An Introduction to Pathfinder Tabletop Role Playing Game

If you’ve been to your local game store recently you may have noticed that Pathfinder and Starfinder books are getting harder to find this season. Between a pushback on D&D’s rumored gaming license and Paizo’s announcement of a new open gaming license, this title is hot for 2023. In this article we look at the history of Paizo and Pathfinder TTRPG.

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Pathfinder TTRPG

Pathfinder is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game that was first published in 2009 by Paizo Publishing. It’s based on the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, but with several modifications and additions. The game emphasizes tactical combat, character customization, and exploration of a richly detailed fantasy world. Players create characters that embark on adventures, interact with the world, and complete quests while developing their skills and abilities. The game is played with a GM who presents the world and its challenges, and a group of players who control the characters and make decisions on their behalf.

Although it was originally based on the 3.5 edition rules of D&D, Pathfinder has since evolved and expanded upon those rules. Some of the key differences between the two systems include a more granular skill system, a wider range of character options and customization, and a greater emphasis on tactical combat. Pathfinder also has a different setting than D&D. While D&D is set in a generic high-fantasy world, Pathfinder is set in the world of Golarion, a richly detailed and expansive fantasy world.

Paizo Publishing

Paizo Publishing is an American publisher of games and game-related products based in Redmond, Washington. the company was founded in 2002 by Lisa Stevens. Stevens is a former Wizards of the Coast employee who left when Hasbro took ownership of WoC in 2000. Paizo was initially launched as a magazine publishing company that contracted with WoC to publish Dragon, Dungeon, and Star Wars Insider magazines.

The company is best known for its role as publisher and developer of Pathfinder which was first released in 2009. Paizo has since expanded its product line to include board games, miniatures, novels, and other gaming accessories. The company is also known for its commitment to the tabletop gaming community, with a strong focus on customer service and community engagement through forums, organized play programs, and conventions.

Pathfinder Inception

In late 2007, Wizards of the Coast was preparing to release the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. They had been working with Pazio on a series of magazine contracts but decided to part ways, leaving the company in a bind. With the end of its partnership with WotC, and with the uncertainty surrounding the future of the RPG ruleset, the company was left searching for a new plan.

It was during this time that Jason Bulmahn, a lead designer at Paizo, floated the idea of publishing a new RPG that he had been tinkering with. The RPG was based on the 3.5 ruleset but had been modified to suit Bulmahn’s tastes. Despite the risks of incurring the wrath of WotC and potentially alienating fans of the older RPG systems, Paizo went forward with publishing the new RPG which would come to be known as the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

The release of the core rulebook in 2008 was met with much excitement as the initial print run sold out before it even hit shelves and pre-orders for the second printing exceeded the company’s expectations. Pathfinder grew to become the flagship product at Paizo Publishing and its success has allowed the company to take over partial sponsorship of the Gen Con convention, a gathering of tabletop enthusiasts.

Pathfinder Dice Mechanics

In Pathfinder dice mechanics involve rolling polyhedral dice to determine the outcome of various in-game actions. The most commonly used dice are a 20-sided die (d20) and a 6-sided die (d6). The d20 is used to determine the success or failure of a wide range of actions such as attacking, saving throws, and skill checks. The d6 is used to determine damage dealt by weapons and spells, as well as some other random outcomes. A player’s chance of success is determined by adding their relevant skill or ability score to the result of the d20 roll and comparing the total to a target number set by the game master. If the total equals or exceeds the target number, the action is successful.

Pathfinder Miniatures

Pathfinder has released a robust collection of miniatures to aid your tabletop role playing experience. Paying Pathfinder with miniatures is optional but it can help visualize combat and make it easier to keep track of character and monster positions. And it’s just fun to get minis on the table. Wizkids has a number of licensed Pathfinder products that can enhance your tabletop battles.

image of Pathfinder TTRPG miniatures



Pathfinder FAQ

What is Pathfinder Ttrpg?

Pathfinder is a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) created by Paizo Publishing. It is based on the rules of the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons and has evolved into its own unique system over the years. In Pathfinder, players take on the roles of characters embarking on adventures in a fantasy world filled with magic and mythical creatures. Gameplay involves making decisions, solving puzzles, and engaging in battles, with dice rolls determining the outcome of certain actions and the use of character statistics (such as strength, dexterity, and intelligence) influencing success. Players work together to overcome challenges and advance their characters, ultimately shaping the story through their choices and actions.

Is Pathfinder RPG any good?

Pathfinder RPG has a large and dedicated player base and is considered by many to be a well-designed and enjoyable tabletop role-playing game. It has received positive reviews for its complex character building options, richly detailed world, and flexible game mechanics.

Is Pathfinder RPG free?

No, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (RPG) is not free. It is a commercial product published by Paizo Publishing. However, some resources and materials related to the game, such as the core rulebook, can be found in a limited and simplified form as a free PDF on the Paizo website.

On the other hand, Paizo has announced a system-neutral open RPG license that will be free. Read more about the Paizo Open Gaming License here.

Is there a Pathfinder equivalent to DnD beyond?

Yes, there is a Pathfinder equivalent to Dungeons & Dragons Beyond. It is called “Pathfinder Playtest.” It is a playtest version of the upcoming second edition of the Pathfinder role-playing game, and it is free to play.



Is Pathfinder harder than DnD?

The difficulty of playing Pathfinder versus D&D ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific campaign being played. Some players may find Pathfinder to have more complex rules and mechanics, while others may find it to be easier to play.

Is Pathfinder good for beginners?

Some players find it more accessible than other tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) because of its clear structure and detailed rules, while others find it more complex and overwhelming. It can be helpful for beginners to start with a simpler TTRPG and gradually move on to more complex ones like Pathfinder, or to play with experienced players who can guide them through the rules.

Why is Pathfinder so similar to D&D?

Pathfinder is similar to Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) because it was originally developed as an alternative set of rules for the 3.5 edition of D&D. The design team for Pathfinder took the 3.5 rules and made several modifications and additions to create a new game system. As a result, the core mechanics and many of the character classes in Pathfinder are based on those in D&D, which leads to similarities between the two games. However, there are also distinct differences and unique elements in Pathfinder, such as its world setting and class options.

Is it possible to play Pathfinder solo?

Yes, it is possible to play Pathfinder solo. Solo play can be achieved by controlling multiple characters or by using a pre-written adventure designed for solo play. Some players prefer to use a solo roleplaying game system to help them track their character’s progress and make decisions during the game. It is important to note that the game mechanics of Pathfinder are designed for group play, so solo play may require some adaptations to the rules.



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