Pathfinder: Kingmaker Updates 29-31, $802,937 and Counting

With 17 hours left to go, Pathfinder: Kingmaker has surpassed the $800k milestone of its Kickstarter campaign and will feature class archetypes on release. The next goal is the $900k one that adds a Goblin companion, and right now it doesn't seem that outlandish.

Since yesterday, three new updates have popped up. Update #29, apart from several announcements, talks about Kingmaker's implementation of the choose your own adventure “book events” we saw in games like Pillars of Eternity. Update #30 provides the links to the developer Reddit AMA and Twitch livestream. And Update #31 announces another stretch goal: at $1 Million we'll get a new playable race determined by a backer poll.

Now that you have the summary of these new updates, here's the VOD of the dev livestream with Chris Avellone and Alexander Mishulin (if you're having issues with the Twitch player, the VOD should be available on YouTube when the Owlcat devs upload it to their channel):

And here are a few of the AMA questions:

1: How much freedom will players have when settling their kingdom? For example: Will you be able to pick a state religion, and if so how much effect on the game will choices like that have?
2: Will pre-ordering with paypal from help reach stretch goals? And how about reaching further stretch goals after the kickstarter has officially ended? (I would love to see archetypes)
3: Being moddable is what kept many games, such as the Neverwinter Nights games which are relatively related to Kingmaker, alive for so much longer. Will there be some form of mod support at launch or sometime after? Do you think mods will be possible even without support?
4: Will the player character have a voice? (I'm not expecting it, looking at similar games, but I remain hopeful)
5: Will we be able to use utility magic to aid in things like building construction (stone shape and the wall spells) or traveling (overland flight, teleport)?
6: You've already confirmed romance. Who will be romance-able? Will it be only companions, and all or a select few? Or will there be romance-able non-companions?
7: If Kingmaker turns out a good (or great, even) game, and you do get/decide to make another one, which AP would you guys prefer to do and why? Mythic crazyness with Wrath of the Righteous or rebellion management in Hell's Rebels?
8: Do you guys have suggestions on how to get into the gaming industry at the design/writing side of things? (Making mods hasn't gotten me a way in yet :P ) How did you manage it?

Alexander Mishulin:
1: A lot of freedom in choices, yet I do not vouch for the exact example you mentioned - state religion. We will definitely try to implement that with religions giving different bonuses and penalties both to your kingdom and relations to your neighbors
2: Yes, it will, and we plan for further stretch goals from pre-orders. Keep in mind that after Kickstarter campaign is over, pre-order prices will change
3: Right now we are focused on the base game, and we will keep in mind that community likes mod support.
4: You will be able to select a voice for your character from several options. Although only critically important or emotional dialogs will be fully voiced-over, so mostly you will hear character in combat
5: We are considering implementing several spells for the kingdom
6: Several companions will be romance-able, not all of them. And we are not planning to stop only on companions...
7: Right now we are 100% committed to making Kingmaker best game we can possibly make. If we decide to make next AP, there will be a lot of discussions (as everybody on the team has his own AP preference) and we will listen to players' opinion on the forums as well. I, for example, hold great hopes for recently unveiled War for the Crown.

Chris Avellone:
6: You can romance companions and non-companions in the game. It's not everyone you meet, it is a select number (romances, along with most relationship arcs, take a lot of work).
7: Doing more Pathfinder RPGs would be great, and we'd certainly love to keep things going if Kingmaker does well.
8: There's plenty of ways to break into design (and narrative) - mods are the best way, imo, but if mods aren't working out for you, first, keep doing them (the experience is great), and also do other types of design - when looking to get into games, I did a lot of writing for pen-and-paper adventures and used that to build my resume (although I had to endure a lot of rejections). If you're applying for design jobs and can't seem to land one, also look into applying at other positions in the same company - customer service, web design, quality assurance, and so on. Once you're in the company, try and volunteer for design tasks whenever possible, if the company allows for it.

1: How much will the kingdom building interact with the main plot? For example, do choice in your kingdom effect the adventure and plot in a significant way (ala Dragon Age Awakening) or are they merely about upgrades and access to mechanical resources. Obviously, I hope the former....
2: It is possible that one can have party members take over certain key functions for you? I always hated the fact that in most D and D style RPGs computer games, you could not have your super diplomatic character speak for your party or you. This makes even more sense playing a lord, as you could delegate a herald type person.
3: What direction are you guys heading in terms of AI for party? Its seems one of the most tricky things in these style games is making a decent AI for companions (though Modders for things like NWV2 have done pretty well). I personally like the gambit/prioritization tree from Dragon Age Origin or Final Fantasy 12, but have not seen that in D and D like games as much.

Alexander Mishulin:
1: There are some story events that will be easier to complete with your kingdom supporting you, for example they will provide you with special kingdom project that (if it will be completed in time) wil give you additional options in the story event. And vice versa certain choices in the story will unlock new options for your kingdom.
2: When you are speaking checks are made by party member with greatest bonus to the required skill. In kingdom checks there are Leaders that can solve some events on their own.
3: Right now we have in mind only several rather simple options for AI (switched off, using attacks that do not spend anything, make use of everything aside from AoE and consumables, etc)

And a bit on the book events:

Note: This text describes one of the events you will encounter in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. There are minor spoilers ahead.

There are two main types of interactions in the game aside from battle: dialogue and manipulating various objects. These interactions are usually further enhanced with elements like skill checks (try Disable Device on a locked chest) or small puzzle-like elements (figure out the sequence of a combination lock). But sometimes even combinations of these things are not enough to depict the event. When we were playing Pillars of Eternity a lot of us enjoyed their approach to special narrative events that were presented on scrolls, which didn't just contain text, but also used pictures. So it was natural that when we started discussing how we wanted to make events in Kingmaker come to life, we decided to take a similar route for some of them. And we wanted to take this approach even further.

Let us travel to the River Ford in South Narlmarches where gnomes are under attack by kobolds. Not only are they desperately trying to save their lives, but they also struggle to protect the cart of Jubilost Narthropple - leader of their expedition. Initially, you will come across several kobold squads, which will confront both the gnomes and your party. After you deal with the kobolds, a new challenge appears - saving the cart that is toppling into the water.

Interaction with the cart starts a new type of event, something we refer to as a "book event" in our game. You can try to help the gnomes right away, but it's not an easy task. While the gnomes are still holding the cart, you can explore the whole location to find items that can help. In this case you may discover a crowbar and a rope - or, being the resourceful adventurer that you are, perhaps you planned ahead and already thought to bring these valuable items along with you. Looking around the area you can also find ponies, which ran away from the cart. Your party may attempt to calm them with a skill check. All those actions will improve your chances to save the cart by decreasing the difficulty as well as providing new actions in the book event for the final check (for example by using the crowbar as a lever with a successful / check).

Your actions in battle can also have an impact on the event. While fighting the kobolds, you can make sure to protect the gnomes. Of course you could also just nuke the kobolds with area effects and take down a few gnomes along with them as collateral damage. However, each surviving gnome can lend their strength to your effort so save the cart, further decreasing the difficulty check, so you better think twice before blowing up some potential helpers!

By offering you all these possibilities we're letting you handle this encounter the way you want. If one solution doesn't work for you, we're giving you other options. If, for instance, your party fails to calm down the ponies, you could still enhance Amiri's strength with magic and let her use the crowbar. Compensate for your weaknesses in some departments with your strengths in others.