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Tabletop Game / Palladium Fantasy

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A Tabletop RPG by Palladium Books first published in 1983.

It was initially called "The Palladium Role-Playing Game", but was later amended to "Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game" by its second edition in 1996. The setting of "The Palladium World" is fairly generic for a fantasy RPG, taking place on a massive Pangaea-esque continent which has Ley Lines shared with other Megaverse games.

There's also over fifteen follow-up books that flesh out the basic setting, surpassing even some D&D settings in scope.


This Tabletop RPG provides examples of:

  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The game gives us countless examples, from more mundane animals all the way up to classical fantasy creatures. Almost every large town or city has at least one or two, typically with names like The Golden Dragon Restaurant, Bird of Paradise Tavern, Silver Dragon Inn, The Fallible Feline, Red Cobra Saloon, The Amorous Armadillo or Mermaid's Lust. Usually the title gives some indication of the overall quality of the place and what goods and services it might offer.
  • All Trolls Are Different: They're available as a player race. They are the largest, strongest and dimmest race available, and they sport claws that cause quite a bit of damage. Beyond that, however, there is nothing particularly unusual about them.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Certain magical effects can turn the characters skin different vivid colors for varying amounts of time. For example, Faerie Foods such as Burgundy Wine and Green Beans turn the eaters skin burgundy (purple) or green. Players can also end up with bright blue skin if they misuse magic, which can last anywhere from a couple of months to a full year.
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  • Basilisk and Cockatrice: The Dragons & Gods sourcebook counts them both as a different subtype of dragon.
  • Brutal Bird of Prey: Giant bird creatures called Slaughterhawks can regularly be found stalking the skies over the Darkest Heart, a primordial forest region found deep within the Land of the Damned. They're each about the size of an adult human and can appear in small groups, making for a rather dangerous potential encounter.
  • Brutish Bulls: The Udok or "Armored Bull" is basically what happens when you take a rampaging bull, cross it with a wild boar and give it a suit of battle armor. They're known to be diehard warriors with a strong sense of bloodlust and a taste for vicious combat.
  • Character Class System: Three different types, like many Megaverse products: Occupational (OCC), Psychic (PCC), and Racial (RCC). Occupational Character Classes include: Assassin, Diabolist, Druid, Knight, Long Bowman, Mercenary Warrior, Monk, Palladin, Priest of Darkness, Priest of Light, Ranger, Soldier, Summoner, Thief, Warlock, Witch, and Wizard.
  • Character Level: Classes tend max out at level 15.
  • Class and Level System: This RPG uses classes and levels.
  • Crossover: Palladium's rules are intended to work in other settings of their "Megaverse", but bringing fully functional Mecha from Rifts into a fantasy setting often invokes Power Creep, Power Seep.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The game has a table of curses, some of which provide benefits, such as Glowing Red Eyes, which provide a bonus to intimidation, and Frog Legs, which provide a bonus to leaping distance.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: The world of Palladium Fantasy is filled with many dangerous and monster infested woodlands that are known to swallow up the weak and unprepared. Several merchants have even taken notice of this and exploited it for personal profit, such as a pawn shop in the Western Empire that offers to hold onto any valuables an adventurer won't need while they go exploring in the forest. If they can make it back in one piece they get to reclaim their held loot along with a sizable gold bonus for each item returned. If they fail to return within the set time limit the pawn shop keeps all their gear and then sells it off for a quick profit. This has resulted in the pawn shop stockpiling more merchandise that it could ever hope to move, suggesting that most folks who take them up on their "generous" offer don't ever make it back.
  • Dragon Hoard: Many types of dragons covet treasure and high quality items and equipment can often be found in their immediate vicinity. There are also some optional encounters where players are given the chance to fight a dragon for some extra loot.
  • Dragon Variety Pack: The Dragons & Gods sourcebook has profiles for just about any kind of dragon imaginable from the classic flame breath Fire Dragons to western style Great Horned Dragons, eastern style Chiang-Ku Dragons, multi-headed Hydras, furry Wooly Dragons and many more.
  • Experience Points: Used to determine level, and each class typically has different experience point values required to get to a given level.
  • Fairy Sexy: There are over a dozen different types of fae to be found in the game, but nearly all of their visual depictions in the artwork are as tiny pretty humanoids with butterfly wings.
  • Fantastic Drug: The game has a large section dedicated to various types of exotic drugs covering everything from simple hallucinogens to more useful and potent effects like improved healing. Some are fairly common, some are so rare only a small handful of people know how to create them and some are so addictive that you'd probably be better off swallowing a mug of week old pond slime.
  • Functional Magic: In six different flavors: Alchemists use Alchemy, Diabolists specialize in Wards, Summoners make Circles, Warlocks work with Elemental Magic, Witches make pacts with Alien Intelligences, and Wizards use Spells.
  • Gargle Blaster: Faerie Wine is extremely popular among drunks despite its expensive price due to its amazing potency. A single half glass is equivalent to three shots of hard liquor and will get most adventurers completely sloshed in no time. Bottoms up!
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Zigzagged a bit. Gorgons are described in the text as being ugly monsters that hate anything beautiful while the actual illustration depicts... a Sexy Silhouette that heavily implies super model proportions and Stripperriffic attire. Maybe she's just a Butter Face?
  • Harping on About Harpies: The game includes a nasty demonic race of creatures called Dire Harpies that typically serve the Greater Deevils. Unlike regular harpies they are described as having fiery glowing eyes and drooling boiling hot lava... yikes.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The secret settlement of Glade mentioned in Eastern Territory is a mix of this and a Monster Town (see below).
  • Horny Devils: The game has both Succubus and Incubus demons that behave similarly to their mythological counterparts.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Merchants are available as an adventurer O.C.C. for players to select.
  • Island of Mystery: Several of these show up in Adventures on the High Seas which mostly focuses on exploring the vast ocean surrounding the world and its various port towns and harbors.
  • Kappa: Kappa are peculiar creatures resembling short, implike humanoids with turtles shells, webbed feet, and crablike faces and claws. They live in all major bodies of water in the world, both fresh and salt, and delight in playing cruel tricks on other creatures such as spoiling food, cutting anchor and fishing lines, tangling nets and sabotaging boat rudders.
  • Kirin: Ki-lin resemble short, tailless Asian dragons with horse-like legs and hooves and with a single short, two-tined antler growing from their forehead. They are highly magical beings — they are often scholars of magic lore — and can run in the air, and while they often avoid humanoids they also never shirk from aiding people beset by danger, evil, sickness or other misfortunes. This penchant for crusading and helping those in need, however, also means that they are often in the crosshairs of demons and other evil beings whose plans they spoil.
  • Lady Land: The tiny island nation of Lemaria is an isolated matriarchal society that was created when a group of female captives and male pirates ended up stranded there years before. After the women took charge under a charismatic and resourceful leader it slowly grew into the matriarchy it is today. It's fairly civilized overall but outsiders, particularly men, are generally treated with suspicion and looked down upon by the residents.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The "Warlock" section features an illustration of a not-so-subtle Maleficent analogue.
  • Ley Line: Lots of them, criss-crossing the world. Each leyline nexus (where multiple lines cross) has the potential to connect to other world of the Megaverse.
  • Lighthouse Point: Mostly used as background flavor for port cities and towns (particularly in Adventures on the High Seas) but there are a few noteworthy ones as well, such as one in Lemaria that's guarded by a third level fire warlock and her family.
  • Lizard Folk:
    • Lizard men are a reclusive race of humanoid, semiaquatic reptiles native to the Yin-Sloth Jungles. They are a Dying Race, as constant conflict with other jungle-dwelling species and the aggressive colonization efforts of the Western Empire have taken a steady toll on their numbers and society.
    • Lizard mages are a distinct and more draconic species that ruled the world in ancient times. They were eventualy overthrown by their servants, and are now a scattered and uncommon race of reclusive scholars obsessed with amassing knowledge and magical power.
    • Eandroth are another reptilian species mostly found as nomads in deserts and grasslands. They're proud and aggressive warriors, and ride theropod dinosaurs.
  • Magical Weapon: The game has a very wide variety of magical effects that weapons can be enchanted with, including:
  • Mars Needs Women: Many ogre women are infertile, but ogres can reproduce with humans, so many ogre tribes kidnap human women to be Breeding Slaves.
  • Monster Town: The hidden settlement of Glade is a mix of this and a Hidden Elf Village found somewhere within the vast wilderness of the Eastern Territory. Roughly two thirds of the population are various types of fairies while the remainder is a mix of other monster races such as gnomes, elves, wolfen, drakin, orcs and even a small handful of regular humans.
