Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is a supernatural horror CRPG (computer role-playing game) set in the strange worlds of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Embracing the themes of pulp and weird fiction, Stygian will draw the player into a bleak journey from a ruined Arkham to the very depths of the Abyss.
The gameplay experience promises a mix of rich role-playing and turn-based tactical combat, in a 2D environment with an original, illustrative graphic style. In Stygian, you will create your main character from scratch, with access to several archetypal backgrounds, each with its own origin story, skills, traits, and belief system, the last of which determines how your character replenishes lost sanity as well as presenting unique dialog choices.
The works of H.P. Lovecraft are elaborately woven into Stygian’s narrative. For example, you'll use the haunted violin of Erich Zann to lure a fiendish deity, and convince the wretched protagonist of 'The Outsider' to join your party. Our goal is to blend the culture and social reality of 1920s New England with cosmic horror to create a living, breathing anti-Utopia.
The burden of fighting a desperate battle with forces beyond comprehension will haunt you until the end of the game. Physical combat will be challenging, spellcasting will have dangerous consequences, and sanity strained from exposure to the abominations of the Mythos will leave characters psychologically damaged. Sometimes the best solution will be to flee from the terrors lurking in the night.
Stygian is being crafted by designers who grew up reading Lovecraft and playing Planescape: Torment, the early Fallout titles, Heroes of Might and Magic and the like. We want to create the best possible experience with your feedback. Your interest and support will be invaluable.
Stygian is being developed for:
We hope not only to reach our goal but to exceed it! As our funds increase, we'll be adding new stretch goals. Prepare yourself for more familiar locations from the works of Mr. Lovecraft. You can learn more about our stretch goals here.
- A hand drawn 2D world which reflects the themes of Lovecraft and cosmic horror.
- Quests and storylines inspired by Lovecraft’s iconic original works. Take part in quests linked to your favorite stories and shape their outcome according to your role-playing style.
- Seven different Archetypes, each with its own origin story and specialties, to breathe life into your main character.
- The weirdest of companions will accompany you on your ill-starred journey. The lonely antediluvian of 'The Outsider', a fallen soldier of the Great War reanimated by Herbert West, a psychic (and narcissistic) cat from Ulthar, and many more will join your outlandish crew.
- Sanity and the mental state of the character will influence dialog options. Mental illness creates benefits as well as hindrances. Sometimes it helps to be mad in a world gone mad!
- Belief Systems determine how your characters handle the warped reality of the new Arkham as well as the rate at which they regenerate lost sanity. Belief Systems also offer unique dialogue options, expanding the breadth of role-playing possibilities.
- A new kind of spell system which sometimes takes more than it gives. The black magic of Stygian is potent but may cost you your mind, your health, and sometimes even more than that. Being a master of the occult is not as simple as flinging colorful missiles from your fingertips.
- Turn-based strategic combat from a 2D perspective, similar to old Heroes of Might and Magic.
- The struggle in Stygian is not to save the world, for that battle is lost already. Follow your own goals for salvation or vendetta in a doomed world.
Special Edition Game Tome
Handcrafted leather tome, containing Stygian game disc and game manual. A mandatory sacred text for any Old Ones devotee. Cultic Games refuses to comment on rumors of the usage of human skin in making of this item.
Merry Folk from the Stars Children's Book
Beautifully illustrated, 1920's children's book about a little girl's pact with the Old Ones to punish all the grown-ups. A haunting bedside publication which greatly contributed to humanity's demise. This doomsday book is also featured in its own related quest in the game.
Merry Folk Figurines
Four detailed miniatures of the Great Old Ones, depicted in their illustrated forms from the book with the same name, joined hand to hand while reaching out to ever distant corners of the cosmos. Let these fetishes of the ancients watch over your body while you rest in eternal slumber.
Handcrafted congregation robes ornamented with a brooch bearing our very own Stygian logo. Guaranteed to protect and keep you warm in lightless caverns and cold catacombs.
Crafted from the the best fabrics and featuring the artwork of veteran Lovecraft artist François Launet, this quality t-shirt will surely impress your friends and recruit fresh blood upon our ranks. Wear the fell mark of Stygian, spread the madness!
Stygian Tales Poster
This poster, designed in the vein of pulp horror fiction icon Weird Tales Magazine will be a guaranteed eye-catcher on your wall. Cultic Games advises looking at the poster for short periods of time for your own mental health.
Take Part in Stygian
You can give your resemblance to a player character or you can take part in the game as an NPC. You can even become a lesser villain to make the player characters' lives more miserable. You'll build your non-player character with Team Cultic and be immortalized as an Arkham resident. Final decision rests with our designers because we want to make this game fun and immersive for all of our players.
On what is now known as the Black Day, under the shadow of the Great Old Ones, the world you knew vanished, and with it your hopes, dreams and loved ones. For reasons unknown, the city of Arkham was removed from the carcass of Earth to an Other place under alien stars, a twilight realm between dimensions.
One memory in particular looms from the time before the catastrophe, your encounter with a peculiar fellow called the Dismal Man, who instructed you: ‘Find me beyond Arkham, after the Black Day.’
When dream can no longer be separated from reality, and as material laws are violated by forces beyond mortal comprehension, you must find your own answers.
Why does Arkham endure while the rest of the world has been obliterated? What does the Dismal Man want from you? How much will you sacrifice to survive? And above all, who is the Dismal Man?
Besides your primary character, you may enlist two non-player characters to join your party in Stygian. NPCs have been designed to be as eccentric and interesting as possible, with an enduring humanity beneath their sometimes monstrous appearances.
The Nameless Soldier is doomed always to relive the horror of the trenches, while the Outsider burns with shame at his rejection by the society for which he sacrificed everything. Your companions will be designed to react to the dynamics of gameplay, so don't be surprised if one left behind decides to pursue vengeance, or another contemplates suicide in the face of the unspeakable.
The player's freedom and flexibility in character creation, along with the ability to shape an interesting and original persona, is crucial for Team Cultic. With Archetypes, Skills, Traits (both Archetypal and General), Perks and Belief Systems, Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones aims to put you behind the eyes of a 1920's era character set adrift in a dreadful Lovecraft tale.
Archetypes form the template for your main character, reflecting Lovecraft's or the period's defining personas. Each Archetype will begin the game with a different Prologue which connects the character to the main storyline. Archetypes will determine which skills your character can fully master, but not limit your ability to invest in any skill as you see fit. The same Archetype influenced by different choices can end up generating very distinct characters with different interests and advantages. In Stygian, you can be an educated criminal who is knowledgeable in science, as well as a supernatural investigator who is adept in the occult.
- This character is an ex-cop who currently works as a private investigator. His latest case, attempting to locate a missing child, turned out to be much more complicated than a common kidnapping.
- Investigation, Firearms and Psychology skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A character with an Investigation background is more likely to find hidden items and will have unique dialog options with NPC's from the same background.
- This character took part in a secret government assault on an isolated coastal town. The enemy was not entirely human.
- Melee, Firearms and Survival skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A character with a Military background is less likely to make critical mistakes in combat and has unique dialog options with NPCs from the same background.
- After the loss of his mother, this character is the sole remnant of a noble family. The memories provoked by his return to the family estate are not all pleasant.
- Science, Speechcraft and Occult skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A character with an Aristocracy background starts the game with a special henchman and has unique dialog options with NPCs from the same background.
- This character used to be a research scientist at Miskatonic University. Sent on a remote expedition in a foreign land, he had no warning of the doom patiently waiting beneath the frigid wastes.
- Science, Psychology and Medicine skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A character with an Academic background will benefit more from reading books and has unique dialog options with NPCs from the same background.
- This character is a member of a hidden order. The backing of the order has made life easier so far, but the initiation rite required to join the inner circle may involve some complications...
- Occult, Investigation and Medicine skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A player character with a Secret Society background is less likely to suffer from the negative effects of spells and has unique dialog options with NPCs from the same background.
- This character is an actress/actor for a traveling theater troupe. She was invited to Arkham by a woman desiring a private performance at her mansion. How could she refuse such an enthusiastic (and wealthy) admirer?
- Speechcraft, Athletics and Stealth skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A character with a Performance background increases the morale of companions and has unique dialog options with NPCs from the same background.
- This character used to be a hired gun for an underworld boss. His last stop on a long night of collecting protection money was a nightclub known for its patrons’ peculiar taste in entertainment.
- Subterfuge, Firearms and Stealth skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A character with a Criminal background gains more money from stealing and has unique dialogue options with NPCs from the same background.
Explorer (Stretch Goal)
- This character is a professional hunter and adventurer. While exploring the Dark Continent, he met an ancient tribe. What he views as simple tribal superstition will come back to haunt him.
- Firearms, Survival and Occult skills can be improved to the maximum level.
- A character with an Exploration background is more likely to find special landmarks and objects on the map, and has unique dialog options with NPCs from the same background.
Skills and Perks are crucial to your character's progression in the game, reflecting your choices, aspirations and experiences. Different combinations will open different paths to reach your goals. With twelve skills and numerous perks, players will have many opportunities to shape their own fate and face the challenges of Stygian.
Stygian offers an exclusive mechanic called Belief Systems that determines how well your characters are able to handle challenges to their sanity, and how quickly they recover. Each Belief System regenerates sanity points in accordance with its underlying philosophy. For example, a Rational character gains sanity after completing research on Mythos creatures, while a Divine one may regain sanity after convincing an NPC to put his faith in God.
Humanistic: Throughout history mankind has survived countless threats. If we stop wringing our hands and start cooperating, we will live to see the human spirit prevail once more.
Materialistic: If we're all doomed, let's make our final days worthwhile. Wealth, lust, power... pursue whatever eases your pain.
Nihilistic: At last! There is no doubt that human beings are of no significance in the cold machinations of the cosmos. Thus every action is of equal importance and worthlessness. Just as it has always been.
Rational: No matter how unusual or baffling, no phenomenon is beyond the boundries of science and rational thought. There has to be an explanation. What must be done is to search and find it.
Divine: The Black Day is God’s final test of humanity. We failed him once, but he has given us this last chance of redemption. Those who are alive survived this for a reason: to prove that mankind is not without hope.
Esoteric: When supernatural becomes natural, the only path is to embrace the knowledge of the ancient forces behind the veil. We must tap the hidden arts and realize our potential in order to survive, and eventually dominate!
Crafting is a crucial aspect of Stygian, as it allows the player to combine skills, inventory items and his own logic to create powerful items and gadgets to resolve situations and provide the party with the necessary aid in combat. Items from flamethrower fuel to painkillers can be crafted to help you stay alive and sane in the unforgiving world of Stygian. Science, Medicine and Survival are the three main skills used in crafting. Certain perks, like Advanced Chemistry, will give access to additional items.
In Stygian, the path of the dark arts is one of treacherous mental and physical hazard. Spells are not memorized on resting, nor cast from reservoirs of mana. Spellcasters of Stygian must pay a price when using magick, in sanity possibly, health, attributes or their morality. Though the incautious player may doom himself by dabbling in the occult, in some situations the forces of magic can provide the edge you need to persevere.
As an example, Blood Circle will protect you at the expense of your own health, while Evil Eye will curse your enemies with critical failures. But if you have the Paranoia condition, you may cast Evil Eye on an ally instead. After all, who can you really trust in these dark times?
"It looks like great times are ahead for Lovecraft fans." - Game News Plus
"Salvation or vendetta... The choice is yours in Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones." - IGM
"Doubtlessly it is a magnum opus of Lovecraftian RPG games!" - Lovecraft (Steam User)
Because we want to stay independent. Making a deal with a publisher may lead to compromises in the universe we are trying to build. We want to see this project through with the support and feedback of our audience, instead of the restrictions of a publisher. Hand in hand we can achieve the dream of playing the Lovecraftian Computer RPG that we have long craved. We know that some of the great RPGs of recent years have been developed with the assistance of Kickstarter and its community. With your feedback and support, we believe this is possible for Stygian as well.
Without additional funding, we will have to narrow down the scope of the game considerably in order to complete Stygian, but we have ambitious ideas to execute and many more stories and characters to explore. We don't want to stop at this point, we want to continue exploring the strange and beautiful dimensions beyond. We wish to make this dream of ours a reality.
Without any compromises.
Risks and challenges
Lovecraftian horror takes its strength from the fear of the unknown. Stygian is an axonometric, turn based game. We do not hide the horrors from the player which is a big risk unto itself. That's why we have chosen such a stylized art direction, we wanted the player to feel like he is in an illustrative reflection of the indescribable nightmare actuality that Lovecraft emphasized. We wanted our graphical style to act as a hand drawn mirror reflecting the underlying dread. We also focused our efforts on creating unique mechanics to support the themes of madness and the fragility of human beings against these ancient creatures. It is a difficult and sensitive matter, we are aware of this and we're working really hard to hit the right notes.
We are a self financed studio. Until this point, all the investment came from our team members. If we can not reach our funding goal we may have to narrow the scope of the game which will surely draw the wrath of the Old Ones.
Thank you for backing Stygian! Step by step, we'll raise the sunken city of R'lyeh to the surface together.
- (30 days)