Let’s take a (short) break from life and RPGs and talk video games.
I love Darkest Dungeon. It’s been a huge inspiration for my past darker games like Skorne, Maze Rats, and Hot Springs Island. In my head, I can’t separate the feel of Into the Odd and Darkest Dungeon. I’ve used the music of Darkest Dungeons many times for the most intense moments of my games. It really sells the atmosphere.
However, I have a confession: I do not play the game the way it was “meant” to be played. All of the design bits and pieces point to a different direction for play than the off-road that I’ve been doing.
I like the stress mechanics of the game. I like the combat. I like the hero abilities. I like the monster abilities and design. I even like the random elements of crits, loot, and curios.
What I do not like is the management of the game: putting people in the tavern like some cheap mobile game “cooldown” timer, equipping trinkets, training abilities, and spending time fiddling with things.
I just don’t have the patience for it.
When I play Darkest Dungeon, I want to rush to the deepest, darkest part of the dungeon as fast as possible and get out. Speed run the Eldritch horror.
And I don’t mind the repetition. I live for it.
So I changed my experience of the game to make it more of a rogue-like. Ish. Sort of. I’ll just tell you how to do what I’ve been doing and you can decide for yourself what I’ve been up to:
Make a new save file. Title it “Rogue Run.” When the game opens, do the normal tutorial mission with Reynauld and Dismas. Then upgrade “Stagecoach Network” twice. You have just enough starting Deeds and Crests to be able to recruit four new heroes after every run.
After that, recruit so that you have four total members of your team. Then go delving!
When you come back from your first run and every run after, disband your entire roster. Dismiss all four heroes.
Then recruit four new ones.
Fresh meat, level 0, every run.
What do you spend your Deeds, Crests, and whatnot on? Getting the upgrade “Experienced Recruits” which increases the chances of getting heroes that aren’t level 0. You’ll need to upgrade Weaponsmithing, Armorsmithing, and Instructor Mastery too to get that upgrade. Or don’t. Your choice.
Benefits of this Rogue Run approach include:
- More time dungeon crawling!
- Discover unforeseen team compositions, hero and ability combinations
- More practice with the skill of making the most of a bad hand
- Reduce the frustration of random game elements
No longer will you have the devastation of a bad run; all of your heroes were going to be cut loose anyways. No longer will you have to mess around with putting heroes in stress-reduction time-outs, carefully curating the perfect “A-team” until they too perish. No longer will you have do any maintenance before a run. Just go!
And do let me know how it works out. I enjoy our visits.
Favorite Ancestor quote: “Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer…”