  • Mordor: The aptly named Land of the Damned is a hostile and dangerous region in the north-western corner of the continent sealed off from the rest of the world by miles of untamed wilderness, a rugged mountain range and a couple of monster-infested bodies of water called The Sea of Despair and The Sea of Dread. It's home to several types of vicious monsters and ancient evils and is one of the more challenging places to adventure in and explore. Just making it there in one piece is often a trial in and of itself... to say nothing of what the party will actually have to face in regards to the terrain and inhabitants of the cursed place when they arrive...
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: Probably too many to list. Adventures on the High Seas in particular has a focus on these types of towns and settlements.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Inscribing runes onto paper makes the paper indestructible. Before you can even start thinking about exploiting that fact to make some armor, the book provides a lengthy explanation for why magically indestructible paper makes lousy armor.
  • Ocean of Adventure: This is the main focus of the third major sourcebook Adventures on the High Seas which is all about adventuring on the high seas. It includes information on exotic islands, maps of oceanside towns and communities, new pirate and sailor classes, lists of ships, various sea creatures and just about everything else players would ever need or want to know about Palladium Fantasy's vast ocean.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played straight with modern dwarves: short, bearded people who live underground and are natural miners and smiths. Though go back into the race's history, and it's mentioned that they were once masters of ancient magic, and the inventors of rune weapons. In the modern age of this world, all dwarves, even the most vile outcasts, universally obey the cultural taboo against magic as if it were a law of physics. Dwarves can learn and practice magic, and on other worlds they do, but on the Palladium Fantasy world it never happens.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: They come in most of the same flavors as in D&D — frost giants, fire giants, mountain giants and cyclopes most notably — and also include the noble Titans and the mutant, often-insane Gigantes.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Griffons fit the standard fantasy mold in terms of physical appearance, live in high mountains in northern climes and will generally leave humans alone unless threatened or hungry.
  • Our Manticores Are Spinier: Manticores are foul-tempered predators resembling lions with goblin-like humanoid faces and tails tipped with clusters of poisonous quills. In addition to being dangerous hunters, they also have sadistic streaks a mile wide, something luckily tempered by their rarity.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: Minotaurs are added as a powerful R.C.C. in the Old Ones sourcebook, which even features a minotaur warrior on the front cover.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: They're a playable race, though most are evil and monstrous. However, they have fully human intelligence, and are in fact an ancestral Human Subspecies. They can breed with humans; the offspring are ogres.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Orcs are a playable race. They're stronger and more savage than humans, but they're otherwise a civilized race.
  • Our Perytons Are Different: Perytons, also known as demon deer, are winged deer of mysterious origins that cast human shadows instead of their own. They are vicious predators and particularly enjoy hunting intelligent humanoids — one of their favorite tactics is to attack a ship in numbers and destroy its masts and sails, crippling the vessel and allowing them to pick off the sailors at their leisure — although they go after unicorns, pegasi and other beautiful and benevolent creatures as well.
  • Our Sphinxes Are Different: Sphinxes are the classic winged, human-headed lion version. They are obsessive scholars and greatly interested in the study of history, magic and cultures, and have a taste for expensive food and drink. They are sometimes enticed to take residence in temples with offers of rare texts and delicacies, and are often among the first creatures drawn to discoveries of ancient texts and ruins.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The Land of the Damned 2: Eternal Torment sourcebook has a brief section on werebeasts that includes some data on the classic werewolf as well as some more unexpected werecreatures such as weretigers, werelizards and wererats.
  • Power-Up Food: Faerie Foods are special treats that temporarily imbue the consumer with various magical effects and abilities. Most are used for recreational purposes but a few do provide buffs (or debuffs) that could be useful in combat or other situations.
  • Pegasus:
    • Pegasi are extremely rare creatures only found roosting on high mountains far from civilization. They used to be a lot more common and were often used as steeds by the elves, but they were almost completely exterminated during the great dwarf-elf war in the distant past.
    • There are also the dragondactyls, essentially pegasi with clawed feet and draconic tails and wings; additionally, male dragondactyls can breathe fire. They are more common than the nearly-extinct pegasi, although not particularly numerous in absolute terms, and despite their monstrous appearance are relatively even-tempered beasts and no more difficult to domesticate than most horses.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: Page 256 allows greater supernatural beings, most creatures of magic (definitely dragons) and magic practitioners above 3rd level to sense a Crystal Ball is watching them, and can expend PPE to cloud the crystal and prevent viewing for 4-16 hours.
