Senna – more than just this guy’s dead wife.
By Riot Cashmir
- Senna – Abilities (Official)
- Senna: when will it be released? is she possessed? why no region?
- NEW CHARACTER: Senna joins the game – first support gunner! Animated Trailer
- New character: Senna, the Redeemer – we know the biography! New Lucian and Thresh Biographies
- Mysterious Worlds Teaser: Announcement With Lucian, Thresh, and Senna: Dark Passage
- Another leak: True Damage skins will get Qiyana, Senna, Yasuo, Ekko and Kayn or … Akali?
- What could Senna look like? Character concepts
- Senna – musical theme
- What do we know from the latest roadmap? Five new characters and two reworks
Senna is a complicated woman. Since childhood, struggling with the curse of the Black Mist. Trained by the father of the man she later fell in love with. Killed by a funny scary green ghost and trapped in his lantern for six years. And then… what? A suburban Demacian ranch with a white picket fence, a Pug’Maw carrying newspapers in his teeth, and 2.5 kids?
Not. Not enough for League’s first support shooter. She wants more. Freeing yourself from the Black Mist. To be freed from the curse that keeps the Mist haunting her. Chance to deliver all souls suffering in Thresh’s lantern. And a really cool weapon to deal with it all.
It started with a very nice gun
“One of the reasons we loved Xayah and Rakan was because you could basically be a couple in the bot lane,” senior designer August “August” Browning reveals. “We wanted Senna to be a support so she could lane with Lucian, but we also knew she should have a firearm because she had one before being imprisoned. There were no supporting shooters in the game, so we had free space to show off.
In League, we have one machine gun, one cannon, one shotgun (with cigar), one Kog’Mawa automatic, two revolvers, two rifles, two rocket launchers, three pistols, and six shooting knees. But one fantasy gun was still missing: the BFG.
Senna’s massive relic cannon was one of the design themes that shaped everything from concept art to gameplay. In one of the earliest iterations of the game, Senna also used the knockback of her cannon to dash to a new location each time she cast a spell. But it made her look more like a mage than a marksman, so August started working on a set where she used two pistols like her husband.
“When I got down to it, the art team decided to draw a big gun anyway,” explains August. “It was like the kiss of death for a gun kit. I went back to BFG.
While August worked on the gameplay, the art team, led by concept artist Justin “Riot Earp” Albers, held a “Senno-session” where all interested artists could draw their visions of Senna and her weapons.
“We had to figure out what the electromagnetic fantasy cannon looked like,” says Riot Earp. “One of the artists came up with the idea that the cannon was made of different parts of the rangers’ weapons that were melted down and somehow connected together. We thought the idea was really cool, and after we worked on it a bit, we settled on a cannon made from the Guardians’ Lightstones that Thresh had trapped.
There have never been any weapons in League that can only be categorized as ultimate, so when the team started testing the cannon in-game, there were a few issues. At one point, it looked like Senna was carrying Ekko’s baton, only five times bigger. Slapping enemies with a big club-looking cannon didn’t quite fit our concept of a fantasy shooter support, so the team had to come up with a creative solution to the problem to get the animation to look right.
To give the animators a realistic idea of how someone with a weapon of this size moves, one of the team members created a life-size version of Senna’s cannon. This helped change the animation from poking enemies with a grotesque baton to shooting them with the BFG.
With the gun design approved, the team could focus on working on other aspects of Senna’s design: Who the hell is this woman?
There is no light without darkness
The key to Senna’s design is the dichotomy: light vs. dark, life before and after the lantern, life vs. death.
Until recently, the only canonical image of Senna was a terrified woman trapped in Thresh’s lantern, but this incarnation of Senna couldn’t be the same one that had been liberated. After six horrible years in the lighthouse, she couldn’t be the same.
“Everybody thinks they know Lucian and Senna’s story,” explains senior writer David “Interlocutioner” Slagle. “But all we know is that Thresh killed Senna. So she was a woman who was defined by her relationship with her husband and her relationship with the torturer. We had to figure out what makes him who he is regardless of those relationships.
To explore who Senna might be, the Interlocutioner added a story to every Senna concept created in the “Senno-session”. By selecting snippets and quotes from each story, the team managed to define a coherent thread: Senna wasn’t just an ordinary woman – especially not one who would let relationships define her. She was touched by something ancient and sinister. Something dark. And so the Interlocutioner came to one of the pillars of Senna’s plot: she is a cursed woman, but this is the source of her strength.
“From the perspective of the theme, I thought dualism was very important. This was someone who had to go through hell, and that changes a lot.
One of the more difficult challenges was getting Senna’s personality right.
After being imprisoned in Thresh’s lantern, Senna realized that the Mist had haunted her for so long because it had an extra spark of life within it – and that the Mist had indeed acted deliberately to seek that spark. In addition, she gained some sense of connection with other souls trapped by the Mist. And while outsiders, including her own husband, may consider them cursed, she understands their suffering and knows they don’t want to be part of the Mist’s plan. And when he appears, he knows very well that the only way to remove the Mist is to use the dark power that the Mist wields.
This kind of pain and suffering can be difficult to show without creating a character that looks angry or nervous but lacks depth. But Senna wasn’t going to let the past ruin her life. She can still pick out funny details, even if others might find her sense of humor a little…weird. And even though the Interlocutioner knew exactly what he wanted to achieve, sometimes it was difficult to convey Senna’s dry, hangman’s sense of humor – making no one sure if he was really joking.
Telling her story in the game
With a better picture of who Senna is and how she got into her current situation, we were able to refocus her gameplay. How can you show off Senna’s character with her abilities? What are these abilities when he has such conflicting aspects of personality? And how do you make all of this fit into the role of a support gunner?
We found the answer by reflecting on what Senna must have been through since we last saw her.
To give Senna the ability to scale without farming (or stealing kills) or building a marksman-specific build, the team allowed her to scale based on how many souls she collects, similar to Thresh’s passive. But instead of absorbing souls, he uses his curse to draw Mist to himself, thus freeing souls from their torment. (In game, this means it automatically uses souls to gain their buff instead of stepping over them.) With each mouthful of Mist she ingests, she becomes more powerful as Mist builds up in her department, from which Senna unleashes it on whoever she happens to be attacking.
This is just one part of her kit. What about the rest?
Despite being imprisoned in Thresh’s lantern for many years, Senna has not forgotten what she has learned from years of training and fighting alongside Lucian and the Guardians. He still feels a connection to his former life and the team wanted to show that in the game. That’s why Senna shares Lucian’s Q, but while his ability is called Piercing Light, she has Piercing Darkness.
But she…died. She was tortured for six years and saw other imprisoned souls suffer. And through it all, she got something from the Mist: the power to turn herself and her allies into wraiths.
The team wanted to show that while Senna is now free, the time spent in the lantern will stay with her forever, and that it made her stronger. Combining the strengths she gained from her curse, her ranger training, and her time in the lantern, Senna can unleash a powerful burst of Mist and Light that decimates enemies and heals allies within range.
Only by combining all aspects of his personality – his suffering and his love – can he truly end the Mist and save Runeterra. In the end – after being killed and tortured by Thresh – she wins.
And then they lived happily ever after…or not
What now that Senna is free?
“Perhaps they won’t always live happily ever after.” After all, things have not gone their way so far,” explains Interlocutioner. “But we wanted to give them a chance at love, not just suffering. Senna is free. He is no longer in the land of eternal torture. Lucian got his wife back. It’s not perfect, but that’s the reality. I want their love to be true.