Pillars of Eternity Wiki

In response to patch v1. to Pillars of Eternity (June 6, 2024), the random loot tables shown on the wiki have been updated. These changes may take time to propegate.

As a result, random loot data is no longer accurate to old versions of the game, including all console ports. We'll be working to provide a mechanism to switch between pre-patch and post-patch loot for console players.


Pillars of Eternity Wiki

Combat is core to the gameplay in Avowed. This article covers the mechanics, modes and features of combat.

Overview[ | ]

Avowed's combat occurs in a first-person (optionally third person) perspective, placing the player directly in the role of their character.[1] Players engage in dynamic real-time encounters, where they can make use of a variety of melee weapons (swords, maces, shields, etc.), ranged weapons (bows and arrows and firearms), magical implements (wands, scepters, and grimoires), throwable items (grenades, spears), in combination with cast abilities and spells. The player may approach combat encounters any way they desire, and can mix-and-match combat styles at a whim. Players are free to dual-wield one-handed weapons, and wield both magic and melee simultaneously.

The combat system incorporates different types of attacks, as well as methods of blocking and parrying. Weapon weight, attack speed, and action speed, stamina and essence management play a big role in combat, all influenced by your gear and your character stats. These mechanics can influence the flow of combat, encouraging strategic thinking and skillful execution over button mashing.

Enemies must be approached with different strategies, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some enemies hold shields that absorb hits, some are resistant to certain types of damage, some stand back and shoot at you from a range, and others charge directly at you. The game provides a range of different unit types to provide a constant challenge, and convince players to mix up their approach to different encounters.[2]

Initiating combat[ | ]

The player may transition between exploration and combat seamlessly. Enemies are visible within the game world, and approaching or attacking them will initiate combat in most cases. However, some enemies may be neutral or even friendly, allowing for interaction beyond violence.

There are generally no set or confined locations for combat encounters, and players have the freedom to engage enemies how they see fit. This allows for strategic approaches, like utilizing the environment to lure enemies into hazards or into a more vulnerable location, or using ranged attacks before they can get close, or buffing the party with abilities or consumables before entering combat. There is no penalty for initiating combat in this way, and players can disengage from most encounters by creating distance between themselves and the enemy.

Within settlements, the game is restrictive on where you can engage combat, and who can and can't be killed. You won't be able to aggro an entire town or go on a killing spree, and quest-critical characters won't be able to be killed.[3]

Less aggressive options are also available, and Avowed and employs dialogue solutions to be able to talk your way out of an encounter, or stealth options to avoid it entirely. However completing the game as a pacifist - without killing enemies - is not possible.[4]

Enemies are able to detect party members based on line of sight and noise they make, and call to their allies to help them if they detect you, so the player has the option to crouch down, hide in tall grass or behind cover, or use the wizard ability Shadowing Beyond to go invisible to avoid attention.[5]

Core mechanics[ | ]

This section covers some overarching concepts and mechanics that are at the core of the combat system.

Health[ | ]

Health represents a character's ability to withstand damage, acting as a measure of vitality. You lose health by sustaining attacks and taking damage. Health is recovered through the use of consumable items and abilities with healing effects. When your health reaches zero, you die.

Your maximum health is determined by your Constitution attribute, with each point adding +5% to your health pool.

Stamina[ | ]

Main article: Stamina

Stamina is a resource that determines your physical endurance in combat. It is consumed when you exhert any physically-demanding action, including attacks, jumping, running, and vaulting. The amount of stamina required depends on the effort exherted. Stamina regenerates over time, while you're not actively performing an action. Your maximum stamina increases with Resolve, with each point granting +5 to your maximum stamina pool. Wearing heavier armor reduces your maximum stamina.

Essence[ | ]

Main article: Essence

Essence is a resource that determines your magical capacity in combat. It is expended when casting magical implements, abilities and spells, with stronger abilities costing more essence. Essence regenerates passively over time, and you may immediately replenish it through consumables like potions. Your maximum essence increases with Intellect, with each point granting +5 maximum essence. Wearing heavier armor reduces your maximum stamina.

