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Video Game / Pathfinder: Kingmaker

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There is a world of adventure waiting for you to explore. It’s a world that needs brave and powerful heroes. Countless others have come before, but their time is over. Now it’s your turn.
Pathfinder Core Rulebook

Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an isometric Role-Playing Game developed by Owlcat Games, based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Kingmaker Adventure Path. The game includes writing by Chris Avellone, and was released on September 25th 2018.

The game is modeled after the tabletop and in the style of classics such as Baldur's Gate, with combat using Real-Time with Pause. Due to the story focusing on a local lord, the game places emphasis on realm-building, with player decisions affecting several aspects of the gameplay. The game focuses on the player building their own realm in the wilderness, then expanding upon like the corresponding module.

A DLC titled Varnhold's Lot was released February 28, 2019, in which the Player Character is Maegar Varn's general and has to deal with the various problems the new barony is facing. The story runs parallel to and can be imported into the main campaign.


Pathfinder Kingmaker contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: A Vorpal Sword, both necessary for the genre, and thematically appropriate considering what particular creatures you end up facing. Snicker-Snack.
  • Action Girl: You get four female party members, all of whom are exceptionally skilled at fighting and murder in their own ways, and your player character can be female as well.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Played for Laughs with a lone Goblin merchant, whose wares are all inflated, but particular note is a "Masterwork" Club that he's offering to you for 123,457 gold - for comparison's sake, most Masterwork weaponry costs 400.
    • Also, anything you want to sell will always net you 25% of how much you would pay to buy it, even when buying back something you sold. On the bright side, market saturation isn't even a thing: you can pawn off the thousands of regular weapons and armor and low-tier magic gear you will be looting from the scores of mooks you kill and nobody will object.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Not only are there a fair amount of Kobolds, Goblins, and Mites around, but you get to recruit an adorable evil goblin minion of your own (regardless of your own personal alignment as the player character).
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  • Adult Fear: Lake Silverstep Village has Ivar, whose children died from falling off a cliff after he'd told them a fanciful tale about how they could see a Silver Dragon from it during a new moon.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: The alchemist is one of several classes you can choose from when starting the game or when leveling up your character. It focuses on infusing chemical reagents with magical energy, creating potions, poisons, mutagens, and incendiaries. Its ultimate (20th-level) ability is the "grand discovery", which can take numerous forms, including immortality or the creation of a philosopher's stone. Alchemists also take on a Jekyll & Hyde vibe by using transformative mutagens to power up.
  • Alternative Calendar: The game uses the standard Golarion (the planet where the game takes place) calendar. Said calendar is just like our own, only with the names of the months changed (they are called after the main gods of the setting).
  • Anti-Frustration Features: An unlimited (in size) shared party stash only capped by the amount of total weight that the party can carry.
    • A lot of skills have been consolidated or removed to ensure that new players won't wind up taking skills that have no purpose in gameplay.
    • When camping or resting, any party member with healing abilities will expend them before regaining their daily uses, saving you from having to heal your party manually.
    • When you attempt a skill check with your entire party selected, the most skilled character will be the one attempting it without need to select them individually.
    • The Bonus Boss mentioned below requires that you kill 45 mini-bosses throughout the Stolen Lands - thankfully, this is retroactive.
  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Like the tabletop game, using armor and trying to cast arcane spells (without the specific ability to do so) incurs a percentile chance of having the spell fizzle. Bards can cast in light armor, while magi begin able to cast in light armor and later gain the ability to cast in medium and heavy armor. Divine magic is not restricted in this way.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears, Scythes, Glaives, Etc.
  • Bonus Boss: In the Valley of the Dead there is a room Tristian strongly advises you not to enter. If you do enter it, you'll face an Astradaemon and two Thanadaemon.
    • Blakemoor the Wizard's Arch-Enemy Siroket will show up if you help him and attack both of you. She carries one of the game's best weapons and she knows how to use it.
    • Kill 45 or more minibosses from all around the Stolen Lands and find the key inside the old well (once your capital advances to the rank of City) and you will be able to challenge Farnirras the Pensive, a lich with some of the strongest spells in the game. In his treasure stash are some godly-tier weapons and accessories.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Your bow and crossbow users don't need to keep track of arrows, though magic quivers which give an unlimited supply of enchanted arrows are able to be found.
  • Brick Joke: In the very first journal entry, Linzi writes: "Linzi the...note to self: when I come up with a fancy nickname, add it here". In the last page of the epilogue book, she refers to herself as "Linzi-who-never-picked-a-fancy-nickname".
