The Introductioning

posted by Nessus Original SA post

Nightbane - The Introductioning

I was introduced to Nightbane by a friend of mine who got me a copy of it for some holiday or other. I'd enjoyed the concept of RIFTS in general and he was himself a fan of the system - it had been his own first game. At first I thought this was just some gag that he was sharing with me, but as time has gone on, I've come to appreciate...

on its own merits.

Come with me, and let us explore this world... of Nightbanes.

Nightbane was first published in 1995, which may help you contextualize it. The physical copy I have was printed in 2006 so there may be minor discrepancies. I don't know, and judging from how Simbieda lives his life, that may not actually be the case.

But before we get started...

Warning! posted:

The fictional World of Nightbane ™ is one of horror, violence, and brutality as well as heroics and triumph. It is filled with supernatural monsters and other dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons," many of whom torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, angels, gods and demigods, as well as magic, the paranormal, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.

Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.

Please note that none of us at Palladium Books condone nor encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.

Just so we're all clear.

Also, we're going to be in this introduction for a while. This... is merely... a beginning.

The Settening

posted by Nessus Original SA post

Nightbane - The settening


What We Are
(First published on May 8th, 2001)

It's been a year and a day since Dark Day, the coming of the Night into this world. Before then, our kind were few and far between, hiding in the shadows, or in plain sight, hiding our True Form from the eyes of unsuspecting mortals. A Neophyte could expect to be recognized and helped by an older Nightbane. Not any longer. So many of us have now appeared that there is little hope to educate them personally; not like the old days. For this reason, I am consigning these documents to the wondrous electronic network where information flows as freely as water. My younger friends will make copies everywhere, hoping that they will reach those in need.

Do you know what you are? Allow me to tell you.
We're plunged into an introductory piece of fiction which, as you can no doubt tell from this excerpt, is drawing heavily from the World of Darkness mythopoetic pool, such as it is.

Nightbane (singular and plural both) are apparently humans who are seized around their Puberty Time by the pressure of becoming something powerful and monstrous which gives them terrible abilities, changes their appearance, and generally serves as an extended metaphor for puberty... if puberty kicked ass!

Much like puberty, the young Nightbane who reaches his First Change, er, BECOMING, often reacts poorly, as the physical transformation is profound. If he does not freak out completely, he regains the ability to turn back into human form. Human form is called the "Facade," whereas the form in which you are a really sick practical movie effect is called the Morphus.

Balthios here (he's not actually named Balthios but I have to call him something) discusses some details here. Nightbane in their Facade are tough but are like 'main character in a realistic work of fiction' tough - they can take more than the average but aren't invincible. In Morphus they are not necessarily invincible but are real tough, strong, et cetera - and they get their own unique powers of various sorts. He also establishes that Nightbane are semi-immortal - Balthios here says when he "Became," a Pharaoh ruled Egypt and his people hunted pigs with wooden spears. Now he looks like a man in his sixties. However, they can be killed by violence and accident... or by the INQUISITION. (Never again the Burning Times, folks!)

Fun Fact: If you die in your Facade your carcass rots normally. If you die as your Morphus, you dissolve into nothinginess after a while.

But that's not all. There's another world out there, on the other side of the mirror. When one crosses through the "mirror wall," there's a world where no sun or stars ever shine. Brutal. This planet, the Nightlands, however - sucks. It's not some steampunk gothique Neathy delight festival, it's ruled by the Ba'al, the Lords of Night! The Ba'al hate humans and Nightbane, have a bunch of sick-ass minions (the Dopplegangers, doubles of mortals in Earth! the Hounds and the Hunters, merciless metal-clad warriors!) as well as a bunch of other awesome crap.

Oh yeah, and in 2000 AD they invaded Earth.

On Dark Day, March 6th 2000 e.v., at exactly 6:02 AM Eastern, the entire planet was plunged into night-time darkness for 24 hours. There was mass hysteria... monster sightings, suicide epidemics, riots and so on and so forth. After this, the Sun came back, thank God.

HOWEVER... all the latent Nightbane on Earth (all apparently orphans) underwent their first change here. They called themselves the Nightbane because it was at night that they were transformed-- reborn!

Meanwhile, the "Preserver Party," whose platform seems to be the usual It Can't Happen Here line of platitudes, swept the elections, helped by a mysterious rash of scandals, suicides, and so forth on Republican and Democrat sides.

I'll just do another quoteblock here because this really is something else.


Political analysts predicted that the government would become frozen by "gridlock" as the three parties all pulled in different directions. However, shortly after the new government got underway, many Republican and Democratic members of Congress and the Senate fell into line with uncharacteristic meekness, voting the way President Carson wanted them to vote, time after time. Rumors of blackmail, bribery and corruption soon swept the Capital. Reporters who tried to investigate the matter were frustrated by a lack of any evidence to support any such claims of impropriety. However, the situation became increasingly troubling when a number of investigative reporters met with accidents, madness or simply disappeared; more strange coincidences in a long string of unlikely happenstance.

