Ideas for my online game

As you all probably know, I am planning on running an online game this summer. I am not officially recruiting yet, as I am unsure of my schedule once I start my job, and that seems like an important thing to know. However, I love writing out game ideas, so I thought I would set some down here.

Idea #1: “XSlayers” (Ie Dungeonslayers meets X-Crawl) I’ve blogged about this one a lot before, specifically when I first mentioned my summer game. To recap: The players are sports starts who descend into short, premade dungeons before a live and televised audience. A Master of Ceremonies runs the show,  providing live commentary, flavour and possibly altering the dungeon as the players move through it.

Idea #2: “Megaslayers” This is very similar to idea #1, except that the players move through a large megadungeon. A megadungeon is one of those giant, many levelled complexes with perhaps hundreds of rooms in it, where the players will never truly “clear” it: New monsters will move in, old ones will leave, and monsters may well migrate as the players kill others and create vacuums within the dungeon. This is set in the same world as number 1, but instead of being a short sports event this is a weekly show. Players still are in a modern setting, but instead of being in a small dungeon 1-page dungeon style affair they are in a long megadungeon, and thus can play monsters off against one another, retreat to the surface, will have to rest in the dungeon and conserve resources.

Idea #3: “XSlayers Classic”  This would be like idea #1 except that instead of going through an adaptation of a one-page dungeon or something short that I cook up the part will go through an adaption of a classic adventure. Probably an old TSR adventure, but I can take suggestions provided players promise not to use out of game knowledge to their advantage. This could very well branch into “Megaslayers Classic” if a longer adventure like the Temple of Elemental Evil is chosen to.

Idea #4: Straight up Dungeonslayers: If the modern-reality TV dungeon idea is not popular then I could go with running a traditonal fantasy version of Dungeonslayers.

Idea #5: “Dungeonslayers Classic”: If people like the idea of mixing Dungeonslayers and classic D&D adventures, but do not like the idea of the modern-dungeon crawling then I could do that to.

Idea #6: “Megadungeonslayers” Again, Megadungeon+Dungeonslayers but no modern.

Idea #7: Dimensional Hoppers: Another idea that I have blogged about before, this game would involve the players travelling across dimensions in search of a way home. Each dimension will be part of a slightly different genre and tech level for a highly episodic feel, but with (hopefully) continuing characters. I would be using a variant BRP system.

Idea #8: Dungeonworld/The Sargasso of Dungeons: Really I can’t think of much to add to this, except that I’d probably use Dungeonslayers, or if I can’t get support for that something like Warrior, Rouge & Mage or a retroclone. This one could be modern, fantasy or some combination of the above.

Idea #9: Tangents. I recently found the Tangents book for Alternity and discovered that it has a really cool adventure series in it. I would be willing to run this with the caveat that players either have to make their own characters or use a premade one from the adventure, as I don’t have enough experience to help them with it as I do the other systems.

I think I’m the most interested in running #1,#3 and #7, followed by #4, #5, #8 and #9, but if I get a bunch of enthusiastic players for any of them I think I’d catch the enthusiasm myself pretty quickly. Also it should be noted that while I listed a bunch of megadungeon ideas they all rated pretty low on my list: This is likely because I’ve not run enough dungeons yet to create a good atmosphere in most of them, and have them react organically to events in the dungeon. The Sargasso would be an inherently random place, so I think it might work more easily… That isn’t to say I wouldn’t try, which is why I listed them. Ideas which I really like, but am unsure I could run, like this idea I have for a game set on a Spacehulk/Sargasso of Death setting I haven’t listed, as I am sure I could run it, but can’t think of a system I am comfortable enough with and that has enough creatures for me to stock it with.

So, does anyone have any feedback on these ideas? Would anyone be interested in playing in one of them? Questions on bits of the setting that seem unclear? Just want more details on one or more of them? Please leave a comment!

Until then, or next time, Stay Geeky!

–Canageek

My New Campagin: Modern Dungeon Crawling with Dungeonslayers

I’ve been thinking of running an online game of Dungeonslayers this summer if I can find enough interested players. I’m going to start putting more work into this once I am done exams (end of the week), but am starting to put thought into it during my study breaks.

I’ve been a fan of modern dungeon crawling ideas since I heard about XCrawl, though I was reasonably disappointed in the book and setting when I read them (Great ideas, poor implementation –though latter books improved it a fair bit) and have done some writing on the topic.

I was looking at the dungeons posted and was thinking that it might be fun to mix things up by adding in a modern twist.

I’ve started writing up a bit of background. I’ve used some ideas from X-Crawl, some of my own and random bits from a couple of other places.

