Video Game: Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity is a computer roleplaying game by Obsidian Entertainment, released on March 26, 2015. 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. Paradox Interactive signed a distribution agreement with Obsidian Entertainment to market and sell the game to the general gaming public.

The world of Eora 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. In the wake of the game's success, Obsidian has announced that they are working on a number of things to expand the new franchise: a traditional Expansion Pack, a sequel, a Collectible Card Game, and a Tabletop Game.

Pillars of Eternity provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: The max level for the game is 12, with wizard spells capping at level 6. The upcoming expansion pack may raise them, but by how much is unknown. (To put into perspective how low this is, depending on how much of Od Nua you decide to do, when, and how aggressively you follow every sidequest, it's quite possible to spend the final entire act at the level cap. Hell, you'll probably get there in Act 3.)
  • Adult Fear: The game could probably pass as an adult horror game.
    • The hollowborn plague in general is this. Imagine spending 9 months in fear and desperation wondering if your baby will be born soulless, and no matter how much you pray to the gods or try other medications, you will most likely give birth to a soulless husk forever incapable of independent thought and life preservation.
    • A mother in Ondra's Gift begged you to find her missing son. The son turns out to be dead, killed by outlaws and his body is dumped in front of brothel's pier. Depending on your choices, the mother can fall into despair while raising her other hollowborn child and the father wastes his life away drinking in sadness
    • In Defiance Bay, news about a child losing his fingers appear after you bought him a very sharp knife. You can also choose to beat the child up. You can avert this by using the Survival skill to warn him about how dangerous it is.
    • The moment when Maerwald's previous incarnation, the Soldier, asked his mother about who his father is. The Soldier's father wasn't a colonist who died in a raid, he was actually one of the raiders who raped his mother. The Soldier's mother then dodged the question, all at the same time holding back her fear and anger.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: After you kill Thaos, you peer into his soul and witness his memories of sacrificing his people so he could become immortal and protect his new gods. The flashback makes it clear that Thaos committed all of his horrific crimes because he honestly believed that it was the only way. It doesn't redeem him, but it does make his actions more understandable.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Played for Drama when speaking to a spirit in Caed Nua. Mistaking you for her son, she tells you what happened to your father: "before you were born, the Glanfarthans attacked settlers like us... they came into our village and killed many people. Your father was one of them." She actually means her son's father was one of the Glanfarthan raiders.
  • And That Would Be Wrong: Talking to Lady Webb elicits this comment.
    Lady Webb: Many [Ciphers] can hold an object and know where it's been, or peer into the thoughts of people around them. They can also sometimes affect those thoughts, but that would be unethical, of course.
  • Animated Armor: The aptly named "Animats". Basically the soul of a warrior that has been fused to a set of armor.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: There's one quest that can only be non-violently finished if the player dons a mask as part of a disguise. Godlikes can't wear any sort of headgear due to various chitinous skull growths and/or having their heads constantly on fire. Except that during the relevant scripted interaction, a godlike Watcher with the mask in their inventory can select an option to put the mask on. Others will be annoyed by how very poorly it fits, and it won't actually be equipped, but it will suffice to finish the interaction without bloodshed.
  • Arc Words: "No sleep for the watcher", which first appeared in the teaser trailer.
  • 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.
  • Asshole Victim: An early sidequest has you investigate a murder and learn that the victim was a domestic abuser who was murdered by his wife's lover to protect her. More accurately, the lover and wife claim the victim was a domestic abuser when confronted with his murder. Whether they're telling the truth is an open question.
  • Back from the Dead: If you kill Lord Raedric, he eventually comes back to life and will destroy Gilded Vale if you don't kill him again.
  • 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. Although, as an Anti-Frustration Feature, the player can toggle an option that allows the Stash to be accessed from anywhere.
  • Big Bad: Thaos
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Kolsc ending for Gilded Vale, provided you defeat Raedric again once he rises as an undead. Kolsc ends up being an Authority in Name Only and Gilded Vale becomes a Wretched Hive of lawlessness and crime, but pretty much everyone in-story considers this to be leagues better than Raedric's psychotic tyranny.
