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Wes's Last Words

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tomorrow's my last day working at Paizo Inc.

How's that for not burying the lede?

I could write one heck of a self-indulgent retrospective. I'd start by going on about how I've been working at Paizo since November 2003 (I would have been 22) and how my first credit was as an assistant editor on Dragon Magazine #316. (I'd probably illustrate that section with that issue's cover.) Then I'd go on to talk about writing a ton of D&D stuff, starting to write adventures, and learning how magazine work is actually time travel. After that would be the scary but exciting times—starting Pathfinder Adventure Path, disguising a game as a textbook, long lines, yada yada. Things got wild after that.

But there's not really time for all of that. I've learned a lot in my time at Paizo, but two oft-stated truths have proven out again and again: one, never piss off your editor; two, I work with a bunch of jackals.

About this time tomorrow, there's going to be another blog right here. At that time, a bunch of folks who've had to look at me everyday—some for well over a decade—are going to have their opportunity to say their bon voyages.

And they're going to thoroughly roast me.

I didn't get here being stupid. I've been documenting, hoarding, recording, and preparing for this moment for most of my adult life. And I know that if you're going to get into a blog fight, fire first.

To that end, here are the secrets.

Adam Daigle: Adam knows the time and place for everything—for getting things done, for getting a drink, for getting your abdomen severed from your thorax, and for not backing up claims that you're a bad-@#% cook. Most folks don't know that Adam is responsible for more issues of Dragon Magazine releasing on time than some people who worked on that magazine's staff. More than once something went down on a Friday and by Monday morning Adam just had it handled. He definitely knows the curse of becoming an editor's go-to guy. I have boundless respect for Adam's unique blend of solid writing and creepy swamp witchery and look forward to his next big thing, be it a mega-adventure, restaurant chain, or the burgeoning fiction career he's no good at hiding!

Adam Vick & Emily Crowell: Adam and Emily might be two of the only truly sane souls at Paizo—stark comparisons against the rest of the company's wards. They both do fantastic work, but they're also the second generation of an experiment into how long it takes for normal designers to be infected with RPG gibberish. (Sarah was part of the initial research, but now she can tell you all about driders and bullywugs.) There's not much of an end goal here, and we couldn't ask for more in regard to design finesse, but I know there's collectively a lot of interest in debating the finer points of Bloodrager feats and outsider subtypes with Adam and Emily down the road.

Amanda Hamon Kunz: Amanda's one of the most clever, most capable, most quietly depraved people I've ever had a pleasure of knowing. She wears a ring of mind shielding, but she's quick to say she just likes the look. (To quote Jessica Price, "There's a darkness in her.") I've thrown Amanda more—much more—than her fair share of trash-fires and she's never once so much as sighed or stabbed me in the face. Early on in our working arrangement I asked that, when the time comes, she make my end quiet and quick. She couldn't make any promises. I respect that. I'd say to watch out for Amanda, but it will be far less stressful to just let the inevitable come.

Chris Lambertz: Chris cultivates the best stuffed critter shelf at Paizo. Her miniature army helps her fend off the endless press of tiny typhoons that endlessly wash across her desk. Her hordes also defend dual hidden fonts, one of boundless pragmatism and the other of boundless optimism. She uses these to look forward to better things even as she wrangles the calamity du jour. You might not know Chris, but she believes in you, the great person you are, and the better person you can be. If you ever receive moderation from her, count yourself lucky... then consider making deep spiritual improvements in your life.

Christopher Carey: Aside from being a phenomenal editor, Chris is the most accomplished Paizo author you probably haven't read. He has several weighty tomes under his belt—go buy them. Whether it's editing a massive mess of a document or working on his next literary behemoth, Chris proves the results of building your house one brick at a time. How such a reliable, determined professional wound up editing our nerd-books has always slightly baffled me, but much of Paizo's editorial quality and consistency stems directly from his red pen.

Cosmo Eisele: Cosmo deserves less blame than he accepts... but only a little. That's probably just part of being legitimately one of the nicest chaps at Paizo. He's traveling the world much more these days, so if you get the chance to meet up with him, buy him a drink—he gets more sass than he deserves.

Crystal Frasier: I don't really believe in talent. There's failure, there's determination, there's improvement, there's even inborn advantage, but there aren't really magical gifts. And I refuse to factor Crystal Frasier into that algebra. You could say she's a double threat, or a triple threat, but then you keep counting and once you get to calling people septuple or octuple threats you start sounding silly. Crystal's a great writer, an incredible artist, a skilled graphic designer, a killer cartographer, an adept editor, a riveting storyteller, a terrifying bare-knuckle scrapper, and so forth. She can pretty much do it all—and largely has. At some point, the rest of us are largely around just because it'd be too time consuming for her to handle absolutely everything by herself. And none of this comports with my understanding of how creatives learn and improve over time. So, the secret is that maybe some people do have magical gifts. That's the only way Crystal Frasier makes any sense.

Dan Tharp: Dan's actually a mimic. I would have said doppleganger, but he's largely a communications dude, so something with a big mouth seemed more suiting. Paizo's been around for a long time and many folks have been there forever. I wouldn't call it unfriendly, but the ruts and grooves, the routines and methods are ground in both procedurally and socially. It can be daunting coming in, like attending a new school in a town you didn't grow up in. But somehow Dan sauntered in and convinced everybody he's been there the whole time. He's got an easy confidence, an "I can do that!" attitude, and that sort of expressive enthusiasm that both gamers and game makers love. A lot of folks have a lot of opinions about what Paizo's Outreach Coordinator should and could do, so we're lucky to have found a shapeshifter up to doing it and being it all!

