Pathfinder: Kingmaker (2024)

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Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a CRPG by Owlcat Games based on the Adventure Path of the same name published by Paizo in 2010. The game tells the same general story from the tabletop campaign but done within the confines of it being a one player game. Owlcat also took the chance to add in a bunch of new content and new character which range from fairly good to rather mediocre. In September of 2021, Owlcat released another Pathfinder CRPG, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous.

The Basics[edit]

You play a character built using a modified Pathfinder system. You character can be any of the typical fare ranging from Dwarf and Elf and Gnome but also Aasimar and (with the purchase of some DLC) Tiefling. From there you pick a class from any of Pathfinder's core classes as well as Alchemist, Inquisitor, Kineticist, Magus and Slayer. You also pick from a curated selection of feats, design a player avatar and choose or upload a picture of them and start the game. From there you are thrust into a game of exploration, kingdom building, general dungeoneering and more.

Once you get the tutorial section done and get a couple of NPC companions (including Paizo's iconic barbarian and meathead Amiri), you are thrust into the Stolen Lands, a vast wilderness frontier of rolling hills, rivers, forests and swamps to kick bandit ass and forge yourself a petty kingdom. As the name of the game implies, a very large portion of the game is making your character a king (or queen) and having to deal with things like taxes, peasant disputes and incredibly violent owlbears and trolls. For fans of old school D&D, this should be right up their alley.

As you explore the Stolen Lands you slowly begin to learn of some rather peculiar things going on centered around a particular nymph named Nyrissa but also the political machinations of a whole slew of neighbors. Once you get your kingdom right and truly established all of these storylines begin to merge and twist around one another in a rather unique and interesting way, far better written than what just the tabletop version did. In particular the player characters get to know Nyrissa exists before the final module.

The Early Story[edit]

This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.

The games starts with your character and a number of NPCs (many of whom will be companions in your game) in the city of Restov just north of the Stolen Lands in the kingdom of Brevoy. Some of the local nobles are eager to send some people south to kick various humanoid and monster ass and make some petty kingdoms because Restov is in a part Brevoy that is anticipating a civil war or worse. So why send people into the Stolen Lands? Worst case scenario Restov gets a somewhat safer border, best case scenario they have a potential ally in their war with other people in Brevoy.

After a failed bandit attack/assassination attempt (and you getting some party members) you head south and find that the region of the Stolen Lands you're supposed to settle is overtaken by weird fog and is filled to the brim with bandits, kobolds, and other threats. Thankfully a lot of the enemies are largely incidental as they are caught up in a lot of their own affairs to try and take your character on as they map out the region and slowly learn about what is going on.

There are two main "bad guys" early on for you to face down and best. First up is the bandit king who goes by the name of the "Stag Lord." He generally claims the region but is a massive drunk whose own people are not overly loyal to him but mostly obey out of fear of reprisal. Secondly is a gnome spy from the nearby kingdom of Pitax named Tartuccio who spends 90% of his time in the Stolen Lands as a kobold while he stirs sh*t up between the local kobold tribe and their mite allies which results in a war between them that your character gets in on (or just tells both sides to f*ck off and kill them both).

You also learn that there is something evil afoot in the region and a nymph named Nyrissa is at the center of it all. Coming to you as you try to sleep, she tells you to seek out information on the Stag Lord, eliminate an evil presence at a local (now abandoned) temple and more, all while only appearing to you and being wholly invisible/unheard to your allies in your party.

Once the two main villains have been dealt with you head back to Restov and are declared a baron of the lands you just adventured in. From there you can name your kingdom, your capital and claim some more surrounding land. You also get to take some of your allies and companions and get them to work in the kingdom's administration as well as advisors. They get to do much of the day to day things like telling the peasantry to pay their taxes or running propaganda for you among other things.

