August 12, 2021

[Progress Update] Charms

As I continue development over the summer, I find blog posts to be a task on my back burner, but I will update today on the major systems I have finished over the last few months. I have worked on many improvements for the combat system, including a major rebalancing, new enemies, and lots of quality of life updates. However, the main system I developed was the inventory. In particular, equipable charms that modify player stats.


The inventory in Daughter of Dreams is fairly similar to the inventory system I developed for the real-time combat prototype. In this case, I opted to include multiple pages for items of different types. This allows the item information (lore and affected stats) to be shown at the same time as selecting items since the item slots take up less screen space.

Note: I am showcasing the inventory with the new (WIP) Temple of Light and Enchanted Grove tilesets to add some variety. I'll write some posts about those areas once they are completely done!

Selecting items and switching pages in the inventory.
Selecting Items: Quest Items, Materials, Consumables, and Charms

The player can scroll through each page in the inventory and select items with the cursor. A selected item showcases its name and description below the inventory box. The right side shows the currently selected character's HP, MP, AP, and other combat stats. When selecting a charm the stat list will preview the stats that would be modified by equipping that charm.

Item Types

Each page in the inventory contains a different type of item. I intend for the inventory to have infinite space as well, so in the future additional pages will be inserted if a particular type exceeds the limit of a single page. For now, there are a couple of item types used to keep them organized.
  • Quest Items: These are story-related items such as Sonya's Sorrite Spear. Some of these will be only for lore purposes, but others may have practical uses on the overworld, or relate to particular abilities unlocked by the characters as part of the story progression.
  • Materials: These are the "useless" items that are dropped by mobs or loot chests. Like Globber slime and bits of string. They will be able to be sold to merchants or sometimes traded.
  • Consumables: These are potions or healing items that will be able to be used during combat, to recover HP or apply status effects. Consumable items aren't implemented yet, they will be in the next alpha-version as they are somewhat complicated to develop.
  • Charms: These are equipped to characters to change their combat stats, such as increasing their attack or defense, or providing unique passive bonuses. This is an essential component of the combat system, as charms provide customization and strategic diversity.
The gelatinous goo left behind by a Green Globber. Pretty gross, but it could be useful?
Selected the Green Glob under Materials

General Charms

Charms modify the stats and abilities of equipped characters, similar to badges from Paper Mario or charms from Hollow Knight. You can change them around between battles to equip them with different characters, and you are only limited by the number of charm slots you have. The goal of charms in Daughter of Dreams is to allow players to invent their own strategies and create different ways of playing. It is also a method of making the player stronger over time, by providing them with more charms and thus more powerful options during combat. There are different types of charms that work with slightly different mechanics.
  • Personal Charms: These are the most common type of charms. They simply modify the stats of a single character. For example, Pendant of Light grants +1 Light Damage and -1 Magical Resistance. Others might grant a passive bonus instead, such as Primed Hourglass which causes the user to start the battle with Charge (a status effect) for one turn.
  • Aura Charms: These provide a passive bonus to the entire party, such as increased treasure drop-chance. I have not fully implemented Aura Charms yet.
  • Life Charms: These can be equipped to a single character and provide both entirely unique passive bonuses, and permanent upgrades such as maximum HP or MP. I will cover these in more detail in the next section.
An eternally flowing hourglass which contains unfathomable energy.
Selected the Primed Hourglass under Charms

When selecting a charm in the inventory, the stat modification offered is listed on the stats page, allowing you to view your current stats and what would change if you equipped or removed a certain charm. Nearly every value referenced during combat is stored as a combat stat, making it trivial for me to implement a charm that modifies anything I want, including movement speed, max HP, damage, armor, attack range, ability cost, etcetera. For passive abilities, I add a new combat status that represents that specific bonus, so that the effect is reflected in the stat preview.

-1 Magical Resistance / +1 Light Damage
Selected the Pendant of Light under Charms

Life Charms

One of the unique mechanics with the charm system in Daughter of Dreams is Life Charms. These are a replacement for traditional XP leveling systems that are usually part of RPGs. In Daughter of Dreams, you have Life Charms which can be equipped for your chosen party, and find consumable items that can be used to upgrade the Life Charms to provide permanent bonuses.
  • Each character may have at most one Life Charm equipped at any given time.
  • Any Life Charm may be equipped for any character.
  • All Life Charms provide a completely unique passive bonus.
  • Life Charms can be upgraded to provide increased max HP, MP, and AP.
On kill, gain charge.
Blessing of Ta'Reya Life Charm Granting +10 HP and +1 AP

Life Charms are designed to provide additional strategic depth with how you increase the strength of your characters, by allowing Life Charms to be exchanged between characters. Additionally, Life Charms address a few issues I find with traditional character-specific leveling systems.

  • Underused or new party members can be under-leveled compared to the rest. In this case, a new character can just be given your previously leveled Life Charm and they are raring to go.
  • You can use Life Charms to create strategies around specific upgrades instead of every decision being permanent. For instance, you can make a Life Charm that grants lots of extra MP or a different one that grants extra HP, and use whichever makes more sense depending on the circumstances or for the specific character.
  • This ties leveling up to collecting items instead of gaining XP, which means I can pace out the distribution of upgrades more deliberately, and there is no need to grind killing enemies for XP. (That has a place, don't get me wrong, but I don't want it in this particular game).
  • I may introduce more Life Charms as you play longer, which can provide more risky play or advanced strategies. A less experienced player can stick with their old Life Charms that have already been invested in.
Regenerate MP at the start of each turn.
Holy Grimoire Life Charm Regenerated MP Each Turn

Stray Thoughts

There are a few other aspects of the inventory which I cannot cover in detail. You can sort your items, there are item rarities and drop tables, selling and purchasing items... Many things are either planned or implemented internally already and I'm making rapid progress.

My next steps include actually developing the start of the overworld exploration, which you can see by the WIP tilesets in the screenshots for this post. I'm ecstatic to share my progress in this regard. I'm proud of the combat system, but I think my plans for the overworld are what will make this game truly original. So yeah, I can't wait to share about that. Thanks for reading!

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