Pathfinder: Kingmaker Update #46

In the latest Kickstarter update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker, the folks from Owlcat Games share a couple of emergent stories from their own tabeltop Pathfinder campaigns. Check them out if you would like to know why bandits and paladins don't mix, and why it's wise to have a rogue in your party when exploring dangerous caves.

There also this video that shows off some glorious tabletop roleplaying action:

And here's an excerpt from the update:

For today's update, let's take a small break from the Pathfinder computer game. As you know, we play a lot of pen-and-paper Pathfinder here at Owlcat Games. And today, we want to share some stories from our tabletop adventures - stories that excite us and inspire us so much, they may well turn up in the videogame. As anybody who ever played a tabletop RPG knows, the urge to tell everyone about your character is sometimes irresistible!

Beware: this update contains some spoilers!

All Owlcats are playing through the whole Kingmaker adventure path, from start to finish. This adds up to five simultaneous campaigns; every week the five groups gather around their tables, bring out the dice and their character sheets. Of course this will occasionally result in some weird looks from other people in the office. Hey, don't judge - we're working here!

As it usually happens with tabletop campaigns, every GM adds something of their own to the campaign. Take Oleg's Trading Post, for example. It's the first "home base" that the players visit during the campaign - a place to rest, resupply and maybe sell loot. In two of our campaigns, the Trading Post was attacked by bandits - and in one case, they were successful. This one event drastically changed the whole flow of the campaign. Usually players explore the Stolen Lands almost at their leisure, preparing for the final confrontation with the bandit lord. But in this case, the exploration turned into a mad scramble, as hungry and homeless adventurers struggled to conquer the bandits' fort before winter came and they all froze to death! They were successful... but with a twist.

Imagine: a fortified bandit camp sits on a hill, surrounded by a sturdy stockade and defended by archers. The first head-on attack is not successful - many defenders are killed, but ultimately the adventurers have to fall back. They hide in the woods to rest and recuperate; and the next day Ulrick, a devout paladin of Shelyn, leads another charge - only to be greeted by a surly bandit: "Hey, stop your blabbering! The boss ordered to let you in peacefully." As the party enters the fort, the Stag Lord, the bandits' leader, makes his surprising suggestion. Most of his bandits, and his lieutenants, are dead. The party is still hurting from their first attack against the camp. Another fight would cost both sides dearly. What if they chose to bury the hatchet - what if they joined forces to survive the winter instead of fighting?

The swordlords of Restov offer a reward for the Stag Lord's head - but they do not know what he looks like. The party could bring his distinctive helm to Restov, get the reward and leave with the swordlords none the wiser, and the Stag Lord would become their loyal ally. The swordlords are untrustworthy, scheming politicians, the new kingdom in the Stolen Lands should feel no loyalty to them... or so the Stag Lord claims. As the players are considering the idea, Ulrick objects loudly and vehemently. A paladin would never stoop so low as to attempt this vile deception! Things get out of hand and end in a duel. Ulrick against the Stag Lord. Whoever wins, gets their way - either the party allies with the bandit, or they take him away in shackles.

Having two more experience levels under his belt than the poor paladin, the bandit leader wipes out Ulrick in front of his gawking party, whose alignment changes for siding with the bandits! On the other hand, Ulrick's player is now switching to playing the Stag Lord, gaining a couple of levels, and having the time of his life screwing up the party's plans. The Stag Lord is not going to play nice with his new allies.

It's unexpected moments like this that make tabletop games really awesome. Unfortunately, this sort of reactivity is basically impossible in a CRPG... although this story did prompt us to think a lot about the Stag Lord encounter in the videogame. Will he be an actual companion? Probably not, but you'd at least talk to him and decide the bandit's fate.