A Q&A with the Creators of East Texas University and Degrees of Horror

News from Pinnacle Entertainment Group

We had a chance to ask the creators of East Texas University and Degrees of Horror about their inspiration and involvement, and about the Kickstarter to fund it (ends June 12, 2014).

East Texas University (ETU) is a modern day horror RPG set in Pinebox, Texas, using the Savage Worlds game system. Students balance saving the world with midterms and parties—think Supernatural if the demons were in one small Texas town and the Winchester boys were going for their Bachelor’s. Degrees of Horror, a separate book containing the Plot Point Campaign for ETU, offers everything a GM needs to run—a quick pickup game or a full length campaign—at East Texas University.

Pinnacle recently announced new backer levels for the Kickstarter to meet fan requests for additional options. Pinnacle is trying a new approach with the East Texas University Kickstarter by unlocking stretch goals by the number of backers instead of funding goals. This update ensures that there is a backer level for all budgets and types of players. Backing it for a buck gets you a short story written by David Wellington—so even your non-roleplaying friends can help unlock those stretch goals.

“12 to Midnight’s East Texas University is one of the most interesting settings we’ve ever had the privilege to work on,” Shane says. “It also has some of the most fun subsystems we’ve ever played with–like the Ritual Generation Table, High Strangeness paranormal events table, and even a Party Generator! ETU is just pure Texas fun. Go Ravens!”

Game company 12 to Midnight originally released material for Pinebox in d20 Modern and then converted to Savage Worlds. The company was eventually brought into the fold of Pinnacle Entertainment Group, creators of Savage Worlds. Here we have Preston DuBose and Ed Wetterman, co-authors from 12 to Midnight, and Shane Hensley, President of Pinnacle.

Shane, what attracted you to the Pinebox/ETU setting?

I originally bought Last Rites of the Black Guard for d20 Modern and thought it was great. As the 12 to Midnight crew expanded their line and quickly adapted it for Savage Worlds, I was drawn further in–and we clicked personally right from the start. What’s not to love? Supernatural horror, some occasional tongue-in-cheek horror, and a Texas twist?

But while Pinebox was fantastic, I felt it needed a little bit more of a hook to make it an official Savage Worlds setting from Pinnacle. ETU is exactly that, a college setting where the characters have to worry about passing classes as much as they have to fight–or run from!–the creatures of the night.

Add in the 12 to Midnight crew’s excellent treatment of ghosts, witches, chupacabras, demons, sorority/fraternity cults, and a great Plot Point Campaign and this was just something we had to do.

Ed, which NPCs spark your imagination the most? What is it about that character that you find so interesting? How would you use that character in your own ETU game?

I love the Pinebox iconics of Professor Glen MacClanahan, Lance Carson, and Jackson Green. When we started 12 to Midnight in 2002-2003, the three original partners each created a character.Jerry Blakemore was Professor ”GlenMac”, Mark Ramsey was Lance Carson, and my character was Jackson Green. Jackson is my favorite and I’ve played him many times. Jackson is a city boy-turned country. He loves East Texas, wears boots and a cowboy hat, in the winter he wears a leather duster, he rides horses, competes at the Weekend Rodeo behind the Pizza Barn, often has his heart broken by some pretty co-ed, loves to drink, believes in every conspiracy theory, and is deeply into the study of the paranormal. He is very liberal, though he loves guns, and even shot a character when playing Bloodlines. I think he is the type of NPC that Deans (GMs) could really have fun with. He and Professor GlenMac are important to the Plot Point Campaign of Degrees of Horror.

Preston, where would we find you in Pinebox if it really existed? ETU campus or in town? Why? And where would you not set foot–not even for a million dollars?

As-yet unwritten–but alive in my mind–is a little club of old-timers who meet a couple mornings a week at a local coffee shop. Those who don’t know better call them the Liar’s Club because their gossip eventually turns to outrageous tales of a neighbor experiencing another cattle mutilation or a son-in-law whose front door has been ruined by large claw marks. I reckon you’d find me hanging out with those old guys, keeping quiet but soaking up the latest news. As far as where you wouldn’t find me, I’d say just about anywhere alone and at night.


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