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Paizo Publishing's 10th Anniversary Retrospective—Year 7 (2009)

Launching Our Own RPG

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This blog entry is the eighth in a series of blogs commemorating Paizo's 10th anniversary.
Click here to read the first installment.

One of the things that has plagued Paizo through most of its existence is that every year, we end up throwing a major project or two on top of an already full product release schedule. In 2005, it was the Shackled City hardcover. In 2006, it was the Dragon Compendium, Monster Ecologies and the Kill Doctor Lucky board game. In 2007, we launched our Adventure Paths and Modules lines as well as the Stonehenge board game. In 2008, we published the hardcover campaign setting sourcebook and launched the Player Companion line, and we ran the Pathfinder RPG playtest as well.

Surprise! 2009 wasn't any different. And this time, we were taking on perhaps the biggest add-ons yet: the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, weighing in at 576 pages, and the Bestiary, with its hefty 328 pages. All told, we were adding more than 900 pages to our regular workload. It ended up requiring hundreds of hours of overtime and the combined effort of dozens of employees.

One of the first decisions to make was the physical form that our rulebooks would take. Traditionally, the core D&D rules encompassed three volumes: the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual. We thought about following a similar format for Pathfinder, but it had always bugged us that players needed to own the DMG if they wanted to look up magic items, so we decided to wrap all of the information that you would need to run a game of Pathfinder, minus the monster writeups, into a single Core Rulebook. The Bestiary would remain its own book.

We also had to make a huge decision about how far we were going to stray from the 3.5 SRD. Our alpha playtest had introduced a number of new systems that pushed the boundaries of backwards compatibility. Ultimately, we decided to keep Pathfinder fairly close to its 3.5 roots while using years and years of GM experiences to update and fine-tune the system. We certainly didn't fix everything we could have in 3.5—some issues are endemic to the math underlying the core system—but we did fix a lot of the problem areas.

The white board lets the editors exercise their inner artistic talents.

So why did we swing the pendulum toward backward compatibility? Because our customers were telling us that they didn't want their trove of 3.0 and 3.5 books to become obsolete. Everyone had a pile of Wizards of the Coast products, of course, but the OGL and the d20 license had also inspired an explosion of print and PDF books the likes of which the gaming industry had never before seen. And we really wanted people to be able to use all of those products with Pathfinder. For the most part, I think that we did a good job striking the balance between compatibility and innovation.

Not surprisingly, the new RPG had a huge effect on the rest of our product lines. Since we were launching a new system at Gen Con, all of the other products scheduled to be released from that date forward needed reflect the new rules. The problem is that we usually contract freelance writers eight months or so before the intended release date of a product, and the rules were still in flux at that point. What to do?

We decided to contract in-house authors to write the first adventures and adventure path volumes for the new game. Since our own people were working with the new rules as they were being written, we figured that they would be in the best position to use those rules to write adventures. Even hedging our bets that way, we still had lots of issues, but at least they could be worked out in person and in real time, rather than via email or telephone. Still, not a task for the faint of heart. Whenever possible, we also planned products that were relatively rules light for much of the year.


Lisa Stevens is flanked by future Paizo employees Liz Courts and Adam Daigle at Gen Con and cover artist Wayne Reynolds poses with his copy of the Core Rulebook.

As we prepared to send the game to the printer, we faced another big question—how many Core Rulebooks should we print? Until this book, we'd mainly printed adventures and campaign sourcebooks, products aimed pretty much exclusively at GMs. Now, for the first time, we had a book that was aimed at players. We ended up setting a print run three times as big as any other print run we had ever made. The cost was staggering and a bit unnerving. But distributor orders flooded in, and we sold out of our first print run before it even arrived from the printer! We were floored. We thought that the Pathfinder RPG was going to do well, but none of us thought that we'd sell out of a print run three times bigger than any other print run... and before the product was even released. It gave us an early indication of the success that the Pathfinder RPG was going to have. We ended up setting our second print run even higher than the first, committing Paizo to TWO staggering print bills before any money even came in from the first sale!

Of course, shipping all those books around the world also ended up being a bit of a struggle. We always pride ourselves in doing a great job of packing our shipments, but the hardcover Core Rulebook made us re-evaluate our processes, eventually leading us to use book corners to keep the books pristine. Another hurdle was the weight of the book. In 2007, the USPS discontinued surface mail, meaning that everything now goes by air, and international shipping costs go through the roof if your parcel weighs more than four pounds. The Core Rulebook exceeds that limit before you even add the weight of box and packaging materials! To this day, customer service continues to deal with a ton of emails and messageboard posts from customers complaining about the cost of shipping the Core Rulebook.

