Original SA post
Have a placeholder title image.
Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
brings time travel and dimension hopping into the Palladium books, drawing much of it’s inspiration from the Mirage comics.
You see, time travel crops up in issue #8 of Mirage’s
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #8
in 1986, and introduces a bunch of concepts that are covered in this book- time travel, Time Lords, magic and techno-magical doodads. Dimension hopping pops up in the
single-issue microseries that followed that issue of
, and both concepts are later revisited (featuring some recurring characters) in the
Tales of the Teenage Mutant Number Turtles
This time travel stuff is
canon, is what I’m saying.
Being a Palladium game, it’s compatible with everything else in the line, so good news! Your ghostbusting
Beyond the Supernatural
chumps can go and fight dino-ghosts in the Jurassic. They won't win, of course, they're from
Beyond the Supernatural
The bad news is that you’ll have to wrestle the Palladium system into submission to do it.
is the seventh TMNT sourcebook, following on from
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
After the Bomb
TMNT Guide to the Universe
Mutants Down Under
. It came out in 1989, 4 years after
Back to the Future
and 3 years after Mirage’s
comics introduced time travel, and it was the last sourcebook in Palladium’s
line. It was followed by two books of linked scenarios (
Turtles Go Hollywood
), before production of new
sourcebooks was stopped in 1991, and the license was finally dropped in 2001.
So, what’s in this thing?
In these 112 double-columned pages, we run through-
Creating Time-Traveller Mutant Animals
New Time Travel Skills
An Explanation of Time Travel
NPC Time Lords
Time Lord Magic
Building Time Machines
Black Powder Weapons
Ancient Gun Weapon Proficiencies
Summaries of Time Periods
Cross Dimensional Tables
The central concepts behind time travel in
show up 32 pages into the book- and are heavily referenced in the preceding 27. the 5 pages before
are the title pages, contents and copyright notices. Why lay it out like this? Because all of the other Palladium books use the same layout, front loading the books with the 6 steps of character creation and the associated tables, before going into the actual subject matter. The constant back and forth of looking up weird new terms and slight confusion you’ll experience about very specific dates is just a price you’ll have to pay for consistent (terrible) presentation.
I’m going to start with the time travel part, as it introduces and explains a number of concepts and references the rest of the book depends upon.
After that, we’ll have a quick digression into wizards and magic, before returning to the start and looking at the new character options, before skipping onwards to catch up with ourselves and check out the new gear. With all that out of the way, we’ll check the GM section out, and finish up with the adventures and NPCs.
This is actually the best way to read the goddamn book, by the way.
Casey Jones is gonna fuck this guy up for... rock theft?
Original SA post
Time travel! Everyone’s favourite RPG mechanic, right? Bill & Ted style goofy fun and Feng Shui’s time-twisting reality adjustments are great schticks for an RPG to have, and a comic-based RPG like TMNT should totally have that, right?
Although maybe it shouldn’t have been put into the hands of Erick Wujcik.
Time and Time Again
Time and time travel in
is centered on the concept of
Temporal Energy (T.E.)
. This energy pushes forward through time at 60 seconds per minute, moving time onward through the time stream and creating the entropy that allows change.
Everything contains T.E., but it’s effects are unnoticed- so long as you remain in the ‘right’ place in the time stream.
Your T.E. offsets the forward pressure of the time stream, which means you don’t age and disintegrate under that pressure. If you’re in the ‘wrong’ place in time, seriously bad things can happen to you. We’ll look at those when we get around to building time machines.
The flow of Temporal Energy is weakening as it moves into the future- the speed remains constant at 60 seconds per minute, but the force decreases. This discrepancy between T.E. levels is the cause of the seriously bad things that happen to you mentioned above, as things that exist earlier in the universe have more T.E. than things that exist later. We’re told that a 200lb dinosaur from 100 million years ago has a lot more T.E. than a 200lb mutant animal from the 20th Century, for example.
If you built a device that counteracted this flow of Temporal Energy, pushing you backwards at 60 seconds per minute, it would create a
in it’s area of effect. If you’re not properly protected in this area, the Temporal Energy of the time stream will cause you to wither, age and die. Oops. If you’re protected, as long have enough air, you’ll be able to move around and act normally within the confines of your time field, with time passing normally (for you), while outside the field, time is stopped. This leads us on to...
