Dark Explorations

Review of Dark Explorations

Incorporation of images

Tad did a nice job drawing inspiration from the images to imagine a post apocalyptic world in which survivors of a great freeze are beginning to explore the ruins locked beneath the ice. Because the draft says little about the process of exploration or what the characters may find, the images take on even greater significance. By the way it was classy to include the full credits for the photos.

Playability

The game system is a modified D20 that is level-less, class-less, and feat-less and merges combat into skill checks. It seems like it would work fine. The draft, however, provides little support for the game’s premise of sub-ice exploration. One of my favorite lines in the text is that “Eventually the characters will come into conflict, be it with wild predators, insane madmen, savage natives, what have you.” But these potential encounters and conflicts are not mentioned again, given statistics, or otherwise reflected in the system. If I were GMing the game (and the premise is indeed interesting) I could make up ways to create NPCs, creatures, and invent frozen civilizations and dangers, but it would be more convenient to play D20 gamma world or some other D20 variant that includes tools and content that would help structure play. I guess that there is a small chance that this game is a Lacuna-style product that intentionally leaves blanks so that each group has to invent their own form of play. If so then my comments are misguided. It seems more likely that this is a first cut at an interesting concept and needs fleshing out of the setting and exploration risks and rewards to fulfill the promise of the images and game premise.

Overall

The draft has a workable, slimmed down D20 variant and an interesting premise of exploration. These two sides never really connect, however. Besides a skill of archeological techniques, the system doesn’t engage with themes of post-apocalyptic societies, frozen wastelands, or buried civilizations. Still, it’s a cool idea that hopefully can be further developed.

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Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 5:15 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for the kind review
    To be frank and honest, I ran out of steam and energy to flesh it out a lot more than where it ended up at.
    It is, now I should say, intended as a much more fleshed out product, and with the encouragement of the kind review it will be so here during the next few months.
    I had, in the back of my mind, the idea that someone like you or myself with knowledge of d20 could import existing elements from other sources and fill in many of the I admit, gaps, in this product.
    Thank you again for the kind review
    TK


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