An Interview With The Hellrider. Part 2: The Formation of the Hellriders

“You still here? Wanna hear more? Well why the fuck not? Buy me another drink and I’ll ramble a bit more. So most of us were originally ex-bikers, but a few like me were picked up for useful skills. I could fix bikes pretty well, a hobby I developed to give me a chance to work with my hands, again, due to that crap staring at computers all the damn time job I had. (more…)

An Interview With The Hellrider. Part 1: Demons Ate the Goddamn World.

“Alright, listen up as I don’t wanna have to say this mor’n once. I’m sick of tell’n every yokel and farmer I run across to piss off so I figure I’ll tell you once and be done with it.

My name’s Thor and I founded the Hellriders. Start from the start? What, you mean the very start? Fuck, alright, gimmie a light. (more…)

Sargasso of Dungeons

There is a place in the multiverse that steals bits from other dimensions. A building here, a castle there, a cave system from other there.  These all get mashed together in  lightless universe, and covered with the dirt of a thousand worlds to form a system of underground rooms, buildings and passages. A giant dungeon with no rhyme or reason, populated with the stolen creatures of a thousand worlds. Food is scares, giving rise to new ecological niches as creatures from different worlds learn to devour one another. Fungus flourishes on the  abundant moisture stolen from a thousand seas, and filtered through huge amounts of dirt and rock until it is pure. Some evolve to subsist solely on the radiation that suffuses this realm, possibly the same force that draws parts of other realms to it.

All this combines to make a weird realm, filled with dead ends, nonsense passages, a cacophony of architectural styles and a deadly array of creatures. As one travels from the edges to the centre of this realm things grow more deadly, as only the strongest creatures have survived over the millenia, whereas the outer edges are new arrivals, still adapting to their underground existence.

I got this idea while reading The Dungeon Alphabet, one of my DM’s purchases. It is ok, though not as good as it was made out to be, but I was reading it thinking of how stupid any dungeon made using it would be. There would be no REASON for there to be an alter in the middle of the dungeon, and you could have two totally different architectural styles right next to one another. At the same time I’d like a game where I can make maps galore, use excel to track the value of every item, loot every random mundane item and whatnot. I’m not a big combat person, but I like exploring and discovering and that is an element that is lost in most games today, with battlemaps and detailed plots and time limits on adventures. I think that is part of why I like The Long Stairs, since things found in that setting don’t have to make sense.

In this setting I can use any monster, treasure, anything, just stick them together. On one area you are in an old mouldering tower, the next a natural caver, and the third a Greek temple, and so on. You could have giant areas where entire cultures live, and lost civilizations. If you want to get really wacky the radiation of this realm prevents anything from starving to death, but always leaves you hungry, thus why so many monsters will kill and eat you. I’ve wanted to run a game with all the cool monsters and treasure and whatnot from Dragon magazine and all the D&D books I have, but I never get to as they don’t thematically fit, or they never get to high enough level.
I’m considering picking a game and drawing up a map, going to RPG.net or rpol or such and just starting, any number of players, you don’t have to work with the party and if you die, you die. I’m bad enough at keeping my game going though that I suspect it wouldn’t work. Anyway, what do you think? Too muchkiny? Am I over thinking things?

Oh and I know I said I’d write about the book I read last time, but I didn’t strike while the iron was hot and haven’t been quite as inspired. Soon, soon I say. No one guessed who it was anyway so not many of you can care.

Until next time, Stay Geeky

–Canageek

Edit 1 year later: I was looking up this post as I might run a game of this finally, and noticed I had spelled Sargasso wrong in the title. Opps.

Shattered Future: Part I: The Northern Tribes

There was a time when gods walked the earth. They lived in great temples of glass and metal and ruled over man from on high. All was good, everyone had food and clean water and warm beds. The gods taught us magic, and gave us gifts for we served them and brought food to there great homes. It was a golden time, a time of milk and honey. Then the Gods warred among themselves with terrible weapons of fire. Many men fought alongside them with terrible weapons the gods gave them, weapons then spewed smoke and light. This war broke the world and shattered time, so that a man in one village might live for 5 seasons and walk to the next village and find that 10 seasons had passed.

Most of the Gods of our land and their servants lived to the south, in a warm land filled with food and wealth. However when they warred with the Gods across the sea that land became a blasted wasteland, torn by great fire. Now a great wall of wind separates us from that land, wind the howls so fast that it carries great masses of rock through it, granting only death to those who try to cross it. Rumours exist of tunnels, old even in the time of the Gods that might allow man to cross the great divide. Who knows what treasure lies down in the land of the gods?

We have lived here on the great plains, living with our horses, trading  with the homesteaders and fighting with the raiders and monsters that roam the plains with us.We avoid the homes of the Gods, the great cities of iron and steel for the monsters that now infest them takes the luster off the treasure they are reported to hold.

To the west lie the great mountains and well beyond them the great wrecks left when the sea fell, and finally the great sea itself. To the north lies the great frozen plains, and rumours of a landbridge across the sea there persist. To the east lies the great radioactive wastes, and the toxic seas. Legend has it of another great ocean for to the east beyond that but no one has ever returned from such a journey.

And that my son are our lands. Beware the raiders and city dwellers for both are evil, live close to the land and stay away from the works of the gods and you will live long and have many children.

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.

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

Gygaxian Dungeon Crawling in the Modern Day

I’ve always wanted to run or play in an exploration based game. You know one where the players keep maps on graph paper and the only reason they go into the next room is to see what is there, to kill what is there and take any stuff that is there. Now I suspect I’d get bored with this as I’ve played hack & slash games before & get bored of combat very quickly, but the obsessive part of me likes the idea of keeping really detailed maps & tracking loot and whatnot. This would be the same part of me that made me collect CCG cards just so I could sit around and organize them. (For those that don’t know I have Asperger’s syndrome and I suspect this kind of behaviour is a part of it. I haven’t done anything like this in a long time though, I do kind of miss it).

This recently returned to me while reading ‘Voices from Below and the Long Stairs’ on RPG.net. In it the US opens a big hole into another dimension with a nuke, and the military has been exploring it since the 60s. Now it has evolved into a full setting, some of which I like, other parts I don’t, but really the part that is sticking with me is modern day people going into a D&D dungeon.

So a giant fantasy dungeon, filled with monsters, treasure and deathtraps. I have some ideas on how I will give access to this, but let us think about this for a moment. In The Long Stairs the dungeon moves around to prevent the military from being able to occupy it, or do room to room clearing. Well that goes against the idea of the party mapping out the dungeon, so it goes. I like the old Greyhawk idea of gunpowder not working. It explains why we simply don’t flood the dungeon with soldiers nicely as well.  How many people can you get -subtly- that are trained with archaic weapons?

This allows it to be run with any fantasy RPG straight off. On the other hand the idea of soldiers using a mix of assault weapons and swords would be cool. If you are using a generic of SF system then it is pretty easy. Another idea is that gunpowder works, just not very well: The reduced explosive power of the ammunition means it only works as well as a bow, and you just use bow stats. This would work very well in 4e I think with Rangers and such. It also keeps gun nuts from annoying you with range, stopping power and whatnot.

I very much like the tales of D&D monsters fighting with player characters. I think the descriptions of that, when done true to D&D where quite interesting.

Lets have a look at the type of scene I want: A squad of JTF2 soldiers walking through a large cavern, protecting some nervous looking academics. Suddenly  Xorn rising up from the floor, biting a soldiers leg off at the knee, its arms yanking ammunition belts and other metallic objects off his body. The soldiers spread out opening fire as the scientists fall back. One of the scientists adjusts some equipment and fires a sickly green beam at the creature, causing it to screech in pain. It grabs the fallen mans rifle and sinks underground. The party medic rushes over, and speaks to the fallen man of brotherhood and unity, and slowly the blood stops flowing and his screams subside. The medic helps the man to his foot, and group hobbles back the way they came.

So: What do you think? Would you like to play a game like that? What parts do you like? What parts do you hate? How could I do it better?

I’ve just noticed I post about modern games a lot. Odd considering that right now I’m running a D&D game in my setting, a Call of Cthuhlu game and playing in an online Serenity game. None of which are modern games, though I have considered moving the CoC game to the modern era.

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

Ok, time for the 3rd post in my series of posts where I get The Wyzard to do all the work and just add commentary. This is the start of his final post in the original thread, however due to the length of it with my comments (Over 6 pages) I have split it into several parts. If you think this is too long (or that I should have left it as one post) let me know.