We also had a big debate when it came to pricing the Core Rulebook PDF. Normally, our PDFs are priced at about 70% of the cover price of the corresponding print edition, a formula that would result in a price of $34.99 for the Core Rulebook PDF. But we had already decided to post the rules themselves for free on the Pathfinder Reference Document, so the price to have them neatly laid out and beautifully illustrated needed to be something much closer to "free." We ended up settling on $9.99, and right out of the gate, PDF sales were astounding. We earned so much goodwill from that decision that we've continued to offer all of our rulebooks in PDF form at that price.

We also had to decide how we were going to let other publishers interact with the Pathfinder rules. We had long been believers in the OGL, so we never considered anything other than making our rules completely open. However, the OGL specifically prohibits publishers from saying their products are compatible with trademarked brands like "Dungeons & Dragons" or "Pathfinder" without another agreement, so we came up with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License, which has allowed the existence of hundreds upon hundreds of Pathfinder RPG–compatible products by dozens and dozens of publishers. The growth of the third-party community has been one of my favorite parts of the whole Pathfinder RPG business.

We also created our Community Use Policy, which has allowed customers and fans to create an incredible diversity of free products, websites, and other materials that expand our game and our world in ways that we never imagined.

One great example of this community collaboration is Wayfinder. Originally plotted as a fanzine to be given away at the first official PaizoCon, Wayfinder has become a biannual publication that recently released issue #7. It has earned a lot of praise from the gaming community, even garnering its own ENnie award nominations. Liz Courts originally helmed the editor-in-chief role for Wayfinder, but she turned that title over to PaizoCon founder Tim Nightingale when we hired her on at Paizo.

One benefit of the success of Pathfinder is the ability to license other companies to produce Pathfinder products. One such deal in 2009 was with Q-Workshop, to produce a line of dice themed around our Adventure Paths. To date, they've released six sets of Pathfinder dice.

The sculpt for Reaper's first original Pathfinder miniature is unveiled at Gen Con!

In 2009, we landed one of our bigger licenses in Reaper, producing unpainted metal miniatures. We had initially licensed Crocodile Games to make Pathfinder minis, and their figures were great, but they were just coming out too slowly for us. So after a year or so, we decided to give Reaper a call to see if they were interested. Imagine our surprise when we not only received a "yes" but a resounding "Hell yes!" from them. With two to four minis released every month, Reaper has built up quite a stash, with 153 different figures in release or on the way as I type this!

The second year of our RPG Superstar contest saw an increase in the number of contestants. Original judge Erik Mona had to drop out as we were keeping him way too busy, so Sean K Reynolds came in as his replacement. Contestant Neil Spicer emerged as the victor with his Realm of the Fellnight Queen proposal. Neil is the quintessential RPG Superstar: hitherto undiscovered talent that Paizo has since come to rely upon. Since his victory, Neil has authored five Adventure Path volumes (contributing to Kingmaker, Serpent's Skull, Carrion Crown, Jade Regent and Skull & Shackles), and he has gone on to become one of RPG Superstar's best judges as well! In its first two years, RPG Superstar had already brought Paizo a number of great freelancers, as well as two employees—not a bad start!

2009 was also the year we took over PaizoCon as an official Paizo convention. We were all impressed with the job Tim Nightingale did with 2008's fan-run PaizoCon, but it was clear to everyone that it could be so much more if we as a company got behind it. Interestingly enough, the impetus for this move saw its genesis in another convention, the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. Origins had been a big and important convention dating back to the '70s. For decades, Origins and Gen Con were the cornerstones of the summer convention season for many publishers. But over the years, Gen Con had grown in prominence on the national stage while Origins slipped away to become a large regional show. Paizo had been going to Origins since our inception, but we'd been spending an increasing amount of money attending the show each year. Sending a large portion of our staff across the country, providing them food and lodging, buying space in the dealer hall, and shipping our booth and product across the country is very expensive, and sales in the dealer hall continued to decline each year as attendence fell. So we decided to make a corporate decision—if we were going to (hopefully) just break even each year on a convention, we might as well make it one that we owned, right here in the Seattle area.

A mountain of Core Rulebooks awaits the swarm of gamers on the first day of Gen Con! There are more copies underneath the black cloth... and we sold them all!