Time Traveling The Hard Way
The hard way to time travel is to overpower the time stream- either pump enough T.E. into something to push forward at more than 60 seconds per minute, or enough T.E. to make the thing go backwards.
We’re told that it takes about 10,000 watts to add or subtract a second from a minute, and then we’re off to an example from
Beyond the Supernatural
, presumably because it uses a magic spell that doesn’t exist in
(or even in this book, despite having a Time Wizard section).
To be fair, it does a pretty good job of showing the power expenditure- the
spell pushes you 7 seconds into the future- and for the same amount of energy, you can
50lbs of stuff 5 miles, or call down three seriously powerful lightning bolts. That’s some pretty major juice.
Time travelling this way also takes time- you have to wait in your device while you travel.
If you cranked your T.E up to 6,000 seconds per minute, adding 5,940 seconds to each minute for a mere 59,400,000 watts, or 59.4 megawatts, which is, to use a technical term, an absolute shitton of power for a dinky little time machine.
At peak consumption, usually from May to mid-December, CERN uses about 200 megawatts of power, which is about a third of the amount of energy used to feed the nearby city of Geneva in Switzerland.
For all that power, after traveling for 1 day in your time machine, you'll be 100 days forward in time. At that rate, it would take you 2 years to travel 200 years into future.
That’s going the
way, forwards through time, where you don’t have to counteract the flow of Temporal Energy.
Time Traveling The Easy Way
Luckily, there’s an easier option for getting when you want to be.
Timehosepipes and Twists and Cycles
Think of time as a hosepipe. The water flowing through it is the
, carrying everything in the timehosepipe forward,
now and then
into the future.
Now, imagine the timehosepipe is coiled up, and those coils are stacked atop each other.
Each of those coils is a
of time, about 125 years.
If you punch a hole from your Twist into the Twist above or below and go through it, you travel 125 years into the future, or 125 years into the past.
The problem with this is that Twists are kind of small- say you want to travel 125,000 years into the past. You can’t skip over Twists, so you have to go through each in turn. That means you’d have to punch through 100 of those Twists to get when you wanted to be.
Want to see a dinosaur? Enjoy your half-million time jumps.
Let’s go back to our timehosepipe analogy. You see how that stack of Twists forms another timehosepipe? A megapipe, if you will? If you coil that up, too, and stack those coils, you have what are known as Cycles, mega-Twists.
If you punched a hole from your Cycle into the Cycle above or below, it, you travel much, much further into the future or past than you would dicking around with Twists. Once you’re into the right Cycle, you can hop around the Twists to get more or less when you want to be.
Also, for reasons that are never explained, you can jump directly to any Cycle, even though they follow the same structure as Twists.
I spent five minutes in photoshop to make this image-
In doing so, I spent significantly more time illustrating the concept than Palladium did.
Since the force of Temporal Energy is stronger in the past, our timehosepipe doesn’t coil as nicely then. As the force wanes, the timehosepipe coils more neatly. Basically, Cycles and Twists cover longer stretches of time the further back you go.
This structure of Twists and Cycles is used for navigation.
of 1988AD is Twist
Twists forward in time are numbered. 2113AD is Twist
. 2238AD is Twist
. 2963AD is Twist
Twists backward in time are lettered. 1863AD is Twist
. 1738AD is Twist
. 1113AD is Twist
There are no Cycles going forward in time- in fact, there’s an
on June 10th, 2986AD that’s known as the
Third Millennial Barrier
Cycles backward are lettered- Cycle A is 13,262BC, with 126 year Twists. Cycle B is 350,000BC, with 132 year Twists. Cycle G is 265 million years ago, with 867 year Twists.
Finally, everyone travels through time at the usual 60 seconds per minute.
If Jim jumps to Twist 4, Cycle G, and Bob jumps to Twist 4, Cycle Prime, and they both come back after an hour, they’re both an hour older and 1 hour has passed in Twist Null, Cycle Prime.
Basically, if you try to chase someone through time, you won’t arrive at their destination before they do.
Time and Geography
So, time travel punches holes in time to make the desired journeys. The short version of this is-
Time travel doesn’t
you. Start in Chicago, you’ll end up where Chicago will be or will have been.
another time traveller has already punched a time hole
your destination. If they have, you’ll end up in their geographic destination. Start in Chicago, and you’ll end up where Moscow will be or will have been if someone else time traveled to then from Moscow.
When you leave a Twist or arrive in a Twist, you’ll use whatever time hole already exists- so time travelers end up following each other, geographically.
These time holes ‘heal’ in 3d6 months after their last use- if you wait long enough and then time travel, you’ll punch a new time hole at your geographic location.
The important thing to take away from this is that if you have a time traveling boat or plane, you can be a
asshole to other time travelers by punching time holes in the middle of the Pacific.
Out of Time
Since time is measured using Twists and Cycles, there’s a problem. If you end up stuck in 1406AD, between Twists, you are utterly boned.
Twist D is 1486AD.
Twist E is 1361AD.
You are too early for one, too late for the other, out of synch with time, and you are royally fucked.
To time travel, you have to know exactly what your temporal location is, and the temporal location of your destination. This is easy if you’re on the Twists and Cycles, but impossible if you’re not.
If someone manages to fuck up in a truly colossal way and end up out of synch, the time hole they leave can drag other people into the same situation- this was the setup for
, that featured all of these shenanigans.
So time is a coiled hosepipe which is, in turn, coiled into a bigger hosepipe. You can go ‘left’ or ‘right’ between Twists, and ‘up’ or ‘down’ between Cycles. What happens if you go ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the coiled coil of coils? You end up in a
Null Time Zone
, a place between times. They’re usually boring and empty and useless, and can be unstable- if you’re in one and it collapses, you could end up anywhere and anywhen.
The most useful and stable Null Time Zone is the
- it’s a cylinder inside the current Twists of time, with a 125 year cycle, the same as the Twists around it, which keeps it stable, and it has access to all of the Twists of Cycle Prime.
This lets you use the 79th as a shortcut between Twists in Cycle Prime, by hopping into it and then out again.
There’s Always a But
The 79th level of the dimension of Null-Time is inhabited by the
, lead by
. They take a very firm view on who runs
the 79th, what you can and can’t do while time traveling, and as they are
magical fucking time wizards
their view is put forward robustly.
That’s All, Folks!
That’s time travel covered! Done!
No problems there, right?
Well, I have a question. I think it’s a pretty important one.
What happens if time travel and change the past?
This is an important thing to address in your time travel game.
Do you use a
, where your shenanigans in the past are and always have been a part of history, so you’re meant to go and do them? (See:
The Terminator, 12 Monkeys
Do you use a
, where your antics cause paradox ripples to echo forward and change your present? (See:
Back to the Future
Do you use a
, where your actions cause a new timeline to sprout, directed by your actions? (See:
Terminator 2, Star Trek
Do you use an
, where your actions cause only minor changes and the tide of history self-corrects? (See:
These are all valid methods, but it would be nice to know which is ‘meant’ to be used- especially if you’re going to add some kind of, I don’t know, Time
into the mix who have opinions on this stuff.
This isn’t covered in the time travel overview.
It isn’t covered in the mechanics of time machines.
It isn’t covered in the mechanics of temporal energy.
It is covered, however.
second sample adventure
Yes, the thing that’s the crux of a time travel game,
what happens if you time travel
, is only covered in one of the sample adventures. And it’s the
sample adventure, at that.
Let’s skip on another 50 pages, and see what’s up.
Back to the Future
Yeah, it’s the model from the blockbuster movie that came out 4 years before this book. Changing the past causes changes to ripple forward in waves.
- Harmless, no real changes. Can be detected by temporal measuring devices used to steer time machines.
- Minor changes in small things- the text of books might change to reflect a historical change.
- Simple objects that conflict with the new history start vanishing, and are forgotten.
- Actually a series of smaller waves that snuff out every complicated created thing that is at odds with the new history.
- People are changed to reflect the new history.
- The whole world is recreated to reflect the changes.
It’s one of the better methods for an RPG, as you can use it for dramatic purposes and to provide plot hooks and clues, as well as increase the urgency of the situation.
