What is a
Role Playing Game?

A role playing game is a chance to use your imagination!

Coalition Skelebots attacking a city

A Role Playing Game (RPG) is a "pen and paper" game that encourages players to use their imagination and problem-solving skills to face problems in ficticious settings. Or at least that's what the dictionary says.

It's true, Role Playing Games are written in books filled with stories, history, and data about the worlds they hold within. Imagine your favorite book or movie was given rules (like the laws of physics) and was laid out before you. Now you're the action hero, the sexy problem solver or even the villain! How would you do things differently? What choices would you make?

RPGs ask us adults to remember those years we spent on the playground, pretending to be heroes, attacking forts, saving damzels in distress or making sure our house ran smoothly at tea time and that the unicorns didn't escape from the pasture. RPG's want us to play and have fun, going to places we've only ever been able to dream about.

But aren't RPG's dorky and stupid? 

We don't think so. RPG's have caught on like wildfire as our troops have deployed over seas and they're catching on with everyone else as well. They're a way to keep your mind sharp and focused, training you to problem-solve while having fun with others.

They're also a great social experience. Often they're a lot more fun when played face to face. How often do you sit around a table with friends any more? What happened to family game nights?

Try picking up a Role Playing Game and see what happens - it could be a lot of fun!

...But I heard RPG's are
the Devil's Playground?!

As with heavy metal and other things, RPG's are sometimes misunderstood. Role Playing Games are not designed to convert people to satanic worshipers, nor do they encourage people to shoot up schools. In fact, Palladium Books and many other RPG companies have disclaimers that specifically state that what we create are works of fiction for fun and enjoyment. Palladium even goes so far as to stay away from nearly all religious mention so that we don't offend anyone. We celebrate the fact that our community is made up of people from every single walk of life who are always welcomed and treated as friends.

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"Yeah... I'm more of a video gamer"

Online games are fun, visceral and visually stimulating. The Palladium crew enjoys playing MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) such as EVE Online, World of Warcraft, Destiny, City of Heroes, Everquest and Age of Conan, as well as others. In fact, we've been searching for the right partner to port over some of our own pen and paper (P&P) role-playing games into online games.

As much fun as online games are, however, we still role-play face to face, where we laugh, shout, make jokes, slug down soda, roll dice, and interact in person. We feel that face to face role-playing game experiences outshine the best online games.

I’m not saying pen and paper role-playing games are better than online games or videogames, I’m saying that while the genres of games are similar, pen and paper role-playing games are a fun and different experience you might enjoy.

Pen and paper role-playing games are not for everyone. They are more demanding than electronic games and tend to appeal to people who like to read and have a sharp imagination.


Role-Playing Games (RPGs) that are played out of a book are deeper and more intense than you’ve ever played in the electronic medium. In fact, MMORPGs call themselves “role-playing games” because they are inspired by and born from pen and paper RPG books.

MMORPGs capture many elements of true role-playing games and are a blast to play, but even the best MMO can not capture the full experience we pen and paper RPG players have enjoyed for years which is why RPG books (increasingly known as “pen and paper RPGs”) are still unmatched in pure riotous fun and imagination by anything online or locked inside a videogame.

A cat cyborgA cat cyborg


  • Characters and situations that pull at your heartstrings and beg for you to find out what's around the next corner
  • Fantastic, oridinary, or alien settings - as well as our own modern world with a twist.
  • Powerful and unique (often inhuman and bizarre) heroes that YOU can play
  • Incredible powers and abilities.
  • An array of mind-boggling vehicles and weapons.

And More . . .

You can play: dragons, Wolfen, power-armored warriors, Elves, True Atlanteans, vampires, demon-slayers, mutant animals, mutant humans, superheroes, or any alien from thousands of worlds - and it doesn't stop there! Players can wield a vast range of weapons, body armor, power armor, robotics, vehicles and other gadgets and gizmos or may wield a wide range of magical powers, or psychic abilities, or superpowers, or dimensional powers. They can even command pets, monsters or henchmen that may include animals, mutants, alien beasts, demons and more.

These are just a few of the characters and types of equipment and powers. Every Palladium RPG, from Rifts® to Heroes Unlimited™, offers a range of wild and interesting characters for you to play. Sound intriguing? Check us out.


Pen and paper RPGs offer these unique features and experiences.

  • YOU are the story! Your character and those of your fellow players are the main heroes in a one-of-a-kind story every time you play. You and the other players have complete control over your characters. You can say or do anything. Go anywhere. Of course, your actions have consequences and may bring reward or invite danger.
  • Total interactivity. You – or rather your character – directly and immediately influence the story. EVERYTHING your character says and does is part of the story and its outcome. You may be the hero or the goat. The savior of millions or the harbinger of doom.
  • Plug and Play You can bring characters, weapons, magic, powers, monsters, villains, and ideas from one game or game setting into any of the others. TheRifts® RPG is a setting that does that for you in a wild, magical and alien setting where Earth is linked to countless worlds and dimensions via magical tears in space and time known as the Rifts.
  • One game system, a Megaverse of adventure. Palladium’s RPGs use ONE basic, Megaversal game system (set of rules). Learn one Palladium RPG and you can play them ALL.
  • Limited only by your imagination. Even the best online MMO or videogame is limited by its programming and budget. Role-playing game books are limited only by the imaginations of the players and Game Master.
  • Harness the ultimate computer! The action takes place in your mind where special effects have an unlimited budget. If you can imagine it, you can play it, see it, or be it.
  • The pen and paper RPG experience will leave you with spectacular memories of your character and his adventures the same as you remember a movie or book you read. The BIG difference is YOUR character and fellow player characters were the stars of the show. The adventure is your story and nobody else’s.
  • Play anywhere. All you need is two or more players, a Game Master, a game book, dice and imagination. That means you can play anywhere!


RPG books require reading, imagination, creativity, time, thought and preparation.

You’ll need to read and understand your character, the world setting, and your character’s purpose in it. By doing so, your experience is enriched and you're not lost.

Good imagination. In many ways, pen and paper RPGs are mostly games but with a touch of improvisational theater. You don’t dress up in costume and act things out, but you do imagine, play roles, and the things your character says and does advance and change the story. Not just the outcome, but every step of the way.

Pen and Paper RPGs also encourage teamwork. Players need to work together, as a team, toward a common goal.

Face to face interaction. RPG books usually require players to be in the same room and engage in face to face interaction. That means you’ll need a house, apartment, living room, backyard patio, school lunch room, or someplace to meet and play.

The human experience. As cool as an online avatar may be, nothing beats the excitement of people playing face to face in the same room. There is a collective energy that cannot be matched. You feel each other’s joy, triumphs, fears, failures, apprehension, cleverness and every other emotion. Tension and excitement build into a palpable experience. You’ll laugh, crack jokes, make suggestions, and worry about your teammates. You may scream, shout and argue, jump out of your chair, and cheer out loud in triumph for the heroics or clever action of a fellow player. It’s like a small, intimate party of friends. There is conversation, laughs and fun in between the action and adventure. It’s awesome high fantasy or epic sci-fi, and high energy.

Players have it easy when it comes to rules. Only the Game Master (G.M.) needs to know and understand most of the rules. The G.M. is the director and storyteller who sets the stage, builds the story and plays all the villains and Non-Player Characters. He’s also the referee who interprets the rules and makes all final decisions in game play. Then again, the players drive the action, build the story and enjoy the limelight.


If you have never played a pen and paper role-playing game (RPG), you have never enjoyed the full role-playing experience.

If role-playing game books sound interesting to you, and if you have two or more friends willing to give it a try, you should take a closer look at some Palladium role-playing game books.

The core rules are in the role-playing game. Palladium RPGs are designed so that the core rule book is ALL YOU NEED TO PLAY. A creative mind can build adventures from just the core RPG and run adventures for months or years! Sourcebooks, World Books and other supplements offer more adventures or adventure ideas, weapons, powers, equipment and so on. We recommend that you start out by only purchasing the sourcebooks that sound interesting to you and as you grow more familiar with the game and want to expand your horizons, then you can begin to complete your collection.


The following Palladium games offer fun world settings and characters that are easy to learn, understand, and play with little or no previous experience. Consequently, they make excellent games for newcomers who have NEVER PLAYED before or played only a few times.

These are not “baby games” for kids or beginners, quite the contrary, they are quite intense, grim and gritty. However, the storyline is straightforward, easy to comprehend and relate to, and fun to play.

After the Bomb® (play mutant animals in a world gone mad). 
Dead Reign™ – The Zombie Apocalypse (be a survivor, kill zombies). 
Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game® (the name says it all). 
Robotech® (giant, transformable robots, alien invaders and war).

We would rank most other Palladium role-playing games as “Moderate” in complexity. This would include: 
Rifts® (science fiction, fantasy, adventure and much more). 
Heroes Unlimited™ (superheroes of every variety). 
Nightbane® (horror/conspiracy/superheroes). 
Beyond the Supernatural™ (modern horror). 
Ninjas & Superspies™ (martial arts and superspies, can be used with Heroes Unlimited™). 
Splicers® (killer robots and heroes with bio-genetic armor and weapons). 
Rifts® Chaos Earth™ (surviving the Great Cataclysm that creates Rifts Earth. Yes, that makes this a prequel to the famous Rifts® RPG). 
- And many others.

Some games like Rifts® are more complex because of the limitless range of possibilities and expansive, “anything goes” world setting. Other games like Beyond the Supernatural™ (modern horror) are more complex because of the demands on sophisticated role-playing and the limitations of the setting.


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