Damage[ | ]

Damage refers to both the effectiveness of an attack in reducing a target's health, as well as the loss of health inflicted itself.

Outgoing attack damage (meaning, prior to any sort of reduction) is determined by the damage value on the source of the attack (the weapon or ability), and the attacker's Might attribute. Might increases damage from all sources by +4% per point.

Damage can be categorized into the following types:

  • Physical Damage is inflicted through physical attacks like sword strikes, arrows hits, or blunt force trauma. Certain attacks accumulate Bleed on the target.
  • Magic Damage is inflicted through magical attacks like wand and scepter casts. Magic damage goes through most types of armor.
  • Elemental Damage is a form of magical damage based on natural elements. This damage is able to build up on the enemy and cause status effects as a result.

Elemental Damage[ | ]

Elemental Damage is a form of magical damage based on natural elements, one of: Shock, Burn, Freeze, and Corrode damage (Shock, Burn, Freeze, Corrode).

Elemental damage is often accompanied with an accumulation of that element on the character, which applies a relevant status on the character once a threshold is reached. This allows them to, for example, freeze enemies solid with Freeze damage, set them on fire with Burn damage, stun them with Shock damage, or dissolve their armor with Corrode damage.

These elements are systemic and interact with each other.[6] During exploration and outside of combat, they're used in interactions and puzzles, for example being able to burn brambles to get through an area, or freeze paths in water to walk over it.[7]

Damage Reduction[ | ]

A general decrease in incoming damage, expressed as both flat and percentage-based reduction on every attack. Damage Reduction is primarily determined by the armor worn by the character recieving damage.

Implements[ | ]

This section is about implements of combat, items that are integral to combat or that assist or directly influence combat in some way.

Weapons[ | ]

Main article: Avowed weapons

Abilities[ | ]

Main article: Avowed abilities

Grimoires[ | ]

Main article: Avowed grimoires

Armor[ | ]

Main article: Avowed armor

Shields[ | ]

Main article: Avowed shields

Consumables[ | ]

Main article: Avowed consumables

Explosives[ | ]

Main article: Avowed explosives

Explosives are a type of consumable item, and can be thrown both in and out of combat in order to distract, deal direct AoE damage, or apply an AoE effect to enemies and allies from a distance. An example of a bomb is Magran's Fury, Avowed's equivalent of a molotov cocktail.[8]

Loadouts[ | ]

Your loadout is what weapons you wield into combat. You can quickly switch between two different loadouts mid-encounter, consisting of different sets of preassigned weapons, for example two one-handed weapons, a one-handed weapon and a shield, or a two-handed weapon.

Actions[ | ]

This section covers direct actions you can take in combat, that have an influence on its outcome.

Attack types[ | ]

The player may perform different types of attacks, including regular and heavy attacks:

  • Regular attacks are fast, don't require much stamina/essence, and deal a moderate amount of damage, but aren't effective against shielded units.
  • Power attacks are slower, require considerably more stamina/essence, but do more damage, can stagger, and can break through shielded or blocking units. Power attacks must be "built up" by performing successful regular attacks in succession.

Every weapon shares these modes of attack, for example, you can channel a powerful wand attack in the same way that you can charge up a heavy swing with a sword, in the same way that you can nock back a powerful shot with a bow.[7][9]

The player may be pushed back, knocked down, or staggered by powerful enemy attacks.

Blocking and parrying[ | ]

Attacks may be blocked with a weapon or shield, which prevents the attack from landing and/or reduces the damage taken by the attack. Enemy attacks made against the player may be blocked, in the same way that player attacks against enemies may be blocked.

Only a subset of weapon types can block, which puts certain weapons at a defensive disadvantage in combat.[10] The player has the option to equip a shield in their offhand, which increases blocking capability significantly.[7]

Blocks may be broken using a power attack or a stun.

With the Parry ability, perfectly-timed blocks made against melee attacks can be parried, which causes the enemy to be knocked back and stunned for a short time, opening up a window for an immediate counter-attack.