  • Proud Peacock: Adrams are incredibly vain, self-obsessed creatures obsessed with getting others to marvel at their beautiful forms — which, besides humanoid bodies and horse heads, include very large and showy peacock tails.
  • Psychic Powers: Psionics come directly from a character's mind, without the ritual or mandatory belief system underlying magic. They run off Inner Strength Points (ISP), which are a refined form of the Potential Psychic Energy that fuels magic.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: Many towns and cities contain public bathhouses that the party can visit. Some even offer special services to patrons who can pay extra fees, such as hiring some servants to clean them for a little bit of additional gold.
  • Runic Magic: Mystical runes and wards are used in a lot of this settings magic and the base game even includes a full runic alphabet for players to use.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Dragons and Gods forces the Egyptian Pantheon's major deities into two pantheons, one "of Light" and the other "of Dark", with gods such as Set and Anubis subject to Demonization and Set recast as Apepi's master instead of as the god who fights him off.
  • Savage Wolves:
    • Dragon wolves are monstrous wolves with the wings and tails of dragons; although not as vicious and aggressive as other examples, they are conniving, treacherous and untrustworthy beings with little regard for morality and laws.
    • The game stats out many types of animals, and timber wolves get some decent stats.
  • Sea Serpents: Sea serpents are large, aggressive marine reptiles found in the world's outer oceans, and prone to capsizing boats. A number of distinct varieties exist:
    • Horned ramrods have heavily armored heads and rhinoceros-like horns. They charge into ships like battering rams in order to break them open to get at the crew.
    • Jormund serpents are immense creatures, up to 400 feet in length, and highly territorial. They typically mistake ships as either intruders or prey and attempt to smash them to pieces, after which they devour any sailor they find in the water.
    • Northern stranglers are very ophidian serpents that kill their prey — large marine animals, including other sea serpents — by crushing it in their coils. They have also learned that ships are easy source of food, whether in the form of garbage pitched over the side, nets full of fish, whales caught on harpoons or sailors fallen in the drink, and will often follow larger vessels to glean such morsels. Smaller ships, of course, are just crushed to flinders from the get-go.
    • Snaggle-toothed gobblers resemble primordial sea monsters, with four paddle-like limbs, barrel-shaped torsos and thin, toothy mouths. Instead of sinking ships, they just snatch sailors right off the deck.
    • Viper serpents have long, clawed arms and the heads of deep-sea fish. Unlike other serpents, they kill for pleasure instead of just for food.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Beedles are nasty little insectoid creatures native to the Land of the Damned that only take a single strike to kill but almost always appear in massive stinging swarms of over a thousand. Particularly large swarms will make quick work of unprotected and careless adventurers and even experienced players will need to deal with them quickly to avoid being overwhelmed.
  • Slave Market: Slavery is a fairly big part of the economy and most major cities will have some form of slave market or slave pen available to help out with manual labor or other simple tasks. This is mostly limited to the nonhuman races such as orcs, ogres and goblins but human slaves can also be found with a little bit of searching. (Though it should be noted that human slavery is often the result of unpaid debts or punishments for a crime.)
  • Thieves' Guild: Most major towns and cities have one that basically serves as a medieval fantasy equivalent to The Mafia. In addition to bartering for stolen goods and offering thieving services they also engage in much shadier practices like kidnapping and assassination.
  • Underground City: There exist many different types of underground settlements that are most often used by the various monster races as bases, cities or outposts, but not always. The great dwarven city of Northolme in particular springs to mind.
  • Unicorn: Unicorns, resembling horses with goat beards, leonine tails and cloven hooves, are natural passive telepaths capable of sensing whether other beings are of good or evil intent. Being by and large retiring and somewhat distrustful creatures, they shun contact with all but the most morally upright or innocent humanoids; they are particularly fond of children and youths, leading to the in-universe myth of their affinity for virgins.
  • Unicorns Prefer Virgins: Unicorns are believed in-universe to have an attraction to virgins. In truth, they actually prefer people of very good character and are especially fond of children and innocent souls, even allowing them on their backs, which led to the origin of the myth.
  • The Wall Around the World: The game takes place on a single massive continent and the surrounding oceans. Far beyond the last settled islands, at the so-called "Edge of the World", is a black wall of death that extends up into the sky and as far underwater as anyone has ever been able to travel. Anything that tries to cross the wall is disintegrated — or maybe just teleported to a random place in the multiverse.
  • Watering Down: Several low quality taverns, inns and gambling halls are explicitly stated to do this with their booze.