Darkest Dungeon Classes – Our Definitive Guide
Driving the abominations from your lands is no simple matter, for the ancestor has left the house of your noble line in shambles. To help your band of weary champions, we have pulled together a guide that will help you understand the ins and outs of every region, champion and boss, as well as some tactics for preparing the perfect party for each situation.
November 15, 2019
Half of the battle in Darkest Dungeon is preparation and the other half is knowledge and so the aim of this guide is to help you with both. Understanding your heroes, their synergies, strengths and weaknesses is key for building the perfect roster. You should also understand how to manage the Hamlet, what weaknesses each enemy type has and how trinkets and upgrades can help enhance your heroes.
All of these different elements and the learning curve that comes with understanding how combat works can be overwhelming but by pre-planning effectively you can help negate a lot of the issues that new players can face. The best place for us to start is at the Hamlet, for careful upkeep of your heroes is the basis for any successful run.

The Hamlet

“Welcome home, such as it is. This squalid hamlet, these corrupted lands, they are yours now, and you are bound to them.” – The Ancestor

The Hamlet is squalid and dilapidated, but you will always feel a sense of comfort and security at your home base, especially after a particularly onerous dungeon. The Hamlet is where you heal, stress relief, recruit, upgrade skills and equipment and cure ailments and quirks.

As you pillage dungeons you will earn heirlooms and with these you will be able to upgrade your buildings, which will improve their benefits and utility and so let us go through each building briefly to understand their role.

Stage Coach

This is where you will be able to recruit new heroes to your roster free of cost, as it provides a random selection every week. Upgrading the coach will not only increase the amount of heroes that will appear each week, but it can also be upgraded to provide heroes of higher experience and better equipment. Finally, and importantly, the Stagecoach allows the player to upgrade the amount of heroes you can have total in your roster.

The Tavern & Abbey

These two buildings are your core source of stress relief, each have three different ‘activities’ for stress relief, both of these have the same pricing. Both can be upgraded to allow for more heroes at a time to go into treatment.

The Blacksmith

This is where you can upgrade your hero’s weapons and armour which will increase the characters offence and defence respectively. Upgrading the Blacksmith with heirlooms

Graveyard

Here you can view your fallen dead and believe us by the end you will have had one or two casualties.

Ancestor’s Memoirs

Essentially a lore repository; it keeps track of any ancestor’s boss narrations for later review (after beating the boss of course) as well as any journal pages that you’ve found.

Guild

One of the most important parts of your home base, the Guild allows you to upgrade the abilities of your heroes and this will be essential when keeping up with the increasing difficulty of the dungeons. Each ‘new’ hero starts with a random selection of abilities unlocked (with an exception) and the guild allows you to pay to unlock the others, which is of course essential to get the full use out of your heroes.

Upgrading the guild gives you access to higher level upgrades and the cost efficiency of doing so.

Nomad Wagon

This merchant sells important trinkets but at an inflated price and the stock rotates week to week. Upgrading the wagon will reduce the cost of trinkets and the number of trinkets that are available each week.

Survivalist

Part of your heroes’ bag of tricks are their camping skills (for medium+ expeditions) and the survivalist allows your heroes to unlock any unavailable skills that they need. Upgrading her reduces the cost of these unlocks.

Sanitarium

The functions like the stress relief buildings but instead it is used to treat negative quirks, maladies and lock in positive traits. Upgrading the building allows you to reduce the cost of these expensive treatments, increases the amount of treatment slots and an increased chance of the removal of additional diseases (it does happen!).

What to upgrade and when?

Heirlooms are very sparse at the beginning of the game and it is therefore in your interests to be as efficient as possible and give yourself the best start possible.

Upgrading the Stagecoach should be an early game priority, because you need to start with a low number of heroes (four) and you will need substitutes for heroes that need stress relief treatment. You also want to be training up as many heroes of each variety is possible to start building up their resolve levels. You may also find it is worth dismissing afflicted heroes at level 0-1, as you have plenty of new willing recruits and curing an afflicted low-level hero may not be worth it.

So first we would suggest upgrading both the Stagecoach Network and Hero Barracks to level 1 and then both to level 2. This will give you a big enough roster to have at least one of every hero type and duplicates of some staples, as well as a pool of 4 heroes to recruit from per week. This is plenty for your first 20-30 weeks and will allow you to keep stocked up on plenty of heroes.

After this you should consider upgrading your Blacksmith & your Guild so that you can upgrade your abilities and equipment, to keep up with power creep of your opponents.

Upgrading the first few levels of your stress relief buildings is also a worthwhile investment as you proceed into the game, as your roster increases. However, don’t sink too many resources into them early on, as you shouldn’t really have more than 4-6 afflicted heroes (Max!).

As you get into mid-late game your Guild and Blacksmith will need to be upgraded to match the power level of the enemies until it is fully upgraded.

The rest is up for you to upgrade as and when you have need for it! Treat the Hamlet well as it is the foundation of every hero and that is where we will move to now.

The heroes

“Great heroes can be found even here, in the mud and rain” – The Ancestor

This is really the core of the Darkest Dungeon experience; your colourful band of misfits who will either rise to be your star champions or will be driven into the mud and placed in an early grave.

But understanding their strengths and weaknesses is vital in constructing the perfect party and which heroes will perform better against certain enemies and bosses.

Understanding your Heroes

The amount of statistics that each character screen has can be overwhelming, but we are here to distil it down to the basics, and which parts you should know.

Base Stats

These are the base attributes that determine how resilient, speedy etc your hero is but will in turn modify and be modified by the conditions of what ability you use:

MAX HP – Your Character’s Health

DODGE – How likely it is that your character will dodge and enemy attack, higher DODGE means they are harder to hit.

PROT – How tough your hero is; higher this figure, the more of the damage will be absorbed which results in lower damage per hit

SPD – How fast your character is, the order of ‘turns’ will go from highest to lowest from both teams

ACC MOD – a modifier which reduces the likelihood of your character missing, or increases it if it is negative

CRIT – a modifier which can increase the chances of a critical hit

DMG – The base damage of your attacks that will be modified depending what ability you use (i.e. -100% or +50%)

No one will ask you to know these by heart but having an idea of the overall picture will let you know what type of Hero this is. For example, the picture above of the Plague Doctor shows us that this character is a squishy but above average speed character.

Resolve

This is the number and verticle bar in the top left of your character page and it indicates the ‘level’ of experience. You increase this by taking them on expeditions and as the level increases so do the ‘power’ of their abilities and so it is necessary to keep rotating and training up a variety of heroes.

Combat Skills

This is probably the most important part of the screen as it tells you what skills your hero has equipped but more importantly where each skill can be used from and which ranks it can attack.

The Darkest Dungeon Wiki is a great resource for seeing the usability of each ability but the screen above shows the amalgamation of the equipped skills and the preferred position and targets based on this build. The ‘Dots’ represent (from left to right) Heroes: 4,3,2,1 – Targets: 1,2,3,4; i.e. as they will appear in the actual battle.

So for the above build for the Plague Doctor we can see that she is a backline hero who will excel at hitting ranks 2-4. This is why we refer to some heroes as ‘frontline’ and some as ‘backline’ as their abilities general dictate where they go but also because it will reflect the role of the hero.

Quirks and Diseases

Disease – This where you can see what diseases you have contracted while dungeon crawling. Diseases essentially modify your character’s stats (usually negative) but can be cured for a high price at the Sanitarium or by certain camping abilities.

Quirks – Catch all summary of any negative or positive behaviours that your character has developed while dungeon crawling, much the same as Diseases, these can be removed through treatment or if you really like a quirk and don’t want to lose it then you can pay a high price at the Sanitarium to ‘lock it in’.

Resistances

Pretty self explanatory; a run down of your character’s resistances against certain statuses and events.

Camping Skills

Your currently equipped camping skills, for use when you (surprise) camp in longer dungeons. You can unlock any extra ones you want at the Survivalist.

Equipment

This details your character class equipment and what level they are currently at; both armour and weapons can be improved at the Blacksmith. It also shows which Trinkets you have equipped – or allows you to equip them.

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Hero Overview

Each of these colourful characters are worthy of their own full guide, but to give you an idea of how each Hero plays and what role they fill we are going to give you a rundown of each one.

Note that these are high-level summaries of each hero and are meant to give you an overview of their strengths and weaknesses.

Plague Doctor

Doc is the ultimate disruptor who plays an important role in both support and in important damage over time (DoT) capabilities.

plague doctor darkest dungeon picsShe has access to Bleed DoT through her Incision ability and access to Blight DoT from her Plague Grenade and her Noxious blast, meaning she is ideal to bring if you are facing enemies with high PROT, that can be wasted away instead of soaking up hit after hit from your front line.

Importantly she can also target both the backline simultaneously with her Noxious Blast (for Blight) and her Blinding Gas (to Stun both), completely negating the backline stress dealers of the enemy formation. You will find this to be most useful for early game ruins.

This is just a quick overview of one of the most useful utility characters, if you would like to see an in-depth guide for Doc, and how she can be built to destroy and disrupt enemy formations then check out our Plague Doctor Guide here.

The Leper

You will always feel secure with the immovable force of the Leper in your front ranks of your party; he has the single highest HP in the game and a decent selfheal ability through their Solemnity ability.

The Leper is not only the tankiest of heroes but they also have the highest base damage of any hero, meaning when the Leper strikes something with his single target Chop they are unlikely to get up again. If you are willing to take a drop of 50% damage then he can strike the front two ranks simultaneously with Hew making it ideal to finish of weakened front lines.

IF he hits. The Leper has to have some weaknesses given those impressive stats and his main one is in the form of a low accuracy. There will be times that you need the Leper to get that hit on the enemy and he will whiff. Aside from this, the Leper is very susceptible to Bleed and Blight meaning there is a very high chance of him being afflicted and you should prepare accordingly by bringing a Plague Doctor or the appropriate remedies.

That being said the Leper will soak up an unbelievable amount of damage and when he hits something, he HITS them.

Vestal

When pure reliable healing is necessary (almost always is) Vestal is the one and only hero who can provide it. Her Divine Comfort gives her the ability to top off the team’s health with a small bit of party wide healing and her Divine Grace is a single target heal with more healing potential.

vestal darkest dungeon Vestal should sit in your back lines healing away, but she can also go on the offense if everyone has healed up with useful attacks like Judgement which she can use to hit any position, even sniping out the backline. She also has a stun ability with her Dazzling Light, these are both useable from the backlines of the party and so she can be useful even when not healing.

A straightforward and dependable source of healing – a staple for early and late game parties alike.

Highwayman

One of your two starter heroes and an absolute damage powerhouse that will never be a mistake to bring on expedition. The Highwayman’s role is that of a pure damage dealer with a lot of powerful weapons in his arsenal but is very squishy. His recommended position is Rank 2, so that he has access to most of arsenal but without being exposed on Rank 1.

highwayman He has access to bleed through Open Vein, a melee attack that can hit the front ranks but ultimately is a lower damage version of Wicked Slice. With a +15% damage to rank 1 or 2, it is usually advisable to have this as a staple for your Highwayman. With Pistol Shot he can strike the back ranks, making him a gem at sniping the stress dealers on the backlines.

He has a couple of other interesting abilities like Grapeshot which can pepper the front three ranks with a reduced damage, or Duellist’s Advance that moves him forward one rank while dealing a single target damage of -20% and it activates riposte.

His dodge and speed are on the high end, making himself a highly mobile and survivable hero that will always deal reliable damage.

Crusader

Number 2 of your starter heroes and where the Highwayman is your reliable allrounder damage dealer, the crusader is your reliable frontline tank. Basically, if you remove the unreliability of the Leper but also reduce the base damage and health, then you can get an idea of the Crusader’s role.

crusader darkest dungeon ​The Crusader fits comfortably in rank 1, having the second highest base health in the game and so you will feel safe having him soak up the big hits. Yet he also hits very hard; Smite will be your basic single target damage dealer and Zealous Accusation is your multi-hit damage dealer for rank 1 and 2. Stunning blow is also an option if you’d like a stun in your arsenal.

Grave Robber

The Critical Damage dealer, the Graverobber is a very maneuverable agile and adaptable damage dealer that has a high CRIT, allowing for massive damage opportunities if she is used correctly. Starting her in position 3 and with the ability Lunge gives her access to a lot of flexibility; not only does it have +40% damage but also it moves her up 2 positions and so starting in the safer position 3 means she can move up when necessary.

grave robber darkest dungeon guideIn position 3, she can bombard the mid/rear of the enemy with her Flashing Daggers and Thrown Dagger, as well as inflict Blight on any rank with the Poison Dart. If she does lunge forward then she has access to a pretty reliable singe strike Pick to the Face and she can move back 2 positions with Shadow Phase, once again giving her access to Lunge.

A reliable, dodgy, and versatile damage dealer that will always be able to recover from being moved out of position.

