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Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
73,986 backers pledged $3,986,929 to help bring this project to life.

The Heavy Hitters: Rogues and Rangers

Posted by Obsidian Entertainment (Creator)

Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

Heavy hittin'.

Welcome! First things first: if you have backed Pillars of Eternity but not yet completed your order on our website, please do so as soon as possible. Even if you have an all-digital order, we need information from you to make sure you get everything you are supposed to. If your backer tier includes an NPC, item, portrait, or other custom piece of content, an early response will make it easier for us to work with you on your designs and preferences. As always, we appreciate that our backers have made Pillars of Eternity possible and we want to ensure that you get your money's worth.

Broken Age

Broken Age is now released!

As most of you know, our friends at Double Fine have their new adventure game, Broken Age, coming out today. Double Fine and their Kickstarter adventure game paved the way for all of the games that came after - including Pillars of Eternity.

If you are fans of the adventure game genre (or just fans of good games from indie studios), show them some love.

You can find more about it on their website.


Engwithan ruins. Engwithan ruins sitting atop some cliffs.

Things are going well at Obsidian on the Pillars of Eternity team. The artists are putting the finishing touches on the second of our two big cities, Twin Elms, and the environments look fantastic. Our designers are busy implementing narrative and quest content, in some cases returning to earlier areas to fill in cracks and flesh elements out more. The character artists are almost done taking all of our highest-priority creatures to alpha level and are starting to look at the second string of creatures and variants. Animation is right behind them, creating rigs and alpha animations as new creatures come online, and we're finally returning to our main character animations for a second pass. Programming continues to chug away at user interfaces, AI, and zany spells and many other items on our long list of features. In short, we're well past "the hump" and the game is looking and feeling better every day.

Heavy Hitters

In most RPG parties, there's a character type that focuses on dealing death to VIPs in the enemy roster. They are the heavy hitters, the characters who cut enemies down one-by-one with precise, overpowering attacks. We've previously talked about one of our heavy hitters, the cipher. Ciphers alternate between powerful mental attacks and the physical strikes used to power them. They are the only "caster" class that focuses heavily on individual enemies, in large part because their abilities all require an external concentration of soul energy to serve as a power source.

In contrast to the cipher, the rogue and the ranger are more traditional, but just as deadly. Rogues rely on the vulnerability of their enemies to inflict devastating attacks in close quarters. Rangers coordinate their strikes with the help of animal companions, creatures with whom rangers form lifelong bonds. Outside of direct combat, rogues and rangers share a skill emphasis in Stealth and are commonly the sneakiest party members. But while rogues also have a specialization in Mechanics (most often to lay traps and deal with ones placed by their enemies), rangers focus on Survival, which improves the duration of many consumable items. Though the three "heavy hitter" classes have different styles of play with different strengths, they all excel at taking enemies down in the shortest amount of time possible.

In Pillars of Eternity, the designation of a character as a "rogue" signifies their vicious, brutal style of fighting, not a propensity for theft or deception. More than any other class, rogues exemplify the adage that the best defense is a good offense. If fighters are the disciplined, reliable, well-trained units that hold the line, rogues are the shock troops that attempt to break through that line to take out vulnerable units before they can effectively retaliate. When pinned down, rogues can suffer from their weak defenses, but ideally they carry their momentum from one target to the next in short order.

All rogues start with three abilities that allow them to immediately dive into heavy-hitting: Finishing Blow, Reckless Assault, and Dirty Fighting.

  • Finishing Blow (Active) - Full Attack. This ability gains power the more damaged the target is. When the rogue uses a Finishing Blow, he or she makes a full attack at the enemy with his or her current weapons. The attack is made with an Accuracy bonus and does +50% damage if it hits. For every 1% under 50% Max Stamina the target has, the attack does an additional +3% damage. 3/rest.
  • Reckless Assault (Modal) - In this mode, a rogue's Deflection is lowered but he or she gains a bonus to Accuracy and damage with all weapons.
  • Dirty Fighting - 10% of the rogue's Hits with any melee or ranged weapon are turned into Crits. This occurs after the initial attack roll is resolved. The resulting shift is displayed in the combat log.

As rogues advance, they gain access to abilities that allow them to maximize the damage and afflictions they can dish out to their targets. They can also learn a variety of tricks to help them get out of trouble when the going gets tough.

