The choice to retreat from battle or abandon an expedition entirely is almost always available to the player. Due to the unwholesome mechanics of the game, it will be not uncommon to retreat.
Retreating from battle
To retreat from battle, click on the white flag on the top left corner. You can only interact with the retreat option when it is your hero's turn to act in combat. Retreats are not guaranteed to work when desired (if the option is enabled) and will act like a turn skip (70% to succeed the first time then +5% for each other attempt). There are few things to keep in mind before attempting to retreat:
- Heroes will suffer 25 stress after a successful retreat. In practice, the amount can be much higher due to stress modifiers like torchlight, death's door, or being underleveled, so be prepared for potential afflictions and heart attacks.
- Retreating from a room battle will leave your heroes in the hallway that they used to enter the battle room. They will all need to back track in order to move back into a safe room.
- Retreating from a hallway battle will leave your heroes in the previous room they were in.
- Wandering bosses like the Collector will reappear when your heroes enter the same hallway battle that they retreated from.
- Heroes that are out of control (i.e. lured by the Siren or being cooked by the Hag) will not retreat with other heroes, and will instead suffer a deathblow.
- You cannot retreat from the Shrieker, or from the final boss.
- You cannot retreat from a battle if your party is surprised.
Abandoning an expedition
To abandon an expedition, click on the "x" button on the top left corner. You can only abandon a quest when your heroes are out of combat. Abandoning a quest will always be guaranteed, but similar negative effects to retreating will occur:
- Heroes will suffer 20 stress after abandoning a quest (which is unaffected by stress modifiers like trinkets, quirks, and torchlight). Heroes will not receive a resolve check when they reach 100 stress from this action.
- Heroes are more likely to develop negative quirks upon retreating.
- Abandoning from the Darkest Dungeon can be harsh. If retreating with more than one party member, one member must sacrifice themselves in order for the rest of the party to retreat safely. This will also occur in the Wolves at the Door mission.