Roll4 Review: Scrapper (Powered by 5e)
Welcome Scrapper! Are you ready to cruise the ‘Mos (Cosmos) and make a name for yourself? Of course you are! As you know, there are hundreds of thousands of ships that remain from the war that lasted a hundred years. As a scrapper, your job is to uncover rare technology and valuables from these crafts, and recover the vessels. Within a decade, you can make a real name for yourself, and amass a small fortune along the way. But nobody said that cruising the ‘Mos would be safe. From space Tardigrades, old security systems, and pirates, there’s a good 60% chance that you’ll become icy in the void before the big payday.
What is Scrapper
Scrapper is a brand new game powered by Dungeons and Dragons 5e by the creators of Dark Peaks where you play as a scrapper, someone who boards lifeless spacecrafts left over from a war that lasted a hundred years. We’ve talked about Dark Peaks a few times before with their system Dark Peaks: Deep Maw, and loved it! They’ve also written The Whitefaire Adventurer’s Guide, and Brightlance’s Tome of Knighthood for 5e. However, this isn’t purely a reskinning or expansion of D&D 5e, it’s an overhaul, with a different resolution system.
The Scrapper system is split between two books, the Scrapper Handbook for the players, and the Mission Director’s Manual of Operations for GM’s. Both are full-color PDF’s with a polished finish, complete with excellent images and an overall space aesthetic. The Handbook is 128 pages, with the Manual of Operations coming in at 176 pages.
The premise of Scrapper is simple, you go out into the void of space that humanity spread out to in order to recover derelict vessels that remain over from a war between the different worlds that humans inhabited. However, Dark Peaks does an excellent job of expanding the ‘Mos into a setting full of political intrigue, on both the large and small scale. From the Unions, Large corporations to the planets that humanity resides in, there will be no shortage of opportunities for any party.
Honestly, the background is pretty bleak, and the system reflects that. Being a scrapper is hard, and it takes a while to get better equipment, especially with the costs of fuel and repairs. However, the writing style is all done tongue-in-cheek, loaded with references to pop culture in space, and a quick wit that keeps levity despite the subject.
As I mentioned before, Scrapper isn’t your normal 5e game. Out in the void, the most precious resource is Oxygen. In terms of Gameplay, this is referred to as O2, and is a fully defined stat. Each time that you make a skill check, or take an action, you have to expend an O2, so careful planning is of vital importance if you are to survive in the ‘Mos. It’s focus is not on combat, skill challenges instead.
Skill checks also run differently in Scrapper. You’ll roll a d20, and based on your roll, you are credited with a certain amount of successes, but you won’t add any modifiers.. If you’re proficient in a skill, you’ll roll with advantage, and if you’re aided you can roll an additional dice (up to 3). For any action, the Mission Director (DM) will determine the amount of successes required. When applicable, they may also turn it into a skill challenge. Additionally, you can opt to “Take a breath”, an action that guarantees successes, at the cost of O2.
Inevitably, however, some instances will always come down to a fight. In Scrapper, your HP measures not your endurance, but your void suits, and how proficient you are in them. Battle between sentients are almost always short and non-lethal, but when you’re fighting against droids or space creatures that don’t rely on O2, that may not always be the case. Largely Scrapper combat is the same as 5e, with the exception of tracking O2.
While there are numerous other small tweeks to the system, there are two other large changes. The first is the replacement of Charisma, with Tech, then the removal of the Perception skill. All of the Charisma skills are moved to Wisdom, with new skills added to Tech. Perception was removed, likely due to the O2 cost that would have been associated with it, instead using Investigation where needed.
With a new system, there are of course different character options. In Scrapper, character levels only go up to a maximum of 12, but character creation seems largely the same as 5e.
Backgrounds & Cultures include:
- Rural Folx
- Free Port Citizen
- LINESEC Brat (a sort of private military)
- Interplanetary Refugee
- Indigenous Culture
- Child of the ‘Mos
There are six unique classes to the Scrapper setting.
- Strong Arm – for the “I Hit Things” crowd.
- Wiry – Dodgy space engineers.
- Hactec – Imagine Tech Wizards. Hacking ensues. They can use programs with similar mechanics to spells.
- Pilot – Amazing at piloting shuttles and space crafts, but on missions you’ll have drones at your disposal. They will have Maneuvers they can take, with similar mechanics to spells.
- Archeo Tech – A sort of Space Indiana Jones
- Soulsinger – Technical Clerics/Paladins. These are followers of the Cosmic Data Serpent, some sort of entity that feeds on data.
Additionally, you have a variety of customization options for your Void Suit, increasing defense, boosting skills, or providing emergency O2. Overall, there is a good amount of customizability within Scrapper, without getting overloaded.
Where to get it
Scrapper provides an excellent sandbox environment, especially for those experienced in Dungeons and Dragons 5e, without simply being a reskinning of the system. It will provide a familiar feel with new twists that will keep the system interesting while you explore the ‘Mos.
If you’re looking for a system that combines a wide freedom of choice, with limited resources, where your wits are much more valued than your brawn, or you want to mix up the traditional D&D setup, then you should pick up Scrapper today.
The Mission Director’s Manual of Operations, and the Scrapper Handbook are both available from Drive Thru RPG for $15, or the bundle deal is $25.