You have a great idea for a new campaign. You explain it to your group, and everyone’s on board. Session Zero goes great, it seems like everyone has made interesting characters and is totally bought in to the premise. Then you start playing. For whatever reason, things just aren’t hitting the same way that everyone thought. Then comes the big inciting action. This will drive everyone to really dive in, right? Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe everyone’s looking across the table awkwardly. Maybe someone gets upset, maybe not. Whatever happened, the game blew up, and now it’s time to pick up the pieces.
When most of the hobby assumes that you’ll pick one game and play it forever, there’s not a lot said about the risks of trying something new. Even among those inveterate RPG collectors with four dozen different systems in their bookshelf, there were never that many games that were really *out there* until recently…and even now, the vast majority of games sold hew to a common template. So, when the range of experiences and expectations is fairly narrow, you have to be prepared for what happens when you step outside of those experiences and expectations and something unpleasant happens.
Continue reading When The Game Blows Up
Welcome to the Level One Wonk Holiday Special for 2021! My traditional retrospective for the year in gaming, this Holiday Special has some extra meaning for me because of the time. Cannibal Halfling Gaming kicked off in December of 2016, making this my fifth year here out in the internet. Five years of ups and downs have seen this site go from me and Seamus writing about whatever RPG topics came off the tops of our heads to…well, me and Seamus writing about whatever RPG topics come off the tops of our heads. Though now there’s a podcast. And people send us review copies. And some even pay us!
Though we’ve been having a wild ride behind the scenes of the site, most everyone has been having a wild ride with world events as well. While we had a bit of the ‘hot pandemic summer’ I alluded to in one of our podcast episodes, much of the hope did not last, and we’re now back again in our houses and apartments, hoping more of our fellow humans get the message. But while we can’t control human nature and we certainly can’t control COVID, we can at least get some writing and gaming done.
Continue reading Level One Wonk Holiday Special: 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 8/28/2021
- Legend of the Five Rings: Fields of Victory
- Alien RPG Colonial Marines Operations Manual
- Fallout the RPG Core Rulebook
- Esper Genesis 5E Master Technician’s Guide
Top News Stories
Not much going on on the RPG front! Stay healthy everyone, mask up in crowds, and play some games.
Discussion of the Week
GM Experience should not be quantified simply by length of time: An interesting discussion about how to compare and assess GMing ability. No conclusion is reached, but a lot of intriguing questions are asked. Does it matter how many games you run? Should you consider the trends in the hobby when you started? Does depth or breadth make for a better GM? Worth a read.
Have any RPG news leads or scoops? Get in touch! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Twitter via @HungryHalfling.
When I first came out, it was a strange time. I had to cope and come to terms with a great many things. Some of them very good. “I can finally wear the clothes I want to.” “People calling me she and her is AWESOME!” “I can be me.” Some of them less so. “God, I was a real little shit before this wasn’t I?” “I can’t tell this person yet. Don’t know how they’ll react.” “How long before I can start hormones?” All in all, it was a wild time. And while things have calmed for me and my transition at this point, there is always one thing that weighs above all else in trials I may never come to terms with.
I never got to grow up as a girl.
I’ve heard it called “The Youth that could have been” from other trans folks who came out older like I did. It happens to quite a few people who have experienced trouble or different from the average childhood. It’s one where you’re constantly thinking about things could have been, How they should have been. It’s one of wondering of “what-ifs” and “why couldn’t it haves”. It sucks. Royally. You look for any out or avenue to get away from the pain of it. From the constant imagination of the childhood you never got to have. That imagination tends to go wild and overpowering.
But. You know what else requires a good imagination? You guessed it: roleplaying games.
Continue reading Seeing Yourself In Gaming: The Power Of Trans Player Characters
Well, it was quite an eventful ENnie season this year! Our site had the honor to be nominated, even if we didn’t win (there is still a continual “what?” on loop that we even got considered). The hard work and dedication of the judges is wonderful, serving not only to excite us when we rediscover something that had been previously reviewed, but also offering us the opportunity of new things to explore. It was partially through ENnie nominations that Bargain Bin Gaming began, and this year I had planned to do another set of quick summaries of each of the items in the category of Best Free Product.
And then I started by taking a look at Ironsworn and I found myself unable to do it justice with a simple summary.
Continue reading Bargain Bin Gaming: Ironsworn (ENnie Gold Winner!)
As the doors of Halcyon City High School #5’s auditorium blasted inwards in a ball of fire and debris to interrupt the semi-formal dance, three things happened in rapid succession. First, the majority of the students present began to scream in panic and terror. Second, Gil and the Hemophiliac each separately took one look at the explosion and grabbed their dates, rushing Emma and the Sea Tarantula out a back door to safety. Third, the Lawman stood up from where he’d been knocked to the floor, drawing his revolver. Fanning the hammer he sent a hail of bullets through the smoke and dust . . . but there was an answering chatter of automatic fire. The revolver clattered to the floor as the Lawman went down, lost in the smoke and debris. The only active adult superhero and A.E.G.I.S. agent present was out for the count, maybe even dead. It looked like the younger breed of heroes were going to have to step up.
Continue reading Adventure Log: Masks: High Impact Heroics Pt. 6
You had heard the whispers for a long time: someone up high was on the take, and people who stepped out of line had a habit of vanishing. The town had been a hive of villainy long enough, what was a couple more people on the take…but things got stranger. There was a buzz on the street and strange rumors: people vanishing and returning a bit off, politicians showing up dead and eaten from the inside out. But it was none of your business until she walked in…she had legs for days, just not in the way you thought…and her idea of biting your head off turned a bit too literal for your taste. Before, you might have chalked it up to a bad client, but now…now you’re in too deep and if you’re not careful, you’ll be left as just a shell, a reminder of your former self, an . . . Exuviae.
Continue reading The Independents: Exuviae: Relics of House Dragonfly
Has your monster killing gotten into a rut? Oh sure, it was exciting the first time that the vampire raided the school dance, or when an accident with a magical artifact would summon a new type of creature each week to terrorize the town (though, strangely enough, it would always seem to stop between May and early-September). But when it’s happened week after week after week, the monsters themselves might get a little…stale. Maybe it’s time to stop the pure slayage, and chase some mysteries. After all, not every problem can be solved by hitting hard until dead: there are strange events possibly caused by innocent or well-intentioned mundane actions, or perhaps you are getting the first glimpse of a conspiracy, one that would take nine months or so to wrap up. It’s just the thing to brighten up events around the school library, FBI headquarters, or MIT lab.
Continue reading Monster of the Week: Tome of Mysteries Review
In general, among the writers here at Cannibal Halfling Games, we are attracted to the things that we write about for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s because it is something at the cutting edge of mechanical development. Sometimes, it’s excitement at projects to come. Other times, it’s remembering a forgotten project that could use a bit more love. And, once in a while, we see something that makes us snort with laughter and say “Oh, I have to see that!” It was the final of these that had me take a look at the recent supplement for the Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight Games, Allies and Adversaries.
Continue reading Star Wars RPG: Allies and Adversaries Review
A few days ago we here at CHG were surprised to discover that we had been awarded a free copy of a Changeling: The Lost sourcebook from the Storytellers Vault by the name of Venice Unmasked, written by Christopher Handley. So, keeping in mind what I had learned from the new edition (or perhaps, completely forgetting it and getting swept up by a True Fae), I decided to take a look. But perhaps, I am getting ahead of myself: what is the Storytellers Vault? I had never heard of it before.
Continue reading Changeling: The Lost- Venice Unmasked