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  1. #1

    Lack of advisors potentially gamebreaking & suggested solutions (SPOILERS)

    Hello fellow forumgoers.

    I recently stumbled upon a gamebreaking issue in my first blind lawful evil playthrough. From what I’ve read, permanently losing all advisors from a position essentially equals to a soft game over since apparently you get permanently ticking problem events later on that can be only solved by Councilors. Getting to this point is especially easy to do if you’re on a blind (without walkthrough) playthrough as a lawful evil character.

    First I'd like to present some design issues with Councilor position advisors in particular from the viewpoint of a first time player, and offer some possible solutions to the problem of low advisor count in general. The aim of these proposed solutions is to make certain blind decisions less gamebreaking. Hopefully any of the devs are reading this because I feel this issue is a big blemish on an otherwise fantastic game.




    Shandra's issues:

    She is one of the envoy choices at the beginning, the Surtova representative. Problem is, you get that choice before the game has even introduced any of the kingdom management gameplay mechanics. Even if the game had introduced them already, your choice never alludes to what role each envoy is able to fulfill. Getting her services is thus basically a random 1/3 coin toss, as the only thing a new player is selecting at the beginning (as far as they are able to know) is whether they want to garner the support of the Swordlords, Surtova or go independent.

    Tsanna's issues:

    Tsanna doesn't have a portrait or a voice when you get the choice of whether to spare her or not. Nothing in the game alludes to her being important, much less in any way tied to barony management. To my knowing she's the only actually evil Councilor, yet sparing her is framed as an exclusively GOOD and forgiving option that any lawful or non-good character would ignore in favor of punishment, which is extremely counterintuitive to say the least. Apparently this is fixed in the beta patch by also adding a chaotic evil sparing option for the quest, but there’s still a good chance a player will simply exile or execute the hostile portraitless / voiceless character, making it a blind choice with unpredictable consequences akin to Shandra.

    Tristian's issues:

    He leaves and if you didn't happen to luck out on picking the other two non-good Councilors, which you probably didn't as a non-good or lawful character, you're shit out of luck unless you roleplay out of character and decide to forgive him.

    Additionally, Maegar Varn / Vordakai's issues:

    These guys feel like a total kick in your face since you get one of them as an advisor in the same exact quest where Tristian leaves. Like, why would you give the player a new advisor at the same exact moment where you lose your likely only Councilor, if not for the express purpose of replacing said Councilor? I actually thought this was going to be the case and happily strutted to my capital only to discover Vordakai could only be used as a Magister.

    Unlike Tsanna, you even get a properly laid out good vs. evil choice here where the evil option actually helps you get an evil advisor. Handing out a guaranteed Treasurer or Magister at this point feels weird, especially considering how easily missable the other two Councilors are.




    These are just issues for the Councilor role, but I wager you can easily lose other characters as well during your blind playthrough, especially when playing a non-good character.

    From what I’ve read, Ekun can apparently leave permanently depending on your troll quest choices and it’s possible you haven’t even unlocked warden position by that point to know the repercussions, while Kesten can die during main quest, and the player has no way of knowing they can end up sacrificing either him or Jhod in that quest (barring a Lawful dialogue check), making Regongar the only possible candidate for the position, which additionally leaves Amiri the only possible candidate for the General position if you didn’t happen to luck out on blindly picking the right envoy at the beginning of the game… hopefully you get my drift.

    I’m fine with difficult and punishing games, but not with blind coin toss decisions, especially since in this case they can end up permanently ruining a playthrough consisting of several dozens of hours of playtime. At the very worst, since many of these are blind decisions, or decisions involving certain alignment choices, there should be at least *some* way to stave off this permanent losing spiral.




    Possible solutions

    I came up with few ideas that could help the lack of advisors. I feel that implementing any one of these could greatly help with the low number of advisors.

    1. Use existing characters for more advisor roles

    Let existing companions fill several more roles than they currently can. This obviously requires the developers to write new dialogue for the characters' new advisor roles, but not the creation of wholly new characters. Also, since advisor skill rolls are derived from character stats in case they’re party members, I feel that making this change also makes the game more interesting by creating new character building opportunities if you decide to build your party members differently; this way you're not only building a competent party member for a specific adventuring role, you're also building them into a competent advisor.

    Perhaps this idea could be extended to non-party member advisors as well, as there's a several NPC advisors who only currently can fill one role and one role only. Vordakai and Maegar Varn spring to mind. Like I already mentioned, both can only fill one role, whereas it would make so much more sense if they could also act as a Councilors to replace Tristian.

    2. Have one permanent, low skill advisor for each role

    Have one generic / neutral, unlosable advisor for each role. Ideally these characters should be inferior at their job compared to all other characters, but better than nothing. This means the player is still heavily incentivized into seeking out proper advisors and losing those characters is still a great hit to your barony, but also ensures that you can’t permanently break your several dozen hour playthrough if you happen to lose the mere handful of advisors the game hands you for each role.

    Alternatively, let us solve problems without an advisor but with a penalty to rolls against event DC. I feel this also makes sense from a storytelling point since a wealthy and influential baron should be able to find at least one or two yes-men to serve as a last resort advisor who can at least get the minimal amount done.

    3. More advisors in general

    I wager this solution would require the largest number of new portrait graphics and dialogue for each advisor (and most development time), but hopefully ensures that there’s more available advisors suited to different alignment players and lessens the chance of a player ending up with no advisors whatsoever for a certain role.

    This ended up being a mighty long rant but hopefully it's of any use to remedying this issue.
    Last edited by hera35; 01-08-2019 at 12:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Responding to solution 1 (more roles) and solution 3 (more advisors), I suggest the following NPCs as candidates:

    Regent -

    Maeghar Varn - Chaotic Good. He seems charismatic enough to fill this role. There's a bit of alignment overlap with Octavia, however (also Chaotic Good).



    Councilor -

    Arsinoe, Cleric of Abadar - Lawful Neutral. She's a merchant standing around in your capital.

    Anoriel Eight Eyes - Neutral. As a retired ranger, she'd at least have some wisdom to deploy as Councilor (though likely on the lower end, like Maeghar Varn with Treasurer).

    Kagar the Rattler -
    Spoiler:


    General -

    Hargulka
    Spoiler:


    Treasurer -

    Oleg doesn't seem like he would want to leave his trade post. Recommendations?



    High Priest -

    Arsinoe, Cleric of Abadar - Lawful Neutral. No spoilers for this one - she's a merchant standing around in your capital.

    Rismel, Priest of Nethys
    Spoiler:


    Grand Diplomat -

    I'd love recommendations here.



    Warden -

    Akiros Ismort
    Spoiler:


    Ivar
    Spoiler:


    Linxia -
    Spoiler:


    Magister -

    Tartuccio -
    Spoiler:


    Old Beldame -
    Spoiler:


    Rismel, Priest of Nethys
    Spoiler:


    Curator -

    Old Beldame -
    Spoiler:


    Minister -

    Linxia -
    Spoiler:
    Last edited by Socalista; 01-08-2019 at 04:56 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steppenwolf's Avatar
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    WouldnŽt mind more options everywhere.
    But the game need more options for Councilor. IŽd have lost all if i stayed in character with my main char.
    As i already had dumped Shandra and exiled Tsanna, i went OOC to avoid a game over and spared Tristan, even though iŽd have him executed for betrayal if i could.
    That OOC decision also costed me Jaethal in the end. So i got salt for my wound too...

  4. #4
    This ♥♥♥♥ed me up too... stupid Design if I sacrifice Tristian for Maegar he should take the same role. HERA35 exactly described my game and experience.




    So I fumbled a little workaround for those of us who killed that bastard.

    +Open your save game Folder User/AppData/LocalLow/Owlcat Games/PAthfinder Kingmaker/Save Games

    +Select a Save File and open it with win rar. It`s just an archive file.

    +Open statistic.json with a textEdtior.

    +Search (ctrl + f) for: Tristian_Companion

    For Example my Line is:
    "05:57:21 24.12.4711 - [Area] Tristian_Companion (f6c23e93512e1b54dba11560446a9e02): unit dies",

    This Code (f6c23e93512e1b54dba11560446a9e02) is the Identifier of the NPC. Copy the ID for the next Step.

    +Open player.json with a textEdtior.

    +Search (ctrl + f) for: Counsilor

    +Add behind LeaderSelection and PossibleLeaders the ID. It should look like this:

    "Type":"Counsilor","LeaderSelection":"f6c23e93512e 1b54dba11560446a9e02","FillIfAvailable":null,"Poss ibleLeaders":["f6c23e93512e1b54dba11560446a9e02"],

    Just change my Tristian ID to yours. Load the Save file and you've got Tristian as Counsilor but not in your party anymore.

    I preffer Tsanna over Tristian but I could not find a working ID of her.


    This is just a workaround... sadly the game will detach Tristian after every Mission and you will have to add him again in the Json File. -.-

  5. #5
    Community Manager k0tarsis's Avatar
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    Thank you for the extremely detailed and informative post! I enjoyed reading through your analysis. I agree that being left without a councilor is a grave problem. I'd also love to include more information about kingdom management in the game, and I've been pushing for that for a long time now. I've forwarded your feedback and suggestions to our team, so rest assured, it will not go to waste.

    Moreover, we're conducting a poll right now to see which of the kingdom management issues are the most pressing, so don't forget to vote! There are multiple advisor-related options, as well as a "need-moar-info" one: https://owlcatgames.com/forums/showt...agement-Issues

    We definitely should've found a way to better indicate which NPCs can become your advisors later on, even though it's pretty hard to find a solution that doesn't ruin immersion here. At the same time, I cannot say I fully agree with your reasoning on Tsanna.

    If I understand correctly, you find it counter-intuitive that acquiring an evil councilor should be a good action. I would say that this reasoning 1) uses meta-logic by relying on information you wouldn't have in-character, 2) conflates multiple actions into one.
    In-character, having mercy on Tsanna is, undeniably, a good action - you are saving a life, and you do not know what she's going to do next. Also, anything that happens later should be judged as separate actions with separate alignment shifts. If you later make her an advisor and decide to kill puppies on her advice, that would be a different action - an evil one this time. Still, this new evil action does not make sparing her life evil.

    All in all, I'd say that I actually enjoy the idea of doing something good once only to later reap a huge, malicious benefit and do a lot of evil. This makes roleplay more subtle and less one-dimensional - at least, for me.
    Last edited by k0tarsis; 01-16-2019 at 03:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Socalista View Post
    Oleg doesn't seem like he would want to leave his trade post. Recommendations?
    Assuming you can get your BP from elsewhere, Hassuf could be a very good business-oriented treasurer - but then you lose him as a Trader. With a delay between replacing him as treasurer and his reappearance as a Trader, you'd have to think hard before hiring him, even if he was one of the best treasurer in the game.

    Incidentally, that solutions could work with all Traders - the others might not be quite as good as Hassuf though, they can't seem to afford the higher-end stuff.
    Spoiler:

  7. #7
    Senior Member The Infinity Sock's Avatar
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    I think we need a way of getting advisors that are not involved in a quest to get them you make one wrong move in a quest and it will cost you a advisor so my idea would be to hire wandering advisors it has been done in romance of the three kingdoms and in dynasty warriors empires

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by k0tarsis View Post
    I cannot say I fully agree with your reasoning on Tsanna.

    If I understand correctly, you find it counter-intuitive that acquiring an evil councilor should be a good action. I would say that this reasoning 1) uses meta-logic by relying on information you wouldn't have in-character, 2) conflates multiple actions into one.
    In-character, having mercy on Tsanna is, undeniably, a good action - you are saving a life, and you do not know what she's going to do next. Also, anything that happens later should be judged as separate actions with separate alignment shifts. If you later make her an advisor and decide to kill puppies on her advice, that would be a different action - an evil one this time. Still, this new evil action does not make sparing her life evil.

    All in all, I'd say that I actually enjoy the idea of doing something good once only to later reap a huge, malicious benefit and do a lot of evil. This makes roleplay more subtle and less one-dimensional - at least, for me.
    Many thanks for the response. I can agree about your reasoning for Tsanna and alignment choices in that quest, however I want to stress that I'm making the complaint in the greater gameplay context of the lack of advisors in general. Unpredictable consequences like that aren't bad per se by any means, but the issue is hugely conflated when taking into account that she's only one of the three possible Councilors in the entire game, and non-good player characters can easily end up with only Tristian or no one at all: in that context a good choice giving an evil advisor doesn't make much sense.

    However, I'm really glad you're aware of the issue and are looking for solutions. Looking forward to next updates.

  9. #9
    Talking the matter over with a colleague I converted to PF:K, we had a simple idea (hopefully not yet mentioned and shot down ;-) ) :

    Let the Baron h(im|er)self be able to resolve events. Any event, in place of any advisor - and s/he gets to pick which statistic gets the bonus (or malus for failures) - and so which rank bonus to use, along with his/her own stat bonus. Of course s/he can still go out on adventure during that time, same as a companion advisor.

    That would help with the Councilor situation and the Treasurer situation at the beginning, and at least the Baron(ness) would actually do something when it comes to his/her barony.

  10. #10
    some more about advisors to have your thoughts

    https://owlcatgames.com/forums/showt...ll=1#post38653

    advisor type companion and NPC

    companion can go playing with you while making their advisor job
    they have free stat upgrade by levelling
    they have magic items, belt or head band, to boost their stats
    they can do the job even if they never learned it

    NPC are not levelling and can not have magic items
    you have to learn them their job, even if you can't do it yourself, you are yourself punished to use such NPC advisor by the 14 days trap needed for any increase
    Ranking up an advisor should really be an instant event as much as leveling (you level up freely after doing your adventurer job, it shoul be the same for the advisor they do the job enough to be upgraded)

    the companion versus NPC option is very weird
    for example for a LG barony kassim is evidently the best choice as a general BUT regongar can easily have a +7 bonus (level and belt)
    so when kassim (only +4 no upgrade available) failed the events regongar will have success on the same event

    another exemple with the regent ( octavia and valerie whith only +2 Ch). So my valerie get a +3 ch by levelling(15->16) and has my only +4 head band.
    it's only a trick for the regent and totally stupid to go fighting ( and my charismatic leader can not use this headband himself)

    the advisor job bend the companion levelling and equipment and his against their companion job to go exploring with the leader
    same matter with amiri, as a general she need only strength but a barbarian fighter need const...

    NPC should have less penalty and more facility to upgrade to be levelled with the companion bonus features

    but it will be even better for the RP if the advisor where not companion at all but only functionnary (like kassim, kestern, joed...)
    unstead of the complex companion nature, NPC will have only simple alignment, easier to owlcat to wrote scenary and dialog
    all NPC will have the same stat bonus and could be given magical objects

    this functionnary NPC will not vanished (solving the 3 candidate problem) and could heaven be created and recrut like NPC mercenary
    as we can recrut companion mercenary

    named NPC (kassim) will have better stat than the mercenary NPC

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