Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Going to play this game again some day, saving all the DLC for that moment.
Considering one of the worst parts of the campaign imo, was the "rogue-like" 4 hour dungeon with no way to get out, mixed with instant death spell-casting enemies, I can't say I am hopeful. Though of course, making it actually rogue-like, and not an important, integrated part of your 100+ hour campaign, supposedly should make it less infuriatingly bad game design.

Worth $20 for someone who liked Baldur's Gate games? Never had any exposure to Pathfinder.

Balthezor wrote:

Worth $20 for someone who liked Baldur's Gate games? Never had any exposure to Pathfinder.

Yes!

For the main game? Yeah.
It was extremely bugged at release, but it is supposedly much better now - there is really no way it isn't. They patched it daily/weekly for months.
The underlying systems (Pathfinder) is great - I didn't have any previous experience with it either, but it seems like a strong system that is translated quite well into a video game - unlike the old D&D system in Baldurs Gate imo (which was another time of course).
The story is not epic on a Baldurs Gate scale, supposedly they build it from multiple PnP Pathfinder campaigns, and I can believe that, because the storylines feel disjointed. The individual parts are pretty good on their own however.
Then there is a weird and forgetable kingdom builder sim. Not much positive to say there.

I personally love Obisidians recent Pillars of Eternity games, with game systems build directly for video games, instead of translating them from PnP.
But.. Pathfinder is really the game that has come closest to recreating Baldurs Gate 2 in its immense scale and gameplay.

Certis wrote:
Balthezor wrote:

Worth $20 for someone who liked Baldur's Gate games? Never had any exposure to Pathfinder.

Yes!

To expand: I found the story to be very much like the story of Baldurs gate, in that it starts small and local but eventually expands to world threatening scale. It is a faithful rendition of the Pathfinder game system, which was really an outgrowth of D&D 3.5 after WotC left it by the wayside for 4th addition. It definitely rewards being familiar with pathfinder is a similar way to how Baldurs gate rewarded being familiar with AD&D but I don't feel like it demands perfect optimization unless you are playing on the highest difficulties. The voice acting is amazing in some places, terrible in other, but the story-lines written for the companions I found to be really interesting.

the kingdom building... it's alright. Turn it down to easy (it has it's own difficulty slider) and it's a decent part of the game, on higher difficulties it's more trouble than it's worth and can end your game without warning if you arn't minding it closely enough.

So yea, definitely worth the $20 if you are a fan of the older long format D&D isometric games. I personally think it's worth it at full price now that they have polished most of the bugs out, but i'm a sucker for pathfinder and pay it as my primary PnP system so take that for what it's worth.

Um, okay so the Beneath the Stolen Lands DLC is AWESOME!
I think you will get at least 20-30 hours working your way down the dungeon and trying out builds if you are someone who enjoyed the campaign and like the story focus. (or Baldur's Gate over Icewind Dale)

But for someone like me, who can think of nothing better than to test out every build and discovering how builds intermesh, (or Icewind Dale over Baldur's Gate), I can easily see that even if I get bored after 20-40 hours, I will revisit the game over and over in the coming months and years. So over time I will put at least 100 hours into it and get my money's worth 5 fold. I really really really wish Pillars of Eternity 2 had something like this

Also, if you have it on steam, the DLC is on sale for $8.50 and I'd wager you can use those points you've accumulated to get one of those $6 off coupons and get it for the rock bottom price of $2.50...

ALl kineticist and kitetic knight party? feasable? probably not without a healer.

all cleric party, totally doable

Okay, rogue like DLC just keeps getting better.
The one weakness is, and you are going to laugh at me, the levels come probably too fast. You basically go down a level and you get enough xp to level up. So if it didn't take a half hour to create a companion until you fill out the party, you could level every 10-15 minutes.

Now I am never one to enjoy the typical DnD level per hour at level 1 and I never favor playing a DnD game where you start at level 1. But I already have just a tiniest smidgen of an idea what I am doing and the leveling pace is hurting more than it helps.

That is just a nitpick and it may honestly be contributing to my enjoyment of the DLC. The feeling now as I stride through the dungeon is that each party member is loaded for bear with complexity that I don't know how to use half of. My party was level 3 before I figured out how that going back to the floor entrance would send me back camp to sell my looted goods and hire new companions. Okay so shoot me but I thought after reading the description that the paladin hospitalier was going to be a healer out of the gate rather than getting her first heals at level 4. I used scavenged health potions to heal until I got an inquisitor (with a centipede pet) at nearly level 4. If it wasn't cool enough to have a centipede pet, its attack causes poison which seemed pretty handy. I can't wait to have a party with a class that has the mastodon pet. It has to be huge!

My current level 5 party is a magus sword saint, a pal hospitalier, a rogue eldritch scoundrel, an inquisitor sacred huntsman, a monk scaled fist and an eldritch archer. The monk was not hardy until level 2 and now has the highest AC of my party with minimal gear support. She is also an adorable halfling. The dwarf sword saint with some rings and bracers is a surprisingly good off tank and being specialized in elven curved blade is just wicked. The "healer" hospitalier is a half orc that has been a damage beast with a greatsword since day one. The elf eldritch scoundrel has come into her own with her more frequent sneak attacks form a larger party. The asimar huntsman is also a ranged sniper, heals and has great utility with the centipede pet. The half elf eldritch archer is unclear how much effect she has had on an already gelling party. The idea of delivering spells via arrows seems just too cool to pass up.

I get that people like the conversation options, voice acted preset companions and story of the main campaign. But I feel like so much of the complexity of the character system is underutilized until you start dungeon crawling. To me, it is like owning a plane and just taxiing everywhere you want to go instead of flying. Yes you only get a birds eye view of downtown, but you can fly to anywhere in the world.

I've nearly put a hundred hours into this, and it still delights me. The moment to moment gameplay is more satisfying than either PoE game, IMO. I'm still in Chapter 4, having had a bit of a Sekiro hiatus, but I'm looking forward to revisiting and wrapping everything up.

There is one satisfying difference from PoE that I feel highlights what you are saying. When you cast a healing spell, and I believe other touch spells, you prepare first where you are standing and then once prepared and ready to deliver, you walk up to your target and cast it on them. There is just something about that which creates tension and a sense of power in your character. You infuse yourself with power and then carry it, lending weight during the carry and impact when delivered.

I think the more methodical combat pacing lends to that and differentiates the swing of a greatsword and the fists of a monk. And to further, the better sense of character it creates when distinguishing a halforc greatsword swing with a halfing monk's fists. (I think my halfling is as tall as the half orc's thigh)

The slower pace also lends to better tension created when you are trying to close the gap with an enemy preparing a spell.

Mind you, I love me some PoE 1+2. Some of this is 6 of 1 and half dozen of the other.

The granular Pillars of Eternity speed/interrupt system is impressive from a number-crunching aspect but ultimately incalculable given the vast array of damage types and percentage calculations. It boiled down to remembering enemy x is weak against damage type y and does damage type z, then throwing buffs and debuffs to exploit those traits. Ask me how much damage I could expect to do on a hit and I'd have no idea. This led me to never quite get the flavor of a character as even though the individual concepts were cool, powers were mostly about gradually adding weight to the scale with soft counters and ensuring the preponderance of damage went to the enemy. While this enhanced the need for careful teamwork, characters (by design) feel powerful only as a cog in the party machine.

In Kingmaker (and the Infinity Engine games) combat feels like it's more about breaking defenses with hard counters, then dropping the anvil. While less dynamic in some sense, I find something immensely satisfying about being able to magically AoE a whole mob or gib someone with a big-ass weapon after holding them. Individual characters might not have anything to contribute in certain situations, but those fist-pump moments are more impactful. This definitely hearkens back to the ultra-specialized and moderately imbalanced characters of old-school D&D.

These design tendencies also make jack-of-all-trades characters love 'em or hate 'em kind of thing; they're great if one really wants their main to be involved in all aspects of the gameplay but are actually going to sort of suck at everything compared to their min-maxed compatriots. When you either hit or you miss, there's not a lot of room for nuance.

My party is level 7 and making its way down the floors.
Stuff is still manageable but getting intense. I just encountered my first troll. 3-4 ranged goblins seem to focus down my sword saint nearly every fight. In fact the fight with the troll I almost lost her as she was not only knocked unconscious but had negative 17 hp and gained the status that if she ever went negative hp again she would be gone for good. I also have my eldritch scoundrel get an injury that lowered her dex by 1.

Thank fully a full rest up by the dragon removed these injuries. It marked the first time I couldn't march into a room and send my tanks at each of the ranged attackers. As soon as I saw the troll as the door opened, I ran back out of the hallway and focused them down as they came through the door. And thankfully I loaded up on characters with scorching ray and acid splash to make the troll and troll hound stay dead.

I may need to look into some other tactics like opening with stinking cloud or some sort of blindness or wall of fog (if they have it). My monk has deflect arrows... Maybe it was a mistake to not have any in my party wield a shield? If I ever make another party, I will be sure to include that and I really want to make a character specialized in staff sling Oh, and double bladed sword too.

fangblackbone wrote:

Okay, rogue like DLC just keeps getting better. [snip...]

Whosawhatsit?? Ok, I need to check that out. I recently mused that I should give P:K another (approx third) shake, given all the positive feedback here; however, I'd much prefer that 90% of the dialogue and story was gutted out..

