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Xas Irkalla
 
€10,16
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Xas Irkalla
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by David W J. J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2020 03:34:11

I played it for the first time tonight. This game is amazing. The system is unique and the setting is original. I'm making this my main system I play from now on.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2018 05:57:15

https://www.teilzeithelden.de/2018/08/02/ersteindruck-xas-irkalla-nur-der-tod-ist-real/

Du erwachst verwirrt in einer kargen Ödnis. Erinnerungen an dein altes Leben flackern durch deinen Verstand. Kaum hast du dich orientiert, hetzen dir vier Männer in schwarzen Roben entgegen. Scharfe Klingen schwingend heißen sie dich willkommen in Irkalla – dem Ort ewiger Prüfungen und ewiger Verdammnis.

Xas Irkalla ist ein düsteres Rollenspiel, das den Überlebenskampf in einer gnadenlos feindlichen Umgebung in den Vordergrund rückt. Die Charaktere erwachen nackt und verwirrt inmitten der Spielwelt. Ihnen ist klar, dass sie einst ein anderes Leben führten, aber nun müssen sie in der bizarren Welt von Irkalla überleben.

„Die wichtigsten Inspirationen für diese Spielwelt“, so Designer James Vail, „sind Cormac McCarthys The Road, satanischer Black Metal und das alte Mesopotamien. Dies“, so fährt er fort „ist keine weitere düstere Fantasy, inspiriert durch Tolkien, Lovecraft oder Martin. Dies ist ein Survival-Horror-Rollenspiel in Reinform.“

Die Spielwelt Irkalla ist eine Welt jenseits aller bekannten Welten. Ein lebensfeindlicher Ort, dünn besiedelt und verrottend. Es gibt tödlich kalte Wüsten, karge Wälder, vulkanische Berge und andere unwirtliche Gegenden. Wer in Irkalla landet, ist dazu verdammt, dort zu sterben – und wahrscheinlich wird es kein natürlicher Tod sein.

[spoiler]

Die Spielercharaktere sind Gestrandete in Irkalla. Sie sind die letzten Überlebenden ihrer Heimatwelt, die, so werden sie irgendwann realisieren, nichts als nur der Traum eines schlafenden Psionikers war, der in Irkalla ruhte und dort verstarb. Eine Laune dunkler Götter hat sie überleben lassen und an einen obszönen Ort jenseits aller kosmischen Gesetze gebracht

[/spoiler]

Unvermittelt und ohne zu wissen, wie sie dort gelandet sind, erwachen die Spielercharaktere in Irkalla. Immerhin, sie sind nicht alleine, sondern beginnen ihre Reise gemeinsam. Schnell stellen sie fest, dass ihre Umgebung ihnen feindselig gegenübersteht. Gejagt von erbarmungslosen Bestien oder gefangen in fallengespickten Labyrinthen müssen sie sofort beweisen, dass sie es würdig sind, zu überleben.

Stoßen sie auf andere humanoide Bewohner, werden ihre Schwierigkeiten vermutlich noch größer. Menschenfleisch ist ein begehrtes Nahrungsmittel in Irkalla, in dem so gut wie keine Pflanzen wachsen und Tiere eine gefährliche Beute sind. Vielleicht stoßen sie auch auf Sklavenjäger, die sie in eine der tristen Städte zerren und dort verkaufen oder zum Kampf in die Arena schicken.

Im Schatten enigmatischer und vielgestaltiger Kolosse winden sich wimmernde Massen in den verfallenden Zentren des verfluchten Irkalla. Wer seine Freiheit behaupten möchte, sucht sein Heil in der tödlichen Wildnis, schließt sich vielleicht anderen Überlebenden an. Doch feindliche Stämme ziehen durch die Lande, kämpfen um die wenigen Wasserlöcher oder halbwegs fruchtbare Wiesen. Der Kampf ums Überleben ist endlos.

