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"Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones" is a Lovecraftian computer roleplaying game of horror, loss and madness.
"Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones" is a Lovecraftian computer roleplaying game of horror, loss and madness.
2,613 backers pledged €73,742 to help bring this project to life.

Character Creation, Gamescom and More!

Posted by Cultic Games (Creator)

Greetings Relentless Pursuers of the Dismal Man!

In this update we'd like to share all the aspects of our Character Creation System, inform you about Cultic Games' participation to Gamescom and finally talk about some dates for the backer demo and release. Get ready for a long and (hopefully) thrilling journey! 

Let's begin with a showcase video of Stygian's character creation screen:

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You can check the high resolution version here.

Character Creation consists of the following steps:

0. Indoctrination (Optional)

This is the step you say good-bye to your loved ones, shut all your doors and windows, fanatically repeat your "Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh" prayers and fast for weeks until you remove the last traces of your current identity.

1. Gender Selection

The horrors of Stygian do not discriminate based on your character’s gender.
The horrors of Stygian do not discriminate based on your character’s gender.

The world of Stygian reacts to your gender. Different genders will have different relations with some NPCs but from a statistical point of view, both genders are identical. 

2.  Age Selection

In Stygian your character's age is not just a cosmetic element. It plays two important roles. First, your age changes your starting statistics, second it changes the reaction of the world to your character.

[OUT OF TUNE SINGING] I know what it is to be young but you don't know what it is...
[OUT OF TUNE SINGING] I know what it is to be young but you don't know what it is...

Young: Young characters are in their physical prime and get 1 bonus point to Physique, Agility or Senses, but due to a lack of experience start the game with 2 fewer skill points.  

Adult: Adult characters have the default number of points for attributes and skills. 

Old: Old characters are in physical decline and get a 1 point penalty to Physique, Agility or Senses, but in exchange get to spend 2 extra skill points during character creation to reflect their additional life experience.

3. Archetype Selection

Jungian archetypes or Stygian archetypes?
Jungian archetypes or Stygian archetypes?

This where you select your Archetype and its related background. You can have more information on Stygian's archetypes from our campaign page, here. With your support the Explorer (our first stretch goal) is now added to the roster as well.

We've designed our Backgrounds to give you more options in defining your characters. What kind of an Investigator are you? An occult detective who specializes in paranormal cases or an ex-cop who earned his living by chasing criminals in the past? It is all up to you. Each Archetype has at least three unique backgrounds to choose from. Let's have a closer look!

Academic Backgrounds

Scientist: Default background for the Academic Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.

Physician: You graduated from Miskatonic School of Medicine and spent the last several years away from physical conflict. 

+1 Medicine, -1 Melee Attack, -1 Ranged Attack 

Psychiatrist: You have a diploma in Psychiatry. For a long time, you believed the supernatural existed only in people’s minds. 

+1 Psychology, -1 Supernatural Defense 

Researcher: You were a research associate at Miskatonic University. Years of physical inactivity has taken its toll on you. 

Faster Scientific and Medical Research, -1 Physical Defense 

Aristocrat Backgrounds

Patrician: Default background for the Aristocrat Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.

Prodigal: Your inherited a considerably large legacy from your parents and had the chance (or the misfortune) to afford being repulsive. 

Starts the game with extra jewellery, lower Sex Appeal  

Bankrupt Royalty: Your family went bankrupt and lost almost all of its property. You had to learn the facts of life the hard way. 

+1 Survival, starts the game with less Cigs 

Cursed Bloodline: A terrible sin committed in the past still haunts your family. You meddled with the occult to lift the curse to no avail.

+1 Occult, +3% Critical Failure Chance 

Criminal Backgrounds

Gangster: Default background for the Criminal Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.

Thief: You have a past in thievery and excel at moving silently but you often choose to run away when things get hot. 

+1 Stealth, -1 Melee Attack 

Con Artist: You can persuade people into believing you are the prince of Arkham but often shy away from physical conflict. 

 +1 Speechcraft, -1 Physical Defense 

Hitman: You were a hired gun for the mafia. You carry the weight of the dead bodies you left in your trail. 

+1 Firearms, +50 ANGST 

Explorer Backgrounds

Adventurer: Default background for the Explorer Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.

Big Game Hunter: You were a trophy hunter, seeking glory in conquering the wild. You learned to keep your prey at a distance and shun the opposite scenario. 

