Tyranny – Spells and story

More Tyranny musings for today.

Spell Mechanics: Being able to customize spells is a major feature in Tyranny. In my first game I didn’t do a lot with it, mostly because my main character wasn’t a spellcaster, so I just did the occasional minor tweak to spells for a companion, but that was about it.

The way the system works is that you first select an element (fire, cold, earth, etc), then a style (ranged, touch, aoe, etc), and finally there are additions to spells (more power, shorter cooldown, larger aoe, etc). Lore is the stat that determines what spells you can use, with stronger or more complex spells requiring more lore. Tyranny has no mana system, just cooldowns. You must find a spell part before you can use it to adjust spells, with the stronger additions coming later in the game, or costing more at a vendor.

In my currently game my main is a mage, and so each time I find a new component, I go into the spell design UI (which itself is very clean and works well) and tweak my spells. This results in noticing the minor changes more, and seeing how different spells are modified by some items. For example, one modification increases AoE range. For a spell like fireball, that just means a larger explosion radius. For a cone spell, that increases the size of the cone, which is pretty powerful. Increasing the AoE of a heal spell might have less value, especially if the size is already large (you only have 4 party members, and fights normally are pretty compact).

Each modification also has levels of power, and those levels costs more lore, so as you find more powerful versions, how you adjust the lore cost is also a fun min/max game. For example; my fireball spells has both a range and power adjustment. I find a new level of the power adjustment, but I can’t fit both the new power and the range enhancement to my current lore value. I can drop range to add more power, or keep the spell as-is until my lore value increases. This all gets even more involved as you get more modifiers, levels, and lore skill. I have spells right now with 5 modifiers, and some of those are level 2 or 3. It’s a lot of fun, and really does feel like you are designing spells rather than applying small modifications.

Content: I finished my first game siding with the Disfavored. My second game I’m allied with the rebels, and almost right from the beginning the game is drastically different. One town that was controlled by a certain faction in game one is controlled by a different in game two, which completely changes what quests are available, and what side areas open up. The main locations are all still there, because it’s the same world, and the major pre-game events also all happen, but sometimes a little differently, but all of this comes together to create pretty different starting points, which further branch based on the decisions you make as you go. It really does feel like playing a different story in the same world, rather than playing the same story with some plot points adjusted. Pretty incredible.

I’ve also read that the anarchist playthrough, where you are not allied with anyone, so another very different take on the game, one that I’m pretty excited to experience as well. That’s also the nice thing about the game being about 25-30hrs in length; a full game isn’t a crushing time commitment.


About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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