That's typically NOT my stance with RPGs but, man, those aspects of P:K (at least near the beginning of the game -- which is as far as I ever could stomach to progress) tempted me to drive a hot poker into the side of my head and stir my brains up like scrambled eggs.

The dialogue is very wordy and proper noun-y, even for a fantasy story. That said, I think late early game / mid game story elements are intriguing and fresh. I haven't seen how the end game shakes out - I'm still in chapter 4 - but word on the street is that they don't quite stick the landing. Once I finish Sekiro I'm definitely doubling back.

Whosawhatsit?? Ok, I need to check that out. I recently mused that I should give P:K another (approx third) shake, given all the positive feedback here; however, I'd much prefer that 90% of the dialogue and story was gutted out..

Yes you need to. It has turned the game from an expensive pre-order coaster into an ever growing wise purchase. I keep going back to IWD EE every few months but Pathfinder will now replace that so completely that I will uninstall IWD EE that has been on my hdd for ~4 out of the 5 years since release.

Though I am still hoping that Beamdog makes an expansion that puts the IWD 2 campaign in IWD EE since apparently IWD 2 EE is impossible... (Come on man, human dual classing is already in IWD EE, someone could make every race at least dual class and add feats into the weapon specialization mechanics. It would be a great first step in implementing 3E in IWD EE. Or you could make feats another spell tree alongside Priest and Mage spells, or cram feats into one of the existing spell trees and lock out the actual spells for classes that can't cast them)

^ Yeah, I believe they said that IWD 2 EE is a no go because of the ~ source code gone MIA debacle that happened way back in the day. Intriguing idea on your workaround though, perhaps the best they could shoot for given the situation.
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@ Harpo, I suspect you've hit the nail on the head. I'd assert that this extends to the dialogue/banterish stuff as well, not just the story. I can enjoy that style of writing approach in something like Pillars 2, a bit less in Pillars 1[...], but it's certainly WAY to much, for my preferences, in P:K. Uneven might be a better description for certain parts(?) I think you're right though, if they kept it short and punchy I probably wouldn't feel as weighed down by it.

Ugh! I just reached the 10th floor of the dungeon and have no choice other than to get annihilated by a group of fire elementals: giant, large and lesser along with some mephits.
At times I've done okay but I have no idea how many hp the big fella has. Is there any resource on monster stats for this game? I swear I have peppered him with ~100 points of damage. Oh, did I mention I believes he has a huge mind control aura so it is sort of random which of my party plays for the other team

I have tried casting and sending in summons and other things but there is so much going on that battle assessment is pretty futile. I haven't given up but I have taken a break to try a new party.

My new party obviously is a mixed of whimsical ideas and lessons learned. I have 2 tanks with shields, one of which is a resistence and damage reduction barbarian and the other is a tower shield fighter. I also have a bard flamecaller that has a fire resist aura at later levels. For whimsy, my rogue is weapon focused with sling staff and I wanted to try out an alchemist healer because - bombs! I also dialed back the difficulty from normal to easy or whatever one tier down is. The party is level 4 and so far so good...

fangblackbone wrote:

I also have a bard flamecaller that has a fire resist aura at later levels.

Because roguelike DLC..

Bard [who has been training his whole career towards that fire resist trick]: So, wizard, what did those runes by the first stairwell say?

Wizard: "Waterworld".

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ps. Who knows when I'll get around to it, but just pulled the trigger on the (3) DLC Season Pass bundle.

fangblackbone wrote:

Is there any resource on monster stats for this game?

Yup. It's pretty faithful to the PnP tabletop game.

Hsinyu's Turn Based Combat mod for this looks, well, amazing.

Yup. It's pretty faithful to the PnP tabletop game.

Thanks.
OMG, rogue like is no joke. That encounter is way out of whack compared to everything that came before it (by a factor of 10) We are talking close to 700 hp worth of monsters and one monster having 182 hit points, slams that hit hard and burned and a mind control aura. One of the lesser or medium elementals had a whirlwind attack.
I was shooting goblins, centipedes and drow up to that point

^ Yeah, I watched some vids before I made the purchase. The buffed critters, especially in a rogue like setup, don't bother me per say but it seems that, once you hit a certain point in the delving, that everything is going to be some giant 1/4 of the screen cluster of enemies. I don't mind a big bad with supports but at some point it just seems silly (even in a fantasy game) to fight off waves and floors of nothing but that stuff. Like, I look at some of these screens and think, 'ok, godzilla in a room vs baby seals'. A touch too much for my suspension of disbelief.

aside note: my favorite fights in RPGs tend to be your party vs another party type setups -- where each enemy in the opposing group is a highly cutomized/unique build in their own right and it really feels like an all stakes throw down against another, tangible, group and not just moar faceless giant elementals.

I've never understood why these type setups always have to be one big downward dungeon vs a similar setup in an overland map. I could even see where they could do a giant cityscape (maybe with some ~ sewer or subterranean stuff for variety).