Gladiatorial matches have long been a staple of the Empire. For years gladiatorial matches have been popular on television. Recently a small arena owner, bored of traditional events set up an obstacle course filled with lethal traps and several monsters in mini-arenas. The event was huge, and the sport of Dungeonslayers was born. The mazes quickly evolved into full blown dungeons, more monsters were added, each slayer has dozens of statistics tabulated and compiled after each dungeon and managers, bookies and fans pay pour over these numbers. Slayers start in simple dungeons made of plywood, scrap metal and concrete slaying rats and spiders, and if they live eventually face demons and dragons in recreation dungeons in front of live audiences of half a million. Guns are not allowed in the dungeons as it makes it far to hard to have a live audience, but a fair amount of other things are allowed.

Dungeons would be similar to normal, but the traps may use modern mechanisms and there is of course live commentary and occasional anachronisms. Guns are not allowed in dungeons as it makes it too hard to have live audiences. I am also thinking that a a late 80s-early 90s level of technology would work quite well- TV is big, possibly some BBSes, but less gadgets and whatnot for players to want me to rule on, while at the same time being familiar enough to me to be comfortable with it. Magic replaces technology in some instances, however due to black boxing no one really cares about which is which.

Any suggestions on using Dungeonslayers for this? Ideas for me to put in my dungeons? What about converting traditional fantasy dungeons to have a live-sports feel? Heck, would anyone be interested in playing? I’ve not worked out times or medium or whatnot yet, but I can start work on that once I have preliminary expressions of interest.

Well, sorry for the long gap between posts, school distracted me for a while. I’ll try to post more regularly after exams. I’ve got my first ever blog recommendation coming up, which I meant to write up oh, a few months ago and got busy. Anyway, until next time, Stay Geeky.

–Canageek

DJ Elemental

I’ve been thinking of my old modern dungeon crawling idea more, and have thrown together a couple of DJs for an XCrawl like event. I found that the information on the DJs in the xcrawl book was a touch bland, with a couple of very interesting DJs, but most of them rather bland. I find that this is one of the most interesting ideas of XCrawl as the DJ designs the dungeon. I think that every DJ will have some sort of trademarks and themes they like to place in the dungeon, to let the fans watching instantly recognize them. This will also help make each crawl feel a bit different, so that the players don’t encounter dungeon after dungeon of 10×10 rooms.

The first idea I had was DJ Elemental. Elemental themed dungeons are not a new idea, I mean, look at the Temple of Elemental Evil, so it struck me that someone in the dungeon crawling league must enjoy elemental themed dungeons. They would have a very distinctive visual element, allow lots of dramatic special effects, and have a number of very obvious monsters. So without further ado: DJ ELEMENTAL!

(more…)

Just a short post

Sorry for the lack of posts in so long, I’ve been insanely busy with class, working from when I wake up till 2am type of busy. I will hopefully find a little time during my exam break, but really you should be looking for new posts after Christmas.

So a couple of updates:

I’ve talked to my group and they want to stick with BRP/CoC for now, largely due to liking their characters. However, I’m planning a big finally for the campaign, as one of the 2 remaining original players is graduating, and the others has a plan in mind for retiring her character. That means I am on the lookout for non-horror BRP adventures if anyone has any recommendations. Oh and they want more combat, in CoC as well. This should remove many characters very, very quickly.

Secondly…. I’ve started planning my next online game. I might run some maptools, IRC or skype or such over the Christmas break, failing that I’ll set up a play-by-post in April, after the end of 2nd semester.

Anyway the idea is…. a dungeon crawling game loosely based on XCrawl, with bonus experience for narrating your actions like a sports commentator, and a 2nd thread for non-player commentary. Since part of the game would be to please the crowd at the end of every adventure there would be a vote for the best character by the observers, with an XP bonus for amusing the audience.

To make this more silly your game states would be your stats in world, tracked the same way that they do baseball stats. My Dad likes baseball because of all the stats you can track and the weird things that happen (For example there is one play, don’t as me what it is, that has only happened 3 times. 2 of them were on consecutive days, as some player heard about it and thought ‘Shoot, I could do that’ and managed to do it the next day.)
Now instead of batting average you have BAB or THAC0, and so on (I was going to give more examples, but I don’t know baseball stats). Instead of some odd play with passes and runners you have “The last time a Young Adult Red Dragon was felled in 3 rounds by a 5th level party was back in 1996 by the ‘Sharpe Dressed Elves’….”

I’ve talked about this, and written about it so much that I want to give it a try. I’ll have to write an adventure, or at least convert one as I’m not running 3.5 or 4e online, they are both way too slow. I’m thinking of some retroclone or old edition since combat goes faster, possibly with a BRP style d% skills system tacked on (Very light weight: Like a page long in total).

Well, I have to go, until next time, whenever that is, Stay Geeky.

–Canageek

An Interview With The Hellrider: Part 3: What are the Hellriders & the End of the Hellriders.

Sorry for the long delay, I’ve been caught up in real life again: Moving across the province, packing to move again to go back to university and the (fortunately friendly) end of a romantic relationship. Anyway, enough excuses, here is part 3 of An Interview With the Hellrider.


“So, you want to know exactly what the Hellriders are? I’ll put it simply: We are badass motherfuckers that ride around and fill bullies and monsters full of lead. Why? Why not? We live a way better life then we ever did scavenging. How do we do that? Lootin’ and gratitude! So we’ve got this piss-pot dictator who is taking all of hicksvilles food and whatnot. We go and shoot him and his goons a bunch of times. We then take his guns and some of his booze and gas. Then we go tell the town and they throw us a big feast. We eat well, and I mean really well. That night the villagers are really grateful. Then we typically distribute some extra guns around the town and help them work out a defense. Might stay a few days and teach ‘em to fight and whatnot. Then we load up on what supplies they can spare and take off. Since we just removed a leech on them they typically can spare a fair bit.” (more…)

Cleric Down Below: A Guest Post by Coffeelove

Well Coffeelove has dome my work for me again, writing up an example of what he thinks a cleric would look like Down Below. This is based on his post, so head over there and have a look around.

It was a beautiful day. Traffic in and out of the building was normal, with little children begging the soldiers at the front gate for candy and money. They never needed the money that they asked for, but they could con just about anybody out of five bucks if they really wanted to. Around two in the afternoon the children and the visitors left, just like they do everyday for the mid-afternoon meals and naps. Unlike any other day though, they did not return as dusk.

This alone should have warned all of us that something was wrong, since the children normally terrorize the front gate until just before nine at night, which was the curfew we had imposed on the town. Instead of thinking something was wrong though, we were grateful that the children had been kept home. We had lost one guy for the day due to illness, so just after nightfall my shift on the M60 machine-gun nest came up. After a long, uneventful, and much too quiet a shift, my replacement showed up on time. It was nearing midnight and I was tired, so off came my body armor and helmet so that I could lay down and get some sleep on the third floor.

A thunderous crack, a flash of orange and blue light awaken me from too little sleep. The effects of such a concussion so close make everything foggy and incoherent, more so than normal from waking up. Screams, where are those coming from? Two more explosions, one after another bring me to my senses. At once everything snaps into focus, the screams are my fellow soldiers crying out for my help! I roll to the side of the door I was sleeping near to look outwards to see where they are. One of the team leaders has been it with a fragmentation from the second set of blasts. Rushing, I high-crawl to him. He’s been hit in the face with a chunk of concrete, no other wounds. Fighting with him all the way, I drag him to the interior of the third floor and rip open my Aid-Bag. Practically sitting on him with my back to the enemy, I bandage his face with a field dressing. I turn away for a second to grab some tape, and he’s gone back to the rooftop to destroy whoever did this to him.

More screams echo up to me from the lower floors, I can barely hear them over the M60 barking it’s threats of death to whatever is stupid enough to come within range. Moving as swiftly as possible, I put on my armor and take to the stairs with my bag in hand and pistol on my hip. I know that there are forty steps between the third and first floor, but my feet find only two between landings during my decent.

Another team leader, shrapnel wounds peppering his body like a ground chuck steak. Bandages loosely wrapped on the worst ones, scissors become a second set of fingers as I cut these blood-soaked wrappings loose to apply compression dressings. Through the dust clouds from the most recent explosion I see a… female?!? She’s pointing to under the stairs I just flew down, another wounded soldier, small but bloody shrapnel wounds cover his legs. Again, more dressings that need to be replaced, and again more explosions outside the building bring new screams of ‘MEDIC’ to my ears.

As I regroup my equipment for the mad dash outside, I also prepare myself for the worst I could imagine. They don’t teach you how to conjure up bravery in Combat Medic School, but stupidity is something that they harp on to no end throughout the course. My next actions would be considered stupid by most, if not all the instructors I had. But what was I supposed to do?

On the near side of the barriers close the road, there is a soldier on his back on the ground. Continually dodging left and right on my rush to him, I can see that the other soldiers near him have treated his many wounds with  their personal first-aid kits. While arguing with a casualty is the last thing any medic is willing to do, this guy just won’t listen to common sense and let me move him inside the building where it’s safer. I drop a chem-light near enough to him that whenever the evacuation team arrives, they won’t miss him; and hopefully the hail of bullets and RPG’s will keep him from retrieving the chem-light and throwing it somewhere else.

Everything drops to absolute silence. Am I dead? No, the enemy has started to run away; and the evacuation team is en route to our location with plenty of backup to wipe out whatever is left. The joy of seeing our M113 ambulance is uncontrollable. I rush to the third floor to get the first casualty and escort him to the transport. when we return to the first floor, my squad leader has the unharmed soldiers moving the wounded to the vehicle and is giving one of the wounded some morphine. We load up the last of the casualties and my squad leader leaves with them, ensuring they will survive to the Battalion Aid Station.

Those of us that are left, gather together on the first floor to reassure each other through hearty handshakes and boisterous jokes about the enemy we faced together.

Except on those few days when those that were wounded came back to fight along side us, and in a few cases gave their lives for us, we never spoke to each other about that night.

Combat Medics: A guest post by Coffeelove

Well I’ve been talking to Coffelove about combat medics as modern day clerics and he has used his experience as one in the US Military to write me up a full PHB style description of them.

Here you go:

1.1 General Description

As a Combat Medic you are first trained to kill and move just like the Infantry does, but on a slightly lesser scale. Only after you pass those tests, are you allowed to train as a Combat Medic. A good portion of people that start out wanting to be a Combat Medic, really have no idea that they have to learn how to kill before they can learn how to heal. This forces quite a few to quit before they even start.

The CM’s survivability rating as shown by history is nearly 100% during peacetime. Unfortunately, the rating drops horrendously to nearly 50% as soon as a conflict begins. This is due to the fact that, unlike every other military position, the CM must put his life on the line in order to perform his duties. Just to be clear, no other position requires a soldier to run into a firefight let alone pick up, move and/or treat a casualty.

Recent changes in Training Doctrine have moved away from the attitude that the CM must perform like this anymore, and are instead teaching that the CM should wait until the area is secure before attempting to get to the wounded. Quite frankly, if a CM were to try this in an Infantry unit, he would soon become either a casualty himself or find himself transfered to another unit.

1.2 Skills

As a CM, you learn how to perform Triage, Fracture Stabilization, Wound Bandaging, CPR, Fluid Resuscitation, and Advanced Airway Management. The CM learns all this in a 12 week course, where if they fail even 1 test 3 times, they are kicked out of the course and to another job; most likely to Infantry where they will spend another 8 weeks learning how to keep CM’s from being able to do their job.

1.2.1 Triage

This is a large portion of the training and is likely the most important skill. During Triage training, the CM learns how to classify casualties so that they can treat the most critically injured first, and attempt to ignore the dead. Ignoring the dead is a skill learned on the battlefield, and only after the ‘God Complex’ wears off.

1.2.2 Fracture Stabilization

Good to know, but rarely used. Here the CM learns how to properly apply a splint to a broken bone in order to keep it from causing further damage to the casualty.

1.2.3 Wound Bandaging

Definitely a NEED TO KNOW. As often as cuts, gunshot wounds and falls cause damage to your fellows, this skill is the most widely applicable and used of any that the CM will learn. Bandaging covers anything from minor cuts to compound fractures and disembowelment. Reminder: without blood, the casualty will die.

1.2.4 CPR

Great to know, but again, it is a rarely used skill. Here the CM learns how to perform Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. It is the skill set that often causes the ‘God Complex’, and Suicidal Tendencies of most Veteran CM’s. The ‘God Complex’ is often the result of a CM never having a casualty die while they were working on them. And the Suicidal Tendencies come from just the reverse, not being able to save a casualty. Often, just one failure can bring about this mental disorder. The CM may be ‘off his game’ for anywhere from a day to multiple years following the loss of even 1 casualty.

1.2.5 Fluid Resuscitation

A valuable skill, as this allows you to keep your fellows alive longer though possibly unconscious. Here the CM learns how to replace lost body fluid (blood) with either Saline Solution or another viable fluid through the use of intravenous administration (sticking a needle in a vein and then pumping fluid in).

1.2.6 Advanced Airway Management

Another rarely used skill that is vital to the CM’s training regimen. In this section of the course, the CM learns everything from inserting an oral/nasal airway to decompression of a collapsed lung using tools that are available. As with Wound Bandaging, Airway Management is vital to the survival of all casualties. Reminder: without air, the casualty will die.

1.3 Weapons

The CM is proficient with the use of both Pistols and semi-automatic rifles, as these are both taught during the killing portion of their training. The standard issue weapons that a CM may carry, vary depending on the type of organization he is assigned to.

If the CM is with Infantry, he will most likely have either a 9mm pistol or 5.56mm assault rifle. Rarely, a CM with an Infantry unit will have both weapons. If the CM is with any other type of unit, he will more than likely have the assault rifle as primary if not only weapon.

