Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

After some (minimal) research I found out that Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles has its own RPG book:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness.

Some parts of the system above appear good, such as character creation allowing for a variety of mutations, and other bits, but by and large I'm not keen on the mechanics. It's based on the Megaversal system, which looks a bit odd.

Were there alternative systems based on this franchise? Or even re-flavourings of other systems? The system above (Megaversal1) seems to be suited more towards the original animated series(1987-1996) which is heavy in slapstick comedy, and as a whole is less serious. The latest series (2003-2009) has a much darker feel to it (evidenced by this line of artwork), is more serious and sticks to the Mirage comic line, whilst preserving a Rule of Cool.

I'm looking for a system that will let me emulate the TMNT style to my hearts content, as well as having a setting and character very similar to the 2003 cartoon, this would mean it having (roughly in this order):

share|improve this question

As this is a game-recommendation question, please adhere to the FAQ, the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and our rules for game recommendations. All responses must cite actual experience or reference others' experiences!

closed as off-topic by BESW, Oblivious Sage, nitsua60, Wibbs, Christopher Jun 2 at 15:31

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

May I remind answerers to follow our guidelines on system recommendation questions (, which basically say only recommend if you've done it, don't just toss unsupported opinions out your butt about how you're sure FATE would be great for this since it's good for everything. – mxyzplk Jan 3 '12 at 22:22
I am not sure one can say the Megaversal system is slanted towards slapstick; it's used for Rifts and Beyond the Supernatural and Palladium Fantasy... It's a generic trad system and probably the second most played after D&D variants historically. Not saying it's good mind you, but I think your concern about tone disjoint is completely unfounded. – mxyzplk Jan 4 '12 at 0:07
Before I dive in, can you describe what you think of as integral to the TMNT style? Is it important that it be able to handle superhero tropes? Comic book parody? Martial arts? A wide variety of anthropomorphic animals? Which things are most important, and which can be handwaved? – Jadasc Jan 6 '12 at 1:04
Side note about the TMNT game from Palladium. It came out in 1985, and was one of the first TMNT licensed products, featuring illustrations from Eastman and Laird. It's a great glimpse into that era in gaming. - – Erik Schmidt May 1 '13 at 22:23
up vote 14 down vote accepted

Not sure if it would fit 100% but Feng Shui from Atlas games has a lot of martial art/Hong Kong cinema feel to it. The game has a lot of support and is fun to play. I cannot vouch for the setting since I am not that familiar with TMNT.

To answer your list:

Animal-Mutations as seen in the cartoon


Martial Arts Capabilities

Hell yeah. It's the main focus of the game.

Dark Overtones

I think so. You can certainly run it as a horror setting without too much difficulty. Not sure what rules they have to model a slow but sure decent into insanity and despair.

Oriental feel (Samurai honour, etc)

Yes. Hong Kong cinema feel rather than Japanese but it should still serve you well.

Some sort of Rule of Cool stunt system

Hell yeah. Lots and lots of them plus rules to make your own.

Some mysticism or magic accessible to the players

Yes, there is some but most of it is of Chinese background and not European.

The ability to use High-levels of technology

Yes. There is the ability to have cyborg/robots/etc in Feng Sui.

share|improve this answer

I think the original TMNT & Other strangeness is the really good. We played it quite a bit. We never really liked the campyness of it, so we played it pretty straight.

After The Bomb, was originally made as an add on to TMNT, but was later it's own setting.

