Paizo has announced that Sam Zeitlin is the winner of the company’s annual design contest in search of the undiscovered great game designers around the world at the Paizo blog.

After 5 rounds of design challenges, Zeitlin, from Arlington, VA, was voted by the Paizo community to be the winner of the contest’s fourth season, with  judges Ryan Dancey, Sean K Reynolds, Mark Moreland and Neil Spicer narrowing the top 32 finalists in January.

During the final round, the top 4 finalists including Cody Coffelt (Boise, ID), Jerall Toi (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) and Sean McGowan (New York City, NY) were asked to create a proposal for a 32 page adventure module for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Zeitlin’s submission, Grasping at Shadows, would be made into a 4th level adventure module that would be written by Zeitlin himself, under contract with Paizo, and will be published by Paizo in January 2012, named The Midnight Mirror.

The adventure can be pre-ordered here and will be sent to Pathfinder Module subscribers.

For the first time in the contest, the remaining top 4 finalists will be contracted to write a Pathfinder Society scenario that will be available for organised play in the coming months.

This year’s challenges tested the amateur game designers to design a Wondrous Item, an archetype based on a class, a villain stat block, a location with map set in Golarion and finally a full adventure proposal.

Paizo game designer Stephen Radney-MacFarland, cartographers Jared Blando and Robert Lazzaretti, and Paizo Creative Director James Jacobs acted as guest judges and also gave advice to the contestants through the design challenges.

Meanwhile, Paizo is giving a free Paizo PDF product to fans of their new fiction line, Pathfinder Tales. From now to 2.00pm on Wednesday, post a picture of yourself with a copy of Prince of Wolves, Winter Witch or Plague of Shadows at their Facebook and the winner will be pick at random.