In the late 1980s, Palladium Books was a plucky up-and-coming RPG publisher. They’d netted the highly successful Robotech cartoon’s licence, and had also landed the then underground comics sensation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles licence. It was time to push forward with an idea they’d established in 1984. It was time… for Ninjas & Superspies. The game’s first release was in 1987, with a revised edition in 1990. Its final official expansion was in 1995 with Mystic China, and since then has only been intermittently supported in the Rifter magazine. So let’s dive in on the overarching aspects of this game.
Tag Archives: Palladium Books
Rifts is my eternal problematic fave, and also a source of bizarre, contradictory, and confusing lore. However, something that’s easy to let fall through the cracks of the gonzo setting is that there are actually many survivor states in the post-apocalypse. That’s right, places that directly trace their lineage, governance, culture, and dominant populations back to the Pre-Rifts era. And this Backgrounder as an overview of them!
The year is 1992, and Rifts is a breakout success. It’s the gonzo RPG experience that no one knew they wanted, and people are screaming for more. The books out are selling like crazy, but the world is still insanely under developed. World Books One and Two, The Vampire Kingdoms (Northern Mexico) and Atlantis respectively, were well received. 1993 is supposed to build on the successes of the last few years, with Dimension Book One: Wormwood, and the third and fourth World Books, England and Africa, planned for release. Things didn’t go as planned.
In the 1980’s, underground comics had a bit of a revolution, and one of the lead, definitely not Comics Code Authority friendly, titles was Eastman and Laird’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. A rough, gritty comic packed with death, violence, and lacking in pizza obsession, it had little resemblance to what it would become as an animated adaptation aimed at kids. This property was picked up by Palladium Books, then an up and comer in the RPG industry, and turned into the now cult TMNT and Other Strangeness RPG (TMNTOS). However, Kevin Siembieda, the head of Palladium Books, had a moment of clarity then. Realizing that licences don’t always last forever, he tasked Erick Wujcik with coming up with an in-house property to use the systems they’d developed for TMNTOS. The result was After the Bomb, a post apocalypse RPG.
Palladium Books has staked their claim in the world of pen and paper RPG’s as the purveyors of disaster. No other RPG publication group has so thoroughly or reliably chosen “post-apocalypse” as a setting, or taken it in the same directions. Rifts, Chaos Earth, After the Bomb, Nightbane, Dead Reign, and System Shock; all post-apocalyptic games, and in different veins for the most part too. Sure, they have other game lines, like Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas & Superspies, and the fantasy based Palladium RPG, but it’s the post-apocalyptic games where Palladium truly shines. But what if I told you that a large segment of the Palladium Megaverse was actually interconnected? Well strap on your tinfoil hats, it’s theory time.