Unplugged: XCrawl Classics RPG

In the early heydays of role playing games it was all about surviving near impossible odds to acquire loot and fame. Over time, RPGs started getting kinder, more gentle sort of story based game. Enter Dungeon Crawl Classics… around a decade ago Goodman Games put together a mix of rules that greatly streamlined (then current) 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons and mixed it with old school fast and deadly gameplay. One of the lines spawned from that mix became XCrawl, Adventures in the Xtreme Dungeon League – a game based around surviving a lethal maze of monsters and traps in order to cash and fame in the fantasy equivalent of Pay-per-View. Goodman games is in the final Kickstarter hours of a reboot of that classic series, complete with a set of follow-up modules.

As the lead says, this is an old-school (as in fast playing and dangerous – roll up a few characters if you want to plan ahead) role playing game set in a twisted fantasy setting where the world watches “heroes” go up against the best dungeon designers available. A key aspect of the game is the absence of any reasonable sense of reason – anything is fair game. Players might find warhorses with trapped saddles that explode, hang-gliding velociraptors, jello golems, and goblin go-kart races.

As with every rpg of this style, there are ample opportunities to kill and loot for fun and profit, but since this is broadcast world-wide you may also want to pose for the occasional selfie. Plug your sponsors and be sure to stay on camera to keep those endorsement deals coming. All simulated in-game through special rules for Fame, Wealth, and “Mojo”.

Obviously, the game focuses on fun ahead of seriousness. It isn’t suited to a years-long campaign but for a one-and-done or even a short series of sessions its a great way for players to “let loose” their overpowered (and violent?) tendencies in a clear black-and-white moral setting. The concept of a competitive dungeon crawl is a perfect setup for a one-and-done adventure with the possible addition of continuing things with more one-off sessions in the future as players’ characters climb up the ladder of fame and fortune in the games.

I’m bringing the whole thing up today as there’s currently a Kickstarter to reboot the series. Gamers can pick up the revamped core rules, XCrawl Classics which contains rules for combat, spells, monsters, two introductory dungeons, campaign ideas, etc… as well as the option to pick up a slew of 7 adventures, a reference guide, a GM screen, and assorted bits and bobs at higher pledge levels.

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