The Let's Play Archive

Darkest Dungeon

by Highwang

Part 1: Your Heroes

Flow of Battle: Coming after a good morning's sleep.
2-22-2017 Update: Revised a boatload of info based on subtle balance changes.

Hero Discussion

-Crusader. Canon name: Reynauld
Battle-Hardened and Stalwart, the Crusader has held the front lines in a hundred holy wars. He either attacks foes head-on with righteous fury, or embraces a melee support role by leveraging his powerful defensive buffs & off-heals

The Crusader wears heavy plate mail and weilds a longsword. While affording him excellent protection and damage, his armor restricts movement, and his sword cannot be swung effectively in the back ranks

Thoughts: The Crusader is the game's first tank/brawler, but is not really good at the former. The game doesn't really have traditional tanking mechanics, and the developers tried to handle that with one of his skills, however you cannot force targets to hit you 100% of the time so you can't make full use of the crusader's sack of HP. He is good at doing front-line damage, is specialized to fight undead, and has good support options when in a bind. You really can't go wrong with a Crusader on your team.

Smite: The Crusader's bread and butter. Hits hard, and has anti-unholy properties. Keep this on your bar

Zealous Accusation: The Crusader's AoE. -40% base damage, but hits the front two enemies. Not necessary, but its a great alternative for getting more value out of an attack if an enemy's about to fall over.

Stunning Blow: Heavily reduced damage with stun modifier. Its the crusader's croud control, and pretty damn good. Not as good as other stuns, but you aren't hurting yourself for bringing it.

Holy Lance: The Crusader's move ability. Moves one forward at slightly reduced damage. There's a fun gimmick build for this but I'm honestly not sold on it. Feels like a wasted slot to me.

Bulwark: +Prot and Marks the crusader for enemies, and also adds +Torch. This was meant to make him the tank, but even being marked doesn't guarantee enemies to hit him. +prot is nice, but I don't use it often. Edit: Torch is okay I guess, not enough to promote using it though.

Battle Heal: One of two of the Crusader's healing options. Straight heal at a low range. Nice to have, but the weaker of the two imo.

Inspiring Cry: The crusader's other heal. One of the only two skills that heals anyone's stress mid-combat, along with torchlight and very slight HP. I used to ignore this, but it's rapidly feeling more and more like a must-have on a crusader. Great for overall maintenance and saving heroes from death.

-Highwayman. Canon name: Dismas
A rogue, a thug and a thief, the Highwayman has honed his skills with dirk and flintlock to devastating effect. Whether at range or in a melee, he is equally effective at dispatching his foes. Be it a grapeshot area-of-effect, or single target bleed, the Highwayman's skills focus soley on dealing damage in a variety of ways.

The Highwayman's refinforced overcoat will dull a knife-strike, but he relies more on evasion than damage mitigation. His flintlock and short sword (sic: its a dagger guys. You just said that) afford him great versatility; he is never out of position, or caught unaware.

Thoughts: Many people consider the Highwayman to be too much of an all-rounder to be useful, but I find him to be a good workhorse and a wonderfully fun character with a specific gimmick build. He brings the storm and thunder when I need it most, and has a camping kit that makes great use of the time allowance given. Sadly though he suffers against armor, with only a mediocre bleed ability to respond to it.

Wicked Slice: Raw damage attack with a decent crit rate. I personally love this ability, but it does taper off against armored opponents.

Pistol Shot: The Highwayman's trademark ability. Ranged ability from back rows at a slight damage penalty. Recently got a buff giving it more damage vs marked targets. You really can't go wrong with this with how easy it lets you hit back-row enemies.

Point-blank shot: My personal favorite attack. One of the few attacks that always have an increased damage modifier. Throws you and the target backward, giving you great crowd control and fun synergies with other team-mates. A wonderful skill, but very niche.

Grapeshot Blast: The Highwayman's aoe, dealing 50% less damage across the first three enemies. Technically has value, but I don't like it. The reduced damage makes it feel like fighting a tank with a water pistol. A wasted slot imo.

Tracking Shot: Damage buff shot that does middling damage. Its a decent ability on paper but wasting the turn on a buff feels wasteful to me. Up to player discretion for use, but I never really use it.

Duelists Advance: A once-mediocre ability that got an astounding buff. Moves the Highwayman forward one at somewhat reduced damage, and on release now puts him in a riposte state. This attack is now hilariously good since the riposte increases your action economy passively. I personally say must-have if you run point-blank shot, but hard to justify otherwise.

Open Vein: The alternate knife slash, trading base damage for bleed. The only anti-armor option a Highwayman has, but honestly not very good. I'd rather rely on crits from Wicked Slice than a slow burn thats done better by others.Edit: After extended use, even despite the -15% damage it does roughly the same damage as Wicked Slash but also adds bleed and decreases bleed resist. The better option in some realms.

-Vestal. Canon name: Junia
The Warrior nun channels her zeal for battle into healing abilities, holy judgements and dassling explosions of light. A strong backbone to any party, the Vestal can also hold her own on the frontline with a powerful mace bash and close-quarter condemnations.

Blessed plate mail encases the vestal as she delivers terrible violence and healing comfort in equal measure. A mace in one hand, and holy book in the other - a study in contrasts, and all the more effective for it

Thoughts: Your healer. You're going to be using her. If you don't, you'll curse the circumstances that force you away from her. Highest heal values, holder of the only aoe heal, and possessing many neat debuffs, she will save your heroes inummerable times across every mission. The only problem with vestals is that people, myself included, are so dependent on them that they rapidly rise up the rankings and lower-level teams lack a good healer.

Mace Bash: Vestal's melee. Only useable in the first two ranks, putting your only healer in danger. If you're using this, you're either prepared for a bad circumstance or using a very specialized build.

Judgement: Ranged damage attack from the back rows. Slightly reduced damage, but range versatility along with being a self-heal make it a wonderful skill. Highly recommended to make your healer an off-attacker.

Dazzling Light: Vestal's crowd control, along with light restoration. Another must have imo, however some of the vestal's unique equipment reduces stun chance so act with discretion.

Divine Grace: Your single-target heal. Use it.

Divine Comfort: The AoE heal. Doesn't heal a lot, but its great for general maintenance and pulling several people back into the fight from near-death.

Illumination: Ranged option, deals 50% less damage but reduces enemy dodge and increases torch levels. This skill looks nice, but the issue is to reduce evasion you have to not only hit an already evasive enemy but also pray the debuff proc hits. Not really recommended.

Hand of Light: An...odd skill that I've come to greatly appreciate. A front line attack with slightly reduced damage, but reduces enemy accuracy and *heavily* reduces enemy attack damage. Required a specialized build, but its incredible when you get to use it.

-Plague Doctor, Canon name: Paracelsus
A doctor, researcher, and alchemist who prefers to hang back, eating away at her foes with stacking damage-over-time like toxic clouds & plague-filled grenades. She is equally effective in a support role, blinding and confusing foes while enhancing a party's survival with damage-increasing toxins, and remedies for bleed and blight effects.

The Plague Doctor wears only light cloth- intent on remaining as far from melee combat as possible. From a distance she lobs toxic satchels that can blind, disorient, and eat away at her foes.

Thoughts: The Plague Doctor has always had weird standing with me. Early in development I found it to be a niche support role that barely carried weight, but now with buffs on release day I often have a hard time finding the chance to use her. She is the queen of DoT, starting with a stackable 4 damage/turn against either rank 1/2 or 3&4 and increasing to 6/turn. She also possesses one of the strongest stuns that also acts in AoE, along with a powerful enemy shuffle. Her support role is goofy, but has uses. Her camping skills are also amazing at removing disease for free, which is a great way to save cash. Appreciate PD, she tries hard.

Noxious Blast: PD's front-line DoT, hitting one target for middling damage but doing heavy poison DoT. Most armored enemies are in the front, so this is wonderful if they are plague-vulnerable.

Plague Grenade: PD's back-row barrage, hitting both back-row targets for heavy poison DoT. This gives you high value, but I feel like another skill is better for dealing with back-row enemies. Still pretty damn good.

Blinding Gas: The best stun in the game imo. High stun value against both back-row targets is a wonderful middle-finger to those meddlesome stress-casters.

Incision: Melee attack from the first three positions. I believe its the only bleed attack in the game with 100% damage as well. Good alternative option, but i rarely see myself using it personally.

Battlefield Medicine: Small heal that also removes bleed and blight. At first glance it feels weak, but its main purpose is removing potential damage from the dots across both the target and the PD herself. Hard to get full value out of it, but when you do its great.

Emboldening Vapors: Back row buff that buffs damage and speed. Really good in general for making your damage dealers go ape-shit, but its a support role I'm not fond of since it wastes an action that could stop other enemies instead.

Disorienting Blast: Enemy shuffle that removes corpses. I want to like this skill more since its great at causing discord among enemies, but I just never use it.Edit: I've grown to love this skill nowadays since it both pulls the back rank forward and also stuns them. Insanely useful for pulling those damn stress attackers into melee ranges. Also removing corpses is super useful.

-Man-At-Arms, Canon name: Barrista
The Man-at-Arms is a seasoned veteran of combat, and has been rewarded for his toil with haunting guilt and stoic resilience in equal measure. Immovable, commanding, and focused, the Man-at-Arms breaks down enemy lines with his mace, buckler and furious battle cries.

Clad in the heaviest plate, the Man-at-Arms is a mace-weilding wrecking ball! Quick to react and adapt, he is most effective leading the charge, protecting his companions with his unbreakable shield

Thoughts: An incredible jack-of-all trades, probably one of the more powerful characters to the point that it's gotten several nerfs across early access development. I feel like I never use him properly. He has a great toolkit that forces enemies into his riposte, along with a great support kit that covers every team member. I just always feel like I never put him to his true potential since I operate well enough without him and not noticably better with him.

Crush: Your Bonk-stick. Keep it, since its the only way Man-at-Arms can do 100% damage, and his damge range isn't impressive.

Rampart: Stun, moves you forward and moves enemies back. Amazing utility that always keeps the big man on point. Wonderful skill

Bellow: All-enemy debuff, reducing dodge and speed (Was this changed at all? Last edit said ACC/Dodge). Being dependent on debuff resistance and having poor debuff growth makes it a poor choice imo.Edit: Bellow can have some interesting utility; Odds are you're weighing this vs Bolster, with the tradeoff being guaranteed speed gain on your end vs gambling on massive speed debuff on enemy. Having this with another MaA or a Jester is great for fixing the initiative counter on your side. Not as poor a choice as I thought, but definitely a niche use.

Defender: Buffs the MoA's armor and makes him take a hit for an ally. Insanely versatile and powerful. The bread & butter for the MoA.

Retribution: Low damage, sets Riposte on the MoA and marks him for focus. This would be a great skill if Marked meant you are 100% the focus, but it doesn't. Still can carry weight in combination with Defender at least.

Command: Full team buff, increasing accuracy and crit rate. Great for those high-evasion targets. The "weaker" MoA buff imo, but that's by a very infinitismal increment.Edit: The +ACC range is really high, fixing the Leper's shortcomings and guaranteeing that hit when you need it. Crit's a nice add-on. Probably not fit for daily use, however if you're running Commander MaA its a wonderful luxury.

Bolster: Full team buff, increasing evasion and speed. The better buff imo by merit of keeping everyone alive by chance and letting you act faster.

-Arbalest, Canon name: Missandei
A runaway turned soldier, the Arbalest is the definitive backline fighter. Able to rain down suppressing fire down on the enemy, snipe high profile targets and apply powerfully effective first-aid, she is a rallying point, a turret, a beacon in the dark

The Arbalest takes her name from the massive crossbow she carries into battle. Able to decimate enemies at range with a dizzying array of ammunition, she wears medium plate for increased protection against the volleys she knows are coming

Thoughts: A character competing in my head for second-best support class with two other characters. She's the only character that can both heal well and increase the quality of heals, and her damage output is both comparable to the crusader and complimented by a staggering crit rate. My issue however is that she has no versatility, getting into hot water if she ever gets pulled from the back row. She also can rarely hit the front row, with one skill doing reduced damage and the other being a roulette.

Sniper Shot: Her trademark skill, boasting staggering accuracy and crit rate along with bonuses against marked target. You'll be using this.

Suppressing Fire: AoE Debuff, dealing mild damage while reducing enemy accuracy and crit. I feel like I should use this more, but quite frankly its choice of debuff targets is rather lame.

Sniper's Mark: Infers mark and reduces dodge. Probably the worst mark since you'd use it to reduce evade but it needs to both hit and proc, making it heinously unrelaible. It also cannot mark row 1, further reducing its usefulness. Still keep it on hand just by merit of increased damage from the mark.

Bola: The only guaranteed way the Arbalest can hit front-row targets, at 40% reduced damage. Also causes knockback, which is great for causing dischord. Not necessary, but pretty damn useful.

Blindfire: Attack that hits randomly, but increases speed a lot. A good way to get a heal out faster, but not the best offensive option. EDIT: An update buffed this attack to not hit corpses anymore, and while its still not a reliable hit you can certainly hit Rank 1 targets now during the end of a fight.

Battlefield Bandage: A Heal. You're using it. Its got a surprisingly good heal range, and also increases every subsequent heal from anyone so it ramps up as well.

Rallying Flare: A skill that I thought was garbage until quite recently. Restores torch along with removing stun and marks as well. The skill will have a niche use in the game that will be revealed later on. Edit: I'm not sure when this was patched in, but Flare now also adds +Debuff resist to everyone. That's really good for a boss fight.

Abomination, Canon name: Bigby
Beaten, branded and imprisoned for untold decades, this furtive vagrant hides a terrible secret. The Eldritch poison coursing through his veins has given him unspeakable power, at a terrible cost. As his form changes, so too does his role in combat!

Protected by cursed chains and a thick, leathery hide, the Abomination can withstand the pressures of frontline combat as well as any plated footman. His terrible claws are each the size of daggers, and his progressive mutation manifests in unspeakable strength, speed, and a profusion of bile.

Thoughts: The Abomination is a very versatile class marred by the fact that religious units hate him. A good 90% of his skills can be used in row 2, which means you set him there and forget it. I love his risk-reward mechanic, trading away sanity for both him and your allies for an amazing damage dealer that's also a ticking time bomb. Even in his human form, his damage is enough to keep up with the needs of combat from his goofy chain swipe. However, as mentioned, he cannot team up with the Crusader, Leper, and most importantly the Vestal. Teaming up with him means you're losing a very powerful healer and relying on either off-healers or a straight-up gamble. I don't use him as much as I should because of this, he restricts team combinations too much for me to try and use often.

Trivia: This was the kickstarter "Lord-tier" backer reward, i.e. a consumer designed this class. Well done imo.

Note: All Abominations start with all skills unlocked. Your mode determines what your skillbar is

Manacles(Human): This skill is useful and really weird. It says -60% damage base, which makes sense for the stun you get, but I feel like it does a boatload more damage than it should. Honestly makes human mode super-appealing to me and I forego morphing time just because Chain-spam is great.

Beasts Bile(Human): Small AoE attack hitting rows 2 and 3 for small damage, bile proc and debuff proc making the victim more vulnerable to blight. Might be fun for a cutesy Blight-town build, but its uses are kind of middling imo when Plague Doctor and Graverobber have much more enticing blight skills.

Absolution(Human): Self Stress heal. Basically a means to undo all the damage done by morphing into beast mode. I have a weird mindset about this skill: I understand its necessary and know I should use it, but I also feel like its a waste of a turn when I can chain-stun someone

-Human Mode: Turn into Beast Mode, gain extra Blight Resist and Damage at the cost of stressing out your allies and having a stress DoT on yourself until you turn back into a human.
-Beast Mode: Turn into Human mode, lose some speed but gain health back
-Once you Shift & Unshift in a battle, you can't do so the rest of the battle.

The on-off button for making your Abomination go apeshit on enemies. Don't ever think you should hang onto this until a bigger fight; should you feel threatened in any way, hit that button and flip tables. The stress damage your allies receive is refunded by half when you go human, and you also heal some HP when going back, so there's an incentive to just generally use it. Activating it also doesn't consume your turn. Its his key mechanic, don't ration it.

Rake(Beast): A snowball skill; it starts with -40% damage but you gain +15% with each subsequent use up to three times. This might seem goofy on paper with it peaking at 105% base damage, but this is a full damage frontal AoE attack once its revved up, and also complimented by the transform buff and any gear you may use. Well worth it for the smaller enemies. Edit: Damage scaling goes up with each skill level, peaking at +25%/Use up to 3 times. 130% damage across the front rows is pretty damn good.

Rage(Beast): Beast Mode's basic attack. Good range and crit rate, with only rank 4 being safe from it. The better option for boss fights since Rake's AoE won't double-hit big targets.

Slam(Beast): Your "go away" button. Two-space knockback and a debuff against an enemy's dodge and speed. I don't use this all that often. Granted its a useful skill, I just like raking the lawn.

-Antiquarian, Canon name: Katharine
A scholar, researcher, and keen archaeologist, The Antiquarian is not well suited for combat. She is, however, an expert in self-preservation - by making herself scarce in a fight, or demanding an ally protect her, she ensures her survival. If direct combat is unavoidable, The Antiquarian can use her fulminating censer to heal and invigorate allies...and to toxify attackers.

The Antiquarian wears no armor to speak of, instead relying on the power of the innumerable ancient charms and relics she has collected in her travels. Her eye for rarities is enhanced by the unsettling properties of her censer's vapours, which can offer some utility to the party in...problematic encounters.

Thoughts: mai waifu
Seriously though, Antiquarian is a doll. Looking at numbers, she seems overall limited in her ability to contribute in any meaningful capacity. Her main gimmick is bringing you cash, increasing your gold/treasure stacks by 33% and also spawning her own treasure drops worth 275 and 1000 gold each. She also has a camping skill that just materializes a free piece of equipment, for use or selling for more cash. However, she has an actual purpose in combat that takes me back to the Guild Wars 1 days: She is a protection cleric. Between giving Anyone 20-30% protection, giving Everyone extra evasion, an off-heal that becomes serviceable with one accessory, and a high range knife stab, Antiquarian is a gal I take to get a payday and save my team's collective ass.

Trivia: Antiquarian was the "merchant class" teased through all of the game's early access development, and actualized about a month after release.

Nervous Stab: Her melee, no damage mod but she's a bit of a noodle arm so its weak either way. She can use it from any position and can hit ranks 1-3, so its good for getting rid of any pesky monstrosities barely clinging to life.

Festering Vapors: By far, the weakest blight skill available. Hits any one target, but 1 damage/turn makes me cry. Also makes enemies more vulnerable to blight I guess but that requires a debuff proc. Please don't make me use this skill.

