If you’re looking to create your own setting, go to Licensing. If you’re interested in working on our products, or have already been contracted by us and want some more information on our style, read this.
About Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Certainly what we’re best known for is Deadlands, which has now been going strong since 1996.
Deadlands has appeared as a roleplaying game, a miniatures game, a collectible card game, a collectible disk game, and a comic book. The roleplaying game can be found in its original “classic” edition, in the d20 system, and “Reloaded” for our current house system, Savage Worlds. It has also been translated into Steve Jackson Games’ popular GURPs system.
Look for Deadlands to appear in other mediums in the coming year.
A Litany of Thanks
Through the years, many people have been instrumental in Pinnacle’s success. Matt Forbeck and Greg Gorden were early founders and contributed greatly to Deadlands. John R. Hopler was the first to join the team, and now works on computer games at Cryptic Studios. Hal Mangold is now with Green Ronin and was the first Deadlands Brand Manager. Zeke Sparkes was another key member of Pinnacle who helped define the look and feel of our award-winning Savage Worlds. He’s also now at Cryptic. John Goff is also an alumni, and wrote one of our most enduring and deadly “Dime Novel” adventures, Night Train. Randy Mosiondz was one of the first to hop on the Savage Worlds bandwagon and really help us polish the rules up to their current state (also at Cryptic).
David Ross, Aaron Isaac, and Rob Lusk have been constant friends and gracious companions, and did more for the success of The Great Rail Wars than anyone.
Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Williams was our Creative Director for several years and wrote far more products than we could keep up with.
Cheyenne Wright is our great friend and “go to” artist, along with incredibly talented newcomer Jordan Peacock. A host of other people help from time to time, as well, including past members of Pinnacle and wonderful friends like Jay and Amy Kyle who still edit, proof, and act as sounding boards for our wild ideas.
The Current Team
Pinnacle’s staff is spread out all over the world, from the hills of Pennsylvania to the deserts of Arizona and across the sea to Poland. Our warehouse and fulfillment team are located in Knoxville, TN.
Jodi Black – Chief Operations Officer and Managing Editor
Jodi Black handles day to day operations for Pinnacle including marketing duties such as building relationships with news organizations and retailers, and managing our social media communities. She also handles the licensing process for new Savage Worlds license applicants and serves as a main point of contact for all national and international licensee companies. Finally, she helps to keep Pinnacle’s products top notch by employing her multiple award-winning editorial skills. To date she has completed more than 50 editing projects in the RPG industry.
She is also President of Beautiful Brains Books and Games, which is an online- and convention-based retail store. She is married to Pinnacle Entertainment Group’s Savage Worlds Core Rules Brand Manager, Clint Black. She works both sides of the business—publishing and retail—from her desk in the basement “cave,” enabling her to be a stay-at-home mom and übervolunteer in the community. You can contact her at PEGJodi@gmail.com.
Evil Mike and Chaos Steve – Demo Team / Convention Coordinators
“Evil” Mike and “Chaos” Steve aren’t really evil, and are very well-organized, despite their names. They run all of our convention games as well as the Savage Worlds Explorer’s Society, and you won’t find two nicer guys or more entertaining Game Masters.
Joel Kinstle (pictured here with the sort of low-brow scofflaw he tends to associate with) blames the neighbor kid for introducing him to gaming at an early age, never expecting his sad parade of dead elves to lead to legitimate employment. His winding career path includes such notable highlights as academic probationer, summer camp nurse, infants and women’s wear clerk, U.S. Senatorial candidate, envelope factory janitor, corporate trainer, beer fetcher, graphic designer, nanny of four, and professional pig distracter.
Joel’s first Pinnacle project was the graphic design and layout for Necessary Evil: Explorer’s Edition, and he continues to serve Pinnacle [no, it’s not a cookbook] as best as he can. When free from the pixel mines, he’s been known to play games, watch movies, and otherwise engage in frivolous pursuits, including a recent peculiar interest in canning. If you ask nice, he’ll probably let you try the pickled grapes.
You can email Joel at PEGjpk@gmail.com.
Squid&Crow – Webmasters
Sara & Brendan Quinn started a little design/development firm called Squid&Crow a couple of years ago, and now they handle most web-related stuff for Pinnacle.
