Under Hollow Hills Review

How much changes in a decade? A couple years ago I went to my tenth college reunion. I was struck by how different things were; how my old fraternity was simply not familiar any more, and how my favorite late night food spots gave me significantly more indigestion. I couldn’t help but notice, also, how much was exactly the same. The city of Pittsburgh was still the same idiosyncratic mix of rust belt and academic, and the campus very much elicited all the memories I had from being in that place. Ten years seems like both enough time for something to change completely and yet not change at all. And so it is with Powered by the Apocalypse.

It hasn’t been exactly ten years since the start of Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA), Apocalypse World was released in 2010. That said, as the game scooped up awards through 2010 and 2011, we could say that it’s roughly the 10th anniversary of PbtA as a phenomenon. By the end of the 2011 awards season the momentum had built, and Dungeon World, the game that arguably sent PbtA into the next tier of indie phenomena, came out in 2012. No matter your exact accounting, though, 2021 is the perfect time to reflect on a decade of PbtA because the Bakers have released a new PbtA game.

Continue reading Under Hollow Hills Review

Weekend Update: 9/25/2021

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 9/25/2021

  1. WFRP: Empire in Ruins
  2. Heirs to the Shogunate
  3. Soulbound: Champions of Death
  4. Star Trek Adventures: Shackleton Expanse
  5. Deviant: the Renegades

Top News Stories

Asmodee up for sale: Report has come out that private equity (not venture capital, those are different) firm PAI Partners has retained Goldman Sachs to help them sell Asmodee, aiming for a valuation of around two billion dollars. As there’s no seller lined up, this is…not great? When PE firms look to sell without a counterparty lined up, it more means they’re looking to get rid of a company. My personal guess is that current supply chain issues have them spooked, and owning a major games distributor is not a good look. As for what this means for Asmodee divisions like Fantasy Flight and Edge Studios…there could be upside depending on what happens, but this is not what I’d broadly call “positive”.

Funcom grants license for The Secret World TTRPG: Cult classic MMORPG The Secret World is slated to be turned into a tabletop game. Publisher-to-be Star Anvil Studios states they’ll have more to share by the end of the year, and are aiming for a Kickstarter in 2022. Funcom is a bit looser with their IP than some others we know, but that seems to have only strengthened the fan community; I’ll be looking out for this one.

Discussion of the Week

Don’t Kill Your Players: An important Reddit thread this week. If you’ve killed one of your players, call the police, and probably a lawyer! Behind the goofing around, there’s some good lessons about design considerations and how games address players versus their characters.

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

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time: Family Business

The galaxy is in turmoil. The New Republic is gone, Supreme Leader Snoke is dead, and the Resistance has been decimated. Independent systems are left to fend for themselves, and every faction scrambles for an advantage. 

For the criminals of the galaxy, it is a time of great opportunity. The First Order in particular has few limits on what kind of allies they choose, and in trying to cut off these resources the Resistance must be circumspect. 

On the Smuggler’s Moon of NAR SHADDAA, a pair of Rebel veterans assemble a team with plausible deniability to eliminate one such source of the First Order’s weapons. After all, it’s just FAMILY BUSINESS…

Continue reading Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time: Family Business

Adventure Log: Cyberpunk Red: CabbageCorp Part 5

In the dark future, everyone is looking out for number one. Sometimes, though, it’s what you do when everything’s gone to hell that really shows people who you are. When we last left our band of eager mercs, a deal had gone sideways with a Russian mobster named Vlad. Vlad tasked the team with acquiring a shipping container full of power armor, but when a motorcycle gang caught wind of the successful heist he withheld payment and took the goods anyway. Nobody in the CabbageCorp family was too pleased at that development.

Continue reading Adventure Log: Cyberpunk Red: CabbageCorp Part 5

Weekend Update: 9/18/2021

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. This week: chaos gods, Critical credit snafus, hurricane relief, dirty laundry, and dad discussions!

Continue reading Weekend Update: 9/18/2021

Deviant: the Renegades Review

Role-playing games are like most media in that they tend to resonate with the largest audience when peddling a blend of novelty and comfort. That said, the hobby has a history of lashing out when too much novelty is introduced. Consider Fourth Edition D&D. Or Traveller:The New Era. Or Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Third Edition. I could go on, but the point is fairly clear: Gamers like new things, as long as they aren’t actually that different from the old things they already have.