"Get Down!": Self buff, giving the Antiquarian extra dodge, speed, and in a more useful trick moving her back one space. A good replacement to the re-position button but I rarely do self-buffs mid-combat.

Flashpowder: Debuff skill, reducing one enemies accuracy. Eh. Could be useful, but debuffs always feel dodgy to me.

Fortifying Vapors: Tiny heal range. Heals anyone. Looks Doofy, actually is doofy even with the +50% heal accessory, but I find it great as a sort of general maintenance skill. When I've thrown all of Antiquarian's buffs up, I can just use this to patch up any pokes and scrapes so the healers can focus on actual work.

Invigorating Vapors: Free dodge for the entire team? Why the hell not!?

"Protect Me!": The best skill. Why bother carrying protection accessories when I can get a free STACKABLE damage reduction from her? Also gives dodge chance, as if it wasn't good enough. The tradeoff is that it forces allies to take a hit for her, but she rarely gets targeted anyway and your meat sack will take less damage anyway alongside potentially negating the attack.

-Bounty Hunter, canon name: Tardif
A brutally efficient single-target executioner and crowd control specialist. For the Bounty Hunter, planning is key - mark targets for bonus damage or look for opportunities to capitalize on a stunned foe. He can also wreak havoc on an enemy party's order using his grappling hook, flashbangs and powerful uppercut.

The Bounty Hunter favors a hand-axe and grappling hook, a pairing that allows him to ensnare and execute his quarry with professional efficiency. His tough leather and scale armor grants decent protection(sic: bullshit), without sacrificing mobility.

Thoughts: My general mindset with this game is that crowd control is king until you wear down the enemy enough to kill them. To wit, Bounty Hunter is a fantastic control class. His initial design was meant to make use of the mark mechanic in this game, however that's a small facet of his capacity. Possessing two high-yield stuns that also shuffle targets, a decent damage enemy pull, one of the strongest bleed skills, and quite recently the ability to rend armor, Bounty Hunter is a pro at manipulating the field. Keep him in front to be a damage engine, or in back to control the lay of the land.

Collect Bounty: His trademark ability. An axe attack that gets stronger vs humans and marked targets, with a decent crit range. Under the right conditions, this attack will split anything in two like a piece of lumber.

Marked for Death: A skill that got buffed soon after the game's release. Marks Target and reduces enemy protection. Not as great as the houndmasters, but its nice to not have to drag that old bloodhound everywhere. Keep this on your tab for both self synergy and other character synergy.

Come Hither: I believe the first ever move skill during development. Pulls target two spaces forward and does some damage. I might be nuts, but much like the abomination's chain I feel like this does a surprising amount of damage despite having a -66% damage mod. Also can be used at any position. Its nice(tm)

Uppercut: Ken Masters would be proud. -66% Damage mod, but a decent stun and knocks target 2 spaces back. I love this skill so much.

Flashbang: Skill that does no damage, but is a high-yield stun and randomizes the target's position. I feel like I have so much bad luck with this skill though by merit of it missing whenever I need it to hit, which is all the time.

Finish Him: Melee attack that deals more damage to stunned targets. Also the only way the Bounty Hunter can attack row 3 and the only row 3 attack worth a damn. It sounds good on paper, but with how initiative works in this game alongside how quickly stun is removed and prevented, you can very rarely get the golden setup for this move to work, and the payoff isn't even that great. Just collect bounties dude.

Hook and Slice: The skill that entices me to make a backrow bounty hunter. Inflicts a pretty decent bleed stack on a target in row 3 or 4, but you must be in row 3 or 4. When teaming up with a plague doctor, the DoT stacks become comical. A fun skill.

Grave Robber, canon name: Audrey
The Grave Robber is a versatile and nimble combatant, moving back and forth through the ranks with ease. She strikes without warning and retreats to the shadows, continuing her assault at range. If her throwing daggers and poison darts aren't getting the job done, she can return to the melee, buffed and slinging her pickaxe!

A light coat is all the Graverobber will wear, she favours mobility and dexterity over protection. Concealed within her garment are razor sharp throwing daggers, and buckled to her back - a pickaxe!

Thoughts: If there's a person I can trust to clutch out the mission and kill enemies with ease, its the Grave Robber. She's a wonderful storm of critical hits and evasion and I basically never worry about her getting beat up with how reliable she is. Great in rank 2-3 for being a dagger-gun, but also has the capacity for a cutesy front row shuffle & stun. She possesses a camping skill also removes EVERY DISEASE on someone and herself for free, alongside one that procures a basic supply for use in a dungeon. The only problem I foresee with her is that you may use her so much she hits ranks faster than your team can keep up with and leave them in the dust.

