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Something Something Insidious Killer: Let's play Darkest Dungeon

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Ruin has come to our family.

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You remember our venerable house, opulent and imperial, gazing proudly from its stoic perch above the moor?

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I lived all my years in that ancient, rumor shadowed manor...

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...fattened by decadence and luxury - and yet I began to tire of conventional extravagance.

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Singular, unsettling tales suggested the mansion itself was a gateway to some fabulous and unnameable power.

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With relic and ritual I bent every effort towards the excavation and recovery of those long buried secrets...

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...exhausting what remained of our family fortune on swarthy workmen and sturdy shovels.

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At last in the salt soaked crags beneath the lowest foundations...

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...we unearthed that damnable portal of antediluvian evil.

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Our every step unsettled the ancient earth, but we were in a realm of death and madness.

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In the end I alone fled laughing and wailing through those blackened arcades of antiquity until consciousness failed me.

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You remember our venerable house, opulent and imperial.

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It is a festering abomination! I beg you. Return home; claim your birthright, and deliver our family (a faint clicking noise is heard) from the ravenous, clutching shadows...

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Gunshot!

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...of the Darkest Dungeon.

Welcome, dear reader, to terror and madness. Darkest Dungeon is, in the words of its developer Red Hook, "a challenging gothic roguelike turn-based RPG about the psychological stresses of adventuring".

You play as the faceless heir to the narrating Mad Scientist (usually referred to as the Ancestor), who arrives at the inherited, ruined estate. You send out send out groups of adventurers into the various parts of the estate, to explore and, eventually, clean up the mess that the Ancestor has left you (long before Fridays for Future was a thing).

Apart from its, well, dark atmosphere, Darkest Dungeon is well-known for its very, very impressive Narrator (voiced by Wayne June, and certainly deserving the capitalization) - I highly recommend checking out the intro on Youtube. It also features a lot of very quotable one-liners. Personally, I was reminded that Overconfidence is a slow and incidious killer long before I learned about this game.

I will be playing with both the Crimson Court and Color of Madness DLCs, as well as the additional classes. There's another DLC on the way (Butcher's Circuit), although I'm not that interested in the PvP that it's going to introduce.

And with that, let's go into the game, or rather, another short cutscene. Here it is on Youtube.

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You will arrive along the old road.

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It winds with a troubling, serpent-like suggestion through the corrupted countryside...

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...leading only, I fear, to ever more tenebrous places. There is a sickness in the ancient, pitted cobbles of the old road...

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...and on its writhing path,...

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...you'll face viciousness, violence and perhaps,...

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...other damnably transcendent terrors.

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So steel yourself, and remember, there can be no bravery...

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...without madness.

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The old road will take you to hell, but in that gaping abyss, we will find our redemption.

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4 hours ago, ping said:

It is a festering abomination!

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...of the Darkest Dungeon.

This is sounding an awful lot like Math Class to me, only less terrifying.

4 hours ago, ping said:

Welcome, dear reader, to terror and madness. Darkest Dungeon is, in the words of its developer Red Hook, "a challenging gothic roguelike turn-based RPG about the psychological stresses of adventuring".

You play as the faceless heir to the narrating Mad Scientist (usually referred to as the Ancestor), who arrives at the inherited, ruined estate. You send out send out groups of adventurers into the various parts of the estate, to explore and, eventually, clean up the mess that the Ancestor has left you (long before Fridays for Future was a thing).

Apart from its, well, dark atmosphere, Darkest Dungeon is well-known for its very, very impressive Narrator (voiced by Wayne June, and certainly deserving the capitalization) - I highly recommend checking out the intro on Youtube. It also features a lot of very quotable one-liners. Personally, I was reminded that Overconfidence is a slow and incidious killer long before I learned about this game.

I will be playing with both the Crimson Court and Color of Madness DLCs, as well as the additional classes. There's another DLC on the way (Butcher's Circuit), although I'm not that interested in the PvP that it's going to introduce.

And with that, let's go into the game, or rather, another short cutscene. Here it is on Youtube.

Dang! You've piqued my interest. I'm not usually into horror-like genres, but this sounds cool!

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1 hour ago, Fernand said:

Nice! I'm impressed with the art.

I know right? The presentation of this game, visual and through the narration, is just amazing.

27 minutes ago, Benice said:

This is sounding an awful lot like Math Class to me, only less terrifying.

Calculate volume and surface area of every individual tentacle. No partial credit will be given if not all results are given correctly.

29 minutes ago, Benice said:

Dang! You've piqued my interest. I'm not usually into horror-like genres, but this sounds cool!

Same! "Cthulu-esk Gothic Horror" is usually completely outside of my areas of interest, but it just works in this game.

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I honestly kinda love this game, but also don't have the time or patience to ever truly finish it. Hope you have a good time!

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1 hour ago, Hong Nhi said:

I gotta search this game , look fastinating

It's available on a fair number of platforms including the Switch (which seems relevant on a Fire Emblem forum). No idea how good the ports are though, since I'm just playing the Steam version.

1 hour ago, epilepsyduck said:

I honestly kinda love this game, but also don't have the time or patience to ever truly finish it. Hope you have a good time!

It can be a little frustrating when the RNG hates you, that's for sure :lol:

  • Update 1: The Old Road
Spoiler

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Welcome to our first "Dungeon"!

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The Old Road is a very short tutorial-like dungeon, only consisting of two rooms (see the map in the bottom right) and no real pitfalls to fall into. We only start with two adventurers, Reynauld the Crusader and Dismas the Highwayman, while every future dungeon will allow four heroes to enter.

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To get from one room to the next, we have to move through "hallways", where we can encounter traps and "curios" - stuff that you can examine for a reward... unless you decide to lick the Pile of Bones and/or the RNG gods hate you. Which they usually do, of course.

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Dispatch this thug in brutal fashion, that all may hear of your arrival!

We also have random battles, of course. This first one is honestly trivially easy, so I'm just going to show off some of the combat animations (well, screenshots thereof). The gist of it: Dismas and Reynauld beat him with one attack each, but not before the Cutthoat gets one turn to use the "Slice and Dice" AoE attack.

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Continue the onslaught. Destroy. Them. All.

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Winning battles does give some loot - more than just 50 gold (which is about as staggering as 50 gold in a Fire Emblem game) if the opponent isn't just a single bandit.

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A bit later, we find one of those "curios": A simple Traveler's Tent. You have the option to either just poke at it, use an item on it, or just ignore it.
A lot of the time, interacting without the right item (which you have to figure out by trial and error... or the magic of the internet) is a terrible idea, but in this case...

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...we just find another 50 bucks and a Citrine, a minor gemstone worth 250 gold. Meh.

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Right before entering the second room, we get a glimpse at the torchlight mechanics - it goes down with every tile you move through a hallway, with breakpoints at 75%, 50%, 25%, and 0% light.
Going through a dungeon at lower light is dangerous, increasing the monster's crit and (if we go even lower) damage and accuracy, as well as the stress that your heroes take. However, it also increases the loot you find, which doesn't make any sense, but offers some kind of risk/reward calculations to the player.

Fun Fact: If you snuff your torch at the start of this dungeon, there's a small chance that the lonesome Cutthroat earlier gets replaced by crazy powerful superboss - the devs found that the increased loot was too valuable compared to the increase of difficulty, so they made that superboss roam all dungeons when you're at zero torchlight.

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An ambush! Send these vermin a message: the rightful owner has returned, and their kind is no longer welcome.

In the second room, we're greeted by another two bandits; a Bloodletter and a Fusilier. Despite the ancestor's comment, WE are surprising THEM, which means that our heroes will go first on the initial turn.
This is closer to what a normal fight looks like, so I'm going to go through my options here:

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See, positions matter in this game. Abilities (usually) cannot be used from any position and (usually) cannot target every position on the enemy's side. Dismas' first two abilities, Open Vein and Pistol Shot reflect that: stat-wise, the former is just better right now - more accurate, same damage and it causes the Bleed DOT (damage over time) effect. However, it can only target the first two ranks, both of which being occupied by the exceedingly fat Bloodletter.

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Because the Bloodletter has almost triple the Fuselier's HP (35 vs. 12), I think it's still better to take a shot at the latter. Dismas can deal 5-9 damage here, which means that he hopefully two-shots. It's something to keep in mind - "reach" is important in this game and because without it, a character is often stuck where they can't do anything useful immediately.

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Reynauld unfortunatly can't pile in on that - all of his attacks can only target the first two ranks (see? Bad reach is a problem of the Crusader class). Instead, he uses Stunning Blow on the Bloodletter which can, er, Stun the target, but only deals half damage. The Bloodletter has 50% Stun resistance...

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...so naturally, the Stun doesn't go through. Remember, kids, gambling is fun, as long as you're winning.

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The Fusilier uses Blanket Fire (weak AoE attack that can debuff your dodge) and the Bloodletter misses his Punishment (low base damage, but can cause Bleed).

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Their formation is broken - maintain the offensive!

Dismas rolls high and gets the kill, Reynauld fails to stun again, but the Bloodletter misses his Rain of Whips (AoE with even lower base damage, but can also cause Bleed).

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It's not too impactful in this short dungeon, but this here is a fine little combination. The Bleed inflicted by Open Vein (2 dmg per turn, for three turns, stackable with itself or any other source of Bleed) also gets a tick when the target is stunned, i.e. loses his action once, which means that Stun effectively doubles any DOT effects.

(note that the Fuselier's corpse is still lying there - this allows the enemies to keep their positions when one of them dies, so if you kill the Bloodletter first in this fight, Reynauld still cannot reach the Fuselier)

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To avoid Stun chains, enemies will get a temporary boost to their Stun Resist. If you still get through (which is quite possible - Stun base chances can go way above 100%), it'll go up by another 50% each time, too.

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As a good-bye present, the Bloodletter rolls a crit on his Point Blank Shot. The HP damage doesn't matter because the fight is about to end...

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(note that the Point Blank Shot forced Reynauld back one rank, btw)

...but being on the receiving end of a crit also causes stress for the target and (randomly) other party members, which does matter - unlike HP damage, stress doesn't go away between dungeons and you have to spend time and/or money to heal it.

This is probably a good point to explain how heroes die, because that shit can be really stressful and we've seen all the relevant pieces now:
Unlike monsters, a hero won't immediately bite the bullet when they're at zero HP. Instead, they get the "Death's Door" status, giving them some hefty penalties and every time they take damage (including DOT), they have to roll a Death Blow resist - almost all classes have a 67% chance of succeeding, although there's some trinkets that can raise or lower that. Once they heal even just a single HP, the Death's Door status fades (although a small debuff remains for the rest of the dungeon) and even a 10000000 damage move would only bring the hero back to Death's Door.

Stress also kills, except slower, maybe even more insidious. HP can go down REALLY fast (that crit dealt more than half of Reynauld's max HP), but HP healing will be relatively easy to come by, once we can field a full team. Stress accumulates over time - very slowly by walking through hallways, by enemy crits, by some enemy attacks, by walking into traps... - and there's not that many sources of reliable stress healing.

Upon reaching 100 stress, they will suffer an "Affliction" for the rest of the dungeon: Fearful, Paranoid, Selfish, Masochistic, Abusive, Hopeless, or Irrational. They will randomly skip turns, change their position, stress out their teammates, attack a teammate, refuse to be healed, lick curios etc.pp, putting some nasty RNG dependency on you.

There is a chance (25% at base) that a hero pulls through and gains a Virtue instead: Stalward, Courageous, Focused, Powerful, or Vigorous. All of those are 100% beneficial, but it's not exactly something you can count on happening...

Upon reaching 200 stress, they'll have a heart attack. Oof. Instant zero HP, and if they already were at Death's Door, they just die immediately. And you get a Steam achievement.

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ANYWAY back to the dungeon at hand: We did it!

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We find two Deeds, Holy Water and Medical Herbs - more on that later - and...

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...The Blood? Well this seems completely harmless and not foreboding whatsoever!

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We can now continue to the village, but wasn't there a treasure chest in the background?

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Ooooo, nice, it's the Bandit's Trapped Chest! Please open it, Dismass! (you can, and often should, choose who interacts with a curio)

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Oh no! The Bandit's Trapped Chest was trapped! Who woulda thunk?!

This is probably meant as a little hint that not all curios are safe - in this case, springing the trap causes a Blight (same mechanic as Bleed), which really doesn't matter at the end of the dungeon. There's a small chance that one of the Bandits drops a key to safely open it, though.

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And that's that! Every mission gives some reward - gold and (later) heirlooms and equippable trinkets. Add to that the money that you found in the dungeon, as well as the value of collected treasure and a little refund on supplies (here: 2x Food, Holy Water, Medical Herbs) that you didn't consume. Heirlooms and the completely harmless and not foreboding whatsoever Blood are stored for later use.

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Reynauld and Dismas gain some XP (it's a fixed amount for every mission), enough to get them from Resolve level 0 to lv.1 - which doesn't really do a whole lot right now (some increased resistances is all), but will come into play later.

Dismas also picks up the Demonomania quirk - more on that in the next update. For now, thank you for reading! Please like and subscri-- oh wait, wrong medium. Do comment, though! We will pick up some new characters (and by "some", I mean "lots"), so feel free to recommend some snappy renames. First up will be a Vestal (a battle nun, basically) and a Plague Doctor (beak and all). And since I peeked ahead a little bit: Next up will be two Occultists ("Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred style), one Leper (a noble warrior with a deadly affliction), and one Abomination (abonimable). Name away!

Once I have some options for teambuilding, I'm open for suggestions in that regard, too. Although, since, y'know, enforced Ironman, I reserve my right to veto here. ;):

 

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Hey, I like this game, but I haven't played it in a while. Maybe I'll pick it up again soon for old time's sake.
Fresh start might help.

Might look in on this from time to time, good luck on your run! Know how relentless the rng can be.

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2 hours ago, ping said:

Ooooo, nice, it's the Bandit's Trapped Chest! Please open it, Dismass! (you can, and often should, choose who interacts with a curio)

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Oh no! The Bandit's Trapped Chest was trapped! Who woulda thunk?!

This is probably meant as a little hint that not all curios are safe - in this case, springing the trap causes a Blight (same mechanic as Bleed), which really doesn't matter at the end of the dungeon. There's a small chance that one of the Bandits drops a key to safely open it, though.

AW MAN, HE GOT ME! I DIDN'T SEE IT COMING!

2 hours ago, ping said:

To avoid Stun chains, enemies will get a temporary boost to their Stun Resist. If you still get through (which is quite possible - Stun base chances can go way above 100%), it'll go up by another 50% each time, too.

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As a good-bye present, the Bloodletter rolls a crit on his Point Blank Shot. The HP damage doesn't matter because the fight is about to end...

This is going to be a long run for you, isn't it...

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17 hours ago, Caster said:

Might look in on this from time to time, good luck on your run! Know how relentless the rng can be.

FE Binding Blade: Hahaha, the player will never have more than 80 hit on this boss! It'll drive them crazy!
Darkest Dungeon: You are like little babby. Watch this!

Thanks! :): 

15 hours ago, Golb89 said:

Haha, I don't think our Vestal shows quite the same amount of leg and/or anime tiddie. She'll be renamed in Update 4!

14 hours ago, Benice said:

AW MAN, HE GOT ME! I DIDN'T SEE IT COMING!

GAEM SO MEEN! :(::(::(: 

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  • Update 2: Arrival
Spoiler

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

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Here's our base of operations - still battered and broken. Most buildings will only unlock after a few weeks (one week being the time one venture into a dungeon takes), so I'll just cover what we can do for now. There is, of course, a ton of Ancestor comments for all structures here.

Little inconsitency here - I accidentally overwrote this screen, so I did a quick run through the Old Road to get another one. In the main run, I called my Estate the Crescent Estate, just because I like the sound of it. I suspect Mekkah's newest tierlist video having Final Fantasy BGM might have put poor ol' Freya on my mind, too. *sad nostalgic noises*

Let's start with what will surely never come up again for the entire playthrough:

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Most will end up here, covered in the poisoned earth, awaiting merciful oblivion.

I'd be surprised if anyone expected otherwise, but death is permanent (outside a very rare event). Not Fire Emblem permanent, but permanent permanent. Darkest Dungeon enforces ironman play and its autosaves are done very frequently.

Notice that I almost got 2000 gold more in the non-canon Old Road run. RNGeesus pls!

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You can buy trinkets for your adventurers to equip from the nomads, although I don't really find it worth the gold. You get trinkets from your dungeon crawls, too, and money isn't particularly plentiful.

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And finally (for now), the Stage Coach, where you can recruit additional adventurers. Completely for free, too - no payment up front and no salary, either. Darkest Dungeon isn't particularly subtle about how the adventurers are replacable pawns to the heir and that you shouldn't grow too attached to them. Even if it's a max level Hellion with three positive quirks locked in and without any negative quirks. I'm totally not at all still salty about that, game. Not. At. All.

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Great heroes can be found even here, in the mud and rain.

The "heirlooms" (busts, portraits, deeds, and crests, next to the money - we'll come to those crystally thingies later) are used to upgrade your hamlet, with every structure requiring crests and usually one other type. For now, it's most important to get more heroes more quickly, so I upgrade the Network twice. Starting next week, we'll have four possible recruits per week.

For now, there's not a whole lot of variability for our four-man expedition group, so let's see what we got.

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Reynauld and Dismas always start with the same set of "Quirks", which can have good and bad effects of all kinds of severity. In Reynauld's case, Warrior of Light (+10% DMG if Torchlight > 75%) is absolutely fantastic, since we'll be able to bring torches to our future expeditions. God Fearing (related to a Hamlet mechanic that isn't unlocked yet) is slightly annoying but no biggie, but Kleptomaniac is. Whenever we find treasure in a dungeon while bringing Reynauld, there's a 35% chance that he'll just steal whatever is inside - and if it's booby-trapped, he'll spring that, too.

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Dismas starts out with a really good set of quirks - Hard Noggin (+15% stun resist), Quick Reflexes (+2 Spd), and Known Cheat (same Hamlet mechanic as God Fearing, but this one is almost 100% irrelevant - which makes it actually good to have because it can block a slot for negative quirks).
The Demonomania he aquired on the mission causes him to lick any "Unholy" curios (40% chance to trigger) - there's a couple of those curio categories ("Treasure" in the kleptomanic sense is one, as well), with some compulsive Quirks for all of them.

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It usually causes stress to change direction while in a hallway. Back Tracker prevents this. Largely useless.
Clutch Hitter give an extra 5% crit when below 50% HP. Situational.
Antsy increases stress by 20 every time Ide is idle in the village. REALLY bad.
Torn Rotator decreases melee damage by -5%. Not too bad on a PD, since only one of her skills counts as melee.

Mechanics spoiler, I guess, but we will be able to spend money to remove Quirks (or to lock in positive ones). Antsy will have to go if we want to keep Ide. Without that (and if she doesn't catch another Quirk) she's pretty much neutral on Quirks.

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Skilled Gambler is related to the aforementioned Hamlet mechanic. It hardly matters.
Nervous gives a flat +10 stress received. That's bad, especially since stress inducers seem to target the back ranks more often.

---------

I'm going to go through the four classes and how good I think they are - I'll try (and probably fail) to keep it reasonably brief.

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A mighty sword arm anchored by holy purpose - a zealous warrior!

Every class has a bit little comic showing a little of their past and hinting at why they would risk their lives in such a desolate place. Here's the Crusader's.

The Crusader is a frontline tank - he stands in Rank 1 or 2 and smacks the enemy's Rank 1 or 2 for some heavy damage. His HP is great, his speed is abysmal. What differentiates him from similar classes is his added versatibility - if he can't deal damage because the enemy's frontliner has high PROT or there's corpses in the way, there's a selection of support abilities that he can use.

Lv1: 33 HP | 5 DODGE  | 1 SPD | 3% CRIT | 6-12 DMG
Lv5: 61 HP | 25 DODGE | 3 SPD | 7% CRIT | 10-19 DMG

Resist%:
Stun    40 | Move   40 | Blight 40 | Bleed 30 |
Disease 30 | Debuff 30 | Death  67 | Trap  10 |

(general note: resistances, except Death Blow, go up by 10 per level-up. To increase the other stats, we'll also need to upgrade the hero's equipment for money, which is gated by character level, and will be unlocked in the hamlet soon.)

(also, every new hero starts with four abilities, but we'll be able to unlock more in the game. You can't have more than four abilities available in one battle, but it's possible to swap them around during a dungeon crawl.)

(Upgraded abilities usually have higher numbers in everything except the basic damage modifier. ACC, CRIT, status chance, DOT numbers, specific DMG increases...)

(All buffs and debuffs last for three turns, unless specified otherwise.)

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The Crusader's basic attack. Rank and Target are read "from the middle", so he has to stand in Rank 1 or 2 and can only target Rank 1 or 2 with this attack. This limited reach can be a bit of a problem, since enemies in the front often have high PROT (direct damage reduction).

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Hits both Rank 1 and 2 at the same time. It's usually better to focus one enemy down instead of severely injuring two, but this can be nice if if can finish off a low-HP enemy while putting some damage on another.

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All Stuns are very, very good. The reach is a bit of a problem once again, but 50% of the Crusader's high base damage is actually pretty good damage for a Stun move.

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Some enemies deal more damage to Marked heroes, in which case they will prefer targeting the Crusader. Which is kinda what you want, so that your squishy heroes don't die. 20% PROT is pretty amazing, although it does not work on Stress or DOT (damage over time) effects.
Can save some moneys on torches, if you use it regularly - not huge, but it's something you can do.

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There's plenty of better healing spells around, but it can be nice to have one of those AND the Crusader's Battle Heal available. Because of the Death's Door mechanics, even the weakest heal can save a hero from dying in a pinch.

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A frontliner dealing full damage to the backrow is actually really good, since that's where the enemy's squishies tend to be. But it also can't be used from the front ranks and moves the Crusader forward when used, so outside of some specific set-ups, this is mostly a move to fix positioning if the party order got shuffled somehow.

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Even weaker HP restoration (but, again, enough to save a hero at death's door), but more importantly, this is one of the few reliable Stress healing spells. Quite useful to have.

Note: Reynault started with Smite, Zealous Accusation, Stunning Blow, and Bulwark of Faith.

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Elusive, evasive, persistent - righteous traits for a rogue.

Check the Highwayman's origin here.

More specialized on dealing damage than the Crusader, despite his lower base damage. However, the HWM has a wide range of offensive skills (in fact, even his self-buff puts some damage on one enemy) with impressive reach and flexibility what rank to take himself - the only position he doesn't particularly like is the 4th one.

His stats alone aren't too impressive - middling HP, middling Spd, above-average base damage - but his skillset is where the HWM shines.

Lv1: 23 HP | 10 DODGE | 5 SPD | 5% CRIT | 5-10 DMG |
Lv5: 43 HP | 30 DODGE | 7 SPD | 9% CRIT | 9-16 DMG |

Resist%:
Stun    30 | Move   30 | Blight 30 | Bleed 30 |
Disease 30 | Debuff 30 | Death  67 | Trap  40 |

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The +15% damage increase means that the the HWM can deal about as much damage to the enemy frontline as the Crusader, even if he's sitting in the 3rd rank. Like the Crusader, this skill is balanced by its weak reach, so you'll still be seeing Dismas' weaker attacks quite often.

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Like this one, for example. Pistol Shot has a notably high crit chance (12.5%, going up to 20.5 at max level), which helps with its mediocre basic damage output.
So far, we have no hero that can put a mark on the enemy, but once we do, this skill can become a fair bit stronger in team comps that make use of that mechanic.

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Very strong, very inflexible. Rank requirement and movement effect make this look like a once-per-battle opening move, but unlike the Crusader, the HWM has another skill to move himself forward again and he's also more comfortable in Rank 1 than a Crusader in Rank 3. It still helps if you have another hero to "dance" with the HWM, so that he may use this skill every turn, and even then the abysmal reach can occasionally just shut this skill down completely.

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The HWM's AoE move. Slightly higher total damage multiplier (3x50%) compared to Zealous Accusation (2x60%), but a situational move for the same reasons - one dead monster is better than three injured ones. Accuracy kinda blows, as well.

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Great for longer fights (or if you can finish an enemy off despite the -80% damage). Stealth isn't too relevant in the earlygame, but we'll run into cloaked enemies later - they're not invisible to the player, but until it wears off, they can only be targeted by this type of moves and some AoE shenanigans.

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The other Dancing move of the HWM. Other than setting up another Point Blank Shot, or fixing some other hero's positioning, the Riposte status allows the HWM to counterattack (85% acc, +5% crit) every time he is targeted by an enemy, including AoE attacks. It actually becomes pretty strong at higher levels - up to 85% damage and +10% crit, although the acc stays the same (and enemy dodge goes up, of course).

jA4ETNw.png
If the enemy frontliner is resistent to direct damage, but not Bleed, this is your friend. The debuffs aren't this skill's main draw, but they can make things more reliable and/or allow an enemy to be outsped.

Note: Dismas starts with Open Veins, Pistol Shot, Grapeshot Blast, and Tracking Shot.

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A sister of battle - pious and unrelenting!

Check out the Vestal being horny here.

This game's dedicated healing class, as you'd expect from a priestess. That said, five of her seven skills deal damage to the enemy - not as much as a Dedicated Damage Dealer, obviously, but some of them (well, two of them, neither of which Hallé Specter starts with, unfortunately) have some neat side effects.

Her stats are fairly average overall. Low base damage, which is to expected on a healer, decent HP, but unfortunately low Dodge (0 -> 20 being as low as it goes).

Lv1: 24 HP |  0 DODGE | 4 SPD | 1% CRIT | 4-8  DMG |
Lv5: 44 HP | 20 DODGE | 6 SPD | 5% CRIT | 7-14 DMG |

Resist%:
Stun    30 | Move   30 | Blight 30 | Bleed 40 |
Disease 30 | Debuff 30 | Death  67 | Trap  10 |

kC30ECM.png
This looks identical to the Crusader's Smite and it would be, if it weren't for the Vestal's low base damage. Unfortunately, it also shares the front rank requirement - while it is possible to make a rank 2 Vestal work, it's not particularly great in my opinion. She loses one of her two healing spells in exchange of some middling damage potential, basically.

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One of my four go-to skills on a Vestal, although this is kinda the filler, nothing-else-to-do one. Still, perfect reach means that she finish any injured enemy with it and the self-heal means that if she's injured, she might as well get some damage out while healing herself.

OxCuEk4.png
It's a stun, so it's good. The actual damage on this is pretty insignificant - the Crusader does 50% of his higher base damage - but the Vestal has the reach to shut down at least one of the backline monsters for a turn.
The torchlight is an afterthought. I'm sure I could save some money by taking this into consideration when prepping for a dungeon, but I honestly don't take any less torches with me with or without the Vestal.

IVkWiwH.png
Her standard heal spell. Quite a bit stronger than the Crusader's Battle Heal (2-3 HP) and just a very solid heal all around. It not being usable from Rank 2 is the main reason why I don't think the Vestal is too strong in that position.

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This, I would say, makes the Vestal the indisputably best healer in the game. 1-3 HP is kinda unreliable, but it hits everybody and it goes up to a respectable 4-5 HP (compared to the 8-9 on Divine Grace), which means that this heals more total HP as long you have at least three injured heroes. You still want the spot heal if (when, really) the monsters focus one adventurer, but this spell is awesome when struggling with the attrition of longer dungeons.
And because even a 1 HP heal gets a hero off of Death's Door, this is a HUGE gamechanger if (when...) you have multiple heroes about to die.

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Very situational and honestly just useless before Stealth becomes a thing. -20 Dodge seems good on paper, but this move doesn't even have particularly good accuracy itself. Worst move in the Vestal's set, for sure.

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Essential if you want to make your DD Vestal work (not THAT kind of DD, ya nasties), although you still need to give her the right Trinkets to hold as well. Good move in a vacuum, but the Rank 2 requirement still kinda kills it for me.

YuXKdGx.jpg
What better laboratory than the blood-soaked battlefield?

Check out the young, rather... disturbing Doc here!

A support class which primarily focuses on Blight and Stuns, with two skills dedicated to each of those. She's really, really good at those and she isn't even restricted to them - all seven of her skills range somewhere between "good" and "excellent".

Her biggest weakness is her lower-than-average survivability. Right now, she's only 2 HP behind the Vestal, but that number goes up to 6 and the two share the lowest dodge values in the game. Her direct damage isn't great, either, but she can cause both Blight and (if not as effectively) Bleed, and I don't know if any monster in the game is immune to both DOT effects. And if there is one, she can proably stun it.

She's also one of the fastest classes in the game, which makes her statuses that much more potent.

Lv1: 22 HP |  0 DODGE | 7 SPD | 2% CRIT | 4-7  DMG |
Lv5: 38 HP | 20 DODGE | 9 SPD | 6% CRIT | 7-13 DMG |

Resist%:
Stun    20 | Move   20 | Blight 60 | Bleed 20 |
Disease 50 | Debuff 50 | Death  67 | Trap  20 |

Zr2pmv0.png
Strongest Blight ability in the game, very good against the (pretty common) frontliner with high prot. Pretty straightforward, really. The ACC debuff on the enemy is a little extra on top, not the raison d'être for this ability.

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Slightly weaker (one less damage per turn on every level), but it hits both back ranks. Generally speaking, DOT is more impactful on enemies that live the longest, i.e. not the backrow enemies, but this is still a really powerful skill.

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Double Stun. Fookin greht. When in doubt, open the fight with this.
The 3 uses per battle almost never comes up - like all AoE attacks, you can't change where to aim this, so you can't use it anyways as soon as the enemy backrows are cleared.

saf6hir.png
Unlike the Blight spells, this deals full direct damage, but that's still not THAT much. Similarly to the Mêlée Vestal, this ability is something you can lean into by equipping the right Trinkets, but I see it more as an ability to pick if you want the Double Stun in a dungeon with many Blight-resistant monsters.

Zaxd9wg.png
Stronger than it looks, if a little situational. Every heal can be equipped for emergency (again, 1 HP is enough to get off Death's Door), but the Blight/Bleed removal means that this may effectively heal more than just that one HP. There are healing items, but those can only used by the afflicted character, i.e. after at least one DOT tick. Also we're not made of money around here, goddamit.

lWPkv4X.png
Not too shabby in a longer fight. The Spd boost can help cementing the turn order if you're running a precise set-up, or just allow the buffed hero to kill a monster before its turn.

YbQ8Z65.png
Stun. Good. It's a bit unfortunate though that neither of the PD's Stuns can hit the first rank.
Shuffle means that the target is put in a random spot - can be nice, but it's RNG. Clearing corpses is actually very useful if you have a strong, but short-reached hero on the team.


So, TL;DR: The intial quartett is pretty legit. Could have been even better if Hallé hadn't gotten the two bad non-healing skills, but still. There's very few bad classes (if any) in this game, but all these are very good even by those standards.

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Now then, time to get to work! Ruins, Cove, Weald, and Warrens are the four "standard" dungeons where most of our missions take place. Courtyard and Farmstead are part of the two DLCs. The Darkest Dungeon is the final mission, which we could technically visit right now. We would die. Horribly. Inevitably.

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See? Dismas agrees. So for now, only the Ruins are available.

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Some team comps have these little descriptions, although I don't think they have any effect. I'm sure they're all listed somewhere, but I'd rather keep finding them randomly. Swapping PD and Vestal changes the name to "The Usual Suspects" (probably referencing that this is always your initial four dude(tte)s); if you also put the HWM in front of the Crusader, it's called "Good Cop Bad Cop" (fitting for the two healer-y classes of different moral standards, but since there's a literal copper in the game, I'm not sure if the Crusader fits this name too well).

S5h49Lw.jpg
The cost of preparedness - measured now in gold, later in blood.

We don't go into the dungeons naked, of course. We need supplies, to eat, to heal status effects, or to cleanse Curios that aren't safe to lick. Some of the classes bring a free item into the dungeon (I wouldn't have brought an Antitoxin to the ruins otherwise), but mostly, you'll have to pay up (and not spend all your money in the hamlet).

Inventory space is limited to the 16 slots you can see, although you can stack multiples up to a certain number (12 food or 8 torches, for example) into one slot. For this expedition, I bring...

  • Two Holy Waters - can be used to increase status resistances for a short while, but also cleanses a couple Ruin Curios.
  • Antitoxin - heals Blight. I don't think it's really needed in the Ruins, but the Plague Doc always brings one.
  • Food - you eat this. When you're hungry. Which can happen randomly and you do NOT want to be out of food then. 8 food is enough to feed everyone twice.
  • Torches - you light these. Unless you're brave and do a darkness run, or try to use the Vestal and Crusader's skills for light.
  • Shovels - To dig through obstacles and also a few curios.
  • Skeleton Keys - to safely open treasure chests and related curios.
  • Medical Herbs - to remove debuffs. I believe one or two Ruins Curios require them, as well.

This is what I consider "fairly safe" for a short Ruins mission - we will probably have to drop (or return with and restell for a pittance) a few provisions, but it's unlikely (but not impossible) that we'll suffer from a lack of supplies.

Alright, that'll do for now - I've got the coming dungeon cleared and things are mostly typed up. I'll finish that in a separate post, though, if only to avoid testing if tehre's an image per post limit on Serenesforest.

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Hey, a game I'm quite familiar with.

You're still taking names? I call dibs on the leper, since Gawain was my best damage dealer back when I didn't know deep the rabbit hole goes. 

BTW, you're doing this on Darkest difficulty I assume?

Edited by ronlyn

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15 minutes ago, ping said:

 

S5h49Lw.jpg

This man looks VERY trustworthy.

16 minutes ago, ping said:

Check out the Vestal being horny here.

That moment when you think that your characters are all greedy but one of them is a horny waifu.

17 minutes ago, ping said:

 

RiPPVwL.jpg

You know, I finally realized what this reminded me of-This is like Warren the 13th, only depressing and dark rather than funny and somewhat lighthearted. Hmm...I should really read those books again.

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1 hour ago, ronlyn said:

You're still taking names? I call dibs on the leper, since Gawain was my best damage dealer back when I didn't know deep the rabbit hole goes. 

BTW, you're doing this on Darkest difficulty I assume?

Yup. That's stressful enough for me, honestly, especially with Crimson Court active (which singlehandedly caused most of my previous run's deaths). I only played through the game once, so if I'm sounding like an expert, it's because I'm looking things up for the LP. ;): 

[for those unfamiliar: Darkest is the default difficulty setting, with Radiant as the easy mode and Stygian (or, if Crimson Court is active, Bloodmoon) as difficult]

Name requests are always open! We can expect a fair bit of duplicates, too, so everyone feel free to make suggestions for classes already taken.

1 hour ago, Benice said:

That moment when you think that your characters are all greedy but one of them is a horny waifu.

You know, I finally realized what this reminded me of-This is like Warren the 13th, only depressing and dark rather than funny and somewhat lighthearted. Hmm...I should really read those books again.

uwu

I'm not familiar with those books, unfortunately.
The whole setting is very directly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's horror stories (you know, Cthulu, the Old Gods, unspoken horrors lurking just out of view, a general spirit of hopelessness) - which I'm also not really familiar with, outside of cultural osmosis. But almost everyone has seen some kind of squidface (Cthulu himself, or the DnD Mindflayers) or heard the name "Necronomicon" somewhere. It's very possible that the Warren the 13ths book have taken inspiration from Lovecraft, as well - many creators have.

jjXrveR.jpg

  • Update 3: Searching the Ruins
Spoiler

j3cwLUr.jpg
Here we go! ...and I recognize the shape of the map, I think. It's the same as in a quick test run I did before, so I suspect that this first "real" mission is still predetermined.

"90% of rooms" means "all but one room" in small dungeons and I wish the game would just say so instead of leaving us guessing what way we're supposed to round.

ig5uyB2.jpg
First Curio is just a torch holder yielding a torch - yup, same dungeon alright.

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Same warm-up fight, too! The Bone Rabble is one of the weakest monsters to face - low HP, low Speed, low everything. These two are surprised, too, to make things even easier.

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Ide stuns one of them. Dismas has no chance to one-shot them (outside a crit), so he uses Grapeshot Blast to ensure that Reynauld wi--

Dl7m4Tb.jpg
Or not, I guess. I THINK the game only rolls to hit once on AoE attacks, because those usually hit all or none of their targets, only rarely some. And when that does happen, I suspect that it's because the targets have different dodge values.

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Keep tring, Hallé. Or Specter, as you'll soon be known as. (Illumination skill)

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The Narrator is commenting on Specter filling the Torch meter up to 100 with that Illumination. He's very talkative, and it's awesome.

Reynald has a small chance to kill both Rabbles with his Zealous Accusation AoE attack, but since of them is stunned, there's no reason to take the risk. He just Smites the first one...

Dmxs5DH.jpg
...and then the second one.

J5aSHHj.jpgCqgOQnj.jpg
This expedition, at least, promises success.

We get 500 gold from the fight and can open the Unlocked Strongbox now. It's a bit annoying - there's a 25% chance that the box is trapped (same kind as the one in the Old Road, causing Blight), and because it's already open, we can't use an item to disable the trap. We're lucky this time, though, collecting a couple Heirlooms.

2avEFei.jpg
Right behind the first room, we run into an obstacle - nothing fancy about those. If you don't have a shovel, you have to hope that there's another path without any Rubble or, failing that, dig through it by hand and suffer some heavy stress and (iirc) HP damage.

Ohhh, speaking of stress - notice that Ide and Specter started with 20 stress. That's because new recruits are Lv.0, this mission is considered Lv.1 (all missions are Lv. 1, 3, 5, or 6) and if a hero's level is lower than the dungeon's, they start with 20 stress and gain a little more, as well. Every rookie has to go through a little baptism of fire.

kFQl76I.jpg
Next fight, right in front of the next room!
The Bone Soldier with the sword just a better-in-every-way Rabble, but still not a threat on his own. Most notably, it has 15% PROT (i.e. takes less direct damage), but its HP is still fairly low at 10.
The Cultist Acolyte in the back however is a bitch. She likes to deal a fair bit of stress damage...

srKntMv.jpg
...and while she's not too tanky, she's still out of Dismas' one-shot range.

UylEt35.jpg

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Luckily, she only uses Eldritch Pull, which forces Ide two ranks forward - annoying because it prevents her from using some of her skills, but no immediate danger in this still fairly small skirmish. Later, these "Shuffle" moves can really throw a wrench in your gears.

riE2NiS.jpg
The flesh is knit!

Rest of the fight is fairly unremarkable, so I'll just show off Specter's multiheal and the fact that heals can crit as well, restoring more HP and healing some stress (-4 in this case) on top of that.

IjXs8op.jpg

Fp0DKUu.jpg
Executed with Impunity.

That's a Jade gemstone (375 gold, iirc), some raw money, and some Busts to improve the Hamlet with.

Dw3hNjp.jpg
The next room is empty, but I roll a scout - the chance for that is 40% every time you enter a new room for the first time. Lower if you're not above 75 torchlight, higher with some specific Trinkets, Quirks, or abilities.

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In this case, we discover a treasure room to the north and a Curio room to the east, both protected by monsters. The blue symbols in the hallways also indicate (unprotected) Curios.

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If only treasure could staunch the flow of otherworldy corruption.

First, we go right. The curio is just some old sacks, which are safe to just open. We find some Holy Water and a trinket for a character class we don't have in our roster just yet.

I'm actually a bit lucky throughout the whole dungeon with Reynauld - his Kleptomaniac Quirk never triggers.

P4LoKJE.jpg
The curio room is guarded by two Bone Soldiers and one Bone Arbalest. All of them can deal some decent HP damage, but outside a crit, it's no big threat.

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Bang! (Grapeshot Blast)

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Fshssssssss! (Plague Granade, causing 4 Blight damage per turn)

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As the fiend falls, a faint hope blossoms.

BANG! Aside from the extra damage, crits also don't leave a corpse, give some stress heal, and give the character some class-specific buff - in case of the HWM, +2 Spd for the next turn.

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Emeralds are worth 750g apiece, Portraits are one of the Heirlooms.

0O1tHLC.jpg
The Holy Fountain is one of those rare curios that only have positive outcomes even when you lick them. But if you use Holy Water on it, they heal Stress, status effects, and HP.

5k79Lbf.jpg
It's a bit cheesy, but I KNOW that there's a trap in the path to the north and since we didn't get another scout, we'd run right into it. So I just loop back around - there's a Curio to check out that way, anyways.

uXLhEEN.jpg
It's more treasure! (Backpacks are just as safe as sacks to just open. Worst case, they're empty)

C5EGUDw.jpg
A new enemy type guarding the treasure - the Cultist Brawler does exactly what the name would suggest, although his main attack also carries a weak Bleed (1 dmg, 3 turns) and debuff (+10% stress for 3 turns). If he wasn't already at the front, he'd also move forward with every attack he does.

3J0sWc7.jpg

0JxENdf.jpg
I do a bit of a combo here - Stun and a Bleed to get two ticks before the Acolyte can act. It... doesn't really amount to anything though, because I still prioritize killing her before she can deal any stress.

5XF5xrn.jpg
YOU FORGOT TO BUY EGGS! (Zealous Accusation)
(Brawler: 0 dodge. Acolyte: 12.5 dodge. My theory stands)

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Rend for the Old Gods.

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YOU HAVE BEEN A VERY NAUGHTY CORPSE!
This actually makes sense - choosing the weaker AoE attack, that is - because it removes the Corpse, which brings the Bone Soldier into the Crusader's range for his next turn.

GAJOFoZ.jpg
Treasure is aquired. Heirloom Chests can be trapped as well if you open them without a key. With it, they're safe and I believe you get a little more treasure, as well. In this case, some more money, gemstones, and heirlooms.

yDSPo1Q.jpg
Cruel machinations spring to life with a singular purpose!

I again get no scout, so there's no way to avoid this trap other than walking right into the other one. It deals 6 HP damage and 21!!! stress. That's the Nervous Quirk and the underleveled penalty for ya.

gtYXE2l.jpg
Next room is empty, no scout gotten, but there's another backpack on the way to the penultimate room, with a lot of food, 50g and some heirlooms. Since my inventory is full and there's no way there'll be more than three hunger events in just two hallways, I make use of the food's secondary effect: a weak healing item and you can only munch up to four rations between two battles, but it's the only reliable source of healing outside of combat.

fuSYMlE.jpg
Speaking of the hunger event, here's the hunger event! Omnomnom!

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Reaching the next room fulfills the quest, but since we're at full HP and reasonable stress levels, surely there no harm in fully exploring it, right? A successful scout reveals the last room contains a treasure chest, after all. (The blue symbol indicates an obstacle, so I would've left the dungeon if I didn't have another shovel)

9y8iKFS.jpg
The treasure is guarded (which it always is, so I know this was coming), by a full group of monsters no less. The new types are the Bone Defender in the front and the Bone Courtier in rank 3.

EGb0SCm.jpg
The Courtier, just like the Acolyte, is a BITCH. The Tempting Goblet deals another 21!!! Stress to Specter in addition to the HP damage.

t2qKP04.jpg
The Defender is, of course, a tank with reasonable hitpoints and 25% PROT (direct damage reduction). His Axeblade is a basic damage move...

xie5KMf.jpg
...but Dead Weight carries both a Stun and can knock the target back one rank.

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This is about as much value as you can get out of the Illuminate skill. It's actually a killing blow - Ide hit the Courtier with a Blight and it'll tick at the start of its turn, before it can pour more wine over poor Specter.

8FxPSum.jpg
And that's it! The chest just contains a couple more heirlooms.

iYDLnqE.jpg
Whooo!
Leftover supplies are sold back, but only for a fraction of their value, so it's still important not to overstock. The third reward is a Stun Charm - a fairly unimpressive trinket (+20 Stun Resist, -2 Dodge) that any character can equip. Or you can just sell it because it really isn't that powerful.

hmaYVNs.jpg
Only Reynauld picks up any new Quirks. Camping is something that happens in larger dungeons, which makes Stout a little useful, very occasionally. Meh. Germophobe gives -10 ACC against Blighted enemies - not good when Ide is on the team.

s4OULWB.jpg
And that's it! I'll cover the new Hamlet stuff in the next update, but have a little peek at the new recruits' faces (and the caretaker's lovely smile). Thank you for reading and for the kind comments!

For future dungeons, I'm certainly not going to uphold this level of detail, or we would be sitting here for 372 updates. But I'll be showing off any new heroes, enemies and moves, while giving fairly brief overviews about fights, stand-out treasure, and curios, so it'll still be a fair number of pictures per dungeon, I reckon.

 

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6 minutes ago, ping said:

m not familiar with those books, unfortunately.
The whole setting is very directly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's horror stories (you know, Cthulu, the Old Gods, unspoken horrors lurking just out of view, a general spirit of hopelessness) - which I'm also not really familiar with, outside of cultural osmosis. But almost everyone has seen some kind of squidface (Cthulu himself, or the DnD Mindflayers) or heard the name "Necronomicon" somewhere. It's very possible that the Warren the 13ths book have taken inspiration from Lovecraft, as well - many creators have.

Perhaps it did; Warren the 13th is a kids-young teen book with an artstyle similar to this, but much cutsey-er, if that makes sense. (In other words, it's very dark, but whimsical at the same time) The premise of the first book is essentially that the family hotel, founded by Warren the 1st, has fallen into disrepair because of the uncle's wife, (I think.) who is really greedy and mistreats the main protagonist, Warren the 13th. There's witches and fighting and stuff, but it's all generally quite light-hearted.

10 minutes ago, ping said:

.

5XF5xrn.jpg
YOU FORGOT TO BUY EGGS! (Zealous Accusation)

PFFT!

Dang, Reynauld's really good.

10 minutes ago, ping said:

Leftover supplies are sold back, but only for a fraction of their value, so it's still important not to overstock. The third reward is a Stun Charm - a fairly unimpressive trinket (+20 Stun Resist, -2 Dodge) that any character can equip. Or you can just sell it because it really isn't that powerful.

hmaYVNs.jpg
Only Reynauld picks up any new Quirks. Camping is something that happens in larger dungeons, which makes Stout a little useful, very occasionally. Meh. Germophobe gives -10 ACC against Blighted enemies - not good when Ide is on the team.

Are the quirks randomized for the intro dungeon, or is it a fixed reward to demonstrate how the rewards work?

11 minutes ago, ping said:

21!!! stress

Dang! This game does not look easy if that's how fast certain people accumulate stress.

