Remember that pretty, albeit chunky little cutie we discussed last time? Well, maybe you’ve decided not to see her on the regs anymore. That’s ok. But that doesn’t mean you should kick her to the curb entirely. It’s ok to see her every now and then. And maybe when you do, maybe she wears a little something special for you…something new and exciting…shit, I seem to have given myself a boner with this metaphor.
Ok, so the plump lass in question was Pathfinder. Well, the naughty podiatrist (of whatever your occupational kink is) outfit just happens to be a new edition of XCrawl!
XCrawl has been around for a while, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s the long and veiny of it. Imagine a world similar to ours, the catch being that all the crap from your D&D books is real. A world where the phrase “Honey, I stepped in gremlin poop on the way to Taco Bell.” is not unheard of. Ok, so in a world like this, what does one do for fun? Well, they watch televised dungeon crawls, naturally. That’s where the game begins. Your party plays the role of a team of adventurers for sport. You compete in public spectacles for cash and prizes…and groupies.
It was love at first sight for me with XCrawl, that was way back in 2007 or so, and I’ve been hooked from the word go. I got my game group enamored with it too, and we even helped playtest this new edition, landing the Bluegrass Brawlers a mention in the credits page. Since then, I’ve actually gotten to know the game’s creator, Brendan Lasalle, pretty well, and even colloabo’ed on other projects. That being said, I still feel capable of giving an unbiased review. So…here goes nothing…
This thing fucking rules! Ahem, sorry. Seriously though, a lot of work and love went into this book, and it shows. And it should, since it was supposed to be released sometime roughly around the Carter administration. (Take that, Brendan, ha!) It was worth the wait though, as it pretty much fixes every issue I had with the old version. Let’s talk about that.
The previous edition of XCrawl was a fantastic exercise in concept and world building. It went into a great amount of detail about the setting of the game, it’s history and culture, but it was a bit rules-light. Aside from a few feats and spells, the mojo system, and one new class; the Athlete, there was a lot of fluff compared to crunch. This time around, the script is flipped, giving us a lot of new crunchy bits to sink our teeth into. There are six, fully fleshed out classes, including a vastly overhauled and improved version of the Athlete, a more streamlined mojo system, great detail into building a crawl by the numbers, a revised fame system, and much, much more! If you’re looking for a full-fledged rulebook, Maximum XCrawl does not disappoint. That being said, with so much crunch, there’s naturally not as much room left for fluff. There’s still a fair amount of space dedicated to the setting, definitely enough for you to understand and enjoy, but it felt like the old book went into more detail about it. For that reason, I think that there’s still plenty of reason to pick up the old edition, as it’s still mostly relevant information. There’s a lot of subtle depth and commentary that Lasalle put into this setting that many (myself included for a time) overlook due to the in your face action of the games themselves. both editions together make for a perfect set for rules and setting.
All in all, this is a great new edition of an already great game. There aren’t a lot of alternate settings for D20 style games hitting the shelf anymore, and this is the most original one I’ve seen, and a great reason to keep playing Pathfinder.