Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Ninjas & Superspies

 What the hell kind of gun did I draw here???

More Palladium love.

No matter what I'm into, there's something about Palladium Books that always lurks in the not-so-back of-my-mind. And the truth is, I've only ever dabbled with the system, mostly with Heroes Unlimited.

It is a toolbox, but one I'm very comfortable with. And to all of my fellow OSR hackers, Palladium Fantasy is just as hack-able as any D&D system (of course, it itself is a hack of D&D.) 

  • In many ways, Palladium Fantasy (especially 1st edition) is better than D&D, but that's a topic for another day.

So, Ninjas & Superspies (written by the late Erick Wujcik.) Want to play G.I.JOE? How about a little James Bond? How about Daredevil vs. The Hand? Cyberpunk? Or perhaps you just want to add more martial arts to your Nightbane game. Or Beyond the Supernatural. Whatever you want, Ninjas & Superspies is such a good martial arts source book.

So I randomly rolled some stats for the lady above, but I'll just provide the basics.....

Her main stats, after all is said and done, are:

  • Intelligence:  10
  • Mental Endurance:  13
  • Affinity:  7  (not very personable, but mechanically meaningless)
  • Physical Strength:  16  (+1 damage)
  • Physical Prowess:  16  (+1 strike/parry)
  • Physical Endurance:  11
  • Beauty:  13
  • Speed:  15

Now, in Palladium, bonuses from high stats don't start until 16. This is an area I've hacked before, starting the bonuses at around 11 or 12 and ultimately achieving a similar value by around 30 where the official chart list ends. So basically, I just stretched it out a bit. I just don't like meaningless stats. I've mentioned before that I give an initiative bonus for Speed according to the Physical Prowess line. Something that I've reflected on my Rifts character sheet (found on the sidebar.)

  • Of all the Palladium games, my Rifts character sheet is tailored the least to Ninjas & Superspies. This is because in this game you know so many combat maneuvers and fighting styles, you're better off listing them under the powers/abilities/equipment section.

She's a Private Eye which gives her decent skill packages but nothing fancy for fighting (just one of the standard combat styles: Basic, Expert, or Agent.) so I took the liberty of randomly rolling a fancy martial arts style for her and got, Hwarang-Do Karate, which is apparently a well-balanced Korean style that prefers spinning moves, jump kicks, and throws, with strikes used for finishing. Skills in Palladium are something that I kind of gloss over because you get SO DAMN MANY OF THEM. So basically, she's good at gathering information. 

She also knows gymnastics which improved some of her stats as Palladium Physical Skills do -- which is why everyone takes as many physical skills as possible. My hack for this would be random skill generation. It's strange, there is so much randomness in Palladium character generation, but not when it comes to skills. I would change that.

She knows a multitude of moves that allow her to enter combat, engage in combat, and leave combat. Yep, it's that detailed. If you're willing to embrace the intricacies of hand-to hand martial arts, it's incredible.

This game also gives her the option of knowing a couple of martial arts "powers," attacks that stun, body-hardening skills (that give you more physical skill type bonuses) vanish like a ninja, and the use of CHI to heal and such.

She has 3 attacks(actions)/round, 39 S.D.C. and 11 Hit Points. When you consider multiple attacks and the fact that guns do 2d6, 3d6, 4d6 +, it's a deadly game.   

  • This game doesn't give you the automatic 2 attacks that modern Palladium systems give. If that was the case she would have 5 attack/actions per round. Of course, you could always add them, but I think the lesser number is better. Likewise, you could always remove them from the current systems. Like I said, hack-able.

Like a lot of Palladium books, Ninjas & Superspies is just as useful as a source/idea/flavor book as it is it's own game. There's not really an established setting; you're supposed to do that on your own. Again: TOOLBOX.

It's just plain cool.

Game on.

Oh and, give Palladium some love.

(I'm not affiliated with them in any way, though I do live fairly close to their HQ, and I've never even driven by.....shame.)


  1. I never owned this game, but I am an unabashed Palladium fan. Their system is a bit clunky - it was already clunky when I first saw it - but they had the spirit of adventure, a strong comic book sensibility, and a hell of an imagination. When I quit gaming for a few years, fed up by TSR's soulless releases, it was Palladium Fantasy (2nd edition) which dragged me back.

    1. Well said, bud. I could roll with both editions of Palladium Fantasy.

  2. I'm a big Palladium fan going way back. Ran a highly successful Heroes Unlimited Campaign, that also featured a strong helping of Ninjas & Superspies and Beyond the Supernatural. Rifts is my all time favorite setting, and the Palladium Fantasy RPG was and is loads of fun. Love your art by the way!


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