Pathfinder: Kingmaker bringing tabletop RPG to PC

Paizo’s pen & paper fantasy RPG world of Pathfinder is being computerised in Pathfinder: Kingmaker [official site]. Developers Owlcat Games today announced the upcoming isometric RPG, also boasting that they’ve booked the narrative design services of Chris ‘The Human Stretch Goal’ Avellone. The game will visit the Stolen Lands wilds of the RPG setting for your usual questing duties, with a dash of kingdom-building. Probably bears too, I reckon. Bandits, surely.

Not knowing Pathfinder myself beyond being that RPG which some folks keep recommending as an alternative to Dungeons & Dragons, I turned to the Internet. Looks like: it is a fantasy RPG. Okay then! Today’s announcement says that Pathfinder: Kingmaker will “revisit familiar characters and well-known locations” as well as doing its own thing. The blurb continues:

“Pathfinder: Kingmaker will challenge players as both adventurers and rulers as they will be able to claim explored lands and carve their own kingdom from the wilderness. Kingdom founding will go beyond simple stronghold-building to become a true reflection of the hero’s character and choices made throughout the game. Each kingdom will be a living thing shaped by alignment, choices, allies and the hero’s ability to lead his or her people.”

Owlcat Games are a small studio within free-to-play publisher My.com. Kingmaker will not be free-to-play, mind, and My might not even publish it themselves. “[. . . ] the plans for publishing are not fully set in stone yet,” My told us today, “since the business model (Buy to Play) differs from our core.” Similarly, they’re not yet sure whether they’ll try to crowdfund this or what.

No firm word yet on when the game will launch.

Speaking of Pathfinder games, the makers of crowdfunded MMORPG Pathfinder Online recently laid out their roadmap for reaching a sturdy state. “Because we have this small, scrappy team, we aren’t aiming to compete with the AAA MMOs of the world,” they said in March. “Rather, we will be more of an indie MMO aiming at providing a fun and engaging game to a more niche market.” They’re hoping it’ll be ready for a wider audience in March 2018.

33 Comments

  1. Zanchito says:

    I’ve been away from tabletop RPG for far too long. I cherish this opportunity of getting to know this system + world!

  2. DrTalos says:

    Pathfinder *is* D&D. It just uses an older iteration of the ruleset with minor changes and an “original” setting. Honestly, the Pathfinder setting always seemed dull and uninspired to me, and of course it’s derivative as hell. So I can’t see why anyone would be excited over this, especially considering that Pathfinder has, as far as I can tell, reached a nadir of popularity. I don’t want it to fail or anything. I’m just puzzled.

    • theallmightybob says:

      On the whole the pathfinder lore isn’t all that interesting or original, especially the route they seem to have chosen (be a wizard or a rouge! wow gosh!). I see no mention of any of the truly interesting stuff like time worn technology and technomancers. When I DM games I use the system but I pretty much throw out the lore becasue its so damn dry. I have no doubt it could be a solid game, but I won’t hold my breath for it to do anything interesting that haven’t been done by the likes of never winter or another fantasy d&d style video game.

    • Magus42 says:

      Yeah, Pathfinder is D&D 3.5 with all the licensed content removed and a custom setting, which is stock D&D with all the licensed content removed and then various bits and pieces of new stuff thrown in over the years because it seemed cool at the time. Nothing wrong with that so long as you’ve got a good storyteller organizing things and a group of players willing to work with it, but don’t come looking for depths of really deep lore.

    • Berserkerkitten says:

      Pathfinder is based on the 3.5 rule set, but it also refines character progression, rewards players for sticking to one class by punishing them with fewer dead levels. It’s one of the most popular RPG franchises and even out-sold DnD for a while. Sounds like a decent enough setting to me for a fun new CRPG.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Yea, but i fear it will be just another ARPG loosely inspired by the setting – Like Sword Coast Legends ?

        • Berserkerkitten says:

          Ideally, Paizo are keeping a close eye on things and they’ll be as faithful to the ruleset as possible. That was a problem with SCL, which wasn’t very close to its source material at all, when it came to the rules. But when you look at the kingmaker website, they’re saying they’re crazy about Baldur’s Gate, Torment, IWD… if anything, I’d say that’s a good thing. :D

          • Lobotomist says:

            I dont know if you ever played or even heard about Pathfinder Online ? A MMO developed inhouse by Paizo.

            Do you know what this MMO had similar to Pathfinder ?

            The name.

          • fablerede says:

            Don’t forget the goblin models match the concept art lol

    • Steel_Wind says:

      If your only experience in PnP RPGs is D&D, Pathfinder may seem a little odd to you.

      Suffice to say that in the past 10 years, more has been written about the Pathfinder Setting Golarion than any other game world TSR or WotC ever created. The detail and sheer page count outweighs anything written about Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms or Krynn. It is so voluminous at this point, that it almost surpasses the page count of all of those worlds, developed over 40 years of gaming, *COMBINED*. (Yes, *really*.)

      That’s how massive the Pathfinder setting and adventure base is at this point. And in terms of the rules base, it has expended far beyond any other rules system, too.

      At one point 5 years ago, WotC stopped publishing D&D. All the players and so-called “lifestyle gamers”, the ones who spend significant amount of money every month – had long since moved on to Pathfinder.

      5th Ed D&D is aimed at a less details-oriented player base. D&D is meant to be more of an introductory RPG. The less introductory and more advanced RPG? That would be Pathfinder.

      So, Pathfinder IS D&D. And the default kitchen-sink setting known as Golarion is every bit as engaging as any WotC world (and imo, far more so). Point is: you’ll feel at home in it.

      • Werthead says:

        “The detail and sheer page count outweighs anything written about Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms or Krynn”

        That’s certainly true of Greyhawk (which has had very long fallow periods of not being in print), might just be true of Dragonlance (ditto, although it had absolutely tons of stuff released in a short period of time when it was extant) but is very much not true of Forgotten Realms. At all. FR is 50 years old this year (since Greenwood created it), 40 since official material started being released (in Dragon Magazine) and 30 since the novels and official boxed sets and adventures started coming out. The volume of Realmslore produced in that time is absolutely titanic, over 400 novels, hundreds more gaming materials and adventures and thousands of articles spanning three campaign settings (including Al-Qadim and Oriental Adventures, not to mention the various Living sub-settings), not to mention about two dozen video games and a movie in pre-production.

        The amount of material produced about Golarion may outstrip that of the Realms *in the last 10 years*, but in terms of overall material produced, no, not even close.

        • Steel_Wind says:

          Actually, yes. Do the page count; don’t guess.

          The material released for Golarion every year is staggering:

          12 x 96 pages Pathfinder AP
          12 x 64 pages Pathfinder Campaign Setting
          12 x 32 pages Pathfinder Companion
          4 x 64 – Pathfinder Modules
          30 x 16 Pathfinder Society Scenarios
          3 x 300 Pathfinder Hardcovers
          12 x 320 Pathfinder Novels
          12 x 32 Pathfinder Comic Line

          That’s basically 8,164 pages every year. Like *clockwork*. No, neither WotC nor FR at their height came anywhere remotely NEAR that page count number, let alone word count.

          Now, the comics don’t contribute that much and the amount of FR novels already published is very significant, I grant you.

          But in terms of page count, sheer detail and word count, there is no comparison in terms of information and setting density. It’s not even *remotely* close.

          I was a hardcore collector of D&D material since the beginning. I began playing Original D&D in 1977. I have most of the TSR and WotC products you refer to. (And no, FR didn’t start 50 years ago). I can tell from your answer that you have not spent much time working out the massive amount of material Paizo releases and comparing it to the relative lightness of material released by TSR or WotC in past years.

