Classes, Subclasses, Bonuses, and Penalties - Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

Learn more about the different hero classes, subclasses, effects, and abilities in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire.


One of the hardest decisions players will face within Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire's character creation process will be the choice of which class and subclass to assign to their hero. Classes and subclasses affect not only the hero's base attributes, but also which abilities the hero will have access to, to say nothing of various active and passive skill buffs. Keep reading to learn about all the different class and subclass options in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire and become familiar with the bonuses and penalties to attributes and skills.

Classes, Subclasses, Abilities, Bonuses, and Penalties in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

Each different class in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire opens up access to a set of subclasses, the likes of which often offer wildly different approaches to basic gameplay.

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Barbarian: Berserker, Corpse-Eater, and Mage Slayer
Chanter: Beckoner, Skald, and Troubador
Cipher: Ascendant, Beguiler, and Soul Blade
Druid: Animist, Fury, Lifegiver, and Shifter
Fighter: Black Jacket, Devoted, and Unbroken
Monk: Helwalker, Nalpazca, and Shattered Pillar
Paladin: Bleak Walkers, Darcozzi Paladini, Goldpact Knights, King Wayfarers, and The Shieldbearers of St. Elcga
Priest: Berath, Eothas, Magran, Skaen, Wael
Ranger: Ghost Heart, Sharpshooter, and Stalker
Rogue: Assassin, Streetfighter, and Trickster
Wizard: Conjurer, Enchanter, Evoker, Ilusionist, Transmuter

Barbarian: +2 to Athletics, History, Intimidate, Stealth, and Survival

  • Berserker:
    • Bonuses: Frenzy grants Tenacious and Hardy Inspirations; gains Hit to Crit conversion in melee
    • Penalties: Confused while frenzied; cannot see Health while frenzied; takes continuous Raw damage while frenzied.
  • Corpse-Eater:
    • Bonuses: gains Flesh Communion, which targets deceased Kith, Wilder, and Beasts to eat flesh, healing and gaining Rage.
    • Penalty: all Rage abilities increase 1 point in cost.
  • Mage Slayer:
    • Bonuses: successful melee hits add Spell Disruption to the target; Mage Slayer gains passive Spell Resistance.
    • Penalties: cannot use Potions or Scrolls; Passive Spell Resistance affects Friendly and Hostile spells.

Chanter: +2 to Arcana, Bluff, Diplomacy, History, Sleight of Hand

  • Beckoner:
    • Bonuses: Invocations summon double amount of creatures; Summon Invocations cost -1 Phrase; Invocations summoned creatures immune to Paladin Abjuration.
    • Penalty: Chanter's summons are smaller with decreased health and duration.
  • Skald:
    • Bonuses: Offensive Invocations cost -1 Phrase; weapon Critical Hits have 50% chance to grant a Phrase.
    • Penalty: Non-offensive Invocations cost +1 Phrase to cast.
  • Troubadour:
    • Bonus: Phrase Linger increased significantly; gains Brisk Recitation modal ability, increasing the rate that Phrases elapse but removing linger.
    • Penalty: All Invocations cost +1 Phrase to cast.

Cipher: +2 to Bluff, Insight, Mechanics, Metaphysics, Sleight of Hand

  • Ascendant:
    • Bonuses: maximum Focus is increased; reaching max Focus grants temporary Ascended effect, increasing Power Level and reducing Power Focus costs to 0; Soul Whip provides bonus damage and does not turn off while Ascended
    • Penalties: while not Ascended, receive a penalty to cipher Power Level, and Soul Whip does less damage but provides more Focus.
  • Beguiler:
    • Bonuses: all Deception cipher spells increase in range and restore Focus when cast on enemies vulnerable to Sneak attacks.
    • Penalties: Soul Whip does less bonus damage and reduced Focus against targets not vulnerable to Sneak attacks.
  • Soul Blade:
    • Bonuses: gains Soul Annihilation ability, providing enhanced melee attack that consumes cipher's remaining power pool and converts it to Raw damage; shared cipher spells cost less Focus; downing enemies with melee weapons temporarily grants Concentration and raises maximum Focus.
    • Penalty: maximum Focus is reduced.

