This interview is part of a series focusing on candidates in the running for the 2014 ENnie Awards. The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards (the “ENnies”) are an annual fan-based celebration of excellence in tabletop role-playing gaming, with voting beginning 7 a.m. Central on Sunday, July 20 through 7 p.m. Central on Wednesday, July 30. The winners will be announced at Gen Con, the Grand Hall at the Historic Union Station on Friday, August 15. To vote, see http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/. In this installment I interview Jodi Black, Marketing, Licensee, and Production Manager for Pinnacle Entertainment Group.
MT: Tell us about your company.
Jodi Black (JB): Pinnacle Entertainment Group is the award-winning publisher of the Deadlands and Savage Worlds roleplaying games. Pinnacle was founded in 1994 and is owned and operated by Shane Lacy Hensley. Over the years, Pinnacle has been responsible for some of the most enduring titles in the RPG industry and continues to design and publish innovative game systems and compelling settings.
MT: Has your company been nominated for any ENnies in the past?
JB: Yes! Starting in 2008 with The Savage World of Solomon Kane, Pinnacle has consistently been nominated each year, and placed for a win most of the time. Our current core rules, Savage Worlds Deluxe, won a Gold ENnie in 2012 for Best Game. This is the first year we’ve had 7 nominations, though, and we’re pretty excited about that.
* Tell us about your nominated products.
Several nominations are for Deadlands Noir and supplement products, such as Deadlands Noir Companion and a map. Deadlands Noir was Pinnacle’s first Kickstarter project and the backers responded enthusiastically. We weren’t sure that fans of Deadlands would want something that wasn’t Western..but apparently they love it.
Deadlands Noir takes the world of Deadlands to New Orleans smack dab in the middle of the “Dirty ’30s” and has a Plot Point Campaign as well as Savage Tales with plenty of horrors for the Marshal (GM) to throw at the players. Plot Point Campaigns are what we call an extended series of adventures: the GM can run them back-to-back for a tightly scripted epic campaign, or intersperse her own adventures or the Savage Tales to really get into the setting. Deadlands Noir has been nominated for Best Art, Interior, Best Setting, and Product of the Year.
Deadlands Noir Companion offers up 4 more Plot Point Campaigns: a mafia war for Chicago in 1927, iconic martial arts for Shan Fan (San Francisco) in 1939, the Golden Age of Hollywood for the City of Lost Angels in 1946, and the City of Gloom (Salt Lake City) in 1950, all shiny with chrome. Deadlands Noir Companion has been nominated for Best Supplement.
The Deadlands Noir map for New Orleans and Hexaco has a map of New Orleans on one side and a map of North America (sponsored by oil company “Hexaco”) on the flip side. It’s 24″ x 30″ and coated on both sides to be wet, dry, and permanent marker erasable. This map, one of five released for Deadlands Noir, has been nominated for Best Cartography.
Our second Kickstarter product, Weird Wars Rome, has already won a Judge’s Spotlight Award by Kurt Wiegel. A supplement product, the Enemies of Rome Figure Flats, is nominated for Best Miniature Accessory. In Weird Wars Rome, heroes are typically legionaries in the Roman army fighting the supernatural. It is part of our Weird Wars alternate history line, which brings the supernatural into history’s biggest conflicts.
Pinnacle also has a product nominated in the Best Free Product category: the Super Villain Supplement for the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion (Second Edition). It contains several pages with creatures including dinosaurs, more than 30 villains across multiple power levels and a complete super villain team, the Graveyard Shift.
MT: What distinguishes your entries from your competitors?
JB: It’s hard to answer definitively, because we’re nominated in multiple categories with such top notch competition. We’re in good company. J
MT: What products will you be producing for the remainder of this year?
JB: Pinnacle just wrapped its third Kickstarter for modern horror setting East Texas University and the Plot Point Campaign book for it, Degrees of Horror, both of which are available now as PDFs. They should be in print by Christmas. Our next Kickstarter will be for a science fiction setting, The Last Parsec. We also just released print editions of the Super Powers Companion and Science Fiction Companion, and we’re continuing to produce quality material for Deadlands.
MT: Are there any upcoming Kickstarters on the horizon?
JB: We hope our friends are looking forward to The Last Parsec. It’s coming together nicely. :)
MT: What do you think of the new edition of D&D?
JB: I’m looking forward to seeing it. There is so much nostalgia wrapped up in the title alone that I know I’m going to buy it and play it with my kids.
MT: Will you be at Gen Con? Where? Will any new products debut at Gen Con?
JB: Pinnacle is in the Studio 2 Publishing booth, number 1317. At Gen Con, we’re releasing Savage Worlds tokens, which are used to remind GMs and players of attack options and conditions such as Shaken, Wound, Cover, and the effects of a Trick or Wild Attack.
MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?
JB: Find Pinnacle at www.peginc.com, and consider signing up for our weekly newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook, Google Plus, and on Twitter @PEG_Games.
MT: Anything else you’d like to share?
JB: We’re looking forward to the ENnies and seeing a lot of friends at Gen Con. If you’re reading this, please stop by the booth and say hi!