Other weapons that a CM may learn throughout the course of his career include but are not limited to:

• Grenades

• 7.62mm Machine Gun

• .50 caliber rifle

• .50 caliber machine gun

• 40mm Under-barrel Grenade Launcher

• 40mm Mounted Automatic Grenade Launcher

• Shoulder fired anti-tank missile

These weapons are normally learned by all CM’s after being assigned to an Infantry unit, but can be learned at any time throughout his career. Other, more advanced and devastating weapons (such as the Javalin or TOW missiles, or Fighting Vehicles) may be learned as well, but are not easy to master, let alone get into the training classes as a CM.

1.3.0.1 Notes:

Hand-held weapons that a CM may be proficient in, are learned at his own leisure and preference. The CM is rarely expected to be in close quarters hand to hand combat, and as such is only taught the basics of grappling. Therefore, becoming proficient in any weapons that are not standardized may take the CM longer than learning anything else.

1.4 Armor

All CM’s are trained and proficient in the use and operation of standardized body armor that all military professionals wear during combat operations.

1.4.1 Examples

• Tactical Ballistic Helmet

• Tactical Ballistic Vest

• Elbow & Knee Pads

1.4.2 Notes

A Veteran CM will more than likely eschew all joint coverings except for one knee. Reasoning behind this is the elbow pads limit mobility too much and don’t provide enough armor to qualify as needed. While the same goes for the knee pads, one is usually kept on for those times when dropping to one knee is needed in order to perform his duties.

1.5 Belief

A large portion of CM’s have some small bit of belief that there is a ‘Greater Power’ and this belief allows them to go on with life and recover from those ‘bad days’ that could cause Suicidal Tendencies. It also keeps them humble and away from that ‘God Complex’. A smaller portion of CM’s are either stuck in the ‘God Complex’ or Suicidal Tendencies mode, because of not being able to see either their own failures or successes. A much, much smaller portion of CM’s, have a separate form of belief that often is only found in veterans of multiple conflicts, called Absolute Belief.

1.5.1 Absolute Belief

A Veteran CM with Absolute Belief, can at times, appear to have supernatural powers such as:

• seeming to be everywhere at once, treating multiple casualties at the same time

• run through a hell-storm of a firefight and not get hit

• lift/move an obscenely large/heavy object/person with no sign of struggle

• being next to an explosion and not even get dusty, let alone injured

• releasing a cry so terrifying, that the enemy runs away

• causing fellow soldiers in an area to be unaffected by incoming fire

1.5.2 Filling the Roles

In some cases, such as when a fellow soldier dies during a conflict, the CM may be required to fill the role of Chaplain. In these special circumstances, the other soldiers are looking to the CM as their spiritual guide, and he needs to be able to hide his true emotions about the loss in order to create a moment of peace for the recently deceased.

During these events, a CM may also appear to gain supernatural powers:

• Causing a wave of silence to encompass the entire group

• Appearing cleaner than his fellows, even after being through the same conflict

• Causing a brighter/darker area to encompass the groups’ surroundings

In other times, such as when the CM has to put down a soldier from his team for an extended period for recovery. The CM may be required to fill the role that the now disabled soldier filled. As the role that the CM is filling can change on a daily basis, he needs to be able to fully operate and maintain any and all weapons/vehicles that his unit maintains.

1.5.3 Notes:

Without Belief, a CM can not be a fully integral part of any field unit. If the CM is a declared Atheist, most if not all of the soldiers in his assigned unit will more than likely not trust him, even with simple medical tasks. If the CM is an Atheist, but successfully convinces the soldiers that he does have belief in some greater power, the CM may as well have Absolute Belief. The trust and belief in him, from his fellow soldiers, can cause the same effects as described above.

1.6 Vehicles

The CM’s vehicles are rarely consistent from unit to unit, and as such, he needs to be able to identify, operate, maintain, and convert any vehicles assigned to his unit. Below ,in the Standard listing, are the most common vehicles that a CM should be able to function with. The vehicles in other lists are dependent on the type of unit the CM is assigned to, but are not limited to only those listings. For any type of unit, you can safely add the Standard Vehicles listing to that units vehicle roster.

1.6.1 Standard Vehicles

• Ambulance

• HumVee

• 2.5 Ton Cargo Truck

• 5 Ton Cargo Truck

1.6.2 Mechanized Infantry

• Armored Personnel Carrier

• Bradley Fighting Vehicle

1.6.3 Field Artillery

• Tracked Ammunitions Transport

• Tracked Artillery (Paladin)

• Tank (Abrams)

1.6.4 Support Unit (Medical, Police, etc)

• Tracked Ambulance (4/6 Litter Capacity)

• Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier (Stryker)

• Recovery Vehicle (M88)

1.6.5 Notes:

All vehicles that do not have enough room for at least a driver, the CM, and a minimum of 2 casualties, were left off of these lists for their lack of usability by the CM for casualty transport.

Who are you? Part I: Classes Down Below

Continuing on with my Gygaxian Dungeon Crawling setting: Who are you?

I am not quite happy with this post, it feels bland to me, but I have spent so much time fiddling with it I just want it up so I can move on.

The first group of players would all be human obviously, however as the players meet other groups and form alliances new race options would open up. This would be a good way to add material to the campaign without the problem of new races suddenly appearing and everyone pretending they where there all along. Lessons learned from returned scrolls or mentors met could open up new classes or feats.

So how do the different classes fit into this setting?

Barbarians: I can’t see the military using berserkers, however allies made in the dungeons would fit into this very well. So to access the class the players have to ally with a barbarian tribe.

Bard: Again, I can’t see the military sending in these right off, however music has been used to inspire soldiers since the time of the ancient Greeks, so I could see them jumping on this once introduced to it. Again, something that the players will have to ‘unlock’. Now once they are introduced I could see some cool modern takes on them with military pipers and such. Heck, how awesome would it be for a bard to be screaming out AC/DC to inspire the troops?

A  cleric hauling a wounded solider off the battlefield, his reflection  showing wings

I see a cleric

Clerics: While the obvious route would be to make them the military Chaplains that brings real world religion into it,and what to do about different religions, and does a Baptist get different domains then a Catholic, and what about Islam, Judaism and the thousand other religions?
I remembered this poster  that just screams cleric to me. So I talked to a former US military cleric & gamer and he supported the idea  He is giving them the full PHB style write-up so I’m not going into it heavily here.
Essentially when a medic truly believes he or she is doing the right thing they can tape into the odd reality of The Below and gains the powers of the cleric.

Druid: I could see Druids, Bards and Barbarians coming from the same tribe. For the modern take I see hippies or environmentalists along those lines.

Fighter are the easiest. These are soldiers plain and simple. They use weapons to hurt things. If there are guns then they may use them or melee weapons. Which actually makes sense in twisting passages from what I have heard -Especially some of the really tight corridors popular in older dungeons, though probably less so in the wider corridors of 3rd edition and the massive rooms of 4th. Now I’m not a military or gun enthusiast so if someone wants to provide me with some information on this I’d be grateful. I’ve heard from some people that guns are better in pretty much all situations if properly used, citing SWAT as an example, whereas I’ve heard from others the opposite: I think it is a half-decent explanation, especially when you consider that we’ve established that firearms are less powerful Down Below.
Now in 4e fighters have a specific role as melee characters that tie up opponents and protect them from getting to the squishies. This works very well with the idea that the soldiers are guarding scientists.

Monks: I don’t like Monks, and I have no idea why someone would pick martial arts over weapons when fighting a dragon.

Paladin: When a solider truly believes they are doing the right thing to save the world by going Down Below they gain the powers of the Paladin.

Ranger: Doesn’t this just scream Special Forces? I remember reading about those military guys who train to live off the wild, track anything, etc.
In 4e Rangers gain the ability to do ridiculous amounts of damage with a bow. This could be very easily substituted for a firearm since 4e weapons don’t pay attention to realistic amounts of damage anyway.

Rogue: This brings to mind groups like the SAS who focus on stealth and infiltration. Pretty easy to add in.

Sorcerers on the other hand don’t need these items, they just have learned how to reach out and grasp the energies.

Wizards: I see these as scientists who have learned to manipulate the energies of The Below through the use of various instruments and technology. Instead of silly material components they use various machines & instruments.

Warlords: This is your stereotypical warmovie ‘Sarge’ leading the troops by example, inspiring them to greater effort.

Warlocks: Down below is hard to survive, and some are willing to risk there souls to survive it. Sometimes you meet powerful creatures, or find old books, and the temptation of gaining more powerful abilities that will help you and your friends survive can be to great to resist. Once the rituals are learned they are passed from solider to solider. This development greatly worries command however Warlocks are currently considered too useful to lock up.

A History of Below

Alright, I said I had a background for my modern Gygaxian Dungeon Crawling setting. It is roughly based on Voices from Below and The Long Stairs, and is probably compatible with it.

In 1952 the NRX reactor in Chalk River, Ontario melted down. US Navy personal who had been training nearby helped clean up the spill before the radiation could spread and the reactor kept operating until 1992.

Now why would US personal be brought in when CFB Petawawa is just down the road? More interesting is the fact that one of those personal was one Jimmy Carter. Yes, the future US president cleaned up a Canadian nuclear spill. It’s an incident that has stuck in my mind and after seeing the long stairs idea of nuclear incidents opening portals….

When the NRX melted down a portal was opened. It was just a little one however, much to small for someone to pass through. No one really knows how it was created, or what the US Navy had to do with it’s creation but it remained buried inside the reactor until decommissioning was underway following it’s shutdown in 1992. At that time it was discovered that the little portal was no longer so little:  It was then a full meter wide and 2m tall. Decommissioning was stalled while the government decided what to do. All the while scientists studies the portal. Robotic probes where sent through and pulled back ok, but would retrieve no data while inside. Animals pushed through in cages, then pulled out returned unharmed. Finally it was decided to send some human test subject through. There are various official names for it, but most people just call it ‘below’ due to the fact that walking through the portal gives one the feeling they are falling from great hight, and the fact that the portal emerges into what seems to be the first level of a giant complex. The horrified tales they related caused security at the site to be expanded.

Finally they have found people to go down and discover exactly what is going on through this gate. Several scientists to figure out want on earth is going on down below. Soldiers to guard them, medics to patch them up. You are one of those people, sent down Below, to uncover the truth or die trying.

Well? What do you think? Like it? Hate it? Let me know. Please. Comments….leave comments… Anyway, Until next time, Stay Geeky

–Canageek

The Wyzard’s XCrawl posts: The Players [Part B]

I’d like to thank The Wyzard for allowing me to post all of this, its gotten me back into the habit of writing here again. I’ve marked my comments in blue as always. So without further ado, The Wyzard’s posts on XCrawl. Oh and the creator of XCrawl has posted a comment back on the first post in this series if you want to check it out. This is taken from the Wyzard’s RPG.net thread if you’ve just joined us.

3. The Empire: The NAE created XCrawl under a national charter for one purpose: To keep the populace entertained and distracted. It does that very, very well. It has also turned out to have a variety of other economic (and quasi-military) functions, and it has been turned to the end of social control in a number of other arenas. Potential dissidents, both citizens and inhabitants of NAE-controlled areas of the underdark, are channeled into XCrawl. There, they can safely be turned into being more supportive of the establishment by buying into it, or maybe you get lucky and they die. Hey, accidents happen. The official rules of XCrawl are set up by a Senate subcommittee, although the Emperor himself is occasionally involved. His consultations are taken, of course, very seriously. They also take testimony and suggestions from Referees, DJs, and the occasional Adventurer, if it’s deemed appropriate. Or if they just want a chance to invite him to their kid’s birthday party. He *idolizes* them, you see, and it’d mean a lot to the family…

The gist of this is: There are people in the political sphere who want to keep their finger buried deep in the pie. They don’t do this for fun, they do this because they have an agenda. If a politician has expended resources in making a team or a DJ into his highly-placed pawn, you can hurt him by cutting that finger off.

The only problem I see with this is that I’m my experience players that love long dungeon crawls will be bored with Machevialian politics and vis versa. That was one of my big complaints about the xcrawl books actually, too much time on the world not enough on xcrawl itself. I’d be more interested in the local politics of the arena and the bookies and whatnot myself, but could see this working. I do want some non-combat stuff to break up the crawls as I get bored after 40 min or so of combat or a couple hours without roleplay. I want to do some long crawls like XCrawl but am still looking for a way to do so. I will keep your ideas in mind if I ever actually run this.


4. The Refs
: The Refs are, undoubtedly, the cleanest part of the whole XCrawl machine. They must avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. They make sure that the rules are enforced. However, XCrawl being a game of high complexity and constant innovation, they also have many discretionary powers. They make sure that a dungeon and the tactics used in it are “fair,” and appropriate to the level at which the competition is rated for (Sure, “level” as in the 1-30 number the PCs are at isn’t an in-game concept, but there are relative levels of badassery, and we assume that there are people in the game-world whose business it is to judge those and make decisions based on them.) They can declare Adventurers or the DJ to be out of line, they can assess penalties, etc. They are almost always Lawful personalities, and their organization is rigorously self-policing.

However, they are allowed to play favorites, just a little bit. That’s what discretion means, after all. If a monster gets loose and the PCs risk injury or loss of points to save audience members, guess what? Refs remember that. What goes around comes around. Does a DJ pull a fast one and use a last-minute switchup designed to screw the party? Sometimes that’s fair, sometimes it’s bad for the game. The Ref may not do anything about it, but then again maybe they mark it down in the ledger for later. Oh yeah, and the Refs talk to each other. It is possible for an Adventurer, a party, or a DJ to get on the bad side of the Refs as a whole, and then hoo-boy look out. Referees answer to the organization as a whole. And they watch the games. If there is too much blatant favoritism, they’ll teleport a guy out there and jerk the acting referee during a commercial break. It happens every now and again. Or maybe it doesn’t. Your call.

So we are talking Hockey refs here, not football (By which I mean Soccer). That might be an interesting variant where the DJs are not unbiased and the rules are very fast & loose. No, I’m not referencing that Irish/French game at ALLLLL…. (actually I don’t follow soccer but it made the news and came to mind reading this). Carrying on with this idea it would be an interesting change if there were very few rules in XCrawl but a lot of traditions. For example in soccer there is no rule that play stops when someone is injured but it is tradition to kick the ball out of bounds. A player or DJ could get a nasty reputation for breaking these traditions just a little. A rift forms in the fans who love the blood this creates and the traditionalists who long for the old clean days.

5. The Sponsors: XCrawl is money. Big money. The pay-per-view guys make a fortune, the networks make a fortune, the merchandisers make a fortune, the cities that host the crawls make a fortune, the monster-wranglers and summoners and so forth make fortunes, even the guys that design traps and summon the cameras can make tidy sums. The people who are just in it for the money come under the wide umbrella of sponsors. Sure, NBC and Budweiser don’t exactly have the same interests, but they’re in the same bed together enough that I’m going to put them all here. What you need to know is this:

Cities like to have either their own pro team, have arenas that host XCrawl events, or preferably several of the former and at least one of the latter. NYC has an official XCrawl team for each one of the Five Boroughs, and a dozen more that just happen to be from/based in the area. They compete for this, and they can generally provide you with lots of lovely little amenities, like tax breaks and speaking engagements and God knows what. (This umbrella-group can include the Mayor, city councilpeople, aldermen, major organized crime figures, philanthropists, really rich people who just love the city, and any other local figures you can imagine. They can offer some pretty nice inducements.)

I found this one of the least realistic parts of XCrawl: Not enough corporate involvement. Crawls wouldn’t be named after cities anymore then sports arenas are. Look at the names: The Air Canada Center, The Rodgers Center (nee Skydome), I think there is one named after Bell now….

You’d have the Labatte Blue crawl, the Ford crawl, the Air Canada skycrawl (everything takes place on a giant cargo jet), the FedEx Crawl (Revolves around safely moving a package from point A to B…..by 8am the next morning with no damage), and so on.

The Temples like to have their God represented. Maybe prominently. But only by winners. They tend to encourage their young, attractive, martially-inclined clerics to join XCrawl teams and represent. They really like it if they can get XCrawlers to be seen in their temples, wear their holy symbols, and talk to kids about how they must venerate the gods to lead a virtuous life.

Broadcasters, whether major networks or Pay-Per-View, want to have a really badass Crawl, so that lots of people will watch it and they can charge enormous fees from advertisers. There is frequently some consternation on their part when the people who would like to buy advertising time become upset that the teams are sponsored by (and wearing the logos of) their competitors.

Direct Sponsors pay you to drink their sports drink during short rests, or wear their shoes, or put their logo on your armor, or whatever. DJs and Broadcasters consider them a pain in the ass, but haven’t so far been able to do much about it, since they don’t have the right to control the Adventurers that much. They lobby, though.

Yeah, have a look at TV: How much do you think Coke pays American Idol to have the judges drinking coke every episode? I respected Mythbusters for a long time in that they covered the labels on every product they used but even they are now shelling for some car company. Think about the opportunities in XCrawl. All the furniture in the break rooms is from either Ikea or Idomo.
Next Post: Factions!

To date this is the last post he has written which means that I have to start writing my own posts again. I googled around and bumped into this review which is a nice summery of the good bits, however I find it is not critical enough of the poorer bits (The number of pages spent on background to the world & the lack of examples of the crawl).  Oh, I may do a review myself as I saw the total line of XCrawl books on Pazio for huge discounts and bought the whole line. However I will not be getting it till Feb due to having to ship it to a friends due to the fact I’m moving & don’t want it going to the wrong place. Anyway, I’d like to here other peoples opinions & ideas, either here or in the original thread.

His post giving permission:

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The Wyzard's Avatar The Wyzard
Re: Do you mind if I mirror your posts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canageek
I’ve been doing a blog series on televised dungeon crawling: It’s not XCrawl, but its in the same genre. I’m going to link to your posts at http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?p=9795841 but was wondering if I could mirror them? RPG.NET has been known to lose threads from time to time and if I run a game I’d definitely be referencing your posts when explaining the world to people. I’m NOT a high traffic blog, its just a personal indulgence of mine, but I’d be willing to link to any blog or website you have in exchange for the privilege
I’d like credit and a link back to the thread in any post mirroring it, obviously, but as far as I’m concerned you can go to town.
I’d also like a link to your blog, in case there’s any interesting discussion. Get some interest, and I might even go back to working on the idea in-thread.

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