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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Back very nearly 10 years ago when we released our first product, Last Rites of the Black Guard, one of the ways we distinguished ourselves from the crowd was by giving away MP3s that could be used by the GM as in-game sound effects. Those MP3s ended up being even more popular than we’d expected, a freebie that people still comment on today.

Now, with major revisions to Degrees of Horror behind us, we’re starting to talk about what we can do to support the GMs who want to run it. Pinebox stands among a minority of settings that take place in “modern times.” That gives us an advantage over fantasy or sci-fi settings– we can extend the setting out onto the web by giving you an ETU school website.

A few of you might remember that we started a website called The Raven’s Report shortly after we finished the first draft of Degrees of Horror. If you follow the link, you’ll see that ostensibly it’s a student-run e-zine based at ETU. Most articles are reported from the naive perspective of someone unbelieving in the occult, but you–the Pinebox insiders–can read between the lines and imagine the supernatural forces at play. Each article is, in essence, an adventure seed for an ETU campaign.

As revisions to Degrees of Horror dragged on, we put The Raven’s Report on pause so we could focus on polishing the game. Now with the heavy lifting behind us, we have the luxury of revisiting old haunts. We can resume The Raven’s Report, but as just one element in a whole university website. We can include Raven’s Report news items, a page on ETU history, a campus map, university merchandise from ball caps to coffee mugs, …and more.

It’s the “…and more” where you come in. We’d really like YOU, our Pinebox fans, to tell us what sort of things you’d like to see on an ETU website. We want to offer a site that our fans will actually use and enjoy. What sort of things would entice you to check out the site as either a player or a GM? What would keep you coming back more multiple times? If a part of the site were behind a paywall, what would sort of content would you consider valuable enough to pay for?

We would really, really appreciate your feedback. This would be a site FOR YOU, so we want to get it right! The best place to comment is on the Pinnacle forums but you’re also welcome to comment on our Facebook page or in the Savage Worlds fan community on G+.

New Year, New Adventures

-January 3rd, 2013

It’s traditional at the death of the old year to reflect on the past. For 12 to Midnight, 2012 can be summed up as the year we finished the revisions for Degrees of Horror AND the world didn’t end. I’d call that a pretty good year.

Now let’s look ahead.

I know y’all want to know when to expect Degrees of Horror. Before writing this I consulted my Magic 8-Ball and it said “Uncertain”. Publishing is a tricky business with a lot of moving parts, even more-so for RPGs which tend to be art-heavy. Publishers have to line up their books well in advance, creating an ever-shifting queue of projects that need editing, art, layout, marketing, and so on. Pinnacle undoubtedly has other games in the works ahead of ours, and they don’t pump books out a revolving door just to meet arbitrary sales quotas. It’s their dedication to quality that makes us so relaxed about having the book in their hands. So yes, the release date is “when it’s ready” and that’s totally cool.

Now that we have that out of the way, what ELSE should you expect from 12 to Midnight? Ed and I have brainstormed many ideas for Degrees of Horror extras- from EVPs to an ETU website. Once the game is released, we’ll see how much interest you have in those game-enhancing goodies. I know many, many people enjoyed the EVPs for Last Rites.

Those are just ideas though. What’s actually on paper is another Pinebox adventure called House on Dale Island. Ed calls it the his “Mt. Everest of haunted house adventures”. That game is completely written and I would expect it to be released a reasonable amount of time after Degrees of Horror.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Ed and I are also in the early stages of writing more Pinebox fiction. We’ve both been making notes and barring any unforeseen complications I’ll probably start my first new short story within the next week.

Beyond that we’ll write the things that you, our fans, want us to write. Please shout out and let us know what you want to see from Pinebox.

December Break

-December 19th, 2012

Just a quick note to let you know that I’m taking a break from the weekly posts through the remainder of the month. It’s a busy time of year, compounded by what seems to be an oncoming cold. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas filled with fun, laughter, and plenty of games! See you in January.

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Class Notes: The View from Here

-November 21st, 2012

There’s a lot I’d like to say right now, but the more time I spend blogging the less time I’m working on Degrees of Horror. Hopefully when it’s returned to Pinnacle I’ll be able to spend more time elaborating on the revision process. For now, I’m still shooting to finish up before the next Class Notes so I need to keep my nose to the grindstone.

The first 8 chapters are pretty much locked in. Ed is still working on the adventure generator, so I’ve skipped ahead to the next chapter– my old nemesis the Plot Points. The best I can say is that when I’m done with this chapter it’s a short downhill ride to the end of the book. For the plot points, my big focus is on slashing the word count and applying revisionist history to early adventures that bubbled up in later ones. In other words, making sure everything is consistent.

In other news, most of you have probably heard about Facebook’s throttling of Page exposure on your timeline. I read an interesting analysis by a social media company claiming that Page status updates that included a hyperlink were less likely to appear in your news feed than ones that didn’t. You’re probably aware that I post a link to every Class Notes on our Facebook page, but I also sometimes post updates that don’t make it here for one reason or another. Saturday I posted a note letting everyone know that I was shutting down our forums and encouraging everyone to post on the Pinnacle forums instead. I see that Saturday’s post (without a link) got twice the page views as the last Class Notes link. So if you’re reading this because you saw a note on Facebook telling you to come check it out, that’s why.