The Independents: Dreampunk

Role-playing games can be a perfect venue for the surreal. Exploring a strange world that has its own incomprehensible rules is often better done in games, where players have the opportunity to poke, prod, and learn, rather than being stuck in an author’s or director’s interpretation. That said, most games that embrace surreality these days embrace a designer’s vision, and are still one possible experience in a world that could be a whole lot weirder. Enter Dreampunk, a game currently being funded on Kickstarter. Dreampunk is a game that borrows heavily from the mechanics of Belonging Outside Belonging and, by extension, Powered by the Apocalypse. What makes Dreampunk unique, though, is the use of card drawing mechanics not only to pace the game, but to develop the very reality of the setting.

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Weekend Update: 7/17/2021

Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.

DriveThruRPG Top Sellers for 7/16/2021

  1. Blaster: Volume 3
  2. WFRP: The Horned Rat
  3. Trails of Ash and Bone
  4. Trinity Continuum: Under Alien Skies
  5. SCP the Tabletop RPG

Top News Stories

PAX East Online 2021 Is Ongoing: The digital replacement for the Bostonian PAX is on this weekend, running through Sunday; most of the relevant Discord’s channels are opening at noon EST and staying open until around midnight. Tabletop related content is sparse, despite the amount of activity in the server, perhaps proof that a digital convention needs a lot more focus on and support of tabletop games to succeed on that front. Sparse doesn’t mean barren, however – Paizo is organizing games through the server, and there are a number of related and interesting panels that are going to be streamed.

Diana Jones Award nominees announced: In the leadup to GenCon, six nominees for this year’s Diana Jones Award have been announced. Diana Jones Award nominees come from all corners of gaming, and this year represent the range of game design, marketing, and fandom. The six nominees are:

  • Big Bad Con’s 2019 Babble On Equity Project and PoC Programming, a fundraising effort to bring people of color to Big Bad Con. 
  • The Game Crafter, a print-on-demand manufacturing service for tabletop games. 
  • Nibcard Games, a game publisher/manufacturer. 
  • Mike Pondsmith, a game designer. 
  • Session Zero Online, an online tabletop gaming convention.
  • Wingspan, a board game by Elizabeth Hargrave, published by Stonemaier Games.

Discussion of the Week

The nonsense of the magic trade: Although magic items are written to be rare and mysterious, the volume of them that adventurers seem to find implies the need to trade, sell, and buy them at a much higher rate than written about in the rules of games like D&D. This discussion thread on Reddit talks about interesting in-universe ways to have a magic item trade or magic item shops that align with power curve and setting contradictions, but also aren’t completely ridiculous.

Have any RPG news leads or scoops? Get in touch! You can reach us at cannibalhalflinggaming@gmail.com, or through Twitter via @HungryHalfling.

Solitaire Storytelling: Grimoire

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you already know who I am, but just in case: Hello there! My name is Cory Deepwood, and I am a witch. I have been practicing for many years, now, learning the ways of the earth and the sky and quite a bit in between. At first it was tradition, passed down from my mother to me . Eventually, though, I began to think of myself as something of a steward, taking care of the lands I have worked on and the people within them. Within these pages are the spells and appurtenances I have used in my craft. Whether I have now passed it to you or you have found it in a dusty library somewhere, I hope you use my Grimoire well.

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Adventure Log: Cyberpunk Red: CabbageCorp, Part 3

The life of an edgerunner is a tough one. And when you’re slumming it in Hydropolis there isn’t nearly as much work to go around as in glamorous Night City. Sometimes you have to pursue every lead you’re given. And sometimes, if your name is Jacob Capone, those leads include your ex-girlfriend.

When we last saw our merry band of corporate sycophants, they had followed up two leads from Biotechnica which led to improperly disseminated Jayhawk Agritech…tech. Biotechnica was pleased with Mason’s work so far, and now all of CabbageCorp had some money to spend. It was time to follow some leads, take some downtime, and most importantly, go shopping.

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Weekend Update: 7/10/2021

Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.

DriveThruRPG Top Sellers for 7/10/2021

  1. WFRP – The Horned Rat
  2. Trinity Continuum: Under Alien Skies
  3. Trails of Ash and Bone
  4. Soulbound: Steam and Steel
  5. SCP the Tabletop RPG

Top News Stories

A Tale of Two Cons: Essen Spiel, one of if not the largest board game trade show in the world, has officially announced they are mandating either proof of immunization or wearing a mask to attend the con. At nearly the same time, Gen Con, one of if not the largest role-playing game trade show in the world, has lifted their mask mandate. Although we in the US are celebrating easy access to vaccines and a drop in case numbers, the pandemic is not over, and the risk of Gen Con becoming a superspreader event is not overstated. Good on the Essen Spiel staff for putting the health and safety of their attendees first.