  • Broken Bridge: Each chapter has a border you can't cross until you solve its issue:
  • The Cameo: Besides Amiri and Linxia, Kyra makes a minor appearance in the icon for the Angelic Aspect spell.
  • Character Class System: Being based on D&D, it has the classics: Bard, Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wizard. It also has some prestige classes and classes from other sources (Alchemist, Inquisitor and Magus).
    • The "Wildcards" DLC introduced the Kineticist.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If you bring the ring Tartuccio gave you during the prologue to the Rushlight Tournament, you'll get a special dialogue option at the conclusion. The same ring will be used as "evidence" by Tartuccio that you're a secret Pitaxian agent, as he'd set you up to be the scapegoat.
    • Nyrissa's charm also becomes a useful tool to gain information on her towards the end of the game.
  • Collection Sidequest: You can find oddities like ancient weapons and exotic coins lying about pretty much everywhere, which the Storyteller in your throne room will buy from you. Some are part of a set that will reward you with a bit of lore, a good chunk of gold and experience and sometimes an artifact if you manage to get them all.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The sorcerer Class has Bloodlines which can stem from anything from dragons to demons to undead and more. They all give the Sorcerer awesome powers, new spells, and access to more feats.
    • Later in the game the Player Character can get cursed by Lamashtu. However, since she's a Goddess of Monstrosity and Horrors, the curses you can get are fairly benign, or even beneficial.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: A number of bosses can be befriended (provided you have the correct alignment), but the one that portrays this trope most solidly is Armag, the barbarian warlord, who will declare you blood-siblings if you spare him.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Reveal that the Lantern King himself posed intermittently as a mad prophet that you meet en route to the Stolen Lands, a helpful gnome stuck in the First World, and one of Nyrissa's own servants, all because he wanted front-row seats for the fun.
  • Duel Boss: Fredero for Valerie, Armag for Amiri. Nok-Nok versus the Goblin Chief can be one as well, though played through cutscenes and skill checks.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: No matter how high your position is, You're still asked to go out and fix the problems of your country by hand, though you can dictate some issues to your advisers to deal with instead.
    • Averted with crafters: Allowing them to set up shop in your kingdom and dealing with the occasional hitch in their plans will make them pay you regular tribute in the form of magic weapons and items (and eventually a unique and otherwise unobtainable masterpiece)
  • Early Game Hell: In the early game enemies tend to not only outnumber you, but even the basic mooks have absurd amounts of hitpoints compared to a PC of the same level while doing just as much weapon damage. They also tend to have mages in their party that cast fear effects all over the place, letting them pick off your weaker party members while the tanks are running atound; meanwhile, a good PC who isn't a caster themselves will have no magic support outside a low level bard.
    • And once you take charge of your barony you're expected to deal with several monthly problems with only 4 advisors. A couple Failures or Disasters on events may dip your kingdom stats below zero, which will start undermining your kingdom's stability.
  • Epic Fail: Random luck and a low advisor's ability can make it so that solving a problem actually makes it worse than if you'd left it alone.
    • Rolling too low when disarming a trap will set it off in the disarmer's face.
    • This goes for the enemy as well. It's possible for an enemy to roll so badly they fall to your Instant Death spells.
  • Evil vs. Evil: You can be any alignment on the grid, including Evil, but that doesn't mean that your enemies and your kingdom's enemies (even the evil ones) are going to give you a pass.
    • This is the core of Enneo's crusade against followers of Urgathoa: he doesn't hesitate to murder innocents or set them up to die for his hunt. It says something when siding with the undead is the Neutral Good option.
  • Familiar: There are somewhere around 10 different options for Familiars in the base game. This mostly helps out Wizards, but some other classes and archetypes can get one too.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: Lots of gods (over 20) from Golarion.
  • The Fair Folk: A major theme in the game. There are lots of issues that come up between your citizens and the fey that you have to solve, not all of them violently.
  • Fake Difficulty: Crops up in places. Some very important information, namely how to deal with swarms, only appears in random loading-screen tips that you might not see before you need to know it. Additionally, getting certain random encounters early on (the werewolf is especially infamous) can kill your entire party through no fault of your own.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: The game does not include firearms or firearm rules despite the Pathfinder RPG system including a Gunslinger class. Made even more jarring by the fact you interact with the country of Numeria and Technic League agents, which in the original setting use high-tech guns as their weapon of choice
  • Fisher King: Your barony-turned-kingdom will take on your alignment at the time of its fundation, and the type of NPCs roaming around your capital and their idle banter will reflect it. For instance, a Lawful kingdom will have Hellknights standing watch in the streets and merchants trying to solve customs issues with the guards, while a Good kingdom will have citizens do some random acts of kindness to one another.
  • Flaming Sword: A common Enchantment. The paladin and magus classes also both have the ability to give their weapons this ability as well.
  • Fungus Humongous: The Shambling Mound is basically this. There's an absolutely horrifying encounter with one where you can read the notes detailing its creation. Who knew that the process of creating a giant humanoid fungus monster was so unsettling?
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: "Book events" let you choose different kinds of action that will succeed or fail depending on your (and your companion's) abilities and skills. Similarly, some options are only available if you're a corresponding alignment - they'll be invisible and grayed-out, otherwise.
    • Some enemies are labeled more vaguely until they reveal their abilities. For instance, a Bandit Alchemist will be simply named "Bandit" until they throw a bomb or use an extract.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Averted like on most infinity engine games.
  • Harder Than Hard: The aptly named "Unfair mode" which double the damage dealt by monsters and traps. Enemies will also have increased power and deliver critical hits more often.
  • Hobbits: Lawyer friendly "Halflings".
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels:
    • Story mode.
    • Easy mode.
    • Normal mode.
    • Challenging mode.
    • Hard mode.
    • Unfair mode.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: You get torn apart from your companions as you enter the final dungeon. And if you didn't complete their personal quests, it will stay that way
  • Heel Realization: A Good-aligned character can invoke one during the third chapter, when confronting one of the Defaced Sisters, pointing out just how many had died while she remains cryptic. She's more forthcoming with information after that, and abandons her sisters rather than head back to the barbarian camp to rejoin them, dropping a hint or two about their true intentions in the process.
  • Interface Screw: If your main character gets Dominated, you will see enemies outlined as allies and vice versa.
  • I Know Your True Name: Can bite you in the ass in the Valley of the Dead. Every time you reveal your or one of your companion's names within earshot of Horagnamon (who constantly attempts to taunt you into doing so) a Soul Eater, which must be fought alone by that character, is summoned right before the confrontation with Vordakai. Unfortunately, your companions grab the Idiot Ball Horagnamon tosses them and reveal their own names if you don't.
  • Kaizo Trap: When exiting the Verdant Chambers after defeating the last Sister and rescuing Tristian, there is one last trap right in front of the exit which if not evaded or disarmed will wallop your entire party with Energy Drain, potentially killing a few members instantly. Ouch.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Barring the occasional Teleporting Keycard Squad or guard made to protect one specific stash, nobody will bat an eye at your characters freely invading private property and taking everything not nailed down, including your own citizens.
  • Land of Faerie: The First World, as in the tabletop game, is full of The Fair Folk, who have Blue and Orange Morality due to their immortality. If the player rescues Evindra when dealing with Pitax, they can learn that the veil between the First World and the Stolen Lands is surprisingly thin, to the point that any Fair Folk that die there will simply go back to the First World instead of dying for real. Thus, many mythical creatures are drawn there out of curiosity, explaining a lot about why so many are present in the King/Queendom.
  • Laughably Evil: The Goblins. They're a bunch of Dirty Cowards who attempt very obvious deceptions, and the monsters they employ tend to kill them before turning their attention on you.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Barbarians have a bonus to their speed and are one of the hardest hitters in the game.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Historically enforced by D&D and the games based on its mechanics.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: Scrolls, Potions and Wands.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Rangers and Druids get them. They are good for tanking.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Big hits cause enemies to explode. Useful in the case of trolls, since they need to be either damaged by fire or acid or be gibbed like this to stay dead.
  • Marathon Level: Vordakai's Tomb features two entire floors with death traps, encounters with groups of undead cyclops, undead that can damage or permanently drain your ability scores and levels, hordes of ''dozens'' of zombies at a time, a fight with Soul Eaters that you and up to two party members will have to fight one-on-one, and tops it off with a boss that, at the very least, is mercifully straightforward. Oh, and the exit seals itself after the first encounter, so you have to complete it all in one go. It also got infamous as That One Level, so much that a patch added a few camping supplies just outside the boss room so the players wouldn't be forced to fight him completely drained of all their resources.
  • Medieval Stasis: Played straight.
