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Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, Cultic Games' recently released Lovecraftian RPG, features a good number of interesting systems, but unfortunately they tend to be rather counter-intuitive and lack a proper in-game explanation. As a result, you'll be spending a lot of time trying to guess how everything works. Or, you can check out this Steam announcement and learn all about the game's less than obvious mechanics. An excerpt:
How does the Hunger system work?
A unit of rations is automatically consumed at certain intervals of game time. This counter gets paused while you are in the tab menu, in dialogue or in combat.
Only the canned food remaining in Arkham and all the canned food that you find or buy throughout your journey will be exchanged into the common resource identified as “rations”, which is displayed in your inventory as a resource. It is possible to buy canned food from most of the vendors of the game and they are being replenished in time.
If you enter a state of hunger, you get notified through the notification panel above the screen and if do not get nourished for a period of time following that, the hunger state gets more and more severe until the death of the character by a state of HP damage over time.
There is no hunger gauge in the game so it may be a good idea to have a couple of extra rations with you. Some companions like Nameless Soldier do not need to consume rations. Whenever a ration is consumed, the game indicates that through the log on the lower right and with a sound effect resembling a chewing action.
How does the Exhaustion system work?
At each particular interval of game time your characters get a state of exhaustion. Only by resting at a campsite (camping supplies needed) or resting at the Old Eel House are you able to recover from Exhaustion.
A campsite is located in Main Street near the walls of Miskatonic next to the hobos while another one is located in French Hill next to the abandoned house to the Southwest corner of the hub. Others will be discovered by you throughout the journey.
Resting is completely safe in the Old Eel House while the same cannot be said about outdoor areas. There is a good chance that your rest may be interrupted by an ambush even in the Downtown area so using rest activities such as “Keep Watch” and “Scout” may come in handy to get prepared.
If you enter a state of exhaustion, you get notified through the notification panel above the screen and if you do not rest for a period of time following that, the exhaustion state gets heavier and heavier until the character goes insane by a state of Sanity damage over time.
There is no exhaustion gauge in the game so it may be a good idea to have a couple of camping supplies with you.
How does the Sanity System work?
Situations like witnessing horrible events, casting occult spells, encountering supernatural creatures, staying in a dark area for too long, all result in Sanity losses.
If your Sanity drops below a certain level in combat there is a good chance that you are going to develop a panic state. Your character loses control and acts contrarily to your orders in a panic state, causing situations like dropping your gun to the ground while you command to attack.
If your sanity drops below a certain level in exploration, the chance for your character to develop a mental condition rises. The mental condition your character develops is determined according to the actions your character has performed until that time. If the character has killed a couple of NPC’s in cold blood throughout the game, there is a good chance that you will develop Psychopathy or if you have chosen more cautious and inquisitive choices in dialogues, your chances of developing Paranoia gets higher.
Resting, progressing quests, using drugs and alcohol, having sex, roleplaying your belief system correctly by choosing the right dialogue options, all replenish your lost sanity.
The sanity that you gain through roleplaying can exceed your maximum sanity.
If you reach 0 sanity in combat it is game over.
You can not drop below 1 sanity in exploration but whenever you reach that threshold, you gain a state called “At the Mouth of Madness” which makes you accumulate ANGST for a period of time until the effect is over.
And if you have already beaten the game, then you might have questions about its rather abrupt ending. If that's the case, you should read this announcement that clarifies some things.