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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 Leaders of the Band: Chanters and Priests

Posted by Obsidian Entertainment (Creator)

Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

For our third class update, we will be covering chanters and priests. Along with paladins (covered in Update 56), these classes provide parties with their core support bonuses and healing effects. Different games refer to these types of characters using different terms -- usually "leader" or "support" -- but at their core, they excel when they are providing assistance to their teammates. The benefits they provide to the group often outstrip the contributions of individual party members in the final tally, but their abilities must be used carefully to maximize their impact.

Our next update will be from Adam Brennecke. He has some great graphical enhancements to share that we hope you'll enjoy. After that, our final class update will be on The Front Line: fighters and barbarians.

All three of the leader classes have a balanced suite of offensive abilities and though there is overlap in the effects of their various support abilities, they differ significantly in how they are used. Paladins utilize persistent auras to provide strong bonuses to allies in their immediate vicinity and limited-use single-target commands to grant powerful buffs to individual teammates. Chanters' phrases create a rotating cycle of bonuses that shift over the course of combat, building up energy until they can utter powerful invocations. Priests are traditional casters, relying on large area of effect bonuses mixed with small area offensive spells to direct combat from afar.

Kana Rua, a chanter.
Kana Rua, a chanter.

Chanters are storytellers and repositories of ancient lore from myriad cultural traditions. They use these stories and legends to stir the memories of the dreaming lost souls and soul fragments that surround them. The spirits respond by creating magical effects, essentially playing their part in the recreation of the legends. In this way, chanters act as directors of supernatural actors playing out momentary plays for the chanter's benefit. Due to their heavy focus on folktales and storytelling, they have an inherent bonus to Lore. As explorers of many lost and forgotten vaults dating back to Eora's antiquity, chanters also have a bonus to Mechanics, helping them bypass tricky locks and traps.

To use their special kind of magic, chanters link together individual short phrases from different legends to create longer chants. The phrases have distinctive, thematically-appropriate effects that are of low power but can be applied while the chanter is engaged in other combat activities. As one phrase ends and another begins, the effects of the first phrase will linger, allowing multiple phrases to overlap with each other. Through the clever overlapping of phrases, chanters can grant their allies a sizable stack of minor bonuses.

But chanters aren't entirely about their passive phrases and chants. With each phrase that passes, chanters gain greater control over the spirits assisting them. When enough control is gained, chanters can direct them to perform a single powerful spell called an invocation. Invocations are often support-oriented, but some contain powerful offensive effects. Invocations are so powerful that they disrupt a chanter's chants, disabling their effects for several seconds until the chanter can recover.

While Eora's wizards are known for their "colorful" spell names, chanters' phrases are far more loquacious, often incorporating the entire spoken text of the phrase.

Sample chants:

  • Blessed Was Wengridh, Quickest of His Tribe - Movement rate and Reflexes increased for allies in the area of effect.
  • Thick Grew Their Tongues, Stumbling O'er Words - Enemy Concentration is reduced. (Will)
  • The Fox from the Farmer Did Run and Leap - Enemy Disengagement Attacks have reduced Accuracy.
  • The Silver Knights' Shields Broke Both Arrow and Blade - Increases the Deflection of allies in the area of effect.
  • At the Sight of their Comrades, their Hearts Grew Bold - Increases the Fortitude and Will of allies in the area of effect.

Sample invocations:

  • Not Felled by Axe, Nor Broken by Storm - Increases allied Slash and Shock Damage Threshold.
  • If their Bones Sleep Still Under that Hill, None Can Say - Summons three skeletons.
  • The Thunder Rolled like Waves on Black Seas - Stuns and pushes enemies in the area of effect. (Fortitude)
  • The Lover Cried out to the Beloved, "I am Yours!" - Charm effect on all enemies in the area of effect. (Will)
  • Rise Again, Rise Again, Scions of Adon! - Revives unconscious allies and heals a small amount of Stamina in a large area. This has no effect on characters who have already been Maimed or Killed in combat.
  • The Brideman Slew Thirty 'Fore they Crossed Half the Hall - Increases the Might, Constitution, and Resolve of allies in the area of effect.

In addition to their chants and invocations, chanters' close association with the Lost gives them one final, passive power: Ancient Memory. This ability activates whenever the chanter is in combat and grants low-level Stamina regeneration to all nearby allies. It is not as strong as a fighter's Constant Recovery or a priest's Holy Radiance, but can affect even faraway allies at all times.

Cadegund, a priest.
Cadegund, a priest.

Priests are devoted followers of one or more deities, though almost all have a primary dedication to a single god above all others. They are well-versed in philosophy, myths, and legends, giving them an inherent bonus to the Lore skill. Additionally, the requirements of their faith often involve traveling long distances in difficult circumstances, giving them an inherent bonus to Athletics.

In the world of Eora, priests do not gain power directly from their deity, but from their belief in the deity and the tenets of their religion. Paladins share a similar source of power, but differ from priests in the intensity and nuance of their beliefs. Paladins' faith is single-minded, extremely passionate, and held above all other concerns. The faith of priests is more philosophical, open to criticism (both their own and from others), and malleable from individual to individual. While paladins are ever-burning wellsprings of spiritual energy, priests gather energy into their own souls and release it through the use of specific prayers. These prayers form the common spells priests use in battle, ranging from healing magic and divine attacks to a variety of blessings and curses.

Compared to wizards, priests have access to a smaller number of spells overall but do not need to prepare those spells in a grimoire. And while priests do have offensive spells, they are smaller in area and generally weaker in power than similar effects available to wizards and druids. Here are a few:

  • Restore Minor Stamina - Part of a series of progressively powerful Stamina-healing spells. Restores Stamina to all allies in the area.
  • Armor of Faith - All allies in the area gain bonus Damage Threshold.
  • Withdraw - Caster or ally is momentarily phased out (cannot act, cannot be targeted) and regenerates Stamina.
  • Divine Terror - All enemies in the area are Frightened for the duration (Will).
  • Consecrated Ground - Creates a long-lasting circle of Stamina regeneration on the ground for allies.
  • Divine Mark - Blasts the target with Burn damage and reduces their Deflection for a short duration (Will).
  • Holy Power - Allies' Might and Resolve are increased.
  • Pillar of Faith - Does Crush damage to the target (Reflex) and knocks enemies Prone (Fortitude) in a small area (Foe Only).
The priest spell, Dire Blessing.
The priest spell, Dire Blessing.
  • Prayer Against Restraint - Part of a series of spells that ward against afflictions. Grants a bonus to resist any attack containing the Hobbled or Stuck afflictions. If those afflictions are already on the target, their durations are reduced by 10 seconds (Hobbled) or 5 seconds (Stuck) respectively.
  • Watchful Presence - All affected allies gain an effect on them that will last until the end of combat or until triggered. When any affected character drops below 20% Stamina, Watchful Presence will heal a significant amount of Stamina on the character.
  • Triumph of the Crusaders - Allies gain a bonus that restores Stamina every time they defeat an opponent. The ally must strike the "finishing" blow to gain the benefit.
  • Revive the Fallen - Revives and restores a modest amount of Stamina to unconscious allies in a small area. This has no effect on characters who have already been Maimed or Killed in combat.
  • Salvation of Time - Extends the duration of all beneficial effects on allies.
  • Crowns for the Faithful - Increases the Perception, Intellect, and Resolve of all allies in the area.
  • Cleansing Flame - Hurls a ball of holy fire at an enemy. It does continuous Burn damage to the target and reduces the duration of beneficial effects (Reflex). After a few seconds, the Cleansing Flame leaps to another enemy within 3m and repeats the process again, ultimately affecting up to three targets. If no valid targets are in range when a leap occurs, the spell expires.

In addition to their spells, all priests have two inherent abilities: Interdiction and Holy Radiance. Interdiction is a fast-acting Dazed effect that the priest can apply to a group of enemies. It does not have a long duration, but can be valuable in gaining a quick advantage.

Holy Radiance regenerates Stamina for all allies in close proximity to the priest. Additionally, any vessels (spirits bound into unliving matter like dead flesh, copper, or bronze) hit by the effect take Burn damage and are Frightened if the radiance overcomes their Will.

The power of both Holy Radiance and the paladin's Faith and Conviction abilities can be modified by their behavior and the reputations they develop from the choices they make. When players make a paladin or priest character, they select an order or deity, respectively. Each choice highlights two types of behavior that are celebrated and two types of behavior that are condemned. For priests and paladins played as the main character, their Holy Radiance and Faith and Conviction power will shift based on their behavior. Reinforcing their deity's or order's preferred behavior will gradually increase their power, while playing against type will cause a small diminishment in their power. These changes are not dramatic, but reflect a measure of dissonance between the character's stated faith and how they choose to conduct themselves.

The priest spell, Circle of Protection.
The priest spell, Circle of Protection.

A few paladin orders:

  • The Shieldbearers of St. Elcga - An order of Aedyran holy warriors who emphasize kindness and diplomacy over cruelty and aggression. The Shieldbearers were founded in honor of an elven noble who helped unite the Aedyr and Kulklin kingdoms after a long war.
  • Kind Wayfarers - Knights-errant who assist troubled travelers and celebrate love, condemning deception and malice even when dealing with their enemies. The Kind Wayfarers are a diverse group of people and can be found all over the known world.
  • Bleak Walkers - Soldiers dedicated to conducting warfare mercilessly and with extreme brutality in order to bring a swift end to conflicts. Known for their unyielding, terrible nature, most nobles will only call on them as a last resort.

Some of the deities priests can select:

  • Eothas - Presumed dead by many, Eothas is (or was) the god of renewal and light. His followers exemplify honesty and benevolence in their interactions with others. In the Dyrwood, Eothasians are often victims of prejudice due to the aftermath of The Saint's War, in which the Eothasian peasant known as St. Waidwen led a holy war into Norwaech.
  • Magran - A goddess of fire and warfare, Magran is celebrated by many Dyrwoodans for her priests' assistance in The Saint's War. Already known for their use of firearms, the priests collaborated to develop the "Godhammer" bomb that destroyed St. Waidwen at Evon Dewr Bridge. Statues of Magran can be found all over the Dyrwood and Magranites are popularly known for their boldness and quick wits.
  • Berath - The god (or goddess) of the dead takes many forms in different cultures, but their names are widely invoked by most people at one time or another. Theologians see Berath as the guardian of all gateways, including the gates of life, death, and rebirth that all mortals must pass through. Common folk fear the priesthood of Berath but respect them for their level-headedness and unflinching resolve in the face of endless death and suffering.

The Leaders of the Band are a powerful trio of classes for players who choose to focus on bolstering their allies. Each class has its own style of providing benefits and we hope you enjoy experimenting with their varied mechanics.

That's all for this week. Let us know what you think of the chanter and priest in the forum. As always, thanks for reading.


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    1. barbarian_bros on

      English :
      For French-speaking people, my French translation of the update 78 is available here :

      Français :
      Pour les francophones, ma traduction française de l'update 78 est disponible ici :

    2. Lastan, The Penultimate Castoff on

      @Peter Tierney: The chanters reminded me of Darmok as well. Temba, his arms wide. <3

    3. Kevin Vega on

      I'm sorry I've been out of touch with this, but when exactly is this game supposed to come out now? It still says April 2014.

    4. Missing avatar

      Greenfr0G on

      "This has no effect on characters who have already been Maimed or Killed in combat."

      Does that mean that game will contain a mechanic, where our party characters can get permanenntly maimed in combat? Like somebody might chop their hand off (unless you load a save before a maim)?

      Becuase if it does, that would be gorundbreaking. Nobody has done that before. And I would love to see it in game.

    5. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      @ rolan

      you know, that makes a lot of sense. this game has how much to look at? you have the entirety of the BG series, IWD 1 and 2, PS:T, the fallouts, the steamworks game i can't remember the name of, and how many other games that this is building off of? there have been a ton of advancements in the understanding of games themselves, and what can be done and the best ways to do it. really, if this wasn't a more sophisticated game and approach to this kind of genre, i'd be highly disappointed.

    6. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      @michael chen

      they said that the release window was this winter (if i'm remembering right) in a previous update.

    7. Missing avatar

      someone on

      So, evil Paladins?

    8. Rolan Storm on

      This update reminds me of a time when I was waiting for 'Baldur's Gate' to launch. Difference is - and I don't mean to diminish 'Baldur's' impact on game world - this game is much more profoundly sophisticated. To be honest when I read updates on project every now and then I have 'are we there yet?' moments. :)

    9. Michael Chen on

      Just out of curiosity, what's the ETA for Project Eternity right now? I know that most successful Kickstarter project have the tendency to fall behind schedules due to all the extended goal they must now add. However, it would bring peace to my mind if I could just get a rough idea of how the project is doing overall, if possible. Thanks in advance.

    10. Missing avatar

      elfkerben on

      It looks like BG or Icewind Dale, thats all i need, more important is the storyline and the interactions for me and the good translations. The budget is not so high to get the best graphic, so do the right and force on the story and the rulesystem.

    11. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      So one question: Will we be able to actually hear the chanters repeating their chants and invocations?

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

      These updates are, as usual, informative and well written. I like the PoE's tweak on the traditional paladin and cleric with the chanter an interesting sub-class. Looking forward to testing them out in the final product.

    13. Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on

      I really like what I'm seeing, keep up the good work!!!

    14. Missing avatar

      Mad Squ on

      Very interesting update as usual. Obsidians updates are always great to read as you really go quite deep into the actual tech of the stuff and tell people how it is done.

      Nice classes. But I have to second most of the other people who think the animations have to be reworked. Especially the Circle of protection would need some. I also agree that there should be some indication that the other characters are buffed.

      Otherwise - Cheers for your work!!!

    15. Willem on

      Thanks for the great update. Really liking all the classes revealed today. Paladin sounds very cool, and I love the fact that there are actually paladin orders that are more focused on the 'fanatic' side of being a paladin than on the good/noble side. Priests sound solid as well. Chanters: very cool and interesting; I really like how you implemented it with 'chant dancing' (akin to stance dancing using intricate overlapping mechanics). One thing I just want to mention that I would love is this: it would be very cool if we could actually discover somewhere in the game where those names of the chants originated from, either in some book or journal entry or even in the chant UI itself (akin to a spell description). That would be awesome. For example: 'Blessed Was Wengridh, Quickest of His Tribe'; it would be cool to somewhere actually discover who Wengridh and his tribe were and how this chant came to be.

      As for the spell effects: I have no problem with the overall look of these, but as some others have mentioned: the animation timing and quality still needs some work. Also: it would be good to actually see at least some sort of indication on the characters themselves that they are buffed (as in IE games); not every single buff needs to do this of course, but some of the 'major' buffs I believe should, even if it is just a little glow above their heads.

      That's about all the feedback I can muster now; thank you for the update. Really looking forward to the game.

    16. Missing avatar


      Awesome stuff! It's getting harder and harder to choose what classes to play with, they all sound amazing!

    17. gandalf.nho

      Nice update

    18. Jonathan Bereza on

      Glad to see that there are still behavioural restraints on Paladins. Was sad to hear the loss of "Lawful Good" only paladins but this system actually sounds a lot more interesting. Look forward to the conflicts between whats best for my character and what's best for my party.

    19. madGamer on

      Great update. i just dont like very much the animation of the character in the second video.

    20. Alan Villarreal on

      Great videos!!!! minor suggestion: Can you add a slight shimmer so we can tell if people are in the area of the circle being hit by the ability? or a shimmer effect that stays on until buff wears off? Good way to tell if buff is on or not

    21. Saodhar

      Bleak Walkers, you say? I like the sound of that. :)

    22. Jack Hepburn Raine on

      Awesome, and really love the casting vocals was hoping those would be in the game.

    23. Jeremie Lariviere

      Awesome detailed update!

    24. Missing avatar

      Cutter on

      Lol Peter, thought the exact same thing. Was just going to comment with...."Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra. Shaka when the walls fell. Darmok on the ocean."

    25. Bryy Miller on

      Chanters are a completely awesome take on the Bard class!

    26. Chet on

      Does a Bard by any other name still sing as sweet?

      A Chanter seems like a Bard sub-class.

    27. Marcin Wolny on

      Spells are somewhat underwhelming. Few notes:

      1) They lack lighting effects. It hurts eyes most in in Dire Blessing - spell spawns an effect that looks almost like a flames, but doesn't affect the environment in any way.
      2) I really, really hope that the echo effect on a voiceover is there only because characters stand in a dungeon...
      3) Circle of Protection is literally a circle ;) Kinda disappointing it's not a dome, but anyway: I watched it in a highest resolution - it most likely is just a fault of YouTube compression, but it looks pixelated.

      What I liked:
      - Shimmering effect on the edges. Really adds to it.
      - Character animation - reminds me of good old Infinity Engine games.
      - Voice - fits really well to the character.

    28. Dragoon on

      The chanter class is of a very unique and interesting design I haven't encounter yet in a CRPG. Since the days of AD&D 2nd I found cleric and later druids types very boring to play, but this time I intrigue to play a chanter. I wonder, will we actually hear the chanter sing those phrases?

      Also, Kana Rua can bit me. I'm just joking. No, really! Please don't.

    29. Peter Tierney on

      Those Chanter phrases are evocative of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Tamarian language. "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra!" "The river Temarc in winter." I like it!