So we reached out to Tim and asked him if we could take over PaizoCon for 2009. He gladly accepted and we were off to the races! Our first problem was securing a location. Tim's 2008 PaizoCon had around 50 attendees, and since we were aiming to have three or four times that many people for PaizoCon 2009, we needed a bigger space. We soon learned that most hotels are either set up for small corporate conferences the size of the first PaizoCon, or they're optimized for thousands of attendees. It seemed we were exactly the wrong size. After months of searching, we stumbled across the Coast Hotel in Bellevue, just minutes from where our office was. Its size proved perfect for the next couple of years as the con was growing. We were able to take most of the rooms in the hotel, packing it with gamers from top to bottom. The Coast gave PaizoCon a very intimate feeling that suited us just fine. We ended up having just over 200 paid attendees for PaizoCon 2009, plus another 50 or so guests and staffers. Our first ever Guest of Honor was super designer Monte Cook and his wife Sue, while our first artist Guest of Honor was Eva Widermann.

One of the big surprises for us was how well the Paizo store did at the show. We'd anticipated that only the most hardcore Paizo enthusiasts would journey all the way out to Seattle to attend PaizoCon, and hardcore fans—pretty much by definition—tend to already have everything you've made. So we expected sales to be tepid at best. To our surprise, we've eclipsed our budget for the Paizo store each year at the con.

Gen Con was a very big deal for Paizo in 2009, for it was the first public release of the Core Rulebook. Our big question for the show: How many Core Rulebooks do we bring to sell? Memories of the year we brought too many copies of the Shackled City hardcover haunted us. We wanted to have enough rulebooks to last the entire convention, but we didn't want to ship pallets of the books home if we brought too many. To complicate matters, we knew that the quantity we were earmarking for Gen Con would be among the very last unsold copies of the first printing of the book, so for many folks, this was going to be one of the only ways to get the book for a few months while we waited on the reprint. We decided to go big, bringing a ton of books to the con, using cases of books to build a huge table in the middle of our booth, stacking more books on top.

When the doors opened on the first day of the show, the tidal wave of customers rushing to our booth was staggering. Chaos ensued, and it took the combined might of the entire Paizo staff to wrangle a semblance of order to the line, which wrapped around our booth once and then tailed off into the art show next door. In order to get people through the line quickly, I borrowed an idea from White Wolf's successful Gen Con launch of the Werewolf RPG. I quickly grabbed Erik Mona, and we gathered a box and a pile of books and headed down the line. If anybody in line was buying only the Core Rulebook, they could give us $60 cash—the cost of the Core Rulebook plus sales tax, rounded up to avoid making change—and leave the line, book in hand. Dozens and dozens of people took us up on our offer, and we were able to cut the line down to a paltry two-hour wait! Amazingly, we did a nearly perfect job predicting the number of books we needed, selling our last copies late on Sunday!

The first print run of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook made it to the new Paizo office before the rest of the company did! The Paizo staff hangs out with the cast of "Burnt Offerings," a school play based on the first Pathfinder Adventure Path! The Paizo golem is one of the last to leave the old office on moving day. Conan O'Brien gives a late-night TV shout-out to our Yetisburg card game!

At the ENnie Awards, Paizo won 4 golds and 2 silvers. The awards received were:

When we got back from Gen Con, there was no rest for the weary; we had to move our entire operation from our old office in Bellevue to our new office in Redmond. For much of the previous year, we had been desperately searching for new office space to suit our changing needs. When we moved into our Bellevue office a few years before, we were a magazine business with a fledgling e-commerce store. Our warehouse needs were small. As our business had shifted to book publishing, pallets of new products were filling our warehouse, spilling over into the underground parking garage. We needed new office space with a seriously large warehouse, and soon. But on Seattle's east side, a fairly large office space adjoining a fairly large warehouse space is not a common combination. We searched high and low, and only at the last minute did we find the space we are currently in. Our new space had been leased by two separate tenants who both went bankrupt at the same time, leaving the landlord with half a building and a big warehouse to fill. He was very excited when we said we would take over the space with only minor changes.

As 2009 came to an end, Paizo was firmly settled into our new digs, and the Core Rulebook was selling so well that we were already preparing for a third printing. The Bestiary had just been released and was also seeing great sales. It was looking like Paizo was going to weather the shift to our own RPG game system with flying colors. Now we had the challenge of building on the successes of 2009 to establish Pathfinder as the preeminent brand in RPG gaming. A lofty task that was going to take a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck...

Employees who started in 2009 (in order of hiring date):
Ross Byers, Assistant Software Developer
Crystal Frasier, Production Specialist
Will Chase, Warehouse Specialist
Sara Marie Rip (now Teter), Customer Service Representative
Rob McCreary, Assistant Editor

Employees who left in 2008 (in order of their end date):
Drew Pocza
Brock Mitchel-Slentz
Alison McKenzie

Lisa Stevens
CEO

My Path to Adventure

Rob McCreary joins the
Paizo staff!

My time with Paizo began with the inaugural RPG Superstar competition in 2008. I was living in Prague, Czech Republic at the time, and entered the contest on a whim. I ended up as one of the Top Four finalists, which led to my first freelance gig for Paizo, working on the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting. From that time on, I was hooked. I went to Gen Con UK in Reading, England specifically to meet Erik Mona, Jason Bulmahn, and Josh Frost (and joined Erik's trivia-dominating "Coalition of the Willing" team), and to play in Season 0 of Pathfinder Society organized play. And I kept bugging James Jacobs and Wes Schneider for more freelance work.

By 2009, I knew I wanted to work at Paizo full time. There were only two problems: I was still living in Europe, and Paizo didn't seem to be hiring. I decided to go and meet some of the Paizo staff in person, to put more names to faces, and even more importantly, give them a face to go with the name of their freelancer-in-Europe whom most of them had only talked to in emails. I flew back to the States to attend PaizoCon 2009, and while I was there, I made a point of mentioning to Lisa, Erik, James, and Wes that I wanted to work for Paizo, that I was willing to move back to the US to do so, and to keep me in my mind if they had any job opportunities.

In September, an editorial assistant position at Paizo did open up, and I wasted no time applying for it, once more assuring Wes that I was definitely willing and able to move back to the States for the job. After an editing test, a Skype interview (the only interview question I remember is Lisa asking me what class would I be if I were a Pathfinder RPG character), and lots of emails back and forth, I sat back to wait, and worked on convincing my European wife, whom I had just married a couple of weeks before, that moving to the US was a good thing.

I received word that I got the job in the middle of my honeymoon in Greece, and suddenly my wife and I had to start preparing for the move we had talked about but never really thought would happen. I had less than a month to get everything ready to move from Prague to the Seattle area, and on November 1, I started my first official day working for Paizo. Since then, I've moved from editing to development, and now I spend most of my time developing the Pathfinder Adventure Path.

Almost three years later, I still have trouble believing how everything worked out. Like almost every gamer, I used to dream of being a game designer, but I never seriously pursued that goal and never thought it would happen. I entered RPG Superstar on a whim, and fell in love with writing and working for Paizo.

I can honestly say that this is the best job I have ever had, and though it's hard work a lot of the time, it's also fun. Every day, I get to work with some of the best freelancers in the industry, and collaborate with amazing people who are passionate about their work and their play at a company that truly cares about its employees, its fans, and the game we all love.

Rob McCreary
Developer

Customer Carebear Stare!

Mostly by sheer chance and dumb luck, I ended up in a gaming group with a GM who was really excited about this Pathfinder thing. He convinced the group to try out the Beta Playtest, and was also able to convince me to go to PaizoCon and tack on a banquet ticket.

The staff I met were super friendly, willing to just hang out and chat, and the members of the community I met were very inclusive. I left wishing I knew game design, not because I wanted to design games, but because I wanted to work at Paizo.

Several months later, someone in my gaming group casually mentioned Paizo was hiring for customer service. The listing had been up for a while, so I knew I needed to act fast. I nearly talked myself out of applying a million times. In the end it came down to knowing that never trying would hurt worse than the rejection of not being chosen.

I was asked to come in for an interview. I can't even begin to describe the nervous panic. Butterflies in the stomach, palms sweating, I sat in the conference room waiting, and then Cosmo poked his head in to let me know it would be just a few minutes until Lisa was ready. The CEO? In my interview? Ack! I did my best to stay outwardly calm while my insides turned to jelly. However, Lisa, Jeff, and Cosmo were great, and it immediately felt like a conversation rather than an interview. I kept realizing over and over how much I wanted to work with these people. The atmosphere and company philosophy were exactly what I was looking for. I left convinced Paizo would be perfect for me, but I was sure I would never get the position.

When Jeff called and offered me the job, I was through the roof. Uprooting to a whole new job and learning on a sharp curve? Bring it! Commute twice as long? Sure. Considerable pay cut? I'd make it work.

And I am so glad I did.

I found a job where I not only like my coworkers, but I like the customers. I found a company that actually cares about all levels of employees and actively encourages thinking about how to make things better for the customers. I was completely shell-shocked the first time I made a suggestion to Cosmo, and he said "Yeah, that's a good idea; go talk to the tech team and see if it's possible." And then the tech team said, "We'll have it ready the next time we roll the site." And then the next time they rolled the site, there it was: my idea, out there, making customers' experiences better! I found a place where I feel like I fit in.

I also found a husband, so that might be biasing my experience slightly.