Discussion of the Week

Why Dungeons?: We know the RPG form has bloomed fractally into a million different genres, moods, and ways to play, but modern TTRPGs started with some dungeons, and some dragons. And out of the two of those, only one is guaranteed to show up. This Reddit thread has some interesting discussions on early RPG history, roots of the dungeon in Tolkien, and some later attempts to ‘explain’ dungeon ecology, like Earthdawn.

Have any RPG news leads or scoops? Get in touch! You can reach us at cannibalhalflinggaming@gmail.com, or through Twitter via @HungryHalfling.

Kickstarter Wonk: July, 2021

Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk for July! Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of games being campaigned out there this summer. You may be wondering why I don’t have ten this month, if there were more than ten to choose from. Well, I see two potential reasons. First, even with the delays from COVID, we’re entering GenCon season. GenCon season means people worried about *selling* games are running to Kickstarter, producing dozens of campaigns with that two-character automatic disqualification: 5E. Don’t get me wrong, these games might be perfectly fine, but they aren’t original games, so they fall outside my criteria. Beyond that, a number of the games out in the Kickstarter aether this month were… well, not great. I’m going to tend to not cover games which use some of their precious campaign wordcount to tell me they “use a dice-rolling mechanic”. Oh brother. Fear not, though! These eight campaigns are worth reading. Are they worth spending your hard-earned cash? You’ll only know if you read past the jump.

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Weekend Update: 7/3/2021

Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.

DriveThruRPG Top Sellers for 7/3/2021

  1. Trails of Ash and Bone
  2. Soulbound: Stars and Scales
  3. Soulbound: Steam and Steel
  4. SCP the Tabletop RPG
  5. Mythic Babylon

Discussion of the Week

Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: RPGs are a game of information asymmetry, and generally the GM knows when things might go bad. This comes through in a common refrain: Are you sure you want to do that? Over on Reddit there was a lively discussion about the worst (best?) occurrences that came from a player being faced with the dreaded question and still answering ‘yes’.

Have any RPG news leads or scoops? Get in touch! You can reach us at cannibalhalflinggaming@gmail.com, or through Twitter via @HungryHalfling.

Here’s A Health To The Company – Saying Goodbye To Campaigns And Characters

Peren walked off into the shadows, the Mark of Death on his back and Erandis d’Vol ahead of him. Alek Dacar d’Cannith walked into the Silver Flame and began to shape it into something that creates as  often as it smites. Verdeloth took his place in what had once been Oalian’s grove, becoming the next Grand Druid of the Wardens of the Wood and literally putting down roots. Capax declined to return to Xen’drik and instead hit the open road, ready for whatever adventure was next . . . with his sweetheart at his side. It took eight years of real time, but the adventurers of the Stormhold Guild finally accomplished their goals, achieved their Prophecy-marked destinies, and went their separate ways.

Darn it all, I miss them.

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The Long-Term Gaming Group

Plot Grenades. Immanuel Moments. “Hiyo, Tom here!” Most readers won’t exactly understand the meaning of any of these, but for a small group of people each one elicits its own strong reaction. That group is my gaming group, who I’ve been playing with in one incarnation or another for 16 years. Over that period of time we’ve developed our own lore, traditions, and yes, a thick haze of inside jokes.

In some ways, a gaming group is no different than any other group of friends who share a hobby. You could develop inside jokes, stories, and catchphrases about board games, or hiking, or motorcycles. The thing that’s different, though, is that role-playing games come with an immediate emotional engagement. That’s exactly why people’s preferences are so specific, and why people are so defensive about them.

If we assume you’ve done everything right, found a group of likeminded players and opened the lines of communication to help hone your shared experience, then you’re in a good place to have your fellow players become close friends through the experiences you share. But the reason this is an article is because I strongly believe that gaming with friends is an elevated experience, and that your core gaming experience should be with people who are your friends. So let’s talk about gaming with friends, and about the things that can make a ‘gaming group’ an entity stronger than any one session or campaign.

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Cannibal Halfling Radio Episode 15: Beginning Basics

Seamus and Aaron talk about getting your tabletop roleplaying game started – how to gather up a group of eager players, how to set things up,  and how to kick them off, followed by a trip to the local starting tavern to see what all the fuss is about.

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