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Charybdis: A Closer Look

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Forum » News » Charybdis: A Closer Look 5 posts - page 1 of 1
Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Branmuffin17 » August 2, 2021 10:10am | Report

By: TitanCupcake | 2021/8/2



"And the heroes, seized by anguish, left the Sirens, but other perils still worse, destructive to ships, awaited them in the meeting-place of the seas. For on one side appeared the smooth rock of Scylla; on the other Charybdis ceaselessly spouted and roared. – Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica"

Many ancient Greeco-Roman poets have written about the dangerous duo lurking in the waters of The Strait of Messina. Homer, Virgil, and many lesser known writers have shared these warnings, and they struck terror into the hearts of adventurers.

Scylla and Charybdis are always described together, on opposite sides of the narrow strait. They are bound here by destiny, inflicted on them by the gods. There are phrases used in many different cultures to describe difficult situations, with no clear right answer:

“Between a rock and a hard place”
“On the horns of dilemma”
“The lesser of two evils”
“Between Scylla and Charybdis”


Charybdis left us plenty of room to creatively interpret the mythology. We know there are many different opinions in the community over how she should be depicted, and we heavily considered all of these different options.

Ultimately, we wanted to stay true to the idea of Scylla and Charybdis as a duo. This is their primary literary depiction, and a strong relationship in itself. They are not technically related, depending on the source material, but it felt clearly justified to symbolically design them as sisters.

Therefore, Charybdis would also be a child, the daughter of Poseidon. As Scylla would hide her monstrous form under the ground, so would Charybdis but in a different manner.

Scylla is the princess, she wields magical power, she’s a little unhinged and creepy, and she can cause a lot of damage.

Charybdis is the sportswoman, she wields physical power, she is cold and calculating, and she can cause a lot of damage.

Scylla has a multitude of dog headed snake limbs in place of her legs.

Charybdis has a single large-mouthed monster in place of her left arm, hidden underneath a royal cloak.

They are opposites in many ways except for the base visual direction. They both consider themselves as monsters, but they utilize their abilities to disguise themselves as an additional advantage.


We know some of you out there might be wishing that she was 100% monster, with no human form. Very few of our gods have so much flexibility in their depiction. Usually there is a pretty clear visual direction to take. With that flexibility comes the downside of players being disappointed that their preferred direction was not chosen.

This goddess was always planned to be a Physical Hunter, decided well before our teaser trailer was released at the Season 7 World Championships, and she was always planned to be designed akin to Scylla.

We saw that datamining labeled her as magical, and we aren’t exactly sure why that was. Perhaps they only were able to get the very earlier prototype version, which our gameplay team uses to set up the basic ability functions. At that time all stats/damage types are often totally wrong, as a game designer will do a pass later and configure them all correctly. Over time, we have changed the way we packaged assets, possibly making it harder to get the information. We hope people don’t feel misled by this, and we want to just remind the community that datamining is not an official source.

This direction is what got her through our god greenlight process, the dev team as a whole was more excited about this option than the full monster one, and our player metrics and research led us to trust that a large part of SMITE fans would be happy with this direction as well.

Tiamat was a true non-human goddess launched earlier this year, and we wanted Charybdis to be strongly differentiated from her.


  • Theme – Dangerous Seas – Charybdis is the embodiment thalassophobia, the dangers that lurk below the water’s surface. She is a sea monster, a whirlpool, and a goddess of the ocean’s royal family.
  • Visuals – Hidden Horrors – Charybdis is confident, and fierce, but her powers are invisible at first glance. She has learned to control her curse, and conceals a massive monstrous maw underneath her cloak.
  • Personality – Vengeful and Cold – Charybdis has been cursed by the gods, and trapped underwater for centuries. She feels an intense anger toward those who brought her this fate, although she maintains a cool and calculating presence.
  • Perspective – Trouble – The gods don’t know who’s side Charybdis is on, they just know that her and Scylla are violent, unpredictable, and back with a vengeance.


As mentioned in the community notes, this was not an easy process. We had an array of thematic, technical, and creative constraints to abide by. We wanted Charybdis to feel specifically unique from Scylla, but still clearly thematically related to her.

We started with rough explorations of the girl form. Ranging from some more dark, gothic styles to the very regal and fantastic. We also explored how her monster forms would manifest themselves. This involved different sizes and shapes, or using one arm or two arms.

As we progressed through the iterations we had found the right balance for the girl. She was designed to live up to the title of “Daughter of Poseidon.” For these reasons she has royal elements, as well as aquatic references in her visuals. We focused on the royal tunic, staying away from the princess dress that Scylla wears.

Charybdis is a hunter, she is more likely than Scylla to venture out with her father on matters of duty or sport. She was eager to venture into the wild, train in combat, and eavesdrop on politics. She is dressed more for those occasions, and is always shown holding one of her trusty daggers. As a hunter we wanted a new and fresh ranged weapon, and the dagger was a cool throwing weapon that fit well with her visuals.

We then started more specific iterations on the monster, who we had started referring to as: The Maw. To contrast with Scylla, we designed the monster to be a single, larger entity instead of multiple smaller ones. We wanted the character to be based on aquatic creatures in form and detail, but with some clearly supernatural features.

Below, we have our final Charybdis concept. We knew that the tech behind modeling, animating, and rigging the monster was still going to be a challenge going forward. One thing we thought about a lot was the scale. We wanted this thing to be as big as possible, to really fit with her thematic goals of a monster that generates massive whirlpools. We also wanted her to be able to interact with it in a variety of non-combat scenarios, where the maw has a smaller form. The fantasy behind being able to hide a giant monster under her cloak justifies its ability to change its size. This is a magical property The Maw has, which is also something akin to sea creatures like the puffer fish. Except this one has a giant terrifying set of teeth.

Charybdis is almost the amount of work for two completely separate gods, with the added technical challenge of tying them together. We as a team are very proud of the final results.

Charybdis is a Hunter, using ranged physical attacks to deal a lot of damage through basic attacks. Being a hunter, she would most likely excel in the duo lane along with a tanky support character.

Charybdis’ strength comes from her basic attacks, and she mostly lacks ability damage outside of her Ultimate. The most recent hunters to be added have felt more skewed toward the ability side, so we specifically wanted Charybdis to play more toward the basic attack side.

She also has generally less range than a normal hunter. Her abilities compliment this playstyle, so positioning yourself right at the edge of basic attack range is the key to mastering Charybdis.


  • A unique physical hunter hit chain with a triple striking 3rd hit
  • Basic attack stim and a basic attack focus kit-wide
  • A charge up ability that widens a hit area as she charges
  • A passive with strong gameplay parallels to her father, Poseidon
  • The ability to temporarily transform into a giant whirlpool through her movement ability
  • A hard hitting skillshot Ultimate that allows her to fire it again if she gets a kill with it
The whirlpool and the serpent, the daughters of destruction, the dynamic duo: Scylla and Charybdis are finally reunited in SMITE’s next update. Zeus better watch his back!


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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Wayne3100 » August 2, 2021 2:05pm | Report

Pretty cool cinematic, not gonna lie.

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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Pwuntahs » August 3, 2021 5:20am | Report
The daggers make no sense to me, but I'm excited for Charybdis.


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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by xmysterionz » August 4, 2021 8:52am | Report
Scylla but hunter lol

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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Stuke99 » August 5, 2021 2:31pm | Report

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