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:
Re: Do you mind if I mirror your posts?
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.