Ihr merkt es vielleicht schon: Xas Irkalla ist anders als andere Rollenspiele. Mögliche Abenteuer sind hier nicht heroische Questen oder riskante Aufträge, sondern stets der Kampf ums eigene Überleben. Die Spielwelt ist ein Ort, an dem es keinen endgültigen Sieg und kein Happy End geben kann.

Die Beschreibung der spärlichen Zivilisationen ist zudem gespickt mit okkultistischen Begriffen. Die Charaktere, sofern sie denn lange genug überleben, können tief in die Mysterien dieser Welt eintauchen. Sie können Fähigkeiten erwerben, die sie den schlafenden Architekten von Irkalla ähnlich werden lassen. Wer weiß, eines Tages mögen sie vielleicht selbst einmal in ihren Träumen Welten erschaffen oder Irkalla gestalten.

Die Regeln

Xas Irkalla funktioniert nach den Strain-Regeln. Das bedeutet, dass ein narrativ ausgerichtetes und schlankes Regelwerk durch das Spiel führt. Einzige Ausnahme sind die detaillierten und simulativen Kampfregeln, die allerdings auch in diesem Fall nur vier Seiten in Anspruch nehmen.

Eine interessante Ergänzung sind die Regeln zum Aufbau und der Pflege einer Siedlung. Sollten die Charaktere sich tatsächlich einer Gruppe Überlebender in der Wildnis anschließen, können sie anhand der vorhandenen Regeln Einfluss auf die weitere Entwicklung der Siedlung nehmen. Bis ins kleinste Detail gehen die Regeln aber nicht, sondern dienen nur dazu, den Spielern die Möglichkeit zu geben, zumindest ein bisschen das Schicksal ihrer Nichtspieler-Gefährten zu beeinflussen.

Seiner Spielwelt entsprechend sind auch die Regeln für den individuellen Überlebenskampf gut ausgearbeitet. Gute Ausrüstung und magische Artefakte können das Zünglein an der Waage sein, um im ewigen Kampf zu bestehen. Prinzipiell ist Xas Irkalla auch ohne das Strain-Regelbuch spielbar, aber zum besseren Verständnis der Regeln ist es natürlich hilfreich.

[spoiler]

Wie oben angedeutet, können es die Spielercharaktere durch wachsende Erfahrung und die richtigen Artefakte schaffen, überdurchschnittlich mächtig zu werden. Sie werden dann selbst zu einem der ewig schlafenden Architekten und verlassen das normale Spiel damit. Mithilfe ihrer neuen Kräfte, können sie aber Irkalla selbst beeinflussen und eigene Untertanen zu sammeln. Darauf, wie genau das am besten am Spieltisch umzusetzen ist, sollte nur einer der Charaktere diesen Status erlangen und die anderen Gruppenmitglieder nicht, geht das Regelwerk leider nicht ein.

[/spoiler]

Charaktererschaffung Die Charaktererschaffung soll schnell gehen und funktioniert nach dem Zufallsprinzip. Anhand von Tabellen wird bestimmt, welchen Hintergrund die Charaktere haben. Ob sie von einer primitiven Welt auf Steinzeitniveau stammen, oder in einer hoch technologisierten Raumfahrergesellschaft aufgewachsen sind, ob sie in ihrem früheren Leben abgestumpfte Kämpfer oder idealistische Denker waren.

Dadurch ergeben sich natürlich schnell interessante Konstellationen in der Gruppe, die sich anfangs ja erst einmal zurechtfinden muss. Für Rollenspielneulinge kann das natürlich schnell überfordern wirken, denn irgendwie müssen sie die zufällig zusammengesetzten Begriffe irgendwie mit Leben füllen. Alternativ kann man sich natürlich auch selber anhand der Tabelle einen eigenen Hintergrund basteln.

