Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game

Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game

Infobox RPG
title=Palladium Fantasy RPG

caption= "Palladium" Fantasy Role-Playing Game,
Second Edition cover
designer= Kevin Siembieda
publisher= Palladium Books
date= 1983 "(1st edition)"
1996 "(2nd edition)"
genre= Fantasy
system= Megaversal system

The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game is a game produced by Palladium Books. It is set in a unique world, called the Palladium World (the unofficial name of Palladia is disliked by Palladium), with the primary setting being some 10,000 years after a great war between the elves and their dwarven allies. First published in 1983 as "The Palladium Role-Playing Game" [Summary of 1st edition at RPG.Net, with links to reviews] , the "Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game" saw a 2nd edition in 1996 [Summary of the 2nd edition at RPG.Net, with links to reviews.] . The two editions are largely compatible, though second edition uses a later iteration of Palladium's ruleset, to be more compatible with the rest of their Megaverse.


Race and class

Like many fantasy games, the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game (often shortened to Palladium Fantasy or PFRPG) includes many different sentient races as playable characters. In addition to humans, and the above-mentioned elves and dwarves, there are also gnomes (small humanoids who once had a republic), kobolds (wiry, subterranean humanoids who tend to be evil), goblins (small, ugly, stupid humanoids, some of whom have remnants of faerie magic), ogres (large, strong, primitive humans), orcs, trolls, changelings (who are capable of assuming many humanoid forms) and, most famously, Wolfen. The Wolfen are large, humanoid wolves, who have, in the past century, established their own Empire in the extreme north of the continent. Unlike many other fantasy games, there is very little interbreeding between the races. Humans and ogres are related closely enough that offspring is possible, but any children are considered ogres. Wolfen and the related coyles (who resemble humanoid coyotes) may be able to breed, as one supplement (Adventures in the Northern Wilderness) implies that a non-player character may be half-coyle, half-wolfen, but this is not confirmed.

There are also a variety of classes available. They are divided up into Men at Arms, Men of Magic, Clergy, and Optional O.C.C.s (Occupational Character Classes), as well as P.C.C.s (Psychic Character Classes, for characters whose abilities are primarily psychic in nature). As with most Palladium games, the character classes determine which skills are available to the character, and several grant special powers, as well.

History of the World

The history of the world is divided into several large "ages", each corresponding to certain events and a different level of ambient magical energy. While there are many historians in the Palladium World, the best known historical text is the Tristine Chronicles, of which several different versions exist. Most copies are incomplete, but it is regarded as the authority on Palladium history.

Any chronological account of the Palladium world must necessarily begin with the "Old Ones" [Siembieda, "PFRPG Book II: Old Ones", pp. 7-10.] . Their dominance constituted an Age of Chaos, abounding in magical energy, of which only myth and conflicting interpretations of scant historical evidence (found within the pages of the "Tristine Chronicles") remain [Siembieda, "PFRPG", p. 277.] . From this, it cannot be conclusively determined whether the Old Ones themselves were progenitors of the universe entire or just one of numerous factors inscribed as part of the cosmological formula in which every being and plane of existence locates its respective origin. Either way, these entities were ancient beyond all reckoning and possessed of powers that defied comprehension (similar to the Great Old Ones found in the work of H. P. Lovecraft). While their true appearance is unknown, the Old Ones were most often depicted as amorphous mounds of flesh covered with swarming tentacles, unblinking eyes, and gaping maws. Each one laying claim to a particular aspect of evil, they feasted with impunity upon the suffering and attendant dark emotions that resulted from various torments inflicted upon those bound to their oppressive rule. Not only credited with the development of magic in myriad forms (a mere handful survived into the present, but none are fully intact), the Old Ones also gave rise to an untold number of races (only the Elf, Titan, and Changeling have endured), alongside a legion of slaves from other dimensions. Foremost among these, dragons conspired to bring about the Old Ones' downfall [Siembieda, "PFRPG Sourcebook: Dragons and Gods", p. 9.] . They eventually convinced "Ya-Blik" (envy) and "Al-vil" (betrayal) to ensnare "Xy" (greatest of the Old Ones and representation of power incarnate) within a magical construct of his own design. As a result, "Xy" was transformed into "Thoth", lord of wisdom and distinguished member of the Pantheon of Light, all memories of his prior self irrevocably erased ["Ibid.", p. 143.] . Open revolt was soon underway, and the archaic races, accompanied by Spirits and Gods of Light ["Ibid.", p. 76.] , used this opportunity to rise up against their former masters. At long last, in the wake of all-encompassing destruction and bloodshed, the Old Ones were subdued, placed in an enchanted slumber, and imprisoned in the nether regions of the universe through the combined might of "Thoth", the elven mage "Lictalon", the dragon "Kym-nark-mar", and the angel "Lo-kum". Although certain vestiges of the Old Ones' presence and influence managed to escape the ensuing campaign of eradication, the world and its inhabitants were able to establish a new order in their (relative) absence.

Following the Age of Chaos was the Age of Light, which was a time of very high ambient magic. It is during this time that humans first appear in history, and religious wars begin as rival gods contend for worshippers. This period is known to be very long, but essentially indeterminate in length and time.

Sometime after the Age of Light was the Time of a Thousand Magicks. While magic was not substantially more powerful than during the Age of Light, it was at this point that magic reached a point of great diversity. This led to elves gaining great influence across the middle of the continent, and dwarves developing rune magic: the art of trapping souls in indestructible objects.

The Elf and Dwarf empires grew in strength, and cooperated closely for centuries, but the dwarves grew resentful of elven high-handedness, and the elves suspected the dwarves of scheming. This resulted in the Elf-Dwarf War, which nearly destroyed the two empires, as each tried to outdo the other in magical atrocities. It culminated with the destruction of the Golden City of Baalgor, and the creation of the Baalgor Wastelands.

Following the war, Dwarves forever foreswore magic, and both cooperated to purge the world of "evil" magic, sparing only a few types which they judged worthy of remaining in a Millennium of Purification. Many other traditions of magic went underground or to other worlds, however, or survived in a few members who have since spread.

Since that time, ten thousand years ago, humans have become the dominant race on the planet, controlling four of the major kingdoms or confederacies. In the past fifty years, the Wolfen of the Northern Wilderness have become highly organized, developing a society which now clashes regularly with humans in the Eastern Territories (see the section on Geography and Politics for more).

Geography and Politics

The game takes place on a single continent, and several nearby islands. The extreme south of the world is tropical, having a jungle on the western coast, while the extreme northern portions of the country are subarctic forest. Given the size of the continent (approximately 2500 miles north to south), this makes the planet slightly larger than Mars. The continent represents only part of the world, but it was revealed in the sixth supplement, Island at the Edge of the World, that the game setting is surrounded by a large, impenetrable black wall for unknown reasons. The supplement Land of the Damned Two: Eternal Torment also revealed that there were other lands on this planet, that were not involved in the war against the Old Ones.

Politically, there are several nations, and several alliances amongst races. Humans are allied to both elves and dwarves, though those two races still maintain personal hostility because of the Elf-Dwarf War. Humans are in charge of the Western Empire, a decadent empire which lies between the two inland seas of the continent. The Eastern Territories are also called the "Domain of Man", and have a large population of humans, as well as elves and some dwarves. Immediately north of the Eastern Territories is the Wolfen Empire, which is open to all races, though is dominated by Wolfen and is somewhat suspicious of humans due to long-running conflicts with the Eastern Territories over some disputed land. To the south of the Eastern Territories is the predominantly human kingdom of Timiro. In between the Western Empire and the Eastern Territories lies the Old Kingdom, the former center of elven civilization, which is now populated by large numbers of orcs, ogres, and similar monsters. South of the Old Kingdom is the giant-run kingdom of Mount Nimro, which is centered around two volcanos. West of Mount Nimro is the Land of the South Winds, of which only sketchy information has been presented, and the Baalgor Wastelands, which were created at the very end of the Elf-Dwarf war as an elven-made catastrophe destroyed their own capital. Southwest of the Baalgor Wastelands, and west of the Land of the South Winds is the Yin-Sloth Jungles.

Magic and Psionics

The Palladium World is a magical world, with several different kinds of magic practiced, as well as psychic powers. In the past, many more types of magic were practiced, but immediately after the Elf-Dwarf War, a Millennium of Purification saw the end of many types of "questionable" magic. The major remaining forms of magic are Wizardry (casting spells), Diabolism (magical writing, used for wards and empowerment), Summoning (using magic circles to protect, to bind demons and other creatures, or activate various powers), Alchemy (creating magic items), Elementalism (in which a person, known as a Warlock, uses a special bond with one or two classical elements to cast spells and summon elementals), Witchcraft (in which a person signs a pact with a demon, trading souls, servitude, or other favors in exchange for power), Priestly Magic, and Druidism (Nature Magic). Psychic powers are also common, though several races lack any psionic potential at all. Those characters whose race does have psychic potential have a chance to possess a few powers, regardless of their O.C.C.. All of these operate on Palladium's standard system of magic being powered by Potential Psychic Energy (P.P.E., since "2nd edition"), and psychic powers being fueled by Inner Strength Points (I.S.P.), both working like magic points.

Game Materials and Information

Those books published before the second edition of PFRPG but not revised afterwards are identified as such.

Core Book

* "The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Second Edition" (April 1996) - The only book "needed" to begin play. Others can help, but are optional.

Regional Adventure Guides

* "Book II: Old Ones" (January 2000) - Describes communities and forts in the Timiro Kingdom, also gives information about the Old Ones, Minotaurs, and the Place of Magic. [ [ RPGnet RPG Game Index: Palladium Fantasy RPG Book 2: Old Ones ] ]
* "Book III: Adventures on the High Seas" (December 1996) - Navigates the expanse of ocean surrounding the Palladium world, making stops at several islands along the way. [ [ RPGnet RPG Game Index: Palladium Fantasy RPG Book 3: Adventures on the High Seas ] ]
* "Book IV: Adventures in the Northern Wilderness" (October 1989, 1st ed.) [out of print]
* "Book V: "Further" Adventures in the Northern Wilderness" (June 1990, 1st ed.) - Focuses upon the mountain range that sequesters the Great Northern Wilderness from encroaching human settlement in the Eastern Territory.
* "Book VI: Island at the Edge of the World" (September 1994, 1st ed.)
* "Book VII: Yin-Sloth Jungles" (September 1994, 1st ed.) - Unveils the heretofore mysterious and primitive Yin-Sloth Jungles and its inhabitants, both monstrous and otherwise.
* "Book VIII: The Western Empire" (September 1998) - Covers the oldest, most powerful, and perhaps greatest realm of humankind: its cities and people, governing bodies, conspiracies and intrigue, history, and plans for the future. [ [ RPGnet RPG Game Index: Palladium Fantasy RPG Book 8: The Western Empire ] ]
* "Book IX: The Baalgor Wastelands" (March 1999) - Introduces a desolate region claimed by nomadic monster races, once the center of ancient Elven civilization but laid to waste during their war against the Dwarves. [ [ RPGnet RPG Game Index: Palladium Fantasy RPG Book 9: The Baalgor Wastelands ] ]
* "Book X: Mount Nimro" (May 1999) - Ventures into the domain of giants: a gathering of clans, tribes, and refugees quickly becoming both a true "kingdom" and a perceived threat to nearby communities. [ [ RPGnet RPG Game Index: Palladium Fantasy RPG Book 10: Mount Nimro ] ]
* "Book XI: Eastern Territories" (April 2001) - Surveys a land of opportunity that has, for the time being, managed to achieve a precarious balance amidst heated disputes and contentious claims of dominion. [ [ RPGnet RPG Game Index: Palladium Fantasy RPG Book 11: Eastern Territory ] ]
* "Book XII: Library of Bletherad" (July 2000) - Details a fabled repository of knowledge and secrets on the island of Y-Oda.
* "Book XIII: Northern Hinterlands" (July 2001) - Charts the area of the Great Northern Wilderness just outside the mountains that divide the Land of the Damned from the rest of the world. [ [ RPGnet RPG Game Index: Palladium Fantasy RPG Book 13: Northern Hinterlands ] ]
* "Land of the Damned I: Chaos Lands" (December 2001) - Journeys through an isolated and previously unexplored region meant to contain unrepentant servants of the Old Ones, holdouts from a dark age not quite past.
* "Land of the Damned II: Eternal Torment" (June 2002)
* "Land of the Damned III: The Bleakness" [not yet published]
* "Wolfen Empire" (2003) - Outlines the society, land holdings, and culture of the Canine races, helping to set the stage for an upcoming war between Wolfen and humankind over possession of the Disputed Lands.

upplemental Sourcebooks

* "Monsters and Animals" (June 1996)
* "Dragons and Gods" (November 2004)




External links

[ Palladium Books Online] - The Role-Playing Game Megaverse of Palladium Books

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