A few years ago I was running a campaign using the Cortex powered Supernatural role-playing game. My dilemma was that I didn’t want to follow the pattern of the television series and make it a constant road trip. So, I decided to use the free setting of Pinebox, Texas which is from the folks at 12 to Midnight (12tM). The Pinebox locale was a hit for the players in the sessions. Over the years, and because of facebook, I’ve had the chance to connect with some of the 12tM guys.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Pinebox, Texas setting here’s a blurb from the Pinebox Campaign Setting page on the 12tM site:
The Pinebox campaign setting focuses on the horrific and supernatural elements that lay hidden in our modern world. In this setting, supernatural entities exist but are hidden and are considered myths, legends or stories by a majority of humanity. Heroes (or Investigators) seek out the truth and often have the unenviable task of combating the evil horrors they uncover. Pinebox reflects the modern (albeit rural) world we live in, but slightly askew. Global conspiracies, hidden secret societies, and paranormal activities are real, as some among us today would argue. Imagine if the stories of hauntings, vampires, or witches were true.
Heroes in a Pinebox adventure are generally humans with normal skills, abilities, and knowledge who get caught up in the world of the supernatural. Therein lies the horror and fantasy of the campaign. While characters may gain great knowledge of the arcane and supernatural, the truth will remain hidden from the world at large. Certain government agencies and secret societies have a vested interest in preserving the status quo.
For this installment in the Six Shot Interviews series I had the chance to connect with Ed Wetterman, whose not only the Executive Vice President & Secretary, but also one of the founding partners of 12 to Midnight.
12tM has been around since 2003 so you’ve obviously been involved in the role-playing industry for years. While there’s lots of good stuff within the last twelve years let’s set it aside and instead go back to the beginning of young Ed Wetterman’s journey into tabletop games. So, to start this interview what game, or games, served as your “gateway drug” into the various forms of tabletop gaming?
As most folks my age (47…damn I’m old), I started with Basic Dungeons and Dragons in the blue box in 1978. From there I started playing lots of games, though my favorites were/are Traveller, Twilight 2000, Call of Cthulhu, Chill, and in the 1990s White Wolf and Deadlands. I also loved playing lots of board games such as Axis and Allies, Squad Leader, Civil War, Bloodbowl, 40K, and then I got into historical miniatures, though my favorite rules sets are Armati and Rally around the Flag, but I’ve played lots of them as well. I still have a complete Roman Army, Byzantine Army, Carthaginians (half-painted), US Revolutionary Continentals and Red Coats, Confederate Army and Union Army, lots of WWI and WWII figs and tanks. Recently I’ve become a Star Wars Miniatures collector and love that game as well.
There are tons of different role-playing systems out there (d6, d100, Cortex, etc.) and I know in the past that 12tM did some d20 work. Your personal background attests to the large variety of rulesets, as I’m sure the rest of the 12tM crew’s gaming history does as well. That said, what is it about Pinnacle Entertainment Group‘s Savage Worlds role-playing game that makes it the perfect fit for the Pinebox, Texas / East Texas University setting?
It really is Fast, Fun, and Furious. I believe the system can handle any genre of gaming and as a Game Master I enjoy a more story-telling type of game than a munchkin race for power, but still want the thrill of rolling the bones and seeing what comes up. The Ace mechanic, the cards for initiative, the ease of running large battles, etc., make Savage Worlds my system of choice. There are other great systems out there, but for me this is my system of choice for my home games.
Last year the long-awaited ETU setting was released after a very successful Kickstarter campaign. For those who aren’t aware, ETU had a modest goal of $6,000 and within the first hour and forty-five minutes of launch that goal was met. At the campaign’s conclusion ETU ended up with 806 backers with contributions totaling $54,239 towards the project (Note to readers: In full disclosure I was one of the five Hell Raiser backers). So Ed, going into the campaign did you and the rest of the 12tM gang anticipate such an awesome show of support and enthusiasm for this labor of love? After all, you and Preston DuBose had poured over ETU for a long, long time.
Honestly I wasn’t sure. It had been a while since we had actually published anything and I know our long-enduring fans were getting tired of waiting. We really wanted it to be perfect and my favorite thing is to read how the fans have taken the campaign and really made it their own. I love reading the writeups and I am both humbled and proud of how well ETU has been received.
Yeah, I’d imagine reading the writeups and such has got to feel good. Despite the fact that you had been working on various 12tM project I’ve seen your name attached to other projects over the years. For the reader who may not be familiar with your non-12tM work what are some of the other gaming companies, settings, and projects you’ve worked on?
I worked a little on Horror 20 and later for Reality Blurs. I was able to contribute to Realms of Cthulhu and Iron Dynasty, and was a co-author of Agents of Oblivion (one of my favorite settings). I edited lots of things for Reality Blurs and worked some with Gun Metal Games on Interface Zero 2.0. Before joining 12 to Midnight, I started a company called Memory Writers and would gather, research, and create books of family histories and stories. I’ve had several short stories published and hope to have many more before I’m done.
Having worked on quite a few projects and different companies you’ve obviously got a excellent, and creative, grasp on writing. Is there any advice you would give to some one who wants to get into either scenario writing or authoring short stories on a serious level?
The best advice I can give is, “if you wanna write, then you need to write.” It is the War of Art and it is true. Make time for it, then do it. Write daily. Set aside time and a place for work. Next is if someone offers you a chance in the industry, take it. Jump on it! Get your stuff done in a timely manner and be professional. Learn the trade dress of the company you are working for. With Savage Worlds, I’d try my hand at writing some one-sheets for either Pinnacle, or one of the wonderful licensees.
To close I want to swing back to Pinebox, Texas. I know that there are various scenarios, a book of short stories called Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas, and now the East Texas University setting which includes the Fighting Ravens website. All of those things are either set in the town itself, or greater Golan county. So, what’s next for the 12tM crew and Pinebox, Texas?
Currently I’m writing a plot point book about the House on Dale Island that is true horror and grisly fun. We have worked up some short stories for future release, we are working on two other secret releases for ETU as well, and some new PDF adventures as well.
Ed, I want to thank you for taking part in the Six Shot Interviews series here at the Lodge. I’ve really enjoyed your work over the years since stumbling upon 12tM. Together with Preston, and the rest of the gang, you guys have made a compelling setting out of Pinebox, Texas… I’m looking to it’s continued growth. Who knows, perhaps in the future we can collaborate again like we did for the East Texas University one-shot Brewhaha.
Sounds great to me! Keep it Savage and Go Ravens!
Again, I’d like to express my thanks to Ed Wetterman, Preston DuBose, and the rest of the 12 to Midnight crew for creating the horrifically wonderful little town of Pinebox, Texas.
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