I have a confession to make: I’m a fan of vampires in fiction. I honestly think that they are an excellent concept in supernatural action and horror, largely due to much of their mythos having easy ties to profound themes such as seduction, addiction, lost innocence, alienation, and the loss of humanity. Toss in a large chunk of my formative years suffused with badass supernatural bloodsuckers brought to life in films such as Blade, Underworld, Interview with the Vampire, and Queen of the Damned (plus TV shows such as Buffy, Angel and Hellsing) and you get a player who, even now, gets giddy at the chance to play in a game with a vampire focus. So when I find out that the company that is both behind my favorite Powered by the Apocalypse game (Masks) and already knows how to do horror well (Bluebeard’s Bride) already has such a game on the shelf…well, I couldn’t stay away. Which is what has brought me to Undying by Magpie Games.
ENnie-Nominated Cannibal Halfling Gaming breaks out of the written word and invades the airwaves with Cannibal Halfling Radio!
That sound pretty fancy. Really, we just want to find our podcasting legs and talk about some games. Aaron, Jason, and Seamus talk about some CHG goings-ons, what they’ve been playing, and shine a spotlight on a malevolent haberdashery in Episode 1: Episode Zero.
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.
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.
I have a confession to make: I never got into professional wrestling. I seem to have completely missed the boat when it came to the days of Stone Cold Steve Austin, and my memories of Dwayne Johnson are all as an actor. So, in that vein, digging into luchador culture is like jumping straight to eight ounces of sweet black-tar heroin. It is with this proverbial drug trip that Sangre y Mascaras, the Powered by the Apocalypse homage to luchador movies, jumps into the action.
It’s that time of year again: Memorial Day has come and gone and school is out, or soon to be. Maybe you spent a bit too much preparing for a party, or have found yourself at loose ends with the changing of the seasons, or need to save up to be able to take that vacation you’re planning. For whatever reason, the idea of dropping a decent chunk of your paycheck on a new sourcebook is…well, not your top priority. Well, fear not, because we at Cannibal Halfling Gaming know what it’s like to be at loose ends. Let’s take a dive back into the vault for a cheaper, but no less entertaining find in a set of mechanics entitled “Knave”, a cheap, short, and easy to understand ruleset that allows GMs and players to convert nearly any OSR, and more importantly, multiple games into a single cohesive system.
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.
“Snowhaven has hosted a theocracy, two civil wars, a magi uprising, been partially burned to the ground, and had one small bout of cannibalism, yet still, she shambles on.” As opening lines to a setting book go, you can do a lot worse. I came across Snowhaven on Kickstarter a while back. The authors described it as “snowpunk”, a new genre they were trying to make stick. The way that the authors described it, they wanted to take the steampunk elements of technology and apply it to a fantasy setting, but also keep the sense of “grim isolation” that winter brings. Rather than having your standard bright, optimistic theme of “gaslamp fantasy”, the people of Snowhaven dwell in a brutally harsh cold water port, filled with intrigue between the noble houses and the Illuminate Church. Technology has not been soaring by leaps and bounds because of a new age of whimsy, discovery and exploration; it has advanced because it is the only way for them to survive (they weren’t kidding about the cannibalism thing).
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.
Maybe it’s because I’m in dire need of a fix before Episode IX is released, but I find myself drifting back to the end of The Last Jedi. I know that it’s a polarizing topic for a lot of fans, but I keep thinking of the possibilities and implications left by the ending. The interesting part is, going at the question of “How Do I Build a Campaign?”, previous Star Wars Meet the Campaigns have created a location and then built up hooks around it. This method doesn’t work as well for something as broad as the entire galaxy. It might be simpler to have a GM pick a planet and say “this is what is happening here”, but unless we are talking about a popular setting like Nar Shaddaa, a write up for places of interest is less useful because there is little to keep players there without railroading them.
So, after some thought, I’ve decided to try coming at this from the other direction: rather than picking a location and populating it with plot hooks, this Meet the Campaign is setting up themes and using bits and pieces from throughout the system in order to build a framework that spurs a wide background of characters into the action. Unlike the previous entries, this installment is system specific for Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPG, but the themes are universal (or galactic) enough to be transferred over. And just to be sure, as this takes place after the events of The Last Jedi, spoilers will abound, so consider yourself warned.