Sirin caused the death of more people before she was seven than most soldiers do in their entire careers. One of the few mages on Terratus who was born with magic, Sirin first displayed her abilities the first time she cried. The midwife assisting with her birth burst out crying and asked what that bright light was and why everything was so cold. Her parents quickly learned anyone who heard Sirin's voice was compelled by the emotion behind it. Fortunately for them, she was a genial and easy-going child, so it wasn't much of a problem. Occasionally they would have to remind her not to use her powers on local children – especially after an episode with a local bully – but there were never any major incidents until she was seven years old.
Once word spread that Sirin had powers, people from all over requested her help. Crops weren't growing? Send for Sirin. Your son broke his leg? Send for Sirin. People spoke of her miraculous voice and its heavenly sound. It wasn't long before she gained the nickname Songbird, and everyone wanted to hear the Songbird sing. Eventually, tales of Sirin's voice reached Kyros, who knew that if this child truly was as powerful as everyone said, she could be a power tool for conquest. Using the Voices of Nerat, Kyros kidnapped Sirin from her family and delivered her to the royal court for training. During her schooling, she was deemed too dangerous to be allowed to use the full extent of her powers, so Kyros and the Voices of Nerat created a special helmet, placing it permanently on her head. If Sirin tried to go beyond the limits the helmet placed on her, the gem placed in it would shatter, killing her.
Once she was deemed ready (and properly under control), she was given back to the Voices of Nerat to help the Scarlet Chorus in their recruiting efforts. From that point on, her voice was used to convince any and all to join the Scarlet Chorus and fight for Kyros. But Sirin knew that she – and her voice – were simply a means to an end and that the moment she stopped being useful, her life was forfeit, so she did her best to recruit as many bodies as she could for the Chorus while planning a means of escape if the opportunity ever presented itself.
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.
The 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.
|Aria of Resolve||0||AAA||Sirin's aria bolsters the party's resolve, extending the duration of their helpful effects, and granting them increased Dodge and Parry.|
|Aria of Dissonance||1||AAA||Sirin's aria increases the effectiveness of the party's Armor and causes foes that strike allies in melee to have their attack damage reduced for a time.|
|Disarming Guise||1||AAA||Sirin's non-threatening appearance causes foes to underestimate her, granting her a large bonus to Disengagement Defense.|
|Languorous Tempo||1||Gain the stance "Languorous Tempo"||Sirin slows her vocal progressions, reducing the speed of her Songs and causing her stanzas to last longer while Languorous Tempo is active.|
|Aria of Respite||3||AAA||Sirin sings notes that seep into the minds of her allies and draw them to lucidity. Removes a hostile effect from each ally affected.|
|Crystalline Control I||3||AAA||With careful restraint, Sirin can safely control her voice over longer distances. Increases the range of Sirin's Defensive Songs.|
|Defensive Cry||3||AAA||When combat begins Sirin reflexively cries out, protecting her and nearby allies by significantly increasing Endurance, Will, and Magic defenses.|
|Inspiration||3||AAA||Sirin's presence inspires the party, increasing experience gained for Magic and Subterfuge Skills. Inspiration also grants Sirin additional Spell Slots.|
|Sustained Breath I||3||AAA||At the end of combat, Sirin can retain Breath for several minutes.|
|Aria of Winter||6||AAA||With a few whispered notes, Sirin's voice unleashes a wave of icy winds that washes over enemies, leaving them Frozen.|
|Crystalline Control II||6||Crystalline Control I||AAA||Sirin's control over her voice continues to improve, further increasing the range of Sirin's Defensive Songs.|
|Guise of Innocence I||6||AAA||While not wearing Heavy Armor, Sirin is immune to engagement.|
|Sustained Breath II||6||Sustained Breath I||AAA||Increases the amount of Breath retained at the end of combat.|
|Guise of Innocence II||9||Guise of Innocence I||AAA||As long as Sirin is not wearing Heavy Armor, Guise of Innocence will now grant her 100% Critical Deflection.|
|Reviving Song||9||AAA||Sirin's Aria of Respite now has the power to reach into the minds of allies that are completely unconscious and revive them|
|Aria of Memories||12||AAA||Sirin recalls a happy memory and begins to sing. The power in her voice creates an embodiment of her memory that will serve to protect her and the party by forcing nearby enemies to attack it.|
The 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.
|Aria of Force||0||AAA||Sirin releases a quick sonic blast that deals Crush damage to enemies and forcefully pushes them away from her.|
|Aria of Resonance||1||AAA||Sirin's voice fractures the armor of her foes. Enemies in the area cannot defend against Sirin's voice and have their Armor Sundered for a short time.|
|Rapid Tempo||1||Gain the stance "Rapid Tempo"||Sirin accelerates her vocal progressions, increasing the speed of her Songs and causing her to move through each stanza more quickly.|
|Resonant Field I||1||AAA||Sirin maintains a damage prevention field around herself. Any damage, even if prevented by Resonant Field, will briefly stop this field from regenerating.|
|Aria of Pain||3||AAA||Sirin focuses her voice and raises her pitch to deafening levels. Those caught in Sirin's attack take arcane damage and are interrupted.|
|Focused Song||3||AAA||Sirin learns to precisely channel her voice towards nearby enemies, gaining an Accuracy bonus to her Offensive Songs.|
|Quick Breath I||3||AAA||Sirin automatically gains Breath at the start of combat.|
|Resonant Field II||3||Resonant Field I||AAA||Moderately increases the damage prevented by Sirin's Resonant Field.|
|Aria of Confusion||6||AAA||Sirin bombards her enemies with a cacophony of tormenting notes. Those that fail to resist her power are Confused.|
|Cry of Despair||6||AAA||When Sirin is defeated, her final breath unleashes a potent wave of vengeful emotion. All enemies nearby become Weakened, Dazed, and Frightened.|
|Quick Breath II||6||Quick Breath I||AAA||Increases the amount of Breath Sirin gains at the start of combat.|
|Resonant Field III||6||Resonant Field II||AAA||Greatly increases the damage prevented by Sirin's Resonant Field.|
|Aria of Storms||9||AAA||Sirin's aria generates lightning that strikes all foes near her and then chains to distant enemies. Those struck are knocked prone and Dazed.|
|Vengeful Pitch||9||AAA||Sirin maintains a field of sound around her that retaliates against attackers. Melee attackers have their damage reduced for a short time.|
|Aria of Nightmares||12||AAA||Sirin recalls a nightmare and begins to sing. The power in her voice creates an embodiment of her memory that will terrify and torment her foes.|
The Songs tree.
- Aria of Confusion: Sirin bombards her enemies with a cacophony of tormenting sounds. Those that fail to resist her power are Confused.
- Aria of Nightmares: Sirin recalls a nightmare and begins to sing. The power in her voice creates an physical embodiment of her memory that will terrify and torment her foes.
- Aria of Respite: Sirin's notes seep into the minds of her allies and draw them to lucidity. Removes a hostile effect from each ally affected.
- Guise of Innocence: While not wearing Heavy Armor, Siring becomes immune to engagement.
- Rapid Tempo: Sirin accelerates her vocal progressions, increasing the speed of her songs and causing her to move through each stanza more quickly, but shortening the duration of their effects.
- Sustained Breath: At the end of combat, Sirin can retain Breath for several minutes.
- Blood Brings the Dawn: A powerful battle chant Sirin was forced to sings for the Scarlet Chorus to inspire their victory. Raises ally movement speed and causes enemies to take Fire damage and Bleed effects.
- Bringer of Death: A song ominously describing the power of Kyros' will as it washes over life and land, reaping those that stand against it. Lowers the Resolve, Parry, and Dodge of nearby enemies, as well applying the Weakened affliction to them.
- Sword of Strength, Sword of Justice: A song of valor and defiance. Adopted by the Vendrien Guard to boost morale in their rebellion. Raises the Might, Wits, and Vitality of nearby allies with the sound of Sirin's voice.
Sirin is a literal font of power. With enough time, Sirin's songs and arias can bring ruin to armies. While not exceptionally powerful in the early moments of combat, when Sirin builds enough Breath to perform an Aria, she can completely lock down small groups of enemies, or grant a surge that sends allies to victory. However, choosing the right Aria for the moment is important, since her Breath takes time to rebuild. Sirin is also rather frail defensively, so while it's important to make sure she's close to the battle for her songs, she should not wander close enough to draw attention. If she finds herself in trouble, abilities like Guise of Innocence can help her to escape, but ultimately she will need another ally to step in and take the enemies' focus.
The longer a battle rages on, the more Sirin's power seals the enemy's fate.
Behind the scenes
Given her young age and implied sexual abuse, Sirin may be partially based on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. Furthermore, Sirin's name may be derived from Vladimir Nabokov's own pen name: Vladimir Sirin.