Do you have questions about the world of Theleston, the people developing it, and the range of products and adventures being set there? If so, this is the place for you. If you have a question that you don’t see here, don’t be afraid to join the discussions on the forums and ask us!
Theleston is a low-fantasy, dynamic world influenced by Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and other weird fiction and horror stories, which sets ancient beings, calculating gods, and a flawed humanity against a medieval backdrop uniquely designed for immersive roleplay.
It’s the setting for a wide range of interactive experiences, from a tabletop RPG, to fantasy novels, single-player games and mobile apps, and eventually a Multiplayer Evolving Online World (MEOW). Progress of current projects set within Theleston can be found in the Roadmap section.
You can find more information about Theleston world history in the Lore section.
Livestreaming on DopCrew
Tuesday 3:30pmMDT/21:30GMT Fireside Chat with the developers of Skyward*
Thursday 10:30pmMDT/04:30GMT Nerdsday Night Game Dev with Snipehunter
1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, 2pmMDT/20:00GMT Pen and Paper RPG Playtesting
Livesteaming on TheoryForge
2nd and 4th Sunday of each month, 2pmMDT/20:00GMT Oracles of Theleston
Sadly, not yet, but SOON™!
The pen and paper RPG will be entering its first testing in late February/early March of 2017
The Divination Card Reader and Character Creator applications are getting their final touches and then will need polishing. Estimated delivery Spring 2017
MEOW/MMORPG/Online Multiplayer Interactive Experience- eventually
For current status on all works in progress, please visit the Development Roadmap
Skyward* Corp. was founded by Christopher Holtorf, Adam Maxwell and Stephen Pabst, in 2011 as an independent game developer and consultancy. Since then the company has helped many clients across multiple media to create works of fiction, video games, video programs and educational software.
The company’s name is an homage to one of its first clients, the author Lauren Beukes who contracted Skyward* for research into America and American history for the novel, The Shining Girls. The name Skyward* is used as a screen name by a character in the novel Moxyland, a gripping near-future thriller that first brought Ms. Beukes to the founders’ attention. Here, the name is a reference to the experiences that led the Skyward* founders to leave the relative safety of the standard studio model of video game development, to strike out on their own and strive for more.
Unfortunately, no. Skyward* is a small team with very limited resources. To keep the lights on and to make work on Theleston possible, the members of Skyward* consult with clients on their projects, part of every week. Presently time is split 40%/60% between Theleston and other clients, respectively. However, Skyward* will continue to reserve more and more time for Theleston development as the various Theleston projects move forward and bear fruit. The long-term goal is to spend 100% of time on Theleston.
At the heart of everything that is Theleston is the idea of collaborative storytelling, where Narrators and players work together to evolve the state of the world. What better format to showcase this but the group storytelling experience that is the pen and paper RPG? From a logistic perspective, it’s a format that plays to the strengths of the team, allowing them to bring a Theleston project to completion quickly as the first step in a longer-term plan leading to the production of the Multiplayer Evolving Online World (MEOW) version of Theleston.
The wind howls as you step out of the carriage, the chill coastal air still moist and smelling faintly of fishy rot. You turn back to the driver, digging into your pocket for the money to pay him when you get your first good look at the man. Another carriage passes in the gloom, casting clear yellow lantern light through the gloom and across the broad piscine lips and pallid, grey blubberous face of the thing. You can no longer think of him as a “man” for “thing” is what he is. The carriage passes, the lantern light dims and your hand remains in your pocket, locked around the bills in a death grip as you fall limply to the ground. Even now, you struggle to recollect the sight of it. Were the eyes dead? Black? Did it have eyes? How many? You shudder at the image of teeth, row after row of triangular knife edged things stretching back into a throat too large and too deep to fit the frame of what you had seen before. By god!, you think, your only coherent thought to call to powers invisible and vast to protect you from the world you only now realize you inhabit. Was he the monster the whole time? Is he the monster still? You stare in horror as the carriage moves down the street, catching even more faces in the beam of its lantern’s light. Faces too broad, smiles too wide, teeth too sharp. The carriage drives away and you are left staggering to your feet in the wet ocean night. A night that now seems colder and darker than you have words to describe. ← It’s that, but defining that can be challenging.
You can learn more about weird fiction and its authors such as Lovecraft and Howard, whose works have influenced Theleston, here and here. You can read more weird fiction set in Theleston in the Stories section of this site.
