Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness is a 1985 Role-Playing Game made by Palladium Books revolving around the strange adventures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and in later books, a post-apocalyptic, mutant-infested Earth.
The players get the opportunity to play as a variety of mutated animals, having the ability to chose the species, mutations and special abilities that the character would receive. Possible characters range from tiny psychic bunnies to enormous anthropomorphic crocodiles to humanoids with almost no trace of their animal species.
The game series dropped in popularity and sales once the 1987 cartoon and live-action films rolled out, which made (from the publishers' words) "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." By 2000, Palladium Books did not renew the license, because of license costs and the perception of the TMNT. However, a Kickstarter was announced in late 2023 to produce a modern, hardback version of the game.
The supplement books to the core book are as follows:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures!: The first supplement, includes an adventure scenario and rules for integrating Super-powers from Palladium's Heroes Unlimited RPG. (June 1986)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Guide to the Universe: Revolves around outer space and aliens such as Triceratons. (May 1987)
- Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The last sourcebook to revolve around the original Turtle setting has time- and dimension-traveling adventure with mutant humans and dinosaurs, among other things. (April 1989)
- Truckin' Turtles: An adventure across the United States. (November 1989)
- Turtles Go Hollywood: A series of inter-related adventures involving drug lords, corrupt movie executives, and evil ninja clans. Probably released to coincide with the first movie. (March 1990)
After the Bomb series:
- After the Bomb: An adventure that takes place in the Eastern United States that has been ravaged by nuclear warfare. (January 1986)
- After the Bomb: Second Edition: More than a simple updated re-release, this edition served as a reboot of the game line. It is a complete core rulebook that replaces Other Strangeness, with all Turtle references removed and changes in the backstory reflecting more modern genetics and technology. (December 2001)
- Road Hogs: Takes the adventure to the West side of the US too. Notably included a tale about a senile and elderly Raphael as a martial arts master. (October 1986)
- Mutants Down Under: Expands the adventure to Australia. (June 1988)
- Mutants of the Yucatan: Expands the adventure to Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. (July 1990)
- Mutants in Avalon: Expands the adventure to Great Britain. (January 1991)
- Mutants in Orbit: Expands the adventure to Outer Space. Also part of the Rifts RPG series. (March 1992)
- Artistic License – Biology: Lampshaded in the book, as this was done for both reasons of space and the game designer's mental health, Animals that are very similar are sometimes lumped together. For example, coyotes and wolves fall under "Wild Canines", and eagles, hawks, and falcons are all "Wild Predatory Birds", with only slight differences between them (i.e., since a coyote is smaller then a wolf, it has more Bio-E to spend)
- Awesome, yet Impractical: The Animal Speech and Animal Control Psionic Abilities. The idea of a mutant animal being able to communicate and control normal animals sounds awesome, but you can only do it to animals of your own kind. Great if you're a common animal like a dog, cat or mouse, but if you're a mutant lion or tiger the only places you're likely to find normal versions of your own kind is the zoo or a circus. It gets even more impractical if you're using an exotic animal from one of the After the Bomb Supplements like Mutants Down Under where would a mutant numbat and normal numbats in New York City?
- Bears Are Bad News: The Terror Bears, pint sized malevolent psychic ursines, are this in spades! In something of a subversion, this is not due to physical strength, but mental.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Doctor Victor Oban Feral is "Scrupulous" in alignment and is described as 'unfailingly polite' even to his vivisection victims. He simply does not process that uplifted animals are beings worthy of moral consideration - the game backs up this moral relativism.
- Demoted to Extra: The Turtles themselves, within the context of the actual game. Though they appear in numerous illustrations throughout the books, and character sheets for them and their supporting cast is included in the first volume, the game is clearly more interested in having players create their own mutant characters, and most of the included adventures feature original characters and settings rather than any from the comics. Particularly the case in the After the Bomb series, which makes no mention of them at all beyond the series' name appearing on the covers.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Doctor Feral...Oh Dear Lord! Doctor Feral!
- Fantastic Racism: Many places in After The Bomb have the usual Human-vs-Mutant stuff, some places even discriminate by species, but England takes the cake. Among mutants, there is a bias towards animal species’ that are native to Britain, and even there, some animals are seen as more “noble” than others.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: In the short story comic included in the Gamebook Don't Judge a Book The Turtles weren't originally aiming for this, Mikey was dressed up as a clown, Leo was dressed up as an alien, Raph dressed up like a punk rockstar and Don was dressed as an old lady. However, burglars attempt to raid April's apartment and the Turtles have to fight them off. Their costumes are destroyed in the process, so they arrive to the party in nothing but their ninja accessories which everyone assumes are their costumes.
- Lighter and Softer: The final two volumes, Truckin' Turtles and Turtles Go Hollywood, have a much sillier tone that clearly reflects the influence of the animated series.
- Little Bit Beastly: Mutants with 'Full Human Looks' – unlike the typical anime Catgirl, these characters normally just look like really ugly humans. Someone would say "That ugly lady looks like a skunk!" instead of "That skunk looks like a lady!"
- Playing with Syringes: Doctor Feral is probably half the reason Mutants have to have a Masquerade in the first place! Seriously, did they base half of Bishop's character off this guy?note
- Rouge Angles of Satin: The spine of the original printing of the first edition reads "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangness".
- Simple, yet Awesome: Psionic abilities like Telepathic Transmission (Great for players who don't want to spend Bio-E on speech), Hypnotic Suggestion, Mind Trap, and all forms of Bio-Manipulation are all incredibly awesome and efficient.
- Super-Senses: The Super Senses one could acquire were Advanced Vision, Night Vision, Ultraviolet Light Advanced Hearing, Sonar, Advanced Smell and Advanced Touch
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A human character (Doctor Feral) is considered a morally good person despite considering sentient animals to be fair game for vivisection. Mutant animals that turn on humanity in revenge for humans' actions against them (such as experimental subjects like the Terror Bears), however, are considered evil.