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: Another Texas-related entry. At Half Price Books in Houston, I made quite a find: a copy of an old 1983 manual for Palladium, a role-playing game I'd vaguely heard of. It cost $10, which is a lot for a Half Price Book, but it was in good condition so I bought it.

Palladium has a lot of interesting features. It comes with a campaign setting which looks fun and full of variety. The alignment system is really great; it captures the way people act a lot better than the AD&D system does.

The book describes about five different magic systems; they're all pretty interesting, though most of them seem not to be very powerful. The main one (generic RPG wizard/priest magic) looks really well designed, and the instructions indulge in some great bashing of the annoying AD&D magic system:

Nor does the wizard forget a spell upon casting it. This is his life, spell magic and study... To forget a spell could mena his death and is a fairly ludicrous idea. This is his occupation, his livelihood, he is no longer an apprentice... To suggest that he would forget a spell is like saying a soldier might forget how to use his sword.

Most of my complaints have to do with the book itself rather than the game system. The sections are organized haphazardly, as though the book were written as hypertext and then the hypertext were automatically traversed to create a book.

The writing style is florid, sometimes, hilariously so, as in this masterpiece of redundancy:

"Generally, dwarves and elves treat each other with an air that is so cold that it could freeze an iceberg."

And the Tonight's Episode-y:

"The assassin, like the mercenary fighter, is a sword for hire; their specialty: death."

There's a new edition of the Palladium rulebook out, which allegedly fixes the stylistic problems; if that's so then my main complaints would be the paucity of supplied monsters and the seeming weakness of most of the magic systems. But no one's making you play a diabolist.


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