Brendan went to school for math and cartooning, and worked for a bunch of people (including Ford and Glen Eytchison— the dude who painted Viggo for Ghostbusters) before striking out on his own. He is the brain behind the Savage Worlds Toolset and is one of the 12 to Midnight guys.
Sara went to art school and graduated with degrees in psychology and sociology. She does painty, crafty things when she’s not making websites or geeking out with Brendan. They both spend way too much time playing games, reading comics, and generally participating in adolescent (or even childish) behavior.
You can email Squid&Crow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clint Black started as a freelance writer with Pinnacle over ten years ago, but his activity grew significantly with the advent of Savage Worlds. Clint transitioned from a playtester on the original design team to the creator of one of the first settings (Necessary Evil) to one of the contributors to the core rules with the Explorer’s Edition. Along the way, he worked on multiple Savage Worlds projects and has served as Pinnacle’s forum administrator and the Rules Answer Man for years. Clint would also like to add that it’s “his job to know when Shane isn’t following the rules, but not say anything.” ;)
You can email Clint at PEGClint@gmail.com.
In 1977, at the age of 5, Matt saw Star Wars with his dad and was amazed. Five years after that, his mom bought him a creepy-looking box emblazoned Call of Cthulhu. There wasn’t much he could do but accept his fate and read everything he could get his hands on. Twenty-three years later, Matt started playing Savage Worlds and developed his own setting, Spirits of ’86. After meeting Shane, Simon, and the rest of the Pinnacle crew at Con on the Cob ’06, Matt wrote his first Savage Tale for Deadlands: Reloaded.
Matt is co-author of Deadlands: The Flood and author of Murder on the Hellstromme Express and the forthcoming Plot Point campaign, Deadlands: The Last Sons. When he’s not cooking up a fresh batch of spaghetti western with meat, he spends time with his wife Maureen and three (phenomenal) kids: Patrick, Abigail, and Maeve. Some folks say Matt’s singing is marginally better than his guitar playing.
You can email Matt at PEGCutter@gmail.com.
Aaron is a long-time friend of the company. He freelanced for Deadlands classic, Hell On Earth, Weird Wars, and a slew of Savage Worlds products over the years. We’ve not had him all to ourselves, though—he’s worked on A Song of Ice & Fire, Babylon 5, Call of Cthulhu, Legend of the Five Rings, Suzerain, Warlord, and Wheel of Time properties, among others, and produces art and design for bands, comics, films, and games.
As our Art Director, Aaron is always going to be on the lookout for new artists, cartographers, and designers. If that’s something you’re interested in, send him an e-mail at email@example.com and link your portfolio.
John’s association with the Pinnacle gang goes all the way back to the Dark Ages (known today as “the mid-80s”), when he passed much of his free time killing Shane and John Hopler’s characters on a weekly basis in a variety of unique and (at least to him) entertaining ways. Since then, he’s held a fairly unusual mix of jobs, including private detective, fraud investigator, and interrogator for the U.S. military.
For the last decade or so, he’s also been employed as a writer and game designer, both full- and part-time. Although he’s authored, co-authored, or edited over two dozen works for Pinnacle, John is certainly best known for his first solo project, the Dime Novel Night Train. There is no truth to the rumor, however, that John receives a royalty for each player character slain while playing the adventure.
John has been involved with Pinnacle’s forays into miniature rules dating all the way back to the original Great Rail Wars game. He also worked closely with Shane on producing the latest version of the Showdown rules.
You can email John at PEGGoff@gmail.com.
Piotr has been playing RPGs for most of his life. It started in 1992, when his friend brought some weird-looking books friends from Germany (ah, the Evil Cleric lvl 15…), but it was enough to start the fire that burns in Piotr’s heart for adventure games.
After a short marriage with his friend’s “Kahern” campaign and certain storytelling systems, he found an orange book with an undead gunslinger on the cover and became a big fan of Deadlands. He wrote a few articles for a newspaper owned by the Polish publisher of Deadlands and contributed to every important Polish RPG website that was writing about this revolutionary new game.
Piotr eventually became a Pinnacle playtester and used his encyclopedic knowledge of the Weird West to help with the relaunch of Deadlands: Reloaded. Now Piotr works on all products for Savage Worlds and is the main continuity editor for all the Deadlands products, past and future.
Piotr’s other job is working with his wife, Justyna, and being a father to his new little deputy, Marysia.
Piotr has a BBA in Business Administration, but prefers being a history maniac, especially America`s 19th century history – mostly Civil War and Wild West periods. In his free time (between midnight and half past midnight usually), he plays video games, which are his second hobby.
You can email Piotr at PEGPiotr@gmail.com.
Alida started working with Pinnacle years ago providing cartography and illustration. She’s produced work for Deadlands, Weird War 1, The Last Parsec, Rippers, and a bunch of other Pinnacle properties and continues to do so while assisting Aaron with managing art production for various upcoming projects.
Beyond Pinnacle she has done freelance work for Onyx Path, Catalyst Game Labs, and Savage Mojo – where she is currently serving as their Art Director. In her deep, dark past she got her start in freelancing doing marketing and advertising art for companies with a distinct lack of treasure maps and night horrors.
Sean Patrick Fannon (aka “Big Irish” or SPF) – Brand Manager and Lead Writer/Designer for the Savage Rifts product line for Pinnacle Entertainment – has been professionally involved in tabletop RPGs, computer games, and entertainment for over a quarter-century. His dozens of projects have included Hero Games’ Champions product line; both West End’s and Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPGs; various World of Darkness books; and the Savage Worlds Epic High Fantasy setting, Shaintar.
He was the Events Coordinator for GAMA (helping run both Origins and GTS), and chronicled the entire roleplaying game hobby and industry in The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer’s Bible, which sold over 10,000 copies. He worked for DriveThruRPG & RPGNow as the Marketing and Communications Director; during that period, he helped coordinate massive charity and relief efforts for folks like Doctors Without Borders and Feeding America, leveraging the RPG community’s generosity. He continues that tradition as a member of the Board of Directors for the RPG Creators Relief Fund.
Sean now focuses on his own gaming company, Evil Beagle Games (“Bad Dog. Good Games”), as well as his work for Pinnacle Entertainment Group. He’s working directly with Pinnacle and Palladium Books to create an entire line of books to bring the classic Rifts setting to Savage Worlds fans, which he says is his most challenging design project ever. He’s also working with Len Pimentel of Lakeside Games on a new version of the Prowlers & Paragons superhero game system, and has two settings – Modern Gods and Unending War – planned for later release for P&P.
You can follow his Pick of the Day – a daily showcase of both popular and hidden gem game products – at www.seanspickoftheday.com.
Michelle handles all the bookkeeping, accounts payable, and taxes for Pinnacle. She’s also a reality check on all our wild ideas. When Michelle isn’t trying to rein in Pinnacle’s finances she’s riding herd over Shane and their two sons, Caden and Ronan.
Michelle’s official email is PEGShell@gmail.com.
Shane Lacy Hensley – President
Shane and Michelle Hensley owned a game and comics store called Fun ‘n Games in Blacksburg, VA, while they attended school at Virginia Tech. During that time, Shane wrote for every major gaming company, including TSR, White Wolf, and West End Games, among many others.
In 1994, Shane started Pinnacle Entertainment Group, where he created the best-selling, award-winning Deadlands, Hell on Earth, Weird Wars, and later Savage Worlds and many of its settings. Since then he’s written dozens of books and several novels, and designed everything from card games to miniature games to computer games.
In 2004, Shane joined Cryptic Studios as a designer on City of Villains, the sequel to the smash-hit City of Heroes Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG). Shane enjoyed several wonderful years at Cryptic before moving to Arizona to become Studio Head for Superstition Studios where he was making an MMORPG based on Deadlands.
Deadlands was unfortunately cancelled when the parent company folded, but Shane went on to create a colorful casual game called “Zombie Pirates.” He then returned to his friends at Cryptic Studios where he served as the Executive Producer of the new Dungeons & Dragons game, Neverwinter. From there he moved on to Petroglyph Games in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is currently the Executive Producer for End of Nations.
Shane still runs Pinnacle with the help of many talented freelancers and partners. He currently commutes weekly to Nevada but lives in beautiful Gilbert, Arizona, with his wife Michelle and their two incredible sons Caden and Ronan Hensley. He has a double-BA in History and Political Science, and an MA in Special Operations & Low Intensity Conflicts.
Novels & Fiction
Sole Survivor (West End Games)
Blood of Tarrian (West End Games)
Dead End(West End Games)
Prisons (White Wolf Studios)
Reaching for the Stars (West End Games)
The Trilogy With No Name (Pinnacle)
Deadlands Noir; Tenement Men (Pinnacle)
Major Licensed Work
Army of Darkness Roleplaying Game (Eden/MGM)
Killer Instinct Collectible Card Game (Topps/Nintendo)
X-Files Collectible Card Game (Topps/Fox) (Unpublished)
Star Wars: Secrets of the Sisar Run Roleplaying Game (West End Games)
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (Fantasy Flight Games)
City of Heroes / City of Villains (Cryptic Studios)
Marvel Universe Online (Cryptic Studios)
Panzer General (SSI)
Weird Wars (Strategy First)
Operation: Watershed! (4-H/USDA)
Neverwinter MMO (Cryptic Studios / Perfect World)
End of Nations (Petroglyph Games / Trion Worlds)
Zombie Pirates (Dust Devil)
City by the Silt Sea (TSR/Hasbro)
Nightmare Lands (TSR/Hasbro)
Earth, Fire, Water, & Air (TSR/Hasbro)
Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium II (TSR/Hasbro)
Terror in the Skies (FASA)
Temple of Rec Stalek (West End Games)
When Axioms Collide (West End Games)
Techbook: Ships (West End Games)
Crosshairs (West End Games)
The World of Aden (West End Games)
Campaign Chronicles (West End Games)
A Fist Full of Zombies (Eden/MGM)
Warhammer 3rd Edition Game Master’s Toolkit
Pinnacle Products Personally Written or Developed
The Last Crusade (Producer)
Fields of Honor
Fields of Honor Fields of Honor:The American War for Independence
Deadlands: the Weird West
The Quick & the Dead
Deadlands Players Guide
Deadlands Marshal’s Guide
Hell on Earth
The Great Rail Wars
City o’ Gloom
The Last Crusaders
Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition
Savage Worlds Deluxe
50 Fathoms Explorer’s Edition
Necessary Evil (Developer)
The Savage World of Solomon Kane (Developer)
Traveller’s Tales – The Gottleib Horror
Weird Wars: Weird War Two (For Savage Worlds, with Mike Montesa)
Numerous One Sheets
Deadlands Noir: Old Absinthe House Blues
Deadlands Noir: Companion
Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Savage Worlds Super Companion
Large Convention Guest of Honor Appearances
Guest of Honor: Origins 1997 (with Tom Clancy and Bruce Campbell)
Guest of Honor: NukeCon 1998 Guest of Honor: Arcanacon 2000 (Sydney, Australia)
Guest of Honor: Leprecon 2003 (Dublin, Ireland)
Guest of Honor: GenCon England 2004
Guest of Honor: Archon 2004 (St. Louis, MO)
Guest of Honor: GenCon SoCal 2004 (San Diego, CA)
Guest of Honor: Origins 2010
Guest of Honor: Genghis Con 2010
Numerous smaller convention appearances
Named 13th Most Innovative Person in the Gaming Industry by peers, 2000
Named 7th Best Designer in the Gaming Industry by peers, 2000
Awards Origins Award: Best Roleplaying Game of 1996 (Deadlands)
Nigel Findley Memorial Award for Best RPG of 1996 (Deadlands)
Origins Award: Best Miniatures Game of 1997 (Great Rail Wars)
Origins Award: Best Short Fiction of 1998 (Leftovers)
Origins Award: Best Collectible Card Game (1999)
Origins Award: Best Vehicular Miniature of 1999 (Velocipede)
Origins Award: Best Fantasy Figure of 1998 (Hanging Judge)
Origins Award: Best Historical Miniatures Game of 2000 (Fields of Honor)
Origins Award: Fan’s Choice Award for Best Roleplaying Game of 2003 (Savage Worlds)
Ennies Award: Best Roleplaying Game of 2003 (Savage Worlds)
Origins Award: Best Roleplaying Game of 2006 (Deadlands: Reloaded)