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Spoilers: Removing the worst logical fallacies in Kingmaker


Kingmaker


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Before someone comes out with a suspend your disbelief comment let me just say, yeah I can deal with magic and all the kookiness and fun that comes with running a fantasy game as long as the rules set forth are followed and make sense. This thread is all about correcting some of the more careless abstractions for DMs like myself that just can't stand them.

1) City and Hex development limitations.
A hex is 12 miles across in either direction making the general size a but short of 144 sq miles! Every square mile has 640 acres so a hex is vast 92,160 acres vast. Yet there has to be some kind of limitation on development otherwise a 1 hex kingdom could be very well developed indeed.
A) Roads don't count
B) Each hex development has a size limitation Farms are 1/6 of a hex and generally represent land distributions, farmers only use the best 10% or so of arable land, the rest is fallow and is used for grazing and what not. The cost of farms is generally the cost of a small farming community which generally means a small thorp that isn't even large enough to be a name on your maps. (In my game there are 25 some odd developments one can make in an outside hex)
C) Cities are not limited to 9 districts, that is silly given the size of hexes, however every time the city outgrows 9 districts the defensive abilities of walls are reduced unless the characters re-extend their walls. Also the PCs need to spend 5 BPs to expand their city's past 9 districts in order to have proper roads and wells dug.

2) Kingdom approved quest rewards and pay.
So the players rule the kingdom, and the kingdom offers rewards of gold ect. This really bugged the hell out of me as a DM, it strikes me as lazy design and even my players noticed and hated this as they were like, "why would I take money from a kingdom I'm running, seems douchy."
A) While the players run the kingdom, that doesn't mean there aren't concerned citizen's with means and patriotism. Basically, for this I made an NPC that represents the merchants guild that raises funds for when troubles like Howl-the-Wind or Forest Drakes come up.
B) Once a year the kingdom pays it's small council 1 BP each when the ruler is a Baron, 3 BP each as a Duke, 10 BP each when the ruler is a King, this is without Unrest, the ruler can take 1.5 times that without complaints.

3) The Magic Item Economy.
So Rules as written state that characters can either buy the magic items produced in their kingdoms or sell them off for BPs and that we as DMs have to roll randomly to see how this populates. This is beyond goofy. 1st isn't that giving players a choice of either spending their wealth on an item or just taking it selling it and giving the city its benefit? Yeah, NO.
A) First and foremost, sponsored growth buildings have the effect on the kingdom that they do because the PCs are doling out the funds materials and workforce to make those buildings happen. With buildings that produce magic items there is a contract and the items given over are the same month over month with a set BP value. Minor items are worth 1.5 BP (rounded down), Medium 6BP, Major 12BP. Your magic shops produce double what is taken by the PCs and if the PCs want to purchase those items they can. IF they want to take rather than sell contracted items they are free to do so but they will be the same month over month and will come out of the PCs small counsel salary unless that PC wants to incur unrest.
B) Brevoy is your buyer and provides the caravan to trade their trade goods which translate to BPs until the ruler is a Duke or the events of Varnhold Vanishing whichever occurs first. After that the PCs either must build a royal caravan with escort (I have rules for this but the rules for caravan building from Jade Regent can suffice as well) to either Brevoy or Pitax or another nearby country with the funds and desire for said goods.
C) The goods produced by the buildings that make them are set at the start of building phase in which the building is selected and must make sense for the building being built and meet the appropriate cost guidelines. Once the building has provided triple the BPs it costs the PCs kingdom is effectively bought out of the business and those BPs/items go away as the taxes have been paid.

