Pathfinder is a “cleaned up” variant of D&D 3.5 that is compatible with previously-published D&D 3.5 materials. It quickly grew to meet or exceed D&D 4 in popularity, and even with the release of D&D 5 is one of the most popular tabletop RPGs.
The core game consists of the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary, with many other supplements available. The Beginner Box is designed as an introduction to those new to roleplaying, and it is supplemented by several free PDFs that help new players and gamemasters.
Published adventures are set in the world of Golarion, but the rules are not specific to the world, making it easy to adopt to home-grown settings. The game is designed for high fantasy campaigns in which characters progress to epic capabilities.
Here’s how the publisher describes Pathfinder:
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. Will you cut your way through monster-filled ruins and cities rife with political intrigue to emerge as a famous hero laden with fabulous treasure, or will you fall victim to treacherous traps and fiendish monsters in a forgotten dungeon? Your fate is yours to decide!
Three Things About Pathfinder
- The King of Crunch: Of the major d20-based fantasy systems in-print, this game is the most intricate, with myriad classes, feats, and other bits of complexity.
- Compatible with D&D 3.5: The mechanics are a refinement of those found in D&D 3.5, so along with Paizo’s extensive array of supplements, many materials created for D&D can be used with Pathfinder.
- Golarion: The default game world is extensively detailed by a variety of guides, maps, and adventures.
Reviews of the Beginner Box
- “If you are looking for an introduction to Pathfinder or are new to RPGs in general, the Pathfinder Beginner Box provides a very solid entry point to that audience.” – Jeffrey Tadlock, The Iron Tavern
- “We never got a box with a game that was as good, or as richly illustrated or as well written, and we sure as hell never got a box with components that were even remotely as plentiful, solid, and useful as the Beginner Box has in it.” – Steel_Wind, ENWorld
Pathfinder’s publisher launched a second edition of the game in August, 2019. This page will be updated when thorough reviews based on actual play become available.
- Buy the Beginner Box (print & PDF) from Paizo
- Buy the Beginner Box (print) from Amazon
- Buy the Pathfinder Core Rulebook (print & PDF) from Paizo
- Buy the Pathfinder Core Rulebook (print) from Amazon
- Paizo provides extensive resources for Pathfinder, including a forum and host of free downloads
- RPG StackExchange