C'mon, waifu! Ease up a little!

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49 minutes ago, Benice said:

Are the quirks randomized for the intro dungeon, or is it a fixed reward to demonstrate how the rewards work?

Randomized, even already for the little Old Road tutorial. Dismas didn't pick up Demonomania in that little run I did because of the lost footage.
It can really make or break a character if they keep getting severe negative Quirks. You can get rid of them once the relevant Hamlet building is unlocked, but it costs money and at some point you might have to wonder if it's still worth it.

56 minutes ago, Benice said:

PFFT!

Dang, Reynauld's really good.

I think everybody who ever played the game agrees that Zealous Accusation is the funniest skill in the game.

He's at a bit of an advantage because his Smite deals bonus damage against all the undead monsters in the ruins, but Crusader is legit one of the best classes in the game even without that perk.

Actually, come to think about it, he might be dealing so many killing blows because of his low speed. He and Dismas two-shot a lot of enemies in this dungeon, while Ide and Specter don't deal that much direct damage. Still doesn't change that Crusader is really strong, though. ;): 

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I really made that Vestal/P7/Specter suggestion mostly as a joke: after looking at her appearance AND "story" (actually i'm still not sure how that brought her here, but that's probably for the best) i'd like to rename her into "Saiga" "Saria" instead.

And now that i know the PD is a girl too i think i'd like to name her "Silence".

I'll leave the dudes' name for the others to pick.

(Speaking of, why is one of the occultists named Lucy?)

And those background stories remind me a lot of Drakengard/Nier's weapons'.

Also:

7 hours ago, Benice said:

This man looks VERY trustworthy.

https://www.awkwardzombie.com/comic/nort-of-appeals

 

5 hours ago, ping said:

Name requests are always open! We can expect a fair bit of duplicates, too, so everyone feel free to make suggestions for classes already taken.

Guess Saiga Saria can be our Vestal #2 then (but then Silence will feel lonely until then. Maybe)
 

5 hours ago, ping said:

YOU FORGOT TO BUY EGGS! (Zealous Accusation)

Imagine once he picks up the "Nagging dormmate" quirk...

(Actually, i find it pretty stupid that characters pick up quirks just like that instead of already coming with their own full set, possibly one that's balanced between positive and negatives while still keeping the randomized flavor)

 

5 hours ago, ping said:

I again get no scout, so there's no way to avoid this trap other than walking right into the other one. It deals 6 HP damage and 21!!! stress. That's the Nervous Quirk and the underleveled penalty for ya.

5 hours ago, ping said:

The Tempting Goblet deals another 21!!! Stress to Specter in addition to the HP damage.

At this rate she's really gonna earn her new/current (from Update 4) name...

 

Edited by Golb89

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Ooh! Ooh! I vote we name the crusader Sigurd!

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[Addendum of the addendum]

(You'd better get used to these)

10 hours ago, Benice said:

This man looks VERY trustworthy.

Take 2:

517bd519562766f366b67f1b54aba45262ac7d0d

3e4.gif

Edited by Golb89

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2 hours ago, Golb89 said:

[Addendum]

 

2 minutes ago, Golb89 said:

[Addendum of the addendum]

Imma start counting these.

That's two so far.

9 minutes ago, Golb89 said:

Take 2:

H4Pnh0k.jpg

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6 hours ago, Golb89 said:

(Actually, i find it pretty stupid that characters pick up quirks just like that instead of already coming with their own full set, possibly one that's balanced between positive and negatives while still keeping the randomized flavor)

Exploring dark dungeons in which spoopy skellingtons pour wine over you is stressful - something's bound to stay with the adventurers!

In gameplay terms, Darkest Dungeon does not want you to become too comfortable and this mechanic is part of it. It's pretty much "make the best out of a bad situation: The Game". You were planning to pay the first Ruins boss a visit? Well too bad, Reynauld Sigurd is afraid of skeletons now. Hope you have a back-up plan.

I like that in general, despite the occasional frustration with the game (still totally not salty and completely over my amazingly good Hellion dying), because it makes every success feel really good.

(Names are noted)

6 hours ago, Benice said:

Ooh! Ooh! I vote we name the crusader Sigurd!

Noted! Apropos of nothing, there's a scary boss with a fiery theme in the game.

2 hours ago, eclipse said:

I have the Switch version, and the control scheme annoys me greatly.

Mouse+keyboard works fine, mostly - you move with A/S, poke at curios and open doors with W, cycle through heroes with Q/E, use a torch with T, choose skills with 1-4, and click / mouse over everything else, so it's all comfortably done with two hands. But I'm not terribly surprised if it doesn't translate super well to a console.

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  • Update 4 - Searching the Ruins - Electric Boogaloo
Spoiler

As we return to the hamlet, we get a short log about what happened during our foray into the ruins (and some spoilers that we will fight against Necromancers and Prophets).
There's nothing worth noting when I scroll down the Activity Log on the left (I remember that I went to the Ruins, tyvm), but we get a message that the stress-healing facilities are now open.

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Abbey and Tavern are functionally the same (great out-of-context quote right here). They allow three activities each with different effect and price (both increasing from top to bottom), which all can be individually upgraded with heirlooms to unlock more slots and make them stronger and cheaper. Every week, the Caretaker will be enjoying one random activity, blocking (one of) its slot(s).

Important takeaway #1: Flogging yourself has approximately the same effect as a visit in the brothel.
Important takeaway #2: The Vestal, who in some of her little quips talks about the chastitiy belt she is wearing, can find stress relief in the brothel. How does your precious science explain this, ATHEISTS?

A lot of Quirks lock a character in or out of one of these activities: Reynauld is God Fearing, so he'll only pray in the Transept to reduce stress. Dismas is a Known Cheat, so he's not allowed in the Gambling Hall.

Every activity has a 37.5% chance of an additional effect, more often than not a negative one. The Abbey seems to be less volatile overall. I think Specter's "Skilled Gambler", alongside with its negative counterpart, is the only Quirk that plays a role in these side effect: It makes her more likely to win money or even trinkets if she gambles.

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Most of the time, I'll be using the Abbey for stress relief, but let's try to get some value out of Specter's talent at gambling. It costs 1250g to send her in and she's unavailable for the next dungeon.

Let's have a look at our new recruits:

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Lucy the Occultist is Gifted (+20% Healing received) and has Deviant Tastes that nobody in the Brothel is willing to satisfy.

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Balanced - +15% Move resist. Doesn't come up too often, but the Leper does mind being shuffled.
Ruins Explorer - +10% chance to get a Scout in the ruins. Every turn, that is, so this IS quite nice when going into the Ruins.
Known Cheat - like Dismas, not allowed to gamble. Doesn't matter at all, so it's nice of this Quirk to block a slot.
Lazy Eye - -5% accuracy reduction on Ranged skills, of which the Leper has a grand total of zero.

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Unerring - +10% Ranged damage. The Occultist doesn't have the greatest base damage, but most of his skills count as ranged.
Automatonophobia - +20% Stress vs. human enemies. There's a whole bunch of these -phobia Quirks and this is one of the worse ones to have. Brigands can appear in every dungeon.

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Cove Scrounger - +5% Scouting chance in the Cove, which is another base dungeon. The Abomination does well in the cove, so this is a good fit for him.
Hard Noggin - +15% Stun resist. I don't think this comes up too often, but this is nice when it does.
Fear of Unholy - +15% Stress and -10 Acc vs. Unholy. Abom is usually very good in the Ruins, too, so this does suck.

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Word is traveling. Ambition is stirring in distant cities. We can use this.

I also go ahead and upgrade the Hero Barracks to increase our potential roster size from 10 to 13. We're sitting at 8 adventurers right now, so we'll (hopefully) need this next week.

Next, a *ahem* brief look at the three new classes:

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This man understands that adversity and existence are one and the same.

See the Lepers departure from his castle here. The Leper takes inspiration from Baudouin le Lépreux, King of Jerusalem in the 12th century, who fell ill with leprosy as a child and died of it at the age of only 24.

Spoiler

Speaking of, as a little aside, Reynauld has a similar inspiration in Reynald de Châtillon, who was actually granted a holding by Baudouin. He appears to have been an all-around unpleasant person - for example, he repeatedly attacked Muslim caravans despite truces being in place, until he was captured and personally executed by Saladin. Reynauld's Kleptomanic trait might be a reference to Reynald being rather ruthless about aquiring funds.

And finally, Dismas is named after the "Penitent Thief" who was crucified alongside Jesus and recognized him as the Messaiah.

Now, back to the Leper! He's a strong, independent king who don't need no support. That's kind of his thing - he stands at the front, punches things VERY hard (highest base damage in the game, by a fair margin), can take punishment for days (highest HP as well, although the Crusader is almost his equal and has +5 Dodge), can buff himself, and has a very strong self-heal. No support needed, he just does his thing.

All that sounds awesome and it is, but the Leper also has his issues. Most of all, he's rather inflexible - if there's a 50% PROT tank occupying the first two ranks, the Leper suddenly becomes rather mediocre. He can work around it with one of his skills, but then he loses his self-buff or -heal skill. If he gets shuffled to the 3rd or 4th rank, he's actually just useless for a turn or two, until he can move back to the front. He also struggles with his accuracy, which is 10 points lower than the Crusader's when comparing their basic damaging skills. Finally, while most of his Resist% are quite good, he's very vulnerable to Bleeds, which unfortunately every monster and their mother seem to carry.

Lv1: 35 HP | 0 DODGE  | 2 SPD | 1% CRIT | 8-16 DMG
Lv5: 63 HP | 20 DODGE | 4 SPD | 5% CRIT | 13-26 DMG

Resist%:
Stun    60 | Move   60 | Blight 40 | Bleed 10 |
Disease 20 | Debuff 40 | Death  67 | Trap  10 |

Movement: 1 forwards, 0 backwards

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Standard Attack, not much else to say.

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Very similar to the Zealous Accusation - worse damage multiplier, but that's counteracted by the Leper's higher base damage. Once again, focussed damage is generally better, but it's sometimes possible to finish one monster and damage another with an AoE move.

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The best fix for the Leper's bad reach - just knock those PROT tanks out of the way. This strat is a little slow though - one turn to set up, one turn to CHOP!! - especially since the Leper's Spd is pretty bad, too, so it's better if someone else can pull some squishy away from the backrow.

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When that base damage isn't high enough already. This is honestly pretty good despite the hefty penalty to his defense.

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A defensive self-buff. Not too shabby, either, especially with the added status resists, although I think I usually put Revenge in the Leper's skillset for maximum damage output and there's just not enough room for Withstand.

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Really big self-heal AND some stress reduction on top of that. The only downside is that you're not killing an enemy when using this.

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Kind of the Leper's way of saying, "See? I AM useful even when there's nothing to chop". It's a decent debuff and the de-stealth will be potentially useful at some point, but the self-Mark without a Prot bonus is a bit iffy. Not a terrible skill, but it also suffers from the restriction to four move at a time.

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To fight the abyss, one must know it.

See the Occultist light a candle in a very roundabout way here.

Another healing class, although he lacks the Vestal's multiheal and consistency. However, the Occultist has a wide array of interesting support abilities, as well, helping the rest of the team to deal more damage. I think I may have slept on the Occultist a little in my first run, because the Vestal's healing is just so much more reliable and I've been burnt before (literally and figuratively).

The Occultist is one of the most frail classes in the game, although is increased Dodge helps a little. His own damage output is honestly terrible, with very low base damage and no DOTs (none for the enemy, anyway). He does have very high critrates, though. His Spd is quite good as well (two points behind the most speedy class), which is nice - you want those debuffs applied before the regular attackers do their thing.

Lv1: 19 HP | 10 DODGE | 6 SPD | 6%  CRIT | 4-7  DMG |
Lv5: 35 HP | 30 DODGE | 8 SPD | 10% CRIT | 7-13 DMG |

Resist%:
Stun    20 | Move   20 | Blight 30 | Bleed 40 |
Disease 40 | Debuff 60 | Death  67 | Trap  10 |

Movement: 2 forwards, 2 backwards

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Hampered by the Occultist's low base damage, of course, but the good reach and increased crit still make this a worthwhile skill.

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I think I've said my piece about multi-target attacks.

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Decent, although situational because Prot cannot go below zero. Might actually have some synergy with the Leper, now that I think about it.

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This DEFINITELY doesn't have any synergy with the Leper and his abysmal Bleed resist, though. This skill may save your bacon and bring an adventurer from Death's Door to full HP with a crit-heal... or it might roll a zero and also bleed him.
You can boost your healing with items, but those are percentage-based, not flat +x, so it's impossible to fully rule out a dud. I do think it gets less likely, at least, simply because there's more possible numbers that can be rolled that aren't zero.

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Member the bonus damage against marked enemies on the HWM's pistol shot? Here's our first option to cause that status on the enemy. We still lack classes that really make heavy use of it, but once we do, Mark teams can be pretty fun.

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Stun. Good. Although in this case, the rank requirement makes this a situational skill - a Occultist in 2nd rank is flirting with death.

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Another Leper enabler, huh? The corpse clearing is one of those useful things that look rather mundane, but it's often good to force enemies into the front ranks.

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Tortured and reclusive... This man is more dangerous than he seems...

Poor devil. I mean, everyone here is a poor devil of some sorts, but damn...

The Abomination is a unique class in that he has two forms that he can shift between at will - a human form that can cause Stun, Blight, and restore himself and a beast form, completely focussed on dealing damage. Unleashing the beast will cause some stress to the entire party and remaining in it will stress the Abom himself, so it's not spammable in every minor fight.

Both forms have access to three moves, plus the "transform" ability, which adds up to the usual seven skills every class has. The Abom starts with every skill unlocked, so there's no risk that one of the forms will be non-functional.

Statwise, he's really good all around. Decent HP, fairly high dodge, tied for 2nd-highest Spd, around the same base damage as the Crusader (i.e. very good), fairly good status resists.

The Abom wants to be be in 2nd rank to cover all his bases - as a human, he needs to be in 2nd or 3rd; as a beast in 1st or 2nd. There's some wiggle room because one of his beast skills move him forward, but either way, it's something that the team has to accomodate for.

Speaking of the team: It used to be that religious adventurers such as the Leper, Vestal, or Crusader would refuse to be on a team with the Abomination, but that restriction has been removed in a later patch.

Lv1: 26 HP | 7.5 DODGE  | 7 SPD | 2% CRIT | 6-11  DMG |
Lv5: 46 HP | 27.5 DODGE | 9 SPD | 6% CRIT | 11-20 DMG |

Resist%:
Stun    40 | Move   40 | Blight 60 | Bleed 30 |
Disease 20 | Debuff 20 | Death  67 | Trap  10 |

Movement: 1 forwards, 2 backwards

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You can only switch into beast mode and back once per battle, so you don't have permanent access to all six of the Abom's skills. Very importantly, transforming does NOT consume your action.

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[Human] Stun. Good. Very good combination of reach and HP damage for a Stun attack, too.

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[Human] The damage isn't as good as the Plague Doc's Double Blight skill, although hitting 2nd and 3rd rank might counterbalance this a little by remaining a Double Blight for longer once the enemies fall.

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[Human] More focussed on stress relief than HP healing, compared to the Leper's Solemnity. Which is good, given that stress heals are less common.

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[Beast] The crescendo effect is interesting. If you use Rake every turn, the DMG boost can stack with itself up to three times, before the first boost runs out. Quite good, as far as AoE attacks go, especially on higher levels - the damage boost increases to 25% at max level.

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[Beast] Your standard attack, when the fight isn't long enough to make Rake spam worthwhile.

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[Beast] The position fixer, although knocking back the enemy tank is a nice ability to have, too.

 

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For our second dungeon, we can choose between four missions into the Ruins. We can also venture into the Farmstead from the "Colour of Madness" DLC, but I think I'd rather get a few Lv.1 and/or 2 adventurers before trying.

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To choose between missions to take, I always check what trinkets they reward for completion. In this case, they're honestly all quite nice for this point in the game. Gawain would really appreciate the Warrior's Cap; the Talon is just a nice little bonus with no downside once we grab a Bounty Hunter; 15 Dodge is excellent and well worth the lower Stun resist from the Camouflage Cloak; and the Blighting Satchel would make a Grave Robber's Blight skills quite a bit more reliable.

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In the end, I go for the Cloak, which means going on a Medium-length misson - same powerlevel on the enemies, but a longer breath required.

As for the team: Gawain replaces Sigurd who isn't allowed on any missions until we can do something about his Kleptomania. Gawain's Quirk that increases Scouting chance will be nice, as well.
Dismas and Silence come with because I don't want to start a Medium dungeon with 20 stress on every hero, because Silence gets stressed if she doesn't have anything to do, and Lucy because I need some basic healing ability.

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To make up for the greater length, we are allowed to set up camp once in medium dungeons (twice in long missions, once they show up). Of course, bringing more provisions is also necessary, which can clog up the inventory a little. In particular, I'm bringing 20 rations, 12 torches (which both need two items slots), 3 shovels, 4 keys and 3 holy water.
The first three of those are my standard kit on medium missions, while the usual curios in the Ruins necessitate some holy water and a couple more keys that you'd normally bring for the treasure chests.

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Pace out the halls of your lineage, once familiar, now foreign.

Lucky start! We get a "critical" scout, which lets us peek two rooms far into every direction.
This is another Explore mission, which in a medium dungeon means that we have to scout (as in, actually go into) all rooms except two. There's the option to skip the two rooms to our south, but those are two fairly cheap rooms to scout. They're empty themselves and the hallways only contain one trap (purple), one fight (red), and one curio (blue).

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Traps in scouted hallways are visible and you can click them to tell a specific character to disarm them. This adds +40% to their "trap resistance" and you can pick an adventurer with a high value to begin with. Dismas, as a rogueish class, has a 90% chance to succeed here.

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The fight is no big deal - hallway fights are, with some MAJOR exception, a bit easier than room fights.

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Maggots are just pathetic in every way, with low HP, low Spd and no Dodge.

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Their only attack is "Grave Nibble", which deals low HP damage, but does carry some stress and has a chance to Stun.

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Spitters have a little more HP and Spd, but more importantly a decent Dodge value.

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They can Spit (surprise!) and Bite to deal damage and cause a minor (both 1 point) blight. Here, it's forced to use the weaker Bite because it's standing in the 1st or 2nd rank - many monsters behave this way, losing a lot of power if they're forced out of their preferred ranks, so shuffling the enemy team can be worthwhile.

In this case, the "shuffling" happened automatically - many small monsters, like these two types, don't leave a corpse, so the Spitter was moved forward when Dismas killed the Maggot.

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Lucy didn't get the Sacrificial Stab ability, which means that he can't deal any meaningful damage to the first two ranks, so he debuffs the Spitter's Dodge with Vulnerabiity Hex instead.

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Begone fiend!

That was probably more words than the fight deserved...
The curio to the South is just a crate with some Busts in it.

[backtracking...] Going through hallways that you have already cleared will lower the torchlight slower than usual, but you get the same little stress increase you always get in little chunks when going through hallways.

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Right to the north of the entrance, we find an Alchemy Table, which can be cleansed with some Medical Herbs to reveal some treasure (100g and an Emerald worth 750g).

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I get two hunger events fairly early in the dungeon, which is a bit annoying - I went in with 20 food, but I'd like to be able to consume 8 food during camp.

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Another critical Scout, although I get it while adjacent to the entrance (directly to the right of what the map is showing), so it only reveals that one trap and an unavoidable fight in the following room. But before going into that direction, I first go north to get the treasure chest in the dead end.

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There's a random Bookshelf standing in the way. One lesson that Darkest Dungeon teaches: Books are baaaaaad. Well, more like "a bit risky", because there's a chance that the content will disturb the reader so badly that they'll gain some stress or even a negative quirk. Here, I'm actually chickening out.

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The treasure room is guarded by a couple Brigands - we've seen all those classes before. Big meatshield in the front, two frailer damage dealer in the back.

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Ceiling tentacles! [Abyssal Artillery]
I manage to focus the Fuselier down before he gets a turn, but the Cutthroat gets a stabby-stab in...

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Confidence surges as the enemy crumbles!

...before he gets shuffled to the front by Silence and Chopped by Gawain.

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A victory - perhaps a turning point!

Pictured: Reason #1 why people (rightfully) like the Leper a lot

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The unavoidable room fight is this undead squad, guarding absolutely nothing. This is a fight that CAN go wrong if an adventurer gets focussed and/or critted, especially with no Vestal around, but nothing bad happens.

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Executed with impunity!
[Hew]

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[Wyrd Reconstruction] - Lucy's having a good day with his heal rolls.

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Another Alchemy Table, but no Herbs to clean it. You CAN lick them if you're feeling lucky, but it's a 50% of Blight and only a 25% of getting some treasure, so it's only worth it if you're right at the end of the expedition.

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Another easy hallway fight. These are all Bone Rabble (the stronger version has a sword).

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Two identical curios in rapid succession: You can either open these Cabinets with keys or smash them open with shovels, with the keys giving slightly more treasure. Licking them will always hurt you.

This is where inventory space is staring to become tight, and I have to drop an Antivenom (which has little use in the Ruins) and one Citrine gem (worth 250g).

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A backpack contains a bloodies journal page. You can find a whole bunch of these, telling stories of some groups of adventurers. You can review them in the hamlet, but only when you actually bring them home - which will happen very rarely, because doing so doesn't give any tangible benefit and they do take inventory space.

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An old Iron Maiden any fans out here?. Another curio that needs herbs to cleanse - unusual and a little unfortunate that I've run into three such curios in one go. More often than not, I don't even get to use the single Herb that I sometimes bring into the Ruins.

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Another Scout revealed a Curio in the top-left room, so we go to take a peek. We know these guards - the stressing Acolyte in 3rd rank is the primary target here. She still gets one turn, but Dismas manages to dodge her Stressful Incantation.

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[Solemnity, the self-heal and stress relief]

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Let's talk strategy real quick: The best way to approach a fight is to take out the most dangerous opponents quickly, only healing when necessary, and then slow down. Massively. Keep a single enemy alive, stun him as much as possble, and heal up. You can't do so (not significantly, at least) outside of combat, so every HP, every stress reduction, is valuable.

The devs know that, so they added a countermechanic to turtling: If you delay killing the last enemy for too long (I think it's two full rounds with only one enemy remaining), all your characters will gain stress. If you still refuse to close the fight, enemy reinforcements will spawn. This doesn't trigger when the remaining enemy is one that occupies two spaces, but most of those are quite dangerous on their own and might just out-damage your healer.

Nothing's been triggered yet, but Lucy is giving me a fair warning that I should hurry the fuck up, thankyouverymuch.

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Here's a little story about feeling stupid. Inventory is still full, so the loot from the fight forces me to drop one item (or stack). I see the sarcophagus and I'm thinking, "Oh, I can lever that open with a shovel, but a key does the trick too. And there's no obstacle before the last last room I have to visit, two are free, after all. So imma drop the shovels, I shouldn't need them." [I haven't found the shovels, you can use that interface to help you shuffle around items]

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Then I use a key and it doesn't have an effect. I'm thinking, "Maaan, I'm dumb. It was only a Shovel that opens it, I shoulda checked my cheat sheet".

And now I'm looking at the screenshots and I facepalm again because this is not a LOCKED Sarcophagus - this version doesn't require any item to cleanse. I guess there's a chance to pick up a specific, semi-bad quirk from this, so I just avoided the risk? Yeahhh, let's roll with that.

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Another journal page - I'll try to keep these saved separately, in case we'll get a cohesive story out of this. *reads* Oh, is this about [redacted]? I kicked [redacted]'s butt on my first try! No casualties! Superboss my arse! *pats own shoulder*

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Here's a little example of gaming the mechanics: Knowing that I'm not going to run into a fight, I let the light go down almost completely before...

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...setting up camp. Here's why you want to take some extra food to longer missions - it's a free(-ish) HP and stress heal. It's not the end of the world if you only have 4 (+10% HP) or 2 (no effect) food left, but camping without a meal costs 20% of your max HP and 15 Stress. Don't do that.

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In addtion to that, every character class has a selection of Camping Skills - some generic, some class-specific.

It is very risky to go on a medium mission without any skill to prevent an ambush. If you don't, there's a 1/3 chance that you're thrown into a fight with your party shuffled (not good if the Leper ends up in 4th rank...) and zero torchlight. You can build a team that doesn't care about the shuffle, but those teams don't include Lepers (Plague Doc isn't that great either, tbh)
Besides the HWM, the Crusader, Occultist, Vestal, and the yet to be revealed goodest class have skills to prevent an ambush, although having one is enough. Like with regular skills, only some of the Camp skills are unlocked, randomly chosen - Lucy doesn't have his ambush prevention, for example. [goddammit, that name constantly causes me to type "her"...]

Other skills usually give additional HP and stress heal, or temporary combat boosts. Here, I use the Leper's Quarantine (costs him some HP, but de-stresses everyone else), and the generic Encourage and Wound Care (Silence and Lucy have those) to patch Gawain up.

Lucy (after using Wound Care): I am now glad I attended a liberal arts university.
Gawain: I feel strong and powerful. Let us carry on!
Lucy: Things are according to keikaku plan.
Dismas: There is nothing for it now. We've run out of wood.

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And here's why I let the torchlight go down before camp: It's reset to 100 afterwards, as the Narrator's uplifting quote is indicating.

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And that's about that - nothing new in the last fight, which goes smoothly, as well.

Pretty good clear, if I may say so myself - I'm actually going out of this with less stress than I went in with. Only Gawain still has 15 stress remaining, but he (and Lucy) entered with 20 stress from being underleveled.

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The shifted corridors and sloped vaults of our ancestry are beginning to feel familiar.

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New quirks! Sitiomania will cause Lucy to lick food-related Curios 40% of the time, which has very different severity depending on the dungeon he goes in.
Photomania is one of the strongest quirks in the game: -20% stress when torchlight is above 75%.
Hot to Trot is another great quirk, arguably slightly less so on the Plague Doc. It gives +25% DMG, +20 ACC, +5% CRIT - but only on the first turn. It's a little wasted on Silence because she doesn't gain much from the damage boost, but increased ACC and CRIT is still nice. I'm just a little disappointed because I thought at first that this would give Spd as well, which would have been just amazing with the PD's double stun.

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To finish things off, a little preview on the new characters, so everyone can get their naming muscles flexed. First: An Arbalest, named... Herbert? I swear, I didn't change any names that weren requested...

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Damours, the Bounty Hunter!

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Another Abomination, Bourdekin!

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And a third Occultist, L'ile! ...wait, that a reference to Sinfest, the webcomic that was funny around 27 years ago? Anyway, don't get too attached to all three Occultists; the Barracks are almost full and there's another four fresh recruits (and I'm hoping for a fifth) arriving next week.

 

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1 hour ago, ping said:

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Welp, better start looking for a new caretaker...

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(I bet it would have beneficial stress-relieving effects too. Maybe)

 

1 hour ago, ping said:

Important takeaway #2: The Vestal, who in some of her little quips talks about the chastitiy belt she is wearing, can find stress relief in the brothel. How does your precious science explain this, ATHEISTS?

In quite a lot of ways, actually, but i doubt any of them can be explicitely mentioned here.

 

1 hour ago, ping said:

Automatonophobia - +20% Stress vs. human enemies.

Shouldn't that be a phobia of artificial stuff that only LOOKS human? (Guess that'd prevent him of playing GFL, AL and the likes though, which would probably generate even more stress)

 

2 hours ago, ping said:

Lucy doesn't have his ambush prevention, for example. [goddammit, that name constantly causes me to type "her"...]

See what i meant?

 

2 hours ago, ping said:

To finish things off, a little preview on the new characters, so everyone can get their naming muscles flexed. First: An Arbalest, named... Herbert? I swear, I didn't change any names that weren requested...

She's Kroos now.

(Also, i know what i said before, but the Abomination is definitely asking to be called Vincent)

 

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