Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
|This is a /co/ related article, which we allow because we find it interesting or we can't be bothered to delete it.|
If you need to ask who these guys are, you probably don't remember anything about the 80s... Or you've been living under a rock for a damn long time, since they've never entirely gone away even after their heyday was lost. But hey, we'll be nice and illuminate things.
It all started in 1984, with an indie comic created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for Mirage Comics. A tongue-in-cheek parody of the Iron Age of Comic Books in general and Marvel in particular, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles told the story of two ninja masters of a clan called the Foot. One ninja, Oroko Saki, coveted the wife and prestige of the other, a humbler soul named Hamato Yoshi, and one evening, he slew Yoshi. In the process, he was attacked and scarred by Yoshi's pet rat, which then escaped into the darkness. He thought nothing of it... until it came back to haunt him.
That rat somehow found its way to America, living in the sewers of New York City. One day, an accident involving a truck carrying a load of mysterious radioactive waste resulted in two things; a bowl of four baby pet turtles falling into the sewer near the rat, and all five being drenched in goo. Rather than killing them, it mutated them, transforming them into humanoid creatures. The rat, taking the name Splinter, taught the mutant turtles the art of ninjitsu, which he had mastered by watching Hamato Yoshi from his cage, and named them after Renaissance painters; Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Once they had grown old enough and strong enough, he set them on Oroko Saki, now a crime boss calling himself "The Shredder", a quartet of mutant assassins to avenge Hamato Yoshi.
And, despite its creators intentions, the series was a huge hit. They had never anticipated this, to the point that Shredder was killed off in the first issue (which they expected would be the only issue). But they ran with it. Success really came when they teamed up with Fred Wolf, an animator who created a cartoon series based on the show, keeping the basic idea (ninja turtles living in a sewer and fighting an evil ninja master covered in blades), but tweaking it in various ways (for example, ditching the "avenging pet rat" angle for an arguably less stupid "Yoshi was manipulated into getting expelled from the clan and was mutated into a rat-man by the Shredder as further revenge" angle). It ran for 9 years, from 1987 until 1996, and cemented the group's place in pop culture.
During this time, the goofy one-off parody comic spawned a full-fledged franchise, with several multi-million dollar movies, action figures, video games (including one particularly legendary arcade game), and another four successful TV series beyond the original.
TMNT and /tg/
So, you're probably wondering, what's this got to do with /tg/? Well, Palladium Books, ever eager to absorb another possible angle to promote their screwed up system, officially bought the license to put out the official TMNT roleplaying game. It was called "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness", and is a bit of an obscure game, considering that A: It predates the cartoon, meaning its elements don't mesh well with what most people remember Ninja Turtles being like, B: it ran on Palladium's ruleset (which pretty much nobody wants to actually play), and C: being that it was all about playing mutant animals, it gets a ton of flak for being a "furry rpg", a la Ironclaw. It did have some nice bits, especially in character creation. There were tables which controlled the character's relationship to humanity, and the accident which had made them mutate. The only real reference to TMNT was that if all the players chose to be characters of the same species and background, they got a bonus to their attributes and skill levels.
Eventually, after Robotech and Rifts swelled Kevin Siembieda's already-massive ego to even greater sizes, he foolishly opted not to pay the fee to re-up the license on the cash-cow that largely put him on the map, and the title went out of print in 1999. And things have gone swimmingly for him ever since (See: Divorce, embezzlement by staff, car crash, staff attempting suicide, Robotech RPG Tactics).