  • Mood Whiplash: A bundle of notes in an abandoned cabin in Lake Silverstep Village starts out very heartwarming, describing how Ivar had wooed his wife, Lissa, and entertained their children with his penchant for tall tales. Unfortunately, it ends in tragedy because his children believed those tales, specifically one about climbing a hill on a moonless night, during which they slipped and fell to their deaths, with Lissa dying from grief not long after.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Averted. If you put someone in charge as an advisor and keep acting contrary to their personal beliefs, they will eventually quit.
  • Nintendo Hard: Most of the negative reviews that aren't about bugs cite a mix of this and Early Game Hell as the game's biggest problem. It has little concept of fairness and pulls absolutely no punches. Even though Normal difficulty tilts things in the players' favor, the average Pathfinder veteran (to say nothing of people unfamiliar with the system) is going to die a lot and many people think this is what the original Kingmaker Adventure Path would look like if run by a Killer Game Master. Perhaps in anticipation of this, the game includes an extensively customizable level of difficulty to let people tone it down to something more reasonable.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Characters reduced to 0 hit points fall unconscious. They die when their hitpoints equal their Constitution score as a negative number.
  • Notice This: A chime and a quip will play when one of your characters find a hidden object. In the case of a trap the game will also autopause (by default) so you have time to stop before walking into it.
  • Obvious Beta: The game's initial release hasn't been very smooth. It's littered with bugs and issues, with some of them preventing the completion of quests. A lot of the early encounters and random encounter tables were also unreasonably difficult to the point of a guaranteed party wipe (looking at you random weretiger); a patch to relieve the most absurd parts of the Early Game Hell came in the first day.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The default behavior of just about every prominent figure from Pitax, especially at the Rushlight Tournament. They all hate each other and/or the Baron, but have to be polite for the sake of appearances. The Baron has a chance to engage in it with Irovetti at the end of the Tournament.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The eastern bank of the Sellen river might give you random encounters against high-end monsters like Athachs and Bloody Bone Beasts. Not only they're worth a good chunk of experience but they might even have some magic items on them (like +4 Belts of Strength) you're not supposed to have access to until you actually have to cross the river.
  • Player Headquarters: Fairly early on, you get your own barony (later Kingdom). It's the whole point of the adventure. You can assign important positions of power to your trusted companions, complete kingdom projects and deal with threats to your people.
  • Player Party: Your main character plus up to five other companions for a total of 6.
  • Plot Armor: Some enemies which you are supposed to encounter multiple times will be impossible to attack as they will stay green (like friendly NPCs) and be immune even to area spells you may be throwing their way.
  • Polyamory: Possible in two ways. In the base game, you can romance both Octavia and Regongar, thus joining their existing relationship. If you have the "Wild Cards" DLC, you can romance a pair of Tiefling twins who can't exist in Golarion at the same time.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: If you recruit all available companions, your party will eventually include a peppy halfling chronicler, a rebellious ex-paladin, a scrappy barbarian, two freed Numerian slaves, a kind-hearted cleric, a grumpy and nihilistic dwarf, an arrogant genius gnome, a goblin who thinks of himself as the chosen of a monstrous goddess, and whatever personality you give to your main character.
  • Random Encounters: You are periodically ambushed on the road, or when resting.
  • Real-Time with Pause: After much consideration between this and Turn-based, it was decided the use Real Time with Pause. Like on the Infinity Engine games you have options to control the autopause (including to pause every 3 seconds, one "round" in-game to simulate a turn-based experience).
  • Replay Value: Aside from the multitude of possible class options and other choices that can be made with varying alignments, a lot of the plot elements uncovered later in the game are nicely foreshadowed early on.
  • Romance Sidequest: Four options - Valerie, Octavia, and Regongar for males, Tristian, Octavia, and Regongar for females. And a fifth, hidden option for both genders - namely, Nyrissa herself, though it crosses into Guide Dang It! territory. Of course, the Wildcards DLC adds even more Bi the Way Romance with a female Tiefling.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Your Main Character becomes first a Baron then a King (or Baroness and then Queen). This doesn't stop you from going out and murdering the entire population of bandits in your kingdom personally.
  • Sadistic Choice: What will you choose: send the militia to protect your helpless citizens or secure the merchants' trade routes? The former are innocents civilians and contribute hard to your community. The latter are the backbone of your economy and it will collapse if you don't help them. Of course, you can always delegate someone else to make the decision.
    • Happens in the third part, where you have to choose to either assist Kesten in storming the Womb of Lamashtu and abandon the capital to be sieged by the monsters, or save the Capital but leave Kesten to die. Being Lawful allows you to Take a Third Option, ordering Kesten to protect the capital while you storm the Womb alone. A possible bit of Loophole Abuse involves saving one or the other but not talking to them prior to saving the other as well. Doing so will also spare both men.
