[ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

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pulaski
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#21 Postby pulaski » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:40 pm

I had one player character really interested in the occult and ritualism. I made sure he was able to find plenty of rituals. He took a job in the special collections at the library. And when another player joined us who played a student witch, they were able to make some cool stuff happen. I allowed the penalties to stack pretty high but with two wild card witches/warlocks and some extra hangers-ons they managed some tough rituals. Ritual magic is useless in combat. They did make a few talismans, but nothing game breaking and one of those times nearly killed them both and caused one to lose an eye when things went wrong.

I sometimes had them find out part of a ritual that needed more investigation. If they showed interest, they did the legwork.

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DMbobby
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#22 Postby DMbobby » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:52 am

A couple things to note about rituals. One, they allow the GM control of the trapping which is the biggest way powers have limitations. With that look at the range and duration modifiers in the rituals section as well as examples of trappings the the main book. Two, even if players get a hold of rituals they still need the components which get used up during the time of cast regardless of if the casting succeeded, in fact the very first ETU One Sheet Adventure to coem out is JUST about getting the ingredients for a ritual for an NPC. Try to keep players from being able to easily stock up of lots of the hard to find items that way even if the group knows of and has a spell that can solve everything they still need the items to pull it off. Third, the big thing to limit is the create talisman ritual, personally I have it as a modifier to rituals so there can be a talisman verson of a spell rather than a single ritual that can be added to any other one to them make it a reusable item. And finally fourth, I'd say keep magic somewhat low for freshmen year mostly keeping to rituals like banishing spirits and wards against things. For the most part the campaign is written where the game starts as ghost stories then goes to demons, then goes to saving the world. By the time they are juniors they can easily pick up the Witch/Warlock edge if they want meaning magic can be kind of common, but before that magic is rough and until midterms of 1st semester no one will even have a chance at having ranks in ritualism since it cant be taken at character gen.

Plus small side note, unless a character takes the Memorize Ritual edge they will need the physical ritual to pull off a spell, that means that if things get out of hand just cull back their magic. Maybe Glen Mac finds out how deep they are going and confiscates what he can, maybe a fire or other disaster burns some up, or maybe they simply go missing and the players has to find out what happened to them and who may now have them.
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Acrizer
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#23 Postby Acrizer » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:28 pm

I appreciate the replies thus far (and a couple good points I hadn't thought of).

What method(s) did you use to give your players new rituals? Random chance? Did they research for something specific? Pre-planned particular rituals to be found during particular stories (and, if so, was there any criteria you used to choose what to give)? I was considering adding a couple cards to the Adventure Deck but I'm second guessing that idea since it might be too unreliable.

Any thoughts on multiples of the same ritual (different components)?

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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#24 Postby DMbobby » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:14 pm

I don't do truly random rituals, though i do make a few back ups for when research tables and exam tables call for a free discovered ritual. As for repeat effects there are things to remember 1) different components, 2) different trappings, 3) Different Durations [see the duration modifiers in the ETU ritual section]
4) Different Ranges [also see ETU ritual section] between all of these you can make a ton of different variations on rituals. Also remember that the Ward effect is against a specific creature type per ritual, Boos/Lower trait is likely a different ritual for each effect, and some big bads might require their own specific Banish ritual.

Oh almost forgot also 5) Black Magic V.s Non Black Magic. Remember that any spell can be black magic involving a much bigger price. If players want to find a spell these will be easier to find while less dangerous spells are much harder and as the book states in the case of healing spells near impossible to find.
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#25 Postby Acrizer » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:31 am

Thanks. I feel much more confident now. I think before my players hit the stage where they can start gaining them, it seems like a good idea to have some worked up in advance for when they are called for.

I think I still might add a card or two to the Adventure Deck when they reach that stage since I was planning on removing the "find relic" type ones. But now I'm also considering re-including some sort of minor talisman/relic type cards. I think I was just trying to avoid the players getting geared up like some sort of dungeon delving fantasy party. :oops:

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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#26 Postby DMbobby » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:13 pm

After running Last Rites of the Blackguard tonight I'd say look at the old 12 to Midnight adventures for premade talismans too. Go a snowman necklace that casts an ice bolt twice per day out of it.
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#27 Postby lordrahvin » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:51 pm

DMbobby wrote: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.


This advice has been incredibly helpful in setting up my game.

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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#28 Postby Jackson » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:00 pm

Truth. No one in real life should be running around chasing real monsters or attending a college that you end up having to do that. So...player characters should have a touch of hero in them. Otherwise they will run from every encounter and this makes a very boring game that will not last long. Just saying.
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#29 Postby lordrahvin » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:38 pm

Jackson wrote:Truth. No one in real life should be running around chasing real monsters or attending a college that you end up having to do that. So...player characters should have a touch of hero in them. Otherwise they will run from every encounter and this makes a very boring game that will not last long. Just saying.


When I setup my Degrees of Texas game, one of the first things I had to do was get rid of Professor Maclanahan. So I still had the same encounters with him in Sweat Lodge but in the very next session I explained how Professor Maclanahan's department is under review by the administration so he couldn't help them or have them associated with him right now. I created an antagonist, Linda Darson, the head of security, who is investigating his activities last year as sponsor for the Archeology club (a smokescreen for his paranormal research). This meant that when the group found trouble, they might still be encouraged to investigate themselves, especially since the person who they might go to for help is unavailable. If they don't take the initiative, they can be encouraged by the Professor or Jackson Greene.

This worked better than I thought. While they found the Professor to be an ally and great source of advice, after the second session ("Return To the Roost"), they chose not to give up the artifact to the Professor (or even tell him about it!) because he couldn't keep track of his own stuff, as evidenced by the fact that Linda Darson had confiscated many of his things and that Jackson had sneaked off with an occult tome before she could loaned to it and gave it the PCs.

This began a strange trend of the PCs finding artifacts and mysical stuff they didn't know what to do with, and secretly stashing it away without telling anyone. In time, they'll have a collection large enough to be their own private research library. So far, they have a magical necklace, a cursed cross, a ritual to talk to the dead, and a chest full of voodoo stuff they stole from Keyva. Professor Maclanahan may know a lot about this stuff, but even he doesn't have access to some of the stuff the PCs do now, moving them into the role of "professionals" and making the Professor and his cohort seem more like the the Lone Gunmen rather than the stars of the show.

By midterms the review is over and Professor Maclanahan is free to teach again, but by this point, the players have stopped coming to him for help and tend to leave out key details when describing their current or passed adventures. For example, they turned over a video tape to him after editing out any bits mentioned about the cursed cross they recovered. They mentioned they needed help to stop a voodoo plot against Professor Cutter, but didn't provide any specific details as to who the witch was.

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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#30 Postby serquet » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:00 pm

Acrizer wrote:
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 personally kept the rituals difficult to find and use, while not necessarily limiting them to the ones explicitly mentioned in the book, because I was trying to run a fairly realistic game with all the of the supernatural/weirdness very hidden from the majority of the world other than the players and a few NPCs. But I've been accused (by my own husband) of being a stingy GM, so take that for what it's worth.
Creator of ETU living campaign : The Corvus Conspiracy https://etuclassof2019.wordpress.com/

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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#31 Postby DMbobby » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:01 am

Feels like it's time to bring this thread back to life as it still holds some of the best ETU info I've seen for running the game.

Since things died off on here about 4 months ago my last campaign ended, but I'm also about to kick into session 2 of my newest ETU campaign today. I've learned a few more things from last time, such as having to use the "everything calms down for a few weeks" suggested after my group ended up merging and solving 2 different adventures on the same Halloween night (which took 5 sessions there was so much going on). This time around I've made a handy setting rules sheet for my group when character creation time came (I'll provide a link below). It outlawed a few extra edges plus covered the issue that in Texas it is now technically legal to carry a concealed firearm on school campuses. The only problem that isn't cover (which wasn't a problem that had come up until this current campaign and a little bit last campaign) is of characters taking Doubting Thomas. It's a hindrance I wouldn't fully disallow as Agent Scully from X-Files is a perfect trope in a game like this, but both players who have taken it use it as an excuse to not get involved and in one players case actively tried to hide the evidence they found. Personally I think this is a player problem and I've already sent them an email about it as Rule #1 of my game is to be a character that gets involved and Doubting Thomas or not trying to bury the adventure from everyone else is a dick move.

Also you might notice that the Townie hindrance is on my no fly list for hindrances. I actually love this one and keep it in my back pocket to throw on characters that flunk or drop out, but I put it there as all my players were new to the setting and I've had issues of players using it as a way to not have to actually play in a school based game which is trying to side step half of the premise everyone agreed to play.

Anyways here's my setting rules sheet for my current campaign. I hope it helps anyone looking to set up an ETU game in the future.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/sxo93owb64x753m/ETU%20Character%20Creation%20Rules.pdf?dl=0
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#32 Postby DMbobby » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:54 pm

So now that my current ETU game is picking up speed I figured I post story updates so maybe someone can be inspired or even jsut swipe story beats for their game.
In session 1 we ran Sweat Lodge per the normal Plot Point and now that everyone is introduced and working for Glenmac we can get into original adventures. This week the player's successfully tracked down the stolen mascot Poe the Fighting Raven who was stole by rival school Blackburn Tech (BB Tech). Turns out a member of the BB Tech booster club was going to sacrifice the bird to try and curse the ETU Football team before the big homecoming game. What was even more of a surprise though is when Poe began psychically talking with our psychically sensitive character and it was revealed that the bird is the former familiar to a now gone student.

