The policy, which was put in place by the publisher Paizo, also affects Pathfinder materials sold under licence.
Paizo, the publisher of tabletop role-playing games, has decided that it intends to support skilled writers and artists. It has announced that it will not allow the use of AI-generated art and text in its products. Paizo is the publisher of, among other things, the TRPGS Pathfinder, which has been the basis for popular video games.
“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,” the company said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Paizo is extending the AI-generated content bar to its Pathfinder Infinite program in addition to its own products. This will allow other companies and fans to create and sell material officially compatible with TRPG. This is perhaps an even bigger statement from Paizo, as many consider third-party supplements to be the lifeblood of the TRPG community.
“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,” Paizo said.
Paizo does not rule out changing its policy in the future but stresses that for now, “human artists and writers” are the lifeblood:
“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,” the company said. “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.”
Writers and visual artists will undoubtedly appreciate this message of support, although some have pointed out that it is not representative of a glowing record of such support.
Paizo has been criticised in the past by workers – who formed a union in 2021, which the company voluntarily recognised – and writers and artists working in the TRPG space have complained about Paizo’s pricing.
Frustration has been growing in the writing and arts industries over the past year over the implications of AI generation. Leading science fiction magazine Clarkesworld has temporarily closed submissions due to the flood of terrible AI-generated stories. Just last week, US government regulators warned companies not to overstate the capabilities of their AI products.
There have been many questions about the future of AI art and text within the TTRPG industry. The short answer is: Paizo stands with artists and writers. pic.twitter.com/7G0Xj3HvuH
— Paizo (@paizo) March 1, 2023