  • Blade on a Stick: One-handed spears and two-handed pikes are available as weapons.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Godlikes are stuck with weird-ass heads that are impossible to hide, in exchange for being Touched by Vorlons in the womb. Even worse are the Death Godlikes, who are stated to commonly be killed at birth.
  • 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.
    • And while not fought, one of the spiderwebs in the starting area holds bats the size of chickens.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The conflict between Raedric and Kolsc. Raederic is The Caligula who has thousands of people executed on a whim (including his wife) and is responsible for horrific experiments regarding the soulless and the undead, but he genuinely wants to save his country from the curse, he clearly regrets having to murder his wife, its heavily implied that he did use to be a good ruler and his current Sanity Slippage is due to his desperation to stop the curse, and, for better or worse, his authority is keeping his country from descending into anarchy. Kolsc, meanwhile, rightfully believes that Raedric has become too unhinged to rule and treats his subjects well, but he openly admits to being a Sleazy Politician and Smug Snake who only wants to overthrow Raedric so he can take the throne for himself, lies and manipulates everyone around him, and he clearly has no idea what to do about the curse or how to keep the people calm.
  • 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. Some gods would even praise you no matter what you actually did...as long as you can show you did it for the "right" reasons as far as they're concerned.
  • Body Surf: A rare non-fatal version - when investigating the sanitarium in Defiance Bay, you discover that Thaos can jump into the bodies of those with "weak souls", such as golems and the insane. Did we mention you find this out in an insane asylum, with Flesh Constructs as guards?
    • He does it again at the Duc's animancy hearing to assassinate the Duc while "wearing" the head animancer in the city, resulting in mass riots all across Defiance Bay and the animancer sanitarium being burned to the ground.
  • Bond Creatures: Rangers and their animal companions have a shared pool of Health and Stamina.
  • Bonus Boss: A number of them in the Endless Paths. Most prominent among them is the Adra Dragon, the final boss of the dungeon, and the toughest boss in the game. Killing her allows you to loot its hoard of rare items, as well as enchant one set of armor to Superb quality.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Endless Paths, a labyrinth hidden below the stronghold of Caed Nua. Its bosses are among the toughest in the game (for a level appropriate party at least) and features tons of rare loot.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Ogre Druids. The first time you meet them, you are pretty much guaranteed to die again and again and again. They have a ton of hit points, high defenses, and worst of all cast extremely dangerous spells, such as Plague of Insects, which will probably hit your entire party and inflict over 90 damages over time (which is basically a death sentence if your party level is 5 or less and if you don't manage to kill the ogre in time). Worst of all, they have a tendency to appear in larger groups composed of regular ogres (who hit like a truck) and them, and they can cast healing spells.
  • Brick Joke: After helping a young boy get a well-made dagger in Copperlane, the town crier in Ondra's Gift will shout about an "unfortunate mishap" where a young boy lost several fingers playing with a blade.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Many characters believe that Waidwen's Legacy is a divine punishment inflicted on Dyrwood for daring to kill the god Eothas. It is, but not in the way they think.
  • Call to Adventure: At the beginning of the game, the Player Character will witness a traumatic supernatural event that motivates them to embark on their adventure.
  • Cast from Hit Points: A couple spells and abilities will grant the characters some boosts in exhange for their endurance.
  • Cast from Lifespan: The makers of the Godhammer used their very souls to forge the weapon. Only one survived the explosion of the weapon: Durance. However, his soul now appears blurred, distorted from the sacrifice he made by forging the Godhammer, and also possibily caused by the explosion itself. The damage is so important that his own goddess doesn't recognize him.
  • Character Class System: The player classes are heavily influenced by Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Barbarian: Fight-loving brutes capable of going into Unstoppable Rage for short periods.
    • Chanter: The equivalent of D&D bards, they are repositories of folk wisdom and tellers of tales, with songs capable of buffing and debuffing and powerful summons to turn the tide.
    • Cipher: Casters with Psychic Powers fueled by their souls. They are capable of mental manipulation and powerful attacks, but have to physically strike their foes as well to build up power. Also have some skill at stealth and mechanics.
    • Druid: Archetypical druids, with the usual focus on communing with nature, nature-based magic, shapeshifting, and so on, beating even wizards for raw area-of-effect power.
    • Fighter: Badass Normals that focus on weapons combat, but are also capable of stealth and are frequently highly educated.
    • Monk: Archetypical monks — mobile warriors who dedicate their lives to honing their mind and body by adhering to a strict set of principles. They often fight better unarmed than armed, though it's not necessary.
    • 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 mechanists. Good at defeating locks and traps, they truly shine at stealth attacks and delivering simply brutal amounts of close-quarters damage.
    • 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. They also get a bonus to mechanics, though smaller than what Rogues get.
  • Character Customization: The players are able to select the name, sex, class, race (including sub-races), culture, traits, ability scores, portrait, and class-specific gear, skills, and talents for their characters at the beginning of the game.
  • Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth: It is possible to bypass combat completely if non-combat abilities are leveled up.
  • Covers Always Lie: A somewhat retroactive case. The cover for the game depicts Aloth, Edair, Cadegund and Forton, and was made in the early development phases. In the end, the only one of the characters that made it relatively unaltered into the game was Aloth, while Edair underwent a few redesigns and eventually become Edér, and Cadegund and Forton ended up getting cut out entirely.
  • Crapsack World: Eora as a whole, but the Dyrwood especially. The wilderness is incredibly dangerous, and racial and religious prejudice is rampant, to the point that non-believers were violently persecuted during the Leaden Key's inquisition, and followers of Eothas are routinely slaughtered in retaliation for the Saint's War and Waidwen's Legacy. Speaking of Waidwen's Legacy, did we mention that a large percentage of recent children are born without souls, leaving them thoughtless, vegetative husks for their entire lives? To top it all off, the gods that have informed much of the behaviour and structure of the last 2000 years of civilization were artificial constructs the whole time, and were merely designed to create a semblance of order in the chaotic world.
  • Critical Hit Class: The Rogues specialize in dealing critical hits and even have a passive ability called Dirty Fighting, which automatically turns every tenth hit they land into a crit.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game sometimes explores even darker depths of human depravity and cosmic cruelty compared to Obsidian's previous games. The developers said that they have more freedom in what story they can tell without publisher involvement.
    • The game itself can arguably be considered darker and edgier than the Infinity Engine games it's based on (except maybe Planescape).
  • Deus Est Machina: All of the gods are really ancient constructs designed to maintain peace and order. It's gone wrong for some of them, but they all honestly believe they're fulfilling their directives in the best possible fashion.
  • Design It Yourself Equipment: Through enchanting, you can make any weapon or armor (except helms) have up to 12 "quality-level" buffs (some enhancements are up to 4 QL).
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • You will get a special ending slide if you finish the game with baby Vela in your stash.
    • If you opt to kill every member of the caravan in the opening of the game, the fetch-quest for the springberries and the glanfathan tribe's attack on the caravan is skipped and you instead get treated to a special cutscene.
  • Double Entendre: In Defiance bay, there is an establishment called The Salty Mast. It has two rooms you can sleep in, Broad Beam, and Shiny Pearl. Three guesses as to what kind of an establishment it is.
  • Driven to Madness: All Watchers are in danger of this, particularly when they begin to recall their past lives. Maerwald has this really bad as he's not only prone to assuming the various personas of his previous lives, but he's wracked with crippling guilt for the many horrible things at least one of them committed.
    • You can meet this end if you kill Lady Webb, losing your only lead to find Thaos.
  • DRM: Averted. Among the early stretch goals was a DRM-free version distributed through GOG.com, and the hardcopy won't have DRM unless the owner chooses to register it with Steam.
