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.
When the 1987 cartoon series was released, it affected the sales negatively because of the turtles childish image. Sales dropped from 50,000 copies one year to 12,000 the next. The year after, they dropped to 6,000 copies. They decided not to renew their license in 2000.
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 license 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 second 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.
After the Bomb
This supplement creates a new setting. The world is experiencing a nuclear winter and due to the radiation, there's been a lot of mutation. Mutated animals are now the majority of the population.
The game takes place on the east coast and involved conflicts between the despotic Empire of Humanity and various animal countries.
Continuing with the premise of After the Bomb, Road Hogs is a guide for the west coast in after the nuclear holocaust. The game pays special attention to roads and vehicle combat.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures
This supplement has several new adventures and includes rules for super-powered animals.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Guide to the Galaxy
Mutants Down Under
This one continues the after bomb, post-apocalyptic premise, with this one taking place in Australia. It includes rules for Australian and South-East Asian animals.
Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This one allows the players to visit alternate dimensions as well as travel through time. Extinct animals such as dinosaurs have been added as well as mutant humans.
Truckin' Turtles takes players across the United States on a set of adventures.
Mutants of the Yucatan
This is another After the Bomb supplement, this time covering Mexico. It includes new, tropical animals such as army ant and flamingos.
Turtles Go Hollywood
This supplement contains five inter-related adventures involving drug lords, corrupt movie executives, and evil ninja clans.
Mutants in Avalon
This supplement is another of the After the Bomb supplements. This one takes place in Great Britain. The sample plot is based on Arthurian legend.
Mutants in Orbit
The last of the After the Bomb supplements, this one involves outer space operations in orbit around Earth, the Moon, and as far as Mars. Half of the book is for use with TMNT; the other half is for Rifts.