Higher damage to beastly enemies, -1 Melee Attack  

Pathfinder: You used to earn your living as a guide in uncivilized territories. You prefer to move with a lighter load for better mobility. 

Lower chance of random combat encounters, lower inventory capacity 

Mountaineer: You tested your endurance in the past by reaching the peaks of tall mountains. You rarely leave things to chance and act cautiously. 

+1 Athletics, -2% Critical Success Chance 

Investigator Archetypes

Detective: Default background for the Investigator Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.

Ex-cop: You have a past in law enforcement. The things you witnessed on duty left their mark on your mind. 

+1 Firearms, -5 total Sanity 

Occult Detective: You encountered the supernatural in some of your past cases. Those experiences still haunt you. 

+1 Occult, +50 ANGST 

Bounty Hunter: Your bounty hunting past taught you how to approach your targets unnoticed. For the right amount, you brought them, dead or alive... 

+1 Stealth. Can only be chosen by Materialistic characters. 

Occultist Backgrounds 

Secret Society: Default background for the Occultist Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages. 

Depraved Occultist: Like Crawford or Rasputin before him, you have an unholy aura of sexual magnetism but tend to neglect occult studies in favor of carnal pleasures. 

Higher Sex Appeal, slower Artifact Research 

Alchemist: You are adept at the esoteric art of the alchemy and focused your medicinal studies solely on transmutation. 

Considerably higher Medical Research Rating. Medicine skill can’t be used in game’s challenges. 

Demonologist: You summoned a daemon in your past and learned forbidden knowledge from this infernal being. 

Starts the game with “Children of Pazuzu” spell, -5 total Sanity 

Mesmerist: You were a practitioner of Mesmer’s magnetism techniques and learned a lot about psychology from your former patients, along with their darkest secrets... 

+1 Psychology, -5 Total Sanity 

Performer Backgrounds

Actor: Default background for the Performer Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.

Juggler: You earned your living as a juggler for a long time. Your moves tend to be more flashy but also riskier. 

+2 Throwing, +3% Critical Failure Chance 

Busker: You were a busker in your past and know how to survive in the streets though you never had much of a wealth. 

+1 Subterfuge, starts the game with less Cigs 

Movie Actor: You had some roles on the silver screen. You have “it” but also have a tendency to fall into addiction easily. 

Higher Sex Appeal, lower Addiction Threshold 

Soldier Archetypes 

Private: Default background for the Soldier Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.

Marine: You served as a member of the Marine Corps. Screams of your fallen squad mates still echo in your mind. 

Starts the game with “Aimed Shot” ability, -5 total Sanity 

Military Intelligence: You served in the Military Intelligence. Your position kept you away from active duty for the last few years. 

+1 Subterfuge, -1 Physical Defense

Sniper: You served the US Army with your marksmanship in numerous situations. In combat, you take your time but you eliminate your targets eventually. 

+3% Critical Success Chance with Rifles, -1 Reaction

4. Belief System Selection

Think like your character, act like your character.
Think like your character, act like your character.

 As you probably know, Belief Systems determine how your character gains her lost sanity in the doomed Arkham along with providing you new ways to role-play your character. You can have more information on them here.

5. Portait Selection and Character Identity

You'll be able to choose the portraits of some Stygian backers. Devoted cultists they are...
You'll be able to choose the portraits of some Stygian backers. Devoted cultists they are...

 All of our portraits will be open to both genders.

6. Stat Allocation

Please roll three six sided die and write the results to the back of your character sheet.
Please roll three six sided die and write the results to the back of your character sheet.

This is the step you finally get into the fantastic world of numbers and shape your character's attributes and skills according to your taste. Only the skills your background contributes to can exceed 2 points at this stage.

7. Character Summary

At this final step, you'll be able to have a look at all your choices one last time and make the necessary changes if the need arises. We're good to go now. Let's begin our journey of </HORROR, LOSS and MADNESS! </voiceofmadnessfont>

The sacrifices have been made. We're ready to go.
The sacrifices have been made. We're ready to go.

Good news everyone! Stygian will be on Gamescom with a playable demo this year. Sorry to inform you this late but we've been tackling with visa problems lately and didn't want to give any false hopes until it's %100 certain.

You can visit our booth in Bahcesehir University stand  and try our Gamescom build  at Hall 10 / Floor 2, area E-033. Come visit us so we can talk about the dreams we've been collectively seeing... We're thrilled to communicate with our community once again and would love to hear your opinions on Stygian! You know the best ideas are the "borrowed" ones ;)

Us and our evil machinations...
Us and our evil machinations...

This brings us to another important topic, our backer demo. The demo is ready and in internal testing for some time now but we've decided to give it more time in external testing to be sure it'll work smoothly on different systems. 

We're bringing our own hardware to Gamescom which guarantees better stability within a controlled environment but we want to be sure about the performance and experience on different hardware and operating systems through more testing before we share it with you. This will also give us more time to polish some systems with the help of Gamescom feedback.

Landing page of the demo. Landing gears ready!
Landing page of the demo. Landing gears ready!

So we've decided to share the demo with you on 25th of September. It takes between one to two hours to complete depending on your approach and curiosity (we see you completionists!) and showcases all the major systems including character creation, exploration, combat, dialogue, inventory management, journal, spell-casting, panic states, in-game cinematics and more.

But, if you'd like pay a visit to our backyard (without digging out any corpses of course!) and help us with the demo testing, feel free to send a mail to with "KS Tester" and your Kickstarter user name written to the subject section. Our esoteric operators will return to you with details in September.

Do not forget to write the mail from the account you use to log in to Kickstarter.
Do not forget to write the mail from the account you use to log in to Kickstarter.

Last but not least, we'd like inform you about the current state of the project. You pay our bills after all, don't you?

From the engineering perspective, we've completed almost all of our core systems along with the several tools we need to breathe life into the world of Stygian. The rest mechanics have still some way to go, coding for crafting has not yet begun and the voice of madness dialogues will have a systematic overhaul in the following months but the baby steps are far behind us. This beast can run now and its hungry!

The stage is set and our actors are playing their roles.
The stage is set and our actors are playing their roles.

The whole content of the first chapter is complete. Thousands of lines of dialogue have been written with alternative approaches exclusive to certain archetypes and belief systems. Hundreds of characters have been designed with modular heads and outfits enabling more variation. All the animations of the male player model are complete along with hundreds of NPC and enemy animations. Lighting, shaders and environmental effects are working beautifully. Almost a dozen tracks have been composed for different situations and areas. We've been recording our own foley effects for months to meet the unique sound needs of the project and the list goes on. 

We've updated all of our background graphics after the Kickstarter campaign.
We've updated all of our background graphics after the Kickstarter campaign.

We are proud of the work we've done so far and believe that we're achieving what we've been longing to play as gamers ourselves. On the other hand, we've also realized that Stygian, with all its intricacies and interconnected systems, will take some time to complete. With our current attention to detail and quality standards, it seems unlikely to see the release before the end of 2018.

We will continue to do our bests to make Stygian retain its unique identity. We believe that it will worth the wait, but after all, you'll be the ones to decide.

We want you to see Stygian in its best shape: Our beautiful doom among the stars...

Until we meet again...

Team Cultic

Jean-Luc Picard, Jeff McLeod, and 44 more people like this update.


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    1. Cultic Games Creator on

      Definitely understood Emissary.
      Let us clarify our thought process on the matter of sharing the demo on Gamescom.
      When you work on something with limited external feedback for years, you tend to neglect some basic game design touches and clarifications because everything starts to feel natural to you as the creators of the project.
      With Gamescom, we wanted to observe players' reactions towards the game so we can make Stygian more accessible for our investors (which happens to be you) and then for public.
      It was a great testing period for us to fine tune the experience and locate the things that work and not in the player's perception as we designed them to be.
      We will probably share the demo via a Google drive link but it is not certain yet.
      We're aiming for a solid 20 hours with a "lot" of replayability but the final scope is still subject to change.
      Thanks for sharing your sincere feelings and projections with us.
      You've been a vocal supporter since the first days of KS, much appreciated!

    2. Emissary of the Old Ones on

      I have mixed feelings about this update. First, I like what is shown so far. The game is coming together very nicely and I am excited to play it. I do not mind that the new release is the end of 2018, as I would prefer a really well made, long game with high replay value and high variations per play-through. So that's all very good. The character creation is as in-depth as I have desired; a true table top converted to the PC.

      I am however a bit irritated with the information about the release. I saw this post the moment it was issued but took some time to relax my thoughts. The last update stated that the backer demo would be this month and has been moved to next month on the 25th. Small frustration but okay. What I am irritated about is that people from gamescon who have not backed this project will get to play it before those of us who backed it. That kind of irritates me.

      I just hope that the version we get is not the same as the one available during gamescon; ours should hold more content. I don't have a lot of money and can't just up and go to a convention so it bothers me that as a backers we are put second to random people passing through.

      I do have one question though. When we get our backer demo, will it be steam locked or a private download? If private download, torrent or direct? Will y'all give us an idea of file size?

      Anyways I am very eager to play this. This is looking to be the best Cthulhu game since the table top version of Call of Cthulhu. I am happy that the computer is finally getting something like this. Like I said before, I do not mind the longer production time as I would prefer a quality game such as this is shaping up to be. Can we expect it to be very long? Call me greedy, but I hope each play session takes between 20-40+ hours. Either way as long as its lengthy and highly replay-able I will be more than satisfied.

      I'a Cthulhu fhtagn!

    3. Missing avatar

      David Madden on

      Awesome update. What drew me to this project is that it's a labor of love that is resulting in something unique. I would rather you take the time to complete your vision than rush something out the door; the final game will be better for it.

    4. Missing avatar

      Levent Tunakan on

      The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
      H.P. Lovecraft

      Keep up the good work guys! We are becoming more impatient...:)

    5. Missing avatar

      T.E. on

      Nice one, really good update! I wish you'd told us about gamescom earlier, but...whom am I kidding? I don't have the time anyway -_- .

      All the best! Continue to amaze us :)

    6. J.L. on

      Looking wonderful indeed. Delays are to be expected, but I hope - like Kamigoroshi said - that you will not suffer a fate worse than a buggy release, and not be able to release it at all.

      Keep up the good work, though, looking forward to try the demo. (c:

    7. Kamigoroshi on

      That... was some news alright. ;)

      @Cultic Games:
      As we all know, extending the development phase up to a year is a costly undertaking. How will the kickstarter and paypal funds fare with that? Or has the studio found an additional source of income, like sponsors?

      I ask because I really do not wish to see your team to run out of money and thus not able to release Stygian at all. This recently happened with Nectar Game Studios and their Project Resurgence:

      That being said, if you guys have more than enough money then additional 365 days of development would also allow to extend the gameplay with more story chapters. Like including the Town of Dunwich or the Dreamland. That would make the waiting more than worth it. :P *hint* *hint*

    8. Marko Filipovic on

      Looks nice Cultic Games, keep up the good work and take as much time as you need!

      To those annoyed by the delay, be aware that it's absolutely standard on KS software projects for delays to occur. Sometimes of just a few months, sometimes of several years even. Kickstarting is not failsafe investing, there's no guarantee that you'll get the product or your money back, or if you do, that you'll get it in time. It's sort of a gamble - you pay slightly less for a future product than it would normally cost, but there's a risk that you'll loose all that money too.

    9. Cultic Games Creator on

      Thanks a lot for your comments and support ladies and gentlemen!

      @Jordan and Ashley
      We understand how you feel. Working on the project for a longer period of time seemed like the best alternative to cutting some content we love, rushing the game or doing something horrible like going episodic. We hope we'll win you over. Please know that it was a hard choice for us too.

      It will be available to all of our backers spike :)

    10. Missing avatar

      Andrzej Krakowian

      Take all time you need, one year is not long, just make it great rpg with nice story.

    11. Missing avatar


      A years delay? Really? Thanks for the fake delivery goal at the start of the Kickstarter. It worked I suppose....fooled me into backing.

    12. Missing avatar

      cb.spike on

      Kickstarter I'm looking forward to the most. But I don't remember, demo is locked behind certain tier or it is going to be available to all backers?

    13. Kristijan Zuzija on

      The delay is worth it for this level of quality
      Can't wait to see you at Gamescom
      Sending email now

    14. weaselfeet on

      Thanks heaps for the character creation preview. Interesting choices is exactly what I'm after, if I can spend an hour agonizing over a character, then I am a happy little cultist.

    15. Davis Bailey on

      Oh yeah, loving character creation, looks great! Take your time, it's more important it's done right than too quick.

    16. Missing avatar

      Ashley Taylor Smith on

      What a let down on the delay. I guess that's what I get for backing something on kickstarter. If I had know your goals were bogus I would have refunded. The slow updates should have been a red flag.

    17. Missing avatar

      Murat Bilgen on

      Looks awesome, really appreciate you guys putting the time in rather than rushing it. Keep up the good work and never lose your passion!

    18. Missing avatar

      Blythe Atkinson on

      Keep up the awesome work, guys! It looks great! :)