Sara Marie Teter
Customer Service

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Auntie Lisa's Story Hour Paizo
Taldor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

2009 was also the year our translation group and Ulisses Spiele started issuing the first German books for Pathfinder. Only one book (Falkengrunds Letzte Hoffnung = Hollow's Last Hope, as a magazine inlay) that was published still used 3.5 rules (and was also converted in our PDF download). We even managed to publish our Core Rulebook 6 weeks after the original one...

Spoiler:
there is a saying, if you want to have inexpensive work, fast work and high quality - one of them has to give...

but still - to hold this book in our hands, with our names in it - this moment was special.

We have learned a lot since then, especially about quality, editing and publishing workflow. Now at least 2 books per month are published, 3 Adventure Paths have been issued completely.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

This is the year that defined an entirely new slant to my spare time outside my day job. Up until RPG Superstar, I'd only really dabbled at the occasional freelancing work for a variety of third-party publishers...and nothing which I felt was really close to a flagship publisher from industry stalwarts like TSR, Wizards of the Coast, or White Wolf. I had one publishing credit in a physical book--a softcover for The Game Mechanics published through Green Ronin. And that was it. But I always had my eye on Paizo.

Why?

Spoiler:

Because of the adventures. And, more specifically, because of the storytelling. Those hooked me straight from the get-go through my on-again, off-again subscription to Dungeon magazine. I never subscribed to Dragon magazine (though I bought the occasional standalone issue if I felt it contained something I really wanted to use in my game). But the siren call of someday writing for Dungeon magazine was always there. I just lacked the courage to go after it. And, everytime I screwed up my courage with what I felt was a really innovative adventure idea, I'd open up the next issue of Dungeon magazine and see that someone had just used the villain concept, locale, or monster I wanted to feature in my adventure proposal.

*sigh*

What to do? Before I worked out a better submission idea, Wizards recalled the license and Paizo had to pursue other options. And, because I didn't like the direction 4e was headed, I kept my eye on Paizo. The adventure paths came along. I loved them. The open call came for Flight of the Red Raven. And, knowing how much time I wasted in never submitting to Dungeon magazine, I forced myself to pitch for it. David Schwartz won that opportunity instead. But Pathfinder Society kicked off and they were accepting pitches for scenarios. So, I tossed out an idea for that. It didn't get accepted either. Then, RPG Superstar 2008 came along. I was fascinated. A 200-word wondrous item submission? How hard could that be? I pitched for it. And didn't get selected.

Did I give up? Nope.

The alpha and beta playtests for the new Pathfinder RPG came out. I loved the innovation and new direction for the game. It spawned so many new storytelling and adventure ideas. It inspired me to form a gaming group again and run my players through RotRL's Burnt Offerings and CotCT's Edge of Anarchy. I was having a blast.

More importantly, I followed along with RPG Superstar 2008. I watched it like a hawk. I voted every round. I watched how each challenge came down. I specifically watched for what the judges were looking for...and also, what the voting public (Paizo's consumers) were looking for. And, where those two interests diverged at times, I noted that, too, recognizing where and when it might be worth taking risks in the contest to appeal to one over the objections of the other if I ever managed to make it into the contest.

And then came my next shot: RPG Superstar 2009.

Making the Top 32 that year was a real, tangible achievement to me. I always felt like I had the capability to be a good, reliable freelancer. I just didn't know how to go about capturing a high-level publisher's attention. But RPG Superstar seemed like the ideal stage. And once I got my opportunity, I never looked back. Not just for that year's contest, but everything that came after the contest. I told myself going in that I only wanted to make Top 4, because I had seen the prior year's competitors who made the final stage get offers to write for Paizo on a variety of neat projects. And that's what I really wanted more than anything. However, like I told my boss when I reached that goal and made the Top 4, at that point, I figured why not go all-out and strive to win the whole thing?

And that's what I did.

From there, it's been an absolute pleasure not only working as a freelancer on various products for Paizo, but also watching their meteoric rise and feeling like I've played some small part in that. My greatest opportunity came in 2009. In many ways, it seems Paizo's greatest opportunities did, as well. And I say more power to them. And thanks for giving me a shot.


Sincerely,
--Neil

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

These blogs have been like mini-Christmases over and over.

Paizo is a special company, and now I know the details that made is so.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

One of my favorite photos ever. High Five, Mantis Man! We've come a long way, baby. :P

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
One of my favorite photos ever. High Five, Mantis Man! We've come a long way, baby. :P

*high five* You beat me here, but I ended making it after all!

I love that photo too!

Andoran

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

2009 was an Awesome year! It was my First year at Gen Con Ever! (2008 I went to Gen Con UK). I remember that line, i was one of the customers that took them up on their $60 cash on the line. I got 3 copies that year, 1 from the booth, 1 from GMing PFS and 1 in the mail. Still love my copy signed by all of the Paizo Staff at Gen Con. According to those autographs there is a little dispute who wrote the Core book. According to Joshua, Sean and Sutter, Sean wrote the book. According to Vic, Cosmo wrote the book! I am still trying to figure out who thought Sean is smelly... ;)

I got to meet Rob McCreary at Gen Con UK 08 and hung out with him and a few great players we met there throughout the entire convention. Me an my wife also visited him and his wife (fiancée at the time) in Prague and to this day that is still the best trip we have ever been on. My wife and I was just about to invite Rob and his wife on a trip when I got an email from him in October announcing to a bunch of his friends and family he was moving to Seattle! I still make sure every convention I go to I find Rob to see how he is doing. Like the Blog said RPG Superstar has been great for Paizo and Rob is a perfect example of that.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Dragnmoon wrote:
Still love my copy signed by all of the Paizo Staff at Gen Con. According to those autographs there is a little dispute who wrote the Core book. According to Joshua, Sean and Sutter, Sean wrote the book. According to Vic, Cosmo wrote the book! I am still trying to figure out who thought Sean is smelly... ;)

Yeah there was a little game by folks at the show that year, to claim credit for the book I wrote...

Jerks... :)

Jason

(I think I might have been the one to write "Sean is Smelly")

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

As I recall, those whiteboard drawings weren't by Paizo staff, but by a certain messageboard regular who was in town for a visit...

Paizo Employee Sales Imp

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Yeah there was a little game by folks at the show that year, to claim credit for the book I wrote...

There ya go taking credit for my book again...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

2009 was a great year for Pathfinder and Paizo, without a doubt. But I confess that the adversities of previous years really do make for a more interesting blog. When everything is pretty much full of win, drama and tension leave the recounting.
*sigh*

But I'm content to seek my drama elsewhere rather than wish any trouble befall Paizo just so I can read a more dramatic blog. If somewhat less interesting blog posts are the price of success, bore me some more!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
As I recall, those whiteboard drawings weren't by Paizo staff, but by a certain messageboard regular who was in town for a visit...

Yeh. A little ol' guy by the name of ME. :D

We never posted the one where I defiled Sean K's chair.

EDIT: In fact, here's the post it all originally came from.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

This is about where I first came on board. Gaming groups around here have never been consistent things and we didn't play a lot of 3.5 (mostly due to difficulties finding people with the time and the interest in whatever setting the GM wanted to run) so my previous experience with the Pathfinder brand was limited. At the time, I only knew about the playtest rules (which I'd skimmed but didn't get a chance to do anything with because of the aforementioned difficulties) and I was only aware of the Adventure Paths in passing because I just wasn't much for running D&D as opposed to playing it. But I was attending Gen Con that year and got word that the book was coming out and heard about how the entire print run outside of what would be at the show was spoken for. Because of my schedule I wasn't able to get my copies before Sunday so I missed the huge rush but I didn't want to miss out. Sadly it would be another year and change before I'd get the chance to use the books at all but I've enjoyed the ride ever since.

(Also, wasn't there a special deal where if you got your core book at the booth the PDF was only $5? I distinctly remember that because it really impressed me to see that someone was fully embracing the PDF market, but it might have been a Sunday-only thing.)


You know you've got a quality company when the CEO sits in on Customer Service interviews. That's something special right there.

However,

Sara Marie Teter wrote:
I also found a husband, so that might be biasing my experience slightly.

So is that part of all the hiring packages now? That's totally fine if it is. It's just that, I too have dreams of someday working for Paizo but I don't think my ladyfriend would approve if I came home from the first day on the job with one of those. :)


I'll never forget the time PFRPG was released in PDF. My purchase of the core rulebook and bestiary and my decision to switch to PFRPG was still a couple of months away, but the release definitely impacted me. The site was SWAMPED. For the next few days, it was difficult, and often impossible, to browse the site. Only then did I realize just how thoroughly addicted I was to these messageboards.


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Bill Dunn, while true that these recent posts are less angsty, the "win" is no less automatic. I am impressed by the beginning of the post, where basically they made every decision based on what they thought customers would want, despite the risk involved. They were to reduce their core books to 2 instead of 3? Have PDFs? Have PDFs priced to accommodate having the rules posted for free? Create a Compatibility License in the spirit of the OGL? Create a Community Use Policy to encourage free fan-made products? Paizo, are you insane!?

And it seems like this all paid off in goodwill from the community.

To paraphrase a famous statesmen, the problems of growth, while more agreeable, are no less difficult. ;)

Goodwill that Paizo leveraged so that its PFRPG product, and its first player-focused product, outsold so many of its previous releases. You guys were able to assume the risk of those first gigantic print runs, and successfully transition into a new era for Paizo.

