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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.

Pathfinder builds character: A look at our Character Sheet

Posted by Owlcat Games (Creator)

Dear Pathfinders,

Creating and developing your character is one of the pillars of any RPG, be it a computer game or pen-and-paper gaming. Most beginners find this process very complicated. A lot of them make their first characters with the help of experienced friends learning the rules, tricks, and nuances on the way. The Pathfinder Role Playing Game provides a deep, rich and complex system for character generation, which allows creating characters, which are interesting to play with, follow archetypes players want and feel useful not only in battle but also in exploration or social interactions. These characters could be quite simple, consisting of just one class, skills, and feats selected from recommended lists and some class features; or characters could be a complex build from several classes, each of them modified with archetypes, complete with carefully picked skills, traits, feats, and spells from myriad of rulebooks and equipment that complements the character's strengths.

We really like the depth of this system, and we use it to create those complex and nuanced characters that together are capable of overcoming any challenge in the pen-and-paper adventures we play. And it is one of our most important goals to provide that same freedom and depth to the players in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. For that we need to make the description of the character as clear as possible, providing information for the elements that are already present as well as for those that will be available for the character later. And that makes creating our UI a great challenge. Our UI designers started studying various charsheets, which elements of the development they show and in which way, as well as how those elements are grouped. Next came applications that help with character generation as they are solving the same task we had ahead of us, but covering more choices and providing enough information to simplify the entire process and greatly reduce the amount of time required to create a character.

We tried to combine all of the information on one screen, but it always became a cluttered mess of icons, numbers, and lines of text. There is just too much information to fit on one screen, even if somehow we managed to achieve that, the result would be rather intimidating for... well, essentially everybody, as even dedicated players would have to spend a lot of time finding the elements they are looking for. We decided to separate all of the information into several tabs, each dedicated to one specific facet of the character. We tried various iterations on how to divide the information and how to present it on each tab as you can see on the picture below. Just for the first tab our UI team created 16 different versions until we came to the result we really liked. You can see all of them in the picture below. A bit of warning: those are all concept screens. The numbers on them are not representative of anything and used just to showcase the interface elements:


Let's start our tour with the first tab, one that contains general information about the character. The Central part of this screen shows alignment (and we follow the alignment system from the Core Rulebook, as you can see). All the decisions that changed the main character's alignment lead to the line appearing in the circle, showing consequences and shifts in alignment. A log below the circle provides additional information and reminds you of the decisions you've made on your journey. Computer RPGs are all about decisions, it is a pillar for this genre, and it deserves representation at the center of the screen of your character.



Our companions are far less flexible in their alignment, they follow it, and only rare events can force them to evaluate (and probably change) their views. Because of that, we felt that it will be inappropriate to use the same amount of space to depict alignment for them. Their central block is all about their personal quest, the journey they have in the Stolen Lands. You can see important events and decisions they made as well as their next goal.

The second screen is all about abilities of the character, class features as well as feats - basically an encyclopedia of the character's capabilities. Take note of the left-most block of information; it does not change between most of the tabs and contains information that is frequently needed or relevant to other tabs (like Stats, Experience or Level). This is also a concept screen for the Abilities tab and does not represent build of any character or abilities and feats that are existing in the game.


The third screen provides information on the martial prowess of the character, to hit rolls, different kinds of AC, damage from attacks... As you can see, there is no magic counterpart of this screen, and that is on purpose. We discussed this a lot and decided that it will be more convenient to see that information on the special tab on the screen dedicated to selecting spells and meta-magic. So there is a dedicated tab in the spellbook (or book of prayers for divine casters) devoted to the stats and values important for magic-users.


The fourth screen is the most difficult one to develop, as we want to showcase all of the possibilities for character development, those that were already selected as well as those that are far in the future. We want the player to be able to plan the character in detail. In fact, we are hoping to introduce a feature, that will allow leveling up a character with a single-click, if all of the abilities were selected in advance. We spent a lot of time putting all of the information on just one screen and organizing it in such way that does not make your head explode just from looking at it.


