Paizo Inc., formerly known as Paizo Publishing, is a game publisher, launched in 2002 to take over Dragon and Dungeon magazines under license from Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast opted not to renew Paizo's license in 2007. Subsequently, Paizo began publishing a monthly series of D&D 3.5 compatible supplements entitled Pathfinder, edited by James Jacobs and set in their own world of Golarion.

Also in 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced the upcoming release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, which replaced 3.5's Open Game License with a more restrictive Game System License. Paizo announced in 2008 that they would launch their own Pathfinder role-playing game, which was based on D&D 3.5. After an open playtest, Pathfinder was released in 2009. By 2011 Pathfinder had displaced Dungeons & Dragons 4e as the top-selling role-playing game. However, in 2014 Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition reclaimed the top spot, with Pathfinder falling to second place.

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