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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Weekend Update: 6/26/2021

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 6/26/2021

  1. Trails of Ash and Bone
  2. Mythic Babylon
  3. SCP the Tabletop RPG
  4. Pathfinder for Savage Worlds Core Rules
  5. Galder’s Gazetteer

Top News Stories

Queer Games Bundle 2021 on Nearing Its End: The QGB “is a direct action that you can take right now to support queer people in a life changing way”, a games bundle specifically for supporting actual queer creators. There are 195 creators behind the bundle’s 236 items, each of whom will get a share of the profits. While the majority of the items in question are video games and are thus usually beyond our purview here at CHG, there are still 40+ tabletop offerings between the physical games, books, and misc. categories. At the $60 price tag, that’s at most $1.50 a game – and then you get a bunch of free video games! There is also a Pay What You Can version of the Bundle for $10-20 for those who want to support creators but can’t afford the full price themselves. The Bundle runs for about another week.

Premium Color Books Sale at DriveThruRPG: As we previously reported, the costs to print premium color books from DriveThruRPG are going to be going up starting on July 1st, in some cases significantly. In an effort to drive sales before the price increases have a chance to discourage buyers, DTRPG is having a sale through June 30th wherein participating products are marked down 25% from their current price. Included offerings that we have taken a look at include Aberrant 2e, Comrades, and Five Torches Deep.

Dark Alliance lands with a thud: The new Dungeons and Dragons digital title, Dark Alliance, has premiered to mixed reviews and disappointment. One Youtube review called it “truly, truly awful”, while the linked article calls it an “Icewind Fail”. While there’s a smattering of at least somewhat positive reviews out there (PCGamer liked it), the overall consensus is that it failed to live up to expectations; those who were able to get past the underlying gameplay issues were still disappointed to discover that it doesn’t particularly resemble Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, which many fans of the earlier game were looking forward to.

PAX West Returns To In-Person: East didn’t make it, being converted to an online event on July 15th-18th, but this week ReedPop announced that PAX West 2021 will officially be a convention in realspace, September 3rd – 6th. Tickets go on sale within the next two weeks. How successful the con will be will depend on a lot of factors, as the pandemic and vaccination efforts are still ongoing and comfort levels vary, but of particular interest to our readers is that this probably means PAX Unplugged (scheduled for December 10th-12th) is a go. Fingers crossed. Get vaccinated.

Discussion of the Week

Ernie Gygax interviewed about the New TSR: If you wanted to know if the venture is worthwhile, the answer is no (and as the link may imply, it’s getting no more oxygen than that). Spencer, though, the author of the link, has a Kickstarter live, called Nova. Instead of wasting any energy on Ernie Gygax, check it out (and check out our review for his systems reference document LUMEN, which Nova uses for rules).

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

Cuticorium Review – Microcosmic Insect Adventures

You are a bug. There is little time to comprehend what this means to you. Life is brutally short and brief, full of amazing colors and creatures that will dazzle, trap, and kill you in an instant. The ground shakes, your world turns upside down, and everything begins to spin. But there is one place of solace for you in the constant flux of chaos, the peaceful Cuticorium. No insect remembers where it came from, but the longer you stay around this place, the more you begin to think for yourself instead of just trying to survive from moment to moment.” This is the RPG about a small insectoid world with big secrets and dramatic connections, Cuticorium by Ulysses Duckler!

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Aberrant Second Edition Review

I don’t review a lot of new editions, at least not of games we’ve already reviewed. While everyone remembers the giant step changes like D&D 4e, Cyberpunk v3, and WFRP 3e, most edition changes are relatively small. Reviewing the playtest version of Pathfinder 2e way back when required very careful reading to pull out the changes that would be most apparent to players of the first edition, and that was a more significant revision than many games receive. 