Dean Ludwig, Don Hayes, Erik Keith, & Gary Teter: The legend goes that Paizo.com was birthed amid sparks, three scotch-taped Magnavox Odyssey consoles, and 36 feet of string cheese. I can't speak much toward legends, but there's often a hint of hidden truth (perhaps not in this case, but often). In any case, the tech team has worked wonders under the cover of code to assure that Paizo can do all the varied things the company needs to do and then some and then some again. Few can say how many countless nights and weekends the team's put in, but I'm certain that without them we'd all be filling out subscription renewal cards to this day.

Erik Mona: Here's a good one: You think you know roleplaying games. You don't. Erik Mona knows roleplaying games. The history, the characters, the origins, the inspirations, the characters, the players, the pedigrees, the big successes, the dismal failures, the dark secrets. Erik hasn't just stumbled across this info, he's collected it—he's horded it. He knows more than he could ever tell you, and he knows the roots and shadowy grit beneath that. The game industry and everything in its orbit has been his game, his obsession, for a long time. And no one plays a game for that long without getting damn good at it. As a result, though, Erik's path has lead him down a businessmanly road, a route upon that's made him more of a behind-the-scenes player than a name you see on lots of covers these days—with the exception of Pathfinder Worldscape, which is now officially required reading. In my opinion, though, gaming could use a few more Greyhawk Gazetteers and Mutants & Masterminds: Crooks. It could certainly use a Nex book. Probably some old-school trap riddled adventures, too. Just sayin'.

Erik's been my boss for a long time. We've worked well together and have pulled off some pretty cool stunts. I could chalk up this long, successful partnership to shared tastes and work ethics, but I know there's a secret, a deceptively simple mantra Erik ingrains in everyone on his crew: Do your job, Be exceptional, Wear shoes. Words to live, to work, and to manage by that have had a profound impact on my life. Over the years, Erik's been a ready collaborator, an open-minded listener, a font of fascinating stories, and a good friend, and even though I won't be working at Paizo next week, I don't expect any of those things to change.

James Jacobs: One of my favorite stories about starting at Paizo is that in 2003 I moved 3,000 miles from Baltimore, Maryland to Renton, Washington... and blindly into the apartment next door to James Jacobs. For much of my time living in Washington, my front door has been within 200 steps of James's (and often far closer). For more of that time, James's desk has been within 20 steps of mine (and often far closer). James is a fire hose of cool stuff, whether it's these hundred games you have to play or these thousand movies you need to see. It's impossible for that sort of tsunami to not influence an assistant editor in his twenties, which is likely partially why we've worked so well together for so long—whether collaborating on adventures for Dungeon, sculpting the Pathfinder Adventure Path series, building corners of the Pathfinder world, or tinkering with a thousand other projects. James also quickly learned that "carpool buddy" and "confessor" mean pretty much the same thing to me. As a result, he knows where more of the skeletons are buried than anyone else. That, time, proximity, and shared dementia make him a friend, a brother, and a man too dangerous to antagonize. Therefore, it is in my best interest to keep James's secrets well guarded.

James L. Sutter: Despite all evidence to the contrary, Sutter and I are, in fact, two different people. Shocking, but true. The root of the confusion seems to be that we both have brownish hair and wear the same size jeans. We've also collaborated on one or two projects, from "Shut In" in Dungeon #128 (2005) to, well, today—you're all picking up Pathfinder Runescars, right?! I coached Sutter through his first adventure, Sutter coached me through my first novel, and we both endlessly tell the other that all his ideas are stupid. But when either of us say that, the other knows it's not just being mean, it's also being honest. We've both had more than our share of missteps on the road to the next big or new or fun thing and we've been upfront with each other about those blunders. When I've mucked something up, I tell Sutter it didn't work. When Sutter mucks something up, he tells me not to do that. We've been climbing over each other's corpses for a long time. Undoubtedly I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today, or have done half of what I've done, without Sutter's advice, example, edits, and encouragement. But for @#$%'s sake, people, he's got a beard! We don't look anything alike!

Jason Bulmahn: Sometimes, after spending a decade gaslighting a man, you have regrets. In the best cases, though, you look back, satisfied at a job well done. Efforts proceeded in thorough, themed campaigns—spiders, tokkens, ponies, letter transposition, tokkens 2, tokkens 3 (there were clearly favorites). Jason brought this harassment on himself in two ways. First, he gift-wrapped my cube in 2006 (there are probably pictures). Second, he does everything "big." He designs big games, he makes big books, he draws big maps, and he has big reactions. Jason never stopped being an architect; he's always been addicted to scale. Go big or go home is pretty much the Bulmahn motto—perhaps followed closely by "the ends justify the means." He's certainly got a track record with far more gigantic successes than colossal failures, which I'm certain spurs him to do more ever bigger. I can't wait to see what gargantuan he's working on next, and am relatively certain that I haven't been swept up in his madness for the last time. But what's the secret? Well, there's sort of a lot here, but if you want something concrete: we legally changed the spelling of Jason's last name in 2008.

Jason Keeley: Someday you'll all know Jason Keeley as the world's most effective method ad-lib actor. I'm not sure that he's actually employed at Paizo, but the bit's been running for so long that it hardly matters now. "Yes, and..." is pretty much in Jason's blood.

"Jason, you're an editor," it started.
"Yes, and..." he said.
"Now you're doing development, too."
"Yes, and..."
"Now you're one of the leads on Starfinder."
"Yes, and..."

I can't predict where this is all going, but every step of the way Jason's jumped right in, rolled with things, and done an exemplary (and utterly believable) job. I look forward to his inevitable design and management performances. Though it's going to be an awkward day when he finally calls "scene" and no one's knows what he's talking about. You can check out Jason's previous performances, like Fortune's Fool at Pantheon Press.

Jeff Alvarez: Jeff keeps a secret few folks at Paizo know: Paizo isn't a company, it's a train. There are big mechanical parts, tons of fuel, numerous cars, and track—endless track. For anything to work, it's all got to work together—maybe not perfectly, but as well as possible. Jeff is Mr. Make-It-Happen, whether that's helping to plot a route or being part of the team laying track ahead of the locomotive. He's never been too good to help pack a crate or too careless not to consider how a strategy might affect every part of the machine. He also knows that sometimes the crew just needs to blow off steam, and if that's going happen, there better be good food and even better drink. It's been said that Jeff's in charge of everything "that's real" at Paizo. That's one hell of a responsibility, and it can surely be a loud, dirty, and relentless a job. But one thing's for sure, the Paizo engine would have skipped the tracks a long time ago without him.

Jenny Bendel: You will never have more friends than Jenny Bendel. Every time I've ever been anywhere with Jenny she's had to step away to greet some new-coming mover-and-shaker, gaming legend, '90s rock icon, or other charmer. It's easy to see why, though, as Jenny's one of the most easily enthusiastic people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. She also has a second sense for knowing "the place to be," which leads her on all manner of adventures. Unfortunately, I don't get to see Jenny often, but when she's in town, she always brings the best stories.

Jessica Price: Here's a secret for those of you who haven't been paying attention: Jessica Price does not want to hear about your character. Jessica's the smartest person in a room full of people used to being the smartest person in the room. She doesn't care how it's always been done, she doesn't care about momentum or tradition, she doesn't care about well enough, she cares about what works, how it could work better, and how to build things cooler than what's come before. It might not be easy and some tables might need to be flipped, but it'll be worth it in the end. Jessica has challenged me on my ideas and my methods, she's criticized my calls, she's pointed out my screw-ups, she's slammed my office door—and I can't thank her enough. I'm no genius, but if there's one thing I know is worth its weight is gold, it's a smart critic (and woe betide those who dismiss cagey critics). Jessica has walked me through basic concepts for the fiftieth time, she's dealt with important things I can't give my full attention, she's coached me through handling public gaffs, and she's strategized how to do better the next time. She's committed enough to have written thousands of words of cover copy and solicitation text, able enough to have developed whole hardcover books, and invested enough to spend her own time developing the Pathfinder world (you've all picked up Qadira, right?!). And she's done all this, while getting Paizo's products more consistently on schedule than ever before. Jessica has been a collaborator, a noble friend, and my fearless champion. I can't thank her enough for all that she's done—that which I know and that which I'll never know. But a word to the wise: don't waste Jessica's time with characters you've been playing for thirty years. Instead, share what cool ideas you have for the new thing you're trying tomorrow (and even then, keep it short).

Joe Pasini: I'm undecided here, as he and I haven't worked together for terribly long, but I'm pretty convinced that Joe's either a truth wizard or the Platonic spirit of editorship. Joe can make anything, no matter how ludicrous, sound perfectly earnest—even sensible. I chalk this up to either weird powers of manipulation, or his fundamental mastery of an editor's ability to bring even the most bizarre concepts to linguistic heel. I'm leaning toward truth wizard, though—especially after I found myself thanking him and Jason Keeley for letting me be a guest on a podcast they don't have. (Yet?)

John Compton: If you know when and how to look, you'll realize that John Compton is the reincarnation of Roman Emperor Antoninus Augustus Pius. It's most obvious in the Pathfinder Society room at Gen Con—the combination of public speaking, raised platforms, and scurrying governors is something of a give away. John has his predecessor's flair for empire building, for management on a massive scale, for oratory, for diplomacy, and for decisive justice. Where most would crack under the pressure of so many responsibilities, John weathers it all with the marble facade equal to his forebearer's sculptures. Many have expected great things from John, and all of them had their expectations exceeded. John is also an amazing game designer, adventure crafter, and perhaps Paizo's best Game Master, but unfortunately comparison of these virtues to Emperor Antoninus Pius is beyond my scholarship. In short, hail Caesar, long may he reign.

John Parrish: John comes from a much realer, more sensible world than most folks at Paizo are accustomed to or wholly comfortable with. As a reprehensive of the real, John exudes competency, efficiently, and trustworthiness. If John says something's the case, I'm confident it's the case, and no amount of flailing is going to change the matter. There's real comfort to that in an industry where so much is made up and rules exist to be bent. Despite all this, John wears his adventurous streak like an Iron Maiden tie tack and his rare jokes are a characteristically reliable vein of comedy gold. Paizo couldn't be luckier to have him—wherever he's from.

Judy Bauer: You do not mess with Judy Bauer. Judy Bauer's desk is decorated in things made from thread she wove herself and carrion. Judy Bauer once stabbed a god in the eye with a hypodermic needle because she was curious about science. Judy Bauer is never not wearing her poker face. Judy is one of the world's hyper-competents, and the rest of us rely on good people like her to accomplish absolutely anything at all. You—wise soul that you are—do not mess with Judy Bauer. And neither do I. As such, Judy's secrets remain her own.

Laura Carey, Mika Hawkins, Heather Payne, Jeff Strand, & Kevin Underwood: Are the names of the oft-referenced cave raptors that stalk the warehouse. They are the second most affable contingent of Paizo staffers, but the most thoroughly and elaborately armed. Their smiles prove they have sharp teeth and know that soft-skinned creatives keep to their carpet-covered places. They're known for their quick, sturdy caliber of sass and for accomplishing the impossible month after month. They're certainly not known for any unidentifiable packing-tape mummies above the downstairs kitchen.

Linda Zayas-Palmer: You wouldn't guess it from her quick grin or unabashed love of leshies, but beneath that "I'd leave her alone with my kids" exterior, Linda is made of knives. Not so much the stabbing kind of knives, more the "let's put googley eyes on this and give it a squeaky voice" sort of knives. But, you know, still knives. Linda's got a sharp mind for systems and readily sees how every little thing works. If she's not designing her own bizarrely elegant games already, I expect she will be very soon.

Lisa Stevens: Lisa's seen it all, done it all, and is always up for doing it all again. That's probably why every year her "Auntie Lisa's Story Hour" gets just a little bit longer. By 2030 you can look forward to a fifth day of PaizoCon composed entirely of that event. Despite her incredible experience, though, Lisa's never let "been there, done that" or "know-it-all-ism" set in. She's cultivated a beautiful, diverse asylum at Paizo, and her willingness to listen and try things new ways are undoubtedly secrets behind her company's success. I'm far from unique in this regard, but I wouldn't be where I am today without Lisa's hard work, her boundless enthusiasm for games, and her eye for good people. For all that, I'm beyond grateful.

Lissa Guillet: While I'm not sure of the specifics, Lissa did something and now computers fear her. I've tested this on multiple occasions. No sooner does Lissa walk into a room than rowdy technology gets back in line. For now she's largely using her leverage for good. For now.

Logan Bonner: Logan is precision instrument—like a scalpel or a really big scalpel. Amid teams prone to flights of fancy, to overelaboration, to using a thousand words where ten would do, Logan excels at getting to the meat of the matter and to excising the fat. He's a veteran game maker, so a lot of that is simply second nature at this point. But if you look at what he designs, you'll find a lot of him in the work—systems with complex subtlety that get the job done and have the potential to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Mark Moreland: Mark's also a collector and chronicler—and that makes him dangerous. He likes knowing the details, putting them in order, and figuring out the secrets. Mark's revealed countless holes in supposedly foolproof plots over the years and is more than willing to share his mind. He's like a favorite cousin who has a knack for pissing off your parents. I jokingly tell Mark to shut up with some frequency, but I don't know that I've ever told him he's wrong. Too often we can't see the specifics of the pictures we paint, but Mark's got a damn keen eye for details.

Mark Seifter: Seifter is radiation. Not, like, the bad kind, but the sort of sci-fi radiation that makes things grow in brilliantly unpredictable ways. Rather than growing plants or Hulks, though, Mark grows intricate rules systems, transforming the mundane into marvels. Fortunately, this boundless energy has been a boon to those in need, from fellow designers to questioning forum posters. Whether in brainstorms or on the convention floor, Mark's vigor is unignorable and promises a future vibrant with mighty things.

Mike Kenway: Kenway thinks I've been ignoring his emails, IMs, and sticky notes all this time as a joke. The secret is that I haven't been. I've been ignoring them for real. I'll miss filling your chair cushions with woodlice, Kenway—that's the god's honest truth.

Owen KC Stephens: Owen got his job by doing solid design work and being a damn nice guy. He then proved himself to have an utterly insufferable combination of intelligence, outspokenness, experience, and relentlessness that's led him to positively reshape every project he's been a part of. Owen plays the guru well, but he's most at home in the thick of things, testing, debating, and redesigning. He's nothing short of a powerhouse. And then we put him in the same room with Rob McCreary and from their debates a secret source of endless—but largely unmarketable—energy was achieved.

Pierce Watters: More trivia than a secret: You're probably only one step removed from personally knowing somebody who personally knows Pierce Watters. Pierce knows everybody, has been everywhere, has done everything, and is happy to tell you why that thing is either a fantastic idea or a fantastically horrible idea. If there ever is or ever was a publishing and gaming equivalent of gonzo journalism, Pierce would be one of the greats. I haven't always grokked everything Pierce has told me stories about, but I've always appreciated being invited along for the ride.

Rick Kunz: Rick Kunz is an intellect ouroboros. Rick's one of those guys who can look at a system, analyze it, and find the best solution in 5 minutes. If there's something he doesn't know, he'll teach himself. If there's information someone else has, he'll get it out of them and iterate something better. If there's a problem that needs fixing, he'll find a solution. Rick's one of those guys who can do or could do anything... and who also calls himself a dumb guy. Which leads me to believe that he either has a low opinion of his brilliance or he's smart enough to know the value of being underestimated. A cagey enigma, that one, but well worth keeping an eye on.

Robert G. McCreary: Rob hasn't aged a day since washing up on the shore near Hampton amid the wreckage of the USS Cumberland. In the years since, he's eluded a lucrative, globetrotting career as a hand model to become the world's most deliberate RPG adventure developer. Rob is host to multitudes, which means he can argue anything from any angle. It also gives him a breadth of perspective that makes him one of the best character creators and editors in the biz.

Sara Marie: In a cynical world of customers who are "always"—audible eyeroll—"right" and companies that put patrons first(-ish), it's hard to consider standards of customer service much more than marketing ploys. But that's not the case for Sara Marie. Giving everybody a fair shake, bending over backward to address an issue, and working long hours to organize a fan-focused show like PaizoCon, they're all something akin to duty for her. That's one of the most difficult to believe secrets I've written today: that for Sara Marie, doing right by Paizo's customers isn't a gimmick, it's the honest truth.

Sarah Robinson: Sarah has like thirty super powers. The greatest, though, is that she can walk into a restaurant, glance at a menu, and instantly know the best thing on it. (If you ever go get food with Sarah, order what she's having.) She can also create art and laid-out pages by force of will, but activating it usually comes at a price in developer skins. The economics here get tricky. Regardless, Sarah's one of the top three secrets to Paizo's success. If you've ever picked up a Pathfinder or Starfinder book, leafed through, and said "wow" within the first minute, it's probably because of her.

Sharaya Copas, Katina Davis, Diego Valdez, & Scott Keim: Aside from being several of the champions that keep Paizo running from day to day, our Customer Service team, Sharaya, Katina, and Diego, and Data Entry Clerk Scott Keim are some of the company's best. They're always beyond friendly and are endlessly willing—even eager—to pitch in, to playtest a game, and to give honest feedback. Those of us in editorial might not get to interact with them as often, but some of Paizo's most major products would be entirely different without their efforts and insight.

Sonja Morris: Sonja's captain of Team Bombproof. Any project or in-process fire can land on her desk and everyone will be confident that she'll handle it. It's not always glamorous, but it's appreciated far more than people say. Add to that Sonja's ability to work with anyone on anything, her years of experience, and her quiet dark streak, and you've got the makings of one of Paizo's true superstars. I'll miss our cyclical rounds of "What do you need? No, what do you need?"

Stephen Radney-MacFarland: Perhaps not a huge secret, but Stephen has one of the best s@#%-sniffers in the business. He's a fantastic critic, and doesn't care about your intention or your opinion. In the aftermath of a project, there's no disguising his judgments. Before that, though, while there's work to be done, Stephen's one of the best project wranglers and design sculptors what there is. You don't want collaborators who are only going to be half-enthused about your work, and Stephen's not interested in half measures. If it's good, it's done. If it's bad, he'll help you fix it... maybe. It's an uncomplicated arrangement, but it's one that's led me to trust Stephen's opinion more than most.

Tonya Woldridge: Many folks know Tonya has a military background—most Venture-Officers have firsthand experience with her knack for organization. No one ever ask what century's military her experience is with, though. An expert time traveler, Tonya has clear access to a repository of excess hours. There's no other explanation for how she attends to all manner of Organized Play business at all hours of the day and night, weekdays and weekends, time zones be damned. Organized Play programs of the past, present, and future has never been in more able hands. Now if only she'd share her chronomasterful ways.

Vic Wertz: If it's a job at Paizo, Vic's probably done it. He's edited books, he's designed games, he's moderated the forums, he's architected the website, he's pitched projects, he's set strategy, he's done it all and has schemes for what's come next. Vic has as keen sense of the Paizo that Paizo could be and is eager to get there. So, if helping to edit an article or move a box full of board games is the next hurdle in the company's path, he's happy to help clear it. The same goes for Paizo's entire executive team, but with Vic there's always a matter-of-factness, a "this is happening" attitude that makes it clear no hurdle's insurmountable.

Will Chase: You're not going to impress Will Chase. Will has this seen-it-all, done-it-all air. On top of that, dude manages a warehouse full of games and has the keys to a forklift with a Cthulhu bumper sticker. He doesn't wow easy. There's a difference between people who get things done and people with a "let's not make this a problem" attitude. It's the difference between knowing the way to a place, but also knowing the back roads. Will knows all the roads, so it's probably in your best interest to buy him a drink.

And that about does it. While it probably doesn't forestall tomorrow's abuse, at the very least it should leave the scales karmically even.

Even though I won't be at Paizo day to day anymore, it's not like I'm frickin' dying. I'll certainly still be around on the boards and likely in print every now and then. You can also keep up with my schemes in all the places I usually haunt—most obviously on Twitter and Tumblr, but also on YouTube and Patreon, and Sundays at 3:00 PST on Twitch. Feel free to give me a follow wherever your social stuff takes you.

So that's it for now. Thanks again to everyone at Paizo, to all the incredible Paizo authors and artists, and to those in the wider Paizo community for what's been an amazing ride. I couldn't be more awestruck by all your incredible work or more excited for what's to come.

Keep up all the awesome.

~W

F. Wesley Schneider
Former Editor-in-Chief

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fare thee well, good sir!


Whoa.

May you continue to kick all of the ass in your future endeavors, Mr. Schneider.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sooooo.....are you ever gonna tell us? What does the F stand for? :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I bid you farewell.

Contributor

10 people marked this as a favorite.

*sniffles*
Fond voyages! May you always have a psychopomp on your shoulder to guide your way.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Congrats on your tenure past and all the best on your adventures in the future, Wes. It's a sad moment but a happy time as you unfold into the next phase and I know you are going to be great at it. It's been a pleasure knowing you for geez, almost a decade.

