Classic Dungeons and Dragons and Old School Gaming

D&D etc.

"Heir to a crumbling summit: to a sea of nettles: to an empire of rust: to rituals' footprints ankle-deep in stone."

-Mervyn Peake

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

-Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monday, November 12, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Genius

Several weeks ago an old friend of mine was over.  He randomly suggested that we roll up TMNT characters.  As kid, I made way more characters than I ever ran in a game.  Many of those characters were  randomly generated mutant animals.  I'm going to say this, and I want you to know that I mean it: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness is a work of RPG genius.  If you don't know what I'm talking about then I feel sorry for you.  If your youth was spent wasted on something other than rolling up teams of feral porcupines and college educated armadillos well, again, my condolences.  Written by Eric Wujcik, the man who also brought Paranoia and Amber Diceless to the world, and built on the chassis of  Palladium, TMNT's character generation alternates between random rolls and open ended choice.  There is a lot of picayune adding up of stat bonuses, but if you started doing this when you were 10 it goes remarkably fast.

anyway long story short, my friend and my girlfriend made characters that were so awesome we decided they had to be played, so I ran a game.

  • the Hypno-Ninja-Spaniel won a breakdancing competition on the mean streets of Dubai MegaCity in the year 2049.  Everybody in Dubai in the future talked with a New York accent.  This was before Sandy.  I decided that in the 2030's there was a flood in NY and the city was ruined and The UAE gave free visas to any New Yorker who wanted them.  That never came up in the game, it was just in my head.  Really though, I just didn't want to do an Arab accent and East Coast/New Yorker was the first thing that popped into my head.
  • They fought a street gang and beheaded a store clerk.
  • They stole a dirt bike from a Canadian kid. (they started in present day Canada)
  • They made their way efficiently through a fantasy dungeon, running right past the eyeballs with magic powers floating in a lake of blood.
  • The mutant moose who pretty much looked like a regular moose and but for minor telepathy pretty much was a regular moose absolutely creamed the bad guys by ramming them with her antlers.
  • They wielded ancient ninja weapons, stolen from the future to battle a cyborg T-rex in a fantasy medieval tower.
  • Any time the pace slackened even a little the players would ad-lib in character about their body issues.
I ran the game hewing much closer to the rules as written then I think we ever did as a kids, I was surprised how well it worked.  The thing about Palladium (especially Rifts) is that everything seems like it was done to make the game world seem super realistic but the result is silly and idiosyncratic.  I Looove it.  Does it make sense that a moose can do at least 20 points of damage everytime it hits?  Does it matter?

What we talked about doing next is running TMNT characters in a fantasy game using the regular old Palladium Fantasy rules. At first I thought it would be fun to play in a world where everyone is a mutant animal but what I find really attractive about TMNT is how you are skulking about on the edge of society. I think the perfect setting would be something like New Crobizon from Mieville's Bas Lag books.  The "strange green stuff"that mutates the PCs would be alchemical toxic waste.

My next post will be more substantial... I've got another Monster Remix just about ready!


  1. That sounds like a blast. Of course, this will now lead to me getting all into running Palladium for a couple of weeks which always ends in tears.