What's Next For Mutants In The Now?

More animals and futuristic settings for the Mutant Turtles inspired game!

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It’s a good feeling as a game designer to know people enjoy your work. Even more so when they support a Kickstarter for your first expansion. That’s what happened to Mutants In The Now, which cleaned up and updated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles And Other Strangeness to preserve what made that game unique while smoothing over the rough patches of the Palladium system. Mutants In The Next offers more of everything; more animals to turn into, more powers for them to manifest and a chance for Kay and his design team of Ewen Cluney and Crystal Frasier to do a little background and setting work. I recently received my print copy of the book as a Kickstarter supporter. Does the expansion make me glow with joy? Let’s play to find out.

An expansion like this has a few obvious paths to tread. There are more animals to change, more animal abilities, more fighting styles, more weapons and more psychic powers. The book also broadens the types of playable mutants to include characters that were once human who had an unfortunate encounter with some mutagen to age rules which draw a bigger difference between teenage mutants and their wizened old master. The book also includes rules for playing regular humans for those folks who prefer yellow jumpsuits and hockey masks to bo staffs and pizza. It’s nice to see wider options for game like this and feel like I have enough options that I can specifically pick and choose what I would or wouldn’t want in my campaign.

The new mechanical options also expand into background material. There’s some discussion to the origins of the GO-OP that transforms creatures into mutants and options are given for each table to decide for themselves. These options provide a connection to the Astral, a psychic dimension that adds a tinge of fantasy and horror to these otherwise sci-fi settings. For folks who wanted a heavier setting in their game than the implied one based on TMNT in the first book, Mutants In The Next supplies the parts to build one that can run parallel to the official setting or have some unique twists.

For example, the book details elements you might expect in a modern mutant setting. There’s a shady corporation that tries to control the GO-OP and a mystic tradition of ninjas trying to use it to make ultimate assassins. But there’s also the cryogenically preserved brain of an animation legend that’s trying to psychically control mutants from the ruins of his once world-famous theme park.It’s a big swing that connected with me and I can;t wait to see the players reactions when they discover just what is behind the rival team of mutants called the Doom Toons. Very rarely do I come across an antagonist section where I want to use every one in a game. Mutants In The Next nailed this section.

Mutants In The Next also looks to the future of its nascent setting with two possible timelines diverging from Icarus Station, the big money commercial space station project of the evil corporation. In Mutant Earth, Icarus Station falls and causes a massive mutation event giving rise to a post-apocalypse future. Para-Earth details how the station reveals the existence of mutants to the public, shifting into a bit more of a civil rights/X-Men style fable. Both of these paths intrigue me and I hope that if this expansion does well enough, the next expansion will dig into each idea along with rules for some Mad Max style vehicle combat to continue the homage to the original game. Call it Mutants On The Road.

Mutants In The Next provides more of everything fans want from the original game and hints at intriguing directions for future books.
 

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Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland

Von Ether

Legend
I need to check this game out. TMNT and Gamma World were my stepping stones out of B/X and into a wider world of gaming. Gamma World was probably our first "campaign" in that our heroes now had a community and families to fight for.

And after TMNT, all of my players insisted on a parry roll mechanic. :ROFLMAO:
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
View attachment 294840
It’s a good feeling as a game designer to know people enjoy your work. Even more so when they support a Kickstarter for your first expansion. That’s what happened to Mutants In The Now, which cleaned up and updated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles And Other Strangeness to preserve what made that game unique while smoothing over the rough patches of the Palladium system. Mutants In The Next offers more of everything; more animals to turn into, more powers for them to manifest and a chance for Kay and his design team of Ewen Cluney and Crystal Frasier to do a little background and setting work. I recently received my print copy of the book as a Kickstarter supporter. Does the expansion make me glow with joy? Let’s play to find out.

An expansion like this has a few obvious paths to tread. There are more animals to change, more animal abilities, more fighting styles, more weapons and more psychic powers. The book also broadens the types of playable mutants to include characters that were once human who had an unfortunate encounter with some mutagen to age rules which draw a bigger difference between teenage mutants and their wizened old master. The book also includes rules for playing regular humans for those folks who prefer yellow jumpsuits and hockey masks to bo staffs and pizza. It’s nice to see wider options for game like this and feel like I have enough options that I can specifically pick and choose what I would or wouldn’t want in my campaign.

