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Exclusive Class Preview - Part 2

William Murphy Posted:
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Pillars of Eternity launches next week on March 26th. As fans of the Infinity Engine RPGs of yesteryear ourselves, we’re all very eager to give this new take on the golden age a playthrough (and some of us may have begun doing so!). We gave you part one yesterday, and today we have the remaining classes to delve into.

The ruleset being used by Obsidian is not your traditional D&D. Instead, Obsidian built their own rulebook for Pillars of Eternity. As they put it themselves:

“Players will recognize many familiar elements -- six attribute scores, many classic races and classes, discrete character levels, a roll-to-hit combat system, strength-based personal character inventories -- but the systems use seconds (and fractions of seconds) instead of rounds, a virtual "100-sided die" for more transparent combat mechanics, and the use of easily-understood formulas that would be difficult to calculate in a tabletop environment.”

Without further ado, here are the remaining six classes of Pillars’ 11 possible choices! Bear in mind the abilities listed below are just a small sample of what each class has access to as they level, on top of talents and other special abilities as well.


The result of years of discipline and teaching, monks have developed the keen ability to draw strength from pain. They tap into their experience of suffering to harness the power of their souls. Not all monks belong to a religious order, and not all are fighters, but anyone who can endure suffering and become stronger for it represents an intimidating force.

Ability Sample:

Wounds – Monks can convert incoming damage into Wounds. As monks take damage, they build up their Wound resource. Wounds are the resource that powers many of the monk’s abilities. Some of these abilities require a minimum number of Wounds present in order to activate. Talents or traits can impact this ability in positive ways.

 Stunning Blows – Attacks from the monk’s melee weapons cause a Stun effect.

 Swift Strikes – Dramatically increases the monk’s Speed with melee attacks for a brief period.

 Transcendent Suffering – Monks’ unarmed damage is higher than normal, and increases as they gain levels.


Paladins are fanatical warrior zealots, devoting themselves to a god, a king, or even a belief, pledging to advance any cause in its name. They are more idealistic than most fighters, and devote themselves to one of five available orders: the Bleak Walkers, the Darcozzi Paladini, the Goldpact Knights, the Kind Wayfarers, or the Shieldbearers of St. Elcga.

Ability Sample:

Flames of Devotion – The paladin’s equipped weapon(s) burst into bluish flame for their next attacks, applying Burn damage if they hit. A missed attack removes the effect from that weapon, as does switching weapons or combat ending. 

Zealous Focus – Allies standing near the paladin have their Accuracy increased.

Faith and Conviction – Paladins have an inherent bonus to all of their defenses. For non-player character paladins, this bonus is fixed. For player character paladins, this bonus increases as they maintain a state of consistency in their chosen virtue (e.g. reputation). 


Priests devote themselves to worshipping a particular deity, which is selected during character creation. Religious loyalty imbues the priest with spellcasting abilities, which are crucial to support the adventuring party.

Ability Sample:

Holy Radiance – Holy Radiance regenerates Endurance for allies immediately around the priest. Any Vessels caught in the area of effect take Burn damage and are Frightened. For non-player character priests, this bonus is fixed. For player character priests, this bonus increases as they maintain a state of consistency in their chosen virtue (e.g. reputation).

Interdiction – The priest condemns his or her enemies, inflicting a Dazed status on them.

Spells Sample:

Armor of Faith – All allies in the area gain a bonus to their Damage Threshold.

Holy Power – Allies’ Might and Resolve are increased.


Rangers are warriors of the woodlands and masters of the hunt. They have learned how to live in the wilderness and adapt their unique skills in civilized contexts their survival instincts contribute to martial prowess, and the savagery cultivated while living among beasts can be harnessed to devastating effect. Rangers select an animal companion during character creation. This follower stays with the ranger their entire life.

Ability Sample:

Animal Companion – The ranger begins the game with (and can name) an animal companion that fights at his or her direction. Animal companions have high natural Damage Threshold, which increases as the ranger gains levels.

Wounding Shot – The next full attack inflicts damage over time and Hobbles the target. 

Swift Aim – This mode increases the ranger’s rate of fire and reload with ranged weapons, attack rate with melee weapons, and reduces accuracy.


Rogues are opportunistic combatants who prey on their enemies’ vulnerabilities to inflict devastating wounds with their weapons. They have numerous techniques to quickly disable their targets’ ability to fight back or escape. Rogues can be infuriating opponents due to their ability to quickly escape from combat or reposition themselves to a tactically advantageous position.

Ability Sample:

Crippling Strike – Inflicts extra damage and Hobbles affected foe.

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 few seconds of combat.

Coordinated Positioning – The rogue is able to instantly switch positions with one target within a short distance. If this is an ally, the switch is automatic. If it is an enemy, the maneuver is an attack against its Reflexes (successful on a Hit or Critical Hit). The switch is immediate, and cancels Engagement (if any) on the rogue.


Wizards are gifted individuals who, through rigorous study, are able to channel soul fragments around them through their books, called grimoires, to produce magical effects. Wizards’ spells often focus on area damaging effects and personal defense. They have access to a dizzying array of spells, but may only cast out of their currently equipped grimoire.

Spells Sample:

Ghost Blades – Spectral knives fly out in a cone area, causing Pierce damage over time. The target’s Movement is also reduced.

Combusting Wounds – Targets take additional damage over time whenever they are wounded.

Fireball – The caster summons a fireball that explodes in a scorching circle of destruction.

Ironskin – The caster’s skin becomes as tough as iron. This defense lasts for 10 attacks that cause damage to the target (against a damage over time effect or a multi-projectile attack like Spell Missile, each application of damage counts as an attack). After the 10th attack, the effect expires.

Malignant Cloud – Creates a cloud of virulent poison which does raw damage (ignoring Damage Threshold) to anyone in the cloud every few seconds until they leave, and for a few seconds after.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.