Meanwhile, the new Congress started passing a number of laws designed to "reestablish order." The new laws greatly reduced individual rights and included expanding police discretion to conduct searches without a warrant, a national ID card, gun registration and ownership restrictions. The new Congress also restructured the Secret Service, disbanded the NSA, and created a new security agency, the National Security Bureau (NSB), with extremely broad powers and expansive jurisdiction. Less than a year later, the NSB "discovered" a massive plot by the FBI, CIA, and DBA to overthrow the U.S. government. The National Security Bureau's probing investigations indicated that Dark Day and the growing crime-rate around the country was also part of the same plot. They also uncovered acts of alleged insurrection by, or corruption within, other government agencies.

The public, long-accustomed to stories of government abuse and desperate to find somebody to blame for the Dark Day, believed the story. The NSB purged those agencies of "conspirators," with scores of (innocent) government agents convicted of terrible crimes and executed as traitors or imprisoned. Others resigned and many vanished — fleeing justice and evidence of their guilt, according to the NSB. Some really did "vanish," whereabouts unknown even to old allies and loved ones (presumed dead or imprisoned somewhere), but several hundred went underground, to be later featured on America's Most Wanted as "Enemies of Society."

In the year 2004, President Carson was re-elected with an amazing 76% majority of the popular vote. A number of newspapers and news agencies claimed that the elections had been rigged. Civil liberties continued to be restricted. Gangs of Preserver Activists (later known as "Preeverts") started acting as unofficial terror squads, bullying and sometimes attacking people who made too much noise against the government. The National Rifle Association was one of the organizations to fall. The NSB continued making arrests left and right.

By 2006, President Carson announced he'd be seeking a third term in office, claiming that the current situation needed stable leadership, and drawing comparisons between him and Roosevelt in the 1930s and 40s. Reports continued pouring in about strange goings on in the White House and the Capital, despite increased repression and news control.

And monsters continued to walk the streets after dark.

I actually think this is kind of clever because not only does it present the "normal" view of events - you can sort of buy that after some kind of really weird shit like this, there would be a lot of rallying around the flag - it also carefully takes care, not to offend nobody, but to kick both sides in the neck here. Are you running Nightbane(tm) for your local Young Democrats? Fine! Are you running it down at the Cato Institute Youth Nights, as a compromise choice between GURPS and Pathfinder? Dandy! And by being vague, why, you can pick your favorite candidate and lead them to power with your dark and unholy powers... if you dare.

You may be asking what's going on here, and in a shocking twist of events, the Preserver Party here is being run by a bunch of people working for the Ba'al in the Mirrorlands to stage a huge invasion! Sort of like the Reptilians, but unlike the Reptilians, made up - and significantly less charming. The Ba'al apparently cooperated to break down the Gauntlet barriers between worlds enough to get in, but now that they're in they have no real interest in cooperating with each other.

And hey: Remember those Dopplegangers? Well, this Carson dude is one! Many people are. It's unclear if Dopplegangers exist for every Earth human or if they only exist for some - the Mirrorlands are kind of shitty. However, they've replaced many people in high positions of police, military and government offices - so if nothing else, you don't have to feel bad about waxing evil cops.

Next up, the Nightbane factions. Oh yeah - you know they're there. However, a quick summary: Nightbane seem to have appeared occasionally throughout history, and there were a lot of "potential" Nightbane who never "hatched." This is connected to legends of demons, changelings, and so on. Every potential Nightbane DID hatch during or after the Dark Day, though, so there's a huge population increase, even if a whole bunch of them shot themselves and what-not.

I have reached Page 16 in this book so far. It's pretty wild.

The Factioning

posted by Nessus Original SA post

It's time for more


Nightbane - The Factioning

Previously on Nightbane, we discussed how Nightbane were things that had been around for a long time and were like, natural and stuff. But you see, Nightbane don't just hang loose, even though they're not really in competition for anything. You might think that the logical thing for Nightbane to do is, at most, kind of keep an eye on each other to make sure nobody's spilling the beans.

You would be wrong!


At first, the Nightbane were disorganized, traveling alone or in small groups, hiding from the authorities and giving little thought to anything other than their survival. Some of these independents are still out there, but they are the most vulnerable and short-lived, falling easy prey to the Nightlords and their minions. Eventually, however, the "newbies" or "nightbabies," as they are sometimes known, run into one of the larger groups of Nightbane . These groups, commonly called "the Factions," are loose organizations that operate on a regional, national, or even world-wide scale. The Factions vary widely in power, numbers, and goals. Some of them include humans, sorcerers and even vampires and other supernatural beings in addition to Nightbane.

Note to the G.M.: In a Nightbane campaign, the Factions can help provide focus and goals for the adventuring party. If all player characters belong to a Faction, they have a reason to work together and help each other. The Faction will provide the characters with a home, base of operation, allies, and missions. Of course, a particular Faction may have old enemies as well as acquire new foes, which may put the characters in danger because of their affiliation with the group. The Nightbane characters in the player group could also belong to different Factions as well, especially those who have a history of working together. They might even belong to competing or antagonistic groups, which may lead to some interesting role-playing, but also to back-stabbing and bickering, so the game master should decide whether the players' temperaments are up to such a situation.
Well that's remarkably logical advice, Palladium!

Let's take it to the threatdown.

La The Resistance -

The Resistance is the largest Nightbane faction, growing out of the "Underground Railroad" (see below). The name does, in fact, come from the WWII french resistance, but there's no American army coming, folks... probably. Anyway, they recruited disaffected young Nightbane, supported by a few old Nightbane who had acquired large sums of currency. Cell organization, generally speaking; they also tend to distrust "norms" and other critters.

The Nocturnes

These people involve a lot of the deep lore on how vampires appear to work in this setting. This is complicated. Basically, they are like the Resistance, but vampires. The true face of vampire intelligences will come in the fulness of time.

The Underground Railroad

You remember how I talked about how there might be a kind of self-help group for Nightbane who don't really do much to boss people around? This is basically that group. They did in fact borrow their name from the abolitionists, rather than vice-versa, and their goal is to help young new Nightbane.

The Warlords

These folks are a gang. And I mean a gang.


The first Warlords were Nightbane who had grown up in the violent slums of the United States. Some of them were already gang members when Dark Day and the change came upon them. Using their supernatural powers, they quickly clawed their way to the top of their gangs, and formed a loose alliance of Nightbane ruling over humans. In two or three years, the Warlords had taken over the Bloods, Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and other nationwide gangs, and absorbed most of the smaller ones. The Warlords have no racial bias: "You're all red inside," is the threatening motto of the Warlords' leaders.

These are portrayed as good antagonists, as well as being possible to use as heroic campaigns with PCs. Unstated, but implicit, is the possibility of becoming the Third Street Saints.

The Seekers

You ever play Call of Cthulhu? Your PC would be in this group.

The Lightbringers

These mysterious angel-like beings appear and shoot bad people with radioactive holiness beams. They get called Guardians, and sometimes will work with Nightbane, who appear to not qualify as inherently evil. They shoot those who prey on humans, and have apparently been lurking in the shadows of history (presumably cast by all their lights, whe you think about it.)

You may ask, don't a bunch of holiness critters running around in a WoD-like setting kind of invalidate a lot of moral ambiguity potential, in much the same way that the direct intervention of God tends to end conversations about morality? Well, either way, they may also have something to do with UFOs, bringing up the exciting possibility that the Space Brothers are, in fact, here to help us out.

The Spook Squad

Agents of SHIELD or what have you, these are a bunch of people who used to work for the government but got fired because of President Ron Paul's "Kill You're Parents" initative, which sharply downsized the federal workforce that didn't originate in the mirror universe. Unlike most of these other factions, which are either dominated by a splat (usually Nightbane, but sometimes Guardians, vampires, scions of New-English blood, etc.) this one is bossed around by normal humans.

Anyway, having had that happy time, we go to the magic of Other Splats.


Dammit, Bobby! They just couldn't wait. However, vampires have been around and fought by mortal wizards, etc. Vampires have at times lurked in the Nightlands, but they largely persist in Earth. The Ba'al invaded and fucked them up good, though not to the point of extinction. Vampires hate the Nightlords but also don't like Nightbane, who do things like interfere with blood orgies - and that's no fun, Johnny Joestar!!

Sorcerous Orders

There are wizards floating around. Some are good, and others, bad. The Nightlords were leaning on the bad ones for a while and it is theorized that the "Cults of Eternal Night" helped the Nightlords institute the Dark Day and rule Earth, which just stands to reason. Of note is that wizards can learn spells that let them go into the Nightlands, which is important as that is where you will probably want to shoot some fools.

The Guardians

This ancient mystery, which has lasted approximately 3 pages, is answered here. Nobody knows.

There are also some fun vocabulary words and glossary terms which I will leave alone.

We then receive some wise words...

Kevin Siembieda posted:

Role-playing games are really just an advanced form of regular board games. In fact, they are so advanced that they no longer use a board. Some of the elements are still the same; you still need paper and pencil, dice and players. But the main thing you need to play a role-playing game is IMAGINATION.
Let's take it a step at a time.

That's right, folks, we're at the Palladium Boilerplate sections! Do people want those to be discussed?

Rollin' them Bones

posted by Nessus Original SA post

Nightbane - Rollin' them Bones

We resume in the character creation section. Can you survive this darkness?

Step 1, the 8 attributes and their bonuses. Hilariously, this is basically D&D. Roll 3D6 for each of them. If you get a 16-18, roll an extra D6 and add it.

Those attributes, in case it's never come up:

Intelligence Quotient - IQ. The exact IQ is equal to your IQ stat times 10. Yes - I suppose you could detect player characters by their trailing zeroes. If your IQ is 17 or better, you will receive a one time bonus to all skill percentages, because very smart people are always very good at things. (Or at least confident.)

Mental Endurance: Duh.

Mental Affinity:

Physical Strength: Duh

Physical Prowess: Dexterity

Physical Endurance: Constitution.

Physical Beauty: Comeliness.

Speed: Max running speed.

There is also a chart for various bonuses. Basically if your stat is over 16 - and keep in mind that, curiously, you CAN'T have a 16 in this system, save I guess through stat damage - you get some scaling bonus. Unless it's speed - that'd just be silly.

This breakdown is pretty obvious, with the addition of Mental Endurance and Speed as a separate stat being the only notable bits.

There's a bunch of rules about throwing crap. Key takeaway:


Throwing Heavy Objects

A character cannot throw more than he can carry.

Words to live by.


Optional Rule: Normal weapons are in danger of breaking when wielded by somebody with supernatural strength. A good rule of thumb is to assume a weapon is in danger of breaking whenever total damage inflicted exceeds more than three times the weapon's maximum base damage — in the case of the IDS sword, more than 24 points of damage might break the sword.

