The so-called civilized species which dominate most of Eora.
- Five Races: Dwarves (Stout), elves (Fairy), humans/folk (Mundane), aumaua (High Men), and orlans (cute)... or are they?
- This trope is largely defied, likely intentionally: the ancient, advanced Engwithans were multicultural, with skeletal remains from all races being found in their ruins. Eoran dwarves don't match most of the stock dwarven stereotypes, and while elves do, that seems to be a more recent development — left to their own devices, the Glanfathan, Aedyran, and White That Wends elves are all ferociously territorial and not noticeably more civilized than humans. The firepower of the Rauataian aumaua makes them one of the most technologically advanced countries in modern Eora, but the Vailian Republics, predominantly ocean folk, are much wealthier, more widespread, and more "enlightened" when it comes to pure sciences like animancy. And while orlans might look cute to the player, most of the actual inhabitants of the setting view them as distinctly second class, if that, with orlan slaves still being commonplace in many parts of the world.
- Godlike aren't quite a race unto themselves, appearing among all the other races. Despite their closeness to the gods seeming as if it would elevate them (toward High Men) or give them some special mystical insight (becoming more fey or Fairy-like), in practice it does neither. However their culture treats them, whether treating them as The Chosen One of their associated god or ostracizing them as freaks of nature, in truth they're simply ordinary members of the same race as their birth parents. While some godlike find a place among druid circles, there's no unified godlike culture to place them under this trope.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Notably averted. While the different species of kith can indeed fornicate with each other with no problems, they are unable to produce offspring across species barriers.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Pointy ears, various different skin tones, maybe some eyebrow ridges, fur, or odd teeth, average height variation of a foot or two, and variable lifespans and aging rates, but most kith aren't too far wide of the standard earth-human baseline.
FolkHumans, more commonly known as folk in the setting, are the most common race in the Dyrwood, the Aedyr Empire, Old Vailia, and the Vailian Republics. Though not as large as the towering aumaua, humans are known for their strength and willpower. A human lifespan is typically between 60-100 years.
They are further sorted into three broad ethnic groups: the Meadow Folk, the Ocean Folk, and the Savannah Folk
- Heroic Spirit: Humans are known for being strong-willed, start with a bonus to their Might and Resolve, and have a racial talent called Fighting Spirit.
- Humans Are Average: Somewhat averted, for once. They have a racial bonus to their stats (Might and Resolve) and a racial talent like any other species. Unlike other races, all humans do have the same racial talent (Fighting Spirit), however.
- Humans Are Survivors: Humans' racial ability is Fighting Spirit, giving them a 5-second boost to Accuracy and Damage the first time their Endurance drops below 50% each encounter.
- Humans Are White: Averted. Ocean Folk are the most common human ethnicity in Old Vailia and the Vailian Republics, which means they're the most widespread in the world. Ocean Folk are black, Meadow Folk are white, and Savannah Folk are olive-skinned, with Ixamitl being loosely Mesoamerican-inspired.
- Humans by Any Other Name: Dwarves and elves are still dwarves and elves but humans are "folk".
- Proud Merchant Race: The ocean folk of Vailia have naval power that outstrips Rauatai's, but prefer peaceful trade to conquest — not that this means they're above manipulating or exploiting locals in their own way.
- We Are as Mayflies: Downplayed. Humans, on average, only have the second shortest lifespan amongst kith. Orlans have a slightly shorter lifespan, while Aumaua merely have a slightly longer one.
ElvesWood Elves are the dominant race in Eir Glanfath and are extremely common in the Dyrwood and Aedyr. Pale Elves live in the the White That Wends and are almost entirely isolated from the rest of the world, including other elves. Elves are known for their speed and intelligence as well as a commonly isolationist nature. They are the longest-lived amongst kith, having a normal lifespan of 200-310 years.
Despite both being elves, pale elves and wood elves have little in common culturally, with the former being believed to have branched off some ten- to fifty-thousand years ago.
- Altar Diplomacy: A symbolic marriage between an elven queen and a human king sealed the original peace between the humans of Aedyr and the elven kingdom of Kulklin, and to this day, it's common for wood elf and human nobles in Aedyr to enter into a ceremonial haemneg in order to consolidate their holdings.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: In play with the Pale Elves, as their possible skin colors are bright white, light blue, or even pale green.
- Archer Archetype: The Wood Elves' racial talent in the first game, Distant Advantage, gave them an advantage against enemies who are 4 or more meters away. In the second game this was replaced with resistance against Dexterity afflictions, which remained useful even to wood elves who weren't ranged fighters.
- Elves vs. Dwarves: Averted. There's no special animosity nor any age-old rivalry between dwarves and elves. Both are common throughout most of the world and aren't seen as that much different from folk in the Old Empires or the Eastern Reach. And while there are tribes that are mostly elves or dwarves in Eir Glanfath, they're aren't any more at odds with each other than they are with the other tribes.
- Exposed to the Elements: Pale Elves' Elemental Endurance racial talent gives them a very useful passive +10 bonus to damage reduction against both Burn and Freeze damage, meaning that they need much less in the way of insulation against the cold. Given that they live in the Eoran equivalent of Antarctica, this is pretty much a necessity. This is reduced to a less overwhelming but still powerful +5 bonus in Deadfire.
