Category Archives: Articles

Weekend Update: 5/29/2021

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 5/29/2021

  1. Five Parsecs from Home
  2. WFRP: The Horned Rat
  3. Galder’s Gazetteer
  4. Children of the Blood
  5. Dune: Adventures in the Imperium

Top News Stories

Risus is for Sale: S. John Ross is seeking offers for the entirety of Risus, the “Anything RPG” which has served as a delightful entry in the annals of rules-light gaming for many people, including myself. Ross includes a number of buyer-friendly stipulations in the sale, including permission to use the references to works he’s not selling that are made in Risus materials in perpetuity, and up to a year of forwarding service on the Risus website to give the buyer time to establish their own webspace. There is a small catch, in that the purchase will include accepting existing liabilities from a successfully funded Kickstarter that has only been partially delivered. Even so, if you’re looking for a rules-light platform to launch your gaming company dreams, it might be time to crack your piggy bank open.

Discussion of the Week

Unloved Games: A discussion on r/RPG centers around two pages worth of Unloved Games that are actually off the radar. As the Reddit discussion illuminates, people are too used to “unloved” suggestions that are altogether too popular for the title.

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

What Does The Game Bring To The Table?

Over the last week or so there appeared the most recent incarnation of a frequent discourse, one about the quality of games correlating with their likelihood of success. Now, that’s bluntly and hilariously untrue, which is clear to anyone who has ever enjoyed a niche of anything in their life. In tabletop RPGs, though, it appears, from certain lenses, to even be anti-true. Games which make choices actively hostile to such simple traits as being able to play them still become sales successes, often becoming more successful than the indie games which old guard designers seem to snark at between requests for employment. Ultimately that’s not because TTRPG purchasers are irrational (I mean, they are, but not for the reasons we’re talking about here), but rather because they’re buying games for different reasons.

Continue reading What Does The Game Bring To The Table?

Weekend Update: 5/22/2021

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 5/22/2021

  1. Children of the Blood
  2. Galder’s Gazetteer
  3. Dune: Adventures in the Imperium
  4. Worlds Without Number
  5. Stars Without Number: Revised

Top News Stories

D&D had its best year ever: Wizards of the Coast has reflected on D&D’s 2020 performance, calling it the ‘best year ever’ for the brand. D&D sales grew 33% year-over-year, for the seventh consecutive year of growth. In addition to being impressive performance for any entertainment brand, 2020 in particular illustrates the strength of D&D (and to a lesser extent the hobby) in the face of the complications brought about by COVID-19.

Discussion of the Week

Twitter Main Character the First: Game Designers Age Out: Two designers best known for work they had done in the 1990s made, according to our crack analyst team, “really dumb” statements. Fortunately, they can be safely ignored, along with anything they post.

Twitter Main Character the Second: The Critical Role Brigade: Quote-tweeting someone exposes them to all of your followers. Now for me, with not even 200 followers on my main, that doesn’t matter, but when you have 170,000 followers and your most popular work is known for toxic fans? Don’t do that. Critical Role shouldn’t be considered above reproach anyway, but when those who have gained influence use that influence poorly, it doesn’t reflect well on the brand.

Alcohol and Networking in the Games Industry: Another topic that came up on Twitter this week was the role of alcohol in networking. Having business meetings while drinking is de rigueur across many industries (I have some tales about the energy industry from my day job life) but it has negative consequences, including edging out non-drinkers or those not comfortable in bar-type settings, as well as creating a degree of permission for bad behavior. At least in the energy industry few ‘real’ meetings happen at a bar, game designers and freelancers may not be so lucky when their local con is the only opportunity to get an in-person meeting with companies they want to work for. Cons should work on having more sober networking options, but game industry types should also reflect on the “bar-con” practice and consider stepping away.

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: Cyberpunk Red: CabbageCorp Part 1

Fleeing the city in a vegetable truck? It’s going to be a weird night. Having two mercs shoot out the tires of the truck and drag the most obnoxious passenger into the trunk of a waiting car? Very weird night. Getting picked up by two bodybuilders in a box truck converted into a mobile clinic? Now you know you’ll be talking about this night for a good while.

As noted in our prologue, the misfit group of edgerunners known as CabbageCorp met coincidentally in the back of a truck while seeking new homes, new friends, and also maybe running for their lives. A somewhat hasty decision to accept a ride from Tyrone King and Doctor Kong would form the party in earnest; while they don’t need each other yet, they certainly can’t back out.

Continue reading Adventure Log: Cyberpunk Red: CabbageCorp Part 1

Everywhen Review

Generic RPGs are written for GMs. A game with a setting or a conceit can speak to anyone who sees it on the shelf or reads through its Kickstarter campaign, but a game with no setting has a tougher time marketing itself. Those of us who run games, though, see them for what they are: toolkits. A good generic RPG is the toolbox that lets you build a game, and every generic RPG is a different set of tools. GURPS is the five hundred pound box of every wrench and screwdriver imaginable. Cortex Prime is a massive array of dials and knobs, ready to be toggled for your campaign. Fate is a smart everyday carry pack, providing the fewest tools to cover the most situations. What about others? Where do other approaches fit in between these?

Everywhen is a genericized version of the popular swords and sorcery RPG Barbarians of Lemuria, and it would have escaped my notice had I not seen a well-known GURPShead on Reddit give it an unequivocal recommendation. Intrigued but skeptical, I checked it out. What I found was a game that hit the right medium crunch sweet spot but also had some design choices that made it easy for any GM, novice or experienced, to write exactly what they want with it.

