Let’s go through Darkest Dungeon together – 7

Things are ramping up at my day job and my stress is almost hitting 100 on a regular basis, but despite everything, I’m still delving into the Darkest Dungeon.

So, there’s one boss that I haven’t faced yet: the Inchoate Flesh, the lowest form of some horrible flesh boss that acts as the area boss of the Warrens alongside the Swine Prince (and its more royal variants). Something I haven’t acknowledged until now is if you do enough missions in a given area, a boss encounter will appear, and it’s honestly no surprise that I haven’t faced the Flesh yet when I haven’t gone to the Warrens that much. And so, I decided to remedy that.

Reynauld was chosen to lead an exploration of the Warrens – which would be his last mission before he’d be forced into only doing the hard stuff. Beans and Fou filled in the middle, because well, I do like making things bleed and the pig people of the Warrens seem pretty susceptible to it. Ros headed the back as our local Occultist of the day.

Nothing really big happened during this excursion. In fact, I deliberately made sure of that. Now that I knew the mechanics of the Collector, I made sure to go down scouted paths that I knew were safe – and if I had no choice, I made sure to keep one inventory slot open so that the inevitable random encounter wasn’t the Collector. I’m not sure how well this strategy works, but I don’t want to risk it.

Reynauld got a book which gave him Slugger, which increases melee damage – absolutely gonna reinforce that on him, now that he’s in the big leagues. Fou tried to drink even more cursed barrel liquid – he should be happy that it didn’t give him a disease. Especially compared to Ros, who got scurvy from a pig that threw up on him and tapeworm (consumes extra food at rest points) as an after battle reward.

But with that, the threshold was finally met: the Incholate Flesh has arrived. Unfortunately, there was a problem, that being that I only have four rookie guys that could fight it, and one of them was Durandal. If you forgot, Durandal is an Antiquarian, which means she wouldn’t pitch in much in a fight. I really didn’t want to throw anyone out, so I tried to expand the barracks, but alas – I’m off by one piece of resource to get it expanded.

Because I didn’t want to spend the entirety of another post preparing for another boss fight, I consulted friend of the site Infomantis on whether or not Durandal would be good to bring around. They pointed out an Antiquarian skill that I’ve ignored, Festering Vapors, which makes enemies less resistant to blight, and suddenly she seems like a pretty good companion to Baujot.

Taillebois, our third Occultist, stood in the back with Baujot the Plague Doctor. Durandal would stand in front of her and then… I guess I had to bring Gregory. I dunno. I still don’t vibe with the Man-At-Arms. As the crew headed out, the Ancestor complained about his failed attempts at summoning demons, leaving behind horrible living flesh. Cool!

Turns out, Durandal? Bringing her along was good, because the pig people of the Warrens actually had a higher natural resistance to blight. While clearly not much of a fighter, her expertise lied in empowering Baujot to actually fight. It makes me think back to when they both coincidentally got Known Cheat the week after the game’s gambling parlor got robbed. Truly, these two are partners in crime.

There were a bunch of treasure rooms, but I chose to handle the Inchoate Flesh first…

Wow I hate looking at it. The Warrens really does have all the freaks, huh?

So far, the Flesh is the most unique boss to me. There are four distinct units, who all share one health bar – as such, group attacks seem to be the way to go for this fight. In fact, I imagine that Houndmasters can fuck this thing up real good.

After every round of attacks, the body parts of the Flesh morph into a different variant. The head bites and deals bleed, the bone whips people to stun them, the fleshy part heals the whole, and the… whatever the fuck that is does a horribly strong attack that also deals blight. These jerks wound up knocking Baujot to death’s door, but she thankfully survived the DOT damage for her to heal herself up.

Despite everything, the gang pulled out a victory. They rested a bit to heal and free up some inventory space to do some uneventful treasure hunting before heading home. With that mission, Durandal is now high enough to venture out with the mid-fielders, leaving the rest of the rookies in the dust.

To celebrate my defeat of the most loathsome beast we’ve seen so far, the hamlet held a celebration, making all treatment places free. Reynauld was sent in to get Slugger stuck on alongside Gary who’d get Photomania (less stress when torch is high). Durandal also unfortunately caught rabies from a pig, so into the medical ward she goes.

So, what now? I’ve beaten at least one version of all the main bosses, so what else is there to do? Beat all of them?

Well, that’s one thing I could do, for sure, but I gotta remember the ultimate goal: going into the Darkest Dungeon. So far, Reynauld and Couci are the only ones fit to go inside, and they don’t even have the good gear to go along with that, yet. So, I suppose all I can do is prepare.

The upgrade facilities weren’t good enough yet, so I thought the best thing to do is go plundering dungeons for deeds to improve them. Tinel, Peis, Heuze and Ros headed on an excursion into the Cove. I partially chose Ros because he was also on the precipice of being able to hang out with Reynauld and Couci, and I’d like to field a team able to do champion level stuff.

What should have been a simple quest ended up being a nightmare because, well, life is cruel sometimes. The enemy team kept getting crits, my guys kept missing, and the food situation…

Actually, let me call out the starvation mechanic. So if you didn’t know, every so often your guys need to eat and you need to spend food to feed them. The problem? The starvation mechanic seems to be random. In this particular dungeon, the gang starved twice within three hallways. In comparison, the previous party was brought to starvation only once in the entire run.

So, I decided to actually look this up and… wow yeah. It actually is just random chance. See, it’s weird because this is no different from having to use shovels to clear randomly placed obstacles, but this particularly bothers me. I guess maybe it’s because food has more general use cases than the shovels? Whatever, I think this sucks.

Peis wound up being the most bullied man alive. Besides the whole getting knocked down to Death’s Door, he caught the Red Plague and an obsession with achieving sainthood from looking at a rock. In the last battle, he got an insane amount of bleed while the party had no bandages and Ros, in his attempt to help him, got the infamous “heal 0, inflict bleed” that players love to joke about, which wound up sending Peis to Death’s Door again while outside of battle, thankfully surviving the last DOT hit possible to straight up kill him. Honestly? It was a miracle that he didn’t even go Joker mode, because I honestly would if I was in his shoes.

But that wasn’t the real miracle worth talking about.

Sometimes, fate smiles on you. Necromancy is real, but for once this is a good case of necromancy, because on this day I could choose somebody to bring back to life.

I got the deeds from the previous quest for the sake of improving the upgrade facilities, but I chose to use them to expand the barracks, because it’s not every day somebody comes back to life.

My choice was easy. Welcome back, Cambrai, you must be exhausted.

Sure, I have to reupgrade all her things, but I’m legitimately happy that she’s back.

So, after the stress of the last mission, I wanted to keep things simple. I decided to take another easy mission. However, since Durandal graduated to mid-tier quests, the other rookies need a friend to come along. Because he was the only one leveled up (because one of the stage coach upgrades sometimes makes new guys pre-leveled), I brought in Riebou, the Abomination. He also came with Slugger, which would make him pretty good if I make him transform.

Riebou joined Taillebois, Baujot and Gregory on a simple outing to the Weald so that I could recoup some of the deeds I spent on the barracks. They also had a cool name of Grindhouse, which rules.

It went so well that I basically forgot to take any screenshots of the outing until it was done. But congratulations to Baujot for becoming another Warrior of Light.

Doing the mission did accomplish a larger goal, though, as it unlocked the next level of the Hag. So, based off of my first attempt, I decided that the best possible team was one that was flexible with party formation, since the Hag’s main mechanic will keep disrupting it.

Dismas led the front, because I think Highwaymen are pretty versatile with regards to movement. Fou took the third position, because at one point during these quests I got him a trinket that made him better at bleeding and he took less stress in the Warrens; plus, if the Hag dragged him up, he could immediately punish with a Finale. Fritz the Houndmaster was chosen to give accompanying bleed, along with a stun if he was shifted to the front; furthermore, I think his set of camping skills is too fucking good, just look at that skill icon. Mantel was chosen as the Occultist of the day, and I chose to swap his mark out for a stab if it ever came to that.

The dungeon went… alright. The bleed team was sufficient at bleeding enemies dry while Dismas picked up the rest with brute force. It seemed that everything would be a-okay.

But then we got to the Hag. So. Yes, I got a team set up so that they could conceivably attack from any position. However, I thought too much about utility and not raw power, and I needed raw power to bring down the cauldron if somebody got thrown into it, since it couldn’t be bled. Unfortunately, Dismas was the only one with serious enough firepower to save somebody immediately. Whenever Dismas was thrown in, he was getting cooked alive while everyone else flailed to free him. He was brought on Death’s Door once and got dumped out. Fritz was once again subjected to the pot, but Dismas immediately managed to save him with a Point Blank Shot.

The battle raged on and Dismas was once again thrown in that pot. The team got the Hag low while Dismas was cooking. In spite of the big heal Mantel gave him, the boiling water brought Dismas down to Death’s Door and popped him out. Before anyone could heal or retaliate, the Hag made her move.

…Man.

Why does this always happen at the finish line of a quest?

Well, with that, Fritz sent his dog to unceremoniously finish off the Hag and bring back Dismas’ belongings. God. How do I explain this to Reynauld? This is fucked up and evil.

And so, I managed to bring back an old hero from the dead, only to lose one of the oldest heroes in return. I was so bummed out about it that I didn’t even care that Baujot somehow lost Beans’ collar. Though, I gotta say: losing the collar of a masochist while at a brothel is an interesting look for you, Baujot.

With that last mission, the Hag truly cemented herself as my enemy. Rest in peace to Dismas, a real legend. In a way though, it was a humbling moment: how can I expect to field a champion level team when these medium ranked missions are still an issue? So, I don’t know what I’m going to do next week, but I’ll aim to make improving facilities an overall goal so that no one else has to die.

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