- Forest Ranger: The wood elven natives of Eir Glanfath are proud stewards of the land and ruins of the fallen Engwithan Empire, and their racial talent Distant Advantage makes them ideal rangers and hunters.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Given that pale-green is a possible skin color amongst Pale Elves, some Pale Elf women can look like this. In-universe they're often considered exotic and alluring.
- Hidden Elf Village: In full effect. The Wood Elf kingdom of Kulklin spent years at war keeping the folk of Aedyr out, until the two finally merged into the Aedyran Empire. Eir Glanfath has a great many elves and was charged with keeping all other kith out of the ancient Engwithan ruins, and the White That Wends has almost no contact with the outside world.
- Hollywood Natives: Alongside the original orlans of Eir Glanfath, many wood elven natives lived in the forests and jungles of the Eastern Reach, dwelling in nature-covered huts, and acting as proud stewards of the lands and ruins of Engwith before the old empires arrived and started colonizing everyone.
- MayDecember Romance: To varying degrees with other races, since Eora elves live the longest.
- MayflyDecember Romance: Can brush up on this for some of the shorter lived races, especially orlans (who only live 50-80 years compared to the elves' 200-310 years).
- Our Elves Are Better: Downplayed. Elves are generally on equal footing with the other kith races, having a racial bonus to Dexterity and Perception, with their greatest advantage being their simple longevity — three centuries is a long time. As elven gentry, Aloth particularly dislikes the reminder of elves' more rustic past that his past life Iselmyr represents, with her vaguely Scots-sounding Hylspeak accent.
DwarvesBy virtue of land covered and number of colonies settled, dwarves are the most well-traveled race in the world. Physically, dwarves are known for being short and thick-limbed, but also their great strength and tenacity. They tend to be extremely sturdy and durable, often attributed to spending millennia living in rocky environments more suited to goats than people. They are commonly found in the Dyrwood, the Vailian Republics, and almost any colonized land. Their natural lifespan is typically between 110 and 190 years.
Like the elves, there are two distinct dwarven cultures who seem to have little to do with each other: Mountain Dwarves and Boreal Dwarves.
- Badass Beard: While this is stated not to be an enforced trope among Eoran dwarves, it's so much associated with dwarves elsewhere that most male dwarves have them anyway.
- Bold Explorer: If Eoran dwarves have a racial stereotype, it's this. They possess a natural wanderlust and are said to be the most well-traveled and widespread race in the world, and in keeping with this, they're common in the similarly far-ranging Vailian Republics. The Boreal Dwarves seem to get this out of their system with their long overland hunts and tradition of seeking out their reincarnated elders.
- Elves vs. Dwarves: Downplayed, in no small part because Eoran dwarves avert most dwarven stereotypes from other settings. Pargrunen (Mountain) Dwarves, being wanderers, seem to assimilate readily the cultures of those places where they settle. This seems to include cultures dominated by elves, such as Eir Glanfath, which even has a predominantly Mountain Dwarf tribe, the Stone Brambles.
- Eskimo Land: Boreal dwarves/Enutanik are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the real-world Inuit and Inuk, and are mostly found on sub-arctic Naasitaq, the largest and southernmost island in the Deadfire Archipelago.
- The Generic Guy: As much or more so than humans, dwarves live across Eora in all nations, doing all different jobs. Mountain Dwarves in particular are known for their wanderlust, but they have no real nation or culture to themselves, at least in the present day. Less the case for Boreal Dwarves, who do have a distinct culture and nation, defining themselves against the harsh land in which they live.
- Mighty Glacier: +2 to Strength, +1 to Constitution, -1 to Dexterity.
- Non-Indicative Name: Boreal Dwarves don't live in the north, as the name suggests. They in fact live in the far south, so they strictly should be called "Austral Dwarves".
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Generally averted. Physically, the Dwarves of Eora fits the stereotype, being short, stout, and sturdy, but they in general show no special attraction to wielding axes or hammers, drinking or heavy industry, at least no more so than other people of the Eastern Reach. They're not even known for living underground. While Mountain Dwarves has a bit of Dwarf Classic to them, with their beards, the Boreal Dwarves don't even have that, being semi-nomadic hunters and trappers, and in fact their culture mostly resembles real life Native American and Inuit cultures more than everything.
- Stout Strength: Dwarves start with a racial bonus to their Strength and Constitution.
AumauaThe mighty aumaua are the largest of the kith races and are commonly found in or near oceans. Though not truly aquatic, they have an affinity for water and many of their civilizations, such as Rauatai, are based on naval dominance. They are known for their unparalleled strength. The average aumaua lifespan is between 70-115 years.
There are two aumaua subraces: the Coastal Aumaua of the rising power of Rauatai, and the Island Aumaua of the Deadfire Archipelago.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Somewhat in play. The possible skin colors for Island Aumaua are different shades of orange, red, brown or yellow, while the Coastal Aumaua are notably different shades of blue with bright red-to-orange, yellow, and green markings.
- The Empire: Rauatai, predominantly inhabited by Coastal Aumaua, is the latest colonial superpower to join the Eoran world stage.
- Fantastic Racism: Mostly along national lines. There's a particularly sharp divide between the two ethnic groups of Coastal Aumaua and Island Aumaua, however, with the former seeing the latter's islands as theirs by a combination of birthright and superior firepower.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of Pacific Islanders, which is obvious in the names, but expansionist Rauatai also has aspects of a fledgling British Empire. The original Rautaian conquest in Ixamitl seems to put them in a similar position to the Aztecs as well.
- Fantastic Caste System: The Huana's has started to show its seams in the modern day, part of the reason why their Rauataian cousins are intent on conquering and "civilizing" them.
- Fish People: Downplayed. The Aumaua have a number of fish-like physical traits, like large sharp teeth, webbed fingers, bright skin colors similar to those of certain tropical fish, and an affinity for being near water on the whole, but they don't have gills or fins and can't breath underwater.
- Hollywood Natives: The peaceful, nomadic island aumaua of the Deadfire Archipelago are treated this way in the Deadfire by both trading companies, but their coastal cousins have a particularly paternalistic air about them.
- More Dakka: Rauataians are fond of both personal firearms and cannons. In the first game their racial ability Armed to the Teeth let them carry an additional weapon set.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Essentially the role they're taking on in Eora, as physically large, warlike humanoids. They're far from The Horde, however, with Rauatai being something like a combination of Hawaii and colonial Britain, Portugal, etc., and they're known for their naval power and the sophistication of their fortresses, cannons, and ships.
- Proud Warrior Race: Expansionist Rauatai famous for their navy and their weapons, but the Huana, while ruled by a warrior/hunter caste, are a mostly peaceful subsistence culture.
- Scary Teeth: They have sharp, shark-like teeth, which gives rise to the Huana expression "blunting your teeth" for small talk, idle conversation, or, say, tactful diplomacy which might or might not be sincere.
- Shark Man: They have the teeth for it, but not much else. The teeth are enough for "shark" to be a not-uncommon slur for auamaua among other races.
- Technicolor Eyes: Bright, almost neon blue, yellow, or red are common, and the whites of their eyes are black. Which is all part of their intimidation factor, along with the Scary Teeth, towering physique, and all-around warmongering.
- Verbal Tic: "What say?", "I say" , and "Ekera" among the Huana, similar to the Hawaiian habit of ending sentences with "ya?" as a form of emphasis.
OrlansOrlans are the smallest of the kith, although many cultures don't consider them to be civilized at all. Also notable for their large ears, two-toned skin, and hirsute bodies, Orlans are commonly found in Eir Glanfath, the Ixamitl Plains, and parts of the Dyrwood, but they originate in the dense jungles of the unnamed continent north of Readceras. They are known for their mental intensity and quickness. They are the shortest-lived kith, their average lifespans being 50-80 years.
There are two subraces of orlans: Hearth Orlans and the "original", tropics-dwelling Wild Orlans.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Orlans can have blue or green fur. In the case of Wild Orlans, this covers their whole body, including their faces.
- Animal Eyes: They have catlike slitted pupils.
- Cat Folk: They have elements of this, with their long hairy, pointy ears (their idle animations even have them wriggle their ears in a cat-like manner) and their slit-pupiled feline eyes.
- Cats Hate Water: Mostly. While plenty of orlans work on crews in ships (especially in Rauatai and Deadfire), most orlans don't enjoy getting wet. Kana Rua wonders about this in the first game, and an Orlan Watcher can elaborate that wet fur doesn't feel very good.
- Fantastic Racism: "Catmen", as the slur goes, and subject to more racial profiling than most of the other races. The Dyrwood in particular has a very poor record on this, painting them all as being less "civilized", or else naturally prone to theft and violence.
- Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!: There are a number of Wild Orlans tired of the Fantastic Racism and exploitation from the bigger kith, who've rejected bigger kith society and resorted to guerrilla tactics or retreated further into the wilds to maintain their independence.
- Heroic Resolve: Wild Orlans have the racial ability "Defiant Resolve." When subject to a Will attack, they temporarily gain bonuses to all defenses.
- Heroic Willpower: Orlans have a slight racial bonus to Will. They're also noted in-universe to be defiant and willful.
- Hollywood Natives: The original orlans lived in the forests and jungles of the Eastern Reach before the old empires arrived and began integrating them into their own cultures. Most often by force, of course, with an emphasis on the duty of other kith to civilize them... or, you know, enslave them.
- Hobbits: Orlans fit this role in Eora, being the smallest kith, but are notably closer to nature than the classic examples of the trope.
- Our Goblins Are Different: If aumaua are a player-friendly version of orcs, then orlans straddle the line between traditional D&D goblins, Hobbits, and Hollywood Natives. All the more evident when they're green, too, and then there's the ears.
- Slave Race: Due to their small stature and animal-like appearance, they were conquered and subjugated long ago. Most remain second class citizens to this day.
- Unusual Ears: They have large, pointed, furry ears, which are also highly mobile and expressive.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: As noted under Amazing Technicolor Population, Orlans can have blue or green fur.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: "Hearth" Orlans are seen as more civilized and "good" than the hairier "Wild" orlans. Orlans themselves do not tend to make much of a distinction between the two other than one of appearance, and among themselves call the former meadow plumage and the latter forest plumage.
GodlikeNot precisely a race unto themselves, Godlike are kith that has in some way been blessed with a divine "spark" by one of the gods before their birth, altering their physical appearance drastically and giving them an unusual power related to the god. They can be born to any race of kith, though for some unknown reason, they have a higher tendency to appear among humans. They all also appear to be sterile, as no Godlike has ever been known to produce any offspring. They tend to provoke very different reactions wherever they go, being met with both overwhelming fear and wonder, as not all see their "gift" as a blessing.
The player can choose from Death, Fire, Moon, or Nature Godlike as the Watcher's race. Recruitable companion Pallegina, meanwhile, is an Avian Godlike, "favored" by Hylea, with the implication being that there are different kinds of godlike for each of the other gods as well.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Though the godlike in general are looked upon differently than other kith, godlikes of Skaen are looked down upon by everyone.
- Blessed with Suck: They gain great powers and the favor of the gods, but are ostracized in most cultures, and frequently killed at birth. Also, they cannot sire children of their own. Rymrgrand's endings godlike like Vatnir suffer even worse since their "blessing" comes with horrible mutations and a lifetime of illness.
- Bird People: Avian Godlike, like recurring companion Pallegina.
- Body Horror: They all have elements of it, but the Death Godlike have it in particular: having strange tumor-like growths covering the upper half of their faces, sometimes shrouding their whole heads, always covering their eyes. Endings Godlike are no slouch in this department either. Vatnir's facial horror is apparent even though he wears a metal mask and bandages over his head.
- The Chosen One: The Huana (Island Aumaua) tribes tend to view the godlike as favorable omens from the gods.
- Cursed with Awesome: In some places, such as the Deadfire Archipelago, they are revered as the chosen children of the gods and afforded great respect, but also innate responsibility and limited freedom.
- Dark Is Evil: Death Godlike and godlike of Skaen are saddled with this perception in many places. Most kith fear death godlike's purplish skin, the fleshy sacks covering their eyes, and translucent, shadowy hair tendrils.
- Druid: It's rather common to find Nature Godlike in Druid circles, since that's where they're most accepted in kith society.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Moon Godlike are generally the most accepted and revered; probably because meeting someone covered in sparkling celestial light is more appealing than eye-covering flesh sacks, festering fungus, or a seeming fire hazard.
- Eyeless Face: Death Godlike's eyes are always covered by their shroud-like growths. The Death Godlike can still see through them, but others can't.
- Festering Fungus: Nature Godlike are the second most likely to be killed at birth due to many kith seeing the moss and fungus that occasionally grows on their skin as this.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Averted. Godlike can be born from any kith race (not just humans), and they tend to retain the statue of their parents.
- Horned Humanoid: All of the playable Godlike have some variant of this. Nature Godlike have animal horns or antlers, Moon Godlike have crown-like plates, Death Godlike have hooked, winglike flaps, and Fire Godlike look positively demonic. This also means none of them can wear helmets.
- Human Resources: Godlike's souls can be absorbed by their respective God for a power boost. Gods can also possess their Godlike, which presumably kills the Godlike.
- Plant Person: Nature Godlike can be covered in leaves and flowers — or scrub moss and mushrooms. It's luck of the draw, really.
- Touched by Vorlons: Touched while in the womb, actually, and born with an appearance resembling some aspect of the gods. Along with their freaky appearance, they also get a unique magical power.
- Wreathed in Flames: The Fire Godlike. Their normal flames don't actually cause fires, but will cause Burn damage if they're hit in melee while below 50% Endurance.
LagufaethAmphibious reptiles, roughly humanoid in size and shape, but with four arms, a combination of reptilian and piscine features, and a natural affinity for magic.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: On a biological level. Redfin lagufaeth, having achieved dominance in the tribe, become physically larger, their skin turns brown or red, and they gain a large bony crest. They lose all these traits if their status in the tribe changes.
- Cold-Blooded Whatever: They're said to be reptiles, but with traits of amphibians and fish. They're sufficiently adaptable to live in both near-frozen freshwater and hot springs in the White March as well as the tropical seas of the Deadfire Archipelago, though it's not clear if these are separate species.
- Fish People: Much more so than the aumaua, as finned reptiles, never far from water.
- Large and in Charge: Lagufaeth chieftains, redfins, and especially broodmothers are much larger than other lagufaeth.
- Lizard Folk: They fit neatly into this role, both in appearance as well as their tribal, territorial culture.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Four arms and a high-level enemy when they first appeared in The White March.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: They use tools, create pictograms, have a language, and care for their young. This does not stop many kith from viewing them as animals. A quest in the first game has you seeking out a thermal pearl in a hot spring, so that a villager can crumble it into a drink to stave off tooth decay... except that the "pearl" then hatches into a baby lagufaeth. Maia in the second game mentions offhandedly that her hawk Ishiza has eaten his share of lagufaeth eggs, and the starving villagers of Tikawara have gotten to the point where they're working their way up to eating the lagufaeth hatchlings they've captured.
- Young and in Charge: While not on the same level as a chief or broodmother, lagufaeth redfins are young, physically dominant members of the tribe.
Ogres stand between 10-12 feet tall. They are heavily muscled and typically attired in the furs, or skins, of their prey. They use crude weapons found, or created, in the wild. They are as intelligent (often more so) than "civilized" races, but their solitary nature and tendency towards hostility toward everyone (including each other) keeps their numbers low.
- Big Eater: Their appetite tends to bring them into conflict with kith, as they are seen as having an affinity for stealing and consuming farm animals in large quantities.
- Dumb Muscle: Eotens, which are even larger than regular ogres. Double the heads but many times dumber than other ogres.
- Genius Bruiser: They're not any naturally dumber than kith, but they're much, much bigger and stronger.
- Multiple Head Case: Eotens have two heads which are capable of acting semi-independently.
- Mutants: Eotens are essentially this to ogres, being implied to be the result of a genetic disorder inherent to certain ogres that just so happens to cause a Multiple Head Case in their offspring. True to the trope, ogres treat eotens with open scorn and contempt, either killing them on the spot upon birth at worst or leaving them to fend for themselves in the wilderness at best. Most ogre tribes even have a general law that forbids any members known to have produced eoten offspring from ever breeding again.
- Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The ogres of Eora actually defy quite a few of the stereotypes, being quite intelligent and capable of holding normal conversations. Still Big Eaters, though.
- Our Orcs Are Different: They fit more traditionally into this niche of fantasy worldbuilding than the aumaua, particularly the smaller, less solitary crag ogres. Most ogres are large, strong, and warlike, but more visibly humanoid than other wilder.
A reclusive spider-like race with advanced intelligence and natural cipher powers. They are mostly humanoid in shape, slightly taller and thinner than humans, but with horrific, fanged spider-like heads. Like spiders, they are capable of spinning silk, though rather than building webs they use it to craft underground cities and weave their very intricate robes.
Despite their extreme intelligence and power, vithrack are not a major force in the world due to their extremely low birth rates; a great city will typically contain only several hundred souls.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: They're very clearly a riff on D&D's mind flayers, robes, psychic powers, underground habitat and all.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted; they're intensely xenophobic and violently isolationist, but not beyond reason, and it's possible for the Watcher to cordially talk and trade with them on multiple occasions. Their tendency to attack outsiders on sight is theorized in-game to be a trait which developed due to their extremely low birth rates, as they're extremely altruistic among themselves, each individual vithrack being willing to fight to the death to defend their colonies.
- Power Floats: They hover a few feet off the ground.
- Psychic Powers: While cipher powers can manifest in all kith, pretty much every vithrack possesses them.
- Spider People: A twist on the trope — the vithrack are humanoid, but essentially have spiders for heads.
- Telepathy: Their preferred means of communication.
- You No Take Candle: How they speak to other races, verbally and psychically (though some of the Vithrack the Watcher encounters are more eloquent and well-versed in grammar than others). They much prefer using telepathy to speak to each other, but have little (peaceful) contact with other species.
Xaurips are reptilian humanoids about the size of orlans. Their elongated snouts (which make speech impossible) and aggressive behavior have hindered them from communicating with kith. They live in secluded, tribal territories and are known for ruthlessly attacking anyone foolish enough to cross their path.
They revere dragons as deities and build their communities around the lairs of these powerful creatures.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: They're D&D kobolds with the numbers filed off, being small draconic humanoids who worship dragons. Not at all surprising, really, since Baldur's Gate solidified the image of kobolds as tiny yapping reptiles in the public consciousness, with crtain visual elements, such as the masks their high priests wear, having been further codified by games like Pathfinder.
- Dragons Are Divine: Xaurips worship them as gods which is actually a subtle hint about the true nature of the Master Below, although you're likely to have forgotten all about fighting Xaurips by the time you reach the bottom of the Endless Paths.
- Lizard Folk: Small reptilian humanoids. They fit the other aspects of the trope less well than the lagufaeth.
- Our Goblins Are Different: Fit easily into this niche, as small, weak cave-dwelling monsters who attack in numbers.
In GeneralA vessel is any soul which has become linked to any body other than its own, living body. This can be accomplished through arcane rituals, called necromancy, or technologically, through the science of animancy. Souls transferred into the bodies of the dead become undead, but it is also possible, albeit difficult, to transfer souls between living bodies, or even into mechanical construct bodies.
- And I Must Scream: The destruction of the vessel is no guarantee of the soul's release. Part of why the flesh and bones of vessels are valuable as components in the crafting of magical items is because they contain a significant amount of usable residual soul energy. Souls bound into automatons seem to suffer greatly, until losing all sense of self altogether. Oddly, however, most of the souls the Watcher encounters who are bound into much simpler, immobile objects, like the Steward of Caed Nua, Head Warden Ethelmoer of Brackenbury Sanitarium, or the talking sword Modwyr all seem much more at peace with their situations.
- Empty Shell: A creature without a soul is comatose, unable to move or react, devoid of anything but basic biological function. The (very technical) term for this in-universe is Hollowborn, with a plague of children in the Dyrwood being born Hollowborn, called Waidwen's Legacy, kicking off the first game.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Some of the madness of humanoid constructs seems as if it must stem from this, though as noted, stationary object seem to have a much easier time of it. On the other hand, the undead, even if they resist their Horror Hunger, largely lack the means of separating their souls from their bodies, meaning their essence rots along with them, and remains bound to their flesh and bones no matter how much damage or decay they sustain.
- Our Souls Are Different: Souls are a detectable scientific phenomena on Eora, and soul energy powers the setting's Functional Magic. Upon death, all souls eventually return to the Wheel, where they are collected by the gods they devoted themselves to in life, either to be reincarnated or, in the case of Rymrgand, disintegrated into raw soul energy which is dispersed back into the world.
- Soul Anatomy: Life is independent of the soul in the setting, but thought, instinct, and memory are all functions of the soul, not the physical body or brain.
When a soul remains in the body it inhabited in life, or is placed within a corpse, the result is inevitably one of the undead. Without constantly consuming additional soul energy, usually in the form of the blood or flesh of the living, they eventually devolve into mindless horrors.
- And I Must Scream: The loss of sanity, thought, or memory must come as a relief at some point, since the souls of the undead remain tied to their bodies even when they're reduced to nothing but mindless skeletons, even when they're further reduced to nothing but powder infused with soul energy.
- Back from the Dead: There is no true way of bringing the dead back to life in Eora, only staving off the inevitable. Undeath is the "easy" way, but not without a few unpleasant side effects, to say the least.
- Black Knight: When someone with a Knight Templar mindset dies like Lord Raedric, they sometimes return as a powerful Death Guard. Curiously, it does not seem like any necromancy or animancy is necessarily involved — it's 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. In the second game, it is revealed that Berath will empower Death Guards among her own servants as a means to an end. While Berath theoretically does not approve of the undead, sometimes it takes one to kill one, with Death Guards in her service standing vigils which may last hundred of years. Far less clear in the case of Raedric, however, since he'd also employed a small army of necromancers, animancers, soul seers, and so on in his efforts to end the Legacy, and he was no closer to bringing an end to it in death than he was in life.
- Body Horror: Watching your body slowly rot, if you somehow resist the urge to devour the living.
- Came Back Wrong: Almost inevitably, as they almost invariably turn into maneating monsters. Most undead fall somewhere along the following spectrum, from most human to furthest gone: fampyrs, darguls, guls, revenants, and skeletons. Death guards and liches, meanwhile exist somewhere off to one side, preserving both life and intelligence by alternate means.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: The craving for flesh eventually overpowers all but the strongest wills.
- Dem Bones: Becoming an animated skeleton is the final stage for any vessel, as they are what remain once all the flesh has rotted away. Without the ability or desire to feed, they are largely murderous automatons, only capable of acting out rote behaviors to attack the living. Given enough time, even the bones will be reduced to dust to which the soul will still be bound.
- Horror Hunger: The only thing that can slow their decay is soul energy, the most plentiful supply of which is the living.
- I'm a Humanitarian: All undead with any semblance of their humanity, physical or mental, exhibit a strong craving for the flesh or blood of the recently dead or still living. While technically animals do possess soul energy, the concentration found in kith is much, much higher. Even regularly fed, they are only delaying the inevitable next state of undeath. Refined luminous adra, only recently (re-)discovered in the sequel, will also work. The fampyrs in the Endless Paths learned this long ago.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts notably don't belong to this category in Eora, being free-floating concentrations of soul energy. This means they're classified as spirits, like blights and will o'wisps, rather than vessels.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Darguls are still somewhat intelligent and recognizable as kith, 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 falling out, and bestial behavior.
- Our Liches Are Different: 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 binding your soul to a phylactery — Concelhaut accomplished this by carving runes into his own skull and jamming a "peg" of adra through it. The result is a being that experiences the physical decay but not the mental degeneration of other undead — hence why all liches seen thus far have been skeletal in appearance).
- Our Vampires Are Different: Fampyrs are the most recently alive, and resemble their living selves apart from perhaps being a little pale. It is possible to remain a fampyr for hundred or thousands of years with a steady supply of soul energy... such as the adra colossus buried under Caed Nua.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Revenants are visibly rotting, the skin having sloughed away and even the muscle beginning to lose form. Of their minds, only base instincts and the desire to feed remain.
- Revenant Zombie: The in-game revenants aren't an example of this, being the closest thing to modern movie zombies — rotting, mindless, and hungry for the flesh of the living. Death Guards and fampyrs run the closest to the trope.
- Unbreakable Bones: The Steelspine Magi, which were created through several experiments conducted by Concelhaut's apprentice, Sabel. The purpose was to create a skeleton that was made much more durable due to having its bones covered in a coating of metal, but also was not impeded in its mobility by said metal coating.
- The Undead: Indeed.
- Vegetarian Vampire: The undead need soul energy to keep from degenerating, and consuming living flesh is the just the most obvious route to get that energy. But luminious adra can be used as a substitute.
The other main kind of vessel, an inanimate (but not necessarily inorganic) construct infused with soul energy, possibly even hosting a living, thinking soul. Far more difficult and exacting to create than the undead, the process of creating a sane, thinking, mobile automaton has eluded animantic science from the time of ancient Engwith to the rediscovery of animancy in the present day.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Far easier to bind a soul to an inanimate object, such as a statue or a weapon, than to try and link it with something with a lot of moving parts. The latter seems to invariably scramble the soul to the point where the construct goes mad or loses all sense of memory or identity.
- Flesh Golem: As with all constructs, and much like revenants, without an intact brain the soul demonstrates little in the way of intelligence or independent thought.
- Golem: It's possible to animate constructs by transfering intact souls into their chassis. Unlike inanimate objects, however, the process drives almost every one of the resulting constructs mad, however, or deprives them of whatever memory or individual thought they once possessed. The Crucible Knights appear to have begun marketing their Forge Knights from the first game as a line of sentry automatons called ironclad constructs.
- Lost Technology: The ancient Engwithans were master animancers, and created constructs far larger and more sophisticated than anything yet replicated by their modern-day successors. Sort of. The Engwithans harnessed the soul energy they stored in the adra for all manner of feats, but modern technology in the game is specifically much further advanced when it comes to metalworking, which means that their constructs are lighter and can be produced much more quickly and easily than the Engwithan animats, which were almost solid stone. And even the Engwithans seemingly couldn't transfer a conscious mind into a mobile animat, though they could store (or trap) an intact soul in a solid object, usually one infused with adra.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The one case of full transfer of consciousness with no loss of memory or sanity into an animate construct is party member the Devil of Caroc. Unfortunately, her creator, the Vailian animancer Galvino, lost all his notes when an Angry Mob chased him out of Stalwart. He's spent ten years out in the wilderness trying to recreate his work, with little success.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Even the most innocuous, mindless constructs still require soul energy in order to operate, the only ready supply of which, at least prior to the discovery of luminous adra, was the souls of the dead, mostly convicts — not many of whom were volunteers.
- Torches and Pitchforks: The nature of their creation mean that many constructs are subjected to this treatment, along with their creators.
When the Hollowborn first began appearing, in their fear and desperation, many parents turned to animancy in the hope of a cure. Their first attempt, called the Salvation at the time, involved the transfusion of a living animal's soul into the Hollowborn child. While early results were promising, the children later degenerated into feral cannibals, and the now-abandoned procedure became known as the Cruel Salvation. Many of the children, called wichts, escaped into the wilderness, neither entirely undead nor conventionally alive. They now gather in packs and attack travelers.
- Adult Fear: Not only was there already something seriously wrong with your child, but what you thought was a cure turns out to be even worse than the decease...
- And I Must Scream: It can't be that fun for the animal souls ripped from their natural bodies and put into Hollowborn children, any more than the kith souls torn from their bodies and put into unnatural vessels that drive them mad with despair and Horror Hunger...
- Bilingual Bonus: Wicht is a Dutch word with a number of meanings, based on context: living thing, child, or little girl. It's cognate with the English word "wight", which means a person, a man, or a ghost or revenant.
- Creepy Child: Initially seen as an improvement over the Hollowborn, who showed no outward sign of life apart from breath. The initial results of the Salvation were thus seen as a godsend, the children going from totally catatonic to aware and able to feed themselves... before they all started turning into cannibals. Now they roam the more remote forests of the Dyrwood in vicious packs, pale and dirty and wearing only rags. Yes, instead of just exterminating entire tribes of goblins like in most fantasy RPGs, Pillars of Eternity has you fighting off packs of feral children.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Edér tells a story about one of his neighbors keeping his Hollowborn daughter in a barn (after the day she killed and ate her brother), hoping she'd get better. The implication is that there are plenty of other families broken in similar ways.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Zigzagged. Animal souls grafted into the bodies of Hollowborn children do not develop human-like consciousness, but neither do they act like their animal selves. Instead, they show barely enough awareness and volition to feed themselves until they approach puberty, when they become tormented, worse-than-animal cannibalistic monsters.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Inverted. Rather than using the life of a child for some terrible purpose, the Salvation was meant to restore a child to life after its soul failed to enter its body at birth due to Waidwen's Legacy. With the Legacy itself being a plot to use those souls for a terrible purpose in its own right.
- Puberty Superpower: A very dark example. Most Saved children tend to appear as ordinary children with just enough basic awareness and volition to move around and feed themselves (though with little understanding or concern for social norms)... until they reach adolescence, when they sprout fangs, corpse-like blue skin, unprecedented strength and speed, and a monstrously feral appetite.
- Truth in Television: Most Saved children are very docile until they reach adolescence, when they turn into aggressive, feral monsters. Most rescuers of wild animals that people try to keep as exotic pets (especially wolves, monkeys, and/or apes) will tell you that many wild animals seem very tame as babies... until they hit puberty, when they often turn feral, aggressive, and/or unmanageable.
- Undead Child: Wichts look like this, but they're still alive. Technically. Their imperfectly transplanted animal souls seem to keep them in state halfway between life and cannibalistic undeath. It's never fully stated whether or not returning the souls the Leaden Key stole would have healed the wichts, as well.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: If the Watcher agrees with Hylea to put the stolen souls into the bodies they were intended for, it's not clear how this affects the Wichts. Did receiving their intended souls cure them? And what about the animal souls grafted into the Hollowborn bodies? Did the intended kith soul push the animal soul out? Did they fuse as one into a healthy, content soul? Or are the two incompatible souls, one infant and one crazed feral monster, now trapped in the same body?
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In-universe there's a lot of hand-wringing over the fate of the poor children who turn into tormented, aggressive, cannibalistic monsters within a few years of being implanted with an animal soul, but no one seems to consider the poor animals that had their souls ripped from their natural bodies and implanted into unnatural hosts, or that it's the animal souls that have been driven to feral aggression and Horror Hunger.
- This is not helped by the fact and kith and animal souls are fairly interchangeable in this setting; with kith often born in animal bodies and vice-versa during their long reincarnation cycles. (The main difference is that animals tend to have less sophisticated intelligence, personalities, or memories than kith.) Meaning that animancers that put the souls of animals into hollowborn kith are using a soul that no doubt was a kith in more than a few past lives, even if they happen to be a simple beasts in this life.)note
- Eder even tells the story of a farmer who put the soul of the family dog into his daughter, and how when his daughter became an aggressive cannibal that ate her brother, he kept her in the barn hoping one day she would get better and recognize her papa. While very tragic, neither the farmer nor Eder ever seemed to consider that it was the tortured soul of his family dog looking out his daughter's eyes.
- Would Hurt a Child: They don't give you much of a choice.
The dragons of Eora start out as animalistic young wurms and drakes, but as they grow they also become more powerful and intelligent. Full-grown dragons are impressive creatures whose intelligence arguably surpasses that of kith. As mentioned above, they are worshiped by Xaurips, whom they tolerate since the Xaurips' provide them with sustenance and added protection. Not that most dragons need the help. Dragons have the interesting feature of gradually taking on traits from their environment as they age. As a result, dragons can have a variety of appearances.
- Adaptive Ability: Dragons gradually take on traits from their environment. This normally makes it easier for them to survive. One exception is the adra dragon at the bottom of the Endless Paths. Due to feeding on the adra colossus for so long, it's heavily weighed down by adra crystals and can no longer fly out of the Endless Paths.
- All-Powerful Bystander: For all their power, most dragons just seem to want to be left alone, barring the occasional xaurip worshiper. They generally don't involve themselves with kith. Sometimes they deign to make deals with kith for whatever reason, but they're more likely to just eat intruders.
- Dragons Are Divine: At least as far as the xaurips are concerned. The dragons know they aren't actually gods, but play along for the free food. It's a symbiotic relationship — juvenile dragons (wurms and drakes) are vulnerable, and the a tribe of xaurips can offer genuine protection. Most creatures are aware of dragons' Ungrateful Bastard tendencies once they mature into full-blown near-Physical God status as adults, but xaurips seem either oblivious or devout enough not to care.
- Dragon Hoard: A Dragon's lair usually has quite the hefty pile of loot.
- Large Ham: Dragons have quite the ego on them and love hearing the sound of their own voice. In Breath of Winter the Watcher can even note that it's rather unusual that the dragon they encounter isn't interested in chatting before throwing down. This is because the "dragon" is actually just a spiritual projection of the real deal. When you encounter the real dragon she's every bit as boastful as any other dragon.
- Long-Lived: While not immortal, dragons can live a very long time. Their projected lifespans, assuming they aren't cut down by a Watcher and their companions, can be measured in centuries if not millennia. The mother of the dragon in Beast of Winter lived in the time before the creation of the Engwithan pantheon ages ago. This is why the dragon is not impressed by the Engwithan pantheon since she knows they are artificial.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Not all dragons have a "kill on sight" reaction to kith. Since they are intelligent beings, they can be reasoned with. Every full-grown Dragon in the series will at least speak with you before trying to kill you, and indeed many of them can be talked out of a fight.
- Our Dragons Are Different: What sets dragons in this setting apart from others is their Adaptive Ability. Dragons take on traits from their environment. A dragon that lives in the sea would resemble other aquatic creatures and gain scales and fins. A dragon that lives in a volcano would look like it's made of living magma and rock. A dragon that lives near and feeds off of adra would have adra crystals growing on its body. And so on. There's even a mecha-dragon animated by the souls of three guardian dragons that serves as the Final Boss of Deadfire.
- Soul Power: As befitting such mighty beings, dragons have very powerful souls.
- Stronger with Age: Wurms and drakes are merely dangerous beasts. An adult dragon is something rather more.
- Telepathy: It's either this or Translator Microbes, but dragons do not speak verbally — kith hear their roars and hisses as spoken language inside their mind.
- You No Take Candle: Dragons of drake age speak crudely if they speak at all. Older dragons grow out of this, and the more ancient specimens are eloquent if not downright verbose.
A race of primordials, creatures of the elements, which take the form of small, winged humanoids. They commonly congregate (or infest) magical laboratories and libraries, somehow feeding on the magic within.
- Comic Relief: Loud, none-too-bright, disposable minions. Mostly Played for Laughs.
- Elemental Embodiment: There are various kinds of imps — brine imps, desert imps, and more — which assume various characteristics based on their environment.
- Hulk Speak: Occasionally, though sometimes they do use articles and pronouns. Whatever works.
- Insult Backfire: Most of The Archmage Arkemyr's imps have adopted his various insults as given names without ever realizing they're being insulted.
- Magikarp Power: It's a good thing imps are normally not intelligent enough to read grimoires. When the imp Nemnok managed to steal an amulet from Arkemyr that boosted his intelligence, he was able to read and absorb magical power from grimoires. The result is a gigantic and powerful imp bigger than ogres.
- Mooks: Commonly employed as a disposable workforce by mages, since they tend to show up in areas with a large concentration of magic anyway.
- No Indoor Voice: Their speech is written in ALL CAPS.
- Ugly Cute: They do start to grow on you after a while.
- Starfish Language: There's apparently a whole range of subtleties to the "spray" imps give off. Most kith simply find imps smell foul and look no further, however.
- Third-Person Person: Many of them simply refer to themselves as "Imp".
- Verbal Tic: "EH!"
- You No Take Candle: Their grasp on Aedyran is scattershot at best. Sometimes they can use pronouns, other times not so much.