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Old 09-14-2007, 04:49 PM
MJ Harnish MJ Harnish is offline
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Growing up in Pinebox, TX

Hello all,
I recently had the good fortune of stumbling upon the 12 to Midnight products and after reading the info on Pinebox decided to use it as the basis for a contemporary supernatural campaign involving teens growing up in a small town. I'm running the game on a bi-weekly basis online using the Fantasy Grounds 2 software.

I started off with the Beast Within, though it's been modified to fit my campaign's teen theme not to mention personalize it for the PCs involved. I'm running the campaign structured like a TV series so each session takes the format of a single episode. Needless to say, my players love it and the games have been awesome. Two thumbs up for all of the 12 to Midnight products: I've picked up most of them since my first purchases and they're all awesome and well worth the $$$.

I'll post my play reports/episode summaries as they occur.
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:53 PM
MJ Harnish MJ Harnish is offline
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Episode 1: Lives Colliding


Episode 1 introduced 3 characters:

Bill Baxter - A 15-year-old budding high school football star and all-American boy. Bill is a good-looking, nice kid. He is a 10th grader at Pinebox High

Fritz Freleng - a 14-year-old very smart but socially awkward boy who is very concerned about looking cool. He is a 9th grader at Pinebox High, but takes a # of 10th grade classes (math and science).

Marina - a pretty, 16-year-old new-age hippie. Marina is a bit of a space cadet with some emotional baggage she's still dealing with. She is a 10th grader at Pinebox High.


The opening scene had Bill returning home late one August night from a football scrimmage with Coach Davis. The two make their way along US Highway 96 back towards the town of Pinebox, TX. Suddenly something appears from the side of the road and despite Coach Davis's quick reaction, they clip the tail end of the object and go spinning out of control and into a ditch. When they climb out of the car, they discover the object was a red van which has slammed in to a tree. Bill, unhurt, runs see if the driver is ok while Coach Davis calls the police. Bill discovers the body of a teen-age boy, thrown from the car, who has suffered massive injuries and died. A few moments later a second van emerges from the same side road the original pulled out of and speeds off without stopping to help. A few tense minutes later a deputy pulls up and starts taking statements and photographing the scene. The scene comes to a head when a sergeant from the local police shows up and takes control of the situation, arresting Coach Davis on what seems a long list of rather outrageous charges. Bill is given a ride home but not before learning the identity of the driver: A sophomore at Eastern State University named Boris Freleng.

Our next scene introduces young Fritz Freleng who is waking up on a sunny Saturday morning. Mom and dad are already downstairs having breakfast. After some banter the doorbell rings and Fritz goes to answer the door. There he finds a police officer who asks to see his parents. The police officer is there to inform the Frelengs that their oldest son Boris was killed the previous night in a car accident on US Highway 96. Much hysteria follows during which it's revealed that Boris didn't own a car and would have had no reason to be out on 96 that night.

Meanwhile Marina wakes up to discover a police cruiser parked in front of her next door neighbor's house. Her Aunt, the local gossip, shoves the girl out the door to go find out what's going on. Marina finds out little and returns home but a few hours later wanders back outside where she runs into Bill Baxter who is just showing up at the Frelengs' to tell them that the events of the previous night are rather suspicious. The two high school sophomores, who know each but whom travel in different circles, end up ringing the doorbell and after some confusion coax young Fritz out on the porch. There the three discover a plain manila envelope lying at the foot of the door.

Fade to credits

Last edited by MJ Harnish; 09-14-2007 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:58 PM
MJ Harnish MJ Harnish is offline
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Episode 2: The Investigation

Episode 2 introduced 2 new characters over its course:
* Jimmy Newbury - a poor kid who is obsessed with riding bikes, makes money delivering papers, and who is practically fearless when it comes to taking risks. He's 15 and in the same class as Marina and Bill.

* Thomas Daffern - a 24-year-old graduate student studying at East Texas University. He's from the U.K. and making ends meet by working as a Resident Advisor in Norris Hall at ETU.


The episode opened with Fritz, Bill, and Marina still standing on Fritz's front porch, the mysterious manila envelope in Bill's hands. Inside are photocopies of the accident report from the night before along with some notes about what was found in a nearby clearing. Fritz tries to give the envelope to his dad but the man is too preoccupied with dealing with Boris's death. Fritz too succumbs to the stress and flees the scene, leaving Bill & Marina standing out on the porch with the envelope.

The two decide to head off to the local 7-11 and talk about what to do next: Bill still wants to clear Coach Davis and Marina.... well no one, including Marina herself, can figure out what Marina wants. At the 7-11 they run into Jimmy Newbury, a fellow classmate, newspaper delivery boy, and local daredevil. The three start discussing the accident (which has made the front page news) and they decide to borrow Bill's mom's car and check out the accident site themselves.

A short drive later finds our intrepid investigators combing the sides of the road as well as the underbrush of a nearby clearing. Jimmy proves useful when he stumbled upon an area of beaten down grass, blood spattering and torn earth suggesting some sort of struggle. Even more telling is the smashed camera he finds which has the initials "B.F" scratched into the casing.

On the way back to town the group stops at E.T.U. and Marina uses her feminine wiles to talk the R.A., a British grad student named Thomas Daffern, in to letting the group into Boris's dorm room. They go on to convince Thomas to help them out (he seems to be rather smitten with Marina despite the fact that she's 8 years younger than him). Searching through the room they find some hacker journals detailing Boris's less than legal activities as well as some pay stubs to "MasterGene Biotechnology, Inc." Thomas responds to a phone call from the head of university housing telling him that a police sergeant is on his way and he should be let into Boris Freleng's room. The group quickly vacates the room and hides from the police officer who turns out to be the same one who arrested Coach Davis. The episode ends with them looking through the peephole of Thomas's dorm door as Sergeant Cavanaugh leaves Boris's room and heads off with a box under his arm.

Fade to credits
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:11 PM
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Fantastic! It is awesome hearing about such a great use for Pinebox. Please keep reporting back on your progress, and let us know if you have any questions about Pinebox!
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:07 AM
MJ Harnish MJ Harnish is offline
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I really love Pinebox because its simplicity and contemporary setting lets players use their own knowledge to enhance the game rather than me, as the GM, having to constantly explain details about the setting to flesh it out. A good example was the run in with Thomas, the Resident Advisor. I set him up as the RA and then did not even have to introduce him into the story because the characters sought out the dorm's RA to see if he/she would let them into the room. Thus a new PC was introduced completely naturally and seamlessly. I couldn't have planned it out better myself.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:11 PM
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Wow! This is great! it sounds like you have let the players run the story to some extent, which is a style that I love. I can't wait to hear how the story shakes out!
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Old 09-21-2007, 03:13 PM
MJ Harnish MJ Harnish is offline
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Indeed: I am a very big fan of "free form plots" where you have an overall story arc and some NPCs with various motivations but where you let the players largely dictate the details. It sounds very odd that I let the players come up with the solution to mysteries (e.g., I often let them come up with whodunit based on their own logic) but in a game format it works beautifully because you never have to railroad the players or worry about them going off in the wrong direction. That doesn't mean you can't use a red herring or two but it prevents them from completely derailing the story. In addition, often the players come up with much more interesting storylines than what I originally envisioned.

All that said, I really can't express how satisfying I find using The Beast Within as the basis of the adventure: It simply works incredibly well and my players love how things are shaping up.

P.S. - The episodic nature of the game is also a big hit.
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Old 09-30-2007, 02:44 AM
MJ Harnish MJ Harnish is offline
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Episode 3: Heart of Darkness

The episode opens where Episode 2 left off: In Thomas Daffern's dorm room. The group contemplates what to do next. Jimmy calls in a favor from a teenage hacker named Herman who meets the group at ETU's library and proceeds to hack in to Boris's IMac. Searching through the laptop's files, Thomas and Jimmy come up with some suspicious information involving Boris's employment with a local research firm known as MasterGene Biotechnology. Apparently Boris had been working as an intern for MG Biotech during which he had hacked in to the firm's servers, uncovering some disturbing information although the nature of the findings were not elaborated upon in the files. A visit to the internet, turns up MasterGene's website, finding out some basic information about the firm and its CEO, Dr. Philip Perry. Apparently Dr. Perry is a bit of a wunderkind, having earned PhD's in both biology and chemistry from CalTech and having headed up a Biotechnology division at Glaxo-Smith-Kline. MasterGene Biotechnology, Dr. Perry's own start-up company, is only about 5-years-old and specializes in genetic engineering, apparently working on designing both specialized food crops as well as medical treatments. The scene fades out as the group leaves the library and heads home.

We return from a commercial break to find it's Sunday afternoon, and Bill and Jimmy are talking at the 7-11. Thomas drives up in a beat up, '77 Cooper Mini. Marina is missing, having phoned Jimmy to tell him that her aunt was insisting that she go to church and then help do the housework. Now down to three, the boys pile into Thomas's car and drive out to MasterGene's campus which is located about 10 miles outside of town. The trio pulls up and decides to pose as a professor of philosophy (Thomas) who is bringing his two prize students out to visit a place that represents a central element in their discussion of ethics. The ploy seems to work as the group is told that Dr. Perry is willing to give them a personalized tour of the facility. Dr. Perry turns out to be a vigorous, overly animated, and rather talkative man in his early thirties who is convinced that genetic engineering is the key to saving the human race. After a tour of both the crop tents and many of the offices, Perry leads them to his office and offers to give the group of tour of his private laboratory where they can see his most recent discovery. Although quite wary, the group agrees and heads into the decontamination room where they done protective masks (vs. the UV light used): Moments later they hear a hiss of rushing air and suddenly each slumps to the ground as consciousness slips away. Bill's final thought before all goes black is the realization that Dr. Perry knew his name despite the fact that Bill had never introduced himself.

Fade to Credits
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:07 PM
MJ Harnish MJ Harnish is offline
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Episode 4: The Beast Within (part 1)

This was the first of a two-part episode.

It opens with the group regaining consciousness, where they find themselves bound and gagged on hospital gurneys. Each also has an IV in their arm. Dr. Perry suddenly appears and during a long monologue explains that the three boys were about to make history: Perry claims to have made great strides in genetic engineering and is bent on "improving" the human race. Perry begins to whistle cheerfully as he fills a syringe with a cloudy liquid and then injects it into a port on each boy's IV bag. Perry goes on to explain that he's been in need of some diversity in my test subjects having been restricted to using illegal Mexican immigrants up to this point. Finally, he reveals that once the results of the current study are over and he is no longer in need of his subjects that he will use an antidote virus, matched to each of the boy's current DNA to return their corpses to their original forms, after which they will "suffer" a tragic accident on US 96 much like Boris Freleng did. The scene fades as the group slips into unconsciousness once again.

Our next scene has Bill coming back around. However, he finds himself and the others greatly changed: Each has been transformed in to a hideous monster.

Bill has grown absolutely huge, well over 75 kgs heavier than he was due to a huge increase in his muscle mass - his arms are now bigger than the average man's thigh! However, his muscles are so overdeveloped that he has trouble moving and he can't even cross your arms any longer. His entire body is bulging and rippled in a grotesque way, his veins popping out, giving him a bluish, marbled look.

Jimmy finds that his body has become emaciated and skeleton-like. His nerve paths and tendons stand out as bulging blue and red cords under his skin, tracing odd spider web-like patterns all over his body and creating bizarre patterns on his skull like face. His reaction speed and agility have increased exponentially but so has his sensitivity to pain.

Tom's body has taken on a barrel-shaped torso with spindly limbs. His skin is denser and rubbery with a pallid, white color. He looks very much like a bloated corpse. According to a monitor he's hooked up to, his heart rate has dropped to less than 10 beats per minute, his body temperature is only just over 20 degrees Celsius, and his respiratory rate is only 4 breaths per minute.

The three, still struggling with their hideous, deformed bodies also discovered four additional prisoners, all Mexicans, who are terrified of the three hideous creatures in their room. Luckily, Bill put three years of Spanish to good use and calmed the group down. He goes on to discover the four were siblings (3 brothers and a sister), who are all illegal immigrants, have been sold to Dr. Perry by a coyote they had paid to help them sneak across the border. The scene closes with the group, now seven in number, deciding to break out of the laboratory.

*Commercial Break

The next scene opens with Bill and Jimmy prying the locked door to their room open with an improvised crowbar. The group finds a deserted hallway beyond but that soon discover that escape may not be easy to as they hoped. A battle between the three "mutants" and a pair of creatures follows: One creatures that appears to be some sort of mix between a gorilla and a man, and the other a tiger/man hybrid. The three heroes make short work of their attackers after Jimmy smashes the gorilla-man over the head with an improvised club after Thomas knocks it off its feet with a body block. Bill then intimidates the tiger-man back into a room where they lock it in. Further exploration turns up a several booby traps, hinting that Dr. Perry might be toying with his prisoners. Part 1 ends with the discovery of a walk-in freezer filled with body bags, one of which contains the bullet-riddled body of Deputy Richards.

Fade to Credits

Last edited by MJ Harnish; 10-15-2007 at 01:29 PM.
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