In this Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous Beginner’s Guide: Tips and Tricks to Survive, I’m going to go through essential beginner’s tips that will help you understand the game better while surviving challenging encounters. I’ll be discussing the basics of combat, the best beginner classes to start with, optimal party composition, and general tips.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is an isometric tactical fantasy CRPG based on the Pathfinder tabletop version of the same name. It’s developed by Owlcat Games who also made Pathfinder: Kingmaker back in September 2018. Although Wrath of the Righteous is technically a sequel to Kingmaker, it focuses on a different storyline where your goal is to reclaim the world by leading crusades against hordes of demons. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous will be available on PC this September 2, 2021.
Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous Beginner’s Guide: Tips and Tricks to Survive
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a deeply complex CRPG, which is based on the 1st Edition Pathfinder ruleset. Compared to Kingmaker, it is a bit more user-friendly in the sense that the tutorials are explained better but the game still isn’t a walk in the park for newcomers and veterans alike. As such, we’ll first discuss the basics of Combat.
The Basics of Combat | Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
In Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, you have the option to select between two game modes, namely Real-Time with Pause (RTWP) or Turn-Based System (TBS). If you prefer a fast-paced way of playing, then RTWP is better, however, if you’re new to the game, TBS is highly recommended as it closely resembles the tabletop equivalent of Pathfinder. You’ll have more control over your entire party’s attacks and reactions since every action is carefully planned and accounted for. Unlike Pillars of Eternity 2, you can swap back and forth at will, so be sure to try them both.
In either mode, the outcome of the actions you take in the game relies on dice rolls, namely the most common 20-sided dice, which is also known as the D20. Every time you make Initiative Checks to determine who goes first in combat, execute attacks, and perform Skill Checks by, say persuading an NPC to disengage from a fight, you roll a D20.
Getting the best results, however, isn’t as simple as rolling a dice. In whatever action you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll need to account for modifiers, bonuses and penalties based on your Abilities and the effects you may have incurred. To succeed, the result you get by adding all of these together should be equal to or exceed a Difficulty Class (DC). The higher the DC, the harder your means for success is.
An attack roll determines whether or not your attack actually hits the target and it follows this formula:
D20 + Base Attack Bonus (BAB) + Ability Score Modifier + Other Modifiers
BAB refers to how well a particular character performs effectively in combat. This is based on that same character’s level and Class. The higher the level, the more BAB you get. As such, the attacks you execute in a Full-Round increases. Classes such as Fighters, Barbarians and Paladins have better BABs.
For example, a Level 6 Fighter has a BAB of “+6/+1”, which means that they can make two attacks. For their first attack, they gain an Attack Bonus of +6 whereas for their second attack, they receive an Attack Bonus of +1. Some Classes such as Clerics and Rogues have an average BAB growth rate while those like Sorcerers and Wizards gain the lowest BABs as they level up.
On the other hand, your Ability Score Modifier is associated with Strength for Melee Attacks or Dexterity for Ranged Attacks. If the result of your Attack Roll is greater than or equal to the enemy’s Armor Class (AC), you’ll be able to hit them. AC refers to how difficult it is to land a hit on a target. If the AC is high, say 25, then it’ll be tough to attack them. The formula for this is as follows:
10 + Armor Bonus + Shield Bonus + Dexterity Modifier + Other Bonuses
When making an Attack Roll, it’s also important to remember that sometimes, your D20 roll can be equal to a natural 1, which means that your hit automatically misses the target, or a natural 20, which is a guaranteed hit.
In addition to regular attacks, there are Attacks of Opportunity or Free Attacks that you or the enemy can inflict when you’re both inside each other’s threatened area. Note that since these are Melee Attacks, characters wielding Melee Weapons are the ones who execute them. When you’re near an enemy, be careful in performing specific actions since you may goad them into attacking you. These actions include moving out of the threatened area, performing a Ranged Attack against the same enemy, casting Ranged Touch Spells like Acid Splash, using a Scroll or drinking a potion, and attempting to stand up from being Prone.
If you have a character that deals Ranged Attacks such as a Wizard or Ranger, make sure they’re far away from enemies in order to reduce the chances of provoking Attacks of Opportunity against them. On the other hand, if your character is already within the threatened area, you can make a Mobility Skill Check where your Mobility should be high enough to avoid this special attack.
If you’re able to hit the enemy, you have to roll for damage to determine how much you inflict against their HP. The Damage Roll is influenced by your Weapon or Spell so if you’re going to harm an enemy with a Rapier that can inflict a 1d6 Piercing Damage, it means that you’ll be able to deal at least 1-6 damage. I say at least since you also have to consider enhancements from Equipment, bonuses and penalties you have.
Bonuses come from your character’s Strength Modifier, Special Abilities like Sneak Attacks, Feats and Morale, to name a few. For instance if you damage an enemy using a Melee or Thrown Weapon, your Strength Modifier will be added to the total damage you deal. It’s also good to know that wielding Two-Handed Weapons increases your Strength Bonus since you multiply it by 1.5. Conversely, for offhand Weapons, only half of your Strength Bonus is added. For Ranged Weapons, your Strength Modifier will only be taken into account if you wield a Composite Bow.
The total result of your damage will then be lessened depending on the Damage Reduction (DR) or Energy Resistance of your enemies. These pertain to a certain amount of damage they’re able to ignore against the Weapon you’re wielding or the Spell you’re casting. Not all enemies have Damage Reduction, but many do, so if you aren’t dealing much damage try a different damage type.
Critical Hits allow you to roll for damage twice in addition to your bonuses, which means that you’re able to harm your targets even more in a single turn. This becomes possible if your Attack Roll is a natural 20 or if the result is within your Weapon’s “Critical Threat Range.” Let’s take the Rapier as an example once again where it’s Critical Threat Range is equal to 18-20(x2).
If on your first Attack Roll you score a result between 18-20, you’ll make another Attack Roll to determine if you can critically hit your target. Note that in this second Attack Roll, all of your modifiers are added. If the result is greater than or equal to the enemy’s AC, then you’ll be able to inflict a critical hit, otherwise, it’ll just be a regular hit. In the case of the Rapier, “x2” means that you’ll deal twice the damage.
The same criteria for Critical Hits is only applicable to Spells that are considered as Ranged Touch or Touch Attacks in order to deal double the damage. You can refer to their respective descriptions to see which are which. Examples include Acid Arrow and Snowball since, you’ll need to make Attack Rolls to determine if these Spells will land on the targets or not.
Another important thing to note about Spells, is that those that are Touch Attacks use Strength for their Attack Rolls, and those that are Ranged Touch Attacks use Dexterity for their Attack Rolls. This means you will need Strength if you plan to use Touch Attack Spells regularly, and Dexterity if you plan to use Ranged Touch Attack Spells often.
Speaking of Spells in general, it’s important to prepare them for use via the Spellbook Tab. Once depleted, you’re able to restore them fully by setting up Camp and resting. By default, these Spells can only be cast once and then you’ll need to prepare them again. There’s an exception, however. If you’re able to prepare multiple copies of the same Spell, then you’ll be able to use them more than once until you reach its limit. Some Spells such as Cantrips and Orisons are weaker since they are Level 0 Spells but you can cast them numerous times without the need for preparation.
On top of this, you need to be aware of the number of Spell Slots you have depending on your character’s level. For instance, a Level 1 Wizard can only prepare and cast 1 Level 1 Spell, which corresponds to a single Spell Slot. To determine the extra Spell Slots you get, pay attention to your Spellcasting Ability depending on your Class.
Paladins and Sorcerers have Charisma as their Spellcasting Ability whereas Wizards and Clerics have Intelligence and Wisdom, respectively. To cast Spells of a higher level beyond 0, your Ability Score corresponding to the Spellcasting Ability should be greater than 10. Make sure you know which Spellcasting Ability Modifier your Class has, and make sure you invest highly into it for best results.
General Tips | Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
In Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, choosing a beginner-friendly Class or even going for pre-generated characters in Character Creation goes a long way into understanding the mechanics of the game. This is especially true if you’re new to Pathfinder since the ruleset it follows can get confusing and complex in an instant.
The best beginner Classes to consider are the Barbarian, Cavalier, Cleric, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Slayer and Sorcerer as they’re fairly straightforward. You don’t have to micromanage them as much in combat, making encounters more manageable. For instance, Barbarians are great at dealing massive damage and they also have a ton of health, which contributes to better survivability. Conversely, if you prefer to support the rest of your party by buffing and healing them, then the Cleric should be your best bet. They’re also able to damage their enemies depending on the energy they channel.
Optimal Party Composition
On top of choosing the Class for your main character, it’s also important to have a balanced party composition, which ought to fill up the following roles – tank, healer/support, and damage-dealers. At any given time, you can have up to 6 party members including your main character so you can swap Companions depending on your needs.
Having at least one tank is essential since they receive the bulk of the party’s damage. Luckily, you’ll be able to meet Seelah, a Paladin Companion, very early in the game. If you find that the encounters are difficult, you can opt to create another tank that doubles as a damage-dealer.
For this role, you’ll need to boost AC to 25+ in order to maximize missed hits by enemies. With the Outflank Feat for both you and the tank, you’re able to receive a flanking bonus of +4 for your Attack Rolls, as long as you’re flanking the same target, to increase your hit chances. You or Seelah can even equip a Two-Handed Weapon to boost the damage you inflict.
For the healer and support, you can go with a Cleric like Sosiel or a Shaman like Camellia who are able to heal and buff the party. Meanwhile, for damage-dealers, you can choose Lann the Monk and Arueshalae the Ranger for Ranged Attacks or Woljif Jefto the Rogue for both Melee and Ranged Attacks. They only need a decent amount of AC, at least 20, to survive attacks, otherwise, you should focus on increasing their Strength or Dexterity depending on their Melee or Ranged Attacks.
What’s good with the Rogue is they’re excellent at Trickery. Because of this, they’re able to open locks and chests for loot as well as to disarm traps, which are predominant in the game. Furthermore, they’re able to execute Sneak Attacks that deal extra damage.
For arcane casters, you’ll want to recruit Ember the Witch or Nenio the Wizard who are able to employ crowd control techniques in addition to dealing decent damage. Make sure that they’re wielding Ranged Weapons. Should they run out of Prepared Spells to cast, these will allow them to deal damage from afar, thereby protecting them from the majority of attacks.
In addition to party composition, it’s also essential to master as many Skills as possible. For the Rogue, they can specialize in Stealth, Trickery and Knowledge (World) whereas for the Monk, Lann can focus on mastering Athletics, Mobility and Perception. Remember that for most of your characters, maxing out Perception is useful since any one of them can sense danger like traps or hidden loot nearby. Diversifying your Skills in the party lets you succeed in the majority of Skill Checks, which you’ll be rolling a lot of in the game.
Encumbrance is another important mechanic in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous that you’ll have to manage to avoid receiving penalties like armor checks and slower speed. Armor check penalty reduces the efficiency of your Attack Rolls, making it tougher to hit enemies. It also negatively impacts Strength and Dexterity-based Abilities and Skill Checks. You’re also susceptible to experiencing heightened fatigue, which means that you’ll have to frequently engage in rest.
To counter this, make sure to purchase the Bag of Holding from Gemyl Hawkes the moment you reach Defender’s Heart. This increases the items you can carry by hundreds of lbs. It’s also essential to lower the number of Camping supplies and rations you bring for resting purposes since these are heavy. Lastly, minimizing the amount of Armor and Shields you carry will also help manage your encumbrance since they make up the bulk of the weight.
Combat Tips | Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
For Classes that deal Physical Damage with Melee and Ranged Weapons, you’ll need to bring Weapons, which are made out of different materials. The reason is some enemies, even at earlier levels, have DR and can only be damaged effectively with specific types of materials. For example, the Dretch has a DR of 5 with exceptions of Good or Cold Iron. This means that if you damage it with a Weapon that’s not made out of Good or Cold Iron materials, your total damage will be reduced by 5.
For those who primarily deal Melee Damage, you can opt to equip them with longer Melee Weapons like Two-Handed Longspears to increase your character’s reach in combat, allowing them to hit and damage farther targets, which they normally wouldn’t. These Two-Handed Weapons also provide them with an additional 1.5x Strength Bonus. Furthermore, if you need to improve your hits at earlier levels, equip Masterwork Weapons to receive a +1 bonus to your Attack Rolls.
Make sure that at least one of your characters with a high Charisma maximizes the Use Magic Device Skill. This lets them cast Spells from wands like Magic Missile. Magic Missile is a powerful Spell because it automatically hits targets and it’s more potent at higher levels since the number of projectiles increases.
Buff Your Party
Buffing your party prior to the start of any encounter is one of the most important things you should do. Boosting the AC of your tank as well as casting Bless for the entire party to gain a +1 bonus on Attack Rolls goes a long way to adequately prepare you in combat. Afterward, you can cast Spells that ignore the Spell Resistances of enemies, which won’t reduce some damage they receive. One example is Acid Arrow to inflict 2-8 Acid Damage.
Always surprise enemies by initiating combat with characters that deal Ranged Attacks. As a result, they’re caught unaware, which provides your party one full round to perform actions to the disadvantage of your targets. This will then be followed by regular rounds.
Avoid Ranged Attacks in Melee Range
Engaging in any type of Ranged Attacks whether with Weapons or Spells when you or your target are engaged in melee combat will result in a -4 penalty on your Attack Roll. You can avoid this by actively moving away from the enemy and by acquiring the Precise Shot Feat, which removes the -4 penalty if your target is in melee with another unit. Be sure to get this Feat on any ranged character you have.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous can be a complex and confusing game whether or not you’re an experienced CRPG player. While you’re starting out, I recommend selecting “Auto Level Up” for your Companions in the Difficulty section until you’re able to learn most of the mechanics. You can turn this off if you wish to customize their abilities and skills at any point in time, but it is not unwise to follow some of if not most of the recommended Feats the game will suggest.
Remember that you can opt to lower the combat’s difficulty from Normal if you find encounters too intimidating. It’s definitely acceptable to do so especially since there’s a ton of trial and error involved to fully understand the game, and you can increase it again once you’re through harder encounters.
Lastly, avoid Multiclassing your character until you have a much better sense of Pathfinder Class Building. Many Classes feature Archetypes that are already a mash up of two or more Classes, which removes the need to Multiclass them in a lot of cases. If you find that you want to play a combination of 2 Classes, but you are new to the game, try to find an Archetype that takes care of this for you.
Stay tuned for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Build Guides, and be sure to check out the Official Wiki if you have questions about the game! What did you think of this Beginner’s Guide? What Class will your first play as? What Builds are you excited to see? Let us know in the comments below!