A few weeks ago, Christopher Carey let me know he was leaving Paizo to begin a new adventure in California. My heart was heavy, since Chris has been a mentor and friend throughout my time here, but it was also full of joy for him, since he and his (Top Secret) new opportunity are a perfect match!
From the Paizo crew...
Jason Bulmahn (Director of Game Design): "Chris has been an institution at Paizo, or at least it seems that way. I remember when he first started, back in our old offices and one of his first tasks was editing the Core Rulebook for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It seems like forever ago, and it was. Since then, he has touched nearly every book we've made, and all of them have been improved by his efforts, by his insight, and by his skill. As he leaves for an exciting opportunity, I have to wish him all the best, but I am sad to see him go. Best wishes my good man."
John Compton (Lead Developer): "Neither Chris nor I are terribly good at small talk, so when we both slumped into lobby chairs at Gen Con 2014(?) after a long day, we just spent a long while enjoying the silence. At some point one of us prompted the other along the lines of "We work together, but I don't feel I know you. So, tell me about yourself?" And so the floodgates opened as we swapped life stories, nerded out about our shared backgrounds in archaeology, discussed fiction, and talked way later than either of us had intended. Whether it's trying to determine what the proper demonym of a made up region should be, just walking into the other's work area to listen in on an interesting conversation about historical nuance, or explaining "yes, this NPC's purposefully acting this way, but you're right that it could do with more context," I will miss working with you Chris and have learned a lot from you. All the best in your future endeavors!"
Adam Daigle (Managing Developer): "It's been great getting to know and work with Chris over all these years. Editors are largely invisible unless you find a mistake, but they are among the most valuable part of the process of making books. They make us writers and designers look good and keep us from embarrassing ourselves. Chris has made me look like a better writer over the course of ten years (from freelancer to developer).
"It's going to be weird not having Chris here. He's been with the company over ten years, so he's taking a lot of institutional knowledge and experience with him, but I know that he's bringing skill, charm, and an amazing calmness to his next venture. We'll miss you tons, Chris! Don't be a stranger!"
Leo Glass (Editor): "When Chris interviewed me for my position at Paizo, he remarked, 'We are all so lucky to have careers working in tabletop games, working here at Paizo.' He followed those comments with a story of how almost 10 years ago he met Paizo's Publisher, Erik Mona, at a convention, spent hours talking about pulp fiction, and was subsequently hired as an editor at Paizo. The thought occurred to me that at almost every interview I've ever had, someone has remarked how fortunate they were to work where they were. But in Chris's tone, I inferred a subtle vulnerability, a sense of transparency and genuine gratitude as if he was pulling back some sort of invisible curtain, revealing to me how much working for Paizo had changed his life for the better. And he wanted to share that with me. When my offer came, those words were a big part of why I leaped off the cliff and moved whatever belongings I couldn't part with 1,600 miles across the country to join the Paizo family.
"I didn't realize it then, but after a year of working in a cubicle a few feet behind him, I have come to realize that with Chris, there is no curtain. He wasn't just being open and honest during the interview. He is consistently and steadfastly genuine every day. He treats every editor, every colleague, as an old friend, no matter how long they've been there. When he followed me on a pass, he never hesitated to compassionately and patiently walk me through what I could have improved on or what might have been missed, not to point out a flaw, but because he was invested in my success and continual improvement as an editor and Paizo's commitment to producing excellent products. As a mentor, Chris has taught me so much about how to fine-tune a sentence, edit rules text, and make sure every table, every character, every rule, is perfect. He is a fierce and meticulous defender of grammar, concision, consistency, and eloquence, and I hope that in learning from his example, I can hope to help carry on his legacy. In addition to all that, he's also damn funny, and laughing with him, especially when we were both deliriously tired right before a big deadline, always made whatever mountain of words we were climbing at the time seem a little smaller.
"Thanks Chris, for your friendship, guidance, professionalism, and mentorship. I wish you all the best in your next endeavor and can't wait to hear tales of your adventures shaping the Burroughs 'verse over a beer soon. You were right. We are lucky to work at Paizo because of people like you who make it a great place to be—who make it a family. Until we meet again, my friend."
Amanda Hamon (Managing Developer): Chris Carey is one of the most quietly loud people I know. Sound confusing? To explain: Chris has a quiet, thoughtful, and kind demeanor that enhances his skills as one of the best editors I know. In his understated but self-assured way, he always suggests the best ways to clarify game text's intended meaning—often making me, as the developer or designer, say, "Aha! Yes! That's so much better. Please use that phrase." Chris's intellectual methods and approach have helped me become a better editor myself, whether it's editing my own work or floating to Paizo's team of editors, as I did regularly early in my tenure at the company. All that doesn't even touch the second part of my assertion, though. Chris is indeed a consummate and quietly assured editor, but it wasn't until I had worked at the company for a while that I realized he's also a big deal as a fiction author. Google "Christopher Paul Carey" and you'll find reams of novels, novellas, short stories, and more that bear Chris's name. He's written an authorized sequel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Moon Maid—how cool is that? Chris is such a metaphorically loud authorial and editorial presence, but you'd never know it from meeting him. Chris, we're going to miss that presence here in the office, but I know you're going to go on to do even more amazing things. I can't wait to hear what they are!
James Jacobs (Creative Director): "I can't say that I remember the day Chris joined Paizo like it was yesterday, because it was over a decade ago and I've gotten that much older since then. I do remember his interview though, and being incredibly impressed by his passion for genre fiction and his attention to detail. Over the years, between the good (Bigfoot day and Lovecraft Film Festival trips even if the festival was sold out by the time we got there being but the most recent examples) and the not so good (wisdom teeth! AIEEEE! Where's a tooth fairy when you need one?), I've had the honor of calling Chris not just a co-worker, but a great friend. He played the ranger Zandu Vorcyon in my Shadows Under Sandpoint game back in the day, a man haunted by the ghouls who orphaned him. When he was building his character and agonizing over the choice of favored enemy, I mostly let him choose his own path there—knowing that whatever he chose would end up playing a significant role in the campaign to come. I suspect he chose ghouls because of the evocative illustration of them Wayne Reynolds did for the cover of Skinsaw Murders, but whatever the reason, the campaign certainly developed a ghoulish tinge. Trips to Pauper's Graves, explorations of unexpected tunnels under the Sandpoint Cathedral, and a big bad end boss of a ghoul alchemist were but three ways Chris's character decision not only helped to shape the campaign, but build up lore surrounding Sandpoint. Since this ghoulish alchemist, Kanker (see the Sandpoint book for his stats!), ended up blowing up Sean K Reynold's cleric in the campaign's climactic battle, you can, in a way, say that Chris was responsible for killing of the party's cleric! Thanks for the monster ammo, Chris! And never fear… Zandu is in good hands. Hands that might inflict paralysis as they reach up out of the loamy sod from a shallow grave, but… well, no. They're chaotic evil hands. Still, I'm sure Zandu can take care of himself and persevere and triumph. If only because I know that you will as well, Chris, in what comes next! Congrats, man, and I'll miss ya!"
Jason Keeley (Developer): "I began my career at Paizo as an editor sitting right next to Chris, so he was constantly subjected to my questions about style and grammar and for that, I thank him. Later, I pestered him into letting me write one of the Pathfinder's Journals for the Strange Aeons Adventure Path and for that, I am so grateful. Chris is a talented, thoughtful person and we are going to miss him so much here!"
Lyz Liddell (Editor): "Chris is a rock—in all the best ways! He's been around for so long that it's hard to imagine our team without him, and he has the institutional knowledge and experience that comes with having worked on an entire edition of the game. He's always been around to answer questions, provide helpful insights, and carry on even when things get really rough. He's also tremendously supportive, both in words and in actions, as a team member and as a colleague and friend. I'm hugely excited to see him move on to a job that is such a phenomenally good fit for him, but we're gonna miss him like crazy!!"
Ron Lundeen (Developer): "Chris is the kind of editor every developer wants to work with. He certainly has the skill and tenure to say, "you did this wrong, we should do it this way," but that's not Chris's style. He's both collaborative and thoughtful, and he's eager to entertain discussions about how to approach a final product with the ultimate user—the gamers who will use it at their table—in mind. I'll always value my discussions with Chris about how to make a product both clear and compelling. Thanks, Chris, and I know you'll excel in your next adventure!"
Robert G. McCreary (Creative Director): "Just over 9 years ago, I was hired as an assistant editor for Paizo, and I joined James L. Sutter and Chris Carey as the third member of the editorial team. Since that time, many things have changed—I moved to the development side of things, Chris became senior editor, and the editorial team has grown much larger than just three people. But what hasn't changed is the high regard I have for Chris, both as a professional colleague and a friend. Since my very first day at Paizo, Chris has shared his exceptional knowledge and editorial mastery with me, making me both a better editor and better developer. Of course, I'm not the only one who has benefited from Chris's expertise, as Paizo's entire editorial staff can attest.