Ansonsten ist die Charaktererschaffung unkompliziert und kommt mit wenigen Werten aus. Das Vermitteln der Spielwelt steht im Vordergrund, die Regeln und – passend zum gnadenlosen Irkalla – auch die einzelne Spielfigur nehmen angesichts der beschriebenen Hoffnungslosigkeit nur eine geringe Rolle ein, weswegen diese Gewichtung nur konsequent ist.

Erscheinungsbild Das Artwork ist im schlichten Schwarz-Weiß gehalten, was die triste Stimmung der Spielwelt gut transportiert. Auch die dargestellten Motive geben bereits beim Durchblättern einen guten Eindruck davon, was den Spieler erwartet. Wesen aus düstersten Alträumen schreiten durch öde Landschaften und wandeln im Schatten monumentaler Bauten, untote Magier vollziehen antikosmische Riten in finsteren Grüften.

Nicht jedes Bild glänzt durch Qualität, aber insgesamt wird Irkalla anschaulich dargestellt. Trotz aller Gewalt in der Spielwelt gibt es keine explizite Darstellung von Splatter- oder Gore-Szenen, dafür eher verstörende Illustrationen, die ihren Schrecken aus der Fremdartigkeit ihrer Motive ziehen.

Fazit Xas Irkalla ist ein Rollenspiel für eine ganz bestimmte Zielgruppe. Der düstere Hintergrund und die Gewissheit, trotz eines erfolgreichen Abenteuers eigentlich keinen echten Sieg errungen zu haben, sind sicher nicht jedermanns Sache. Wer aber Spaß an beinharter Survival-Action und verstörenden Horror-Elementen hat, wird hier vollauf bedient.

Diese Andersartigkeit bietet Wiedererkennungswert, macht den Einstieg aber ein bisschen sperriger, als bei anderen Rollenspielen. Zumindest der Spielleiter muss sich intensiv mit der Welt beschäftigen und eine gewisse Menge an okkultistischen Fachbegriffen wälzen, um sie ganz zu erschließen. Eine kompaktere Übersicht über die Spielwelt Irkalla wäre da sinnvoll gewesen, das Buch geht aber meistens direkt ins Detail.

Ob langfristige Kampagnen mit Xas Irkalla umsetzbar sind, ist nach dem ersten Eindruck schwer einzuschätzen. Wer aber gerne einmal mit seiner Gruppe eine düstere Alternative testen möchte, bekommt direkt zwei stimmungsvolle Abenteuer im Grundregelwerk serviert, die einen guten Überblick darüber geben, was die Spieler erwartet.

Da die digitale Version auch für schmale Geldbeutel erschwinglich ist, kann man eigentlich ohne Bedenken zugreifen – zumindest dann, wenn einen die Beschreibung nicht abschreckt. Wer am Setting gefallen findet, mit Strain vertraut ist und ähnlich getaktete Mitspieler hat, wird mit Xas Irkalla einige spannende Spielstunden erleben.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by John B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/23/2018 15:50:58

ABANDON HOPE, ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE.

Welcome to Xas Irkalla. You will die here. You will die here painfully. Brutally. Without hope. Without love. Without anyone caring. You will die here, lost in the warped realities of dreaming psychotic telepaths. Lost in the chaos that is where dreams and nightmares touch reality. You will die here, in the dark, alone, in a personal hell made all too customized for your own fears, demons, and failures.

Some of you, the smart ones, will fall early, resigned to the fact that your demise is inevitable and more desirable than the torture that is living in this forsaken world. A few of you, the stupid, stuborn ones, will try hard, will survive, for a while, will be brutalized, tortured, maimed, ruined, and finally destroyed. Perhaps before your inevitable demise, you will have some small impact on the everchanging landscapes of Xas Irkalla. Perhaps it will even matter for a year, a few years at best, and then as the sands of time march along, and the shifting reality of this world ebs and flows again, nothing will remain of your deeds, of your life. Nothing, you are nothing, and nothing is all you will ever be.

To describe Xas Irkallas as unforgiving would be a gross, laughable understatement. Millions suffer constantly in the harsh and painful conditions that the terrible gods of this place have allowed to exist. To live is to suffer. Daily, thousands upon thousands of tortured souls gladly welcome death as respite from this blighted world. Thousands more persevere on, surviving, but never thriving, at least not for very long. Souls turn to darkness just to survive here, climbing on the broken backs and shoulders of the less fit, becoming the abuser to avoid the abuse. Will you give up your soul for another day in hell?

ART: 10/10 The artwork evokes a haunting, terrible place reminescent of HR Giger or Keith Thomson. If you like dark, horror-inducing art, you should get this soley based on the artwork alone.

RULES: 8/10 The rules are similar to PbtA except it uses a 1d10 + Modifier (based on skill or attribute) vs target number, 7-9 for "success with complication", or 10+ for "success". Players can chose to use up to 3 dice per roll and take the best roll, however, rolling a 1 causes "stress" which causes your character to slowly go insane and also spawn "demons" from the mind into the reality of Xas Irkalla.

SETTING: 10/10 Most players are not going to probably appeal to this type of setting. This is a setting for masochistic players that want an extreme challenge in a brutal, completely unforgiving place. This is the kind of setting that your players will have to give up idealism and morality just to survive. Sadistic GM's will love this setting. This setting might be fun for a lot of gamers in short spurts, like as a halloween special.

FLAVOR: 10/10 I've read a lot of twisted RPG books. Kult. In Nomine. Demon: The Fallen. The Book of Vile Darkness. Those ain't got NOTHING on Xas Irkalla. This is without a doubt the DARKEST fantasy role playing game I've ever read the rules for. If dark and despairing is what you want in a game, you can't really get better mood and flavor than Xas Irkalla delivers, in spades. If not, well, you probably already stopped reading above when I told you to abandon hope.

STORY: 10/10 There's a lot of history and cool characters, locations, dark gods, and two mini-adventures written here. The vast majority of this book is not game mechanics, it's describing the brutal alien landscape that is Xas Irkalla. Very well written. The starting short story does a great job of setting up the mood right from the beginning, and later chapers that go into details about specific NPCs and places really bring the world to life.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION If you are looking for care bears and little ponies full of loving friendship, this isn't the place. If you're looking for a dark, brooding, and seriously F'd up horror fantasy role playing game, good luck finding anything similar, or anything nearly as horrifying. Highly recommended for the admittedly small audience of gamers that are looking for "blacker than black" dark fantasy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by Ty A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2018 18:49:56

Did you see this book's cover and think it was a logo for a black metal band? Yup, me too, and I think that's exactly what what the designers were going for with this ultra bleak (and ultra awesome) new tabletop game.

In a nutshell, Xas Irkallla is the RPG equivalent of the terrifying esoteric oddity of a Deathspell Omega album colliding with the blackened violence of any given USBM band. Its dark and grim and mind bending and unpleasant, like being trapped in a Gustave Doré painting.

Rather than your typical d20 open game license entry, Xas Irkalla features a unique ruleset, and it is woven very well into the fabric of the game. The rules are simplified and fairly easy, but show off the theme quite well. While a good deal different than players may be used to if they stick to Pathfinder or a system like Modiphius' 2d20 rules, the mechanics here are easy to pick up and flow well.

Loads of character advancement options are available that reflect the dark insanity of the setting, but don't get too attached, because characters are going to die frequently and messily. You are squishy like a Call Of Cthulhu character, and in a universe that's more actively deadly, like an even more horror-focused Warhammer.

While there are a couple of minor nit picks in the layout and formatting where you can tell this is more of an indie affair, overall I'm pretty impressed with the quality of everything on display, from the art to the design concepts.

Xas Irkalla is an incredibly disturbing version of roleplaying, and that can't be said enough. As a vast intersection of wildly different worlds and realities pulled together by the dreams of dead psychics, things get deliciously weird.

You might have a qliphotic, tentacled sorcerer in a wheelchair next to a spear-wielding gladiatorial slave next to a soldier from an ultra-advanced space-faring society next to a mischievous trickster god in the party.

The setting is just relentlessly grim. As someone who writes apocalyptically bleak grimdark fantasy novels, I'm down with that, but obviously a group who wants to play the heroic paladins saving the peasants from evil will not be on board with this setting.

What you get here is a radically different experience than the typical RPG. Xas Irkalla ends up somewhere at the cross section of survival horror, esoteric U.S. black metal, the Cthulhu mythos, a nightmare wrapped in an acid trip wrapped in a sweat lodge hallucination, and even darker, more dreadful things.

After a successful crowd funding campaign, Xas Irkalla is now available digitally, but this is the sort of game you want to hold in your hands, and I'm eagerly looking forward to a physical edition landing soon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by William Q. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/03/2018 23:36:47

I wrote a review of this game after excitedly reading through it. That review is included below.

I happened upon Xas Irkalla by a happy accident.

I was cruising around Blogger and found mention of a KickStarter campaign that looked interesting. So I went to take a look

I was impressed by what I saw and what I read, so I wrote a blog entry of my own to encourage people to check out the genius that is James Vail. When I first wrote that blog I had not had any contact with James. You can see that entry (edited: that entry is on my blog but I'm not advertising here so I've removed that bit).

Now I've had the opportunity to read Xas Irkalla and below I'm going to give it my review as a book and as a game. But before I do, a bit of disclosure:

1) I have since had the opportunity to communicate with James Vail on a number of occasions. I find him to be an intelligent and likable fellow. Having said that, I've made every effort to disassociate the work from the man to bring an honest review.

2) I'm a fan of horror in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker. We can discuss the virtues and failings of both somewhere else. I bring this up because my taste in horror may be different than yours.

3) I'm a novice game designer. There is a certain amount of observational bias involved in any assessment of a game system as I look at system design and playability. Again, I'm working to be as objective as possible, but in the interest of honesty (and scientific accuracy) I acknowledge that I have a particular vantage point from which to view the design.

Enough with the disclosure, lets talk about the book and the game!

Art:

The art within Xas Irkalla is a black and white treat to your darker fantasies and a reminder of nightmares that plague your subconscious. I found art that evoked the dread of ancient horrors, and images which fell outside my comfort zone. When you're talking about horror, these are exactly the traits you want. If this book contained an image with a resemblance of our own normalcy, then it would only have served to further enhance the the alien aspects of the dark vistas within.

If you are a fan of supernatural horror, the art within this book alone makes it worth picking up.

Game Mechanics:

Character creation is remarkable for its simplicity and consistency within the setting. Coupled with the death mechanic during play, I see no reason why someone couldn't be playing a new character within ten minutes of a character death.

I was particularly impressed by the character advancement mechanics. Your characters have a wide array of options to pursue in their advancement, and are ultimately limited (in part) by a cap of ten ascendancies.

The dice rolling mechanic is interesting in its simplicity but adds a new dimension of long term strategy to your efforts. Will you risk added stress to roll more dice in your efforts? Will you brave a higher doom score and thus bring yourself closer to death? I'm looking forward to running this game for my friends, in part to see what strategy they will employ for their dice applications.

Enemy creation is simple, and doesn't require much work for the game master to create usable opponents. If you want to play and haven't had much time to prep, I think this is one facet of the game design that will be very popular with game masters.

You can pick up this game and start playing in ten minutes time. Have your game master read through the book a couple of hours ahead of time and you'll be ready for a fantastic time.

Horror theme/setting:

A pleasant surprise was that the majority of page space in the book is dedicated to setting information and other game master data.

The civilizations noted carry a form of logical consistency that provide a setting backdrop for the moments of terror to play out upon. Adventure seeds provided are relevant and intriguing. My one critique here is that I would have liked just a little more page space devoted to each civilization. Maybe someone can convince James Vail to create a series of supplement books, perhaps just short splat books, providing additional material for each civilization. (He hasn't expressed any such interest to me, so this is just an idea. If you think its a good idea, comment below and hopefully he will see it.)

The psychosis mechanic is every bit as much a setting aspect as it is a game mechanic. The psychosis mechanic allows for horrific encounter generation facilitated by your players. Honestly, I think its genius. In many ways it echoes a principle of horror few seem to comprehend, that the darkest horrors come from within.

Writing/production:

Page border art, and art integration is nicely done.

Flavor text is thoughtfully integrated and enhances the overall setting experience. You can easily derive inspiration from the inset text to give birth to frightful tales for your players to confront.

I did not proofread the book for typographical or grammatical errors. To be perfectly honest, I became immersed in Xas Irkalla and if there were any such errors I didn't notice them. The book was well written, easy to read, and intriguing.

At 161 pages Xas Irkalla packs a lot of playable game in a small package. I was genuinely impressed by this book. It also left me wanting more material, but in a good way. I finished the read through and found I would like to see James Vail add more material to expand upon his original vision. What they may be, I wouldn't know, but I'm sure if he ever sets his hand to it, we'll see something exceptional.

My thoughts:

I want to play Xas Irkalla with old friends and see how they cope with the challenging setting, and no nonsense game mechanics. There are very few horror games that have sparked my interest like Xas Irkalla has. I feel perfectly justified in saying that if you are going to play ANY horror RPG this year, you owe it to yourself to play this one!

Recommended for: Mature role-playing game players who value the opportunity to play, appreciate a challenge, and who appreciate the macabre or horrific. Also recommended for fans of Charles Stross's Laundry files, H.P. Lovecraft, supernatural horror, and metal fans with a flair for the horrific.

Not recommended for: Pregnant people, hyper religious zealots, un-medicated schizophrenics, fascists, Nazis, real life cult leaders (this is another book that could give you ideas I don't want you to explore), Putin, and extra-dimensional psychic entities (I don't want you thinking we are crunchy and good with ketchup).

On a scale of one to ten, I give Xas Irkalla a solid nine for horror fans, and a solid eight for non-horror fans.

If you are fan of well crafted RPG material then I would recommend you follow James Vail on KickStarter.

For other creators, take note: James Vail's book contains sketch material on pages 156 and 157. These are an ingenious way to credit backer support. They also happen to be fantastic examples of the art style of the book. Don't miss this attribution to the contribution of KickStarter backers.

Finally, this game should be nominated for awards at GenCon. Seriously, it is that good. So pick this one up and give the big thumbs up for a remarkable product!

W.S. Quinton Sinopa Publishing LLC (Not affiliated with the Atramentis Games)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by Konstantin R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/02/2018 14:26:52

The system is easy to understand and works pretty good. The real thing here is the world, i never encountered a roleplaying game so dirty, dark and desperate, and i prefer dark stuff for a long time now. For any kind of dream/nightmare world strongly recommended. Update: I played the first adventure with my Kult group last weekend as a nightmare episode, the atmosphere and setting surely made an impact and we changed the whole dreamworld to Xas. This is a really really hardcore compliment, we are very picky about changes :) Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by The M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2018 14:34:21

I've been following the progress of Xas Irkalla for some time now and I must say I'm really amazed by the quality and attention to detail that Atramentis Games put into it, and the final product of his creating efforts. I'm not much of an RPG player but I found the dark feeling of its world and everyone that dwells within it captivating and very inviting to my imagination. The illustrations compliment the setting and they are so outstanding that even if for them alone I'd be happy with my purchase.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Xas Irkalla
Publisher: Atramentis Games
by Raven S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/24/2018 21:03:14

This is an awesome dark game, I cannot wait to get a hard copy of it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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