Class Notes: Reasons Why

-February 20th, 2013

I’ve been sharing the ups and downs of Degrees of Horror development for a long time now, but for the most part I’ve tried to avoid game “spoilers”. That’s driven by two things. First, I hate spoilers myself–let me just jump in a enjoy an experience “in the moment” without preconceptions. The other thing? I also hate overblown hype and being bombarded with daily updates that try to inflate minutia. That’s why I purposefully limit the Class Notes column to once a week. I’m treating you the way I want to be treated.

Put those two things together…and I’m probably in the wrong business. Self-promotion just doesn’t come naturally, but like it or not having spent 5 years making a game now my job is explaining why you should play it once it’s released. Here’s the thing–you can’t work on something for five years unless you love it. Sure there were times when Ed and I got burnt out, but every time we came back to the manuscript we fell in love with ETU all over again. We wrote Degrees of Horror to be the game we’d love to play. Here are just a few reasons why:

It’s Relatable: Many of you are either in college or have been in college, so pulling from those experiences when you play is second nature. Even if you haven’t been to college, it’s relatable simply by virtue of being set in our present-day world. Contrasted to a fantasy or sci-fi game, Degrees of Horror feels immediate and instantly engaging.

It’s Heroic: But not in a hack-and-slash way. You don’t play superheroes, adventuring knights, or space rangers. You play regular people. Your special-ness doesn’t come from birth or occupation, but from your choice to stand up to the darkness that so many of your classmates willfully ignore.

It’s Challenging: In a way, the present-day setting itself is an opponent. Characters have to obey the law (or at least avoid getting caught) or they risk the very real possibility of arrest and jail time. You won’t be walking across campus with a shotgun or attacking a doppelganger in the street–not if you want to avoid a trip to prison. Degrees of Horror requires characters to be not only brave, but also crafty and stealthy. Prepare the ritual, then lure the doppelganger into your dorm room.

It’s Scary: Dating. Demons. Parties. Poltergeists. Majors. Magic. Sports. Seances. Exams. Exorcisms. Being grounded in the “real world” somehow makes the unexpected and unnatural much more disturbing. Just because your characters are heroes doesn’t mean that they’re going to walk through this experience unscathed. The Guts skill is mighty important. They will know fear and you may very well know fear, too.

That’s Degrees of Horror in general terms. Next week I’ll pick out some specific examples of “cool bits”. I’m always looking for feedback on these Class Notes (or anything else), so please shout out on the Pinnacle Forums, our page on Facebook, or Google + Savage Worlds community. As always, if you have any Class Notes requests please let me know. As mentioned, I’m not good at self-promotion so Tuesday nights I’m usually struggling for ideas!

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