4) Houses.
OK this one bug me allot. RAW each filled city district adds 250 to your pop, and contains a maximum of 36 houses. There are a maximum of 9 districts in a city meaning a city of purely housing has 324 houses in an area of 144 square miles. Oh and that averages at 7 people living in 1 house. If you build anything else but houses you get to multiply that number by non housing squares, so if 1/2 your cit isn't houses that means 14 people live under the same roof in your city. Oh and a city maxes at a pop of 2,500 people counting the 250 pop you get from claiming a hex!
A) See my ruling on city districts and hex building limits they make this way less stupid.
B) Government sponsored housing is free which is why people come to your lands, they hope to get free housing, this is also why unrest is reduced by this simple act. Noble villas and Mansions are also considered housing and you can build 1 free house towards your building limits per city.
C) Building a house actually means building housing to fill the square of a city block.
D) There is such a thing as unregulated growth, unless it is specifically outlawed by the PCs there are rich folk that build tenements and profit off them even if the PCs don't like it. This however doesn't cause unrest unless the unregulated growth outpaces the PCs willingness to build housing. For every mansion and noble villa built there are 2 tenements built unregulated. (Again I have more complete rules on this but I'm not posting everything here, they are somewhat intuitive as they relate to other buildings.)

This is a big enough text wall for now, will add more to this later if folks like/appreciate this...


Ok screw it, here's some more...

5) Regulated v. Unregulated growth.
In RAW basically every building in your city is up to the PCs to build. To me that's just fraking crazy.
A) Not every single building in the cities are PC sponsored as other construction inclined people exist and build to suit either their own needs or to make their own profits. No government in history owns and builds every building in a kingdom that isn't feasible or smart. At best PCs interested in managing unregulated growth could go the lawful route and set up a system of building inspectors and regulators and permits however for most groups that would just be too much to manage.
B) Basically every district built has at least a tavern and inn, likely more than one, as well as various crafts people that the city residents need, what the PCs build are government sponsored buildings that operate as a partnership with the PCs and provide the listed benefits. Unregulated building do nothing for or against the PCs, but sponsored building provide a variety of benefits based on the building type. So a PC sponsored tavern is where the PCs can expect to drink for 1/2 price and have a booth, they can stay for free at the Inn for a night or 2, get rush priority on items and equipment they special order, basically they get perks for helping people get started.
C) A city district is actually 12 blocks its just that 3 of these blocks are unregulated growth, the types of buildings located there are set by the tone of what the PCs have built. Thus an area with a dump, a brothel, a general store, and a tavern is likely a low rent district with another competing brothel or tavern and a bunch of tenements. While another brothel surrounded by Mansions, a Noble villa, a magic Shop and an Academy is going to be a rich district with a high class brothel of courtesans and the unregulated growth is like to be things rich folk want like a luxury goods store, and various other craftsmen and bakers that serve the wealthy. Those that fall between are middle class and likely its all housing and stores the PCs didn't bother with.

Militia
Every government has goons. Law enforcement exists even in chaotic evil societies.
A) 1/100th of the pop is militia, even if you don't have a barracks or castle a mob of commoners will serve to lynch rapists and murderers. Add 1/2 a percent for every barracks or militia support building and 2% for having reached Duke status another 3% (total of 6%+ buildings)for reaching Kingdom status. These are a police force and defending military, they expect to be housed (housing goes to militia first) and fed (included in castle costs and barracks) and generally come lightly equipped. They are warriors unless given further training (actually raising them as an army) and generally will not got on the offensive, they stay inside the claimed hexes patrolling to keep the kingdom's peace.
B) Unless you have an academy they suffer a lack of leadership on the officer level and suffer a morale penalty of 2-8% when they are outside their stationed areas unless they are raised as a proper army. If they are raised as a proper army they are free upkeep.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

1) Hex Development
We stopped using the Kingdom Building rules around the end of Book 3, we know pretty much the direction the kingdom is headed in and it just took time away from the fun adventuring stuff. I just rule that there's some downtime between books and chapters and roll the random events table to give players an idea about some of the small fry stuff the kingdom faced.
a) Ok.
b) Fair enough, I ruled that when players develop a farm it just means that the hex is dedicated to farming of all kinds (crops, animals etc) and there's multiple farms.
c) Ok.

2) I gave my PCs a stipend of 100 gp a month when it was a barony, 500 gp a month as a duchy and 750 gp a month as a kingdom (they are still a duchy). Kingmaker is treasure light and there's almost an expectation the PCs will craft their own weapons and armor.
Also with 12 characters distributed among 6 players they still end up on the low end of WBL. As to those quest rewards for Howl-Of-The-North-Wind and other menaces, I had NPCs directly affected by it offer equivalent magic items as "thank you" gifts. The reward wasn't mentioned at the start of the quest.

3) Ok.

4) House was probably the wrong word for it, I always ruled that placing a house was the equivalent of zoning a residential district. I also just GM fiated occasionally to throw in housing districts in other towns as more people flocked to the kingdom.

5) Ok.

6) I let every town have a militia (or army) of human warriors of a CR equal to the number of districts for free. This comprises the watch, hunters, goons and civic minded folks willing to lay down their lives for their home. It's also handy for when I switched to the narrativist kingdom building.


Replying to DM:
1) Really!!! I'm shocked, developing the kingdom leads into sooo many fun hooks and whatnot for my players and provides allot of heavy RP. Guess different strokes for different folks.

2) seems reasonable bet they add up much the same.

3, 4 and 5) glad you approve, your imput is something I respect.

6) Not a bad way to go but I also have a much more extenive set of kingdom building rules and a strongly different set of rules for military building which is part of the reason kingdom building is more fun. MY players are trying to earn and support getting a Knight's Estate going to get some cavaleers since they finally have an NPC on the payroll that can train them and a military blacksmith. They are also gearing up to create a warmage college.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mind putting up your homerules?


Its too extensive, we're talking over 30 pages in word, PM me your email and I'll be happy to forward them to you.

As an aside I will ask for an assessment as I'm considering trying to kickstarter myself into a 3PP eventually (unless I win superstar.) I really want to be a game designer.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

The issue is that it was taking up too much table time, and I didn't have time between games to do it. There's still loads of sidequests and things that show up because I roll events between books and sometimes that warrants PC interference.


Obvious answer to 2 is that Restov pays the rewards.

Regarding militia, Ive renamed promotion laws to policing and use that to determine the amount of raisable militia.


Hassy wrote:
Obvious answer to 2 is that Restov pays the rewards.

Except as we get into Rivers Run Red the AP wants the tone to increasingly become "you're on your own." For my players the existence of a concerned citizen's council led by a merchant got their cackles up- especially after the bard that shall not be named showed up...


7} Varnhold and Fort Drelev
Separate but equally sad issues, but these towns start at the same time you do and but kingdoms are extremely poorly built and sadly understated. Varnhold is vastly under populated given the kingdom size (per kingdom building rules)they are 21 hexes! By the book that's at least 5250 people not even accounting for town pop! Fort Delev is trying to annex a kingdom when they control 1 hex and the PC kingdom should well be in or past 70 hexes! This is not even permissible by the rules they laid out.
A) The townsfolk of Varnhold vanished a month before the PCs really notice, and the Spriggans scared off your farmers and whatnot. Once Varnhold is clear these people come out of hiding and repop the area.
B) Fort Drelev is insane, they are trying to annex 1 hex at a time.

Andoran

@Solspiral: I would actually like a copy of your rules as well. I've been tinkering with the Kingmaker rules for a while, and I like seeing what other people come up with. Should I PM you as well?


Yep

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

#7 is something I am scratching my head over. We just finished part two and I am preparing part three. I think I am going to have Varnhold have a series of setbacks that have kept them small, heavy tributes to both Brevoy and the centaurs, and some bad luck. Nyrissa will also have been more successful in her schemes against Varnhold, as she wouldn't yet know who it is that will bring her down with Briar.

I may have read things wrong but I thought Varn was a Swordlord according to part one. In part three he is from an Issian family and has no ties to the swordlords.

