PathfinderWiki:Canon policy

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This page is an official policy on the PathfinderWiki.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow.

In accordance with policy, this page has been protected. You can suggest changes by following the revision procedure or discussing it on the talk page.

The goal of PathfinderWiki is to be a reliable, concise guide to all readers in its description of the Pathfinder campaign setting and associated material. Toward this end, it is necessary for us to restrict to some extent the type of information we accept. Ultimately, this will ensure that PathfinderWiki remains useful and authoritative for the widest possible range of fans.

This policy is not intended to mandate a single way of viewing the Pathfinder universe, and does not exist to promote any particular critical judgment on the various sourcebooks and fiction; it exists to permit an orderly cataloging of data into manageable categories with a minimum of conflict and a maximum amount of fidelity to the source material as written. With that in mind, chroniclers should at all times be tolerant and respectful of other viewpoints, opinions, and conclusions.

Summary of policy

Articles need to cite each resource used as the basis for their information. Generally, everything published in any Pathfinder sourcebook or fiction can be used as a resource for an article.

Information from non-production materials (such as Paizo's promotional blog) and creator clarification (such as errata or expansion from authors and editors on the Paizo messageboards or chat transcripts) are also considered valid resources, but should be cited as accurately as possible. More specific details and exceptions are below, and in our canon policy FAQ.

Article types

On PathfinderWiki, we differentiate between two types of articles:

  • Pathfinder setting articles or In-universe articles. These articles are written about subjects inside the Pathfinder campaign setting, using an "in-universe" point of view. Subjects can include events, objects, or anything mentioned in a sourcebook or novel. They must adhere strictly to the canon policy.
  • Pathfinder franchise articles. These articles are written from a "meta" or real life point of view, and are written about the Pathfinder franchise. Subjects can include articles about the publication of the books themselves, as well as articles about novels, sourcebooks, and other official materials, as well as pages about authors, editors, artists and publishers. These pages are not covered by the canon policy.


Pathfinder setting articles require that all statements of fact be supported by reference to identified source material that is a "valid resource". Failure to identify a referenced source, or use of a source that is not a valid resource, may result in removal or revision of the associated statement and/or article.

Pathfinder franchise articles should have citations as necessary, but the citations do not have to be to a valid resource.

Valid resources

Tier 0

  • Errata created by Paizo editorial staff

Tier 1

Tier 2

  • All Pathfinder Campaign Setting volumes, and their earlier Pathfinder Chronicles designation (including the Campaign Setting)
  • All Pathfinder Module volumes
  • All Pathfinder Player Companion volumes
  • All Pathfinder Society Scenarios (including retired scenarios)
  • All Pathfinder fiction, including, Pathfinder's Journal fiction within the Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes; Pathfinder Tales novels published by Paizo or by Tor Books; Pathfinder Tales web fiction; Pathfinder Tales short fiction
    • when resolving conflicts between works of fiction and sourcebooks, both of which are Tier 2 sources, take into account the possibility of, for instance, an unreliable narrator in the fiction; always explain the rationale when a sourcebook is considered of greater authority than a fiction source
  • All canon content in playtest materials, such as Pathfinder Playtest content

Tier 3

  • Web supplements released by Paizo
  • The Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play (note version number in citations)
  • World clarification from a citable source such as permanent message board post, chat transcript, or podcast
    • by a member of the Paizo editorial staff on any topic
    • or a freelance contributor in relation to a topic on which they are credited with having written

Tier 4

  • All licensed Pathfinder campaign setting material in non-Paizo sources including but not limited to:

Articles should not be created for subjects that are not included or referred to in an official Pathfinder source.

Errata and world clarifications from staff and writers should be cited as thoroughly as possible.

Invalid resources

The following resources are considered invalid and should not be referenced in any form in an in-world article:

  • Fan-made personalities, locations, deities, events, spells, items, or histories, including those in such publications as Wayfinder.
  • Fan fiction of any kind.
  • Fan reference works of any kind.
  • Mechanical content from playtests for any purposes, including infobox statistics and categorization. See the No crunch policy.

Conflicting sources

Valid sources are divided into tiers of authority, tier 0 being the most authoritative, and tier 4 being the least. In the case of an irreconcilable conflict between sources, the source from the most authoritative tier should be given preference (in the case of an intra-tier conflict, the most recently published source should be used, excepting extenuating circumstances or consensus to the contrary). However, in all cases is that valid sources should be construed so as not to be in conflict. The presumption should be that a conflict does not exist unless no other explanation is reasonable under the circumstances.

In the event of a conflict, the {{Conflict}} template should be used, and notes regarding the resolution of the conflict should be made on the article's talk subpage linked to by the dagger symbol created by the Conflict template (such as Talk:Absalom/Conflicts). After noting the conflict resolution, categorize the talk page appropriately:

Regarding dates

The Pathfinder campaign setting's Absalom Reckoning calendar approximately corresponds to our real-world calendar, with months occurring in the same order and in-world year sharing its last two digits with the real-world year.

For example, today's date is Oathday, 30 Pharast, 4723 AR; the estimated Absalom Reckoning date for a publication from June 2013 is Sarenith, 4713 AR. For the Imperial Calendar of Tian Xia, add 2,500 to the Absalom Reckoning year.

See also: {{Golariondate}} and {{Golariondate/holidays}}

When entering an Absalom Reckoning or Imperial Calendar date for an event where one isn't explicitly specified, always take into account the source's year of publication and cite the date as an estimate:

... in [[4715 AR]].<ref>{{Cite book/Occult Realms|666}} Year estimated from publication date.</ref>

Explicitly specified dates should always take precedence over estimates.

Deleting invalid articles in whole or in part

If a Pathfinder campaign setting article contains nothing but information cited to invalid resources, it may be listed in the Articles marked for deletion and thereafter deleted in accordance with the then-current deletion policy.

If an in-world article contains information cited to invalid resources, cites a valid resource that conflicts with another valid resource without clearly addressing the conflict, or contains excessive amounts of background or non-canon data, the issue should be noted on the article's individual talk page. After a reasonable period of time for discussion, the article may be revised to include only appropriate citations to valid resources, appropriate notations as to conflicts among valid resources, and/or reduced levels of background or non-canon data. Prior to such reasonable time, and except in cases of vandalism, obscenity, and similar reasons, an article should not be edited to simply delete and/or modify the text.


Categories are metadata provided by the Mediawiki software and are designed and primarily used to help chroniclers and visitors discover related content on the wiki. They are not intended to reflect the current state of canon; the article content is. This can include adding categories reflecting the past state of a subject, such as older game mechanics or changes over time to that subject that result in a change in its categories.

Note that production errors, such as Old-Mage Jatembe's alignment misprint in Inner Sea Magic or the "buttery knife" in Adventurer's Armory, are exempt from this; superseded content can be categorized, but content that was never deemed correct should not be.

For example:

  • A fifth-level fighter who dies over the course of the canon's timeline does not lose its Category:Fighters and Category:Fighters of 5th level categories when it gains the Category:Deceased inhabitants category, even though that character ceases to exist as a fighter, because that character still exists in some canon works as a fifth-level fighter, and a visitor looking for fifth-level fighters should still be able to find an article on that character in Category:Fighters or Category:Fighters of 5th level. The fighter's {{Person}} infobox can still describe the character by class levels, but should include a deceased or destroyed date, year, or event as appropriate. Because class levels are crunch, they should not be included in the article's content.
  • A creature depicted as being CR 20 in an older source does not lose Category:CR 20 creatures when a newer source updates it to CR 24 and results in the addition of Category:CR 24 creatures, because that creature still exists as a CR 20 creature in some canon works and should be discoverable in either category. The infobox should state the current canonical state of the creature, so its infobox should display CR 24, not CR 20, and {{Conflict}} should be added to the CR value in the infobox to describe the change. Since the CR is crunch, it should not be included in the article's content.
  • A city that was a metropolis in a source published in 2016/4716 AR and was destroyed in a source published in 2017/4717 AR might gain Category:Ruins but should not lose Category:Metropolises, because that city still exists as a metropolis in some canon works and should still be discoverable in Category:Metropolises. Its infobox should depict the city's current inhabitants, if any, and its history should explain that the city once had a population large enough to be classified mechanically as a metropolis, citing the older source.

Note that mechanical content in playtest materials are invalid sources even for these purposes.

Frequently asked questions

Canon tier of Pathfinder RPG-line books

If a hardcover book in the Pathfinder RPG line suggests a specific result to the events of a Pathfinder Adventure Path, is that considered canon?
Yes, but only if that book is the Adventurer's Guide or newer.
The Adventurer's Guide marks a change in Paizo's policies, which now allow for Pathfinder campaign setting material to be included in Pathfinder RPG-line products that were previously setting-neutral, and for that material to also advance the setting's timeline. Among other conclusions, the results of this decision can include assuming that certain events from an adventure path take place with a specific canon result, or that characters did (or didn't) survive the adventure path.
As such, starting with the Adventurer's Guide these books are considered Tier 1 resources for setting canon, and because they are newer than the adventure paths that they reference, new or changed information about those adventure paths that appears in RPG-line books should reflect the current canon state of the setting on the wiki.
Pathfinder RPG-line books older than the Adventurer's Guide are not Tier 1 resources, and their contents do not necessarily reflect the canon setting. Creature statistics from Bestiary volumes remain the sole exception to this rule; bestiaries are still considered Tier 1 sources, but only for creature statistics.

Specific sources

What about the old Compleat Encounters? One of them is called The Vault of the Whispering Tyrant. Are they canon?
While some of these products refer to people, or places from the Pathfinder campaign setting, Paizo staff have stated here and here that they merely serve as inspiration for the current incarnation of Golarion. As such, these products shouldn't be used as source material for PathfinderWiki articles.
I heard that the information in Guardians of Dragonfall isn't valid any more... what's up with that?
It turns out that there was some miscommunication with the the author of that Pathfinder Module, which led to some material being included that didn't fit Paizo's vision of how dragons should be portrayed. James Jacobs stated here that J2 shouldn't be taken as a source for information on Golarion's dragons.