Category Archives: Articles

Weekend Update: 12/18/2021

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.

DriveThruRPG Top Sellers for 12/18/2021

  1. Hostile Rules
  2. Root: the Roleplaying Game (bundle)
  3. The One Ring Core Rules
  4. Ascendant
  5. Shadowrun: Anarchy 2050

Top News Stories

Asmodee Acquired: As reported this past September, Asmodee owner/investor PAI Partners has been looking for a buyer for the board game company and found one in Embracer Group, which controls such studios as Gearbox and THQ Nordic. While it’s still unclear what exactly will become of Asmodee, arguably its future is brighter within a media conglomerate than it would be in the hands of a purely financial buyer.

Wizards of the Coast removes racial alignments and lore from nine D&D books: In the most recent attempt to right wrongs related to elements of D&D like racial alignment, Wizards of the Coast went back and, mostly via errata, removed mention of these elements from several core sourcebooks. Further investigation of the edits saw that they were somewhat shortsighted; one particularly galling change was changing the word ‘madness’ to ‘insanity’ in certain spell descriptions, doing nothing but indicating that WotC didn’t understand that both word choices were problematic in their own way. While Wizards deserves a half-nod for conceding the problems with D&D material, it would have been better if they hired someone who actually understood what the problem was instead of half-heartedly deleting a bunch of stuff.

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

The Forest Primordia, or, My First Module

There’s a vast diversity of experiences that fall under the big tent of tabletop roleplaying. From different playstyles to games to even venues of play, everyone plays a little bit differently. There are some things that are common at one table and unthinkable at another. And some products, from battlemats to GM screens to even pre-written adventures themselves just aren’t seen at every gaming table. That said, if someone, say, reviewed RPGs for five solid years and had never once ran a pre-written module, you could be forgiven for saying they might be missing out on a common gamer experience. Well, that someone is me, and this month I made a change.

Do not think that the title of this review is a quip about the Troika module The Forest Primordia. I do not call it “My First Module” out of snark, it is literally the first prewritten module I have ever run in a serious game (my attempt to run the Tomb of Horrors doesn’t count, for multiple reasons). I don’t think I’ve ever had anything against modules, but for me the interest in running games was always couched in writing, and using pre-written material always seemed to produce a disconnect where there didn’t need to be one. As a result, it took about twenty years of my RPG career before I decided to give one a whirl.

Continue reading The Forest Primordia, or, My First Module

Weekend Update: 12/11/2021

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 12/11/2021

  1. The One Ring Core Rules
  2. The Third Imperium
  3. Trinity Continuum: Assassins (Pre-Order)
  4. WFRP: Empire in Ruins Companion
  5. Sabbat: The Black Hand

Top News Stories

Kickstarter will ‘move its crowdfunding platform to blockchain’: In a confounding press release, Kickstarter announced that it is ‘hatching a standalone company to build a crowdfunding system’ built around blockchain tech provided by Celo, and then begin to employ the company’s tech ‘when it’s ready’. While RPG Twitter utterly blew up over this announcement, the announcement itself means little, and Kickstarter’s own, longer press release has almost as little information. Whatever venture Kickstarter is funding will be initially separate from the site, and the marketing language is already distancing the company from any commitment to use the tech (‘When it’s ready’). Beyond that, the claim that the change will take place ‘completely behind the scenes’ belies more apocalyptic projections like a Kickstarter token or that the site will start tokenizing projects (though the Kickstarter release and its talk of ‘rewarding’ creators and users is somewhat contradictory to this). Blockchain is a buzzword more than a viable data technology right now, so announcements such as this one are likely 50/50 between a move of substance and juicing the company’s valuation for an IPO (which would admittedly be worse for small projects than a blockchain). While we don’t think this announcement is as bad as some would say, and we would recommend not bailing on live projects (it’s really the small creators that would get hurt), it’s a real stretch to call something so information-free and so nakedly intended to appeal to investors ‘good’.

Discussion of the Week

Your Expectations Are Too High: In addition to being one of the top threads on /r/RPG this week, this thread also takes direct aim at us when we were GMing games in high school. The OP is talking mostly about railroading; when a novice GM sees the game going a way they don’t want, they often try to tighten the reins. The discussion, though, expands a bit more into expectations versus reality, how players actually prep for and behave at sessions, and what are actually fair expectations, like consistent attendance and learning the rules of the game being played.

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

Who Is Your Game Designed For?

Role-playing games are a complicated medium. The act of reading a game is not the same as the act of playing it, which is not the same as the act of running it. This was not in fact acknowledged in the first role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons; almost nobody understood how to play after reading, and the designers were pretty much just hoping that wargamers would buy their standalone rules rather than doing anything in particular to make it so. As such, for decades, enthusiastic role-players have grabbed their books, put their heads together, and puzzled it out.

The market of enthusiastic role-players is saturated. More and more games are coming out and fewer and fewer of them are gaining the sort of traction which actually pays their designers. The centerpiece to this is the explosion of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition, which grew significantly faster and larger than any previous edition despite not being designed any better than any of them. So why is that? And how do other games do better?

Continue reading Who Is Your Game Designed For?

Weekend Update: 12/4/2021

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 12/4/2021

  1. The One Ring Core Rules
  2. Trinity Continuum: Assassins (Pre-Order)
  3. WFRP: Empire in Ruins Companion
  4. The Third Imperium
  5. Minsc and Boo’s Journal of Villainy

Top News Stories

Mothership is the best-funded non-licensed RPG Kickstarter: In a Kickstarter update from December 3rd, Sean McCoy confirmed that with roughly $1.4m in funding, Mothership is the eighth-most funded RPG Kickstarter ever, and the best-funded non-licensed Kickstarter ever. The immense success of this indie darling shows, among other things, the power of engaged and enthusiastic fans, which the Mothership designers encouraged throughout the game’s design lifecycle.

Discussion of the Week

Cortex licensing agreement causes jeers, confusion: Fans of the generic RPG Cortex Prime reacted with confusion and dismay to the announcement of the game’s new licensing terms, which hand down onerous (and in some cases utterly unenforceable) terms to anyone who makes even free content with the system. Although it has not been confirmed outright the best-supported assumption is that the terms were written by someone in the game’s distributor, Fandom, which is already known for attempts to monetize other people’s intellectual property. Discussions (and shitposts) have flared across Twitter, but this thread by @POCGamer (and the retweet of @FrivYeti) does a solid job of laying out some facts, making some solid predictions about what Fandom may have been trying to do, and explaining why they failed.

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: December, 2021

Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk for December! I don’t know what it is about timing at this time of year. Several great campaigns are ending today or ended yesterday, not really giving enough time for readers to grace them with their clicks. On the other hand, it seems like everyone is rushing to get a campaign wrapped before the holidays…and some of these campaigns needed to bake a little longer. No matter. I read a lot, but these seven I will stand behind as new games you should definitely check out. Onward!

Continue reading Kickstarter Wonk: December, 2021

Weekend Update: 11/27/2021

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 11/27/2021

  1. Traveller: The Third Imperium
  2. Minsc and Boo’s Journal of Villainy
  3. WFRP: Archives of the Empire Volume 2
  4. Twilight: 2000 4th Edition Core Set
  5. Aerospace Engineer’s Handbook

Discussion of the Week

It’s Thanksgiving here in the US, so the Cannibal Halflings are all off spending time with their families. Hope everyone has a safe and restful holiday, we’ll get back to the salt mines next week!

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

Adding Flavor To The Table

Between spending some time at the Flying Stag earlier in the week and recovering from the trials and tribulations of Thanksgiving, I’ve got food and drink on the mind with a side of tabletop worldbuilding. So your party of characters wander into the tavern and order… what? An ale?  Your freighter crew has two weeks of… consumables? That’s it? We can do better than that; both people running games and playing them can get some extra detail out of their setting and characters by keeping one fact in mind: even most protagonists have to eat.

Continue reading Adding Flavor To The Table

Game Wizards Review

The story of role-playing games begins with the story of Dungeons and Dragons; the story of Dungeons and Dragons begins with Gary Gygax. And Dave Arneson. And, frankly, all of TSR. As our hobby evolves and our record keepers get older, we need to look back and make a good record of what got us to this point. With both Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson passed away, the invention of D&D is becoming just a story, in some people’s minds a footnote to Mentzer and Moldvay and Allston and Tweet and Mearls and Crawford that have come since. Well, Jon Peterson to the rescue.

Off the success of Playing at the World, a history of the role-playing game as a concept, and The Elusive Shift, an investigation of the role-playing game as its own standalone ‘thing’, we now have Game Wizards, arguably now the definitive text on the luminaries who invented D&D and how rabidly they fought over credit for that specific thing. Peterson is showing his breadth here, moving from broad-based historical synthesis (Playing at the World) to deep, particular investigation (The Elusive Shift) and now into that popular but difficult historical realm, disputed narrative. In some ways, this is a bit of a departure from Peterson’s earlier work, which was very much grounded in the how and why that made RPGs what they are. That said, Game Wizards as a book has convinced me that, as someone interested in RPG history, the story of Gygax and Arneson is one I need to know.

Continue reading Game Wizards Review

Solitaire Storytelling – The Broken Cask

Well, hello there! Welcome to the Flying Stag, our hearth and home among the treetops. My name is Wulflen Skyway, I’m the proprietor of this fine establishment. Now, the dancing doesn’t start until twilight, and you don’t look like you have an undead problem, so what shall it be? We have a moongoat shawarma that’s proven very popular, and craftsmanship demands I recommend the Frozen Drupelet, our raspberry spiced ice wine made right-

Ah, touring around looking for stories, are you? Well, I was a bard back in the day, before some… stuff happened, so I could spin you a few yarns. No, no, the scale armor is just an affectation, nothing to worry yourself about. No, I’m not going to “dish” about my past, thank you. The Flying Stag, though, well, it may not be as well known as The Broken Cask – yet – but it has its stories to tell. Continue reading Solitaire Storytelling – The Broken Cask