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Pathfinder publisher “stands with artists”, condemns AI art

Paizo, publisher of TTRPGs Pathfinder and Starfinder, address the “ethical and legal issues surrounding ‘AI art’”, banning its use in its products

Pathfinder condems AI art - Paizo art of a sci-fi character with blue hair firing two laser pistols in battle

Paizo, publisher of tabletop RPGs Pathfinder and Starfinder, released a statement on March 1 distancing itself from AI art. “There have been many questions about the future of AI art and text within the TTRPG industry”, Paizo says in a tweet on Wednesday. “The short answer is: Paizo stands with artists and writers.”

A Paizo blog post from the same day expanded on this stance. “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”, it says.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been increasingly present in all areas of tabletop gaming. Fans have been using AI to generate everything from AI board game expansions to Warhammer fantasy armies, and more than a few D&D players have run games with an AI player. While many of these projects were made for fun, there’s been a growing debate over whether AI art can – or should – be used to replace paid artists and writers in tabletop products.

Paizo isn’t the first company to condemn the use of AI art in RPG products. Call of Cthulhu publisher Chaosium made its feelings clear in December 2022, saying in a blog post, “if you are doing art for us, don’t use AI”. In February 2023, Chaosium also updated its policies to ban AI art in community content program products.

Pathfinder condemns AI art - tweet from Paizo

From Wednesday’s statement, it seems Paizo has similar ideas. “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”, the blog post says. “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”, adds Paizo. “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”, the blog post concludes. “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.”

For more Paizo news, check out the recently announced Starfinder Enhanced. Or, if you’re planning for your next Pathfinder game, here are our guides to Pathfinder races and Pathfinder classes.