Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Xcrawl: Necromerica

With nothing else to really write about, I've decided to take this review a little more in-depth. I purposely try to avoid making too many direct comments about the games I've been reading, in an effort to ward off any speculation on which games I might nominate. There are simply too few entries at this point to even begin making guesses. If anyone really wants more comprehensive reviews of the games I'm reading, I'll be glad to do them after the nominees are announced.

That said, I will probably pick out the occasional product to give a brief synopsis. There's no rhyme or reason behind the products I pick beyond, "this is the product I just finished reading, and I have nothing else to talk about."

So, Necromerica. Before I get too far I should point out that this is my first real experience with Xcrawl. I've never read the core book, so my suppositions are all based on what I've read in this adventure. If you've ever read the Dreampark game or novels you have probably been inspired to run a 'professional gamers' campaign at some point. Xcrawl takes that idea and runs with it.

Unlike the future that Dreampark presents, Xcrawl takes place on an alternate Earth, where America seems to be controlled by a Romanesque Empire, and the gladiatorial games of choice are custom-created dungeon crawls. The PCs are superstars in a bloody death-sport, sent into dungeons filled with traps and monsters for the chance to win gold and fabulous prizes.

The adventure itself is a fun little romp that showcases the dark humor and moral decay of the world. Sponsors pay the characters 'appearance fees' for collecting patches by completing rooms, and in one case, for catapulting a bound and gagged orc onto a spike covered wall (the orc of course is wearing a tee shirt with a competitor's logo). Prizes include motorcycles, cleaning products, and gift certificates for kitchenwares ("For the serious kitchen wizard!").

All in all it looks to be a lot of fun, and it's the kind of adventure that really makes you want to pick up the core book and a suppliment or two, just to see what they did with the rest of the world.

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