Heroes, or Adventurers, in Darkest Dungeon are characters used by the player when assembling parties and expeditions to explore dungeons. They are divided into several classes, specializations that define their appearance and abilities. Each character has different skills and can fill different roles in combat. Each class also has unique barks as a reaction to many situations. Different heroes from the same class have the same base stats and can access the same skills; they differ by what they have learned and (more importantly) what quirks they have.
- 1 Stats
- 2 Persistent elements
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Classes
- 5 DLC Exclusive Heroes
- 6 Comparison Table
- 7 Achievements
- 8 Gallery
Each character has six different stats, normally determined by their class and their equipment. Stats improve when the hero's Resolve level increases or their equipment is upgraded, but can also be augmented through the use of trinkets. Stats are also influenced by quirks and diseases, either positively or negatively, and it is possible to acquire temporary effects influencing a hero's stats as a side effect of several Hamlet activities or curio interactions. Stats are also used by monsters, but only defensive ones (Dodge, Protection, and Speed) are displayed to the player.
Abbreviated as ACC MOD, the accuracy modifier is the bonus (or penalty) applied to the accuracy of all attacks used by the character. Accuracy, abbreviated as ACC, is the overall chance of landing offensive abilities. The final chance of hitting an enemy is given by the base accuracy of the ability (which depends on its upgrade tier), modified by any quirk, trinket, buff, and/or debuff modifiers, the hero's accuracy modifier, a further hidden +5 ACC, and minus the target's Dodge; the resultant number is the percentage chance for the attack to hit. You’ll need a displayed 95% hit chance for the game to internally modify this to a guaranteed hit. You also gain a +4 ACC bonus for any consecutive miss in a row after the first one.
Note that the accuracy of all enemies improves while at low light levels, but not their Dodge.
Additional details: Critical Hit
Abbreviated as CRIT, critical chance determines the chance of an attack scoring a critical hit. A critical hit will cause the attack to inflict 1.5 * maximum damage (note that the actual maximum damage is not an integer and might be less than what is shown), prolong the duration of any blight or bleed inflicted by 2 turns, and apply a unique self-buff based on the hero's class. Critical hits inflicted by enemies will also cause 10 stress damage to the victim (subject to multiplication by applicable Stress modifiers), along with a 50% chance to cause 5 stress damage to each party member. Conversely, when a hero lands a critical hit on the enemy, the hero will receive a 3 stress heal, and each other party member has a 25% chance to receive the same. If an enemy is killed with a critical strike, the stress heal from both events is added up, and the enemy will leave no corpse. If the hero deals a critical strike to a corpse, he will not regain any stress, unless the critical strike comes from an AOE.
In addition to using trinkets and abilities to improve hero CRIT, all heroes will also gain a bonus to critical chance when fighting at low light levels, as a reward for a more risky approach. However, monsters also get a bonus to critical chance at low light.
It is also possible for a heal to score a critical, in which case the hero being healed will experience 4 Stress heal in addition to a doubled amount of health points recovered. The chance of a critical heal does not use a hero's CRIT stat, but instead has its own fixed critical hit chance. The critical heal chance for single target heals (excluding self-heals) is 12%. Every other heal skill (including self-heals) has a 5% chance to be critical. Critical heals will double the amount of heal (a heal for 0 is never considered as a critical heal by the game). Certain abilities combine both a health heal and stress heal, in which case, the crit doubles only the Health portion of the heal (although the 4 Stress recovery from the crit heal will be added onto the skill's own Stress relief).
Damage, or DMG, determines the amount of hit points removed from the victim's health when successfully landing an attack. The damage of any attack is calculated on the base damage of the character, which is a range showing a minimum and maximum damage value. This range of values is determined by the hero class and the tier of the weapon upgrade the hero possesses. When successfully hitting with an attack ability, a value between the minimum and maximum damage is determined randomly, and then modified by any quirk, trinket, buff, debuff, and by the attack ability's modifier if any. Finally, before lowering the victim's health points, damage is reduced by the victim's Protection percentage. This mechanic works similarly for heroes attacking enemies, and vice versa.
When fighting at low light levels, the enemies will gain additional damage on their abilities.
Dodge indicates the chances of avoiding an attack directed at the unit; it is directly subtracted from an attack's Accuracy, and the resultant number will be the percentage chance of the attack landing successfully. As all heroes and monsters have a hidden +5 ACC, minimal result value of 95 is needed to have a guaranteed hit (displayed as 95% hit chance). This mechanic works similarly for heroes attacking enemies, and vice versa.
Protection, or PROT, is a value that reduces any direct damage suffered by the character by a percentage. Protection does not influence damage caused by blight or bleed, only direct damage. Protection can be increased by certain abilities that apply buffs, and conversely, it can be reduced by means of some debuff abilities (many of which also inflict a mark). Many enemies make use of protection, and heroes can gain protection values as well by equipping certain trinkets or utilizing certain abilities. The Hard Skinned quirk also provides a base protection value to a hero. Protection is capped, and can't be raised higher than 80%.
