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''Pillars of Eternity'' is a [[WesternRPG computer roleplaying game]] by Creator/ObsidianEntertainment, released on March 26, 2015. Intended as a SpiritualSuccessor to ''Franchise/BaldursGate'', ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' and ''VideoGame/IcewindDale'', the game was funded in October 2012 through the crowdfunding website 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 ''VideoGame/BrokenAge''), pulling in just shy of $4 million. Including [=PayPal=] donations, the gross total budget of the game was roughly $4.3 million dollars. Creator/ParadoxInteractive signed a distribution agreement with Obsidian Entertainment to market and sell the game to the general gaming public.

%%The below was picked up from reading an interview. Please update the description as more information becomes available.
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 [[http://eternity.obsidian.net here.]] The Kickstarter page, including the pitch video, is [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity 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 ExpansionPack (''The White March''), a sequel, a CollectibleCardGame (''Lords of the Eastern Reach''), and a TabletopGame.

On May 28, 2015, [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2081578473/pillars-of-eternity-lords-of-the-eastern-reach-car a Kickstarter]] for the CollectibleCardGame, ''Pillars of Eternity: Lords of the Eastern Reach'', was started. The game was released in February 2016.

The first part of ''The White March'' expansion was released on August 25, 2015, and ''Part 2'' released on February 16, 2016. In May 2016, Obsidian confirmed that [[https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/05/17/pillars-of-eternity-2-exists/ a sequel is in pre-production]].

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!!''Pillars of Eternity'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AbsurdlyLowLevelCap: The initial level cap was 12, with spell levels for all the caster classes being "soft capped" at 6th level spells out of 10 spell levels and Chanters being limited to 3rd level phrases and invocations out of 8 levels. The expansion raised the caps twice: Part 1 raised the level cap to 14 and the soft cap to 7th level spells for casters and 4th level phrases-invocations, Part 2 raised the level cap to 16 and the soft caps to 8th level spells and 5th level phrases-invocations.
** When the game launched, it was ''very'' easy to hit the level cap. To put it into perspective: depending on how far you decided to delve into Od Nua and how aggressively you completed the sidequests, you'd have hit the cap before reaching Twin Elms. The 1.05 patch rebalanced the xp rewards from quests.
* AdultFear: 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. [[spoiler: 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 appears [[spoiler: 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[[spoiler:'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 [[AmbiguousSyntax dodged the question]], all at the same time holding back her fear and anger.]]
*** It's even worse than that. The raider [[spoiler: was Maerwald in a previous incarnation -- he is his own father, by rape. No wonder Maerwald is insane.]]
* AlasPoorVillain: [[spoiler: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.]]
* AllDeathsFinal: 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... [[IAmAHumanitarian drawbacks]], and ultimately only staves off death of the mind for a while. [[spoiler: As it turns out there's a loophole with reincarnations. It ''is'' possible to ensure you are always born Awakened to your past lives as well as always ending up in bodies resembling your old self, effectively giving you BornAgainImmortality.]] This is ''very'' lost knowledge, [[spoiler: and not only does it require extreme measures, but once someone did do it they had a very, very long time to work on ensuring it remained lost...]]
** [[spoiler: It's also possible to endrun the drawbacks of binding a soul to a body, at least in theory. The Adra dragon did it. Of course, she needed to consume other souls to do so.]]
* AllianceMeter: Nearly every sidequest has MultipleEndings, and different endings will positively or negatively affect your Reputation stat for that region, which changes how {{NPC}}s address you and may open further quests. A good example is the early quest "Lord of a Barren Land", in which you are requested to StormTheCastle of Lord Raedric and assassinate him so that [[spoiler:his cousin]] Kolsc can take over. Doing it as requested will give you [[spoiler:positive]] Reputation in Gilded Vale, while changing sides will give you [[spoiler:negative]] Reputation.
* AlternativeCalendar: There are two calendars in Eora, the Aedyr calendar and the Anni Iroccio. The Aedyr calendar is the one with the least known about it, other than the fact that it was nine months long but hopelessly inaccurate. Whereas the Anni Iroccio is the more accurate of the two and the one used in the game. A year is 334 days long and divided into 16 months, 4 months for each season, with a 3-day festival between each season, a day in the middle of the winter dedicated to New Year, and a day in the middle of summer dedicated to Mid Year. Each day is 26 hours long, each month is 20 days long, and each week is 5 days long.
* AmbiguousSyntax: PlayedForDrama 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." [[spoiler:She actually means her son's father was [[ChildByRape one of the Glanfarthan raiders]].]]
* AndThatWouldBeWrong: Talking to [[TheSpymaster 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.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: [[spoiler: The ending hints that The Watcher, despite no longer having visions, has a long journey looming ahead, with or without the Orlan Baby.]]
* AnimatedArmor: The aptly named "Animats". Basically the soul of a warrior that has been fused to a set of armor. The Crucible Knights are also attempting to create "Forge Knights" based on the Animats. [[spoiler:[[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters "Attempting" being the key word.]] After the Forge Knights' rampage is quelled, you help the Crucible Knights' leader to decide whether or not to abandon the research. If research continues, the Crucible Knights eventually succeed in creating obedient Forge Knights in the epilogue. Unfortunately, their leader goes mad thanks to his new power and takes over Defiance Bay.]]
* AntiFrustrationFeatures: 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 [[GameplayAndStorySegregation it won't actually be equipped]], but it will [[PaperThinDisguise suffice]] to finish the interaction without bloodshed.
* AntiGrinding: You get no experience from simply fighting Kith (Humanoid races). Instead the bulk of experience is earned through completing quest objectives, along with small bonuses for picking locks, disarming traps and reaching new areas. Killing non-Kith (monsters) gives experience for filling out the Bestiary, but this amount is capped.
* ArcWords: "No sleep for the watcher", which first appeared in the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKoDTzea79Y teaser trailer.]]
* ArmorAndMagicDontMix: {{Downplayed}}. While there's no game rule preventing any character class from equipping any armor they want, heavier armors impose a penalty on {{cooldown}}s (making them up to 50% longer with full plate). This disproportionately affects magic users. On the other hand, in the lore mages have often taken to wearing bulletproof plate as a countermeasure against firearms, which are an ArmorPiercingAttack against magical defenses.
* ArmorPiercingAttack: Stilettos, maces, rapiers, estocs, and firearms ignore a fixed amount of the target's damage reduction.
* ArtificialStupidity: Your party members are completely incapable of doing anything in combat without direct orders. If the target they are attacking is killed, they will simply stand idle until ordered to do something, even if their companions are in combat with other enemies just a few inches away. Also their pathfinding is terrible. They will often get stuck behind other party members while going though doors, hallways, or rooms, even if there clearly is enough room available for them to go around.
* AssShove: You can threaten a guard at a drug den with this if your Resolve is high enough.
-->'''Watcher:''' [Resolve 14] Get out of my way or I'll break your sword in half and feed it to you at both ends.
* AssholeVictim: 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.
* AwfulTruth: One of the game's major recurring themes is whether it is better to know the truth about terrible things that have happened so you can strive to do better or if it is better to live believing a peaceful lie.
** An early quest has an expectant mother hire you to go to a midwife to obtain a potion that will prevent her child from being hollowborn so they won't be banished from Gilded Vale. When you find the midwife, she gives you a placebo potion. The midwife can't cure hollowborn, but she argues that the placebo is worth it because it will make the mother feel better. You are faced with the choice of giving the mother the placebo or telling her that luck is the only way to prevent her baby from being hollowborn.
** Another quest has you looking for a missing child, only to find that he was murdered by pirates. You have the option of telling his parents the truth or lie and claim that the child ran away.
** Thaos [[spoiler:has dedicated his life to preventing kith from learning that the gods aren't real, as he believes that revealing truth of the gods would plunge the world into endless war.]]
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler:If you kill Lord Raedric, he eventually comes back to life and will destroy Gilded Vale if you don't kill him again.]]
* BagOfHolding: The "stash" section of the PlayerInventory 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 AntiFrustrationFeature, the player can toggle an option that allows the Stash to be accessed from anywhere.
* BatOutOfHell:
** 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.
* BigBad: Thaos
** BiggerBad: [[spoiler: Woedica]]
* BittersweetEnding: The [[spoiler:Kolsc]] ending for Gilded Vale, [[spoiler:provided you defeat Raedric again once he rises as an undead]]. [[spoiler:You save Gilded Vale from the undead Raedric, but you are too late to prevent Kolsc's death, leaving Gilded Vale without a leader. While the town begins to prosper, it also becomes a WretchedHive of lawlessness and crime, but pretty much ''everyone'' in-story considers this to be leagues better than Raedric's psychotic tyranny.]]
* BladeOnAStick: One-handed spears and two-handed pikes are available as weapons.
* BlessedWithSuck: The Godlikes are stuck with weird-ass heads that are impossible to hide, in exchange for being TouchedByVorlons in the womb. Even worse are the Death Godlikes, who are stated to commonly be killed at birth. Godlikes are also sterile, a trait that got Pellagina (an avian Godlike) disowned by her father since she could not continue their noble bloodline. Their unusual heads also prevent them from wearing any headgear.
* BlindIdiotTranslation: Much ink has been spilled over the issue of the French translation of the game. There are multiples cases of sentences which are oddly translated and overly literal, prompting players to wonder if the translator gave up at some point and just Google translated parts of the script, not to mention that some texts aren't translated or are in another langage altogether ([[http://tof.canardpc.com/view/9d933fbc-69d1-4650-add4-c08a5f5a1b03.jpg Italian]], for example).
* BlackAndGreyMorality: The conflict between Raedric and Kolsc. [[spoiler:Raederic is TheCaligula 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 SanitySlippage 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 SleazyPolitician and SmugSnake 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.]]
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: 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.
* BodySurf: A rare non-fatal version - [[spoiler: 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 [[OhCrap in an insane asylum, with Flesh Constructs as guards]]?
** He does it again [[spoiler: 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.]]
* BonusBoss:
** A number of them in the Endless Paths. [[spoiler: Most prominent among them is the Adra Dragon, the final boss of the dungeon, and the toughest boss in the game. [[BraggingRightsReward Killing her allows you to loot its hoard of rare items, as well as enchant one set of armor to Superb quality.]]]]
** "The White March Part I" adds the legendary mage Concelhaut as well as an Alpine Dragon.
** "The White March Part II" adds the Menace of Mowrghek Ien, [[spoiler:the mage Llengrath and her two dragon allies.]]
* BonusDungeon: 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.
* BossInMookClothing: 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.
* BrickJoke:
** After helping a young boy get a well-made dagger in Copperlane, the town crier in Ondra's Gift can shout about an "unfortunate mishap" where a young boy lost several fingers playing with a blade. If you have a Survival skill of 4 or greater, you can teach him how to wield the dagger safely to avert this.
** Promotion art for the DLC has Eder finally petting Itumaak, with no threat of a bite from the latter.
* BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu: Many characters believe that Waidwen's Legacy is a divine punishment inflicted on Dyrwood for daring to kill the god Eothas. [[spoiler: They're right about it being a result of killing Eothas, but they're wrong about it being a divine punishment. Waidwen's Legacy was their divine '''reward''' for killing the only god keeping it from happening.]]
* CallToAdventure: At the beginning of the game, the PlayerCharacter will witness a traumatic supernatural event that motivates them to embark on their adventure.
* CaptureAndReplicate: In one side quest a woman asks you to deliver a divorce notice to her husband, who has been acting strangely towards her lately. If you investigate their home, you find out that he has been locked up in the attic for days, while a criminal mage assumed his appearance and used his home as a hub for his drug trade.
* CastFromHitPoints: A couple spells and abilities will grant the characters some boosts in exchange for their endurance.
* CastFromLifespan: The makers of the Godhammer used their very souls to forge the weapon. Only one survived the explosion of the weapon: [[spoiler:Durance. However, his soul now appears blurred, distorted from the sacrifice he made by forging the Godhammer, and also possibly caused by the explosion itself. The damage is so important that his own goddess doesn't recognize him]].
* CharacterClassSystem: The player classes are heavily influenced by ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** '''Barbarian''': Fight-loving brutes capable of going into UnstoppableRage 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 PsychicPowers 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 Normal}}s that focus on weapons combat, but are also capable of stealth and are frequently [[GeniusBruiser highly educated]].
