- For other meanings of "Pathfinder campaign setting", please see Pathfinder campaign setting (disambiguation).
The Pathfinder campaign setting by Paizo Publishing is a campaign setting designed first for the Open Gaming License and later for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The setting focuses primarily on the world of Golarion and more specifically, the Inner Sea region of Avistan and northern Garund, but there are at least eleven additional planets in the setting and a wide array of other planes.
The campaign setting was announced in April, 2007 shortly after the announcement that Paizo would no longer be publishing the official Dungeons & Dragons magazines when their license from Wizards of the Coast expired. The first products to feature the world of Golarion were D1: Crown of the Kobold King and D0: Hollow's Last Hope in June of that year. The main kickoff to the world, however, occurred 2 months later at GenCon 2007 when the first Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rise of the Runelords, debuted. Subsequent product lines supporting the setting have since been released, including the Pathfinder Campaign Settting and Pathfinder Player Companion lines, as well as multiple forms of fiction under the Pathfinder Tales brand.
The first book to thoroughly detail the Inner Sea region and define the setting as a whole was the Gazetteer, released in April 2008. The 64-page book was later expanded into a 256-page hardcover—the Campaign Setting—which released in August 2008. After the advent of the Pathfinder RPG, the Campaign Setting went out of print, and was replaced with a revamped and expanded hardcover written for the Pathfinder RPG—The Inner Sea World Guide—which released in March 2011. All three of the core setting books (Gazetteer, Campaign Setting, and Inner Sea World Guide) won the Gold ENnie award for best setting.
Much of the feel of the setting is reminiscent of classic genre elements present in other settings such as Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk and even setting-neutral modules from the earliest days of the game. Many elements of the world were mined from the homebrew campaign worlds of the Paizo staff, especially Erik Mona and James Jacobs. In large part, the setting aims to provide a "home" for campaigns of all flavors, with distinct regions themed around different genres and styles of play, from horror-themed Ustalav to steampunk Alkenstar, from high-magic Nex to the low-magic Realm of the Mammoth Lords, from the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse to the Egypt-inspired deserts of Osirion. Many of the setting's themes and specific details are inspired by pulp fantasy and science fiction by such authors as Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber, and Jack Vance.