Bleeding Cool Tabletop: An Interview with Jodi Black

Savage Worlds from Pinnacle Entertainment Group is one of the best plug-and-play Role Playing systems on the market. The newest version, Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition, is winding up its campaign on Kickstarter. Pinnacle Operations Manager and Managing Editor Jodi Black was kind enough to take a moment to talk about the game.

Bleeding Cool Tabletop: An Interview with Jodi Black


Bleeding Cool: Hi, Jodi! Thanks for talking with us!

Jodi Black: Hi, what would you like to know?

Bleeding Cool: I figured we would start with Savage Worlds Adventure Edition. The previous edition is showing it's age, what other factors led to you deciding on a new iteration of Savage Worlds?

Jodi Black: Over the years we've been tempted to update rules other than how (effects like) Shaken worked. But we held off for several reasons: First, the communication on the Shaken change was very difficult without a new printing. We couldn't justify a new printing of the book for a few sentences! So we updated the PDF and told everyone the best way we know how. Just yesterday I answered a question about the Shaken rule…and that was 3 years ago. The message just did not get out about the rule change.

Next, some of the rule changes proposed had far-reaching and cascading effects. For example, we've removed Charisma in the Adventure Edition. That means updating a BUNCH of Edges and Hindrances! There were other smaller reasons, but that's why we held off making any other changes to our rules until it we could dig in and focus on how far the ripples would spread… now… WHY we made the rules changes is a different discussion, but each one was play-tested thoroughly and based on feedback we've heard from literally thousands of GMs and players around the world.
Bleeding Cool Tabletop: An Interview with Jodi Black
Bleeding Cool: How about things like Bennies, Exploding Dice, and Wild Card NPC's? Are those staying the same, or are you working changes into those, too? 
Jodi Black: Oh, yes, we made a few changes there. Before I go into the changes, let me assure anyone who's concerned that this is a majorly new game system… it's not.
Bleeding Cool: I know a few of your long-term fans just sighed in relief!
Jodi Black: It's 95% the same game. You still have a Wild Die, Bennies, and a standard deck of playing cards for initiative.
So all of the previously released material is backwards compatible. We're also releasing a free conversion guide to help with that. As a side note, our friends at Saving Throw on Twitch are playing 'Eastern Texas University: Undeclared' using an adventure released in 2009. They did the conversion work themselves to play using the Adventure Edition rules. So they say it's super easy. It's not just us saying it. 
OK, so Bennies changes. The big one is we decided to move one aspect out of "Setting Rules" and into Core Rules. no spending a Benny on a Critical Failure (a one on both your Trait die and your Wild die).
Bleeding Cool: That'll change a few games for sure!
Jodi Black: GM's still have the option to let players use a Benny to reroll Critical Failures, but it's now an optional Setting Rule. We literally just moved the rule from one type to another. So yes, that changes things!
We think those Critical Failures are more fun for everyone when roleplayed. It falls into line with our belief that Hindrances are where the roleplaying "meat" of a character really are. (We also moved taking Hindrances to earlier in the character creation process to emphasize this).

Bleeding Cool: Absolutely! The stakes are high, so role-play it out!

Jodi Black: You can be absolutely the best at what you're doing and still fumble. I do it all the time.
Bleeding Cool Tabletop: An Interview with Jodi Black

Bleeding Cool: I saw that chase rules are being updated?

Jodi Black: Oh my, the Chase Rules.

Bleeding Cool: Hahahah!

Jodi Black: We're laughing, too!
Honestly, our goal for the Chase Rules are to have a fast, flexible system in place that GMs will use. If it's the end of the game session, the bad guy got away, and the players want to pursue, how can you resolve it quickly and easily, right?
Bleeding Cool: Right!
Jodi Black: We think we have it all figured out in the latest edition. We play-tested different versions of the Chase Rules and released what we thought was the best solution around Halloween. Listening to feedback through the Kicktarter made us realize we needed to tweak them again. We removed them from the website, went back to an earlier version, play-tested again, then re-released them. Everyone seems happy, and we're happy.
Bleeding Cool: You're in the final week of your Kickstarter for the Adventure Edition. What would you say to people who are holding back on jumping in to back your campaign?
Jodi Black: Good question. I get it. Sometimes the finances for what you want to get (like perhaps The Ultimate! reward level at $200) just isn't possible. I paid $300 in college application fees for my younger daughter last night…so I GET IT! I recommend pledging for the $25.00 Digital reward level.
At that level, you're getting a fantastic deal (So many Stretch Goals!) and the Adventure Edition PDF. You can pick up the book later from your local game store, or you can upgrade your pledge later.

