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Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an isometric single-player RPG based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Kingmaker Adventure Path.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an isometric single-player RPG based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Kingmaker Adventure Path.
18,351 backers pledged $909,057 to help bring this project to life.

It's a Kind of Magic - The Spells & FX of Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Posted by Berserkerkitten (Collaborator)

Dear Pathfinders,

Today we will be talking about spells – lifeblood of more than half of the Pathfinder classes. Since the release of their signature product, Paizo published numerous rulebooks for the Pathfinder RPG, both hardcover giants, like Ultimate Magic and Advanced Player Guide, and innumerable softcover Campaign Settings, Player Companions, Modules, and Adventure Paths. And most of them do contain spells, some of them only one, and some whole packs rivaling the basic assortment provided in the core rulebook. For us, when making a Pathfinder CRPG, this provides a treasury to draw from.

And as we do draw from it, and see the ideas of all these spells come to life on our screens, they blend together to give you a myriad of tactics to solve problems, overcome obstacles and defeat enemies our game will provide you aplenty. For in Pathfinder spells are not just elemental attacks of different shapes and colors, but a diverse set of tools and instruments for enormous amounts of possible situations. And those who love their elemental attacks will also find them in abundance, as some situations require precisely tools like these.


Is one of your companions injured? Poisoned? Dead? There are spells for that. Cannot find a secret door? There is a spell for that too. Found a secret door, but cannot open it? Again, there is a spell for that. Are you feeling the strong urge to set somebody on fire? There are a lot of spells that do exactly that. While setting someone on fire, you mistakenly set your companions on fire too, and now they're dead? We’ve already discussed, spells can fix that. Cannot see your enemy? There is a spell for that. Still cannot see him, because he's behind the wall? There is a spell for that. Still cannot see him? You’ve probably been blinded. Do not worry; there is a spell for that. There is a whole school of spells that allow you to see enemies even where there aren’t any. Got too cold? There’s a spell for that. Are neighbors too loud? There’s a spell for that. Mysterious rash..? There’s probably a spell for that.

Out of the core classes, only monk, fighter, barbarian and rogue don’t use magic, so each and every spell we add will increase the depth of the game for all parties that will not specifically avoid magic. And we want you to have a multitude of choices every time you level up your spell casting characters and every time you choose your spells for the day. Of course you won't have to constantly rearrange your spells and you'll be fine with just a basic set of spells in some parts of the game and on the easier difficulty settings. But we also strive to create challenges and environments that will make you stop and consider what spells to prepare for the task at hand.

But no spell may truly come to life without its visual component – because it is this exact part of the spell that makes it an actual translation from pen and paper to your screens. And in visual effects as well we try to support both the variety of spells and their targets. A special system in our game supports scaling of both shapes and sizes of visual effects on different creatures to improve both the aesthetic feel and gameplay feedback from your (and, sometimes, your opponents') actions.


Mechanically, spells consist of a basic skeletal structure and a system of multiple components that make up complex magical effects. The main structure contains common parameters that include, but are not limited to, range, different descriptions, name and release animation. Components include parts of the spell that working together will eventually make spell act the way we want it to. For example, the spell "Snowball" has components that add it to the Wizard spell list, a component for the conjuration spell school, a ranged touch projectile component, cold descriptor and actions that deal damage on hit and allow the target to make a saving throw, with an action that applies staggered condition on the target if it fails this saving throw. Each such component is programmed to be a new cog to create new spells from, to assemble them from different parts. And with each new component, it becomes easier to make spells that have similar mechanics.

So whenever anyone asks us how many spells will be there in Pathfinder: Kingmaker, we answer, “More than 300 of them”. But you should know that 300 is just a minimal number, the correct answer is, “As many as possible!”


 It's over 9000!

Of course we don't want to end today's update without sending a massive THANK YOU to our growing list of over 10,000 backers! It has been our dream to make this game and you are all helping us to make it a reality. And there's still some time left until the campaign ends, so let's see how many stretch goals we can knock out. Let's all make this something big and special together!

Hail to the kings!



Rysky, Killstring, and 74 more people like this update.


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    1. sorrowofwind on

      @Giovanni Casabona

      Berserkerkitten Collaborator on June 7

      @Sorrowofwind - NPC companions will join you with one or several levels in certain classes. Their further progression is entirely up to you.

    2. Giovanni Casabona on

      Will the Thunder and Fang fighting style be featured in this game? Also will we have the opportunity for Saw-tooth Sabre Duel Wielding?

    3. Giovanni Casabona on

      @sorrowofwind Is there a quote for this?

    4. sorrowofwind on

      Yes, there are multi-classing. You can also choose classes for companions.

      Haven't said anything about maximum classes a character can have I think.
      NWN was stuck with 3. In IWD2 you could take all classes as long as the character meet the alignment prerequisite

    5. Giovanni Casabona on

      Will there be multi classing? Or any opportunity for class dipping?

    6. elorebaen on

      @twentysix "If this game is like its source, the more the game goes, the less the use for non-caster classes. "

      That has not been my experience.

    7. sorrowofwind on


      On tabletop, we could always manage the imbalance by having a E6 game.

      Even throwing a few mythic levels in the campaign is still better than full casters supremacy after mid-high level.

      In video game... well, Toee was a E10 campaign so it wasn't too bad I guess.

      NWN:HOU actually pulled it off and close combatants weren't as bad as they were in BG2 , but that was epic campaign where spell casters eventually get halted.

      Technically to be fair HOU should be compared with TOB, and HOU still had better balance than Throne of Bhall(other than Sarevok who got a special buff).

    8. Missing avatar

      Archangel on

      @Justin well maybe you might like single character games like Skyrim more. Or games where their designers were obsessed with balance like Pillars of Eternity.
      Pathfinder is what it is and it will not change.

    9. Missing avatar

      Justin on

      I share twentyandsix concern and disagree with Archangel "And lets not forget this is a party based game and unlike PnP all the characters are yours." Even though you gain party members I never view games like this as a party game or that companions are speaking or acting in my voice. So no its not satisfying if as the game goes on, its becomes more and more obvious your low/no magic character is becoming less and less powerful and useful. I don't enjoy seeing my mage companion become a god character and my low/no magic main guy is just along for the ride. This is why i had trouble with games like wasteland 2 because the game wants the party to be an extension of your voice and I want a main character that the game reacts to not reacting to random npcs in the game. This includes combat and environment and not just story choices.

    10. Lewis Crown on

      So will you be able to target a spell at the end of the casting instead of the beginning so that you can make sure at least most of your fireball targets are still in it's area of effect?

    11. Missing avatar

      Rituals on

      And Archangel got it right. Haste on your melee was far better tactics than trying to make your mage do everything. Especially once you go in to territory where enemies have magic/elemental resistances.

    12. sorrowofwind on


      On tabletop barbarians with spell sunder & pounce are nice, though I wonder if pounce works with rtswp.

      Dirty tricks on tabletop also has numerous of utilities, although the last time I saw it being implemented in video game it only buffs the damage by 1d4 iirc.

      Archers also get a few tricks in their sleeves.

      Pure martial who are martial would be where the problem is.
      I think unearthed arcana or other books did add new combat maneuver but those are Wizard's materials.

    13. Missing avatar

      Rituals on

      Nice, really looking forward to the lots of different spells. This is something i've missed for a long time.

    14. Morris

      Is that a Bandersnatch in that Picture of the various sized Targets? It certainly looks like one:

    15. Missing avatar

      Archangel on

      And lets not forget this is a party based game and unlike PnP all the characters are yours.
      Your fighter here is not overshadowed by your friend playing a wizard. Your fighter is here for a certain task you want him to perform as part of YOUR party. And success of your PARTY is what matters.

    16. Berserkerkitten on

      And next time I'm just gonna wait for Archangel's post to show up before I write mine, because he said it so much better than I did. :P

    17. Missing avatar

      Archangel on

      Let me repeat again how I hate that KS comment section has no edit button, I am not used to checking my posts for obvious mistakes before clicking Post :D

    18. Berserkerkitten on

      @twentyandsix - while much of the combat is still very much work in progress, I don't think non-magic classes will be useless. Personally, I'd still want a rogue to unlock doors and disable traps or have a fighter charge into a group of baddies with a sword and board to stop them from going after the squishy party members. I'm aware that certain casters can also fill these roles, but that doesn't make their non-magical counterparts less viable for these tasks. They also need to have certain spells ready for specific jobs, but depending on the situation, resting and preparing may not always be an immediate possibility.

      Don't get me wrong. We've all seen that rogue in tabletop, who proudly sneaks past a bunch of bad guys and then your wizard just shrugs, turns invisible and flies away.But I trust the team enough to believe they're smart enough not to completely overpower spellcasters. The official statement is that they want all classes to be viable.

    19. Missing avatar

      Archangel on

      @twentyandsix this game is not PnP, so some PnP tactics like scrying enemies, then teleporting there invisible, flying and under a few other defensive spells to murder the poor bastard that has no chance to live through this and even if he somehow does you teleport out and come back next day after you rested.. stuff like this will not exist in this game.
      No Flying means melee enemies will always be able to reach you. I doubt teleport will exist. Invisibility can be dealt with potions and instant death spell you will hope to pass the save.

      Also while in PnP all the buffing and tactical spellcasting is done without few second with minimal effort in a computer game takes minutes usually. Spellcasters were the boss in NWN games as well but buffing before combat became such a chore people later made mods that let you cast all of your 10 buffs with one button if you are outside combat.

      Fighters? Well you send them in and in a computer game they solve your problems in less time than a mage could. Will it be less impressive? Yes. But it will be effective and it will save you real time that you can use to continue exploring the game.
      In BG games mages ruled the day but most effective way to beat the game was to memorize a bunch of Haste spells, Haste your party warriors and let them deal with everything while you can an occasional See Invisibility or Breach spells.

    20. Mevy on

      @Denis same here, mage is my fav class too, this will be awesome hehehe

    21. Denis Habulinec on

      As a person who loves playing mage classes in CRPG's, this is going to be heaven for me. I need me some spells that can kill 20 enemies at once. Cast multiple times. Mercilessly.

    22. Mevy on

      @Kamigoroshi Yes, i agree, and maybe undead will just fly bones and stuff instead, would be silly with blood from them.... thats a thing that should really be in.

    23. Mevy on

      Love the effects! Really cool "blink" type spell there always liked those spells, looks good!

      Its great you have the exploding enemies from BG, but they won't all exploed like that right? just some spells and crits?

      Great job guys!

    24. Garrett Meek

      Will we be able to cast web and then set it on fire with burning hands? AKA the low level fireball.

    25. twentyandsix on

      I mean the source.

    26. twentyandsix on

      I'm kinda concerned after reading this article. If this game is like its source, the more the game goes, the less the use for non-caster classes. Is there a point in playing martial classes in the game beside the "they look cool" (personally I think caster classes are cooler tho) or "because I want to"? What are you going to do about the inherent unbalance or shortcomings in the game?

    27. Kamigoroshi on

      Another thing: the gore explosion FX would be even better if it varies in colors depending on creature type. NwN for instance did gave spiders green blood instead of the for mammals typical red blood. Not a world alftering change. But it would make for a bit of additional immersion when watching the *intestine fireworks*. ;)

    28. Berserkerkitten on

      I don't believe spell components are a requirement. Has any CRPG done that after Ultima? I'll check with the devs and report back if I hear otherwise. :)

    29. Kamigoroshi on

      Short on cash? There's a spell for it! :D

      Apropos spells: Will spellcasters be able to cast them from the getgo as soon as they're written within the spell book? Or are the characters required to procure necessary spell components beforehand?

    30. Missing avatar

      Owen Ricker on

      I assume we'll be going the usual CRPG route of ignoring the pain-in-the-behind material components?