[ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

Information and comments on all Pinnacle original Savage Settings plus our genre-based Companions. Please note the product with an abbreviation in the Subject line (ex. [FC] for Fantasy Companion, [NE] for Necessary Evil, and so on). Note: Deadlands has its own forum below as do licensed settings.

Moderators: PEG Jodi, The Moderators

Message
Author
User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

[ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#1 Postby Acrizer » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:31 am

Hello, folks.

I'm new to Savage Worlds and am planning to introduce myself and my game group to the system with ETU and the Degrees of Horror plot point campaign. Since I'm not yet really familiar with the pacing of advancement and such, I was wondering if some more experienced folks might offer some suggestions about how many scenarios/Tales are a good fit in-between the plot points? I know it can be pretty subjective and I can tweak advancement to fit the desired pace, but just wondering what the old hats might have to say and I'm trying to keep an eye towards RAW since it's our first exposure to SW.

Appreciate the time and effort. Thanks! :)

User avatar
Zadmar
Legendary
Posts: 3290
Age: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:59 am
Location: Munich
Contact:

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#2 Postby Zadmar » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:45 am

Welcome to Savage Worlds, and to the forums!

The answer to your question depends heavily on your group, and what sort of length campaign they enjoy playing, but personally I'd suggest at least as many Savage Tales as there are Plot Point Episodes, ideally more. If it makes it easier, think of the campaign as a TV show - how many episodes should focus on the main plot, and how many should be "monster of the week", side-story, or character-exploration episodes?
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

ValhallaGH
Legendary
Posts: 8293
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#3 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:11 am

Hello and welcome. Always nice to meet new folks around here.

East Texas University is a ton of fun. I got to run a group through the Freshman year, before the table split because of life, and it was a blast for everyone and a nice change of pace from our high-action 50 Fathoms campaign.
Acrizer wrote:Since I'm not yet really familiar with the pacing of advancement and such, I was wondering if some more experienced folks might offer some suggestions about how many scenarios/Tales are a good fit in-between the plot points?

Well, each adventure is expected to provide 2 to 3 experience, granting an Advance every two adventures. Each adventure should last about one four hour gaming session. That works out to about 8 adventures per Rank or 4 per Semester (two semesters each year). The plot point has three to four adventures per year, leaving the other four or five for various Savage Tales and custom-built adventures.
This means exams every two adventures, lots of "a couple weeks later", and having to integrate college life into the adventures to keep things flowing smoothly (though you can certainly have a "college life" session now and then, with zero weirdness).

You can find more ETU threads and discussion in the Licensees Forum.

Good luck and I hope some of that was helpful.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

User avatar
DMbobby
Seasoned
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#4 Postby DMbobby » Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:50 pm

Per the book Plot Points are 3 XP, Savage Tails are 2XP, other 12 to Midnight written adventures are usually 2-3 XP and random generated adventures that only take a session are 1 XP. Personally being ETU has the special situation of tying XP to a calendar with the exams I've run a house rules where EVERY adventure is 1 XP but is also 2 weeks of in game time so if an adventure for some reason stretches out over two weeks that's more XP or if a truly tough adventure I feel DESERVES extra xp then they made a big enough impact for things to have died down for a while meaning longer than 2 weeks till the next big issue arises.

As for plot point placement (which I now is your actual question and I apologize for the side tracking) freshman year is actually pretty easy Sweat Lodge is designed to be the first adventure, The Needler is meant to be at the end of the year and kind of a season finally. I personally always run Return to Roost on Halloween putting it the first adventure after the player's first midterms which will mean either four 1 XP adventures in my set up, two 1 xp random short adventures, or one Savage Tale or Pre-Written Adventure. Then based on how much XP you do for your adventures there's as few as 1 adventure till semester finals plus 3 more adventures the next semester before the finally with Needler.

Hope that helps, I've run Degrees of horror 2.5 times (one group petered out) plus currently running the campaign AGAIN for my wife and her friends. So far though every group has opted for the 1XP clock option whenever I presented it to them. If you are interested in using it to I can share a calendar table I use that roughly says how many adventures till exams plus "holiday episodes" thats been a lifesaver for me for placing adventures.
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#5 Postby Acrizer » Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:47 pm

Ah, good stuff. Thanks for the responses thus far (and the welcome). This gives me a better idea of what I'm looking at for successful balance and so on. I'm already seeing a bit of a plan for the first year :)

@DMbobby, if it's not any trouble, I'd certainly like to take a look at your calendar table. I'm sure other folks might find it interesting, as well.

User avatar
DMbobby
Seasoned
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#6 Postby DMbobby » Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:28 pm

Here's the calendar I made and frequently use. It breaks each month into two parts as well as the locations of major holiday breaks. The start and end date of the school year is based off of the calendar on the fighting ravens website.