    • The end of Jaethal's companion quest line, especially for non-Evil players - either pull a Grand Theft Me on her daughter, or kill her and raise her up as an Undead. While she can Take a Third Option depending on prior choices, this option kills Jaethal, as she effectively tells Urgathoa to go pound salt - and Urgathoa responds with a Bolt of Divine Retribution that makes Jaethal Killed Off for Real.
  • Schmuck Bait: You get an oddly large number of chances to introduce yourself by name in Act 3. There's a loading screen tip which you've surely seen a dozen times by now that warns you this might be a bad idea but most people will do it anyway in order to be polite or intimidating. Subverted; it doesn't actually help. If you don't say it someone else will.
    • Early on, you can stumble across a camp at the Old Sycamore that is strewn with corpses, and checking it lets you see there are enough supplies to sleep there for one night. Doing so brings out Viscount Smoulderburn, a CR 14 enemy who liberally applies fear effects.
    • During Valerie's Romance Sidequest, she fills the Baron in about the only other man she'd felt comfortable around, and how that led to a physical relationship. The possible replies are a Declaration of Protection, a Love Confession, or a crude joke. Guess which option prematurely ends the romance?
  • Spiritual Successor: Part of the Western CRPG renaissance. Successor to the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's gate, Icewind Dale, etc).
  • Split Personality: Farnirras the Pensive. Contrary to the usual iterations of this trope, Farnirras is a despicable man and wannabe (and eventually de facto) lich who conducted inhuman experiments until one of his victims cursed him with the threat of "his worst enemy", triggering a good split personality who sabotaged his experiments and eventually made a suicide gambit to trap him(self) in a prison only the most talented adventurer and monster slayer could enter. Enter you.
  • Stealth Insult: Emphasis on "Insult" during the Rushlight Tournament, as King Irovetti "compliments" your fledgling Kingdom while describing in laborious detail just how screwed up it is, and insinuates that you'd killed a member of a wealthy family who was passing through. With a high enough Bluff skill, you can turn this around by mentioning a fact or two that Irovetti would prefer keep quiet, interrupting your speech with a coughing fit. The same can be accomplished by utilizing a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Talking The Villain To Death: While some villains can be convinced to part amicably after fighting them, you can avoid the fight entirely with one of them - namely, Nyrissa.
  • Take a Third Option: Many dialogues will unlock extra options depending on various factors, from passing a hidden check to having certain class abilities or spells on hand. Not all of them are necessarily better than the others.
  • Timed Mission: Some quests need to be addressed before the time limit expires. In Act 1, you must defeat the Stag Lord within three months or you lose the game. Furthermore, there are certain events that build up while you manage your Kingdom, and if you don't address the problem in a timely fashion, it's a Game Over.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Some end-game Kingdom events have a difficulty check of 40 - if you don't have an advisor that can handle it, it's effectively a Non-Standard Game Over. The designers did implement a workaround by having the Kingdom be "invincible", but it's still frustrating.
  • Vendor Trash: Gems, trinkets and various household items have no purpose other than being sold in bulk for some profit. Non-magical weapons and armor become this as well later in the game.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Most Neutral Good options veer on this theme, but resolving your companion's personal quests and bringing them closure on their problems is completely possible, as well as attempting to generally be a do-gooder with your subjects and allies.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Comes hand in hand with the options to choose (and shift towards) an Evil alignment:
    • You can "solve" pretty much any problem in your kingdom by executing people for even minor offenses. In some cases you can even arrest or execute the one who accused the culprit for wasting your time.
    • You can willingly ally with or enslave some of the villains after defeating them, including Hargulka, Tartuk and Vordakai.
    • You can kill Tristian after he finds out he's been duped by Nyrissa and begs you for forgiveness.
    • You can also choose to kill Jubilost and Ekundayo as soon as you meet them, for no other reason than they annoy you.
    • Octavia and Ekundayo are kind-hearted and altogether pleasant people. With certain choices during their personal quests, you can corrupt them into becoming cruel and selfish for the former, and hellbent on revenge for the latter.
    • Companion quests in general give a chance to be a total jerk and sometimes shift your allies towards that mindset. You can have Valerie prove her resolve to leave Shelyn's faith resulting in the goddess forgiving her and allowing her to part amicably, or assist her in a bout of murderous, vengeful rampage against her former order. You can shift Jaethal towards being somewhat merciful and avoiding unnecessary bloodshed, or encourage her idea that power comes first whatever the price.


Example of: