1 Archer, 3 Ways – Palladium Fantasy RPG

May 15, 2018

System Notes

The Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game was updated to Second Edition after Rifts came out and the final pieces of Palladium’s Megaversal system has been developed.  For example, the original Palladium Role Playing Game had a different style of Hand to Hand skill available to each class and was devoid of things like personal S.D.C. for the players.  The Character Class system was also modified to better map onto the rest of the Megaversal system.

If you read the write up of T-Ball’s Pack, you know that we discussed Rifts at great detail and I am going to borrow some of the same descriptions from that write up here. The PFRPG, and the Megaversal system, start from a randomly generated set of eight attributes – I.Q.; M.E. (Mental Endurance); M.A. (Mental Affinity); P.S. (Physical Strength); P.P. (Physical Prowess); P.E. (Physical Endurance); P.B. (Physical Beauty); and Spd. (Speed).  A normal human rolls 3D6, but a result of 16-18 adds an additional 1D6 to the total. If that bonus d6 rolled a 6, you could roll again for a maximum of 5D6 or 30 on any stat. The PFRPG has always offered a wide variety of races as playable options including their version of kobolds, Orcs, and my personal favorite the Wolfen. Some races roll different dice for attributes, such as the lower 2D6 for WHAT or 4D6 for Orc’s Strength. PFRPG characters have both I.S.P. (Inner Strength Points) that fuel Psionics and P.P.E. (Potential Psychic Energy) that fuels magic.  After you roll your stats, you choose an O.C.C. (Occupational Character Class) that provides the framework for your character including the O.C.C. skills, a list of “Other” skills that may be selected with bonuses, and “Secondary” skills that round out your character without bonus. Skills are expressed as a percentage to roll under, with bonuses from high I.Q., O.C.C.s, and advance by level with the character. The character gets to be rounded out a standard gear list for each O.C.C. with some extra credits to gold and personalize your equipment.

Combat is handled by opposed D20 rolls to hit and to dodge or parry.  The bonuses available for combat come from the training, skills, and attributes of the character.  The high P.P. character has bonuses to strike and dodge in this fantasy setting while a character with a high P.S. has a bonus to damage. Similarly, Saving Throws are also on a D20 while damage is rolled on a variable number and face depending on the specific weapon.

The PFRPG has what I described as a bevy of optional random charts to determine things like disposition and family history to help flesh out your character.  I’ll be making use of those except where the underlying concept has already answered that question.

The Palladium World is a rich and well developed world with thousands of years of mythology in the setting and an immersive world for the game.  The book includes the basic history of the world, and possibly the universe, going back to the Old Ones, a difficult to describe powerful beings that seem related to the alien intelligences like the Splugorth in Rifts. The defeat of the Old Ones, the two thousand year war between the Elves and Dwarves, and the slow and inexorable rise of the humans in the past thousand get us to the PFRPG present where multiple nations stand on the verge of war, the map isn’t filled in entirely, and the heroes can yet uncover forgotten lore, history, and magic long hoped lost. Also, the Core Book provides a detailed world map of the present to go along with that history making it simple for Balama to be from the very open Eastern Territories.  

Also, if you look back at our Rift’s Card Catalog, you may see that Palladium does not choose to support fillable PDFs but is not opposed to character generation tools so long as they are not being shared widely.  In that light, the same spreadsheet style sheet converted to a PDF is being used here.

Design Notes

I am sticking with a human to make Balama Domine in the Palladium FRPG, so the eight attributes are all rolled on a 3D6 pool. To keep things similar across the different versions, I am going to apply the same stats from the D & D version of Balama to the PFRPG equivalents.  As a reminder, those rolls were 16, 12, 13, 15, 17, 14!

The obvious parallel between Dexterity and P.P. means Balame starts at a 17 there, but with the PFRPG rules she gets a bonus 1D6  and rolled another 5 upping her starting P.P. to 22. Charisma isn’t as straightforward a comparison, but I choose M.A. as the equivalent because it is the attribute that has the most impact on leadership and inspiring trust in others.  The 16 there gets a bonus 1D6 as well, bumping M.A. for Balama to 20. The remaining attributes are easily identified as I.Q. of 15, M.E. of 14, P.S. 12, and a P.E. 13. I roll twice for P.B. and Speed getting a 15 and 10 respectively to start.  The +4 bonus to Strike, Parry, and Dodge from the P.P. of 22 is going to be a great way for Balama to shine with that Long Bow.

For a Long Bow character, the easiest class to choose is the Long Bowman.  The only other class that has the ability to use Weapon Proficiency: Long Bow is the Ranger, and we already decided against that archetype.  This is a spot where the PFRPG does make character generation pretty easy – Long Bowman get Special Abilities like the Superior Bowmanship that mitigates penalties when on horseback or unsteady, increases the effective range of the Long Bow, and provides a better advancement of shots that can be fired per combat round.  The O.C.C. Skills do require Balama to have Wilderness Survival as well as W.P. Sniper, so there is going to be some amount of wilderness style to this version of Balama that wasn’t present in the others.