Druid: +2 to Alchemy, Explosives, Metaphysics, Religion, and Survival

  • Animist:
    • Bonuses: automatically learn the following druid spells at new power levels:
      1. Sunbeam
      2. The Moon's Light
      3. Returning Storm
      4. Conjure Blight
      5. Plague of Insects
      6. Sunlance
      7. Lashing Vine
      8. Regenerate
      9. Tornado
    • Penalty: none.
  • Fury:
    • Bonuses: instead of taking animal form, Fury spiritshifts into a storm blight; Elemental Druid spells gain increased range and Penetration; killing enemy while spiritshifted extends duration of shift; automatically learn the following druid spells at new power levels:
      1. Dancing Bolts
      2. Burst of Summer Flame
      3. Returning Storm
      4. Hail Storm
      5. Relentless Storm
      6. Sunlance
      7. Weather the Storm
      8. Avenging Storm
      9. Great Maelstrom
    • Penalty: cannot cast Rejuvenation spells.
  • Lifegiver:
    • Bonuses: Druid Rejuvenation spells cast with an increased Power Level; while spiritshifted, the Druid's power level bonus to Rejuvenation spells increases; automatically learn the following Druid spells at new power levels:
      1. Nature's Vigor
      2. The Moon's Light
      3. Nature's Balm
      4. Moonwell
      5. Cleansing Wind
      6. Garden of Life
      7. Nature's Bounty
      8. Regenerate
      9. Pollen Patch
    • Penalties: cannot cast creature summon spells; after spiritshift, the Druid receives a significant penalty to to Rejuvenation spell power level until combat ends.
  • Shifter:
    • Bonuses: Druid can switch to any spiritshifting animal, once each, per combat; spiritshift has a longer duration; after spiritshift ends, Druid heals portion of their health; automatically learn the following druid spells at new power levels:
      1. Nature's Mark
      2. Insect Swarm
      3. Infestation of Maggots
      4. Form of the Delemgan
      5. Nature's Terror
      6. Garden of Life
      7. Rusted Armor
      8. Entropy
      9. Pollen Patch
    • Penalty: cannot cast spells while in animal form.

Fighter: +2 to Athletics, Explosives, Intimidate, Streetwise, and Survival

  • Black Jacket:
    • Bonuses: start with an extra weapon set and weapon proficiency; reduced Recovery time penalty when switching weapons.
    • Penalty: loses Constant Recovery.
  • Devoted:
    • Bonuses: may select a single weapon proficiency as chosen weapon; increased Critical Hit damage and Penetration with the chosen weapon.
    • Penalties: Accuracy is penalized using a non-chosen weapon; only gains a single proficiency and never gains proficiencies during level up.
  • Unbroken:
    • Bonuses: +1 to Engagement; increased Penetration on Disengagement attacks; gains Shield Mastery with bonus to Armor Rating while wearing a shield.
    • Penalties: lower Stride in combat; lower Reflexes.

Monk: +2 to Alchemy, Athletics, Insight, Metaphysics, and Religion

  • Helwalker:
    • Bonuses: begin combat with more Wounds; Helwalker gains Might for each Wound they have.
    • Penalty: Helwalker takes more damage for each Wound.
  • Nalpazca:
    • Bonuses: all drug effects last longer; generate wounds while receiving drug bonuses.
    • Penalties: crash penalties from drugs cause immunity from healing effects; degenerate Wounds while not benefiting from drugs.
  • Shattered Pillar:
    • Bonus: gain Wounds from inflicted melee weapon damage.
    • Penalties: cannot gain Wounds from damage received; required threshold to gain Wounds is increased; max Wound limit is decreased.

Paladin: +2 to Arcana, Athletics, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Religion

  • Bleak Walkers:
    • Bonus: gain Flames of Devotion, which deals additional Corrode damage (Black Flames) and applies Sickened affliction to targets.
    • Penalty: none.
  • Darcozzi Paladini:
    • Bonus: gain Lay on Hands, which grants a minor Flame Shield to the target.
    • Penalty: none.
  • Goldpact Knights:
    • Bonus: gain Sworn Enemy, which grants the Gilded Enmity upgrade, causing the paladin to be imbued with a blessing of gold when declaring a Sworn Enemy. Paladin receives bonus Armor Rating until struck enough times for the gold to break.
    • Penalty: none.
  • King Wayfarers:
    • Bonus: gain Flames of Devotion, which heals nearby allies (White Flames).
    • Penalty: none.
  • The Shieldbearers of St. Elcga
    • Bonuses: gain Lay on Hands, which temporarily prevents the target from being killed; while equipped with a shield, gain +1 to Engagement.
    • Penalty: none.