It should be noted that if you don't keep up with your kingdom's management (meeting important people, assigning jobs to advisors, doing numerous tasks for you subjects or dealing with monster threats) your kingdom can collapse and it is a game over (although if you don't want to deal with that, setting the kingdom management on autopilot is also an option). You need to take on big threats fast or suffer the consequences. You also need to deal with opportunities such as getting lucrative trade deals or promoting education or the military so that your kingdom can grow more powerful as well. All of this is tied into the main story as well as your companions stories and other NPC stories running in the background. Like that Nyrissa character? She was actually using your character and tugging at their heartstrings to do her bidding, but then lures you away from your party with the thinly veiled promise of nymph nookie and tries to kill you with a manticore, a hydra, an owlbear, a small legion of redcaps and an oversized Venus flytrap, because she has morbid dreams of grandeur. Fun times to say the least.The reason she's so ruthless is because a mad fey lord tore out her heart and banished her from the First World, and she has to bring about the downfall of a thousand kingdoms before she can return. If you work hard enough, you can actually romance and redeem her.

The Companions[edit]

  • Amiri the Barbarian: Pathfinder's Iconic Human Barbarian, she carries a big ass bastard sword and follows the old barbarian adage of "hit it until it is dead." Like tabletop, her oversized sword should be swapped for a properly sized one as soon as possible. Unlike her tabletop incarnation who "never speaks of the circ*mstances that forced her to flee her homeland" she readily tells her backstory and what she tells you isn't entirely true... Her personal quest is dealing with her old tribe, and what is to become of its leadership, plus a choice of who to sacrifice to power up her sword. Works perfectly fine, and the game even has most of the good totem powers.
  • Ekundayo the Ranger: A dour man of few words chasing the trolls who slaughtered his family. Has a "dog" animal companion (just a wolf, really) that seems to have adopted him, despite his disinterest in it. He actually gets revenge within a few hours of gameplay, and most of his character arc is figuring out what to do after that. Depending on your choices he can let go of his dead family and swear to protect your kingdom in their memory so no one else winds up like them, or become a vengeance seeking monster-slaying monomaniac. In the great tradition of animal companions, the dog alone is one of the strongest companions, even without Ekun's considerable skill with a bow. Ekun has rolled ridiculously high on his ability scores, having the equivalent to 36 point buy (compared to your 25 and a mercenary's 20), and is built extremely competently besides, making him a great crutch for many parties if the player isn't a die-hard Pathfinder fan who fully understands the system's quirks.
  • Harrim the Dwarf Cleric of Groetus: A dwarf that rejected his people and turned to worship of Groetus after being spurned by Torag who, allegedly, cursed him with the undwarfy trait of sucking at crafting. Groetus is the obscure god of the eventual, inevitable end of existence (As in "ENTROPY HAS UNMADE THEM."), so Harrim is naturally quite the depressing nihilist, as demonstrated by an endless series of jokes about his being a whiny drama queen that weren't that funny the first time. Since Groetus's portfolio is not destruction of existence but outlasting it, Harrim channels positive energy despite his grim personality. Actually blessed by Torag with the rare ability to undo flawed creation. Depending on your choices in his quest, he can reconcile with his people and become happy in spite of the inevitable end (if there's no point to it, why not enjoy it while it lasts?), or give into his spite and the total madness that ultimately awaits all of Groetus's clerics.
  • Jaethal the Undead Elf Inquisitor of Urgathoa: Lots of necromantic powers and fights with a scythe. Specifically says she doesn't care about doing naughty things when asked, but as an undead is incapable of it. Being undead gives her a lot of useful immunities, but she's unfortunately trapped in one of the worst classes in the game with the worst possible domain choice. Multiclass her to any other front line class ASAP. Depending on your choices she can reject Urgathoa and be smote by Lady Despair herself in return for that slight, only to be returned to actual life as a reward by Pharasma much later in the game (good luck figuring that one out without a guide), be killed by you or a fanatical fallen Inquisitor, or fall further into depravity by either stealing her living daughter's body or sacrificing her for more power and favor from her goddess.
  • Jubilost the Gnome Alchemist: Adventurer cartographer/travel guide writer. Pompous, stuck up and chucks both verbal and literal bombs at everything. Seeks the reason Gnomes undergo the bleaching, a question that was never actually answered in Pathfinder's lore before answered in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The First World, Realm of the Fey (2016). The only full companion to appear in the original adventure path, where he was a relatively minor NPC. Despite being thoroughly insufferable, he's generally got the smarts and skills to live up to his ego, and has enough positive qualities to come across as mostly likable. He shows up right in the middle of a chapter where lots of trolls have managed to make themselves immune to fire, so his acid bombs are indispensible.
