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Welcome novice,

so, this guide is focused on introducing you to the very basics of Pillars of Eternity. It will give you an overview of what all the important numbers are, what they do and how you should handle them. I hope I can make you more familliar with the nature of the game and help you start off. If you have a question, please check if it is already answered here before opening a thread. Thanks :)

Health and endurance:

Health and endurance are somewhat unique in this game. You see, endurance is actually your "health" during a single encounter. It is represented by a red overlay on your character's portrait, and when it drops to 0, your character will be knocked out and be unable to participate in combat. That is also why most healing spells are directed towards filling up endurance. Endurance is what you should focus on during an encounter. Endurance is affected by your base endurance and your level. Endurance regenerates after every encounter.

Health on the other hand is your health throughout several fights. It will go down as well, but it is a far bigger pool (how big exactly it is is affected by your class). Your endurance can only be as high as your health, so if your health drops below your maximun endurance, you will not be able to regenerate your health endurance above the level of your health (in game, this will be represented as a grey overlay over your characters portrait). Health can only be regenerated to a very small amount of talents and spells, as well as through (and this is what you will do most of the time) resting.

Attacks and defenses:

There are four major defenses your character has, and every defense works against a certain kind of attack. Those defenses are Deflection, Fortitude, Rfelex and Will.
Deflection is your most commonly used defense, as it is used against all physical attacks (so for example when someone strikes you with a weapon).
Fortitude protects you against all attacks (from abilities or spells) that go against your body in a broader sense (so knock down, petrified, sickend and so on).
Reflex is your defense against AoE attacks (so enemy spells that work in an area of effect).
Will is your defense against attacks that go against your mind (so for example domination, charm, dazed, and so on). Every defese is important, and you should try not to drop any.

What goes against every attack is the accuracy. This makes accuracy a crucial stat, as it will determine wether you will miss, graze (-50% damage or spell duration), hit (standard damage or spell duration) or crit (+50% damage or spell duration). Accuracy is used not only for damage focus attacked as well as crowd controll or debuff attacks. If an attack does two effects (for example deal 30 damage and knock down the target), wether you hit or not will be calculated two times (i the example, the accuracy will go against deflection for damage and against fortitude for knock down).

One thing that I will add here: Every attack has an interrupt value that goes against the concentration of the target. If that hits, the target will be interrupted in hs action and needs to start it over.

Damage types and damage reduction (DR):

There are eight types of damage:
The three physical types slash, crush and pierce,
the four magical types burn, freeze, shock and coorode,
and raw damage.

Damage reduction (DR) comes from equipment such as armour or spells. It is simply substracted from the damage dealt. Every armour has a base DR that get applied to most damage types. As a rule over the thump (though it has a few exeptions, but it usually works): Every extra point of DR will cost you 5% Speed.

Every armour also has strengths, where there is more DR applied against certain damage types, and weaknesses, where less DR is apllied against certain damage types. Typically, the strength is often a physical damage type, while the weakness usually is a magical damage type. However, there must always be an small minimum amount of damage applied, DR can not ignore damage completely.

Some creatures are immune to a certain damage type. This means that that damage type can not injure the immune creature.

Raw damage is available almost exclusively through spells and talents, and it simply ignores DR. There is no immunity to raw damage.

A word on the way armour strength and weaknesses work and how proving contributes to the armour by our wonderful member AndreaColombo. Thanks Andrea :)
For example, say you have an armor whose base DR value is 8, but it is particularly good against Slash damage (10) and bad against Crush (6). These values are obtained as 8 * 1.25 = 10 (Slash) and 8 * (1-0.25) = 6 (Crush).

Now let's say we want to apply a damage proofing enchantment to this armor. Against any damage type other than Slash or Crush, proofing adds a flat +3 to the armor's DR: 8 + 3 = 11.

If, however, we proof it against Slash damage, we are getting more bang for our buck: (8+3) * 1.25 = 13.75, which the UI will round up to 14.

Likewise, proofing it against Crush damage gets you less bang for your buck: (8+3) * (1-0.25) = 8.25, which the UI will round down to 8.

Counterintuitively, you get more out of proofing your armor against damage types it's already good at protecting you from. The same is true of the bonus DR applied by the Fine, Exceptional, Superb, and Legendary quality enchantments.

Types of melee weapons and fighting styles:


There are three categories of melee weapons: Heavy two handed, heavy one handed and an light one handed. Each weapon deals one or two physical damage types and has a special enchantment (do not confuse this with quality enchantments such as "good" or with spellbinds). Those enchantments could be +5 accuracy (for example dagger, rapier,...), two damage types (pollaxe, sword,...), DR bypass (stilleto, mace, estoc), you get the picture. For a detailed list on what enchantment each weapon has, I recommend you have a look att the wiki http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Weapon#Melee_Weapons

Light one handed weapons have a lower base damage (unmodified) than either of the heavy weapons, but they have an higher attack speed.

Heavy one handed weapons have a higher base damage than light one handed weapons, but a slower attack speed. They also have a lower base damage than two handed weapons, but the weapon carrier can still make use of his off-hand.

Heavy two handed weapons have the highest base damage, but lack the speed of an light and the flexibility of a heavy or light one handed weapon.


Shields offer protection, but slow down attack speed and may inflict a malus on accuracy. There are three types of shields, small (deflection +8 ) , medium (+12 deflection, -4 accuracy) and large shields (+16 deflection, -8 accuracy). Shields need to be carried in the off-hand.


One handed weapons can be wielded either alone, with a shield or as dual wielding Each choice has it's own advantages, and an talent to boost that advantage further.