Notable for its rarity, there are a handful of hero abilities that ignore enemy PROT in part or in whole. These are the Shieldbreaker's "Pierce" skill or partially by her "Snake Eyes" camping skill, as well as the Grave Robber's "Pick to the Face" ability.
Speed, or SPD, determines the priority the hero has over other characters and enemies during battle. At the very start of each round of combat, a random number ranging from 1 to 8 is determined for each character, and the SPD value of the character is added to this; the likeliness of order that each character takes their turn is based on this number, starting from the highest and ending with the lowest. A hero/monster with speed of 8 is more likely to act before someone with speed of 5, but this is not guaranteed. For heroes, speed is determined by a base value depending on class and weapon level, modified by any applicable trinkets, buffs, debuffs, and quirks. Taking an action before an enemy unit is advantageous, as it provides the opportunity to disrupt that unit's turn by stunning it, moving it to a disadvantageous position, debuffing its damage, or simply killing it outright, before it can act. In certain specific situations, it is beneficial to have heroes to take their turns in a certain order; for example, using one hero to mark an enemy before performing a follow-up attack with another hero that can take advantage of marks.
Each character is created with a set of random quirks, both positive and negative, influencing their effectiveness in various situations inside and outside expeditions. Quirks can be treated in the Hamlet by using the Sanitarium, to make positive quirks permanent ("lock" the quirk) or remove negative quirks. New Quirks are acquired upon finishing an expedition, or interacting with some curios. Characters can have up to 5 quirks of each type; acquiring more will replace an old non-locked quirk.
In addition to quirks, heroes may contract diseases during their adventures, giving them various penalties, with some diseases being more debilitating than others. Diseases will never expire on their own, and will have to be cured either by giving Medical Treatment in the Sanitarium, or by applying particular camping skills available to certain classes, namely the Plague Doctor and Grave Robber. Diseases can be acquired as a result of being hit by certain monster attacks (especially the Swine Wretch's Vomit, by far the attack with the greatest chance of causing disease), or by interacting with some curios, or lastly, they can be acquired randomly at the end of any expedition. Along with stress treatment and upgrades at the Guild and Blacksmith, disease removal is one of the main source of repeated expenditure of the Hamlet's funds.
As a result of roaming dark dungeons, heroes will gradually accumulate stress. If a hero is too stressed, he will develop an affliction, causing him to acquire heavy penalties, occasionally disobey orders, and regularly inflict stress damage on their companions. Extreme amounts of stress may also cause a heart attack, possibly killing the hero on the spot.
Stress can also be inflicted by some monster attacks and by any suffered critical strike, plus a variety of other events and situations. Stress will not deplete when concluding a quest and will normally need to be healed by using certain hero abilities, or by paying a fee in gold to place the hero in a stress relief facility such as the Abbey or Tavern. Leaving a character idle in the Hamlet for a week will let them automatically recover a very small amount. This amount is tripled once you unlock the Puppet Theatre District, making for a viable alternative to paid stress relief.
The death of a hero in Darkest Dungeon is permanent. A dead hero will not return from an expedition, causing all their abilities and upgrades to be lost. When a hero dies, any equipped trinkets will be dropped and can be picked up by surviving heroes if they win the current battle.
Death will most likely occur during combat as a result of excessive damage taken, but it is also possible to die as a result of excessive stress causing a Heart attack or by influence of damage over time, such as bleeding and blight, which persist through battles. Certain boss battles or dungeons can cause a hero's death if a retreat or quest abandonment is performed at an inopportune moment, essentially abandoning the hero to die. Death can be avoided by healing the hero when they are on Death's Door (by using an ability, or by using food when not in combat) and by preventing them from reaching 200 stress.
The only way a dead hero can return is via a rare town event called From Beyond; even so, the heroes offered for possible resurrection are randomly selected from the Hamlet's graveyard list. The resurrected hero will retain their Resolve Level and any Quirks they had, including locked-in ones. However, they will only have four random abilities at level 1, and no equipment upgrades.
Each hero belongs to a class, which determines the hero's abilities, statistics, and appearance. Every class has a set of seven combat abilities and seven camping skills, of which a maximum of four can be active at a time.
At the time of their recruitment at the Stage Coach, a level 0 hero will have four of their seven combat abilities unlocked (except the Abomination, which always starts with all seven combat skills), and three out of seven camping skills. Each hero may have up to four combat abilities active, but, as long as they have been learned (unlocked) through the Guild, it is possible to change the active ones at any time, except when in combat. Learned Camping skills may likewise be changed at any time, except when in the middle of a camp or in combat.
[Note: It is possible to mistakenly select less than four active abilities (and no warning will be given by the game). This will lead to a significant disadvantage if entering combat with less than four active abilities, and the mistake cannot be corrected until after the combat is over.]
Combat skills can be leveled up by using the Guild building in the Hamlet, improving various aspects of them at a cost. This also makes the value of each improved hero higher, discouraging the player to take too many risks while using them, for fear of losing all the resources spent to enhance them.