  • Sneak Attack - Sneak Attack applies bonus damage to the rogue's ranged and melee weapon attacks when the target has any of the following statuses: Blinded, Flanked, Hobbled, Paralyzed, Petrified, Prone, Stuck, Stunned, or Weakened. It also applies to any target the rogue strikes with a weapon within the first 2 seconds of combat starting.
  • Escape (Active) - Escape allows the rogue to break Engagement and safely move away from their current location. The ability must be targeted on open ground to which the rogue has a clear path. When activated, the rogue immediately breaks Engagement and swiftly moves to that location. 1/encounter.
  • Crippling Strike (Active) - Full Attack. Inflicts extra damage and the Hobbled condition. 2/encounter.
  • Coordinated Positioning (Active) - You are able to instantly switch positions with one target within 1m. If this is an ally, the switch is automatic. If it is an enemy, the maneuver is an attack against its Reflexes (only succeeds on a Hit or Crit). The switch is immediate and cancels Engagement (if any) on the rogue. 2/encounter.
  • Adept Evasion - 50% of all Grazes against a rogue's Reflexes are converted to Misses.
  • Blinding Strike (Active) - Full Attack. Inflicts extra damage and the Blinded condition. 2/rest.
  • Deathblows - Against any target that is afflicted by two or more of the conditions that can allow Sneak Attack, rogues do additional Sneak Attack damage.

Edér the Ever-smirking. Resident heavy-hitting rogue, Edér.

Rangers are expert sharpshooters with any ranged weapon. Though they traditionally rely on bows and crossbows, some use firearms or even magical implements. Regardless of their choice of armament, even novice rangers can strike swiftly and leave severe wounds that quickly wear down an enemy's stamina and movement. They are assisted in their efforts by their animal companions, incredibly tough and loyal creatures who share their lives (literally) with their masters. All rangers start with the following three abilities:

  • Animal Companion - The ranger begins the game with (and can name) an animal companion that fights at his or her direction. This companion shares Health and Stamina with the ranger, i.e. if either one is damaged, the same pool is reduced. Both the ranger and the animal companion die if their Health is reduced to zero. Animal companions have high inherent Damage Thresholds that allow them to run interference for their masters.
  • Wounding Shot (Active) - Only usable when ranged weapons are equipped. The ranger's shot inflicts a continuous damage effect and Hobbles the target. 3/rest.
  • Swift Aim (Modal) - This mode increases the ranger's rate of fire and reload with ranged weapons at the cost of an Accuracy penalty.

At higher levels, rangers gain abilities that increase the effectiveness of their attacks and the coordinated use of their companions. By tactically applying the synergistic benefits of the ranger and his or her companion, players can lock down and quickly overwhelm powerful enemies.

  • Defensive Bond - When both the ranger and his or her animal companion are subjected to an area effect attack, they gain +15 to the targeted defenses.
  • Marked Prey (Active) - The ranger can designate a single target as his or her marked prey. He or she and his or her animal companion have a damage bonus against that target until combat ends. Once designated, the target cannot be switched. 1/encounter.
  • Predator's Sense - The ranger's animal companion gains a damage bonus on any creature suffering from a continuous damage effect, including those caused by Wounding Shots.
  • Stalkers' Link - When a ranger's animal companion Engages a target, the target is automatically Flanked if the ranger has a ranged weapon equipped and is opposite the target.
  • Takedown (Active) - The ranger's animal companion will knock the target Prone with a Fortitude attack. 2/encounter.
  • Defensive Shooting - When using ranged weapons against any target that is Engaging the ranger, the ranger's Accuracy is increased by 20 and his or her Interrupt rating is improved by one category.
  • Master's Call (Active) - When the ranger issues Master's Call, his or her animal companion will immediately move back to him or her at increased speed, gaining a +20 bonus to Concentration and defenses against Disengagement Attacks. Any enemy it comes within 1m of is automatically attacked (Fortitude) and knocked Prone if the attack succeeds. 2/rest.

In addition to the abilities listed here, ciphers, rogues, and rangers can gain access to additional class-specific abilities as well as Talents. Some Talents can be taken by any character, but many are class-oriented and can be used to distinguish or emphasize one character from another. One cipher's Talents may emphasize his or her physical attacks while another's makes his or her Focus use more efficient. One rogue may maximize his or her advantage against a specific type of affliction; another may improve the frequency with which his or her offensive abilities can be used. And while rangers can always benefit from improving their marksmanship and special attacks, investing in the durability and abilities of their animal companions can safeguard the ranger against disaster.

Pillars of Eternity's heavy hitters all differ in how they bring the pain to enemies, but we hope you enjoy the concepts and mechanics we've presented here. As always, these are our current designs and implementations, but will be adjusting them in the months to come. We will be doing three more class pair updates in the future: The Leaders of the Band (chanters and priests), The Front Line (fighters and barbarians), and The Mob Rulers (wizards and druids). Let us know what you think of today's update and please vote on which of the three class pairs you'd like to see covered next. As always, thanks for reading and for your continued support.

Klarden, Demian Walendorff, and 101 more people like this update.


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    1. dungeoncrawl on

      @Trister - I'd be happy with 50-60+. I tend to play games slower than most...although I'm not a 100% completionist. I find if "How long to beat" sites say it's 40 hours...I'm at 55. 60 hours might = 90 for me. :)

    2. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      @ dungeoncrawl

      i don't tend to call people foolish unless they really deserve it, and you definitely didn't. :-)

      you're right, there are definitely wildcards in the deck for this game. the fact that obsidian can put more of it's own money into this is definitely one of them. i suspect we're probably going to be looking at a 50+ hour game, probably along the lines of a complete run through of KOTOR or something like that, but with probably more replayability. the FASTEST i ever managed to get through that, in a bare bones nothing but the main quest run, was 46 hours. i know people can probably do it faster, but that's certainly more than long enough for me. would i like more? certainly, especially since they're creating such a fascinating world. but i don't expect more than about 50-60 hours, and anything after that is gravy.

    3. dungeoncrawl on

      @trister - Good points regarding budget differences between BG1, FO3 and PoE. And thanks for not calling me foolish :). One thing to consider though is that Obsidian isn't a couple of guys with an idea trying to kickstart their dream project. They're full blown game developer. If they think that a 90+ hour game will will help sell copies, they 'could' invest the additional $$$ in it. I think it's safe to say I won't be disappointed if it's not 90+ hours. If it's 50+ hours, I think I'd be happy. I'd WOULD be disappointed if, however, it were 20 hours. I wouldn't be calling Obsidian out because the didn't promise that. We seem to get a lot of that these days (take Tides of Numenara's decision to go Turn Based. People are screaming they've been cheated when they never promised that). But if it's 20 hours, it's not going to be as much like the old Infinity Engine games as I'd hoped.

    4. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on


      i'll ask you one thing: what was the budget of those games you mentioned that had such a large number of hours you could put into them? i'll guarantee fallout 3 and skyrim had VASTLY larger budgets, and i'd be willing to guess that even without inflation the others probably had similar budgets to what they're working with now. add inflation and... well, expecting something with that much content is kind of unreasonable. a couple things i've read has BG1 budget at 3 million, minimum. 3 million doesn't go as far as it used to, by any means. so... if we do get that 90+ hour game you're hoping for, be thankful. but don't expect it, because they aren't working with the same kind of funds to make that happen.

    5. Arvid Granat on

      I especially like the Ranger description so far. Also, the names Predator's Sense and Stalkers' Link sound cool. I hope you'll give equally good names to the rest of the skills and such :)

    6. Missing avatar

      der_seri on

      "RPGs with replay value are those where you can ask after a playthrough whether the story did really end, and you have the feeling that you have somehow not lifted its secrets."
      In my experience that's not true. While different endings may effect the replayability, some RPGs have that by their sheer quality - for me, I had that in the BG and IWD series, though their narrative is quite linear.

    7. dungeoncrawl on

      @BenW - why is that foolish? BG1, BG2, Skyrim, Fallout 3 are all 90+ hour games without replay? I'm not saying 90 hours of Main Quest. It's 'the way it was done' back in the 1990s RPGs. You could play 90 hours doing all the side quests. Nothing foolish about it....its been done quite a bit.

    8. Missing avatar

      Quantomas on

      I can relate to that. A game needs this sense of mystery to be drawn to it. This sense of mystery is diminished once the story is ended. RPGs with replay value are those where you can ask after a playthrough whether the story did really end, and you have the feeling that you have somehow not lifted its secrets.

      What I would like to ask of Obsidian, if you do an expansion, don't simply add an attachment like Baldur's Gate 1, but expand the story in depth and the mystery that underpins it.

    9. Missing avatar

      Ben W on

      No game is going to be that 90+ hour one that you want based on content alone. ASking that of any designer is foolish.

    10. dungeoncrawl on

      I don't mind if it's late 2014 or early long as it's 90+ hours like a Baldur's Gate type game. I really don't like a 20 hour game with "lots of replay value". I don't really dig playing as different classes just to see how well balanced it is. Once I've explored areas and completed quests, a lot of the magic is gone for me. It's only fun again when it's been years, I've forgotten things, and replay then.

    11. Missing avatar

      Leon Moor on

      What's holding those stones up in the screenshot? That bugs me.

    12. Dave, Shadowrunner on

      @Mind the Gap On the PoE wiki / FAQ it says "Pillars of Eternity is tentatively scheduled to be released in Winter 2014". Of course that's tentative and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets delayed until early 2015.... Hopefully we'll be playing it by the end of the year but personally I'd rather have them take the time to polish it as much as needed.

    13. S.D. on

      @Igor Kurtes: I enjoyed Broken Sword quite a lot, actually. It could certainly use the Double Fine level of polish, but remember, it's on less than a third of Double Fine's budget for Broken Age, and the team building it (Revolution Software) are pretty tiny compared to DF. In both cases, I've enjoyed all the little hidden details, and the music is great on both titles. My only reticence is that both game's budgets are huge in comparison to some of the tiny indie teams producing awesome retro adventures on a small fraction of the budget (the best of which, in my opinion, being Quest for Infamy from the studio Infamous Quests). Imagine if those guys got their hands on a six-figure budget...

    14. Missing avatar

      Fry on

      @Mind the Gap

      They won't answer that question because they don't know yet. The best possible delivery date is "when it's done."

    15. Jeremy Garnett on

      Delighted by each and every update. Thankyou.

      What types of animals will the ranger be able to partner with?

    16. dungeoncrawl on

      I'm super impressed with the level of thought, detail, balance, background, etc. I really think this is going to be brilliant. I'm really hoping its 60+ hours like the old Baldurs Gate.

    17. Tyrone Biggums on

      Just one question. Will you guys meet your release date of April 2014?

    18. Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on

      As usual, another informative update. The heavy hitters have well thought out and detailed skills but I hope that during actual game combat, choosing or switching b/w the skills is fairly intuitive rather than a complex micro management process.

    19. Kevin B. on

      @ Darth Treton

      1)Tim Schaffer has his reputation, and that of the entire crowd funding movement, staked on his Double Fine Adventure being a solid game and financial success. He's not going to flake and deliver a quickly churned out second part. He can't afford too.
      2) The game already is a financial success. It has been in the top 20 games sold on steam since it was up for preorder.
      3) While you may find it "bleh at the very best" the vast majority of people that played it disagree with you (as you can see any place that hosts reviews). True, there are few people claiming it is a masterpiece, but most people agree it's a solid adventure game all around.

    20. Paul Andersen on

      I like it. Especially the non-traditional looking rogue pictured. (Neither sneaky, thin, & depraved looking or the BioWare special --- perky, hyperactive young female.)

      I would have liked an option for a powerful archer type without an animal companion, but I understand that is part of the D&D trope. Still, really liking the ideas presented here. They seem inspired.

    21. Kage Tempest on

      I've got to say, when I read those rogue abilities, manly tears came out for memories of the good old crpg days. Baldurs Gate/Neverwinter Nights

    22. Willem on

      Thanks for the update. Screen looks awesome and classes sound solid, no real quibbles. Just very excited for what I hope will be an incredibly good RPG.

    23. Missing avatar

      David Holmin on

      Correction: 3 should be "Ally with none, Rogue with B"

    24. Missing avatar

      David Holmin on

      NIce update! I have a question about Coordinated Positioning:

      Say I have a Rogue and an Ally of some kind, and there are two enemies A and B.

      If Rogue is engaged with A, and Ally is engaged with B, and I switch positions with the Ally, what will the resulting engagements be? I can see a few scenarios that could make sense:

      1) Both Rogue and Ally are disengaged,
      2) Rogue is engaged with B, Ally is engaged with A,
      3) Ally is disengaged, Rogue is engaged with A (argument: engagement break affects A, who has not recovered when Ally takes Rogue's place, but B is still "on guard"), or
      4) Engagement is normally recalculated for both Rogue and Ally, however that works, maybe resulting in option 2.

      Which one is correct, if any?

    25. gandalf.nho

      Nice, rangers are one of my favorite classes

    26. Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on

      @Chris J Capel I heard the whole reasoning about...."but now the game is soooo much more than it could have been on 3.6 mil". Of course Tim would say that, the fact is other KS games with similar budgets are in much better shape and will be full games....look at Wasteland 2 going through its beta. Then we've already seen a bit of Pillars of Eternity is turning out. And saying that the second half of the game "will" happen is one thing but doesn't mean it will be even close to the quality of the first half. I can already see it: "Well the first half cost 3.6 milion but it only made 500k profits at retail so here's a 10 slide powerpoint to finish the game."

      I don't care what the excuses are, if you blow 800% funding and all you can deliver is half a game, you do not deserve to be trusted with money.

      And the first half really isn't that's bleh at the very best.

    27. Johan Munkestam on

      I love all these environment pics I have seen - until 3D games can look like this I will prefer 'painted' art for isometric fantasy games.

    28. Missing avatar

      Mad Squ on

      Great update as always! I am really happy with the decisions you made and all looks as if everything is thought through very well. I am so much looking forward to play this game!!!

      Btw: Whatever happened to the Arcunaum playthrough? I see that Chris is taling part in all kinds of other projects here and there. Thats nice for him but I really liked the episodes so far and had hoped they would actually be continued.

      Best of luck for the goog work you are doing!

    29. Missing avatar

      Baudolino05 on

      Playing with all three heavy hitters seems a lot of fun, but watch out for the amount of micro-management required, guys. I don't wanna play another Dragon Age: Origins.

    30. Igor Kurtes on

      Uhhh I also thought I filled the order form... thx for reminding me :)

      And Broken Age! Finally! And I can say so far it seems to be great game!

      I must also say after 30 min of playing it seems the made better adventure than the new Broken Sword title :(

    31. fredgiblet on

      I could have sworn that I filled out the reqrds thing before, I guess I was wrong, good thing I checked.

    32. Makura on

      Nice news... As a rogue enthusiast, I hope I can take my revenge from all the frustration in Dragon Age, where trying to main with a close combat rogue was a really suboptimal choice to say the least...

    33. Missing avatar


      Neat stuff! Thanks for the update, Obsidian!

    34. Luke Keppler

      I'm not sure if this has been answered yet, but is there an add-on option for a physical expansion? I'm in the process of confirming my backing level on the site and don't like the thought of the physical CE not being definitive (or at least including a way to bundle a physical expansion).

    35. Logan on

      Keep the updates and screenshots coming! Glad to read you guys are working so well with Torment: Tides of Numenera!

    36. Jeremie Lariviere

      Thanks for the update!

    37. Azureblaze on

      Oh man, love to see some info on my favorite class types, Rogues and Rangers!

    38. barbarian_bros on

      Cam :
      about numbers after the 'active' abilities :
      -2/encounter : you can use this ability twice in this encounter... then twice in the next encounter.
      -3/rest : you can use this ability 3 times... and you need to rest to reset the counter to 3.

    39. Bryy Miller on

      Holy jesus, archers are going to be absolute BEASTS.

    40. Kordanor on

      The site seems to experience some serious problems.

    41. Chris J Capel on

      @Darth Trethon: "Tim mismanaged 800% funding, delivered a poor half-game and now the second half is dependent on the the poor first half selling well and generating millions in profits(which I don't see happening). This can very possibly leave all the backers(and all who buy the first half at the full game's price) with a quite poor half game that never gets finished. That is a major betrayal of trust."

      Wow. I was tempted to ignore you as I ignore all trolls, but you need to be taken to task for just making things up. A) The game grew exponentially from the original idea and price. After they spent their Kickstarter money they used their own money. Which part of this is bad? B) It's a great game. 81 on Metacritic, 8.5 User Score, for half a game. You're allowed not to like it, you're not allowed to call it "a poor game". C) Broken Age will be finished. You're making things up from the little you've read.

    42. Missing avatar

      CENIC on

      Edér is a rogue? Damn, I was expecting him to be a fighter.

    43. Missing avatar

      Cam on

      This might be a silly question, but what are the #/rest figures after some of the skills?

    44. Missing avatar

      pakoito - WooS on

      No mention of licensing your techies to inXile?

    45. robert guess on

      i really hope that the ranger will get to have a bullmastiff as a companion... a fawn bullmastiff would be a awesome companion. it is traditionally a protector for lords from times of old...
      ferocious and loyal to the death this would make my ultimate companion for ranger so i truely hope they have this one queued as a companion...

      if not please consider this as a option. i am sure there are many mastiff lovers out there...


    46. Tristan Zajcew on

      Your signup page is broken!

    47. Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on

      Nice update, interesting info. Although I'll only ever play as a Wizard/Cypher.

      I am very unhappy to see Broken Age get such a mention. Tim mismanaged 800% funding, delivered a poor half-game and now the second half is dependent on the the poor first half selling well and generating millions in profits(which I don't see happening). This can very possibly leave all the backers(and all who buy the first half at the full game's price) with a quite poor half game that never gets finished. That is a major betrayal of trust.

      Now I completely trust you guys at Obsidian, I am not worried about you pulling any such shenanigans as Tim did but I still find phrases like "...our friends at Double Fine..." particularly troubling.

    48. Dawn_

      But hey great update :) Glad i backed this game and i can't say this for all i've backed...