Paizo Leadership Team Update

Monday, November 15, 2021

Over the last six weeks, Paizo's Leadership Team has attempted to better listen to and understand the challenges faced by its workforce, customers, and community. We want to take a moment to update you on a few important developments that have emerged from those conversations.

Before we begin, it's important to note that this update does not address requests regarding salaries, adjustments to the current work-from-home environment, or other matters that are now subject to negotiation with the United Paizo Workers union during collective bargaining.

We’re still searching diligently for a candidate to fill the company’s Human Resources Manager position, and plan to begin interviews very shortly. As this is an incredibly important hire, we want to make sure we find the right candidate with experience leading initiatives related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and working with a union. We are continuing to gather resumes as the search continues.

We’ve hired a company called Energage to complete an employee engagement survey on behalf of Paizo. This survey is designed to allow employees to provide anonymous, unfiltered, and honest feedback to the company that will help Paizo establish priorities for improvement planning. It will also serve as an important benchmark against which to measure the results of future surveys, allowing us to develop a baseline to measure against. We expect employees to be able to access the engagement survey sometime this week.

Discussion in the past several months has resurfaced two instances in which a Paizo executive mishandled user data when replying to message board posts, resulting in allegations of doxxing. These actions were contrary to Paizo policy, and corrective actions were taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

“This was a huge mistake on my part and I am deeply sorry for any issues that have arisen from these actions. This was not the right way to treat our customers and I apologize,” said Paizo President Jeff Alvarez. “As President, I know I need to hold myself to a higher standard.”

Paizo takes issues related to discrimination and harassment very seriously. We have hired the law firm of Moritt Hock & Hamroff (MH&H) to investigate allegations of discrimination against trans employees and sexual misconduct before reporting back to the Leadership Team. Investigators from the firm will reach out to members of Paizo’s staff and others that made claims on social media. Cooperation with the firm is voluntary, of course, but we remain committed to investigating these matters thoroughly to ensure a safe and respectful workplace.

We chose MH&H upon the recommendation of a consultant with expertise in matters of DEIB. MH&H has a team of attorneys that specialize in these issues, and we’re confident they’ll be able to provide an impartial analysis of the facts that we need to move forward with any corrective actions.

Because the results of these investigations are private personnel matters, Paizo will not be able to make them public. Corrective actions will be taken against any employee (including managers and executives) found to be guilty of these allegations.

It has never been Paizo’s intention to discriminate against any employee when making decisions of who to send to industry trade shows, but we see now that our room-sharing policy was based on outdated interpretations of gender, was not friendly to transgender employees, and could contribute to a perception of transphobia at the company. Paizo’s Leadership Team acknowledges the pain this caused, and we understand that we need to be better at recognizing issues where such decisions could have unintended results. We also recognize that such actions do not align with Paizo's core values, the values of its staff members, or the sentiments of diversity and inclusion expressed in Paizo products, and as such, have disappointed, angered, and confused members of our community. We believe these mistakes are not representative of who we are, or what we want the company to represent. We need to do better... and we will.

“As the person in charge of trade shows, I want to apologize to anyone that felt marginalized as a result of the convention decision-making process,” said Jeff Alvarez. “It was not our intent to discriminate against anyone, and I’m sorry.”

As previously communicated, Paizo has adopted a one-employee-per-room travel policy moving forward. Regardless of gender identity, couples will be allowed to share rooms during travel as long as both parties request it.

Paizo remains committed to maintaining a diverse, safe, and fun workplace where our employees are treated fairly and look forward to creating awesome Pathfinder and Starfinder products for many years to come. We hope that this update helps communicate that we, the Leadership Team, are doing our best to listen to and address the concerns of our community members. We believe in creating a better Paizo, and believe that transparency, communication, and accountability will be instrumental as we move forward. Thank you for your continued support of our company and our products.

Paizo Leadership Team
David, Erik, Jeff, Jim, Lisa, and Mike

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Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
TOZ wrote:
Or maybe Paizo just isn’t having discussions about slavery in their fantasy on their forums?

That is certainly possible and reasonable, I guess. At least they are open about their intention so that we can decide if their campaign setting is one we want to adventure in.

Grand Lodge

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Good. Then stop.


18 people marked this as a favorite.

There's a massive difference between depicting slavery as "evil things only evil people do" and as permitted in, say, Cheliax and Okeno, evil bad places, and between presenting it as LN thing that's open to discussion, only evil when slaves are mistreated and jolly good time my grand-grand-grand-grand-dad had slaves but he all treated them well and kindly, thank you Paizo for not implying that he did something bad!

Nobody is rallying against slavery being present as a topic in the setting at all, people are just salty about how it was presented as Just a Normal Thing in a LN city, how it was resolved in-setting, and how a current book that depicts a snapshot of setting timeline where slavery is already outlawed spends a curious lot of time dwelling on the topic instead of relegating it to margins like the Mwangi book did.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Good. Then stop.

For clarity, I tried to follow Paizo's 'rules.' I flagged the first page+ of off-topic commentary (slavery) so they would either purge or move it to its own thread as I find it unrelated to the blog post that started this ongoing discussion. Having waited a number of hours for Paizo to examine the thread and take some action, they chose not to. I can only assume that means they feel the topic is acceptable and allowing it to continue. As such, I am adding my opinions, just like everyone else.

Silver Crusade

15 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sara Marie wrote:

Paizo.com is not going to be hosting discussions with people trying to justify or be an advocate (devil's or otherwise) for slavery. Unfortunately this has been how many discussion threads about slavery, including this one, have ended up going.

Slavery is something that has caused multigenerational damage to real, human, people. It has inflicted trauma on countless lives, directly and indirectly, and the repercussions and the racism it has fueled still reverberate across our society and people’s lives today. Human trafficking continues to perpetuate the injustices and cruelty of slavery to this day.

It’s part of our mission to encourage and support gaming environments where people feel welcome, included and safe. When a topic like slavery comes up and people try to justify it, it reads as trying to justify hundreds of years of pain, suffering, countless indignities, rape, and murder inflicted upon the lives of other humans. While one person might feel that they are discussing theory or abstract subjects, for too many people the subject of slavery is not some abstract concept, it is an active painful reminder that there are other humans who would try to excuse or justify this awful practice. Coming across this type of thread on our forums when simply trying to read about a roleplaying game causes harm to people in our gaming community and it is unacceptable.

Just going to leave this here again, maybe bolding and embiggening it will help people to be able to read it.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

... a couple of hours? lmao did you even email them? What a bad-faith excuse to keep cluttering a thread with nonsense. Imagine if trans people assumed the mods were all fully transphobic because a post stayed standing for an hour or two.

I flagged a thread I posted to the wrong forum yesterday, and it still hasn't been moved, despite being blatantly misplaced. They're busy, and I'm not in a hurry. If I was, though I'd email them, not just keep posting off-topic spam.

Paizo Employee Director of Community

9 people marked this as a favorite.

The slavery discussion has gotten off-topic enough it is time to move it to its own thread. I'm posting a link as the original link post was removed during moderation.

In moderating this thread, I tried to leave as much of the discussion as possible, even though it veered off-topic, as recreating it all in another thread would be an excessive amount of work. I did remove some posts that included personally harassing commentary towards other posters, a few spamish replies, and the last few points that went really deep into the outfield, as well as related quote posts.

I also removed posts arguing that the evil of slavery is on par with a variety of other evils in Golarion. Arguing about whose pain is greater or right or ok is wrong. So we aren't going to do it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Yoshua wrote:

False equivalents are False.

The more I see people post what is clearly hurtful content in complete oblivion it makes me even closer to cancelling subscriptions.

Paizo shouldn't have to make a specific rule about hate speech dog whistling but now at this junction I am feeling that it may be needed.

Just because you are incapable of understanding how something can be hurtful does not make it any less so. It just shows your inability as a human to understand that 1: there may be things in the world you don't know and 2: your lack of empathy for a fellow human being when they speak up to what hurts them.

Oh, noes, my car was stolen, lets stop playing games that allows someone to steal carraiges!

Is no where near:

My family and culture and history is derived/impacted from/by slavery and I would rather not live out that pain in a game I use to escape those realities.

and if you think it is? I fear for society.

This may be the first time I have ever replied to myself....

This bears repeating.

Also, there is a new thread to carry on that conversation.

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs43jhu&page=2?Depictions-of-Slavery-in-Gola rion

Go to New Thread..

Dark Archive

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't think freelancers count as "random twitter mass" anyway?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

If you're going to start writing content out of your setting, at least write it out. Take a scalpel and slowly excise it going forward instead of taking a cleaver to all future content right now.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Armok: God of Blood wrote:
If you're going to start writing content out of your setting, at least write it out. Take a scalpel and slowly excise it going forward instead of taking a cleaver to all future content right now.

As others have already said, its not an enormous component of the setting where it will be an earth-shaking change.

As usual the proposed intent is being blown out of proportion.

Erik Mona on the Freelancer letter wrote:

We will not be writing adventures to tell the story of how this happened. We will not be introducing an in-world event to facilitate this change.

We’re just going to move on from it, period.

Please, we're looping, go be mad about something else. If nothing else, go post in the right thread.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Armok: God of Blood wrote:
If you're going to start writing content out of your setting, at least write it out. Take a scalpel and slowly excise it going forward instead of taking a cleaver to all future content right now.

It's a nice thought, but it would take years at least to deal with it properly and when they did do that in one area, Absalom, they screwed it up enough that's what prompted the freelancer to complain. So perhaps they're just recognizing they're not capable of handling this well enough even to get rid of it gracefully.

Should they flounder around with years more of badly handled attempts to excise it to everyone's satisfaction or just drop it?


thejeff wrote:
Armok: God of Blood wrote:
If you're going to start writing content out of your setting, at least write it out. Take a scalpel and slowly excise it going forward instead of taking a cleaver to all future content right now.

It's a nice thought, but it would take years at least to deal with it properly and when they did do that in one area, Absalom, they screwed it up enough that's what prompted the freelancer to complain. So perhaps they're just recognizing they're not capable of handling this well enough even to get rid of it gracefully.

Should they flounder around with years more of badly handled attempts to excise it to everyone's satisfaction or just drop it?

Should one person or a small group of people have the power to demand sweeping changes?

Shadow Lodge

14 people marked this as a favorite.

What, like the management team at Paizo?

Paizo Employee Director of Community

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed a post (and quoted replies) that contained personally harassing contents.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Just want to voice my support for this decision. Having run AoA I felt that the slavery parts were especially badly executed. The villains were bland because they were super 1-dimensional and so were the quests: slaver bad, slaver took friend, please kill slaver because slavery bad.

I'd much rather prefer more intricate villains and motivations like in Agents of Edgewatch. These also make it easier to deal with players that go off the rails.

All in all I feel that Paizo has never executed the slavery topic very well so it's fine to let it go as a plot device.

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

To be fair, a badly handled topic is not necessarily a cause to discard the topic. It just needs better handling. If someone wrote a bad depiction of chromatic dragons, we wouldn't say they should excise dragons from the cannon. YMMV.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
TwilightKnight wrote:
To be fair, a badly handled topic is not necessarily a cause to discard the topic. It just needs better handling. If someone wrote a bad depiction of chromatic dragons, we wouldn't say they should excise dragons from the cannon. YMMV.

Agree, but if they have to tip toe around that topic every time they touch it and can't improve upon the villains motives because any mistake might trigger an uproar, then I'm just fine with dropping it. Nothing of value was lost really. There's plenty of other interesting ways to drive a plot.

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