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Pathfinder and Starfinder have no plans to take on D&D’s virtual tabletop with their own VTT, Paizo says

“We're focused on making the best tabletop products we can, not the best VTT we can.”

Image credit: Mirrorscape/Paizo

Pathfinder and Starfinder publisher Paizo has insisted that the tabletop RPGs won’t look to take on Dungeons & Dragons with their own official virtual tabletop platform.

The fantasy RPG and its sci-fi spin-off have seen a recent surge in popularity in the wake of D&D’s OGL fallout at the start of the year, with Paizo previously saying “overwhelming” demand from players led to it selling out of eight months’ worth of Pathfinder’s physical core rulebook in two weeks.

Announcements of remastered Pathfinder: Second Edition rulebooks and a second edition of Starfinder - both designed to break away from the games’ OGL roots in the D&D 3.5 system and move to Paizo’s newly-created open licence ORC - have accompanied partnerships with digital platforms such as Demiplane in online toolkit Pathfinder Nexus, augmented reality VTT Mirrorscape and in multiple Pathfinder video games. Those join existing support for virtual tabletops such as Roll20 and Foundry.

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While Pathfinder increasingly looks to vie with Dungeons & Dragons in book sales, digital support and video game adaptations, Paizo has now made clear that it has no plans to directly take on Wizards of the Coast’s upcoming virtual tabletop for D&D. Following its reveal last summer, the ambitious VTT is expected to launch a public playtest later this year, ahead of a full launch in 2024 alongside D&D’s next major iteration, previously codenamed One D&D.

“No,” Paizo’s marketing director Aaron Shanks replied bluntly at this year’s Gen Con when asked if the company plans to create its own virtual tabletop “Not at this time. [But] I suppose, you know, never say never.”

Shanks insisted that Paizo was focused on refining the tabletop RPG itself - with Pathfinder’s Remaster Project arriving “earlier than anticipated” due to the impact of the OGL controversy, and Starfinder: Second Edition’s development expected to span a two-year process including a playtest next summer.

Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

“We want to be where the players are,” Shanks added. “So we're prioritising the VTTs that our fans choose and we want to be all the places they are, rather than a single location. Our relationship with Demiplane is an example of that, and the ORC licence is an example of that.

“The more people who know how to play Pathfinder and Starfinder, regardless of whether or not it's in our setting, is better for our products and all associated products. That's the nature of tabletop roleplaying games. That's one of the great things about giving away our rules for free; it reduces the barriers to entry and then people can get on board that much easier. We're focused on making the best tabletop products we can, not the best VTT we can.”

“We just really want to be the best TTRPG. And tell really deep, engaging, authentic, dynamic stories. [...] We don't want you to get bored, and we very much make the game we want to play ourselves. That's what I think you'll see from us.”

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