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Tabletop Game / Scum and Villainy

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Scum and Villainy is a fiction-first Tabletop RPG, designed by Stras Acimovic and John LeBoeuf-Little (a.k.a. Off Guard Games) and published by Evil Hat Productions in late 2018. It is the first commercial release under the Forged in the Dark license, meaning that it runs on the Game System of John Harper's Blades in the Dark, but transplants the scoundrel crew from the Gothic steampunk of Duskwall into the Standard Sci Fi Setting of the Procyon Sector, inspired by everything from Firefly and Cowboy Bebop to Guardians of the Galaxy and, of course, Star Wars. You play a Cool Starship crew of smugglers, bounty hunters, and other troublemakers, making ends meet under the thumb of the oppressive Galactic Hegemony and the galaxy-spanning Guilds.

Not to be confused with the eponymous supplements for Star Wars d6, Star Wars d20, or Star Wars Roleplaying Game, which were all named after the same quote from A New Hope.

The game contains examples of following tropes:

  • Background Magic Field: The Way is very similar in concept to the Force from Star Wars, but whether it is also a Sentient Cosmic Force, The Lifestream, etc. is a subject of millenia-old debate among generations of mystics. One notable difference from the Force is that the Way is a lot more pluralistic, allowing a ton of different philosophies, rather than being split between the Light and the Dark Side.
  • Blue Blood: Each sector, including Procyon, is ruled by a scion of one of the Hegemony's ancient noble families.
  • The Empire: The Hegemony is not as evil or brutally efficient as Darth Sidious' Empire but is still as oppressive as it can be.
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  • Laser Blade: The lightblade is listed as the prime example of an artifact of the Way: A short metal tube containing a focusing crystal that projects a four feet-long blade of colored plasma. Yup, it is pretty much a lawyer-friendly lightsaber.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the original Blades, which was extremely bleak, oppressive, and claustrophobic (by design). While the Procyon Sector can be every bit as violent and cynical as Duskwall, there is much more focus on mystery and adventure than on death and on zero-sum power struggles.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The game is titled after the oft-cited quote by Obi'Wan Kenobi from A New Hope, in which he described the Wretched Hive of Mos Eisley.
  • Loan Shark: The crew can only keep up to four CRED on their ship, and if they want more, they have to take a loan — at a 100% interest rate. If they cannot pay on time, the lender will send increasingly dangerous bounty hunters after them.
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  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: The new Gambit mechanic gives the crew a limited communal pool of bonus dice that stack with the regular ones.
  • Mega-Corp: The Hegemonic Guilds are essentially mega-corporations that monopolize entire sectors of economy with the blessing of the Hegemony and are often more powerful than the old aristocracy. Specifically, the Guild of Engineers and the Counters Guild (the central bank of the Hegemony) hold more power in Procyon than the hegemonic counter-intelligence, military, and even House Malklaith that nominally governs the sector.
  • Neglectful Precursors: The Ur are an extinct species whose extremely advanced technologies still puzzle the modern science.
  • The Order: Vigilance is a small band of mystic warriors tracing their tradition to thousands of years before the Hegemony, who travel the Procyon sector enforcing their vision of justice with artifact lightblades. Read: They are what the Jedi Order would have been, had the Light Side been just one of a myriad ways to interpret the Force.
  • Portal Network: The space gates connecting various star systems of the Hegemony bear strong similarities to the Mass Relays from Mass Effect: ancient space stations left behind by the Neglectful Precursors that have to be unlocked by the modern space explorers and offer two-way, faster-than-light access to other star systems.
  • Recycled In Space: The game is basically Blades in the Dark... but IN SPACE!
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Urbots are autonomous drones fitted with an "urbot core" — an artifact of the Ur technology that can integrate itself into any digital system, lending it proper sentience and unique personality. Since these cores cannot be manufactured by the modern tech, each one is worth its weight in gold and then some.
  • Role-Playing Endgame: Unlike Blades (which only had character endgame rules), SaV also has campaign endgame rules, recommending that the GM retires the crew after they reach a +3 status with one of the major factions and do a major, multiple session-spanning, setting-changing score for them.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Referred to as "xenos" in the game. Notably, the main book only mentions a handful of species, encouraging players to come up with their own examples. While most available backgrounds are assumed to be human by default, there is nothing preventing you from playing a xeno yourself (without alteration in case of sufficiently Human Aliens, and simply by replacing the playbook's Starting Ability with a xeno-appropriate one otherwise).
  • Self-Surgery: Anyone can attempt to use the Doctor action on themselves... but doing so automatically costs stress.
  • Space Pirates: There is an entire fleet/community of space raiders hiding from the Hegemony in a gas nebula on the outskirts of the Rin system.
  • Standard Sci Fi Setting: Let's see how many points we get: Casual Interstellar Travel via a Portal Network? Check. Space Is an Ocean? Check. Psychic Powers drawn from the Background Magic Field? Check. Humans as the dominant species? Check. Neglectful Precursors? Check. Rubber-Forehead Aliens and Ridiculously Human Robots? Double check. The Empire fielding a Standard Sci-Fi Army? Check. Space Pirates? In spades. Galaxy-spanning Mega Corps? They call themselves "Guilds", but otherwise, check.
  • Subsystem Damage: Damage to each part of the ship (hull, engine, comms, and weapons) is tracked separately.
  • Theme Song: "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" by Cage the Elephant, according to the authors themselves.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: The COIN and REP from Blades have been rolled into a single resource, CRED.


Example of: