The Let's Play Archive

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

by TheGreatEvilKing

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Original Thread: Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones. Head go WHOOOOP!



What the hell is this?

Stygian, Reign of the Old Ones is a computer RPG set in the works of HP Lovecraft. You play as a survivor of Arkham Massachusetts, where, after an event called the Black Day where Arkham got sucked into some kind of messed up dimensional rift ruled by the Old Ones, you are trying to find a way to escape and get back to Earth. You must contend with the deadly 1920s Chicago Mafia, horrible flesh-eating ghouls, dark sorcery, the cult of Cthulhu, and more! See the video trailer below! Can you survive the physical and mental terrors of Arkham?

That looks cool! How does it play?

This is your standard vaguely infinity engine isometric RPG. You get a party of Lovecraft characters/Lovecraft's real-life wife, you roam around doing quests and whatnot, and because this is Lovecraft you have a sanity bar that doubles as your MP. Combat is turn-based on a hex map rather than real-time with pause. Where this game differs from most of the rest is in its sanity mechanics. As you go more and more insane from looking at Cthulhu and witnessing various horrors, you pick up terrible mental afflictions that overwrite your standard dialog tree with "The Voice of Madness". I will be showing this - as well as the other unique sanity mechanics - off in this LP!

Are you going to include more pretentious literary bullshit? No one liked that!

Shut up. Yes, I am - I've read most of Lovecraft's works, and a few of his inspirations such as Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Chambers. We're going to be taking what Lovecraft actually wrote and comparing it to what the developers are giving us here. Don't look at me like that! It's relevant for once!

Hey Lovecraft was a big racist, he named his ca-
The game is going to address this. Hold off on that right now. We will get to it.

Oh man, Great Evil King, are you going to be playing an actually good game for once?

No. Did you watch the trailer and think "this looks like a cool game with great atmosphere?" The game is Lovecraft as filtered through two fifteen-year-old kids trying to tackle adult themes. One of the character classes is "sex wizard", and they recover sanity by reading porn magazines while resting. Really. The sexless town of Arkham is full of prostitutes and other weirdos, and the sanity mechanics include an "angst meter" that, as you get into fights, forces you to select mental illnesses to screw over your character. That "voice of madness" mechanic I referenced earlier?

Yea. The gameplay is a miserable mess of survival horror and losing control of your character because a trained soldier who fought in World War I saw a dude get killed by ghouls. Combat is slow, tedious, and RNG prone, and the developers sudden whiplash between horror and juvenile comedy makes it impossible for the game to maintain a consistent tone. I am playing this so you don't have to!

Audience participation? Audience participation? Au-

Yes! You, heroic goons of Something Awful, get to inflict whatever character you want on me, and I will be stuck with him or her. I'll be going through the character creation process below, and I need you all to vote on which unfortunate person is going to wander the land of Cthulhu and prostitutes.

We can be male or female.

We need to choose an age. Young characters get an attribute boost but lower skill points, Middle Aged characters are the balanced option, and Old characters eat a stat penalty but have higher skill points. You get more skill points as you level up, but not attributes.

We need to choose an archetype.

Each of the archetypes has 4 sub-archetypes - one that has no boosts nor penalties, and three that have a tradeoff.

Scientist: Generic Academic, no penalties.
Researcher: Faster Scientific and Medical Research, -1 Physical Defense
Psychiatrist: +1 Psychology (used to determine motives), -1 Supernatural Defense
Physician: +1 Medicine, -1 Melee Attack, -1 Ranged Attack

Patrician: Generic Aristocrat.
Prodigal: Start the game with more money, but lower sex appeal.
Cursed Bloodline: +1 Occult (magic), +5% critical failure chance (misfiring guns to hit our allies, etc)
Bankrupt Royalty: +1 Survival, less money.

Note that Aristocrats come with a butler companion who is pretty handy in combat.

Gangster: Generic criminal.
Thief: +1 Stealth, -1 Melee Attack. Note that ammo is fairly scarce in this game.
Hitman: +1 Firearms, +50 ANGST (the not XP for mental illness not-levels)
Con Artist: +1 Speechcraft, -1 Physical Defense

Adventurer: Generic Explorer
Pathfinder: Lower chance of random encounters, but smaller inventory size. I've never had inventory be an issue in this game.
Mountaineer: +1 Athletics, -2% Critical Success Chance
Big Game Hunter: "Higher damage to beastly enemies", -1 melee attack.

Note that explorers come with a friendly dog companion!

Detective: Generic investigator
Occult Detective: +1 Occult, +50 Angst.
Ex-cop: +1 Firearms, -5 total Sanity
Bounty Hunter: +1 Stealth, but you have to be Materialist philosophy.

Secret Society: Generic occultist.
Mesmerist: +1 Psychology, -5 total Sanity.
Alchemist: Considerably higher Medical Research rating, Lower Trading Value
Depraved Occultist: This one deserves its own screenshot.

Actor: Generic Performer
Movie Actor: Higher Sex Appeal, more likely to get addicted to drugs
Juggler: +2 Throwing, +5% Critical Failure Chance
Busker: +1 Subterfuge, less starting money.

Captain: Generic soldier
Military Intelligence: +1 Subterfuge, -1 Physical Defense
Marine: Starts the game with "Aimed Shot" ability, -5 max Sanity.
Bouncer: +1 Melee, -1 Reaction (Initiative, basically. Who goes first).

Next, we need a belief system for our character.

Our options are:
Humanistic: Regain sanity by performing altruistic actions.
Materialistic: Hedonism. Get high, get laid, whatever.
Nihilistic: Cannot regain sanity through actions, but has a higher mental resistance. You still get sanity through rest and whatnot, you just don't get any dialog options letting you ramble about Jesus or porn or whatever to get sanity back.
Divine: Gets sanity by praying and whatnot.
Rational: Get back sanity by doing science or medicine stuff. The game recommends we take the science or medicine skills.
Esoteric: Get back sanity by ranting about magic and reading Aleister Crowley books (really).

Lastly, we need a portrait and a name for this wonderful individual.



Alright! Give me a character, and we can get this show on the road.

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