THe kickstarter banner for Raccoon Sky Pirates. It shows a black and white illustration of a raccoon leaping away from a rock toward a space ship of some kind

When you think about playing tabletop RPGs, the first thought that you have is generally about the epic-scale adventures of heroes: science fiction space pilots, battle-hardened fantasy spellcasters, powered-up superheroes. But of course, tabletop games can take place on a much smaller scale – Mini TTPRGs have been around for a while, but they’ve become increasingly trendy within the gaming community in the last few years. Their rules are few, their stories are small, and they’re just as fun as a full campaign of Dungeons and Dragons or Vampire: the Masquerade.

One recent addition to the mini TTRPG pantheon is Raccoon Sky Pirates, a game created by Chris Sellers.

 

The Story of Raccoon Sky Pirates

An image of the box of Raccoon Space Pirates, which has a black and white illustration of a raccoon being lowered toward the earth from a ship of some kind. The box is set on a table with various food wrappers and junk surrounding it

As a tabletop RPG, Raccoon Sky Pirates doesn’t have a complete story as such. But like most small RPGs, it does have a story premise, not just a setting.

In it, you and your friends play a crew of scavenger animals making your way through the city to raid a suburban home and steal some household items to improve your life in the junkyard. To get there, you’ll need to take your airship (made of an old car, a carnival ride, and something entirely unique to your imagination), navigate the dangers of the human world, and evade the dreaded neighborhood watch, who are on the lookout for just such vagabonds as your crew.  But it’s not over once you get there – or even once you leave. Not only do you need to circumvent housepets, humans, and locked doors, but you’ll then have to make your getaway, loot in tow.

All the while, you have your own personal goals to keep in mind. Following this setup, you and your party write the exact story of the game.

 

RSP’s Gameplay

A photo of a fan of character sheets used for playing Raccoon Sky Pirates

Character Creation

To start playing RSP, you first need to choose your characters, flesh them out, and create your airship with the help of your crew. Different characters are available to choose from – from the adorable raccoon Kit to the inimitable cockroach Rad – each of which has 3 primary character traits. They also have a set of 3 looks, 3 goals, and 3 developmental questions. You choose one look, goal, and question, and turn your animal into something unique to you. Then, you pick something that your character is specifically trying to steal throughout the course of the game.

Once you’ve finished making your character, you make your ship. This process is similar to character creation, in that you choose various characteristics from various lists of options. Each one will give your ship unique abilities that you can use when inventing the story.

Storytelling and Mechanics

A photo of several Complication Cards from Raccoon Sky Pirates

Ship and characters complete, you can begin the actual gameplay of RSP. This takes place in 4 rounds.

  • In round 1, your characters fly your airship through the neighborhood, gathering junk materials and navigating your way to your intended heist destination.
  • In round 2, once you’ve arrived, you need to land your ship and make your way into the house.
  • In round 3, you need to load whatever it is you came to steal, and get it all back onto the ship safely. Watch out for humans!
  • Finally, in round 4, you need to maneuver your ship back to your home base in the junkyard, chased as you go by the neighborhood watch.

In order to do these things, each player takes turns describing one action that they would like to take in their location. When they do, they choose a character trait (one of the 3 on their sheet) to do it with, and roll a d12. If, when they check the table at the bottom of their character sheet, that number corresponds to the trait they chose, they succeed! If it doesn’t, they fail, a notch on the danger tracker is marked off (too much danger, and you ‘lose’ the game), and bad things start to happen. Luckily, you can put the danger off till later by playing complication cards, but those will compound in the face of additional failures, and may come back to bite you!

 

The Atmosphere of RSP

A photo of the die for Racoon Sky Pirates. It is a solid black d12 with white numbers and a racoon face in place of the numeral 12

The point of this game can be entirely summed up in 2 words: “wacky shenanigans”.

Your character goals are going to be silly, the methods by which you complete them are going to be silly, and even the aftermath is going to be, yes, extremely silly. There is no serious immersion here, no epic storytelling, and you certainly can’t powergame at all.

There are no morals on a racoon pirateship, and no time to consider the consequences. It’s all about coming up with something interesting, something funny, something fun. The pace is fast, too, so it’s pretty hard to get bored while playing! All of this combines to create the feeling of a high-speed adventure the likes of which you’d be more likely to find on Tom and Jerry or other classic Saturday morning cartoons.

 

RSP’s History and Availability

Raccoon Space Pirates was first published in 2021, with a second edition released in 2022. You can find both physical and digital copies available for purchase on various sites across the internet, including Hectic Electron, and various independent game sellers. You may also find copies of the game in your local game store!

 

Our Personal Thoughts on Raccoon Space Pirates

A photo of the contents of a physical copy of Racoon Sky Pirates. This includes a rulebook, a die, several cards, and a box to hold them all

I thoroughly enjoyed Raccoon Space Pirates, but do think that you’ll need to have the right sort of group to play it with.

Its real intention, beyond the “collaborative storytelling” line that every indie RPG seems bound to market themselves with today, is the facilitation of humor within a group of friends. The games guides you along a particular plot, but leaves just enough room for you to add in all the hijinks and comedy that you can fit – and the goofier and funnier your group allows themselves to be, the more fun that you’ll have with the game.

The mechanics are simple, the premise if fun and family-friendly, and the possibilities are near-limitless. If you’re already a fan of small RPGs, or are looking for a good one to get started with (particularly with a unique setting and engaging premise) then this is a perfect fit.

 

 

 

Have you ever played Raccoon Sky Pirates? Did you enjoy it? How did your game go? Let us know int he comments below!

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1 comment

Mr Ratman

Mr Ratman

Two words… Utterly hilarious! Your a crew of opossums,raccoons,and possibly an armadillo as well as roaches and pigeons that build air ships to loot human dwellings,what can go wrong??? Just about everything… Totally entertaining and engaging easy to play. If at first you don’t succeed try try again. Build your ship follow your dreams and steal your hearts desire! Just watch out for pets and humans as well as the H.O.A drones and the other crews of thieving scallywags trying to thwart your dreams of glory and shiny treasures!!! Totally recommend it for your next R.P.G session

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