That this month's post is more glorious makes it no less stirring.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Looking at that whiteboard:

I love that "PF CORE IS HUEG" jokes were happening within the Paizo office itself. :D

When is angst-powered flight going to be available?

Even after all this time I'm still amazed that the Burnt Offerings school play was a thing that actualy happened. That had to be one heck of a treat to see.


Mikaze wrote:

When is angst-powered flight going to be available?

Have a look at TGDMB. They've got a scramjet engine powered with a 20/20/60 mix of angst, condescension and nerdrage :P

EDIT: But it's all on paper. None of them have been able to gather a group to test it out yet. But I kid.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Any time Seltyiel casts a spell that provides a Fly speed, you have angst-powered flight.

I really love to noogie Seltyiel. :P

I still have my copy of the Core from that day. It's held together with red duct tape and looks like I actually DID throw it at Rovagug while wearing my Sarenrae cosplay, but it traveled along with me all the same.

Perhaps that is when its death warrant was signed.

Shadow Lodge

I love these.

Rob McCreary, so which class did you choose?

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Is the DVD of the play ever going to be available? Last I heard some editing just needed to be done, but that was 2 years ago

Andoran

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At first I was like :/
Then I realized the Friday Preview Blog would probably be up, and I was like :)
Then I clicked the blog and saw it was another Anniversary blog, and now, I'm like :D

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Hecknoshow wrote:

I love these.

Rob McCreary, so which class did you choose?

I tried to say expert (it was an interview after all), but Lisa said PC classes only, so I went with sorcerer!

Grand Lodge

N'wah wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
As I recall, those whiteboard drawings weren't by Paizo staff, but by a certain messageboard regular who was in town for a visit...

Yeh. A little ol' guy by the name of ME. :D

We never posted the one where I defiled Sean K's chair.

EDIT: In fact, here's the post it all originally came from.

Those are great.


godsDMit wrote:

At first I was like :/

Then I realized the Friday Preview Blog would probably be up, and I was like :)
Then I clicked the blog and saw it was another Anniversary blog, and now, I'm like :D

This is yesterday's anniversary blog, so there is probably not going to be a preview, because this delay, I asume, means they are finishing editing they playtest.

Yawar

Taldor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules Subscriber
Cosmo wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Yeah there was a little game by folks at the show that year, to claim credit for the book I wrote...

There ya go taking credit for my book again...

Oh, Cosmo, don't you want Jason to take credit for all the spelling mistakes riddled throughout your book?

It was fun to see the look on Jason's face as he was showing off the new Core Rulebook to PFS GMs on the Wednesday night of GenCon, only to hear Neil Shackleton say that it was great except for the spelling mistakes that were repeated throughout the book... He asked what and was given the spelling of 'armour' as an example. I quickly added that 'colour' was incorrect as well, and that started the ball rolling.

The whole thing ended with us asking if he would be coming out with a corrected version of the Core Rulebook. We understood that it probably wouldn't be feasible to reprint the book, but we figured they could do a pdf with the proper spelling...

Needless to say, Jason has continued to be stubborn about the whole thing!

Angus

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
YawarFiesta wrote:
This is yesterday's anniversary blog, so there is probably not going to be a preview,

Minis preview blogs are written by Erik, usually at 4am in a caffeine-fueled haze (as becoming a publisher apparently means you no longer leave the office), and sometimes he passes out in the middle and we have to wait until he wakes from his coma (I mean "management nap"). I'm sure it'll be up before too long.

In the meantime, please continue to enjoy Lisa's megablog! :D


armac wrote:
Cosmo wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Yeah there was a little game by folks at the show that year, to claim credit for the book I wrote...

There ya go taking credit for my book again...

Oh, Cosmo, don't you want Jason to take credit for all the spelling mistakes riddled throughout your book?

It was fun to see the look on Jason's face as he was showing off the new Core Rulebook to PFS GMs on the Wednesday night of GenCon, only to hear Neil Shackleton say that it was great except for the spelling mistakes that were repeated throughout the book... He asked what and was given the spelling of 'armour' as an example. I quickly added that 'colour' was incorrect as well, and that started the ball rolling.

The whole thing ended with us asking if he would be coming out with a corrected version of the Core Rulebook. We understood that it probably wouldn't be feasible to reprint the book, but we figured they could do a pdf with the proper spelling...

Needless to say, Jason has continued to be stubborn about the whole thing!

Angus

What's worse is that they keep making these same mistakes in book after book. Shameful I say. (And they can't spell 'centre' properly, either!)

Taldor

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules Subscriber
Kajehase wrote:
What's worse is that they keep making these same mistakes in book after book. Shameful I say. (And they can't spell 'centre' properly, either!)

