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Despite its subtitle being “A night in the woods,” there's a surprising lack of anthropomorphic, higher education-spurning cats in the latest Kickstarter update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Instead, the update unveils the campaign's first, $550,000 stretch goal – Camping. Read on if you want to know more about Owlcat's ideas on how to make resting in a CRPG more fun:
We are closing in on our main goal and again we want to express our heartfelt thanks for your interest and support for our project!
We received many inquiries about our further goals, and we are happy to answer. Today we are revealing our first stretch goal - Camping. As in, getting some sleep and recovering from a long day of adventuring. Not the kind of camping where you watch the enemy spawn point with a sniper rifle.
It is a feature, which we feel is often oversimplified in computer RPGs. In most of them, resting in the wilderness is as simple as hitting the snooze button. Some party members might be injured or they complain about feeling tired, so you click the camp button and everyone is rested a second later. Worst case scenario, you may get ambushed, so you finish a quick battle and try resting again until you succeed. If you're familiar with tabletop role playing, then you'll agree that most good GMs won't let you off so easily. If you're in dangerous territory, then resting for the night will require a certain amount of preparation, such as appointing guards. Sadly, this is a rare feature in computer RPGs. In Pathfinder: Kingmaker we want camping to be more than just a button.
You're miles away from the nearest inn. There are monsters and bandits lurking everywhere. Sure, your party could try dropping everything right there and take a nap, though they may as well put up a big sign, saying, "We're over here! Please murder us and take our stuff!" The wiser option is to set up a camp. But you can't rest on an empty stomach. You've been adventuring for days and provisions are running low. Why not choose for one of your companions to be the designated hunter for the night? If they're skilled enough, they will refill your packs to keep you going for a few extra days. But beware - dinner fights back in the Stolen Lands and your hunter may get chased all the way back to the camp by a raging monster!
You have to select a place to rest carefully! If you pick a spot, which is too close to monsters, they will decide to investigate and attack your camp. In a dungeon you will have to get rid of at least some of its inhabitants, or they will never allow you to rest. It's always a good idea to assign a companion or two for guard duty. They will watch over the camp while the rest of the party sleeps. They can spot an impending ambush when they pass the required perception checks and warn the rest of the group to help them prepare. In case of a surprise attack, your unprepared party members may not always fight at their full strength. For instance your fighter may step into the fray wearing only his undergarments, because there is just not enough time to get dressed. Have you ever tried to sleep in a full suit of plate armor? Or if your guards fell asleep, monsters can gain a surprise round against your sleeping party - and that is an experience you'll want to avoid! There will be several special maps and events for the encounters while camping, be it a monster that is chasing your hunter, or travellers that decided to join you by the campfire.
Your camp is also a great place for your party to talk and bond. One of your companions may have been badly injured in a fight with an angry troll earlier. Perhaps they're feeling a little under the weather. Or maybe you have made an amazing discovery on your journey today? Or some information they remembered from the stories about this region? Your companions will want to talk about recent events, about what's they've seen and done in the Stolen Lands. You can take the time and listen to how they feel about your adventure together. We want this to be a fun, meaningful part of the game. Few other games ever do anything like this - Darkest Dungeon or the Realms of Arkania trilogy come to mind. We always loved it when games put a little extra thought into their camping system, which is why we're doing it this way for Pathfinder: Kingmaker.