Trashkin RPG

In my Twitter feed a few months ago I picked up on a one-page fantasy RPG called ‘Trashkin’, where you play a vile-looking creature that lurks in the background of the more successful Humanoid heroes, hoping to pick up on the scraps of detritus that are left behind. You’ve been one of those heroes, the paladin with the shiny armour, the wizard with his magical cloak or the wiley thief that steals anything that isn’t bolted down. After that humanoid party has made off with all the gold and loot worth grabbing, the Trashkin are the creatures that see if they can grab a few scraps of rubbish and will stab anyone that tries to take it off them. A sort of animal in humanoid form, the Trashkin are about the same size as a human child. They dress in old chicken skin or bits of rags and usually have flies permanently circling their heads.

Trashkin is written by Grant Howitt (@gshowitt on Twitter) who specialises in one-page RPGs, it is freely available as a PDF to download either in its one page RPG hand-written PDF scan, or if you take a look at this Reddit thread, a couple of people have produced their own typed versions that are a bit clearer to read.

As a break from my usual posts on the blog, I thought I would have a bit of fun and have a go at writing up a character and see what I could do with it.

To roll up a character, you have four stats for which you roll D4+1 for each. You can roll to see what sort of creature you are, or just pick one from the following list:

Racoonkin / Pigeonkin / Ratboy / Foxfolk / Half-possum or Goatgirl

This is the character I rolled up:

Racoonkin – ‘Scruffbag’

Audacious: 5

Big: 3

Cunning: 5

Quick: 4 (5 natural)

Hit points / Copper coins: 13 (10 natural)

Weapons dice D6

Bandit mask +1 Audacious

Big brain +1 Cunning

Thumbs, +2 fine manipulation

Spell: Vorpal tin lid

Armour: Medium +3HP, -1 quick

Melee weapon: Short Sword +3 damage, -2 quick

This would be a golden treasure-chest to a Ratboy. Image: Creative Commons share-alike 2.0.

Combat involves using your Big rating to score on a D10 or less to hit. Trashkin only get to roll against their Quick rating to avoid getting hit, but monsters do not. You do enough damage equal to your weapon dice. You can ‘Bribe the Universe’ to reduce the value of your dice by 1 per copper coin spent, before you roll. Copper coins are a bit like ‘spending points’ in ‘Nights Black Agents’ to help you influence the chances of doing something.

Monsters have two stats, hit points and the damage they inflict. They don’t roll to hit, you just have to roll against your Quick to evade their strike at you.

Example combat between my Trashkin and a rabid dog: HP15 Teeth D6 damage.

Whilst scurrying around the back streets of a rough-looking sea port, Scruffbag turns a corner and comes face-to-face with a mean, snarling dog. The dog surprises Scruffbag so it gets the first attack. I need to roll against my Quick score to evade the attack – I get a 5 so I only just miss making the roll and the dog inflicts a bite for D6 damage = 3 points. My HP are now 10.

I now get to attack and roll against my Big score (3) to hit and get a 6, so I miss. I roll against the dogs attack by rolling on my Quick score (7) so the dog makes the strike and hits me for D6 damage (5) points so my HP are now 5. I roll to hit on a D10 – but first I spend 6 copper coins (out of 13) to try and even up the scores, I roll a 9, so the CP reduce this to 3 and I get a hit. So I roll for my damage D6+3 = 4+3=7 damage on the dog, whose HP is now 8.

The dog makes his strike so I roll to evade – roll against Quick and I get a natural 4, I deftly step out of the way and evade the dogs strike.

I roll again to hit and get a natural 3, roll for damage 4+3=7, the dog now has 1HP. The dog makes a strike so I elect to use 3CP and I roll a 7, so I evade the attack on a 4.

I’ve only got 4 CP left so I expend 3 to try and get that killer blow and roll a 2 anyway. Roll for damage 1+3=4 so the dog expires in a yelp and a splatter of blood.

What have a I learnt about Trashkin combat? It can feel very one-sided and its not on the side of the players. The attribute scores are pretty low, weapon and melee weapon scores can help with damage but typically reduce your quick score due to the penalty of carrying stuff. Considering that your Big score is the main one to hit something, I got an above average score (on a D4) and still struggled to hit anything without expending copper coins to help me land a blow.

If I were to make some changes, I’d either change the attribute creation dice to D6’s, or change the combat D10’s to D8’s, to just try and equal things up a bit. This has been suggested in a post on Reddit, so I think I’ll go with that in the future.

Overall, what is the intention behind Trashkin? It gives players the opportunity to do silly stuff whilst playing quite disgusting looking creatures that can be found rummaging around in bins and piles of rubbish. Gold pieces or a shiny bracelet? Nah, I want that half-drunk bottle of gin or manky tin of corned beef. I do like the ‘rough and ready’ style of the RPG (the scanned version) and its humour with the bizarre-looking creatures such as ‘Racoonkin’ or ‘Goatgirl’ (its your birthday by the way) along with a simple range of weapons, armour and monsters (which are mainly the larger ‘folk’ found in FRPGs. Its pretty self-contained and is definitely worth an evenings play or as a break from a campaign session. I’ve got a couple of ideas for scenarios or even a solo adventure using the Trashkin rules, which I hope to post in the near future. Grant also has a Paetron page and has written a number of other one-page RPGs which are also worth checking out.

Being as its Halloween, however you intend to enjoy your evening (either bothering people for sweets or shouting at people who knock on your door to ‘bugger off’), I hope it is a good one! 🎃🎃🎃

About AlegisDownport

Musings on the Traveller RPG world, technology, astronomy and digital art.
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