Project Eternity Social Round-up

While we wait for this week's update, I thought some of our readers might be interested in reading a round-up of the info on the project that's been made available by devs through social networks and their official forums.

I'd start with some lore and story info from project director J.E. Sawyer and guest writer George Ziets.

Josh Sawyer:
Wood elves make up almost half of the population of Aedyr and orlans are also found near savannah folk, north of Readceras (which is north of the Dyrwood).

Even the elves and orlans in Eír Glanfath migrated to the area within the past two thousand years; they don't have any apparent connection to the original residents and builders of the ancient structures.


Ethnicity and culture are separate characteristics in the game. Individual meadow folk can be from the Vailian Republics just as coastal aumaua can be from Aedyr. The common-name descriptions of ethnicities don't restrict where they can be from. Literally every ethnicity in our race document has a bit-by-bit description of what physical characteristics they have, including facial features, skin tones, hair colors (and textures), eye colors (and shapes), etc. E.g., only savannah folk, pale elves, and boreal dwarves have epicanthic folds. Of those, only boreal dwarves have them consistently.


Just as a point of reference, we've seen the use of Gaelic names for places and people, and now are told that the old English/Norse languages are being referenced, does this indicate a clash of cultures at some point? Or have the two arisen in unison and merged beyond the telling apart?

It's less a clash of cultures and more of the intermingling of them. Places settled by Aedyrans in the Dyrwood tend to have Eld Aedyran or regular Aedyran (i.e. plain English) names. The common names for some creatures are Glanfathan but others are Eld Aedyran or (rarely) Vailian. The cultures borrow terms from each other, too. The title of duc (ducs bels and ducs panits) is used in the Vailian Republics for the sovereign ruler of a city-state, but the Dyrwoodans borrowed it when they rebelled against the Aedyran Empire. Admeth Hadret was originally an erl palatine (palatine/palatinate also being borrowed from the Vailians), but he styled himself as a duc of the "free palatinate" during the rebellion.


At first it seemed the different cultures would be more in a high/late Middle period. From your recent answers, it seems that pretty much all the big human factions are actually in what would be a modern, colonial period. 1. So PE is more of a Renaissance/early modern world than a High/Late Medieval one? 2. Is there still some place for knights (vassal system...), Gothic Architecture, Medieval weaponery and other typical Middle Ages characteristics?

The Dyrwood is in the equivalent of a Renaissance/early modern tech level, but even Europe's own Renaissances didn't abandon earlier architecture and technology. Swords and armor were used alongside firearms for centuries (as they are in the Dyrwood, where firearms are still uncommon).

Rural communities in the Dyrwood tend to have Romanesque/Norman architecture, with Renaissance features (e.g. domes, symmetrical façades) found in large urban centers. Previous colonial cultures also tried to settle in the Dyrwood and their ruins tend to be more traditionally (Medieval). In the village concept we released, the buildings are vaguely Romanesque with a few Renaissance features, but they are built adjacent to much older, rougher remnants of a castle and bridges from centuries ago.


Hi Josh.You said that Aedyr are white humans and elves with green and blue eyes. But they are from very hot, tropical regions of the world. Wouldnt people living in a climate like that develop a darker skin and darker eyes?

If they had been there for more than a few thousand years, yes. Most people living in Aedyr are Thyrtan humans, "meadow folk". Their ethnic group is not native to Aedyr, but comes from the far north (like the Sceltrfolc elves). They migrated south over thousands of years. Their nickname, "meadow folk", is seemingly a misnomer but is still used because of their origin.

Similarly, the Grand Empire of Vailia (from which the Vailian Republics sprang) was farther south in the southern hemisphere, but the Calbandra people originally lived near the equator for many millennia (hence their name -- Calbandra = warm ring).

Additionally, no one really got why their name meant "warm ring" for a long time because the Vailians pioneered cartography and theories of the world's shape. To most others, Calbandra are "ocean folk".


Can you tell us where the spelling of Direwood (Deerwood) comes from?

"Dyrwood" (DEER-wood) is the Eld Aedyran name for the forest north and west of the Bael River. The letter y in Eld Aedyran is pronounced /i/.


Can you tell me anything about the clothing and architectural styles of the cultures in Project Eternity? How do you deal with situations where the climate/environment is quite different from that of the real cultures that were the inspiration?

