Keywords are an integral part of the Pathfinder Online game. Keywords are basically a type of Matching Game, with the player's goal to match as many Keywords between Equipment and Feats as possible.
Matching keywords on Armor, Weapons, Implements, and other Gear can confer excellent bonuses to your Character, so having a clear understanding of the keyword system is crucial to your success and enjoyment of the game.
The following is an overview of the basics of the Keyword system in Pathfinder Online.
Below is the list of groups and their corresponding match, in table format. Again, keywords cannot match across different groups.
|Keyword on Equipment:||Looks for a match on:|
|Expendables (equipped on Implements)||Class Feature|
|Feet, Hands, other Gear||Utility Feat|
Here are two examples of where to look for Keyword matches, using screenshots from in-game to illustrate.
|Keywords on Sword|
|Match to Slash|
|Keywords on Armor|
|Match to Dragoon (Heavy Armor)|
There are several categories of keywords in PFO:
|Energy / Enchantment (EE)|
|Inherent||Cosmetic / Material (CM)|
Basic and Advanced
All Armor, Weapons, and other Gear possess at least one Basic Keyword (sometimes referred to as Minor3 ), and gain additional keywords as they become more powerful. At specific intervals (called Upgrades), they also gain more powerful Keywords, called Advanced Keywords (commonly referred to as Major3 ), like Masterwork and Eldritch (see Keyword Progression for details).
Expendables possess a 'hybrid keyword' that is slightly more powerful than a basic keyword but not as powerful as an advanced keyword (these hybrids apply ONLY to Expendables). These hybrid keywords are referred to as Expendables Keywords.
Cosmetic and Material
Some weapons and armors have Material or Cosmetic keywords--in addition to their Basic and Advanced keywords. These keywords have no effect on the keyword matching system, and may either be completely cosmetic (ex: 'Spiked' Armor), or have other game-play effects (ex: 'Silvered' weapons causing extra damage to Lycanthropes).
Energy and Enchantment
Keywords can also be added manually to Weapons or Armor through the crafting process, called Enchanting. These keywords are similar to material keywords: they will not match to keywords feats, instead, they will imbue the equipped item with extra properties (ex.: Acid Resistance for armors or Undead Bane for weapons).
Inherent or Upgrade
A keyword can either be inherent in the particular equipment, or be acquired by the equipment through upgrades.
Finally, it is very important to note that many keywords groups have the same keywords, but those keywords are often part of a different category.
For example, Crystal is a keyword in both the armor and weapons groups, however, on weapons, Crystal is a Material Keyword (i.e. no effect on keyword matching) where, on armor, it is an Advanced Keyword. Another example is the Organic Keyword: On Weapons, this keyword is a Material Keyword, but on Armor, Organic is a Basic Keyword.
For the full list of keywords, organized by category, see the List of Keywords page.
When keywords match, the character receives certain benefits--as described by the Feat or Effect description--and some Keyword Types provide a greater benefit than others. For example, Advanced keywords are four (4) times as beneficial as Basics, and the Expendable keywords are one-point-four (1.4) times as good as Basic keywords. Cosmetic and Material keywords do not count towards Keyword Matching, thus, provide no benefit.
Every Basic keyword matched adds a 1.0 multiplier to all Effects, including Base Damage. Each Advanced keyword matched adds a 4.0 multiplier to Effects, and each Expendable keyword matched adds a 1.4 multiplier.
Below is a summary of the multiplier for keyword matching; base damage per keyword is 5.
|Category||Effect Multiplier||Damage Result|
Effect Match Example
Let's look at the following example to help illustrate the multiplicative effect of keyword matching:
- The Armor Feat 'Dragoon' indicates "
effect per matched keyword: Hit Points +58..." (see Screenshot examples, above), therefore, if the character was matching 2 Basic keywords and 1 Advanced keyword, we would calculate the benefit as follows:
|#||x Multiplier||x Benefit||Equals|
See the List of Keywords for all keywords in the game.
Different types of Equipment attain Keywords at different intervals, as explained in this section.
Weapon / Armor Progression
Weapons and Armor start with one basic keyword at the primary level of a Tier (+0), and gain one more basic keyword at the next three upgrade levels (+1, +2, and +3). At tier 2, they gain an Advanced keyword in addition to their basic keywords, and at tier 3 they gain one more advanced keyword. Lastly, this equipment can be Enchanted through the Crafting process, which can imbue the Equipment with up to two additional keywords (see Enchanting for details). Enchanted keywords are mechanically identical to Material and Cosmetic keywords.
Note: the chart below does not include Material or Cosmetic keywords: they are not applicable to the Keyword Matching system.
An Expendable always has 1 Expendables Keyword per level. The tier and upgrade level of the Implement determine the highest level of expendable that can be slotted, as well as how many expendables can be slotted. Therefore, assuming that a character equips the highest level expendable possible to the Implement, Highest Level equals Number of Keywords to be matched.
For example, if a Holy Symbol reads: "holds expendables up to level 3; holds total levels up to 8," and we assume that the character equips the highest level of expendable allowed by the implement, the character must match 3 keywords to fully benefit from the level 3 expendable.
Hands / Feet Progression
The following table illustrates the keyword progression for each of the Feat Groups. Feat Rank is sometimes referred to as Feat Level.
Expendable Keywords and Class Feature Feats are, once again, slightly different than other keyword matching feats. The list below indicates the minimum and maximum number of keywords gained at the given levels--to find out specific progression, see the particular feat page.
|Attack / Utility||B1||B2||B3||A1||B4||A2|
The following chart amalgamates the information on keyword progression for Equipment and their associated Feats in to one table, for ease of reference. Remember that utilities and attacks have the same progression and are therefore included in the same column.
Use this table to determine what feat rank your character will need to train in order to fully utilize the keywords on any given tier and upgrade level of equipment.
|Tier||Level (+)||Keywords||Feat Rank Needed||Multiplier||Base Damage|
|Basic||Advanced||Expendable||Attack||Armor||Feature||Att. / Arm.||Feature||Attack||Feature|
Time to apply the knowledge we've learned to some in-game examples.
- Longsword Example
|Equipment Name||Tier||Level (+)||Keywords|
|Dwarven Steel Longsword||2||0||Slashing||Masterwork|
|Longsword Feat: Hamstring|
|Attack Feat Rank||1||2||3||4||5||6|
- In the case of Armor, heavier armors (Medium Armor and Heavy Armor) do require proficiency feats in order to be equipped.
- There are plans to eventually have some keywords (such as Cold Iron or Silvered, on weapons) have effects other than the normal Keyword Matching effect (such as Silvered doing extra damage to lycanthropes, etc.).
- You may see, and hear, other players and resources refer to the Keyword Categories as "Minor" and "Major", however, the PFO game system uses the terminology "Basic" and "Advanced," respectively.