Say, what’s been going on in the World of Darkness recently?

Continue reading Deviant: the Renegades Review

Weekend Update: 9/11/2021

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 9/11/2021

  1. Deviant: the Renegades
  2. Cepheus Deluxe
  3. Fallout: the Roleplaying Game Core Rules
  4. Alien RPG Colonial Marines Operations Manual
  5. 2300AD

Top News Stories

SideQuest, a creator-led funding drive, launches November 2021!

From SideQuest’s own press release, helpfully dropped in our Discord: “On the 8th of September 2021, the Zine Creators Workshop announced SideQuest 2021. This event is modelled after the popular ZineQuest promotion on Kickstarter. Designers will crowdfund games over the course of November. By pooling resources, they will shine a light on all their projects.

The thinking behind SideQuest is simple. ZineQuest is so successful that many designers wait all year to launch projects. Kickstarter becomes flooded with indie games campaigns. The rest of the year, it becomes hard for new designers to promote zine-sized offerings. SideQuest will address this, providing a second focal point. The event is not limited to a single crowdfunding platform. Participating campaigns will include the SideQuest logo and appear on the SideQuest website.

Marc Strocks (he/they) founded SideQuest. “I was excited for ZineQuest but didn’t see any community form between participants. I created a Discord server to help people network and lift each other up. We don’t need corporations. We work together to show what indie resources can do.”

Laurie O’Connel (he/him) had breakaway success with Lichcraft. “For me, the exciting thing is the opportunity to do projects that come from your heart, but aren’t as ‘mainstream’. When I put Lichcraft together, I thought that it would get very little attention. It turns out, if you love a game, there’s a solid chance other people will love it too. My SideQuest project, Stolen Crown, has also been in the back of my mind for far too long. This is a chance to finally make it happen.”

Tanya Floaker (they/them) is publishing their first game. “I’ll be helping other designers. In turn, they will be helping me. Being part of a collective endeavour is why I’m involved.”

Spencer Campbell (he/him) of Slayers and LUMEN has to say about the event: “SideQuest represents everything I love about the indie RPG scene: an opportunity for a wide variety of designers to show off their amazing work, and the community lifting one another up together.”

SideQuest is an initiative of the Zine Creators Workshop. ZCW formed on the 8th of January 2021, before ZineQuest3. It is an incubator for game development, a knowledge base, and pushes to get new designers in to print.

Go to SideQuest.info to see all participating projects. Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with #SideQuest2021. Sign up at tinyurl.com/JoinSideQuest or itch.io/jam/sidequest-2021

Discussion of the Week

Magpie Games provides answers, more questions, in Dicebreaker Article: Dicebreaker contributor Chase Carter spoke with Magpie Games CEO Mark Diaz Truman regarding their record-breaking Kickstarter campaign for Avatar Legends. Secondary discussions on Twitter were mixed, finding that Diaz Truman’s answers often asked more questions than they, well, answered. While the Avatar Legends Kickstarter is inarguably a massive success and also inarguably funding a corporate licensed game, the fairly small RPG industry provides many distortions. I mean, Wizards of the Coast makes over $100 million *a month*, but who’s counting, right?

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: Bucket of Bolts

Busted, rusted, set adrift, cloaked in cloth and grime.

This old ship lies still—a relic
from a different time.

Lift the dust sheets, one by one, pry the broken latch.

Up the ladder, flaking paint,
up towards the hatch.

Crank it open, hit the switch, dim lights flicker on.
Yellowed bulkheads, fraying wires—
captains, dead and gone.

In the cockpit, fire it up—engine’s thrumming roar.
Creaking, lurching up towards
shining stars once more.

Continue reading Solitaire Storytelling: Bucket of Bolts

A Novice’s Guide to Reading New Games

It’s a wide world of games out there, and it’s nearly impossible to truly experience the richness of the RPG hobby if you only play one. Even if your group is set in their ways, or deep into a multi-year campaign, you can still take a look across the hobby and see what new ideas are cropping up (and have been cropping up for the last four decades). Reading some games can seem daunting, and certain incumbents in the industry benefit by making the whole process of reading in the hobby seem more difficult than it actually is (you know, the incumbents that make you buy three books to run their game). That said, role-playing games are not as difficult as some would make it seem, and 400 page books need not scare you away.

Continue reading A Novice’s Guide to Reading New Games