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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG reprint revives a 1980s tabletop oddity

Heroes in a hardcover sourcebook.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness RPG cover art
Image credit: Peter Laird/Palladium Books/Nickelodeon

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness will return to print thanks to a Kickstarter campaign reviving the 1985 tabletop RPG book featuring the staple saturday morning cartoon band of crime-fighting, pizza-noshing teenagers.

Publisher Palladium Books launched the campaign on October 31st, and fans have already dedicated over $400,000 (£340,000) towards reviving a pair of hardcover sourcebooks featuring a new cover by Freddie E. Williams II and Michael Majestic (comic book artist Peter Laird will also provide variant covers). The core book will combine the original RPG with material from Turtles Go Hollywood, and Truckin' Turtles sourcebooks, while the second book available at a higher tier combines the previously published Transdimensional TMNT, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures and TMNT Guide to the Universe.

This new remastered version will update some of the rules text and remaster the game for a contemporary audience while attempting to preserve the odd charm of the 1985 original - minus the mental illness and “sexual deviancy” character details, amongst other things that have aged like room temperature milk. New artwork and better layout on tables and indices round out the bulk of the proposed changes, as the publisher professed more interest in bringing an old cult favourite back from the dead than modernising it.

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If your memory of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mostly derives from the animated series launched in 1987, their portrayal in this tabletop RPG will come as quite a shock. TMNT began as an indie comic book line with more mature (read: graphic) story lines and material that would eventually raise the hackles of protective parents once Turtlemania swept the US in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.

You don’t have to create reptilian crime fighters - the TMNT RPG lets heroes come from a “wide variety of urban, rural, and wild animals from birds to exotic zoo animals” and then guides players through martial skills, hi-tech gadgetry and perhaps some pseudo-magical or science fantasy powers. Adventures run the gamut of indie comic book weirdness, from small-time crime sprees to Shredder and his Foot Clan and all the way up to planetwide alien invasions.

The Kickstarter campaign for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness runs through November 28th, and Palladium Books currently expects fulfilment to begin in September 2024. The publisher made the odd choice of not publishing a digital edition, but they do have retailer options available for those who want to grab the books from their local hobby shop sometime next year.

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