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Default Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous - Announced

December 5th, 2019, 21:17
And more to read:

Pathfinder has more than two dozen adventure paths (which in part explains why I see so many products for the game at my local used book store). Why does Owlcat thinks Wrath of the Righteous lends itself to a video game adaptation?


“It tells a very ominous story, but we can tell it in a way that nobody else has told that story,” Mishulin said. “What does a demonic invasion mean? How do the Crusaders feel after waging a 100-year war against them? How does it feel to be a volatile force in this conflict, and what price will you pay? How relationships with your friends and neighbors change when you acquire this power?”


Wrath gives players a chance to acquire great power with mythic progression. But Mishulin’s right when he notes the narrative payoff of seeing how your relationships and alliances change once you go down the path to lichdom. You allies may not want to hang around an undead wizard who uses rotting corpses as tools.


But Mishulin also notes that Wrath presents some fantastic foes: demons.


“[Wrath] gives us some cool enemies, because a lot of enemies are big, strong, powerful, and usually interesting,” he said. “And this adventure path brings mythics, and mythics add an additional layer of character development for already deep system, so it becomes even more interesting and allows you to build even more interesting characters, tell more interesting stories.”


I also asked Paizo’s Mark Morland, the franchise manager for Pathfinder, for his perspective views on why Wrath lends itself to a video game adaptation.


“Wrath of the Righteous is truly an epic story of the battle between good and evil, with the literal fate of the world in the player’s hands. In this campaign, players ascend to the pinnacle of mortal power, eventually treating with deities and even battling a few. Who doesn’t want to go toe to tentacle with a demon lord or two, stop a demonic invasion that threatens the very fabric of reality, and become a hero (or villain) worthy of myth in the process?”


Mythic movements

In Wrath of the Righteous, players can embark on the mythic progression paths. This gives them some cool powers, but it also changes the storyline and decisions you make. Owlcat is adding the lich (big spells plus undead minions); the trickster (it’s about finding mischief and fun, but you can also turn those critical failures into successes); and the angel (you get celestial allies and can throw around bolts of divine judgment).


I asked Paizo about mythic progression, just to learn a bit more about it. Turns out Wrath is special because it’s the only adventure path published so far to use the mythic rules from the Pathfinder Mythic Adventures supplement. “The mythic paths available to players under that system, archmage, champion, guardian, hierophant, marshal, and trickster, were each tied thematically to one of the six ability scores at the core of a character’s statistics. In the forthcoming adaptation of the campaign, Owlcat will be exploring other sources of mythic power beyond these original mythic paths,” Morland said.


And it turns out that a lot of this mythic stuff requires a game master to work, at least on the tabletop.


“In play, a PC can’t just become a lich; they need to work with their GM to do so. That’s how mythic levels work as well. A GM presents the players with trials they have to overcome in order to advance in their mythic path,” Morland said. “So think of ascending to angelhood as just another option for the GM, in this case, the computer game itself, to offer to players to tap into mythic power. It’s a really exciting and innovative way of adding narrative elements to the mythic rules and adapting them to a medium that doesn’t have a human game master.”


It sounds cool. Who doesn’t want to be a lich, ordering undead hordes around, or a trickster who can twist fate? But don’t these mythics present a balance challenge when adapting a tabletop game with a game master to make final calls and adjustments with computer code that can’t tweak things on-the-fly? A respect for the rules lead Owlcat into some situations with Kingmaker that felt like would’ve been resolved with a human game master, not a game AI.


“It’s an additional dimension of character-building, and of course there are some feats and powers that click together, and some that extremely not, from paper to digital, and we’ll find this out before it happens for the players,” Mishulin said. “And also, we want you to feel powerful. So all your abilities, whether you’re a lich or a trickster or an angel, they are really powerful and kinda game-breaking, but we will have counters for that.”


Take the trickster. Mishulin says that at certain times, they can manipulate the world itself. It’s a high-level ability. When they miss (with a roll of a 1 on a 20-side die), they can change it to a 20. “And you see the roll changes before you, as he’s tweaking the dice that underlay the world and the game.”


[As an aside, this reminds me of the most enjoyable magic item I ever created for my old D&D group: The Orb of Boonedoggerish Luck, which turned all natural 1s into natural 20s. I made it for a friend (whom we sometimes called “Boonedogger” and who rolled an inordinate amount of natural 1s. Of course, once he got this, his first roll was a … natural 20.]


You’ll also face some disadvantages. What happens when you start adventuring as a lich?


“We still want you to feel powerful, so the positives will be better than the negatives. But there will still be some negatives. Some of this will come from the story and your relations to your companions, because not all of them will like what you’re doing and what you’re becoming,” he said. “Some of them are really good-natured … and they will not look kindly on you turning into an evil mastermind, a master of necromancy.


Demonic devilry

Demons are the adversaries in Wrath of the Righteous. In the adventure path, you end up matching wits with powerful nobles and lords such as Baphomet, the succubus queen Nocticula, and Deskari, Lord of the Locust Host (who also is known as the “Usher of the Apocalypse.” I was curious about what Owlcat thought of the demonic foes they’d be throwing at players in their next game.


“The one I do like most I can’t tell you about the most because it would spoil the story,” Mishulin said. “I really like balors. If you play them right, they can be very smart, intimidating opponents and leaders of the demon armies.”


The Pathfinder balor, of course, is similar to the powerful balor from D&D, itself largely influenced by the balrogs of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.


Shpilchevskiy picked one a little more … weak. “I personally like dretches. They’re quite funny. It’s interesting that there are some funny moments in the supremely dark atmosphere of the 100-year crusade.”


The second time around

At launch, Kingmaker had issues. It had a lot of bugs: long loading screens, long bootup on slower, older hard drives, trouble with spells and cleric domains, and many more. It also had some balance issues and other opaque mechanics, such as needing area-of-effect damage to kill swarms of creatures like spiders (this was an infamous issue with one early quest). This was Owlcat’s first launch, and managing a game of this size and scope is a challenge for many studios, especially smaller, independent houses.


“That was not a pleasant moment,” Shpilchevskiy said about Kingmaker’s launch. “Those days, we experienced a lot of troubles and technical issues, and some of them, we could’ve predicted them. … We realize that actually, we had to invest our events into polishing the game.”


Part of this came from the nature of the Pathfinder system. Shpilchevskiy said that even they didn’t realize some of the interactions with the complex ruleset, and even parts that they had polished several times still had aspects that players were able to exploit … or whose decisions resulted in bugs. “Some interesting, and some not so interesting bugs,” he said. “This time, we’re focused on maintaining the quality at the best level and invest a lot of efforts in what is functional quality assurance, what we’re doing right now, and some technical instruments we’re using now to ensure that quality is the center of our focus.”


The $1 million in funding should help with this, along with the knowledge gleaned from making Kingmaker and learning how to best balance the complicated Pathfinder system. And larger companies like Larian Studios (Divinity: Original Sin) and Obsidian (Pillars of Eternity) have had their share of issues with bugs and balance with big, complicated RPG systems and interactions.


“With a classical RPGs, the amount of choices are so big that they tend to lead to very, very complex systems. And right now, when we design the game, we are going to, mind you, not reduce the complexity, but to visualize this complexity fully to understand if we have some branches that are not addressed, and we’ll need to do this,” Mishulin said. “And it’s all part of that special effort that Oleg talks about. It’s special tools that allows the writer and model designers to understand what information they bring along from one story to another story and how they can all address it.”


One way they’re addressing this is with a system a bot system that’ll play Wrath for hours upon hours during development.


“[It will] try to explore as many branches of the decisions tree as possible,” Shpilchevskiy said. “Now, this bot has played several hundreds of hours, and we believe it will help us find a lot of issues that just couldn’t be found by a functional test.”


Mishulin related one story of an unexpected interaction from Kingmaker, the sort of thing they hope the bot and testing catches before launch with Wrath.


“We received a save that led to the player losing the game due to Vordakai [a foe who can become your adviser] destroying the kingdom with his magical Oculus,” he said. “You pressed next day, and your kingdom gets destroyed. The problem is that Vordakai gets killed by this player, and somehow, the Oculus still ends up working. It took us a while to understand that what really happened was that this player was rushing to kill Vordakai because he was getting the warning that his kingdom would get destroyed if he’d get into this dungeon. … He actually killed Vordakai 6 minutes before the next day started.”


But, Mishulin said, they designed the kingdom to grow on a daily basis, not a minute basis. “And this late day didn’t actually count for this player,” he said. “And by the goal day, he was already dead. But the system will dock him the next day.”


Mishulin said by the time they’d received this bug report, Owlcat had fixed the problem. But they’d learned was actually “the James Bond of this fight against Vordakai.” He’d managed to accomplish his goal 6 minutes before the cutoff, but because the game didn’t recognize minutes in such a manner, it still killed the player. Even though he should’ve been alive.


Let’s just hope that this time, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous won’t kill anyone after they pull off a James Bond-esque move.
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December 5th, 2019, 22:07
If I can play the game and become a lich, that would be pretty cool. Hopefully they'll make it so you ride the wicked faction all the way to…..well, a bad place. =p
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December 5th, 2019, 22:44
I'm tossing between angel and trickster. I like to spread divine love for everyone but playing as a giant jerk like the main antagonist in Kingmaker would be cool
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December 5th, 2019, 23:00
I like the concept and setting and happy for news of a new PF game, but not keen on the 'mythic' part - at least with epic levels you had to get to level 20 to get exceptional/divine powersÖwhy would you *not* follow a mythic path? The overview made it sound like you could *choose* to follow a mythic progressionÖSo if that is true, and you don't, is your character at a power disadvantage ? Seems like they must be. Are encounters designed around mythic-path characters then i.e. mythic encounters with mythic creatures, as per PF rules? Just sounds like an unnecessary 'gamey' addition which no other AP has required. I didn't find Mishulin's answers around balancing mythic powers convincing - of course, it's early days so hopefully this will become clearer.
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December 5th, 2019, 23:17
From my understanding, you don't have to reach level 20 to gain mythic powers. I don't know why so many people are off-put by mythic especially when we don't know enough yet. I remain optimistic Owlcats have made neccessary adjustment and think Mythic level may deliver another depth in character building + c&c
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December 5th, 2019, 23:18
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Ehhhm, isn't dark souls one of your favorite games ?
Yes, Itís actually my favorite. Dark souls series doesnít have a large number of demons, Itís actually a small percentage of itís total enemy roster.

Iím assuming large scale battle with enemies led by a demon lord will equal a large number of demon enemies. Which is not my cup of tea.

I donít know for sure though obviously and thatís why i said Iíd reserve judgement until I find out more.

Having said that , Itís not a deal breaker. If the game and combat mechanics are sound I will tolerate demons.
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December 6th, 2019, 01:06
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
From my understanding, you don't have to reach level 20 to gain mythic powers.
You are right. According to the official PnP rules you can start being a Mystic Hero from level 1 gaining additional abilities. However it's tied to GM decisions or the campaign.
I don't know why so many people are off-put by mythic especially when we don't know enough yet.
I personally like it better when heroes gain power more slowly.
Baldur's Gate imo did it perfectly, developing from a nobody to a demigod in 2.5 games.
I remain optimistic Owlcats have made neccessary adjustment and think Mythic level may deliver another depth in character building + c&c
Yep, I gues they'll do it right. In a camapign with demons a mighty hero is fitting.
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December 6th, 2019, 01:06
I will play Mythic or not but also not really a big fan. I don't mind being a chosen one at all, I prefer being someone non-ordinary in games, but in most games I like the earlier levels. Things can get very complex quickly, with too many abilities to try and remember how to use or you still end up with a handful regardless.

Then there is some balance. If you are mythic then you are ultra powerful. But to have a challenge it means the enemies are - so then you are both ultra and probably have counter moves, counter spells, resistances, etc … which in turn makes it like low level just more complicated.

That being said I do see some of the fun of it - hob knobbing with gods and demon lords, getting to be more of a supernatural entity versus a mortal, etc.

I am sure I will enjoy it, I don't have any real feelings against mythic levels - just not a high interest either. If they can get the balance right and things are not too complicated then I am sure it will be highly enjoyable and an epic fantasy romp.

I most likely will be a trickster. I have zero interest in being a Lich or evil. But I can't stand holier than though Paladin and Angel types. So probably be left with Trickster even if I am sure it might be fun to do some holy smiting on the demons. I hope I get to be a Tiefling Trickster. That would rock!

But this is all based on speculation and small tid bits. Who knows what I might decide when the game is out.
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December 6th, 2019, 01:16
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
But I can't stand holier than though Paladin and Angel types.
In Pathfinder Angels don't need to be Lawful Good. Neutral or Chaotic angels are possible as well.

Though I don't know how Owlcat will actually do the angel transition. While every character can become a lich by performing an occult ritual I've never heard of a non-angel creature becoming an angel.
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December 6th, 2019, 03:12
I don't understand this pathfinder stuff. Can't i be an evil angel ?
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December 6th, 2019, 03:39
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
In Pathfinder Angels don't need to be Lawful Good. Neutral or Chaotic angels are possible as well.

