Palladium Books and Judges Guild
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:50 pm 
 

A thought on Palladium Books and Kevin Siembieda:

    I recently starting picking up Palladium Books publications after my wife bought me a small trove of six brand new books at a Goodwill.  Looking them over got me interested in collecting a few more.

1)  Kevin Siembieda has got to be one of the most prolific RPG writers and illustrators in the history of gaming.

2)  It seems odd that Siembieda's work is not talked about more.  As an illustrator, he seems to have grown up and polished his artistic talent as an RPG artist....as if his practice sketches had been published, showing his progress from the 1970's.

3)  Siembieda formed Palladium after his Judges Guild days.

4)  Looking at publications like The Old Ones, and The Palladium Role-Playing Game, I am struck by how much they feel like the old Judges Guild products.

5)  It seems to me that Palladium is what Judges Guild might have become had it survived.

    Your thoughts?

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:13 pm 
 

Odd you mentioned his name, I just found another printing for Book of Ruins that has his name on the bottom cover, and later print removes that (along with another correction)

I also have a few of the Palladium fantasy books as well (Along with the TMNT line) and I suppose they do have a quality similiar to Judges Guild products. They are larger in page count and use b/w pictures, so not sure if that model seemed to work better back then or the time was just right to start the company.

Looking at the products that were not released, you can almost see Judges Guild was trying to evolve: super heroes, even more in depth books dealing with inns/taverns and specific magic items (amulets/talisman). I did buy a small lot of stuff from Fencert that was insdie a box with some of Bob's mail (is where the CSWE no black ink cover came from) that included the Mars book, a couple Task Force Games, Monsters and Treasures III from TSR, Group One's Ironhoof Highlands so I assume various companies other then TSR (since they lost the license) were being considered.

Otherwise, things went the way they did, and Judges Guild survives through here, through the limited d20 products released by various companies, and the couple of things still in development (Tegel, Inferno, etc).
Things have a way of coming around again.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:58 pm 
 

"Ironhoof Highlands"  That rings a bell.  Was there a really bad picture of a Conan knockoff fighting an Alien knockoff?

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:06 pm 
 

Yep..thats the one

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:09 pm 
 

Plaag wrote:Yep..thats the one

ShaneG.


  Lord, I paid a dollar or five dollars for that thing.  Awful. Bad. Terrible. Yech!  Sort of like a parody of an RPG product.

  (Umm..you didn't design it, did you?) :(  

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:10 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
Plaag wrote:Yep..thats the one

ShaneG.


  Lord, I paid a dollar or five dollars for that thing.  Awful. Bad. Terrible. Yech!  Sort of like a parody of an RPG product.

  (Umm..you didn't design it, did you?) :(  

Mark   8)


I'd have done better :D
Group One put that out:
http://www.acaeum.com/jg/JudgesGuildOtherCompanies.html

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:15 pm 
 

What I mean about Judges Guild and Palladium is that the interior work and the qualtiy and tone of the work seems similar...particularly in the Palladium RPG publications.  

  The Old Ones details a fantasy kingdom, with towns done as collections of squares and other shapes quite obviously from a template or a CAD program.  "Details" about the maps include notations like "Town meat market.  All types of exotic game meats available there" and stuff like that.

  BUT, the SHEER VOLUME of information, and the layout of a large scale adventuring area with the idea that the DM will take it and make it work...that is Judges Guild all the way.  It is what Judges Guild probably would have moved on to if they had survived...particularly the upward evolution of the quality of interior art.  The Old Ones is ambitious in the way that Judges Guild products used to be.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:34 am 
 

A friend I have been in correspondence with mentioned that Siembieda had once tried to pitch his fantasy RPG to Judges Guild one time, but declined because he thought the price was abysmally low. I assume this is what became Palladium Fantasy later on.

Siembieda's creations owe a lot to JG's production philosophy and "feel"; I certainly agree that Palladium Books is what JG could have evolved into under more favourable circumstances. Likewise, RIFTS was the Arduin of the 1990s.  :wink: For all the hate he gets online, Kevin is still the man as far as I am concerned.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:28 am 
 

I am totally ignorant of any online hate toward Kevin Siembieda.

   Why does he catch heat online?

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:31 am 
 

By the way:

 Shane...the box you bought from Fencert with the correspondence in it....

 I know Fencert mentioned having some of this stuff, as well as some original artwork.

  Do you mind telling what was in the box and what you got?

  Also, I wonder if Siemieba is a good source on print runs and the like for Judges Guild.  I bet he has a good memory for that stuff.

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:32 pm 
 

Other then what was mentioned, I think the only other thing was an incomplete dungeon geomorphs from TSR.

Interesting idea with Siemieba, though would have to see when he started with Judges Guild. (From memory the I believe the earliest I've seen his work dated was 79)

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:36 pm 
 

I just suspect that as an artist who later had experience publishing his own work he would have a good head for remembering the small points.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:38 pm 
 

A thread from RPG.net on "Why do we all hate Rifts/Palladium so much?" that goes for tens of pages:

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=1 ... ge=1&pp=10

  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:53 am 
 

I couldn't really find any valid complaints on that strand.  It just seems like they have gripes about game balance or something.

  Sad to hear that Palladium is on the brink of going under.

   I am kind of the Ted McGinley of gaming.  Just as soon as I get interested in something, it seems to be right at the moment when it is about the disappear.

   Mark   8)


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