Darkest Dungeon Any% Speedrun Guide

Darkest Dungeon Any% Speedrun Guide

by Cryfor

Twitch: https://twitch.tv/cryfor_ 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/Cryfor 

Discord: https://discord.gg/9WXbaXM 

last updated: January 14th 2020

Darkest Dungeon Version (Steam Build #24839)

Introduction

Hey folks, since I have ran this category more than any other in Darkest Dungeon, I thought I’d write a guide so that fellow runners who want to attempt it, have a proper starting point other than watching my runs.

Keep in mind, this run has a whole bunch of decision making on the go – so you have to know all the mechanics of the game properly. Also, learn the curio interactions!!

This run has high RNG swings in it (as expected), be prepared to lose a hero/run literally on the last fight in DD3. 

So have fun reading, as much as I had putting this thing together and BlessRNG to your runs!

PSA: This guide will not explain all the tricks and basic principles of speedrunning Darkest Dungeon in general – I actually expect you to be familiar with the terms 🙂

Also I wrote this guide from experience, and a lot of it is personal opinion as well, so feel free to experiment for yourself as well! 

Update (January 14th 2020) – added a section covering the Multi Client route.


Chapter #1 – Once again, the stars are right… 

This chapter contains tips for the Old Road, and the early game (up until level 2)

Old Road

  • Not too much to say here, you generally keep the torch light as it is until the last fight. 

  • You want to always loot the tent in the hallway for some extra cash.

  • In the last fight, snuff the torch before killing the last enemy for extra loot.

  • If you get a key from that fight, use it to open the chest in the room before leaving (otherwise don’t bother with the chest, it's trapped).

Before Ruins 1

  • Upgrade the stagecoach twice (if you were lucky you got some deeds from the old road, which lets you upgrade it straight away, without having to trade heirlooms around)

  • Use either Reynauld or the PD to scardycat.

  • When the loading screen of the first scardycat appears, ALT+F4 the game. Restart the game. Load back into it, and you will end up with a “Hamlet” loading screen, but will be loaded correctly into the darkest dungeon. This skips all the queued up dialogue [most of the time] from the first time you visit something in the hamlet.

  • Scardycat for the desired party composition. (See "Heroes" for more info)

Note: I usually reset the run around the 6 minute mark, when I haven’t gotten my party by then.

  • You want to scardycat at least twice to unlock the guild and the blacksmith (it sometimes happens that you get a hellion AND a highwayman after the first scardycat, but you want to make sure they have the right abilities right from the start )

  • As soon as you got your party, upgrade the guild once (to level 2) – you should have enough heirlooms for that.

  • Make sure both HWM have “Duelist’s Advance” and “Wicked Slice”

  • Make sure the Hellion has “Iron Swan”

  • Make sure the Vestal has “Judgement”

  • Sell any trinkets you might have from the old road loot to make sure you got the right abilities!

  • If you got the spare money, upgrade Dismas’s “Wicked Slice” and “Duelist’s Advance” right away.


Ruins 1

  • Provisions: 1 Shovel, 1 Key, as much food as you can/want to afford up to 1 stack.

Note: With no light, you will always find a second shovel and a second key throughout the dungeon, so you don’t need to bring 2 of each.

  • Party layout: Vestal (4) / Dismas (3) / HWM#2 (2) / Hellion (1) – usually in the beginning, dismas will have higher SPD than the fresh highwayman, so putting him into pos3 will make shuffling the highwaymen with Duelist’s Advance easier.

  • Snuff the torch immediately, so you get extra loot from the torch stand in the first hallway.

  • Generally: loot all Curios, especially when you can safely get loot (through a provision
    item)

  • Proceed through the first two fights.

  • At the crossing instead of turning right,  go up instead – since the fight up there isn’t too bad (1 brawler, 1 skeleton, 1 witch) and the room has a treasure chest you can open with your key.

  • Proceed to the final room.

Note: the pack in the hallway before the foodcheck will ALWAYS have at least 4 food in it (pitch black) , so it is totally fine to use any food you brought with you for healing in between fights.

  • Do the fight, don’t forget to open the chest in the room afterwards with your second key!

Early Game Leveling

  • After ruins 1, make sure every hero gets the right abilities and upgrade them as well.

  • Hellion uses: (1) Wicked Hack (2) Iron Swan (3) If it Bleeds (4) Breakthrough 

  • HWM use: (1) Wicked Slice (2) Pistol Shot (3) Point Blank Shot (4) Duelist’s Advance

  • Vestal uses: (1) Judgement (2) Dazzling Light (3) Divine Grace (4) Divine Comfort

  • You don't have to use my key layout, do whatever you’re used to on these characters – but they should have those abilities!

  • Your first goal after Ruins 1 will be to upgrade the Guild to level 3 (which costs 15 portraits and 38 crests), in this run you rely on that a town upgrade event happens during all the leveling process, so you can get the guild upgrade level 4 for free and focus more on just getting the blacksmith leveled up. (see Town Events section for more info).

  • Switch over to the Warrens and start doing quests there.

  • Note: In the Warrens, portraits have the highest chance to drop as loot out of all the regions.

  • Provision advice: at least 12 food, 2 shovels, 2 med. Herbs, 2 bandages, 1-2 torches, 1 holy water, 2 keys.

  • Usually after doing 3 warrens missions you will have enough heirlooms as well as all your heroes hitting level 2.

(Lines up with the Swine Prince quest unlocked pretty well – don't kill it yet though)

General tips for chapter #1

  • In fights, if you can kill an enemy before he can take his turn, do it.

  • Try and focus stress damage dealers first in general, but be weary of the health of your heroes, sometimes it's better to kill the physical damage dealers first!

  • In spider fights, I usually prefer to kill the red spiders first, since they have the ability to stun+mark a target, which then enables the green spiders to hit that target for massive damage. (that is how usually heroes die to spiders)

  • In general, you want to try to set up both ripostes on the highwaymen on turn 1 in combat – UNLESS you know you can one-turn-kill the whole enemy party (i.e. fighting 3 spiders). 

  • Don’t be too afraid to let the Hellion get shuffled back into position 2 or 3, she can still use “If It Bleeds” and “Breakthrough”, the latter moving her forward by 1.

  • You will be doing exclusively short apprentice missions, don’t hesitate to scardycat if none of these missions show up in the area you want to go to.

  • You will do all dungeons in pitch black darkness, so always snuff the torch in the beginning of a mission when you find either the first curio to loot or at the end of the first fight (whichever comes first).

Note: You do this to get enough heirlooms and gold to upgrade the town and our heroes as much as you need – final upgrades should be 4/4/4 or better. [guild/weapons/armor]

  • You will want to prefer scouting missions slightly over skirmish missions in this part of the run – generally speaking. You want your heroes getting exp as fast as possible, heirlooms/gold are secondary, hence why you want to do as least fights as possible in the early game. (on average, scouting missions have less fights/more avoidable fights than skirmish missions)

  • Avoid summoning a shambler – there is nothing you can do about the 1% shambler spawns – unless you are really confident to do them. (i.e. end of the mission, party still has full hp and low stress, maybe even Curio buffs)


Chapter #2 – there can be no bravery, without madness!

(level 2 – 5)

  • At this point the run opens up, and doesn't follow a very strict route, 

  • After unlocking the Swine Prince, switch over to the Weald and start doing missions there.

Note: The Weald has the highest chance to drop Deeds as loot out of all the regions.

  • You want to start to balance out skirmish and scouting missions, slowly favouring skirmish, for more loot as you level and upgrade your party.

  • It's usually a good idea to weave in two more ruins missions along the way to unlock the Necromancer quest.

  • When you see a trinket reward that you want (see the Trinket section for more info) on a boss mission, get it – just keep in mind that you save 1 boss for later, when you do the scardyboosting.

  • Over the course of the leveling process you should be able to unlock: Necromancer, Swine Prince, Hag and the Brigand Pounder.

  • You also want to fight every shambler you encounter at this point, since your party should be strong enough to easily deal with him.

  • When upgrading, I prioritize weapons over armor first.

Provision Advice: 

Warrens : at least 12 food, 2 shovels, 2 med. Herbs, 2 bandages, 1-2 torches, 1 holy water, 2 keys.

Weald: at least 12 food, 4 shovels, 2 antivenom, 2 bandages, 1-2 torches, 2 keys

Ruins: at least 12 food, 2 shovels, 1 med. Herbs, 2-3 keys, 2-3 holy water, 1 torch


Chapter #3 – overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer…

(lvl5 – DD4)

Upon hitting level 5 with Dismas, (he will basically always be the first to hit lvl 5 since he’s got the 2xp from the Old Road) scardyboost with him the rest of the party.

Since you use an apprentice boss quest to boost (4xp), calculate how many boosts you need for the hero with the lowest xp.

(sometimes a hero dies very early in the run, where its not a big deal to just pick up a fresh lvl 0)

After you’ve done the scardyboosts, do the last available boss – which brings everybody to level 6 – except Dismas.

You’ll want to scardycat for any missing trinket before doing the boss, Dismas will likely need to be purged of some negative quirks or diseases anyway.

If you somehow end up with more than 1 boss left, you can consider doing scardyboosts with one of the level 6 characters and then doing the boss to get Dismas to level 6 as well. (not mandatory)

If you got a +virtue chance trinket, put it on dismas for DD1 if he is lvl 5, this will make virtue scamming easier on him.

If you are at this point still missing any upgrades or just the money for them, don't hesitate to do one more quick mission for loot!

Before entering DD1 make sure that:

  • Every hero has all used abilities and weapons/armor upgraded to max.

  • Every hero has the right trinkets equipped.

  • Make sure the Hellion has the "Sharpen Spear" camping skill.

  • Make sure both Highwaymen have the "Clean Guns" and "Unparalleled Finesse" camping skills.

  • Make sure the Vestal has the "Sanctuary" camping skill (just a safety precaution)

  • Any must-purge quirks and diseases are gone.

Darkest Dungeon #1 – We Are The Flame

Provisions:

All food, all bandages, a stack of med. herbs, 2 stacks of torches, holy water as much as you like.

Since we won't fight any enemy that has a blight or horror attack, and all the Darkest Dungeons have no obstacles or locked/trapped chests, there is no need to bring Antivenom/Shovels/Keys/Laudanum.

You can see the best route through the dungeon on the map above. Just proceed with caution, make sure torchlight is always up.

Monster Kill Priority:

#1 Malignant Growth (because they can stun, not because of high damage)

#2 Cultist Priests (high damage direct damage and bleed skills)

#3 Cultist Brawler (high damage bleed skill)

#4 Rapture (just annoying, not dangerous)

#5 Cultist Witch (no relevant direct damage, and we don't really care about stress)

With that said, you still have to decide for yourself what you want to kill first. It will happen, that an enemy gets guarded by one of the Raptures so you will be forced to kill them first – but the above list should give you a general impression on how dangerous all enemy types are. The basic idea is to get rid of the damage dealers first, and care for stress damage dealers later (since thanks to virtue scamming stress isn't really an issue, but physical damage is!)

Also worth mentioning: you want to use your campfire in the room after the 3x Cultist Priest fight in the middle of the dungeon.

Use "Unparallelled Finesse" with both Highwaymen, if people are low on hp and/or have death's door debuffs, it might be good to use "Sanctuary" with the Vestal.

Otherwise use "Sharpen Spear" with the Hellion.

Proceed to the boss battle.

Shuffling Horror

It is basically an easier version of the shambler fight (imo).

Keep riposte up on the highwaymen and just ignore the cultist priest, he will usually kill himself and we don't want the boss to spawn a monster that can guard him. (If he does because you got lucky on the riposte crits, kill that enemy before the boss)

Your party is very likely to be shuffled every turn, but this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

If Dismas was level 5 before, he should hit level 6 after completing the dungeon.

Intermission

  • Since we do the talisman dupe here, purge any must-purge negative quirks or diseases.

  • All heroes keep their abilities as before.

  • The Shuffling horror drops a shambler trinket as well, so if you got one that is really good, keep or use it!

  • Make sure every hero has a Talisman of the Flame equipped.

  • Hellion/Highwaymen ideally have a Focus Ring in addition to the Talisman.

  • The Vestal should use the Ancestor's Scroll/Junia's Head – if you got one – otherwise the Sacred Scroll in addition to the Talisman.


Darkest Dungeon #2 – Lighting The Way

Provisions:

All food, 2 stacks of torches, 1-2  stacks of bandages, 1 stack of med. herbs, 1-2 stacks of antivenom, 1 stack of holy water.

Again, no Shovels/Keys/Laudanum needed.

Monster Kill Priority:

Same as for DD1. (enemies are apart from the templar fights basically the same – the only new enemy in the hallway battles is the defensive growth, and in that fight you kill the malignant growths first anyway)

As you can see on the map, my route involves going for the 2-Templar fight first – I highly suggest doing that, since you get the hardest fight out of the way and can benefit afterwards from the two campfires you've got. I suggest using the holy water on one of the templar fights (probably the bottom left one, because the polyps have blight attacks in addition to the templar)

So start going right first, do the two hallway fights and use food to heal characters. You can use a campfire before the 2-Templar fight, if it is absolutely necessary, but I recommend camping after the fight back in the starting room.

Double-Templar fight (bottom right)

This is one of the most dangerous fights in the game, but fear not – we also have a trick to make that fight pretty easy. Both templars have two actions each turn and the AI will always use "Revelation" as the first move (which is irrelevant since the whole party got a Talisman Of The Flame equipped). For the second move, each templar has some very high damage abilities (see the wiki for more info) – namely "Doomsday", "Stinger Stab" and "Torment".

What you can do to completely avoid these really bad skills is after the templars have taken their first move, exit to the main menu and load back in. This will simply reset the AI and it will use "Revelation" on both templars again.

As you can see, every AI-reset costs ~30 seconds, so it is up to you how often you want to use this trick in the fight. (I often use it until I've killed the first templar, and will just deal with the second one normally)

The order in which you kill the templar is totally up to personal preference – I usually kill the Impaler first, because he can stun with one of his abilities.

After the fight, don’t forget to activate the Iron Crown in the room, then go back to the starting room and camp there. 

Usage of camping skills is the same as in DD1.

At this point it really doesn't matter which way you go first, I usually go up next.

Proceed to the next miniboss fight. (no matter what you choose)

Templar Warlord + Hounds fight (top)

Not too much to say other than: kill the hounds first – they can stun and move your heroes. 

You can as well reset the Templar AI if you need to in this fight.

After the fight, go back to the dungeon entrance. Here you have to decide when you want to use the 2nd campfire, since food will be slowly but surely depleted – I decide based on if my party needs healing now or not. Keep in mind you still have two more hallway fights to do before the last miniboss fight. So sometimes I will keep the campfire to use before the last miniboss, but you have to decide that on the go 😉 Don't forget to activate the Iron Crown after the fight!

Templar Impaler + Polyps fight (bottom left)

Basically the same advice as before: kill the polyps first, they blight and mark your characters. If you brought holy water, it's nice to use it here.

Don't forget to activate the Iron Crown after the fight!

Intermission

  • If needed, clear any must-purge quirks or diseases off your heroes.

  • Make sure both highwaymen have learned and fully upgraded "Tracking Shot" (switch "Point Blank Shot" out).

  • For DD3, we want to get if possible +34 ACC on both highwaymen for the cyst fights. The reasoning is the following:

We want to make sure both highwaymen can hit the White Cell Stalk as close to 100% as possible. Since the stalk has 38,75% dodge our "Pistol Shot" needs 134 ACC to never miss (since we need 95% chance to hit to get a guaranteed hit). Level 4 "Pistol Shot" has a base ACC of 100. 

"Tracking Shot" adds +9, "Clean Guns" adds +10, Focus Ring +10 again, so if you got some way of increasing range ACC by another 5 from the 2nd trinket slot, do it!

In most cases we will end up with "just" the 129 ACC on "Pistol Shot", that means both highwaymen will have a 5% miss chance on the cell stalk – which is good enough. 

For comparison, you could achieve the same on the hellion if you give her "Adrenalin Rush" – but since you would need two trinkets with +10 ACC each as well as keep renewing the buff mid-fight, I think it's easier to just use the highwaymen to kill the stalk.


Darkest Dungeon #3 – Belly Of The Beast

Provisions:

All food, 2 stacks of Torches, all Antivenom, at least 1 stack Med. Herbs, 1 stack Holy Water, 1 stack Bandages.

This one is with DD2 the scariest one. The route we take is pretty self explanatory.

Monster Kill Priority:

#1: Antibody (if you happen to get teleported)

#2: Polyp

#3: Hound

The most important fights here are the two fights against the Mammoth Cyst + White Cell Stalk.

Before those fights make sure that:

  • You camp and use "Clean Guns" on both highwaymen and "Sharpen Spear" on the hellion.

  • Both highwaymen have "Tracking Shot"  equipped (switch out "Point Blank Shot").

For the cyst-fights some information is very important:

ALWAYS make sure the White Cell Stalk dies. They have a teleport ability that will teleport your party to one of the locations marked on the map. 

(Taken from the wiki:)

Teleport will never be used on the Stalk's first turn: it has a -100000000.0 chance modifier. Each round thereafter, the chance of it using said skill will increase by 7.0, stacking up on the next rounds with a base chance of 4.0 (that means, for instance, that at round 3 there will be a 4+ (2*7)=18.0% chance for the Stalk to Teleport your heroes away from the fight). You can reset the timer by killing the Stalk.

So make sure the Stalk dies each turn basically. Usually it should be enough to use "Pistol Shot" with both highwaymen to kill it.

I usually open the fight with both highwaymen using "Tracking Shot" and the hellion and the vestal attacking the first Cell Stalk.

The Mammoth Cyst has two actions each turn. If there is no White Cell Stalk present, it will summon a new one as their first move each turn. Usually both highwaymen will go first each turn, and if you are lucky, the first highwayman will crit and kill the Stalk. You then can set up riposte on the other highwayman.

The hellion should use "If It Bleeds" on the Mammoth Cyst all the time. "Iron Swan" should be used in case both highwaymen miss the Stalk. 

The vestal should only use an attack if nobody needs healing or if she can last-hit the last enemy.

If the Cyst uses "Bulging Gaze" on your damage dealers, make sure to purge the debuff it leaves behind with med. herbs!

It's always a good idea to purge the blight of "Digestion".

After the last Cyst fight, use the curio in the room to end the mission!

Intermission

You want to switch “Wicked Slice” for “Open Vein” and keep “Tracking Shot” on your highwaymen before entering the last dungeon!

Notable to mention here is the fact that you can't scardycat here anymore in the usual way. The last dungeon doesn't offer you a way to retreat so what do you do when someone gets a must purge quirk or disease from DD3?

It's actually pretty simple: grab a disposable lvl 0 hero and send him alone into DD4. Once in the dungeon start moving, but after the first square shift to just going back and forth between two hallway squares. This will eventually raise the heroes stress level to ultimately 200 stress, where he will suffer a heart attack. As soon as the hero is dead, the mission fails and the week advances!

Darkest Dungeon #4 – Hell Is In The Heart

By far the easiest Darkest Dungeon of them all. If I could, I would do it without a healer.

Provisions:

All Bandages, Antivenom, Holy Water and Med. Herbs. Nothing else is required.

The way to the boss is straightforward, the only thing to say about here is that you don’t have to listen to the ancestor’s dialogues. When you approach them, a window pops up that basically has only the option to interact with it. You then just press ESC and the window will disappear as well as the ancestor and you can move on.

Final Boss

Phase 1

Your main goal is to kill at least one reflection each turn, so he summons a new one with a chance of summoning an imperfect one.

With that said, you will try as always to keep riposte up on the highwaymen, but don’t sweat it – prioritize killing the copies!

Incoming damage in this phase is usually pretty low, except for when the enemies team up on someone with bleed attacks (bandage!) – but that happens very rarely.

Use “Tracking Shot” somewhere during that phase with your highwaymen.

This phase sometimes can drag on quite a bit, when the ancestor refuses to summon imperfect reflections.

Phase 2

Here you want to deal damage to the ancestor in the beginning of the phase until he moves forward to position 1-3.

As soon as he is in range, hit him exclusively with your bleed skills from the damage dealers – stack the bleed as high as you can, and make sure it never falls off.

(When he is in position 3, the highwaymen can still hit him with Duelist’s Advance or Pistol Shot)

In this phase, the Ancestor deals the most damage to the party with his “Unmake them All” and “Refashion Them” abilities. Also don’t shy away of curing bleeds with your bandages.

Phase 3

When you got the Ancestor down to 0 hp, he transforms into the Heart of Darkness in a hibernated form.

Important to note is that from Phase 2 to 3 and from Phase 3 to 4, the boss will carry over any stacks of damage over time effects – that’s why you stack bleed as high as possible on him.

This phase is no exception, just hit the heart with all the bleed skills you’ve got.

If you haven’t already used “Tracking Shot” with your highwaymen, do it now!

Keep your Holy Water for this phase, pop one at least on each damage dealer at the beginning of their first turn against the heart. That will make the heroes much less likely to get blighted.

Purge any bigger blight stack (8+) with an Antivenom.

As soon as the heart hits 0 hp or 4 turns have passed the last phase begins.

Phase 4

Here, you just hit the heart (again) with all the bleed skills you’ve got.

The first “Come Unto Your Maker” should always target the Vestal, since she deals the lowest damage of all.

The second one can hit someone who is either high stress/afflicted but it really doesn’t matter too much, at this point you have the fight in the bag anyway 🙂

Final split time is on the killing blow of the Heart of Darkness (keep in mind if it bleeds to death). 

If you finished – CONGRATULATIONS! It probably has been a wild ride for you 🙂

Multi Client Route

This addendum only covers the differences the TSplit brought to this run.

  • We start off the run like the regular Any% with doing the old road and then scardycatting for our party. (Vestal/HWM/HWM/Hellion)

  • When we finally got what we need, head into Ruins 1.

  • Do Ruins 1, as always, but at the end of it – we tsplit at least 3 times to unlock the Necromancer.

  • So far, I did a couple more tsplits, to get everybody to level 2 before going into Necro. This also has the benefit of getting you some extra heirlooms and gold.

  • scardycat for a good Necromancer quest reward. (preferable Focus Ring)

  • Head into the Necromancer. Pick up as much loot as possible, prefer heirlooms over gold because through the duplication of the trinkets we will get enough money anyway.

  • Use the Necromancer mission to boost your party to level 6 with the TSplit.

  • When your party hits lvl 6, do all the upgrades that you can afford (should be enough for maxlvl guild and almost maxing out the blacksmith as well)

  • you can do a couple more TSplits here to afford maxlvl Blacksmith.

  • when you got all you need, head and do DD1 as usual.

  • you can use the tsplit at the end of DD1 to duplicate the boss trinket (if you get the candle for example) as well as the torches for DD2.

  • you can use the tsplit to reroll what trinket you get from the boss as well (if you need the healing trinket for example). Just load into the game on your second client before doing the final blow of the fight.

  • after that, everything is done again like in the single client run.

And that's about it! I will update this section further when I have done a couple more runs 🙂

Stress Management

This is also a topic where you have to make situational decisions as they come up.

In general, don't care too much about a character getting stressed out, since you will most likely virtue scam anyway.

BUT: you want to be weary of the timeloss a virtue scam brings with it. In normal missions (without loading screen dialogue) it is usually a 15-20 second time loss whereas a boss quest or the darkest dungeon will always play the associated dialogue on the loading screen, increasing the time lost to 30-40 seconds per reroll.

With that said, keep in mind the following things before deciding whether or not to virtue scam:

  • How far from finishing the actual dungeon are you?

  • Has another character maybe gotten a disease/bad quirk you need to purge next week anyway? (If yes it might be quicker to take the affliction and purge it on the next scardycat)

For the darkest dungeons I would say it is usually worth it to always virtue scam, even though this might bring a substantial time loss with it – some time lost on virtue scamming is better than losing a character to a heart attack.

I once lost ~7 minutes in an attempt to virtue scam a hero in DD2.

So overall you have to decide on the fly what you want to do, there is no real best answer for all possible situations.

What if a hero dies?

You know how darkest dungeon can be, sometimes a hero just gets crit twice in a row and dies on the first deathblow check to a bleed/blight.

So really dependant on where along the run that happens, the consequences in time lost are different.

Early in the run it is not a big deal, pick a fresh hero and go with it.

If you want to plan for a potential death, you can always check the stagecoach and pick up a backup crew for the worst case along the way.

In the middle of the run (lvl 3+) it is basically the same thing, pick up a fresh one and roll with it. Keep in mind that the replacement hero will need more scardyboosts.

If a hero dies in either DD 1-3, it really is up to you what you want to do – you can either reset the run (oof) or relevel the character. In the worst case, you have to retreat from the mission, which kills off another hero, so you’ll have to find and level up a second one.

Releveling any amount of characters results in an average timeloss of 20-40 minutes usually (dependant on some factors) at this point in the run.

Diseases

In general, you will want to get rid of all diseases immediately.

I would probably make an exception when a trinket I want shows up on a boss mission, I usually get the trinket first, and care about the disease later.

I also tend to upgrade the Patient Cells in the Sanitarium once during the run so I can purge  diseases on two heroes at the same time.

Town Events

There are only 3 town events you really care for, the rest is basically ignorable.

Labour Force (aka town upgrade event)

The route is banking on that one of these happens somewhere in the run before entering DD1. You usually will always want to pick the guild lvl 4 upgrade, so you can stop caring about farming portraits.

To make sure you get the most out of it, rush the guild lvl 3 upgrade – since sometimes this event shows up early in the run and you don't want to "waste" it on a level 3 or less upgrade.

Sometimes you will get super lucky and get even 2 of these events, in that case I usually take the level 5 guild to get those sweet ability upgrades. You can instead obviously upgrade the blacksmith with it, it's up to you!

In some runs you will not get a single upgrade event at the point of being ready to start the darkest dungeons. In that case you either scardycat for it, farm resources or reset the run – whichever you feel is best in the situation.

Laying Low


This one rewards all highwaymen in your roster with a free level up, as long as they are idle for the week.

This one is interesting, it will basically reward your highwaymen with enough experience to hit the next level. All you need to do is keep your highwaymen idle (no distressing/purging) and scardycat once – done.

Dependant on how much exp you saved through that, it will speed up your leveling process immensely, for example if you get it when dismas is level 4, it will enable you to scardyboost immediately afterwards.

Brigand Incursion (aka Wolves At The Door)

This can only spawn if you have at least 4 heroes level 5 or higher, and after week 40. This means it will (if at all) most likely happen right before you start doing the darkest dungeons or in between them.

Since you don't have the time or need to kill Vvulf, just pick up one sacrificial lamb (any unused lvl 0 hero) and send him into the quest. Snuff the torch, move into the first fight and just pass turns until your hero dies. The mission will fail, but it'll be gone and can not reappear for at least 4 weeks.

Misc

I'd like to note a few more town events you can benefit of, or which should be avoided.

Caregivers Convention/Medical Breakthrough/Town Fair

These three allow free use of the medical devices (disease purging) or the sanitarium (quirk purging/reinforcing) or both for the week.

While it is often a good idea to get rid of bad quirks immediately, some may slip through and when such town event happens, take advantage of it! (As long as you don't sacrifice i.e. a trinket from a boss quest you would want)

A Job Well Done/Lost And Found

Provides one free armor/weapon upgrade for one of your heroes. If you can, make use of it, usually they don't really line up with your upgrades – but sometimes they do!

The Dark is Rising

This one gives your party a whopping -15% virtue chance on the next quest. You want to scardycat this away, the only exception being that your party is on low/no stress and you're not approaching one of the DDs.

Shrieker Town Events

In general, avoid the Shrieker since the chance of him killing somebody are late in the game not super-high, but definitely there.

Shrieker’s Prize

  • This can be completely ignored

A Thief In The Night

  • This can basically be ignored, if you keep the trinkets you want to use equipped on your heroes at all times, so in the case of this event appearing, the shrieker can only steal trinkets from the trinket inventory. (which should be empty anyway usually)


Trinkets

Most trinkets the game has to offer can be ignored by us because they fall in one of the following categories:

  • Unobtainable (Ancestral Trinkets in general, minus the shambler ones)

  • Class specific (obviously)

  • Not useful for our run (the vast majority)

We only care for some specific ones, and always sell the rest immediately.

So what trinkets are there left for us to use?

Hellion/Highwayman

  • Heavens Hairpin (Hellion only)

(-25% Stress if torch >75, +10 ACC if torch >75)

If you are lucky and loot one of these, congratulations! It’s imo the best overall trinket to have on the Hellion – especially if you can combine it with another good trinket as well.

  • Focus Ring

(+10 ACC, +5% Crit Chance, -8 DODGE)

You want 3 of those if possible.

  • Crescendo Box (very low chance to drop from a Madman)

(+15% DMG, +2 SPD, +10% Stress)

  • Ancestor’s Candle (dropped by the Shambler)

(+15% DMG if torch >50, +2 SPD if torch >50, +5 DODGE if torch >50, +10% Stress)

  • Damage Stone

(+10% DMG, -4 DODGE)

  • Warrior’s Bracer

(+10% DMG Melee Skills, -4 DODGE)

  • Warrior’s Cap

(+5 ACC Melee Skills)

  • Accuracy Stone

(+4 ACC, -1 SPD)

  • Book of Sanity

(-20% Stress)

  • Blood Charm

(+30% Bleed Resist)

  • Health Stone

(+15% MAX HP, -1 SPD)

  • Speed Stone

(+1 SPD)

Vestal

Not much to say here, other than try and get two healing trinkets – at least get the Sacred Scroll (since we actually can guarantee to get it). If you happen to find a shambler/collector trinket – great! Other than that equip one of the listed common trinkets, if you happen to have them spare.

  • Sacred Scroll

.(+33% Healing Skills, -10% Stress, -10% Stun Skill Chance, -33% Damage)

  • Ancestor’s Scroll

(+25% Healing Skills, +25% Stress Skills, +10% Stress)

  • Junia’s Head

(+30% Healing Skills, +20% Stress)

  • Chirurgeon’s Charm

(+15% Healing Skills)

  • Book of Sanity

(-20% Stress)

  • Blood Charm

(+30% Bleed Resist)

  • Dazzling Charm

(+10% Stun Skill Chance)

  • Health Stone

(+15% MAX HP, -1 SPD)

  • Speed Stone

(+1 SPD)

A word on some trinkets that have just a little too harsh of a downside to take:

  • Distended Crowseye 

(+10 ACC, +33% Disease Resist if Torch below 75, +15% Scouting Chance if Torch below 50, +15% Stress)

Sadly, a Shrieker trinket

  • Tome Of Holy Healing

(+25% Healing Skills, -15% MAX HP)

minus 15% max hp oof

  • Gunslinger’s Buckle

(+20% DMG Ranged Skills, +15 ACC Ranged Skills,  -10% DMG Melee Skills,  -5% CRIT Melee Skills)

we mainly use melee skills

  • Dismas’ Head

(+25% DMG, -10% MAX HP, +20% Stress)

 minus 10% max hp oof

Quirks

There is no point in listing positive quirks, since you rarely get the opportunity (the money in this case) to lock in any positive quirks. If you get the town event which makes the sanitarium completely free for the week, you may consider purging a bad locked in quirk and reinforce a  positive one. In that case, just lock in a really good one like Warrior of the Light or Quickdraw etc.

On managing the quirks, I can only say(again) you have to find your own balance on how to approach it. I usually will try and purge the “must purge” quirks immediately – before they become locked in and more expensive to purge. But other times I don’t care or simply don’t get the opportunity to purge it (another character needs purging first) before it becomes locked in, then I’ll purge it usually when I have to clear a disease on another character.

Negative Quirk Purge List

(the quirks are in no particular order within their categories)

Must purge

Clumsy -5 DODGE

Dud Hitter -5% CRIT if HP above 50%  (especially on damage dealers)

Egomania, Kleptomania – both prone to stealing items

Fear of Eldritch +15% Stress and -10 ACC vs Eldritch 

Fragile -10% MAX HP 

Light Sensitive -10% DMG if Torch above 75

Nocturnal -2 SPD if Torch above 75 

Off Guard -4 SPD and -5 DODGE on First Round 

Phengophobia +20% Stress if Torch above 75 

Torn Rotator -5% DMG Melee Skills (ONLY melee damage dealers)

Weak Grip -5% CRIT Melee Skills (ONLY melee damage dealers)

Weak Grip on Life -10% Death Blow Resist 

Bad/Purge when possible

Night Blindness -10% DMG if Torch below 26 (ignore for the darkest dungeons)

Diurnal -2 SPD if Torch below 26 (ignore for the darkest dungeons)

Scattering -5% DMG Ranged Skills (HWM only)

Flawed Release -5% CRIT Ranged Skills (HWM only)

Mercurial -5% Virtue Chance

Thanatophobia +20% Stress if HP below 50% 

Winded -1 SPD if HP below 50% 

Slowdraw -4 SPD on First Round 

Fear of Beasts +15% Stress and -10 ACC vs Beast 

Anemic -10% Bleed Resist 

Misses the Spot -2% CRIT 

Shocker -10% Stun Resist 

Fear of Mankind +15% Stress and -10 ACC vs Human 

Slow Reflexes -1 SPD 

Sickly -10% Disease Resist 

Nervous +10% Stress 

Thin Blooded -10% Blight Resist 

Soft -5% MAX HP 

Calm -15% DMG on First Round 

Not too bad/Luxury purges

Automatonophobia +20% Stress vs Human 

Zoophobia +20% Stress vs Beast

Stress Eater +100% Food Consumed if Stress above 50 

Compulsive 20% chance to interact with ANY curio

Curious 20% chance to interact with ANY curio

ignorable

Cove Phobe +20% Stress in Cove 

Ruins Phobe +20% Stress in Ruins 

Ruminator -10% Stress Heal Received 

Bad Gambler +11.4% chance of losing money and +13.3% chance of losing trinkets while Gambling 

Fear of Unholy +15% Stress and -10 ACC vs Unholy 

Satanophobia +20% Stress vs Unholy 

Warrens Phobe +20% Stress in Warrens 

Weald Phobe +20% Stress in Weald 

ALL treatment quirks except if they interfere with each other (i.e. locking someone out of all stress treatment facilities)

Enlightened 

Unquiet Mind

God Fearing 

Witness 

Flagellant 

Tippler 

Resolution 

Gambler 

Known Cheat 

Love Interest 

Deviant Tastes 

forced interaction quirks 

Ablutomania 

Bloodthirsty

Dacnomania 

Dark Temptation

Demonomania 

Dipsomania 

Guilty Conscience 

Hagiomania 

Hieromania 

Hylomania 

Necromania 

Paranormania 

Plutomania 

Sitiomania 


Closing Words And Shoutouts

First of all, thank you for reading! I hope this guide makes this run less intimidating for you.

The run has a lot of RNG elements, so don't get discouraged while attempting it – sometimes the RNG will get you 😉

Shoutouts go to the whole darkest dungeon speedrun community, you guys are all awesome!

Special shoutouts to Tricrow, who found a lot of the tricks we use today <3

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