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Interview: Gaming Publisher Paizo’s Editor-in-Chief, Wes Schneider

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Wes1F. Wesley Schneider is one of those favored few who receive a vision about what they are to do with their lives and see to it that this dream is realized through hard work, dedication, and a splash of luck. Serving as editor-in-chief for famed gaming company Paizo Publishing, Schneider is a man of boundless energy, creativity, and direction that have contributed to the explosive growth of the popular Pathfinder system.

His experiences in gaming began in middle school when a buddy was given a big box of role-playing game books by his older brother, who was headed off to college. The brother’s one condition for the gift was “don’t tell our parents,” a warning commonly whispered following the “moral panic” surrounding Dungeons & Dragons in the 1980s and ‘90s. After trying out some other systems, Schneider and his friend finally settled on D&D as their game of choice thanks to earlier games with HeroQuest. The pre-designed dungeons came alive, and soon young Schneider was leading his own band of players through homemade adventures.

As his skills improved and his imagination dreamed up whole worlds, Schneider began submitting to Dragon Magazine and publishing freelance work while still in high school. He describes the late ‘90s as a “special time with start-ups like Green Ronin and White Wolf creating whole new realms of gaming.” Schnieder’s prolific freelance work continued, and he pursued a degree in journalism with hopes of someday becoming the editor of Dragon. Shortly after graduating, and not even fully unpacked from returning home, he got a phone interview for an assistant editorship at Dragon. “They said they wanted me for the job, but I would need to start immediately. I said, ‘No problem.’ I loaded my car up in Maryland and drove to Washington that weekend. It was perfect timing.”

ACGAfter Dragon ended its run, Schneider turned to the up-and-coming Adventure Path, where his career has taken off with an impressive list of publications. Even though he spends his days writing and editing, Schneider is still an avid gamer and typically plays as game-master. “None of us want to see gaming as a day job,” he says. “We want to keep it fresh and fun.” His passion is shared throughout Paizo, where “just about everybody’s in a game.” The enthusiasm carries over from hobby to work, where some have incorporated their own characters into published works, including miniatures.

Schneider sees his work in editing as an unceasing adventure. “New and different stuff always falls on my plate,” such as the blending of science fiction and fantasy in Pathfinder’s latest launch, Iron Gods. Even outside of professional writing, Schneider posts to his Tumblr with hilarious pics and imagination-inspiring images, and happily replies to gamer questions at any level, eager to help everyone along their own paths.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.
  • Kaihaku

    Is this an interview or a dating profile? I get it, he has an awesome job and he is loving his awesome nerdy life. I would have liked to hear more about where he sees Pathfinder fitting into the evolving tabletop ecosystem and what ideas he has for the future of the system.