Also, it’s in a
fucking stupid place
A (Time) Wizard Did It
Original SA post
Right, where was I?
we looked at the not-at-all-convoluted time travel mechanics of Transdimensional TMNT. The obvious follow up is...
A (Time) Wizard Did It
They hang out in the 79th level of Null-Time, where they work together to deal with serious threats to the time stream, threats from outside dimensions, or threats to the 79th.
That’s the only information given about Time Lords, which is better than some metaplot related nonsense that your players might stumble into with no idea about backstories or whatever that requires Captain Exposition to show up and drop some knowledge bombs.. They’re the Null-Time-controlling self-appointed guardians of causality, and it’s left up to the GM to determine what, if any, interactions players have with them. Mostly.
Now, some plot hooks or ways to involve the Time Lords in a game would be a useful thing to throw in here, but you can do a lot with the general 'stop screwing with time, jackass' idea.
Three of the Time Lords have stats (Lord Simultaneous, Renet, and Lord Savanti Romero), the ones who appeared in the TMNT comics, and there are brief mentions/summaries of four others.
Between the four of them, they take up less total space than Lord Simultaneous’ wristwatch or his list of Magical Abilities.
The barely-mentioned Time Lords are-
: non-Hellenic Greek from 512BC. Super-old, spends most of his time in stasis.
Lord Marcellus Timagetus
: now retired to his home in Rome, 137BC.
Lord Augusto Cristie
: officially a Time Lord, but ‘too flighty’ for regular missions. Spends time at home in Italy, 1613AD.
Lord Cekini Garvan
: works with one of the statted NPCs, Lord, Simultaneous, as a researcher. Comes from a Post-Holocaust Earth, 2113AD.
So two are out of the picture as past it, one is too much of a flake to do anything more than exposition, and one is a background plot-device guy. Okay, then. At least half of them can give out exposition and suggest missions, I guess?
Also, these guys don’t seem like they'd do a good job with the whole ‘protect the time stream’ business.
So, on to the statted Time Lords-
Renet is Lord Simultaneous’ apprentice, the driving force behind the TMNT time travel shenanigans, and is presented as a level 1 Time Lord. She’s a teenage
mutant ninja turtle
human apprentice Time Lord, spoiled and impulsive, and Lord Simultaneous is watching over her. There's not much to say about Renet- more space is spent on detailing the spells she knows and her skills than is spent setting up plot ideas for her, beyond 'do what happened in the comic', i.e. show up and time travel the not-time-travelling characters off for an adventure.
Lord Savanti Romero is the
Time Lord who wants to take over a variety of worlds after he’s taken over the 79th Level to use as temporal base of operations. After the events of the comics, he's stuck out of synch with the rest of time and has put that plan on a backburner while he tries to a) get back in synch with everyone else and b) get even with Lord Simultaneous. Romero is a level 11 Time Lord, with a bunch of magic spells. We’ll get to those shortly. Also, his occupation is ‘a fugitive in prehistoric time’. At what point is a level 11 Time Lord a suitable enemy for a group of characters? Is he a behind-the-scenes kind of guy? Also, what
he? Your guess is as good as mine, because none of these things are mentioned.
Lord Simultaneous has been on the job as chief Time Lord for 16 years, taking on the role at 41. He’s trained a number of apprentices (who are never mentioned, and presumably do not work with the Time Lords?) before taking on Renet. Simultaneous is a level 14 Time Lord, just under the level cap, who has access to almost all the magic spells in the book. He’s also been watching the development of microchips, and working digital components into magical power items.
His wristwatch (the Cosmic Quartz Digital Watch) can cast more spells per day than Simultaneous himself can, although from a more limited selection, but it provides some constant effects- such as Impervious to Magic/Spell Attacks, Impervious to Psionics, Impervious to Fire, and Breathe Without Air. It also Senses Magic, and identifies time travellers and their period of origin automatically.
He also has the Sacred Sands of Time Sceptre, an Enchanted Object (see
Revised Heroes Unlimited
!). It’s a true Trans-Dimensional Object that retains it’s powers anywhere throughout time and alternate dimensions- wait, do others not do that? Somebody check Heroes Unlimited!
