Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness is a role-playing game based on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. The game was licensed before the Turtles franchise rose to popularity, first published by Palladium Books in 1985, and featured original comics and illustrations by Eastman and Laird. The rules system is Palladium's Megaversal system. A small section of the rules, giving the basics of character creation and a short-list of animal options, was included in the second edition of Heroes Unlimited.
Turtles and rats were not the only option for mutated animals, a rather large list of animals was made available which could be mutated in a wide variety of ways (intelligence, human looks, functioning hands, bipedalism, etc). Some animals allowed access to different varieties (most notably dog breeds), and rules allowed for the creation of new animals. Characters had access to psionic powers and could come from a wide variety of sources (e.g. natural mutation or man-made experiments), as well as a variety of educational backgrounds.
The mutant animal player characters in the game lived in our modern world, functioning on the fringes of human society. One of the more innovative details of the game was the alignment system which used terms like principled and miscreant along with a list of diagnostic behaviours such as "would kill an innocent bystander" or "would never accept stolen property". These hypothetical behaviours pegged a character as fitting one of the particular alignment terms.
The original TMNT game partially mirrored the universe of the TMNT comic books, including statistics for the turtles, The Shredder, and other characters from early in the series. However, the adventures included with the book were completely independent of the TMNT universe, and brand-new characters were also presented as demo characters.
The 1987 TV series and live-action movies, which made considerable changes to the Turtles' universe, had a severe negative impact upon the popularity of the roleplaying game; in an interview, Kevin Siembieda said that the 1987 TV series and movies made the Turtles seem so childish that "no self-respecting teenager, even if he thought the Turtles were cool, or thought the Ninja Turtle game was cool, was going to be caught dead playing it. So our sales plummeted from 50,000 copies in a year to 12,000, and the next year that dropped to 6,000."
The TMNT game later spawned a game with a future post-apocalyptic earth populated mainly with mutant animals and residual humans, called After The Bomb. Despite fan protest, Palladium did not renew the TMNT licence in 2000 due to the cost of the license as well as the 1987 TV series making the Turtles "too childish" and low pre-orders for the proposed 2nd edition.
Palladium is still producing After The Bomb material, and may consider relicensing TMNT depending on the performance of the CGI movie and other factors.
The initial edition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness was published with a section detailing a comprehensive list of mental illnesses that players could adopt for their characters, including an extensive list of sexual deviations. After parents of players objected to this list, the publisher covered over the list of sexual deviations with a plain white sticker. Subsequent editions removed the list entirely. Copies of the 1st edition with the list of sexual deviations consequently sells for a premium on auction web sites like eBay.
Chapters that PlayEdit
The following chapters are know to play, previously played, or open to playing the game: