Tag Archives: Opinion

LUMEN Review – An SRD For The Quick And Powerful

Sometimes you just want a game where the characters are just awesome. So powerful that death is just a speed bump, so badass that there’s almost nothing they can’t do if they play to their strengths, so deadly that enemies aren’t just opponents, they’re walking health and ammo packs. If this is sounding like a couple of video games you know, you’re not wrong, but this is still a tabletop roleplaying game article. Instead of talking about a singular game, though, today I’m looking at a system used to build them, the LUMEN SRD from Spencer Campbell!

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Loot The Body: Hex Volume 1 – Music Review

Recounting the deeds of an evil wizard over metal riffage and proggy synths. A fuzz-laden journey into the sanctuary of snake worshippers, A trippy story of haunted nobles hiding a dark secret. A cautionary tale that pits a demi-lich against grave robbers. Goth rock through the halls of Castle Ravenloft. An Americana-tinged ode to a remote beacon of civilization. A campaign with an all-bard party going on various famous adventures? Well, possibly, it’s not a bad idea, but not quite. If you like Dungeons and Dragons and/or rocking out, you’ll want to give a listen to Hex Volume 1 from Loot the Body!

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Solitaire Storytelling: Cryptid Apothecary

The pomegranate seeds have been weighed, the ectoplasm has been deep-fried, and the bezoar has been taken out to sit at room temperature. The dream sand has been powdered, the tannis root is in the ice box, and last night’s gambling winnings are set aside. Yesterday I took care of a mothman whose own shadow had become solid and started causing trouble, and a buru who had an odd fixation on pursuing a literature degree. I wonder who I’ll see this time?

It’s another day behind the counter for a Cryptid Apothecary.

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The Trouble With Finding New Systems

Your campaign is ending. It’s been a good time but the story is coming to an end, and your players are looking to the next big adventure. You want to switch it up, and they’re on board. What do you do?

There’s a whole lot of game systems out there, and you probably could run a fun game with any of them. That said, you’re not picking a system because it meets the low bar of “could be fun”. You want a system that will make your game better because it’s there, either because it makes it easier to have fun or it helps you do a fun thing you wouldn’t otherwise be able to or would have thought to do.

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Weekend Update: 6/5/2021

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 6/5/2021

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

Top News Stories

Marvel to release new TTRPG: Marvel is planning to release a new TTRPG in 2022, built on the cheekily-named D616 system. Attached to the project is known quantity Matt Forbeck, though it’s likely a whole slate of artists and designers will end up working on the game between now and release. What’s most interesting about this, and somewhat understated in the press release, is that Marvel has not licensed their IP to an existing studio, rather the game is being developed in-house. This makes sense when you consider that the previous Marvel game, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, was killed in part due to licensing concerns, which bringing development inhouse sidesteps. There’s another interesting consequence, though. Marvel Entertainment, albeit not the part of the Big Mouse where all the movie money goes, will become the only true RPG competitor, size and revenue-wise, to Wizards of the Coast. Corporate war brewing? You know I love to see it.

TTRPG Charity Bundle for Trans Support on itch.io: Running the length of the U.S.A.’s Pride Month, this bundle of tabletop roleplaying games is raising money for two different organizations that work to support and uplift transgender people. UK-based Mermaids provides support to children and young people, while the US-based Transgender Law Center “advocates for trans rights in law, policy, and individual attitudes”. As of this writing the Bundle has 75 items by 46 creators ranging from Pathfinder supplements to solo journaling games, from Troika! on the moon to a Witcher hack of Honey Heist, all for $20.00 (compared to the $352.00 it would cost to get all this usually). Also as of this writing, the Bundle has blown past its original goal of $5,000 and is barreling towards the new one for $10,000.

Discussion of the Week

What overused trope in RPGs do you still enjoy no matter what? Ultimately, GMs are players too and GMs need to have fun. Over on Reddit’s r/RPG, there was a lively and highly upvoted discussion on tropes and cliches that might elicit some eye-rolls, but can still be tons of fun.

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

Hard Wired Island Review – Hard Luck Cyberpunks at Lagrange 5

“In the distant future of 2020, humanity has spread to space. A meteorite struck Earth’s northern hemisphere in 1996. The Impact caused widespread environmental damage that humanity has yet to fully recover from, but it supercharged public interest in space exploration. Around the world, new political unions began pouring money into space programs. The result is Grand Cross, an O’Neill cylinder in the Earth–Moon L5 point. It’s Earth’s gateway to the stars, a launching point for missions to Mars and beyond, and a beacon of hope for its people — but it’s in crisis.

An alliance of space-based corporations known as the Offworld Cartel has moved in. While they sell space exploration as a shared dream they strive for along with everyone else, their true aim is control of Grand Cross and, through it, the future of space settlement. As their influence spreads, so does inequality and crime. The Cartel has convinced the current government to privatize many of the systems that keep Grand Cross running, and the station is slowly falling apart. Behind the scenes, they have even more underhanded schemes running in secret. If the next election favors the Cartel, they’ll be on their way to becoming the landlords of human space.”

This is the retrofuture cyberpunk game of people fighting the unchecked greed of corporations, technocrats, and worse to save their orbital communities, Hard Wired Island by Paul “Ettin” Matijevic and Freyja Katra Erlingsdóttir!

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Kickstarter Wonk: June, 2021

Welcome to June! 2021 is heating up, at least if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, but in the RPG space it’s heating up all over! I had way more than 10 games to read this month, and several I had to check out less than 24 hours before this went live! Designers are wild out here! These ten games represent a potent intersection of design, marketing, and yes, hype, on Kickstarter, and there’s no better way to start your hot nerd summer than by checking them out.

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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.

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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.

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