So we came to this screen as a result of that search. It is simple enough if a character has just one class while still showing elements of the development both in the past and in the future. In case of multiclassing (especially if there are 3 or more classes), the screen becomes more complicated, but still convenient, as it shows most of the directions in which such a character could be developed. Please note that what you see below is a concept of the screen, not a screenshot from the game and can have some inconsistencies.


The last screen is devoid of game mechanical information; it is all about the story of the character: biography, alignment, personal quest and of course full body portrait.



This concludes our tour of the tabs on the character screen. We have to mention that all of those screens are not final and their looks can change after we make several more rounds of UX- and playtesting. What did you think of today's update? Got any feedback or questions for us? Let us know in the comments section, and we'll get back to you in no time!

* All specific names are used only as reference to original Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (R) entities and could be subject to change in the Pathfinder:Kingmaker CRPG.

Hail to the Kings!



jarnhaan, Berserkerkitten, and 101 more people like this update.


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    1. Denis Habulinec on

      Turning pen-and-paper RPG's into a game is never easy and will always lead to complex and robust in-game rules. I believe that combining simplicity and complexity together was the best option for both worlds. So far, I can understand what the screen is telling me, and I'm not confused about the information that's been presented to me. If you keep it that way - or even enhance the symbiosis of complexity and simplicity - I think you'll be safe from criticisms about the UI!

    2. Christopher Trezise on

      Oh wow this looks so awesome. I can't wait �

    3. Christopher Gerlach on

      Does the player Character portrait update with the items you equip to him/her?

    4. Christopher Gerlach on

      Does the player Character portrait update with the items you equip to him/her?

    5. Missing avatar

      Wes Rowley on

      A couple of quick questions: have you determined how ability scores will be generated at character creation? It would be point buy I assume, but have you made decisions on the number of points? Also, is there going to be room to play a nuanced, subtle evil character? This prototype seems to take a pretty "black and white" approach to evil. The clever evil character is the one who knows how to play the game, and knows not to rock the boat too much.

    6. Missing avatar

      Nicky on

      This looks like a great start! Really aesthetically pleasing.

      Since you state you're struggling with keeping it simple:
      I would love to see an option for both simplified and andvanced character creation. I mean, I fully understand if people have trouble creating a cool sorcerer or barbarian, and they should not be mired in choice. But I'd really love it if I could go beyond the simplicity, open five more tabs if necessary, and create that Id rager bloodrager/mutation mind psychic/pathfinder savant concept in the game to go and possess the crap out of my enemies in game. For an experienced player, being forced into simplicity can take the fun out something fierce, just as much as overcomplication can take the fun out for casual gamers.

    7. Missing avatar

      Blave on

      The UI looks even better in higher resolution! Thank you so much for sharing those with us! :)

    8. Berserkerkitten on

      Hey guys! Some of you requested higher resolution versions of our charsheet concept images, so here you go:
      Please bear in mind that everything you see in there is in fact a design concept and not final.

    9. Meszaros Zoltan on

      Great update, and the sheets really shows the attention to detail. I think the class sheet could easily manage archetypes too.

      @Blave - I guess Eldrich Knight is in already, as it's one of the easiest prestiga classes to implement. I completely agree with you that EK and Magus is far from the same. That said, I prefer Magus for a player character.

    10. Missing avatar

      Andreas Westermoen on

      THanks for update. looking good! Some very good thinking going on there. I particularly like the alignment and story sections!

      The link between gear and combat stats is important. If we can have inventory and charsheet open in simultaneous windows, all good.

      please implement a function so that when you change gear, changed stats are highlighted (for some short time) in the character sheet, including highlighting currently closed tabs containing changed stats.
      A very similar funciton could be used for highlighting stat changes due to effects and enchantments (color coded highlighting?).

    11. Missing avatar

      apolloo on

      also hoping for a high resolution render of these shots so i can see in detail :)

    12. Missing avatar

      Blave on

      @Archangel: No, it doesn't. Magus and Eldritch Knight are not the same, not even close. And I personally prefer the EK.

      Don't get me wrong, I'll be glad for each and every class/archetype/feat/spell/thingy we can get and I hope lots of people will enjoy their magus. Still doesn't change the fact that I want and prefer the EK. Also, I don't think the EK will be complicated to implement if they already have a working Arcane Trickster.

    13. Missing avatar

      Archangel on

      @Blave Magus fills that role. We just need to reach 600k $

    14. Camille Pascale on

      Good work! It looks effective, fuctionnal and beautiful. I love the system of alignement, choices, etc. Good job.

    15. Missing avatar

      apolloo on

      wow, that looks good. it is functional and looks stylish. before this, there isn't much example of a game achieving both. either the sheets are functional, but looks so bland or even bad and nothing to look at, basically an excel spreadsheet, or it looks stylish but functional as a square shaped iron wheel. good job!

    16. Missing avatar

      Blave on

      I really hope the character with 3 level of fighter and 7 level of wizard doesn't mean there's no Eldritch Knight...

      @David Morgan: It's more like Dragon Age. Any party members you recruited but don't take with you stay at your town. They'll keep living their life and make their own decisions (for good or bad) while you are away.

    17. Missing avatar

      David Morgan on

      That's one of the best character record screens I've seen in an RPG, also love how party member's personal quests are so central to who they are in game,

      Will this be like Baldurs Gate where your party is exclusively those you pick to travel with you?
      Or more like Dragon Age where every NPC can be part of your party, but you only take 3 of them on each mission, etc...?

    18. Andrew Tuckett on

      Good work on the interface design. It looks much more intuitive already then some released products.

    19. Missing avatar

      Ryan Pando on

      You should fork your character creator and put Herolabs out of business.

    20. Missing avatar

      Ryan Pando on

      You should fork your character creator and put Her plans out of business.

    21. Missing avatar

      Diego Blaquier on

      Update 17: Great program for creating characters. Keep making a dream come true. I want to see more ...

    22. Missing avatar

      stefano cursi on

      Great! All that we show emphasizes the love the team has for the GDR...Constantly looking for the best possible gaming experience. The introduction of archetypes would perfectly reflect the depth mentioned in the update and play the character always dreamed / studied on paper...tnx so much. Good work !

    23. jarnhaan

      Looks really good. I love the alignment being front and center. I also love the ability to plan far, far in advance what I think I want to create.. and what would be a tad cooler... planning multiple paths and having them all be available to view. You never know when you want to change mid-course.

    24. Jack Hepburn Raine on

      Looks great, also like the idea of planning class/build in advance as its really annoying to find you want something at later lvls but didn't set your build up for it and making decisions in advance with one click lvl up sounds cool.

    25. Netobvious

      @Berserkerkitten, thank you for adding true value to the DnD Alignments. I can hardly wait to play this game.

    26. Tim Cummings on

      Oooh, I spy some APG and UM feats :D

    27. Missing avatar

      Samuel Zhu on

      Character sheets/creators are one of the most complex tools in RPGs, and I have yet to find one that satisfies all my needs. I think you all are taking a very thoughtful and thorough approach to this, and I appreciate that a lot!

      Roughly how much can a character's alignment change in Pathfinder: Kingmaker? I'm worried that eventually that graph will look like a child's scribble if there are many events that have changed an alignment over the course of an entire campaign. I really like the idea of a graph, but I worry how readable it will be as a character becomes more complex.

      Thank you so much for all the updates!

    28. Joni Nyman on

      Now when we are talking about character and they abilities. I know it is possible to make let's say a finesse figter who only use light armor.
      BUT is it possible to change some of his (class) abilities he or she do not "need" or want to use?
      I mean if I want to make fighter or even paladin who only use light armor and light weapons (including rapier) dual wielding them is it possible to take some other feats instead of let's say shield, medium and heavy armor and most weapon types?

      Naturally you can choose to make rogue or so instead.. ..but if you really want to make fighter can you change his starting feats and so on. So instead of making str 16, dex 12 fighter with heavy armor and axe + shield making an str 12, dex 16 finesse fighter instead?

    29. Missing avatar

      oasisbhrnw on

      "We want the player to be able to plan the character in detail. In fact, we are hoping to introduce a feature, that will allow leveling up a character with a single-click, if all of the abilities were selected in advance."

      While obviously not a necessity, that would be SUPER cool if you guys did implement that. I could see myself spending a lot of time on that tab justo to see all the different possibilities (if I'm understanding correctly).

    30. Missing avatar

      DiscoStu on

      Wow, the character planning concept is so cool! I really want to try this out.

    31. Missing avatar

      Mat on

      I can already tell Amiri is going to hate me since she apparently views blunt force trauma as the initial go-to method for solving problems.

    32. Berserkerkitten on

      stab *yours, even. I so wish there was an edit button...

    33. Berserkerkitten on

      @Vocarin - maaaaaybe it won't reach the same magnitude you're describing here. However, based on your decisions and actions, certain companions can and will turn their backs on you (or stab it). And your alignment may very well change, based on your actions, which may even affect your class if you no longer meet the alignment requirements.

    34. Tim Ross on

      All these screens look really good. I feel like having very clear archives of WHY your character's decisions resulted in an alignment change will be... a. Helpful to a clear roleplaying experience and b. Really really fun to look back at the story from a moral perspective.

    35. Vocarin on

      I love how the character's alignment is tracked and recorded by way of actions. This is an awesome way to show that actions have consequences that affect the character, and we can see what actions we took that turned us evil or good and what the measure of those effects will be. Very nice to see this level of clarity instead of numbers given out during the story that don't have a clear bearing on what they even mean.

      Will decisions and dialogue shift as the story goes on? Will some characters remember how you were a monster that slowly crawled back into humanity and redeemed himself? Will they remember how you were a saint who betrayed those around you? Simply put, will there be cases where major actions will garner reactions from those around you since the character sheets seems to record those actions as well?

      Looking very forward to seeing more. Can't wait to get into the game if there is this much detail in the character creator.

    36. Vadim Hesin on

      I fully support this level-up approach :) You guys are awesome!

    37. Berserkerkitten on

      Also, small update on instant levels vs resting: We will probably tie level ups to a rest on core rules difficulty and make it instant on easier difficulties. Still not 100% decided.

    38. Missing avatar

      Dave Newton on

      Great looking character sheet. I especially like the ability to plan several levels ahead. Pathfinder has complex character development with quite a few pre-requisites for later abilities. I often have a character concept at 6th to 8th level from the very start.

    39. Missing avatar

      Brian O'Koon on

      Another item I noticed (and I do realize these screenshots are just a sample and not final). On the Companion Wizard skills Scribe Scroll was listed. Since it has been stated that item creation feats will not be included I was just curious what was going to be done with this ability (or if it is not included what wizards will get to replace this feat).

    40. Laura on

      I'm actually baffled by alignment being that prominent. I mean, yes, it's central to the character. But if I'm in a character stat module, I'm either trying to look something up or trying to edit it. Editing alignment directly doesn't make sense and presumably won't be supported, of course; and I'm unlikely to want to look up it or its details - I normally have a fairly good sense of how the character has been played.

      Certainly that's info that I should be able to get to, but 99% of the time it is not going to be of interest to me. Having something so unlikely to be my goal eating up a ton of primary space seems somewhat aggravating.

    41. Arch DeLux

      Can we please have a option to insert our own character portraits. PLEASE!!!

    42. Berserkerkitten on

      Yay! I've been told there will be higher res pix! I'll dish out the links as soon as I get em! :)

    43. Missing avatar

      Brian O'Koon on

      If you look at the ability tab, it looks like traits are going to be included (keen senses at least)

    44. Missing avatar

      Mat on

      This UI looks utterly fantastic.

    45. Daniel Sharp on

      I hope that not all decisions cause such drastic alignment shifts as shown in the examples. Doing one nice thing shouldn't shift me out of neutral into good, for example.

    46. Berserkerkitten on

      They're all hush-hush about traits right now, I'm not sure a final decision on their scope has already been made.

    47. Morris

      So, You're using the background system from ultimate campaign? Will you be implementing Campaign traits as well?

    48. Berserkerkitten on

      I have sent a message to the team to let them know you guys would like to see some higher-res screenshots. Regarding level ups, I'm pretty sure they don't require resting. And I'd be really amazed if there were any load times whatsoever in between tabs on the charsheet. But I'll come back and post again if I hear otherwise.

    49. Liam Crowter on

      This is amazing, is there any possibility for some high res screenies?