Last time we checked we got duped into administrating a literal ghost town. I'm not even being hyperbolic, we literally can't use any of the buildings yet. There's actually nobody else here but us, the Caretaker and the new guys. Speaking of which.
Please, a warm welcome for Chris Eccleston, she'll be your doctor for today. Who's responsible for the name? SS's who.
Plague Doctors are among the most fragile of characters in the game and a lot of their abilities are indirect, supportive or deal damage over time. That may sound unimpressive, but with the right setup they are one of the hardest MVPs in the game and you'll see why eventually.
For now, this one can kinda, stab people, toss plague grenades, cure people of bleeding and blight and most usefully, stun people and shuffle them.
Second we got Sheba, courtesy of Garo. She's Vestal, which is basically a battle nun.
Vestals are probably the game's most dedicated healers, though actually not always the most powerful ones. That said, any kind of healing is invaluable, really and she's got another stun move to boot, so it's all cool.
We'll take a short peek in the only place in the Hamlet we can visit at the moment, which is the Graveyard. For now, it's empty.
With nothing else to do, it's time to prepare for an Embarking.
There are several dungeons which we can raid, though most of them are locked at the moment. For now we have the choice between the Ruins and the Darkest Dungeon. In case you might wonder, entering the latter now would be most unwise.
So, as the text tells us, we have a Scouting mission. Those can vary and have sort of different objectives, but usually are all a spin on the theme of exploring rooms and killing enemies. The Apprentice level shows how tall you should be to enter this ride, though is very much just a suggestion, the game is fully comfortable with letting you send your dudes to their doom if you will it so.
Finally, the Rewards show what you get if you complete the quest. It's almost always gold, heirlooms and equippable items. Heirlooms aren't of any use to us yet, but are going to be a secondary set of resources once we get the Hamlet running.
Anyway, we put the only four guys we got in the party grid on the botom.
That's actually not me being funny. These four characters are guaranteed to be your starters in every new game and darkest dungeon automatically gives cute party names to special combinations of characters. In this case it's "The Usual Suspects".
Once we click on Provision we can proceed
Here you pick up all the stuff your guys are gonna need on their adventure. The supplies offered are limited, but the actual subtle dickery lies in the fact that it's all pretty costly and takes up inventory space you could use for loot.
Look at that shit, I've only really taken bare necessities and half of the inventory space is already gone. Not even counting quests where they saddle you with multiple quest items which all take up individual spaces.
Anyway, we stock up on as much food as we can carry, which imo is always wise, pick up a bunch of torches, a few shovels, keys and some miscelanous shit like an antidote (Provided for free by the presence of the plague doctor) and two bottles of holy water. I think we're ready.
These are the Ruins. A comfy gothic place, which apparently used to be the Estate? The architecture of this branch is all over the place to be honest. It's more like a huge set of catacombs, which would be really fitting, because it's mainly staffed by the undead.
The map says we got seven more unexplored rooms, 90% of which we have to un-unexplore. That usually means we can leave about one room unexplored. Luckily, the path we have there is relatively straight, that shit can get pretty labyrinthine at times. In this case we'll go up, turn right, take a short detour down, then explore the last two rooms on the right.
Halfway to the second room we find an unburned torch. This is one of the rare objects which are always positive and should always be picked up and contain a torch (I use this one immediately). Torches, replenish torchlight and torchlight is what keeps you lit and safe. It diminishes naturally over time and some good things can actually happen if it falls really low, like for example, your guys get extra chance to crit and find more loot.
things that can happen if you let it fall really low though are as follows:
- People get stressed out.
- People miss more often.
- Monsters are more likely to surprise you.
- Monsters deal more damage.
- You step into every fucking trap.- A fucking Grue eats your entire fucking party.
The last one is not literal, but it's pretty much what happens. Always keep your torch up.
A few steps later we arrive in the room and are accosted by what are the actual mooks of this game.Bone Rabble
, at 8hp, 1 SPD and with their only attack being a gentle drubbing. They're always the least threatening enemy around and in a large group, can be safely ignored while you deal with some actual enemies. The actual vermin in this game poses more of a danger than them.
They suck so hard there's not even any fight here. They get stunned, then dispatched without landing a single hit themselves.
The chest is thanfully untrapped and contains some nice goodies. The shovel is a bit superfluous, but might come in handy and the portrait just another type of heirloom. On we go.
Few steps down the next room we run into the reason why we need shovels: Rubble. Doing it without them is not advisable, it deals damage, increases stress and drains torchlight, all in some pretty big chunks. Fortunately, we're very good on shovels right now, and usually about 2-3 shovels should be all we ever need in Apprentice dungeons.
Right before the next room, we get cut off by our first real fight.
Way in the back is our main source of concern, a Cultist Acolyte
. These do not, in general, deal much damage, however, they represent a major threat to the stress of your dudes.
Stress is a thing I've only been alluding to until now, but it's a very real thing that needs careful management. It's represented by the black bar under your dudes' health bar and goes from 0 to 200.
Well, actually it goes from 0 to 100, then from 100 to 200. You see, what happens is, if it reaches 100, the character snaps. This may mean a number of things. They may get paranoid of their teammates and refuse to accept heals, go berserk and refuse your control, maybe abandon all hope and stress out everyone else being by being such downers. The only way to remove this sort of affliction is to let your guys relax outside of the dungeon, which unfortunately means that if somebody snaps inside a dungeon, they're gonna stay that way until you're done.
Oh and if it reaches 200 they get a heart attack and die. rip
Anyway, we catch these guys by surprise and Chris wastes no time flashing the fuck out of the acolyte, stunning it and shuffling it to the front.
Deciding that he would rather like to instakill something, Ballbag takes aim for the bone rabble, but fails to actually kill it, leaving it on low health, where it is immediately annihilated by the Vestal.
Saracen, not to be outdone, swings at the remaining skeleton. With the bonus damage to undead, it should die immediately.
It should, but doesn't, for this guy's not ordinary bone rabble, it's a Bone Soldier
. These guys wield a sword and are considerably more dangerous than their ordinary counterpart. Saracen falls one point short of killing it.
Almost to prove my point, it immediately goes for Chris and obliterates more than half her health in one critical strike, stressing out the entire party in the process.
The next turn starts and Ballbag, with some assisance from Chris, manages to take down the acolyte, without letting it act first.
Sheba tries to finish off the bone soldier, but misses, giving it the opportunity to shank Ballbag for some minor damage.
Saracen is decidedly not in the mood for that shit though.
Some nice loot drops, including another portrait, some good and bandages.
After the fight, Chris wolfs down some of the food. It's an excellent way to recover injuries, healing about 10% max health per use. It's one of the main reasons to pick up all the food you can before a dungeon.
The next room and the road after are relatively calm, only some idle loot on the road, until we hit the top left room of the map.
The party eyes their melee opponent suspiciously, a Cultist Brawler
As soon as the fight breaks out, Ballbag shoots the acolyte, wounding it gravely. Sheba follows up with a stun, but it is unfortunately resisted and the acolyte gets to use it's main attack, Stressful Incantation.
Just like that, Chris gains 20 stress. And before I forget - stress itself carries over between dungeons. Any stress gained is stress that has to be rid of somehow lat-
Suddenly the brawler snaps at ballbag, connecting a hit and causing bleeding. This is basically all those guys do. It advances them up two rows too, so you can always be sure that if a brawler isn't in the front, it will be eventually.
Fortunately we still have those bandages we looted earlier. Ballbag dodges another attack and uses them to staunch the flow, while Chris and Saracen deal with the bone soldier and the brawler.
Ballbag himself deals a powerful finishing blow.
The acolyte acts again and uses another incantation, again, on Chris, who's sitting at 60 Stress now.
Sheba attempts another stun, but misses, so it falls to Saracen to end the battle.
A peculiar thing happens afterwards.
Scouting can happen randomly when entering/clearing a room and reveals adjacent rooms and the events stored in the paths between them. The chance seems to be related to some specific characters more than others and some skills and trinkets may also influence that, along with torchlight.
In this case we see that the way to the next room is fairly uneventful, save for a trap. And it's a good thing we scouted it out.
Now we can actually disarm it.
Traps can be spotted without scouting them out first, but not reliably. And even if you do scout it out, the chance to disarm it isn't 100% and also varies based on character type, which is why our Highwayman here is the one doing the disarming.
Sometimes you're gonna see a trap ahead and still walk into it and sometimes, if not scouted out, it will just not be visible at all.
Point in case:
And of course it's Chris, too. 75 Stress now and more food downed.
Down the corridor and in the room we have yet another battle.
Fairly standard setup, complicated maybe only by the Bone Arbalist
there. They like to target your back rows and I absolutely can't have any more of that shit right now. Christ once again uses a flashbang to stun it and drag it out to the front row, while Ballbag fires a salvo at one of the bone soldiers. Sheba stuns the other one and then Saracen takes out some light reading.
That's Zealous accusation, his second skill. Hits the front two enemy rows for reduced damage, but is still very effective against undead. The illiterate undead are shamed to death.
After the arbalist is dispatched Saracen finds the lone bone soldier out of reach, behind the corpses and uses his fourth skill, Bulwark of Faith.
This one interacts with the game's Marking mechanic. Marked party members are the top picks for enemy attacks, so it makes sense for a crusader to use this to protect your other guys from strong hits.
Or this shit can happen.
They don't even usually attack third row
. Chris is literally on the game's shitlist.
Oh well, Ballbag crits the next round, destroying the final skeletal adversary.
With this done, we can turn to the shrine in the room. Let's see what happens if we use Holy Water on it.
12 hp and minus 20 stress. That was sorely needed.
With that business concluded, we backtrack to the upper right room, with no conflict inbetween.
And here is the second reason why you need all the food you can stock. Periodically your guys need to eat. Feed them and they will recover a bit of hp, fail to do so and they will take major damage to health and stress. We're definitely well stocked though, so this probably won't be a problem unless we waste too much food on healing and since the mission is almost over, we have a safe surplus.
The room turns up empty and with that, we have technically fulfilled our quest.
But to be honest, we're doing so well, we might as well explore that last room.
Scouting happens and it seems that the last room contains treasure and combat
. We're definitely going there now.
Heeeey, see what I told you? Always bring 2-3 shovels.
Before we enter the room we use up the second bottle of Holy Water on Chris, to up her bleed, blight and debuff resistances for the upcoming fight.
Welp. Figures they saved the hardest fight for the last.
See this asshole? He's the worst. He's pretty much an undead version of the acolyte, except somehow even faster, capable of dealing respectable damage if forced into front rows and just look at that smug fucking jackass shit eating grin
Fuck Bone Courtier
The fight starts and there's immediately two misses, from Christ and Saracen. Ballbag fares much better and nails down the courtier with a pistol shot, leaving it within inches of death, to be then smitten down by Sheba. (Smiting is a thing she can do btw)
The enemy party retaliates. The bone soldier targets Saracen, barely scratching him, while the Bone Defender
goes for Ballbag, scoring a slighty stronger hit. The arbalist then gets flashed by Chris and lands right behind the defender, stunned.
Ballbag springs to action, takes aim, fires and misses. The count's at three misses now. Four if I count the fact that Chris tried to use Plague Grenade and missed BOTH the arbalist and the courtier. The count then rises to fucking five as Saracen's swing goes wide and away from the arbalist.
Then this shit happens.
Ball bag is left on 10 hp and is in relative danger. I just hope nobody else goes for him.
Motherfucker. At the very least the hit goes for only 3 damage and fails to either stun or knock Ballbag back. In the meanwhile Chris crits the bone soldier to death and Saracen manages to miss another fucking swing (6).
The arbalist, with nowhere to run, resorts to Bayonet Jabbing Ballbag, who mercifully managed to receive a small heal from Sheba prior. It wouldn't be fatal regardless, but could have easily put him there.
The next turn, it's over. Sheba shanks the arbalist to death, after which the entire party tows on the defender until it collapses.
Yeah, I think it was worth it. Time to go home.
Not a bad haul. We've definitely made some profit there and got a bunch of heirlooms for the near future.
And some purely positive quirk gains? Maybe the game doesn't hate me after all.
Back at the town, we see that two buildings have become operational. That's good news, our Plague Doctor and Vestal are stressed out and we need to switch them out. The idea is that we dump them off to the abbey and the tavern to recover some stress and meanwhile use whatever new guys we find in the stage coach.
Well bollocks to that. See you next time.