Kaz is working on the clothing right now. It's interesting, because we have combinations of people and styles that aren't usually seen together (e.g. Vailians are essentially black Renaissance Italians) and I think Kaz is doing a good job of making each culture feel distinctive. We've already developed the Dyrwoodan and Vailian styles, and now Kaz is revisiting the Aedyrans to reflect their home climate more.

In Earth's history, Spanish and Portuguese explorers/conquistadors were often overdressed for the hot climates they found themselves in. Aedyrans have the opposite problem when they visit the Dyrwood. Their home climate is very hot and humid, so they are relatively underdressed for the Mediterranean/temperate climates of the Dyrwood.

For Dyrwoodan architecture, Rob and Polina are looking at Renaissance European architecture and also some of the colonial-era South American architecture. Because the Dyrwood is heavily colonized (and very recently), many of the urban buildings look much newer than they might in a traditional Medieval fantasy setting.

The Glanfathan architecture is much more fantastic. We can create shapes and structures that would not be possible/appropriate when using strictly Renaissance-era technology alone.


The PE world map was one of the first things shown for the game. How much has it evolved since then? Will we see an updated version in the near future?

It has changed somewhat, mostly how the rivers flow, but a few other details here and there. We haven't revised it in a while, but we will eventually release an updated version.

George Ziets:
In PE What do you think about the concept of an Overgod who gives structure to the pantheon? Will the cosmos be designed such that mortals can transcend their limitations to become divine?

We don't have plans for an overgod. but there's a reason for that, which is partially based on the nature of our gods. Note that Woedica *thinks* she should be head of the pantheon, and she claims that she was in the distant past, though this may or may not be true.

As for mortals becoming divine. that question also gets to the nature of our gods, which we're leaving a mystery for now. Based on our current vision, though, P:E is not like the Forgotten Realms or the Malazan Books of the Fallen, where becoming a god is widely accepted as a realistic - if unlikely - goal for powerful mortals. (That's not to say there aren't other ways to become effectively immortal.)


Can you expand on the concept of god and divinity in Project Eternity? Will you have an original take on this concept? Will the god be the typical omniscient raw power source, or something different, more mysterious?

I can't provide many details here, mainly because the nature of the gods is a secret that won't be known to players (or anyone else in the world) at the start of the game. In fact, the answers may only be hinted in the first game and left a mystery for later titles. The gods are not all-powerful puppet-masters who are merely manipulating the world of mortals. Their nature is a good deal more mysterious. even, sometimes, to one another. There are some gods (most of whom haven't been revealed to the public yet) who are viewed as enigmas (or even feared) by many of their divine peers. Indeed, the (nature of the gods) is probably not going to be a single revelation, as not all the gods are necessarily the same.


How do you feel P:E story stands against P:T or MotB?How linear is going to be?I ask because the best stories are semi-linear(P:T,MotB,Witcher2),but Josh said that he will try for a non-linear,find waterchip approach. Non linear games haven't praised stor

The story isn't finalized yet, but it seems to me like it will be more semi-linear. True nonlinear games are typically open-world, and that's not really what we're building. But bear in mind that's subject to change, and I can't make any definitive statements until we're out of preproduction (at least).


In the Obsidian countdown before the kickstarter there were some phrases. Is that sentences and their tone based on the game's story and it's lore, or are disconected? The part about Godhammer Cidadel obviously is but the other's?

Yes. As far as I can remember, all of those quotes are related to the setting or one of the factions in this region of the world (or both).


Has the team arrived at a creation myth for PE? Diablo 3 and Elder Scrolls cosmos were the result of an interplay of opposites, The Witcher world resulted from an apocalyptic conjuction of spheres...What happened in the beginning of PE?

We haven't spent much time on creation myths yet, but I suspect that we won't have just one. Each of the major cultures will probably have their own creation myth, and players may never know for certain which one is (true) (if any).


Can you give us a rundown on what's great about Eternity's Setting? (Regarding Consistency, Cultur, Themes,...)

Hmm. Things I like best about PE setting so far:

1) Soul mechanics. I like the fact that this defining feature of the world affects almost every element of the setting. For example, we had a creature meeting this week, and we kept coming back to questions like, (Okay, given our soul mechanics, what does it mean to be (for example) undead in this world? What does it mean to be this other creature type? What kind of soul would this creature have? Why would it exist in our setting?) Our soul mechanics give us a strong foundation upon which to build the rest of the world, and in most cases, they result in logical reasons for subtle (or significant) differences between PE and other fantasy settings.

