Pentiment director discusses real-world inspirations for its setting

Some of Pentiment's characters living their lives in Tassing and Kiersau.

Some of Pentiment's characters living their lives in Tassing and Kiersau.

Given that its medieval setting is a lot more grounded than those you’ll find in fantasy games like The Witcher 3 or Skyrim, if you’ve played Pentiment, you’ve probably found yourself wondering whether it’s based on real places, people or events at some point.

After all, due to how absorbing the cast of characters inhabiting Obsidian’s new RPG are and the multitude of interesting facts and details you encounter at every turn as you explore, the game sometimes doesn’t feel all that fictitious.

One of its fans clearly feels this way, having decided to try and look into the inspirations behind Pentiment’s setting, prompting Game Director Josh Sawyer to take to Twitter and provide some answers.

Andreas Maler’s adventure takes place in a very well-researched world

Sawyer’s first tweet on the topic saw him share a Tumblr post by user tayilapologist, a resident of the real region of Bavaria in which Pentiment takes place, who shared their efforts to try and work out which towns and monasteries Tassing and Kiersau could have taken inspiration from.

Their post began with some etymology of the names Tassing and Kiersau. According to the post, the former fits the naming conventions of towns founded in the regions that make up modern Austria and Bavaria between the 7th and 9th centuries, while the latter is a bit more complex, possibly being derived from a mix of German words.

From here tayilapologist moves on to some geography, using Google Maps to try and narrow down the locations Tassing and Kiersau could be inspired by. While they ended up choosing to disregard the spot indicated for the pair via the in-game map, concluding that because of the way it’s drawn, it’s “not very reliable”, they did manage to come up with a list of six possible places that could have served as sources of inspiration.

Most of these were settlements based around monasteries which existed before or around the time period that the game is set in, such as Kloster Ettal, Beuerberg, Wessobrunn, Benediktbeuern and Polling, while one, Epfach is a small village that lacks a monastery, but could have lent Tassing some of its rich Roman history.

Having come up with pros and cons for each of these places in comparison to those seen in-game, tayilapologist concluded: “You can find something of Pentiment's locations in all of the places I've mentioned, and yet none of them are a perfect fit, because the story that Pentiment tells needs the combination of all these things to work.”

This conclusion was backed up by Sawyer, who confirmed that “many of the places listed” in the post had inspired Tassing and Kiersau, while also recommending that those investigating consider the distances characters in-game state that they’ve travelled to get there.

Regardless of whether you’re now booking a trip to Bavaria to investigate that matter for yourself, make sure to follow us for in-depth coverage of RPGs like Pentiment, Skyrim and The Witcher 3.

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