Remembering the First Xcrawl Game!

A long, long time ago, a young lad named Brendan LaSalle ran a new game for some of his roommates. That turned out to be the start of what we now call Xcrawl. One of Brendan’s old roommates, Jason Jenkins, wrote down these memories of that very first Xcrawl game. We thought you all might enjoy this – we certainly did!

The First Xcrawl

By Jason Jenkins

Back around the turn of the century, I was living in Seattle with Brendan, Pete and Jared. We played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. I remember we had just taught Jared second edition when third edition came out. We read through it and pretty quickly realized how streamlined it was. So we convinced Jared to learn this new edition of the game rather than the one we had just taught him. He was a champ about it.

When the Open License stuff came out, it was mind-blowing. I remember melding together 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons with D20 Star Wars when it came out and my half-dragon Jedi mixing it up with a Wookie Ranger.

We were gaming a LOT and deep in homebrew rules. Brendan rightly refers to it as the golden age of gaming and it was, at least for our little pocket of West Seattle. Most nights it would be one game or another and Brendan ran the majority of them.

Brendan had started hinting that he had a new idea, about the same time we were recalling the old days of our boyhood and Thundarr the Barbarian, talking about how it was a rip-off of Gamma World.

So I recalled another cartoon that came out later. It was similar, Hanna-Barbera, with fantasy, except the hero had two swords that fit together at the pommels. This weapon (minus the detachable nature) existed in 3d edition D&D as a two-bladed sword. So when Brendan said to make up guys or make up toons, as he sometimes calls them, for a new D&D campaign, I thought I would build a fighter like that for his (secretly) Thundarr the Barbarian campaign.

Alas I couldn’t afford a two-bladed sword for a first level character so I just had my fighter, Sellsword, get a two-handed sword, just for starting out. I was going to upgrade first thing, before I even hit second level.

So I with my fighter: Sellsword, and Pete playing a Rogue and Jerad having I think a ranger, we set to roll dice in this new campaign. But instead of a tavern or post-apocalyptic hellscape, Brendan told us we were in the green room. He started describing our equipment, like leather boots as being brand-name modern gear with logos, some prominent. My fighter was wearing modern polycarbonate armor, but using a steel sword. There was a P.A. with a headset ushering our characters to the door. Multiple cameramen were orbiting our characters. Brendan voiced an announcer calling out the first round of Memphis (?) Crawl and our characters were at the door.

Pete had his rogue check for traps. Then we opened the door and entered. Brand name arrows were shot, sponsorship deals were made, monsters were fought, characters posed, a breather was taken in the first dungeon break room. It was a wild experience, combining this new setting to our beloved Dungeons and Dragons.

And that was the first game of Xcrawl!

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