Creator Spotlight: Patrick Renie, Senior Developer

Monday, May 2, 2022

Welcome to the start of our newest blog series! Nearly every Monday, we’ll focus on a different wonderful industry creator, as an individual, including Paizo staff, freelancers, contractors, podcast players, streamers, YouTubers, licensed partners, and more. The format is a list of standardized questions from which interviewees can choose. Let’s get started!

Name: Patrick Renie
Pronouns: he/him
Title (if staff): Senior Developer
Department (if staff): Editorial

What are your goals or dreams as a creator?

I was a very shy, quiet kid. When my nose wasn’t buried in a book or my eyes glued to a video game, my head was often simply lost in the clouds. I invented all sorts of make-believe games and had multiple imaginary friends. One of my favorite books was an illustrated children’s dictionary. My teachers wrote things like “daydreamer” and “easily distracted” on my report cards.

Though I was a gifted writer, I struggled to compose anything longer than one or two pages. I didn’t like sports or group activities, but I knew how to give engaging presentations and I reveled in making the other kids laugh. I liked to doodle symbols and draw treasure maps in the margins of my homework. I loved to read books about sword-swinging knights and fireball-flinging wizards. Arithmetic and algebra came to me easily, but somewhere around geometry I hit a wall and basically gave up on math.

When I discovered tabletop RPGs, it was like opening a secret door to the clockwork of my mind. These games were full of all the things I liked: stories of fantasy adventure, sketches of crazy monsters, weird dice to fiddle with. The idea of creating my own adventures—something these books not only encouraged but gave me the tools to do—felt insane and electrifying. It was like for my whole life my brain had been this strange, almost alien machine that came without any instructions, and with roleplaying games I’d finally found the missing user manual.

Making adventures felt like a natural way to express myself. I could write stories with interesting scenery and cool villains without having to worry about protagonists’ specific motivations or settling on one ending. When I got bored with one idea, I could write about something else and come back to the first thing later. Eventually, to my astonishment, this mishmash of thoughts coalesced into something amazing—an entire world, a cohesive thing. It was like alchemy, or witchcraft. Once I got going, I couldn’t stop. I never stopped.

Today, I write Pathfinder adventures for young people who don’t fit the mold: oddballs who have weird, terrific ideas and great senses of humor. I want to inspire kids who love books but maybe struggle to focus—youngsters who might not have a lot of friends but love to make people smile, or those who burst with creative energy but whose talents don’t necessarily align with one particular discipline or trade.

If this sounds like you, then I at least hope you know you’re not alone. I know how it feels to live in a world that wasn’t designed for folks like you and me. It’s okay. We can make up our own little world instead. And in our world, everybody’s invited, no matter how much they fidget or how good they are at math or whatever it says on their report card. Anyone who wants to play is welcome.

In our world we can say, Come on in, everybody. We’ve got sword-swinging knights and fireball-flinging wizards and all sorts of other stuff too, like clockwork brains and goblin alchemists and winter witches. We’ve got all kinds of things, so come on in, everyone. Come on in and get ready, because we’re going on an adventure.

What’s the best creative advice you’ve ever gotten?

Write fearlessly. Whatever your burning idea, whatever it is you want to put into this world, it will resonate with someone else—that’s a statistical fact. Have you seen the stuff that’s out there? However silly you fear your idea might be, I guarantee there’s something far sillier already out there which is resonating with millions of people. There’s a guy on YouTube who makes sausages out of bubble gum, water, dirt, etc, then tastes and ranks them. It’s utterly ridiculous. I love it!

The best thing to do as a creator, whether you’re a writer, photographer, or sausage maker, is to work on the things that excite you. But what is that, exactly? How do you separate what you’ve been taught you should want from what you really want? You have to find that "flow state," your personal Nirvana. Here’s how: throw your phone in a lake, bury your computer in the desert, and lock yourself in a room with just a pencil and some paper. Only when you’ve totally lost your mind in your work can you catch a glimpse of the thing at the core of it all—that dynamo hidden under your flesh and bone, the self-experiencing universe inside you, transcendence, enlightenment, the Cosmic Sausage.

What I’m saying is: Get in the zone! Don’t think about recognition or what comes next, and definitely don’t listen to self-help gurus or motivational podcasts or wild-eyed windbags like me! It’s just you and the craft, buddy!

If there’s any actual wisdom at all buried in my mound of prolix drivel, then here’s the tl;dr: when you have fun writing it, readers will have fun reading it.

Make what you want. Forget the rest. That’s the only advice I can offer.

Please tell us about your pet!

My wife and I have two cats. We call them Coco and Patches. They’re the best.

An all black cat and a black and white cat sitting in front of a lit fireplace

Find Patrick on social media:

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Community Paizo Paizo Staff

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I love this new blog idea. Something to really look forward to every week. Thank you.

Thank you, Patrick, for sharing and for your words of advice. Beautiful cats, too.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Agreed. Thanks for a great new idea to spotlight the creators behind the game, and for a moving start to the profiles.

Marketing & Media Manager

10 people marked this as a favorite.

In hightsight, I released I should have put this into the introduction to this blog series,

Paizo's Mission Statement says, "Through exploring immersive fantasy worlds and cooperative strategic play, Paizo’s games and experiences bring people together and create lifelong friendships. Our Core Values are Quality First, Diversity in All Things, Building Partnerships, and Embracing Change.

Regarding diversity, we seek to celebrate and represent diversity through our gaming products and our actions as a business. We build teams that respect each other and that allow us to create fun and immersive products. We support charities that embrace diversity and we encourage Paizo gamers to have safe and open seats at their tables that are welcoming environments for everyone.

Therefore, we strongly encourage Creator Blog contributions from people of all identities, especially those from marginalized or underserved communities.

In order to submit their own blog, content creators can request the standardized questions for this blog series by emailing

Pathfinder Development Manager

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Patrick is a gift.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Patrick was my first real contact in the industry, and was a considerate and compassionate mentor who took my designs and ideas and helped mold them into something far greater.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Patrick was a HUGE help in showing me the ropes of the "Paizo Way of Doing Things" when I first came to work at the office in 2014.
He's also a great creative, and a steady developer.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I haven't worked much with Patrick personally, but I feel like I kinda needed the reminder to tune things out when writing. Hopefully this will help me out.

Wayfinders Contributor

Patrick this is lovely! Thank you for writing this.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

This is awesome Patrick! I can't wait to see more of these blogs!

*goes to send off an email to marketing*

Grand Lodge Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Patrick was an amazing developer to work with on Punks in a Powderkeg!

I was going through a really difficult time in my life, and he had the patience and faith in me to let me finish the project, albeit late.

His gentle touch and clear vision for the adventure helped me to create the adventure that's in your hands today.

Bonus: he's a delightfully kind person

Grand Lodge Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Patrick Renie is a wonderful developer and a great person. It's so nice to see him featured like this, the developers can sometimes be the unsung heroes of the content that comes out on a regular basis. His name should probably be on the front covers of a lot of the products he's worked on alongside the authors.

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