Owen's moving on - will there be a new, Starfinder Lead Designer?


General Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Owen K.C. Stephens announced earlier today that he was leaving Paizo.

I wondered what that is going to mean for the Starfinder team. Will you be replacing the "Starfinder Designer" position in-house? Recruiting someone new? Or is it now less necessary, given the Character Operations Manual is designed?

Any official thoughts?


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Given that my Creative Director and Managing Developer aren't even back in the office yet since PaizoCon (having flown overseas for UKGE), and our Publisher has only been back in the office for two days, I strongly suspect management is going to need some time to figure out a permanent, long-term plan.

I'm going to be here for another month, so there's time to figure out a transition. And I have every confidence in the Starfinder team to continue to produce amazing things for the game that's been such a big part of my life for the past few years.

And no matter what the team decides to do, I expect my name will still crop up from time to time. And they all know how to get hold of my, if they can't read my handwritten notes in the margins of one of the books. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I was curious-but-not-alarmed. :)
It’s never clear from the outside how far out these things are planned - my guess was that this had been in the works since that infamous “five minutes of your time” meeting that explosively came to light in paizocontwitchchannelbanquetopenmic-gate.

Since I’ve got you. Let me wish you all the best in the next chapter of your life. I’ve been aware of you making games and gaming better for over a decade and I’m sure you’ll continue to work and live with the talent, dedication and integrity you’ve always shown during that time (and before, I’m sure!) I really hope everything goes well for you in the future in everything you do.


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I have accordingly updated my FAQ projections from 2024 to 2028.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ouch. What a loss. Owen’s approach to class design is one of the things that makes Starfinder work so well.

Best of luck, Owen!


I've got a bunch of Owen merch for sale, this seems like a great time to finally unload it.

Fan favorites include:
5x2 poster of Owen in traffic at a red light.
5x2 poster of Owen putting the trash out in the morning.
3x6 poster of Owen sitting on a bench in a park. He has something in his hand. Could be a sandwich.


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Pantshandshake wrote:

I've got a bunch of Owen merch for sale, this seems like a great time to finally unload it.

Fan favorites include:
3x6 poster of Owen sitting on a bench in a park. He has something in his hand. Could be a sandwich.

It is not.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I was curious-but-not-alarmed. :)

It’s never clear from the outside how far out these things are planned - my guess was that this had been in the works since that infamous “five minutes of your time” meeting that explosively came to light in paizocontwitchchannelbanquetopenmic-gate.

Yep.

And I broke one of my own cardienal rules -- "Assume all mics are hot."

Steve Geddes wrote:
Since I’ve got you. Let me wish you all the best in the next chapter of your life. I’ve been aware of you making games and gaming better for over a decade and I’m sure you’ll continue to work and live with the talent, dedication and integrity you’ve always shown during that time (and before, I’m sure!) I really hope everything goes well for you in the future in everything you do.

Thank you!


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Porridge wrote:
Ouch. What a loss. Owen’s approach to class design is one of the things that makes Starfinder work so well.

I appreciate that, but there are a LOT of Starfinder designers with great class experience who can take things in awesome directions.

Porridge wrote:
Best of luck, Owen!

Thanks!


I lack all context for all of this~ (paizo con event and all that. No clue~).

But thanks for answering and interacting a lot over the years.
Are you moving to a separate company or leaving the RP industry?


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Fare thee well, Owen. It's been really awesome seeing and interacting with you across these boards and media platforms. You're one of the most active members of the development team on these forums, and hearing your insight on game design has always been a pleasure. I'll admit I'm more than a little nervous about where Starfinder will go what with your departure, James's, Crystal's, and several other big names happening all back-to-back, but I'm ultimately confident that the product everyone here helped to create was made to last, and is already in more-than-capable hands. Hopefully we haven't heard the last from you around these boards, and I look forward to watching what you do with Rogue Genius Games and whatever other projects you lend your, ahem, rogue genius to.

Cheers, Owen!

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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Zwordsman wrote:

I lack all context for all of this~ (paizo con event and all that. No clue~).

But thanks for answering and interacting a lot over the years.
Are you moving to a separate company or leaving the RP industry?

