Darkest Dungeon Wiki
Spoiler Tag DD2
Base Stats
Icon HP dd2 MAX HP 101 Icon speed dd2 SPD 4
Bleed dd2 Bleed 40% Stun dd2 Stun 60%
Blight dd2 Blight 40% Move dd2 Move 50%
Burn dd2 Burn 40% Debuff dd2 Debuff 40%
Deathsdoor dd2 Deathblow 75%
Cosmic, Cultist
Size Turns per round
3 2
...but gaze not upon the high Exemplar, for you are not worthy of such an honor.

The Exemplar is a Cosmic/Cultist miniboss enemy in Darkest Dungeon II.

Enemy Description[ | ]

The Exemplar is a miniboss which can only appear at the Oblivion's Rampart in region 3, just before the inn, starting from Act 3. The Exemplar appears to be two entities, or one creature composed of two, with a headless, humanoid torso emerging from a beast-like mass of grotesque flesh, humanoid arms, and an iron mask similar to the ones worn by Deacon and Cardinal adorning a spot at the end of its spine. The two "halves" of the Exemplar even seem to each be in charge of different skills, with the lower, beast-like half attacking with its huge limbs during "Prelude," and piercing heroes with its gaze during "Rapturous Beauty," while the upper, more humanoid half becomes more animated when destroying an ally with "Pillar of Sacrifice," or when calling forth "The Fall.

The Exemplar functions as a gatekeeper, ensuring that the player is capable of disposing of strong foes before they reach The Mountain. Its attacks are highly damaging, and they can target multiple Heroes, inflict high amounts of Blight dd2 , apply debuffs or Dd2 token stress , and apply Dd2 token horror to player heroes.

The Exemplar also begins the encounter with an Altar but can kill and resummons different cultist minions. The Exemplar will periodically kill and resummons its allies over the course of the battle, applying self buffs in the process.

Appearance[ | ]

The biggest and nastiest cultist. Its big, broad body is almost sort of crab-shaped, but with yet another upside-down metal skull mask on the front. It's perfectly circular eyeholes a little more haunting than the angry scowls of it's brethren. Two sword-like metal spines extend diagonally from it's cheekbones, while it's "upper jaw" is stretched into a long, flat metal rectangle which, along with the spines, intersects another of those crescents.

Two little humanoid arms sprout to either side of the "mask," each with three tooth-like growths jutting from the sides of the spindly forearms. The monster rests on a much, much larger humanoid arm sprouting from its left side, and it's one of those lovely ghoulish limbs where you can see clearly through the radius and ulna. Always a fan of those! The opposite of the "crab" just has a cluster of large, stubby and very fat octopus tentacles, really nice and squirmy.

The stand-out gimmick to this whole design, however, is the "second body" on "top," unless the whole monster is supposed to be upside-down, and that's basically the stomach. It's torn wide open with rows of exposed ribs to either side and a thick spinal column in the center, which connects like some sort of life support hose to the chest of a headless, human torso, arms hauntingly outstretched in worship of its unseen deity.

Combat Skills[ | ]

The Exemplar has numerous fearsome attacks in its arsenal, but the most powerful of them all is "Exultation", a highly damaging cleave which requires him to have 2 Dd2 token worship tokens in order to use and will summon a cultist ally if the starting ally is absent. The Exemplar can generate Dd2 token worship throughout the fight by either using "Pillar of Sacrifice" to destroy its cultist ally, or by setting up "The Fall", an attack only on heroes with Dd2 token combo. If there are no Dd2 token combo tokens present on the player side and it cannot use "Exultation", the Exemplar can use "Prelude" to inflict Dd2 token combo and Blight dd2, or "Rapturous Beauty" to inflictDd2 token vulnerable and Dd2 token horror, or "Pillar of Sacrifice," if its cultist ally has accumulated two Dd2 token worship tokens on itself.

Skill Name Target Ranks DMG CRIT Self Effects
Prelude Blue circle1234 Yellow circle 1234 6-10 5% - • Add Dd2 token combo
• Pull 1
• 6 Blight dd2
The Fall
Cooldown 1
Requires target Dd2 token combo
Blue circle 234 Yellow circle 1234 10-16 5% Dd2 token worship (Only if hits Dd2 token combo) • 2 Dd2 token stress
• Remove Dd2 token combo
Requires 2 Dd2 token worship
forced to use when eligible
Blue circle1234
(2 Targets)
Yellow circle 1234 10-20 5% • Remove Dd2 token worship Summons Altar (31%), Cherub (23%), Evangelist (23%) or Herald (23%) on use.

Cherub, Altar and Herald spawn in rank 4.

Evangelist is summoned in rank 1.

Rapturous Beauty
Cooldown 1
Blue circle1234
(2 Targets)
Yellow circle 1234 4-8 5% - • 1 Dd2 token horror (75% of 1 Dd2 token stress)
• Add Dd2 token vulnerable
Pillar of Sacrifice
Requires alive ally
with 2 Dd2 token worship
forced to use when eligible
Yellow circle 1234 Yellow circle 1234 - - • AddDd2 token worship
• Add 6 Dd2 token regen
• Add Dd2 token riposte x2
Attack used by Dd2 token riposte
Blue circle1234 Yellow circle 1234 6-10 10% - • 1 Dd2 token stress

Strategy and advice[ | ]

The Exemplar is a powerful enemy, but since it only shows up at the end of the final region before the Mountain, it is possible to prepare for the fight well in advance. If you think that your party will struggle against the Exemplar, consider bringing along Blight dd2 resistance buffs and combat items like Antivenom to heal Blight dd2, Laudanum to heal Dd2 token stress and clear Dd2 token horror, as well as at least one stack of Holy Water, to remove any Dd2 token combo tokens in an emergency.

Preventing "Exultation" and "The Fall":[ | ]

"Exultation" is a powerful move which does immense damage and summons a cultist minion. However, it can be entirely avoided by preventing the Exemplar from reaching 2 Dd2 token worship tokens. The only way to realistically accomplish this is by clearing the Dd2 token combotokens applied by "Prelude." There are multiple ways to accomplish this. Firstly, if it is unlocked, the Holy Water combat item is highly recommended, as it clears Dd2 token combotokens from its target, allowing you to clear Dd2 token combo without spending one of your heroes' actions on doing so. If you do not have Holy Water, there are hero skills that can be used instead. Jester's "Play Out" and "Battle Ballad" both remove Dd2 token combowhen mastered, allowing you to simultaneously clear Dd2 token combowhile also applying Dd2 token strength, Dd2 token critor Dd2 token blockplus to your selected teammate. However, the positional requirements and moving effects of "Play Out" and "Battle Ballad" may mean that using one of them is occasionally not viable.

Leper's "Reflection" skill allows you to clear Dd2 token combo while simultaneously clearing Dd2 token blind, healing Dd2 token stress, and buffing the Leper's Debuff dd2 resistance if mastered. This skill can only be used on himself, however, so it cannot help if Dd2 token combois present on another hero. It also features a 1 turn cooldown when unmastered, so if this is to be your primary strategy, be sure to master "Reflection" prior to the third region.

If mastered, Man at Arms' "Stand Fast" skill can clear Dd2 token combo from himself while also creating a large reserve of Dd2 token blockplus, increasing Man at Arms' survivability against the powerful "The Fall." However, unlike "Reflection," "Stand Fast" has a 1 turn cooldown, even when mastered. Man at Arms can also use "Defender" on an ally with Dd2 token comboin order to guard them and take "The Fall" instead of the ally, which not only diverts the damage onto a hero better equipped to survive it, but also will prevent the Exemplar from gaining Dd2 token worship if Man at Arms doesn't have Dd2 token combo himself. Vestal can also apply guard through her "Sanctuary" ability alongside the Bounty Hunter achieving the same result by using "Bodyguard", although Vestal and BH have no way to clear Dd2 token combo from themselves.

Another viable strategy revolves around preventing Dd2 token combo from being applied to begin with. If the Exemplar's "Prelude" misses due to Dd2 token dodge, Dd2 token dodgeplus or Dd2 token blind, it will not generate Dd2 token combo, and the Exemplar will not be able to use "The Fall" in its next turn. This means that skills like Plague Doctor's "Blinding Gas" or the Grave Robber's "Absinthe" and "Repartee" can be used to great effect, although this strategy is inherently inconsistent due to the random nature of tokens that affect hit chance.

Additionally, Exemplar cannot target heroes with Dd2 token stealth, meaning that Grave Robber's "Shadow Fade" and Runaway's "Run and Hide" skills can be used to delay the Exemplar using "The Fall" on them. It is also possible to lure the Exemplar to attack heroes other than those with Dd2 token combo by using Dd2 token taunt, delaying usage of "The Fall," as Dd2 token taunt tokens take precedence over Dd2 token combosynergy. Moreover, due to "The Fall" only being able to target ranks 1, 2 and 3, it is possible to prevent this attack entirely by having Dd2 token taunt on a hero in rank 4. This will force it to attack the hero with Dd2 token taunt taunt, which it can only do by using "Prelude" or "Rapturous Beauty."

Dealing with allies:[ | ]

While the Exemplar summons allies, it is often, but not always, not worth attacking them. This is because the Exemplar will kill its ally eventually; if you fail to kill their ally before the Exemplar uses "Pillar of Sacrifice", you will have wasted damage that could have been used on the Exemplar itself. However, killing the Exemplar's minion before it uses "Pillar of Sacrifice" will deny it the significant positive buffs that skill provides, until it summons a new minion using "Exultation."

While attacking them can often be unwise, the Exemplar's allies are still a noteworthy threat. At an Oblivion's Rampart, the Exemplar always appears with an Altar supporting it from Rank 4. At the start of the battle, Altars provide an buff that changes depending on the Confession of the current expedition. This buff ranges from being negligible, to potentially catastrophic. If the Confession is Resentment, consider paying careful attention to your attacks relative to how many Dd2 token worship the Exemplar has, in order to reduce the risk of the Exemplar gaining a Dd2 token crittoken before it uses "Exultation." Additionally, the Altar provides the Exemplar with Dd2 token regen and Dd2 token block regardless of the Confession, prolonging the fight.

The Herald is another dangerous ally for the Exemplar. It can inflict high Dd2 token stress on any hero and destroy their positive tokens regardless of their rank, and apply Bleed dd2 and Burn dd2 to heroes in the back ranks. Additionally, it can also remove negative tokens from the Exemplar. These abilities can significantly swing the battle in the Exemplar's favor, and, combined with Heralds' low health and lack of any defensive tokens, make spending the turns to kill them with your own heroes as soon as possible an option worth considering.

While Evangelists are capable of applying high amounts of Bleed dd2with fairly damaging attacks, and can generate Dd2 token crit for themselves, they are not advisable to try to kill before the Exemplar sacrifices them, due to both their relatively high health, and ability to generate Dd2 token dodgefor themselves. Evangelists are also the only Exemplar minion with Deathsdoor dd2 resistance, making them almost always take at least one extra turn to kill. Unlike all other Exemplar allies, Evangelists will always appear in Rank 1.

Finally, the Cherub is the least threatening minion, doing a paltry 1-2 damage with its attacks, but still being capable of applying negative tokens like Dd2 token blind and Dd2 token weak, along with a significant Dd2 token stress debuff. Cherubs, like Evangelists, can also be hard to kill due to their capability to give themselves Dd2 token dodgeplus. While the negative effects they apply can be bothersome, Cherubs are rarely worth diverting attention away from the Exemplar for.

General advice:[ | ]

Debuffs that reduce the effectiveness of the Exemplar's attacks, like Dd2 token blind andDd2 token weak, as well as positive tokens that do the same, like Dd2 token dodge, Dd2 token dodgeplus, Dd2 token block and Dd2 token blockplus have immense value in this fight, as the Exemplar's attacks universally do very high damage. However, due to the Exemplar's high debuff resistance, debuffs can be unreliable, so a consistent strategy revolving around positive tokens for your own heroes is preferred.

Furthermore, due to the Exemplar's high Deathsdoor dd2resistance, the Exemplar may take multiple blows to finish off after reducing it to 0 health. This can be mitigated through repeated blows to lower the Deathsdoor dd2 resistance, combat items like Death Cap Spores that debuff Deathsdoor dd2 resistance, equipping trinkets that increase Deathsdoor dd2 chance, or using attacks with an increased Deathsdoor dd2 chance like the Highwayman's "Double Tap" and Grave Robber's "Glint in the Dark". When mastered, this skill also has the unique ability to bypass Death's Door entirely if Grave Robber has Dd2 token stealth, meaning that even if the Exemplar still has health remaining, if the attack would reduce the Exemplar to 0 health, the Exemplar will be instantly killed, as if it had no Deathsdoor dd2 resistance at all. The "Slayer of Cosmic" quirk also allows a hero to ignore all but 5% of the Exemplar's Deathsdoor dd2 resistance. Finally, applying Bleed dd2Blight dd2 and Burn dd2can give further chances to deal the final blow on the Exemplar's own turns, or at the very least counteract the Dd2 token regen the Exemplar gains from "Pillar of Sacrifice," from healing the Exemplar off of Death's Door.

As with any enemy, the Exemplar can be Ordained, and in the guaranteed encounter with it in the third Oblivion's Rampart, it will almost always be Ordained, as the chance for Ordained enemies increases to 90% in the third region. This is extremely significant not only for the boost to the Exemplar's already formidable health and damage, but for the unique, special effects Ordainment provides to enemies depending on the Confession. The most significant of these is the Obsession Confession, where any critical hit "mirrors" any positive tokens on whoever was hit, meaning that if unlucky, the Exemplar could gain extra tokens it's normally incapable of receiving, ranging from Dd2 token crit and Dd2 token strength to Dd2 token dodgeplus and Dd2 token blockplus.

Loot[ | ]

Despite being a miniboss like the Shambler and Death, unlike them, the Exemplar does not have unique loot, providing only standard loot for Oblivion's Ramparts when fought at the end of the third region.

Trivia[ | ]

  • The Exemplar used to replace enemies that would appear at any road battle the player entered when they had 5 Loathing prior to the "Redemption Road" update. This meant that if the player failed to mitigate loathing, they would be the victim of an Exemplar spawning at a road barricade. Exemplars could spawn prior to region 3 this way, as well as spawning with any cultist rather than the Altar it is guaranteed to spawn with at its regular place of residence.

Regional Dreaming General MiniScrollpip Harvest Child MiniScrollpip Leviathan MiniScrollpip Librarian
Roaming Antiquarian MiniScrollpip Chirurgeon MiniScrollpip Collector MiniScrollpip Death MiniScrollpip Exemplar MiniScrollpip Shambler MiniScrollpip Warlord (DLC)
The MountainContains spoilers for the Darkest Dungeon
The Shackles of Denial MiniScrollpip Seething Sigh MiniScrollpip Focused Fault MiniScrollpip Ravenous Reach MiniScrollpip Body of Work