One handed fighting (+12 accuracy, talent: 15% hit to crit conversion)
Dual weapon fighting (+50% attack speed, talent: +20% attack speed (total +70%) )
Weapon and shield (deflection bonus, talent: +6 shield deflection, bonus also appllies to reflex)

Two handed weapons can only be wielded alone, and they have a talent to boost their damage output.

Two handed fighting (highest base damage, talent: +20% damage)


Fists count as dual wielding weapons and deal crush damage. They can not be enchanted, but they can be boosted with the monks transcendent suffering and the cross class novice's suffering talents. Dual wielding speed boost and talent also work for fists. You can also fight just with a fist and a shield, in which case the weapon and shield bonus and talent also works.


All weapons (including fists) are part of one of the weapon focus groups. A weapon focus gives a +6 accuracy when using a certain weapon. Which weapon is determined by the weapon focus. Each focus also includes at least one ranged weapon.

Vurnable attack gives a 20% speed malus on every melee attack, but gives 5DR bypass to very attack.

Types of ranged weapons:

There are generally speaking two types of ranged weapons: Those with reload animation and those without reload animation.


There are two different types of ranged weapons without reload, implements and bows. Bows have a higher base damage, but only deal pierce damage. Implements (staff, scepter, rod... magical weapons, really) have a lower base damage, but dual damage types.

Scepters, wands and hunting bows are fast ranged weapons, but have a lower base damage. Rods and war bows have a higher base damage (than their counterparts), but are slower.


There are two types of reload weapons: Firearms and crossbows.

For crossbows, there is the crossbow and the aralbest. The crossbow has the lowest base damage of all reload weapons, but it also is the fastest. It also has no penalty on critical hit damage. The aralbest has a higher base damage, but it is slower than the crossbow (though not as slow as the arquebus). It has -30% on thecritical hit damage multiplier, but critical hits can inflict prone.

For firearms, there are pistols, blunderbusses and arquebuses. A pistol has a lower base damage than the arquebus, but it's attack speed is faster (though not as fast as the crossbow). Pistols have -5 accuracy and -30% critical damage multiplier, but they have 6 DR bypass. The arquebus is slower than the pistol (and all other ranged weapons), but it has a higher base damage. Arquebuses have -4 accuracy and -30% critical damage multiplier, but 6 DR bypass. Blunderbusses have the speed of pistols, but they shoot 6 single pellets (bullets) that all do very little base damage (6-9 base). Whether they hit or not is induvidually claculated for every single pellet. Blunderbusses have no accuracy malus, but -30% to critical damage multiplier and 4 DR bypass.


Every ranged weapon can profit from the talent "Marksman", which gives +5 accuracy against distant enemies and make use of their respective weapon focus.

Reload weapons can profit from the talent "gunner", which makes reload 20% faster.

Implements can make use of a talent called "dangerous implements". It adds 25% to the damage of the implement, but the wielder sufferes 3 points of raw damage every time he fires.

Penetrating shot gives every ranged weapon -20% attack speed, but 5 DR bypass.


When using an implement, a wizard can deal a modest amount of AoE damage with each hit. Penetrating blast is an upgrade which gives the AoE attacks a small amount of DR bypass.

A ranger has two high level abilities, one for bows and one for firearms. But I will leave those for you to discover ;)

Attack speed and speed boni:

Attack speed and especially it's boni and mali are at first a bit confusing. You see, most attacks attack will go as following:
Attack animation....Recovery....Attack animation....Recovery....and so on
For firearms and crossbows, there is also a reload animation included.

Now, let's look at different speed boni. Dexterity for example gives an action speedbonus.That means that ALL stages of an attack will be affected (attack animation and recovery, and reload if that is the case). It simple speeds up (or slows down) every action your character does.

The other speed bonus you can get is also the same kind of malus that is apllied by armour. That only affects the recovery time, but NOT the attack (and reload) animation. This means it shortens the time between two actions, but it does not affect the attack animation itself. This is important, because this means that for example a crossbow will not greatly suffer from heavy armour, as the recovery is only a small part of it's attack. On the other hand, a bow will suffer much more, as it has no reload animation and a longer recovery greatly affects it's speed.

The atrributes and what they do:

There are six basic character stats to every character. These are commonly referred to as attributes, and they affect many other stats that are important to your character.The attributes are (in brackets what they do); below a quick describtion of what is to note:

IMPORTANT: The basic stat is 10, at which point there is no bonus or penalty. Any point below inflicts the according penatly, every point above inflicts the according bonus. You can have a mximun of 18 and a minimun of 3 points in every attribute, not including boni.

MIGHT (+/- 3% ALL damage and healing per point; +/- 2 fortitude per point)
Might affects ALL damage outputs the character does. So, for example the spelldamage of a wizard be just as affected as the weapon damage of a fighter. ANY class can profit from might in EVEY damage output, is is not only important for barbarians, fighters, monks etc... The fact that it also affects healing makes it especially important for support classes like priest or paladin. In scripted interactions, it may be used to intimidate through your strength or to use your strength.

CONSTITUTION (+/- 5% health and endurance per point; +/- 2 fortitude per point)
Constitution is not difficult to understand, it simply does what it says, it adds to the endurance (and thus to the health). What is important to understand is the difference between health and endurance. There is a section I explaiend that. In scripted interactions, it may be used to withstand harsh physical strain.

DEXTERITY (+/- 3% action speed, +/- 2 reflex)
Dexterity affects action speed, increasing the speed of ALL animations. More on that in the previous section. In scripted interactions, it may be used to test your reaction speed.