Still, seems like the DLC will be fun enough to justify the price.

Okay so I made another party of all pet classes. I only did 4 classes but I believe there are a few more.
Inquisitor Sacred Huntsman, Druid Fey, Barbarian Maddog (awesome!), and Sorceror Sylvan (something)

For the pets, I picked all mastadons and it is hilarious but a bit clumsy. I feel sad that my barbarian is using a ranged weapon but the point is to have the mastadons soak up everything and so far it is working. I think 2 of my characters have been hit for 2-3 damage total by floor 5. your characters get quite a bit more xp from not sharing with the unused 2 character slots. It will be very interesting if/when I ever encounter another elemental group.

My party of 4 pet classes is kicking ass.
They are level 10 and have reached floor 15. The mastodons have been nigh unstoppable and the funny thing is that at level 7, they got even bigger. (something about pets becoming "greater" at level 7 with stat changes)

I haven't encountered another greater elemental but I have had equivalent encounters with trolls, alpha/dire wolves and zombie lords. A few troll encounters wiped my mastodons while my party members finished them off largely untouched. So I've definitely been challenged but have always persisted.

Sorry. Its me again. Maybe I should wear a sandwich board out on the corner for this game...

My nigh indestructible party with 4 mastodons just ran into an elder elemental pack on floor 16. Things are not done. I might be able to strategize my way out of it but I am not sure that I can even damage the big guy. I also just found out that you can ctrl click to find out detailed info on enemies. So that may give some clues. It is possible that the elder elementals are the "the line is drawn here and no further" gotcha in the DLC.

But though things are not done, of course I made a new party I saw a video on the cleric herald caller turned fishymancer. (Diablo 2 term for the necro with 40+ summons) And of course it inspired me to find all the other classes that can get a pet through feat magickry. It turns out that the herald caller can pick a domain and if you pick animal, you get a permanent pet at level 4. So I then found out that rangers with no sub class can also choose animal domain and get a permanent pet at level 4. And of course there is a subclass of inquisitor that gets a pet from the start, but there is also a Monster Tactician that focuses on summons that should you take animal domain will also let you get a pet at level 4.

So I recreated the 4 pet class party with cler, inqu, rang and dru and gave them 3 elk (elks? elken?) and a bear. I can't wait to run into an elder elemental. I will send swarms of my herald caller's animate undead at them until they are paste!

[later edit / removed]

Eh.. never mind, too rant-y. Still giving this a go but my gripes with everything ~ level 8-10 and lower still stands.

I feel bad talking so much about it if that encouraged you to buy something you are just not enjoying.
I missed what you wrote so perhaps if you clued us in we could push you towards something you might find more fun. I mean you would have to have fun with a party of pet classes. Apparently either the leopard or smilodon is the best pet due to insane dex that can be buffed to make them nigh invulnerable. (like 50-60 AC)

Man, I am so on the edge for this one!

I like this kind of games but inevitably at some point it becomes too much for me to level up many characters and remember how, I get distracted by some other game and, when I come back, it's too much to remember everything.

How many characters are in the party? Are there any good up to date guides? I think I would prefer to follow a guide.

My attention span is so tiny lately, not sure if I should buy a game this complicated and long.

Last day of sale, sigh.

They have green and red pointing hands on every stat, talent and skill when you level up. They indicate recommendations and what to leave alone in a way that may not be optimal for some min maxers that has made hundreds of builds. But it will set you on a path towards good builds.

I really wish they would implement the "click here for a premade build" at least in Beneath the Stolen Lands DLC. But TBH I am getting to that point where I have made dozens of characters such that I want the extra control.

One thing I do recommend for BTSL is taking at least 2 pet classes with 4 max characters. There doesn't seem to be any more rapid leveling with less that 4 in your party. Pets buffer you considerably from tactical combat mistakes, make damn good tanks with no gear concerns and level up automatically. Four pet classes is doable but clumsy with narrow doors, rooms and pathfinding.

Bards get a cure serious wounds aura at level 12. (tics every 4 rounds) It would be a nice quality of life feature for clerics or druids to get a lesser version earlier, even if it could not be used in combat. It would save a lot of clicking and finding the right damaged pet. I had hoped that channel positive energy was that but it is a large area small heal instead.

FYI, the Beneath the Stolen Lands DLC is as long as you want it to be. Each floor takes maybe 10 minutes to clear. Combat can be pretty automatic or as pause intensive as you want it to be. There are really good items to buy if you have the gold (25k-130K). The best thing I saw I think was a light crossbow that was "elemental" meaning that it had d6 damage of 5-6 elements (fire, acid, lightning, etc). Of course it was said 130K gold at a time when I had max 47k. The items persist in the save I believe so some day that will be my Elder elemental killer.