Paizo and Artificial Intelligence

Wedneday, March 01, 2023


Pathfinder Iconics battling an automaton AI entity

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds


Over the last few months, the world has seen a huge upsurge in interest, use, and quality of algorithm-generated imagery and text. Since we launched the company in 2002, Paizo has made its reputation with the assistance of countless traditional artists and writers, who are just as integral to the success of our games as our in-house editors, art directors, designers, and developers. The ethical and legal issues surrounding “AI art” and writing prompt programs—and the serious threat they pose to the livelihoods of partners who have helped us get to where we are today as a company—demand that we take a firm position against the use of this technology in Paizo products.

In the coming days, Paizo will add new language to its creative contracts that stipulate that all work submitted to us for publication be created by a human. We will further add guidance to our Pathfinder and Starfinder Infinite program FAQs clarifying that AI-generated content is not permitted on either community content marketplace.

Our customers expect a human touch to our releases, and so long as the ethical and legal circumstances surrounding these programs remains murky and undefined, we are unwilling to associate our brands with the technology in any way.

Stated plainly—when you buy a Paizo product, you can be sure that it is the work of human professionals who have spent years honing their craft to produce the best work we can. Paizo will not use AI-generated “creative” work of any kind for the foreseeable future.

We thank the human artists and writers who have been so integral to our success in the past, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.

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Tags: Community Paizo Paizo Staff Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Starfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game
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2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Here here! Or hear, hear?

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

<3


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great to see this!


11 people marked this as a favorite.

ChatGPT could have written this blog post.

Grand Lodge

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

Love to see this!

Paizo Employee Community and Social Media Specialist

34 people marked this as a favorite.

While the inclination may be to make jokes about this sort of thing, lots of creatives and others are rightly concerned about it. Can we please keep the inevitable jokes out of the blog?


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I 100% support this stance, and I'm proud of Paizo for taking it.


13 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So when the you say human created, what does that mean?

Is it a problem if an artist uses some digital shading techniques that are similar to those used by the AI apps? Is it allowed for writers to use a name generator? Would spell and grammar checkers be a problem?

I’m curious as to where you intend to draw the line.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

13 people marked this as a favorite.

As both an artist and a software engineer, I support this stance and admire Paizo's dedication to artists, writers, and other creative people. AI generators have great potential for positive use, but the landscape is currently a quagmire of ethical, moral, and legal issues.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Thank you. Artists and authors work so hard to make so proportionately little already, and Paizo owes so much of what it has become to its in-house and freelance creative teams. It would be wrong to abandon the people whose skill and imagination made Path/Starfinder possible during this unprecedented stage of technological development.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Glad to hear it!


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

while I understand the reason and support the idea behind it, I can't help but feel this is a bit like trying to fight the ocean. Ai image generation has gone from producing abstract approximations of people and landscapes to producing things that look incredibly authentic and detailed, it can emulate different mediums, art styles, and subject matters, and all this progress was made in the span of like... 3ish years? This isn't going to slow down or go away, we cannot just put this back in the box. As much as it hurts and I am loath to say it I honestly expect that the freelance artist as a career path will likely not survive the decade.

Liberty's Edge

18 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, I can't help but be confused here. These things are tools and I get the fear that there are questions that have to be answered about how to handle all of this in the near to mid-term future.

How are you going to enforce this? Surely nobody on staff has the technical exp to programmatically detect AI fingerprints. There is no way that Paizo has the time/staff to read/review EVERYTHING that passes through a PF Infinite server to try to sniff out any traces of AI and then ... confront the author to question their methods? Is this going to be a "show your work" type situation, and even then, should magic money appear out of nowhere to train/hire specialists for this vetting isn't that entire interaction and review process innately hostile to creators?

Are you discouraging existing creators from using and learning the tools as they exist and as they develop to improve their own work?

Silver Crusade

I am very happy that Paizo takes a stand here ^^


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thank you so much for such an unequivocal stance on this, great to see

Grand Lodge

14 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
ChatGPT could have written this blog post.

But it didn’t, and it won’t without a change of direction by Paizo.