PERCEPTION (+/- 3 interrupt, +/- 1 accuracy, +/- 2 reflex)
+1 accuracy may not seem like a lot, but it is such a crucial stat that every point is important. More on that in the section about attacks and defenses. In sripted interactions, it may be used to recognise details. It does however not add to your ability to find hidden objects or secrets, see mechanics for that. Thanks GreenStrike :)

INTELLECT (+/- 6% area of effect, +/- 5% duration, +/- 2 will)
Intellect increases ALL area of effects and buffs or debuffs. So like might is important for spellcasters as well, intellect is important for armed classes (and unarmed) as well. A good example of this is the barbarian: His melee attacks also attack enemies in an AoE around the attacked enemy, and that AoE gets bigger with higher intellect. Similarilly, the many barbarians self buffs also get longer with higher intellect. So, it is actually a pretty desirable stat for barbarians. Obviously, it also prolongs the duration and size of all spells, so casters want it as well. In scipted interactions, it tests your intelligence and your wits. In scripted interactions, it is used to determine your willpower.

RESOLVE (+/- 3 concentration, +/- 1 deflection, +/- 2 will)
Like perception, resolve only adds one point to deflection. But deflection is your most commonly used defense, so it is, like accuracy, a very desirable stat, at least and especially to those who are under heavy fire.
In scripted interactions, perception, intellect and resolve are the most commonly used stats.


All races give either two +1 stat boni or one +2, one +1 and one -1 malus. Further, each race has up to four subraces each with their own unique abilities (exept for humans, all subraces have the same ability). The race and subrace boni and abilities can be useful for builds (and they largely are), but don't choose a race you don't like just beacuse their bonus looks so good. People will react to ypur race, and you may end up disliking your character.

HUMANS ("FOLK") (+1 might, +1 resolve)

Lore: Humans make up large parts of the population in Aedyr, the Dyrwood, Old Valia and the Valian Reepublics. They are known for their strength and willpower.

Meadow Folk (fighting spirit: after dropping below 50% endurance, the human gains +7 accuracy and +15% damage for 20 sec)
Ocean Folk (same)
Savannah folk (same)

AUMAUA (+2 might)

Lore: The Aumaua are commonly found near oceans, for which they share a fascination (although they are not an aquatic race). They are known for their extreme strength.

Coastal Aumaua (towering physique: +20 defense against prone and stunned)
Island Aumaua (armed to the teeth: gain an aditional weapon set)

DWARF (+2 might, +1 constitution, -1 dex)

Lore: By area covered, dwarfes are the most widespread race, and can be found in almost every colonised part of the world. They are known dor their great strength and tenancy.

Mountain Dwarf (hale and hardy: +20 defense against poison and disease attacks)
NOTE: This subrace is on many outdated guides regarded as very weak. This no longer applies, as now a lot more spells and abilities fall under the cathegories poison and disease
Boreal Dwarf (hunter's instincts: +15 accuracy against wilders and primodials)

ELF (+1 dexterity, +1 perception)

Lore: Known for their speed and intelligence, Elfes (commonly found in the Dyrwood, Eir Glanfath, the White That Wends and Aedyr) are said to have an isolative nature

Wood Elf (distant advantage: against enemies more than 4m away, Wood Elfs gain +5 accuracy, +5 deflection and +5 reflex)
Pale elf (elemental endurance: +10 DR against Burn and freeze damage)

ORLAN (might -1, perception +2, resolve +1)

Lore: Often regarded as uncivilized by other races, orlans are known for their quickness and mental intensity.

Heart Orlan (minor threat: when targeting same target as an ally, 10% of hits are cncerted to crits)
Wild Orlan (defuant resolve: after being targeted by a will attack, Wild Orlans gain +10 on all defenses for 10 seconds)

GODLIKE (+ 1 dexterity, +1 intellect)

Lore: Godlike are children of other kith (civilized races) that have been "blessed" with physical attributes associated with the gods. These attributes may take many form and often come with mystical powers.

NOTE: Due to their unusual headshapes, Godlikes can NOT wear helmets or any other headgear.

Death Godlike (death's usher: +20% damage if target has less than 25% health)
Fire Godlike (battle forged: +4 DR, 2 (increaseswith level) damage to characters hitting self)
Moon Godlike (silver tide: when falling below 75%, 50% and 25% endurance for the first time per encounter, they heal +10 (increases with level) endurance over 20 meters)
Nature Godlike (wellspring of life: +3 might, + constitution, +2 dexterity when endurance below 50%)


The culture determie your chracters country of origin. In game, characters will react to this, and you may encoumter both favour and racism.

AEDYR EMPIRE (+1 resolve)

Lore: With the main land being centered around the equator, the adyr empire is one of the world's largest empires with many coloinies all across Eora (the planet)


Lore: Containing of the nation of nasitaaq, several Aumaua settlements and hundereds of pirate nests, the seas of the Deadfire Archipelago are infested with a large number of sea monsters.

IXAMITL PLAINS (+ 1 resolve)

Lore: The savannahn culture is one of the oldest yet least imperialistic. It is excessivley farmed by Humans and Orlans.

OLD VALIA (+1 intellect)

Lore: A crumbling sea born empire, old valia is dominated by it's merchant. Though slowly falling apart, the Valians are still powerful, and proud of their rich cultural heritage

RAUATAI (+1 constitution)

Lore: Dominated by the Aumaua natio of Rauatai, the recourseful gulf of the same name houses sme of the youngest yet most technologically advanced nations and colonies acrodd Eora.


Lore: The living lands area mountanious region on a northern heavily colonilised island. It is named so due to it's large biological diversity and extreme numbers of different animals and plants (that can, in some cases, take on monsterous forms).

THE WHITE THAT WENDS (+1 perception)

Lore: A large southern region of cracked polar ice, only a few tribes, explorers and outcasts live here. With no plant life to be found, the few living creatures feed on each other for survival.


