Welcome adventurers! Allow me to introduce you to our very involved hobby: Pathfinder. The game of Pathfinder is a tabletop role playing game where players take on the personas of different characters within a Medieval Fantasy world where the elements of gameplay, acting, and storytelling merge. The characters are thrust into a story and scenario that is created in advance and run by one of the group members, who takes them through the story with combat mechanics, painting a tapestry for the world through vivid descriptions, and providing the dialogue for ever inhabitant of the world. The fantasy elements are derived from a variety of different areas, such as from the Lord of the Rings books, Aurthurian legends, and other source materials within the genre.
Playing a good game of Pathfinder requires a large amount of different elements. Players must be famaliar with the Pathfinder rules, that dictate everything from swinging a sword, to climbing a mountain, to convincing a villager to lend you some coins. When it gomes to tabletop role playing, Pathfinder offers players the opportunity for nearly limitless fun and adventure.
Here is a fan-made tutorial showing how Pathfinder works on a high level. This is not me; I did not make this.
How it works
In Pathfinder, when a character wants to do something, the success of that action is a combination of their skill, and an element of chance. At the core of almost any attempted action is the d20, which is a special kind of dice that has 20 sides. A character who wants to swim, or jump, or swing an axe rolls the d20, and adds their skill level to the result. Whether or not they are successful depends on if this total meets the challenge number assigned to the task. Once it has been determined if the attempt was successful or not, the Game Master (or sometimes the player) narrates exactly what happens.
When a player creates a character, the character has to have a race, a character class, and equipment. Each of these areas has its own set of strenghts and weaknesses, and as characters progress, they advance in their character class and obtain powerful items. Characters also have ability scores that dictate their natural abilities in different areas. For example, a character with a strength of 18 (considered significantly stronger than the average man) would be better suited to hand-to-hand combat, climbing, and swimming. By contrast, a character with an Intelligence of 18 would be considered very book smart, would know many different languages, and could potentially cast spells as a Wizard.
In general, the different races and classes are designed to balance with one another. Characters proceed through pre-made adventures as a party, and their ability to work together and balance with each other is often critical to the survival of the group.