Paizo Employee Developer

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Quemius wrote:
Sooooo.....are you ever gonna tell us? What does the F stand for? :D

The real reason Wes referred to some of us as "dangerous" is that we know the answer to your question. And though he seems so good-natured, Wes would murder anyone who betrayed his secret. Like really.

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

;_;

*hugs*

Thanks for everything you've given us, and for putting up with us (and my constant bugging you) ^w^

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Good luck with everything Mr Fwesley Wesley Shneider, your indelible mark on this game has had a huge impact on countless players, GMs, readers and nerds around the world.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Wes, ever since I migrated from 3.5 to Pathfinder and started being a Paizo customer, I've felt much more like a part of family than I do in most company-customer arrangements. Your name is one of those I'm most familiar with, so maybe you're like a big brother or a favorite uncle or something. It's sad that I will be seeing your name less, but no doubt you wouldn't have moved on unless you were excited about what was coming up, so I'm really happy that you get to move to something that you were excited about. And I'm looking forward to finding out what it is. (Any chance that your destination is Obsidian? Man, I would love that.) In any case, so much good luck and good vibes in your direction, Wes. Thank you for everything.

Silver Crusade

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

*Hisses with tears*
I will keep a warm place for you!
Good luck with your future!

Contributing Artist

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Wes, Thanks for your significant contributions to both Pathfinder and throughout the RPG community.
You have been a pleasure to work with.
I know you will excel in your new endeavors.
Very best of luck my friend.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

:(


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So I could write an essay about my gratitude for all the delicious horror you've added to the Pathfinder setting, or one about the countless hours of fun you've helped facilitate through your work with Paizo, or even one about how much I admire your influence in making the industry/hobby a more inclusive place.

Instead I'll simply say: You, sir, rock mightily. You'll always be welcome at my gaming table (you know, in case you ever decide to check out Scandinavia).

Thank you for all that you've done.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Also, just in case it wasn't clear, I'm moving on to exciting new opportunities and—while it does leave me misty eyed—this is an amicable parting. :D

All the best with your new opportunities, Wes.

Those are some big shoes you're leaving to be filled - though Paizo is brim full of talent.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is most unexpected news.

One of the philosophical gems from the first season of True Detective was Rusty Cohle's observation that "Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at." Fourteen years is a very long time, your whole adult life being a creative pillar of what has become my favorite company in my favorite hobby.

I hope you've been careful Wes.

I wish you very well (and wish Paizo even greater luck.) All the best.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Farewell, Wes! Best of luck in your new adventures. You will be missed around here.

Editor-in-Chief

4 people marked this as a favorite.
King of Vrock wrote:

Congratulations on your new adventures Wes. You've been a fixture at Paizo for so long it's hard to know what you've done that I loved the most, though I fondly remember a hag themed Bazaar of the Bizarre and a fantastic article about power components. Can't wait to see what projects you're going to work on in the future.

--For those about to Vrock, we salute you!

Well remembered! That "By the Hands of Hags" article was my first Dragon acceptance, and that power components article was the first article I developed (and learned that a finite number of words could fit on a page—who knew?!).

And thank you, and everyone, for all the kind words! I appreciate it more than I can say.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Wes!

*glomps*

Editor-in-Chief

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Sadnerd wrote:
As a relatively new gamer I really want to extend my thanks to you. I know it was a team effort but your advocacy for queer inclusion has really made pathfinder a home for me and my friends. Thank you for making a difference in this guy's life and making my world just a little bit gayer. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us!

I responded to a similar sentiment on Facebook when news started spreading there, and it bears repeating here.

Wes's efforts toward diversity and his dedication to inclusivity have inspired the entire Paizo creative team, and we're all equally committed to continuing the trends he started, even in his absence. We're also fortunate enough to be friends with the guy (and many Paizonians even live within shouting distance of him), so if we ever need guidance or his gut check on how to carry on his legacy, he's easily reachable.

Thank you so much for saying this, Sadnerd. I'm so glad you and your friends are playing and having a great time. And rest assured, that'd I'm well over my awkward baby writer, "is this too gay?" jitters. So, expect plenty more in the future!

Also, I wanted to thank and back up, Mark. I do believe that inclusivity is baked into the Paizo creative team's DNA. It's not even a question. And any work I've done has always been part of a team effort. So, I'm not at all concerned about the team continuing to make room for gamers (and potential gamers) of every stripe tomorrow and every day after that. It's a constant effort, but well worth it—always.

Editor-in-Chief

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Kate Baker wrote:

Wes, I saw you on a panel at GaymerX 3 in late 2015. There was a moment where you addressed the audience and asked, “Why aren't you working for us? There are so many women in this room who are homebrewing and GMing, and you should be writing.”

I was sitting in the second row, and a light bulb went off over my head. I was GMing and homebrewing and it had literally never occurred to me before that moment that writing games was even an option. I spoke to you after the panel, and you were incredibly encouraging and invited me to email you.

A year and a half later, I am slowly but surely building my freelancing career, with about half a dozen credits so far, and hopefully many more to come.

Further, the desire to write pushed me to become a far more public gamer. Wanting to write games led to wanting to play more, which brought me to Pathfinder Society about a year ago exactly. If this comment were in the PFS section of the board, you would see that I now have a VA title and two GM stars. Things have escalated quickly. I no longer GM only for five friends around my kitchen table, but countless people at stores and at cons, and it is because of you.

