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PATHFINDER

Created as an offshoot of Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder has since grown into its own roleplaying giant. As the RPG’s sci-fi sequel Starfinder prepares to blast off this summer, we discover why it’s still worth visiting the fantasy world of Golarion

2008 marked a revolution in roleplaying. Wizards of the Coast announced that the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons would drop the Open Game Licence (OGL) introduced with the third edition of the RPG in favour of a new system known as the Game System Licence (GSL). The decision caused uproar among fans, as the OGL had allowed third-party creators to use elements of D&D to create their own roleplaying titles, whereas the GSL offered a far more restrictive system that only permitted use of certain approved phrases and simply referred players back to the fourth edition rules, rather than allowing the rules themselves to be used in other titles. (Wizards would later reverse the decision with D&D’s fifth edition in 2015, returning to the OGL.)

What followed the shocking announcement was another surprise, as Paizo Publishing revealed its plans to take a stand against the introduction of GSL and continue to release adventures for D&D’s 3.5 ruleset under the OGL. Paizo had been closely linked with Wizards since its inception, taking control of the official D&D magazines Dungeon and Dragon until it dropped them in 2007. What’s more, Paizo announced that it wouldn’t just be releasing adventures for D&D 3.5 – it would be launching its very own roleplaying system and world, based on the 3.5 rules and released with the OGL. Pathfinder was born.

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