Pathfinder is a series of supplements published by Paizo Publishing and designed for use with Dungeons & Dragons and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The main series of supplements are the Adventure Paths; three other Pathfinder product lines are also available:
- Pathfinder Chronicles explore the fictional world of Golarion
- Pathfinder Companions are a line targeted at players instead of Game Masters
- Pathfinder Modules, formerly known as GameMastery Modules, are stand-alone adventures
The Adventure Paths published in Pathfinder and the adventures in the Pathfinder Modules are set in Golarion, the world of the new Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting developed by Paizo, rather than in a Dungeons & Dragons setting owned by Wizards of the Coast, as were many of the adventures in Dungeon.
All Pathfinder books are published under the terms of the Open Game License (OGL). While the magazines Dragon and Dungeon were both licensed to make use of certain iconic elements of Dungeons & Dragons intellectual property, including material drawn from official settings published by Wizards of the Coast and unique monsters such as illithids, the terms of the OGL forbid the use of such "closed" IP elements. Conversely, however, OGL material from other roleplaying game publishers (such as Necromancer Games or Green Ronin Publishing) can be used in Pathfinder, whereas the terms of Paizo's license with Wizards of the Coast had prevented them from using any third-party OGL material in Dragon or Dungeon.
The Pathfinder product lines use a subscription business model, in addition to being sold in book stores, game stores, and online retailers. All of the subscriptions are ongoing, and can be canceled at any time, rather than being initially purchased for a set length of time as many magazine subscriptions are.
Each Pathfinder product is published in both print and PDF.
Paizo Publishing's main Pathfinder product line is its adventure paths. A continuation of the adventure path concept from Dungeon magazine, which ceased publication in September 2007, each year's worth of Pathfinder publishes two complete adventure paths in six-volume arcs, with supplementary articles to fill out each 96-page volume, and is under the editorial supervision of James Jacobs, formerly editor-in-chief of Dungeon. The Pathfinder's Journal is a short (6-8 page) fiction section. The first Pathfinder's Journal is general information about the Pathfinder Society, and the next 17 volumes form a single storyline. Each Pathfinder volume contains at least four new monsters by various authors.
Paizo has published a number of adventure paths, including "Rise of the Runelords", "Curse of the Crimson Throne", "Second Darkness", and "Legacy of Fire". The "Council of Thieves" Adventure Path is the first to use the rules of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Pathfinder Chronicles products are additional materials published monthly and designed to explore the fictional world of the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, known as Golarion.
With a strong post-modernist sword and sorcery influence, the world of Golarion has civilizations and nations inspired by those of Earth's real history and expands beyond the fictional tropes and literary references related to western civilization found in the works of mid 20th century authors like Tolkien or Lewis, adding elements from African mythology, Asian mythology or Middle East medieval fiction.
Until date some of the sourcebooks of this line had gone from explaining anarchist city states to moons and planets heavily influenced by Burroughs planetary fiction, touching subgenres and genres like science fiction, gothic fiction, cosmic horror or age of sail adventure.
Pathfinder Companions are 32-page softcover books released monthly. The line is targeted at players (as opposed to Game Masters); each issue contains details on the fictional civilizations, races and organizations which populate the world of Golarion. Until the month of August 2012, the books were being released bimonthly. The title of the first book being released monthly is "Varisia, Birthplace of Legends".
Pathfinder Modules are usually stand-alone adventures. Each module is a 32-page softcover containing a single adventure and one or more new monsters. Each module also includes ready-to-play characters of the appropriate level for the adventure.
Pathfinder Modules were originally called GameMastery Modules. The name was changed in June 2008 to bring it in line with other books set in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.
- Varianor Abroad. "Review of Pathfinder #1 - "Burnt Offerings"". ENWorld. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
- Pathfinder Adventure Path ongoing subscription page on Paizo Publishing's website.
- Pathfinder Modules ongoing subscription page on Paizo Publishing's website.
- Pathfinder Companion ongoing subscription page on Paizo Publishing's website.
- Pathfinder Chronicles ongoing subscription page on Paizo Publishing's website.
- Marsh, Steven (2007-09-28). "Pyramid Review: Pathfinder #1: Rise of the Runelords Chapter 1: Burnt Offerings (for d20 System) and Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide". Pyramid (online) (Steve Jackson Games). Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Hall, Scot (2007-10-12). "Review of Pathfinder #1-Rise of the Runelords Chapter 1: "Burnt Offerings"". RPGnet. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
- Lombardi, Anthony (2007-12-17). "Pathfinder #1 -- Rise of the Runelords: Burnt Offering (Review)". GamingReport.com. Retrieved 2008-02-23.