This is a proposal to a self-enforced set of rules that I’ll refer to as Mad Marathon Difficulty.
This is a proposal to create a self-enforced ruleset, which I’ll call Mad Marathon Difficulty. You could compare it with the Nuzlocke difficulty in Pokemon, but the game’s format doesn’t quite fit that particular rule set. So I invented my own rules. These are the rules I follow when I play Darkest Dungeon. Although I haven’t completed the game, my current record stands at 116 weeks. I have 55 heroes on my roster, and enough cla*s mods to ensure that I only use one Hero for each cla*s. All right, enough unearned bragging. Let’s get on to the Rules!
1. Minimum Roster Size: 50 Heroes
You will need a barracks/wagonmod for this, in whatever size you choose. However, you must have at most 50 Heroes in active use by the time that you attempt the final boss.
2. At Least One from Every Cla*s
You can’t skip or avoid hiring any cla*s within your game. They must be loaded in the game (vampire or mod) before you can hire them.
3. The New Guy is Always Hired
If a new cla*s arrives on the wagon, you must immediately hire them. You can’t avoid hiring by ‘not checking out the wagon’. You cannot avoid hiring by letting your barracks capacity slip. If you don’t have the capacity you need, you should expand it by all means. If you can’t hire the new cla*s in that week, even after all of the trading and barracks expansion, the run will be forfeit.
4. No Doppelgangers in the Party
It is permissible to have more then one hero of the exact same cla*s in your roster. It is prohibited to have more then one hero of the same type in your active party during a week.
5. Nobody Left Behind
You must include any hero from your roster that is two or more level below your highest-level hero. You may bring heroes no more than two levels above your lowest level if you plan to face a minor boss during the week.
6. All Enemy Captains Die First
All other minor bosses must also be killed before the final boss is attempted. If Crimson Court and/or Color of Madness are present, their bosses must also be killed before you can attempt to kill the final Darkest Dungeon boss.
7. Only the best face the end
You must have at least 75% of your roster be level 6. The rest must be at least level 5.
8. Only the darkest difficulty
Radiant is too easy. Bloodmoon cannot be achieved with the existing rules. Darkest Dungeon Configuration (in Gameplay > Options menu) is kept on.
9. We are all survivors
The run is forfeited if a single hero dies. It doesn’t really matter if they can rez later; if anyone dies, then the run is over. The exception is when the death is scripted outside of gameplay.
Discussion on the Reasoning
It is easy to see why Bloodmoon cannot be achieved between rules 5, 7, and 8. Bloodmoon’s difficulty comes down to a 52 week time limit. 38 heroes must reach level 6 (in order to be able to upgrade to level 5. The other 12 heroes must be able to go to level 5 in less than 52 weeks. There isn’t enough xp for that. You can cheat it, but that’s not the point. Don’t.
It is simply a numbers game. There must be at least 50 Heroes on your roster. The most dangerous part of this game is level 0. Your Heroes will be weak, weak, squishy, cowardly at level 0. Due to the steady influx in heroes, rules 1 & 3 will not allow you to send all the level 0s without a safe escort with 2s. Those 2s will soon be level 3 and you don’t want a level 1 to enter a mid-level Dungeon without rule 9.
The game can be especially dangerous during the first two weeks of a run.
Another risk is the length of this ruleset. Your roster will have to be ready to face the boss by the end of the game calender. RNG-heavy gamer will tell you that sooner or later, the dice will turn against you. You’ll be sloppy or overconfident or fall prey to a misclick. A team that goes in with a sub-par composition and an Ftier Hero or two will find themselves facing a powerful miniboss, who will not let you go no matter how much you try. At that point, you must either find a way to survive neck-deep in terrible circumstances or someone will die, and your run will end.
Skill doesn’t mean having a perfect hand. Skill is about having a terrible poker hand and still winning.
You can withdraw from a battle, or from a map, provided that the game allows it. Part of rule 8 says you don’t get guaranteed retreats in a fight). However, this has some serious drawbacks so save it for times you know you cannot win and just want out. Survival is more important than success.
Be Honest with Your Mods
If you have a lot of mods, it’s fine. Trinket mods work fine. Cla*s mods can also be used. Mods that balance vanilla cla*ses are also acceptable. Some backpack mods work, but infinite backpacks are not. Be open about what mods are used and allow people to judge them according to what is OP. Do not run a cla*s that is blatantly broken and overpowered. People will not be offended. Do not insta-level your entire team to level 6 and expect it will slide. Don’t go on a green run with a level 6 player, or worse, a whole group of level 6 players. And don’t laugh at it. Don’t think you can have everything or build a whole town. You can trust others and use common sense. Don’t be afraid to learn from them. This is not meant to be easy.
You might be able to see a few of these counter meta plays. Rule 4 is an example. There are more than a few cla*ses who benefit exponentially by having more than one party member at a time. This ruleset does not allow for meta. You cannot avoid using ‘weak cla*ses’. If they’re in use, you must use them sooner than later because rule 5. It’s better to figure out how to make them work. You can’t just buy the best trinket, you’ve got at most 50 Heroes and they all need support. You’ll need to spread the wealth around or risk being forced by a Hero who isn’t well-equipped to enter the dungeon.
You won’t have the ability to host’set parties.’ Stress will hit Heroes more than others. Your Jester can’t work 24/7, you’ll have compulsions and level 0s to get rid. Things will go out of balance. You’ll need to gather the Heroes you have that aren’t too stressed out to be secure. It is important to get to know each Hero in your list, what they can do and how they compare with other cla*ses. You must then match these pieces together to build the best party possible.
Modifications to Cla*s
Because cla*s mods come from all sizes and shapes, each section gets its own section. You don’t want to go for the Isekai Protagonist Mods. Nobody’s going to be impressed with your pocket psycho that oneshots entire enemy teams before they get a chance. One rule of thumb is that when a cla*s takes part in combat, its contribution to the fight should be approximately equal to that of a vanilla-cla*s on their turn. It’s not a reason to’rebalance’ vanilla cla*ses into Isekai Protagonists. 😛 Avoid any mod cla*s that can perform more than one action in a single turn. Two actions should be combined in one turn to make one action as effective as one from a vanilla vanilla (. This means that each action is only half of the value of one vanilla vanilla action). While there will be some fuzziness to this judgement, it is still apples and oranges. Keep this in mind as your play. If you feel it is too powerful, remove the cla*s from your modlist, even if it means you lose a run.
There are some great cla*s mods that have obvious flaws. For instance, cla*ses that are overly stressed will benefit. You can just scream and cry your way through the entire dungeon. You get a nice boost of power, right up to the point where their hearts explode. Or cla*ses that create stress easily or get required stress each turn. This is especially true if they are prohibited from ever getting Virtue if their stress levels reach a high point. It is also beneficial to maintain balance when you don’t have control over the mechanic. A shifter that is unable to choose when they want to change forms is an example. Also, someone who bounces randomly between the party positions. There are cla*ses that allow you to self-harm. These cla*ses can grant you power to stop losing HPs or even heal you so that your HP threshold is not exceeded. Some cla*ses are not out to destroy the game. Others want to be a part the whole world, no matter how difficult. Keep in mind rule 9.
If you choose not to use cla*s mods but prefer vanilla, it’s okay. There are only 17 vanilla cla*ses available in the game (with DLCs). You’ll need at least 50 Heroes to hire, which will mean that you will need about 3-4 copies for each cla*s in your roster. Keep in mind rule 4. You can only have one Hero from each cla*s in your party. You can have half Crusaders on your roster but only one Hero per week in the Dungeon. You will have to keep bringing them, as rule 5. You might try something a bit less boring. Boredom can make you lazy…
Here are some tips on how to follow these rules. First, don’t fight against the rules. The more you can learn to work within the rules, the easier it will be. When bad luck strikes, you can expect to lose a run. Second, you should learn cla*s mods. You need 50 heroes. Although you can go vanilla, you will learn how to be tactically agile by using new cla*ses. Third, build your wagon first. First, get your Hero income up to 3-4 per week. Then keep your barracks available to handle more. Prepare backup Deeds and Crests in case of an emergency.
Keep your roster at the lowest level Heroes possible. Even a team with level 0s will be able to function in a short green run as long you don’t have to face a boss. You’re less likely to be stuck without a hero in an emergency if you use your lowest levels regularly. Rule 5 is about not abusing greendungeon runs with heroes of level 6. In fact, I would consider cheating to use any mod that allows high-level heroes to join a low-level run. Learn from your low-level heroes where their abilities begin and where they came from. This will help you to understand their use at level 6.
I also recommend using the vanilla hero rebalance mode. There are many to choose from. The point is, some vanilla abilities have been broken and never brought back to balance with the rest. Don’t be tempted to abuse the meta.
Remember to have fun. If you find this ruleset makes it difficult to have fun, then you should stop playing and find something else. This is for those who enjoy a challenge. Nobody should ever make it seem like you have to do anything other than your own game time. You have the time to enjoy it. 🙂
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