Paizo Publishing, the creators of the popular Pathfinder universe, were on hand at this year’s Gen Con to celebrate the release of Starfinder, a spacefaring role-playing gameand only its second major tabletop RPG. The team brought along more copies of the Starfinder Core Rulebook than it had for any product launch in its history. It sold through them all in a single day.
The Paizo Publishing company had been publishing Dungeon and Dragon magazines, which were about the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-playing game. Paizo was publishing under contract with Wizards of the Coast, who held the rights to D&D. Wizards of the Coast chose not to renew the contract in early 2007, and Paizo began publishing the Pathfinder periodical line as a replacement. In August 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced the pending release of the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which replaced version 3.5. Many of the staff at Paizo were concerned about the more restrictive Game System License the 4th edition was being released under. Instead of continuing to support D&D, Paizo released Pathfinder as a modified version of the 3.5 edition game, under the Open Game License used by the older version. Announced in March 2008, the Pathfinder RPG was designed over the course of a year using an open playtest model, where players could try the system and post their feedback on Paizo’s website.
The first Dungeons & Dragons game was played back when Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson chose to personalize the massive battles of their fantasy wargames with the exploits of individual heroes. This inspiration became the first fantasy roleplaying game, in which players are characters in an ongoing fantasy story. This new kind of game has become immensely popular over the years, and D&D has grown to include many new ways to vividly experience worlds of heroic fantasy.
The core of D&D is storytelling. You and your friends tell a story together, guiding your heroes through quests for treasure, battles with deadly foes, daring rescues, courtly intrigue, and much more. You can also explore the world of Dungeons & Dragons through any of the novels written by its fantasy authors, as well as engaging board games and immersive video games. All of these stories are part of D&D.
Some view running a role-playing game as a job with too much pressure; others view it as a delight and have a blast while they run it; then there’s me. I view it as both. It is a job to maintain the game and its integrity but it can also be a lot of fun. It is a job for me, planning the encounters and keeping the tempo up while my game is going on but that’s the job side. The flip side of that coin is when I see the sheer delight in my players when I see them doing something amazing like quad critical hitting the villain of the campaign after he was beating the players up which means rolling a 20 four times on a 20-sided die. It’s like being Shakespeare and bringing happiness to people through a play. I’m the director and parts of the cast while my players help me write the awesome tale.
When you are told that “I look forward to your game, it is some of the only happiness I get after working all week” is an awesome feeling that you are making a difference in someone’s life and bringing them happiness from the mundane daily grind. That gives me the drive to carry on running my game. To know that you can make a difference is what counts. Many feel powerless to help others; but through the act of running a game you can bring a lifetime of memories and fun. It is essentially the gift that keeps giving because once someone learns how to play they can try their hand at running and then the circle of giving happiness is complete.