** '''[[BareFistedMonk 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 Monk}}s who belong to dedicated and distinct orders, rather than devoting themselves to the gods. 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 armor, fight in close combat and have access to a large number of support spells.
** '''Ranger''': {{Nature Hero}}es 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 armor since gunpowder weapons can pierce their carefully prepared magical defenses. They also get a bonus to mechanics, though smaller than what Rogues get.
* CharacterCustomization: The players are able to select the name, sex, class, race (including sub-races), culture, traits, ability scores, portrait, and class-specific skills and talents for their characters at the beginning of the game. In the game, however, there are no equipment restrictions ''period'', meaning you can equip whatever you want. Unless you're Godlike, in which case you cannot wear any type of headgear, for fairly obvious reasons.
* ClimaxBoss: [[spoiler: Thaos]]. Notable since [=RPGs=] made by Obsidian usually allow the [[spoiler: FinalBoss]] to be talked down.
* ClingyMacguffin: The Grey Sleeper is a soulbound Estoc that, once picked up by a character, cannot be unequipped until you visit a few locations hinted at as verses appear in the sword's description. After visiting all three locations, the sword can be unequipped (though it can only ever be equipped again by the character who originally drew it from the stone). Like all soulbound items, it's well worth the effort.
* CombatDiplomacyStealth: It is occasionally possible to bypass combat completely if non-combat abilities are leveled up, but for the most part you can expect a fight.
* CompanionSpecificSidequest: Each permanent predefined companion has a personal sidequest. Eder, Kana Rua, Sagani, Hiravias, and Pallegina present their sidequests (almost) immediately after being recruited but completing them requires visiting areas that only become accessible after certain plot events (except Kana Rua's quest, which instead takes you down the BrutalBonusLevel). Durance and the Grieving Mother (both written by Creator/ChrisAvellone), meanwhile, both have a set of dialogues gated mainly by their CharacterLevel and plot stages. Aloth has a relatively small sidequest pertaining to [[spoiler:his SplitPersonality]], but it's also gated behind certain main plot events.
* CoversAlwaysLie: 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, Edair underwent a few redesigns and eventually become Edér, and Forton was reworked into Zahua for the ''White March'' expansion. Cadegund is the only one ended up getting cut out entirely, although it's possible that she was reworked into Durance.
* CrapsackWorld: 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, [[spoiler: the gods that have informed much of the behavior 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.]]
* CriticalHitClass: The Rogues specialize in dealing critical hits and even have a passive ability called [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty Dirty Fighting]], which automatically turns every tenth hit they land into a crit.
* CyanidePill: At one point, you can expose a bunch of criminals performing [[SnuffFilm certain very illegal theater performances]] in front of noble patrons. The main patron, when confronted about it (whether by you or by the police) takes poison and drops dead.
* DarkerAndEdgier: 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 ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'').
* DealWithTheDevil: [[spoiler:Right before the ending, Skaen, one of the crueler gods, can contact you and makes you a deal on behalf of Woedica: carry out Thaos's plan to give the souls of the hollowborn to Woedica and the Queen that Was will make you her Favored with all of the [[BornAgainImmortality perks]] that entails.]]
* DeusEstMachina: [[spoiler:''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.]]
* DesignItYourselfEquipment: Through enchanting, you can make any weapon or armor ([[HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic Except helms]]) have up to 14 "quality-level" buffs (Some enhancements are up to 4 QL).
* DevelopersForesight:
** You will get a special ending slide if you finish the game with [[spoiler: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.
** The final text sequence in ''White Marches II'' takes into account the player keeping Iverra's Diving Helmet (a reward from the off-screen companion adventure "To the Waterline") in their inventory.
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: Depending on which god's favor you ask for in order to enter [[spoiler: Sun in Shadow]], you can potentially [[spoiler: spite them by reneging your agreement with them. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero The gods don't take this sitting down though]], trading the souls gathered for the lives of the living.]]
** [[spoiler:Slighting Hylia has her make a bargain with Berath: death for new life. To "claim what was her's by right", she causes all manner of avian creatures to attack the people of Dyrwood, the dead souls immediately put back into the Cycle for reincarnation.]]
** [[spoiler:Slighting Berath causes him to send his Pallid Knight to personally collect his due, slaying travelers and causing the elderly to randomly drop dead.]]
** [[spoiler:Slighting Galawain has him, Magran, and Abydon raze the countryside. Galawain sends out legions of beasts, Magran causes a wave of dry weather bad enough to cause forest fires, and Abydon causes soul constructs across Dyrwood to go rogue and cause massacres.]]
** [[spoiler:Slighting Rymrgand has him send severe cold fronts upon Dyrwood, destroying the year's harvests and causing a deep enough winter that those who did survive the famine end up dying from hypothermia, while Ondra causes the coasts to be even more dangerous than usual.]]
* DiscOneNuke: The quest "Cinders of Faith" which can be accessed near the beginning of Act II will reward you with a very good unique flail, assuming your party is up to a bit of dragonslaying. [[spoiler:If your party has someone skilled in Mechanics, they can also discover a secret stash in the dragon's treasure hoard which contains Tidefall, one of the best unique greatswords in the game.]]
* DividedWeFall: The dwarves of Durgan's Battery were said to have been wiped out by civil war. [[spoiler:Subverted when it turns out that the Eyeless killed them all. While tensions among the dwarven leaders over how to use the White Forge lead to the dwarves dividing into factions, all of these factions did not hesitate to join forces when the Eyeless invaded and there is no indication that the division contributed to the dwarves' probably inevitable defeat.]]
* DoubleEntendre: 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.
* DrivenToMadness: All Watchers are in danger of this, particularly when they begin to recall their past lives. [[spoiler: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.]]
** [[spoiler: 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 Website/GOGDotCom, and the hardcopy doesn't have DRM unless the owner chooses to register it with Steam.
* DungeonBypass: Deconstructed by the Endless Paths of Caed Nua. On level 2, there's a scripted interaction lets you use a rope to skip directly to level 5. The problem, however, is that doing so brings you face to face with a boss-level drake ''and'' you cannot take the same way back up, so if you somehow manage to survive the encounter, you now have to fight your way back upstairs through all the monsters you hoped to skip. [[TooDumbToLive Then again, who would be stupid enough to think that jumping into a blood-soaked sacrificial pit was a good idea?]]
* DyingTown: Stalwart Village from the White Marches expansion has been on the decline, not helped by the Hollowborn epidemic and the recent spate of Ogre attacks. It also doesn't help that they continue to throw money into expeditions to Durgan's Battery [[spoiler:which are one of the reasons the Ogres are attacking in the first place since they see the expeditions as invasions of their turf]] since they believe restarting the White Forge and being able to manufacture Durgan Steel is the only hope Stalwart Village has.
* EarlyGameHell: While the game is more forgiving than the original ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'', 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).
* ElementalCrafting: All tiers of armor are designed to be useful in different situations.
* EleventhHourSuperpower: Depending on how you resolved certain quests and sidequests in the ''White Marches'' and ''White Marches part II'' expansions, you will be able to call upon aid in the area where the final main quest of the expansions takes place such as [[spoiler:summoning Ogres, the Iron Flail's trebuchets loaded with burning pitch, and Durgan's Battery's heavy cannons.]]
* ElvesVersusDwarves: 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.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: If you kill the ruthless gangster Danna Doemenel, her fiance will try to kill you if you come across him.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: In Twin Elms, the chief of the Three-Tusk Stelgaer - the most warlike of the tribes - [[spoiler: 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.
* ExpansionPack: ''The White March'', which Obsidian compared to ''VideoGame/BaldursGateTalesOfTheSwordCoast'' in terms of scope. While it is available to buy as a single product, it was released in two parts so that they can could develop it faster.
* {{Expy}}: Lord Gathbin from ''The White March Part 2'' is one to Lord Roenall from ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'''s Fighter Stronghold sidequests. Both are arrogant {{Smug Snake}}s and [[AristocratsAreEvil evil nobles]] who claim that the main character's PlayerHeadquarters is theirs by right, hurl insults and threats at the player, and when their legal means of attempting to take the player's fortress fails[[note]]Gathbin manages to be even more of a twit as his initial attempt actually ''succeeds'' only for him to reject it and go off in a huff when he's told he does have to repay you for reclaiming and repairing the place[[/note]], they try to take it by force with a massive army, culminating in an intense battle between your forces and his.
* EyelessFace: 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.
* FantasyConflictCounterpart:
** Broken Stone War, War of Black Trees and really the whole relationship between Aedyr (and later, Dyrwood) and Glanfathans resembles both Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain and European colonization of North America.
** War of Defiance, where now ''Free'' Palatinate of Dyrwood gained independence from Aedyr Empire, is UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution.
** Saint's War is a more ambiguous example, but has some notable familiarities with UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar: agrarian, traditionalist Readceras and industrial, more liberal Dyrwood resemble the sides pretty well, though the reasons for war were different.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Already a few examples:
** Boreal Dwarves have obvious similarities to the Inuit.
** The Vailian Republics closely resemble Renaissance Italy. Naming convictions are explicitly Italian, French, Occitan, and Catalan in origin.
** The Aedyr Empire is pretty Germanic, particularly Anglo-Saxon seeing as how many of its words carry a decidedly Old English flavour.
** Dyrwood itself seems quite Anglo-Saxon or Nordic as well. Specifically, it's reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that arose on Britannia. Their conflict with the Glanfathans seems to parallel the conflict between the invading Angle and Saxon tribes and the brythonic Celts of Britannia superior. The fact that the Glanfathans themselves have a very Celtic flavour further supports this.
** The Living Lands, despite not having been seen in-game yet, is described by the developers as being something akin to Iceland.
** The Ixamitl Plains have Nahuatl aesthetics and naming convictions.
** The Rauatai Gulf is very Maori in origin.
* FantasticNuke: The [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Godhammer]], the weapon instrumental in ending the Saint's War by killing the god Eothas' avatar, and Eothas with him.
* FantasticRacism: Against the godlike because they're not very well-understood, and against Orlans because of their animalistic appearance.
* FantasyGunControl: Averted. Three standard varieties of firearms are found in the game - pistols, blunderbusses and arquebuses. They do a lot of damage and can ignore magical protections, but have a very slow firing rate. Gunpowder weapons are also strongly associated with the church of Magran, goddess of fire and war, and your party member Durance, a Magranite priest, believes that Magran gave mankind gunpowder to put {{Muggles}} and mages on equal footing.
* FantasyPantheon: 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.
* TheFellowshipHasEnded: The ModularEpilogue implies that after [[spoiler:Thaos is defeated and Waidwen's Legacy cured]], the Watcher's companions drift apart to continue on with their own lives.
* FinalBossPreview: Your first vision describes the final chamber of the final dungeon: [[spoiler: Sun in Shadow.]]
* FinalDeathMode: In the Expert mode, when characters die (have their Health reduced to 0) in combat, they are gone for good.
* FirstEpisodeSpoiler: The main bad guy refers to [[spoiler: 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.
* FishPeople: The Aumaua, a race of humanoids with fish-like attributes.
* FlatCharacter: ZigZagged - custom-built companions from the Hall of Adventurers don't have any dialogue or sidequests the way the pre-generated companions will, but they are as fully customizable as the PlayerCharacter, allowing the player to create their entire party from scratch.
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: 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 [[spoiler: that the local ruler's wife gave birth to a Hollowborn, and he killed her, having gone mad with grief.]]
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: The player can recruit eight companions, and two of each has one of the four temperaments. Kana and Hiravias are Sanguine, Durance and Pallegina are Choleric, Aloth and the Grieving Mother are Melancholic, and Eder and Sagani are Phlematic. [[spoiler: Aloth's LiteralSplitPersonality Iselmyr is more Choleric.]]
* GameBreakingBug: 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 [[http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/73757-list-of-bugs-that-everyone-should-know-about-game-breaking/ here]]. Overall though, the game is far more stable than some of Obsidian's other efforts.
* GameMod: The game will allow modding by the community.
* GameplayAndStoryIntegration: Stats, classes, skill levels, backgrounds, sex, even equipped weapons, gives the players enough options to tackle the ChooseYourOwnAdventure 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).
* GoldSilverCopperStandard: Played with. You can loot various gold, silver, and copper coins minted by the different states found in the setting, even finding rare adra coins. For the sake of simplicity, they're all converted to Dyrwoodan Coppers, with each coin having an appropriate conversion value.
* GeniusLoci: 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.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: 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.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: {{Inverted}} near the end of Act 3 during a Soul flashback - the player can admit that [[spoiler: 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!
* HarderThanHard: The Path of the Damned mode removes all LevelScaling limitations (in other words: you get maxed out enemies regardless of your level) and cranks up the combat mechanics. And then there's the Triple Crown Solo achievement, in which you must [[UpToEleven complete the game on Path of the Damned with Trial of Iron and Expert activated without the help of any companions]]. Understandably, the picture for the achievement is [[TrollingCreator project director J.E. Sawyer with a smug smile on his face]]. With Part 2 of the ''White March'' yet a harder achievement named "The Ultimate" has been added, which require you to complete the main game and both parts of the expansion on Path of the Damned with Trial of Iron and Expert, while defeating all dragons and both archmages, and collecting all bounties without the help of any companions. The picture for this achievement is J.E. Sawyer with a look of terror on his face.
* HaveYouSeenMyGod: [[spoiler:In the wake of multiple wars of religion, the ancient Engwithans set out to find the ''true'' gods to settle all disputes--and discovered that such a thing simply did not exist, or perhaps that they were impossible to find at the time. So, rather than accept that, they used animancy to create immensely powerful sentient constructs for the kith to worship and obey, presenting them as the "true gods". They then formed the Inquisition to convert pretty much the entire world and, upon achieving a remarkably universal success, quickly died out to prevent their new converts from ever learning the truth.]]
* HealerSignsOnEarly: 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.
* HealingMagicIsTheHardest: 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.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: [[spoiler:In the Skaen ending, you take Thaos's place as the Favored of Woedica.]]
* {{Hobbits}}: Orlans are a blend of this and gnomes [[http://www.sorcerers.net/forums/showthread.php?t=58248 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 guerrilla warfare.
* HypocriticalHumor: 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.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: Knife variant. One sidequest allows you to obtain a high-end dagger for a boy who dreams of joining the local knightly order. You can get him the knife, in which case you may encounter a town crier telling of how a young boy lost several fingers playing with a blade. It's also possible to make it a DefiedTrope: sufficient Survival lets you warn him that it's a weapon, not a toy, and also teach him how to care for it properly.
* ImAHumanitarian: 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.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: St. Ydwen's Redeemer is a soulbound greatsword dropped by a random mook outside Durgan's Battery. Soulbound weapons evolve as you fulfill various conditions, but even in its base form the Redeemer has a 25% chance of instantly destroying Vessel-type enemies on contact. [[spoiler: BonusBoss Concelhaut is a Vessel. So are the massive Eyeless who appear at the end of the White March storyline, and the giant Guardians of Woedica that Thaos animates in the final battle.]]
* ItemCrafting: Stretching from brewing potions to enchanting weaponry.
* JokeItem: The Disappointer. Unenchanted, the gun comes with the "terrible" trait and its lore caption jokes about how the gun is genuinely terrible for people hoping that the gun is secretly a LethalJokeItem. To drive the point home, you can find the gun after slogging through pain and hardship [[spoiler: at Endless Path of Od Nua. But for those with a keen eye, you can snatch one as early as the area you start the game in.]]
* KleptomaniacHero: 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.
* LateCharacterSyndrome: Averted. The player meets all recruitable companions in the first half of the game.
* LeftJustifiedFantasyMap: 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.
* LightIsNotGood: 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.
** Out of universe, this trope is [[spoiler:massively subverted. Eothas ''himself'' was trying to stop Woedica's scheme to consume souls, but he made a few critical errors when he gave his power to Waidwen. It's more like Light Does Not Have Good Foresight.]]
* LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: Just like the games that inspired it, mage classes like the Wizard, Druid, and Priest start off fairly weak. While they have access to powerful spells right from the get-go, they have so precious few casts per rest that they spend most battles either hiding in the back or throwing normal attacks while the more physically-oriented classes do most of the work. While they do gain better spells and more casts per rest over time, they get a massive boost in power at level 9. Before the 3.0 patch, Wizards, Priests, and Druids had their first, second, and third level spells change from "per rest" to "per encounter", allowing them to cast spells with impunity. This was changed in the 3.0 patch back to being per rest, but they gained Spell Mastery: one spell each from spell levels 1-4 that they have "mastered" and can cast per encounter outside of their usual per rest casts.
** Mitigated somewhat by the appearance of firearms, which can pierce through magical defenses.
* LongGame: The BigBad is a master of this, [[spoiler: as his soul reincarnates fully Awakened, allowing him to put plans into motion that take hundreds of years to reach fruition]].
* LostForever: [[spoiler: Completing Aloth's personal quest and finding a buyer for the Engwithan Sceptre require you to visit the Sanitarium, which can't be accessed after it burns down at the end of Act II. In a subversion you can receive the quest "The Final Act" from Kurren in Dunryd Row, who seems to perish along with his fellow Ciphers at the end of Act II, but if you return to the building after visiting Twin Elms you'll find him alive and still able to give you the quest.]]
* LoyalAnimalCompanion: 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.
* LudicrousGibs: In another nod to Infinity Engine nostalgia, any enemy killed by a crit will have their sprite '''explode''' into meaty chunks.
* MagikarpPower: While most soulbound weapons are a bit too good to start with to really qualify for this trope even if they get upgraded when conditions that usually boil down to 'hurt/kill enough enemies' are fulfilled, one of them is a terrible dagger that gets even ''worse'' with use... until the final upgrade, when it turns into the most powerful dagger in the game.
* MarathonLevel: 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.
* MauveShirt: [[spoiler: Heodan and Calisca]] get some characterization, and even some plot hooks, but [[spoiler: both will still die after the Watcher witnesses the ritual by the ruins.]]
* MedievalStasis: 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.
** [[spoiler: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.]]
* MeaningfulName: Pillars of Eternity refer to the Adra stones, which somehow possess the essence of the gods.
* MultiPlatform: Initially for [[UsefulNotes/IBMPersonalComputer Windows]], stretch goals added UsefulNotes/MacOS and {{Linux}} versions. Also digitally distributed via three separate services, UsefulNotes/{{Steam}}, [[Creator/ElectronicArts Origin]], and Website/GOGDotCom.
* MultipleChoicePast: 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''.
* MultipleEndings: Your choices throughout the game will shape the fate of the Dyrwood, from your companions to entire cities. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* MultipleLifeBars: Each character has the Endurance bar and the Health bar. Endurance is depleted and recovered rapidly in combat and results in a NonLethalKO when depleted. Health is lost more slowly but having it hit 0 leads to either a permanent injury or the FinalDeath (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.
* MultiplePersuasionModes: 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 [[TheSixStats classic Wisdom and Charisma]], mainly opens the Charm options), but also Intellect (Convince options), Perception (noticing lies), and sometimes even [[{{Strength}} Might]] (Intimidate options). Additionally, towards the end of Act II, it becomes possible to draw upon [[KarmaMeter 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).
* MythologyGag: One pet is a [[Franchise/BaldursGate Miniature Giant Space]] ''[[Franchise/BaldursGate Piglet]]''. Unlike Boo however, the piglet actually ''does'' look like it's made of the cosmos.
* {{Necromancer}}: Necromancers aren't universally viewed as evil (except by some fringe groups) but aren't commonplace, either.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** Durance muses that maybe Eothas waged the war to prevent [[spoiler:Woedica's plot]]. If that is true, the Hollowborn epidemic was indeed caused by killing Eothas, not as divine punishment, but [[spoiler:because of the destruction of the only thing that was trying to prevent it]].
** In "The White March", restoring the White Forge [[spoiler:awakens the Eyeless to kill everyone who knows of the Forge. Unfortunately, that constitutes the entire population of the Dyrwood and Readceras.]]
* NonLethalKO: 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 CriticalExistenceFailure. You have to take at least four times as much damage as would knock you down (bar healing) to actually die.
* NonStandardGameOver: 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 [[spoiler:without gaining a god's favor]] you die.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Most people do not take the Leaden Key seriously, since the organization cultivates the image of a crazy but harmless cult dedicated to the fallen goddess Woedica. The Leaden Key may be crazy, but it's anything ''but'' harmless.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Goldpact paladins have this as their core philosophy, seeing payment as a binding contract. However, they are known for being [[ConsummateProfessional professional and non-judgmental]].
* OpeningTheSandbox: 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.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: 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.
* OurGiantsAreBigger: 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. [[spoiler: You can meet one in a cave near Dyrwood and hire him to look after your keep.]]
* OurSoulsAreDifferent: 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.
* ThePaladin: An intriguing take on the trope as well. Paladins in ''Pillars of Eternity'' don't dedicate themselves to gods or churches, they instead are organised into distinct orders, each dedicated to particular causes which emphasizes certain virtues and personality traits in recruits.
** The Shieldbearers of St. Elcga are probably the closest to the traditional Lawful Good D&D paladin, emphasizing kindness, honesty, and diplomacy over cruelty and aggression.
** Goldpact Knights are stoic, professional mercenary types.
** Kind Wayfarers are all about protecting travelers and caravans out in the wilds.
** Bleak Walkers are dreaded warriors feared for their willingness to end a war decisively though ruthless tactics.
** Darcozzi Paladini are Old Vailian loyalists, selflessly dedicated to their country.
* PartyOfRepresentatives: The party members are said to "cover a good range of culture and religion and factions in the game". Your companions happen to be: an elven wizard nobleman [[spoiler:with a split personality]], a war veteran who follows a dead god, the majorly politically incorrect priest responsible for ''killing'' said god, an Orlan druid with a very dirty sense of humor, a young naive Aumauan chanter, a cipher midwife who's set up a PerceptionFilter on herself, a Vailian avian Godlike paladin tired of political intrigue, and a boreal dwarf ranger searching for the reincarnation of her village's previous elder. The expansion adds three more: a convicted criminal inhabiting a bronze golem, a monk who's a CombatSadomasochist, and an Aumauan barbarian ex-raider-turned-giftbearer searching for a hidden temple.
* PeltsOfTheBarbarian:
** Sagani, a boreal dwarf ranger from the [[NorthIsColdSouthIsHot icy, far southern]] island of Naasitaq, who comes to you dressed in [[BareYourMidriff midriff-baring]] furs and hides.
** Oddly averted by Meneha, the actual Barbarian character introduced in ''White Marches Part II''. Her default unique armor is fancy bling gathered during her days as a pirate and raider.
* PhysicalGod: 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.
* PhysicalReligion: 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. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* PlayerHeadquarters: 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 ItemCrafting, 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.
* PlayerInventory: 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 [[BagOfHolding 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.
* PlayerParty: The player group consists of up to five (optional) companions at any time in addition to the main PlayerCharacter, for a total of six.
* PointAndClickMap: The world map is opened whenever the party reaches a "qualifying transition" and allows instant travel to known locations.
* PrecisionFStrike: One of the ways the PC can react when they first meet Aloth.
--> '''PC:''' Well you did just tell him to go fuck his sister.
* {{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, [[spoiler: presumably to prevent anyone from learning the truth behind the origin of the gods.]]
* RealTimeWeaponChange: Characters can switch between several different weapon sets in combat.
* RealTimeWithPause: 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".
* ReforgedBlade: Near the end of the ''White Marches Part II'', [[spoiler:you retrieve a fragment of a god's shattered hammer and use it to forge a replica scaled to mortal use.]]
* {{Reincarnation}}: One of the {{Central Theme}}s of the game.
* RelationshipValues: Two forms.
** The game eschews individual Influence stats ''a la'' Obsidian's earlier titles ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'' and ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2''. Instead, much like [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic their]] Creator/BioWare [[VideoGame/NeverwinterNights predecessors]], your companions will open up to you and share more stories as you travel with them.
** The Disposition stat is a variant, essentially a measure of the Watcher's personality traits. This affects some interactions with {{NPC}}s. It's also a key stat for paladins, whose powers are either improved or penalized by certain Dispositions, depending on the order chosen at character creation: for example, a Shieldbearer of St. Elcga will benefit from Diplomatic and Honest, and take penalties for Aggressive and Cruel.
* SadisticChoice: At the end of ''White March'' part 2, [[spoiler:in order to stop the Eyeless army, you or one of your party members must sacrifice themselves by repeatedly smashing a life-draining crystal. Whoever does this is DeaderThanDead, which obviously means GameOver of the Watcher is chosen. It ''is'' possible to destroy the crystal without anyone dying, but it requires significantly high values in multiple stats and very specific dialogue choices throughout the game.]]
* SamusIsAGirl: According to Aloth, [[spoiler:the split personality in his head with the reckless and uncouth demeanor is a woman named Iselmyr.]]
* SaveGameLimits: 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.
* SceneryPorn: [[http://hydra-images.cursecdn.com/eternitywiki.com/f/f5/PE-TempleEntrance01-1920x1080.jpeg 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.
* SeaMonster: 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.
* SeenItAll: 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.
* SequelHook: Or rather, second part hooks. Part 2 of The White March is meant to deal with the consequences of what you did in Part 1, so the first part leaves several plot threads unresolved -- [[spoiler: what ''did'' attack the dwarves of Durgan's Battery? Why did they attack? What will happen now the White Forge has been reawakened again? Who ordered the attack on Concelhaut?]].
* ShaggyDogStory: [[spoiler: Almost all of the companion quests end this way, although most result in some related character development that can be directed by the player.]]
** Hell, very few things, both in the main quest and in the side quests, end completely well. At the most, all you can get is a BitterSweetEnding with emphasis on bitter.
** The prologue does a good job of showing how this will be commonplace. You're given two companions: the timid, out-of-his-element rogue Heodan and the jaded, selfish fighter Calisca. There is at least half a dozen ways either of them can die throughout the prologue, and the only way to keep both alive to the end of the prologue requires passing both an Intellect check and a Dexterity check that are abnormally steep for the beginning of the game. And your reward for keeping them both alive? [[spoiler:Having them end up dying anyway to the bîaŵac that Thaos causes once you exit the tutorial dungeon]].
* SharedLifeMeter: Back in the beta, Rangers and their animal companions shared the same health and endurance pool, meaning that when one of them fell in battle, they both did. This was changed for the final game, where they both have their own separate health/endurance pools.
* ShootTheDog: At the end of the "Undying Heritage" quest, achieving the best ending for Heritage Hills requires [[spoiler:destroying the Machine, which will also destroy the souls it has already trapped. Simply turning it off (thus releasing them) will allow history to repeat itself.]]
* ShoutOut: An inn in Gilded Vale is named "The Black Hound," which was the possible title of [[WhatCouldHaveBeen Baldur's Gate 3.]] You can even get the in-game namesake black hound as a pet.
** A narrator encourages you to [[Franchise/BaldursGate 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! [[Film/AChristmasStory 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 [[http://i.imgur.com/HKYBEPV.jpg 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 [[spoiler: baby Vela]] into your stash indefinitely, likely a nod to ''VideoGame/ThroneOfBhaal''[='=]s [[spoiler:inventory baby]]. Having her in your inventory when you finish the game actually changes the ending narrative!
** If you sided against [[spoiler: Danna]] in At All Costs, an angry noble will confront you about killing his fiance. One possible response?
-->'''Watcher:''' [[Film/ThePrincessBride It's possible.]] [[ButForMeItWasTuesday I kill a lot of people.]]
* SkillScoresAndPerks: The game features Skills, Abilities, and Talents. Each character earns six Skill points each level, and every new skill level costs one point more than the last; however, different classes and backgrounds give free levels in certain skills at character creation. Apart from improving basic in-game actions, Skills are used alongside [[TheSixStats Attributes]] in dialogue and scripted interactions. Abilities are class-specific perks that can be taken at every odd CharacterLevel, while Talents are (mostly) class-independent perks earned at every even one. Abilities and Talents can be passive boosts, active abilities, or modal effects. Talents are further subdivided in Class (class-specific bonuses), Offensive (improve attacks), Defensive (improve combat defenses), and Utility (everything else). Some Talents can only be acquired as [[NonstandardSkillLearning rewards for completing certain side quests]].
* SnuffFilm: 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.
* TheSoulless: 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.
* SuddenDownerEnding: If you have both parts of the "White March" expansion pack installed and beat the game with only the first part complete, [[spoiler:the last epilogue slide reveals that, shortly after thwarting Thaos, you were killed when the Eyeless razed the Dyrwood.]]
* SpellBook: Wizards carry grimoires, which contain the spells they can cast. However, rather than memorizing their spells like wizards in ''D&D'', wizards in ''Pillars'' technically "know" all their spells and use their grimoire as a sort of spell focus, the pages inscribed with various magic formulae required to make the spell function while the wizard controls the in-and-out flow of magic as to keep the grimoire from destroying itself.
* SpidersAreScary: Vithrack are spiders that are humanoid magic uses, that use their silk to make robes for themselves.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Eternity'' channels several {{Role Playing Game}}s from the Obsidian developers' past, including ''Franchise/BaldursGate'', ''Videogame/IcewindDale'', and ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment''. Much of the original ''Torment'' team worked on this. In addition, a stretch goal added the lead writer for ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2: Mask of the Betrayer'' to the team, and the gameworld's emphasis on souls seems to take cues from ''[=MotB=]'''s plot.
* SquishyWizard:
** 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.
** As of 2.0, the right set of spells can allow a wizard to serve just fine as a melee damage character, with conjured weapons and buffs negating their lower Endurance, Health, Accuracy and Deflection. They still can't tank.
* StealthBasedMission: [[spoiler:If you manage to get to Lord Raedric without alerting any guards (a process that involves traversing monster-infested sewers, stealing several priest robes, avoiding the notice of guards who can pierce your disguise, and making contact with Kolsc's inside man), then when you confront Raedric, he'll have less guards than he would have if you had just stormed the place, making the fight slightly easier. ''Slightly''.]]
* SterilityPlague: 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.
* SturgeonsLaw: The quality of the vignettes for the backer-written {{NPC}}s varies. There's some legitimately interesting gems to be found, but a significant percentage are pretty cookie-cutter: unstoppable badasses, perfectly cunning rogues, et cetera.
* SuicidalOverconfidence: {{NPC}}s tend to boast about how they're going to kill you before you fight them...even when you grossly outnumber them.
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement: In the endgame of the ''White Marches Part II'', [[spoiler:you use a fragment of the smith god Abydon's hammer to forge a kith-scaled replica. The hammer is the key to dealing with the threat of the Eyeless and is the perfect tool for defeating them as well. Even better, finishing the main quest of the expansion brings out the hammer's full power, making it one of the most powerful weapons in the game.]]
* ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself: Both of Aloth's endings are like this. Steering him towards authority causes him to [[spoiler: take Thaos' place as grandmaster of the Leaden Key.]] Steering him towards independence causes him to [[spoiler: destroy Thaos' garments and use his knowledge of the Leaden Key in order to permanently destroy the group by himself.]]
* TouchedByVorlons: Members of the Godlike player race were blessed before birth by one or more deities, the fringe benefits including: inhuman physical appearances that may or may not result in the Godlike being ''killed'' not long after birth; sterility/infertility, which as good as can kill off noble bloodlines; strange powers, even in a world where magic exists; varying reactions from each civilization as to whether or not they're a blessing or a curse.
* TraumaCongaLine: The PC goes through this for the first hour or two of the game, not including their (customized) BackStory. 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.
* TheUndead: 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 [[spoiler: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:
** [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Fampyries]] are the most-recently alive. They are really no different from a normal person aside from [[ImAHumanitarian 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.
** [[OurGhoulsAreCreepier 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.
** [[OurZombiesAreDifferent 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.
** [[DemBones 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 [[AndIMustScream 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.
** [[spoiler: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.]]
** [[OurLichesAreDifferent Liches]] are an extremely rare variant of undead, mostly because the people who know how to become one tend to be very secretive about it. What is known is that it involves doing something with your soul and a phylactery, and that the result is a being that has the physical but not the mental degeneration of the standard undead chain (hence why they tend to be skeletons in appearance).
** [[spoiler:In the same vein as the animats, the Battery Sentries defending the White Forge are constructs animated by the souls of the dwarves who once inhabited Durgan's Battery.]]
** When someone with a KnightTemplar mindset dies [[spoiler:like Lord Raedric]], they sometimes return as a powerful Deathguard. Like most of the other undead, it's only a matter of time before they lose their minds. Curiously, it does not seem like any necromancy or animancy is involved -- it is simply a matter of their souls being so strongly bound to the world by their zeal that they cannot return to the Wheel of souls to be reincarnated normally.
* {{Unobtainium}}: Durgan Steel. It can only be made in the White Forge, a divinely empowered forge, which has been dormant for centuries. One unique weapon is renowned just because it was the last known weapon forged at the White Forge and is called "The Last Blade of the White Forge". [[spoiler:Part I of the White Marches expansion ends with you restarting the Forge, allowing you to make refined Durgan Steel ingots which can be used to upgrade your weapons and armor. Part II is about dealing with the consequences of awakening the forge.]]
* TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon: Sun in Shadow. Complete with mandatory welcoming scene.
* VestigialEmpire: 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 several states struggling for dominance in the old heartland as well as a powerful federation of independent city-states in the old colonies, 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.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Considering that you can earn a reputation for being cruel, the game offers a lot of occasions for the Watcher to act like an amoral {{Jerkass}}, if not like a complete monster:
** Instead of going through the boy's request in Defiance Bay to get him a dagger in exchange for a secret, you can simply assault him to get him to reveal it. If Grieving Mother is in your party, [[WhatTheHellHero she will call you out]].
** If your Cruel reputation is high enough, the pool of blood in Skaen's temple will make you an interesting offer: [[spoiler:one of your companion's life, doomed to an eternity inside the pool, in exchange for a permanent status buff. The surviving ones won't even know you are responsible for it (though Durance will suspect your hand in it right away). Try to sacrifice someone and watch your companions react in horror. Try to sacrifice Grieving Mother... and watch your companions not giving a damn at all, since they don't even notice that Grieving Mother is here with you at all because of her glamour, and having rather funny reactions (including Durance scratching his buttock and burping, and Edér talking about eating some roasted chicken) while Grieving Mother is choking in her own blood and her soul joining the pool to suffer for an eternity.]]
* VillainDecay: 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.
* VillainHasAPoint: 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. [[spoiler:Her analysis of the situation and of the nature of the curse is also completely spot-on, as she is the closest to the truth than anyone else you may have met before]].
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: The druid class has the ability to shapeshift into various animal forms at will, such as giant humanoid cats.
** Galawain, as well.
* WarGod: Magran, who pulls double duty as goddess of fire and whose priests are known to employ firearms and explosives.
* WellIntentionedExtremist:
** The Bleak Walkers Paladin are more or less this. They tend to take aggressive 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 [[spoiler:raping and impregnating his niece]] by using even more horrible method to achieve it [[spoiler:(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, SnakeOilSalesman, 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. [[spoiler: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]].
* WorldOfSnark: While the frequency varies, with Hirvias and Edér being the true standouts, every non-generic party member (save for [[TheStoic 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.
* WretchedHive:
** 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.
** [[spoiler: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.]]
* YouALLShareMyStory: Before the FinalBattle, the BigBad claims that the only reason the RagtagBunchOfMisfits follows the Watcher is that none of them has a purpose in life and tries to BreakThemByTalking to weaken their resolve.
* YouKillItYouBoughtIt: The Watcher gains ownership of Caed Nua by killing its current lord. The 3.0 patch adds a quest chain where your claim is contested by another lord with a more legal, although old, claim. [[spoiler: The authorities rule in his favour but request that he pay compensation to you since you were the one who cleared out the keep and restored it, which leads to him storming out in anger. Since he rejected the judgement, your claim stands.]] It still ends up somewhere in this trope, as the lord then tries various means to get Caed Nua anyway... culminating in [[spoiler: a battle and you being forced to slay him on the field.]]
* YouWillNotEvadeMe: 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.
* YourSoulIsMine: [[spoiler: [[BigBad 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.]]
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