What is Pathfinder?
The name Pathfinder covers several things:a rules system (Pathfinder RPG), a world (Golarion, the world of Pathfinder Chronicles), and a range of adventures and campaigns.
If the same name designates all these things, it is because they have appeared one after the other, to answer certain necessities.
Basically, the initial goal was to publish adventures and campaigns but, to do this, it required a world, a framework in which to place these adventures (hence the creation of Golarion) and a system of play from to develop adventures (hence the creation of Pathfinder RPG).
How did we come to such a jumble of different things that bear the same name? The following section provides a brief history of how it went.
A brief history of Pathfinder Role playing Game
Paizo is not really a role play box unknown to the public (at least, of the English-speaking public). They were in charge of the brother Dungeon and Dragon magazines during the last years of the 3.5 edition, a period where the quality of these publications has been universally recognized. Dungeon was a magazine that published four or five adventures each month, while Dragon featured feature articles on various themes, rule options, and supplement reviews. It was at this time, in the pages of Dungeon, that Paizo published the first adventure paths (literally roads for adventure). These were scenario suites that, end-to-end, were campaigns that could take level-1 beginner characters to high levels while having a long-running adventure revolving around a central theme.
The first adventure path was called Shackled City and consisted of thirteen adventures leading level 1 characters to level 20 in and around the city of Cauldron, a city built in the caldera of an extinct volcano. It was a first try, which included some early mistakes, such as a schedule before the publication began. Despite this, the concept was interesting and had worked well. So they continued this format by releasing Age of Worms, a second campaign, and a third called Savage Tide.
It was then that Wizards of the Coast announced the future release of a 4th edition and they decided not to renew the license that allowed Paizo to publish Dungeon and Dragon. Deprived of their main job, Paizo’s team had to find a new way to express their passion. As the format of the adventure paths seemed to please, they decided to launch a new line of products called Pathfinder and published in the form of six-volume groups presenting adventures that form a campaign
To be able to tell interesting stories, you had to integrate them into a specific world. Since they could not use the worlds already published, they decided to create a new world, Golarion. But, to be able to tell their adventures, they also needed a game system. Not only a good game system, but also a system that new players could still get in the trade. Thus they launched the idea of Pathfinder RPG, a new role-playing system that would be a revised version of the 3.5, that is to say a system that would remain compatible with this version (to allow players to continue using their books if they wished) while correcting some of their problems.
As a result the name Pathfinder has expanded to cover not only the range of adventure paths published by Paizo, but also the world in which these adventures unfold as well as the new system of rules they use.
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