I’ve clearly been away from Darkest Dungeon for a while. However, now that I’m no longer dealing with IGMC stuff (I got 9th place let’s go!!!), it’s back to hell (complimentary).
Where we last left off, the Swine Prince returned in the form of the Swine King. Unfortunately for him, he chose the wrong time to make his grand return because one of the rewards from the last mission done has heroes doing extra damage to things in the Warrens, which includes him.
Now, Beans was extremely stressed out since he was present on the last mission, but alas, he has to go back out there so I could take advantage of the temporary buff. Besides, I heard that Flagellant’s operate differently when they’re afflicted, so I thought I could see that in action.
Gregory was going to try the whole Man-At-Arms tank thing again – and I needed to use him anyway, since I barely had any mid-level fighters left. Baujot the Plague Doctor joined, though her kit was reoriented toward bleeding and support given how resistant the people of the Warrens are to blight, and Taillebois the Occultist was behind her to make use of Abyssal Artillery when nobody needed healing.
The gang set out on their assassination gig. Apparently, the Ancestor chose pigs to use for his demon summoning rituals since they’re close to humans. I mean, cool I guess, but given everything else he’s done, I’m surprised he didn’t just go with summoning demons into human corpses.
Anyway, Beans went apeshit immediately and got the unique Flagellant affliction, Rapturous. While Rapturous, Flagellants gain more attack but will dodge less, which sounds reasonable if it weren’t for the fact that they’ll sometimes just attack whoever they want. Well, can’t win them all.
Anyway, I also completely forgot the whole Collector’s thing, so it’s this idiot asshole again. Well, suppose it isn’t a grand return to this game without this guy. Anyway, despite my surprise, the guy was easy, so let’s move on.
Besides, the real fight came after. As far as I can tell, the Swine King acted exactly like its predecessor besides being beefier. Things actually went alright! In fact, Gregory was pretty damn good as a tank during the fight – which to me was proof that the last mission just wasn’t good at showing him off.
If anything, the biggest challenge was actually Beans. He clearly was stronger going Rapturous, but the guy was playing it risky by denying healing and, uh, whipping himself to Death’s Door. But he sure was stronger on Death’s Door and he survived the ordeal, so I guess he’s onto something.
The crew returned to the Iscariot Estate as conquering heroes and…
…Oh? On god?
So, the human thief faction decided to stop being comparative jobbers in the whole grand scheme of things and decided to directly attack the hamlet. Well, it can’t be that bad, rig –
Oh god?? They’re as hard as the Darkest Dungeon itself?
So, because of the sheer danger of this required quest, I decided to look it up immediately. Welp. This will keep bugging me until it’s gone, so I may as well try. Besides, this is a game about going up against eldritch despair with all the hopium and money you can muster! I have to try…
I also decided to seek advice from site correspondent Infomantis (who also provided this post’s thumbnail), since they’ve played Darkest Dungeon way more than I have. I chose Tinel the Hellion to lead the team, since her Iron Swan is good for hitting the backline (apparently important), Fou the Jester followed because I assume that these are all normal human guys and they can bleed real good (and Beans was too jokerpilled to go on another adventure), along with Couci, both for her general reliability and because she had the Mankind Hater quirk that’d make her hit these guys harder. Ros the Occultist was chosen as the designated healer since he had the same quirk. To go all in on my hatred of these fuckers, I also gave Tinel a ring that functionally gave her that quirk.
Alright gang, let’s save the hamlet!!
First observation: you know you’re in trouble when the basic jobber enemies you’ve been fighting the whole game show up in fresh new outfits. Their new fits go as hard as they hit.
Second: the battle music that plays during battles on this quest fucks and may actually be my favorite song in the game so far.
Anyway, as I’ve indicated, these new bandit variants are horribly beefy. Dude, fuck their Brigand Pounder cannons, the bandits should just send in squads of these guys to ruin my life.
After getting battered to hell, I discovered the next problem: the map layout is completely hidden, so I can’t even guess where the endpoint is. Well, guess all we can do is truck on.
While exploring the hamlet was a trial, the loot game was insane for a small map. I got lots of cash and a whole bunch of estate building resources from the very few fights there were. I also got something called a Dark Tambourine for the Jester, which I probably won’t use because I’m not into low light playing, but I love the energy of it.
But eventually, the squad of defenders found the son of a bitch leading the assault, the Brigand Vvulf.
The Brigand Vvulf brought hell to the hamlet. He will throw bombs on the battle stage to explode the shit out of whoever’s standing at a certain position, like a much stronger version of the prophet’s attack. You can attack his crate of bombs to cancel to destroy the current bomb (somehow), but the bombs also counter and Vvulf will just pull out more bombs.
