a rant somewhere about how one should play or run a role-playing game. He compares it to the commentary track on a DVD - albeit in the latter case, you don't have commentary randomly popping up in the middle of a scene.
- Canada, Eh?: The company is based in the state of Michigan, which is next door to Canada. As such, Palladium's game worlds usually have a much better grasp of that nation than those of most game publishers.
- Character Alignment: The Megaversal system has a seven-entry alignment list divided into Good, Selfish and Evil, with each of the seven alignments defined by a list of what a follower of the alignment will or will not do. The Heroes Unlimited GM's Guide includes multiple massive filibusters about what the various alignments mean.
- Character Class System: The Megaversal system uses classes and levels like most RPG systems. Some games include R.C.C.s, (Racial Character Class), which is a class and race rolled into one.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Most versions of the Megaversal system allow characters to take physical training skills such as gymnastics and weight lifting to increase their physical stats and Structural Damage Capacity (one form of your hit points) to the point that you gain immense physical ability and can shrug off multiple gunshot wounds.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In the Megaverse, magic can only be practiced if you hold specific beliefs about its metaphysics: The wizard must believe that magic is real, that it is a force that can be controlled by humans (or other beings as the case may be), and that magic is not good or evil in and of itself.
- Crisis Crossover: The Minion War, a conflict between the Demons of Hades and the Deevils of Dyval, which is set to rage over every Megaversal world where it can be fit in.
- Fanwork Ban: One of the most notorious ones in the RPG industry. Kevin Siembieda forbids people from converting his settings (most notably RIFTS) to other systems and publishing the rules anywhere, and makes legal threats against people who do publish them. (Fortunately, Palladium doesn't have the resources to follow through.)
- Hitman with a Heart: Averted. A quirk of the alignment system is that those who are trained specifically to assassinate people are always Anarchist or evil. Be they Hired Guns, idealists or soldiers who specialize in killing high-value targets, they are never good people.
- Hit Points: Most versions of the Megaversal system use hit points as the character's final life force, which is only expended after all your SDC is gone. Some special attacks bypass SDC and go right to your hit points.
- House Rules: The Megaversal system was designed as a homebrew for the founders' personal gaming group in the 1980s and changed very little since then. It's an eccentric system that is sometimes criticized for being rather clunky.
- The Multiverse: All Palladium games are linked as part the Megaverse, with Rifts Earth at the center and elements from all the games crossing over. Robotech may or may not be a part of this depending on the individual GM; unlike the other games, there's no canonical crossovers and Robotech is a self-contained setting, but there are rules for crossing their mecha and characters into Rifts.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Consistent editing isn't a thing at Palladium, and these slip into the books on occasion.
- Vapor Ware: The company is infamous for announcing a new title almost immediately upon its conception, then pushing potential release dates further and further out until the product simply vanishes from promotion. The phenomenon has grown increasingly pronounced in recent years. The most notable example would be Mechanoids SPACE, an updated edition of Palldium's first published game that was announced in 1993 and remains available for pre-order at the website, but has yet to see the light of day.
- Zeerust: Across the Megaverse, The Aesthetics of Technology are firmly stuck in The '80s. Laser weapons are standard, bionics are the go-to choice for transhumanism, computerized equipment is mostly limited to robot brains, and tech is big, obvious and loud. In Rifts, this has become part of the setting's idiom (and part of the charm), but it can be a bit more jarring in Heroes Unlimited, which is set in the present day.