The new mechanical options also expand into background material. There’s some discussion to the origins of the GO-OP that transforms creatures into mutants and options are given for each table to decide for themselves. These options provide a connection to the Astral, a psychic dimension that adds a tinge of fantasy and horror to these otherwise sci-fi settings. For folks who wanted a heavier setting in their game than the implied one based on TMNT in the first book, Mutants In The Next supplies the parts to build one that can run parallel to the official setting or have some unique twists.

For example, the book details elements you might expect in a modern mutant setting. There’s a shady corporation that tries to control the GO-OP and a mystic tradition of ninjas trying to use it to make ultimate assassins. But there’s also the cryogenically preserved brain of an animation legend that’s trying to psychically control mutants from the ruins of his once world-famous theme park.It’s a big swing that connected with me and I can;t wait to see the players reactions when they discover just what is behind the rival team of mutants called the Doom Toons. Very rarely do I come across an antagonist section where I want to use every one in a game. Mutants In The Next nailed this section.

Mutants In The Next also looks to the future of its nascent setting with two possible timelines diverging from Icarus Station, the big money commercial space station project of the evil corporation. In Mutant Earth, Icarus Station falls and causes a massive mutation event giving rise to a post-apocalypse future. Para-Earth details how the station reveals the existence of mutants to the public, shifting into a bit more of a civil rights/X-Men style fable. Both of these paths intrigue me and I hope that if this expansion does well enough, the next expansion will dig into each idea along with rules for some Mad Max style vehicle combat to continue the homage to the original game. Call it Mutants On The Road.

Mutants In The Next provides more of everything fans want from the original game and hints at intriguing directions for future books.
How closely does this hew to the original TMNT and Other Strangeness game? Or if easier to describe, how far does it fork from that original game?
 


Thanks for writing about this. I was interested back in the day in the TMNT RPG, but never got to play it. This looks promising and something I might pick up. Thanks again.
 

I ran a three part adventure (though one part was just the very involved character creation) of the base game earlier this year, and it was a blast. Not sure if it's super balanced (we had one character who managed to get max strength right out of the gate, and they just wrecked everything in combat, but I feel like that was some unusual luck), but I feel like being super balanced isn't really the point. Character creation is fun as its own system, though I wish there were more online tools for that. I play almost exclusively online through vtts, and I was only able to find two half complete fan made google sheets to help with the math, and only one of them seemed to be doing it right. I know roll20 support of some sort was a stretch goal that was hit, and here's hoping that comes online soon. If that's any good, I could see myself getting the expansion and trying to run a longer campaign in the future.
 


Von Ether

Legend
Yeah. And that layout only got worse as the years went by. It was obvious they still trying to reuse the same literal cut and paste boards long after the rest of the industry had gone to desktop publishing.
 

Retreater

Legend
Yeah. And that layout only got worse as the years went by. It was obvious they still trying to reuse the same literal cut and paste boards long after the rest of the industry had gone to desktop publishing.
I think part of the issue is that the Palladium system is so bad that we have found other ways to make TMNT (or Rifts) work that many don't want a retro-clone to copy the layout and gameplay style. Mutant animals in Savage Worlds or Chaosium's Basic RPG might work better.
But don't get me wrong - I did back this Kickstarter, my name listed in the back and everything.
 

I think part of the issue is that the Palladium system is so bad that we have found other ways to make TMNT (or Rifts) work that many don't want a retro-clone to copy the layout and gameplay style. Mutant animals in Savage Worlds or Chaosium's Basic RPG might work better.
But don't get me wrong - I did back this Kickstarter, my name listed in the back and everything.
Savage Worlds ancestry creation system would do mutant animal creation very well. If I were going to design a game like this from scratch that's probably what I would use.

Part of the fun of this retroclone experience is the randomness and playing the gonzo character that the dice give you. "I'm a motorcycle racing hamsterman with luchador training? Okay then."
 

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