Theleston certainly is a world where ancient and terrible cosmic powers from beyond threaten common people only dimly aware of their existence, but the similarities between Theleston and other Lovecraftian roleplaying systems dwindle off there. Theleston is its own unique setting– a medieval world as heavily inspired by stories of low fantasy as they are by the strange tales and weird horror of the 1930s and 40s.
Perhaps more importantly, the roleplaying system developed for Theleston is unique, offering simple mechanics which allow Narrators to run much deeper and richer worlds while staying free from the onerous micromanagement of minutia that limits other systems at that level of detail.
It’s a system designed to be easy to play, so player and Narrator alike can focus on the world of Theleston and the mark they will leave upon it.
While final touches on the Players Guide and Character Creation app are still being made, playtesting has begun! At this time, official testing campaigns are by invite only. Testers will be chosen from the community with preference initially given to contributing members, Founders and Patrons.
Test sessions are on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month at 2pmMDT/20:00GMT and are livestreamed to twitch.tv/dopcrew
Anyone with access to the Player’s Guide is welcome to create their own campaigns and groups outside of the Skyward* testing, and any feedback from these sessions would be greatly appreciated.
The pen and paper game is the first step in a longer-term plan to bring the world of Theleston to life. Also in the works are the Character Creator and Narrator’s Assistant mobile apps to complement the pen and paper game, several Theleston-related books, a Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (HOPA) single player game, a divination card reader app, as well as a physical deck of Theleston divination cards. The final goal is to bring Theleston to life in a persistent Multiplayer Evolving Online World (MEOW).
Divination cards are similar to tarot cards but with a uniquely Theleston flavor. The current deck includes 3 suits (hands, stars, and gyres), major arcana and specialty cards honoring longtime community members who have made an indelible mark on the world of Theleston.
These cards can be used in conjunction with the pen and paper game or independently. Works in progress include a mobile app to generate card readings and a physical deck of cards which will be available for purchase. Currently, a simplified version of the divination card reader can be accessed through the chat bot (dopcrewbot) on twitch.tv/dopcrew
HOPA is the abbreviation for Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure. It is a genre of single-player game focused on solving puzzles to advance through a scripted storyline. While traditionally HOPAs offer only one story experience, Theleston puts a twist into its HOPA by offering impactful choices and multiple endings. The Theleston HOPA is a work in progress. More information will be available at a later time.
Exactly! Theleston is a complete world with a rich history far too large to present in any single product. The plan for the future will not only pave the way for development of the online world that is the ultimate goal, it will give opportunities to share the various aspects of the world with players in new and interesting ways, exploring and developing Theleston together.
Revival was being developed in conjunction with IllFonic, LLC, as a next-generation online roleplaying experience. Roughly 18 months in, the project was suspended as IllFonic reorganized its production slate. The rights to Theleston were transferred to Skyward* Corp. in April of 2016 and the company has been working to develop Theleston in numerous new incarnations, such as the tabletop RPG, fantasy novels and interactive mobile applications.
While bringing Theleston into the realm of online RPGs may be a ways off, development of the world of Theleston continues in other ways, with the goals of building awareness of the setting and securing the revenue needed to fund the creation of a Theleston Multiplayer Evolving Online World using collaborative storytelling design and mechanics. Whether this turns out to be Revival resuming production or not remains to be seen.
Revival’s Founders were among the first people to stand behind the ideas and ideals that form Theleston, both as core members of the community that formed around Revival and as the first to support development financially. The Founders have consistently offered insight and support invaluable to the project, with many playing an active role in the continued development of Theleston. It is a priority that the Founders be recognized for their contributions throughout the various incarnations, and when Theleston is brought online in the form of a Multiplayer Evolving Online World, Founders can expect to carry over some or all of the benefits they saw under Revival.
There are actually several ways to get involved. Help spread the word by following and sharing social media posts on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to get involved actively in the development of the game, join the Discord server, where the developers collaborate with the community on everything from the rules of the pen and paper game to the future of Theleston’s production. Skyward* is always open to working with new artists, writers, musicians and engineers!
Wow! Thank you so much for asking!
Skyward* continues work on Theleston by splitting their time with consultancy clients, but they’d much rather be working on Theleston full time. If you would like to help them achieve that goal by being a Big Damn Hero, check out the Patreon Page for support tiers, rewards and benefits, and Patron-only content.
But really, what would be most appreciated is that you purchase and play Theleston products when you see them!