          Really, the lore for Greyhawk and FR isn’t comparatively that much; nowhere NEAR as high as you think it is. Most of those “hundreds” of products were 32 page modules essentially released between 1977 and 1999. And yes, Paizo has swamped it and long since surpassed it in volume. Pathfinder AP is 96 pages, no advertising and is a monthly release. And PF AP is at issue #118. And the material continues to grind out at a massive firehose rate. Each and every month. Across all of their many product lines. And it keeps coming and coming. And it has for nearly 10 years.

          All of that has added up to do just exactly as I have described. It’s quite staggering.

          • theliel says:

            If your going to like that you need to include all the living * modules.

    • pepperfez says:

      I can’t speak to the business rationale, but Kingmaker is a very interesting campaign that I’ve never seen run to a satisfying conclusion. There’s a ton of persistent background stuff, hidden information, and details beyond players’ character sheets, It’s probably one of the best direct inspirations for a CRPG from a technical perspective.

    • fablerede says:

      DrTalos said “Pathfinder *is* D&D. It just uses an older iteration of the ruleset with minor changes and an “original” setting. Honestly, the Pathfinder setting always seemed dull and uninspired to me, and of course it’s derivative as hell. So I can’t see why anyone would be excited over this, especially considering that Pathfinder has, as far as I can tell, reached a nadir of popularity. I don’t want it to fail or anything. I’m just puzzled.”

      Compared to DnD 4.0 and 5.0 pathfinder has a whole lot more content when it comes to character options. So you’re either a troll or too uninformed to be saying what you’re saying. As far as lore I will give you that much, but any DM worth their salt is able to make up for that, the reason it’s lore is so barebones is because it is open source so that DMs can run campaigns how they want to, the adventure paths aren’t terrible. As for a nadir of popularity? By all accounts pathfinder has sold more books than DnD in the 3.0-4.0 era enough so that Wizards has gone closer to pathfinder than its own franchise in the 5.0 release with class archetypes and less dead levels. Because had Gary Gygax (the inventor of DnD if you are even less informed than gave you credit for) would have never let 4.0 release and any true dnd fan would tell you as much.

  3. Stepout says:

    Is this real time with pause or turn based? I like both but Pillars has me all about dat RTWP.

  4. Lobotomist says:

    There is only one question : Will this be accurate turn based representation of Pathfinder rules ? Or yet another ARPG loosely inspired by that popular pen and paper system ( Sword Coast Legends , Nevewinter the MMO , Pathfinder the MMO .. etc )

    And as they forgot to mention this “unimportant” detail, i believe its the latter

    • thekelvingreen says:

      It may not be based on the Pathfinder rules, for licensing reasons. As I understand it, Wizards of the Coast’s Open Gaming Licence allows derivative works to be created from the D&D3 rules — which is how Pathfinder exists as a tabletop rpg — but doesn’t cover computer game adaptations, which are covered by a different licence.

      In other words, in order to release a Pathfinder game that uses the tabletop rules, you also have to have the D&D licence.

      • Michael Anson says:

        Actually not the case, thankfully: link to rpg.stackexchange.com

        The real stinker here is being able to separate out the OGL content to be human-readable, which presents a design hurdle, but it’s a much smaller hurdle compared to, say, getting a D&D license for a non-D&D game.

        • thekelvingreen says:

          Oh, that’s interesting. Paizo announced its own Pathfinder computer game a couple of years ago — it was a dungeon crawl and I don’t think it ever appeared — and that wasn’t going to use the tabletop rules. Licensing was given as the reason and given it was a Paizo product, I assumed that meant it was an OGL issue.

          Hm.

    • fablerede says:

      That’s my fear, people try to release games based on PnP games these days and it ruins it completely, If they are going closer to the IWD/BG style where HP and such is actually correct (instead of like starting with 1000 hp in NW(the mmo)); I mean if they don’t have all the class archetypes available i could understand that, or all the extra classes, but id like to at least see the main 11 core classes and proper feats and skills would be nice too.