Five minutes of your time and encouragement has had a tremendous impact on my life. I can't even begin to imagine the impact that you have had on diversity in gaming as a whole.

Thank you so, so, so much. Good luck with whatever comes next for you.

Kate. Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing this AMAZING story! I totally remember chatting outside that weird, back hall seminar room at GX3, too!

I don't really have anything to add, as your experience really slams home the "You Can Do the Thing! I'm Living Proof!" moral. I'm so, so glad it's been going so well! If there's ever anything the Paizo team can do, don't hesitate to reach out to any of our developers.

Thanks again for the amazing story and keep up all the amazing work! :D

Editor-in-Chief

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Quemius wrote:
Sooooo.....are you ever gonna tell us? What does the F stand for? :D
The real reason Wes referred to some of us as "dangerous" is that we know the answer to your question. And though he seems so good-natured, Wes would murder anyone who betrayed his secret. Like really.

Like really.

Editor-in-Chief

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.

I see what you did there. ;)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Quemius wrote:
Sooooo.....are you ever gonna tell us? What does the F stand for? :D
The real reason Wes referred to some of us as "dangerous" is that we know the answer to your question. And though he seems so good-natured, Wes would murder anyone who betrayed his secret. Like really.
Like really.

Meaning the F essentially stands for "Eff no, I'm not telling anyone."

Duly noted. ;-)

Dark Archive

I'll miss your words, Wesley.
Ustalav won't be the same without you!
Where can we read your words next?

I wish you all the best for your personal live, health and career.

Greetings from Germany, Marco


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Man...this is a punch to the stomach, as I have always considered Wes one of the most distinctive voices working in Pathfinder and Golarion. It just won't be the same without him around.

I wish you well however in all your future endeavors and adventures.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wes, going to miss you.

I will, of course, try to catch your Twitch streams on a Sunday, since they're always entertaining, and I get to enhance my geek cred by helping out with answering obscure old rules.

For years I've been doing one thing when it comes to "The F": I come up with a million possible things that the F could stand for, try to think of a tactful way of enquiring, and then remember that you've always been clear that it's nobody's business but yours, and I remember that I have a social obligation to accept that, personal curiosity be damned.

Don't be a stranger, Wes, there's a HELL of a lot of love for you round here.

Liberty's Edge

Wow! Guess that explains why the Bastard Hall PaizoCon lottery event was cancelled!

Really sorry to see you go Wes! I've loved the work you've done for Paizo and I hope you still are able to contribute from time to time.

Did you say you will still be at PaizoCon?

I'm assuming you can't say where you are going next? Can you at least say if it's still in the gaming industry?

Anyway... all the best to you!!!

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

A farewell from Wes overlaid with both the cool and classy templates - I am not surprised. All the best!

"Seven Days to the Grave" is a legend in adventure design and broke barriers in its day. But I was glad to see "Shut In' also mentioned, because that's always been one of my fav's.

Also Wes' map design is stupendous and its specific style has probably influenced Paizo and Golarion over the years in ways many of us don't appreciate.

But he's not dying, so maybe now isn't the right time to start flagging favs. I suspect Wes will always be writing something somewhere and I look forward to what comes next.

Paizo: give that man an amazing send-off!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, this is a surprise. Best of luck in whatever it is you're doing next!

I'd like to thank you, as you were the one who got me started on the road to freelancing Pathfinder stuff in the first place. I'd applied to Paizo for a position--for which I was long on enthusiasm and short on experience, so not getting it wasn't a surprise. You sent me back a very nice email suggesting that I build up some game design experience by freelancing, and asked if I'd like a list of markets and 3rd party publishers taking submissions.

I got the list, reviewed it, realized writing Pathfinder stuff was actually a Thing I might be able to get paid real money for doing, and sent a few submissions into Wayfinder to get my feet wet.

Fast forward a couple years and I've got several things published through 3rd party publishers, a fair number of Wayfinder articles, helped out editing the most recent issue of Wayfinder, and now have (or will have, once the second book is out) three Player Companion sections to my name.

So...thanks. You certainly didn't have to take the time to give me those suggestions and encouragement, and it meant a lot to me that you did.

We'll miss you around here, but looking forward to your future endeavors!


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

This is sad news :(. I'm guessing this means we won't see a Bastardhall mega module.
I remember getting to meet Wes when he let me sit in on his Bastardhall game a couple years back. I didn't win a slot at the table but he let me sit and observe anyways. My wife and I were then lucky enough to join his table at the Paizocon banquet that year. Thank you for everything you've done for the setting, and for tolerating my questions at the banquet table. It was a pleasure getting to speak with you and you will be missed.

Grand Lodge

Good luck!

I really enjoyed Bloodbound (and I hope this change doesn't preclude you from writing a sequel).

Liberty's Edge

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

Thank you


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grim Ranger wrote:

Good luck!

I really enjoyed Bloodbound (and I hope this change doesn't preclude you from writing a sequel).

I guess it depends how busy his next job keeps him.

But the last few sentences of this blog show its title to be inaccurate -- we will get many more words from him in the future even though he will no longer be working at Paizo.

Paizo Employee Art Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh Wes, now I *almost* feel bad about not contributing to the farewell blog... Thanks for not being a jerk all these years :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

I remember playing a session of "Burnt Offerings" under Wes at Gen Con long ago. I don't remember much of the session itself, but I did feel much less beat down than when Jason Bulmahn had a shambling mound maul my fighter at the Paizo booth earlier in the weekend.