Most of the news was on my blog and social media, which I'll repeat here since folks seem interested.

"An Announcement: Change of Course
Well I don't like TOO much preamble before getting to the point of the announcement, so here’s the tl;dr version.
My wife Lj has gotten a job in Indiana, working as an Executive Assistant for Lone Wolf’s vice-president. As a result, she and I are moving from WA to IN.
In fact, Lj is flying out to our new apartment (if you need our new address and don't have it, drop me a line) on Saturday. June 15th. In 3 days.
I’ll be around for about a month in Redmond, and then go out to join her.
Inevitably some folks will have questions, so predicting them as best I can, and in no particular order:
Starfinder isn't going anywhere. Paizo has lots of amazing, hard-working, and talented people on that game line, and they have known I was leaving for a bit now. We don't know exactly how everything will get sorted out, but the game line and its products will continue.
I remain a huge fan of Paizo, Pathfinder (both editions), Starfinder, the Adventure Card Game, and even things I can't talk about yet. I was a freelancer for Paizo for years before I was a full employee, and I expect to be freelancing for them again in the future.
While Lj getting a job is the reason for this change, yes, I have plans that involve other companies. But I’m not announcing any of them just yet. Rest assured, I am not leaving gaming behind.
Yes, this is why Rogue Genius Games is taking a short break. But in the long run, it’s not going anywhere. I have plans and plans, yet, for my tiny little gaming company, and its partners and allies.
Yes, that’s why I will be at Gen Con this year. I had decided not to do any out-of-state conventions in 2019. But that won’t be out-of-state by August.
If you have more questions, let them fly!"

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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Opsylum wrote:
Fare thee well, Owen. It's been really awesome seeing and interacting with you across these boards and media platforms.

Thanks!

I have enjoyed being part of this community very much, and while my interaction will inevitably change, I still expect to be posting.

Opsylum wrote:
I'll admit I'm more than a little nervous about where Starfinder will go what with your departure, James's, Crystal's, and several other big names happening all back-to-back, but I'm ultimately confident that the product everyone here helped to create was made to last, and is already in more-than-capable hands. Hopefully we haven't heard the last from you around these boards, and I look forward to watching what you do with Rogue Genius Games and whatever other projects you lend your, ahem, rogue genius to.

I certainly understand being nervous about change. but I really am leaving Starfinder in amazing hands. Rob and Amanda have had their hands on the tiller at least in part since before the game existed, Joe knows the rules at least as well as I do, and Jason Keeley has had his hands in most of the Starfinder projects, and will keep adventures coming and amazing.

Paizo is much more than one one or two of us, and while a lot of the employees are less public than I am, that doesn't make them any less skilled or dedicated.,


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Hey Owen, so long and thanks for all the fish!


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll miss Owen's contributions on Twitch. Always my favorite guest on Starfinder Wednesdays.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Maybe we will see more of him on Know Direction. Physical presence is not required for those podcasts.

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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David knott 242 wrote:

Maybe we will see more of him on Know Direction. Physical presence is not required for those podcasts.

I HOPE to still be visible online in many forms!

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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WatersLethe wrote:
I'll miss Owen's contributions on Twitch. Always my favorite guest on Starfinder Wednesdays.

THANK you!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Goodluck and goodspeed, Mr. Stephens! My only request is that you leave a life-size cardboard cutout behind for use in future Starfinder Wednesdays as, statistically, we all know that the juiciest spoilers come when you and Rob are both in frame.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You seem like a guy who is busy with A LOT of things going on - I hope that you will still have the time to be present on the Paizo forums. A lot of us enjoy your insane theories (gnomes) and feedback on the Starfinder game and setting. Your book, The Empire of Bones was awesome - it really had that end game epic feel to it. We all know that you will have much more SF delights for us in the future and we look forward to it.
I tip my hat to you good sir, may you find the best of luck!


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I HOPE to still be visible online in many forms!

Hear that gang? He's leaving Paizo, but we might finally get to see his fabled true form! Such a bittersweet day.

All right, goggles on, everyone.


Starfinder Superscriber

Good luck in all your future endeavors.

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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Kishmo wrote:
Goodluck and goodspeed, Mr. Stephens! My only request is that you leave a life-size cardboard cutout behind for use in future Starfinder Wednesdays as, statistically, we all know that the juiciest spoilers come when you and Rob are both in frame.

They can just drop me in with a greenscreen these days. :)

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

Nimor Starseeker wrote:
You seem like a guy who is busy with A LOT of things going on - I hope that you will still have the time to be present on the Paizo forums.

Me too!

I was active well before I was on-staff, I suspect I'll keep being active when my tag switches from "Starfinder Design Lead" to "Contributor"

Nimor Starseeker wrote:

A lot of us enjoy your insane theories (gnomes) and feedback on the Starfinder game and setting. Your book, The Empire of Bones was awesome - it really had that end game epic feel to it. We all know that you will have much more SF delights for us in the future and we look forward to it.

I tip my hat to you good sir, may you find the best of luck!

Many thanks. :)

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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Pantshandshake wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I HOPE to still be visible online in many forms!

Hear that gang? He's leaving Paizo, but we might finally get to see his fabled true form! Such a bittersweet day.

All right, goggles on, everyone.

The goggles do nothing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWFF7ecArBk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txFjpTX0v0E


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


They can just drop me in with a greenscreen these days. :)

They should make a moderate sized model of you. and usue you for random NPCs. or have it randomly move around in the background like its haunted.

Then down the line, in like 4 years folks will be asking about the strange model that moves around. and no one will tell them.
Become the Paizo Cryptid retirement plan.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fare thee well, Mr. Stephens. Your contributions will always be appreciated. Starfinder has been one of my favorite Paizo product lines and your participation in that will be sorely missed. Thank you for all of your hard work and for helping provide people with great games.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Just saw this -- this is a big loss but I trust Owen will move on the great opportunities, and congrats to his wife for the new gig. And indeed trust Starfinder remains in good hands. I appreciate all you've done for the community and Paizo, and remember fondly in particular the great direction you moved Superstar in, which was good while it lasted. Good luck.

Liberty's Edge

I have questions, several questions, almost none of which I feel I should ask here in public, but ... I'm having a hard time understanding this departure, not to mention the move half-way across the nation.

Either way, best of luck, I really hope the move is good for you and the families physical and mental well being, Gods know that rural IL is WAY less of an infrastructure and population nightmare compared to the Seattle area.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
I have questions, several questions, almost none of which I feel I should ask here in public, but ... I'm having a hard time understanding this departure, not to mention the move half-way across the nation.

The move is not that shocking. I moved from central Oklahoma to WA in 2000 for a job with Wizards of the Coast. When I was laid off 14 months later, I moved back to OK.

There I stayed until 2014, when Paizo offered me a job developing the Pathfinder Modules line. So, new opportunity, I moved again.

Now my family has another new opportunity, one that focused on my wife but is no less important for that. I've been a full-time freelancer for 17 years of my life. I have no doubt I an find paying work, even if I don't know what the exact balance of who, what, and how yet.

Evansville isn't a perfect match for what we want in a community, but it is a lot like our hometown, so we feel pretty well acquainted with how to manage in the areas where we'd prefer the PNW approach.

There are lots of things I'll miss, my desk at Paizo being one of them, but there are more factors in deciding where to live than how much I love the work and people of one job.

I am not leaving because I dislike Paizo, or its game systems, or its people. I worked hard to get to where I am, and I have no regrets. But I am also a pragmatist, and pragmatically I believe my wife and I are better off pursuing this new opportunity and that requires us to relocate.

I expect I'll be doing a LOT of stuff with Paizo even after I am gone, just as I did a lot before I was on-staff.

Themetricsystem wrote:

Either way, best of luck, I really hope the move is good for you and the families physical and mental well being, Gods know that rural IL is WAY less of an infrastructure and population nightmare compared to the Seattle area.

Thanks!


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I just found out of about this.

Best of luck to you Owen and Lj ^w^

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

We are going to miss having you around, Owen! So much personality, so much wit, so much creative awesomeness! How can one person contain it all?

Hmm

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

I just found out of about this.

Best of luck to you Owen and Lj ^w^

Thanks!


Well if Hero Lab Online sinks Lone Wolf you can always come back to WA!


Rafkin wrote:
Well if Hero Lab Online sinks Lone Wolf you can always come back to WA!

I don't expect there's any risk of that. :)


YES! FLEE! RUN FROM THE IMPERIAL GOBLIN SPACE NAVY!

(You're gonna be missed, man, but, as you say, your name's likely to keep popping up... just don't be a stranger, hm?)


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Zwordsman wrote:

I lack all context for all of this~ (paizo con event and all that. No clue~).

But thanks for answering and interacting a lot over the years.
Are you moving to a separate company or leaving the RP industry?

Most of the news was on my blog and social media, which I'll repeat here since folks seem interested.

"An Announcement: Change of Course
Well I don't like TOO much preamble before getting to the point of the announcement, so here’s the tl;dr version.
My wife Lj has gotten a job in Indiana, working as an Executive Assistant for Lone Wolf’s vice-president. As a result, she and I are moving from WA to IN.
In fact, Lj is flying out to our new apartment (if you need our new address and don't have it, drop me a line) on Saturday. June 15th. In 3 days.
I’ll be around for about a month in Redmond, and then go out to join her.
Inevitably some folks will have questions, so predicting them as best I can, and in no particular order:
Starfinder isn't going anywhere. Paizo has lots of amazing, hard-working, and talented people on that game line, and they have known I was leaving for a bit now. We don't know exactly how everything will get sorted out, but the game line and its products will continue.
I remain a huge fan of Paizo, Pathfinder (both editions), Starfinder, the Adventure Card Game, and even things I can't talk about yet. I was a freelancer for Paizo for years before I was a full employee, and I expect to be freelancing for them again in the future.
While Lj getting a job is the reason for this change, yes, I have plans that involve other companies. But I’m not announcing any of them just yet. Rest assured, I am not leaving gaming behind.
Yes, this is why Rogue Genius Games is taking a short break. But in the long run, it’s not going anywhere. I have plans and plans, yet, for my tiny little gaming company, and its partners and allies.
Yes, that’s why I will be at Gen Con this year. I had decided not to do any out-of-state conventions in 2019. But that won’t be...

I'm in the Indianapolis area, Owen! If you're looking for a group, my group and I play every Saturday.


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I'm down in Evansville, so Indy is a bit of a drive for a weekly game. :)


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I was very confused for a brief moment being a guy named LJ and briefly wondered when I married Owen.

Seriously though, will certainly miss your presence in the game, but wish you all the best going forward!


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I got my answer - it's Joe!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm curious, what kind of name is Lj (with lowercase j)? It that an abbreviation, or is it foreign? And, if foreign, how is it pronounced?


Honestly me using it capitalized seems to be the odd way of doing it, with Facebook forcing me to use it lowercase. I also used to write it out at L.J. and was very particular that the "." made it in there until I grew out of that and went with LJ on it's own.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
I got my answer - it's Joe!

Yep, they announced it on Facebook. Joe Pasini is our lead designer, and Jason Tondro is our new AP guy to replace Chris Simms!

Hmm


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"Hey... This is great! So if I want a future Zo!-centered adventure path, all I have to do is shout, 'Yo, my man Jason. Make it happen!' I don't even have to specify a last name, because it's all Jason in AP-land if you know what I mean."

AP Leads: Jason Keeley and Jason Tondro


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Owen KC Stephens wrote:
I'm down in Evansville, so Indy is a bit of a drive for a weekly game. :)

Yes, but I notice that you aren't that far away from Owensboro... Coincidence? I think not! :)

Seriously, though, good luck with everything going forward!


Ashanderai wrote:
Yes, but I notice that you aren't that far away from Owensboro... Coincidence? I think not! :)

You got him, he's actually Stephen KC Owens, the multimillionaire playboy reported dead in a mysterious plane crash in 1994.

He's merely been biding his time to return and take his throne.


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The Kount of monte CristOwen

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