Priest: +2 to Alchemy, Arcana, Diplomacy, History, and Religion

  • Berath:
    • Bonus: priests of Berath automatically learn the following spells at the appropriate power level:
      1. Touch of Rot
      2. Holy Meditation
      3. Spreading Plague
      4. Divine Terror
      5. Rot Skulls
      6. Salvation of Time
      7. Rusted Armor
      8. Symbol of Berath
      9. Hand of Berath
    • Penalty: none.
  • Eothas:
    • Bonus: priests of Eothas automatically learn the following spells at the appropriate power level:
      1. Sunbeam
      2. Withdraw
      3. Watchful Presence
      4. Circle of Protection
      5. Revive the Fallen
      6. Minor Intercession
      7. Resurrection
      8. Symbol of Eothas
      9. Light of Eothas
    • Penalty: none.
  • Magran:
    • Bonus: priests of Magran automatically learn the following spells at the appropriate power level:
      1. Fan of Flames
      2. Spiritual Weapon
      3. Ray of Fire
      4. Shining Beacon
      5. Flame Shield
      6. Pillar of Holy Fire
      7. Torrent of Flame
      8. Symbol of Magran
      9. Magran's Might
    • Penalty: none.
  • Skaen:
    • Bonus: priests of Skaen automatically learn the following spells at the appropriate power level:
      1. Barbs of Condemnation
      2. Escape
      3. Divine Mark
      4. Finishing Blow
      5. Shadowing Beyond
      6. Spiritual Ally
      7. Minor Avatar
      8. Symbol of Skaen
      9. Revenge of Skaen
    • Penalty: none.
  • Wael:
    • Bonus: priests of Wael automatically learn the following spells at the appropriate power level:
      1. Arcane Veil
      2. Iconic Projection
      3. Mirrored Image
      4. Llengrath's Displaced Image
      5. Confusion
      6. Arkemyr's Wondrous Torment
      7. Gaze of the Adragan
      8. Symbol of Wael
      9. Blessing of Wael
    • Penalty: none.

Ranger: +2 to Alchemy, Bluff, Diplomacy, Stealth, Survival

  • Ghost Heart:
    • Bonuses: immune to Bonded Grief; animal companion is immune to Engagement.
    • Penalties: must actively summon animal companion during battle (costs Bond and has a duration); companion is considered a Spirit and is affected by powers that target Spirits; animal companion cannot be healed.
  • Sharpshooter:
    • Bonuses: bonus Hit to Crit conversion when attacking targets beyond 4 meters away; bonus Penetration when attacking targets 4 meters or closer.
    • Penalties: slower Recovery time; lower Deflection.
  • Stalker:
    • Bonus: the Stalker and their companion gain bonus Deflection and Armor rating when within 4 meters of each other.
    • Penalty: the Stalker and their companion suffer Bonded Grief when they are more than 7 meters from one another.

Rogue: +2 to Bluff, Mechanics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Streetwise

  • Assassin:
    • Bonus: gain the Assassinate passive, which grants stealth attacks bonus Penetration, Accuracy, and Critical Hit damage.
    • Penalty: all damage received is increased.
  • Streetfighter:
    • Bonuses: Sneak attack becomes more deadly and Recovery decreases when the streetfighter is Flanked or Bloodied; weapon Crit damage increases when the streetfighter is both Flanked and Bloodied.
    • Penalty: Recovery is slower when the streetfighter is neither Flanked nor Bloodied.
  • Trickster:
    • Bonuses: learns Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights; gains access to select Illusion wizard spells at power levels 3, 5, 7, and 9 (spells cost Guile to use).
    • Penalty: Sneak attack deals significantly less damage.

Wizard: +2 to Arcana, Explosives, History, Insight, and Metaphysics

  • Conjurer:
    • Bonuses: gain increased power level with Conjuration spells; gain Conjure Familiar spell that summons a creature for the wizard with poor combat abilities but access to passive bonuses for the wizard.
    • Penalties: lose access to spells from Evocation and Illusion schools; increased Recovery time for wizard spells not of the Conjuration school.
  • Enchanter:
    • Bonuses: gain increased power level with Enchanting spells; gain Free Action passive: once per encounter, when wizard is affected by Dexterity Affliction, they will clear the effect and temporarily become immune to Dexterity Afflictions.
    • Penalties: lose access to spells from Illusion and Transmutation schools; increased Recovery time for wizard spells not of the Enchanting school.
  • Evoker:
    • Bonuses: gain increased power level with Evocation spells; Evocation spells have a small chance to Doublecast.
    • Penalties: lose access to spells from Transmutation and Conjuration schools; increased Recovery time for wizard spells not of the Evocation school.
  • Illusionist:
    • Bonuses: gain increased power level with Illusion spells; gain Reflexive Mirror passive: once per encounter, when first attack, automatically gain the the effects of the Mirrored Image spell.
    • Penalties: lose access to spells from Conjuration and Enchanting schools; increased Recovery time for wizard spells not of the Illusion school.
  • Trasmuter:
    • Bonuses: gain increased power level with Transmutation spells; gain the Form of the Fearsome Brute spell, which transforms the wizard into an Ogre. While in ogre form, spells are disabled, but physical attributes are increased.
    • Penalties: lose access to spells from Enchanting and Evocation schools; increased recovery time for wizard spells not of the Transmutation school.

Looking to learn more about Obsidian Entertainment's latest RPG? Be sure to head over to our Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire guide and walkthrough to brush up on everything from the game's many skills and attributes to quests, ship combat, achievements, and more.

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