Saturday, February 8, 2020

The true origins of SCRAWL

Hi all! This post concerns SCRAWL. You can get all SCRAWL products for PWYW at DriveThruRPG.

My dear friends,

I have a confession to make.

As you know, I have been releasing products for a solo game system known as SCRAWL over the past few months. I have released the rules and some gamebooks to play with the system. I feel that the time is right to tell you now.

SCRAWL is not of my making. I’m not sure that it is of the making of human hands.

How could I be saying this? I will tell you my story.

My tale of woe begins the same way that many other tales of woe begin – with an attempt to get on the M25. I was returning from a very enjoyable stag-do in Wales in April of 2014, and, as I am wont to do on long car journeys, I popped into a service station to stretch my legs, have a break and indulge in a cheeky Burger King. Little did I know what was about to happen. As I approached the Burger King server (is that what you call them?) and asked for my whopper and chips, he merely stared at me blankly. A member of staff at a burger joint staring blankly might not sound strange in itself – some might say that it is a prerequisite for the job – but his eyes went pure black and he hissed to me ‘Enter the tumbledown house! Enter it!’. His eyes then returned to normal and he got me my order, not mentioning this little episode. 

I was freaked out by this supernatural incident, but forgot about it as soon as I bit into that burger. I then got back in the car and headed home, but when I got into the car, the sat-nav told me that the junction I was planning to take onto the M25 was very congested. I took the alternative route the sat-nav suggested which took me along some narrow country lanes.

Then the car’s systems stopped working and the engine conked out. I slowly ground to a halt. Outside a tumbledown house. The memory of that burger had long since vanished from my mind, if not my bowels, and all I thought about was the message from the Burger King employee. It was hissed at me by a black eyed man who seemed to have been possessed. So it was obviously going to be safe.

I walked up to the house and pushed open the rotten wooden door. Using the torch on my phone, the light revealed a sight that human eyes can’t have seen for at least a decade. There was no furniture in this room. The floor was covered entirely with pieces of paper, on each one was drawn a hexmap with different symbols. In one corner of the room lay some cardboard boxes. And in another, there was a skeleton, clutching at a piece of A4 paper. I looked at it to see that it was a character sheet for some RPG. The pencil markings had been rubbed out so many times, it looked grey rather than white. I then looked through the boxes. There were reams and reams of paper on this RPG – zines, adventures, maps, rulebooks – there was tons of material. Along with the RPG material, there were drawings – drawings of flying saucers, grey aliens and shadows stalking a person. There was also a Ouija board and a glass. 

I called the police who took all of the objects in for evidence, except the RPG material. When they laid eyes on the box, they froze and turned away as if something had ordered them to ignore it. Completely of my own free will, I took the box and put it in the car.

I read the material and sat on it (sometimes literally) until 2019. 

SCRAWL seemed like a great system and a really popular one. Except I had never heard anyone mention it. How could this be? Well it appears that SCRAWL is much more than a game and the story of its followers is a strange and bizarre one. I’ve decided to write out the material I found in the box and reintroduce this lost lore to the world once again. Maybe, over time, others who have also found SCRAWL lore can share theirs too. The zines talk of the unification of humanity and the means to solve the climate crisis, war, poverty and belly button fluff. I will release material when I can, but there is an almost endless amount to go through. I wish you all the best on your SCRAWL journeys and hope you gain the same enlightenment that I did.

Stuart Lloyd, 8th February 2020.

You can see my SCRAWLzine files here.

You can get my SCRAWL stuff for PWYW here.