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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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Paizo Employee Developer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Mike Selinker wrote:
P.S. The way to tell Wes and Sutter apart is that Wes isn't the one riding naked through Fremont.

Though now that he's a free man, who knows what he'll get up to!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Companion Subscriber

Good luck Wes, you will be missed:(

Scarab Sages

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

Good luck on your future endeavors. You will be missed!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

Best wishes and good luck!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Mike Selinker wrote:
P.S. The way to tell Wes and Sutter apart is that Wes isn't the one riding naked through Fremont.

Wait, what?

Grand Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

One of my all-time favorite former co-workers. Many fond memories, from discussing Golarion holidays and Ustalav, to how to make Gen Con more awesome each year. Good luck, Wes! You will be great in whatever you move to.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wes, I don't believe I ever had the luck to meet you, let alone get to know you, but the love shown by everyone here is testament to your character.

I hope that your future endeavors prove fruitful and fulfilling.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Wes, I can think of nothing more to say than your work has inspired my imagination. Thank you so much for all you've given us!

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

5 people marked this as a favorite.

The office won't be the same without you. Best wishes on your new adventure!

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

Sad to see you go, but good fortunes be upon you on your future endeavours. You were one of the greatest.

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Don't know what to say, except that I'll miss your smiling welcome every time we meet... but we will undoubtedly meet again on some distant shore. Keep a weather eye on the horizon, Master Wes, for 'tis a small world we sail 'round, and I know your flag and the cut of your jib.

Fair winds, calm seas, and a star to steer her by, my friend.

Project Manager

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Iammars wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
P.S. The way to tell Wes and Sutter apart is that Wes isn't the one riding naked through Fremont.
Wait, what?

It is known.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

<..>
!

Sniff.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Jessica Price wrote:
Iammars wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
P.S. The way to tell Wes and Sutter apart is that Wes isn't the one riding naked through Fremont.
Wait, what?
It is known.

Sutter also doesn't get snowed in/trapped at the office (or if he has, he's bribed/threatened everyone not to speak of it).

Shadow Lodge

Wow. Thank you Wes for all you did to push Pathfinder ever onward and upward.

I join the others in wishing you luck wherever you end up next.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Sad to see you leave the hallowed halls of Paizo, but have no doubt that you will continue to find ways to inspire us. Best wishes on your next chapter!


Thanks for writing for the best game in the world, Pathfinder. "Seven Days to the Grave" was one of my favorites.

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This news left me in shock. I have enjoyed our discussions over four PaizoCons, and two GenCons which have always left me feeling encouraged and positive. You have always been generous with your time, kind with your words, and your love of horror has been amazing to witness. Your unfurled madness seemed to really shine during the epic Horror in RPG panels over the years. You are an amazing person and I thank you for the positive impact you have had on my life. I wish you the very best in your road ahead. Take care good sir.

P.S. I am glad the Ravenloft map I sent years ago had found a good home. You were incredibly kind in your response for a gift that was unexpected.

P.P.S. This does not absolve you of the responsibility to release a Bastardhall Hardcover module


As someone who has played D&D since 1988 (1st Edition AD&D ), I have seen the hobby we all enjoy evolve over the past 30 years. I have seen the influence of everyone involved in the industry. Your voice will be missed. Thank You and Farewell.


Take care, Wes. Your unique voice will certainly be missed.

Liberty's Edge

May your moccasins tread many snows and the rainbow rest upon your shoulder, Wes.

In my 40 years of role-playing, your contribution to my fun has been immense. Good fortune whatever you do next.

Order of the Amber Die

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wes, we count ourselves a lucky few among the multitude here that were so fortunate to have worked with you. When we first met, you believed in the Order and understood our vision of what we wanted to do for gaming--Pathfinder in particular--and we are forever grateful. Everyone here at the Order is sad to hear you're leaving Paizo, but we know that whatever new path you find will continue to enrich people's lives.

If you're planning on writing any adventures in the future, you can guarantee we'll be playing them. :)

All our best,

Order of the Amber Die


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Damn it! Now I'm going to have to do a total rewrite.... What rhymes with Daigle?

The Night Before Game Day:
The Night Before Game Day
With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Game Day, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The minis on the mantle had been painted with care,
in hopes that St. Jacobs soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of adventure played in their heads.
And Mama with her fighter, and my redeemed Darkfire Adept,
had just stolen into the lair of that false Razmiran sect.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like CW's Flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should into view dance,
but a miniature sleigh and eight writers who freelance!

With a haggard editor, fresh from an all-nighter,
I knew in a moment it must be Wes Schneider!
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now Tim! Now Amber!
Now, Greg and Russell!
On, Richard! On, Nick!
On, John and Michael!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wind elemental fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of gamer swag, and audio dramas too.

And then, craning my ear to the roof perpendicular
I could hear the heavy tread boots of each contributor.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney Young Wes came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fake fur, for they are not overfond
of that sort of thing in blue Washington's progressive Redmond.
A bundle of books he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddling librarian opening his pack.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was in need of a mow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He looked a bit high, and slightly less then regal,
but that's what you get in a State where pot is half-legal.

His character, a multi-class ninja, pirate, half-dinosaur elf,
its huge Hero Lab™ sheet made me laugh, in spite of myself.
With a wink of his eye and a flip of his thumb
he showed me the new archetype that was yet to come.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his editing work,
and corrected our character sheets, even Bill's the rules jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Game Day to all, and to all a good game night!"


All the best for your new ventures!

Liberty's Edge

Wes, good luck in all your new ventures. Be safe, be strong, and be well!!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Ah, Wes...

Your rejection letter to me (for a position I was clearly unqualified for) included an invitation to work as a freelancer instead. It's honestly been a dream, and I'll never forget that kindness. I'm happy for you and your new opportunities, but I'll always feel a pang of sadness I never got to work my way up to being your co-worker at Paizo.

See you around, fellow Ravenloft fan.

Lone Shark Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mr. Pilkington, Philosoraptor wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
Iammars wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
P.S. The way to tell Wes and Sutter apart is that Wes isn't the one riding naked through Fremont.
Wait, what?
It is known.
Sutter also doesn't get snowed in/trapped at the office (or if he has, he's bribed/threatened everyone not to speak of it).

The James Sutter I know is fully capable of doing that.

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Great Green God wrote:

Damn it! Now I'm going to have to do a total rewrite.... What rhymes with Daigle?

** spoiler omitted **...

Bagel. :)

Great job, GGG!

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Great Green God wrote:

Damn it! Now I'm going to have to do a total rewrite.... What rhymes with Daigle?

** spoiler omitted **...

Bagel. :)

Great job, GGG!

Even after all this time my brain keeps wanting to read it as "Die, ghoul!" >_<


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

Your voice is one that originally drew me to Pathfinder in the first place so many years ago. Thanks for making your mark here, and I look forward to seeing what you do next. Or at least saying hi at Gencon!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You are an inspiration to many, so by way of example and as a parting gift, let me share... I was running through some developer training with Sean a couple of years ago, presenting as one of my tasks a revised version of a creature now published in Wayfinder. He said in his review that you would like this one, that it had all the flavour and twistedness you enjoy. Although I cannot hold a candle to your work, those words were to me an incredible compliment. So thank you for being such an inspiration.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh man, totally missed this. Wes is like a Paizo fixture, you'll be missed man. Good luck with whatever you're doing next in life, no doubt it will be gold.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Holy s%*+, what an exit. And what a title! Near-gave me a heart attack there!

There are some Paizo staffers I've interacted a lot with on these forums. There are some I've interacted too much with*. I never really harassed Wes that much, which makes me sad, because I love his work and love reading his thoughts. You better post a lot on these forums, Wes! I haven't gotten to bug you yet!

*Or "forced to interact with me too much", I should say. Sorry, Chris. :P


Best wishes, Wes! I hope whatever awesomeness is coming up will still mean we cross paths at various conventions.

RPG Superstar Season 9

11 people marked this as a favorite.

I met Wes at last year's PaizoCon, and speaking to him was one of the most delightful parts of the whole experience. There was one moment, however, that stuck out to me. I was talking to Wes and a few others and somehow the topic of my day job came up (I'm an MD/PhD candidate who was transitioning into the research phase of my degree at the time). I gave the elevator pitch for my research project, and Wes responded with a droll comment that compared his own work (something along the lines of "creating dragons and monsters") unfavorably to mine.

Something about that exchange irked me, though I couldn't put my finger on it at the time. I've spent a lot of time thinking about it, and here's what I got from it:

That exchange took place less than a year after my Board exam, a process that required several weeks of solitude while furiously studying for the most important test of my medical career to date. I still remember spending entire days pouring over notes and practice questions, with precious few moments of mental respite to decompress. I turned to reading Paizo material - including several pieces written or edited by Wes - as my go-to outlet when I had reached my breaking point, because nothing energized me quite like losing myself in the world you created. It's not the first time D&D/Pathfinder got me through a dark period in my life, and I'm certain it won't be the last.

And I know stories far more moving than mine. I know strangers from completely different walks of life who bonded over a Pathfinder tabletop. I've gamed with folks who have used your work as their vehicle to overcome disabilities or personal tragedies. I love what I do, but when I look back on my old calendars (a metric for what I considered important enough to me to warrant dedicated time in my life) I see a whole lot of game nights with friends and family, and scant few blocks of time exclusively devoted to studying or analyzing data.

So here's my long-overdue rebuttal to your comment from PaizoCon 2016, Wes: The fruits of my labor may postpone the inevitable, but the fruits of yours can actually save lives. I hope you don't sell that short, because I certainly won't.

Best of luck with your future works, Master Schneider - I can't wait to lose myself in everything you create down the line.

Sovereign Court

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

Oh, I almost forgot!

I'm sorry for killing your Tonberry last year, Mr. Schneider. ^_^


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nooo!! What is going to happen to Ustalav? :(


Enjoy the ride off into the sunset Wes (but do not stare right at it)!

I and all the Flying Pincushion folks wish you nothing but the best, where ever the winds of fortune decide to deposit you.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Egads! I always find things out late!

Wes, hope you're new endeavours are rewarding and fun. I will never forget your immensely encouraging notes on my first feeble attempts returning to RPG writing. Thank you.

My wife and I also had the pleasure of having lunch with Wes at GenCon two separate years. What a fine person you are. Hope you will still make it to GenCon sometime in the future so we can have lunch again!

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