Paizo Inc. (originally Paizo Publishing.) is an American role-playing gamepublishing company based in Redmond, Washington, best known for the tabletop role-playing gamePathfinder. The company’s name is derived from the Greek word παίζωpaizō, which means ‘I play’ or ‘to play’. Paizo also runs an online retail store selling role-playing games, gaming aids, board games, comic books, toys, clothing and other products, and has an Internet forum community.
Paizo was formed by Lisa Stevens, Vic Wertz, and Johnny Wilson in 2002 to take over publication of the Dungeons & Dragons magazines Dragon and Dungeon, formerly published in-house by Wizards of the Coast. Paizo publisher Erik Mona is the former editor-in-chief of Dragon, while former editor-in-chief of DungeonJames Jacobs oversees the Pathfinder periodicals.
The company started producing a bimonthly magazine called Undefeated in 2003, and in 2004, resurrected the venerable science fiction title Amazing Stories. The two publications were placed on hiatus in 2005, and finally canceled in 2006.
In early 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced it would not renew Paizo’s license to publish Dragon and Dungeon, leaving a five year run from September 2002 to September 2007.
Paizo’s subsequently began the periodical PathfinderAdventure Path, which continues the concept featured in Dungeon of monthly installments of adventures that tell a self-contained story. These Adventure Paths are set in the world of Golarion, the official Pathfindercampaign setting. Paizo announced on March 18, 2008, that they would be launching the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Through the new product line, Paizo would modify, update, maintain, and publish the 3.5 System Reference Document (under Wizards of the Coast‘s Open Gaming License). The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game would also support Paizo’s Pathfinder campaign setting. In March 2008, Paizo also announced that it was introducing an organized play program called “Pathfinder Society Organized Play”. The program was loosely modeled on the RPGAs“Living” campaigns. Additional products in the Pathfinder line include Pathfinder modules and Pathfinder Tales novels.
In May 2016, Paizo announced a new space fantasy role-playing game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, released in August 2017. It is set in a possible future of the Pathfinder setting where Golarion has disappeared.
In May 2018, Paizo announced it was working on a second edition of Pathfinder to refine elements of the rule set to reflect feedback and clarification on the original system over the prior years. The preliminary ruleset was published in August 2018 as Pathfinder Playtest so that players could test out and provide feedback. The final rule set was released on August 1, 2019.
On June 15, 2020, Paizo announced CEO Lisa Stevens was going to step down from daily operations in preparation for her retirement.
Other Paizo products include the Titanic Games line of boardgames such as Kill Doctor Lucky, and the Planet Stories line of classic fantasy, science fiction and science fantasy novels.
On October 14, 2021, an organization representing over 30 Paizo employees announced the formation of the United Paizo Workers, a labor union allied with the Communications Workers of America. Paizo employees announced plans to unionize as United Paizo Workers under the Communication Workers of America in October 2021, becoming the first such tabletop game company to have such a union. The employees stated that recent issues related to “managerial impropriety” was a driver for the unionization effort. Paizo voluntarily agreed to recognize the union, allowing collective bargaining negotiations between the company and union to commence.