These Pathfinder RPG reviews are part of my “Best Tabletop RPGs of All Time” article. If you want to check out more TTRPGs and see how other top-tier tabletop RPGs are ranked, visit that page.
3. Pathfinder/ Starfinder – 90 / 100
I’m just going to save some time here, and provide you a much less detailed summary of Pathfinder and Starfinder than you’ll find for any other game on the “Best Tabletop RPGs of All Time” article (above).
This is the only game on this list where I haven’t listed a ton of information for you. The reason is that Pathfinder is built on virtually the same exact game systems as Dungeons and Dragons. If you want to see some of the differences, check out the DnD 5th edition reviews article.
Note that Pathfinder is a standalone game. Meaning that it is not the exact same game as DnD. Pathfinder is produced and published by an entirely different company, has its own design team, and functions differently than DnD in some important ways.
However, I will say that it is accurate to say that Pathfinder is a spinoff of DnD.
Origins of Pathfinder RPG
There is a whole history of what happened for Pathfinder to come into publication. But to shorten it, basically, when DnD 4th edition came out, it was a massive departure from what people had come to expect from Dungeons and Dragons. 3.5th edition of DnD, for example, was vastly different from 4th edition. In my opinion, 4th edition DnD wasn’t a bad game. It was just the wrong game for the DnD crowd, at-large.
Thus, Pathfinder was born. Paizo was, at the time of DnD 3.5th edition (I know… 3.5th edition) a large supplemental material/ adventure production company. Paizo made their money and existed as a company because they sold gaming adventures and DnD quest ideas to Dungeons and Dragons 3.5th edition enthusiasts.
To simplify things, when DnD 4th edition came out, all of Paizo’s gaming supplements became out-of-date. As with all other companies at the time who sold DnD adventures, they had to decide if they wanted to update their work to DnD 4th edition.
However, since the reception for DnD 4th edition was less than stellar, Paizo saw an opporunity.
Paizo still needed a way to still sell their publications and continue to profit as a company, of course, but rather than go along with Dungeons and Dragons, Paizo decided to release their own TTRPG, which could target all the people who loved DnD 3.5th edition, and who were unhappy with the major switch to DnD 4th edition.
Pathfinder RPG Game System
So, now you understand why Pathfinder RPG reviews aren’t really all that necessary when you can read the gaming review that I created on Dungeons and Dragons.
The 1st edition of Pathfinder was basically an updated version of Dungeons and Dragons’ 3.5th edition. DnD 5th edition (the current version of Dungeons and Dragons, as of the time of this article), is a return to DnD 3.5th edition, which is why it’s been so well-received by the gaming community.
Now, ironically, Pathfinder has a 2nd edition, which is a little more like DnD 4th edition – the one people didn’t like all that much.
Bottom line is that everything I wrote about Dungeons and Dragons, as far as an overall game review, applies to Pathfinder RPG. Because DnD’s been around so much longer, has a larger budget, and is more popular, it gets a larger score than Pathfinder. However, Pathfinder is still much DnD-like, so it gets great marks.
Many of the same game designers and adventure-writers for Dungeons and Dragons now work or create adventures for Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG. So, you even have a lot of the same crowd of creators.
For those of you who are interested, Starfinder is basically Pathfinder in space. It’s also a great game. I just also don’t have a lot more to say about it since it uses the same game system as both Pathfinder RPG and DnD.