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12TM: Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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12TM: Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
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12TM: Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/22/2010 03:34:28

The Good: A great set of stories that really make Pinebox, Texas come alive. A few recurring characters keep most of the wildly diverse stories tied together. The "interviews" at the beginning and the newspaper articles relating the "official" versions of the tales at the end are a great touch.

The Bad: A couple of authors perhaps tried to be too clever, or (over)used the shocking twist of the benevolent supporting character not being what they seem.

Conclusion: Great read. I'd definitely recommend it as there is far, far more good than bad.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
12TM: Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/24/2010 10:50:44

This is a collection of short stories from numerous authors, all set in the imaginary town of Pinebox, Texas: the setting for many of 12 to Midnight's adventures.

There's a reasonable map of the town (not everywhere mentioned is shown, but enough to get you oriented) at the front, then the first item is a series of transcripts of conversations between a freelance journalist researching a travel article and various townspeople. It's a good way to suck you in, hearing about the town from the viewpoints of various locals - each of course with their own opinions and bias. I can see a lot of them turning up as NPCs in games set in Pinebox.

And so it goes on. Many of the tales involve locals, and they too might well find a place in your game. The stories might provide inspiration for adventures, or at least rumours and tall tales that your characters might hear if they get into conversation with the right people. However, if you do intend to mine this for adventure ideas, rather than atmosphere, you'll need to do some work as most of the stories are a little vague about what is actually going on even if they provide plenty for your characters to investigate. I regard this as a good thing because it enables the GM to put his own spin on them if he does decide to use them for inspiration for his own adventures.

A real gem for the GM who does want to use anything from this book is at the back, a collection of newspaper articles which cover events that take place in most of the stories. Even if you don't intend to use the stories as a basis for your own adventures, these newspaper clippings will prove wonderfully atmospheric - and perhaps provide red herrings when your characters are really supposed to be investigating something else!

Just as a tool for introducing Pinebox as a living (or in some cases, perhaps not) setting, this book is excellent. GMs will have to decide whether it will be flavour material to pass round their players, or to hang on to it as a resource for their own adventures - or perhaps, do both as the 'what is actually going on' in any story is undefined enough that even a player who's read it will not be significantly advantaged in his investigations, but will benefit from really getting into the alternate reality that is Pinebox. Quite a few of the characters in the stories will make excellent Pinebox NPCs even if the stories themselves are not to feature in a game. If you want to run adventures in Pinebox, you definitely want to read this!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
12TM: Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Flames R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2009 06:37:13

A FlamesRising.com Review:

12 to Midnight presents its first horror anthology, a twelve author collection centered around their well-established Pinebox, Texas setting. Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas contains an impressively wide scope of stories (and horrors) while still maintaining certain key threads and locales throughout. There are even repeated nods back to various 12 to Midnight adventures like Skinwalker.

It won’t take long for me to talk about the artwork for the anthology. Jeff Varnes cover depicts what must be an image from within the Big Thicket, one of those recurring locales in the book. It’s simplicity makes it work. Any temptation to depict a horror of some sort would have probably stalled. Also, the artwork evokes common and well-ingrained childhood fears of being alone in the woods. Inside, there are two pages of cartography by T.C. Largent. One shows a rather close look at Pinebox, Texas and the other is devoted to Golan County.

Diving into these stories felt like a mix between the stories I read in old comic titles like The House of Mystery and The Vault of Horror. A short set-up with a handful of characters, an environment in something Man Knows Isn’t Right, and a twisty, usually gruesome ending makes up the bulk of these short stories. They make for the perfect campfire stories.

And the stories come from so many directions! I worried that the stories would get repetitive by the final chapter; however, the twelve authors found horrific tales in usual haunts like basements (The Hanging Tree) and forests (Off Radio) and unusual ones like diners (Pie) and Guitar Hero (Guitar Zero). The varied set-ups keeps the reader craving another fix.

Earlier I said that these stories feel like the short stories in horror comics. A switch in media to something more televised would say they feel like Tales From the Darkside, Friday the 13th: the Series, or the darker elements of the Twilight Zone. These stories do not explore any particular mythos in detail. Lack of depth doesn’t mean lack of story. No, these stories are fun. They deliver a quick “boo” to someone already on edge.

In my book, that’s called entertainment.

Review by Todd Cash.

Read the full review at FlamesRising.com: http://www.flamesrising.com/buried-tales-pinebox-review

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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