  • Kalikke & Kanerah the Tiefling Kineticists: A tiefling pair of bickering twin sisters. After one died to a soul eating Daemon, the intervention of Nethys allowed both to live, but only one to exist on the prime material plane at a time. You can romance both simultaneously, that's right, the game permits incestuous polyamory, although it takes a bit of doing to figure out how to solve their diabolical ancestor's plans to take over their lives. (DLC)
  • Linzi the Halfling Bard: The game's framing device, and probably the only lockpick and healbot the party has out of the gate. Is a character fans either love or hate, especially since she's a really thirsty lesbian. Is unavoidably transformed into the book she was writing all game long in the end, but in the good endings she manages to make peace with the situation.
  • Nok-Nok the Goblin Rogue: Your own personal goblin psycho written by Chris Avellone. Minmaxed to hell and back, he's a murder machine Knife Master rogue in a game that removed both that class and archetype's major weaknesses. He can either realize his ambitions to become a new goblin hero or make peace with other people finding him funny and embrace his role as your jester; he's content with either outcome and both give him the inner security to play dead instead of getting back up screaming that he didn't hear no bell and getting himself killed.
  • Octavia the Half-Elf Rogue/Wizard: The only character that, by default, takes the opportunity to multiclass, Octavia's built to go into the Arcane Trickster prestige class. An escaped slave and lover of Regongar, Octavia is the top in their relationship and the two are 100% willing to share with a PC of either gender although the endgame will kill one of them off in that case whereas normally both can be rescued. Their sidequest involves trying to deal with the fallout of slavery, depending on its resolution Octavia can end up alignment shifting towards Chaotic Neutral.
  • Regongar the Half-Orc Magus: Angry half-orc that uses a modified version of the sorcerer magus archetype that doesn't suck. Halfway competently built in that his bloodline powers are Blue Dragon, meaning he can take full advantage of his class's best damage spells, although he sure can't take much of a punch until he's got enough levels in him to get better armor and/or prestige into Dragon Disciple. Somewhat unique in being Chaotic Evil, although he's reasonably chill about it and like Octavia he can alignment shift up towards Chaotic Neutral depending on the outcome of his personal quest. Very much the sexual submissive who loves getting hit, which... yeah, that tracks. Also a bisexual love interest, like Octavia, though the two of them will want to share their open relationship at first.
  • Tristian the Cleric of Sarenrae: Heals McHealypants. Someone has to. Also has access to some proper fire magic through his archetype, in exchange for no armor and being useless with weapons. Given damn near everything resists fire, it's not worth it in the tabletop, but in this particular adventure a lot of the later-game enemies aren't (although the final boss is immune to it). Actually an angel brought down to human by Nyrissa, who claims to hold his divine form hostage to help her kill your kingdom behind the scenes. Tristian is an idiot and believes her empty threats entirely, but he was also helping you by abusing her exact words to still give you some aid. His personal quest is cleaning up a cult Nyrissa has made in your kingdom and getting forgiveness from his goddess for his actions. Why Sarenrae didn't just yank his powers before he could them for genocide is unclear, but might have something to do with the fine print of how to destroy an artifact according to the written adventure path.
  • Valerie the Fighter: Lawful Stupid ex-Paladin of Shelyn that hates that people only recognize her beauty and the goddess's clergy attempting to bring her back into the fold. A tower shield specialist whose AC makes her neigh untouchable, but utterly useless against spells; has a weird stat-spread that's famously hard to wring something out of. Popular choices involve the Defender prestige class and multiclassing into Kinetic Knight with the DLC. Depending on your choices she can learn to accept her appearance is part of who she is and learn to ignore Shelyn in peace, or continue to live in spite.
  • Tartuccio the Gnome Sorcerer: An evil Gnome that pretends to join the expedition but is really a Pitaxian spy trying to sabotage it. Only a companion in the prologue and becomes a secondary antagonist in chapter 1. Is reincarnated into a Kobold and a secondary antagonist in chapter 2. Can join you in the final area if you spare him and do some other stuff. Actually appeared in the original module as minor antagonist Tartuk (which he takes as an alias in the game), but the two versions have vast differences, with only that he's a CE purple haired gnome sorcerer reincarnated into a Kobold and the rough outline of his actions in chapter 1 (which are greatly expanded on in the game) remaining.

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Pathfinder: Kingmaker (2024)


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