For her Other Skills, I looked at what sort of skills to take as a Noble, to play into the concept and background so I picked up Literacy, Heraldry, History, and General Horsemanship to demonstrate her noble birth and training.  SInce we had some wilderness and potentially sneaky components from the O.C.C. skills, I took Surveillance, and Prowl to heighten that, added Recognize Weapon Quality, and upgraded her Hand to Hand Combat from Basic to Expert. Her Secondary skills to start are Weapon Proficiency: Whip, Climb Walls, Basic Math, and Running.  With Athletics in her O.C.C. skills and Running, I went back and made the changes to her attributes.

Random Charts

The PFRPG has 9 random charts you can use in character creation to help round out your character.  These are all rolled with percentile dice and I will roll for 7 of the 9, with two already being chosen in the character background. I will see what I can do to work them into the Character write up below. 

  • Birth Order: First Born of Twins (78)
  • Height: Average (31)
  • Weight: Husky (66)
  • Age: 30 Years Old (94)
  • Disposition: Mean and Bitter, suspicious and vindictive (08)
  • Land of Origin: Eastern Territories*
  • Type of Environment: Medium to large town or city where magic and/or psionics or the supernatural were commonplace
  • Social or Family Background: Noble, could be wealthy or poor (fallen from power)*
  • Racial Hostilities/Biases: Changelings (46)

Advancement Notes

The PFRPG has the easiest advancement of the three different systems because there are the fewest choices that have to be made! The skills and Combat abilities increase accordingly, with the skills adding a set percentage per level and the combat abilities in both Hand to Hand and Long Bow Archery adding specific abilities and bonuses reflected in the sheet.  At Fourth Level, a new Other and Secondary skill are chosen so I added First Aid and W.P. Knife as the sort of things Balama may have learned or realized she needed to learn while adventuring.

Character Notes

The Eastern Territories carries as many secrets as it does fame. The Domine family’s land and lordship is a fame that also holds secrets as befits the freewheeling and varied Eastern Territories.  Hidden but not entirely hidden, the Domine lands have flourished with the more open acceptance of the magical and psionic powers of the Palladium world. Indeed, even the magical and supernatural pushed out from other Eastern Territory domains would find a home there.

The strength of the Domine lands rested on the Domine family line, and the twins born to the Lady Domine were surely a sign of blessings from the gods.  Balama and her younger brother Morino were to carry the family forward and protect their lands even as the Wolfen began to organize to the North. Balama was treated as a child, but a child of wealth.  She played outside and in the surrounding woods for long hours and even longer runs. Her talents and inclinations ran to the physical, while Morino’s ran to the magickal. They both learned the ways of a noble house and the languages of old.  They both were groomed to read herladic symbols, read the histories, and keep the books of the lands. They were to be responsible for these Lands Domine.

Despite having a safe home and a warm fire, Balama found herself ranging wider and wider from home while her brother took to studying many late nights and beginning to show the hints of magickal talent that was cherished in the Domine lands.  It was on these adventures that Balama saw her family’s military practice and saw the Long Bow fly through the air. As headstrong as ever, this was where she decided to spend her time.

Always a headstrong youth, Balama had the natural talent for getting people to believe her her, to trust her, and when she showed she had the talent with the bow as well, it was a natural that the archers taught her … no matter what the Lord and Lady may have preferred for their precious Balama.  At 16, she was allowed to test herself with a mercenary company promising to not be too involved in great battles, but to see if the taste for that life would sour in her mouth. She lied a little and was involved in some great battles, but moreo importantly her skill and leadership had the soldiers listen to her lead.  While a woman may have been a rarity in the mercenary company, Longbow proficient soldiers were too valuable to turn a single one down. Balama was distinguishing herself as someone with a bright future.

Her return 4 years later hardened her heart.  She heard her father was sick and that she was needed so she returned … and she is the one who discovered the deceit behind her father’s illness.

Morino had been replaced by a Changeling at some point … but when exactly? This storied magical race was said to date back to the time of the Old Ones in the Tristine Chronicles, and legends told of their attempts to rule over all the other races with an iron fist.  The culling of the Changelings had obviously not stuck and all Balama could think was how she lost a brother that she had always counted on getting to know later. She lost a brother in the dark of night and the foul ways of the Changelings.

She did not hesitate or listen to the creature’s pleas once it was unmasked from the salt that it could not stand.  She did not hear it’s claims to be protecting the Domine or that her father has cherished something to replace what had become of Morino.  She would not hear these lies. And she struck.

She tried to help her Mother for several years, but she could not bear to stay in these lands.  Her younger brother was more than able to take over the day to day affairs on their lands. And she left again, broken and bitter.  The past 8 years has seen her travel the world and hone her skills as an Archer. Her bearing is noble, even if she holds little patience for those she meets.  Her aim is true, and she has never stopped looking for more Changelings so she can finish culling them from the world. Her presence is magnetic, and others quickly follow her word. She is Balama Domine and she is on a mission to avenge.

Balama Domine – PFRPG

1 Archer, 3 Ways Overview

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