Every time that much damage is inflicted, there is a 01-30% chance that the weapon will break. Heavy, sturdy weapons, and very well-crafted blades (a master smith's katana, for example) can withstand more damage; do not roll unless damage exceeds five times the weapon's maximum damage.

Magical weapons and artifacts are basically indestructible and are at no risk of breaking.

Step 2: Hit points. It involves your PE.


Some players will have a character with a lot of hit points, but don't get too cocky, a gun or even a knife can whittle you down to size in one melee round and a supernatural monster might chop a character down with a few punches. Others will find themselves with a character who has only a handful of hit points (as little as 3). Don't despair or feel cheated, you'll just have to use cleverness and cunning in avoiding direct confrontations until you've built up your hit points or acquire some body armor.

Nightbane also uses SDC, but not MDC, which I am suspecting stands for Manga Damage Class.

Anyway, HP loss. People die if they are killed. If you take a lot of damage you could hit a coma and roll on minor injury tables. Or major ones.


80-89 Weakened immune system and fever. The character is weak, has caught a virus and suffers from a constant lowgrade fever, chills, and fatigue. Reduce P.E. by half, P.S. and P.P by 25%, reduce attacks per melee round and combat bonuses by half, and Spd by 40%. Furthermore, the character fatigues twice as quickly as normal.
And I bet the Preeverts cut your disability payments, too!

Step 3, character class. Helpfully the "Nightbane" racial character class covers you. It briefly touches on OCCs and PCCs, which leads me to an interesting observation in this system: While the idea, obviously, is to make it so it's hard to stack up bonuses (I recall in RIFTS you could, say, become a generic soldier or a Borg after you spent a few years as a Juicer if you got good die rolls) doesn't this open up some questions about RACIAL INEVITABILITIES? What if you want to be an orc or something? I suppose, to be fair, that if you're basically just a regular jackoff and have no bonuses beyond sharp teeth or blue skin, that's not an RCC.

Anyway, then we get to Alignments.

There are seven alignments in this, and I believe all Palladium, systems.

The GOOD alignments are Principled and Scrupulous.
The SELFISH ones are Unprincipled and Anarchist.
The EVIL ones are Miscreant, Aberrant, and Diabolic.

But before we get into these, a word from our sponsor:


First of all, there is no such thing as an absolute or true neutral. All people tend toward good, evil or self-gratification. An absolute true neutral could not make a decision, go on an adventure, kill, or take any action of any kind without leaning toward good, evil or self-gratification. It is humanly impossible and is, therefore, eliminated in the context of this game. (I realize that some of the philosophers out there may disagree with this, but that's a topic for philosophical debate and not a factor of this game. Sorry, no neutrals).

Anyway, alignments are kind of dumb, but these actually seem to clumsily approach the idea of having an ethical code which better suits a fictional archetype's code of ethics and behavior patterns. Simbieda even cites them by name in some cases. I could see the gooey protoplasm from which later storygames might have grown.

Principled characters are goodie two shoes. Superman, the paladin, and so forth. They will be honest, forthright, so forth. They will NEVER torture for pleasure. They will NEVER break the law unless conditions are desperate.

Scrupulous are like Clint Eastwood movie heroes. (Not Batman! I'm encouraged.) people will be honest... to good people. Never kill for pleasure. Never torture for pleasure, but may use "muscle." It's unclear what this means -

Oh yeah. Anyway, this guy is edgier and is explicitly said to be willing to bend or break the law, distrust authority, and so forth.

Unprincipled! This is Han Solo. He keeps his word but may lie and cheat. He won't kill an unarmed foe (neither of the good guys would harm or attack one either) but may take advantage of one (presumably by robbing him or taking his keys). He won't use torture unless absolutely necessary.

Anarchist! This person is still, like, relatable, you can hang out with him, but this is where it starts to get edgy. This is where a mercenary who is JUST a mercenary would lie. He MAY keep his word. He isn't LIKELY to kill an unarmed foe. He SELDOM kills for pleasure. He'll torture for information, but not likely to torture for pleasure.

And then, evil. What is evil exactly?


All evil characters are not bent on universal genocide or domination over all living creatures. They are not all maniacal people actively seeking to harm innocent people. Nor are all evil characters sadistic and untrustworthy. Many evil characters may actually seem kind or likable.

Evil alignments are a step beyond the self-gratification of the selfish alignments. Evil characters are ruthless individuals who are willing to say or do anything to achieve their goal. Human life has little meaning to them, and friends tend to be (but not always) people to use, and discard when they are no longer of value. Evil aligned people do not automatically slay any good aligned person because of different ethics and philosophy. All the better to use good to achieve their own goals, for the end always justifies the means.

Miscreant! This guy is self-serving and yeah OK he's gonna torture people. Boy, lots of torture going on. I wonder if this is just a lesson of PC behavior.

Aberrant! This guy will keep his word of honor and so forth - sort of like Dracula. Why you aren't basing your entire game - indeed, life - around living by Dracula ethics beats me.

Alright this guy is just super evil. They kill for pleasure and torture for fun.

Supernatural creatures are often evil. If they are evil, they often stink of it, in a way that a psychic sensitive can smell. Normal humans who get up to evil didoes, summoning up what should not be, and so on, do NOT radiate this kind of aura. Nor do Nightbane or Guardians or Wampyrs. Be aware, brave psychic.....

After this is XP, which is boring, and then stuff on insanity, drugs, and so on. Drugs are treated as a universal thing. All drugs are the same. Don't smoke a weed.


General notes concerning drugs:
* Takes 15 to 20 minutes to take effect.
• Effects last 45 minutes to two hours.
• Remains in system, even after the high is gone, for 48 hours.
• Addicts need a continual supply, taken at least once or twice a day (or more often, depending on the drug and desired effects).

Drug addiction can be cured, and requires a willingness to seek treatment and being slowly weaned off its dependency by gradual substitutes. Total withdrawal, or going "cold turkey," is the sudden abstinence from any drugs.

Withdrawal Symptoms (cold turkey)

First Week: -35% on all skills, -8 on all combat skills, violently ill: nausea, vomiting, cramps, etc. Requires regular observation and facilities. 75% likelihood of taking the drug if it's available.

Second Week: -20% on all skills, -4 on all combat skills, very weak, shaky, nauseated. 50% chance of taking the drug if it's available.

Third Week: -10% on all skills, -2 to strike, parry and dodge. Weak and insecure, but feeling considerably better. 28% chance of taking the drug if available.

Fourth Week: Completely detoxified, only psychological addiction remains. 14% chance of taking the drug if made available. Suggest continued therapy/counseling.

The next six months: This is the battle to stay dry. 10% chance will return to drugs if under extreme pressure.

After those six months: There is little chance of turning to drugs, even if under pressure; 3% chance.

Note: A character can attempt to fight addiction repeatedly, despite numerous failures to do so.
And on that cheerful note, this section draws to a close. Next time on Nightbane we'll brush over the enormous list of tedious skills and possibly combat and psychic powers! Learn the mystery of PPE.

e: Learn the mystery of PPE... with this guy.

Untitled Post

posted by Nessus Original SA post

Did you think you were safe? Too bad! It's time for more


I believe last time we'd been on alignment and the systems for drug abuse, psychological trauma, and the sad effects of the demon rum. If I didn't and people want to hear more, let me know.

Now then, we have the skill list.

And get your degree in Weapon Systems, Read Sensory Equipment, Hover Craft (Ground), or Lore - Nightbane.

This skill list reminds me of GURPS, and not in a positive way. Unlike GURPS these are resolved with percentile dice and I don't believe your personal aptitudes have much of a factor, you're either trained or untrained (though sometimes you can double-train and get benefits). These largely do what you'd expect, but there is the twist that the physical skills will build your stats up cumulatively. You can't stack skills, though. There's a list here but it's basically that if you train hard your stats will go up.

Here's an example!

Let's take ZZ here (who is clearly a 'gator Nightbane and may reappear later.) Let's say further that under the direction of the Preserver Party's chosen agent, HHH, ZZ trains in Acrobatics, Athletics (general), Body Building+Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Running, and (of course) Wrestling. Assuming he had none of these skills, ZZ would gain (in total):

+10 Physical Strength, +5 Physical Endurance, +2 Physical Prowess, +7d6+1d8+10 SDC, +1d6+4d4 Speed, several "automatic kick attacks," the ability to pin/incapacitate on a 18-20, ability to body-tackle for 1d4+they lose one melee attack, +5 to roll with punch or fall, and probably some other stuff I'm losing track of. The +10 physical strength would apply even if ZZ had the highest starting possible strength of 24, I believe. As would all those SDC. I guess that's from learning how to take a bump.

Anyway after this we have some discussion of guns'brasting which I found uninteresting and is the same as all Palladium stuff. Of some note are ISPs, which are basically mana points but for psionic abilities. If you spend your ISPs you can regain them at 2 per hour by sleeping or being totally relaxed, or at 4/hour by meditating.

New rule! Perception. Roll a d20 and add your IQ bonus along with any crap from your OCC or RCC. Also, +1 at levels 3, 9 and 15. There's a useful table. This is basically the Spot check, but is clearly labelled as a "new rule."

Also, the horror factor: When something is 2 Spoopy, you roll against its Horror Factor. EXAMPLE: The Undertaker, with a horror factor of 10, emerges from a crypt. Everyone has to roll a D20. Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar roll high and are fine. Paul Heyman rolls a 2, and is stunned, which means he loses init and can't defend himself against the creature's first attack. However, this is only an initial factor.

Psi powers!

Everyone has ISPs as we mentioned. A psionic gets SIX ISP per hour of meditation, and it also counts as two hours of rest for his tender fleshy body. If you're near a leyline you get juiced up.

Dogs, cats and horses are psychics. YUP! "Each animal has the following abilities: See the invisible, sense evil, sense magic, sixth sense and empathy (receives only) Each ability is an automatic instinct that helps the animal AVOID the supernatural. Range: 600 foot area."

Living animals have potential psychic energy points, or PPE. Get used to that word. You can sacrifice an animal to Satan (at death, their PPE doubles) and use that power. There is a list of the PPE and hit points of various common animals. Your most cost effective sacrifice to Satan is a mouse, who has 1D4 PPE and 1 hit point. Even Paul Heyman could manage that! A rat is also a decent compromise, at 2d4 PPE versus 1d4 HP. Your worst choice is a bear, which has 2D6 PPE, as well as 3D4x10 hit points, and presumably all of the innate abilities with regards to mauling etc. as a bear. Perhaps Satan is fond of the bear.

There is a Psychic "PCC". Psychics have psychic powers (I am sure you are shocked) and generally club up with the underground to fight the Monster-Occupied Government (or MOG (my acronym).) Most of the psychic powers are the usual Scanner bullshit you might expect, including various sensory powers, etc. Some highlights:

Death Trance: You can feign death real good. This keeps you from dying from poison, blue meth, etc. but you are also really pretendig to be dead! It is only useful for yourself, and you are completely helpless until the trance is broken. (This would actually be really useful if you could cast it on OTHER people...)

Divination: This lets you read the cards, and find stuff out. Ask some questions, throw some dice. There's a lot of different methods you can use. You gotta pick a couple, at most.

Total Recall: You can spend ISP to remember things perfectly. Even if you're out of ISP you can still try.

Bio-Manipulation (the evil eye): Hex somebody but good.

Summon Inner Strength:

but less racist

You can give yourself a little more SDC and some saving bonuses, as well as ignoring fatigue, for a while.

Speed Reading: You can read 30 pages per minute and retain normally. "Highly technical" texts you have to maybe read at half speed, or twice.

Next up, we finally get to the fucking Nightbane!


posted by Nessus Original SA post

Finally, we get to the payoff. Folks, welcome back, because it is now time for


His face is always like that; she's the one who's really hype for this part

Before we get into the real party time, we review the Morphus/Facade dichotomy, include some suggestions for how to define the character (who was probably a teenager or young adult before they Became). We then hit up some core rules ofr natural powers of the Nightbane, which are universal after the Nightbane changes for the first time:

1. THE BECOMING. You can change into your Morphus. It takes about a melee (which is approximately 15 seconds - seems to be a round equivalent) to do this. You can roll mental endurance with an accumulating bonus to do it faster.
2. Supernatural senses. All nightbane have night vision (better in their Morphus). They can also spot out other people as Nightbane - if they're within sight you just automatically use your Nightbaedar and ping them. If they're in the area, you can make a perception roll (this requires deliberate effort).
3. Supernatural attributes. Also, they regenerate 10 SDC OR Hit points at the end of each round. Massive damage - perhaps even... mega? damage - can overwhelm this. Nightbane have no inherent weapon immunities.
4. Mirror Walk: Enter the Umbra Mirrorlands. You have to go through a mirror with a counterpart in the Mirrorlands. Most house or building mirrors will do it; vehicles don't because the Mirrorlands has no cars. There's some more details. It costs PPE.
5. Immunities! You're immune to mind control (even VAMPIRE control).
6. Morphus powers, see below.
7. "Talents," which are basically bonus psi powers. You get one free. You can get more by PERMANENTLY spending PPE, or by getting good and levelling - you get more at levels 4, 7, 10 and 12.
8. Immune to any form of involuntary shape control. Basically, you can't be polymorphed or anything like a polymorph. Even super high level mega magic can't do it. This is its own bullet point because seven is an unlucky number I guess.

Nightbane are an RCC and have skill packages. Blah blah who cares, we're here for the real fun shit. The tables.

One of the unusual aspects of the Nightbane is that they are not really organized in clans or anything. You might expect something like that - some kind of division among the wolf people vs. the vampire people or some similar nonsense derived from your weak, mortal understandings of the ancient dark legends of the kine. Well, this is Palladium MEGA-GAMING. None of that.

A Nightbane's "Morphus," which you will recall is the name for when they turn into a thing and start rocking faces as a super-cool monster of the night, reflects some part of the character's personality... mostly. For example, a character who was fascinated with snakes, or phobic of them, might turn into a weresnake. Or they might get scaly skin and a serpent's tongue. (Hey, maybe that woman in that picture IS the Facade of that big muscle dude's Morphus!)

There are a lot of random tables. The book gives some advice - ranging from "Roll completely randomly, use that as a horoscope like look on why your character is the way she is" to "pick it all out" to "pick some out, but roll some randomly for funsies." There is open discussion of game balance - and different tones! How forward-looking. Plus, you can make up your OWN tables. Nightbane is you're game... what will you play? Graduate You're Game, Noob.

Anyway, there's some heavy shit here. I will quote the first two tables in their entirety.


Appearance Table
Roll or select one.

01-20% — Almost human: The Nightbane's Morphus is almost totally human, except for one inhuman trait that might be disguised or concealed — although sometimes the one trait is inhuman enough to give away the character's true supernatural nature. Roll once on the Nightbane Characteristics Table to determine unusual characteristics. If the result asks for more than one characteristic, ignore it and reroll.

21-30% — Inhuman but beautiful: The Nightbane combined a beautiful appearance with rolls on the Unearthly Beauty Table and the Nightbane Characteristics Tables.

31-45% Marred Beauty: The character has a beautiful True Shape, but it is marred by a gruesome stigmata. Make rolls on the Unearthly Beauty Table, the Stigmata Table, and the Nightbane Characteristics Table.

46-60% Lycanthrope: The Nightbane's Morphus is a mixture of animal and humanoid traits. Roll once on the Animal Form Table.

