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The long road to the secret ending of Pathfinder: Kingmaker Some of the villains of Kingmaker: A nymph, an undead cyclops, a bandit, and a king

Subreddit and Steam forum were created in late 2018 to help players understand the game’s opaque rules and brutal encounters. This was before any concessions were made to inform new players about things such as’spiderswarms will utterly kill you’ and ‘not having enough supplies for Vordakai’s tomb is basically over. It would be very dangerous to try and avoid these situations. You would find yourself in dangerous situations all the time. Not everyone was looking for ways to survive the spiders and min-max their character’s power. Some were seeking out ways to romance Nyrissa, the Nymph queen.

Bloom and doom

Alexander Komzolov, lead narrative designer, says that “we knew from the beginning that we wanted a’secret’ ending to the game.” He also said that the ending must tie in with Nyrissa’s romance. We wanted to drop mega-hints near the end of the finale and place subtle hints throughout the game. We hoped that gamers would be able to play the Kingmaker “normally”, have a regular relationship, and enjoy a regular ending, while being constantly ‘lured by the prospect’ of a secret romance ending, in order to spark thoughts like, “Is it in the game or is it messing me?”


(Image credit: Paizo)

Nyrissa, who pretends to be a simple spirit of nature called the Guardian for the Bloom, is an ally when you meet her. You’ll learn that Kingmaker is behind the trouble in your land, sending armies full of fey monsters, and manipulating other villains into attacking.

But–

You can win a sidequest in which you participate in a debate with a demigod. Then you risk losing your prize by asking for the demigod to tell you your true love. Yes, romance. Not everyone was. One Steam forum thread was filled with speculations about this possibility. A player suggested that you would be better off romance any NPC because they “don’t look like lettuce.” One player was more interested in the possibility and replied that she has 36 charisma, so she is a nice looking lettuce. The players discovered that Komzolov’s “secret romance ending” was possible. But they weren’t quite sure how to do it. Alice Wu, who joined Kingmaker’s Discord for spoilers, says that “it was the game’s greatest secret” but there were many clues to its existence. Knowing all the conditions required to succeed was the real challenge. Kingmaker’s launch bugginess made it more difficult to determine if these conditions were caused by a design decision or bug. Kingmaker’s initial release was accompanied by a lot of getting

Any

It was almost impossible to find an ending, let alone a secret one. Act 5 may not end. Parts of the climactic dungeon The House at The End of Time were so damaged that players had to teleport past them to prevent their game from breaking. You didn’t have enough spells to get there. Too bad.




(Image credit: Owlcat)

After several patches, things were a little more stable enough that Alice was able to complete Kingmaker with one its usual endings. She took all the information she had learned from Discord players and posted it on Reddit. The thread that followed brought together the knowledge of the various communities about what was required to unlock the secret ending. Some of it was obvious. For Nyrissa’s betrayal, you had to choose non-aggressive dialog options.

Clear a hex and build a Keep to become a research wizard

Half of Kingmaker lets you travel and fight trolls. “Then you have Kingdom Management, which allows you to do taxes,” Prototype00 jokes. In its early editions, D&D’s endgame was clearing a wilderness map hex, eliminating all monsters and building a fortress there. Perhaps a stronghold, or a wizard’s tower. You then slowly build up your domain and deal with the problems of local residents for the rest of your life.

One day, we’ll clear a hexagon and build a keep.

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(Image credit: Owlcat)

Kingmaker is all about this dream and how kingdom management simulates the daily running of your land. Assign advisors to handle events and opportunities. When they are free, you can dedicate them to long-term projects such as making trade deals with neighbours or upgrading roads and infrastructure. You can also assign your arcane advisor (the magister), and your religious advisor (the high priest), to investigate the curses that you keep finding in sidequests and quests. There are many of them. One can become a hunter, or a victim of murder, and a dryad transforms into an evil tree. Each curse is complex and requires months of research. During this time, the advisor chosen will not be able to help you with any disasters or to improve your kingdom. This leaves the land in a weaker position. Prototype00 warns that if you attempt to make your Kingdom submerged, it will be a difficult task. This was because the curse was one of Kingmaker’s many “noob traps” that new players could fall into. Alice says that most of these could be ignored from a normal playthrough. They are a requirement for romance, but it turns out that they are essential.




(Image credit: Owlcat)

There are 16 curses. To get the secret ending, you must have researched all of them. However, it doesn’t really matter which one. This was discovered by FreeSergey, a Russian player. FreeSergey datamined the information while the Kingmaker English-language community struggled through bugged 100-hour playthroughs in order to find the secret ending. The guide he created was not only how to reach the secret ending but also how to find variables in the player.json file. Prototype00 says that even though the information was available, no one had translated it. “So if you wanted to find out what it meant, you would have to do it yourself,” he said. He did it sentence by sentence. I gave it a once over and made minor adjustments to improve readability before posting it on Reddit. The Reddit thread can be viewed and compared to the Steam guide. You’ll find some funny and poorly-translated places. The guide and FreeSergey are to be commended for writing it in a clear, comprehensive manner. This means that even though I made many mistakes, the message he intended to convey shines through.

Passed the Knowledge (Endings Skills) check

Datamining by FreeSergey didn’t only confirm the necessity for curse research. You also had to talk with specific bosses at the end of chapters, who each have a curse. Talking to a kobold chief was possible only if you killed his ally, the king of trolls.

then

You passed the Intimidate test and were able to talk to a barbarian ruler who was slowly being overthrown by a cursed blade. This was possible only if you completed the quest within Kingmaker’s time limits.




(Image credit: Owlcat)

Alice says that this is “by far the most difficult step.” “Somehow there’s more. Redditor u/charlesatan pointed out that you need to take a companion to a Dungeon and then convince him to destroy an artifact found there. This chain of events allows you to get a different artifact called the Briar (a sword of thorns). It becomes crucial later. It’s extremely specific. Prototype00 was able to get there in his first attempt, provided that you don’t try to romance other NPCs or suggest abdicating your throne with Nyrissa. After verifying the information, Prototype00 revised it with his screenshots, corrected the text from English dialogue choices, and posted it to Steam. It has helped hundreds of people.




(Image credit: Owlcat)

At Kingmaker’s final climax, it is revealed that Nyrissa herself has been cursed. The Lantern King, a trickster demigod from the fey land, stole Nyrissa’s emotions and empathy and made the Briar of them. He then hid the weapon from her. The tabletop Kingmaker version of Kingmaker has the Briar, which is a thorny vorpal blade that players can use against Nyrissa. The text describes her death as “an unfortunate beheading by a sword she forged from her own love.” The videogame is more sympathetic. It reveals that the Lantern King made her fill a magical cup called “the Apology”, with grains of sand each made from a kingdom she destroyed. Your kingdom will be the ten thousandth grain in this cup. You can return Nyrissa’s Briar to her. To convince Nyrissa that there is a way to reverse the curse, you need to combine this decision with your Advanced Curse Knowledge degree from the University of Kingdom Management. Although Kingmaker’s videogame version does away with the hexes, it is still a game about clearing a map and building a Keep–only this time it is mandatory to follow the branch to its end. This adds yet another layer of difficulty. The videogame version of Kingmaker has an absurd fairytale ending, but you must earn it. Alexander Komzolov said that the secret ending was not difficult to find if you know where it is.

It’s quite simple

He says so. I don’t know what a more difficult version would look like.