Fair Winds and Following Seas

Monday, June 29, 2015

Illustration by Eva Widermann

Last October the Venture-Officers became aware of some family health issues that caused a change in my employment status at Paizo and I was allowed to telecommute. This change led my family and I to make the move from Seattle to the New Orleans area. This has worked fairly well for almost a year as I traveled to Paizo from New Orleans regularly but, as with most situations, things continue to evolve and my work status is changing yet again.

It is with a sad heart I announce today that my tenure with Paizo will end on August 7. This should allow me to say personal goodbyes at both PaizoCon UK and Gen Con. The day after I leave my position, I will be closing my public Campaign Coordinator Facebook page as well.

It has been a pleasure working with, and for, all of you. I was always taught to leave a situation better than I entered it. I hope I have done that. Some changes I take pride in being heavily involved with are:

  • Updating the Guide with a more professional appearance and outline
  • Implementing GM 101, GM 201 and Kid's Track (with the help of some awesome VOs)
  • Expanding our volunteer base from 13 VOs to more than 470
  • Growing the playerbase from around 12,000 to more than 60,000
  • Expanding Pathfinder Society's presence from 5 countries with an active PFS presence to 29 (including regions that had little or no prior Organized Play)
  • I have also taken a great deal of pride in watching PFS expand from one small room of 30 tables at Gen Con, to taking over the entire Sagamore Ballroom (with 180 tables of PFS gaming this year!), as well as numerous other activities planned for the space
  • Additionally, I've been working with our Tech Team over the past few months on an array of improvements to the Pathfinder Society section of paizo.com, and think you will approve of the changes that are coming

There are many other changes that I have initiated and been a part of, and I think have improved the overall quality of Pathfinder Society, but are too numerous to list here.

I wish you all well. Again, thanks for the opportunity of letting me be the Global Organized Play Coordinator for almost 4 full years.

Mike Brock
Global Organized Play Coordinator

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Tags: Eva Widermann Paizo Pathfinder Society
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Grand Lodge 4/5

Thank-you, Mike, for bringing me in as a VC, and all the work since then. You will be deeply missed, and I look forward to a proper farewell at GenCon.


We'll miss you Mike, you've been inspirational. Thank you.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5

Makes me even more glad that I was able to play with you at Megacon, having just joined in the last few years it has been a great experience and I am thankful for you being a part of it. I hope that whatever finds you in life next is full of joy and blessings!

The Exchange 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Mediterranean

We'll definitely be saying a big thank you at PaizoCon UK in a few weeks time Mike. You broke the curse and brought so much to the Pathfinder Society.

We salute you, sir!

Silver Crusade 3/5

I met Mike several years ago and he had a strong view on each person's commitment and how should PFS grow. That moment, I haven't realized how special he was. When, I decided to step up and take a VO role, I had great friends from Finland behind me, but I wasn't writing to some unknown guy - it was Mike Broke.
I have his email written on one of my character sheets - we were discussing how I can start growing community in Latvia. I hope that all your family issues will resolve one day and you return to be keeping in touch with Society you've build again.
Thanks for your work!

4/5 *

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I'm saddened to see you depart, but I know you did not make this decision lightly. You'll be missed by me personally, by the whole VO crew, and by the player base at large.

Your successor will have his/her work cut out for them, but I hope at some level we can help make that transition easier, if only just a little.

Peace to you and to your family.

Scarab Sages 5/5

This is a Sad day for us all. Mike you will be missed for sure. Thank you for the opportunity to work with and learn from you.

Grand Lodge 4/5 * Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Manitoba

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow, end of an era. What do you say when one of your mentors retires?

I first met Mike when he started at Paizo - I had been running and reporting a lot of games, emailed him a question, and he emailed back and suggested I apply to be a V-C. A quick phone call, and I learned everything I needed to know: Mike is extremely competent, fiercely loyal to his volunteers, and expects the best from us and himself. I'm not sure PFS would have continued to grow the way ti has without his influence.

Mike, thanks for everything you have given to the game we love. I hope Paizo realizes the importance of what you have done for them and the game, and they find someone able to pick up the torch.

Thanks, man.

Dataphiles 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Agent, Virginia—Hampton Roads


Thank you for all the effort, time, and determination you have put into PFS. You are going to be missed without a doubt.

Your departure shows that you are a class act by showing family comes first and I wish the best for your family.

Grand Lodge 2/5 Venture-Captain, Russia—Moscow

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Mike, thank you for all your work and your support. (:

If you ever come to Russia, let us know. There will be an open table and a full house to greet you.

Grand Lodge

Mike, I respect the way you've guided the PFS and Organized Play over the past few years. And I am saddened to hear that you're leaving Paizo and what that entails. But all your hard work and perseverance has shaped this Society into a very successful entity. And on top of that, helping to extend that to the Adventure Card Guild.

Thank you, Mike, and I hope to say goodbye at GenCon in a month.

Sovereign Court 3/5

I am saddened to hear this news. However, I am very grateful for everything you have done for Paizo and PFS Organized Play in general. Maybe our paths will cross one day and you and I will be able to sit at a table together :)

David A. Price
1-Star Pathfinder GM

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Sad news :(

I met Mike in April of 2012 at PAX East. We did that cliched thing from the 1930's of meeting for the first time in a bar, and introducing ourselves over drinks. During PAX East, Mike asked me about my area and how PFS was there and I told him how awesome it had been going. At the end of the convention, he asked me "So why aren't you a VL?" and I didn't have a good enough reason to say no.

It's been three years since then and I'm a VC. I've attended several conventions: PAX, GenCon, PaizoCon among them and I've got my 5th star. I've met dozens of awesome people and have made lasting friendships as a result. As far as I'm concerned, all of that started with a push from Mike. He really helped bring me into the PFS community and for that I'm forever grateful.

It's fitting that at GenCon this year I'll be running HQ rather than GMing, as it will give me the opportunity to hang out one more time with a good friend. So I'll say my goodbyes then, and not in this thread :)

The Exchange 5/5

Best to you and your family Mike, and good luck in your future endeavors.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Thank you for all that you've done, you will be sorely missed.

Look forward to catching up with you at both PaizoCon UK and GenCon

Dark Archive 5/5 5/5

Aloha, Mike.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again may the gods hold you in the palms of their hands.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5

An amazing achievement over the last four years!!! You have given us rock solid support here in the UK and we will miss you sorely. Thanks so much, Mike. Best of luck for less stressful future and more time with your fabulous family. We will be delighted to drink your health at PaizoCon UK.

Grand Lodge 1/5

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I was spoiled when, as I began my journey as an NFL fan, I lived in Indianapolis and Peyton Manning had just become the team's starting QB the previous year. Regardless of where you fall on the issue of in-season performance versus post-season performance, I have had the pleasure of watching the growth of an organization I love led in part by a highly skilled guy who is also a class act. Then I had to watch him leave. I will be a Peyton Manning fan where ever he lands.

The same goes for Mike Brock. Good luck, brother.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Mike you will be missed.

As a fellow brother in blue and a brother in arms your leadership style simply wont be replicated. You expanded PFS greatly and even got me to join the VO corps. You've held the line on the absurd and compromised when needed. You guided a steady ship in PFS and mentored a great many players and GM's alike.

Remember that the lack of an official title doesn't stop the camaraderie and friendship you've gotten over the years, So I still hope to see you again at conventions to share a game, a story, or better yet a drink or two with you.

Farewell and may you find happiness in everything you do.

One sad goblin,


5/5 5/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Vermont—Peacham


Thanks for all of the support you've given not only to me and the Mountain Lodge of NH & VT, but also to Pathfinder Society Organized Play throughout the world! The work you've done is legendary! You will be missed! I sure hope you keep on playing and being a part of this great community you've helped build! I'll see you at GenCon!

Scarab Sages 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Farewell Mike. The very best wishes to you and your family.

For those who were not a part of the first three years of the campaign you probably don't realize how much work Mike has done and the massive improvements that he made in the campaign. But having been in this from the beginning I can tell you honestly that Mike made a huge difference in the campaign and anyone that steps into this position will have their job cut out for them to live up to the high standards he has set for his successor.

Sovereign Court 5/5 *

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. It has paid off quite well. I am personally glad you gave Walter the push you did. When I joined PFS in his area it was already a thriving community. I am glad to be part of it.

I have some personal experience with family issues needing to come before all other considerations, and I wish you the best on your journeys in the future.

Thank you for being such an instrumental force for this community that I have grown very fond of.


Dark Archive 4/5 5/5

Thank you for all of your hard work. I haven't served under you for long, but in the time I have, it has been a pleasure and an honor. I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors.

Go forth, do great things, and take care of you and yours.

4/5 5/55/55/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Minneapolis

Thank you for all that you have done for PFS.

Best wishes!

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Washington—Spokane

James Martin wrote:

I'll never forget the first thing Mike said to me, at GenCon. "Don't call me Mister Brock. Mister Brock is my father." Good times...

Mike, I'm sure you'll find a great job that allows you to send many many emails at 3 am. Good luck and fair winds!

It's funny you mention that as I the same first meeting experience at Paizocon 2013.

May you and your family have much happiness and prosperity on this next phase of your journey. Thank you for all you have done since I have been a part of this great campaign. As others have stated, your successor will have some big shoes to fill.


Cheers Mike, you'll be sorely missed. Best of luck in all your future endeavors!

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

It has been a pleasure to have you as Campaign Coordinator, Mike. From our first meeting at the HQ table of Origins 2013, through these past few PaizoCons. It is my regret I will not be there at GenCon to say farewell. Thank you for the opportunities you have granted me and all the ways you have make PFS better for me and our players.


Best wishes, Mike.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5

9 people marked this as a favorite.

THUNDERLIPS! hauls several rolls of paper, a massive amount of wood, rope, and canvas; a hammer, saw, and buckets of nails, tar, and pitch into the backyard. He rolls the paper out on a work table. The plans for a massive longship are detailed therein. THUNDERLIPS! scratches his beard, determining that the hold will need to be much bigger if he is to sail the proper amount of mead down the Mississippi River.

The second sheet of paper details towns along the river to pillage. THUNDERLIPS! sets about designing a raft large enough to float World's Largest Six-Pack from La Crosse, thinking that is probably not enough beer. Not surprisingly, St. Louis is not on the list of towns to be sacked.


Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We've had my differences with the man because of the unnecessary drama with my spouse, but even given that, I sympathize with both the tremendously difficult job in running a network campaign, and how a family illness weighs on life.

I thank him for the major improvements that PFS has had, compared to it's early years, and I wish him and his family progress to health and happiness and hope that someday we'll see him back in the roleplaying community in some capacity.

Grand Lodge 4/5

We're going to miss your leadership.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you for your support and dedication to making PFS stronger and more entertaining for everyone.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 **

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Mike you will be missed. I know we butted heads when you first became coordinator but that had nothing to do with your leadership but with what was going on in my life at the time, I was butting heads in general with everyone.

Your leadership of PFS has brought the organization way beyond what it was and opened it to much more for the future.

I would also like to thank you for giving me a chance and allowing me to become a VL despite those initial butting heads ;).

Edit: Will you publically announce your favorite beer once you step down? ;)

Sczarni 2/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Best wishes for the future and thank you for what you have done.

Grand Lodge 4/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder LO Special Edition, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Though this news saddens me, I know it is for the best: Family is important. Family comes first.

Though your absence will leave a void in our hearts, we will soldier on. We will strive to keep the campaign up to your high expectations, ever changing for the better, ever growing.

Though this is just a game, just a hobby... to me it is much more. It is a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and as a Venture-Officer a sense of duty.

The campaign will never be the same and the next Campaign Coordinator could never be your replacement. Because of your immense dedication and commitment to this organization, this community, this family, we have all learned to be better.

We look forward to the future and seeing you at a table, smiling and spending 16 Prestige Points with the rest of us. Until then, we will remember to: Explore, Report, and Cooperate.

Grand Lodge 5/5

So sorry to see you go, but I wish you the best in your next endeavor and best wishes for your family. Thanks for all you've done for the community, and making me feel welcome at my first GenCon and remembering me at Origins. Thank you, thank you.

Brandi Greene

Grand Lodge 3/5

I have to say thanks for everything you had contributed Mike! It was a hoot working with you at PaizoCon this year, and getting to learn more about the background workings of PFS, which also has inspired me to try and get more players into the game!

Thank you again, and may your future endeavors be fruitful!

Dark Archive

I am sad to see you go Mike, but I can totally understand. We will do our best to always bring what is best for both Society and the Hobby, and will do it with the guidance and help you have given us all.

Safe travels friends and may you always roll crits.

Sovereign Court

Mike, best of luck in the next phase. It has been a pleasure to help out with PFS under your guidance. I hope all goes well for you and your family in the future.

Dark Archive 4/5

You will be missed, thank you for all your hard work!



I'll echo many of the sentiments above: sad to see you go. Should I see you at a con, I'll be happy to ply you with alcohol as a thank-you for what you've done for PFS, and perhaps swap some stories about good times that were had under your watch in PFS.


Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Safe travels Mike! May the Force, or whatever we call magic in pathfinder, be with you!


Thanks for a great campaign Mike! Cheers!

Grand Lodge 5/5 * Venture-Captain, New Zealand—Dunedin

Cayden's Cup will always be full for you, Mike. Thank you.

Grand Lodge 2/5 *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you for all your hard work Mike, it has truly shown in the campaign. What ever the future holds for you, may it go well.

Grand Lodge 5/5

While my time as a VL has been short it has been an honor and a privilege to work with you. I know our charity convention would not have been possible without your support. Whatever the future holds for you I wish you nothing but the best, and there's always a seat open for you in Bloomington.

May all your rolls come up 20.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

Best of Luck Mike. I enjoyed meeting you and helping out where I could. You did a great job and the hobby is better off for it. Take care!

Scarab Sages Developer

It's been an honor to get to meet you in person. I wish you well in all your future endeavors.

Grand Lodge 4/5 **** Assistant Developer

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you Mike! It’s a shame to see you go, and I wish you and your family all the best. 
You leave quite the shoes to fill for the next campaign coordinator. Your post alludes to the sheer force of your skill at promotion, organization, and generally making sure that people have a great time that have allowed Pathfinder Society to flourish under your leadership. 
I’d like to address that last point for a moment. 

Personal Anecdote:
My experiences with Pathfinder Society play have almost universally been positive. The one time I had an experience that made me truly uncomfortable, you went above and beyond in addressing the situation. I didn’t tell you what happened, but when you found out secondhand, you sent me a long, personal email explaining that you supported me 100% and that he would not be invited to GM at future conventions. That email made me feel deeply respected, and proud to be a volunteer for a community that would choose you as its representative. And I was just one convention volunteer among thousands. Your leadership played a notable role in my decision to volunteer more, and eventually apply to become a part of the Golem myself. So, again, thanks Mike. I’m sure that I’m far from the only person with a story to tell about how you have touched their lives.

5/5 5/55/5 * RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

You have definitely left PFS better then when you arrive. Best wishes to you and your family.

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