Dodging[ | ]

Dodging is a a defensive maneuver where the player quickly moves out of the way of an attack. It is triggered by a button press combined with a directional input (like pressing left + dodge button to dodge left). When dodging, the player character performs a short 1-2 meter dash in the desired direction, allowing them to quickly reposition themselves. Any direction along the ground may be dodged in, the player character isn't limited to only lateral (side-to-side) movements. During the dodge, the character cannot perform any action.

Performing a dodge consumes a significant amount of Stamina, which can be impoved via the Dodge ability in the ranger ability tree. The speed of a dodge is determined by your Action Speed.

Other than avoiding damage, dodging allows the player to be more aggressive in combat, as they can stay close to enemies and attack them in between their attacks. Mastering the timing and direction of dodges in response to enemy movements is key to success in combat.

Attack Speed[ | ]

Main article: Attack Speed (Avowed)

Attack speed is the rate at which you perform physical attacks and abilities. It is the primary method of determining how quickly a character can deliver consecutive attack. A higher attack speed allows for more frequent hits within a given period.

Light weapons tend to be faster, consume less stamina, while heavier weapons hit slower and require more stamina, but deal more damage per swing. Likewise, certain abilities take longer to channel and cast.

The Dexterity attribute increases your attack speed by +3.5% per point. Equipment and abilities can provide both buffs and debuffs to attack speed.

Action Speed[ | ]

Main article: Action Speed (Avowed)

Action speed refers to the overall speed of a character's non-core character actions, and governs the animation speed of these actions, making them faster or slower. These actions include:

  • Equipping and unequipping weapons, armor, or other gear.
  • Reloading firearms.
  • Using consumable items like potions, grenades, or bandages.
  • Performing parkour moves like climbing, vaulting, mantling, and dodging.

During combat it can reduce down-time by allowing for quicker swaps between weapons, consumable use, and reloads, minimizing the amount of time you might be vulnerable to attack and improving the overall flow of actions.

Action speed is primarily governed by Dexterity, at +7.5% action speed per point. Equipment and abilities can provide both buffs and debuffs to attack speed.

Companions[ | ]

During combat, companions will fight autonomously and assist the party without intervention, but may also be issued basic orders as an extension of the player. You can ask them to interact with the environment in some way, perform a basic task, or cast a context-aware ability that's relevant to their associated archetype and that are unique to those companions.[11]

As an example, Kai is able to perform a taunt, which draws aggressive enemies towards him and away from other party members.[9]

Effects[ | ]

This section covers things that happen to enemies and characters in the party as a result of actions made by other combatants.

Critical hits[ | ]

Main article: Critical hits (Avowed)

All attacks with weapons have a random chance to be a critical hit when they strike, which deals increased damage to the enemy. The likelihood that an attack results in a critical is based on the weapon used, as well as the Perception attribute of the wielder, which grants +1.5% chance per point.

Status effects[ | ]

Main article: Status effects (Avowed)

Status effects are temporary alterations to a character's attributes, stats, or general state. Effects can be beneficial or detrimental, and affect a wide rance of aspects. They can be applied via combat, items, equipment, or envrionmental interactions, and typically last for a certain amount of time, or until dispelled.

Examples of status effects include Poison and Bleed (deals damage over time), Burning (continuous damage).

Stun[ | ]

Different weapon attacks have varying degrees of stunning potential, which is determined by their Stun stat. Stun is built up on enemies as a result of successive attacks made against them.[9] Once a threshold is reached, the player can perform a more powerful attack which causes a stunning effect on the target.[7]

Stuns are able to break an enemy out of a block.

Stunned is the general status inflicted on enemies. Stunned enemies are immobilized, and can't move or take any actions for a brief period, which opens them up to attacks.

Power attacks are more likely to trigger a stun. Some abilities may cause stun immediately, and other status effects may have a stunning component.

Accumulation[ | ]

Main article: Accumulation

Attacks of a particular type/element (physical, Burn, Freeze, Corrode, Shock) can accumulate on enemies, triggering specific status effects upon reaching a threshold. For example, an enemy that accumulates enough Burn damage will recieve a "Burning" status, and an enemy that takes enough physical damage will recieve a "Bleed" status.

  • Burn damage causes Burning.
  • Freeze damage causes Freezing.
  • Corrode damage causes Poison.
  • Shock damage causes Shocked.
  • Physical damage causes Bleed.

Note that accumulation isn't always a result of recieving damage, but instead recieving an attack of that type. Abilities like Tanglefoot will accumulate Poison on a character without damaging them.

Identifying enemies suceptible to a specific status and exploiting that weakness is a common strategy, and can make tough encounters far easier.

Resistance[ | ]

Main article: Resistance (Avowed)

Resistance is a measure of a character's ability to defend themselves against the application of a status effect. Having a higher resistance increases the character's survivability, and is important when facing enemies that deal damage of a particular type. It is measured as a percentage, which could:

  • Act as a reduction in the chance of being inflicted with a status.
  • Reduce accumulation of a damage type by a percentage, which in turn increases the threshold at which the accumulated damage results in a status.
  • Lessen the severity of an effect when it applies, for example Poison Resistance might reduce the time in which a Poisoned effect is active.

Building up a resistance to a particular status can provide a strategic advantage in combat against frequently encountered effects. You can do so by equipping gear, using consumables, or casting abilities. Additionally, the character's Constitution attribute provides +6% Poison & Bleed Resistance per point, while Intellect provides +6% Elemental Resistance per point.

Behind the scenes[ | ]

  • Developers cited games like Warhammer: Vermintide and Vermintide 2 as an inspiration for the combat feel of Avowed.[12]'
  • The animation system in Avowed is built in a way where the animations for first-person and third person are separated. The first-person mesh is made out just arms, and the third-person mesh contains the full body, and the animations have been tweaked to be more suitable for each mode.[8]


  1. Joe Skrebels (June 10, 2024). "Avowed: Deep-Diving into Quests, Skills, Party Members and More on the Official Xbox Podcast" - Xbox Wire.
  2. CohhCarnage, itmeJP, Ezekiel_III [Dropped Frames] (February 5, 2024). "Suicide Squad Impressions + Interview w/ Avowed Director - Carrie Patel | Dropped Frames Episode 377", at 2:19:02 - YouTube.
  3. Kirk McKeand (June 14, 2024). "Avowed has secret quests with big choices – “it relies on players being curious” and following leads" - Video Games on Sports Illustrated. "One thing you won’t be able to do is murder everyone. Unlike in many other Obsidian games – some of which Patel has worked on – quest-critical characters can’t be killed in Avowed."
  4. Kyle Hilliard (June 20, 2024). "Avowed's Creators On Why Romance Was Considered, But Ultimately Not Included And Skyrim Comparisons" - Game Informer.
  5. Xbox [@xbox] (June 10, 2024). "Xbox Games Showcase Deep Dive" - YouTube.
  6. Wes Fenlon (June 11, 2023). "Exclusive: Obsidian breaks 3-year silence to spill the secrets of Avowed, its next big RPG" - PC Gamer.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Xbox [@xbox] (January 22, 2024). "Avowed Extended Gameplay Breakdown with Obsidian | Official Xbox Podcast" - YouTube.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Adam Vitale (June 25, 2024). "Avowed Interview - Talking Companions, gameplay, and world with Obsidian's Carrie Patel and Gabe Paramo" - RPG Site.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Kinda Funny Games [@KindaFunnyGames] (June 28, 2024). "Avowed: Obsidian's Handcrafted RPG - Kinda Funny Gamescast" - YouTube.
  10. Connor Makar (July 5, 2024). "'It lets us really lean into the things that we excel at' - Avowed’s developers on choice, consequence, Game Pass, and those early Skyrim comparisons" - VG247.
  11. Tyler Wilde (January 23, 2024). "Avowed's companions won't ditch you for making the 'wrong' choices: 'It's not about maintaining their approval, it's about getting to know them'" - PC Gamer.
  12. Harvey Randall (January 23, 2024). "Obsidian's next big RPG Avowed is looking to Vermintide's 'masterclass in having a sense of hitting and impact' to make its first-person sword-swinging feel weighty" - PC Gamer.