Monday, November 2, 2009

Fool Me Once, Shame on You; Fool Me TWICE...

I found myself feeling rather ridiculous last night.

No it wasn't because someone else is already offering up a B/X Companion, nor even because the Seahawks got crushed yet again (I'm not sure Seattle has EVER won a game in Dallas).

Nope...I was just reading Palladium's web site and punching myself in the brain.

Why do I get interested in this trite nonsense? Or maybe a better question is "why should I care?"

The problem is, I'm kind of a purist when it comes to games. Oh, readers of this blog may not believe it based on some of my posts regarding tweaks to various game systems and new and additional rules here and there, but truly I'm NOT a guy who's interested in re-writing the works of others. I personally believe that most game designers are writing games the way they intend them to be played and who am I to complain about what's written? If I fill in blanks here and there, or reinterpret things open to interpretation, that's not the same thing as trying to "fix" a "fixer-upper" game.

I'm a big believer in official supported material. If I don't need something (like the half dozen supplements released by Mongoose for the latest Traveller) then I simply don't buy it.

But damn Palladium, do you have to be so purposefully obtuse? And do you have to dumb down and "retard up" your product? And then do you have to throw down this whole line about not tweaking/modifying the game system and certainly not publishing conversions on-line?

Ugh...I would love to post some rules for simplifying the game system, making it smoother and more playable. I'd love to let my imagination run wild and post the results, showing others the possibilities. Hell, I'd think that this kind of POSITIVE publicity would be encouraged by the designers.

Nope. For followers of Palladium it's "my way or the highway." Do what you want behind closed doors in the privacy of your own home, but don't proclaim possibilities to the world.

Short-sighted, if you ask me. And damn frustrating to us creative folks that still have a little bit o love in our hearts for this clunky turd of a game system.

Ah, well...K.S. has been ruling his paper empire with an iron fist for years and has somehow managed to keep it going and still churn out colorful, well-bound product. I do wonder what will happen when he eventually passes into the twilight realms now occupied by Arneson and Gygax. Who will retain the rights to Palladium's "intellectual property" (I loathe to use the term intellectual in the same sentence as Palladium)? Who will I contact if I want to write a kick-ass screenplay based on the information in Warlords of Russia?

Ugh. Well, time will tell, I suppose. Dungeons and Dragons has out-lasted its founders and perhaps Rifts will as well. But, man, it sure seems like they're choking it to death with their protectionist policies.


  1. On the plus side, your Seahawks will be celebrating a victory over my Lions by this time next week.

  2. I have decided to buy Palladium books only via EBay (I can get Rifts books for much less than the retail price, even taking postage into account), as I am philosophically opposed to giving money to the intellectually short-sighted. The lengthy 'clarifications' KS writes only clog up the game further.

    Besides, it's not like there's much in the way of product support for Mutant Future ;)

  3. I love some of their older games, but if I had to play Palladium's games as written, I'd never play one of them. (Don't get me started on the super-munchkin-y Sembieda-verse.) Of course, I think I could say that about 90% of the games I regularly play.

    As for their on-line conversion policy, I don't see it as anything more than an attempt to respect other folks' IP. It's unnecessary and futile, IMHO, but nothing too over the top. It's a simple request to not post conversions to Palladium-verse rules of others' IP, not a "my way or the highway" declaration. If you want to post your own creations or house rules, all they ask is that you include a relevant trademark disclaimer. Again, nothing too awful here - especially given the intricacies of trademark law, wherein you risk losing your rights by simply allowing other people to glom onto your mark without doing anything to restrict it.

    Palladium has definitely done its share of stupid things, but I think this is a non-issue.

  4. @ ChrisB: Hey, man, I'm not opposed to predicting yourself from law suit as far as specific intellectual property. I'll be careful to rename any particular character creations I decide to post on my blog.

    However, Palladium also has a standing request not to post "conversions of the game system to other rule systems." That says to me, they don't want folks to f*** with their rules and systems on-line. And THAT is frustrating.

    Now, perhaps I am reading this too conservatively (maybe they just don't want straight up Palladium to D20 coversions), but I wouldn't put it past them (based on prior behavior) to go overboard with their protectionism and that's a headache I DON'T need. Which is too bad, because I think the game might be much more playable (and thus commercially viable) with a few tweaks. But if they don't want "conversions to other systems" I have to assume that MY house rules constitute a system.

    Especially seeing as my system is a bit more stable and consistent than their own.
    ; )