STYGIAN: Reign of The Old Ones. Lovecraftian computer RPG.

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Scrawled, May 16, 2016.

  1. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    Greetings N.M.O. dwellers,

    We are a gaming studio called Cultic Games. As a team we're developing a Lovecraft themed computer RPG called "Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones". We hope that rpg admirers like you (and like us ) can get interested in our game. You can find some screenshots and info below. We want to create the best possible experience with your feedback. Let's be in touch!


    "Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones" is a supernatural horror roleplaying video game which takes place in the strange worlds of Howard Philips Lovecraft. 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 an authentic 2D graphical style reminiscent of 20's illustrations.In Stygian, players create their characters from scratch with a robust selection of archetypal backgrounds with different origin stories, attributes, skills, traits and lastly belief systems which determine how characters replenish their lost sanity, also presenting unique dialog choices.

    The narrative of the game is strongly connected to the works of H. P. Lovecraft. In your quest, you'll use the haunted violin of Erich Zann to lure a fiendish deity and convince the poor wretched protogonist of "The Outsider" to join your party among many others.The heavy burden of fighting a desperate battle with forces beyond recognition will haunt you to the end of the game.*

    Physical combat will be scarce and difficult, spellcasting will have deep and dangerous consequences, sanity loss will leave its marks on characters as mental illnesses and sometimes the best solution will be running away from the terrors that lurk in the night. Stygian embraces the original themes of gothic, pulp and weird fiction, incorporating them into the computer roleplaying genre, promising a fresh (or putrid from another perspective) breath of air for roleplaying fans.


    Your former life was in bliss of ignorance until you've awakened to the darkness waiting to devour our very existence on the doorstep of our fragile dimension. Something terrible left its eons old slumber and the reality as we know it, collapsed. The town of Arkham was pulled to somewhere not from this world and its residents are in the shadow of absolute terror. As a survivor of the catastrophe you should investigate the strange occurrences in the city and survive the rising darkness physically and mentally, if possible…

    • A hand drawn 2D world which reflects the mood of Lovecraft and the pulp era of horror.
    • Quests and storylines which capture the iconic themes of Lovecraft. Take part in your favorite horror stories and shape their outcome according to your role-playing style.
    • Weirdest of the companions will accompany you in your accursed journey. Lonely antediluvian of "The Outsider", a dead WW1 soldier reanimated in the hands of "Herbert West", a psychic narcissistic cat from Ulthar and more will be among your eccentric cast of companions.
    • Sanity and the mental state of the character will have influence on the dialog options. Mental conditions create benefits as well as hindrances. Sometimes being mad in a mad world helps.
    •Belief Systems determine how your characters handle the challenging reality around them and help regenerate lost sanity. Belief Systems also offer unique dialogue options thus extending the roleplaying possibilities that players can explore. A rational character gains sanity after completing a research on a mythos creature while a divine believer gains sanity after converting a lost soul to the path of God.
    • A unique spell system which sometimes takes more than what it gives. The black magic of Stygian is very potent but will cost you your mind, health and sometimes your very soul. Being a master of the true occult is not like flinging colorful missiles from your finger tips.
    • Turn based strategic combat in beautiful 2D with "Heroes of Might and Magic" like perspective.
    • 7 different backgrounds with completely unique prologue stories and specialities to breathe life into the Lovecraftian archetypes.
    • The struggle is not for saving the world, that battle is lost already. Track your personal goal for salvation or vendetta in a doomed world.

    Acolyte of the unfathomable. Do you dare enter its' den?

    Here is the Pickman Ghoul from the Stygian bestiary.

    Beware the Esoteric Order of Dagon!!!

    Enjoy the "Investigator" Archetype, one among 7 different archetypes which can be chosen by our players.

    *Prologue Story: The character is an ex-cop who currently works as a private investigator. The latest case of a missing child turned out to be much more complicated than a common kidnapping.
    *Investigation, Firearms and Psychology skills will be able to reach the maximum level.
    *An Investigator is more likely to find hidden items and will have unique dialog options with NPC's from the same background.


    Here's the "Academic" Archetype.

    *Prologue Story: The character was a researcher at Miskatonic University. When he was sent to a remote expedition, he couldn't be aware of the doom waiting him patiently under the frigid wastes.
    *Science, psychology and medicine skills will be able to reach the maximum level.
    *A character with academic background will benefit more from books and have unique dialog options with npc's from the same background.

    Seeking answers in fungi infested moon of Nithon.

    Here comes our next selectable Archetype;"Secret Society".

    *Prologue: The character is a member of a hidden order. The backing of the order made the life easier so far, but the initiation rite to the inner circle may involve some complications…
    *Occult, investigation and medicine skills will be able to reach the maximum level.
    *A player character with a Secret Society background is less likely to suffer from the negative effects and costs of spells and have unique dialog options with npcs from the same background.

    Our next archetype is the "Aristocrat".

    *The character is the sole remnant of a noble family. The return to the family manor after the loss of the mother may not bring pleasant memories.
    *Finance, speechcraft and occult skills will be able to reach the maximum level.
    *A character with aristocracy background starts the game with a special henchman and have unique dialog options with npc's from the same background.

    "You will feel despair."

    Survival against Mi-go on a distant moon. Will the dark arts help you?

    Nameless Soldier will be among the most eccentric of your companions. He is a lost soul who was re-animated at the hands of Dr. Herbert West during the World War I.*Nameless Soldier*is doomed to re-live the hell of the front-lines in his trapped mind. He is proficient with firearms and more enduring than the most physically advanced player characters. Sadly, he has a tendency to re-live his memories and lose control of himself in battle.

    We'd like to share some of our influences on Stygian. These books and games are what we call designer protein. We hope you got a taste for an elegant turkish carpet as well.

    Note: After the decision of creating Stygian, no designer opened the cover of CoC role playing game in order to separate our vision from Chaosium's. The book is over there just to show our respect. Stygian project travels back to the roots and is solely influenced by the works of H.P.L. himself when it comes to Mythos territory.

    Here's the “Criminal” archetype;

    *The character is a hired gun for a mafia boss. The last stop on a long night of collecting tribute was a nightclub which is known for its patrons’ rather peculiar taste for entertainment.
    *Subterfuge, firearms and stealth skills will be able to reach the maximum level.
    *A character with crime background gains more money from stealing and have unique dialogue options with NPCs from the same background.

    Here's the "Performer" archetype;

    *The character is an actress/actor for a wandering drama troupee. After arriving in Arkham, a wealthy woman asked for a private performance in her own mansion. How can you refuse such a deep admirer of theater?
    *Speechcraft, athletics and stealth skills will be able to reach the maximum level.
    *A character with performance background increases the morale of companions and have unique dialog options with npc's from the same background.

    Some folks say that she is from a land called Ulthar.
    Some say that she was once human, now trapped in a cat's body.
    Only Dusky knows the truth and she likes to keep it to herself.
    The important thing is that you'll obey her when she desires your submission.
    You'll love her, so that she may like you in return.

    Here's our character screen.

    A screenshot showing our dialogue interface.

    A message from the headquarters:

    "Fellow N.M.O. Dwellers!

    As a team we decided to spend a few more days on our Kickstarter video. We're really proud of the work we've done so far and like to present it to you in the best possible form. The video is in post production right now and days away from publishing. Considering the fact that the Kicktarter approval periods vary between different projects, we decided to remove the counter from our page. Stygian will be on Steam Greenlight with a gameplay trailer soon and will be on Kickstarter shortly after. We hope you'll be surprised about our Kickstarter video. Without giving any spoilers, let's just say that the Team Cultic deserved its name Thank you for your understanding.

    That is not dead which can eternal be played."

    Can Oral
    Lead Designer & Creative Director
    Stygian Project

    We are on Steam Greenlight! Help us rise and spread the doom!…/?id=682776986


    • [Like] [Like] x 14
  2. Izak

    Izak I Shot The ALBATROSS

    Jan 29, 2016
    A Lovecraft RPG has been long overdue, thanks for finally making one! Good luck with it, I hope it's as good as it looks.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  3. Jogre

    Jogre So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 25, 2015
    When do you reckon this'll be released?
  4. Risewild

    Risewild Antediluvian as Feck
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    Thanks to another user (@MercenarySnake ) here I had already voted for it on Steam Green Light two days ago, I also went into and put a wishlist request for it too. :postviper: That's how much I liked what I saw of this game :ok:.

    Hope you guys pull it off.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  5. MercenarySnake

    MercenarySnake Kept you waiting huh?

    Aug 22, 2015
    I'm on my laptop at the moment but once I get on my gaming PC I'll vote for it.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  6. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    We'd like to introduce our newest team member to you!

    We are proud to say that Scott Hamm, contributor to Iron Tower Studio (Age of Decadence, Dead State) will be joining Team Cultic as a multidisciplinary specialist. Some of you may remember him from "Cyclopean", another Lovecraftian RPG project which was cancelled a couple of years ago. The dream (Or perhaps the nightmare) continues with Stygian. Welcome Scott!

    You can find his interview with GameBanshee about Cyclopean below:
    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  7. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    Here's our "Soldier" archetype.

    *The character took part as a soldier in a secret government assault to a strange coastal town. The enemy was not entirely human.
    *Melee, firearms and survival skills will be able to reach the maximum level.
    *A character with military background is less likely to make critical mistakes in combat and have unique dialog options with npc's from the same background.

    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  8. AskWazzup

    AskWazzup Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 21, 2008
    Seems like an interesting project. Can anyone tell me how do get to that page in steam itself (so i could vote for it)?

    P.S. Never mind, found it.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  9. Mr muggyman 3000

    Mr muggyman 3000 Lover of coffe cups

    May 3, 2016
    Looks really cool and unique. Glad to see lovecraft done right
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  10. Jogre

    Jogre So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 25, 2015
    A costal town with an enemy not entirely human. Sounds somewhat familiar. Is this town called "Innsmouth" per chance?
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  11. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    Here's our story trailer:

    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  12. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  13. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  14. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016

    We hope to deliver the finished game in the last quarter of 2017 but a playable demo will be released before that.

    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  15. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    Greetings fellow Arkham Residents!

    We're proud to introduce a game system unique to our game and it is called ANGST.

    In Stygian, choosing the moral or the mutually beneficial path is sometimes the toughest. You may want to rescue a friend from the clutches of the Cult but trying that may mean suicide or in another case you'll lose the poor kid who follows you blindly into the oblivion. Stygian rarely offers safe passages or happy endings. From the beginning, one of our goals was exploring the concepts of loss and sacrifice. On your journey you'll be losing things one by one, your comrades, your sanity and your moral values.

    This reflects to the mechanics as "ANGST" system in Stygian. Your pain and despair collects like a sort of black experience throughout the game and with ANGST you gain access to unique perks like Masochism which allows you to gain small amounts of Sanity whenever you receive a certain amount of damage or Ill-tempered which allows you to gain more ANGST whenever you mistreat a friendly character in a dialogue.

    You'll also be collecting small amounts of ANGST whenever you take a critical hit, develop a mental condition or bleed for a certain period of time etc. ANGST opens new doors to some very interesting choices for the player to consider.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  16. Izak

    Izak I Shot The ALBATROSS

    Jan 29, 2016
    So it's sort of like a beneficial sanity bar? Cool.
  17. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    What expansion setting would you like us to implement into the main Stygian campaign if we meet our stretch goals? Dunwich or Dreamlands?
  18. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    Greetings fellow Arkham Residents!

    "Merry Folk From the Stars" is a beautifully illustrated, 1920s children's book about a little girl's pact with the Old Ones to punish all the grown-ups. A copy of Merry Folk is awaiting you if you'd like to back "Stygian: The Lovecraftian Computer RPG" on Kickstarter. This doomsday book is also featured in its own related quest in the game.

    We'll unlock the digital copy of "Merry Folk from The Stars" for all of our backers if we can reach a 1000 shares for our campaign video on Facebook.

    You can share the video from our Facebook page:

    Soon we'll post another update which will inform you a lot more about game's story, Arkham's factions, our art choices and more... Yes, a lengthy interview is imminent!

    Your support is priceless.

    Let's watch it grow together!

    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  19. Scrawled

    Scrawled The Outsider

    May 16, 2016
    Greetings fellow Arkham Residents!

    Let's begin our update with a pretty lengthy interview we gave to our friend Jérémy "Caparzo" Romand over RPG France. You'll learn more about Stygian's story, factions, magick, mental conditions and much more in this interview that we share the English version with our backers.

    Hello, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about Cultic Games?

    Hello! Thanks for the opportunity RPG France :) It is a pleasure to get in touch with the French RPG community. I am Can Oral (a lot like Jean in French :)) lead designer and creative director of Stygian. By the way I'd like to say that one of my favorite tabletop RPGs is a French Occult themed game called "Nephilim". Wonderful concept.

    Cultic Games is a newly formed gaming company from Istanbul. We started with a board game but quickly turned into video game design. Team Cultic is comprised of multi-disciplinarian members from video game, film and music industry. I can say that we're a pretty dedicated and self motivated studio considering the fact that we've been using our own resources to bring Stygian to this state of progression in 10 months.

    Lovecraft's universe is unique, and is an infinite source of inspiration for video games, art or movies. Why did you want to make a roleplaying game in this world?

    Since the first time I read Lovecraft (I guess I was around 10 when my older brother gave me the book, I still blame him for the weird dreams :)) the storytelling style, the themes of facing the incomprehensible and the fragility of human beings against these cold ancient entities left their deep mark on me.

    Besides I always wondered why CRPGs were confined to certain settings and themes in the last decades. Think about "Ultima: Martian Dreams" or SSI's "Dark Sun" games or "Albion" from Thalion Software. They are all wonderful and fresh games opening new horizons to RPG gamers. Then somehow games like that started to disappear. Of course there are business reasons behind this. These kind of games require taking a certain kind of risk for the publisher. "Orcs and Elves sell, right? Why change the formula?"

    We're living in the indie age now. The gamers are your publishers and you can obtain the template codes of an inventory system from Unity Asset Store. There is breathing space for passion to prevail against established business systems. So why the hell not?

    Stygian's world is completely ravaged. So what will be our goal, as it seems that there's nothing left to save?

    Each Archetype in Stygian has a short, playable "Prologue" which connects the character to the main story-line. In his prologue, your character meets the aforementioned "Dismal Man", and through this peculiar figure, also meets the supernatural darkness waiting beyond. He tells you one thing: "Find me beyond Arkham, after the Black Day."

    Years later, after the wake of the Old Ones, you finally understand what the Black Day refers to. You have no idea why the city of Arkham endures while the rest of the world has been obliterated. So your character begins to follow the Dismal Man's footsteps and you, the player will decide what will you do when you find him in your time in Stygian. Will you take a liking to him because he somehow saved you? Or will you hate him because he indeed has a part in all of this? Or will you just follow him for the answers? Is he the dark angel of your salvation or the subject of your revenge? This will be up to you and your understanding of the events you uncover in the game.

    Why did you choose the imaginary city of Arkham especially, instead of Innsmouth for example?

    Arkham was the most suitable choice to begin with since it is iconic and hosts some of the institutions that our archetypes has a background in. You may see some other fictional locations like Innsmouth in the future, so who knows what future will bring ;)

    Arkham is well known to house the Miskatonic University, will it be present in the game ? If so, will the Necronomicon have an important role?

    Let's just say you'll see what's left of Miskatonic :) I can not comment on the Necronomicon's role yet... But how can we be the Lovecraftian CRPG without a certain dose of the Book of Madness?

    The Old Ones should play an important role according to the title, could we meet them actually?

    Our secondary title "Reign of the Old Ones" emphasizes the Great Old Ones' dominance over what we claimed ours. Like our poor planet and reality... Everything you see around carry the mark of their wake and the irreversible damage it brought upon us. So you'll be feeling their constant shadow at every corner from the fauna of some strange dimensions creeping in to Arkham to the raving cultists searching for blood sacrifices for their gods in the forsaken streets of the lost city. However, meeting the Old Ones personally may not be a good idea :)

    By Francois Launet
    Speaking of the Old Ones, it has always been a challenge to imagine, and design those creatures since only our minds can figure them out. Is it a challenge for you to represent the universe of Lovecraft?

    Definitely, one of our biggest challenges indeed. With your permission, I'd like to make a quotation from our Kickstarter page's "Risks and Challenges" section. It covers this specific issue:

    "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 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. "

    Will there be factions? Will the game plot feature complex relationships between the Lovecraftian entities? Can we form alliances with some mythical creatures from the Lovecraftian Mythos universe?

    A very good question! There are factions which have important roles in the altered, nightmare status quo of Arkham. The crime syndicate called "Mob" started to rule the town with its iron grip after the collapse of the institutions but the "Cult" is actually pulling the strings of the Mob's boss, letting the mafia organization rule over daily life as long as the Mob provides them what they need. Giving details about the Gods' relationships among each other will be giving spoilers.

    Someone should keep the order, right?
    We will create our own character in Stygian. Could you tell us more about some archetypes that we could choose? Will our origin story alter the ways we solve the quests?

    As I mentioned above, your origin story (prologue) will explain how your character meets the Dismal Man and triggers the chain of events which will shape the main story-line. Every archetype will have its unique quest in Stygian along with special interactions with the characters from the same background. For example a Soldier character will learn more from an old veteran soldier he meets in the game.

    In Stygian we can recruit companions. Will all of them come from Lovecraft's stories?

    Most of them. There will be a few exceptions but they will all be connected to the lore and befitting the setting.

    Generally in the previous adaptations of the Lovecraftian Mythos universe, unlike the investigations, fighting is not important. How important is that in your game?

    We have turn based tactical battles with an action point system but we're designing them more towards surviving an encounter than resolving it through complete elimination of your enemies. We believe battle sequences in RPG games create great variety and add another level of game-play with tension but we're making sure our battles are last resort acts of survival containing mechanics like panic, low sanity conditions, merits and flaws coming from mental conditions and most importantly, the "progression escape" which makes you escape a battle after wearing down the enemy and continue your progress in the story opposed to "fleeing" from the combat scenario.

    Will there be choices and consequences which could influence the story, and offer a replay value?

    Definitely. Stygian is a game which highly values alternate conclusions and different approaches to situations.

    Could you tell us more about the spellcasting system and the influence of black magic on our characters?

    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.

    Let me explain the morality part. As mentioned with detail in our Kickstarter page, Stygian has a mechanic called "Belief Systems" which reflects the character's view of his or her own existence in the tragic world of Stygian. What if a spell you need to cast to achieve a certain goal demands the life force of one your comrades? Can you preserve your "Humanistic" Belief System after committing such an act? You'll learn in the game :)

    The art direction is very strong, why did you choose a 2D platform ?

    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 instead of showing it by taking a realistic approach.

    The sound design is essential for games, especially for horror games. What kind of compositions do you use in your game to match the art direction?

    My long time colleague and composer Aslı Kobaner is composing the themes for Stygian. We've worked on various film soundtracks together in the past and have a great understanding of each other's worlds. I have no doubt she'll achieve the tragic but dreadful, melancholic but malignant quality that Stygian's soundtrack requires. You can check it out yourselves:

    Could loss of Sanity be beneficial for our characters? Apart from dialogs, will Sanity affect the universe or the gameplay (during battles for example…)?

    Definitely. Let me share some insider info on this issue for RPG France. For example "Mania" condition sometimes awards you with extra action points in combat but also gives you a small chance to lose control of your character and attack the nearest enemy unit. "Schizophrenia" increases your mental resistance but gives you a small chance to enter a catatonic state in combat and lose a round. The specifics are of course subject to change but the core ideas will remain. Thanks a lot!
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  20. Black Angel

    Black Angel Grand Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus

    Mar 21, 2016
    Interesting, really looking forward to it :grin:

    Now that I think about it, and since no one have been asking it at all, what do you think of From Software's take on Lovecraftian theme in form of Bloodborne, if you have played it, especially the part that can be encountered in the Old Hunters DLC? And what do you think of Bloodborne's Insight mechanic, where the more Insight you have the more of the 'reality' gets revealed? Will the sanity mechanic in Stygian do the same or similar? I know you have said, "We do not hide the horrors from the player which is a big risk unto itself." but, you know, would there be any surprises? :wiggle: