Adventures in Dystopia: Palladium’s After the Bomb 2E

Following my previous adventure with the original After the Bomb, I decided to check out the second edition of the game. It’s interesting and fun, but probably not something I would play as an extended campaign—though it certainly has that kind of potential.

However, there are so many more wonderful options available in the 2nd edition of Palladium’s After the Bomb that it’s likely to make one forget about the original—although that version of the game holds a special place in this RPG lovers heart.

This edition of the After the Bomb asks readers to forget about those mutated, wise-cracking, pizza-eating martial arts-practicing terrapins. In place of the lapsed TMNT license, Palladium took the After the Bomb setting and storyline in a new and exciting direction. The back story is completely updated (although players can still mix it in with previous TMNT expansion like Road Hogs and any of the outside-the-United States source books).

Some of the rules function similarly to those of TMNT & Other Strangeness. For instance, the section on mutant creation and BIO-E points is adapted directly from that sourcebook. In the 2nd edition of After the Bomb, however, the idea is expanded and re-directed into something more fun and original than TMNT.

Players can create much more varied mutant creatures and even chimeras, which are an interesting concept, to say the least. Take the traits from one animal and genetically splice it into your base animal and next thing you know, you’re a rhino with bat wings. The possibilities are endless and endlessly fascinating. New rules and back story aside, what I like best about the 2nd edition is the wide variety of options available. Just like TMNT & Other Strangeness, we can spend hours simply creating characters and have a blast.

This isn’t to say TMNT isn’t fun—I certainly enjoy playing it on occasion today—but let’s be honest with ourselves here: how many of us played more than a few one-off adventures of the original TMNT game before moving onto something else? Has anyone here run a long-term TMNT campaign (if so, I’d love to hear about it!)?

For my gaming needs, the second edition is worthwhile for the options it provides that will enhance my rare games of TMNT, but for others, it may be a great portal into playing something else from Palladium like RIFTS.

Of course, at the end of the day, one can simply skip this supplement and play RIFTS instead.

This article was contributed by David J. Buck (Nostalgia Ward) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program.We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
David J. Buck


Von Ether

Define long running?

I ran a TMNT campaign during my junior year in high school. The teacher would allow my players and I to start the game as soon as we finished our class assignments. I guess it was his savvy way of keeping us geeky kids quiet while the rest of the class caught up. (We had done Gamma World the year before.)

I guess that meant we ran games at least twice a week for nine months? Definitely longer than a few one-offs, that's for sure.

My players were spoiled on the martial arts rules and insisted we have Parry rules in every game after that.
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In my Sunday group, one of our members ran this game (can't recall which edition). I absolutely hated the math involved, even though it was less intensive than the Champions game he'd run (that was an absolute dumpster fire). This game... I hated the strict rules for awarding xp as well as sympathizing with another player who had a penalty to xp for simply being human (though, really, that was HIS fault for playing a human). Maybe if I'd had the fortune to play with someone else as the GM I'd have enjoyed it. Oh, I should probably mention that I played this game THIS year.


Can anyone run a longterm Palladium game? As in "more than a single session?" haha

I've run RIFTS, Heroes Unlimited, and Nightbane for a "long term" campaign.
The first two were about 2 years each, meeting weekly.

The system needs some minor tweaks, but it's quite playable.
I find it difficult, but not impossible to run a long term Palladium campaign. I will say in my experience, TMNT always works best as either episodic missions or one-off games. It also highly depends on the group.
Back in the day, we started off with a TMNT game. But then the one GM got into a terrible cycle. It would begin with him buying a new Palladium system game; we’d start to play our old characters in the new game, but they’d invariably die due to being outclassed. Then we’d make new ones, only for them to die when he bought the next Palladium game. And so on and so on.

I guess it was a long-term game, of a sort.


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