Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook cover.jpeg
Pathfinder Core Rulebook cover
Designer(s) Jason Bulmahn
Publisher(s) Paizo Publishing
Publication date August 2009
Years active 2008-present
Genre(s) Role-playing game
System(s) d20 system
Random chance Dice rolling

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) that was first published in 2009 by Paizo Publishing. It extends and modifies the Revised 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) game rules published by Wizards of the Coast under the Open Game License. Pathfinder RPG is intended to be backward-compatible with D&D version 3.5.

The Pathfinder RPG supports Pathfinder adventure paths as well as other works set in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.


The Paizo Publishing company had been publishing Dungeon and Dragon magazines, which were about the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-playing game. Paizo was publishing under contract with Wizards of the Coast, who held the rights to D&D. Wizards of the Coast chose not to renew the contract in early 2007, and Paizo began publishing the Pathfinder periodical line as a replacement.[1] In August 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced the pending release of the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which replaced version 3.5. Many of the staff at Paizo were concerned about the more restrictive Game System License the 4th edition was being released under.[2] Instead of continuing to support D&D, Paizo released Pathfinder as a modified version of the 3.5 edition game, under the Open Game License used by the older version.[3][4] Announced in March 2008, the Pathfinder RPG was designed over the course of a year using an open playtest model, where players could try the system and post their feedback on Paizo's website.[5]


Paizo’s decision to create Pathfinder RPG at the same time as the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition split the gaming community, with some showing more loyalty to the 3.5 compatible system and others showing more loyalty to the Dungeons & Dragons brand.

Paizo has won ENnie Awards at Gen Con in a variety of categories including Best Publisher and Best Game.[6][7] The beta release of the game won the 2008 gold ENnie award for "best free product or web enhancement."[8]

Pathfinder was the top-selling role-playing game in the second quarter of 2011,[9] autumn 2012,[10] spring 2013,[11] and autumn 2013.[12] It replaced Dungeons & Dragons, which had been the best-selling game since 1974.[13]


Informally nicknamed D&D version 3.75,[14] Pathfinder is a modification of version 3.5 of Dungeons & Dragons, and is intended to be compatible with the older game.[3] Lead Designer Jason Bulmahn felt that the basic classes of D&D version 3.5 were lackluster, as they did not provide incentive to stay with a single class for 20 levels of play. Pathfinder adds many options to the classes and boosts their abilities in their core roles.

The game has also been modified compared to D&D version 3.5.[3] Changes were made involving balance between different game elements. For example, less combat-oriented classes receive more hit points each level. Additionally, several aspects of 3.5 have been changed in Pathfinder, including several spells, the skill system, and combat maneuvers such as tripping and grappling.

The material published by Paizo for the Pathfinder system has been set in a world called Golarion.[2]

Supplementary products[edit]

The Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook is 576-page hardback book under the Open Game License. It has been supplemented by expansions and accessory books which contain expanded rules, new classes, spells, equipment and other optional game features. Four books—the Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, and Bestiary 4—contain statistics and descriptions of creatures that player characters may encounter. The Pathfinder Bestiary includes over 350 monsters designed for use with the game.[15]

Paizo also publishes the Pathfinder periodical product lines. The Pathfinder Modules line has been compatible with the Pathfinder RPG since July 2009.

Green Ronin Publishing used crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to redesign and enlarge the Freeport campaign setting for the Pathfinder system.[14]

A card game—Pathfinder Adventure Card Game—based on the system was released at Gen Con 2013. It was designed by Mike Selinker of Lone Shark Games.[16]

Big Finish Productions has produced a series of audio dramas based on the Pathfinder setting.[17]

Pathfinder Online[edit]

A computer game adaptation of the Pathfinder universe, Pathfinder Online, by Goblin Works was successful in attracting KickStarter crowdfunding[18] in 2013 to finance its development.[19] An official alpha test was announced in late June 2014.[20]


  1. ^ "'Dragon' and 'Dungeon' Magazines to End Paizo Launching 'Pathfinder'". 20 April 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Tito, Greg (28 December 2011). "The State of D&D: Present". The Escapist. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c LaSala, Jeff (March 29, 2013), "7 Role-Playing Games You Should Play on International TableTop Day", Geek O System (Geekosystem, LLC), retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  4. ^ Baichtal, John (25 March 2008). "No D&D 4E for Paizo?!?". Conde Nast. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Welcome to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!". 11 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "2013 nominees and winners". ENnies. 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  7. ^ "2010 nominees and winners". ENnies. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  8. ^ Lafayette, Lev (2007-10-23). "Review of Pathfinder Beta". RPGnet d20. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  9. ^ "Top 5 RPGs—Q2 2011". IcV2. 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  10. ^ "Top 5 RPGs—Fall 2012". IcV2. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  11. ^ "Top 5 RPGs—Spring 2013". IcV2. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  12. ^ "Top 5 RPGs—Fall 2013". IcV2. 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  13. ^ Forbing, Jeremy (December 22, 2013). "Dungeons & Dragons Next Edition Out Summer 2014". Guardian Liberty Voice. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Bonanno, Janelle (28 March 2013). "Put More Pirates in Your Pathfinder With Freeport". The Escapist. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary (OGL) Hardcover". Retrieved 2011-01-20. 
  16. ^ Bolding, Jonathon (12 April 2014). "Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Organized Play, Individual Decks Revealed". The Escapist. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  17. ^ "Pathfinder Legends". 
  18. ^ Erik Kain (2012-12-13). "A Brief Look At The 'Pathfinder Online' Sandbox MMO On Kickstarter". Forbes. 
  19. ^ Matt Daniel (2013-01-14). "Pathfinder Online Kickstarter now successfully funded [Updated]". Massively. 
  20. ^ Ryan Dancey (2014-06-26). "Aaaaaaaaand Away We Go!". Goblin Works. 

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