Monday, June 22, 2009

Perhaps I Have Taken Leave of My Senses

For the last year or so, there has been a copy of Palladium's Nightspawn on the shelf of the modest gaming section at the nearby used book store. Every time I went there, I half-considered buying it despite the fact that I have little love for Palladium's rule system. I was aware that Palladium was forced to change the game's name to Nightbane due to Todd McFarlane getting all uppity. (Though he was later served a lawsuit comeuppance...but that, as they say, is another story) I thought it might be nice to snag the book because it had the original title and used the original terminology.

Recently, I caved in and dropped the six bucks they wanted for it. The setting is actually sort of cool. I was also highly disturbed by the fact that, in the game world, the US government cracks down on civil liberties shortly after the year 2000, forming a department called the National Security Bureau and accusing people of terrorism. It found the events to be uncomfortably familiar, and this from a game that was written in the mid-90's.

Although I have a lot of reading to do, this seems like something that's neat enough to give a shot, even if I do loathe the rules system with a seething passion. (Admittedly most of this negative sentiment comes from the Robotech RPG.) Perhaps, with some work, I can convert it to another system. It always irks me when a great setting idea is married to a crappy rules system. (That's a whole post unto itself, but I'm not going to open that can of worms right at the moment.)

...though I still don't know why this book needs stats for night vision goggles.


  1. Mmm...maybe because normals can't see in the dark, and they would want to, give the existence of Nightspawn?

    Just because the PCs are weirdos doesn't mean that other PC-types aren't playable in the setting, a la all of those Moonlight, and Buffy-type shows.

    Know what I mean?

  2. I remember picking this up when it was shiny and new, back in my days of Palladium crossovers in Rifts. I have agree with you on the system being garbage.

    But, the setting is neat and the character concepts and possibilities are really cool. The goth inspired horrid monster hero can be fun concept either as a joyous freak or depressed hero.

    I do remember fudging some random rolls to get a singular concept with the appearance instad of some patchwork mishmash monster.

  3. "...though I still don't know why this book needs stats for night vision goggles."

    Maybe because they lifted the entire equipment section wholesale from Beyond the Supernatural or some other earlier book? (IIRC - it's been a while since I looked at the book.)

    Greyen's right about the random rolls - I had my players make PC's and I seem to recall a lot of re-rolling just to come up with a character that made some sense. On the other hand, I found the game very useful for making Big Bads for my BtS games. (I also added in a list of random banes to bring the power curve down just a bit.)

  4. Now that you mention it, the equipment section looks like it might just be standard to all of Palladium's modern games. I see quite a few entries that also appear in Ninjas & Superspies.

    I haven't looked too deeply into character creation, but it does look like the characters will turn out highly random and weird. Maybe that is how the author intended.

    What is BtS like?