Scum: Game Fu Ingredients

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The Selected Ingredients[edit]

Rules constraints[edit]

   * Ten statistics. (Skills/Attributes/wounds/whatever.)

I decided to take the "ten statistics" limitation, and break it down into five pairs of two, as detailed in the character generation section.

   * Multiple Characters per Player.

Regarding multiple characters, while Scum isn't designed with the idea you control Multiple Characters at once, it is designed with the idea that over the course of a story you will end up controlling multiple characters in a game session, by virtue of high PC mortality!

   * Must allow for random character creation.

Allow for? Hell, its compulsary.

   * Characters with changing characteristics.

Inspired by this I came up with the idea that the ten traits would all be fluid pools, depleted by use and restored through... well, just read the game rules and see.

Genre Tropes[edit]

   * Pirates

I'm being a bit liberal here with the interpretation, and going for a piratical feel rather than directly lifting window dressing from piratical trappings. My interpretation of the piratical genre is necessarily a bit darker and grittier than the standard Disney Pirates-of-the-Carribean take.

  • "Immoral anti-heroes" - Like pirates, the protagonists don't live within society's codes of conduct, and don't subscribe to conventional morality. They're cruel, they're capricious, they're violent and they're all boozehounds. Nonetheless, they are our protagonists, and we root for them. Just like pirates, they are hounded by civilised authority, yet somehow from the story's point of view we are able to paint civilisation as the hated opposition. This, to me, is the core of what makes Scum a piratical game.
  • "Buried treasure" - The stories will often revolve around hidden stashes of loot, though generally not actually chests of gold.
  • "The Black Spot" - Every scenario has some way of a character being "marked for death", which should give them a real sense of fear and foreboding, just like the Black Spot in treasure island!
  • "Gold over loyalty" - The Scum say they're all watching each others backs, but really they're just looking for a spot to put the knife in, and they'll sell each other out for small amounts of cash.
  • "Mutiny" - There's an Alpha scum, but everyone's always looking to take his place.


These two pictures for me broadly depict the sort of "urban decay" setting which I'm looking to evoke. Its a shame there wasn't a picture of a council estate tower block!

The first picture to me says two things - first of all, its run down, but secondly it looks like a place where people can feel like they belong. It has a sense of home to it. In a way, this reflects the setting of the Council Estate, which is suffering wear and tear, but which the protagonists see as their home.

The barbed wire and the prison camp, however, gave me the idea that the game should be contained within a small space, where the Scum can run rampant, but that they are closed into it, both metaphorically from lack of social mobility, and literally, by the fact that outside of the estate the police will arrest them. Hence the Estate becomes the prison camp, the police the prison guards, and the law is the barbed wire fence. Visually, this picture could easily represent part of the estate as well - its a place where barbed wire atop fences is not out of place.


   * Board game. (I moved this out of rules, because put here it could
be a setting element instead.)

Not using the rules of board games, but rather used them as inspiration points for the various stories. The idea of Cluedo with Chavs was actually my starting point, but I decided to move beyond this into a bigger picture, to make the game less of a scenario and more of a complete setting. I've kept the original Cluedo scenario in there as a sample story, of course.

   * Family.

This is another subtle theme.

On the one hand, we have the real families of the Scum, who represent their link back to normal society.

On the other hand, we have the Scum gang themselves, who are like a family, albeit a massively dysfunctional one.

Hopefully this theme will be obvious from reading the game itself, though possibly in a very heavy handed way!

   * Hope, as a physical element that is as essential for existence as water, oxygen, and fire. 

This is an interesting one.

This plays with the idea that the protagonist's primary motivation is to get out of the estate, and to make it in the world beyond. The main obstacle to this is poverty, and this makes money something that is symbolic in game - something that you acquire in order to reach the dream of leaving the estate.

Money then (at least beyond the pocket change level) isn't something you spend in this game, and has no part in the in-game economy. It just represents the way out - the physical manifestation of hope.

I shied away from making Hope an actual stat in game - it wouldn't really have fit. Sorry!

The Full List[edit]

The following section was cut-and-paste lifted from the TRO thread on

Sorry it's very slightly late.

Wow. I had to cut down some of the lists fairly harshly - but here we go.

Choose at least five ingredients total - at least one from each category. And then build a game with them. You've got until the morning of Monday next (the 16th). (The intention is that you've got that Sunday. I doubt judging will happen quickly, given the number of contestants and we've historically been fairly lax on the deadlines.)

Rules constraints

   * Ten statistics. (Skills/Attributes/wounds/whatever.)
   * Multiple Characters per Player.
   * The game must use colors (as a mechanic).
   * Players create their own playable race.
   * Must allow for random character creation.
   * Characters with changing characteristics.
   * Mechanics use some form of a draft.

Genre Tropes Put the three things given into a different genre. (That is, the listed genre is forbidden.)

   * Sentai team. (Super Mode, Attack of the Fifty Foot Whatever, Conservation of Ninjutsu)
   * British Conspiracy Thriller(omnious form of transport, Conspiracy, Public Security)
   * Pirates (Parrots, Jolly Roger, Safe Port, Swashbuckling)
   * Noir (Murder Mystery, Dame in Red, Object of Desire)
   * Superhero (Secret Identities, Flying, Capes)
   * The Pulp Space Opera set: Cosmic Scale, Individuals Against an Empire, Common Fantastic Technology
   * The Police Procedural set: Murder Is a Puzzle, Rules/Law Over All, Mostly Methodical with a Touch of Luck

Images Use anyhow you like. Directly, as inspiration for rules, as something in the setting, anyhow you like.

((see thread))


   * Board game. (I moved this out of rules, because put here it could be a setting element instead.)
   * Family.
   * Angst.
   * Obscure words. (Sorry, I couldn't stand the huge list of obscure words. But this way you can still use them.)
   * "Nature always takes back what was hers."
   * Family Trees
   * Hope, as a physical element that is as essential for existence as water, oxygen, and fire. (Yup, this was in the last challenge, but no-one used it. It will recur until someone steps up to the challenge )