The motivations that lead one to a life of an adventurer are endless: wanderlust, glory, power, wealth, fame, or opportunities to indulge your benevolence - or malevolence. Whatever your reasons are, you found the perfect means to attain your adventurous ambitions when a lord made an offer too attractive to ignore. A powerful bandit calling himself the Stag Lord has made himself ruler of the appropriately-named Stolen Lands, a dangerous frontier and no-mans-land. Bandits make for notoriously poor neighbors, and the offer is simple; whomever rids the Stolen Lands of this Stag Lord may rule those liberated lands with official support and recognition.
Whether you want to defend the vulnerable trying to scratch out a living in the Stolen Lands, deprive the Stag Lord and other evils from imposing on the meek, spread lawful civilization into untamed lands, accrue wealth and power and subjugate others to your will (and, perhaps, more than a little bit of taxation), or if you just think that becoming a baron/baroness would be a fun adventure is yours to decide, and to shape by your actions and policies, and in no small part by the company you keep.
While claiming a crown by one’s own hands would normally be the highlight of any adventurer’s career, there’s more at play than is initially apparent. The machinations of foreign states large and small, of slavers and barbarian tribes, and of conspiring factions within the state that endorsed your quest may all prove to be threats. Worse still, the lands you conquer didn’t remain untamed for so long for no reason - bandits and monsters abound and sinister forces conspire to ensure the Stolen Lands never have a master for long…
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an isometric, party-based RPG that shares much in common with games like Baldur’s Gate, an obvious source of inspiration. Veterans of old-school Black Isle or Bioware CRPGs - or players of tabletop Pathfinder or 3.5 Edition Dungeons & Dragons - will naturally feel quite comfortable with the admittedly dense rules. You’ll find many of the more common rules and terms explained both in-game, and in the Pathfinder Rules and Terms section of the guide.
You’ll start the game by creating a character (or selecting a pregenerated character), and before long you’ll be expected to control a diverse group of characters. What characters you bring to battle with you and how you equip them and utilize their spells and abilities are the key gameplay considerations in Pathfinder. To that end, in the walkthrough you’ll find suggestions regarding tactics, spells selection, skill point allocation and the specific strengths and weaknesses of troublesome enemies listed throughout the walkthrough.
Aside from the typical fare of pointing out loot, traps, secrets, enemy locations and strategies and how to navigate quests and dialogues for desired outcomes, in Pathfinder: Kingmaker there’s another important consideration - how to manage your kingdom efficiently. More than just a minigame, the kingdom management aspect of Pathfinder: Kingmaker regularly is the vehicle through which new quests are introduced. You’ll also assign NPCs and companions to various positions within your government, resolves problems and take advantage of opportunities to build up your kingdom stats to deal with internal and external threats to stability. The decisions you make determine whether you’re a cruel tyrant or a benevolent leader… or somewhere in between. Naturally you’ll find information on how all this works in the Kingdom Development section of the guide.
With any luck, you’ll find the information presented here helpful in your own adventures - it’s sure been one writing this guide!
– Nathan "Haeravon" Garvin (author of Pathfinder: Kingmaker) and the Gamer Guides team.