2) Strong national/regional cultures. Josh has done a great job defining these, and they are far more grounded in believable history than I typically see in fantasy games. The languages, though not yet fully developed, are based roughly upon grammar of real-world languages and follow well-considered rules of orthography and pronunciation. We're paying a lot of attention to whether words and names feel appropriate to each language and culture, and if they don't, we change them. Josh has even drilled down to the level of cultural virtues and vices that differ from one culture to the next (potentially setting up some interesting culture clashes).

3) Sense of a larger world that is (out there.) The world that you see on our regional map and the areas you'll see in the game is only a small part of the setting as a whole. We've started to establish some cultures and groups that won't even appear in the first game, but you may see references to them, creating a sense of a larger world to explore in future titles.

4) Lots of unanswered questions. The setting will present various questions about the nature of souls, the gods, cosmology, the larger world, etc., and not all of them will be answered in the first game. Some may never be answered at all at least not definitively. People and factions in the world will have their own beliefs and opinions about these questions, but none of them will necessarily be identified as the absolute truth. (Another setting that handles this sort of thing well in my opinion is the Elder Scrolls, where aspects of the setting are often viewed differently by different people, and players are never told for certain who is right and who is wrong.)


Are the playable races of PE meant to be closely related (ie all hominids or primates) and are they the only naturally intelligent species in the world or are there others? Is the setting more like D&D where there's many, or Dragon Age where there's few?

That's a good question, and it's something we've been talking about lately. We haven't defined all the creatures in the game yet, but based on our discussions so far, we'll probably have some other intelligent or semi-intelligent species. Not as many as D&D, though.

As to the origins of the playable races... it's a mystery. :)


So the humans in P:E are more in a Renaissance/early modern period than a High/Late Medieval one? Is there still some place for knights (vassal system...), Gothic Architecture, Medieval weaponry and other characteristics associated with the Middle Ages?

Most of those elements will vary a lot by culture and region. For example, the Aedyran Empire (which colonized the Dyrwood) still maintains a feudal social structure, while the Vailian Republics are rooted in what we would call a Renaissance culture, closely resembling the Italian city-states.

It's important to note that only the most advanced civilizations in PE have reached a level of technology that resembles our early modern period. Most civilizations are still in the equivalent of our Late or High Middle Ages. That means that you will see medieval arms and armor, though probably at a relatively high level of sophistication. On the other hand, some remote cultures have not progressed beyond the Stone Age or Bronze Age, so you may encounter technology appropriate to those periods, as well.

will we see these cultures in the game, or they will get left for latter games?

The native people of the deep Glanfathan forests have a lower level of technology than their neighbors, and they are likely to appear in the game. You could also see representatives of more distant cultures in the form of companions and other NPCs.

Can the ''medieval'' civilizations compete against the ''renaissance''? Or are they all trying to reach/copy the same technological level/style of the advanced Vailan...?

Material technology isn't everything. PE is also a world of gods, souls, and magic, so less developed civilizations don't necessarily want or need technology in order to protect themselves or compete with their neighbors.


So could we find uncontacted tribes in the deep wilderness? Or perhaps a group of stone age adventures on a quest for fire or trying to figure out the relevance of a castoff trinket or weapon from a more advanced civilization?

Such things are... possible. :)

Native Glanfathans won't be at such a low level of culture to be seeking fire, but I could imagine any of those events happening somewhere in the world of PE.


Is leaving too many elements of lore open to interpretation really a good idea? For instance was Woedica ever ruling the pantheon or not? Or the fact that none of the creation myths will be true. Don't you think some things need to be nailed down?

I think it's more interesting to leave some things mysterious, especially if they're not crucial to the player's understanding of the main narrative. To me, it makes the world feel more intriguing, and it also sets up potential conflicts between factions in the world who believe different things.

Also, leaving some questions unanswered for now gives us, as writers and designers, more freedom in planning additional stories. If fans are especially interested in part of the mythology, we can explore that in a future product, and we're not hemmed in by earlier decisions.

On gameplay and the planned bestiary, from J.E. Sawyer:
Hi Joshua, Recently I played through IW2 and Fallout NV. I noticed in these games that there were many options for creating lots of strange character combinations via perks or items. Will this continue in Project Eternity ?

Yes, hopefully. If people want to play very traditional fantasy RPG characters, we have a lot options for that, but I think a lot of players want to make something that is unique or at least unusual. We will try to support that as much as possible.


Idea: Will max stamina and max health in PE be equal or two separate values? If the latter, players could choose between feats/items that increase max health (for long-term survivability) and those that increase stamina (for per-encounter survivability)

We're going to start with them being equal, but will probably experiment with abilities/talents/items that shift the balance.


Have you considered adding a "rest resource" to PE, like Tents in traditional JRPGs? If you have rest areas within dungeons, that could help prevent people from constantly backtracking to them in order to refill their health, trivializing the dungeon.

We've talked about it, but for now we're going to see how the rest areas work on their own. Some people on the team believe that if we limit the use of the rest locations it will be excessively punitive.

Knights of the Chalice generally allows players to re-use rest sites, but there's at least one area I remember that doesn't and I saw a lot of negative response to it.

Personally, I do worry about the potential for player dissatisfaction either if resting removes all challenge or if restricted resting makes things too frustrating. In any case, it's something we're going to be looking at and thinking about more as we continue development.


Re: PE armor system What about the effect of piercing weapons on light armor? Is it now also a percentage modifier on the DT like crushing weapons, or is still an absolute modifier like in the originally described system? (ie, -3 DT instead of -40% DT)

It is also a percentage modifier (if the armor is especially vulnerable or strong to piercing).

That's a shame. We can never completely punch through armor, then? Isn't that a character concept you need to support, just like you decided to support characters that can completely avoid damage in combat, by not removing missing?

You can punch through armor, but that's not based on the raw damage type of the weapon. No, I don't think armor-piercer is a common character concept like a dodging character, but there will be ways to negate DT.

Wouldn't implementing two different ways in which one weapon type can be better than another weapon type add more depth to the system? Cause like this it's all sort of samey. "Check if difference between damages exceeds 40% of DT. If not switch weapon."

Every weapon has a distinguishing characteristic that sets it apart from similar weapons. E.g. pikes have extended reach, flails ignore a portion of shield-based Deflection, estocs negate DT, etc. This has always been true of our weapon system design.


In the kickstarter comments section Feargus said that P:E will feature an action queue bar, is this true? and if so will we have the option to disable it, because I personally can't stand them.

Feargus was speaking prematurely. Personally, I would like to avoid the need for an action queue. Older editions of A/D&D promoted rote casting sequences (especially of buffs) and I would like to avoid that in PE. That said, if some aspect of PE would best be served by some sort of queue or sequenced action (e.g. multi-waypoint movement), I wouldn't rule it out.


What's your opinion of NPC schedules?

They're cool and we'd like to support them to some extent. We haven't tried it yet, though.


Will the stash be sortable by item type, or will stuff like say crafting materials get a separate tab or resource screen ?

I'm not sure yet what sorting options we'll have for the stash, but crafting materials will likely get a separate tab or screen entirely.


How is two-weapon fighting being handled in P:E? Will it be like D&D where you sacrifice accuracy or will it be based on attack speed?

Two-weapon fighting sacrifices both raw per-hit damage output (two-handed weapons excel at it) and the Deflection bonus provided by a shield, which is significant. Because PE's armor system uses a Damage Threshold (straight subtraction) system, low damage hits against a heavily armored target can be very inefficient. High Deflection is most important for characters who fight a number of melee opponents. Against a small number of targets in light or no armor, two-weapon fighting is extremely efficient.

What about a main gauche type weapon that, while a weapon, is also designed for parrying?

Currently, some weapons will also grant a Deflection bonus, but those bonuses are dwarfed by those provided by a shield.


How would you guys implement attacks of opportunity visually in Project Eternity? Will additional attack animation be added like NWN1, or simply a visual feedback like NWN2 did?

I would like to implement a ghosted double of the character performing the disengagement attack. If we have the actual character animate it, the character is losing time he or she could be spending performing some other action.


Regarding what you said in the attached link [The previous question]: the situation you want to avoid could be seen as a feature, not a bug. Will the game have dodging animations? If so, those would also be taking up time the character could be using to perform other actions.

I could only be seen as a feature if you want to work against the main purpose of implementing disengagement attacks. If we have dodge animations, they would only play while the character is not occupied with other actions.


I would like to know more about the structure of class level advancement. I recall asking in an interview with Josh I did last year whether the advancement system would be homogeneous like 4E or staggered like 2E/3E/3.5E etc, it would be cool to see an example of that.

Some other stuff I'm interested in would be the quest/experience system, whether the armor system was changed again or not and combat animations, whether there will be frontswing/backswing animations, if they are cancellable by microing and how ranged weapon animations are being handled (aim, fire, reload etc)

The advancement system is not as homogeneous as 4E, but classes do gain a class-specific ability (passive, modal, or active-use) every level.

We're implementing the quest system right now. We're going to use a visual flowchart for our quest implementation which should help with seeing the potential complications of branching or skipping objectives. The armor system hasn't changed since the last revision a while back. The system currently uses a single DT for a suit of armor with additional modifiers applied for things it is better or worse at. E.g. ordinary mail has 12 DT but it is 40% worse against crushing attacks. We're still implementing some aspects of the reloading system. Aim and fire are part of the same animation. Reloading is separate and moving interrupts it. Reloading a bow is relatively fast. Reloading a crossbow or arbalest is more time-consuming, and reloading a firearm is the most time-consuming (though not as long as it would be in real life). Most attack animations will probably not have early cancels, but we will probably have them for longer events like casting spells or special attacks.


Are you still adhering to the weight classifications (Light, Medium, Heavy)?

They are organized like that conceptually, but currently those classifications don't have any direct correlation to specific game effects.


Actually having individual 'weaknesses' vs a damage type on the armor itself makes a lot more sense. I suppose that's kind of what 2E did with eg. Chainmail AC4 +2 vs crushing etc

With weaknesses and strengths against different damage types, it's also a lot easier to communicate that through the UI. Additionally, once you've learned the strengths and weaknesses of a given armor or creature type, it stays consistent. If you see someone in crummy Oromi steel mail (the worst steel in the Dyrwood), it has a lower base DT, but it still has -40% DT against crushing attacks. When you go up against guys in March or Ymyran steel mail much later, it still has -40% DT against crushing even though the base DT is significantly higher.


Every type of armor has a specific speed penalty that correlates with (but is not specifically calculated by) "weight" (higher DT).


Armor speed penalties currently only affect the speed of actions, not movement. They modify attack animations directly but may wind up dominantly affecting downtime between actions instead (because it allows more scaling before the animations look... not good).

Fighters currently have a passive ability called Armored Grace that increases the DT benefit from armor. The benefit of augmenting DT rather than reducing speed penalties is that it doesn't make the lightest armors irrelevant for fighters. Of course, in the heaviest armors, they will probably have the highest DT of any class (all other things being equal). If you want to keep a similar DT to other classes but "gain" speed (lose speed penalty), Armored Grace allows a fighter to use a lighter armor type. E.g., if a cleric is wearing plate armor with X% speed penalty, a fighter may be able to wear brigandine with the same (effective) DT as the cleric's plate armor and a lower speed penalty.

We are not preventing classes from wearing any particular type of armor, but the mechanics of classes may lend themselves more to certain weights. E.g., many monk abilities (both active and passive) are powered by Wounds. You acquire Wounds by taking damage, after armor. Several monk and barbarian abilities are effective for a certain amount of time rather than a certain number of attacks, which encourages faster attacks -- both from the choice of weapon and from a lower armor speed penalty. Paladins have more targeted-use abilities and "Zealous" auras but are not especially durable. I.e., the party gains the most benefit from having them on the front lines, but they do not need to be especially fast-acting, so heavier armor often makes more sense for them.


Will there be fog of war implemented in Project Eternity?

Yes. We are implementing fog of war in our current prototype.


I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but will dialog and quest options relating directly to the skills your character has available? For example, New Vegas had some simple dialog options in regards to your skill levels (Explosions skill needs to be 25 to get dynamite from that one guy, for example). Will PE have something similar, and if so, will be it be any deeper than New Vegas' implementation?

We will definitely have skill use in our (scripted interactions) (like the bridge-jumping sequence we showed in Update 47.

Skill use in actual conversations will be less common, but we will have attribute (i.e. (ability score)) use in conversations in addition to elements like reputation. This does include the ability to perform narrated physical actions in conversation.


Have you given any thought to how slow/pause hotkeys will work in Project Eternity yet? Since you'd need more than just the space bar now

Currently we're using (S) for (slow) (amazing!), but we will probably remap that and allow the player to re-map it as well.


You mentioned in the past that weapon proficiency perks would come in 'theme groups' similar to Cowboy and Grunt from New Vegas. Can we expect that these specializations will have at least one weapon from each damage type, since the combat system seems to encourage switching weapons based on the encounter context?

Yes, the weapon groups will cover all of the physical damage types.


From Knights of the Old Republic on out, it's been standard in WRPGs for recruited but non-active party members to hang out together in some sort of "camp" area, like the Ebon Hawk or the Lucky 38, and could very easily be interacted with or swapped back in. This is in contrast to the Infinity Engine and Fallout games, where dismissed/replaced party members generally waited on spot or hung out at a character-specific area. Have you guys thought about which approach you'll take for PE?

Companions will at least remain at your house or stronghold if you have those. We have not discussed where companions will go/stay prior to that.

And a few details from George Ziets:
Which game among the IE games P:E feels closer to you? It reminds you of P:T, BG1 or 2, IWD 1 or 2? Or is a "perfect" combination of all 5 and feels closer to no one specifically?

It's a little too early to say for sure, but I'd lean toward BG2. PE isn't going to be as text-heavy as PS:T, but it probably won't be quite as hack-and-slashy as the IWDs either. BG2 offered a balance of city questing and dialogue with combat and exploration in dungeons, and that feels like the direction we're going. But again we're still in preproduction, so don't take that as the final word.


Do you know if the revealed characters (Cadegund, Edair etc) are recruitable NPCs ?

At least some of them will probably be recruitable companions, but we haven't finalized the list yet.


How big and diversive is the bestiary?

It's a work in progress right now, so I can't provide specific numbers, but we do cover a good range of creatures. Some will be unique to PE (like the skuldr), while others are PE-versions of well-known fantasy creatures (like the ogre) to evoke the feeling of the IE games.

Finally, in case you're interested, I thought I might as well also round up a few details on Obsidian's tech solution from Reddit, courtesy of Steve Weatherly:
Hey everyone, I'm so glad this has been so well received. While I am in no way a graphics programmer, I am the only full time programmer on the project and am happy to answer what I can if you have technical questions.
Oh and for the record, this still blows my mind every time I stop and look at a pretty light or a shadow. Michael Edwards really did a brilliant job making this possible.

I have heard/read some less than positive comments, I myself am blown away, but can you confirm that there is still a layer of post processing missing, explaining the difference between concept art and in game test?
It seems the "Paint" layer is missing.

Confirmed. There was no 2D touch-up done to the scene.

As a Layman, I wonder if the 2D touch-up would still be possible with dynamic lighting.
Just to clarify: I am 100% excited about the progress shown, and as an avid infinity engine fan, I am blown away by the capability of dynamic lighting/water.

No you're right, they can't paint in things that have depth or they won't light properly. They just have to paint on surfaces that already exist.


Hi Steve, lovely demo! I wondered if you guys would please consider making some levels with the same isometric camera, but with a 2 point or 3 point perspective? It would be great to see our party travel the world and really get a sense of scale like you get in this scene. or as you walk by and see a steep cliff nearby your party is nearby with a grand view.

Also, why are the characters so small? They seem kinda ant sized and since they're kinda earth tones, they don't really stand out against the environment. Maybe your artists can work on making them have a more distinctive silhouette or you guys will increase their scale 10-20%. Overall, I think you all are on track, good job!

Providing multiple points of perspective anytime would be really space intensive. Every different perspective would nearly double the size of the game since it's all pre-rendered.

The characters themselves are an ongoing work in progress, they weren't prominently featured in the demo because they aren't final.

I forwarded all your suggestions upward though, thanks for sharing them!


So how exactly do they render the lighting without 3D models?

Edit: Nevermind probably a 2D mapping of height levels, didn't think that through.

Yep, we've got a depth map and a spec map for the scene. We're taking advantage of the fixed camera.


wait, so the will o wisp moving around wasn't also prerendered? Because that's how I thought you did it, the shadows 'work' as long as you include them in the render.

Correct, the wisp was dynamic NOT pre-rendered. It's a game object in Unity and we can move it around and have it light the scene as we see fit. That also means we can make your spells light up a room when you cast them. :D

We have two types of shadows. Baked shadows (for all the plants, statues, etc) and dynamic shadows. The characters are casting dynamic shadows as they move around.

And to conclude, speaking of the will o' wisp...
Will the temple entrance will-o'-the-wisp be a romanceable NPC?

it has already captured my heart