My mailbox has been just a little bleaker every month since, oh, August, when Paizo‘s license to publish the venerable Dragon and Dungeon magazines was not renewed. I am not totally positive what the meetings were like in the offices of Paizo when they found out, but I like to think the loss of the license spurned the great minds there to even greater heights.
The Golem and the gang created instant classics with their Pathfinder Adventure Paths, which you can subscribe to, filling that empty void in your mailbox. That’s right, a 96 page, perfect bound, full color dose of fantastic adventure every month. And you can hold it your hands (though you can also download the PDF); there is no replacement for the tangibility of purchased goods.
The subscription model seems to be working very well for Paizo, because they offer four different product lines (including the Adventure Paths) in monthly or bi-monthly installments. Pathfinder Modules are a series of one shot adventures categorized by the type of adventure they present (dungeon, event, journey, urban, wilderness). Pathfinder Companion is a 32 page bi-monthly resource that explores a major theme from the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting, providing new character options, expanded gazetteers, and organization overviews. Pathfinder Chronicles provides supplements that explore the various locations in the Pathfinder campaign setting.
Considering the quality of the adventures they are producing, that is a pretty aggressive release schedule! I should also note that you can purchase the items individually as well, which is good, because with the economy heading for the Second Great Depression, not everyone can afford all the RPG goodness Paizo has to offer (though you do get a %15 discount on other Paizo products as a subscriber).
The Pathfinder line of RPG materials are all compatible with D&D 3.5, meaning all those die-hard d20 fans that find 4e disappointing (or worse) can rest assured that they will still have trusted source to supply their 3.5 fix. Paizo is continuing the 3.5 legacy with their Pathfinder RPG rulebook. Some gamers consider it D&D 3.75.
Perhaps the most intriguing element of the Pathfinder RPG is the fact that Paizo created an open beta. They are allowing gamers to download the rules (the printed soft-cover sold-out at GenCon ’08), play their evolution of 3.5 and then provide feedback on the Paizo forums. The hard-cover of the final version is expected to ship in time for GenCon ’09. It is designed to be backwards compatible with existing 3.5 materials, requiring minimal conversion. Download the Beta play-test now and check it out.
I attended GenCon over the summer, and one of the things I wished I had made time for was the Pathfinder Society. The Pathfinder Society is the organized play arm of Paizo. If anyone has experienced the RPGA, you will be familiar with the structure. One important difference is that there is an extra layer of intrigue because you can further the agenda of your faction during play (and not all players at the table need to belong to the same faction). There is a 32 page Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play available on Paizo to download for free if you are interested in finding out more.
I am ecstatic that Paizo took the D&D 3.5 torch and continues to support my favorite rules. I get the gilt and polish that is easily deployed by the major powers while still retaining that warm fuzzy that comes from dealing with a smaller publisher. I am very impressed with their Pathfinder Adventure Paths and I can’t wait to see what the final copy of the Pathfinder RPG looks like.
Want to learn more about Pathfinder? Read on…
- Atomic Array: Episode 011: Pathfinder
- Nerdage: Pathfinder Adventure Path
- Questing GM: Path Finding Into Pathfinder
- The Tome Show Presents: Second Darkness (Chapter II)
- RPGAggression: Interview with Greg Vaughan
Drop by Paizo.com to pick up your copy today!