Summary:Dungeons and Dragons recast as a made-for-TV pay-per-view adventure game and death sport, loaded with pop culture and media jokes.

Way more than a one-off joke, Xcrawl is a modest little product line currently published by Goodman Games. It’d be tough to even summarize it in a single post, so check it out if it seems fun–though it looks like the older D20 product is a bit cleaner and more modern-looking. Out of print, unfortunately.

The game is based on translating the Dungeons and Dragons experience into a Shadowrun-style world with magic and tech, and spinning out the idea as far as it can go.

Teams/Players: A miscellaneous team of seasoned urban adventurers against a Dungeon Judge, or “DJ.” A faux dungeon loaded with monsters who are gonna die.

Uniforms/Equipment: Whatever you can afford. One cute bit here is the location of the best real estate for sponsorship badges: For a wizard, on the hat or back. For a cleric, shield or chest. For the rogue, the back of the gloves, where all the tense close-ups are going to linger.

Rules/Play: Cash prizes awarded for successful dungeon dives, valuable sponsorships, et cetera. Besides that, there’s a few clever mechanics in the world, including copyrighted spells that require specially prepared cash to cast, some strong “mojo” mechanics for winning the crowd over, licensing and endorsements, bunch of other fun stuff.

Use in HSD: It’d be a pretty serious world conversion to use even a portion of the ideas in this series, but as a three-game Pulse arch, it could be fun. The rules for magic might or might not require some rework, depending on how powerful ASR’s technology is in your world (or how safe TTI’s is…)

Honestly, after playing Dungeons and Dragons for some 15 years, Xcrawl makes a lot more sense than the original. At least there’s a reason the dragon was stuffed in that little room. It was on salary.