April 04, 2021

[Design] Lydia, Prophet of Ta'Reya

I have been making tons of progress on Daughter of Dreams. I have completely finished the abilities for both Sonya and Lydia, and I am close to having a fully functional combat prototype which will be sent to my alpha-testers to get early feedback. In the meantime, I am writing this post to showcase the combat abilities for Lydia Derden, the Prophet of Ta'Reya. She was sent by Ta'Reya to be a guide and friend for Sonya, and was trained to use magic.

Lydia is the primary spell-caster of the team, focusing on ice and healing magic. Her primary resource is Magic Points (MP). All characters use MP to perform magical attacks, but Lydia has the unique ability to spend extra MP to make her magical attacks more powerful.

The Silver Chakram

Lydia's primary weapon is her Silver Chakram. It allows her to strike enemies at a distance, as well as channel her magic (due to silver being a highly enchantable metal).

Lydia throws the Chakram to the right, hitting a row of Green Globbers.
Using Chakram Cast to damage a row of Green Globbers

Chakram Cast: This is Lydia's base attack. It casts the Chakram in a straight line from its current position, and will deal damage to all enemies in a line.

Lydia throws the Chakram around in a rectangle pattern.
Throwing the Chakram around in a loop

The Chakram does not always have to return directly to Lydia. Instead, it operates independently, and it will stay floating in place until the next time it is moved. If it returns to Lydia's position, she will catch it and the Chakram is removed from the battlefield until the next time it is used.

Special Attacks

Lydia's special attacks rely on using the Silver Chakram to channel magical attacks, and these abilities can be charged with extra MP to make them far more powerful.

Lydia throws the Chakram damaging and freezing a row of Green Globbers.
Using Freezing Cast to damage and freeze two Green Globbers

Freezing Cast: This attack performs a regular Chakram Cast with an additionally freezing effect. When it is charged, the effect will last one turn longer for each MP spent, up to a maximum of six turns. Frozen enemies cannot act until the effect wears off. If they are hit, they will take extra damage and the freeze effect will cancel.

Lydia throws the Chakram, then charges an AOE Radial Cast to damage several Green Globbers.
Using Radial Cast to damage several Green Globbers

Radial Cast: The Radial Cast is a powerful area of effect ability (AOE). It deals damage in a radius around the Chakram. Extra MP will increase the radius and damage of the attack. This ability also shows the importance of positioning the Chakram, especially as these attacks deal damage to allies.

Ordered Magic

Hallowed Frost: This is one of Lydia's most powerful attacks. It is a huge meteor of enchanted ice that damages and freezes enemies, while simultaneously healing allies. However, once it is cast, it will not strike until the next turn, so you will need to plan ahead to use it properly. This spell can operate both as a high damage attack, and a way for Lydia to support her melee allies from a distance.

Lydia uses Hallowed Frost to strike several enemies and heal Sonya.
Using Hallowed Frost to damage enemies and heal Sonya

There will be many attacks that operate with a delay like this. It is one way I hope to encourage strategic play as well as make it possible to use avoid damage from enemy attacks.

Lydia casts Sanctified Aura to restore MP and grant Immunity to the entire party.
Using Sanctified Aura to restore MP and grant Immunity

Sanctified Aura: Sanctified Aura is a support spell which restores MP to allies in radius. It also grants the Immunity status effect, preventing allies from being inflicted by harmful status effects. This is one of the only abilities that can passively recover MP, but it costs a lot of Action Points (AP) so it is most effective when Lydia can grant MP to the full party at once.

Chaotic Magic

In Daughter of Dreams most magic is classified as either Ordered or Chaotic. As a mechanic, this simply allows me to split the spell abilities into more than one tab because there will eventually be a lot of them. There are lore implications, but I will not get into them too much here. I should note though, that Chaotic in this case does not mean evil, it is only a classification of how the spell operates.

Lydia uses Unstable Transference to move a Green Globber to the left and herself to the right.
Using Unstable Transference to move an enemy and Lydia to new locations

Unstable Transference: This is a utility spell that allows Lydia to teleport any entity anywhere on the battlefield to another location. This includes herself, allies, and enemies. Unstable Transference may also be charged with MP to increase the distance of the teleport (but the target itself may be at any range).

Stray Thoughts

Overall, I am extremely pleased with Lydia's design. Both the movement of the Silver Chakram and her unique use of MP make her feel very different than Sonya and I can see a lot of potential for strategic depth as her abilities synergize with her allies. Hopefully it will translate well to real gameplay (and I will find out soon, as the alpha-testers get their hands on the combat prototype).

Also I'd like to mention a few adjustments to Sonya's design since the last time I wrote. Primarily, her bonus AP ability was changed to a Charge status effect instead of a custom ability. Charge grants extra AP to entities at the start of their turn, as well as increasing the damage done by Light Elemental attacks. This means Sonya can not only grant extra AP to her allies as well, but she also gains increased damage for all her Light Elemental primary attacks when she has Charge. This approach felt more consistent with the rest of the game and enabled extra synergies.

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