We know you have a lot of questions! We've anticipated some of them below. Please take a look at this FAQ before posting a question to our forums or sending customer service an email. If your question isn't answered below, please post it to our messageboards and we'll try to get to it as soon as possible!
Last updated October 19, 2009
A new RPG? Why not just stick with 3.5?
In a sense, that's exactly what we are doing. The core rulebooks for the 3.5 rules system have been out of print for a while, and we feel it is important to keep a core game available to new players. Plus, as great as 3.5 is, there remains room for improvement. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game enjoyed a year of open, public playtesting, making it the most robustly playtested game in the history of tabletop RPGs! We're sure you will find many of the changes intriguing and worth consideration for your campaign. However, both rules sets are similar enough that conversion between the two should be an easy affair for most Game Masters.
How does the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game improve on the core 3.5 fantasy system?
While the Pathfinder RPG is 100% compatible in both rules and feel with 3.5, the changes that have been made are too numerous to list. Combat maneuvers like grapple, trip, and sunder now use one streamlined game mechanic. All character classes have been reworked to remove "dead levels"—almost every level gives you something new. Skills have been simplified, making it easier to build characters of all levels. Numerous new feats—plus class abilities like sorcerer bloodlines, rogue talents, and barbarian rage powers—round out character options for all classes. Rebuilt experience progression tables allow for multiple styles of play (slow-, medium-, or fast-paced advancement), and the revamped CR system makes adding up XP after a session quick and easy. Magic item creation no longer requires you to be a spellcaster, or to expend valuable experience points. Poisons, curses, and diseases all now work under one affliction mechanic. Dozens of spells have been rebalanced to be less disruptive or "game-breaking." Every monster in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary has been adjusted to reflect a decade of experience with the game mechanics—monsters are now more balanced than ever for their CR, and monster creation now has comprehensive guidelines allowing every GM to build his or her own monsters the same way Paizo's game designers do, or to adjust monsters easily on the fly.
All of these are just the tip of the iceberg—overall, the goal has always been not to reinvent the game, but to reinforce weak points, tune up its strengths, and get it into fighting shape for your adventures. For more details on the the various tweaks and changes, please join the discussion on the Pathfinder RPG messageboards—or pick up a copy of the Core Rulebook.
Do I need the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to use Pathfinder products?
No, though we're convinced you'll want it anyway. Since compatiblity was such an important design goal of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, you should be able to use the 3.5 rules with little difficulty.
Which of your products were developed specifically for the Pathfinder RPG?
As of August 2009, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Chronicles, Pathfinder Companion, and Pathfinder Society Scenarios have transitioned to the Pathfinder RPG rules. And of course, our Pathfinder RPG line will continue to elaborate on and expand the system. You can find a listing of our compatible products here.
Paizo's GameMastery accessories are generally designed for use with any fantasy game system, so there have been no significant changes to that line.
Is there a Pathfinder RPG subscription?
Yes. The Pathfinder RPG Subscription is a great way to make sure you don't miss any new Pathfinder RPG releases. What's more, as a benefit of subscribing, you'll receive a free PDF copy of each book, downloadable from paizo.com as soon as it ships. (Please note that this complements but does not overlap with any other subscriptions.)
I am a publisher. Can I produce products that support the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game?
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is published under the OGL, and game rules that do not involve Paizo's intellectual property (such as our deities) are generally open and available for use by other publishers according to the terms of the Open Game License.
In addition, we've also created a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License that allows other publishers to indicate compatibility with the Pathfinder RPG on their product.
Why aren't you publishing 4th Edition products?
We believe that 3.5 rules better allow us to tell the kinds of stories that our customers enjoy. Since our staff loves the 3.5 system and the 30-year traditions that underlie it, since the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting was originally designed with 3.5 in mind, and since it would take us years to become as adept at the new system as we are with the perfectly good one that we've been using since Paizo was born, we've decided that sticking with 3.5 is the best option for the Pathfinder line.
Further, many of our customers have invested thousands of dollars in 3.5 products from Paizo and other companies, and we believe there is little reason why all of those products should go to waste. The 3.5 rules are an excellent adaptation of the original rules that started the tabletop RPG hobby, and allow us to tell the sorts of stories we've been enjoying our entire lives. Even better, the 3.5 rules are anchored to an Open Gaming movement that allows us to benefit from the best practices and brilliant design of the entire RPG publishing community. As long as 3.5 remains a viable rules set, the dream of Open Gaming will last forever.