Kingmaker - PFRPG
People from all walks of life call Brevoy home, and the region’s population consists of members of every class. While some classes are more prevalent than others, characters of all sorts can find a niche within the eclectic society. As the expedition to reclaim the Stolen Lands prepares to embark, PCs with any set of skills and abilities have the potential to play an important role in the region.
Most of Brevoy’s barbarians hail from the nearby nation of Numeria, where primitive Kellid tribes bow to the will and power of the mysterious Technic League. Numerians often hold strong superstitions about both magic and technology, and many barbarians in the region share this wariness, even those from the wild lands of Iobaria to the east. Many Brevic communities adhere to strict customs and cultural mores and don’t permit variation from these traditions. As such, barbarians are rarely fully accepted in more parochial settlements. They often find employment as bouncers, mercenaries, and toughs for the region’s shadier factions, though in rare instances they may hold prominent positions among city watches or standing armies. Their generally wild nature makes the class well suited for exploration and guerilla warfare in the less-tamed River Kingdoms to Brevoy’s south. The primary barbarian tribe within the Stolen Lands themselves is known as the Tiger Lords—it’s a violent tribe, though, and unsuitable for a PC barbarian to hail from.
Recommendations: Wilderness exploration plays a major role in Kingmaker, so skills like Acrobatics, Climb, Handle Animal, Perception, Survival, and Swim will be used quite often.
In a nation balanced on the edge of civil war, diplomats, spies, and political strategists are a vital part of Brevic society. A person skilled in the art of flattery, embellishment, and subtlety has near limitless opportunities, and bards frequently serve as rulers’ trusted advisors, envoys, and moles. King Noleski Surtova employs an army of bards who fight his battles not with sharpened blades but with golden words and poisoned lies among the taverns, barracks, and throne rooms of House Surtova’s enemies and allies alike. This emphasis on verbal combat doesn’t mean that bards in the region lack competence in physical combat, however; many members of the class receive training in the exclusive dueling schools of the Aldori swordlords in Rostland. Whether bards earns their way by weaving through the upper echelons of power or singing for their dinner in shady dockside taverns, they rarely lack stories to tell or secrets to keep in Brevoy.
Recommendations: Diplomatic interactions between tribes, nations, and other groups, as well as the ability to lead armies and nations effectively, play a significant role in Kingmaker. Skills like Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive should be helpful quite often. All Knowledge skills will be useful at different points during the Adventure Path, but those having to do with the wilderness, fey and the First World, and the intricacies of running kingdoms will be most useful (typically geography, local, nature, nobility, and planes).
The faiths represented in Brevoy are as varied as the eclectic population that calls the region home. Each faith places an emphasis on the clergy teaching its followers diligently and leading by example. The nation’s war-torn past—as far back as Choral’s conquest of the land—has provided Gorum with a strong following, especially among the Iobarian descendents of House Rogarvia. The lawless nature of the northern region of Issia supports freedomloving churches such as those of Calistria, Cayden Cailean, and Desna, while the region’s more nefarious factions often venerate Norgorber for his influence over subterfuge and thievery. Travelers on the treacherous waters of the Sellen River frequently encounter priests or shrines dedicated to Hanspur, the god of rivers and river travel, while the wild landscape of southern Rostland draws clerics of both Erastil and Gozreh who wish to help civilization thrive in the threatening environment. In fact, worship of Erastil was once quite common among the Taldans who attempted to settle the Stolen lands, and ruins and lost temples dedicated to Erastil are said to lie hidden in the wilderness there.
Recommendations: Erastil and Gorum are the two deities with the strongest presence in the Kingmaker Adventure Path, but all of the deities listed above make excellent choices for clerics to worship.
Many Brevan communities on the border of the untamed Stolen Lands employ druids in roles traditionally held by clerics. Especially in small, rural villages on the edge of civilization, citizens consider a druid’s mastery over nature incredibly valuable. Unlike the fertile farmland of northern Rostland, the waterlogged wilderness of the Stolen Lands and the barren hills of Issia provide little in the way of arable fields, creating a high demand for anyone who can keep the encroaching wasteland under control around what few crops do exist. Many druids in the region venerate Hanspur or Gozreh, focusing more on the latter’s affiliation with water than on other aspects of nature, though adherents to the more general Green Faith are not uncommon. Brevan druids conventionally possess a natural affinity with plants, animals, water, or weather, though those who travel with an animal companion tend to bond with creatures at home both on land and in the region’s rivers.
Recommendations: The following animals are logical choices for druids operating in the Stolen Lands: badger (wolverine), bear, bird, boar, cat (big or small), blood caiman (crocodile), dog, horse, pony, snake (viper), and wolf. From the Bestiary, the following additional choices are logical: dire bat, dire rat, giant frog, mastodon (elephant), and narlmarch mugger (monitor lizard). Finally, two new animals are introduced in Pathfinder Adventure Path #31—the elk and the thylacine (also known in this world as the Tasmanian tiger).
The esteemed and exclusive schools of the Aldori swordlords train many of Brevoy’s numerous fighters, especially in the southern region of Rostland. These proud duelists long resisted the authority of House Rogarvia, and they have earned a globe-spanning reputation for their martial prowess. As such, ambitious swordsmen from distant lands make their way to Restov with the hopes of joining the Aldori’s illustrious ranks. Similarly eager warriors often work as mercenaries, bodyguards, or muscle for those wishing to earn or maintain influence in a land where wealth and power are only secure if well defended. Alternatively, expeditions to tame the wilderness and establish new outposts of civilization benefit greatly from skilled military tacticians, particularly with the threat of war ever looming on the horizon. That said, the harsh landscape of the Stolen Lands gives no quarter to heavily armored or mounted warriors; those few who exist hold fearsome reputations for their prowess and effectiveness on the battlefield.
Recommendations: All manner of weapons and armor exist in the Stolen Lands, but specific legends speak of certain types of powerful magic weapons being hidden in the region, particularly axes, bows, and swords.
The sometimes lawless and mercurial land of Brevoy does not lend itself to the disciplined, meditative lives of most monks, and few call the region home. Occasional ascetic vagabonds make their way through the region, bound for far-flung monasteries or shrines. These wanderers sometimes pause for weeks or months at a time to rest their weary feet, find brief employment to fund the next leg of their journey, or isolate themselves in hidden forest hermitages. In almost every case, though, the transients move on to other, more welcoming parts of Golarion. The rare monk who resides in the region permanently might dedicate her life to maintaining order in the more anarchic cities of Issia, perhaps even going undercover among a thieves’ or assassins’ guild.
Recommendations: While there are no significant monk orders or monasteries in the Stolen Lands (yet!), a monk’s ability to be self-sufficient should be quite helpful in the campaign. See the Barbarian and Bard recommendations for skill selection choices.
Holy warriors are relatively uncommon in the generally lawless and wild reaches of Brevoy and the River Kingdoms, though they are not completely absent in the region. Most common in central Brevan settlements, paladins of Abadar continually work to maintain peace and trade between Issia and Rostland despite the growing threat of civil war. The verdant landscape of the south attracts Erastil’s faithful, who often dedicate their lives to aiding smaller communities in need of protection or guidance, acting as sheriffs, mayors, or even religious leaders. As Brevoy prepares its expeditions into the Stolen Lands to establish a stable settlement there, paladins of both faiths flock to Restov to be part of the undertaking to push back the wilderness and make a civilized foothold in the otherwise uninhabited region. Alternatively, more than a few Iomedean crusaders hear an unexpected calling as they traverse the Sellen River on their way to Mendev and the Worldwound and end up staying in Brevoy to combat evil there instead of on the battlefields to the north.
Recommendations: Erastil is the best choice for a divine patron for a paladin, for his presence and influence is strong in the Stolen Lands. See the Bard recommendations for suggested social skill choices. Given the focus on wilderness exploration (and the possibility late in the game for jousting and similar competitions), focusing on mounted combat is not a bad choice for a paladin. There are still some dungeons involved, but most of the dungeon locations in Kingmaker are relatively small—you won’t have to worry too much about leaving your mount behind for an entire adventure!
In the feral Stolen Lands and surrounding wilderness, travel depends on daring trailblazers unafraid to lead armies, dignitaries, and merchants from one kingdom to the next, either on the treacherous waterways of the Sellen River or on harsh overland routes. Dense woods and fetid swamps necessitate less regimented armies, and rangers tend to function as efficient guerilla soldiers and scouts. As such, many communities in southern Brevoy and the River Kingdoms employ rangers as the backbone of both their offensive and defensive military strategies, retaining them as protectors against barbarian raids, fey ambushes, and unscrupulous bandits. The region also attracts countless bounty hunters, who seldom lack clients, local or foreign, eager to recruit their services.
Recommendations: See the Barbarian recommendations for good choices for wilderness-themed skills. The ability to track well is particularly valuable in numerous Kingmaker encounters. See the Druid recommendations for logical animal companion choices. A ranger’s best choices for favored enemies in Kingmaker include the following: animal, dragon, fey, humanoid (boggard, human, giant, or reptilian), magical beast, monstrous humanoid, plant, undead, and vermin. Good favored terrain choices include forest, mountain, plains, swamp, and water.
Rogues are prominent in northern Brevoy, where House Surtova has long controlled powerful thieves’ guilds, organized crime syndicates, and spy networks out of Port Ice. Since the disappearance of House Rogarvia in 4699 ar, they have dispatched discreet agents throughout both Issia and Rostland to consolidate their power in the absence of the traditional ruling family, and the family feel that their scion Noleski Surtova’s rule legitimizes its shameless methods. Even in the more stable region of Rostland, rogues are plentiful, often migrating north from the River Kingdoms, where pirate bands and roadside brigands give credence to the idiom “as thick as thieves.” In many cases, rogues find themselves in the River Kingdoms after ending up on the wrong side of the law in their homelands, and the region’s inhabitants frequently take new names and invent elaborate back stories upon arriving in the Sellen valley, a tradition that carries into Brevoy as well.
Recommendations: Kingmaker includes traps, although they’re not as overwhelmingly prevalent as are hazards, ambushes, and social situations where rogues can excel. A rogue talented at stealth and scouting, particularly in wilderness areas, should do well. See the Barbarian and Bard recommendations for good skill selection choices.
Sorcerers, with their untrained mastery of arcane mysteries, have long found the wilds of northeastern Avistan alluring. Often viewed as uncontrolled compared to wizards, many sorcerers emigrate to Brevoy and the River Kingdoms to obtain some semblance of acceptance or anonymity. The realm of the First World touches the Material Plane in strange ways in the Stolen Lands along the southern Brevic border, resulting in many native sorcerers drawing their powers from fey bloodlines. Brevoy’s history with red dragons has led to the prominence of draconic bloodline sorcerers. Members of the ambitious Brevic nobility often belong to destined bloodlines and find that fate frequently intervenes on their behalf as they rise in power and influence. While these three bloodlines appear most often in Brevoy and the River Kingdoms, all bloodlines exist in the region.
Recommendations: In Kingmaker, the following bloodlines fit best thematically (although all bloodlines should be equally useful in combat situations): destined, draconic, elemental, fey. See the Wizard recommendations for familiar choices if you play an arcane bloodline sorcerer.
Scholars of the arcane might find themselves in Brevoy for countless reasons. Illusionists and enchanters, for example, often travel to the region to study the mysterious First World, the fey realm that touches Golarion in enigmatic and unexplained ways in the untamed wilderness on the nation’s southern border. The city of Skywatch in eastern Brevoy also attracts throngs of wizards who hope to unlock its arcane secrets and break through the impenetrable seal that has isolated the settlement from the outside world for the last decade. Wizards skilled in the art of evocation generally find employment as battlefield artillery in the armies of the region’s various feuding kingdoms. Other arcanists make their way to Brevoy and the River Kingdoms out of necessity when their experiments and studies get them into trouble in their homelands (most often those mages who tamper with the very forces of life and death).
Recommendations: See the Bard recommendations for good Knowledge skill choices. All of the arcane schools should be equally useful throughout Kingmaker. While any sort of bonded object works well in Kingmaker, wizards who opt instead to take on a familiar might wish to choose creatures that make sense for the region in which the Adventure Path takes place. Logical choices for familiars based on the region’s climate include all of the basic familiars from the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook except for monkeys. Good choices of improved familiars (again, based on Kingmaker’s themes) include celestial or f iendish animals, dire rats, mephits, and pseudodragons. Legendary, shy creatures known as carbuncles are also available as improved familiars as well—these creatures are detailed in Pathfinder Adventure Path #31, so ask your GM for details if you’re interested in taking one of these somewhat comical creatures as a familiar.