Re: It’s time for the big XCrawl/4E conversion thread

Okay, I’m going to vastly expand on my ideas in the above post, because it doesn’t really seem to follow from anything, and I need to fix that. XCrawl is a funny beast. It’s both a cultural phenomenon and also a massively useful political tool, and also a source of people who are extremely dangerous on a personal level. There are guys in XCrawl who can through personal force of arms take down dozens of normal soldiers. A party of them could spearhead a small military coup.

So, a lot of people are interested in it, and a lot of people want to have influence over it. For that reason, I’m going to go into a typology of the players in the XCrawl world, which hopefully will be inspirational to you.

XCrawl: The Players

1. Adventuring Teams: Also known as parties, or athletes. These are the PCs. Each team has a name, must be registered, may have an agent or a publicist, etc. They may have endorsement deals or sponsors, they may parley their success into non-XCrawl jobs such as shilling cream cheese and canned soup, or more…exciting work. Low-level XCrawlers will probably have to have real jobs, and for them XCrawl is mostly just a ridiculously dangerous hobby. High-level teams May well make enough money from their winnings and endorsements that they can just train or do whatever in the off-season. XCrawl adventuring teams can often end up with personal animosity (rather than merely professional opposition) toward the DJs.

I’d also be interested in seeing adventurers getting involved with politics like Ken Dryden that ran for the liberal party leadership. Xcrawlers are also probably like movie starts are look at all the stuff they get mixed up in. Tom Cruise? Arnold Schwarzenegger aka The Govonator? That NRA guy? Charlton Heston? Chuck Norris using Chuck Norris Facts to help a friend’s political campaign?

2. The DJs: These are the opposite sides of the coin from the Adventurers. To become a DJ requires a lot of things. You have to have both a carefully crafted public persona to display to the fans and media types. You have to be quick-witted and able to improvise on the fly. You have to have an artistic directorial sense, to make sure your crawls are something people want to see. You have to be a broadly capable administrator, able to handle everything from monsters going rogue and eating the audience, to making sure monsters don’t go rogue, to dealing with unions and teamsters and logistics and the financial end of running a crawl.

DJs have to be able to design a satisfyingly watchable and appropriately dangerous dungeon that will pass Referee inspection, get prize support and sponsorships, get a “slot” for it to fit into, cut deals with broadcasters and/or pay-per-view, stock the dungeon with monsters and traps (which is infinitely more complex than it sounds, with ritualists, wranglers, and others required), and…the list just keeps on going. Oh yeah, and you have to build a personal rapport with a fanbase, so that the networks and sponsors consider you to be a draw.

And then the Adventurers come in and wreck your shit, and you have to pay them for the privilege of killing off your expensive monsters and blowing your traps to smithereens (There was a way to disarm that! All they had to do was go up and solve the little puzzle and it would have stopped shooting at them! Now you have to buy another one, and it was expensive!) Fortunately, you are allowed to (try to) kill them. To some extent, it’s even good for your rep.

Man, I would have rather had more pages of stuff like this then all that background on the world before the historical collapse of everything. Again DJs are one of the best ideas in XCrawl and they are rather original and distinctive, so I didn’t feel comfortable stealing them for my setting. Make sure to play these guys up. Each one should have a distinctive style and personality. I don’t mean dramatic themes all undead, all the time for DJ Necropolis (though that is an option) but things like one DJ doing historical themes (The tower of London, The pyramids, the French Resistance during WWII), another likeing placing his crawls on converted ships. You can vary things up stylistically: One DJ might like a crude feel for his crawls, all cinderblock, sheet metal and plywood. Like a paintball arena but more solidly built. Another would make his dungeons with as little modern technology as possible so that it exactly resembles something out of D&D. This is one of the aspects I’d like about XCrawl is you can have each dungeon totally different without any justification needed. No I don’t like that just because I can steal maps & dungeons from lots of different games…though it is an upside. I should write up my Televised Dungeon Crawling setting for SF so I can have space stations, underwater complexes, Warhammer 40K style hulks on which the XCrawlers are dropped on one part and must simply survive and get to the ship waiting to pick them up. The sky is the limit: Push it.

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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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Sorry it took so long to get this up, I was bogged down in exams. The next part shouldn’t take QUITE so long.

Anyway until next time: Stay Geeky!