Right now, the PCs kingdom is about 30 hexes, doing extremely well, and has two cities that dwarf Varnhold. To help the players feel that it is okay to start exploring and expanding towards the Tors of Levenies, I am going to have Varn approach them and offer to sell them the rights to the land west of the mountains. This would help focus the group towards that direction and establish a working relationship that could make the vanishing more meaningful.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

See my conversions to help ameliorate/explain population issues.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
See my conversions to help ameliorate/explain population issues.

+1


If you want a really bad logical fallacy take a closer look at the farming rules.

Oddly the average farm size is fairly constant at around 400 acres, that is a yearly average. Say the population of 250 people in a farming hex supports 25 farms. That is 25 x 400 acres or 10,000 acres, which leaves a lot of wild lands. (A 12 mile center to center hex is just shy of 125 sq miles or 80,000 acres.) Now from some research I did, IIRC it was 2 to 3 acres of farming to feed 1 person for a year (this was pre industrial revolution), so that single hex will feed 3-5000 people, but only provides enough BP to supply two hexes.

From Stolen Lands:
Each hex on the map of the Stolen Lands is 12 miles across (between opposite corners) and covers just under 150 square miles of area.

I'm not sure where the author learned math, but a circle with a diameter of 12 miles is only 113 or so sq miles, and a hex as described would fit inside that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

Vod, each hex is 12 miles across.

That means from hex side to hex side,
Or from the center of one hex to the center of an adjacent hex.

This has already been fixed - errata-ed.

So your 12 mile diameter circle would fit INSIDE the hex.


Queen Moragan wrote:

Vod, each hex is 12 miles across.

That means from hex side to hex side,
Or from the center of one hex to the center of an adjacent hex.

This has already been fixed - errata-ed.

So your 12 mile diameter circle would fit INSIDE the hex.

I don't keep up on the errata, but anyway if look at the first paragraph, that makes it a 125 (124.9??) sq miles.


Sort of tackled that with number one on the list. I assume farms are farming communities


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I just re-did the math.

12 mile hex = 124.7076 square miles.
Round off = 125 square miles.


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GM_Solspiral
I'm unsure if you are aware of the city district scale and what each building represents.
Each building representing a neighborhood of 562,500 square feet (750'x750').
Each complete city district being one square mile where 9,000 people live.


Hmm no I was not aware where did you get that


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

It's somewhere in the KM rules, book 2 I believe.
Read through the city district grid section I think.
Where it talks about the city district map scale, in case you need to do chases or something.
Or in the header for the buildings.


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Note that an average English medieval farm was about 30 acres or so.

Taldor

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Queen Moragan wrote:

Each building representing a neighborhood of 562,500 square feet (750'x750').

Each complete city district being one square mile where 9,000 people live.

You're absolutely correct, but then it gets screwy when you look at the map of Varnhold and there is a 1-to-1 correspondence between "buildings" in the stat block and buildings on the map. One "brewery" is exactly one brewery building and not a city block with a brewery and some houses. But this goes back to one of the other problems the OP pointed out - Varnhold, as mapped, is WAY too small.

Shadow Lodge

For Varnhold I'll probably just be using that map for the "inner sector" of the city, where the Spriggans have actually moved in, and the part that needs investigating; they'll go through the rest of the city, appropriately sized and creepily abandoned, en route.


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Mosaic
The map of Varnhold is not laid out on a KM city grid.
As far as I know, only the cities that the PC's build are.

We just went through Varnhold, and for fun I blew up the map as big as I could without turning it into a blurry mess.
We had the map scaled at 1"=20', and were using minis of familiars to represent the party.

Simply, the map of Varnhold is just like every other city/town/village/hamlet map ever put into an adventure, a hand drawn artistic map.

Only in KM do you need to "lay out the town" on a district grid.
Which I assume we do after our Kingdom annexes Varnhold.

Until then just consider the art differences to be "visual flavor text".


Queen Moragan wrote:

It's somewhere in the KM rules, book 2 I believe.

Page 58 under Building a City, then Population:

Each block is 250 people. All blocks in a district filled = 9000 people.