Also, check this list out for more anthro goodness:

share|improve this answer

Palladium Games TMNT & Other Strangeness, combined with the After the Bomb series, can be played with the same darkness of the original comics. I ran a pair of long series with this, one 3 years with 4 players playing the turtles themselves, and another of 5 years as an Arthurian campaign with one of the 6 players becoming king at the end.

share|improve this answer
Agreed. As a kid and as an adult this game is what made TMNT cool to me. I can't see any adherent 'campiness' in Palladium Games, nor part of TMNT. The rules are pretty jockied for epic struggles and gut spilling combat. If any campiness was ever added it was player driven...not the rules. The author also added some rules to promote team play, where teams had higher attributes (given that they trained together). Combined with Palladium's Ninjas and Superspies was always a staple. Mystic China had quite a bit more mysticism, too. – Jayson Smith Sep 6 '15 at 0:57

I'd probably would have used GURPS, simply because of the genre bending nature of TMNT. While it's ostensibly about anthropomorphic martial arts teenagers, it individual stories can also be sci-fi (ranging from cyberpunk to space opera to post-apocalypse), fantasy, alternate universes, super-heroes, film noir, etc. IMHO, this is one of the things GURPS does best.

I would use the GURPS Action line as the basis for the campaign, especially the supplement GURPS Action 3: Furious Fists. It has much of the work already done for you, and have a lot of useful guidelines for an modern action game. Furius Fists includes enough Martial Arts goodness to get you started, but you'll probably end up wanting GURPS Martial Arts for more details. The character templates from Action, includes an allotment of points for use on lenses, which could be used for an mutant racial template instead. If it's ever released, GURPS Furries probably would probably provide these. ;)

While GURPS Basic should have everything else you'd need, you might want to look into GURPS Powers for added details and guidelines for special powers, and GURPS Thaumatology does the same for magic. GURPS Magic contains an expanded list of spells, that might or might not be useful depending on how you model magic. GURPS High-Tech and GURPS Ultra-Tech would also be useful, and are catalogues of equipment for respectively modern and sci-fi games.

share|improve this answer

I incorporated the TMNT as NPCs in my Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game campaign many years ago, and it worked out rather well.

Animal-Mutations as seen in the cartoon

The Street Fighter Players' Guide had rules for animal hybrids, although most folks considered them overpowered. I don't think that'd be much of an issue if the entire team and/or most of the villains were hybrids or balanced around them.

Martial Arts Capabilities & Quick combat

Street Fighter was all about martial arts (and to a lesser extent, melee combat) in a fairly cinematic style, although it did try very hard to emulate the special maneuvers, etc. from the video game. There are rules for "fast and loose" combat if you don't want to use the actual system, though.

Dark Overtones

Eh. It's kinda comic-booky but I ran a fairly gritty campaign. That's in your hands, really. There are no rules at all for character death (characters merely get KO'd at zero health with any spillover causing aggravated damage), so the lethality of the campaign is entirely up to you.

Oriental feel (Samurai honour, etc)

Same. This a setting detail, not something rules should handle. although the game does rank Honor and Glory as something fighters aspire to gain and Honor affects Willpower and Chi recovery.

Some sort of Rule of Cool stunt system

If you use the Combat Cards system (I didn't), one of the cards was called "Stunt". There's a section in the rules on how to handle them, but basically, yes; do something cool and see if it works. You're not hamstrung with a high difficulty roll if you want to do something out of the ordinary.

Some mysticism or magic accessible to the players

Fireballs, teleporting, ninja magic, elemental powers... the whole Focus-based group of Special Maneuvers falls under this.

The ability to use High-levels of technology

The Players' Guide also contains rules for cyborgs which aren't bad. Otherwise, it's really easy to "hack in" blaster rifles and robots and such; I modeled them after existing weapons and raised the damage slightly, and just treated the robots as NPCs. The average Street Fighter was capable of punching brick anyway, so why not?

Oh, and one of the styles in the Players' Guide is Ninjitsu. So, there you go.

share|improve this answer
I always grit my teeth when I see a new answer on an old system-rec because I assume it'll be some driveby "I LIKE GAME X" but this is the right kind of game-rec answer with personal experience and all - good work! – mxyzplk Apr 17 '15 at 20:25
I'm notorious for not seeing the submit date on questions that pop up in my feed. This is one of those times. – Sandalfoot Apr 17 '15 at 22:18
@Sandalfoot and I'm glad you didn't see the post date...this is a great recommendation question. – Pureferret Apr 18 '15 at 16:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.