Abomination

The Abomination is a unique character in that he has two very different ‘forms’ meaning he can fill two very different roles (another benefit is that you won’t need to pay to unlock any new abilities!).

abomination darkest dungeon guideHis human form is a DoT dealer and a disruptor; sitting in position 2 or 3 gives him access to Manacles which only does -60% of damage but more importantly has a 90% base Stun chance, meaning you can reliably knock out positions 1 – 3 and do a respectable tick of damage to boot. He also has Beast’s Bile allowing him to Blight ranks 2 and 3 simultaneously.

His Beast Form is a big damage dealer, with access to single strike, multi-hit and knockback attacks. However, his transformation will deal stress to your party members and yourself, so use this incredible weapon sparingly and wisely.

Arbalest

A backline sniper, the Arbalest has high single damage potential but generally she will need to take up a slot in rank 3 or 4, meaning you may need to change the usual format of your team. Additionally, the Arbalest will benefit massively if her targets are marked for her, meaning she will synergise well with a Bounty Hunter who can fill the Rank 2.

arbalest darkest dungeon guideSniper Shot is her bread and butter damage dealer, that does a whopping +50% to a marked target and has a +9% CRIT chance. She has Sniper’s Mark, giving the ability to mark enemies herself but it is more turn efficient if you have another character to do it for you.

She also has some useful utility including a self-sustaining heal in the form of Battlefield Bandage and also Rallying Flare that will clear all stuns and marks from your team. However, she is inflexible in regard to positioning, but you cannot argue with her high damage sniping, that can bring down a boss just like ‘that’.

Bounty Hunter

A great utility hero that is a master at disrupting your enemy formations AND dealing some reliable damage when it counts. Much like the Arbalest, he can deal considerable damage to enemies who are marked; Collect Bounty does an eye watering +90% damage against marked enemies and Finish Him can do +25% damage to an enemy who is stunned.

bounty hunter darkest dungeon guideHe can mark enemies himself with Mark for Death but again it is better if you can have someone set up these bonuses. He can easily mess up the formation of the enemy with Come Hither which can drag rank 3 or 4 forward 2 ranks, into the range of a Leper sword. Flashbang is another great tool because it has a 110% stun and a 100% for shuffle, meaning you can stun and disrupt the enemy line.

Hellion

Hellion hits almost as hard as the Leper but instead of being able to soak up damage, she relies upon her respectable DODGE (having the same as the Highwayman) and maneuverability to stay alive. She is a more versatile damage dealer than the Crusader or Leper but don’t expect her to stand upfront and last as long as they do.

hellion darkest dungeon guideHer Wicked Hack is her classic single hit that can target rank 1 or 2 and can deal very respectable damage, given she is tied with the Crusader for base damage. She also has reliable access to bleed in the form of If It Bleeds that allows her to target rank 2 or 3 and with Bleed Out she can hit rank 1 but she too must be in rank 1.

However, any rank restrictions can be alleviated by her Breakthrough which not only hits 1, 2 and 3 but also moves her forward one position. Use Breakthrough and Bleed Out wisely because these will debuff her damage and speed to compensate for how powerful they are. The same can be said of the powerful Barbaric YAWP! that targets Rank 1 and 2 with a 110% chance at Stun, but again will debuff her.

Jester

The Jester is one of those heroes that is hard to classify as he has such a diverse bag of tricks; he can be absurdly powerful if used correctly but can die very easily if he is targeted by the enemy.

As a high-level summary, Jester has access to two reliable sources of Bleed, he can heal stress, buff the party and cause some titanic damage, in the right situations, with his Finale. His main failing is he is very very squishy and while this is somewhat offset by his high DODGE, you will need to protect him.

jester darkest dungeon classesBattle Ballad is a team wide buff that will boost accuracy, speed and crit chance for the team, as well as add +30% Finale damage to himself. He will get the same self-boost to Finale with Inspiring Tune which is a single target ally stress heal. You can get him to the front (so he can use Finale) letting him use Dirk Stab, which again boosts the damage of Finale by +30%.

So by the time you have performed a tune and jumped forward, Finale will most likely destroy the single target you choose but it will push him to the back and debuff him so use wisely.