"Chris was also my first Gen Con roommate as a Paizo employee, and our late nights after the con discussing our favorite pulp and sci-fi authors blossomed into a true friendship that I will always treasure. I'm so excited for Chris about the new opportunities that have opened up for him, and while I'll miss him, I know he'll continue to excel in what I hope is his true dream job. Good luck, Chris, and if I ever wake up confused on Mars like another Virginian, I know who to get in touch with!"
Sonja Morris (Art Director): "Chris is awesome, both as an editor and a person—I will miss him very much."
Adrian Ng (Editor): "Chris, thank you for being a mentor and a friend during our time together at Paizo. I wish you the best in your adventures on Barsoom—no doubt, you'll do great!"
Patrick Renie (Developer): "Chris Carey is a great editor and a fantastic guy. During my first GenCon with Paizo in 2011, Chris was basically my rock; we were rooming together and I was totally overwhelmed by the convention but Chris taught me the way to stay sane during it all (go to bed early and drink lots of water). I'll never forget our desperate search around the convention center for a Starbucks, a cafe, one of those Seattle's Best vending machines—anywhere we could get a latte. (We had to settle for energy drinks.) His ability to consistently write and edit so much fiction is nothing short of awesome, and I'm not sure he knows how much of an inspiration he is to me when it comes to getting words on paper. While his departure makes my heart ache, I am so excited for his next adventure, since I know that anywhere Chris goes magic is sure to follow."
Michael Sayre (Developer): "I am really, really bad at saying goodbye, but I feel like I would regret not saying something about Chris and the positive impact he had on me during this last year. Chris and I bonded over a shared love of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. We had a lot of great conversations that built from this, especially during a few evenings at GenCon where other people with similar shared interests were able to join us. Chris is someone whose quiet wisdom is readily appreciated, and will be sorely missed in his absence. I regret that we didn't have more time and opportunities to converse, since every time we did I felt like I left the conversation a little better off than before we spoke. Best of luck in your future endeavors my friend!"
Owen K.C. Stephens (Starfinder Design Lead): When I first arrived at Paizo there was a tricky transition for me, from freelancer who never had to touch a manuscript after I turned it over to developer who needed to shepherd it and answer questions about it at every step, including editing. Chris was a crucial part of my coming to understand how that process worked, and I will always be grateful to him for his professionalism, vast knowledge base, and friendly approach to such collaboration. It's safe to say Chris made me a better writer, and a better developer. All of that in addition, of course, to being someone with who I could discuss John Carter, Opar, and Carson of Venus. :)"
Jason Tondro (Editor): "Professionally, working with Chris has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am, quite simply, a much better editor now than I was a year ago when I was hired, and most of that is due to Chris's guidance. He's been a wonderful mentor, but also a good friend. Chris and I are only a month apart in age, and that meant we had a lot of shared experiences. I could always count on him to know my TOS references, and he could count on me to know who Tars Tarkas was. I remember, when I interviewed for this job, I quoted Francis Bacon. He thought I was sucking up to him, because he was working on a Bacon-related project and had been for years. No, we had just both read all the same books! I will miss Chris every day. But I count myself incredibly fortunate I got to work with him at all, and there is no one in the world more qualified for his new position. Congratulations, my friend."
Pierce Watters (Director of Sales): "Best regards to Ignatius Donnelly. Break a leg!"
Chris started at Paizo in the last week of the first Campaign Setting book, then launched straight into the playtest for First Edition. During the 10+ years since then, he has helped us through two playtests and the birth of Starfinder, has edited about 150 Adventure Path volumes, and has shepherded Pathfinder Tales and Pathfinder Comics—plus working on over a thousand other products. (Phew!) During that decade, Chris has been a voice of reason and professionalism, working smoothly with everyone in the department no matter how stressed out and wild-eyed we've gotten. He mentored many of us when we started out here, ensuring we learned good habits and set high standards—but also building up our self-confidence. And in addition to his expertise at editing, he is a font of surprising knowledge, ranging from Mongolian history and Baconian conspiracies to how to determine the gender of a skeleton from its skull.
On top of all that, Chris has also maintained a simultaneous career as an author of numerous novels, novellas, short stories, and comics, and as an editor of several short story compilations—check out his work!
On a more personal level, Chris has been a rock for me during my time at Paizo. He has taught me a ton about editing, and about when to compromise and when to stick to my guns. He's also funny, kind, and compassionate, and has been there for me during family crises and whenever I needed a sympathetic ear. I'm a better person for having known him, and I'm going to miss him heaps.
Good luck and best wishes, Chris!