As one of the designers, Sean K. Reynolds has a lot of influence on many aspects of the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. With that said, I would like to learn more about his influence on the Monk's design throughout Pathfinder's history.

I would like to see his commentary, FAQs, and other rulings he has made in the answer to this question if at all possible.


1 Answer 1


From Sean K Reynolds (After Emailing Him)

Absolutely none.

At the time the Pathfinder Alpha was being written, I wasn’t an employee at Paizo. I’m not even listed in the credits.

The Beta went to print about a month before I started working at Paizo. I’m not listed in the credits for that book, either.

When they were working on the final, actual Core Rulebook, there was no “design team,” it was just Jason Bulmahn as lead designer (he was the only designer, which makes his title a little silly). At the time, I was a developer on the Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Chronicles (now “Pathfinder Campaign Setting”), and Pathfinder Player Companion lines.

I know I have an “additional design” credit in the Core Rulebook, but I don’t remember writing anything for the book, so it might have just been in response to Jason bouncing some “why did they do this in 3E?” questions off of me (because I was at Wizards for the creation of 3E and 3.5). It certain was not a matter of anyone coming to me and saying, “can you give us some ideas or write some material for the monk class?"

Sean Reynolds
[email protected]

His follow-up email to me:

By the way, I’m sure there will be followups based on Paizo FAQs that were posted and Paizo threads discussing the classes. Let me say in advance:

1) All FAQ answers were reviewed by the entire design team and were done with the input of all three designers. None of them were simply “Sean’s ruling” on a topic. However, Jason Bulmahn is the lead designer, and there were times where he overruled Stephen, myself, or both of us.

For example, when Paizo published the Adventurer’s Armory, it had brass knuckles as a weapon, and the text was unclear about whether or not monks got their unarmed strike damage with them. I felt that monks should get their unarmed strike damage when using brass knuckles, and said so in this post:


But Jason later decided monks could not use their unarmed damage with brass knuckles, and when Adventurer’s Armory was reprinted, the brass knuckles text was changed so they didn’t refer to unarmed strikes at all (meaning they didn’t have any special rules for monks using their unarmed strike damage with them, because that’s the default rule for all weapons).

2) Because I was the person in charge of actually typing up and posting the FAQs, that put me in a position where I had to explain, clarify, or defend a ruling I didn’t actually agree with. In some cases I actually said so in the discussion.

3) My beliefs about how some things should work in the game—in particular, how much the game should try to model “realism,” such as in the case of crossbows vs. bows or what nonmagical characters should “realistically” be able to do—have evolved over time, which is partly why I’ve left Pathfinder behind and am writing my own game (Five Moons RPG) which moves away from trying to closely model reality.

I’m sure people will have critical things to say about all three of those points, but they are the truth.

Sean Reynolds
[email protected]

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ When asked if there is any part of his correspondence to remove, his reply was, "Nope, feel free to post it all. Thanks for asking, though." \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 8:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I am impressed at the follow-through here. +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think it'd be proper to include a line or two to the effect of "I contacted Paizo, their reply was a form response directing me to post the question at the message boards." Maybe not the whole form-response, but worth including an indication of the communication you received. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 0:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruut I was more curt than I should've been when I posted my previous comment, and I'm sorry. Your answer is of remarkably good quality. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 3:27

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