Back Again from the Broken Land Review – Small Heroes, Heavy Burdens, and Stories

You are small people who walked into a big war. The Doomslord’s forces were gathered in the Broken Land, and your fellowship unexpectedly played a key role in the Doomslord’s fall. Now, laden with stories to tell and burdens to bear, you set off on the journey home. But the Doomslord’s Hunters are still out there, and it’s a long way to walk. Let’s see if you can make it Back Again from the Broken Land with a storytelling game of small adventurers and a journey home from Cloven Pine Games!

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Power Rangers RPG Review

There is a new generation of companies emerging in the RPG world. Free League and Modiphius were founded in 2011 and 2012, respectively, but an even younger studio is making big waves. Renegade Game Studios was founded in 2014 by hobby game industry veteran Scott Gaeta, and his business acumen shows through in Renegade’s portfolio. In addition to publishing more indie titles like Alice is Missing, Kids on Bikes, and Overlight, Renegade rocketed into the trad scene when they took over publishing White Wolf games Vampire: the Masquerade and Hunter: the Reckoning from interim publisher Modiphius. Now, they’re internally developing licensed RPGs that have already turned them into a sales powerhouse. Two Renegade titles showed up on the ICv2 top 5 RPG list last quarter, and I was unaware either were out, let alone already selling so well.

These two games, GI Joe and Power Rangers, make sense as sales successes. The licenses are for properties that peaked in the early 90s, aiming squarely at a mid-millennial market while Wizards aims younger (the core D&D demographics have been teens and twenty-somethings at least as long as Wizards has owned the game, if not even longer). And if it wasn’t these games it could have been others; Renegade also published a Transformers RPG and will soon release an official My Little Pony RPG as well.

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Cannibal Halfling Radio Episode 18: Master Rules

The game master rules, but what rules them? How do many games leave the one running the game out in the cold, what kind of rules do other games assign to them, and what is gained in the process? Seamus and Aaron try to figure it out!

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Crowdfunding Carnival: September, 2022

It’s September! A slight bite in the air, days shortening, and the kids are off to school. Quick, go look for crowdfunding campaigns now that you have a spare moment! September marks a change in the season but also a change in focus among RPG crowdfunding coverage as ZineQuest 4 wraps up. ZineQuest 4 puts the bow on what was a really messed up year in RPG crowdfunding, so I’m going to talk about that a bit. Beyond that, there are some ZineQuest campaigns which are still trying to finish off strong, and of course there are plenty of full-sized campaigns across Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Gamefound, and Backerkit.

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Editions and Edition Wars

Last week, the first in what’s assumedly a fairly long series of playtest documents came out for One D&D, the revised version of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition that is scheduled to be released in 2024. Fifth Edition’s product lifecycle is quite long for modern D&D: 10 years is the second longest any edition of D&D has gone with no major revision, still not quite beating out the first edition of Advanced D&D which went without a revision for 12 years. The main difference between AD&D 1e and D&D 5e, though, is that Fifth Edition is the best selling version of D&D ever and AD&D 1e is one of the worst; Basic D&D sold better at the same time and saw three iterations over those 12 years, clearly getting more of TSR’s attention. This contrast gets us to the broader point that running an RPG business is a complicated game, especially when it comes to figuring out how to maintain your product lines.

New editions of games have been part and parcel of the RPG industry since Gygax attempted to close the Pandora’s Box of D&D hacking by releasing AD&D. Even that first public revision of a game, a wholesale rewrite as opposed to small revisions gained over time, laid bare the various and sundry motivations designers could have for revising their game. It may be an attempt to regain editorial control, or appeal to a new audience. It may, cynically, be a way to sell more books after the product line has flagged. And maybe, in some limited circumstances, it could actually be to improve the game.

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Meet the Campaign: Anti-Boredom part 2

The role-playing hobby is an embarrassment of riches. There are so many games, so many game ideas, and in contrast to that, only so much time. You don’t need to be all that prolific to reach a number of campaigns you want to run that will take literally your entire remaining life…and do so even if you’re just in your 30s. It’s from this massive buffet that we want to find one dish we can savor; that’s the concept of anti-boredom.

If you were here with us last time, you saw a discussion about the plots and premises that can feed a long-running, deep, and memorable campaign. Today, we’re going to start executing on our anti-boredom campaign by figuring out what support we need to make it happen. There are so many games under the sun, but some are better suited to long-running games than others, and an even smaller number still can truly support the breadth of play that will keep you, the multi-genre, multi-system, and ultimately very easily distracted GM, from abandoning them.

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