While not a strict categorization, some skills are considered to be stalling skills. In general, stalling skills encompass skills which heal/stress heal/buff heroes or reduce enemy damage output (stuns, damage/accuracy debuffs). The act of stalling involves prolonging a combat as long as possible, while minimize the enemy's opportunity to attack, so that the player can cast as many health heals and stress heals as possible, before the combat ends.
Stalling is now also defined by whether the player uses too many stalling skills per round. The current value is 2, meaning that using 2 stall moves counts as stalling when there are 2 or fewer enemies remaining. Some enemies accelerate stalling, bringing reinforcements rapidly (1 round) if only "accelerated stall" enemies are left alive. Large enemies still don’t trigger stalling, therefore as long as the player can safely manage the surviving Large enemy, they can stall as long as needed.
Camping skills must be learned through the Survivalist, with a maximum of four active at a time, though only three of them will be learned at the start. Just like combat skills, they can be changed while inside an expedition, as long as you are not camping or fighting.
Camping skills have only one tier of upgrade (thus they are either learned, or not learned). However, learning them is more costly than unlocking a combat ability. Of the seven camping skills available to any class, three are standard camping skills available to all classes, while four are unique to each class. One of the aforementioned three standard camping skills will always be already learned when a hero is recruited.
|“||Tortured and reclusive... this man is more dangerous than he seems...||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Abomination|
Introduced in the Inhuman Bondage update, the Abomination is a powerful and versatile shape-shifting fighter. He can cause blight and stun (while also dealing non-negligible damage) from the second or third ranks and heal his own stress and health in human form. But what makes this hero class very special is that he can also transform into beast form to deal a good amount of damage from the front ranks.
Another unique feature of this class is the fact that all his abilities are available from his base level and always active. Which ones are available depends on his current form.
On the dark side, using transformation into beast form inflicts a respectable amount of stress on all the party members, which is not compensated for by the stress heal when transforming back into human form. Nevertheless, a party can be built to cope with these disadvantages, typically including one or two decent stress healers.
|“||She searches where others will not go... and sees what others will not see.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Antiquarian|
Introduced in a post-launch update, the Antiquarian is by no means a fighter, possessing the worst base stats in the game. Offensively, her Nervous Stab is mediocre for dealing damage, and Festering Vapours deals middling Blight damage, although it does make the enemy more vulnerable to future Blight applications. Despite the lack of damage, she is not a particularly powerful support either. Flashpowder merely reduces a single enemy's accuracy without dealing damage, Invigorating Vapours gives her allies a simple dodge boost (a weaker version of the Man-at-Arms' Bolster), and while Fortifying Vapours is a reliable heal, it heals for very little.
The Antiquarian is good at self-preservation, however. She has good dodge, and while her starting health is the lowest, it grows very well. Additionally, Get Down! gives herself a large dodge and speed boost and Protect Me! forces another ally to guard her while giving them a very good defensive boost in return.
While the Antiquarian is a liability in combat, she makes up for it with her ability to detect treasure. Having an Antiquarian in your party increases the amount of gold you can stack in each inventory slot, allowing you to carry more loot out of the dungeon. Furthermore, she can find Antiques when she is searching for loot or whenever a battle is won, which can be traded in for even more gold.
Her camping skills are nothing to be scoffed at, either. She can use Trinket Scrounge to outright find a trinket or Resupply to gain multiple supply items. Strange Powders grants an ally respectable resistances to everything, and Curious Incantation further improves her self-preservation with a huge stress damage reduction.
|“||Shoot, bandage and pillage: the dancing steps of war.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Arbalest|
One of the two new Hero Classes introduced in the Fiends & Frenzy patch, the Arbalest carries a heavy crossbow with which she is able to snipe high priority targets from afar. As a downside, she is only really effective from the 3rd and 4th ranks.
She can Mark a target with Sniper's Mark, which boosts the damage and critical chance on Sniper Shot. Like every other hero benefiting from marks, the Arbalest doesn't need to be the one who marked the target to deal extra damage, so she works very well with the Bounty Hunter, the Occultist, and the Houndmaster.
The Arbalest has multiple utility skills that can be used in an advantageous situation, such as her heal, Battlefield Bandage, which also increases the potency of other healing effects on the target. Because of this, she works especially well with other healing and self-healing classes. A notable ability in her arsenal is Blindfire, which is the only attack she can use from the front and increases her speed temporarily - however, you cannot choose which enemy you will shoot. Her Bola and Suppressing Fire area-of-effect abilities are also invaluable, wreaking havoc on entire enemy parties. Her Rallying Flare has the unique property of clearing marks and stun.
The Arbalest is an exceptionally effective hero for dealing high damage from the back ranks. She can also be an effective support addition to many team compositions.
|“||The thrill of the hunt... The promise of payment...||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Bounty Hunter|
Boasting both powerful crowd control and damaging abilities, his job is to wreak havoc on your enemies' formation and is able to deal a good amount of single-target damage under proper conditions. He is a great support character who can serve on all fronts, due to the versatility of his skills that he can use no matter where he is placed in the party formation. As he wears only light armor, he isn't a class meant for tanking. He also lacks any area-of-effect skills, which is unusual for high-damage classes.
For the most effective use of this class, team them up with heavy hitters or people who can stun or mark targets for him. The power that is given to his damage when marked/stunned targets get hit with Collect Bounty or Finish Him makes it a breeze to kill targets. Crusaders, Lepers, and Hellions can get their blades into the back row troops he reels in with his grappling hook. Meanwhile, Plague Doctors, Grave Robbers, and Occultists can stun and target enemies to maximize his damage potential and push/disorient pesky melee enemies away from the front to capitalize on frail ranged units in the back-line. Houndmasters can synergize with him as well, stunning and marking targets for him as well as using the Bounty Hunter's marks.
|“||A mighty sword-hand anchored by a holy purpose. A zealous warrior.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Crusader|
One of the first characters you get in-game, the crusader is one of the game's tank classes, designed for the basic task of both taking hits and dealing high damage to the enemy. He is a front-line combatant with minor support skills that can come in handy, but not be relied on. He is a character that should usually be found either in the first or second row, however he can work in some dance parties by utilising his Holy Lance in the third row. He is best supported with healer types like Vestals or Occultists and those who can provide much valued range attacks to deal with those he cannot reach, such as Grave Robbers or Highwaymen.
The Crusader has a distinct edge against unholy enemies thanks to his Smite skill, having at the minimum a +15% damage against them (which can later be upgraded to a max of +35% damage), making him a good choice for going into the Ruins. The Crusader also possesses some crowd control, with Stunning Blow to deal a reliable stun and Zealous Accusation to damage the front row enemies. Should the Crusader be pushed back, he can use Holy Lance to move him back to the front, which has an added effect of being able to hit the back row enemies.
Meanwhile, his Bulwark of Faith will ensure that most enemy damage thrown his way does barely a scratch on him. For a party on the brink, he can use his modest Battle Heal and Inspiring Cry to keep the front line from collapsing, the fearful from snapping, and the darkness from taking hold.
At Camp Sites, the Crusader has access to multiple anti-stress skills that both console the shaken and harden them against coming horrors. His Zealous Speech costs time, but rallies the entire group (himself included!) with moderate stress heals and extra resistance to further pressure. The power of his example can make an adventurer shaken by mortal fear Stand Tall, shedding any Death's Door Recovery debuffs in addition to another stress heal. If he starts wavering before his flock, he can either use Unshakable Leader to steel himself with a sizable stress resistance bonus or embark on a Zealous Vigil to protect the camp for the night, drawing strength from his duty. If he has already started showing the cracks of Affliction, the fairly major stress cure is almost doubled to a whopping -40 stress base value. The Crusader is one of the only classes that has a reasonable chance of bouncing back from broken spirits before the quest's end, assuming they're not too far gone to help themselves at camp.
A fantastic unit in the game for dueling it out with the worst and keeping those who would die safe. While he may lack range, he more than makes up for it with his sturdiness, utility, and accurate, strong strikes.
At the beginning of the game, you start with a Crusader named Reynauld. Note that he has the pesky Kleptomaniac quirk - removing this should be a priority as soon as the sanitarium is unlocked.
|“||To those with the keen eye, gold gleams like a dagger's point.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Grave Robber|
The Grave Robber has an odd niche in the available class roster due to her versatility. Her mix of melee and range skills enable her to be a part of any line-up, and ensure that she has at least one available skill no matter where she is placed position-wise. While she doesn't deal as much damage as the Highwayman, who has a similar role to her, she makes up for it by being independent, with access to a variety of self-buffs and high precision strikes. She can toss daggers and poison darts into the back-line, increasing her accuracy to ensure successive hits to evasive enemies. She can indirectly correct party formations with her "Lunge" and "Shadow Fade", all while contributing to the party's survival with a high critical strike and increasing her own ability to avoid damage with a Dodge buff. If you simply need direct damage to do the job, a "Pick To the Face" can be just what you need to pick off that Cultist Acolyte. She also has the highest trap disarm chance of any hero. To be as nimble as she needs to be, she only wears light armor, which makes her a high roller on dodge chance to evade hits that would easily bring her to Death's Door.
To use her to the best of her abilities, she prefers a party line-up whose roles aren't as solidified in one position in the formation. Lepers, Hellions and Arbalest may be a bad choice if you pick the Graverobber, other classes that move a lot, like shieldbreakers or highwaymen, will usually be a good pick. If used in the back, she can simply toss daggers and poison darts to be a sniper towards the back-lines, and attack weakened melee units with a "Pick To The Face". The poison darts are particularly notable - the ability is one of the very few hero abilities that inflicts blight. These are ideal against high PROT bleed-resistant enemies found in the Ruins and the Cove.
"Lunge" and "Shadow fade" can be used a few times every battle to make her move to the front and back, giving her stealth and high damage, however, the limited uses of "Shadow fade" will be a problem in prolonged fights. Shall you use other heroes that move forward, you may fix this problem, and enable several uses of "Lunge skill".
|“||Barbaric rage and unrelenting savagery make for a powerful ally.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Hellion|
The Hellion is a front-line class with a good balance of damage and durability with a versatile set of abilities for maiming enemies wherever they are positioned and for sustaining herself, although they are not without costs. Her versatility is only matched by her ferocity.
One of the Hellion's unique features is that she has some very powerful abilities at her disposal, but as a downside they debuff her after use. She can use Breakthrough for excellent AoE damage from any position, Bleed Out to maim and bleed the front-most enemy, and Barbaric YAWP! is one of the very few abilities that can stun more than one enemy at once. All these abilities apply a debuff on the Hellion that reduces her damage and dodge, reducing her effectiveness in long battles and crippling her when overused, this "exhaust" debuff may not be removed with medicinal herbs, however, you can use Adrenaline Rush to somewhat remedy this side effect.
As for her non-debilitating abilities, she can use her Wicked Hack to take down the front-rank enemies, If It Bleeds to bleed out the middle rank enemies, and Iron Swan to pick off the annoying support hostile at the furthest back slot. Adrenaline Rush buffs up her damage to help counter her exhaustion and heals herself just enough to escape Death's Door.
In the camp, she retains the same double-edged nature she brings to battles. Battle Trance gives her a strong damage boost in the front, but lowers it if she isn't. Revel gives the entire party a large Stress reduction, but leaves them reeling in the coming battles. Reject the Gods relieves a huge amount of her own stress, but stresses out the others, especially religious ones. Her only camping ability without downsides is Sharpen Spear, which gives her a respectable boost to her crit chance.
|“||Elusive, evasive, persistent. Righteous traits for a rogue.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Highwayman|
The Highwayman is an offensive class that can dish out damage from any position. Wherever the foe might force him to move or however many there are, he can cause them misery, and often in exactly the flavor you happen to need.
From the back, he can pick off foes with his Pistol Shot, and move forward with Duelist's Advance, which sets up a Riposte, retaliating the damage inflicted on him. In the middle, he can perform a Wicked Slice on an enemy, use Open Vein to bleed them out, or damage multiple enemies with Grapeshot Blast, finishing off weakened enemies and softening up others. At the front, he can use a Point Blank Shot to deal a huge amount of burst damage, while pushing him and the enemy back. To add to this, the Highwayman can use Tracking Shot to deal minor damage while buffing his offensive stats for the next several turns.
The price he pays for the flexibility of his killing techniques is having almost nothing beyond raw damage and simply not being as durable as other, more specialized damage dealing characters. He notably lacks a stunning skill, which can sometimes be more important than a damage skill. What he offers is the fact that he can be dropped into almost any team, that could be facing almost any enemy, and you know you will be seeing a return from him.
At the beginning of the game, you start with a highwayman named Dismas.
|“||A lawman and his faithful beast. A bond forged by battle and bloodshed.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Houndmaster|
Added during the Corpse & Hound update, the Houndmaster brings forth a variety of skills that can be used to support allies and wound enemies. His two main attacks, Hound's Rush and Hound's Harry, both inflict bleed. This means that the Houndmaster is far more effective in the Weald and the Warrens - the two areas where enemies are the most susceptible to bleed. If you bring your Houndmaster to the Ruins, he will be somewhat less effective, but only against the Undead common to that area. Additionally, many Eldritch in the Cove are resistant to bleeds. However, he can still be a force to be reckoned with in both of those zones. Lastly, his Main Attack - Hound's Rush will deal additional damage to Beasts - this damage modifier increases as the skill level itself does- and marked enemies, making him particularly suited to the Warrens, or against Beast bosses.
The Houndmaster also has a variety of support abilities. Target Whistle marks the target and lowers its PROT - one of only two abilities in the game to do so - making it invaluable against certain high PROT enemies. Cry Havoc allows you to relieve some stress from your party, while Guard Dog protects teammates while increasing the Houndmaster's Dodge. Lick Wounds makes a quick self-heal in a pinch while Blackjack stuns enemies so they can't attack your allies.
The Houndmaster has another special trick up his sleeve: the Dog Treat. Twice per dungeon run, he can use a free dog treat to give himself an ENORMOUS self-buff for several rounds of a fight. This makes the Houndmaster ideal for bosses and random miniboss encounters, particularly those that can bleed or are considered beasts.
With his marking synergy, he can work well with the Arbalest, Occultist and Bounty Hunter. His versatility will allow you to take him in several compositions, working as a damage dealer, support or stunner.
|“||He will be laughing still... at the end.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Jester|
The Jester is a mix of support abilities and damage abilities. He can be difficult to use, having a variety of strict positional requirements for his abilities. He has movement abilities that allow him to move either forwards or backwards, allowing him to change what abilities are available. Though he can only use his backward moving skill (Finale) once per battle. Because of this, he is best used with a "dancing party," or a party that can move or reposition themselves. The Jester also possesses the strongest Stress healing ability among all heroes, and has a buffing skill that affects all his party members. When properly used, he can be both a devastating damage dealer and a powerful support character. He works well with high damage characters like the Leper, but his movement skills can disrupt party formations.
If tasked with dealing damage, he can be placed in the middle of the party for some devastating bleed attacks. Harvest hits both the second and third enemy positions and makes them bleed. Slice Off is similar to Harvest, only it deals more damage and bleed damage at the cost of only hitting a single target. The Jester possesses one of the strongest melee attacks in the game, with Finale. This skill is buffed by all the Jester's abilities, and can be used to finish off high-health targets at the end of an encounter. This attack can only be used in the front two positions and can only be used once per encounter; upon usage, the Jester is debuffed heavily for the rest of the encounter. Dirk Stab moves the Jester forwards and bypasses guard, and allows the Jester to move forward to use Finale. Solo is a self-buffing skill that dramatically buffs both the Jester and Finale, while also moving the Jester to the first position.
The Jester has two unique support abilities that he performs from the back by playing a tune on his lute. Battle Ballad is an incredibly powerful party-wide buff that increases the whole party's accuracy, speed, and critical chance. This is a very useful ability for heroes like the Hellion, Highwayman, and the Leper. Inspiring Tune is an extremely powerful stress heal which provides a stress resist buff, making him one of the best Stress healers in the game. This heal is strong enough to potentially remove afflictions on expeditions. Usually, these support abilities must be used in conjunction with other abilities in order to take full advantage of them.
|“||This man understands that adversity and existence are one and the same.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Leper|
An incredibly heavy damage taker and giver, the Leper is an initially awkward but potentially game-winning character. The Leper is capable of delivering a brutal amount of damage while withstanding whatever is thrown at him, but is held back by his low accuracy and is only effective on and against the front two ranks. He has both the highest base damage and the highest base health of any hero.
The Leper can Chop one enemy or Hew two enemies to wound and kill whatever's in front on him, or he can Intimidate them to reduce their damage and PROT. He can also use Purge to knock back an enemy all the way to the back while removing any corpses on the battlefield.
The Leper also possesses self-buffs to increase his key strengths. Withstand gives him Protection and grants him status effect resistances, while Solemnity heals himself and reduces his stress. Revenge grants the Leper a large damage, crit, and accuracy boost, at the cost of lowering his defenses.
He operates much better when equipped with the right trinkets and supported by classes such as the Man-at-Arms, who can boost his accuracy. His needs to be on the front line and inability to hit the enemy's back line means he benefits greatly from the presence of classes such as the Grave Robber, the Occultist, and the Bounty Hunter, who can variously move backwards, drag vulnerable troops to the front, and mark them for him to dispatch with extreme prejudice. Dropped into any party, the Leper is a frustrating and clumsy ally; properly supported in the end game, he can pulverize any foe.
|“||The raw strength of youth may be spent, but his eyes hold the secrets of a hundred campaigns.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Man-at-Arms|
A new Hero Class introduced in the Fiends & Frenzy update, along with the Arbalest. The Man-at-Arms is a front-line defensive class with a focus on survivability. He can attack with a good range and moderate damage, but really shines with his support skills. He has the ability to protect a teammate with Defender, redirecting an attack targeted at a vulnerable ally towards him and increasing his own protection. He can buff all allies with either Command to give them bonus accuracy and critical strike chance, or Bolster them to boost their dodge and reduce stress taken. Additionally, he can Bellow to reduce the enemy team's dodge and speed, giving your team the upper hand in turn order, and knock back and stun an enemy while moving himself forward with Rampart. The Man-at-Arms is also flexible in terms of position and can perform well anywhere.
Unlike the Crusader or Hellion, the Man-at-Arms is rather unimpressive on the offense, but is still capable of dealing good damage thanks to Retribution. Retribution Marks himself and activates Riposte, countering any attacks attempted at him with a solid smack of his shield. Riposte obviously works well with Guard, but it is also especially effective against enemies with an area-of-effect attack, as he will counter those attacks too. Back-row enemies that love to abuse area-of-effect attacks such as Fusiliers are easy picking against a prepared Man-at-Arms. Finally, it's worth noting that unlike his fellow front-liners the Leper and Crusader, the Man-at-Arms' mace can reach into the third row of enemies.
