Tyranny Dev Diary #13: Sirin

The latest dev diary for Tyranny offers a write-up on the backstory and abilities of Sirin, Archon of Song and one of the companions of the game. Based on the explanation on the blog, her special mechanics are very, very similar to the Chanter class in Pillars of Eternity:

Sirin was designed to control and manipulate the flow of battle by afflicting her foes with terrible sicknesses of the mind and body. Sirin’s power as an Archon grants her the unique ability to influence others with song (Those who played Pillars of Eternity’s Chanter class will be familiar with her mechanics). In combat, she will passively sing, causing minor blights and hindrances to foes that hear her voice, as well as subtle benefits to her allies.

As Sirin sings, she builds up a resource called ‘Breath’ that is later used to perform an ‘Aria’. Arias unleash powerful concentrated magical effects from Sirin’s voice on those she directs it towards. These effects can be devastating for enemies, or invigorating for her allies, depending on the Aria performed. A unique progression tree is used for Sirin’s songs that is automatically advanced as she gains levels, unlocking new songs, while Arias must be purchased exclusively from her two talent trees. Overall, the focus from each tree is directed towards either making Sirin a peaceful songstress who aids her allies with powerful beneficial effects, or an aggressive weaver of vengeful arias who aims to break her enemies where they stand.

Since Sirin’s songs are passive in combat. When designing them we thought it reasonable to assume that many users will want to pick one that has an enjoyable effect and leave it active in most cases. This is absolutely OK, and many songs serve to support this strategy. However, we wanted each song to also exist as a tactical counter to occasional problems posed against the party. For instance, I may enjoy using the song ‘Glory in Battle’ to grant my party several direct stat boosts, but if I’m currently facing against the Bane, I might be inclined to temporarily switch to the song ‘Bane of Night’, which is incredibly effective against Bane units. Every song is intended to have a specific theme to its effects and is also designed to have a larger payoff at the end of the song if the last stanza is reached.

When building Sirin’s talent trees, we wanted to allow players to decide if Sirin fits better in their group as a supporter of party offense or defense. Sirin’s ‘Peace’ tree provides several defensive talents, utilities, and a number of Arias that help to bolster ally defenses, free them from hostile effects, and even revive unconscious party members. Sirin’s ‘War’ tree has talents built to use Arias more quickly as well as a variety of offensive Arias that affect enemy minds, push them around the battlefield, or even shock them into submission.