Starting KM, best community creations?


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Hey guys. I'm about to GM our first Kingmaker session in a week. I recently got all 6 books in the mail, and I've been pouring over them. We recently put Crimson Throne on hiatus because we were getting into a lull, and Kingmaker seemed to fit my group much better.

I hadn't found the forums when I started CotCT, and I didn't know about all the excellent community created expansions and ideas until it was too late for a lot of it. I don't want to make that mistake with Kingmaker, but I'm running out of time. I hate to ask others to do the work for me, but I'm already overwhelmed trying to read all 6 of the books before the first session, and I don't have time to crawl through thousands of pages of forums.

So my question is: what do you GMs think are the best user-made materials in the forums? There are pages and pages of great material here, but I don't have time to read them all. Are there any materials that are instant classics?

Additionally, just in general, do you guys have any tips for a new KM GM? Thanks in advance for any help, and I'm sorry this thread doesn't really contribute anything to the KM forums. (Maybe this thread will become a good directory for the most popular add-ons?)

Don't have time to type up everything...and typing on my tablet is a pain
anyway, so I'll keep this short.

If nothing else - read the forum sticky on Stolen Land, in particular the
posts which talk about setting up the campaign, getting the PCs together,
initial ideas on how to introduce that book...

Reading all of the books is a helpful idea, but you don't need to do all
of it before the first session - concentrate on the above sticky.

Shadow Lodge

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Obviously the sticky threads for each chapter at the top are must-sees. Ditto for the six-player conversions if you have a large party or a group that is tougher than the norm (meaning, 15-point buy).

Dudemeister's Hargulka's Monster Kingdom is an amazing rewrite of Rivers Run Red that turns the villain from a one-off monster in a dungeon to an actual active threat. It's full of brilliant ideas, twists, suggestions for alterations, and expanded variants from other people as well. Likewise his Varnhold Vanishing edits are pretty cool, turning the boring Spriggan encounters into a two-way Fae war.

Caleb Gordan's VV thread offers another perspective with some other ideas for expansion.

"Ooh Those Wascawwy Fey!!" is full of great prank ideas for Perlivash and Tyg-Titter-Tut in Chapter 1.

A shameless plug for my own thread, which focuses on rewriting the Fey involvement from Golarion's Eldest to the more traditional Summer and Winter Courts.

Linnorm's Grave and Ideas for the Enormous Owlbear - options for GINORMOUS enemies.

I'm sure there are others. You might be able to find links for some stuff I used in my thread, though I can't recall if I linked everything there. Probably not, but I hope I got most of it. =)

Grand Lodge

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My favorite Threads for Kingmaker

Orthos hit a lot of the high points. I will second Dudemister's stuff I used lots of bits from it when running this AP.

It took us 18 months to finish it. We ended up cutting out much of the 5th book and rushign the 6th. A player was moving and we wanted to finish the story, rather then letting it fall by the wayside.

I found that forshadowing and playing up the NPC's got me the biggest bang for my efforts. Book three is hard to get players to care about.

Lot's of people solve that with creating close ties to Varn at a early stage. I had the PC's and Varns group leave Brevoy togther and the first adventure was them traveling. Lot's or RP. By the time they seperated one of the PC's was enamored wtih Varn and the relationship continued. This was a huge hook for book three.
Every group is different and this AP thrives when the DM has a good grasp on the overall story and is able to improve things into the storyline.

I would also suggest taking a session to have the players make their characters. This lets them know each other and lets you plan sideline stories for each of them.

Get Ultimate Campaign! The chages to kingdom buildign and armies are a must use.

NPC's are vital

A lot of this story uses the NPC's and the soon to be kingdom as motivation to do things. If the PC's do not care for the NPC's you will loose their attention. Find ways to involve the PC's with the people. The more they care about them the less you will need to push when it comes time to investage a plot point. Make sure they care a book or three before they need to. Get them married, build a shop. You could mix downtime and kingdom building. Using downtime for things the PC's build and kingdom building for things the kingdom builds. I used mind mapping for a while to keep track of the NPC's but it got a too cumbursome to maintain after a while

Shadow Lodge

Yes, SO MUCH on the NPCs thing.

Another big thing: for the love of God, FORESHADOW THE BBEG. As-written the AP mentions her a few times off-handedly but only to the GM; following the books as written the PCs likely won't learn she even exists until Book 5. Insert cryptic references to her from NPCs, leave small clues on opponents and/or in loot, have her send minions that reference her (start with vague terms like "Mistress" or "Our Queen" or things like that, or stick to her title, "Queen of Forgotten Time"). At later points, around Chapters Four and Five, perhaps even have her manifest personally using astral projection-like effects, so the PCs can see her and communicate with her, she can drop some threats, etc., but the party can't kill her before the final showdown or trace her location.

Foreshadowing, foreshadowing, foreshadowing.

My own limited contributions:

Dream Messenger
Fey Bear

On an iphone so no easy links but:
-Search for the excellent 6 player conversions if you have a larger group.
-I enjoyed the version of the Old Beldame as a witch.
-Also, Realm of the Feynight queen is thematically appropriate

Jeez guys, this is perfect! I am repeatedly blown away by the excellence of these forums. A bunch of amazing replies in less than 7 hours.

When I ran Crimson Throne, I tried to foreshadow NPCs as much as possible, having pretty much everyone show up earlier. The way I handled organizing this was by copying the character lists in the back of the Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones books. I'd take the major locations, list the NPCs they've met there, and add a one-sentence summary of their role and personalities. Like those books, I'd just wrap the names with square brackets when they died. So, Oleg's would look like:

Oleg's Trading Post
OLEG LEVETON, gruff proprietor,
...SVETLANA LEVETON, his kind and young wife,
...CLAPTRAP, their jittery horse,
...KESTON GARESS, somewhat moody mercenary, disowned noble,
......His three men under command,
...JHOD KAVKEN, travelling cleric.
...[HAPPS], bandit terrorizing Oleg, slain by the party.

I'd print the sheet out so the players had a reference to the tons of important (and unimportant) NPCs, as well as a reminder sheet for myself, especially since I forget my own name sometimes, let alone remembering all the NPCs. I'd also take the effort to add the notes the players wrote on that sheet to the next one; we had "Mel is gonna hit daaat" on the sheet from the first session. This time around I think I'll make it a google doc so the players can update it on the fly, since everyone has a device for it.

For stuff I found in the forums, I really liked MaxAstro's Adding More Detail to Kesten Garess, since I know my party likes to get to know the people around.

Mosaic's Party Roles in Kingmaker looks to be a huge help in getting the players to help me take a load of work off my back, and give them incentives for it. We already do a bit of this, but solidifying everyone's roles sounds awesome. I'll pitch it to my players at the first session.

As an aside, I had to go out of town for a few days, and I saved a couple threads to read on the trip. Orthos' I Don't Believe In Faeries (linked above) was one of the threads I saved! I'm definitely going to use that!

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Hmmm, in my campaign Kesten Garess and Akiros Ismort continual problems with women led them to find solace in the arms of each other.

Also, there are two threads for illustrations of the "Zuddiger's Picnic" book that is a key in Book 6. One is complete, one is not. If you can get those, it can be a handy prop to have. is one of them.

Scarab Sages

If you include politics and some of the neighboring kingdoms, you might find some useful info in Redcelt's political stuff thread. I have not updated it in a while since our game is on a summer hiatus, but I try to keep a running storyline of all the poltical machinations going on between all the factions in Brevoy, the River Kingdoms, and my PCs kingdom, Vallis.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks everyone for tooting my expansion packs :-)

Here's some more stuff: My Kingmaker Toolbox for book 1.

And Dudemeister's Blood For Blood.


This is awesome! Definitely checking out all those links right now. I think that political stuff would be a lot of fun for my party (they're into a lot of games like that right now). The art for Zuddiger's Picnic is awesome, I was even thinking about that when I read that part. And Dudemeister's stuff for those books is perfect!

Last night I held a character making session like Crispy3Ed suggested. We discussed their characters, and went through the background building chapter of Ultimate Campaign. Then we wove threads between everyone's characters so they all knew each other (my favorite connection was the cavalier who's sister was hit on by the gnome barbarian, who started off hating one another but became close friends).

We went through all the roles of the kingdom and decided who would be the best fit for what (although they understand they don't have the charter to settle just yet). We also worked on adventurer's roles, voting on cartographer and chronicler and so forth, which is going to help me a lot in organization, since I've always handled everything like that in our previous campaigns.

I think what I'm going to focus on is creating my own content for my players according to their storylines. The cavalier has a wife and child, who will be moving into the kingdom when they create it, and I want to weave his son's childhood and growth into the campaign (will he turn out like Joffrey or like Robb?), as well as connections with the druid's previous circle, the old elf wizards' rather large pool of half-elf descendants, and the gnome barbarian's meat pie business.

and the gnome barbarian's meat pie business.

Is it downstairs from a barber?

pennywit wrote:
and the gnome barbarian's meat pie business.
Is it downstairs from a barber?

I totally didn't catch that. I'd suggest that to my player, except I'm afraid he'd pick up on that and run with it. I don't need an CE barbarian in my party right now.

How about a mythic bard with Profession (Barber)?

This evening is going to be my first session. My plan, before reaching Oleg's, they leave Brevoy with Maegar Varn and his mercenaries. I was thinking about having a short adventure with him before reaching Oleg's, but my party is very excited about the exploration aspects and have told me they want to get to it as soon as possible.
My plan then, is to have Maegar Varn and his mercs at Oleg's for the bandit encounter. Varn will offer to help out if the PCs do, and unless the PCs say they can handle it, they'll contribute to the fight as well (I'll add a couple extra bandits in this case). Then they'll continue down the road towards Restov and explore south from there.

Grand Lodge

Tell us how it went. I am not sure I would have gone that route.

Varn and crew are much higher level. I had them mingle at the Ball held after the the Mayor of Restov presented them all with their charters. They split off from the group at the crossing into the area they were charted to explore.

Well, it actually didn't come down to combat. My group created a big intimidation tactic that was so cool that I gave them big enough intimidation bonuses that they managed to talk the bandits into giving up. Varn contributed by aiding our to-be-ruler and they shared a toast later.
I think it went well.

I've gotten a player to include a close cousin in her backstory. This cousin has been away for the past year or so, serving as a bodyguard (and leveling up). A week or two after the adventure begins, a letter will arrive at Oleg's. The cousin is excited to have been chosen as part of a chartered expeditionary team. She's on Varn's crew. As the kingdoms begin to grow, she'll naturally be a diplomatic contact between the two. When she vanishes with the rest of Varnhold, this will create some additional motivation for the PCs.

I love that idea of a cousin being a diplomatic contact between the two cities. My to-be-ruler cavalier's backstory includes a few family members; they're an offshoot of one of Brevoy's noble families. His eldest brother is heir to his family's holdings, his second brother is a cheat and a sneak, and he has a sister who represents his family in Brevic courts.

If I take your idea, perhaps I'll make that sister the one who goes to Varnhold. They've already met Varn's team, but after the kingdoms are developed, I can have her say that she's been sent to Varnhold for diplomatic reasons to use her as extra bait in VV.

Additionally, I remember reading a community creation about a swordlord spy entering the PC's kingdom. I'm planning on that being the second brother, who is hoping to usurp his younger brother's titles.

As an aside, my players have been acting much more diplomatic than I expected. They've also been doing quite well diplomatically. For each group of bandits they defeat, they determine whether or not their crimes were worthy of death; rapists or murderers were put to the sword, but those who just acted as bandits were given the choice of death or indentured servitude. They now have a follower who helps them explore (they don't let him have weapons or have any night watch duties), and they left three others at Oleg's to help him upgrade his trading post. Since I didn't want to make this easy on the players, I had the bandits think of revolting, but one of the players got an immense sense motive check and got the party to talk them into being loyal.

As far as resources, I can vouch for the six-player conversion. My PCS (group of 5, 20-point build) took on the mite lair (or most of it). The upconverted Chief Grabbles and his honor guard turned the mites' Lair of Comedy into an encounter that sorely tested my players.

Mr. Grogg wrote:
When she vanishes with the rest of Varnhold, this will create some additional motivation for the PCs.

I am nearing the end of book 2, and have a player who wants to change characters. So his current character has been invited to Varnhold to look at an artifact they've found, taking the place of the NPC bard.

Having somebody with a close connection makes the hook stronger, but the danger is that your group might be too familiar with the area by the time of the Vanishing. My group have been given an accurate map of the area claimed by Varnhold, and I had to be very generous to them in border negotiations to stop them rushing East and claiming as many hexes as possible.

Thrund wrote:
Having somebody with a close connection makes the hook stronger, but the danger is that your group might be too familiar with the area by the time of the Vanishing. My group have been given an accurate map of the area claimed by Varnhold, and I had to be very generous to them in border negotiations to stop them rushing East and claiming as many hexes as possible.

Just because you have strong diplomatic relations with another kingdom doesn't mean that they will willingly provide you with maps that could be used to give you a strategic advantage should you decide to betray them.

Maps are militarily valuable, and somebody like Varn isn't going to allow any of his people to leak them to tomorrow's potential opponents no matter how much he likes them today.

I actually plan to have the PCs encounter spies every now and then who are doing nothing other than mapping the area. If they don't realize the import of this, things will go badly for them. If they do, then they might realize early on that others have designs on their kingdom. Either way, it will make for good foreshadowing of the wars to come.

If they don't realize how bad it is that people of unknown allegiance are in their territories making maps, and allow it to continue, then their enemies will be more easily able to move undetected through the kingdom and attack deep in the heart of the PCs lands.

Shadow Lodge

Yeah my group was very unhappy when they came across Narthropple - who I reflavored as a Halfling from Varnhold - and found him mapping their forest. Only some quick talking by the Halflings revealing that they (and in turn Varn) didn't know that this region had been chartered out to someone else and thus was off the market saved them from a Bad End at the Spymistress's arrows.

Drelev will be sending in similar spies soon, as we're about to start VV, but they'll be much harder to find. They'll get their toehold in while the PCs are in Varnhold investigating, and I imagine much of the downtime between VV and BFB will be spent tracking these guys down and trying to find out where they came from and why they're mapping the place.

I'm shifting Narthopple to a halfling myself, but he'll be working for Drelev, and keeping that secret as long as he can.

Shadow Lodge

I mostly made him a halfling because I made most everyone in Varnhold one.

I can't believe I actually missed this thread!

Pardon me while I dance around a bit in pure joy for seeing this thread just as I begin my Kingmaker campaign. :) Many thank-yous to IcedMik for starting it and for everyone who did the work to improve the path!

I came across this thread which augments the random kingdom event table with a bunch of really well-done and flavourful events. It doesn't incorporate the random kingdom events from Ultimate Campaign, but it's definitely worth a look.

Liberty's Edge

Some foreshadowing that I used. I added a "fey touched" template to some random encounters which results in a vine/tentacle detaching and eventually plane shifting back to the first world to some of the random encounters.

starting with the serial killer hermit(at work no books), I had some of the intelligent npcs talk about the "green lady" in combat. I also had wierd ramblings about the "green lady" all over the hermit's lair.

I foreshadowed the pitax analogue by adding decent arms and armor to an ogre as a more challenging random encounter. although that backfired somewhat as the party managed to befriend the ogre and he is now a recurring npc with alchemist levels.

Liberty's Edge

the foreshadowing on the ogre was the house crest on the armor and greatsword. the ogre left with them before the crests could be removed and the house crest matches the house of the ruler of the pitax analogue. I am not using pitax as I set the AP in my own campaign and not golarion.

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