      • Someoldguy says:

        The backer updates are definitely talking about implementing Pathfinder characters as you’d expect to see them for a PnP session. Classes, stats, skills, feats, spells, traits, alignment etc. Whether it actually plays that way remains to be seen, but it certainly looks like following the route set by games like Baldur’s Gate/IWD is their goal. The Project Update #17 email just arrived today and is describing all the steps they’re going through to make the character sheet contain all that in an easily understood format, which is no mean task given how many options Pathfinder offers.

        It sounds like they’ll be offering a standard set of characters with auto level options too, for those who want to just play without having to bother with all that at every level up.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Last I heard, Obsidian had the Pathfinder license, and said they were gonna do RPGs above and beyond the PACG stuff. So what happened?

    • Lobotomist says:

      Hmm…this is curious. Obsidian worked with My.com and Allods team on Skyforge.

      These guys worked on Allods, Skyforge, at My.com

      Hmmm…

    • Werthead says:

      Bandwidth. When Obsidian nearly went bust (before the PoE Kickstarter) they shut down a lot of the teams they had working on other things. Only PoE and South Park survived. They’ve scaled back up a bit since then, but they’re not at the point where they can start booting up all the projects they had on hold when things went down.

      The involvement of Avellone – who seems to be okay-but-a-little-cool towards Obsidian – is an interesting development, although I think also a little pointless. Avellone’s most interesting work has come when he’s in charge of a project (Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, Mask of the Betrayer, Old World Blues). When he’s just a team player, his skills fade a lot more into the background. Unless he’s head writer or developer on this project, I’m not sure if we should get too excited about this development.

      • Jekadu says:

        Small correction, Chris Avellone wasn’t in charge of MotB. That was… hmm, Kevin Saunders and George Ziets.

      • morrolan says:

        Looks to me like Avellone will be head writer.

  6. jerf says:

    These guys from Owlcat made Evil Islands back in the day, it was a very cool game. For this reason I have quite a high confidence that Pathfinder: Kingmaker will turn out to be a good game.

  7. aliksy says:

    Oof. Pathfinder. I hate spells-per-day and dislike D&D-style HP, so I’ve never been drawn to the system. Some friends play it and it sounds fun, but I know a good group can make practically any system fun.

  8. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    “The Human Stretch Goal” – so very true.

  9. Orillion says:

    Pathfinder-brand Neverwinter Nights would be the ideal scenario here, but I’ll settle for “Not SCL.”

    Really though, most of what gets me about Pathfinder is the sheer AMOUNT of character options, the volume of which would be impossible to reproduce in a CRPG, unless they stuck strictly to core classes and such. And really, the core never gripped me, for Pathfinder or 3.X. Skald Spellwarriors and Stygian Slayers are what really interest me on the PC front, not so much the ‘nilla Clerics or Sorcerers.

    But if it’s a NWN-esque foundation, then I suppose we can think about these things, if only on the modding front.

    • fablerede says:

      I’d be just fine with the core classes and CRB feats and spells, it would give the game enough popularity with pathfinder gamers that the game could get an expansion pack or something with advance classes or even at least a few archetypes or non-crb feats. As long as the game plays with the proper system and not some crappy made-up system I feel like any of the extras could be added sort of like how sims 4 has “stuff packs” i suppose. Just minor updates that could be downloaded or purchased in the future; As for spell warriors and stuff you could multi-class to an extend to create those. Multi-classing isnt always the smartest thing in Pathfinder though, unless you really nitpick while you are doing it. Or you could make a melee wizard by being a bard or simply taking a few melee feats

  10. aircool says:

    I’ve quite a few of the Pathfinder books, even though I’ve never actually played it. There’s just something about reading rulebooks and campaign setting books that I find interesting.