Paizo Provides Community Update and a Look Ahead

[REDMOND, WA, July 19, 2023]: ­­It’s been a little over a year since Jim Butler took over the helm at Paizo as president. Today, he has given a look behind the scenes at what’s been happening during that time as well as provided a look ahead.

United Paizo Workers

“Before I became president, I was leading negotiations with the UPW to create the tabletop industry’s first-ever collective bargaining agreement. This wasn’t an easy task, and we didn’t always see eye-to-eye on all the issues, but we worked together for more than a year and found compromises to create an agreement that I believe works for both the company and its employees. That’s not the end of the process, of course, as the leadership team continues to work with the union on many day-to-day matters that running a company requires,” said Butler.

“We’ve had customers and companies reach out to us in concern about the unionization process. Yes, becoming unionized is serious business and brings significant changes, but it’s also brought an opportunity for the union and the management team to form stronger bonds that will serve us well in the future. To other business leaders in the industry who are concerned about unionization, I offer the immortal words of Douglas Adams: Don’t Panic!”

Rise of the ORC

Earlier this year, the Open Gaming License (OGL) was in the talk of the industry. Paizo and other publishers made the decision to leave the OGL and begin publishing under the Open RPG Creative (ORC) license. This wasn’t a decision they took lightly, but Paizo said it can no longer operate under a license that a corporate giant believed they could change, shake up, or cancel whenever it wanted to.

That decision had other impacts, however. Pathfinder Abomination Vaults 5E, Starfinder’s Scoured Stars and Mechageddon! Adventure Paths, the Lost Omens Tian Xia Character Guide, and Pathfinder’s Howl of the Wild rulebook all had to move to 2024 to make room for the Player Core and GM Core ORC Remastered rulebooks coming out in November.

The shift to the ORC license will also necessitate a change to the Paizo Compatibility License and Community Use Policy. They’ll have those available for public comment soon, and final versions will be released before the new Remaster books come out in November. They’re also taking the opportunity to introduce a new fan policy they think many artisans are going to love.


Butler has been working with other members of Paizo’s leadership team to streamline operations throughout the company. The biggest changes have been merging the customer service team into the sales team, organized play into the marketing team, and the entirety of marketing under the sales and operations teams. These independent silos weren’t working the way they should, and now that they’re all under the same umbrella, they better share and work toward common goals to support customers, distributors, and local game stores.

The creative team also saw some changes, primarily merging teams that specialize along narrative (organized play scenarios, standalone adventure modules, and Adventure Paths), rules & lore (Lost Omens and general Pathfinder rulebooks), and Starfinder lines. They’ve also added the ability to create games outside of our traditional RPG fold, and the public will see the first of those efforts, Elemental Stones, launch this fall. Pre-order it today!

Mostly Remote

With virtually all of Paizo working remotely since the start of the pandemic, they decided that Paizo would remain a remote workforce even after most lockdown protocols ended. They’re in the process of closing down their Redmond offices and warehouse, and will be moving their warehouse operations a few miles up the road to Woodinville over the coming months. Outside of the warehouse team, Paizo employees have additional states eligible for remote work (currently Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington).

As they vacate the Redmond offices, they’ll likely have some downtime for and the forums as they move those servers to a new data center. They’ll let the public know about that when they get a bit closer to the move.

New Technology

Paizo been operating their finances on basic software for decades, but the time has come to invest in a new platform that can give the company the business intelligence and integrations they need.

Butler said, “Too many people at Paizo spend hours every week manually building reports from Excel files, so this change should result in a win for everyone. We’re in the final stages of moving over to a shiny new financial and analytics platform, which we’ll then use to integrate with a new store.”

New Store

Paizo will be replacing the current Paizo Store with a shiny new one. They’re still working out timelines for that, so stay tuned for future updates. The new finance platform needed to happen first, since the store needs to plug into something that can handle all the data. Some of the goals of the new store are to:

  1.       Provide a responsive design across mobile, web, and tablet.
  2.       Allow for an easy checkout process with more payment methods available.
  3.       Offer a more robust reward program than the current Paizo Advantage.
  4.       Allow for more robust subscription options, like the ability to skip a shipment to start with a specific book.
  5.       Allow sidecarts for subscribers.
  6.       Better organization and a Paizo-branded experience.

New Forums

The community is important to Paizo, and they are investigating new platforms to provide a better forum experience (along with preserving the content of the current forums). As they finalize the decision, they’ll provide more updates to the community.


Paizo’s goal with licensing is to serve the Pathfinder and Starfinder communities with amazing products from partners that resonate with gamers. They want to make your game experiences better, whether you play around the table at home, across a virtual table, or at your favorite local game store or convention. They’re looking for partners with a passion for the Pathfinder and Starfinder brands that can bring experiences to you in new ways and attract a wider audience.

That’s why they’ve partnered with Owlcat on the Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous games, and also why they’ve partnered with BKOM on Gallowspire Survivors and the Pathfinder: Abomination Vaults ARPG. Not only are these games fun for a large number of current Pathfinder and Starfinder players, but they’ll also bring in “nufriends” to experience tabletop for the first time.

Bringing those new players into their games means making character creation easy, which they’ve done by partnering with Demiplane and Hero Lab Online. They say they have more work to do for new players, but they’re leveling-up with new tools and an awesome community to guide them to amazing gaming experiences.

The Pathfinder Infinite and Starfinder Infinite programs have allowed community creators across the world a generous license to produce their own Pathfinder and Starfinder material using Paizo’s intellectual property, and make money for their efforts. Both communities continue to grow, and they’re seeing more new, innovative material from Infinite creators every month.

Pathfinder Fiction

The fiction industry has been struggling for years outside a handful of very successful authors, and Paizo’s previous Pathfinder Tales novels had the same challenges. Paizo is going to be trying out some new strategies to ensure making novels is profitable, but that means they need to create one.

Novels let Paizo tell stories in ways that game products can’t and can reach a wider audience of fantasy readers, so they are pleased to announce that they’ve greenlit a standalone Pathfinder novel for release in 2024. What that novel is about, and who it’s amazing author is, will be revealed in due time—but prepare to be entertained (and for some major, longstanding canon questions to be answered)!

“I’m really excited about the future, and I look forward to working with the Paizo team and our community to bring Pathfinder and Starfinder to wider audiences. What can you do to help? Take the opportunity to invite someone new to your gaming group, never miss another release by signing up for a subscription, make a leap into the Pathfinder Society and Starfinder Society, and support your favorite local game store as you continue to explore the worlds of Pathfinder and Starfinder,” Butler concluded.

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