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What are your favorite narrative/thematic elements of Pillars' world/story/lore? And Why?

narratives themes world story

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#1
injurai

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Pillars of Eternity has a lot going on within it. I find it incredible that they got as much interconnected lore working given the time they had. Me thinks Josh and others had been day dreaming some of these things for a long time!

 

For me I love that it's set in a "New Word." Age of Sail and Colonization and all that. Where old established cultures are confronting complete unknowns, in every imaginable form. Isolation on the frontier, colonial conflicts, lack of or imperfect law of land. Especially since it's exploring this era of history from a fantasy perspective. For me it's just a very fresh setting to experience and I feel I've only just gotten a small taste of it.

 

I also love the idea of man made Gods. The whole setup of them actually being powerful, but also having seemingly abandoned most of kith-kind creates a really interesting dynamic. This contrast between a desire to be free, but also subjugated under a super-ordinate being. And how existing faiths will be shaken. Who knows maybe there are even true gods, or maybe Pillars metaphysics is far more secular. Animancy is sort of presented as a secular pursuit within the world, but is viewed through the eyes of jealousy and superstition by those that ascribe the views of old. Either way it's an incredibly different way to setup the metaphysics of a fantasy world.

 

So how about you?


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#2
injurai

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Aight, I get it. This was a self-indulgent thread. I feel you guys.


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#3
BlackRangerXIII

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lol

 

Anyway. My favorite theme in the pillars series is how the soul is important, since it fuels Magic, Cypher abilities and the Watcher abilities



#4
Heijoushin

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Aight, I get it. This was a self-indulgent thread. I feel you guys.

 

That’s okay. I post self-indulgent threads all the time ;)

 

The themes of immortality and what people would do to achieve it (ie transferring your soul to a corpse or statue etc.), a new science in a skeptical world facing a disaster, and killing a God with a bomb were all appealing to me.

 

Colonial conflicts? Hmmm… I didn’t really feel this so much in PoE1, past the villagers bullying Aloth for being from Aedyr. If there was a political faction blaming Aedyr for all the troubles in Dyrwood, that would feel much more post-colonial :p I think this theme will be a lot more present in the upcoming Deadfire.

 

Man-made gods… not so much either. I know this has been rehashed so many times but, in a world where you can talk to Gods and do magic, atheism is a rather silly theme, even if there is an interesting spin on it.


Edited by Heijoushin, 27 April 2017 - 05:27 PM.

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#5
Messier-31

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I guess this thread shoulda been in the Stories forums (you know, the one with spoilers free policy). This is the no-spoilers section.

 

As for the topic, gonna write something up later ;)



#6
dukeisaac

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Pillars of Eternity has a lot going on within it. I find it incredible that they got as much interconnected lore working given the time they had. Me thinks Josh and others had been day dreaming some of these things for a long time!

 

For me I love that it's set in a "New Word." Age of Sail and Colonization and all that. Where old established cultures are confronting complete unknowns, in every imaginable form. Isolation on the frontier, colonial conflicts, lack of or imperfect law of land. Especially since it's exploring this era of history from a fantasy perspective. For me it's just a very fresh setting to experience and I feel I've only just gotten a small taste of it.

 

I also love the idea of man made Gods. The whole setup of them actually being powerful, but also having seemingly abandoned most of kith-kind creates a really interesting dynamic. This contrast between a desire to be free, but also subjugated under a super-ordinate being. And how existing faiths will be shaken. Who knows maybe there are even true gods, or maybe Pillars metaphysics is far more secular. Animancy is sort of presented as a secular pursuit within the world, but is viewed through the eyes of jealousy and superstition by those that ascribe the views of old. Either way it's an incredibly different way to setup the metaphysics of a fantasy world.

 

So how about you?

Everything you said (especially the part about the gods) and the collide of "civilization" vs "barbarism". Super interesting stuff. IMO, it shows that Josh Sawyer is a student of history.



#7
Messier-31

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Hokai.

 

Colonisation

This is quite interesting to see nations trying to expand in the newly discovered lands. Also it was a good call, because this whole setting is *really* new, so the world your protagonist gets to explore is also new for him (the character) and you (the player). You are actually being amazed by the things you discover, because you know next to nothing.

 

Renaissance-ish period

I like the medieval themed european settings just as the next guy, but this whole age of discoveries, gunpowder etc. was a refreshing of the genre without being over the top in my opinion.

 

Artificial gods

It makes you wonder about the Engwithans even more. What was life back then without gods? What/who did they worship before creating the current pantheon? Was it even ethical to impose such a belief system in this world?

 

Smaller things and details

Different types of currency, a unique reasonable calendar, a lot of detail put into the made up languages. I love it, because you can literally translate some of the things yourself when you see the pattern. The world building of this game is great.


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#8
Sedrefilos

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There is almost nothing I don't like about the setting or the lore.

 

At this point, it is the best fantasy setting I get to adventure into. Not too highly fantastical not too low either. Not too grim (grim for grimness' sake like most grim settings) not too yoohoohoo fairies and magic everywhere either. Not too generic european middle age-y, not over-the-top steam/magic technology either. Not too exaggerated history, not boring either. No real gods, no totally fake either.

 

Sheeeeeeeeeit! It strikes the perfect balance.


Edited by Sedrefilos, 27 April 2017 - 11:58 PM.

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#9
Katarack21

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The combination of the the Age of Colonization/Sail/Discovery (makes for lots of conflict combined with a wide open world and a sense of wonder), the combination of the physical reality of souls and the relatively recent takeoff of the science surrounding them (opportunity for mirroring real-world issues, again lots of conflict, lots of philosophy), general darkness including lots of dark humor but with spots of hope, subversion's of typical of fantasy genres.



#10
FlintlockJazz

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As others have said, the themes are all damn good, the setting is damn good, gunpowder good, not too grim not too light, about the only thing I feel is missing is fencing schools and their rivalries.



#11
rheingold

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Definitely the whole man made gods theme. Overall I find the ideas in the book exceptionally well written and thought out. Especially for a computer game. It also asks some pretty darn good questions about religion. But I am biased because it reminds me a huge amount of one of my favorite books, "lord of light".
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#12
Messier-31

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!


Edited by Messier-31, 28 April 2017 - 02:27 AM.

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#13
Wormerine

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I liked the most how could you define your memories. You could define your past choices and relationship with Iovara. I thought it was really neat.

 

 

What I could use are less obvious tropes. While I liked how clever the game was, giving a twist to traditional D&D quests and ideas I did roll my eyes a couple times. While some quests had nice subversion of expectations I, for example, didn't like the Heritage Hill area. Maybe because it reminded me of Neverwinter Nights (not a fan of this one.)


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#14
Wormerine

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!

Pointy hats for wizards are impractical and not historically accurate. 



#15
FlintlockJazz

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!

Pointy hats for wizards are impractical and not historically accurate. 

 

Well actually pointy hats were worn, usually in more eastern or central Europe but they were worn, good for keeping the rain off, and there is one major thing that needs to be considered: pointy hats are cool!

 

3067544.png


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#16
Katarack21

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One more thing!

The world is very unique but I also like the familiarities with other work (NOTE: some are quite obvious, some are pretty subjective and entirely mine)

 

  • Iovara is Deionarra (Planescape Torment) redesigned, not only in name but a bit of her story as well
  • Fulvano is Volo (Forgotten Realms) redesigned (and a hack)
  • Godlikes are Planetouched (Dungeons and Dragons) redesigned, while aumaua and orlans cover for halforcs and halflings
  • Teir Nowneth - aka Heritage Hill tower - is the Severed Hand (Icewind Dale) redesigned, even dev commentary says it so
  • Durgan's Battery is your beloved abandoned dwarven fortress in fashion of Mithral Hall (Forgotten Realms)
  • The Black Hound inn is a nod to the cancelled 3rd part of the Baldur's Gate saga
  • Svef is Fisstech (The Witcher) redesigned
  • St. Waidwen, the divine king of Readceras, is based on legends of Hans Böhm, the Drummer of Niklashausen
  • Aedyr Empire is our world Roman Empire with some pieces of The Empire from Warhammer Fantasy (sidenote: the union of men and elves is quite new and interesting)
  • Eír Glanfath has some Loren Forest vibes (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Sanitarium in Defiance Bay is Spellhold (Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) redesigned
  • Vailians from Old Vailia and the Republics are so much like Tilea and Estalia (Warhammer Fantasy)
  • Dunnage in the Deadfire is Sartosa (Warhammer Fantasy), the seat of power of local pirate princes ("Príncipi sen Patrena" means "Princes without Fatherland" imo) and Captain Furrante is boss
  • And last but not least: the Eastern Reach is the Dalelands (Forgotten Realms) flipped over

There is a notable absence of a good super wizard w/ pointy hat in likes of Gandalf, Elmister, Zandalor... archmages you meet are kinda dix, but that would be just another cliche on my list. And yet I like these things!

Pointy hats for wizards are impractical and not historically accurate. 

 

Same for godtouched and adra pillars, but they're damned cool!



#17
Varana

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Pointy hats are definitely _not_ cool. They're as cool as the flame of a candle - very much not so, and also quite unimpressive. :grin:

 

To be fair, though, that list has quite a few bullet points that basically list some earlier occurrence - which was in no way the first or only occurrence of that trope. An Empire with some clichés based on the Roman one is really ubiquitous - in fact, it'd be probably not that easy to find a fictional Empire that doesn't have something Roman about it. If the setting features some addictive drug, it probably will be really similar to Svef or Fisstech because that is all these things are. And so on.


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#18
JerekKruger

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I liked the use of souls as the source of various "supernatural" powers as a concept, as well as the related concept of animancy.

 

Artificial gods

It makes you wonder about the Engwithans even more. What was life back then without gods? What/who did they worship before creating the current pantheon? Was it even ethical to impose such a belief system in this world?

 

Yeah, I thought that was a really interesting concept and raised some interesting questions. The ethics of creating the gods, as you say, is one, but also why the gods being artificial makes them not real gods in the eyes of so many (players and, presumably, Eorans given the conspiracy to hide this fact). Whilst the main story wasn't always that well executed, the core concept behind it was very interesting to me.



#19
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faith. the core theme o' poe were faith.  we weren't satisfied with obsidian efforts to be exploring faith, but we must commend the writers/developers for the use o' companions and gods to develop poe faith.  

 

in crpgs, joinable companions typical have unique story arcs, but those companion stories rare is used to reinforce or develop core themes.  companion quests and stories is understandable gonna be insular from the critical path story as the developer don't necessarily know if any particular companion will be in a given player's party for a significant portion o' the game. companion quest resolutions is also gonna have at least a bit o' variation as crpgs promise at least the illusion o' player choice.  have the companion sidequests be integral to central plot is understandable problematic given the element o' player choice.  however, poe writers utilized all companions to explore central theme. every companion had a kinda crisis o' faith.  with all o' the tangential sidequesting available in a game such as poe, it is no doubt difficult to keeps a thematic focus, but the companions helped to keep theme grounded for the entire length o' a game lasting possible dozens o' hours.  common theme for all companions has been inexplicable rare in crpgs, with poe as a rare and noteworthy exception and all future obsidian gamess should adopt similar thematic reinforcement and bolstering via joinable companions.

 

the synthetic nature o' poe gods were also a clever solution to dealing with the faith problem which exists in almost any crpg with traditional rpg gods.  in a setting wherein the gods manifest predictably, faith is not a viable theme. in a setting where priests pray and receive spells, questions o' religious faith is obliterated.  in a world wherein gods regular interact with mortals, direct altering events and even landscapes, notions o' religious faith is comic. the synthetic nature o' poe gods allowed the developers to include a traditional crpg pantheon capable o' granting spells and divine powers to multiple fixed classes while also making religious faith thematic possible and intriguing.  

 

we got loads o' complaints and criticisms 'bout poe storytelling. poe setting, theme, character development and plot is all ripe for the typical bloody Gromnir harvest wherein we slash and burn our way through writer mistakes.  

 

*shrug*

 

been there and done that.

 

regardless, obsidian does deserve considerable credit for handling o' faith in poe.  

 

HA! Good Fun!


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#20
smjjames

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Yeah this should be in the spoilers section.

 

On the artificial gods, I've seen bits and pieces, but nothing like a full on admission or something.

 

Also, fisstech itself is based off of cocaine, so, svef could just be based off of cocaine rather than based off of fisstech. Though the naive responses make it sound more like marjuana.







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