Pathfinder: Kingmaker


Bought it tonight along with the Wild Cards DLC. Any main character build recommendations?


Rogues have stupidly high DPS. That’s as much as I’ve learned in the 2 chapters I’ve played. :D You get a rogue character later on, and he basically doubled the DPS for my group.


A couple of the subclasses are gimped. One of the alchemist ones, and all the ranger subclasses lose the pet, which is a big deal. There are a couple of others.


Here’s the character I just finished the game with:

Human Paladin (single class)
Starting stats: STR 16, DEX 12, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 18
Skills: Persuasion (very useful), Lore: Religion (not too useful)
Feats: Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Power attack, Dazzling display, Outflank, Cornugon smash, Improved critical (Greatsword), Critical focus, Shatter defenses, Combat reflexes, Skill focus (Persuasion), Blind fight. This is the order I got them, but I should have picked Blind fight a bit earlier.

There are no paladin, monk or druid NPCs, so I picked paladin. They have some very useful spells and abilities that no other classes have. E.g. Mercy, Aura of greater courage, Aura of justice. I also wanted a main character with good Persuasion and Paladins have some nice synergies there.


WIS of 8? When I rolled up my Flamewarden I forgot that rangers, like paladins, need WIS to cast spells, with a max of 14 WIS required for 4th level spells. So she started with a WIS of 10, and I increased it every four levels. I generally appreciated the ability to cast spells and buff myself.

Do the stat helms work for spell casting? They do for feats, which I’m pretty sure they should not according to the pnp rules.


Pathfinder paladins use charisma for spellcasting. So wisdom is only useful for will save (and paladins have divine grace) and for a few skills.


Yeah, Rangers are the only class left with dependence on an off-stat to cast anymore.


Also planning to add points to a lowend stat is a huge waste of points.


Oh snap.


Well, this post is hugely useful because I love paladins. My first build in my first play through of the Baldur’s Gate games? Paladin. My first build for both Pillars of Eternity? Paladin.

But what’s the diff between Paladin (single class) as you list in the post I’m quoting and a Pathfinder Paladin you mention later?


Same thing. I just meant that I only took paladin levels for my main char. E.g. I didn’t multiclass with thug or some other class. And Pathfinder Paladin as opposed to e.g D&D 3.5 Paladin which did have Wisdom as spell casting stat.


Yeah, Pathfinder is a modified version of the older D&D 3.5 ruleset (Baldur’s Gate was based off a heavily modified version of AD&D 2nd ed, for reference), and Kingmaker is a relatively faithful adaptation of those pen-and-paper Pathfinder rules.

Traditionally, Paladins have always been a heavily “MAD” class (Multi-Attribute Dependent), since they needed Strength for hitting, Constitution for taking hits, Wisdom for spells, and Charisma for social skills and special abilities (e.g., Lay on Hands, Smite Evil, Divine Grace). In a point by system it’s really not possible to be good at all of those, and when rolling for stats, it’s exceedingly unlikely.

PF reduced this MAD a little bit by more or less removing the usefulness of Wisdom for Paladins (while it’s still handy for Perception skill rolls and your Will save against mind-affecting spells, Paladins have REALLY high Saves by default, so it’s not a major loss). Since Kingmaker’s an adaptation of those PF rules, the Paladin options in-game are all pretty excellent to play as :-D


I’m starting out with a character that takes two levels of charisma-Monk and then transitions to Paladin. This gives me evasion and a couple of nice feats, and makes the character less helpless if surprised while resting or losses equipment as part of a plot point. Not sure if it’s worth it compared to going straight Paladin though, since I end up delaying all the nice Paladin features.


On the other hand it meant that you could go in different ways with Paladin. My grudge with DnD is that they most classes might as well have their stats hardcoded as there are optimal builds and there’s everything else. If you want an agile fighter you really want rogue, that kind of things. Not sure how well is it done in Pathfinder yet, but it wasn’t that good in NWN.


There is a moderate amount of adaptability in PF thanks to the Archetype system, wherein class abilities are swapped out for flavorful kits, but you continue leveling in the same core class (as compared to the crazy prestige class/multiclass soup you’d so often get in 3.5).

Unfortunately, Kingmaker only offers about 3 Archetypes per class, and omits some of the weirder and crazier ones, so the variability isn’t quite as high as the pen-and-paper game, but yeah, you can definitely build some goofy shit. I’m a particular fan of really goofy crap like the Holy Gun from the tabletop version (SMITE EVIL VIA SHOTGUN YES PLS).


Yeah, I saw this thing, but it seems that this solution is not about making you chose how you develop your characters using stats and multiclasses but multiplying the number of classes. You still have optimal and relatively obvious path for each.


I suppose so, though I consider opting to follow an Archivist Bard vs. a Courtesan Bard to be, well, differentiating my bard, and choosing appropriate Skills and Stats and Stunts (and for many Archetypes, there is still a fair amount of variation, e.g., like with classes like Barbarians and Rogues where you choose Feat-style powers every couple of levels).

I mean, don’t get me wrong: minmaxers gonna minmax. But there’s a pretty bewildering variety of possibility within PF.

To the point that I kinda burnt out hardcore on it, haha


Also those sub-classes weren’t clear to me from the beginning. I though that those are like NWN kits, this thing will get skills and perks for me. I had to try Inquisitor who is also a Ranger to realize it’s something more. Also when I looked at the basic character screen it didn’t say I was Inquisitor, it said something like “Faith caster” (I have a Russian version so not sure what exactly it says in English) which only made it more curious. Does it have even more basic class system underneath all this, like classic fighter/thief/mage/cleric classes?

I realize you can perfectly play the game without understanding all of this complexity but I’m curious about RPG systems, especially about overdesigned ones.


Pathfinder’s Core Rulebook originally had its core classes, inherited from the 3.5 PHB, more or less: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wizard. Shortly thereafter followed more key rulebooks in the form of a bestiary and a GM guide (although, quite novel: most actual GMing rules were included in the CRB; the Gamemastery guide was more a lengthy collection of tips and ruminations on the elements of good GMing). Anyway, during all this time, you had the Core Classes, many of which had some choosable options: Rogues could pick a Talent every couple of levels; Barbarians could choose a Rage Power. Sorcerers’ bloodlines granted them some bonus spells and feats at a similar pace. None of this was exceedingly different from 3.5.

Just over a year later, they introduced the Advanced Players Guide, which shook things up. First they tossed in 6 all-new, level 1-20 classes unique to the game, including the Alchemist, Cavalier, Inquisitor, Oracle, Summoner, and Witch, called “Base Classes” just to differentiate them from the original set of Core Classes, but functionally, they were identical: fully featured, unique classes with a 1-20 level progression. Later books would add Gunslingers, Maguses, Shifters, Vigilantes, and Vampire Hunters to the Base Class list, and still later books would introduce other full class varieties (Hybrid Classes that combined two classic Core/Base classes into a very fully featured chimera; Alternate Classes that twisted virtually every element of a Core/Base class to a dedicated flavor-schtick, and eventually Occult Classes that utilized a variety of new rules systems dedicated specifically to the Occult, filling in a semi-official PF version of Psionics with lots of weird twists).

However, IMO, the bigger innovation of the Advanced Players Guide was Archetypes: these smaller class-tweakers would often adjust one or two or three of a class’s core features in a way to reflavor it to a similar, but distinct, new role. The Invulnerable Rager Barbarian sacrificed uncanny dodge, limited damage reduction, and trap sensing to gain outright and extreme damage reduction and immunity to climate effects. They weren’t a wily wildling rolling away from danger to and fro: they were a seething berserker who shrugged off the very idea of pain. But they were still, functionally, a Barbarian: could still choose rage powers, still got the Rage mechanic, still had the same hit die and favored Skills, etc.

In the intervening decade, PF has introduced hundreds of official archetypes spanning all of their myriad Core, Base, Hybrid, Alternate, and Occult classes. Some are relatively small tweaks, granting little more focus and differentiation than an especially dedicated “build” in the original Core Class (for instance, you can emulate a lot of parts of Invulnerable Rager by picking the right Rage Powers with a regular old Barbarian). In fact, some of these “don’t change much” Archetypes can even stack: so long as two Archetypes don’t replace/modify the same class ability, you can use 'em both! Other Archetypes represent pretty significant flavor-changers with wildly different use-cases in-game: that Holy Gun Paladin plays very differently from the in-the-mix, aura-spreading frontline tank/healer you’re used to.

Of course, because Paizo needs to sell a lot of books to maintain their very healthy bottom line, some of the purity of their original vision has been diluted. For instance, as with Holy Gun, there are a number of Archetypes that add Gunslinger abilities to just about every other major Class (in PF, to be a functional Gun-user in the base setting, which counts as “limited guns,” you need several feats, powers, and abilities all at level 1, or you’re just going to suck hot ass. So these Gunslinging archetypes would toss out multiple class powers to frontload enough gun-abilities onto an unrelated class to make it workable). That idea–grafting a significant element of one class onto an unrelated one–got fleshed out and expanded upon with the Hybrid Classes in the Advanced Class Guide. For instance, Bloodragers are basically Barbarians who give up some of their beefier Barbarianing powers to get to choose one of the more twisted Bloodlines from a Sorcerer, obtaining minor spellcasting powers and slowly morphing to resemble whatever extraplanar insanity their family line hails from, Sorcerer-style.

And of course some Archetypes are just terrible, or don’t even work, flat-out. The Titan Mauler Barbarian Archetype from Ultimate Combat is intended, on its face, to let you pick up the gigantic weapons of your enormous foes and beat them to death with your new, hilariously oversized armaments. Except, well, you can only pick up their smaller weapons and use them. As written, the Archetype doesn’t actually let you pick up, say, a Giant’s Greatsword and use it. I mean, the author intended to let you do that, but they didn’t understand how the weapon size subsystem worked perfectly, so they wrote it wrong, and here we are.

And, of course, despite wanting to discourage them, Pathfinder nonetheless introduces and encourages dozens of fascinating Prestige Classes (that weird 3.5 holdover where you stop leveling in any normal class and start leveling in some weird advanced class with a bunch of strange requirements like “4 Arcane Spellcasting levels” and “+12 in Knowledge (Demon Dicks)”).

And despite giving all classes (well, trying to at least) powerful, interesting capstone abilities at Level 20, and allowing most cool class abilities to scale up in power as you focus more in that class, the inherent complexity and interlocking nature of the PF rules system still really encourages dedicated minmaxers to multi-class, dabbling for 2 levels in Monk and 2 levels in Oracle before going 16 Paladin in order to [some goofy-fuck shit].

But still: that core idea of “What if people who wanted to develop an interesting, mechanically distinctive, flavorful, unique-playing offshoot of a given basic class were enabled to do so with an Archetype that packaged all that goodness into one chunk of rules text, instead of needing to hunt down 12 rulebooks to build out their six-class, three-prestige-class 20-level progression?” was a really beautiful solution to one of 3.5’s dumbest issues on Paizo’s part, extending things like AD&D’s Kits to their logical conclusion. I’ve got mad respect to the Paizo devs for going so in on the idea, even with all the ways it was imperfect.

Whew, that wound up growing into a lot more answer than I originally intended, and its at best only tangentially related to the PC game, but I hope you found it fun to read :)


I did! Bloodragers sound fun :)