Project Eternity: everything we know so far

Since the last time we checked in on Project Eternity, the upcoming Kickstarter-funded RPG from Obsidian , quite a bit has been revealed. Having already blown past several stretch goals and with just over a week left in the campaign, we've collected all the crunchy info that there is to collect on the game so far.

Six playable races

The developers at Obsidian have stated that they want to create a mix of recognizable fantasy races, as well as more unique and even "truly odd" ones. The staple humans, elves, and dwarves have been confirmed, as well as the "Godlike," who are described as similar to the elementally attuned Aasimar, Tieflings, and Genasi of the various Dungeons & Dragons universes. Within these races, we have also been promised the ability to claim membership to different, distinct cultures. One of the first pieces of concept art pictures a dwarf from an Inuit-themed culture.

Seven classes, with two more on the way

Project Eternity, as it stands, will offer you the option to play a fighter, priest, rogue, wizard, ranger, monk, or druid. If the $2.5 million stretch goal is reached, only $54,000 away as of the writing of this article, barbarians and ciphers will be added as well. The latter is described as similar to a psionic character in other settings, tapping into the power of their soul (souls are kind of a big deal in the world of Project Eternity) and those of others in a way no other class can.

Eight companions, with plenty more on the way

Project Eternity will feature at least one story-based companion for each of the seven main classes, as well as one more from the new faction unlocked by $2.2 million stretch goal. We're not sure if unlocking the barbarian and cipher classes will also unlock a companion for each, but that would certainly be awesome. In addition, if the $2.6 million stretch goal is unlocked, we'll have access to the Adventurer's hall, allowing us to build our own custom party members from any class (though they won't be proper companions with dialogue and backstories) to have total control over the mechanical composition of our party. The game will support up to five companions plus the player in the party at any given time.

You don't have to be the chosen one

While story details are sparse, we have been assured that Project Eternity casts you as a victim of circumstance, witness to some great event, but not any kind of prophesied hero. It sounds like a player will have a lot of freedom to shape who the character is, and what his or her place in the world will be.

Souls are kind of a big deal

The soul is a very real and well-known element of Project Eternity's setting, and seems to be the root of the superhuman power available to all the classes -- including the non-magical ones. Souls are described as being subject to an endless cycle of reincarnation, during which some souls can become "fractured," while others remain particularly strong. Obsidian hints that having a strong soul gives an individual greater power, or at least makes that power easier to attain.

The tech level is about equal to 1400s Earth

The most advanced civilizations in Project Eternity's world are described as having access to early firearms and ocean-worthy ships, while others are still lagging far behind. Most militaries still employ mostly melee troops, though guns are noted as being particularly effective against the magical shields used by wizards.

Non-combat skills will be significant

The core four uses for non-combat skills presented by Obsidian are learning new things, traveling around the world, getting new items, and interacting with companions. Some examples given include the classic lockpicking and crafting, as well as some more novel concepts like being able to travel around the overworld with less chance of hostile encounters. The devs have also asserted that non-combat skills will not draw from the same pool of character points as combat ones, so you should never have to choose between being a better fighter or being better at something else. We've also been assured that players who use non-combat skills to bypass encounters will get the same amount of experience as those who choose to duke it out.

You will be able to crank up the pain if you hate yourself

Project Eternity will offer not one, but three "hurt me more" switches that can be toggled on or off independently. Expert Mode will turn off all hand-holding tips and suggestions and enable punishing mechanics described as "similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode." Having to keep your party fed would be a pretty interesting twist. Trial of Iron gives you one save game, which will be deleted if you die. Finally, Path of the Damned makes every single combat encounter as difficult as possible. Enable all three for Ultimate Glory! (Okay, more like Ultimate Faceplant on the First Boss.)

There's a giant dungeon that's getting bigger as more people back the project

In a unique spin on the classic Kickstarter stretch goal concept, Obsidian has introduced a dungeon called the Endless Paths of Od Nua, which began with three levels and will gain one more for every 2,500 additional backers, as well as 20,000 likes on Obsidian's Facebook page.

We're really excited about this game

It almost goes without saying, but an isometric, party/companion-based, single-player, story-focused RPG from the guys behind Planescape: Torment, Fallout: New Vegas, and Knights of the Old Republic 2 sounds freaking amazing. You have until the 16th to back the project on Kickstarter , and join us for the long, long wait until 2014.