Interest Check: Idea for running 2 PCs through Kingmaker as Co-Rulers (PBP, Discord)


A previous attempt of mine to run the Kingmaker AP here on the boards had to phase out due to my trying to balance full time work with a brand new baby. Now, I’m full time at home with my child, and I’ve got a bit more free time for thinking about and running a game. However, I’ve learned a couple lessons about running this AP after that false start here, and one go of it live with friends, and I have an idea that I think is a little bit more feasible for me.

Number of Players
I’ve been thinking about just having 2 PCs, each creating characters who will be in an arranged union with both PCs (eventually) taking the “Ruler” role in the new kingdom (with NPCs filling in other kingdom roles). Having just two players makes navigating some of the custom storytelling a little easier for me, and if all three of us stay engaged in the story, things might move a little bit faster, too.

I would have one PC be from Issia (taking the campaign trait “Issian” or “Noble Born”), and one from Rostland (taking the campaign trait “Rostlander” or “Sword Scion”), to represent a potential alliance coming into place for the politically fraught kingdom of Brevoy, even if it is between a non-noble from each land.

I was thinking about starting characters at level 2, instead of level 1, and giving them the ability to purchase Teams (a la Ultimate Campaign) to direct during the exploration phases of the AP, and accompany the PCs into encounters.

Choosing PCs
As far as choosing PCs goes, I think that I would set up a pair of Google Forms (one for Issians/Noble Families, one for Rostlanders/Sword Scions) with a series of questions for interested players to complete before a set “end” date, when the forms would be closed to submissions. Rather than needing to commit to a full crunch build-out for a new PC, the questions would focus on PC backgrounds and relationships.

After that “close” date for the forms, I would then give players the option to select their ideal “partner” for the expedition, then choose those pairings on another Google Form (probably drop down menus for each of the representatives and a comments field). This will represent the petitions to the Dragonscale Throne and the Lord Mayor of Restov on behalf of the people of Issia and the people of Rostland for the (potentially dubious) honor of heading into the wilderness and establish a new nation. This also gives players some choice in balancing their own party makeup. I would then make the final choice on a pairing of players for the game.

Play Format Idea
I’ve been playing a couple games on Discord lately, and I like the speedy response of that format (and notifications!). It’s a little trickier to read back over the major plot points of a campaign that way, but I am curious to try out the benefits. If you’re not familiar with the Discord service, take a look. I also like that it would be easier to post from my phone/tablet. I would be available on the service between 8:30pm and 10:00pm EST on most evenings, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect players to be live/available each evening.

The Feedback I’d Like
- Does this kind of game sound interesting?
- Does playing over Discord sound interesting?
- What questions would come up for you about this kind of game?

Please post below, as it would really help me focus my thoughts on putting together a way to do recruitment. I’ll consider all comments from now through 7 Feb 2018. Thanks for your help!

I am very interested in playing through Kingmaker. While different, I would be okay with your version of recruitment, it seems interesting.

A suggestion on people accompanying the PCs. Instead of hiring teams we could have the leadership feat for free. Since we are starting at level 2 our cohort could have one level in an NPC class. At level 3 the cohort could retrain into a PC class. The Cohort would probably be a person close to the PC and is coming along to help them earn their kingdom.

To control the followers, simply make it so they also must be at least two levels lower than the PC, so no followers until level 3. Then it gives us time to roleplay acquiring the followers.

In addition, because we are going to be exploring and adventuring we would have to support the followers so there would be a daily expense of food and the like.

The Feedback You Get

- Does this kind of game sound interesting?

Yes very much so.

- Does playing over Discord sound interesting?

I've never used it, but it looks like a messaging app. Is there a native die roll function in it and text formatting?

- What questions would come up for you about this kind of game?

In how much detail are you expecting us to manage followers/hirelings? Will be using Ultimate Campaign for running the kingdom building aspect and using those kingdom building rules or just roleplaying it all?

I really like this idea. Ive been wanting to run through Kingmaker since I first started playing pathfinder. I too have never used discord, but I've heard its great. I work during the day and do a lot of posting at home, but at night I'm on my computer studying, which means that I could probably be on discord in another window so most nights I would be on there too.

As for the recruitment I think that it's interesting and I would probably need to see it in action before passing any judgements.

It looks like crunch os less important in this recruitment, but do you have any idea the direction you want to go as for builds. For example race/class options? Gestalt? Background skills? Some of the newer mechanics from ultimate wilderness (I really like some of those)? Feat tax?

I'm sure that I am going beyond the scope if this interest check with all those questions, but I tend to use the crunch like the bones of my person and give them their flavor from there, going back and changing the crunch as I see fit.

1) Free Leadership Feat / NPCs as Cohorts - I can see the appeal of this idea. The PCs that are chosen would get approved by the national leaders because of their natural leadership abilities, and having a squire, acolyte, assistant, etc. makes sense.

As for followers, I would agree that waiting until a later level makes sense. At least until a suitably well-defended base of operations is in place, but I'm hesitant to start them lower than leadership score 10 (though that's achievable at lower levels by a high charisma character with a few other bonuses added in). Or, perhaps, they arrive at the following Leadership Score : Follower #s, and pick up as normal at leadership score of 10.
- 6 : 1
- 7 : 2
- 8 : 3
- 9 : 4

2) Discord Functionality - Yes, it's primarily a messaging app. I would create a private server that the players would join, and dice rolling would be native to it. Each server can set up a number of #channels. For example, one #channel would be #gameplay, one #oocdiscussion, one #questlog, one #charactersheets, etc., whatever we need to help us keep information in place. It's very easy to just leave it in the background. I work from home a little bit in the evenings, but I can usually pop over for a couple minutes to write a post.

3) Managing Followers/Hirelings/Kingdom Building - I think that the Downtime rules can be an interesting way for PCs to invest in their world, especially a long-term campaign like Kingmaker (especially when a kingdom turn is a whole month). For example, when I ran it in the tabletop, one player used his PCs cash to purchase a set of stables in the capital city, and over the course of the time that we played, it gave his character a fair amount of extra income. Takes a while, but again, the characters have plenty of time.

If the players were more interested in just Role Playing the downtime or kingdom building, then I would run the numbers in the background as a way of keeping things organized/quantified for me, but hopefully we'd find a way to do this narratively that's also relatively easy to track. There are aids out there that we'd find.

4) Crunch - Yeah, I can put some parameters in place, but I'm more interested in Character Ideas than mechanics for now, mostly because I want players to be invested in the Character, not the characters numbers. However, I can see wanting to quantify things as you create the character. As for some of your specifics:

- 15- or 20- point buy for ability scores.

- Starting at level 2, with WBL per the Core Rulebook, plus an "Expeditionary Fund" from the leaders of Brevoy that goes towards the supply and care of teams/followers

- Racially, it makes sense for the PCs to be humans, or human-derivative races, including planetouched (aasimar, tiefling, elemental/geniekind races) or half-elf/half-orc, as these make sense in the context of the Brevic noble houses, and who they might send on such a quest. There are arguments to be made for other races / racial pairings for the two rulers chosen, I'm sure, but they'd have to be good arguments. :)

- I would not go for Gestalt, mostly because I am planning to give the PCs a lot of NPC support, and Gestalt can get a little out of hand. Maybe a Mythic tier if it makes sense? But then, it might only be a temporary one, not a permanent one. I'll think on this, but don't plan on Gestalt.

- Background skills are a definite yes! I think this is a great idea that should be in every game.

- Sadly, I don't yet have Ultimate Wilderness, but I need to take a look at picking it up! $10 for the PDF seems reasonable. Is there a specific mechanic you have in mind, Uthraed?

- Regarding feat tax, I would be willing to use this alternative to feats, especially since it's just two PCs. We could talk specifics if necessary.

5) What does this kind of recruitment look like? When I started my Hell's Rebels PBP, I asked the players to fill out this google form. I would come up with different question specifics for this AP, but the basic principles would be similar.

- - - - -

Hope that all helps! What else?

Thanks for the answer about how Discord works, it is kind of what i thought but confirmation is nice.

For the Leadership stuff, I just realized my brain stopped working momentarily and substituted 'charisma score' for 'charisma modifier' when I was writing my above suggestion so there's no way you could get followers at level 3 (barring crazy shenanigans), so what I wrote about followers can be ignored.

The google form looks like a cool way to gather info for this, I like the idea.

What are your posting expectations for this game? Looking at other games you've run you seem to prefer short posts.

This as does most Kingmaker APs interests me. The AP is very popular and it is worth the time invested in a game.
Well I have my personal opinion on that. I always felt that with this AP it was better to have more than four players. I would rather have input from a PC who has invested interest in the game than an NPC. That is just me. Now that being said...I can see it getting a little hard for only two players to make this huge campaign work. It can be done but I think at least 4 PC is ideal. There are some issues with any PBP game and that is players able to invest time into the game. PCBOT2000 is a great tool. IF a PC does not post by a set time two days or so, then another PC or DM will take his action to keep the game moving forward. If it is a combat then it should be a post every day or PCBOT2000 comes out and their turn is taken by another.

Choosing PC:
Some of my biggest concerns is when I put a lot of time and energy into a character and not get picked...or the dm stops posting after one week. So I do not mind creating a character just I have dropped out of recruitment when I am being asked to jump through lots of hopes all just for the off chance I get picked. I had one DM ask us to create a whole kingdom as part of the PC creation. So I think keep the creation rules to what you want and do not change things for every player that wants to try this or that.....
When picking players you might want to look at their profile to see how many post they have, how many games they are in. (sometime when the players has to many games, they post like once a week. Check out the writing style...see if they tend to be more of a roll player or a role player. A lot of munchkin character pop up on these boards.

I am on discord and I do like it. I do like roll d20 for maps. I feel since you have already set up the recruitment thread on this site there is no need to create different channels when that stuff is already here. You can use discord if a verbal discussion is needed because it will be so much easier to talk as to type it out over a few days. Google docs is also a good tool.

I hope this helps you out.

I could actually be on Discord at my PC during that time frame a lot. But Discord is a good option because I can keep up with it on my phone either way. A quick back and forth from time to time could move things along pretty quickly, actually.

I think if you do a 2 player game, you should do some heavy vetting of the player profiles. Does the player post consistently? Do the posts typically have the quality you require(a variable depending on GM)? Does the player communicate when unable to post on time?

I honestly think you could do a shorter recruitment process, maybe asking for some basic background or a simple character concept etc., then do the leg-work yourself for investigating the players. Maybe have the players link posts or aliases that they think you should look at. I'm relatively new to the forums, but I've learned that a good and consistent player is way more important than a creative concept. This is probably doubly important in a small group.

As for the idea to run 2 PCs leading the kingdom, I think the idea is really cool as long as you're OK with managing all those NPCs. You could maybe make it a little bit easier by having the PCs manage their cohorts if you go the leadership route. Definitely if you find the right two players, you could get a very focused game.

I think kingmaker is a great AP for pbp because there is so much to keep track of. I like the idea of using the downtime rules for that reason.

I echo Lazyclownfish on the idea of having the PC's controll at least some of their cohort.

As for the rules in ultimate wilderness I especially like the trophies, gathering ingredients, and cultivating ingredients rules. It seems well suited for this sort of adventure. There are new exploration rules that I haven't really looked too much into but my understanding is that they made more rules for it, which may or may not be a bad thing. One thing I've always found odd for instance was survival checks to gather food. You roll your check and yep you got food, I like the idea of using those skills in a more purposeful way. Does that make since?

I just went through your hells rebels recruitment and I have to say when I first started I didn't like it. I write my characters differently, but then I started thinking about it and by the end I was thinking, hmmm I've never given my character a reason to getboutbof bed in the morning or a theme song. Which I think would probably be the question that I would get most stuck on.

I've built 2 characters for kingmaker, one was very crunchy the other was all flavor now my wheels are turning trying to combine them into one. Needless to say I am looking forward to recruitment.

More rules questions: Combat Stamana? VMC? Prestige classes, specifically could you take more than one prestige class? And would you allow a feat that added dex to damage, I know there are class abilities and such but what about a plain ol' feat?

I'm done.

I'll keep an eye on this - the premise is intriguing :)

Nice to see you LCF! Which reminds me - GM question: would we pair up to submit our characters, or would you chose the characters separately and 'marry them up' in terms of background etc afterwards?

6) Posting Expectations - Since play would be by Discord, checking in once or twice a day would be fine. And if we are all online at the same time in the evening, then things would probably move somewhat quickly. I would likely bot combat posts if there was more than a 24 hour delay, but there are definitely going to be days where posting just doesn't work (kid gets sick, vacation, holidays, etc) so we obviously won't be heartless with each other.

7) LCD's Numbers Comment - I've tried this with 7 players, and unfortunately it just led to a lot of indecisiveness (though that could have been the players). I think that two players, guiding their NPCs (and rolling for them sometimes), should be able to make decisions quickly and set directions for their kingdom. Though I could be wrong!

7) LCD's & LCFs Player Choice Comment - Yeah, that's what I'm hoping will be a little easier with this style of recruitment. Responses to questions on the form could be as short or as long as the player decides. I think that looking at player posts here on the board is a helpful guideline, but I also acknowledge that player attrition is a tricky boat to steer. Life gets the best of any of us.

8) Cohort Handling - Oh yeah, this is definitely on the PCs in combat settings. :) I'll have enough going on. As for the other support NPCs, this is where the vast library of Paizo NPCs just starts getting reskinned. FOLLOWERS, on the other hand, would mostly be assigned duties and then I'd run with them from there.

9) UW ideas from Uthraed - Yep, that makes sense!

10) Additional Crunch Questions - Here we go:
- Combat Stamina: I'd be open to this, but only for classes that don't already get a pool, grit, panache, etc. Again, let's talk.
- Variant Multi-Classing: I don't see the appeal, personally, but I can see why others do. Let me think on this. I kind of like how each of the classes stand on their own for the most part.
- Prestige Classes: I think they are great! However, I also would want their inclusion to make sense in the game. Obviously something like the Swordlord prestige class has a natural home here, but others like the Knights of Ozem (who are dedicated to another part of the world) would make less sense. Again, let's talk! As for multiple prestige classes, I would likely say no, but if there's a good story reason for it, then we might come to an agreement. What's a theoretical combination that you had in mind, Uthraed?
- Dex to Damage: Outside of the obvious class options, I'd stick to the feats published by Paizo on this: Dervish Dance, Slashing Grace, Fencing Grace, or Starry Grace. There's an argument to be made for an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists, too, and there's more than enough time in the course of this campaign for custom weapons/items to be crafted. Given my openness to side-stepping the feat tax for this campaign, I think the options are more than fair.

11) Pairing Up - I was thinking about this, too, and if two players wanted to propose a pairing right from the start, that's fine by me. It's less work for me on the far end.

Thanks, all. Any other thoughts?

I have a love the prestige class [link=Chevalier] [/spoiler] its only 3 levels and I think it's just so cool, especially in a campaign with only 1 or 2 PC's but I also had the idea of taking the swordlord prestige class to get the DEX to damage, but not going all the way down the line.

I'm not a fan of VMC myself but I thought that I would bring it up because it's a somewhat common question. I do however love multiclassing, or atleast taking things like prestige classes that make my character have his own unique niche.

What's your view on the vigilante? I've been mulling over one of those for a while too, though I'd probably end up making a regular old human fighter or possibly a swashbuckler. A Dex based matial character, that's what Im getting at. I'm probably going to make a Dex based martial character.

You asked if there were any other thoughts, I have so many thoughts.

12) Chevalier - Since this is more a 3.5 PrC than a PRG one, let me think about it.

13) Vigilante - A king or queen that secretly disappears for a while to fight monsters and bandits? Awesome! :) Some populaces would prefer that their ruler not try to win his or her own fights, and just stay alive. Others? Not so worried.

Please, ask away! :)

I did not realize that about the Chevalier, I was just going through the Prestige classes one day and it caught my eye. Thinking about character ideas is keeping me up. Also Im real glad I messed up that link and didn't even notice until now. Good going me.

I actually think it's a pretty good idea good idea from a story point of view to have players pair up before building concepts. I've done a couple of joint submissions for games and I think there is something gained from bouncing ideas back and forth and trying to synergize, both from a background and mechanics point of view.

I think your system could end up with a situation where the two concepts you like the most don't pick each other. Or one did, but the other did not. It could work, but there is some chance that your players won't work together well in the long run. And having two players that work really well together is extremely important for this idea.

Hey Nikolaus.

Hi there, I would be very interested in Kingmaker and a focused adventure. Love downtime and creating a fully realised world. I was just wondering if you would be open to using third party products, especially Spheres of Might and Spheres of Power?

I agree with LCF, I am usually hesitant about working with someone else because my submission is tied to theirs and theirs to mine and it always worries me that it's going to be like a group project where someone is holding the other back. However he's right for a two player game to work they would need to work well together.

My thought would be getting rough ideas out there and once the players are picked they can work together to tweak backgrounds so that they synergize well with each other.

I've been watching, i've got my hat tossed in on a different Kingmaker for the time being but I'll keep checking in on this.

Even if I do get the other, I'll at the very least be interested in following this story. (I love the concept of Kingmaker, I firmly believe this is one of the BIG concepts that most people play fantasy for and given it's core concepts, I love watching people's decisions and story play out.)

If I am not selected for the current Kingmaker recruitment (and there are many solid applications) then I am quite interested.

I'd be interested in this. Discord seems like a better way to run PBP where you want better individual player interaction.

14) Third Party Products: I am still somewhat hesitant to work with third party products, and I feel some need to apologize for that. I know those publishers work hard to put out good materials. Since I'm not that familiar with them, it would take a fair amount of time for me to get used to them, more than I might have at this time. So for now, we'll stick to Paizo's products.

Thanks, all, for thoughts. I'm going to take a few days to get a recruitment thread together, then I'll put it out there for everyone. Have a good night!

Looking forward to it. Thanks for the update.

I hadn’t noticed this thread before, but I am really interested. I just got into PBP as a mostly 5e and FFG Star Wars player, but I just bought the Pathfinder rules this week specifically because I want to play Kingmaker. I am looking forward to seeing the recruitment thread!

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