In the Camp, the Man-at-Arms has some of the most powerful combat buffs in the game. He can provide huge damage, accuracy, and crit buffs to himself and his teammates, or increase their dodge chances.
|“||A champion markswoman - keen for a new kind of challenge||„|
|~ The Narrator on on recruiting the Musketeer|
The Musketeer is a free DLC hero that was released on June 19th, 2018, she functions identically to the Arbalest. Even though the Musketeer is, essentially, a re-skin of the Arbalest, she has her own trinkets, lore, and visuals. The musketeer's strengths lay within her high base accuracy and her focus on ranged combat where she has a steady opportunity to deal damage to the opponent's backline. However, keep in mind that the Musketeer's base damage is moderately low, this could be offset by applying a mark to the opponents, or by picking specific trinkets such as the Wrathful Hat. Furthermore, she is one of the more sturdy backline characters, as her base health is higher than most backline heroes. Additionally due to her skills "Patch Up" and "Rallying Flare", she could be a good choice for support.
|“||To fight the abyss, one must know it...||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Occultist|
The Occultist is a support class who specializes in using powerful debuff spells on the enemy while healing allies. He has low health, deals low damage, and occasionally his powers may backfire, but when his Eldritch curses work, they work well. With his Vulnerability Hex, he softens up enemies for your heavy hitters to take down; the fact that the Hex marks the target makes him an excellent ally of the Bounty Hunter, Arbalest, and Houndmaster. What's more, his Weakening Curse can quickly nullify even the hardest-hitting enemy. A few stacks of Weakening Curse will entirely nullify the attacks of any enemy, making it deal 0 damage!
With Daemon's Pull, he can attack back line units, wrenching individuals to the front where your warriors can reach them while clearing corpses. Sacrificial Stab and Abyssal Artillery lets him deal damage in the front or in the back, and are massively more effective on Eldritch enemies, making him a decent damage-dealer against those. Near the front, he can use Hands From Below, a spell that sacrifices light in order to hit an enemy with accurate stun.
His Wyrd Reconstruction will allow him to heal a single ally from any position, however, he may heal for 0 and make the hero bleed, or maybe crit for 40. In practice, Wyrd Reconstruction is quite a strong heal, specially with heal skills buffing trinkets, but it's unreliable, you should always consider taking secondary healing skills, like the Arbalest's Battlefield Bandage, or heroes with self healing skills, to offset the chance of several unlucky heals, this will also help when several heroes are in low health, as the Occultist may only heal a single Ally per turn.
Worth noting is that although the Occultist has a low attack and most of his attacks have damage penalties on top, they do all have a high critical chance. Given any kind of critical boost through trinkets or effects, the Occultist has a good chance of inflicting heavy damage and increasing morale, particularly with his one physical attack, Sacrificial Stab, which has the significant critical chance base of 10%. His bonus damage to Eldritch can also be very effective in The Cove.
In camp, he fully lives up to his reputation of offering extremely powerful help to himself or his allies, at a significant penalty. He can heal and remove mortality debuff from an ally at the cost of all your torchlight; he can hugely reduce his own stress at the cost of everybody else's; he can increase his own stress to boost an ally's damage by 20%; and he has the cheapest ambush prevention at the cost of inflicting stress on his allies.
All in all, the Occultist is a highly specialized character that can easily fail a party not set up to get the most out of him. Supporting the right characters and using his dark powers carefully, however, he is an extremely powerful ally.
|“||What better laboratory than the blood-soaked battlefield?||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Plague Doctor|
The Plague Doctor is a powerful support class specialized in blight damage and dealing with the enemy's own damage over time effects. From the rear, she can blight enemies with Noxious Blast or Plague Grenade, stun both enemies in the back line with the very powerful Blinding Gas, and cure both herself and allies of blight and bleed while healing them with Battlefield Medicine. Closer to the front, she may use Incision to deal melee damage and bleed enemies. From any position, she may increase the damage of an ally using Emboldening Vapors, or shuffle the position of an enemy while stunning them and clearing corpses using Disorienting Blast.
The Plague Doctor is useful when stunning strong back line enemies, buying more time for your team to wreck the enemy front. Or she can straight-out murder the back line on her own with plague grenades. She is also quite handy preventing your heroes from sustaining too much damage from bleed or blight, which is especially useful for nullifying the dreaded Uca Crusher's Arterial Pinch. In fact, the Plague Doctor is an extremely good choice for the Cove, due to both Battlefield Medicine and her plethora of blight skills, which cut straight through the armored horrors found there. She is not so effective in the Weald and the Warrens, where enemies are more blight-resistant, but her bleed attack is an acceptable fallback and curing is still useful, you can also try using blight skills buffing trinkets.
True to medieval doctors, the Plague Doctor may use Leeches during camping to heal and cure an ally of poison and disease. With her Experimental Vapours, she may heal a great amount of life from an ally, providing a buff to future heals. The Cure lets her cure her own diseases, or she can Self-Medicate to relieve stress and buff her accuracy.
The Plague Doctor will always be one of the first two heroes available in the Stage Coach, along with the Vestal.
|“||A sister of battle. Pious and unrelenting.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Vestal|
Darkest Dungeon's most effective healing class, the Vestal is a versatile and initially crucial support character. Attacks such as Hand of Light and Mace Bash means she is not helpless if dragged to the front, but her specialty is hanging back and aiding her team with heals and her blinding Illumination and Dazzling Light abilities. Early on, these heals are absolutely essential to keep your combat classes up and running.
Although her utility may seem to fall off in the more difficult dungeons, she nevertheless is the most effective healer available. This makes her exceptionally useful for difficult boss fights such as the Shambler. She's also excellent in long dungeons, where she can serve as a consistent source of healing and light generation. She is a nice addition to a party adventuring in the Cove as well, as she can help combat the high damage of the Pelagic Groupers.
In the camp, she may be able to heal potential heroes who have gone through death's door by 50% of their max HP and protect from nighttime attacks with Sanctuary, she can proceed to medium stress healing if the heroes are pious. She can Bless a hero to grant them accuracy buffs.
The Vestal will always be one of the first two heroes available in the Stage Coach, along with the Plague Doctor.
DLC Exclusive Heroes
Available in The Crimson Court
|“||Awash in blood and delusion, he bears the burden of a thousand lifetimes.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Flagellant|
The Flagellant is an unorthodox front-line hero who requires some abuse to reach his full potential. He possesses offensive skills like Punish and Rain of Sorrows which focus on bleeding, as well as strong supportive skills that harm himself in return. Reclaim heals an ally over time while bleeding himself, Endure greatly reduces an ally's stress while stressing himself out, and Suffer transfers an ally's bleed, blight, and Marked to himself while gaining protection.
The Flagellant's abilities are respectable on their own, but they only become more powerful as his body and mind are abused to their limit. His most powerful skills cannot be used until he has less than half health. Exsanguinate deals heavy damage and bleed while healing a percentage of his health, while Redeem heals a large amount of health to himself and an ally, although these skills greatly debuff himself.
On top of these powerful skills, he also gains passive bonuses the closer he is to breaking. When afflicted from stress, the Flagellant becomes Rapturous, gaining a damage and crit boost at the cost of dodge. His attacks become more powerful when his health gets dangerously low, and reaching Death's Door only empowers him, and its normal penalties become buffs instead. But should he fall in battle, his martyrdom heals the entire party and stuns all enemies.
His camping skills are also very different from other heroes. He does not have access to generic camping skills and has his own unique set of skills that only affect himself. He can use Lash's Anger to stress himself out or Lash's Solace to greatly relieve it, Lash's Kiss to heal and hasten himself, and Lash's Cure to cure his own disease. In the Hamlet, the Flagellant can only use Flagellate to relieve his own stress, regardless of perks.
|“||Shifting, swaying — she mesmerizes her prey before the final strike.||„|
|~ The Narrator on recruiting the Shieldbreaker|
The Shieldbreaker is a versatile combatant, equipped with multiple tools to break through enemies' defenses: she can completely ignore armor with Pierce, cancel guards and pull enemies on the front with Puncture, and reveal stealth with Expose. Pierce is notably the only melee attack (aside from the Jester's Finale) that can reach all positions and usable from any rank except 4th. Her high speed, damage and crit chance makes her a very effective fighter, even if the enemies have high defenses. It is also a highly mobile class: except for Captivate, which deals blight damage with bonus damage against marked enemies, all her attacks are accompanied by some sort of movement. Her blight attacks, Adder's Kiss, Impale and Captivate, can deal high upfront damage on top of DoT, unlike most of blight skills, which deal very little damage, while the DoT effect itself is very strong. Expose applies a special debuff that increases the crit chance of attacks landed on the enemy affected by it.
The Shieldbreaker has very little health for a front line class, but she can improve her survivability with her buff skill, Serpent Sway, which gives her additional speed and an Aegis effect for two blocks. Aegis completely nullifies all raw damage taken by the Shieldbreaker, however, it bypasses all additional effects, such as stress or debuffs. Aegis blocks do not stack, and are limited only for 2 blocks per hero.
The unfortunate series of events forced the Shieldbreaker to cut her hand in order to survive, and now the images of the past haunt her on the respite site. Should you camp with her, there will be a chance to encounter the snakes from her nightmares. Her own camping skills can be helpful against these foes: Snake Eyes allows her allies to ignore 15% protection, Snakeskin grants extra health and protection to the Shieldbreaker, while Adder's Embrace increases her chance to blight enemies and improves her naturally low blight resist. Defeating the snakes will reward you with consumable Aegis scales, a unique trinket for the Shieldbreaker, and a piece of her backstory, as well as quest-long buffs for the entire party. After completing 7 flashbacks and collecting all trinkets, the Shieldbreaker will overcome her trauma and have a restful sleep for the rest of the campaign.
Below is a table comparing all base level character stats, status effects, buffs/healing, and resistances. Green letters signify that hero has higher or the highest stats than in a given field, while Red letters show a character has very low stats compared to others.
This is the table with the character stats at level 6. (work in progress)
|The first of many has fallen...||Lose your first hero|
|More than a weary traveler...||Walk 500 steps with one hero|
|A killer of striking force and wit...||Kill 50 enemies with one hero|
|A true champion emerges...||Raise a hero to Resolve Level 6|
|A veritable crowd...||Have one of each class on your roster|
Heroes in Darkest Dungeon
|Heroes||Abomination Antiquarian Arbalest Bounty Hunter Crusader Grave Robber Hellion Highwayman Houndmaster Jester Leper Man-at-Arms Occultist Plague Doctor Vestal|
|DLC||Flagellant Shieldbreaker Musketeer|