Shane Lacy Hensley, MACE 2012 Special Guest

MACE 2012 Interview

Hello, Shane!ย  Thanks for taking the time out to answer a few questions for the MACE newsletter, The Morning Star.

First off, tell us a little about yourself, what you do, and your role at Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

SLH: I’m the president, founder, and owner of Pinnacle. My job is to decide what we’re making, figure what’s cool about it, and oversee its creation. Often times I write it myself, as that’s really my first love. ๐Ÿ™‚

I also have a day job in video games where I’m currently the Executive Producer of End of Nations, a massively multiplayer online realtime strategy game (MMO RTS). (Quite a mouthful, huh?)

What was the inspiration to start PEG and publish RPG games?

SLH: Strangely enough, it was to publish a set of miniature rules called “Fields ofย  Honor.” Then we did a World War II collectible card game called “The Last Crusade.” PEG really started as a way for me and my friends to publish our pet projects, which were historical board games early on. We never set out to make an RPG, but once the idea for Deadlands formed, we just couldn’t seem to stop!

Before there was Savage Worlds, there was just Deadlands, correct?ย  Savage Worlds originated from Deadlands?

SLH: Sort of. Deadlands begot our miniatures game, “The Great Rail Wars,” which is essentially Savage Worlds with less character options. The wound system was also a bit different–you rolled the victim’s Vigor versus the damage and took the difference in wounds.

What was the primary driving force to take Weird West Deadlands system to a generic house system in Savage Worlds?

SLH: It was with the complexity of Hell on Earth with machine-guns, vehicles, explosives, and tons of magic, that we realized Deadlands Classic–which was designed to simulate “Josey Wales”-style gunfights–was just too detailed and we needed something a little faster. We tried an adventure (Rain o’ Terror) with Great Rail Wars as the engine and it was a blast! That’s when I knew we needed to look into a new system that would allow us to do everything from Hell on Earth to new game ideas we had like Weird Wars or Rippers or Necessary Evil.

What do you think has kept PEG going?

SLH: Bullheaded determination. ๐Ÿ˜‰ In the early days we had such massive success that a couple of young twenty-somethings just didn’t know how to handle it. We grew and expanded too fast, and quickly found ourselves in debt. We had some real growing pains, but we worked through it, and these days Pinnacle has no debt, is very profitable, and is extremely comfortable.

What keeps you going?

SLH: The burning desire to create and share my ideas. I’m very, very fortunate that a fair number of people seem to like them. A good example is Deadlands Noir. It was a real shot in the dark–and it turned out the reaction was fantastic. ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you feel when you walk into a con and see a room full of people playing your games?

SLH: It’s incredibly gratifying. When you see someone grinning from ear to ear because they did something cool or had a great time and you had some small role to play in that, you can’t help but join in their enthusiasm.

What is in store for Savage World that most excites you?

SLH: All new settings in new formats that I think people will really get excited about–but that’s a ways off yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What is your favorite setting for Savage Worlds?

SLH: Deadlands is my soul mate, I suppose, but 50 Fathoms is a close second. It’s equal parts Sinbad, Pirates of Dark Water, and Pirates of the Carribean, and that’s just an amazing mix to run, play, or write for.