It can be used for time travel and dimension-hopping (as long as you’re a wizard), and you can hit people with it (d6 damage) until it breaks (SDC 105). Also it shoots fireballs (5d6 damage). And it lets you Levitate at will.
So yeah, they’re statted out comic book Mcguffins that stop any uppity players trying anything on Lord Simultaneous, who is himself a statted out McGuffin.
So those are the NPC Time Lords who you might encounter, maybe somehow? Anyway, they can do magic.
This magic isn't Time Lord magic, that's different magic.
I thought I'd drop that sleeper in the way of your train of thought to give the full Palladium derail experience.
We’ve seen caster-tyes before in Palladium games- you pick your powers, spend your
Potential Psychic Energy to power them, then they do the usual wizard stuff.
How about having that
a spells known/casts per day mechanic in the same game? Why settle for
magic system, when you can have
Some characters from past Twists have access to this casts/day kind of magic- they get their own level progression table too, just like the various martial arts styles. As ever with magic, there’s a load of
about how hard it is to do magic. Naturally, this has no effect on how magic works-
who can do magic starts off knowing
, and being able to cast
8 spells per day
2 more casts per day every 3 levels
. You can cast any spell you know- none of this ‘preparing spells’ nonsense. Some spells are harder than others- they’ll have a number in parenthesis after their name, e.g.
Shadow Beast (2)
. That’s how many of your spell-learning slots they use, so Shadow Beast (2) counts as 2 of your 14 picks, but this extra difficulty has no effect on actually casting them.
You’ll notice you don’t gain spells as you level up, only additional castings. This is the downside of being a wizard. If you want to learn a new spell, you need to do one of-
Return to the Master to learn.
Your teacher will usually teach a new spell every once in a while. So, ask your GM. If they say yes, you spend 1 month studying it, and learn it. If you want a (2) spell, it’ll take 1d4 months of study. A (3) spell takes 2d4 months. If your GM decides to not let you have a spell, your teacher will say no. Push it, and he’ll teach you patience by wasting your time for 2d4 months, no adventuring allowed.
Be granted magical knowledge.
A powerful wizard or supernatural being will teach you 1d4 spells. All you have to do is study each spell for 1d4 months, without breaking your studying or else you’ll lose that spell and no more will be taught. This kind of boon is apparently rare and unlikely.
Bootstrap yourself some spells.
Spend 8 months studying old books about a spell you want and interrupt it whenevs, but you can only study one at a time. Once you’ve done your book time, you roll a d100 on this table-
I have no idea what tables you should roll on for 79-88, as they're not in this book. I imagine it's because this is a copy-paste job from Palladium's fantasy RPG.
Also, all wizards should either know mystic portal, or take road trips to try out their new spells.
Anyway, you have a 30% success rate for learning a new spell for 8 months of work.
As a Wizard, you get a couple of other perks you can use whenever.
Good news, you can launch your astral self off to go peeping around and eavesdropping while your body sits around and drools.
Bad news, you only have a 50% chance to successfully get where you want to be.
Good news, if you get there you can’t be seen or detected, but can watch and listen in.
Bad news, you have 60 seconds of travel per level. If you don’t get back to your body in time, you get stuck forever in the astral plane and your body dies in 1-6 days.
Worse news, you have to roll on the following table (up to 3 times per 15 second melee) to find your meaty parts.
1-30 - Hopelessly lost.
31-50 - Uncertain/confused.
51-80 - Fairly certain of location.
81-100 - Definitely certain.
‘Definitely certain’ is the only outcome that lets you find your body again.
As well as the exciting possibility of suicide by astral travel, you learn
and can spot magic items, rituals, spells, other wizards, that kind of thing. You don’t know what it’s for or what it’s doing, only that it’s magic. You get this at 60%, +4% per level. Does your first level count? Truly, a riddle for the ages.
Finally, you learn to
. You can sense the presence of magic within 200’, and you can pinpoint it sometimes- specifically 24% of the time, +4% per level.
As well of this nonsense, there is a Wizard Combat Table that probably maybe somehow mashes together with your normal punch-kick Combat Table to punch/kick/zap people you don't like.
There’s a magic glossary that boils down to the following-
The spell saving throw is 12+
Next time- the spells!