12 to Midnight, Games

Behind the Curtain: ETU alpha preview

07.26.07 | 2 Comments

Every once in a while I try to post something about what’s going on with 12 to Midnight, since I know some of you visit the site or subscribe to the feed specifically for that purpose. I’m going to try to do a better job of giving you the publisher notebook view of what it’s like to both design tabletop games and run a micro publishing company.

For Origins I wrote a scenario initially called Hell Night but renamed Sweat Lodge. This is the first adventure in a campaign we’re calling ETU: Degrees of Horror. (All of these names may change by the time this project is published.) ETU stands for East Texas University, and is a fictional university set in our fictional rural town of Pinebox, Texas. The campaign takes characters as entering freshman and runs all the way through graduation. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Cthulhu.

Thus far, our work on ETU has been done during those empty periods while we were working on other projects. We STILL have three or four written projects just waiting for their turn in the editorial cycle, so it has been hard to justify putting those aside to work on ETU. The problem is that ETU is darn fun to work on, partially because it’s the culmination of four years of development in our Pinebox campaign setting. It is a game that is very easy to get excited about, and writing for it just doesn’t feel like work. We have to constantly put the brakes on ourselves so we stay focused on our more immediate production tasks. Still, over the Spring I fleshed out the character creation rules and worked on adding flourishes that really made it feel like a game set in a college campus.

As I was saying, we made the decision to preview it at Origins even though a LOT of development work still remains to be done. Our original goal was to show off all the fun flourishes of character creation, then flow right into a demo game. Unfortunately we had to cut the character creation portion and jump straight into the adventure using pre-generated characters. So in the end the only part we showed off at Origins was the adventure I wrote over the course of about two or three days. Oh, we also got to show off the ETU character sheet I created in InDesign. It’s designed to look like a scantron. The end result at Origins–including the introduction of the school fight song–was very popular and now we’re even more excited about working on ETU in earnest.

Ed has developed additional ETU random adventure generator tables and some Midnight Tales for use in a home game he recently ran. If you’re not familiar with ETU, you can get a sense of the setting in his play report on our forums.

For what it’s worth, here’s the ETU Raven’s Fight Song. It and the character sheet be going up on the 12 to Midnight website as soon as I get a chance to post them there.

Ravens fight, Ravens fight,
Put on the black and white.
Ravens fight, Ravens fight,
We will own the night.
Fear the fightin’ Ravens.
Our mighty team does soar.
Fear the fightin’ Ravens,

From a production standpoint, before we take on ETU we have to release 12 Hours to Midnight and a fantasy supplement–both of which I’ll talk about in more detail in future Behind the Curtain essays.

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Comment by Jerry
2007-07-26 13:39:34

I am so pumped to talk about this Saturday. :)

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Comment by kyle
2007-07-30 16:26:25

“When we make another score…”

Sounds like they’re buying drugs.

You could just cut to the chase and name them the Crackheads….

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