  • Early Game Hell: While the game is more forgiving than Baldur's Gate I, Act I can be more than a little tough for new players. Your characters are rather frail, you don't have a decent equipment yet, you can cast only so many spells before you need to rest, just traveling between areas can be a problem since some of your characters may not have a single point in Athletics and, as a result, will suffer from a major debuff because they are exhausted just from traveling from one area to the other (leading you to use camping supplies, which are sparse and relatively costly at this point of the game), and, most of all, you will encounter ghost-type enemies, which deal rather high endurance damages, can stun you with each attack and can teleport directly on your most frail characters (and there are a mandatory encounter in Od Nua, a dungeon you must complete in order to gain access to the rest of the map and begin Act II).
  • Elemental Crafting: All tiers of armor are designed to be useful in different situations.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: Averted, at least in specific instances. We already know that in this setting boreal dwarves and caravan elves coexist peacefully in the island nation of Naasitaq, while several other nations, such as the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood, have large numbers of both elves and dwarves in their populations.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In Twin Elms, the chief of the Three-Tusk Stelgaer - the most warlike of the tribes - wants you to abduct and sacrifice an orlan infant in order to grant her soul to the probable successor of his tribe. His son disagrees with this strongly enough that he asks you to poison his father solely to stop that plot completely.
  • Expansion Pack: The devs already have plans for a large expansion, comparable to Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast in size, to start working on after the main release.
  • Eyeless Face: Death Godlikes have these strange growths on their heads that cover their eyes, if not most of their faces, giving this impression. The growths are only visible to non-Godlike people though, so they're able to see just fine.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Already a few examples:
    • Boreal Dwarves have obvious similarities to the Inuit.
    • The Vailian Republics closely resemble Renaissance Italy.
    • The Aedyr Empire seems to have overtones of an Ancient Grome flavor.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Godhammer, the weapon instrumental in ending the Saint's War by killing the god Eothas' avatar, and Eothas with him.
  • Fantastic Racism: Against the godlike because they're not very well-understood, and against Orlans because of their animalistic appearance.
  • 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 Boss Preview: Your first vision describes the final chamber of the final dungeon: Sun in Shadow.
  • Final Death Mode: In the Expert mode, when characters die (have their Health reduced to 0) in combat, they are gone for good.
  • First Episode Spoiler: The main bad guy refers to Woedica during the early chant in the ruins of Cilant Lis, but you'd figure that out only if your took the time to read the lore in the game.
  • Fish People: The Aumaua, a race of humanoids with fish-like attributes.
  • Flat Character: Zig-Zagged - custom-built companions from the Hall of Adventurers won't have any dialogue or sidequests the way the pre-generated companions will, but they will be as fully customizable as the Player Character, allowing the player to create their entire party from scratch.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Very early in the game, a third toll of a bell bad news. It is only later as you get involved with the story that you learn that the local ruler's wife gave birth to a Hollowborn, and he killed her, having gone mad with grief.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: As you'd expect from an Obsidian game, there were quite a few at release: just changing floors in Raedric's Castle can cause the game to crash, equipping something by double-clicking it can lead you to lose bonuses permanently, you can boost your characters unwillingly just by saving in the same area you recruited them. A list of the major issues can be found here. Overall though, the game is far more stable than some of Obsidian's other efforts.
  • Game Mod: The game will allow modding by the community.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Stats, classes, skill levels, backgrounds, sex, even equipped weapons, gives the players enough options to tackle the Choose Your Own Adventure bits, as well as the myriad of dialogue options that the game throws at you.
    • Reputation plays a large factor as well, with some dialogue options only working if you have a reputation for Honesty.
    • Durance's skill in Mechanics is related to this (see the Characters page for details).
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Played with. You can loot various gold, silver, and copper coins minted by the different states found in the setting, even finding a rare adra coin. For the sake of simplicity, they're all converted to Dyrwoodan Coppers, with each coin having an appropriate conversion value.
  • Genius Loci: The steward of your keep effectively is the keep. While you communicate with her at the throne, she can sense and feel everything within the walls of Caed Nua.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Eora isn't the most pleasant world. Both the main quest and side quests very rarely have completely evil or completely good actions available, and all of them have multiple solutions.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Inverted near the end of Act 3 during a Soul flashback - the player can admit that they were sent by Thaos to spy on Iovara. While she's nonplussed by this, she actually invites the player into camp, eliciting this reaction.
    Guard: My Lady, s/he admits being a spy!
  • 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.
  • Healer Signs On Early: You can recruit Durance, a Magran's Priest, at Magran's Fork, just south of the first village, Gilded Vale. You can hardly miss him, though he is mainly useful for his buffing spells.
  • Healing Magic Is the Hardest: Healing powers are hard to come by, and the first level spells tend to be rather weak, making potions more useful initially. Healing spells become much more potent once you unlock higher level ones, but only restore Endurance. There are no spells, and only two skills, which can help your characters to recover Health.
  • Hobbits: Orlans are a blend of this and gnomes 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.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Winfrith, the blacksmith of Dyrford Village, keeps complaining (at great length) about other people (women in general, the alchemist in particular, the resident pig farmer...) not being able to shut up. None of the other people in the village are anywhere near as prone to drowning the PC in a torrent of superfluous verbiage.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Animancers are able to use the theorums of Pendgram to become intelligent undead, but this comes with an insatiable hunger for human flesh that will inevitably cause the animancer to lose their sanity and become just another brain-eating zombie.
  • Item Crafting: Stretching from brewing potions to enchanting weaponry.
  • Joke Item: The Disappointer. Unenchanted, the gun comes with "terrible" trait and its lore caption jokes about how the gun is genuinely terrible for people hoping that the gun is secretly a Lethal Joke Item. To drive the point home, you can find the gun after slogging through pain and hardship at Endless Path of Od Nua. For those with a keen eye, you can snatch one as early as the area you start the game in.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Played with. 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. However, the game also makes it clear when you're stealing from others, and getting caught doing so will carry consequences.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Averted. The player meets all recruitable companions in the first half of the game.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Actually played with, a bit. The setting map available as a wallpaper on the game's official site appears to be a textbook example. There's a kicker, though: Eir Glanfath is basically the "New World" of Eora. This is world's North America equivalent - the older cultures are across the sea to the west and south.
  • Light Is Not Good: In-universe, this is pretty much everyone in the Dyrwood's opinion on Eothas, god of light and renewal. The scars from the recent war against Readceras, which was led by a mortal claiming to be a vessel of Eothas, are still fresh, worship of the god is banned, and the current problems with the Hollowborn are attributed to him, though Dyrwoodians have started blaming animancy instead.
  • Long Game: The Big Bad is a master of this, as his soul reincarnates fully Awakened, allowing him to put plans into motion that take hundreds of years to reach fruition.
  • Lost Forever: Any sidequest that requires you to visit the Sanitarium can't be completed after it is burned down during the end of Act II. Similiarly, any sidequest that requires the help of Dynryd Row can't be completed after Thaos wipes them out.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: The Ranger class is based around tactical interactions with the Ranger's animal companion (and ranged weapons), whom the players create and name along with the Ranger itself.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: In another nod to Infinity Engine nostalgia, any enemy killed by a crit will have their sprite explode into meaty chunks.
  • Marathon Level: The Endless Paths, a mega-dungeon that started with three floors, with an additional floor added every 2,500 Kickstarter backers. It ended up having fifteen.
  • Mauve Shirt: Heodan and Calisca get some characterization, and even some plot hooks, but both will still die after the Watcher witnesses the ritual by the ruins.
  • Medieval Stasis: Intentionally averted. The more advanced areas of Eora are currently going through the fantasy equivalent of the Renaissance, and firearms have been invented quite literally because the people sought something that would let them punch through wizard defenses.
    • It is also what Thaos is trying to achieve. By sabotaging experiments and blaming the Duc's death to animancers, he's trying to make society discredit animancy so that soul technology can't progress and find the truth behind the gods.
  • Meaningful Name: Pillars of Eternity refer to the Adra stones, which somehow possess the essence of the gods.
  • Multi-Platform: Initially for Windows, stretch goals added Mac OS and Linux versions. Also distributed via three separate services, Steam, Origin, and GOG.com.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Character creation gives you a lot of options to shape your character's past, including your race, ethnicity, place of origin, and occupation. The beginning of the game delves even deeper when Calisca asks you even more questions about your history.
    • Taken even further during some flashbacks: you get to choose part of the background of your character's past life.
  • Multiple Endings: Your choices throughout the game will shape the fate of the Dyrwood, from your companions to entire cities. More directly, the final choice you can make in-game regards the fate of the captured souls of the Hollowborn, which is the most significant part of the ending, but in all cases, the end of Waidwen's Legacy gives Dyrwood a much needed respite.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Each character has the Endurance bar and the Health bar. Endurance is depleted and recovered rapidly in combat and results in a Non-Lethal K.O. when depleted. Health is lost more slowly but having it hit 0 leads to either a permanent injury or the Final Death (on harder difficulties). Health can only be regained when camping, and with a few very rare and weak spells that serve as an emergency patch-up in a pinch at best. Otherwise, healing spells only restore endurance.
  • Multiple Persuasion Modes: The game lacks dedicated persuasion skills, so some dialogue branches instead require certain attribute values to unlock—most commonly Resolve (which, being a mix of classic Wisdom and Charisma, mainly opens the Charm options), but also Intellect (Convince options), Perception (noticing lies), and sometimes even Might (Intimidate options). Additionally, towards the end of Act II, it becomes possible to draw upon your established reputation in some dialogues: NPCs are, for instance, much more inclined to believe you if you have the Honest or Benevolent reputations (which are also leveled, so you may not be honest or benevolent enough to pass a reputation check).
  • Mythology Gag: One pet is a Miniature Giant Space Piglet.
  • Necromancer: Necromancers aren't universally viewed as evil (except by some fringe groups) but aren't commonplace, either.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Durance muses that maybe Eothas waged the war to prevent Woedica's plot. If that is true, the Hollowborn epidemic was indeed caused by killing Eothas, not as divine punishment, but because of the destruction of the only thing that was trying to prevent it.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: When the Endurance bar hits zero, the character is incapacitated but can be brought back by another party member's intervention. A character's max health will be at least 4 times their max endurance, which averts Critical Existence Failure. You have to take at least four times as much damage as would knock you down (bar healing) to actually die.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: There are at least two of them:
    • If you kill Lady Webb, you run out of leads and can't stop the Watcher visions from driving you mad.
    • If you try to enter the final dungeon without gaining a god's favor you die.
  • Only in It for the Money: Goldpact paladins have this as their core philosophy, seeing payment as a binding contract. However, they are known for being professional and non-judgmental.
  • Opening the Sandbox: Twice. Initially you're restricted to the town of Gilded Vale and the surrounding wilderness. Completing the first act of the main quest enables access to Defiance Bay and Dyrford village. Finishing the second act opens the way to Twin Elms.
  • 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.
    • Also, the recruitable boreal dwarf companion, Sagani, is a ranger (definitely not a standard character class for a dwarf, which also serves to lampshade her people's surface-dwelling habits) who carries a bow, a weapon often associated with elves and far outside the stereotypical dwarven repertoire of axes, maces and hammers.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Ogres stand about fifteen feet tall and their cousins, the eoten, are said to be even bigger. They are also pretty intelligent but extremely aggressive and are violent to every species including their own. The few level headed ogres tend to live in solitude. You can meet one in a cave near Dyrwood and hire him to look after your keep.
  • 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.
  • Physical God: Eothas was this during the Saint's War. He was made painfully aware of the drawbacks that come with walking the earth in physical form.
  • Physical Religion: The powers that gods grant their priests are undeniably real. Occasionally the gods even deign to speak directly to mortals and there are places built specifically for such communion. However, it turns out the gods were not always real. Indeed, the ancient Engwithans built the gods out of ideals to fill that void and bring order to the chaos. Before them there were thousands of different beliefs, many of them heinous and barbaric.
  • Player Headquarters: The player ends up gaining rulership of the stronghold Caed Nua relatively early on in the game, which serves as 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 carry with them, and the stash. The former two categories have limited capacity but the last one is unbound. However, on Expert mode, items in the stash are only accessible while in cities or camping. It is always possible to send items to the stash, though.
  • 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.
  • Precursor: The Engwithan civilization existed roughly 2000 years before the events of the game. They had unparalleled understanding of how souls work and their ruins still litter the land, most prominently in Eir Glanfath. The Glanfathan culture is based around protecting these sites from outsiders. It's a task their forebears were given by the Engwithans ages ago, presumably to prevent anyone from learning the truth behind the origin of the gods.
  • Real Time Weapon Change: Characters can switch between several different weapon sets in combat.
  • 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. There are even a myriad of options for when the game can auto-pause during combat in order to make it more "turn-based".
  • Reincarnation: One of the Central Themes of the game.
  • Samus is a Girl: According to Aloth, the split personality in his head with the reckless and uncouth demeanor is a woman named Iselmyr.
  • 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. This setting appears in the finished game as the entrance to Cliaban Rilag ruins.
  • Sea Monster: While they do not appear as enemies in game, sea monsters actively impede the overseas exploration of the setting, and most of them are pretty nasty.
  • Seen It All: In Twin Elms, when you encounter two delemgan ladies, you can comment on their otherworldly beauty. One of them will scoff that you couldn't find the sensitive spots even if a herbalist drew you a map, while the other plainly states that by now, they've really heard them all.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Almost all of the companion quests end this way, although most result in some related character development that can be directed by the player.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: An inn in Gilded Vale is named "The Black Hound," which was the possible title of Baldur's Gate 3.
    • A narrator encourages you to gather your party before venturing forth.
    • In Defiance Bay, you come across a child asking you to buy him a knife in exchange for a secret. One of the responses is "You can't have a dagger! You'll poke your eye out!"
    • The Goose and Fox inn is a reference to the gaming forum NeoGAF due to several members pooling enough money to reach the backer award of creating their own inn. Site founder Evilore contributed enough money for his likeness to be in the game as a portrait for creatable characters and is mentioned in-game as "Erol of Levi".
      • Similarly, the Wailing Banshee Inn refers to gaming website GameBanshee and you can find several RPGCodex references and usernames at "Club of Refined and Prestigious Gentlemen" room inside the Salty Mast.
    • In Sacrificial Bloodlines quest, you can shove baby Vela into your stash indefinitely, likely a nod to Throne of Bhaal's inventory baby. Having her in your inventory when you finish the game actually changes the ending narrative!
    • If you sided against Danna in At All Costs, an angry noble will confront you about killing his fiance. One possible response?
  • 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.
  • Snuff Film: You can uncover a medieval version of this: a troupe of actors performs plays where unsuspecting extras are murdered for the amusement of noble patrons.
  • The Soulless: This is what defines the Hollowborn. In recent years an increasing number of children in Dyrwood have been born without a soul which makes them catatonic. Attempts to remedy this have had disastrous results like trying to give them an animal soul, which seemed to work, until the children hit puberty and became feral and violent, turning into what are now called wichts.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Vithrack are spiders that are humanoid magic uses, that use their silk to make robes for themselves.
  • Spiritual Successor: Eternity channels several Role Playing Games from the Obsidian developers' past, including Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. Much of the original Torment team worked on this.
  • Squishy Wizard: Downplayed. Wizards can wear heavy armor (though it slows down spellcasting) and a character's endurance/health (this game's version of hit points) depends on a combination of Constitution and class type. Barbarians and Fighters have only about 1.5 to 1.2 times the health of a Wizard with the same attribute scores.
    • Perhaps not so much. Depending on the build (wizards generally emphasize Might, Dexterity, and Intellect), they tend to have low health and endurance, meaning that unless they have good protection spells active, they can still go down pretty easy in combat, especially in melee. Heavy armor arguably makes it worse for them, considering it generally results in slower recovery rate.
  • Sterility Plague: What Waidwen's Legacy has done to much of Dyrwood, less in the sense of people unable to give birth, more that so many children are Hollowborn that the nation's population is in danger of collapsing.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Members of the Godlike player race were blessed before birth by one or more deities.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The PC goes through this for the first hour or two of the game, not including their (customized) Back Story. As the game progresses, only the sheer amount of side quests and things to do outside the main plot keeps it from becoming a permanent thing. No sleep for the Watcher, indeed.
  • The Undead: All undead, called vessels in this universe, were living beings who somehow had their soul unnaturally linked to their body, either through the older, purely-magical process of necromancy or later and "earlier", in a few Engwithan cases through more scientific "animancy". 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 still-living or fresh-killed kith 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.
    • Wichts, which are the result of trying to attach animal souls to children born otherwise soulless, also essentially count as "vessels" (corporeal undead) for the purposes of things like Priest abilities. They begin fine but are hideously warped when they reach puberty, turning into slavering, fang-mouthed monstrosities. Unlike the other examples, these can only be created by animancers.
    • Engwithan animats also fall under the wider banner and are affected by Priest abilities, as they are suits of armor with a soul attached to them and used by the Engwithans as guardians. They're unfortunately quite aggressive to all non-Engwithans, which is now everyone.
  • Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Averted. Non-combat abilities let you level up just as fast as with the combat approach.
  • 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.
  • Villain Decay: The wichts actually get this very quickly - very early in the game they are played up as very dangerous and monstrous, and you're probably going to be worried about encountering them in the wild. And then you do, AND!... while they do have increased movespeed and decent attack stats (including a very high attack rate), since they're still essentially unarmored pre-teen kids, their defensive stats are garbage and, biggest of all, they have virtually no Endurance to speak of. They're incredibly easy take out in packs with a single wizard spell or Priest ability.
  • Villain Has a Point: Osrya, Raedric's animancer, is a sly lady who fell from grace, who tortures people and creates undead. However, she is genuinely trying to find a cure to Waidwen's Legacy. Her analysis of the situation and of the nature of the curse is also completly spot-on, as she is the closest to the truth than anyone else you may have met before.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The druid class has the ability to shapeshift into various animal forms at will, such as giant humanoid cats.
    • Galawain, as well.
  • War God: Magran, who pulls double duty as goddess of fire and whose priests are known to employ firearms and explosives.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • The Bleak Walkers Paladin are more or less this. They tend to take aggresive and ruthless solutions to end conflicts as fast as possible.
    • The Cult of Skaen has some shades of this. They want to punish a nobleman for raping and impregnating his niece but using even more horrible method to achieve it (infusing said niece with souls of tortured slaves to make her kill her family and destroy her family name). This way they also strike fear among the nobility, reminding that their corruptions do not go unnoticed.
    • Raedric also qualifies as well. He killed and hanged all failed animancers, Snake Oil Salesman, Eothasians and other people who he thinks make Hollowborn curse go worse. However, he is genuinely trying his hardest to find a cure for Gilded Vale and his family. He also says that his extreme policy will be relaxed when the plague is over and, assuming he survives and Kolsc is dealt with, he does so in the ending.
  • World of Snark: While the frequency varies, with Hirvias and Edér being the true standouts, every non-generic party member (save for Grieving Mother and possibly the Watcher themself) finds themselves at least occasionally indulging in witty quips. A fair number of the non-party characters fire off their share of jests as well.
  • Wretched Hive:
    • Ondra's Gift, the harbor district of Defiance Bay. It's been a high crime district where the Crucible Knights are afraid to patrol ever since it was flooded during the War of Defiance
    • If you kill Lord Raedric twice, then Gilded Vale becomes one of these since it has no lord to enforce the laws. However, the people still prefer this to Raedric's tyranny.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The Watcher gains ownership of Caed Nua by killing its current lord.
  • 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.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Thaos' ultimate plan is to use Engwithan technology to capture thousands of souls and then to offer them to Woedica to empower her enough to become the most powerful god, subjugating the world through her.

Alternative Title(s):

Project Eternity