Your background determines what you have done in your past life so far. In game, people will react to this. For a more detailed overview look at this https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/78795-i-explored-all-character-backgrounds-so-you-dont-have-to/ post put together by our awesome member b0rsuk. Good job b0rsuk ;)

NOTE: Not all backgrounds are available to every culture

ARISTOCRAT (+2 lore)

ARTIST (+2 lore)

CLERGYMAN (+2 lore)

COLONIST (+2 survival)

DISSIDENT (+1 lore, +1 stealth)

DRIFTER (+1 survival, +1 stealth)

EXPLORER (+1 lore, +1 survival)

HUNTER (+1 stealth, +1 survival)

LABOURER (+1 athletics, +1 mechanics)

MERCENARY (+1 athletics, +1 lore)

MERCHANT (+1 lore, +1 mechanics)

MYSTIC (+2 lore)


RAIDER (+1 athletics, +1 survival)

SCHOLAR (+2 lore)

SCIENTIST (+1 lore, +1 mechanics)

SLAVE (+1 athletics, +1 survival)


There are five skills you can enhance each level up. These are:

(decreases the speed at which enemies will detect you)

(adds 5 points to your per encounter regeneration ability second wind per point invested)

(every two points in lore allow you to use a higher level scroll)

(every point in mechanics increases trap accuracy by 3 and allows you to pick +1 higher level locks, and to require less or no lockpicks in doing so. It also adds 3 to your accuracy when finding secrets and hidden objects)

(every point in survival allows you acces to new boni when resting using camping supplies. These are
extra DR,
heal multiplier,
bonus move speed,
extra accuracy against certain enemies,
extra consumable duration,
extra damage vs flanked enemies
If you have bexond 6 survival, these boni will increase)

Any of these might be checked in a scripted interaction. Most commonly, survival and lore are checked.

You can spread 6 skill points per level (base game has 12 levels, WMI 14, WMII 16). Unused skill points will be carried to the next level for you to spend later on. Any skill will cost one skill point to take it from 0 to 1, two to take it from 1 to 2, three for 2 to 3 and so on. Skill boni that come from classes and background enhance your base skill. So, for example a philosopher (+2 lore) will only need one skill point to come from 2 to 3 points in lore. Item boni do not add to the base, but are simply added afterwards. Thanks Jojobobo :)

An short introduction into the classes:

heavy WIP



The classic casters are the wizard, the druid and the priests. They all share an similar spell system (spells can be used 4 times per level per rest, spells are mainly gained through level ups). The classic casters spells are amongst the most powerful, however, their use is limited.

The classic casters also start of with the lowest stats. Note however that all spells have an inherent accuracy bonus (varies, but often =10). For all classic casters, at higher levels they can choose to master a single low level spell (at level 9 they can master a lvl 1 spell, at lvl 11 a lvl 2 spell and so on).

For most classic caster builds, intellect and might are central (stronger effects, longer spell duration). Dexterity and perception are also very useful for casters, as they allow for faster and more accurate casting.


The wizard's spells focus mainly on damage, CC, debuffs or self buffs. Their spells can be both AoE and single target spells.

Wizards have the largest number of spells to choose from, however, they are limited by the fact that they can only choose up to two spells per level (every odd number 2 new spells, every even number 1 new spell; an exception to this is level 1 where they can choose four new spells. New spells are only unlocked every odd level) and that they can only equip four spells per level in their grimoire. Grimoires can be switched during battle, however, this switch causes a short cooldown.
Wizards also have the unique ability to "loot" spells using grimoires of other casters. If a grimoire with different spells is found, these spells can be learned in exchange for a small number of copper that increases with the spells level.

The wizard starts with the following stats and abilities (aside from spells):

Endurance: 36 base, +12/level
Health: 4*endurance
Accuracy: 20 base, +3/level
Deflection: 10 base, +3/level

Wizards also have a 2 times per encounter ability called Arcane Assault. It causes small amount of raw damage and dazes enemies in a small AoE.

Let's look at some lvl 1 spells to see what the wizard's spell focus is:

AoE and single target damage:
The fan of flames spell is considered one of the wizards good early game damage spells. It causes 31-43 burn damage in a all targets cone before the caster.
Minoletta's minor missiles are a single target damage spell. It causes three projectiles that cause 12-222 crush/corrode damage to the target. For each projectile, the hit is calculated separately.

Crowd control:
The slicken spell is a spell that causes all targets in a relatively big AoE to fall over for 4s. When enemies are prone, they lie on the floor and cannot execute any action. Slicked is regarded as one of the best early game spells.

The chill fog spell is commonly accepted as one of the wizards strongest early level spells. It lasts for 15s and causes everyone in the big AoE to receive 12-19 freeze damage and causes blinded on the targets. Blinded is an excellent debut, making this spell very strong.

Self buffs:
Eldritch aim is a self buff that gives the caster +15 accuracy for 10 seconds. This is a very big bonus, and thus this spell remains relevant throughout the entire game.

For a list of all the wizards spells, I recommend the game banshee website http://www.gamebanshee.com/pillarsofeternity/spells.php


The druid's spells mainly focus on AoE damage spells, often combined with CC or debuff effects. However, the druid also posses a variety of healing and buffing spells as well as even some summons, making him one of the most versatile classes in the game.

Druids gain a new set of spells every odd level. Their stats are:

Endurance: 36 base, =12/level
Health: 4*endurance
Accuracy: 20 base, +3/level
Deflection: 20 base, +3/level

They also posses a strong per encounter ability called spirit shift which allows them to temporarily transform into a strong animalistic form in which they have increased DR, speed, and a bonus to his stats. The spirit shift forms also have two unique abilities. Druids can cast spells while shifted.

The bear gains two additional points of DR. He also can let out a roar twice per rest, frightening enemies in the AoE for 10s. His palms do a base of 12-22 slash damage and have a speed equivalent to dual wielded heavy one handed weapons.

