Let’s go through Darkest Dungeon together – 2

Last time at the Iscariot Estate, a bunch of people died. Well, you win some and you lose some, that’s just how life be.

First things first, I got two name suggestions. Somebody requested to name a Flagellant “Beans” to honor the one in their own playthrough and also to name somebody Gregory. That Flagellant I got at the end of the last part? He’s Beans now. That Man-At-Arms with the really long name? He’s Gregory now, because that’s easier to spell.

From the stage coach, I pulled a Leper named Cairon as another fresh face to try out. I was hurting for funds, but I felt that I wasn’t quite ready for the Weald and the other new opening areas yet. So, Cairon was made to accompany Dismas, Reynauld and Couci on a money making expedition into the Ruins.

The Leper? They seem pretty strong, at least with the default load-out on the one I got. A strong but low accurate strike, an attack that sends an enemy back, a self-heal that also heals stress for sustain… truly, a powerful warrior. This was strengthened when they got the “Weapon Tinker” quirk at the end of the mission, which decreases the weapon upgrade cost for them, which is pretty much asking me to stick by them for the foreseeable future.

Despite having a rookie around, the mission was largely a success with little stress. Well, Reynauld stole some things, but what can you do about that? I mean, I could “fix” it, but he hasn’t stolen anything major yet, so he’s good with me.

Mantel had spent the past while gambling at a bar and won the Lock of Fury trinket for the Flagellant, which decreases max HP for damage and speed buffs, which is pretty cool of him. Unfortunately, Peis, who was shacked up in the brothel with a lover, refuses to leave the brothel. Well, good for him, I guess.

The stage coach brought in some more arrivals. I got a replacement Vestal in the form of Cambrai, as well as Cely, an Arbalest. I was still in the “trying out new characters” mood and that Ruins run left me feeling confident, so I wanted to try her out in the fields of the Warrens. I paired her up with Mantel, since her shots do more damage against targets that Mantel could mark, with Malleville and Tinel leading the front. This combination actually had the custom name of “Hounds of War,” which is kinda cool.

And so, the Hounds of War set out to the Warrens, where they had to clear out some room battles… of which, there was exactly 1 (one). I kinda spent more money on provisions than I needed since I didn’t know what to expect, so I made them explore the dungeon some more. To my disappointment, there was barely any loot. Some horrific pig thing they found threw up on Cely and gave her Vertigo (which lowers move resist, which is kinda bad for someone mostly dependent on the backline), but otherwise, it was uneventful. Cool name utterly wasted on a nothing mission.

Anyway, they went back home and Dismas was wanted for a crime, so I decided that it was best to not bring him out in the open for a bit, for his sake. I don’t know what he did, but I say he’s innocent.

But something else was on the run: a horrible Necromancer Apprentice was spotted in the Ruins. It sounded like boss time, so it was off to the ruins. to the Ruins. Reynauld, Cairon, Couci and Cambrai banded together for this mission, getting branded as “Witch Hunt,” which is sick. Since this mission was more serious and I didn’t really need to spend money on stress relief at the time, I decided to upgrade everything I could. Well, I couldn’t upgrade anything on Cambrai since she was fresh, so she wound up getting paid in experience.

As the Witch Hunt headed on over, the Ancestor ranted about how he tried to learn necromancy but could only animate the leg of a dead rat. I’m guessing his experiments with necromancy don’t end well (for humanity, at least), considering the army of skeletons walking around.

Despite everything, exploring went just fine. Well, Cambrai got extremely stressed from getting focused on by the stress dealing enemies, but she surprisingly went unthreatened for a level 0 unit. As the gang neared the Necromancer Apprentice, Cambrai led everyone in a prayer to buff up their defenses; since Reynauld and Cairon were religious, they benefited from it greatly. Speaking of religious things, Cairon had the God-Fearing quirk that forces him to only pray for stress relief, but he wound up finding a confession booth where he instinctively prayed away his sins, removing it. Good that you found peace, my man.

And then they finally found that son-of-a-bitch. So, the Necromancer Apprentice’s gimmick is summoning skeletons every turn alongside every attack. However, that was a non-issue for The Witch Hunt. The necromancer’s weak to blight, so Couci pretty much stacked poison on that jerk and could do it from anywhere. Yeah, the skeletons could leave behind bodies that makes the necromancer hard to hit for the frontlines, but Cairon came prepared with Purge, which removed corpses as long as it hit.

That said, the necromancer had a hard hitting group stress attack, which took Cambrai over the edge. However, unlike her predecessor Vestal, fortune smiled on her. She got the rare chance where a stressed hero became Virtuous instead of being the Joker. She became Focused and shouted encouraging things to the rest of the party immediately, relieving their own stress and turning their attention to the task at hand.

The Necromancer Apprentice did not last much longer after that.

And so, the Witch Hunt was a success. Everyone returned as conquering heroes and retired to some stress relieving facilities. However, there’s still much work to be done. On looking at the embark map, I saw that the Cove – a place full of walking fish – has gone unexplored.

So, it was time to test more things out. A Graverobber named Heuze arrived in town, so she was immediately pressed to be in the latest expedition. Leading this new expedition would be Beans the Flagellant, with Malleville (and his dog) and Mantel accompanying as veteran assistance. Sure, Heuze had a bad compulsive disorder and egomania, but she brought a free shovel along for the trip, so she’s valid as far as I’m concerned.

Beans loves to bleed, and he sure loves to bleed other enemies too, as Flagellants have a very bleed focused moveset. While I found that the weirdo sea monsters of the Cove were slightly resistant to bleed, it’s way better than his chances of bleeding skeletons. He’s also a bit of an unusual support in that he can heal himself and an ally if his health is below a certain point, and he could inflict bleed on himself in exchange for helping an ally. Wack. As for Heuze, the Grave Robbers kinda have a thief archetype going on with moves that promote critical hits, evasion, and wearing down enemies. Heuze got this neat thing where she can fade into the shadows and lunge out for much stronger hits, which I think would be fun to play around with if she was in a more move centric team.

Going through the Cove, the gang ran into a bunch of stuff that’s probably in Lovecraft? I don’t fully remember what that guy had going on besides the racism, but I vaguely remember him being scared of sea creatures. The game tool-tips handedly told me that the Husk enemies explode after a few turns, so I made sure they were focused on before they could even do anything.

While Mantel got really stressed out toward the end, the first outing into water world was a success. However, I was hit with a new worry when I took the time to review everyone’s quirks. Malleville got the handy quirk of Scattering, which lowers his ranged attack – and unfortunately, all of his handy moves are ranged. That got me thinking that I should get him sent to the eugenics hell of the Sanitarium to deal with that and oh on god? This place is this expensive??

Not to worry though, because help for my money situation had arrived. Hynde the Antiquarian and Gueribout the Abomination came off the stage coach – finally rounding out the entire playable cast of the game. While I’ll talk about Gueribout later, Hynde’s an interesting case. Antiquarians? Weak as shit with only mild buffs. However, I’ve been told that Antiquarians are vital for money making because having one in the party grants the passive benefit of making more money, which always sounds good.

While I set Malleville out to get Scattering removed and to de-disease Cely and Peis, I decided to make up the money loss by sending out an expedition with those new guys. Gueribout would lead the pack with Cambrai heading the back as a healer. Hynde would weasel in between to use them as meat shields along with Fougeres, mainly because he hasn’t gotten to do anything in a long time.

We entered the Cove, where I forcibly found out that Gueribout’s abilities are useless when in the front. So, I kinda had to make him transform. See, by day, Gueribout’s a normal guy, but in the heat of battle, he can transform into a hulking monster where he has a bunch of powerful melee moves. However, the downside is that he constantly gains stress when he’s in monster form, because he kinda hates it. So hey, good thing I actually brought Fougeres along, since he can give some on-demand guitar playing to balance out the bad vibes.

Unfortunately, Gueribout was the only real fighter out of the gang. Fougeres was mainly dealing bleed when not de-stressing, Cambrai did not have any attacks beyond a stun and Hynde was Hynde, so battles dragged on. And unfortunately, in the last fight, Hynde got whittled down to death’s door. Will our intrepid treasure hunter make it?

The literal next attack she took answered “no.”

The grand irony of Hynde’s death is that she literally died the turn before Gueribout dealt the finishing blow… completing the mission. Had she not died on the actual first death’s door check, she would have survived. Welp. I witnessed firsthand the pile of gold she gathered decrease upon her death, as if only she had the secrets to efficiently carrying money. Thankfully though, the unique sellables you can find when an Antiquarian is in the party doesn’t disappear upon death, so the mission wasn’t a total loss in terms of moneymaking.

Anyway, somebody died to grease the wheels of the economy, so let’s return to normal. The gang returned to the hamlet where they received some good news. As the efforts of the heroes have been making the surrounding land safe, builders have been coming back. Now I can build new buildings, which…

….hm. Seems expensive.

…Well, I didn’t want to end things on another downer or a nothing note, so I set the gang out to do one more job. Even with the Necromancer Apprentice dead, there’s still a whole bunch of demon worshiping going on in the Ruins. So, somebody’s gotta purify the religious vessels that’s been hijacked so that jerks can go worship demons somewhere else.

For this outing, Peis led the crew, followed by Mantel, Heuze and Couci. Peis learned his own method of marking enemies, which would allow Mantel room to heal people, while also helping Heuze with her throwing daggers. As Heuze’s kit generally synergizes with blight, Couci was a must, especially if this was a mission in the Ruins.

And things… went perfectly fine! Actually purifying all the altars was child’s play and the camping log that was given wasn’t used until the gang started backtracking to look for treasure. There was one occasion where somebody sorta found a hole in reality that led to some top secret loot… unfortunately, the party did not have a key to open the box found, so it wound up just giving extremely basic loot instead of some presumably cool shit. Boo.

With that, a sense of peace spread among the Ruins. Well, more like it became less like hell. But the reward for doing this quest is that whoever goes to the Ruins next gets more experience. So far, Reynauld is the only sufficiently leveled character – so sufficiently leveled that he no longer wants to do the easy quests and just wants to do the harder ones. You do you, man, but you’re going to have to wait for everyone else to catch up first.

With that, this second week in Darkest Dungeon came to a close. I finally got a better grip on how this game works and I experienced no casualties. Well, casualties that matter. Sorry, Hynde, but may the next Antiquarian not have bones made of glass (copium).

Also, I must again acknowledge that the only characters that have died so far are women.

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