Al has a obsession for problem solving. She grabs the problem as tenaciously as a pit bull on a side of beef, and will not let go until all the meat has been efficiently cleaned from the bones.
The adventure module book, Xcrawl: 3 Rivers Crawl, was one big side of beef.
Xcrawl is a table-top role-playing game created by Brendan LaSalle and first published by Pandahead back in the early 2000s (it is now licensed by Goodman Games). The premise of the game combined a fantasy world with modern-day media. People watch professional adventurers on television as they go through artificial dungeons, killing monsters and winning fabulous prizes. But the dungeons are lethal; if you die, you die. Imagine Dungeons and Dragons meets professional wrestling. You get the idea.
The author of 3 Rivers Crawl, Scott Knuchel, crafted an amazing adventure set in a fantasy version of Pittsburgh. It is full of lethal pitfalls and fabulous prizes, and the dungeon crawl itself was headed by an evil dark elf. However, Scott only had one sentence to serve as backstory for the book: “The dark elf is crazy.”
That was it.
Enter Al the Hungry Pit Bull. She took the single sentence and created an origin story for the Crazy Evil Dark Elf. She made a character who the reader understood was not just a mad, twisted creature; the reader could understand why he was that way.
Xcrawl: 3 Rivers Crawl, which contains Al’s story, “System of a Downfall,” is an adult-aged game, and it can be purchased online at
Download and read an excerpt from “System of a Downfall” here.