ETU News

-March 25th, 2014

Out of necessity, we haven’t been posting updates on how things are going with ETU. I know from the outside that it might look dead in the water but I promise you under the surface those duck feet are paddling like crazy. We will have news for you soon. Cross my heart and hope to…tell you soon.


That is, if your city is near Indianapolis (mine sure isn’t) and “soon” means August. Yours truly (Preston) will be making my first trip to  GenCon this year. Needless to say I’m really excited and I’d love to meet as many 12 to Midnight fans as possible. I’m running three games (Brainwashed, Chickens in the Mist, and Sorority Secret) and to my surprise all three have filled. I’ve tried to leave enough time in my schedule to hang out, try some games myself, and maybe run a pickup game here or there if plied with sufficient incentive. If you’d like to meet up, have a beer, or just put a face to a name (you’re not missing much– just imagine Brad Pitt and we’ll both be happier) shoot me an email and we’ll work something out. In person I’m an introvert so unfortunately I can’t promise scintillating conversation, but I’ll do my best! Probably the best way to find me will be by stopping by the Studio 2 booth, where I’ll check in multiple times a day.

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Class Notes: What Next?

-March 20th, 2013

Last year the weekly Class Notes column served as a Degrees of Horror progress journal. Once we returned the manuscript to Pinnacle I shifted gears and wrote about the kinds of things you could expect in the book once it’s released. I wrote about Archetypes, the Fear system, capturing the fun parts of campus life in a game, your foes, and magic.

Today I want start a conversation about what comes next. If you’ll remember, I hinted at other projects at the beginning of the year and later I dedicated a column to the ETU website. In even more broad terms though, Ed and I both want to know what you would like to see from us next. Just as a recap, we at 12 to Midnight have talked about:

  • A collection of short stories inspired by Degrees of Horror.
  • An ETU website with campus news, a faculty directory, police reports, map, plus the ability to buy ETU paraphernalia
  • More ETU shorts: one-sheet/Savage Tales available for purchase individually or bundled
  • New long-form Pinebox adventures (40-50 pages)
  • Multimedia enhancements to Degrees of Horror Savage Tales: sound files of voice mail messages and EVPs found in game.

That’s pretty much the list. Now we’d really like to hear from you. Out of the above list what would you most like to see? Which ones are you willing to part with your hard-earned cash to get? As I’ve mentioned before, Ed and I both have full-time jobs and families so we want to make the best use of our limited free time for creativity. Please give us your opinion about what you most want to see next in the Pinnacle forums, on Facebook, or the unofficial Savage Worlds G+ community.

Unless someone suggests a topic they want me to elaborate upon, Class Notes will probably go on hiatus until the book hits a milestone we can report upon. Instead, beginning next week I’ll resume the Campus Tour column that ran briefly last year. Come back next week for stories about the dangerous, mysterious, and just plain weird people and places of East Texas University.


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Class Notes: More Cool Bits

-March 6th, 2013

Last week I wrote about how much fun you can have using a college campus as a modern game setting. It offers tons of roleplay hooks and it sets the stage as a compilation of all those exciting things you daydreamed about happening in class when you were supposed to be taking notes. If you missed the post, go back and give it a read. I’ll wait.

Okay, last week we talked about setting, this week let’s talk antagonists–in particular, let’s talk horror. Of course you GMs know that any setting can be customized to suit any purpose, but we’re all about the supernatural antagonists in Degrees of Horror. (Hopefully the name gave it away.) Those of you who are familiar with Pinebox have probably already experienced out-of-control science, ghosts, cultists, shamans, and more. We’ve kept that same variety in this game, so whether you’re into voodoo curses, undead stalkers, science gone wrong, demonic monsters, or menacing spirits you’ll find something to keep you awake at night. 

Speaking of antagonists, one development during the writing of Degrees of Horror was the publication of the Horror Companion. We tried to keep overlap between Degrees of Horror and the Horror Companion (and for that matter the Savage Worlds rule book) to a minimum. Why include vampire or zombie stats when you’ve already got ‘em? The overlap that exists does so because we’ve put our own spin on the creature.

In particular, for ghosts and demons we took a mix-and-match approach that offers a base Monstrous Ability followed by a grab bag of additional abilities.*  That gives you tremendous flexibility in creating ghosts or demons with a variety of appearances and abilities. Of course, you might not have the time or desire to make your own creature. That’s why we also included a number of ready-made ghosts or demons that you can drop into your game as-is.

Since ghost-hunting is a significant part of the Pinebox mythos, we also include rules on conducting a ghost-hunting, seances, and dealing with spirit possessions. Let that sink in for a moment.

We devoted a section to spirit possessions and exorcisms.

Picture this: You and your friends arrive at the office of a degree adviser whom you think was sent a cursed yearbook. The adviser acts strangely and you see that you were too late– the yearbook is open on his desk! While you keep the conversation going and distract him, your friend edges close enough to “lay on hands” and cast out the evil spirit. The adviser shudders and collapses into unconsciousness. Your friend looks exhausted, but your step forward to help turns into a stumble. A suffocating pressure squeezes against your thoughts…

As in any horror game, your group sets the tone. We wrote Degrees of Horror so that you can make it an exercise in butt-kicking monster slaying, a terrifying gauntlet of survival, or somewhere in between. 

That’s it for this week. I hope you’re getting ideas for your own Degrees of Horror campaign. As always, please let me know if you have questions or if there’s something you want me to cover in an upcoming Class Notes. I’m always looking for new ideas. Thanks!


* I’ve mentioned this before but it always bears repeating. Just because Ed and I wrote it doesn’t mean that it’ll end up in the finished version. Sometimes things have to get cut for space reasons. I could see our build-a-monster sections being sacrificed to the elder page-count gods. If something gets cut for space reasons (as opposed to boneheaded mechanics) then we’ll probably put it in a future supplement or just make it available online.

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Sinister Secrets

-January 30th, 2013

Before we get into this week’s news, I wanted to thank everyone for their input on last week’s post about the an ETU website. If you haven’t spoken up it’s certainly not too late, feel free to jump on the Pinnacle forums and share your ideas!

Speaking of things seen on Pinnacle’s website, have you read this week’s update? As part of a much bigger initiative, we are contributing a Degrees of Horror convention one-sheet called Sorority Secret, described thusly:

Luke is a guy who has everything going for him—good looks, good grades at ETU, and you as his friends! That makes his abrupt disappearance all the more perplexing. You’ve been following his last known whereabouts and the trail goes cold at a prestigious sorority house on Pinebox’s “Greek Row”. Is there a reasonable explanation, or is the truth something more sinister?

Needless to say, we’re excited to be able to give our fans some time at ETU. Pinnacle wisely never announces release dates until books are practically ready to ship, so this is one way we can guarantee a fun, frightening Degrees of Horror adventure in advance, if only for a convention slot. In addition to the one-sheet, we’ll also  provide a collection of pre-generated characters so you can make the most of the time in your convention game slot.

Although we really hope you’ll sign up convention slots to run Sorority Secret, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention our most popular convention game of all time- Chickens in the Mist. If you’ve never played this game, you’re in for a huge treat. If you have, then there’s little need for the reminder– it’s unforgettable fun! We’ve also had GMs run Last Rites in a four hour convention slot, although I’ve heard that it can be somewhat rushed. No matter what you run, we are always flattered and humbled when you choose a 12 to Midnight adventure. If you DO run one of our games, please let us know either in the forums or even in an e-mail.

We hope you are as excited as us about Sorority Secret. While I don’t have an official street date for download, it’s safe to say “relatively soon” and certainly well in advance of Origins.

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