Many years back (like, about 15) I was running a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness campaign, I think it was Mutants in Avalon, and I looked at my huge pile of houserules, and the fact that some of my players still didn’t really understand the rules and the fact that I still wasn’t happy with the rules we were using, and I thought, “I am never going to run with the Palladium system again.”
So I started getting rid of my books. I sold off my Rifts books for pennies and was glad to see the back of them. Palladium Fantasy, Robotech? Gone. But it was harder to let go of the TMNT books. It is after all been the second RPG I ever played, and the first I bought for myself. I had every book Palladium had published in the run, including both the original and Revised rulebooks and they were full of awesome artwork featuring nonchalant wasps with uzis and a wombat in a hat, with a shotgun.
Eventually I decided that they would be better bringing joy to a new owner and I gifted the whole set to my friend Dave who loves comics and dumb but fun RPGs.
That was a few years ago, and I didn’t give them another thought, until a couple months ago.
I kind of dived into the OSR scene this year. Running Whitehack, buying bundles and funding kickstarters, Reading all the systems and scenarios I could get my hands on and also writing my own. At some point I asked myself, “Isn’t my old favourite Palladium, totally OSR?”
It’s clearly roughly based on AD&D. Class and Level based characters, D20s to hit, d4-d10 for damage, HP, XP. It’s the only ruleset I can think of other than Basic D&D, Labyrinth Lord and Lamentations, which uses race-as-class. Apart from anything else, the whole Palladium system is such a poorly explained mess that “Rulings, not Rules” is literally your only option should you choose to try and use it.
Suddenly a bit of mid-eighties mutant vigilantism OSR sounded pretty tempting. Throw in a bit of the TMNT Guide to the Universe book and I could basically be running Guardians of the Galaxy.
I gently enquired about the whereabouts of my old stack of books, Dave said that after reading them he had passed them on to a friend who was considering running this historical RPG artifact he had heard so much about. This was fine, I had told Dave I’d rather they were being used than sitting forgotten in a cupboard. I figured that this was a sign that I shouldn’t move backwards, if it was worth revisiting those campaigns I should do it from the ground up and write the Mutant game I really wanted to play.
Of course I didn’t have time for that so I forgot about the whole thing. Until a couple weeks back when Dave said that the books had found their way back to him and do I want them back!
So now I’m trying to figure out what I should do… I could run it raw for shits and giggles. I could dig out my old houserules and run it like I used to. I could rip out the mutant animal parts of character generation and bolt them on to White Lies for some simpler and tidier mutant spy fun.
And then there’s the scenario… Classic New York mutant vigilantes? Secret mutant animal Spec Ops? After The Bomb? Mutants In Orbit?
Too many options, but it looks like I’ll be running something Palladium in 2017!