Pillars of Eternity is a computer roleplaying game by Obsidian Entertainment due out in 2014. Intended as a Spiritual Successor to Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale, the game was funded in October 2012 through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, where it was pitched as Project Eternity. Meeting its initial funding goal of $1.1 million in 27 hours, it went on to break the site's funding record at the time (set by Broken Age), pulling in just shy of $4 million. Including PayPal donations, the gross total budget of the game was roughly $4.3 million dollars.The world of Pillars of Eternity is one of souls. Souls are not mere metaphysical abstractions; they are quantifiable, measurable objects, and their discovery has had vast implications for society. The world is about to enter a golden age as a result, but the rapid advances in technology and society occurring mark the era as a time of turmoil. Focusing on a number of colonies that have recently liberated themselves from their sovereign states, the game casts the player into the shoes of a character who witnesses a traumatic magical event, forcing them to undertake an epic journey.It has a website here. The Kickstarter page, including the pitch video, is here.
Pillars of Eternity provides examples of the following tropes:
All Deaths Final: Resurrection of a dead individual is flat-out impossible. Reincarnation, on the other hand, occurs naturally to everyone. It is possible to bind a soul to a body so that when the person dies they don't actually die, but this has... drawbacks, and ultimately only staves off death of the mind for a while.
Animated Armor: The aptly named "Animats". Basically the soul of a warrior that has been fused to a set of armor.
Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Averted. The primitive firearms of the setting are impractical and still quite weak, but they are effective at piercing wizards' spell shields, so wizards have turned to metal armor for defense.
Bag of Holding: The "stash" section of the Player Inventory is bottomless, but the trade-off is that you can only retrieve items from it (as opposed to putting them there) at the camp.
Blade on a Stick: One-handed spears and two-handed pikes are available as weapons.
Bat out of Hell: The "Skuldr" creature. It is a cross between a rat and a bat, and it doesn't have wings. That might not sound that terrible, but how about the facts that it is man-sized, bipedal, and quite muscular? Further more; it can also sense souls, making it hard to sneak by it.
Blue and Orange Morality: The gods of the world all have their own agendas, which are often hard for mortals to comprehend. If someone is lucky, his or her goal might temporary overlap with that of a god, in which case the god will be benevolent towards that person. Of course, someone can also be unlucky, and have a god outright working in opposition of him or her.
Monk: Archetypical monks — mobile warriors who fight unarmed and unarmoured and who dedicate their lives to honing their mind and body by adhering to a strict set of principles.
Paladin: Warrior Monks who devote themselves to a particular cause, which may or may not be a deity. Designed partly as a support caster that is also capable of periodically blasting foes in their immediate vicinity with an uprising of soul energy.
Priest: Support casters heavily influenced by D&D clerics, meaning they wear heavy armour, fight in close combat and have access to a large number of support spells.
Ranger: Nature Heroes that rely on ranged weapons and animal companions to wear down their foes.
Rogue: Stealth experts and "skillmonkeys" — characters with a lot of skill points.
Wizard: Scientists of a sort, they are dedicated through long years of training to blowing people's heads off with soul energy. Unlike traditional wizards, they often wear heavy armor since gunpowder weapons can pierce their carefully prepared magical defenses.
Character Customization: The players are able to select the name, sex, class, race (including subraces), culture, traits, ability scores, portrait, and class-specific gear, skills, and talents for their characters at the beginning of the game.
Fantasy Gun Control: Played with. The more advanced nations in the setting have developed wheel-lock muskets, but they're largely Awesome, but Impractical with the exception that they prove very good at fighting magic-users.
Fantasy Pantheon: The pantheon is vast and varied. Relevant gods include Berath, god of cycles (including life and death); Eothas, god of light and redemption; Magran, goddess of war and fire; and Woedica, goddess of law, memory, rightful rulership, and vengeance.
Final Death Mode: In the Expert mode, when characters die (have their Health reduced to 0) in combat, they are gone for good.
Game Mod: The game will allow modding by the community.
Harder Than Hard: The Path of the Damned mode removes all Level Scaling limitations (in other words: you get maxed out enemies regardless of your level) and cranks up the combat mechanics.
Hobbits: Orlans are a blend of the two according to Project Director Adam Brennecke. They're short humanoids with two-toned skin and large, hairy ears. They've been victimized repeatedly by other cultures they've come in contact with and have either progressively retreated deeper into the wilds or resorted to guerilla warfare.
Item Crafting: Stretching from brewing potions to enchanting weaponry.
Kleptomaniac Hero: The game explicitly encourages this by letting the player put anything they pick up into the bottomless "stash" inventory if they don't currently need it.
Multiple Life Bars: Each character has the Stamina bar and the Health bar. Stamina is depleted and recovered rapidly in combat and results in a Non-Lethal K.O. when depleted. Health is lost and regained more slowly but having it hit 0 leads to either a permanent injury or the Final Death (on harder difficulties).
Necromancer: Necromancers aren't universally viewed as evil (except by some fringe groups) but aren't commonplace, either.
Non-Lethal K.O.: When the Stamina bar hits zero, the character is incapacitated but can be brought back by another party member's intervention.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted. They have at least one major non-standard ethnicity, the boreal dwarves who seem to be what you get when you cross a dwarf with an Inuit. More tellingly, dwarves do not have a special affinity for beards.
Our Giants Are Bigger: While far from titanic in size, members of the Aumaua races towers quite a bit over most humans.
Our Souls Are Different: The existence of souls is a proven fact in the world of Eternity. Souls are essentially what allows a person to use magic and they reincarnate in a new body when the old one dies. Their discovery has turned soul-research into a quickly emerging branch of science as the understanding of how exactly they work, and especially how to manipulate them, is still very limited, and the factions and religions of the world have widely differing views on how to treat the many open questions and have ethical lines of their own they won't cross.
Player Headquarters: The player gains access to a stronghold relatively early on in the game as a place where idle companions can stay. Though it starts off looking rather dilapidated, it can be upgraded to provide various bonuses such as ingredients for Item Crafting, unique vendors and some new activities. Upon receiving it, the player character becomes a landowner and can collect taxes from the surrounding lands, which increases based on the player character's prestige.
Player Inventory: The inventory is subdivided into three parts: what's currently equipped on the characters, what they can access at any time except in combat, and what the can access only in the camp, at home, etc. The former two categories have limited capacity but the last one ("stash") is unbound.
Player Party: The player group consists of up to five (optional) companions at any time in addition to the main Player Character, for a total of six.
Point-and-Click Map: The world map is opened whenever the party reaches a "qualifying transition" and allows instant travel to known locations.
Real Time with Pause: The game uses real-time combat with the option to pause the game at any time to allow time to think and dole out orders partly as a deliberate throw-back to the Infinity Engine era, and partly because it suits the game.
Save Game Limits: In the Trial of Iron, one of the optional difficulty modifiers, the player only has one save slot — and it is wiped permanently if the player character dies.
Scenery Porn: The first screenshot mock-up released◊ depicts a beautiful view of a country road leading up to a bridge connecting to an entrance into a cliff side, with the entrance being flanked by a pair of enormous, macabre reliefs carved into the rock, with a waterfall cascading to form a pond off to the side of one of the statues.
Sea Monster: Sea monsters actively impede the overseas exploration of the setting.
Shared Life Meter: The Rangers and their animal companions share their hit points and if one is knocked out or killed, so is the other. Luckily, animal companions have high Damage Reduction to make up for their lack of armor.
Skill Scores and Perks: There are two separate skill point pools to spend on combat and non-combat abilities. Each uses resources from a different pool.
Touched by Vorlons: Members of the Godlike player race were blessed before birth by one or more deities.
The Undead: All undead were living beings who somehow had their soul unnaturally linked to their body. After death their bodies and minds decay, with the different stages of decay being a variant of undead:
Fampyries are the most-recently alive. They are really no different from a normal person aside from a strong craving for human flesh, which is the only substance that can keep their minds lucid and their bodies from decaying. But even by this, they are only delaying the inevitable next state of undead.
Darguls are still somewhat intelligent and recognizable as persons, but show signs of physical and mental deterioration. At this stage their higher thought processes and memories begin to fade. Guls are a further step down the path, with flesh hanging off the bones, hair disappeared, and bestial behavior.
Revenants are visibly rotting, the skin having sloughed away and even the muscle beginning to lose form. Of the mind, only base instincts and the desire to feed remain.
Skeletons are what remain once all the flesh has rotted away. Without the ability or desire to feed, they are largely murderous automatons acting on pure reflex. Given enough time, even the bones will be reduced to dust which the soul will still be bound to.
Vestigial Empire: Before the events of the game there were at least two mighty empires in the world: Grand Empire of Vailia and The Aedyr Empire. While the former no longer exists since it has broken up into a federation of independent city-states, the latter still lingers as a shadow of its former self, having lost at least two of its colonies through civil wars with independence movements.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: The druid class has the ability to shapeshift into various animal forms at will, such as giant humanoid cats.
War God: Magran, who pulls double duty as goddess of fire and whose priests are known to employ firearms and explosives.
You Will Not Evade Me: All melee combatants can force close quarters combat via the Engagement rules. When being targeted by a melee fighter at close range, any attempt to move away will provoke an attack of opportunity that deals bonus damage and usually stuns you long enough for the attacker to catch up. There are ways to avoid that, of course, but they are costly and it's best to just not go anywhere near melee enemies at all.