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Skills can be used outside of combat for a variety of purposes and they grant auxiliary combat bonuses. The five skills are Stealth, Athletics, Lore, Mechanics and Survival. Every class gains initial proficiency bonus in two skills, but not limited to them. Non-combat skills are gained separately from combat skills(Abilities, Talents) and they do not use the same resources.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Skill Meaning
(based on the in-game description)
Effects on gameplay Use in interactions
(based on the in-game description)
Stealth allows characters of any class to attempt to avoid being seen or heard can stay close to NPCs in scouting mode for a longer period without being seen  ?
Athletics Once per encounter, characters with Athletics can use the Second Wind ability to recover lost Endurance. A higher Athletics score increases the effect of Second Wind

Grants Second Wind skill

Rank 1: (25 Endurance)

+5 Endurance per rank*

for physical feats like climbing, swimming, and jumping
Lore a character's accumulated miscellaneous knowledge and trivia, often of occult or esoteric topics

at rank 1:  can use level 1 scrolls
at rank 4:  can use level 2 scrolls
at rank 6:  can use level 3 scrolls
at rank 8:  can use level 4 scrolls
at rank 10:  can use level 5 scrolls
at rank 12:  can use level 6 scrolls
at rank 14:  can use level 7 scrolls

for picking up on relevant historical or cultural contexts, and contributing general knowledge
Mechanics makes it easier to open locks and find and disable traps, and place traps of your ownAlso needed to find hidden loot and switches. (Neither Perception nor Stealth do this.) per rank: 

can disarm traps of +1 difficulty
can pick locks of +1 difficulty
+3 accuracy for own traps

for activating or disabling a variety of machines
Survival Allows characters to choose from a variety of long-term bonuses each time they camp. The first six ranks grant the following bonuses:

rank 1 - Damage Reduction

rank 2 - Received Healing Multiplier

rank 3 - Bonus Movement

rank 4 - Accuracy Bonus vs. Creature Type

rank 5 - Increased consumable duration

rank 6 - Bonus Damage vs Flanked Enemies

Note: After 6th rank, the previously earned bonuses become more powerful in the same ordered they were received

(ex. at rank 7 - a more powerful DR ( Damage Reduction ) will be received after camp.

for wilderness challenges, and for contributing specialized knowledge of nature or alchemy

Effects[edit | edit source]

Skills affect character stats, interaction with items and new dialogue options, and can be used to avoided fighting. There will often be ways to avoid fighting, such as standard methods of talking your way out of a fight or sneaking around an encounter, but there will be other ways too. Perhaps you can re-sanctify a desecrated cemetery to prevent any further undead from rising, or maybe figure out a way across a ruined bridge to avoid the bandits on this side of the river.

During any situation where a skill is checked against a challenge’s level of difficulty, the party member with the highest relevant skill is represented as the starting benchmark. If their skill outweighs the difficulty score, the player’s efforts succeed.[1]

Some items are used in different scenarios to alter how skill checks occur. These items are categorized as ingredients and helpers. Ingredients are used for recipes, and are typically consumed in the process. Helpers come into play during scripted interactions, where the presence of an item during a scenario (e.g. having rope at a ledge) can shift the trajectory of the narrative.[1] Verify

Allocation[edit | edit source]

At first level, a character only has their initial class and background bonuses to skills. Each class confers bonuses in two or three skills and each background in one or two skills.

Upon achieving a new level, a character gains six skill points. Advancing a skill to the next rank costs one point, plus one point per time the skill has already been advanced. Note that class, background, and other bonuses are "free" and do not increase the cost of advancing skills.

Class bonuses[edit | edit source]

Class Stealth Athletics Lore Mechanics Survival
Barbarian yesyes yes
Chanter yesyes yes
Cipher yes yes yes
Druid yes yesyes
Fighter yes yes yes
Monk yes yes yes
Paladin yesyes yes
Priest yes yesyes
Ranger yes yesyes
Rogue yes yesyes
Wizard yesyes yes

(yes = 1 rank, yesyes = 2 ranks)

Background bonuses[edit | edit source]

Background skills.png
Background Stealth Athletics Lore Mechanics Survival
Aristocrat yesyes
Artist yesyes
Clergyman yesyes
Colonist yesyes
Dissident yes yes
Drifter yes yes
Explorer yes yes
Hunter yes yes
Laborer yes yes
Mercenary yes yes
Merchant yes yes
Mystic yesyes
Philosopher yesyes
Raider yes yes
Scholar yesyes
Scientist yes yes
Slave yes yes
Farmer (NPC only) yes yes
Gentry (NPC only) yesyes
Midwife (NPC only) yes yes
Soldier (NPC only) yes yes
Trapper (NPC only) yes yes

(yes = 1 rank, yesyes = 2 ranks)

Buffs[edit | edit source]

Rites are a special, non-craftable type of scrolls that temporarily boost specific skills.

Certain wearable and consumable items can additionally provide temporarily bonuses to skills (see Attribute and skill boosts).

Pillars of Eternity II[edit | edit source]

Upcoming content
This article or section is based on pre-release information about upcoming content. The covered facts may change, when the content is released.
Additionally it may contain significant plot details about earlier games.

For Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire a large expansion to the skill system has been announced. Many passive skills for dialogs and scripted interactions will be added – such as Religion, Metaphysics and Streetwise; points will be gained separately for active and passive skills; the player character will benefit from companions' skills[2]

References[edit source]