Though I don't know how Owlcat will actually do the angel transition. While every character can become a lich by performing an occult ritual I've never heard of a non-angel creature becoming an angel.
Angel are created from mortal souls these days.

There is an optional choice in the original AP where being turned into an angel would totally fit. It also happen not that long after meeting with an ancient Lich.

Hopefully, they have more then 3, because with restriction, it's even more annoying than the original system with 6 choices.
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December 6th, 2019, 14:52
*Alexander Mishulin, Owlcat's Creative Director, promised fewer bugs on release. He mentioned new Narrative Tools. These were revealed on Discord as being "Etudes" Instead of on/off variables in the narrative tree, Etudes apparently offer multi-set variables.
Explanation of the word : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tude
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December 6th, 2019, 15:51
Wiki sux with it's generalization. Translation errors maybe?
This is not etude, but invention:

loading…


Then again, describing a game as "etude" isn't meaningless like saying "immersion".
At least not to me.
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December 7th, 2019, 13:13
Not one of my favourite PF adventure paths, that is for sure … my weekly PnP PF group ran through WotR late last year. Was not a popular decision with the group. Based on this, I can't see myself buying the game.
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December 7th, 2019, 13:17
Originally Posted by Vecna View Post
Not one of my favourite PF adventure paths, that is for sure Ö my weekly PnP PF group ran through WotR late last year. Was not a popular decision with the group. Based on this, I can't see myself buying the game.
I don't play PnP so I can't comment on how good WotR is as a PnP experience - but I find it funny how some people seem to believe a cRPG version will play same as PnP.
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December 7th, 2019, 14:00
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
I don't play PnP so I can't comment on how good WotR is as a PnP experience - but I find it funny how some people seem to believe a cRPG version will play same as PnP.
Or that it should even follow the AP religiously. Why duplicate? Sounded like they are using it as their foundation and guide then will adjust as needed for the game. Sounds fine to me. As a DM I never stuck to any of those guides but just used them as my source and changed/edited as I wanted.

EDIT: Removed sarcasm as I was just grumpy from my sciatica this morning My reaction was more like why make it the same … if you already played the AP in PnP why do the exact same thing on the computer version? Seems like it would me much more interesting to have it different. Not to mention a cRPG isn't PnP.
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December 7th, 2019, 15:22
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
Or that it should even follow the AP religiously. Why duplicate? Sounded like they are using it as their foundation and guide then will adjust as needed for the game. Sounds fine to me. As a DM I never stuck to any of those guides but just used them as my source and changed/edited as I wanted.

It's like OMG the AP didn't have this companion do this or this ability! The world has ended … eeeeee! Run for your life
People who didn't like Wrath probably wouldn't like it more under a different GMs unless their only problem was the mythic stuff and the GM decided to run it without it. Just like if you didn't like being a Baron in the Kingmaker AP, you are unlikely to like it in the cRPG version.

Wrath is a divisive AP and not just for the mythic content. Some people don't like chosen one plots or grim dark settings. Two things Owlcat is unlikely to changes, it's basically the selling point of the AP outside mythic.
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Last edited by azarhal; December 7th, 2019 at 18:18.
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December 7th, 2019, 17:35
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
Or that it should even follow the AP religiously. Why duplicate? Sounded like they are using it as their foundation and guide then will adjust as needed for the game. Sounds fine to me. As a DM I never stuck to any of those guides but just used them as my source and changed/edited as I wanted.

EDIT: Removed sarcasm as I was just grumpy from my sciatica this morning My reaction was more like why make it the same Ö if you already played the AP in PnP why do the exact same thing on the computer version? Seems like it would me much more interesting to have it different. Not to mention a cRPG isn't PnP.
And devs already said they are adapting it and adding lot of their own stuff including being able to play it as an evil guy (so letting you be a Lich).
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December 9th, 2019, 03:41
I'm super excited, one because it's Owlcat and Kingmaker was phenomenal, and two because the mythics sound really damn cool. I'd love to be evil and ascend to lichhood, taking evil to the next level. Or a good character who ascends to an angel and has angelic powers. One thing RPGs never do well is necromancy. If you can become a lich and truly lead necromantic armies or have a serious impact on the gameplay, that would be incredible. Same as with the other mythic paths.

Day one purchase, absolutely.
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December 9th, 2019, 08:12
Owlcats response on "why Wrath of the Righteous" - see the attached pic
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File Type: jpg 20191209_170933.jpg (110.9 KB, 26 views)
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