Radiant Oath

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Xenocrat wrote:
ChatGPT could have written this blog post.

bwahaha

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

39 people marked this as a favorite.

If a Paizo freelancer has questions about what is and isn't allowed in their contracted submission, they can consult their contract or reach out to their developer or art director for guidance. It's not really worth our time to go into every "whatabout" people might raise on this issue. We've delivered our statement on our policy, and those directly affected by it know how to reach us for more information.

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ai tech hypeist will be mad by this, but then again they ignore all problems with tech whenever possible <_<

Besides the ethical questions, AI writing wise produces pretty generic results and I think only reasonable creative writing use of it is for procedural storytelling and even then you have problem inherent to procedural storytelling. Image creation wise its best suitable to replace old procedural image generations methods, like tedious ones where artist has to make 100 facial features that can be combined differently for background npcs but still end up looking pretty generic because trying to do infine amount of variety isn't really humanly possible. For important npcs or cover art? The ai can copy another artstyle, but even when they mimic different artstyles, they tend to be rather generic especially if ai art started being common enough for you to start recognize ai art on glance.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

This statement is extremely strong and will protect existing, established artists.
What about young author that can't afford an illustrator to enrich is brand new Pathfinder or Starfinder infinite scenario ?
Does it mean that AI artists that have spent hours to master arcana of midjourney or Dall-e prompts are not artists, Though the creative direction is still in their hand ?
What about illustrations initially generated by AI but then worked by a 2D artists ?

I hope that the statement you are working on will keep a certain sense of balance !!!


Thank you, Paizo! <3 <3 <3


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you paizo, as an artist I respect you for taking a stance on this unethical practice, you can't remove the processes and the artist from the art, whether it be writing, art or otherwise and a lot of people don't really understand why when they look at a pretty picture it made from stealing the hard work of artists who did not consent
AI Art isn't Art, making creative decisions, mistakes, developing a style and refining a project based on feedback are all integral to the process

Dark Archive

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Umm.. Just to check, you are offended at behalf of possible freelancers who might want to use AI, but not at behalf of artists and writers in fear of their employment?

I'm... Not sure what word to use about that. You are kinda saying "Hey you shouldn't screw over people who don't want to hire artists, so screw artists!"

Like, that isn't even about the debate of "does finding right prompts to get ai create what you want to create count as a form of creating art or not", ye are basically saying that people who would be replaced by AI are freely replaceable


4 people marked this as a favorite.

This feels wrong. The truth is, "human generated" is kind of ... Airy.

Grammar checkers use AI, they help you find errors in your text, spellcheckers. At what point do we say "this is a step too far?"

I often used Chat-GPT as a way of bouncing ideas off of a "partner who listens" in a similar way that others have talked about "talking to a rubber ducky." Is that permitted, given that not a single bit of text that Chat-GPT generates is used, but it was part of the brainstorming process?

And the art, you do know that many of the professional tools that digital artists use employ AI. Maybe not the stable diffusion/midjourney tools that are getting press right now, but they do use AI. They're going to improve their tools constantly.

We're taking a stand to support "our fellow humans" but we're missing the point that the AI is a tool used by "fellow humans."

This feels similar to when gaming magazines would reject submissions from a word processor because they expected text written by "a human." If it's not a typewriter, how did they know that a computer didn't write it?

(and that's not some hyperbole, that is a thing that the gaming magazines did back in the day. Their adoption of Word Processors was definitely not a quick thing.)

Paizo Employee Community and Social Media Specialist

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed some posts that were against Guidelines.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Nice. *applause*


Jonathan Morgantini wrote:
Removed some posts that were against Guidelines.

How was my post saying AI can produce images without the 6 fingers flaw against guideline and removed ?


18 people marked this as a favorite.
Hoshi Sabi wrote:

This feels wrong. The truth is, "human generated" is kind of ... Airy.

Grammar checkers use AI, they help you find errors in your text, spellcheckers. At what point do we say "this is a step too far?"

I often used Chat-GPT as a way of bouncing ideas off of a "partner who listens" in a similar way that others have talked about "talking to a rubber ducky." Is that permitted, given that not a single bit of text that Chat-GPT generates is used, but it was part of the brainstorming process?

And the art, you do know that many of the professional tools that digital artists use employ AI. Maybe not the stable diffusion/midjourney tools that are getting press right now, but they do use AI. They're going to improve their tools constantly.

We're taking a stand to support "our fellow humans" but we're missing the point that the AI is a tool used by "fellow humans."

This feels similar to when gaming magazines would reject submissions from a word processor because they expected text written by "a human." If it's not a typewriter, how did they know that a computer didn't write it?

(and that's not some hyperbole, that is a thing that the gaming magazines did back in the day. Their adoption of Word Processors was definitely not a quick thing.)

Any lawyer will tell you that the boundary between a tool and the author is where the tool becomes the author. Which is exactly what we're seeing here. No, typing "elf chick big boobs sexeh rouge with swordz" into a prompt doesn't make you an author.

Paizo Employee Community and Social Media Specialist

6 people marked this as a favorite.

When posts are removed, all posts who QUOTE the removed post are also removed. While your post did not violate guidelines in and of itself, you did quote the removed post.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jonathan Morgantini wrote:
When posts are removed, all posts who QUOTE the removed post are also removed. While your post did not violate guidlines in and of itself, you did quote the removed post.

ok that's why, thanks for the clarification.

Silver Crusade

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PhoenixPariah wrote:
Awful stance. There was insane potential for eager indie game creators to utilize these new tools where general Capitalist practices prevent them from doing so currently. Most people working a standard 9-5 can barely afford to live, let alone afford to commission art. It gave us a great opportunity to get creations out there that we would have had to pay insane dollars for prior. It's basically paywalling creation again because someone got it in a twist than AI art generator is inherently evil. Absurd.

Nothing is stopping those people from picking up a pencil and learning how to draw rather than steal art from someone else.

Grand Lodge

16 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Or even using the banned tools in their practice time and not using them when working on commissioned projects.

Wayfinders Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for taking this stand!

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think this is a wise decision on Paizo's part.

I played around with ChatGPT to see if it could create an original roleplaying game, and it mostly just made D&D again.

About the only useful thing I can see it doing for me is generating NPCs for home games on the fly that actually hew close enough to the rules that they're functional.

As for AI art, unless the artists are compensated for being included in the data sets that teach them, I don't think they're appropriate for anything other than private home game use. People shouldn't be profiting off AI.

The line about "when the tool becomes the author or artist" is a good line when it comes to what's a fair assessment of when it stops being appropriate to include AI generated content in a commercial context.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I am very much against this for more than one reason.

We use technology in all aspects of our work life and home life so why should this technology be outlawed from publication by Paizo?

Say I am a great writer but I'm not a very good artist and I do not have the money for art. Should my adventure I wrote either not contain art or not be able to be published on Infinite because I choose to use AI to make art for it??

Say I am a great thinker and I can come up with great ideas but I can't actually write well and grammar and syntax skills elude me. Should my creation be outlawed because I used AI to help me formulate my writing correctly so it looked professional?

I get where Paizo is coming from as they are writers and artists.

I work in construction where technology leaps have caused millions of jobs to be lost but that technology is what has made us more efficient and capable to do more.

AI can be used in the same way and I hope Paizo sees that a blanket banning of projects that use AI is not the way to go.


12 people marked this as a favorite.

Artists already struggle to live doing the thing they love because our society is built on the exploitation of labor for capital. If you can't afford to pay an artist for a commercial product, tough luck. Learn to draw. Or accept that your art isn't going to be up to the standards you'd like.

Is that harsh and difficult? Try being a professional artist.

Clowns.

Shadow Lodge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Since the Wizards who live by the Sea are saying they WANT to use AI art and even AI SPEAKERS to DM for us instead of HUMAN GMs ... I much prefer to deal with a company that wants to pay PEOPLE to work for them!!! Thanx for the stand Paizo.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Personally - I think if you have the means, pay the artist. Pay the editor.

But some of us love to write. We do not bave the means to buy art though.

So in a way - it can gate keep us. It can be viewed as poor shaming.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also umm... Aren't most advanced art AIs kinda opposite of free tools?

There aren't many free tools in any industry ._.;


8 people marked this as a favorite.

As someone whose only chance to ever make something that vaguely resembles art is to use AI generators, I support this stance.
I'm no artist, let's not kid ourselves.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a great PR stance in the early age of AI. They get good will from the current pool of creators just as they are under threat and afraid (and their wages will start to further stagnate and decrease because of broader market trends outside Paizo's control). They can always regretfully or with more wisdom reverse it later as the tools improve and the mobs have spent their futile energies smashing other people's looms.

(And of course this has no effect on sufficiently clever and skilled creators in this space who use it as a productivity enhancer rather than as a crutch. The real benefits right now are making the good better or faster, not making the masses minimally proficient.)

Whether due to naive belief or cynical true understanding, it's the right thing for them to do for their bottom line at this time. At a minimum I support it, I may even applaud it.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber

Can I get a clarification on what this exactly means for pathfinder infinite products in a scenario like I describe below?

They design an adventure and it is 95% their own work, they design battlemaps in a tool like dungeondraft and write the story and stats themselves. Because they are not an artist and cannot afford to commision an artist, they use an AI image generator to generate an image of the town the adventure is set in, or maybe an important NPC's portrait. Maybe they also used a language model in the brainstorming process to come up with ideas, or get feedback. Everything not made by the person is referenced.

I feel like this is a completely valid use of AI as a copilot in making creation more accessible. It seems very elitist to say this person isn't good enough because they didn't spend years learning to draw or aren't wealthy enough, and would discourage quite a few creators.

I have no issue banning things like having AI write an entire statblock and publishing it with minimal editing, or banning token packs wholly generated by AI without tweaking, but there are absolutely ways to use AI well that it seems like you are ignoring because it threatens jobs. I don't think anyone would have an issue with Paizo choosing not to use AI in their own products, I would encourage it, but I really hope you guys have a more nuanced policy for pathfinder infinite.


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Before the AI tools got rolled out, if you couldn't afford to hire an artist, you weren't allowed to go to Google images and just grab a bunch of art to put in your book to sell. That's clearly stealing, and it wasn't allowed.

After the AI tools got rolled out, you aren't being allowed to use the tools that grabbed a bunch of those copyrighted images without permission, credit, or compensation, and fed them into an algorithm while also using Paizo's world and platform. Selling something with AI-generated images is not as cut-and-dry a form of stealing, but it's definitely not as ethical as it should be, and it's still a legal quagmire.

If you use somebody's work directly, you aren't allowed to sell it. If you use somebody's work indirectly through an AI, Paizo won't let you sell your work through them.

If you can't draw, you can always still upload something without art. Yeah, that won't sell as well. Format it well, use legal free art resources with credit, invest money you do get into paying somebody to do art and update your work so it sells better. If your work is good enough, maybe you can find an artist who is willing to take a cut of the profit instead.

But, if the art is such a key part of your work selling well, artists deserve to be compensated for that. Undercutting work that does compensate artists with second-hand art used indirectly without permission isn't the way to go.

You can also choose to not sell your work, and just make it freely available through other channels. People aren't going to have as much of an issue with AI-generated elements if you're not profiting off it. You're valuing your own contributions and the unattributed artists the same.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
If a Paizo freelancer has questions about what is and isn't allowed in their contracted submission, they can consult their contract or reach out to their developer or art director for guidance. It's not really worth our time to go into every "whatabout" people might raise on this issue. We've delivered our statement on our policy, and those directly affected by it know how to reach us for more information.

It makes sense Paizo wishes to be clear about the use of AI in their products or community marketplaces, so this response surprised me. People have legitimate questions about where the line is drawn, as the blog post is painting with a very broad brush. However… Paizo's response is essentially "those who need to know, know."

If you won't provide more detail, why make a blog post in the first place?

I don't think it's "whataboutism" so much as a legitimate concern people are asking about this policy.

Well, perhaps the contract language and infinite program FaQ's will be more clear.

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