Pathfinder's Journal was a series of serialized fiction appearing in Pathfinder Adventure Path books. Paizo Assistant Editor James L. Sutter described this feature as "a space for us to shade in more of our world beyond just the current adventure's location. A narrative that would help get people invested and allow us to explore and expand, reconcepting established monsters for our setting and breathing that much more life into the world as a whole.".
Beginning with the eighteen-part The Compass Stone: The Compiled Journals of Eando Kline, written by such authors as Jason Bulmahn, Amber Scott, James L. Sutter, and James Jacobs, this series followed Pathfinder Eando Kline across Varisia, the Hold of Belkzen and the Darklands. In many ways, this entry into the series was a year-and-a-half-long period of trial and error during which the editors at Paizo tried to find the formula and process which would work the best. Even the first entry, "Opening Moves" by Publisher Erik Mona broke the mold by giving an overview of the Pathfinder Society itself rather than an in-character account of a Pathfinder's journeys.
James Sutter, who oversaw the execution of the monthly feature during Eando's run, described the process of using multiple authors as being less than ideal, with both authors and editors not knowing what was coming down the line for Kline month to month. After three adventure path's worth of wrangling Eando's journal, the series took a different and exciting direction.
Starting with the Legacy of Fire Adventure Path, each new path would include a six-part story arc written by a single author. This new format was put to the test with New York Times best-selling author Elaine Cunningham's Dark Tapestry which followed Channa Ti through the deserts of Katapesh and Osirion.
Met with resounding praise, two additional series were commissioned in the same style by fan-favorite authors Dave Gross and Jeff Grubb. Grubb had to pull out of the commitment, however, and his series, Prodigal Sons, was instead written by six different authors in the same style as Eando Kline's journey, but with a full outline to guide them. The single-author approach resumed in the following adventure path, with a series by Robin D. Laws and, after that, a series by Paizo's Managing Editor, F. Wesley Schneider.
In 2014, with Amber E. Scott's Shadow of the Sands, the series shifted back to its origins as a travelogue, formatted as a series of diary entries. The format continued to fluctuate between travelogues, traditional narratives, and thematically-linked anthology novellas by various authors for the ensuing years.
Conclusion of the Pathfinder's Journal
In August 2016, days after the solicitation of Trail of the Hunted was released, making no mention of any included fiction, Paizo Managing Editor James L. Sutter confirmed that the Pathfinder's Journal feature was being retired from the pages of Pathfinder Adventure Path as of the start of the Ironfang Adventure Adventure Path in February 2017. He noted that the change was originally meant to go into effect with the Strange Aeons Adventure Path, but that the opportunity for six authors to write Lovecraftian horror stories was simply too tempting to pass up. The associated six short stories, beginning with The Dollmaker, marked the final entries into the Pathfinder's Journal. Adam Daigle, the author of the last Pathfinder's Journal story, Close Conversation, celebrated the series and discussed the decision to end it in his Foreword to Black Stars Beckon.