I do recall Wes being genuinely touched when I asked him to sign my copy of the last print issue of Dragon. Good luck!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Too many words, I've been typing and retyping things over and over, here. Wes, you're a wonderful person and your contributions have been manifold, to both Golarion and the community.

Best of luck in your endeavors from here on out, gonna be looking out for what's next!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I've loved the Paizo products you've contributed to, adding such depth, evocative lore, and wonderful hooks. But the biggest reason I kept coming back for more is how you've helped make both Golarion and the messageboards such a wonderfully welcoming and inclusive place. I wish you the best in all your endeavors. Thank you.

Sovereign Court Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's been ages since I've active around here, but I'll miss occasionally getting to explore your evil castle at PaizoCon. I'm working in other games these days so I haven't the time to get around to Seattle anymore... good luck.

-Jeff E.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

nonononononoNoNoNoNoNO!

This is sad news indeed.

Truthfully I all happy for you Wes, you are my favorite Paizo employee, and that is saying something.

I still remember the one time I met you at GenCon 2008. I was getting all of my volumes of Curse of the Crimson Throne signed by the authors, though I think one person was not there. I still remember the look of horror on your face when you took the book from me to sign and saw all of the Post-Its throughout it, and said something to the effect of, "Oh my god, are these all my mistakes?" and I had to explain that I was making notes for my conversion of the AP to PF Alpha/Beta.

Anyway, best of luck on your new adventures, and thank you for being an awesome human being.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Modules Subscriber

Good luck, Wes! Hope to see you at PaizoCon.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, PFS RPG Subscriber

Best wishes!
-- Andy

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Good luck Wes! I don't know what these guys will do without you. Ustalav will be a poorer place without you penning it.

Contributor

Wes, we've worked together a lot more in the past several months, and I marveled at your professionalism and good sense. I know you'll be successful in whatever adventures you next undertake!

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Best farewell gift: giving us a glimpse of the best of ourselves and each other. Thank you, Wes!
#TotallyNotTeary #PokerFaceDefintelyIntact

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

14 people marked this as a favorite.

Wes story time.
The very first “Ecology of” article I got to write for Dragon Magazine was “Ecology of the Mooncalf” in #340. It was also one of the very first article I wrote with Wes as my contact person (maybe the second one I’d done for him). Wes told me by email we “might” have room from a short narrative introduction at the beginning of the article.
So I wrote a super-short short story introduction. I sent in the article, which began with about 500 words of fiction.
Wes sent me a very polite email to let me know that the article was great, but the intro was, it turned out, too long to fit. Knowing what I know now about Wes, I can tell he was just trying to let me down gently.
But at the time? I just figured I needed to trim it.
So I sent him a 350 word version.
Ah, replied Wes, politely. No, the article and art has pretty much filled the page. We couldn't even fit in a 100-word intro.
STILL not getting the hint, I sent a trimmed-down, 75 word version.
Realizing he was dealing with an idiot, Wes just flat told me there wasn’t room for anything more than 25-30 words.
I sent him a 28-word version and, rather than continue to try to drive home to me that the article would not open with fiction, Wes just put it as a caption over the article’s art.
It read:
“Tonight I witnessed a dread omen—something foul descending through the nighttime skies as through from the moon itself.
--Galiel the Astrologer, The Last Journal of Galiel”
Which I have come to realize, is MUCH cooler than the 500 word version.

Paizo Employee Editor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

How is that the entire office has been THIS DUSTY for like over 24 hours now?! *sniff*

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Wes story time.

The very first “Ecology of” article I got to write for Dragon Magazine was “Ecology of the Mooncalf” in #340. It was also one of the very first article I wrote with Wes as my contact person (maybe the second one I’d done for him). Wes told me by email we “might” have room from a short narrative introduction at the beginning of the article.
So I wrote a super-short short story introduction. I sent in the article, which began with about 500 words of fiction.
Wes sent me a very polite email to let me know that the article was great, but the intro was, it turned out, too long to fit. Knowing what I know now about Wes, I can tell he was just trying to let me down gently.
But at the time? I just figured I needed to trim it.
So I sent him a 350 word version.
Ah, replied Wes, politely. No, the article and art has pretty much filled the page. We couldn't even fit in a 100-word intro.
STILL not getting the hint, I sent a trimmed-down, 75 word version.
Realizing he was dealing with an idiot, Wes just flat told me there wasn’t room for anything more than 25-30 words.
I sent him a 28-word version and, rather than continue to try to drive home to me that the article would not open with fiction, Wes just put it as a caption over the article’s art.
It read:
“Tonight I witnessed a dread omen—something foul descending through the nighttime skies as through from the moon itself.
--Galiel the Astrologer, The Last Journal of Galiel”
Which I have come to realize, is MUCH cooler than the 500 word version.

I adored that article. (In fact, that whole issue was amazing.) And the short version is, indeed, really effective. ^_^

Lone Shark Games

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Wes is one of my favorite people, and one of the main reasons we went with Pathfinder for our adventure card game. Working with him on the game, and on all the other projects we've done together, has been a true delight.

Here's to ya, buddy. Caipirinhas on me.

Mike

P.S. The way to tell Wes and Sutter apart is that Wes isn't the one riding naked through Fremont.

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