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Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #37: The Combat Log
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 July 2017, 23:52:08Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker
The Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter campaign ended two weeks ago, but Owlcat have continued to publish Kickstarter updates about various topics. Last week's update about the game's store UI wasn't too interesting, but today they've got an update about their plans for the combat log, a crucial design element in any RTwP game. Owlcat have an interesting idea - make the combat log an actual gameplay mechanic by requiring you to pass skill checks to see the exact enemy rolls. Don't worry gamists, if they implement that I'm sure it'll be optional.
Battles are essential to the experience of Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Some of them are quite easy while others are very challenging. Many systems, such as character generation and leveling up, equipment and spells are part of the decisions you make about every character, and combat is where you feel the results of these decisions. It is the place to put your heroes to the test and understand what went right and what went wrong. For that, combat needs to have a very clear feedback about every aspect of the game mechanics. In order to solve this we are (as many other games in this genre) using a combat log. Our usual disclaimer applies to all of the pictures here, it is work in progress and does not represent the final state of the product, all specific names are used only as reference to the original Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (R) entities and could be subject to change in the Pathfinder: Kingmaker CRPG.
Every action in combat has a representation in the log: initiative rolls, to-hit, and damage rolls, saving throws or any appropriate checks. Each has its own line in the log. And for each of the lines, you will be able to see detailed information in the tooltip. For example, if you are attacking a wolf you will be able to see all of the bonuses and penalties for the to-hit roll and their sources. Starting from a simple bonus, like the strength modifier, and up to temporary effects, like being shaken. And you will be able to see your roll for this attack. Additional information will also appear in the tooltip if circumstances call for it. For example, on a critical threat roll, a confirmation roll will appear with same detailed information, or if a target has concealment there will be a mention of the miss chance.
All the information mentioned thus far is about your party's actions. But of course you will also want to know about how your enemies do. We have thought of two options here - one we will definitely have, the other one is an idea right now, and currently in discussion and development. We are not promising the latter will appear in the game, but we are very interested to hear your opinion about it. The first option is providing all the information about the enemy - AC, saving throws, the battle log will show it all. This is clear and concise and gives you all the information you need to understand what happens in battle and what changes you need to make to tip this fight into your favor.
The second option does not provide you with this information for free; it is based on the party's knowledge and lore checks. If you are successful, some information is provided, better results lead to more stats revealed. But if your fail those rolls – you will learn that information in the same way you do on the table. If you hit 34 AC and missed against 18, the creature’s AC in the tooltips will be shown as ?19-34 – meaning, that your highest miss was against AC 18 and 19 could be hit, while your lowest hit was 34, so in the worst case scenario that creature's AC is 34. Same goes for other statistics, like showing that you dealt damage, but some DR was applied to it. Along with this goes showing the creature's health condition only after a successful check. This approach is a bit more hardcore and a bit more faithful to the tabletop experience.
But back to the log. Not only combat needs to have detailed information presented, but we also have dialogs and special events, kingdom and exploration. So we are expanding the log (as a lot of games before us) into those areas of the game as well. And to make it more readable, we separate information into several tabs: combat will have everything we discussed above, while a dialogue tab will have a history of all conversations as well as special events, along with choices and checks you made. Events tab will summarize everything that happens while skipping on detailed information on combat and dialogue represented in other tabs. There you will find information on the traps you encountered or items looted, orders you have made during a kingdom turn or new areas discovered on the global map. And all of these events will have additional and detailed information available via tooltips, with some information hidden if you so desire (like hiding DCs of the skill checks).
This concludes our approach to the log in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. While our solution may be similar to a lot of games in the genre, we are trying to provide even more information to you, and make it a bit more interesting and closer to the tabletop experience.