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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #35: Tactical Army Battles Stretch Goal

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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #35: Tactical Army Battles Stretch Goal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 6 March 2020, 19:52:05

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

As expected, it took less than a day for the Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter campaign to hit the additional racial features stretch goal. If you thought that stretch goal was awesome, wait till you get a load of this one. At $1,710,000, the game will get a tactical battle layer inspired by Heroes of Might & Magic where players will get to control entire armies.

Hello, my name is Alexander Gusev, and I am a lead mechanics designer in Owlcat Games.

Long ago, when I was younger and games had more daring ideas but far fewer pixels per inch, I was looking at RPGs and thinking – why none of them feature battles of armies, similar to strategies? After all – the hero leading troops is a widespread trope in fantasy, and many heroes of fiction had donned the general's mantle in the course of their adventures. Yet the genres remained mostly separated – yes, some strategies like King's Bounty concentrated more on a singular hero. Yes, some RPGs had simplified strategic modes. But playing Heroes of Might and Magic III (as you may have heard, playing them is a mandatory rite in Russia) I couldn't stop thinking why no classic RPG featured combat similar to HoMM III.

The answer is – because they weren't foolhardy enough. We will be. Even before this stretch goal, we were planning that army combat in the crusade will look much more than a dry combat log of an auto-combat and that it will allow you to select targets for your units to attack. But will only that be enough?

No, we want to add more. We want you to feel like a proper commander, to allow you to move those units on the tactical battlefield. We want to achieve the grandeur of an epic fantasy battle by giving you access to powerful spells that can be used in mass combat. To trash the enemy army with a fireball (its tactical version, that), to burn multiple enemies with your squadron of dragons, to block the enemy advance with your units and then riddle the enemy with arrows from afar. And, of course, we long for a variety of mechanical features this battlefield will allow us to introduce into units.

Of course, you will always be able to dedicate yourself to strategic planning only, leaving the groundwork to your troops and getting only the reports of their glorious victories. We have no wish to force this upon you, and of course, there will be different difficulty levels for this mode too. But we hope that there are people who share our passion for the tactical turn-based mass combat similar to Heroes of Might and Magic and Master of Magic. And we hope that you agree with how fun and cool an addition it will be to our game.

There are those of you who might read this update and consider us perhaps a tiny bit too ambitious there – but they should remember that this stretch goal will not force us to make a whole another game. This stretch goal is only about adding a tactical layer to the whole another game that we were already making. You know, huh, weren't we overly ambitious already? Anyway, it would be best if you also remembered that we might have a couple of people in our studio that worked on a game of a similar genre. Specifically, on Heroes of Might and Magic V. And that our studio is full of Russian people that are, of course, required to play Heroes of Might and Magic III for at least a thousand hours before being considered an adult.
But wait, there's more! Earlier today Owlcat published another update where they described their process for designing and writing companions. It's too long to quote here in its entirety, so I'll just share the parts where it goes into specifics about some of the characters in Wrath of the Righteous.

Since the game is based on an existing Adventure Path, we start off with a treasure trove of characters to work with. We carefully comb through the source material, looking for characters to expand on as either NPCs or playable companions. Some characters are obviously crucial to the plot: you can’t have Wrath of the Righteous without the demon lord Deskari or Queen Galfrey. Some have whole pages dedicated to them either in the AP itself, like Sosiel the cleric of Shelyn and Arueshalae the redeemed succubus, or elsewhere, like Seelah the iconic paladin. Some, however, might play a small role in the AP, but have so much potential that it would be a crime to let them go to waste. That’s how Jubilost, who was just a minor encounter in the Kingmaker AP, joined the player’s party in the CRPG, and that’s why Lann the mongrel archer will join your crusade in Wrath of the Righteous.

[...] Of course, every character, even that precious brainchild, needs to somehow fit into the table, so concessions need to be made. Once we have our roster, we go through a meticulous process of putting together every piece of the puzzle until we know exactly how every party member fits into the big picture. Sometimes we need to sacrifice really cool ideas in the name of playability. Sometimes, on the other hand, mechanical needs dictate the plot, giving the character some details their creator never even thought of.

For example, Ember was initially envisioned as a child crusader, a barefoot preacher whose blessed innocence would allow her to lead whole armies. That sounds like a divine spellcaster, right? A cleric, or, maybe, an oracle with low Intelligence and high Charisma. Except we already had characters of both those classes. In fact, the only slot in the chart she could fit into was the witch. Yes, the Intelligence-based arcane spellcaster. We checked the source books for class archetypes, and, indeed, found a Charisma-based witch archetype, called... seducer—not the best fit for this character. So our mechanics designers came up with a new archetype we called the stigmatized witch—Charisma-based, and bearing a curse borrowed from the oracle (Ember, of course, got Blackened to reflect her burn marks). We need to run mechanical changes like this past Paizo, which sometimes takes time—thankfully, they loved the concept. Meanwhile, the narrative designers changed her personality and backstory to reflect the mechanics, and got a living paradox—an atheist preacher of Good itself, disillusioned with deities, and preaching love and kindness in the face of despair. As a result, we got a more original and nuanced character than the devout follower of some deity we were thinking of originally—and we need to thank our cold, formal chart for this development.​

As for the next stretch goal after this one, it looks like it's about special world map events.

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