Making this far harder is that he loves to summon guys, which is already annoying in normal circumstances, but unfortunately, the guys he’s summoning are his fucked up stronger Brigand Raiders. While the guy sits safely in the back with his bombs (while also shouting to stress the party), his raiders are cutting up the front line…. who are also usually the ones he’s trying to bomb. It’s not as if you can burst these guys down either, because he frequently resummons and also protects them. The guy is a chad version of the Man-at-Arms.
As far as I can tell, the number one strategy is to just burst down the Vvulf. I tried my best to do so.
I wish I caught Tinel and Fou’s last moments. A bomb brought Fou down to Death’s Door and one of the raiders did a slice and dice to hurt him and brought Tinel to Death’s Door. Then, his raider buddy had his own go at it – and you don’t understand how angry I got when this one guy managed to get a double kill with his slice and dice.
This left only Couci and Ros. Unfortunately… neither of them had the attacks to adequately fight Vvulf from the positions they were forced into.
There was no way to fight back. There was no way to win the mission.
Couci escaped to live another day. Yeah, only Couci. One of the fun conditions of the mission is that if everyone was pushed to escape, one party member would need to stay behind to make sure the others escaped. And so, Ros gave up his life so that Couci may survive.
The brigands were repelled, but three of the top heroes were now dead. Couci was sent to the church to pray away her guilt of being the only one to survive. While everything’s now at peace and the town upgrades weren’t damaged, there’s now the fear that the brigands will come back again one day. Like, I can already imagine Vvulf and his dripped out minions walking in like that Treasure Island walk animation to ruin my day.
Welp! Let’s go an easy mission for a little stress relief!
Aubert the Hellion was chosen to lead a simple mission into the Cove, following in the footsteps of Tinel as a leader figure. Cleri the graverobber joined, along with Boteler the Vestal, who is probably thankful that she’s back to being alive, unlike certain people.
There actually wasn’t any more basic level guys to field a full team… so good thing that there’s now room on the roster! And so, I picked up Vatteville the Jester from the stage coach. Ah, it’s as if Fou never left, haha…
Haha! Nice and easy mission! Just good vibes all around!
With that mission done, the next boss in the Cove unlocked – the medium version of that pirate crew the Ancestor killed for no reason. Unfortunately, I realized that there actually wasn’t enough guys to field a medium difficulty mission, because Beans and Taillebois graduated into the major leagues when they killed the Swine King. So hey, more talent’s gotta be trained for the roster.
There was a basic rank mission available for the ruins, and you know what, we should work toward unlocking a boss for that area, too. I decided to fill up the remaining empty slots on the roster and invited Dudley the Leper and Pipin the Shieldbreaker to the next mission, which was a long one. And honestly, I was excited because this marked a chance for me to properly play around with a Shieldbreaker, since the first one, uh, died immediately.
Pinpin, Dudley, Boteler and Cleri set out, with Cleri mainly carrying the fights. Things mainly went alright! In fact, now that I have a better idea of how the game works, the Shieldbreaker is pretty fun. Yup, so let’s go take a moment and go to slee-
…Ah. So, I guess there’s a catch to the Shieldbreaker’s versatility. If Pinpin or any other Shieldbreaker goes to sleep, she and the team wind up getting Freddy Kreugered by snakes. On top of that, Pipin gets inflicted by severe horror that gives 20 stress every turn. Well, it’s cool that we’re helping with Pipin’s PTSD, but it’d be nice if her nightmares didn’t manifest to kill everyone.
Another unique thing about these encounters is that the snakes drop something called Aegis Scales, which creates a shield that nullifies the next bit of damage a hero takes. Cool, I guess. It’d be nice if you could bring them to other missions…
Unfortunately, the problem wasn’t physical health, but mental health. All the stress causing enemies took one look at Pipin and decided to bully the shit out of her, so she wound up becoming Paranoid. It’s very in-character with her circumstances, I guess, but I hate it.
And then physical health became the problem again because toward the end of the mission, everyone was getting low on health. The problem was, nobody was in the state to deal with the snakes haunting Pipin and the party didn’t have enough healing campfire skills to justify taking the risk. And so, they continued on…
Hey, Boteler? Remember the very first episode where you died from spiders stunlocking you and getting finished off by blight DOT damage? Welp, that happened to Mr. Dudley. We hardly knew ye.
Thankfully, the mission was finished without further problems. We got a good haul, we’re learning more about Pipin and the Shieldbreakers, everything seems… okay. Sure, a guy died, but things went better than Vvulf’s nonense.
Besides the first part, this play session has been the cruelest on me. I got a taste of the Darkest Dungeon through the Brigand Vvulf, and folks? I don’t think I’m ready yet!
And so, to summarize this session: