View Full Version : DM Help Help! I need an overarching plot for XCrawl!

Surfing HalfOrc
2014-08-24, 08:16 PM
Ok, I'm setting up an XCrawl game. For those that are unfamiliar with XCrawl, it is a Live, Pay-Per-View death sport where teams of professional dungeon crawlers fight their way through a designed and controlled dungeon for cash, prizes, and glory! (Think American Gladiators, but with real weapons and not boffer sticks).

Anyways, the dungeons themselves I have, as well as the various DJs (Dungeon Judges) who run them, and the overall production crew, executives, agents, press flacks, etc.

But what I don't have is a story to hold the whole thing together. What secret plot underlies the games? What mischief should Team Heroes be getting into when not crawling?

The world is 1980s United States, under Emperor Ronald I. The common peasant class works and goes home to watch TV, drink cheap beer, and sleep long enough to start a new day. The Elites party and scheme, and keep the status quo, as it benefits themselves.

The (totally not Drow, due to copyright issues) dark elves haven't attacked recently, but who knows if or when they might? Currently, they seem content selling monsters and excess orcs to the XCrawl organizers for battles in the arenas.

Most people live in the few major cities, as the dragons don't tolerate many folks living in the country. The dragons know the cities need food, and will leave farms and ranches mostly alone, but attempts to build a new city in a dragon's turf results in either a dead dragon, or many dead troops and farmers and other settlers. The Emperor and the Senate discuss and debate long and hard before committing to any new colonies.

So... I'm stuck. I can think of little scenes, such as Mob connected gamblers "encouraging" the players to throw a match, or a "real world" crawl to recover a high level weapon or spell book, but I don't have a real plot. I have a beginning, a lot of stuff for the middle, but no ending. Sure, winning the coveted Emperor's Cup is awesome, but... I feel I am missing something.

Any suggestions?

2014-08-26, 03:58 PM
Producers. Promoters. Agents. Gamblers. People with an interest in how the game goes without being contestants. You already have some of these ideas, but consider rival adventure builders. Rival promoters. Get the party to take sides, and then have interesting things happen.

Surfing HalfOrc
2014-08-27, 11:17 PM
I have all that in mind. All the little bits and pieces to make the story.

I just don't have a Grand Finale'...

Sure, Our Heroes fight and die and entertain the masses. But should the status quo remain? Risking your life for a new microwave while little old ladies win the home version? What's the point in that?

I can just play out the adventure and hope something comes to me, but i feel like I am missing something.

Kid Jake
2014-08-27, 11:36 PM
Sure, Our Heroes fight and die and entertain the masses. But should the status quo remain? Risking your life for a new microwave while little old ladies win the home version? What's the point in that?

Sometimes that IS the point. No matter what you do, no matter what you lose, no matter how hard you strive the only thing you've really accomplished is getting to live long enough to see the status quo go on. The rich get richer and the next poor group of sods get duped into another XCrawl and the PCs are tossed aside for the next flavor of the day.

2014-08-29, 10:44 AM
I do hate this formula cause it is too easy to just say "they are the bad guys since they manipulate people." It is almost inherent to human beings divide the world in controller and controlled.

I like my games as grey as they can get! So plot twist Up to eleven and make they feel in the shoes of the government.
Make them manipulate the people to maintain the comfortable lifestyle they have and who want to ensure to their children. And most importantly to keep distant alternative. Chaos, upheaval and destruction.

As Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw said in the FTL episode of zero punctuation. "It is interesting that the rebels are the bad guys for once, 'cos you know the government might be oppressing our freedoms and Sh**, but They also run sewer systems and post offices and things will not get better just because they've Been overthrown ... Although there might be more poo lying around. "

They can start as pure gladiators but as they raise ranks and get more popular they start to get involved with politics and slowly start to get corrupt. That sounds very interesting and more original than the "Fight the Man and the 1%" kind of thing that is so normal nowadays.

Kol Korran
2014-08-30, 02:32 AM
Hmmmmm... I'm not that familiar with X-crawl, but here are some ideas:
- The sports are used to control and entertain the masses, sort of make them forget abouttheir desolate lives. Think Hunger games like, and you got a plot. Sort of.

- There is some sort of a grand prize for a winner of soem X-crawl league/ grand contest. Maybe earn a title of nobility, lands and such, maybe get a wish granted from the president/ oracle/ the like (This could be a figurative wish, or the spell). the last dungeon is unknown, but it could well be against other teams. You can complicate it if the party gets to know other teams, and care for them, with the fight being to the finish...

- There is some grand spell tied to the games: Whenever a kill is transmitted on the screen, it somehow affects the masses seeing it. Some sort of a build up spell towards some end?

- There is Xcrawl, and there is REAL X-crawl. Some gladiators, usually from successful teams, either disappear, have some real life problems, get arrested and the like, and sort of "go out of the run". As the party get fame, they may learn clues about an underground X- crawl, but it's a rumor, that's all. Until the party start to be targeted for abduction, and attending, against their will, in a far more sadistic, lethal, and perverted X-crawl, for an underground that seeks real extreme sports. The participants may be grafted with some sort of a neural connection, (Magical of a sort) that enables the others to hear their thoughts, emotions, and "feel" like an X-crawler, up to their moments of death, but from the safety of home. They may be able to induce conditions, emotions, sensations, most of them... not pleasant.

Survive the real sport, and get revenge, if you can. :smallamused: