1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. To chat with the GameOgre community, you need to have at least 15 posts. Once you have the 15 posts, post at Become A New Ogre
    Dismiss Notice

Tying the Connections: Scylla

Discussion in 'Smite' started by LosmiK, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. LosmiK

    LosmiK Mr. LosmiK Ogre Veteran

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Tying the Connections: Scylla


    Here we are again, back to tie the connections between a goddess’ abilities and her lore. This time we’re looking at someone who isn’t technically a goddess, but part of greek myth all the same. It’s the monstrous little girl that hurts way more than any character has the right to: Scylla, Horror of the Sea.

    Scylla’s tale is riddled with themes that seem to drown Greek mythology: desire, jealousy and spite. The most accepted version of her legend has Scylla born as a beautiful sea nymph, or Nereid, that was besieged with many suitors. She turned all of them down, as none of them spiked her interest enough, and she decided to remain with the other Nereids.

    Glaucus was one of those suitors, falling in love with Scylla the moment he laid his eyes upon her. But he wasn’t a normal human anymore, as his lower body changed into a fishtail after chewing on a plant. Scylla, horrified by his appearance, mistook him for a monster and fled, leaving the heartbroken Glaucus behind.


    Glaucus was not one to give up so easily: he was so smitten with Scylla that he went to the witch Circe for a magical potion that would earn him the Nereid’s affection. But it wouldn’t be a Greek myth if there wasn’t a love triangle involved, and in this case Circe fell in love with Glaucus as hard as he fell in love with Scylla. She tried her hardest to get his heart off of the Sea Nymph and into her hands, but Glaucus could only think of Scylla.

    This is where we touch upon the jealousy and spite, as Circe could not stand having the man she loves love someone else. In a fit of jealous rage Circe poisoned the waters Scylla used to bathe. Upon entering the waters Scylla changed into the monstrous form she’s known for: the head and torso of a woman, six baying dogs around her waist and the tail of a fish. The dogs attacked and devoured anyone who came close, beyond her ability to control, making her flee to the edge of the strait she used for bathing, opposite the whirlpool Charybdis, to live out her days alone.

    Now those navigating the strait are caught between Charybdis and Scylla. Move too much away from one, and you will run into the ‘arms’ of the other. Coming too close to Scylla means losing six members of your crew, one to each of the dogs who come up out of the water and devour the men whole. Coming too close to Charybdis meant certain doom for your ship, as the whirling waters would suck it down to the depths.


    Before we delve into her abilities, I want to take a moment and look at her appearance in the game. Reading just the above description of Scylla, it is strange that Hi-Rez depicted her as a little girl. But there are a number of references to a ‘child-like laughter’ in the myths that include her. The myth above is also just one of the most accepted versions, as there are also tales that tell her being born in the monstrous form she has. Both of these would explain her young appearance in the game, and make it lore appropriate. The fishtail we might never find out, as we can’t really look under her skirt. Which is better that way, because who would look under a young girl’s skirt?

    The shortage of dogs in the game, four instead of six, has no connection to the lore as it is specifically mentioned she has six dog heads. Because of this is have the strong suspicion that it’s an esthetic choice. The way they appear from her during her ult, or when she jumps, makes it hard to include two more without making it too crowded or the heads losing their intimidating look due to being too small.

    Now, let’s (finally) get into her abilities!


    Quick Learner

    This passive doesn’t have any direct connections into her lore. Nowhere is it stated that Scylla is knowledgeable or a quick study, as most of her mentions are centered around her being one of the two dangers in a narrow stretch of sea. However, if you look at the stories including the child-like laughter, and the subsequent young look attached to it, it makes sense. Young children learn much faster than adults, and a child-like monster would reasonably have the same innate ability.

    Sic ‘Em

    The origin of this ability isn’t hard to imagine, as the animation pretty accurately shows what happens when you get too close to Scylla. Devouring those hit would be slightly broken, so a root and cripple is an ‘adequate’ replacement. This only flies when you look at Scylla as being born monstrous, as the Nereid legend states that she has no control over them at all and ‘Sic ‘Em’ is clearly a command. It does enforce the idea of the dogs being separate entities, even though they’re attached to her, as she needs to command them to attack.


    Let’s get it out of the way: no connection to lore. None. Zip. Nada. But then the question rises, where DOES this ability come from? The only theory I can think of is the choice of making Scylla a mage. The animation shows a magical circle of some sorts, and she can control whenever it detonates. These kinds of ‘magical traps’ are a common occurrence in fantasy literature and fantasy games. With her being a mage, especially a young one, having an ability based on such a basic magical effect (assuming it is, based on how often it shows up in games/literature) is not a big stretch of the imagination.

    Still lore inappropriate though.



    Back to the doggies! Well, one of them. While it is never mentioned she used her dogs to look out for ships, it’s not that unrealistic to think she would have. The only things that ever attacked the ships that sailed too close are the dogs, implying that Scylla never left her home, or didn’t venture too far from it. Using the dogs to ‘patrol’ for ships sailing by would be entirely feasible. All of this is still assuming the ‘born a monster’ origin and she has some control over them.

    The teleportation part of Sentinel is entirely a game-y solution to Scylla not having any mobility as a squishy mage. No matter which origin you follow, Scylla is a decidedly immobile monster, always lurking in the same place.

    I’m a Monster

    This is about as lore accurate as it can possibly get. The dogs attack a target, and with the sheer amount of deletion potential this ability has they might as well devour their hapless victims. The lore inaccuracies that are present are mostly due to the model having too few heads or her age being not specifically mentioned anywhere in the ‘born a monster’ origin. Both of these points have been discussed before.

    As a whole, Hi-Rez has taken a fair amount of liberties in designing Scylla.
    Those liberties are understandable though, as Scylla is a very one-dimensional monster in Greek mythology. The Nereid origin provides some depth to her personality, but not a lot to base a MOBA kit on. While not the most lore accurate character in the game, there’s no denying the fact that deleting the opposition with a Crush, Sick ‘Em, I’m a Monster combo is extremely satisfying.

Share This Page