61-75% Monstrous Lycanthrope: Not only is the Morphus form animal-like, it has hideous deformities that give it a terrifying appearance. Roll on the Animal Form, Stigmata and Nightbane Characteristics Tables.

76-90% Inhuman Shape: The Nightbane's True Shape is a gruesome mockery of humanity. Roll on the Stigmata and Nightbane Characteristics Table.

91-00% Bizarre: Roll on the Unearthly Beauty, Nightbane Characteristics, Animal Form, and Stigmata tables. Then exercise your imagination to combine the alien result.

Nightbane Characteristics Table

01-20% Unusual Facial Features: Roll on the Unusual Facial Features Table.

21-40% Biomechanical: Roll on the Biomechanical Table.

41-60% Alien Creature: Roll on the Alien Shape Table.

61-80% Unnatural Limbs: Roll on the Unnatural Limbs Table.

81-90% Two characteristics: Roll or select two categories. Ignore any result of 61% or higher (alternatively, roll 1d6x10% to get a result between 10-60%). If you get the same characteristic twice, roll twice on the appropriate table.

91-95% Three characteristics: Roll or select three categories. Ignore any result of 61% or higher (alternatively, roll 1D6x10% to get a result between 10-60%). If you get the same characteristic twice, roll twice on the appropriate table.

96-00% Four Characteristics! As above, but roll four times.

Why am I listing this...? Because I'm going to show this gigantic list of bullshit by assembling concepts together that match what YOU, THE VIEWER AT HOME would like to see.

I'll take a few interesting ones - if you feel up to it, throw some bones and tell me what you got for them. I'll work from there. ZZ will make a reappearance as an additional contestant here on Nightbane, too.

For clarity, you can give me whatever level of detail you want. Humanoid gummy bear? Randomly rolling someone out with full Bizarre? Reproducing your favorite Touhou? Go hog wild!

Petsuo the Bullet Hound, Tony Chopper, Melonkuma, Clive Barker's Harley

posted by Nessus Original SA post

Welcome back to NIGHTBANE, where we're taking requests! We'll lead with the four I liked best from reader suggestions, and then I'll do a few random rolls. Since we're going to be leaning pretty hard on the lycanthrope tables here, those ones will tend to avoid them - I'll reroll once if I get critters, generally speaking.

Petsuo the Bullet Hound

A Bullet Hound sounds to me like it'd be a "Monstrous Lycanthrope." That means we're going to be checking on Animal Form, Stigmata, and Nightbane Characteristics.

Animal Form first. Obviously, Petsuo is going to be on the Canine Table. With a roll of 21%, Petsuo is a Were-Canine , granting him doggy features, fur, a size boost, and a tail.

His statistical bonuses are +4 to PS, +1 to PP, +3 to PE, and 2d4x10 SDC. (I'll be rolling such things out when I do some randomly rolled examples later.) He also gets +2 to initative and perception rolls, as well as "adding six points to speed."

warp speed, Petsuo

He gains 2d4 SDC to hand to hand damage from his imperious hound dog nails, and can bite for 4D6 SDC. He also gets +10% to his Tracking skill if he has it, and has it automatically at +10% in his Morphus if he doesn't. (This is kind of ambiguously worded but I'm going to parse it as "a bonus to his default roll if he's untrained.") His Horror Factor also increases by 1d4+1, probably due to the cosmic horror of a giant bipedal dog in a suit.

Stigmata! Roll of a 95, so biomechanical. (Add 1 horror factor for their gruesome attachment!) 43 on Biomechnical gave us mechanical limbs. Petsuo's precious little paws are made out of bullets, that seems reasonable. +4 to PS, 1d4x10 to SDC, and an additional 1d4 horror factor (+1 for Stigmata check!) If his legs were included we'd also add 4D6 to Speed. But we didn't, because his stumpy little hound dog legs would probably fall off.

Finally, Nightbane Characteristics! We get an "Alien Shape" table result and check for Bark-like skin. (GET IT? BECAUSE HE IS A DOG?) This adds 1D4x10 SDC, plus another D4 to horror factor. Let's say these are also bullets.

Petsuo emerges from the becoming with +8 PS, +1 PP, +3 PE, 4d4x10 SDC, and 3d4+2 Horror Factor. WHO'S A GOOD BOY??

Tony Chopper

chopper is displeased at being involved in this farce of a game system

Chopper is obviously a Lycanthrope. This just gets a roll on the animal form table. Obviously he's a reindeer, so we'll just look that up - I'm going to say that Chopper's relatively dimintuve form qualifies him for "Humanoid Shape" even though that's apparently meant for like, satyrs and shit. Whatever.

Chopper gets +4 to PS, +1 to PP, +2 to PE, and +2D6 to Running Speed (unclear if this is his Speed Stat or just his linear acceleration rate). Add 1d6x10 to SDC, +1 to initative and perception rolls, and 1D4 to Horror Factor. A godless mingling of the races of Man and Reindeer is a lot less scary than a giant bullet dog, which, honestly, I'll buy.


There is no Bear table, nor a Giant Bear Head Table, so I would say Nightbane cannot correctly model Melonkuma. Damn thing gives me the creeps.

Clive Barker's Harley

Now we're going places!

Bieeardo posted:

Clive Barker's Harley Davidson commercial: a motorcycle centaur made of exposed viscera.
Since this is one that knows what it's going for, we're going to go with "Inhuman Shape," which checks on the Stigmata and Nightbane characteristics.

The Nightbane one, we'll assume, boils out to Biomechanical, and WHEELS OR TREADS. This covers all kinds of half-man-half-machine Turbo Teen style concepts.

Ho Kogan encounters a Romulan samurai biker. His pistons are pumping, brother!

As a living motorcycle, Clive here gains 2D4x10 Speed, +3 to PS, +2 to PE, and 3D6x10 to SDC. "The Nightbane may find it difficult to operate indoors or in confined spaces." Also, being a living motorcycle is good for another 1D4 of Horror Factor.

For his Stigmata, let's go with "Eternal Wounds."


The Nightbane bears horrible wounds that never heal. Most often, the wounds are clearly visible and may appear to be deadly, including gaping chest wounds, gashes in the skull, cuts, gouges and other grotesqueries. The wounds cover any clothes the character wears with bloody patches in a matter of minutes, soaking through bandages and dressings after a while. Add 3D6 to S.D.C. and 1D4 to Horror Factor.
Strangely enough, the Motorcycle Made of Guts is potentially less horrifying than a bullet dog man.

Next up: Nessus rolls randomly. In fact hell, maybe I'll do the entire character generation for someone. Concepts welcome but I'm going to do like, two characters max.

Character Creation

posted by Nessus Original SA post

Here on Nightbane let's go through the entire character creation process for someone in order to illustrate my best understanding of how Palladium generation goes.

First, the statistical block. I see no clear instructions on how you're supposed to sort these things, so let's just throw some bones. As a handy reminder, these are on a standard 3D6, but if the roll is a 16, 17 or 18, you roll an additional D6 and add that. Interestingly, I think this makes it impossible to have a 16 in a stat.

IQ: 14
Mental Endurance: 5
Mental Affinity: 15
Physical Strength: 9
Physical Prowess: 7
Physical Endurance: 9
Physical Beauty: 15
Speed: 6

No exceptional values here. These suggest someone who is intelligent and charismatic, but psychologically vulnerable, not very athletic, and kind of slow moving.

You'll do.

Step 2, more basic shit. Hit points! PE is 9, add a D6 (2) for 11. Lydia here is clearly not an athlete, more like a mathlete, so SDC is 3D6 - in this case, 10. Nice and average.

Step 3 moves us to our RCC of Nightbane , which changes around some of these figures.

Lydia's facade remains unaffected. However, it turns out that the power of darqueness does mean you can skip gym, as her base stats for her Morphus leaps up to a PS of 19, a PP of 13, a PE of 19, and a SPD of 12. Her base HP remains the same, but SDC goes up to 30 plus any ensuing skill bonuses. In the Morphus her HP goes up to PE x2 (38!) plus 2D6 (9 in this case) for a whopping 47. Morphus base SDC is 2D6x10 added to the Facade's: 6 in this case, for a total of 90.

PPE is normally 2D6 for an adult human, but for a Nightbane, it's 3D6x10, plus 20, plus the PE attribute (using the Facade's PE). In this case that's 120+20+9, for 149. This seems high, but we'll find something to do with it later.

i told you i was hardcore, mom

There's a bunch of crunchy melee/damage counts I'm going to ignore except that she also knows the equivalent of trained hand to hand martial arts in Morphus form, and also has Basic Math at +10%, verifying her Mathleticism.

Got it so far? Now we begin the party.

jump in de line, rock your body in time

Our first roll for the appearance table is a 64, but as foreshadowed we're rerolling and getting a natural 100! WHAT ARE THE ODDS? (1 in 100.) This puts us in Bizarre, which requires us to roll on "Unearthly Beauty," "Nightbane Characteristics," "Animal Form" and "Stigmata" and then "exercise our imaginations."

Beetlejuice, being familiar with Palladium random results, is concerned.

Since the hour draws late I will throw these bones now and finalize matters later.

Unearthly Beauty : Fallen Angel: +6 PB, +3D6 SDC, feathered (by default) wings permitting slow but fuctional flight.
Nightbane Characteristics : Unnatural Limbs -> Prehensile Tail: Strong like Nightcrawler's, adds to climb and balance checks. +1 to Horror Factor.
Animal Form : Insectoid -> Insectoid Centauroid: Upper body of some kind of bug with mandibles, eyes and antennae, lower body of a six-legged giant insect. +6 PS, +2 PP, +2 PE, +5D6 running speed. Extra flying speed if it has wings (clearly she does). A bunch more random attacks. +1d6 Horror Factor.
Stigmata : COMBINATION OF TWO! Eternal Wounds : Gruesome, outlined above, +3D6 to SDC and +1D4 Horror Factor and ALSO Biomechanical! which in turn leads us to Metal Head and Camera Eyes which mostly gives you a robot head and camera eyes capable of zooming in like binoculars and projecting images from your memory. No sound, of course. +1d4 horror factor.

I am quite sure there is a Persona or SMT demon that matches this.

Next time on Nightbane we finish this up, perhaps roll through another person, then! The magic system and even more setting crunch! There's like an additional hundred pages of this book! We haven't even touched on the vampires! YET.