- Feb 19, 2008
Good points. Playing a caster in these real time games usually doesn't go well. I hope that Realms Beyond works out. Have you seen that yet? It's not truly 3.5 SRD but it's close enough.I think a big part of the complaints is how the combat system doesn't really feel like Pathfinder.
In PnP Pathfinder, combat is all about initiative, action economy, and positioning. It's what makes summoner/controller/buffer/debuffer wizards the kings of late game, and also what makes it very challenging to play a sneak attacker and very sub-par to play a blaster caster.
The PnP rules don't translate terribly well to the "Baldur's Gate style" Real Time with Pause combat used in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. I really wish they would have gone with a turn-based system similar to how the Divinity: Original Sin games handle it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it just makes the game play VERY differently from the PnP version.
Since movement and positioning is all real time, it makes it very challenging to be a battlefield controller. Enemies are moving toward you as soon as combat starts, so by the time you get the cast of your Grease/Web/Entangle/Black Tentacles/etc. off, you just dropped that spell on half of your team as well (or like half the map, in the case of Entangle...40 foot radius when you engage from roughly 50 feet away...yikes!). The only way to really pull off a pre-engagement cast is to do it from invisibility or Stealth.
Also, since "true to the rules" flanking didn't work out with that combat system, they made any time someone is engaged with two or more enemies in melee count as flanking. So sneak attacks are super easy to pull off to the point where it almost doesn't make sense not to dip one level into Vivisectionist Alchemist with any melee build. You get the mutagen (+4 to a physical stat, +2 natural armor, -2 to the opposed mental stat), +1d6 sneak attack die, and another +1d6 sneak attack die from taking the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat.
And targeted blaster casters are actually pretty awesome, especially if they also get Sneak Attack dice (ie. Arcane Trickster). On a spell like Scorching Ray, sneak attack dice get added to each ray, so damage can get pretty ridiculous.
In PnP, defense is a bit of a trap as the ol' adage, "The best defense is a good offense," is usually the best approach to most encounters. But with how the enemy AI works in P:K, you really want to focus heavily on defense for one front liner. The first character sighted by the baddies will be their target, and they don't tend to switch targets a whole lot until that character drops. So Valerie, the Tower Shield Specialist Fighter you get as a companion early on is actually quite valuable to the party. Keep her far to the front of your squad to get everyone to target her.