Image
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#7 Postby Acrizer » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:33 am

I appreciate the sharing. Many thanks. Do all the things listed on your calendar correspond to a session? So you're doing 20-ish per game year?

I'm working on some stuff to go along with the campaign - mostly flavor stuff like flyers and additional NPCs that can be named and described without actually being involved in anything.

User avatar
DMbobby
Seasoned
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#8 Postby DMbobby » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:37 pm

The numbers are corresponding to XP, which like I said I normally give out 1 per adventure. However if you want an adventure to suck up 2 or 3 xp just make sure it uses up either 2 or three of the spots on the calendar then place it anywhere in the time period. It's 20xp since tha'ts the amount of xp per rank (4 advances at 5 xp each) and in ETU a rank IS a school year.
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

User avatar
DMbobby
Seasoned
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#9 Postby DMbobby » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:41 pm

For example, if you do the normal XP progression Sweat Lodge is 3 xp (plot point xp) so that takes up Semester Start, Rush Week and Adventure 3. If you have your second adventure be one that is 2 XP it takes place any time between Adventure 4 and Midterms, if its a 3xp adventure it's anywhere from Adventure 4 to Halloween and if it take place on Halloween you know the exam roll is at the beginning of the session instead of after because the calendar lets you know exams happens in the time before then.. Hope that helps.
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#10 Postby Acrizer » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:21 am

Ah, I got it. I didn't catch that when I first looked at it.

I have another question for folks with experience with the campaign (and the setting). Since we're all new to the system, are there any character generation things we should be on the lookout for? Pitfalls? Sly combinations that come out more potent than they appear/should be? Will there be something five sessions in where someone curses because they think they screwed themselves over by missing something obvious to an experienced player?

As always, much appreciated!

User avatar
DMbobby
Seasoned
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#11 Postby DMbobby » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:31 am

One this to keep in mind with SW is that there are no "Dump Stats" like many other systems. If a player decides to have a D4 is an attribute it WILL effect them. As far as skills, having at least a D4 if fighting makes a HUGE difference if you're going a combat heavy game (with ETU it can really go either way). Just about every still will get used from time to time, but easily the most used skill in the game especially a more horror/mystery game as ETU tends to be is Notice. Other than that investigation is an incredibly useful/needed skill, but really you only need one or two character's to have it. The setting itself tries to limit player's just dumping all the way into one of two skills by stating freshmen really shouldn't have more than a D8 in any single skill to start unless there is a VERY good reason. I'd suggest still to that suggestion hard, it really helps keep player's balance. Also if you didn't get it already the ETU Archetypes PDF is a bunch of premade characters all with fleshed out motives and backstory, but more importantly that give a good idea of how focus a typical character should be in any one aspect.
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

ValhallaGH
Legendary
Posts: 8293
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#12 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:09 am

Acrizer wrote:Since we're all new to the system, are there any character generation things we should be on the lookout for? Pitfalls?

New players should always have at least d4 in Fighting, Notice, and Stealth. Fighting goes into Parry, preventing hits, and the step to d4 is the biggest single improvement. Notice because you want to be able to be aware of stuff. Stealth because if you need to sneak around then you don't want additional penalties.
Never dump stat Vigor. There are actually no dump stats in the system, but people think there are (especially just looking at the skill list), and will cripple their characters by ignoring one of the attributes. (Choosing that is a different issue, and implies informed consent.) But the one attribute that no new player should ever dump is Vigor, the "still alive" attribute.
Most character definition is in Hindrances and Edges, not Traits.
Mr. Average Wild Card, with d6 in all attributes, is a very effective and fun character. He qualifies for a lot of good edges, can easily grow into whatever you (you the table or you the player) require. And with some actual personality, he can be really interesting too.
Remember to save a few skill points for your Major. Killing monsters is cool, but you actually have to pass your classes too.
For a campaign like ETU, you're generally better off having a number of skills at d4 than a few skills at d8+. Having a specialty is fine, but don't be that guy with a d12 Driving, Shooting, Agility, and almost nothing else. That guy sucks.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

User avatar
DMbobby
Seasoned
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#13 Postby DMbobby » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:15 am

ValhallaGH wrote:New players should always have at least d4 in Fighting, Notice, and Stealth. Fighting goes into Parry, preventing hits, and the step to d4 is the biggest single improvement. Notice because you want to be able to be aware of stuff. Stealth because if you need to sneak around then you don't want additional penalties.
Never dump stat Vigor. There are actually no dump stats in the system, but people think there are (especially just looking at the skill list), and will cripple their characters by ignoring one of the attributes. (Choosing that is a different issue, and implies informed consent.) But the one attribute that no new player should ever dump is Vigor, the "still alive" attribute.
Most character definition is in Hindrances and Edges, not Traits.
Mr. Average Wild Card, with d6 in all attributes, is a very effective and fun character. He qualifies for a lot of good edges, can easily grow into whatever you (you the table or you the player) require. And with some actual personality, he can be really interesting too.
Remember to save a few skill points for your Major. Killing monsters is cool, but you actually have to pass your classes too.
For a campaign like ETU, you're generally better off having a number of skills at d4 than a few skills at d8+. Having a specialty is fine, but don't be that guy with a d12 Driving, Shooting, Agility, and almost nothing else. That guy sucks.


Pretty much this.. all of this. Perfectly put Valhalla.
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#14 Postby Acrizer » Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:23 am

Exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. Thanks again!

ValhallaGH
Legendary
Posts: 8293
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#15 Postby ValhallaGH » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:25 am

You're welcome. ETU and Degrees of Horror are a blast, I hope you and your group have a great time with it.
Good luck, and remember that this forum is always available for help, either figuring stuff out or brainstorming evil ideas.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

User avatar
DMbobby
Seasoned
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#16 Postby DMbobby » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:56 am

Currently running a conversion of the free D&D adventure Death House to instead be about a Sorority run by a Crossroads Demon. I'll link the original adventure, but holding off on sharing the conversion untill they've finished it to prevent sneaky players ;)

Original Adventure http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/DND/Curse%20of%20Strahd%20Introductory%20Adventure.pdf
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#17 Postby Acrizer » Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:52 am

Man, what? :lol:

Actually, I'm very interested in any adventure type stuff. One of the reasons I wanted to try a plot point campaign was having more of the work done for me that I could massage into a fit so I'd have more time for other fun aspects of campaign building.

User avatar
Prest0
Seasoned
Posts: 415
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 11:10 am
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#18 Postby Prest0 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:58 pm

So a little more about advancement and XP, because that seems to cause heartburn for GMs. My perception is that it's an issue because midterms and finals are tied to XP. This means GMS get caught up trying to schedule adventures and dole out XP such that every 5 XP coincides with the middle or end of a semester, meaning adventures have to be pretty evenly spaced time-wise. If that's not how you want to run your game, then don't. Skip mid-terms altogether and just have the effects from finals carry over the entire next semester. That gives you more room to tell the stories you want to tell in the way you want. If you want to load up a huge 10 XP adventure that takes place over a single month (game time) then go for it and end with "luckily the rest of the semester was much less eventful. Get ready for Final Exams."

It really is helpful to think of Degrees of Horror like a four season TV series. The plot points are each anticipated to occur within a particular "season" (rank), but mostly that's for pacing purposes. I'll say a 12-adventure plot point is ambitious. The further out from plot point 1 you go, the harder it becomes to predict all the likely outcomes. Maybe some of the other people who have run Degrees of Horror will chime in, but I can't think of anyone who has told me, "Yeah, the whole plot point campaign worked out just the way it was written." Expect your players to make a choice or have an early insight that changes the course of the campaign. Since you're new to Savage Worlds, I just wanted to reassure you that it's not unusual. Just roll with it (pun intended) and have fun.
Preston P. DuBose
12 to Midnight

Enroll today at East Texas University.

User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#19 Postby Acrizer » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:41 am

Thanks, Prest0. That's actually great advice for any campaign that operates on a level more than "on the fly." No campaign planning ever survives contact with a player character so things like events and timelines must be flexible. Rule #1 is to have fun. Frustration aint fun.

User avatar
Acrizer
Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:14 am

Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#20 Postby Acrizer » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:57 am

So our game finally had its first session last weekend. I believe it went fairly well. None of the mistakes made were game breakers and no one seemed to notice I fiddled with the way time works in reality as I warped events a tad to keep characters from leaving the scene the story takes place in (When the whole to-do is about getting everyone in the same place and characters are being introduced, the first thing you should do is leave at the earliest opportunity, of course!) :roll:

Anywho, as I was looking ahead and plotting the order of tales to tell (and using the helpful calendar grid shared here) I was wondering what folks experienced with the campaign might suggest regarding rituals once they are discovered. Do most folks keep them tightly limited, stick only to things mentioned in the book (I don't recall many), dole them out generously? Please share.

I thought I had read another thread where someone had a bunch ready to go, but haven't been able to find it (my search fu is weak, apparently - or I'm just nuts). I was considering making a card for the Adventure Deck something like "Translation Complete" to include once they have access to such things, but *shrug* what do I know?

As always, any help and/or advice is greatly appreciated!


Return to “SW Pinnacle Original Settings & Companions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests