There seems to be some kind of ancient curse developers invoke when they start working on a Lovecraftian RPG, because most of them end up in limbo. The ones that do reach the finish line in the dense New England fog just kind of disappear with little fanfare. Hopefully that won’t be the case with Stygian: Reign of The Old Ones, the upcoming RPG based on the works of the famous author. It looks like it’s on the right track, at least judging by the demo. You remember those? They were used to get a feel for a game before buying it. But that was in the olden days, before the sea rose and He awoke from his slumber.
You can download the demo yourself – just head on over to the game’s Steam page, and look for a blue button in the sidebar. It shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete, but if you don’t have the time for it, we’ve got your back.
The story takes place in Arkham, after it was transported into an Other Place. No matter which of the eight archetypes you choose, you’ll end up in town by following the Dismal Man, a strange albeit alluring figure with seemingly prophetic abilities. Once you’re there, you’ll have to use the skills and equipment at your disposal to get to the bottom of things. It’s a bit unclear what those things are at this point, but the amount of story presented in the demo was enough for Stygian to plant its hooks firmly in my raw, throbbing flesh.
Once you’re there, you’ll need to talk to the Arkhamites in search of answers, and the skills and beliefs you chose will open up different options in conversation. When talking doesn’t do the trick, you’ll have to resort to fighting. The battles are turn-based, and they play out on a battlefield comprised of hexagons – the best kind of gons for this type of thing. At your disposal, you’ll have a bunch of guns and improvised melee weapons – wrenches, shivs, crowbars and such.
Since this is fictional New England in the fictional 1920s, there’s also magic. You can cast spells and perform rituals which can aid you in battle, but there’s always the chance of a critical failure, which will cause more harm than good. To top it off, the currency used to cast spells is your sanity, and you really want to keep as much of that as possible. There are also companions and henchmen to help you, but you’ll have to pay them in cigarettes and rations. It’s all so pleasantly board-gamey, and the demo gives me high hopes. The game is supposed to be released at some point in 2019, and it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.