Since I was in college, I’ve had a love affair with Palladium Books. We played campaigns that used The Palladium Role-playing Game and Ninjas & Superspies, plus occasional forays into the realms of Rifts, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, Beyond the Supernatural, and others. When the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game came out with a second edition in the mid-1990s, it moved the system to more of a Rifts-style magic system, which I never really liked for some reason. By that point, I had already started drifting away from Palladium Books products because I was co-writing Moebius Adventures.
Even with that drift away, I was always hunting for Palladium’s first edition fantasy RPG books in bargain bins and would occasionally pick up a Rifts book if it seemed interesting, like Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis with its use of tattoo magic, I’d pick it up. As a result I think I have a library of 20 or 25 Palladium RPG books in a box (not enough shelf space) that I peruse occasionally for ideas.
Ultimately that’s the best part about Palladium’s books. Though I don’t play the system, I’m constantly mining the creative works for ideas, admiring the incredible artwork that has remained consistent since the first book I ever picked up from them, and enjoying the vignettes scattered throughout.
So when an opportunity appeared to take a look at ten pages of the revamped version of Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms, I decided I’d take a look because it’s been a while since I’ve browsed through what Kevin Siembieda and his talented crew have been working on.
What I found was that the Palladium Books crew hasn’t lost their touch. From the creepy skeletal vampire on the second page to the fictional report from Doc Reid about the vampire hierarchy, pathology, and the human illusion, I was immersed in a world I could sink my teeth into. These vampires are closer to the vampire mythology referenced in the Supernatural television series and the book series The Strain from filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro and writer Chuck Hogan than anything Twilight-related, which I really appreciate.
The best part for me is the argument that once a person is killed by a vampire and turns into a vampire themselves, they are still dead even though they appear to be alive:
“The person you knew in life is no more. He died when the vampire slew him. In his place stands a demon that has stolen that person’s appearance and mimics some of his personality, but this thing is not that person nor is it human. This is a monster. A predator in human clothing. A cunning monster that uses its human appearance to cause hesitation, confusion and even acceptance by us. Do not be fooled.”
– Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms (New Revised Edition) by Kevin Siembieda from Palladium Books
Imagine if an approach like this had been taken in the umpty-odd zombie incursions that have happened in books, film, and on television. Would more fictional people have survived? Probably not now that I think about it – people don’t want to accept “reality” in our own world… Why would they want to in an imaginary one?
At any rate, I was reminded of the great setting and backstory included in my library of books from Palladium just by a few pages of Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms (New Revised Edition). I may have to see about picking up some of the new books they have on the horizon like the Rifts Vampires Sourcebook or books that popped up since the last time I looked at the Palladium catalog like Mysteries of Magic Book One: The Heart of Magic.
Yes, it’s true – I’m a sucker for good setting material and brain candy. Palladium Books has been putting great books out for years, maybe it’s time I should get over my irrational hatred of
P.P.E. and read some more from Siembieda and crew!
Check out the free preview of Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms (New Revised Edition) at RPGNow today along with their great catalog of PDFs they’re making available. And for much more about all of the great Palladium Books projects – past, present, and future – check out their home page at PalladiumBooks.com!
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