So true.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

MythicFox wrote:
(Also, wasn't there a special deal where if you got your core book at the booth the PDF was only $5? I distinctly remember that because it really impressed me to see that someone was fully embracing the PDF market, but it might have been a Sunday-only thing.)

That deal was available the entire show, and it went so well that we've offered the same deal with whichever hardcover we release at Gen Con (for example, this year, if you bought Ultimate Equipment at the show, the PDF was available to you for $5).

Andoran

It is nice to be past "I had to pull the car over to cry" and into "we had to print a second printing before the book was released because three times our largest print run was still two times too small".

Does anyone have footage of Conan O'Brien talking about Yetisberg? I've never even heard about that clip, and other than the picture there's no mention of it in the blog.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Ryan. Costello wrote:
Does anyone have footage of Conan O'Brien talking about Yetisberg? I've never even heard about that clip, and other than the picture there's no mention of it in the blog.

We ran the story in the store blog at the time, but the clip we linked to is now dead...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's a transcript of the show in question here. Yetisberg is referenced at the 00:12:30 mark. There really wasn't much to it. Iirc, it was some thing where he walked into various stores and mocked them, and he found Settlers of Catan (which he had apparently never heard of? I mean, c'mon, Conan :P) and Yetisberg on the shelves of a game store.


Are there any more those white board iconic doodles? I would love to see them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is where things begin swinging up for you guys. I'm really glad to be your customer, and feel I was part of something historic in RPG history to have watched things grow to this point.


I read every one of these retrospective blogs last night and very much enjoyed them. Thanks, Lisa and crew, for taking the time to put them up.

Although I had been an avid Dragon reader in the 1980s, I hadn't touched the magazine since and I'd been on an RPG hiatus from about 2004 on. WotC just wasn't inspiring me, I'd actually abandoned the D&D system for a foray into HERO, and then just quit the hobby altogether.

My first knowledge of Pathfinder came from buzz online after the publication of the first hardcover CRB. I actually looked into getting a copy but was turned off by the price tag as I didn't even have a gaming group to play with. Still, Paizo had entered my awareness and I checked to see what they were up to from time to time.

It wasn't until late 2011 that I opened up a copy of an adventure path.

I'd been running games since I was nine years old, back in the red box days. I'd seen plenty of modules and had abandoned them because I felt I could create better stories on my own. That was before though. Those were old school modules, and Paizo was now showing me something completely different.

I bought them all, and the core rules too. Every freakin AP book. They were and are amazing.

I still don't have a real life gaming group, but I started up a PbP game using Curse of the Crimson Throne and we're into the second module now. Thanks to Paizo, my hiatus ended and I'm enjoying our hobby every day of the week.

So... thanks Paizo. Thanks for sticking it out through the tough days. Sorry I couldn't be there to buy your stuff when you needed people to do that the most, but I'm doing everything I can for you now. I write a GMing advice thread on a gaming site and I sing Paizo and Pathfinder praises at every opportunity.

I realize no one has read this far... but if anyone has, what was it about 4e that turned Paizo off so much, save for the obvious omission of the OGL?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
cailano wrote:


I realize no one has read this far... but if anyone has, what was it about 4e that turned Paizo off so much, save for the obvious omission of the OGL?

I believe it was the paradigm shift in 4e that would require a major change in the way rules designers and adventure writers would have to go through in order to write 4e stuff (A Wizard can't shoot a crossbow, because he has no Power for it. PC's don't fly. Classic magic items are gone. Succubi are devils now. Gnomes aren't core anymore. Dragbonborn Warlocks are. Eladrin/elves. Etc etc etc) combined with uncertainty as to 4e's commercial success given the initial reactions.


2009 was the year I came back to role-playing games after a 3 year hiatus. My best friend handed me the Pathfinder play test, and since it was much closer to the game I loved than the current iteration of "the world's oldest roleplaying game" we (as this is indeed a group activity and therefore a group decision) tried Pathfinder and have never looked back.
Thanks to Lisa, Erik, James, Jason and all of the staff at Paizo for producing quality products, including supplements, adventures, maps, cards, minis, comics, (OK, so the minis and comics are produced elsewhere, but they are guided by Paizo) and everything else I could hope for in a complete production line. I find myself spending much more time and money on this hobby (which my wife completely supports) than I thought I ever would.
I am expecting a continuation of great things just I am expecting to continue to spend all of my hard earned money on Paizo (and by extension Whiz Kid and Dynamite) products.
So anyway, thanks Paizo, happy anniversary, and I cannot wait to see what you have in store in the next ten years and beyond!

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