How to Play Guide for Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

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This article serves as a basic How To Play guide for Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones. Feel free to add to this guide with any and all information related to Stygian's gameplay.

Basic Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is a roleplaying horror game that invites the player to explore the grim streets of Arkham, a once brilliant city now transported by malign forces into an unknown region of the cosmos. In your journeys, you will encounter strange phenomenon, forge unlikely alliances, battle foes, and have your sanity pushed to its uttermost limits. The goal? Survive. Endure to the end of the game with your sanity and well-being intact, and perhaps solve some of the mysteries of this supernatural plane along the way.

Role-Playing[edit | edit source]

Role-playing your character based on their skills and beliefs is the most effective way a player can survive the unforgiving world of Stygian. Be sure to pay attention to your dialogue responses, review collected evidence, consult your map, gather medicinal and crafting knowledge, take advantage of rare items, and learn as much as you can about your enemies before engaging. Only by playing to your strengths will you survive.

  • Properly role-playing your character's Belief System by selecting corresponding dialogue choices (when available) will earn the character additional Sanity points. Sanity Points gained through the character's Belief System can exceed the maximum Sanity available to the character.

Levelling[edit | edit source]

You have just gained up a Level. Do not raise your hopes up though, you are still as thin as a rail against the horrors lurking in the dark corners of the cosmos.

The Level of your character is representative of the knowledge and experience they have gained throughout the game. Levels are earned by accumulating Experience. The player starts off at Level 1 and can level their character to a maximum of Level 10.

Your character’s Level will determine how many Skill points and Merit points have been made available to them. For each Level gained, the player character acquires 2 Skill points and 1 Merit point to distribute. Characters may only distribute a single Skill point per skill upon levelling. Merit points can be used to acquire either a Perk or a Combat Ability. Certain Perks and Abilities are only available depending on the number of Skill points devoted to their associated Skills.

Experience[edit | edit source]

Experience is gained through exploration, story progression, successful skill checks, and combat.

The Experience bar found in the character menu tallies the total Experience points accumulated by the character. Each consecutive Level requires 100 points of Experience more than the previous Level, with characters being able to attain a maximum of 5500 Experience points.

ANGST[edit | edit source]

ANGST is a representation of the pain and suffering your character must endure throughout their journey. It is the antithetical representation of Experience, measured as negative experience that is gained through exploration, story progression, failed skill checks, and combat. Witnessing horrific events will also cause the player character to gain ANGST.

The ANGST bar found in the character menu tallies the total ANGST points accumulated by the character. Each consecutive ANGST Level requires 100 points of ANGST more than the previous ANGST Level, with character’s being able to attain a maximum of 5500 ANGST points.

For each ANGST Level gained, the player character acquires a Defect of their choice, which functions like a negative Perk or Ability.


Levelling Chart
Level Experience/ANGST

Required Per Level

Total Accumulated

Experience/ANGST

Perks & Abilities

/ Defects

Skill Points
1 100 100 1 2
2 200 300 2 4
3 300 600 3 6
4 400 1000 4 8
5 500 1500 5 10
6 600 2100 6 12
7 700 2800 7 14
8 800 3600 8 16
9 900 4500 9 18
10 1000 5500 10 20


Darkness[edit | edit source]

Darkness is an environmental state the player character may encounter in areas and rooms that lack light. Spending time in a Dark Area will cause your character to begin losing Sanity at a steady rate. A lantern (with kerosene) can be equipped in your character's off-hand item slot to fend off darkness and mitigate its negative effects.

  • Darkness will render the character and party members Blinded during combat, causing severe negative effects.

Research & Crafting[edit | edit source]

Your character can learn to craft gadgets, consumables, weapons, and other unique items during their time in Arkham. Through research and crafting, you can discover new solutions to nightmarish problems.

  • Items found in Stygian can be researched while resting in order to discover new blueprints and formulas. Research relies primarily on the Science, Medicine, and Survival skills. Before an item can be crafted, the character must first obtain any components required for its production.

Artifacts[edit | edit source]

Artifacts are occult items that come with both a Power and a Malediction. Powers and Maledictions for most artifacts are locked on first discovering the item. However, these effects can be deciphered using Occult Research. But beware, an artifact’s power and malediction will take effect the moment you equip it, whether its effects have been unlocked or not.

Combat[edit | edit source]

Combat Load Screen

Though often avoidable, combat is an integral part of Stygian's gameplay. Combat provides opportunities for the player character to accumulate experience and gain items. In certain cases combat may also reveal the only way forward, draining the player character of Health and Sanity and pushing them to their furthest limits.

Combat in Stygian is turn-based and tactical, allowing characters and enemies to move and act during their respective turns. Combat can be resolved in one of three ways:

  1. Victory: Successfully defeating all enemies on the battlefield
  2. Flight: Successfully fleeing from battle
  3. Progression Escape: Wearing down the enemy to a certain extent will allow the player character to execute a progression escape, in which case they may progress forward without the need to subdue all enemies on the battlefield

Player's are encouraged to find alternative means of progressing through Stygian without necessitating combat. Be it through the use of Stealth, Speechcraft, or any number of skills at the player's disposal, direct conflict can (and should) be avoided when possible.

Controls[edit | edit source]

Cursor[edit | edit source]

Exploration Tutorial

The cursor (mouse) is used to interact with the world of Stygian. Players can use the cursor to move their character, initiate dialogue with NPCs, and interact with objects. A glowing cursor indicates a point of interest or potential skill use when hovering over an interactional object.

  • Left clicking on an object will perform the default interaction available with the object. Otherwise, left clicking will move the player to the selected location (if possible).
  • Right clicking on an object will open the radial menu, providing all available interactional options for the given item or target.

Console[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of console (keyboard) shortcut keys available to the player:

  • C: Character Screen
  • G: Grimoire
  • I: Inventory
  • J: Journal
  • M: Map
  • S: Stealth
  • Alt: Highlight interactional objects
  • F1: Display tutorial
  • F3: Log (Used for reporting bugs)

Note: Many of these actions are also available via buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Tips and Tricks[edit | edit source]

The following tips and tricks are provided by the game any time the player enters the loading screen:

Stygian Tales (Loading Screen Poster)
  • Albeit slowly, Arkham's junk economy will replenish itself over time. If you find yourself running low on Cigs, consider scavenging as a way to increase your resources.
  • Always save some of your Cigs for future challenges. You never know when you'll need them.
  • Conserve your ammo. Especially higher caliber bullets. Everything is numbered in Arkham and the ones that can kill are in high demand.
  • Do not forget to use the radial menu by right clicking. It allows you to see all the possible interactions that a world item or actor offers. Objects that trigger the cursor to be lit may hold interest for you.
  • Do not leave your companions behind, hence you may not find them again, at least alive.
  • Drugs are sometimes the only path to mental and physical survival.
  • Even if you avoid direct confrontation with supernatural beings, merely encountering them will inflect its toll on your sanity.
  • Every point invested in the Survival Skill will automatically unlock new Survival Recipes.
  • Fighting mob members in Arkham will have dire consequences. Hiding your identity may be a good idea before attacking Wax Face's men but beware, getting into mortal conflict with a townful of armed ruffians is clearly not among the sanest of ideas.
  • If you don't want your henchmen to abandon you, pay their fees. Don't mistake them for companions.
  • If you're not the brawler type, remember to dedicate a few skill points to Stealth. If they can't see you, they can't catch you.
  • In order to cast the logic-defying spells of Stygian, you must pay the price with your sanity.
  • Isidore can teach you the powers of different Artifacts, but you'll need some personal occult knowledge to learn the maledictions they possess.
  • Left Click on your portrait in the exploration screen to focus the camera on your character.
  • Making a Progression Escape rewards you with the same amount of experience as wiping out the enemy. Also keep in mind that you can loot your fallen foes during combat with the help of the radial menu.
  • Making progress is the main goal of Stygian. Progressive escape is always a viable option in combat. Wear them out and run!
  • Openly defying the Mob or the Cult may make your time in Arkham rather unpleasant. Never forget that this forsaken town is run by tyrants and deviants.
  • Resting not only regenerates your character's lost health and sanity before leaving for the Dreamlands, but facilitates how your party spends its free time, which can lead to helpful discoveries, especially in the disciplines of Science, Medicine and the Occult.
  • Properly role-playing your Belief System by choosing the right dialogue options awards you with precious sanity points. Think and act like your character.
  • Roleplay the madness. Being mad in a mad world might just be your best strategy.
  • Stygian is not about winning but enduring.
  • The morbid mysteries of Stygian will not be fed to you on a silver spoon. Read the documents you obtain, check your map, extract information from people, and form your own opinions.
  • The suffering you must endure in the course of your journey will burden you with Angst Points. When you eventually gain an Angst Level, you will have to choose a Defect representing your character's personality flaws.
  • Use the "Alt" key for highlighting points of interest in the world.
  • You're at no risk of getting ambushed while resting in safe areas like the Old Eel House. This doesn't apply, however, to outdoors camping where you sleep all alone in the encroaching darkness.

See also[edit | edit source]