Like many people I’ve run across on various RPG boards I am apprehensive about 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. It seems, from what I have heard of it, to resemble World of Warcraft more than DND. Now I am not a player of video games, I am a pure tabletop gamer to the core. Its all about interaction and collaborative storytelling to me, so this is not a positive comparison. Factor in the huge collection of hardcovers that have accumulated in these few short years and I see a major investment becoming invalidated by the new rules.

Enter Paizo Publishing, you know them- they’re the folks who used to publish Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine. Seems like they are putting out a new RPG, Pathfinder, which will basically be DND 3.75 and completely compatible with existing material. Even better than that- the 65 Page Preview PDF! I for one am absolutely thrilled. Best part is that while they are applying some tweaks to the 3.5 rules the core book they are releasing is supposed to be 100% backwards compatible and will be on the shelves around the time (guessing) that the original Core Books are gone. Viva la Paizo!

Here, for your enjoyment, is their press release with a lot more details:

Paizo Publishing® Announces the Pathfinder RPG™

Pathfinder™ to continue under the 3.5 rules.

March 18, 2008 (BELLEVUE, Wash.) – Paizo Publishing today unveiled the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, a tabletop fantasy roleplaying game that will serve as the anchor for the company’s popular line of Pathfinder adventures, sourcebooks, and campaigns. Today marks the beginning of a year-long open playtest of the new rules, which are based upon the popular 3.5 rules available under the Open Game License. The Pathfinder RPG is designed with backward compatibility as one of its primary goals, so players will continue to enjoy their lifelong fantasy gaming hobby without invalidating their entire game library. The first Pathfinder RPG Alpha release is available now as a free 65-page PDF download at Until the finished Pathfinder RPGs release as a hardcover rulebook in August 2009, all of Paizo’s popular Pathfinder-brand products will continue under the current 3.5 rules set.

“I’m really excited to work with the playtesters to make this the best game possible,” said Jason Bulmahn, Paizo’s Lead Designer. “In the spirit of the Open Game movement, the Pathfinder RPG is really your roleplaying game. It’s a huge thrill to get to lead the design process.”

Paizo will issue additional Pathfinder RPG Alpha releases in the coming months, covering new changes and additions to the 3.5 rules. Gamers can download, read, and participate in the free open playtest by setting up a account and joining the discussion with Paizo’s design staff at The Pathfinder RPG will be backward-compatible with the 3.5 rules, and the staff has kept this goal as a primary focus since design began in 2007.

This coming August, Paizo will release a massive, full-color, softcover Pathfinder RPG Beta release for $24.99. This book will be available on, at Gen Con, as well as through hobby distribution at local game stores. Just like the Alpha releases, the Beta release will be available as a free PDF download on As Wizards of the Coast’s core 3.5 rulebooks are expected to go out of print with the release of 4th Edition, Paizo will use the Pathfinder RPG as a replacement for the 3.5 core rules. The Pathfinder RPG Beta release will represent Paizo’s first published take on an updated 3.5 system, and playtesting will continue through spring 2009, when Paizo will incorporate the open playtest feedback and create a hardcover Pathfinder RPG for release in the hobby trade, bookstores, and in August 2009.

Paizo hopes to support 4th Edition with fan-created online conversions of its Pathfinder products and a complete line from its partner company, Necromancer Games, a trend-setter in the original Open Gaming movement. Necromancer has already announced a new 4th Edition version of their award-winning Tome of Horrors monster encyclopedia, and has plans for additional player and GM support products.

Today, Paizo also announced the hiring of Nicolas Logue to run the Pathfinder Society organized play campaign, a massive mega-campaign to launch at this year’s Gen Con. The Pathfinder Society will feature events at major conventions, retail stores, and home play as a way to involve thousands of players in a constantly evolving campaign environment fueled by downloadable scenarios released by Paizo. Nicolas Logue is a long-time Paizo contributor to the print versions of Dragon and Dungeon as well as the Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Pathfinder Modules line. He also co-runs an annual competition at Gen Con called Iron DM that will continue to be co-run by Nicolas Logue and his Iron DM compatriots. Nick begins working at Paizo in April.

“Nicolas Logue is one of the most energetic, personable gamers I have ever met,” said Erik Mona, Paizo’s Publisher and the co-founder during his tenure at Wizards of the Coast of Living Greyhawk, the largest organized play RPG campaign in history. “Running a successful organized play campaign involves a magical combination of cool ideas, organizational skills, and enthusiasm. Nick is absolutely the perfect man for the job, and I’m thrilled that he will be joining us here at Paizo.”

Additional information on the Pathfinder Society campaign can be found at

Paizo Publishing®, LLC is a leading publisher of fantasy roleplaying games, accessories, board games, and novels. Paizo’s Pathfinder™ line of adventures and Pathfinder Chronicles™ campaign setting support materials combines decades of game design experience into one evocative system compatible with the 3.5 rules. Paizo’s GameMastery™ line offers easy-to-use tools for game masters of any fantasy roleplaying game to improve their gaming experience. Titanic Games™, Paizo’s board game imprint, unleashes fun, challenging games like Kill Doctor Lucky™ and Yetisburg™ that appeal to both families and casual gamers alike. Paizo’s Planet Stories™ line of science fiction and fantasy novel reprints promises a master class in the genre aimed at building the greatest fantasy and science fiction library ever assembled. is the leading online hobby retail store, offering tens of thousands of products from a variety of publishers to customers all over the world. In the five years since its founding, Paizo Publishing has received more than a dozen major awards and has grown to become one of the most influential companies in the hobby games industry.

Other announcements were made regarding the Pathfinder RPG at