Aberrant is one of very few games we’ve actually reviewed multiple editions of; the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is Cyberpunk, and Cyberpunk 2020 was given a full review only in the context of the Cyberpunk Chimera System Hack series. Aberrant, though, is kind of fascinating. I spent some time jumping between Ari’s review of 1e and the new core rulebook and realized that while many elements of the game have been preserved, there is a core change to how the game is presented that both changes the experience entirely and strikes in complete opposition to a game design ethos which is slowly becoming more central to the hobby.

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Weekend Update: 6/19/2021

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 6/19/2021

  1. Mythic Babylon
  2. Trinity Continuum: Aberrant
  3. Star of Alladore
  4. Pathfinder for Savage Worlds Core Rules
  5. Galder’s Gazetteer

Top News Stories

Exandria Unlimited: The Critical  Role fanbase is abuzz about the new mini-campaign kicking off next week, Exandria Unlimited. It’s also hard not to notice that new faces Aimee Carrero, Robbie Daymond, and of course Game Master Aabria Iyengar all provide a needed shot in the arm to the diversity of the CritRole crew (not to mention that they’re all incredibly talented). Excitement aside, an eight episode mini-campaign might be the entry many people (including some Cannibal Halflings) need to CritRole’s intimidating back catalog. Exandria Unlimited kicks off next Thursday, June 24th. 

Discussion of the Week

Intentionality in Game Design: There was a fair amount of back-and-forth (or was it subtweeting? Might have been subtweeting) about the notion of ‘intention’ in design. Intention ends up being whether or not game mechanics and other game elements drive the game’s specific experience and are included in the game for a specific reason. This sounds like a good thing, but the majority of games are intended for broad experiences, and in most art forms, “knowing what you’re doing” doesn’t necessarily produce good art. Jared Sinclair has a good mini-thread on this; “allow the art to create itself” is good advice for writer’s block or blank-page syndrome across media. Both sides of the conversation have interesting points, though neither directly engaged the other (which might be for the best).

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

LUMEN Review – An SRD For The Quick And Powerful

Sometimes you just want a game where the characters are just awesome. So powerful that death is just a speed bump, so badass that there’s almost nothing they can’t do if they play to their strengths, so deadly that enemies aren’t just opponents, they’re walking health and ammo packs. If this is sounding like a couple of video games you know, you’re not wrong, but this is still a tabletop roleplaying game article. Instead of talking about a singular game, though, today I’m looking at a system used to build them, the LUMEN SRD from Spencer Campbell!

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Adventure Log: Cyberpunk Red: CabbageCorp Part 2

Sure, there’s some sweet benefits in being a W2. Steady paycheck, funeral insurance, and a steady helping of plausible deniability. That said, when you only go into the office once a week to have a meeting with your boss in a room with a Faraday cage and get your actual marching orders from a man biosculpted like the main character of a 40 year old TV show…well, maybe corporate life wasn’t as boring as they told you.

When we last left our motley crew of inbetweeners, they had started working for Lynx, a Biotechnica-connected fixer with a taste for prestige TV and cheap beer. They had also had their first run-in of many with a party member’s past when Jacob’s ex Olga became the main subject of an intrusion op gone wrong. After delivering Lynx the good news about their smuggling tunnel, though, it was right back to work again. Biotechnica was part owner of Jayhawk Agritech through the financing deal that helped create Astropolis, and Jayhawk was trying to wriggle out from under the terms of that deal. Who was available to tighten the leash? CabbageCorp, of course.

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Loot The Body: Hex Volume 1 – Music Review

Recounting the deeds of an evil wizard over metal riffage and proggy synths. A fuzz-laden journey into the sanctuary of snake worshippers, A trippy story of haunted nobles hiding a dark secret. A cautionary tale that pits a demi-lich against grave robbers. Goth rock through the halls of Castle Ravenloft. An Americana-tinged ode to a remote beacon of civilization. A campaign with an all-bard party going on various famous adventures? Well, possibly, it’s not a bad idea, but not quite. If you like Dungeons and Dragons and/or rocking out, you’ll want to give a listen to Hex Volume 1 from Loot the Body!

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