So each house placed is a housing zone.
Apartment complexes here we come. :)


Yep, I told my players that the 'action area' of Varnhold was just a sort of ... central district ... very loosely laid out ... and that they had lots of setbacks, including open fighting with neighbors (you know the ones) which used druidic magic to collapse and reclaim the borderlands.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's been brought up on the board before, but when tinkering with the population density figures remember that those of us living in highly developed counties have a skewed view of the subject from a historical perspective.

Figure that a normal pre-industrial household would include the parents, children, unwed siblings, elderly members of the family, etc.... And since (and this is the important bit) cars, trains, bus', and bicycles haven't been invented yet all these people will have to live within walking distance of wherever all the the family members work.

An average of seven people per apartment, or shack, in the middle of the city is by no means out of line. You can find that in some developed contries even today.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Queen Moragan wrote:

GM_Solspiral

Each building representing a neighborhood of 562,500 square feet (750'x750').
Each complete city district being one square mile where 9,000 people live.

To give people an idea of the size of one square (or building as you put it,) 562,500 square feet is just less than 13 acres. Windsor Castle, biggest and oldest occupied castle in the world and the Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen, takes up about 13 acres as well.

That means the castle that the players can build, the one that takes up four squares, is four times as large as that.


@ c) Keep in mind that in medival times you don't have cooling, fast travel etc. this is why medival "big cities" were really small compared to todays "big cities". The land around have to support the city (mainly food).
9 Blocks x 9000 people = 81.000 people. Did you ever held a BBQ for say 20 people? multiply this by 4050 and you have a rough amount what is needed to feed this 9 Block city for 1 day.
Then take a look to medival London, there were no farms etc in the city, so most of this stuff have to be from the land around. All brought to the city without cooling, fast travel etc.
I think this is a good point why the KM cities have the 9 Blocks cap (also to keep it simple^^)


@Tryn keep in mind its pathfinder thus magic and gods exist. Methinks there's solutions to basic issues like clean water and food storage. As to the fast travel, once you have decent roads, a good system to navigate the rivers safely, and once again with the magic is real we can teleport things isn't exactly super slow either.


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Tryn;

9 Blocks = 2,250 people = 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile.
1 City District = 36 Blocks.
9 City Districts = 81,000 people = 9 square miles.

The District size is the maximum and assume every single "750' Block" is used for something.

Try not to inject too much reality into a fantasy game, use the game mechanics to help keep it simple.

Worrying about the real world or "realistic" mechanics or urban planing is alot easier if you just assume your NPC's are smarter than the historical leader's of any other historical city on this planet.

After all, your people have access to magic and live in a fantasy world where some things can be alot simpler.


Mmm. I try not to just assume that NPCs have solved all those problems just because solutions exist. My first and immediate reason is, that's the players' job.

I like seeing GMs leverage their specialties at the table, as long as they can tie it to the narrative in an engaging way. Some people would benefit from keeping it simple and making assumptions like that. Yet maybe this GM has researched the development of medieval cities, and is conversant with the attractions a site might have for city founders, the way that city streets contour with the terrain, what kind of geographic features are likely to be modified for urban expansion and which features will be molded around, what will react naturally to the cities presence, and how a city might be shaped by events like being partially burned out, rebuilt, and growing beyond the city walls.

After all, these are the kind of people who wrote Westcrown, Absalom, Kaer Maga, Korvosa and Pitax. Maybe this kind of knowledge can make a city pop out for the players a little extra bit, and I can hardly advise somebody to keep their specialty on a leash.

Another GM I know studies geology. He could probably tell you all about convection planes, development of canyons and cave systems. He could probably tell his players what specific minerals make up his golems and earth elementals. Maybe it wouldn't come up often, but I bet it'd be darn good knowledge for a corps of dwarven engineers, or perhaps some strange dungeon ecology.

Another GM studies biology. He doesn't just have monsters; he has ecosystems (and trust me, the world of nature is plump with inspiration for horrible monsters). I'd like to see him cobble together a dungeon someday.

