One of the most obvious ways to affect Tzipora Herzog’s skills in Total Rendition is to upgrade them. However, her skills and attributes (or, the SEPIA system) can also be affected by draining and boosting these skills. Sounds familiar? Earlier on, I made clear I like Morrowind. Like, a lot. In fact, Total Rendition is going to feature a skill system quite closely resembling it. However, Fallout’s SPECIAL system was also a significant influence (and not due to Bethesda, as Fallout 1 & 2 in particular were most instructive). Unlike Fallout however, there is no luck attribute. Furthermore, Perception and Charisma are both covered by the Psychology attribute, which is the P in SEPIA.
In Total Rendition, both skills and attributes can be damaged, which is a reduction of a skill applicable until the skill has been restored and furthermore, skills can be drained or boosted, which are both temporary modifiers. Boosting protects against both damage to skills and temporarily improves your skills as if it is upgraded, albeit only temporarily. Draining does the opposite, although likewise, is temporary in nature.
Attributes can affect you in a wild variety of ways: A compromised agility attribute may see you become slower and able to jump less further than you otherwise would. A diminished strength may increase recoil when using firearms and decrease effectiveness at melee range weaponry. Combat skills like martial arts, melee combat and small arms are typically governed by the Strength and Agility attributes, respectively the S and A in SEPIA, so if you decide to invest in these skills, this will come at the expense of the upgrade-ability of your non-combat skills. Furthermore, the base level of an attribute (i.e. the attribute level excluding damage, boosting and draining) dictates how far you can upgrade any skills it governs. For instance, hacking, a skill covered by intelligence, cannot be improved than your intelligence attribute.
Arcana – like potions in more traditional RPG’s – also holds the key in fortifying attributes and skills. Indeed, doing magickal operations in Total Rendition will allow you to boost a skill or attribute over its maximum upgradable level, to become superhuman, however temporarily. Hence it will always pay to invest in arcana skills. However, your attributes and skills can also be affected is by Psychoticism, a variable like health, which is increased by incurring damage, in-game events and overuse of arcana. Hence, Psychoticism can therefore be thought as a negative version of Magicka or magic points, something related to magickal operations yet are increased with more magickal operations and forms penalties.
Finally, there is stamina. For most players familiar with Morrowind, this should be pretty self-explanatory. It is depleted by running and once it is depleted, you can’t run. However, doing nothing will restore it. This modifier is improved by upgrading or boosting your endurance. However, health too is strengthened by endurance. Thus, while endurance does not directly govern any skills, it is a useful attribute overall.
All the aforementioned features have been present since 0.2.4.0 and will be present in the forthcoming binary version of Total Rendition on Steam. Whether that will be 0.3.2.2 or 0.4.1.8, still remains to be seen.
P.S.: That screenshot showcased placeholder assets to showcase the aforementioned mechanics. If you happen to be an environment designer, we would like to hear from you! Here is why: