Pinebox campaign setting - good module to kickoff campaign?

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GlassJaw
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Pinebox campaign setting - good module to kickoff campaign?

#1 Postby GlassJaw » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:36 am

I'm finally close to kicking off a SW campaign and I'm pretty psyched! It will be my (and the group's) first foray into Savage Worlds.

Due to time constraints for game prep caused by real-life (stupid real life!), I did some searching for some published modules and discovered the Pinebox setting. I had originally planned to run a homebrew campaign but the Pinebox settings and published adventures really grabbed me.

Seriously, I've been thoroughly impressed with the 12 to Midnight stuff. Great writing, cool plots, AMAZING maps and handouts, and just altogether high quality production values.

So far I've purchased Brainwashed, The Beast Within, Bloodlines, Chickens in the Mist, and Last Rites. I also bought Weekend Warriors, Innana's Kiss, and Fire in the Hole, and I'll probably run those as a mini-campaign down the road.

Right now I want to kickoff the campaign in Pinebox.

So my question is what would be good to use as the beginning of the campaign? There will be 3-4 regular players (plus me, the GM) and I want everyone to start as Novices.

The first session will also be the first time everyone has played SW (except for one player who has the book and played in a one-shot) so we will all be getting used to the rules as well (another reason I wanted to run some published material). I think I'd also prefer to run a few shorter, one-sessions adventures at the beginning just to keep things moving.

I'm also not opposed to picking up some other pdf's. I was also checking out some of the Modern Dispatch pdf's as well as Ed's Midnight Tales and Jerry's Midnight Tales, which I understand are compilations of some of the Modern Dispatch pdf's (all of which sound cool). Are these shorter than some of the modules I purchased? If so, that might be what I'm looking for to start with.

Even better, if someone could put together a good timeline for a mini-campaign using the Pinebox modules, that would be a great help!

Thanks!
Chris (aka GlassJaw)

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#2 Postby bloodshadows » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:10 am

Last Rites is a good one if the group is already a "group".

For my campaign, I ran Bloodlines as a means of introducing the group to the supernatural. One thing about Bloodlines, if you happen to have a GPS, take your group geocaching prior to the game. I did that and my group loved it, plus it gave them practical experience for the adventure.

The Beast Within would work well also. Really, it's all a matter of what you want the player's first experience to be.

You could start with one of the free Midnight Tales to get the ball rolling prior to beginning a full adventure, too.

That's the great thing about Pinebox, there's a lot of cool material out there.
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#3 Postby Prest0 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:30 am

Wow Chris, thanks for the kind words! We put a lot of effort into our titles, so it's great to hear from folks who appreciate it!

In a little-visited corner of our website (the FAQ page), we talk the order our Pinebox adventures can be played. Of course, that is mostly just based on the rank for which the adventures were written. There's nothing saying that you can't adjust the difficulty up or down...but since your group is mostly new to Savage Worlds it might be best to avoid throwing in any unnecessary complications.

Bloodshadows pointed out that he ran Bloodlines as his group's first adventure. That's awesome (because I wrote it!) but probably not the best choice for your group. For one thing it wasn't written for Novice heroes, and for another it's not the short adventure you said you were looking for.

The Beast Within makes a pretty fair first adventure, in that the plot hook can bring together people who don't already know one another. It's also written for Novice characters. Last Rites still stands as one of the spookiest adventures we've ever published, but as Bloodshadows said, it will require a little more work on the front end bringing the group together if they start out as strangers. Off hand, I'd say most of the Modern Dispatches (or Midnight Tale collections) assume that the heroes already know one another and have decided to not turn a blind eye when something out of the ordinary happens.

Without knowing the heroic characters and how they relate to one another, it's a little difficult to know which way to point you. Are they Pinebox natives? Federal law enforcement or Texas Rangers? Strangers who feel an inexplicable pull to come to Pinebox? Private investigators sent on a job? If you'd like to share a little more about the heroes and the direction you'd like the campaign to take, I'm sure I (and a bunch of other Savages) can give you a bunch of ideas on the best way to kick things off.
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#4 Postby GlassJaw » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:46 am

Prest0 wrote:Wow Chris, thanks for the kind words! We put a lot of effort into our titles, so it's great to hear from folks who appreciate it!


No problem. I bought a couple and enjoyed them so much, I bought a few more. :-D Oh, I have Fear Effects as well.

Prest0 wrote:In a little-visited corner of our website (the FAQ page), we talk the order our Pinebox adventures can be played.


Cool. I just checked that out. Very helpful.

Prest0 wrote:Without knowing the heroic characters and how they relate to one another, it's a little difficult to know which way to point you. Are they Pinebox natives? Federal law enforcement or Texas Rangers? Strangers who feel an inexplicable pull to come to Pinebox? Private investigators sent on a job? If you'd like to share a little more about the heroes and the direction you'd like the campaign to take, I'm sure I (and a bunch of other Savages) can give you a bunch of ideas on the best way to kick things off.


I gave the players these basic instructions:

"It's kind of like X-Files (modern day) but you won't be playing Mulder and Scully. Instead you'll be playing 'average' people who are monster hunters, ghost hunters, or conspiracy theorists on the side. You get together with other like-minded individuals in the area on occasion to discuss these topics. Assume you know a little about each other (profession, general personality, basic hobbies and interested, etc) before the game starts."

I wanted them to know each other and be on the same page when something "out of the ordinary" happens. My players are great about grabbing plot hooks but I figured it would still help them understand their motivations.

I thought about running a short one-session intro scenario and then having them traveling in the same car and throw them into The Beast Within.

Thanks for the help so far!
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#5 Postby Prest0 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:07 am

Then I would suggest running Last Rites as your first adventure. Depending on the age of the characters, the hook might be that one of the heroes was a friend of Lisa Grey's late husband. She knows that he has an interest in the paranormal and will be sensitive to the family. That character invites the other heroes along to help. Depending on how much roleplay is going on, Last Rites can be played in one session. I've even seen it played in a 4 hour convention slot, although it feels a bit rushed.

If you finish Last Rites in one session, I would end it on a long, dark drive back from Rosetta to Pinebox. Describe the very first scene out of The Beast Within and leave them anxious for the next session!
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#6 Postby GlassJaw » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:13 pm

Prest0 wrote:Then I would suggest running Last Rites as your first adventure. Depending on the age of the characters, the hook might be that one of the heroes was a friend of Lisa Grey's late husband. She knows that he has an interest in the paranormal and will be sensitive to the family. That character invites the other heroes along to help. Depending on how much roleplay is going on, Last Rites can be played in one session. I've even seen it played in a 4 hour convention slot, although it feels a bit rushed.

If you finish Last Rites in one session, I would end it on a long, dark drive back from Rosetta to Pinebox. Describe the very first scene out of The Beast Within and leave them anxious for the next session!


That's perfect! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the help!
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#7 Postby GlassJaw » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:55 am

Prest0 wrote:Then I would suggest running Last Rites as your first adventure. Depending on the age of the characters, the hook might be that one of the heroes was a friend of Lisa Grey's late husband.


I've started to read Last Rites - really looking forward to running it! Just wondering if there are any details on Lisa's late husband, at least anything that's relevant to the module.

Prest0 wrote:If you finish Last Rites in one session, I would end it on a long, dark drive back from Rosetta to Pinebox. Describe the very first scene out of The Beast Within and leave them anxious for the next session!


How far is Rosetta from Pinebox?
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#8 Postby Prest0 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:40 am

GlassJaw wrote:I've started to read Last Rites - really looking forward to running it! Just wondering if there are any details on Lisa's late husband, at least anything that's relevant to the module.


Nothing related to the mystery itself. Since you're using it as a campaign hook, you always have the option of beefing that up. You could even make the circumstances of his death a long-running mystery. There's nothing cannonical in Pinebox lore, though.

GlassJaw wrote:How far is Rosetta from Pinebox?
A little under 2 hours, I think.
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#9 Postby Snate56 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:15 pm

You know, if they happen to all be high school seniors going to/comming from a big game, after all these events are over with they can put applications in to enroll at ETU!


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#10 Postby GlassJaw » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:50 am

We had our first session last night. I started the group off with Last Rites as discussed. We spent a little while at the beginning finishing characters and going over some rules. The great thing was that even though we were new to the system, we were able to jump right in.

The first session was mostly investigation and they ended up heading to Manz's house fairly quickly after talking to Lisa and her kids so they missed some of the extra encounters late at night. I didn't want to slow them down though because once they got the article, they felt they had a pretty good handle on what was going on.

Spoiler:
The only problem was that the group was very good at Investigation and Notice but no one had any Lockpicking skill. The secret door to the basement was very difficult to open so I hid a key in the book hidden upstairs. Worked out fine.

We ended with the players heading to the basement, the door slamming, and the Revenant rising. Next session: Fear checks!
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#11 Postby Prest0 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:17 am

What kind of characters did the players roll up?
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#12 Postby Emiricol » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:58 pm

Kudos on the SPOILER. That's the kind of detail that makes a game keep flowing smoothly instead of breaking down in player frustration :)

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#13 Postby Prest0 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:15 pm

Absolutely. No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy, and no adventure survives first contact with players. :lol: Whether we're talking published adventures or a GM's personal notes, a GM has to be ready to adapt and modify to suite the situation. Good job on keeping the game going.
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#14 Postby GlassJaw » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:37 am

Emiricol wrote:Kudos on the SPOILER. That's the kind of detail that makes a game keep flowing smoothly instead of breaking down in player frustration :)


Yeah. The players made characters that are good at Investigation and Notice but aren't really the B&E types. Things were going well so I wanted to play to their strengths and not brings things to a frustrating halt.
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#15 Postby GlassJaw » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:44 am

Prest0 wrote:What kind of characters did the players roll up?


I don't have the sheets in front of me so I'll try to remember....

Edgar Martinez - ex-Army intelligence. Wanted to be special ops but didn't have the physical skills. Now a life insurance adjuster in Pinebox. He's seen a lot, and is ready to believe anything.

John Spencer - used car salesman and former enforcer for the mob, now on witness protection in Pinebox. Very persuasive with both his tongue and first.

Elrick - Twenty-something local video store clerk. Kind of a jack of all trades. Good guy to have around in any situation as long as you are willing to put up with his incessant banter about conspiracy theories, paranoia of the government, and useless movie trivia.

I'll have one more player joining as well.
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#16 Postby Prest0 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:23 am

An insurance adjuster and used car salesman teaming up to fight evil. Hmmm.... I think Elrick needs to be reimagined as a chiropractor. :lol:
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#17 Postby Snate56 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:02 pm

Yeah, the team could use a good medic... :lol:


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#18 Postby GlassJaw » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:29 am

Snate56 wrote:Yeah, the team could use a good medic... :lol:


Hehe, very true. I have one more player that will be joining so I might mention to him that the group is a bit lacking in the B&E and medical departments.
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#19 Postby GlassJaw » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:50 am

We had our second session last night, although it was a bit abbreviated because we took a break and watched the debate.

It also served as sort of a combat primer so we had our heads in the book a little more often than if we were all familiar with the rules. Even still, combat moved pretty quickly.

We also introduced James Buck, a pre-med student at ETU and "president" of the ETU "Crackas". The Crackas is a group of students interested in B&E (that's breaking and entering), exploration, and pranks. Let's just say they have a tendency to get into places they shouldn't.

Spoiler:
We are currently playing Last Rites. Last session, the group made its way to the hidden basement of Dr. Heimglimmer but we stopped just as the revenant/zombie rose up to attack.


We started off with Guts/Fear checks for everyone. Only one player succeeded and the zombie charged. Basically, the combat gave everyone a chance to get a feel for the rules and basic tactics. The zombie was relatively easy to hit but difficult to damage at time.

One player ended up getting a pretty serious claw wound and took a few wounds. He burned through most of his bennies to keep himself alive.

Once the players got a handle on the rules, they started chipping away at the revenant. I used most of my bennies to negate wounds as well.

The tipping point came when one players (the new guy hehe) used an Agility trick to leg sweep the zombie. He succeeded and the zombie was Shaken. Edgar (the investigator/insurance adjuster) had aimed the round before and declared he was making a head shot. He succeeded, aced his roll, and ended up getting two raises! Brains were splattered and one zombie down.

Next session: the thrilling conclusion and final showdown!
Chris (aka GlassJaw)


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