The boar gains two passive abilities: He regenerates small amounts of endurance constantly, and his attacks inflict wounding (small amount of raw damage over time). His palms do a base of 12-22 pierce damage and have a speed equivalent to that of dual wielded heavy one handed weapons.

The stag gains a +7 bonus to all defences, and once per rest he can attack all enemies in an area of effect around the target with his palms for a short period of time (10s) with reduced damage and accuracy. His palms do a base of 12-22 slash damage and have a speed equivalent to dual wielded heavy one handed weapons.

The wolf gains a +2 move speed bonus, and twice per rest he can knock down an enemy. His claws do a base of 12-22 slash damage and have a speed equivalent to dual wielding heavy one handed weapons.

The cat has a faster attack speed than the other spirit shift forms. Once per rest, she can boost her attack speed by 33% for 10sec. Her claws do a base of 12-22 slash damage and attack with a speed equivalent to light one handed weapons.

The damage that druids do while spirit shifted can also be enhanced using talents. Spirit shift is such a strong ability that it is viable to build a druid around it.

Let's look at a few examples of early game spells to see where the druid's focus lies:

AoE damage and debuff:
The level 1 spell sunbeam causes 20-35 burn damage and blinds everybody in the relatively small AoE. Blind is such a strong debut that this spell is very useful early on and, if chosen as spell mastery, becomes important again at higher levels.

AoE damage and crowd control:
The level 1 spell winter does 30-50 freeze damage to all enemies in the AoE effect cone, as well as pushing them back 5m.

The level 1 spell nature's vigor adds 15% maximum endurance and creates a mild regeneration to all allies in the AoE.

The level 2 spell woodskin gives allies in the AoE +6 DR against shock, pierce and burn damage for 15s, making this a situational but if applied strong buff.

The lvl 2 spell conjure lesser blight summons either a lesser fire, rain, wind or earth blight. Due to the blight's immunities against certain damage types, this can be a very strong spell (if you summon the right blight).

For a list of all the druid's spells, I recommend the game banshee website http://www.gamebanshee.com/pillarsofeternity/spells.php


The priest's spells mainly focus on healing and buffing allies, but he also possesses powerful debuffs and even a few damage spells. Similarly to the druid, the priest gains a set of spells every odd level. At higher levels, there might be minor changes to the spells pretending on the chosen deity.

The priest is one of pillar's most powerful classes, and any party can benefit greatly from having a priest.

The priest's stats are:

Endurance: 36 base, +12/level
Health: 4*endurance
Accuracy: 20 base, +3/level
Deflection: 15 base, +3/level.

The priest also possesses a per encounter ability called holy radiance. Unupgraded, it heals a modest amount of endurance to allies in the very big AoE and causes burn damage to any vessel (for example ghouls or skeletons) in the AoE. The amount of endurance healed and damage dealt is affected by wether the priest behaves accordingly to his deity's wishes. If this not is the case, the priest will receive a malus to the amount of healing and damage done. If this is the case, the priests will receive a bonus to these numbers. The priest also receives a bonus with increasing level.

There are a number of upgrades (talents) for the radiance, amongst those are for example aggrandizing radiance, which reduces the healing done but gives the priest a temporary (10s) +2 boost to all attributes, inspiring radiance, which gives allies a +10 accuracy buff for a short period of time (15s) or brilliant radiance which causes a modest amount of burn damage (base 30) to all enemies caught in the AoE.

A priest can also gain a second per encounter spell called interdiction. It dazes all enemies in a big AoE for 7s. Again, there are a number of upgrades to the spell, such as painful interdiction, which adds a weekend debuff (9s) to the affected enemies or empowered interdiction which adds =10 accuracy to the spell.

Let us now look at a few early game spells to see the focus of the priest:

The level 1 spell blessing adds +5 accuracy and +10% damage to all allies in the AoE. While this might not seem like much, it is a very good bonus that will remain relevant throughout the entire game if chosen as spell mastery.

The level 2 spell concentrated ground creates an area of healing around the caster that heals a small amount of endurance every second for sixty seconds. This is an extremely good healing spell, and it will help you greatly with many encounters.

The level 1 spell divine terror inflicts frightened on all enemies caught in the AoE. This is especially early on very useful, as it reduces the enemy accuracy by 10.

The level 2 spell divine mark inflicts 40-50 burn damage and -25 deflection on a single target. While being a very strong spell, using it comes at a sick, as it has a very short casting range and the priest need to be close to targeted enemy.

Notable are also the prayer against spells: Priests gain many spells called prayer against.... that give allies in the AoE immunity to certain afflictions and reduce the duration of these afflictions.

For a list of all the priest's spells, I recommend you take a look at game banshee http://www.gamebanshee.com/pillarsofeternity/spells.php







​The new casters are the cipher and the chanter. What makes them different? Well, you see their spells do not rely on resting to be used. The cipher uses focus (which he gains through dealing damage) to cast spells, while the chanter builds up chants (which he automatically starts to sing in combat) to cast spells. Chants and focus you can regard similar to mana in other games, it will determine if and how powerful of a spell you can cast.

​The cipher and the chanter are both very versatile classes, however, there is much more variety in stat distribution for a chanter(as the chanter ultimately only "needs" intellect for long durations) than for a cipher (who should to be build in a way that allows him to quickly deal damage and thus gain focus, so might, dexterity and perception are all useful, he is however still a caster, so might and especially intellect should probably be your primary focus).







As previously mentioned, the chanter is one of Pillar's most versatile classes. Intellect is needed to increase the AoE of your chants and invocations as well as prolong the duration of their effects. Might is a very popular choice as well, as it increases your damage output. What further to invest in is now completely up to you, you can become anything from a ranged shooter to a melee tank. One thing that is worth mentioning is that the only speed buff that affects your chanting speed is through a talent you automatically gain through level up. This means that no speed buff or penalty, be it from dexterity or armour, will affect your chanting speed. This makes 3 dex chanter tanks in the heaviest of armours a good option, as they will be quite good tanks and at the same time work with their chants excellent effects. But of course, this does not make other builds less viable. Their ability to tank is also supported by their high deflection, although they have somewhat low health and endurance.

The chanter starts with the following stats and boni:


+2 lore

+1 mechanics


Endurance: 36 base, +12/level

Health: 4*endurance

Accuracy: 25 base, +3/level

Deflection: 25 base, +3/level


Now, the chanters "spells" are separated into chants and invocations. We will take a look at some level 1 examples of both to see what they do. We'll start with chants.


Chants are low power spells that you will continuously "cast" throughout combat. They can have many different effects like buffing, debuffing or damaging. Let's look at some examples:



"at the sight of their comrades, their heart grew bold" gives allies in the AoE +10 to fortitude and +10 to will for 6 seconds. This may not seem that useful, but it will help you when the time comes.



"dull the edge, blunt the point" decreases enemy slash and pierce damage by 10% for 6 seconds. This may not sound like a lot, but you can apply it over the entire combat if you wish to. So, for example after 10 hits by the enemy, he will only have done half of the total damage. Still sounds like not a lot?



"come, come soft winds of death" drains a little raw damage from all enemies nearby. It get's good due to the fact that the chants stack.




Invocations are high level spells that can be casted after a certain number of chants (lvl 1 after three chants, lvl 2 after four and so on). They can be buffs, debuffs, crowd control, damage or summons. Again, I will use early examples.



"not felled by the axe, not broken by the storm" gives allies in a cone and the chanter himself +5 DR against slash and +10 DR against shock damage for 20s. As with many chanter spells, especially early ones, it is situational but quite strong if apllied.



"and Hel-Hyraf crashed upon the shield" reduces enemy DR in a cone by 5. Can be quite useful, especially early on. Agaist 10 DR, 5 makes a huge difference. Against 25 it also makes one, but less prominent.


Crowd control/damage:

"the thunder rolled like waves on black seas" does 12-19 crush damage to enemies in a cone. Wait, but that isn't great at all. Not on it's own, but it comes together with a 4m push and it applies 5s of stunned on all enemies.



"but Reny Daret's gost, he would not rest" summons a phantom that fights for the party for 12s. This thing is obscene. The phantom does not only does ridiculous amounts of base damage, it is also freeze damage. It's attacks can stun. It has sneak attack. Early on, this can not only turn the tide, it can make an encounter a joke.








It is safe (and maybe even needless) to say that ciphers are pillars most talked about class when it comes to the matter of immersion. They are very closely tied with the story, and they have many unique interactions (more than any other class). Ciphers have the ability to intrude souls of their subjects, up to the point where they completely gain control of them. Which is where their original name comes from-in their place of origin, Eir Glanfath, where they where known as "mind hunters". Given their abilities and their history, ciphers are amongst the most distrusted group of kith. 


A cipher uses spells by spending points from his focus pool. He gains focus by dealing damage. This means you need to build your cipher in a way that allows him to deal damage through weapons as well as through spells. Focus is calculated as a percentage: Unupgraded, 1/3 of your damage dealt becomes focus. This means that the higher the damage you deal, the more focus you gain per hit. On the other hand, the more hits you achieve, the faster you gain focus. So even if at first sight, the heaviest weapons seem to be the most profitable for ciphers, any can work. Intellect is an important stat for all ciphers, in the end they are casters. Might is very useful as well: It adds to spell damage as well as weapon damage, so more focus gain and more damage per focus spend (assuming you spend it on damage spells). Perception and dexterity are important as well, both for casting and hitting, but you might find yourself choosing between the two (or spreading points equally), in which case it becomes a matter of taste, really. The ciphers soul whip (automatically learned at lvl 1) also gives +20% weapon damage, and you can upgrade it to give +40%. You can also upgrade focus gain to 2/3 of damage dealt. Every odd level up, you gain two new spells and every even level up one.


The cipher starts with the following stats and boni:


+1 stealth

+1 mechanics

+1 lore


Endurance: 36 base, +12/level

Health: 4*endurance

Accuracy: 25 base, +3/level

Deflection: 20 base, +3/level


A lvl 1 cipher spell will cost the cipher 10 focus to cast, and every new level will add 10 more points (so for example a lvl 5 spell will cost you 50 points). However, remember you enter combat with some focus to start with (the amount increases with level), so your first move can still be a spell if you wish so. The ciphers spells are damage spells, crowd control (infamously through dominations), debuffs as well as buffs. Let's look at some lvl 1 (so all cost 10 focus) examples:


Crowd control:

Whispers of treason will charm a single enemy for 10s. Charmed means that the enemy will fight for you,. but with reduced stats (-25 accuracy, -25 all defences, -25% attack speed). Therefore, it is often popular to use it on the toughest foe in the group. The spell is early on extremely good because it gives you an extra ally, and later when you grow stringer because of how separable it becomes.



Antipathetic field creates a beam between a single enemy and the cipher. Everyone caught in between (not the original target!) gains 10-20 corrode damage. The beam lasts for 12s, meaning it can deals immense amounts of damage if positioned right. However, it can also kill the party if poorly positioned, so beware.



Eyestripe afflicts the target with a blinded and dazed status, and enemies around him with dazed. Early on useful, later falls of.


For buffs, I will use a self buff example from the lvl 2 spells (so 20 focus cost):

Psychovampiric shield drains 10 resolve from the target and adds 20 deflection to yourself. If you are a melee cipher, this is a bread and butter spell.


Stacking rules:

(This is more a rule over the thumb than a detailed explanation. If there is something you think that should be added please tell me.)

Here is another one of those things that people easily get confused on: The rules of which effects and boni stack with others and which don't. And this is somethig that can easily destroy a strategy if it is not understood. "A displaced image potion for +25 deflection, a wizards double potion for another +40, and my tank will be unhittable, right?" No, that is not the case. There are a few rules as to which effects stack and which don't, so let's take a look:


Boni that come from equippmet (armour, belt, helmet, you get the idea) do not stack. This means that if two pieces of equippment affect the same stat, the weaker bonus will be surpressed.
For example, there is a robe that gives +2 intellect and a ring that gives +4. If you wear both, then the character will not have a +6 intellect boost, he will only have a +4 intellect boost because the stronger ring bonus surpresses the weaker robe bonus.


Boni that come from weapons and shields (accuracy, damage, deflection,...) stack with everything, aso within the same weapon. So, for example a dagger has a +5 accuracy bonus. If you give the dagger an accuracy enchant, the stronger one will not surpress the weaker one, they will stack.

Also, boni coming from the weapon style (one handed, two handed, dual wielding, ranged) boost the weapon style stack with everything. Continuing our dagger example, let's say you wanted to dual wield two such daggers. Then the speed bonus from dual wielding will stack with every other speed bonus you are currently using.


Passive sources are talents and resting/prostitute boni. As a general rule, they stack with everything. However, in the case of resting boni, you will not be able to have more than one inn bonus and more than one camping bonus at the time. You can also only have a single prostitute bonus active, and it only affects your main character.

Boni from talents also stack with everything and each other.

ATTENTION: Modals (like for example a paladins aura) are not considered passive, they fall under the category of active sources.


Active sources are spells, abilties, consumables and modals. Each one of those does not stack with each other. So, if you for example eat some meat for +1 might and activate frenzy on a barbarian for (amongst other effects) +4 might, the stronger +4 bonus from frenzy will surpress the weaker +1 bonus from meat, so the barbarian will have a might bonus of +4 (rather than +5). The same applies for any modal, ability or spell that come from an other party member.

Consumables are food and drinks, but also potions and scrolls. As mentioned, all of those do not stack with each other or with spells/modals/abilities.

Effects from different categories stack, so for example the +4 intellect bonus from the mentioned ring and a +1 intellect bonus from a fish will stack for an overall +5 intellect bonus.

There are some exceptions, for example if you choose to upgrade a priest's holy radiance so that it gives every ally an +10 accuracy bonus, that bonus will stack with everything, even though it is a spell. This is because it is consudered a passive, even though one might think it is a spell. Thanks Boeroer :)

A sidenote on summons and traps:

A single character can only lay one trap and summon one creature. If you want to have several summons or lay several traps, those need to come from different party members. Spell and figurine summons are treated the same way, so for example a chanter can not summon different creatures from different sources.

A summoned creature is treated like a party member, he can be buffed and healed, but also affected by for example friendly fire spells. Some summons have abilities they can use, so be sure to have a look at that.

Why no detailed build guides for the classes?

This forum is flooded with class builds, I am sure you will find what you are searching for or at least draw some inspiration. Here https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/85492-the-obsidian-boards-build-list-last-modified-28-out-16/ is an list of all up-to-date builds put together by our wonderful member AndreaColombo. Thanks Andrea :)



​also, laziness ;)


Edited by Ben No.3
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I will finish the guide as soon as I have a bit of time on my hands :)  (likely this evening)


This is meant for potential newcomers (a bit late, I know, but who knows what might happen ;) ) to give them a basic overview so they can follow the discussions on this forum more easily. 


Any feedback is welcome :)

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Hi, good idea!


Although I don't think you should give your opinion on the subject matters if they don't add anything to clear things up. Saying Endurance and Health is weird is your opinion. I don't think it is weird. The point you're trying to make however is that you have HP per encounter and overall HP and this is differentiated between endurance and health. Keep it short and simple. State what the facts are and explain why they are so. There is also information on the wiki (albeit quite dated in same cases).


Also less wall of text per block. Use paragraphs, and cleanup the info.

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Alright, thanks (weird as in unusual, that will be corrected)... I will add all that this evening.


Although I'm pretty sure endurance and health are the actual names(?)

Edited by Ben No.3

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Well... It is done for now. I already have a few modifications in mind... I will add them as soon as possible. If you have anythink you think should be up there please tell me :)

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Thanks Slacker :)


Update: I have added an overview over ranged and melee combat as well as added a few details here and there.

Edited by Ben No.3

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The time has come to address the bizarre elephant in the room: Stacking rules ;)

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NOOOOOOOOO.... Not the stacking rules....

At some point, but not now. Hopefully until the end of the week, but that subject needs more... time ;) 


If anyone wants to contribute, I'm happy. Save me from my work?




Well, damn...

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This thread should be made sticky, and even more so if it's going to include basic character building advice. You know, those basic concepts we all take for granted and (Boeroer) typically have to repeat in every thread in which a newcomer asks for advice (what are the most popular abilities by class; what are the most popular spells by caster class; what are the most popular weapons or pieces of equipment by character type; etc.)


In terms of stacking rules, without going too deep into how the code works (unless MaxQuest and Loren Tyr wanted to contribute), the basic concepts based on my understanding/memory are:


  • Passive bonuses always stack. (e.g. bonuses from Durgan steel; bonuses from class abilities like Armored Grace, talents like Gunner, or story talents like Dungeon Delver.)
  • Active bonuses that affect the same thing and belong to the same category do not stack, and only the highest bonus applies at any given time (e.g. the Accuracy bonus from Disciplined Barrage doesn't stack with the Accuracy bonus from Scroll of Valor or War Paint; the damage bonus from Savage Attack doesn't stack with the bonus damage from Reckless Assault; the bonus speed from Frenzy doesn't stack with the bonus speed from Potion of DAOM.)
  • Active bonuses that affect the same thing but belong to different categories stack (e.g. the Accuracy bonus from Disciplined Barrage stacks with the Accuracy bonus from Devotions for the Faithful because the former affects Accuracy as a whole, whereas the latter explicitly affects Ranged Accuracy and Melee Accuracy individually.)
  • Most speed bonuses stack multiplicatively, with the notable exception of the Two Weapon Fighting talent which stacks additively. There's an explanation of this behavior in MaxQuest's thread about attack speed, which I suggest you link in the OP.
  • Bonuses to attributes or defenses granted by items do not stack, and only the highest applies at any given time (e.g. if you wear a Minor Ring of Deflection and a Ring of Deflection at the same time, you only get +9 from the latter; the former gets suppressed.)
Edited by AndreaColombo
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Yeah, I've spend some time with stacking rules and there clearly are some general rules as you said. Gonna update it right now. But there are also exeptions... For example an upgraded holy radiance (+10 acc, +2 all attributes, +2 move speed) stacks with everything. So, if anyone knows what these exeptions are and if they follow a rule, please tell me.


About classes... I wanted to avoid giving specific builds, both because there are so many excellent ones already and because I do not think I am in a position to do so. But yeah, maybe I can add a section about the role of every class in a party and about where it's abilities are generally heading.

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Holy Radiance's talents are considered passive and therefore stack with everything.

BUT... it's sometimes very difficult to determine what is passive an what not. For example Shielding Flames (or was it Touch? Always mix that up) doesn't stack although it looks like it's a passive. Durgan Reinforcement's crit-to-hit conversion on armor doesn't stack with safeguarding on that same armor (see Hirbel's Protective Skin). But it works with shields.

And sometimes knowing what category a bonus belongs to is also not very easy.  Maybe it would be good to name bonuses by categories (like "deflection bonuses") and then list every single spell/ability/talent, name the category, tag it as passive or not (and maybe say if and how it stacks). I know, it's a ton of text. :)


Also, the last point (item bonuses) is only true if you don't take weapons and shields into account. For example the defense bonus to poison/disease of Wodewys stacks with everything, so does the herald enchantment of Outworn Buckler and Little Savior or the retaliation of Sura's Supper Plate or the MIG bonus of Godanythunyr or Abydon's Hammer. I don't mean to be a wisecrack - I just want to show that there are so many exceptions to those "basic" rules that it might be better to just list everything we know of. You can always do a full text search. ;)


And then comes the stacking of debuffs! Now that's totally messed up. ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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Update: added section on buff stacking rules. The section is not complete yet, but works as a general orientation. Also added short note on sumins and traps that might be helpful... took me quite some time to figure out how many traps or summons could be used when I started the game.



A giant list? Oh god.... I guess it would make sense, but I'm not trying to create a wiki, I'm trying to create a basic guide for a newcomer  ;)

But debuff stacking... I always assumed they work by the same rules? No? Why did no one tell me? ;)


Anyway, I think I'm gonna focus first on giving a overview over the classes (could turn out controvercial, so I will need to be careful) and take a small break from stacking rules. I will probably get back to that (mumbels inaudible, but annoyed) after I#ve done classes overview, but if you have anything that you think I should specifically add, go ahead


EDIT: What might be a possibility is to add a list of the "most confusing boni", but I'm afraid I lack the insight to create such a list :blink:

Edited by Ben No.3

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This thread should be made sticky


:w00t: WHAAAA.....



But seriously, I'm flattered you think so, but ...er... how do I do that? :wacko:  Talk to an moderator, I'm assuming?

Edited by Ben No.3

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how do I do that? :wacko:  Talk to an moderator, I'm assuming?


Yeah, only moderators can do that. Drop a PM to Pidesco; he's helping me maintain the build list thread ;)

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Oh god.... I guess it would make sense, but I'm not trying to create a wiki, I'm trying to create a basic guide ;)

I'm afraid that's not longer your choice. We have committed you to writing a comprehensive guide to everything beginnery in PoE.

Alright alright ;)


BUT: This guide is aimed at INTRODUCING new comers to the game... Not as a reference for those who already play it for quite some time. And while I agree I should give an introduction to all basic aspects of the game, I will not go ahead and give information where there is more confusion than help. I hope you understand that. :)

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how do I do that? :wacko: Talk to an moderator, I'm assuming?

Yeah, only moderators can do that. Drop a PM to Pidesco; he's helping me maintain the build list thread ;)

Thank you very much :)

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I think in terms of skills, a little more detail would be good. Just things like you get 6 points per each level after the first, for 66 total without the expansions at level 12, 78 at level 14 with only the with the White March part I installed and 90 at level 16 with both expansions installed. With a base of zero in a skill the first level costs one point, the second two, etc. Class and background bonuses give you a base level in a skill, so a Colonist Barbarian would have a base 3 in Survival (+2 for Colonist, +1 for Barbarian) and now the fourth skill level can be bought for one point, the fifth for two, etc. Any unspent skill points roll over to the next level up, so in this way you can buy the seventh level and higher in a skill.


Something like that ;)

Edited by Jojobobo
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A suggestion: if Ben No.3 doesn't have the time to write up a section on basic character building advice, perhaps other board members could write one up, then Ben could copy paste it into the OP. I'm not sure I'm really qualified to write one for any class, but I could collate the information in this thread for a Barbarian guide.

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