• Death is inevitable in Darkest Dungeon, but don’t fear it – use losses to grow stronger and learn valuable lessons for future expeditions.
  • Manage resources wisely by saving gold, heirlooms, and provisions for essential upgrades and necessities in the shadowy estate.
  • Build effective party compositions, prioritize enemy targets, and interact with curios.

Darkest Dungeon is not for the faint-hearted. The acclaimed roguelike turn-based game pivots around an eerie town called Halmet, which serves as a base of operations from where gamers must make their way to the shadowy estate. Along the way, though, one’s party of heroes will face all manner of Lovecraftian horrors.


6 Best Strategy Horror Games

Mixing the strategy genre with horror elements is a satisfying combination. These games are the proof.

Death is all but guaranteed. Players will lose many heroes during their runs, but each loss will only make them stronger. While the game is not designed to hold the player’s hand, making note of certain tips and tricks can make the journey to the titular Darkest Dungeon a bit easier.

12 Embrace Death With Open Arms

Learn From Your Mistakes

Darkest Dungeon - Dead Heroes

Something most newcomers have a hard time digesting is that death is a permanent feature in Darkest Dungeon. Heroes are meant to be killed while exploring dungeons. When they die (and they will), there is no way to revive or bring them back from the dead. New heroes will arrive every week in the Stage Coach, and players can replace their fallen adventurers and create new parties to try again.

“From Beyond” is a rare Town Event that allows players to resurrect a random hero from the graveyard. If it triggers, it is recommended to choose the hero with the highest level and best quirks.

Hence, there is no traditional “game over” in Darkest Dungeon. Even if a player loses all of their heroes and upgrades, sees their town destroyed, and becomes bankrupt, they still cannot lose the game. There is always room to recover and start again with a new party of adventurers. Those playing the Stygian mode, however, will need to beat the final boss of the base game within 86 weeks. The failure condition also limits players to 12 deaths, after which they need to complete the game within the same aforementioned number of weeks.

The Crimson Court DLC adds 14 weeks and four deaths to the failure condition. Those new to
Darkest Dungeon
who don’t want an overly difficult first-time experience can disable the Crimson Court expansion if they wish.

11 Discard The Weakest Heroes

No Room For Emotional Attachments

Darkest Dungeon - Weak

There is a limit to how many heroes players can have in their roster at a given time. It is important not to be afraid to cut them out at the first sign of weakness, especially during the early game. If there are heroes with high stress levels and several negative quirks, players should dismiss them instead of spending precious gold on treating them. There will always be new heroes to take their place.

To remove heroes from one’s roster in Darkest Dungeon, players should open their character sheet and hit the Dismiss button in the top-left corner, underneath the name-change icon.

10 Save Gold & Heirlooms

It’s Important To Manage Money Wisely

Darkest Dungeon - Gold

Darkest Dungeon players do not have much gold at the start of the game, so they should refrain from spending any on upgrading heroes. There is no need to treat their afflictions or quirks. Farming gold in Darkest Dungeon takes a lot of time, so it is recommended that gamers save what they have to improve their early game.

It’s best to only spend gold on upgrading weapons for heroes. Improving armor is not as cost-effective since bad RNG can still result in death. In the late game, players can start locking in
the best quirks
Darkest Dungeon
from the Sanitarium.


25 Best Mods for Darkest Dungeon

There are plenty of mods out there to liven up Darkest Dungeon– some just for aesthetics, and others to make a hard game just a tad easier.

Similarly, players should save their heirlooms until they have a good understanding of what buildings to upgrade, which means they should not throw them on everything they come across. Completely upgrading Hamlet is how gamers get access to valuable facilities and services. However, there is a certain order to what buildings need to be upgraded first in Darkest Dungeon.

9 Upgrade The Stage Coach First

More Heroes To Feed The Eldritch

Darkest Dungeon - Stage Coach

Upgrading the Stage Coach increases the number of heroes arriving every week. One’s aim should be to get at least four new heroes with each run to create a full party. Following that, players should spend heirlooms on the Guild and Blacksmith to upgrade their Darkest Dungeon heroes. Reducing their upgrade costs will save a lot of money in the long run.

If dungeon runs are going fine, players may want to upgrade the Abbey as well. It allows them to remove stress from heroes at a greatly reduced cost.

8 Know What Heroes Are Capable Of

There Are Specific Classes For Specific Roles

Darkest Dungeon - Healer

  • Tanks have high health protection stats to absorb a lot of damage. They can also step in to defend other heroes.
  • Damage Dealers excel at doing more damage per turn than others but with low health.
  • Healers keep everyone alive by restoring their health, providing buffs, and removing debuffs.

Every hero in Darkest Dungeon offers a unique class with skills and abilities tailored around a specific playstyle, and players should not be afraid to try them all out.

Then, there are sub-roles or hybrids depending on what skills players want to use in their builds. The Abomination, for example, can be used as a tank, damage dealer, or both. He can also self-sustain by healing himself. Crusader, as another example, can be a tank or damage dealer while being a secondary healer in the party.

Vestals and Occultists are the main healers in
Darkest Dungeon
. Players should always have one of them in the party to increase their survival chances.

7 Find The Right Party Comp For Each Dungeon

Prioritize Hero Synergy

Darkest Dungeon - Ruins Boss

Once players are familiar with what each hero is capable of, it is time to start experimenting to find the best party compositions in Darkest Dungeon. Gamers will want heroes that synergize with each other in a team and are also suited for the unique challenges each dungeon offers.

For example, the Plague Doctor will be of little use in Weald since she does Blight damage, and most enemies in Weald are highly resistant to it. Players shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with different heroes in different dungeons as the Stage Coach will always bring in a fresh supply of heroes to reinforce the roster.

6 Buy The Right Provisions For Each Dungeon

Shovels To Dig & Torches To Live

Darkest Dungeon - Caretaker

















Skeleton Key




The Caretaker will be willing to sell provisions before the start of every dungeon. These supplies can be used to remove obstacles in the path, open locked doors, treat negative status effects, interact with curios for loot, and provide other benefits.

Firewood can be obtained for free in medium and long dungeons and should not be sold. They allow players to set up camp to heal and recuperate while in the dungeon.

It is important to keep in mind that some provisions are needed in more quantities for certain dungeons, while others can be completely ignored. Knowing the best provisions for each zone in Darkest Dungeon will save players a lot of gold. For example, Antivenom is important for Weald, where enemies do Blight damage, and Bandages for Warrens, since enemies there do Bleed damage. Players will need more Shovels in Cove due to the increased number of obstacles.

The table above is a good starting point based on the length of a run, but as stated before, players will naturally come to know what provisions they need to buy more for each dungeon.

5 Keep The Torch Levels High

Light The Way Forward

Darkest Dungeon - Valor

The lower the light levels, the harder a dungeon run can become. Enemies might ambush the player, and they hit a lot harder in the dark. However, players will find more loot as a result of this, which is important to keep in mind.

Keeping the torch above 75 percent will allow players to ambush enemies themselves and scout further ahead to reveal the map and get a better understanding of one’s surroundings.

4 Keep An Eye On Stress Levels

Prepare Ways To Remove Stress In Dangerous Situations

Darkest Dungeon - Max Stress

  • Jester’s Inspiring Tune is the strongest stress heal in Darkest Dungeon. It affects the entire party and heals for the most points.
  • Crusader’s Inspiring Cry and Houndmaster’s Cry Havoc can stress heal a single hero on any rank.
  • Abomination’s Absolution can only be used on himself. It restores health and heals stress.
  • Leper’s Solemnity is another strong self-healing skill in the game. It restores health and stress points by a significant amount.

There are two ways a hero can die in Darkest Dungeon. Firstly, draining their health bar pits them against Death’s Door. Secondly, filling their stress bar twice will give them a heart attack. It is harder to remove stress than heal in the game, so players should try to kill enemies quickly before they can come into contact.

The Jester, Houndmaster, and Crusader have stress heals that can come in handy for the team. Leper and Abomination can stress-heal themselves only. Flagellant can take stress from other heroes onto himself.

3 Surrender To Stay Alive & Rich

The Coward’s Way Has Merit

Darkest Dungeon - Endless Fighting

There is no shame in retreating from fights and abandoning dungeons. If heroes are about to max out their stress levels or are caught in a losing battle against the hardest bosses in Darkest Dungeon, there is no point in sticking around.


Darkest Dungeon: 10 Best Hero Trinkets

Here are the best trinkets that players should use to their advantage in Darkest Dungeon.

Players can get back to Hamlet at any point by hitting the little flag with a cross in the top-left corner of the screen. This way, gamers get to keep all the loot (gold, heirlooms, trinkets, and provisions) in their inventory while also keeping their heroes alive. However, retreating will give heroes high stress. Players can then decide on whether to dismiss or cure them.

2 Golden Rules Of Combat

Prioritize Certain Enemies Over Others

Darkest Dungeon - Battle

  • Bone Courtiers
  • Crones
  • Cultist Acolytes
  • Drowned Thralls
  • Gatekeepers
  • Madmen
  • Maggots
  • Pelagic Shamans
  • Swine Wretches

Darkest Dungeon players should aim to kill the weakest enemies first within the first couple of rounds. Their attacks might do less damage, but that damage keeps piling up until the end of the fight. The enemies listed above should always be killed as quickly as possible.

Also, Darkest Dungeon players should always focus all heroes on a single target and not spread attacks. The key to winning fights is reducing the number of enemies on the board. The enemy backlines (ranks 3 and 4) will always do the most damage. These ranks usually also have stress damage dealers. When choosing between the squishy frontlines and bulky backlines, Darkest Dungeon players should target the former before switching to the latter. Even healers have offensive abilities, and they can be used to debuff enemies instead of restoring a few points of health.

1 Get A Curios Cheat Sheet

Fortunes Are Simply Waiting To Be Taken

Darkest Dungeon - Shambler Curio

Curios are found randomly lying around in a dungeon. Interacting with them will bring up a prompt to use an item from one’s inventory. Using the correct item will either give players loot or a valuable buff. Use the wrong item, and Darkest Dungeon players will either take stress damage or be affected by an affliction, among other negative effects.

There are dozens of different curios, some unique to each dungeon. What players need is a cheat sheet that mentions how to interact with all the curios in Darkest Dungeon. Curios are an excellent way to obtain gold, heirlooms, and boosts to make dungeon runs easier.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon
January 19, 2016

Red Hook Studios


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