We’re back again with another Developer Workshop! Today we’re taking a look at Tyrella, the third in our series of playable Heroes in our upcoming campaign, The Songweave Tapestry. Join us as we dive into the challenge of designing her character.
FRAMING THE CHARACTER
For Tyrella’s portrait, we wanted to focus less on a notable moment in her backstory, and more on the struggle that defines her currently as she heads into The Songweave Tapestry. She’s been living wild and free as a mercenary since she ran away from home, but more and more, the endless cavalcade of drinking, dicing and fighting isn’t enough to light the darkness she’s been carrying inside her.
Our first vision for her piece was a scene that blended literal and conceptual elements. She’s in an abstract tavern space arm-wrestling a shadowy figure, with just a hint of desperation and fear showing through her grit and determination. For once, she’s struggling to overcome an opponent that she may not be able to overwhelm with sheer physicality—her usual way of subduing her problems.
Though the first series worked well to push the internal narrative, we just weren’t happy with how the posing and composition downplayed showing the viewer who she is and what she looks like. We mocked up a few new poses—some looking more active/defiant, and others showing her vulnerability a little more.
We decided to go with #3 of the second set, as it was a good showcase as an intro to the audience, but also allowed some subtle nods to the internal narrative through the atmosphere – the use of lighting and colour choice driving that home in the final illustration.
SETTING THE SCENE
The tavern scene is set outdoors in a somewhat abstract space with beautiful, balanced lighting. It is, in fact, the al fresco nightlife area in the Starlight Commons that shows up in Tyrella’s origin lore story (roughly 10 years before the decrepit version of the Starlight Commons seen in The Skies of Axia).
The conceptual elements of struggle are expressed through the strong contrasts in the hot/cold lighting. We wanted to show both the warmth of celebration that’s at the core of Tyrella’s character, but also the cold and sober realization of her inner struggles that are always closing in at the edges of her awareness. This theme, and Tyrella, make a short cameo in Jason Anarchy’s guest lore story, “The Stein Lord“.
ADDING FINER DETAILS
Her costume design went through some discussion: being both a skilled combatant and a warrior with a certain disregard for her personal safety, meant not outfitting her with too much armour. In the end, we decided to leave her arms bare and only have a select amount of plate armour – covering the rest in cloth, leather and fur.
If you look very closely at the final Tyrella piece, you’ll also see the crossed out gear on her warhammer. The gear is the sigil of her family, the Machias, whom she turned her back on when she embraced the life of the road. You’ll see that turn away from her identity evolve as the events of The Songweave Tapestry unfold.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Tyrella and hope you’ll continue exploring her story in The Songweave Tapestry!