Continue reading Everywhen Review

Weekend Update: 5/8/2021

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 5/8/2021

  1. Dune: Adventures in the Imperium
  2. Worlds Without Number
  3. Yogg-Sothoth’s Children, a Korean Call of Cthulhu supplement
  4. Hard Wired Island
  5. Stargrave: Science Fiction Wargames in the Ravaged Galaxy

Top News Stories

Big Bad Con to be Held Online: With the pandemic nowhere near ‘over’, the announcement that Big Bad Con would be held online this year was not surprising, but potentially sad for those eagerly awaiting the return of in-person events. That said, kudos to the con organizers for making the health and safety of their attendees a priority.

Apple Lawyers call Itch games ‘Unspeakable Content’: The Epic Games/Apple Lawsuit, already arguably a farce, has now featured the lawyer for Apple calling some games on Itch, which is accessible through Epic Games, “both offensive and sexualized”. In response, Itch stated (possibly joking) on their Twitter account that the adult content tag would be renamed ‘unspeakable games’, in response to another particularly hyperbolic statement.

Discussions of the Week

The Slow Weird Return to In-Person Play: Speaking of pandemic, the Indie Game Reading Club has posted Paul Beakley’s meditation on all the things that make playing online great…and how odd it’s going to feel when we return to our normal tables. As someone who’s run an online group for over a decade…there’s nothing saying you can’t keep it going even after this is all over!

Fair Pay is Still a Debate Apparently: The discussion of freelancer pay bubbled back to the discourse surface after a Kickstarter campaign advertised a stretch goal for paying their freelancers five cents a word instead of the original three. While this was rightly met with condemnation, the broader discussion melted down in the face of, well, Twitter. None of the longer threads are really worth linking, but the Cannibal Halfling position is straightforward: Freelancers should be paid more, 10 cents per word is, while not necessarily ‘enough’, at least a starting point, and royalty and profit-sharing models, while not a panacea, should become more widely discussed and offered, especially in the small press world.

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: May, 2021

Welcome back to Kickstarter Wonk! We’re all getting ready for vaccine summer, and it looks like the designers are too! We have another full ten-pack of Kickstarter campaigns here, including a number of first-timers who are putting forth really solid stuff. I’ve already put forth more money than I was planning to on several of the campaigns below, and I have a feeling after you read you may do the same. Keep a tight hold on your wallet, and let’s dive in.

Continue reading Kickstarter Wonk: May, 2021

Weekend Update: 5/1/2021

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 5/1/21

  1. Dune: Adventures in the Imperium Core Rulebook
  2. Stargrave: Science Fiction Wargames in the Ravaged Galaxy
  3. Worlds Without Number
  4. Hard Wired Island
  5. Cyberpunk Red

Top News Stories

World of Darkness coming to TV: The World of Darkness has been optioned for TV. Again. IP Owners Paradox Interactive have pulled in some impressive names to develop a series which would be based on the World of Darkness setting as a whole, as opposed to any one game like Vampire, Werewolf or Mage. Many details of this sound promising, but with no distribution deal yet inked it’s worth noting that the TV world has produced plenty of vaporware with more. As a historical note, the last attempt to use World of Darkness IP in a TV series, Kindred: The Embraced, aired in 1996. Eight episodes were aired and the most common word used in reviews was ‘confusing’. In a post-Sopranos world one would imagine this next attempt will do better, but only time will tell.

The Adventure Zone and Games That Aren’t D&D: Popular Actual Play podcast The Adventure Zone is using Avery Alder’s The Quiet Year for setting generation in its upcoming campaign. That’s cool! They got the name wrong in the first episode it appeared, and failed to mention the name of the designer on-air. That’s not great! While the story took off on Twitter without confirmation (like such stories often do), the true version where the game was cited in the show notes is still illustrative of the sort of blinders many popular content creators have on. Yes, you’re correctly citing your sources, but not even bothering to get the name right on-air is still emblematic of the attitude too many creators have towards games in the hobby not published by Hasbro. An apology was issued, but this isn’t the first time this has happened and I doubt it’ll be the last.

Bundle of Holding adds permanent sales: Popular RPG sale site Bundle of Holding has expanded their normal time-limited fare with eight starter bundles which will be available on the site indefinitely. This slate will be expanded in the future but for now there are some solid options including Old School Essentials, Night’s Black Agents, Shadow of the Demon Lord, and Classic Traveller, all offering 3-6 books (and sometimes more) for less than the price of a single Hasbro supplement.

Discussion of the Week

Apparently we’re talking about pricing RPGs again: Whiny fans have again taken to criticizing designers for…(checks notes)…pricing their work such that they can pay all the people who made it. The discourse is all over, but restarted with the release of Hard Wired Island, a roughly 400 page book that costs roughly thirty dollars. As a reminder, if the Hard Wired Island crew wanted to adjust their prices to be in line with the industry standard, D&D, they would need to *increase* their prices by at least 25%. Chris Bissette says it better than we can in this thread.

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

Paris Gondo Review – The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying

PARIS GONDO read heroic stories from the age of 5, and loved the order and beauty of equipment described in them. From the age of 15, they studied inventorying. Paris started tidying in their own cell and moved onto those of fellow anchorites. Now, Paris lives in the Monastery of St. Eyvān, helping adventurers transform encumbered loads into packs of beauty, peace, and inspiration. Using the six steps of the play-based GonParis Method you too, oh over-encumbered and despondent adventurer, may finally find your equipment sparking joy instead of weighing you down. This is the roleplaying game where encumbrance is everything, Kalum’s Paris Gondo: The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying!

Continue reading Paris Gondo Review – The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying