I Have The High Ground Review – Dueling Wits and Flourished Capes

You might be knights or fencers with your blades crossed for sport or mortal combat. But what if you were hackers vying for control of a contested server? A murderer and the aggrieved loved one avenging their victim? What if you’re assassins and ex-girlfriends, or in a boxing match, or a bar fight, or even just a school talent show? So, who will you be? What will you do? There’s only one way to find out. Pick your weapons, push the limits, flourish your capes whenever justifiable, and play through a session of I Have The High Ground from Jess Levine!

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Doctors and Daleks Review

Gamers have long memories. In the early 2000s, the first iteration of the Open Gaming License was released by Wizards of the Coast, and accompanied by the ‘D20’ branding, which allowed many games to claim official compatibility with the Third Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. While this new era in licensing created some new and interesting games, it also created a lot of, well, garbage. This large quantity of garbage combined with Wizards handing out the ‘D20’ branding to essentially anyone combined to erode consumer confidence in the brand. Unfortunately, D&D was the biggest game in the industry at the time (much like it is now), so this, combined with some misplaced faith in the brand on the part of game stores and publishers, caused the ‘D20 bust’. Books didn’t sell, publishers and game shops went bankrupt, and Wizards…well, they published 3.5e and went on their merry way.

The point of recounting this is that the D20 bust is one of the root causes of distrust in the current crop of games developed using the D&D 5e ruleset. Because D&D is the largest, most successful RPG brand, it stands to reason that associating yourself with that brand is a way to make more money, regardless of the quality of your game, and regardless of whether or not your game aligns with the mechanics of D&D. It also doesn’t help that one of the recent high-profile games using the 5e ruleset, the Dark Souls RPG, was released in a pretty messy state, giving it no real chance to disprove the notion that D&D was a poor choice for emulating the ‘Soulslike’ video game genre (whether or not it could have otherwise is an open question).

It was in this environment that Cubicle 7 announced ‘Doctors and Daleks’, a Doctor Who role-playing game built on the 5e ruleset. The announcement was met with a fair amount of criticism, much of it baseless given that there wasn’t a game yet. The surface-level thinking, though, made sense. Doctor Who, especially the newer runs which started with Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor, is a fantastical series about time travel, the history of the world, and a generally optimistic outlook on coexistence with life all over the universe. The Doctor has a code against killing, gadgets like the TARDIS and the Sonic Screwdriver have capabilities mostly defined by the scripts in that season, and the stories rapidly shift from small and intimate vignettes involving Vincent Van Gogh to apocalyptic, universe-ending plots where the Doctor faces off with the Master, or the Daleks, or the Cybermen. Dungeons and Dragons, on the other hand, is a game where the rules are roughly 90% predicated on killing things and taking their stuff. The mismatch observation is a fair one.

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Meet the Campaign: Anti-Boredom Pt 1

When writing, one of the most important things to know is the audience you’re writing for. And while sometimes it may be obvious, it may also be that writing for a subset of your audience helps focus what you’re doing and clarify your intent. In writing for Cannibal Halfling Gaming, sometimes the audience I write for is myself. No matter what I write about any given week, I go either run or play a session with my home group nearly every week, and just like so many gamers I’m always looking for things to make my games better. So it was when I wrote ‘The Curse of the Wandering Eyes’. The person who the curse had afflicted in my life was myself, and I still am tempted by so many games and campaign ideas that I come across.

When considering my affliction, I asked myself a question. How would you structure a campaign in such a way that it would keep your attention? What would you actually need to go back to the same storyline week after week? This series of articles is an attempt to answer that question. There are certain gifts that a longer campaign gives, mostly in the form of more and more robust character and setting development. Growing attached to a character that you’ve seen grow and change over months and years is an amazing part of role-playing games, and at the same time seeing a setting really become familiar and ‘lived-in’ engenders a lot of affection for and attachment to the campaign. Getting there, though, can be tough, and it requires some long-term thinking and planning.

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Solitaire Storytelling: I Will Fill This Library Myself If I Have To

I’m the town’s new librarian, which also means I’m its only librarian. It’s a small town out in the middle of nowhere, known as little more than a good place to stop for a break when traveling back roads between the larger cities. Nice views, decent diner, ‘quaint’ town center. I moved here to get away and get some privacy for my own writing, and the fact that I’m an author is probably why I was offered the job in the first place. I accepted the offer because, well, a town without a library just isn’t right. I’m not sure what was in this space before I got it, but it should do. There are two sets of shelves built into the walls behind a small counter, and a small round table with two old wooden chairs between the counter and the windowfront. The town let me grab whatever space I needed, but support for actually filling the shelves doesn’t seem to be a thing. That’s alright.  I will fill this library myself if I have to.

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Alchemistresses Advance Review

One of my favorite things about the RPG hobby is that there’s a game for everything. Games which aim for very specific genres, designed by fans of those specific genres, are often incredible showcases of creativity and windows into the love that the designers have for their subjects. Recently, I had a chance to look at one such game, a window into the Magical Girl genre of anime called Alchemistresses. Alchemistresses casts players as high schoolers who begin to discover their link to a former life as a Mistress of one of the Five Elements (though here Mistress, like Magical Girl, is a job description, not a gender). As your campaign progresses through a season of your show, you must balance slice-of-life high school antics with your past life and the villains you must now face. Right now, though, the designers are embarking on a different sort of campaign: Alchemistresses is funding on Kickstarter.

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Crowdfunding Carnival: July, 2022

It’s July! The weather is hot, and the RPG crowdfunding is…at least a little air conditioned. It’s the month before GenCon, and that means all the big design houses have their sights elsewhere, at least for the most part. Even so, there are plenty of games around and even some worth throwing money towards!

Speaking of GenCon. The biggest crowdfunding-related news in the last month was Kickstarter’s announcement that ZineQuest 2023 would be held in February, even though ZineQuest 2022, moved to August at the beginning of this year, hasn’t even happened yet. I don’t exactly know why this announcement was made so early; if it has any effect it’s probably to take the wind out of the sails of the event that’s scheduled for next month. It is possible that pre-launch metrics aren’t looking pretty, or that the GenCon co-marketing opportunities that were purportedly the reason for the time switch in the first place didn’t materialize. No matter the reason, we’ll be here next month covering ZineQuest 2022, just like we have for the last few years.

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