In the midst of the mascot investigations (and as part of a job asked by GlenMac) the team also picked up strange records both of a group of sorority girls that turned out to have possibly died in 2001 but also of bloody footprints that appear and disappear in the nearby quad. This lead to the discovery that in 2001 not only did those girls disappear but a record number of young women "dropped out" of ETU that year.

In our extra scenes one player is now searching for a lot note of information (aka ritual) left somewhere in the library by Poe's former owner that will help free Poe from being caged in the president's office. Another character was invited to join a secret frat and controls all the other frats. The only problem is he's only been let in because he's a legacy and one of the rules of THIS frat is you must be a member of one of the more public frats as well but all the frats currently have a secret frat member. His decision is to instead rebuild a frat that apparently went against the secret so society and then mysterious burned down last year. Another student looked into the normal frat to pledge but nothing caught his eye so he has just dedicated himself to partying as hard as possible instead while the final character is busy tutors a rather creepy student named Fred in french.
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#33 Postby lordrahvin » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:32 am

Loving all the stuff about Poe! I'll probably use this one. :)

I would like to tie this to one of the Proectors from the '60s, but not sure if I want to deal with a 50-year old bird. It could also be a good way of introducing the witch ally from the one-shot Scavenger Hunt. Actually, I've been wondering how I was going to introduce this character. (My current idea was to replace her with Keyva [from The English Patient], whom they know has magical power but who would make for a dubious and troublesome ally.)

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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#34 Postby DMbobby » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:58 am

lordrahvin wrote:Loving all the stuff about Poe! I'll probably use this one. :)

I would like to tie this to one of the Proectors from the '60s, but not sure if I want to deal with a 50-year old bird. It could also be a good way of introducing the witch ally from the one-shot Scavenger Hunt. Actually, I've been wondering how I was going to introduce this character. (My current idea was to replace her with Keyva [from The English Patient], whom they know has magical power but who would make for a dubious and troublesome ally.)


A couple fun things. First if you want to use Poe as the school mascot and introduce him by being stolen the article I wrote to hook my players into the adventure is now on the official Fighting Ravens website here: (http://fightingravens.com/2017/04/10/mascot-missing-after-break-in/

Second oddly enough Poe came as a by product of my last ETU campaign where a player wanted a familiar and ended up summoning a harbinger of the Demon Prince Solas who pretended to be a familiar to manipulate the group into summoning his master. I'm thinking this time around he is most likely working against Solas as a familiar to the Protectors (still making him a magical being so being 50 doesn't matter too much). That said until it's either come up in game or I've laid clues or foreshadowing that would contradict something I don't set too many of my ideas in stone so I can reshape them to fit the direction my players are going.

Other background ideas I've had are: literally being the former familiar to the character from my last campaign bringing in that groups of monster hunters form every few years in ETU, being the familiar to the lead NPC in class ring and thus still trying to summon Solas, or being Helen's former familiar and he think's she is dead after the convergence as the spell also severed their magical bond which should only happen if one of them should die.
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#35 Postby DMbobby » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:41 pm

Thinking of putting some oomph into my downtime and clean up the !mechanical issues of my players wanting to do their own progress for non adventure goals. As of right now every adventure in my etu game represents about 2 weeks of in game time with using the dramatic interlude rules to fill in the gap time as rarely an adventure takes 2 weeks to solve (using a customized table for college themed results). What I'm thinking is IF a player wants to spend that time on a specific purpose such as researching something or gathering resources they know they need they can try with a Dramatic task. The catch is every club that comes up is also an interlude card plus doing this extra work reduces study time causing -1 to their next exam. Once per advance (usually before midterms/finals) they can as a dramatic task cram for the exam if they succeed they gain +2 to their exams roll, but this would be in place of any other dramatic task. Still feel like I need to clean this up but curious on other's thoughts.
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#36 Postby DMbobby » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:28 pm

So ETU update, players successfully pulled off Return to the Roost, had GlenMac with them against the will of President Nelson. Outcome of the adventure is Nelson pulled all funding for GlenMac to be ghost hunting and warned if he continues his pursuits that he will be out of a job. Players uncovered a ritual called "The Binding of Poe" as well as a mysterious black book that promises great power. Also a character while researching runes of luck might have jsut released a leprechaun to kick off next week's adventure.
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Re: [ETU] Suggestions for Degrees of Horror

#37 Postby DHRDawg » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:10 am

DMbobby wrote: A couple fun things. First if you want to use Poe as the school mascot and introduce him by being stolen the article I wrote to hook my players into the adventure is now on the official Fighting Ravens website here: (http://fightingravens.com/2017/04/10/mascot-missing-after-break-in/


Awesome! Thanks for the article about Poe...I might use this. ;)


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