Pathfinder contains a vast amount of books for various purposes (rivaling Rifts it seems). This page, both like and unlike a series' Recap page, will hopefully give you a rundown on what the more important and interesting books are about, as well as help you find what you need and don't need.
Core BooksCore Books are the basic (and not-so-basic) rules of the game. If you're going to play the game, you will need a few of these. There are two editions of Pathfinder; First Edition was released in 2009 and Second Edition in 2019.
- Core Rulebook: The main rulebook, and the one book you absolutely must have to play the game. At it's heart, it's essentially a rewrite of the classic Players' Handbook.
- Advanced Players' Guide: Effectively an extension of the Core Rulebook, the Advanced Players' Guide contains six new Character Classes (and eight Prestige Classes) and introduces Archetypes; variants of both old and new classes that are specialized in different ways. In addition, the book contains new Feats, Spells, Equipment, and a few new rules such as Traits, Heroism, and new Combat Maneuvers.
- Ultimate Magic: A sourcebook for spellcasters, or anyone who wishes to add a little more magic to their adventure. With a new class, the Magus, New Archetypes for all classes, the usual array of new feats and spells, spellblights, magic duels, details on summoning and gaining the services of outsiders, making and modifying constructs, and even an alternate form of magic.
- Ultimate Combat: For those who prefer a more martial style. Three new classes, the Gunslinger, Ninja, and Samurai. More ass-kicking archetypes, Feats, Eastern weapons, Firearms, Gladiatoral weapons (and combat styles), and even siege weapons. There are even a few new spells of decidedly deadly design.
- Ultimate Equipment: A compendium of weapons, items, and goods, both mundane and magical, from the previous books, plus several new ones.
- Advanced Race Guide: Goes into further detail for not only the Core races of the game, but thirty other races, from semi-monstrous enemies like Goblins, Orcs and Kobolds to Aasimars, Undines, Ratfolk, Catfolk, Tengu, and many more. In addition, each race has alternate racial traits, special feats, and even new archetypes, spells, and items.
- Advanced Class Guide: Blurs the lines between classes with new Hybrid classes: The Arcanist, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter, Investigator, Shaman, Slayer, and Warpriest, which combine key features from previous classes into brand new combinations. Also includes Class-borrowing Archetypes, new feats and spells, magic items for the new classes, and even guides to making classes of your own.
Adventure Paths are self-contained campaigns usually taking a party of four PCs from Level 1 to Level 15-20. Divided into six parts, each faces the party against a regional and occasionally world-wide threat. In addition, each Adventure Path part contains further information on cities, regions, organizations, gods, and races of Golarion, as well as several new monsters. They were originally released under the Open Gaming License 3.5 rules, but beginning in 2009 were released under the new official rule set for Pathfinder.
- Rise of the Runelords: The party arrives at the Varisian town of Sandpoint. A goblin attack at the dedication of their new church soon leads them on adventures around the region, culminating in the awakening of an ancient evil from a precursor civilization.
A revised edition with updated rules and additional content was released for the Pathfinder Adventure Path's 5th anniversary in 2012.
- Curse of the Crimson Throne: In the Varisian Colony of Korvosa, the king has died, leaving his much younger queen in charge. Things soon go bad as she begins enacting horrible plots against her own people, seeking to reshape the city to her liking.
- Second Darkness: A shadowy blot appears in the skies above the Varisian pirate city of Riddleport, but the true threat lies below the surface. The heroes will have to unlock this mystery before the sky falls on Golarion once more.
- Legacy of Fire: The trading nation of Katapesh find themselves in the middle of trouble beginning when an expedition to restore an abandoned town gets caught up in the aftermath of a war between Genies. Needless to say, things heat up quickly, but pursuing the truth may lead to one of the greatest treasures imaginable.
- Council of Thieves: The former Chelaxian capital of Westcrown has become a lawless den of evil after being abandoned by Cheliax's ruling family. The Council of Thieves stepped into the void to run the city, but they are on the brink of falling themselves, especially when demons begin appearing among the thieves and criminals. Notable as the first Adventure Path released for Pathfinder as an independent game.
- Kingmaker: The wild and untamed Stolen Lands, a lawless region of the River Kingdoms are targeted by the country of Brevoy to the north. The players, a group of emissaries, are sent to explore the resources and clear the danger so they can lay down the foundation for Brevan settlers... and perhaps a new kingdom of their own.
One of the most notable adventure paths, it introduced city and nation-building mechanics to the game. It also is to receive a 10th anniversary edition that updates the ruleset to second edition, and is the first Adventure Path to be turned into a video game, Pathfinder: Kingmaker.
- Serpent's Skull: A group of shipwrecked adventurers find their island refuge hints at the existence of an ancient hidden city from the Age of Legend, as well as a cult that wishes to return a long-banished dark god that could bring about the ruin of Golarian.
- Carrion Crown: The dark and horror-filled kingdom of Ustalav has become more restless than usual, with ghosts, strange flesh golems, werewolves, and vampires among other creatures of the night being pulled into a plot that could break the tenuous truce between the Ustalav's living and undead residents, and allow one of the most evil beings in history to return to the world of the living.
- Jade Regent: An old ally from Rise of the Runelords turns out to be the long-lost heir to the far Empire of Minkai. Her friends are charged with not only traversing the continents of Golarian to get her there safely, but help topple the empire's power-crazed Jade Regent keeping her from her rightful throne.
- Skull & Shackles: A group of adventures are press-ganged into a crew of pirates. Learning the skills to sail and survive, they have a chance at not only at freedom, but rising through the ranks of the Pirate Lords to become legendary buccaneers in their own right.
- Shattered Star: Once again, Varisia is thrown into chaos when the ancient empire of Thassilon once again threatens the modern world. The only solution to stop its return is to find a powerful ancient artifact, the Sihedron, that has been shattered in seven pieces and scattered throughout the lands of Varisia.
Created during Pathfinder's 5th anniversary, the game serves as a sequel of sorts to the original three Adventure Paths, Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, and Second Darkness. It is standalone, and can be played without knowledge of events in the previous volumes.
- Reign of Winter: When a mysterious winter forest appears in the middle of the summer, it leads the adventurers to the remote Kingdom of Irrisen, home of Baba Yaga and eternal winter. However, the powerful witch has gone missing, throwing Irrisen into chaos, and it is up to the adventurers to find her to restore the balance of power and prevent an ice age from descending on Golarian.
- Wrath of the Righteous: The Crusader Kingdom of Mendev has defended the rest of the world against the demons of the Worldwound for centuries, but an act of sabotage on one of the kingdom's Wardstones has weakened Mendev on the dawn of its Fifth Crusade. A group of adventurers witness to the sabotage accidentally inherit the mythic powers of the Wardstone and now stand as the greatest chance Mendev has to stop the rising tide of demons and close the Worldwound for good.
Wrath introduced Mythic rules and feats for characters that give them nearly god-like powers. And after the success of the Kingmaker video game, this Adventure Path was chosen to be the setting for the sequel, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous.
- Mummy's Mask: The desert nation of Osirion is the target of explorers looking to unearth the ancient treasures and secrets of its tombs. Their carelessness disturbs the spirits of the dead, particularly the long-forgotten Sky Pharaoh, who takes advantage of the situation to return to the world of the living and attempt to restore himself as ruler of Osirion.
- Iron Gods: The frontier country of Numeria has been home to strange artifacts and ruins after an event known as the Rain of Stars. The mages of the country have harnessed and experimented with the powers of these relics from the skies for decades even as the simpler people fear them. But when mysterious beings calling themselves Iron Gods threaten the people of Numeria, a group of wandering heroes may be the only ones who can stop them and save the Inner Sea from certain destruction.
- Giantslayer: A warlord giant known as the Storm Tyrant has managed to gain control of a cloud castle and is using it as a rallying point to call an army of giants and orcs together to take over the continent. A group of adventurers defending a small town against an orc attack are clued into the bigger picture, and it is on them to undermine the army and take on the Storm Tyrant to stop him and his forces from overrunning everything.
- Hell's Rebels: The city of Kintargo in Cheliax known as a haven for free-thinkers and refugees has recently been placed under the control of an oppressive inquisitor. A group of rebels rises up to free the city and defy the House of Thrune, restarting the long-dead resistance group known as the Silver Ravens. Can they rally the city around their cause and ensure that the Silver City remains free from the demonic rulers of Cheliax?
- Hell's Vengeance: A rising order, the Glorious Reclamation, threatens the ruling House of Thrune and its hold over Infernal Cheliax. A group of mercenaries and ne'er-do-wells fight against the Reclamation for their own reasons, and end up becoming agents of Thrune itself, seeking to keep the do-gooders from undermining their Queen and her hold upon the powerful realm of the damned.
This is the first Adventure Path created exclusively for evil-alligned characters and runs concurrently with Hell's Rebels.
- Strange Aeons: A motley crew wake up in Briarstone Asylum, amnesiatic and Mind Raped. As they attempt to recover, they realize something horrible lurks not only within the walls of the asylum but in the world beyond. Escaping, they must work together not only to recover their lost memories, but track down and stop a cult from unleashing a nightmare beyond comprehension and madness upon Golarian.
- Ironfang Invasion: The humble town of Phaendar is destroyed by an relentless army of hobgoblins, the first step of an invasion that seeks to overrun the squabbling nations of Nirmathis and Molthune. The survivors of the raid band together to not only survive, but undermine the incursion and figure out where their conquerers have gotten their magical aids and powers from to stop it for good.
- Ruins of Azlant: The remote broken continent of Azlant has remained a hostile and dangerous place for several millenia, but a group of colonists from Golarian are determined to establish a foothold there. In doing so, they discover that something— the same something that destroyed the Empire of Azlant thousands of years ago— is still around and seeking to unleash itself not only the colony, but the rest of humanity.
- War for the Crown: The aging empire of Taldor is thrown into an impending civil war when a succession crisis is created. Princess Eutropia is determined to claim what she beliefs to be her rightful throne, only denied by her gender. But as her loyal subjects rally around her, it becomes clear that the past of Old Taldor is the real danger. Unless it is stopped from resurfacing, the empire may crumble for good.
- Return of the Runelords: Once thought banished by a group of brave adventurers, the impossible seems to be happening... the ancient Runelords once again seem to be returning to reclaim their old stomping grounds in Varisia. With the old party who defeated them missing, out on a secret mission, it falls to a new group of heroes to rise and once again stop the wizard rulers of Thassilon.
This is a continuation of the storyline from Rise of the Runelords and Shattered Star. It is also the first path to take the characters fully from level one all the way to level twenty. note
- Tyrant's Grasp: The heroes are dead. Well, almost... they've been banished by the Whispering Tyrant and his powerful new weapon to the lands of the dead. If they can negotiate the trecherious roads and paths of the underworld back to the realms of the living, they must then figure out a way to stop the Tyrant, his horrific super-weapon, and his dedicated followers of the Whispering Way as they rampage through Lastwall and the Inner Sea, their sights set on one ultimate and devistating goal.
- Age of Ashes: Smoke and fire are seen coming from the long-abandoned citadel of Hellknight Hill in Isger. When a group of locals go to investigate, they find a ring of ancient portals within that are tied to a massive conspiracy centered around the banished evil dragon god Dahak. But surely no one would be crazy enough to attempt to attempt to summon him and his fury upon the world...
- Extinction Curse: A group of performers with the Circus of Wayward Wonders are faced with tragedy when their ringmaster is murdered. But as they investigate his death, it turns out to lead them to the ancient Extinction Curse, a devistating legend that threatens all life in the Inner Sea. As they travel the Starstone Isles, they must survive plots, deadly beasts, and strange beings in order to unravel the Curse and its ties to the long-dead God of Humanity.
- Agents of Edgewatch: The Radiant Festival is coming, and all of Absalom is ready... including a number of criminals ready to take advantage of the festivites. As the crimes grow, a small squad within the City Watch begins putting the pieces together and realizes something bigger is going on. They must be willing to put their careers and lives on the line to stop a plot that threatens the entire kingdom.
- Abomination Vaults: The long-darkened Gauntlight begins glowing again, signaling to the citizens of the nearby town of Otari that something is very wrong. A group of heroes set forth to investigate the mysterious ruins, only to discover a gargantuan dungeon beneath. And if they are to banish the sinister force that has awakened beneath it, they must go deeper, facing worsening nightmares as they descend. This has the distinction of being the first ever three-volume Adventure Path.
- Fists of the Ruby Phoenix: Golarian's best fighters are again returning for the Ruby Pheonix Tournament, held every ten years for a chance to prove themselves the best in the world. This is no mere head-to-head match in a ring; sorcerer and hostess Hao Jin has come up with some interesting challenges for the fighters to prove themselves worthy of one of her rare treasures. A three-volume Adventure Path.
- Strength of Thousands: The Magaambya, Golarian's oldest and most accomplished school of magic, has become the target of a plot by old enemies of the school's long-gone founder. As its new students rise through the ranks of Magaambya's storied halls, they must also work to turn back the school's foes or risk losing both the academy and their lives.
- Quest For the Frozen Flame: The tribe of Broken Tusk is forced to leave their homelands and travel not just to find a safe place to settle, but also find hints of a powerful artifact that can ensure their people's place among the Mammoth Lords. A three-volume Adventure Path.
- Outlaws of Alkenstar: A group of outlaws who live among the dusty and dark back alleys of Alkenstar decide to band together to seek revenge on the villains who wronged them, and end up getting involved in a much bigger, more dangerous game that threatens the existence of the city itself. A three-volume Adventure Path.
- Blood Lords: Geb, a nation of undead, finds its living minority threatened by a sinister plot. Seeing a chance to rise above their limited station, the party embarks on a series of tasks that may prove them ambitious enough to rise to level of the illustrious Blood Lords. It will be released from July to December of 2022.
Much like Hell's Vengence, this is an Adventure Path for evil-aligned characters, along with adding the potential to play as the undead.