Bleeding Cool: I love the micro settings! I just saw Tesla Rangers this morning, so cool to see you working with Cheyenne Wright!

Jodi Black: We LOVE Cheyenne! We've worked with him for ages.

Bleeding Cool: Girl Genius is one of my favorite online comics ! It reminds me of old Phil Foglio comics in the back of Dragon Magazine back in the 80's.

Jodi Black: I'm also psyched for B.J. Hensley's Lost City of Astla.

Bleeding Cool Tabletop: An Interview with Jodi Black

Bleeding Cool: How soon will PDF's of the game be available after the Kickstarter?

Jodi Black: PDFs will be available as soon as we get the deposit from Kickstarter. It's 99% done! We just added some pages… so it's in proofing again.

Bleeding Cool: That's amazing! I know some people hesitate with backing a Kickstarter, especially if they backed something in the past that didn't work out. But Pinnacle has always delivered everything I've backed. It's amazing how well you support your games!

Jodi Black: Thank you! We work hard to make good on our promises. You have no idea how much it hurts (emotionally) when things don't go smooth. We always deliver, though.

The main issues we struggle with are the same as anyone else: getting it done and delivered on time. Just about anything could set us back. For example, in the 'Doomtown' Kickstarter we redesigned the box, which set us back a few months. I think delivery was pushed back 3 months. That felt awful. And on 'Flash Gordon' the air freight company for our EU orders was difficult. We're delivering that one about a month later. Ugh

Bleeding Cool: Your dedication to your fans really shows, though! What's coming up after the Adventure Edition, other than a good nap?

Jodi Black: Oh man, a nap is such a luxury…. And I'm a champion napper.

After we take a break to recoup and relax a bit, we'll be hard at work on everything we've talked about during the Kickstarter. First priority is to deliver the goods for THIS Kickstarter. Then we've got (in no particular order, too many factors at play): 'Deadlands: the Weird West' new edition, 'Deadlands: Hell on Earth', 'Deadlands Noir' (both) in graphic novel (format) and updated to Savage Worlds Adventure Edition, 'Deadlands: Lost Colony' (finally!), 

'Deadlands: Dark Ages', (updated) Fantasy Companion, Horror Companion, and new books for 'Rifts® for Savage Worlds'! Eastern Texas University: Study Abroad… and I'm sure we've talked about other new projects which I'm not remembering right now…
Bleeding Cool: So much for that nap!
Jodi Black: Yeah, a nap is about all we'll take. 
Bleeding Cool: It's exciting to see everything you're working on!
Jodi Black: Thanks! I'm a little overwhelmed seeing it all in "print" like that!

Bleeding Cool: It's quite the list! Jodi, thanks so much for taking a few minutes to share Savage Worlds Adventure Edition with us!

Jodi Black: Thanks so much for reaching out to us.
Bleeding Cool Tabletop: An Interview with Jodi Black
Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition wraps its Kickstarter campaign on Wednesday, November 14th, at 8 p.m. MST. Even if you miss out on the campaign and all the added stretch goals, Savage Worlds can be ordered at your local gaming store! With settings in nearly every conceivable genre, you're sure to find something that suits your gaming group perfectly!
Confused about all the terms flying around this interview? Fear not! Bleeding Cool will be featuring a "Why You Should Play" segment on Savage Worlds in an upcoming article!



About Leigh Kade

Leigh George Kade is a writer, illustrator, and sculptor who lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two small Skrulls. Leigh has also been a panelist on the wildly popular Geek Show Podcast since 2008. He has been an Entertainment Writer for Bleeding Cool since 2018.

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