Hound Master

A fan favourite who brings the ‘Goodest Boy’ of the Hamlet, this hero is a man and his wolf who are a very versatile pair that can afflict enemies and assist allies. With their Cry Havoc they can heal some stress for the team and with Guard Dog they can protect a squishier hero. They also have a level of self-sustain with Lick Wounds, a low-level self-target heal that can be used in a pinch.

hound master darkest dungeon classes guideOn the attack the pair have some great utility, they can start off with a mark via Target Whistle and follow up with their staple single strike Hound’s Rush. One of their main attractions, however, is their Hound’s Harry which will target all enemy ranks with a -75% damage but a Bleed 110% on all targets.

The value of this in regions that are weak to Bleed (we will touch on this below) is immeasurable, and the same goes for a certain boss for which the Hound Master is infamous for easily being the antidote.

Occultist

A powerful hero and support class, the Occultist can be the greatest healer in the game…and simultaneously the worst. Wyrd Reconstruction is the Occultist’s flagship ability, has a base heal scale of 0-13 meaning is has about 4x the potential of a Vestal’s heal. Yet you can get 0 or 1 heal AND with a 60% chance to cause bleed every time, it is a risk.

occultist darkest dungeon classesThere is the potential, if you are very very unlucky, that you will get back to back 0-1 heals that cause bleed but conversely you could get a CRIT that completely refills the health bar and then some. Personally – I think the Occultist is worth the risk but just be prepared to heal the bleeds (Plague Doc is the perfect companion for him).

Aside from a powerful heal, the Occultist has a very neat bag of tricks that can disrupt and weaken your enemies. Weakening Curse will lower the Damage and PROT of the enemy and Vulnerability Curse will MARK your opponents. He can pull backliners out of position with Daemon’s Pull and hit rank 3 and 4 with Abyssal Artillery, making him not only a good healer but a good way to shut down the enemy stress dealers.

Man-at-Arms

Where Leper and Crusader are part damage dealer and part tank, the Man-at-Arms is the purity test for tankiness. He can do some decent damage, but ultimately his strength lies in his support abilities that will keep the rest of your squad alive, meaning he synergises very well with squishy death dealers (e.g. Jester and Highwayman).

Bolster and Command are superb buffs that target the entire squad for efficiency; the former increases DODGE and reduces stress and the latter boosts accuracy, CRIT chance and damage while being ‘Guarded’.

man at arms darkest dungeon classesThe jewel in the crown of his arsenal is Defender which allows the Man-At-Arms to ‘Guard’ another team member for 3 rounds, meaning he will take any hit which is meant for them, whilst gaining +15% PROT to boot. He also has some decent offensive capability in the form of Crush which can even reach rank 3 of the enemy and he can set up a riposte with his Retribution.

Antiquarian

Ahh the odd duck of the family – the Antiquarian is the one ‘hero’ that isn’t really meant for combat at all and instead is meant to provide a middling support while boosting the treasure finding abilities of your party.

She increases the amount of gold you can carry per stack by 750 per stack but more importantly her presence means there is a chance for unique drops from curios and combat. These drops can be worth lots of gold upon completion of the expedition, making her a worthwhile choice for a farm.

antiquarian darkest dungeon classesWhile in combat she can do a couple of things; firstly, she can do a backwards Guard with Protect Me, where she sets up an ally to guard her while she boosts their stats significantly in DODGE and PROT. She can also buff allies with Invigorating Vapours which targets the whole team and raises their DODGE.

Finally, she can inflict Blight with Festering Vapours and stun a single enemy with Flashpowder. Good for a farm but I advise against bringing her along to boss fights or difficult dungeons.

Flagellant [DLC]

The Flagellant really changes the way you think about frontline heroes by being a self-sustaining bleed machine that wants to take the damage. His offense is focused around causing bleed but becomes more effective the more damage that he takes.

When his health is below 40% health, he will receive a buff of +20% Damage and +7% CRIT and ideally, you’ll want him to remain below 40% health most of the time. In addition, the Flagellant welcomes Affliction; the only Affliction (or virtue) the flagellant will receive upon breaking is Rapturous that takes -20 DODGE but boosts his Damage by +25% and his Speed by +3.

flagellant darkest dungeon classesEven if he dies, he will not go without a whimper as he will stun all enemies (125%) and heal all allies, for 10 HP. His main offensive abilities are Punish, which is a single target melee which has a (100%) bleed for 4pts for 3 rounds. He also has Rain of Sorrows which is an amazing ability which hits both ranks 3 and 4 for -67% damage but will inflict Bleed – meaning it is the perfect Bleed alternative to the Plague Doctor’s Noxious Blast.

Exsanguinate is a powerful attack that can inflict bleed of 5pts per round on a single target with no loss to base damage, as well as healing the Flagellant by 35% HP, making it perfect to keep him going as he wastes the enemy’s attacks. High risk, high reward but not many are his equal when it comes to bleed and self-sustain.

Shieldbreaker [DLC]

An extremely versatile and mobile frontline unit, who has lots of options for damage, Blight and can change position at will – her only real weakness being is that she has low health for a frontline damage dealer and that she will make the party fight her ‘Traumas’ in the forms of giant snakes that will appear after camping (limited to 6), so be ready when taking her on longer expeditions.

shieldbreaker darkest dungeon guideIf Shieldbreaker starts in position 3 or 2, she can move herself forward by one by using Pierce or Puncture. To be honest, moving backwards and forwards is a necessary part of using her, given she has some powerful techniques she can use in position 1 that will then shift her back a place.

Adder’s Kiss is one such ability that will do 100% damage but also inflict blight upon the single target. Impale is her multi-hit ability that can be used from position 1, that will hit all four enemy positions for -60% damage. She can then bounce back to position 1 with the high damage Pierce or cast blight with Captivate on position 2 or 3.

Preparing for battle

“They must learn more than brutal bloodletting — they must learn to survive!” – The Ancestor

So, know you know your heroes, the time has come for one of the most important parts of the game; the preparation screen. There is a myriad of things to consider when you are on this screen and your choices will ultimately decide the fate of your party.

Enemy Weaknesses & Composition

To help explain the process of preparation and what each region’s weaknesses are, watch our video below where I walk through my preparations for a long expedition into the Cove:

As the video shows – prep is key; build a cohesive party, exploit the weakness of each area and bring supplies as appropriate. Remember to bring Bleed for Weald and Warrens, Blight for Ruins and Cove; there are many more weaknesses that can be exploited but these are the most consistent and easy to remember for beginners.

Understanding how your heroes can support each other is essential for this but for beginners, it is easy to structure a party as described in the video: 1 Tank, 1 Damage Dealer, 1 Utility/Support and 1 Heal.

Supplies

Before you leave you get to spend some of your hard earned gold on supplying your heroes and despite the fact you get some money refunded for equipment you still have at the end, you don’t want to needlessly waste your gold. So it is a balance about having enough supplies to make it through but not over spending.

As a general rule of thumb, I’d recommend these (minimum) to get you through each dungeon size:
• Short – 8 Torches and 8 Food
• Medium – 16 Torches and 16 Food
• Long – 24 Torches and 24 Food (maybe 32 to be safe and to account for camping)

This should get you through with plenty of light – while darkness is good for CRIT and treasure, beginners should just keep the dungeon well lit, reducing the chance for being surprised and enemy CRIT. You should also bring 1 – 3 shovels, as having to clear rubble by hand is very costly in regard to health and stress.

The rest is up to the needs of your party and your judgement, but generally is not mandatory. However, if you are bringing an Occultist and a Leper, for example, bring some supplied (or a Plague Doctor!).

Battle & Dungeons

“Corruption has soaked the soil, sapping all good life from these groves. Let us burn out this evil.” – The Ancestor

So finally, you have researched your heroes, you know thine enemies and you have packed accordingly; it is finally time to drive some foolish horrors into the mud. Clearing a dungeon is defined by two elements; exploration & combat. Let us look at a quick overview for exploring before jumping into combat.

Exploring & Objectives

You Explore the dungeon by clearing Rooms and traveling between them via Corridors that can hold any manner of traps, treasure or enemies. You navigate the dungeon via the map, the big squares represent rooms and the small lines of blocks are corridors; you move from one room to the next by clicking the room you want to move to and then passing through the corridor.

Traps appear as spider webs on the map, but if you haven’t been able to scout the corridor there is a chance you won’t know it is there. Just tread careful and you maybe able to see them before you walk over them. Once they are spotted (a spider web symbol will appear next to your character) simply click on them to disarm them for a bonus stress heal.

Curios are interactable objects that can yield loot and buffs, or they can pass on negative quirks and debuffs. It isn’t entirely random, each ‘type’ of curio has a different set of results. Generally, stay away from altars and alien looking totems; as some are entirely negative (no benefit at all) and/or have a high chance to be negative. You are safe at looting ‘normal’ containers like Packs, Crates and treasure chests.

Scout is a chance (that can be improved by camp abilities, trinkets etc.) that happens each time you enter a room or when you open a Backpack Curio, that will reveal some of the surrounding corridors and rooms. This will highlight secret rooms, curios, traps and the contents of rooms.

Objectives are the conditions that you need to complete in order to successfully leave the dungeon with all rewards.

Combat

If you have followed our preparation guide the you will be as ready as you can be for this part of Darkest Dungeon. Things will go wrong; this is a game that relies on RNG and as such the dice roll won’t always go your way but by preparing effectively, you will have stacked the decks in your favour.

We can’t predict every situation and we can’t predict every team composition that you will have chosen but we can give you some general tips to help tip the scales in your favour:

• Take your time on your turn – there is no time limit when it is your go
• Get your DoT effects applied as early as possible (e.g. round one Noxious Blast)
• Disrupt/Kill the backline stress dealers ASAP
• Don’t be afraid to quit a dungeon if you are struggling (losing a reward is better than losing a level 5 hero)
• Get your rank 1 and 2 to focus down the same enemy
• If you are pulled out of position, it is better to spend the turn moving them back
• If a hero becomes afflicted, weigh up how debilitating it is – if it is dangerous, then consider a return to town
• Prioritise the enemies, don’t just spread your attacks – one less enemy is always better
• Things will go wrong; don’t panic, take your time on your turn and consider your options

This is not exhaustive, and you will develop your own ways of beating enemies and tactics for overcoming surprises. However, follow these rules, stay calm and cut your losses. Use everything you’ve learned about your heroes to exploit your enemy’s weaknesses and take a kill whenever you can.

Bosses are a different experience altogether and each possesses their own unique features and strengths. It is beyond the scope of a general guide but what we would say is; don’t be afraid to fail the first time – learn a boss’s ability and then construct the perfect antidote next time around.

Yet there is one final battleground that we have yet to touch on; the battle of the mind.

Stress and Afflictions

Stress is part of the flavour of Darkest Dungeon, as the game is ultimately about the stresses and mental strain of delving deep into the unknown. Stress is the ‘block’ counter that you can see below the character’s health. The bar is out of 100 but can double up to a max of 200, whereupon the character will have a heart attack and enter ‘Death’s Door’ or die if they are already on Death’s Door and so you need to take it seriously.

But there are other issues before even reaching a heart attack; upon reaching 100 Stress a coin will be flipped and either your hero will enter a state of Affliction or a state of Virtue. As you can probably guess Affliction is negative and Virtues are good.

Broadly speaking they are a selection of stat penalties/buffs that give the chance for the hero to act on their own accord. In the case of an affliction this is usually bad; for example, if a hero become Paranoid, they may believe that a healer is trying to poison them and so they refuse any healing.

Afflictions will be removed when you put the hero into a stress healing building in the Hamlet but of course this is costly and if they are at 100+ stress they may even need to be treated twice to fully recover.

Stress can mainly come from the various vicissitudes of dungeon exploring; you will find the main source early on to be rank 3 and 4 stress dealers. Learn how to build a team that can reliable target or disrupt these ranks. There are various factors when it comes to stress management and so here are our pointers;

• Low light levels (bring plenty of torches!)
• Stress attacks (target those rear stress dealers!)
• CRIT attacks from enemies (not much you can do there!)
• Let stressed heroes disarm traps for a small stress heal
• Bring a Jester with Inspiring Tune if you are worried about it
• CRIT hits against enemies can restore stress
• Make full use of stress heal abilities while camping

You will learn to counter stress after getting used to it, it is an annoyance but if you bring plenty of torches and know how to counter back rank stress dealers.

Final Afflictions

So that’s it – the rest will come with experience and intuition as you become familiar with every hero and enemy type. Prepare, accept failure and use every hero type to expand your knowledge.

In time you WILL KNOW THE TRUE EXTENT OF MY FAILINGS…I mean…you will know how defeat every enemy and overcome every mistake. Onward to the Darkest Dungeon!

Geoff SmoughTown

Geoff SmoughTown

Contributor

My grandfather was a man way ahead of his generation, owning his first PC in the early ’90s. When I and my sister came to visit he would fire up ‘Rabbit Reader 2’, and I was transported to the world of ‘Wordsville’. Since then my tastes have developed finding myself attached to Lore rich games; the Souls series, Dead Space and any RPG with a good story. For me, Games can be forms of art to be dissected, analyzed and appreciated.

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