But I think retaining problems is realistic in its own way. You're probably surrounded by problems in real life that could be solved, but aren't. One example is illnesses that come from the use of needles. There exists a new kind of hypodermic needle whose tip isn't exposed to the air -- it unfurls then pierces the skin, drastically dropping subsequent infection rates. But you don't see this wonderful invention actually employed much, because hospitals often buy their supplies from groups of medical suppliers. Our little invention isn't part of one of those groups, so it's not yet affordable for the hospitals to saves lives with it.

Competition for resources and greed always serve as good reasons that Pathfinder is more of a gritty good-versus-evil world where you try to eke out a living, rather than a wonderful magic utopia. Maybe it's possible for a city to eliminate disease within its borders, but powerful spellcasters are a limited resources. Even if you have powerful spellcasters, most of them usually value their time very highly, and it can be difficult to urge or force them into service. And if you do, that will have its own consequences ... with the resultant reputation changes that key off of that behavior, you're picking your own pocket.

So is it possible? Sure. Purify Food and Drink is a 0-level spell that can make rotten food healthy to eat again ... but you need somebody who can cast it, who is willing to cast it, and can keep up with the needs of your population. Services like that tend to keep people alive that would otherwise die off in addition to attracting people who want guaranteed meals, and then you're almost back at the beginning because your population has exceeded your services unless you've continually pumped in the resources to meet the demand.

And I see Golarion as having a tragic edge, where all too often the creation of something truly great attracts the attention of great and jealous forces that desire to ruin or sieze it. Flying cities attract enemies strong enough to ground them.


@GM_Solspiral & Queen Moragan:

I don't want to make PF realistic (hell I would simply play another game if i want to^^), I only want to offer a different view on this part, so maybe we could understand why this limit was set.

Also magic is present, but there are maybe other reasons why they will not use them here (see Troubleshooters post about the needle).

I know Pathfinder is a mid magic campaign world, but this doesn't mean that grain were sent into granaries via teleport circles etc.
I think if you downgrade magic to a simple tool it will loose a lot of it's intressting part.
Also I think powerfull caster tend to use magic less, because they know about the consequences (best example Gandalf).

Sure you can handle the supply by magic, but what will this mean for your country? Economy? (who needs farms "create food", "heroes feast" > unemployment) What will the neighbours do if a magic kingdom try to rise to power? (and maybe attack them at some point in the future).

Magic is the solution to alot of adventure problems but I think using it for common issues will always create more problems.

Beside, why doing all this magic stuff (polution clearing, magic food transport etc.) instead of building a new settlement a few miles away?


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I have no objection to increasing realism in the game.
And each gaming group will have a unique mix of skill sets possessed by the group.

Each group and GM needs to determine how much more additional "realism" they wish to add, that being said, what one group decides to make "more realistic" can simply be hand-waved by another group.

Both are equally valid.

The point is to add to your game if it increases your enjoyment, but don't complain that a simplified game mechanic is wrong.

If your group has found something that improves your game, by all means share it!

But do try to keep the endless debate over "realism in the game" to a minimum, and I would encourage everyone to do so. Healthy debate is fine, debating for the sake of debating is not.
After all, there are millions of posts on the subject.

We use the city grid for simplicity.
Does anyone have a simple system to replace the city grid with somekind of grid geo-morphs to add variety??


Honestly, the biggest logical fallacy in Kingmaker is assuming that PCs are running charity and volunteer works instead of a protection racket... Even though kingdoms actually are closer to the latter. The entire kingdom management system simply doesn't work when confronted with selfish-neutral or nominally-good PCs, because being a king apparently pays FAR worse than being a wandering murderer for hire (assuming the same amount of effort). Until this fundamental problem is fixed, fixing lesser quirks of the kingdom management system is just plaing poultices on a wooden leg...


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For my PCs I assume that all living expenses are taken care of, and lavishly so once the kingdom gets bigger. So being a king DOES pay well, it's just in lifestyle, not in magic items or gold to spend on personal trinkets.

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