Sometimes, character creation can feel like a chore, a bunch of busy work standing between the player and the game. Sometimes, the best thing to do is leave it all to chance and embrace the hungry mutant punk inside. Rules-light RPG Scratch & Claw provides just such an opportunity with its novel approach to character sheets.
Scratch & Claw is the creation of Adam Vass, known for running tabletop RPG small press World Champ Game Co. It art design and setting drinks deeply from the well of 1990s animated cartoons wherein otherwise popular and cool teens are transformed into a gang of gnarly animal mutants - via slime, sludge, toxic runoff, etc.
“Humans effed it up,” reads the game’s Itch.io page description. “Now, Earth is run by mutant punk animal gangs crawling through radioactive wastes seeking safety, self-realisation and radical snacks.” It’s accompanied by an anthropomorphic eagle in a leather vest hucking a molotov cocktail.
While there’s plenty to appreciate about a world gone to ruin while droves of greased-up, hormonal half-people roam the wreckage, the character sheets seal the deal. Developed like a scratch card bought from a convenience store (that’s scratch-offs for the Americans in the crowd), the pre-randomised sheet reveals all the essential qualities a player needs to embody their own rude customer. Each sheet determines their animal form, three guiding traits, items, goals, and something they must avoid at all cost.
The rules for play are printed on the back, detailing a simple d6 roll system around actions and combat, along with healing, damage and how to pursue your goal. A separate hex-crawl map with random encounters on the reverse side completes the RPG’s source material. It’s short and sweet by design, created for lightning-quick sessions, wild possibilities and a willingness to embrace more than a bit of chaos in their roleplay characters.
Vass and World Champ Game Co. are also responsible for the recent Aether Operations, a psychedelic RPG whose sourcebook doubles as a gradually unfolding piece of art, and the post-death cosmic romp at the center of science fantasy RPG Necronautilus. Vass creates smaller monthly games through their Patreon.
Those interested in playing Scratch & Claw can buy packs of character cards, which include the rules and hex map, from the World Champ Co. website in sets ranging from three to 20. There’s also an option to order five and mail each to separate locations to equip an entire tabletop group with some gonzo fun.