Today, I am going to play some Darkest Dungeon, and I think I may share my experience with you, at least for one dungeon. Why? Well, it’s partly an opportunity to show off a really cool game, and partly because I may do Let’s Plays of games in the future, and why not start now?
Say hello to our adventuring party:
Reynauld is a Crusader. He’s one of the characters you start the game with, and mine for some annoying reason is a Kleptomaniac, which means he just can’t resist auto-opening boxes of loot and keeping it all for himself.
Such actions end up hurting him more often than not, given that a lot of the locks he tries to bust are booby-trapped. Silly Reynauld.
Mont-Canisi is our Plague Doctor, and plague he certainly specialises in, as I give him abilities to poison and stun his opponents, forgoing any party support abilities altogether. He refuses to visit anywhere in town but the brothel to relieve his stress, and he has a hatred of the eldritch.
Everything here is eldritch, in some form or another.
Ah, Peche. As our resident Bounty Hunter, I’ve given him the abilities that allow him to mark a target for massive damage, as well as end up inflicting that massive damage. He also shows a fondness for bleeding his enemies out, and stunning them.
He hates unholy enemies. This means zombies. We’re going into a dungeon full of them. Poor Peche.
Quincey is our healer, a Vestal. She’s prone to bleeding, but with the meat shields in front of her, she should be fine, right?
We’re heading into the ruins to kill a Necromancer Apprentice, and I’ve decided to play it very safe with supplies, by bringing a lot of food and torches. I’ve brought a couple of keys and holy waters too, because they can always come in handy when faced with locked boxes and unholy shrines.
A devil walks these halls. Only the mad or the desperate go in search of him.
Our journey starts with a bang. Quincey manages to dodge a trap that none of us saw coming, and reading from a book has a profound effect on her…
It instills in her a hatred of mankind, which hopefully only extends to her enemies, as it increases her damage to humans by 15%!
Battle #1, a couple of Bone Rabbles, and a Bone Arbalist. The latter is capable of most damage, so we’d do well to stop him in his tracks.
Mont-Canisi’s Blinding Gas stuns the Arbalist, which is fortunate as he would have taken a turn straight after. Instead, he is forced to skip! But we can’t keep him stunned forever, we need to bring him into the forefront…
Peche Marks him, which makes him take more damage from certain attacks:
We need to go on the offensive, and Reynauld delivers!
His Zealous Accusation destroys the enemy’s front line, and Peche finishes off the Arbalist in a single blow. 875 gold is our easily-earned reward. Where do the skeletons keep it?
Quincey throws some holy water on an urn, dissolving the ashes within and revealing treasure! 2 lumps of jade, a ruby, and citrine! Spoils!
Darkest Dungeon has a lighting system. The darker you allow it to become, the more stress your party members take, the more damage your enemies will do, but the more rewards you receive, and the more likely you are to inflict a critical hit.
Stress accumulates passively as you go through a dungeon, because walking these dank, ruined halls and encountering fearsome monsters strains the mind as much as it may strain the body. Getting hit with criticals also raises it, as do certain enemy attacks. Stress is mainly recovered via facilities in town, or via camping, but some characters can reduce their (or their friend’s!) stress through abilities in battle, and by scoring critical hits.
When your stress reaches max, your resolve gets tested and you either come out with powerful buffs, or severe debuffs, as well as increasing the stress of your other members. Once things start to go wrong, they tend to spiral.
Speaking of enemies increasing stress, the Bone Courtiers in this battle (the 2 bringing up the rear of this enemy party) are possibly the most effective at raising it. Their Tempting Goblet attack raises your stress by a large amount, and thus letting them live too long is something you do not want happening. They can only use this attack from the rear ranks, however, so by killing what’s in front of them or yanking them forward will stop them throwing drink on you. I opt for the former method, and finishing them off proves easy.
May as well keep our health topped off while we’re here!
Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer
Battle 3 sees us against another Courtier and Arbalist, as well as a Defender and a Soldier. The two front-ranked enemies both have a stat called “Prot” which reduces the damage you deal to them by that percentage. The Defender’s Prot is 25%, and the Soldier behind him 15%. Blights and Bleeds are the way to go with these two, except skeletons don’t bleed…
Vestals are great healers, but they also have attacking utility. Her Dazzling Light ability here not only inflicts a bit of damage, but also stuns AND increases the level of light! A most useful attack, and a very worthy action if healing is not necessary this turn.
Mont-Canisi’s bread and butter is Blight attacks. They deal low initial damage, but inflict a powerful poison on the target too, which often proves to be the killing blow of an enemy.
The Necromancer Apprentice here is a different kettle of fish. Whenever he attacks, he also summons a skeletal minion in front of him, and the further back he goes, the less likely you are to be able to hit him.
We’re not gonna let that happen.
Stunning him looks unlikely, but those are some rather low bleed and blight resistances… Mont-Canisi and Peche can certainly take advantage of those! We also see that he’s Unholy, and Reynauld’s Smite ability deals extra damage to Unholy types…
The Necromancer’s first turn is an ability called The Flesh is Willing, which hit the front 2 characters for respectable damage and summoned a Bone Soldier to the field. Mont-Canisi casts a Noxious Blast at the Necromancer to blight him, and Peche scores a critical hit!
Damaging debuffs are stackable in Darkest Dungeon, so Mont-Canisi casts another Noxious Blast, and when it’s the Necromancer’s turn, he takes 8 damage instead of 4! If he was in a position where Peche could Bleed him, he’d be taking serious damage every turn!
The Necromancer’s pumping out some respectable damage, though, and we need to keep an eye on our health. Hits like that, the Vestal can’t recover in 1 go.
On top of that, he has his Six Feet Under spell which does no health damage, but hits your stress levels like a truck!
Even reanimated bones can fall. Even the dead can die again.
Stacking those DoTs and fierce attacking won the day here, however. Quincey and Mont-Canisi’s stress levels, while not maxed, are rather high, so they may have to sit out the next dungeon.
When you complete a quest, you get gold, trinkets and heirlooms to upgrade your base with (my Occultist will LOVE this trinket, I think):
Your victorious heroes don’t come out unchanged either. They have a chance to develop traits thanks to their time in these dank, unforgiving halls. They may pick up undesirable habits, diseases, or even come out as better men and women for their experience!
Reynauld now recovers stress easier, but contracted a disease that makes him slower. Mont-Canisi picked up a trait that gives him 10% damage reduction!
A successful venture, but now it’s time for our heroes to rest.