Pick to the Face: Decent skill that can be used from row 1-3 and hits row 1-3. "Low" crit rate compared to her other skills. This is mainly used for if you're caught in the front line and want to pick off someone

Lunge: I actually was unaware, up until writing this line, that this skill has a damage mod that rivals Point-blank shot with a whopping +40% to damage in general. Only useable from row 3-4 and moves you forward two spaces. I still feel its too goofy to be practical, however many people swear up and down by this skill alongside her stun so I might be missing something.

Flashing Daggers: I believe this is the strongest base-line AoE attack in the game, barring a fully revved up Rake from the Abomination. Only a -33% penalty to damage, hits rows 2 and 3, and also debuffs bleed resistance. I don't use it much, but its great for getting value from a weak target in those spots.

Shadow Fade: Stun that is used from row 1-2. Moves you back one, stuns a target in the first 2 rows, and gives you a mind-blowing amount of dodge. You want an evasion tank? Graverobber will not get hit with the hilarious amount of evade this provides.

Thrown Dagger: Oh this skill makes my heart aflutter and toys with my emotions. Full damage range. good accuracy. 10% crit rate. ADDS GENERAL ACCURACY WITH EVERY USE, even if you miss. Deals more damage to marked targets. This skill will make a dart board out of your enemy.

Poison Dart: A decent blight skill that also reduces blight resist. A skill I rarely use, mainly because it requires being in row 3/4 and I like putting that gal on row 2. Also, with how much crits Graverobber outputs, I'd rather throw knives.

Toxin Trickery Self-buff that adds decent dodge, crazy speed, and removes blight and bleed. I mainly use it for its curative purposes, but that extra speed makes everyone else seem like slugs.

Hellion, canon name: Boudica
Wild, unpredictable, and utterly ruthless, the Hellion thrills to the spilling of blood! Her massive glaive affords her impressive reach in combat, while its razor sharp edge leaves lasting wounds on enemies. Certain skills leave her exhausted, however, and she may occasionally need to take a turn to recharge her adrenaline before entering the fray once again.

Crude leather and furs may offer little protection, but the Hellion lives to bear the scars of battle proudly. Her priority is wreaking havoc with her massive glaive and bathing in the blood of her adversaries.

Thoughts: The Hellion is a gal I can rely on to look at anyone and cleave them en-twain. She has a slight gimmick to her that demands putting her in the first row, but when you do she can deal hellacious damage to anyone at any position. Many of her skills have the capacity to deal bleed in great amounts, allowing her to subvert armor quite efficiently. She also has a lot of good debuffs, but they also debuff her so I never really use those. Possibly the best front-line unit in the game bar none.

Wicked Hack: Your workhorse. Hits the first two rows. Not much else to say.

Iron Swan: One of her two front-row specialties. Must be in row 1, but hits row 4 with the same numbers as Wicked Hack. My personal little Fuck youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu to bandit gunners and cultist mages.

Barbaric YAWP!: Stuns both the first two rows of enemies, but reduces the hellion's damage output and dodge. High-yield stun, but not worth getting the hellion beat up over by that asshole gunner in the back.
Edit: Taking into consideration the Guard from enemies in the Cove and Ruins now, this can be very useful if you don't want to spend 4 turns beating on a nerd. Bring Medicinal Herbs to offset the debuff.

If it Bleeds: This skill makes me sad. Once upon a time it did 100% damage to either row 2 or 3 along with a bleed proc, but now it got nerfed with a -35% damage reduction. Necessary in terms of game balance, but still. Granted its still good, but pour out a 40 for this wonderful skill.

Breakthrough: Hits the first 3 rows of enemies for a -55% attack that reduces your subsequent attack damage and dodge rate. Why would *anyone* use this skill? The low damage output is bad enough, but the debuff factor after makes this a skill I never use at all. Sure it moves the hellion up 1, but I'd rather just use the move rank button rather than make her a sitting duck.

Adrenaline Rush: Self buff, increasing damage and accuracy alongside curing bleed and blight. I use it for its curative effects, but hey its a good damage buff. Use it.

Bleed Out: The other row 1 exclusive attack. +15% damage, moderately better bleed proc, but also possesses that dumb debuff against her damage and evasion. I used to use this a lot, but I've come to realize that the extra damage and bleed is not worth losing so much evasion, even as a finisher.

Houndmaster, canon name: "Shag & Scoob"
A tough and uncommonly compassionate ex-lawman, the Houndmaster and his faithful Wolfhound work in tandem to bring down their enemies and protect the innocent. Together they stalk the back ranks, bursting forth in a flurry of harrying bleeds, gnashing teeth, and stunning blows. Should the tide of battle turn, the pair can support an ailing party by protecting the weak, and rallying the stressed.

Still clad in his worn Gendarme's uniform, the Houndmaster's focus is on evasion over mitigation. His cudgel is an effective stunning tool, but it is the Hound who delivers the pair's most crippling blows, especially when he's been fed an invigorating snack!

Thoughts: I personally have the weirdest gripes with admittedly fantastic character. Wielder of the best stun in the game, once the only person capable of rending PROT, and also holding the only full-party stress heal, the houndmaster is a friend and a bud. I just really *hate* how he takes up an item slot for a buff. I also never really liked how he was the only one that could remove protection from an enemy, damn near necessitating him for every run in the late game and especially the Cove.

Trivia: The Houndmaster was the focus of a kickstarter backer poll determining what dog he'd carry. The second place winner was a tiny-ass pug.

Hound's Rush: Hits any target, causes a tiny bleed effect, deals more damage to both marked targets and beasts. Your

Hound's Harry: Hits everyone for -80% damage and a piddly bleed. I see no reason to use this barring one specific boss fight.

Whistle: *The* armor rend. marks target, removes a boat load of protection. Sure its a debuff, but for what it removes you'll be adding a debuff-buffer on dog-boy

Cry Havoc:: Targets everyone in the party with a 65% chance to heal stress. A bit of a gamble, but the value is there and its a great way to counter Madmen or Ghouls.

Guard Dog: Guards an ally and ads evasion to the Houndmaster. A bit of a risky gamble imo, but ol'Scoob has unique gear that makes his evasion almost peerless.

Lick Wounds: Self-heal. Feels a bit too slow to me, especially when the Houndmaster has better things he should be doing.

Blackjack: This skill is incredible. High yield stun that can hit row 1-3. With the right gear, max level blackjack is the only stun capable of reaching 240% stun rate. Zoinks.

Jester, canon name: Mr. Jingles
Combat is a power ballad - a slow build up, and a grand finale! On the offense, the Jester leaps to and fro in a bloody cacophony, positioning himself for a glorious end in the front ranks! Alternatively, he can hang back, delivering chilling melodies and unsettling riffs that terrorize his foes, and give strength to his allies.

Clad only in mildewed cloth, the Jester makes a mockery of battle. Only a fool would underestimate the vicious bloodletting power of his sharpened sickle, or the discordant throng of his lute.

Thoughts: Jester and I have a history of me shoving him in a locker for incessantly disappointing me. During Early-access development, his skill-set was so erratic that you can never have all skills available no matter where you put him. His damage output for his Solo/Finale gimmick was also so bad that Red Hook had to buff it twice to make it worth a damn. It was only until either just before or on the day of release that the Jester's songs were made more flexible, finally making him into a solid row three offensive support. EDIT: Holy shit. Finale is really fucking good now. When did this happen.

Dirk Stab: Forward lunging stab with no penalties. I don't like having the Jester up there, but its part of his kit for his offensive build.

Solo: Debuffs entire enemy team's accuracy, albeit at a somewhat low chance. Also moves you up to the front row no matter what and gives you a lot of extra speed. You're using this to setup for a Finale

Finale: The highest modified damage attack in the game at +50%, tied with the Highwayman's Pointblank Shot. Also possesses a maddening 15% crit rate. Still sucks nuts however since it reduces your subsequent damage by 40%, your dodge by a whopping -30, and your accuracy by -10. The damage mod also doesn't mean much since the Jester's base damage is low to begin with. Luckily you're also moved all the way to the back row to spam music, but honestly that debuff is too much to even consider using. Edit: I'm apparently blind? Cause I don't remember that skill doing +150% damage when I started this LP. Also being able to hit rank 1-3 with a skill that does 20-40 damage on average? Congrats Red Hook, you *finally* fixed the Jester for real.

Slice Off: Hits either row 2 or 3 for a decent bleed DoT. -33% reduced damage, but honestly its the Jester's "best" attack to me.

Harvest: Hits both row 2 and 3 for bleed DoT. Much like other AoEs, its mainly a way to get finisher value. Still a skill I keep slotted.

Battle Ballad: Reason 1 why I use the Jester. Buffs everyone's speed, accuracy and crit rate. Sick of the game's dodgy initiative system? Bring a Jester and say "fuck you I have +10 speed on everyone now."

Inspiring Tune: Reason 2 why I use the Jester. The other single target stress remover, and also reduces subsequent incoming stress damage. Jester also has a unique item that buffs that stress restoration further. Use it.

Leper, canon name: Baldwin
A ruined man, a warrior, and a poet. The Leper is most effective when given a turn to focus himself before raising his massive blade. When he swings, it is all or nothing - crushing blows and massive damage or the empty whistling of a glancing blow. He is entirely self-sufficient, drawing strength from his life of trauma, and able to channel it into heals, protection, or unrelenting fury.

Heavy and restricting, the Leper's bronzed cuirass can absorb all manner of punishing blow. His massive sword is slow to swing, but delivers crushing damage to anyone caught in its unstoppable arc.

Thoughts: Oh Leper, I should use you more but you just have so many problems. The Leper is a brick shithouse of damage with his greatsword and also has possibly the biggest HP pool in the game (which is either ironic or appropriate given how leprosy works. Not sure which). Sure the Leper has no real way of subverting PROT, but with how much damage he does if he hits, it doesn't matter at all. And yeah, I said "if it hits." The big issue I have with Leper is that his attacks are all the lowest accuracy in the game. He's also heinously slow, both stat-wise and the fact that half his kit is self-buffs that don't add much imo. His reach is also limited; much like the crusader, he'll only be able to hit rows 1 and 2 all the time. Sorry buddy, but you got problems.

Big Edit: My old opinion of Leper spawned from hundreds of hours in Early Access where he had base damage comparable to the Crusader and Bounty Hunter. That's no longer the case. He now has a huge damage pool now, almost doubling the base damage of a BH. This feels way more appropriate for his visual and mechanical design, making the risk of missing actually worth it. I've also come to appreciate the self-buffs he has; The Heal offers up every status resist which can trivialize several bosses, and the nature of stress damage post-Radiant Update makes the stress heal a bit more valuable. The leper is Good(tm) now, but you still kinda need a +ACC accessory to make up for his built-in shortcomings.

Chop: The Leper's basic attack that starts at a 75% chance to hit. To-Hit scales with level, but you need an accessory to fix and enjoy this.

Hew: The Leper's AoE, hitting the first two rows with a 75% chance to hit. Same logic as Chop, needs +ACC

Intimidate: Low damage AoE, but reduces the damage and accuracy of the first two enemy rows. An actually good skill! Edit: I used to put this skill on a pedastal, but its rather situational now when you can just baseball-swing enemies away.

Purge: Hits row 1, low damage, provides knockback 3 and clears corpses. Mainly used for the latter bit.

Solemnity: Self Heal that also boosts all resist values. An actual good self heal imo, but I never use it. Too slow/situational

Withstand: Self Stress heal and adds a wicked amount of prot. Another good skill I never use. Too slow, plus Antiquarian exists to give prot.

Revenge: A BUFF I USE WHAT?! Boosts Damage, Accuracy and Crit at the cost of debuffing dodge and prot. Feels more mandatory than a supplement, but wow it makes the leper hit like a 747.

Occultist, canon name: Alhazred
A lifetime of scholarly inquest into ancient and forbidden lore has opened the Occultist's mind to the powers of the void. Debilitating curses and maddeningly impossible support skills are his specialty. The void, however, is an unpredictable power, and consequently skills' effectiveness can vary dramatically, and usually come at a cost of light, or stress.

Scholarly robes, better suited to the library than the harsh realities of adventuring, are all the Occultist has brought with him. His rituals and chants require deft movements of hand and finger, so better he be unencumbered that he may channel the power of his morbid fetish: the polished skull of a dead man.

Thoughts: Oh man we're finally here, say hello to the man that is such a piece of shit that I actively pull my hair out irl from all the stress he causes me. The Occultist is an support class mainly focusing on debuffs that support your team and debilitate the enemy. However, this chucklefuck is also in possession of paradoxically the best and worst heal in the game, with a starting heal range of ZERO HP to 12 hp and can also BLEED YOUR TEAMMATES. He is also slightly bred to be anti-eldritch in nature. Pump enough +healing gear on him and his flaws are gone, but oh man, this guy is a walking gamble. He's also the only good healer you can bring if you use an abomination. He also has a fun alternate front-line build that focuses on crit rate and stuns. Hope you enjoy his company, if you're anything like me you'll have three of these guys along with your 3 vestals.

Sacrificial Stab: The Occultists basic attack, holding a crazy crit rate and anti-eldritch properties. Despite his somewhat low damage range, I still use this skill from time to time since its a great finisher.

Abyssal Artillery: Hits both of the back row for decent damage and also holds anti-eldritch properties. A skill I don't use much mainly because the damage always felt low even against eldritch enemies.

Weakening Curse: Curse that debuffs an enemy's attack power. I've come to appreciate this skill when teamed up with a Vestal using her attack debuff too. Its funny to watch bosses only do 1 damage.

Wyrd Reconstruction: The gambling man's heal. Can either swing a dire fight in your favor or make you do violent things with an iron pipe. Given its range though, almost any heal is a good heal so its mostly positive despite my ill temperament.

Vulnerability Hex: Debuff that both marks target and removes their dodge. Has the same issues as Arbalests' mark however with you needing to jump through 2 hoops to get the effect going.

Hands from the Abyss: This skill is neat and makes me wish front-line occultist wasn't so fragile. Decent stun with good damage and a wild crit rate, however it reduces your torch by 5. I like it a lot.

Daemon's Pull: Decent long-range single target pull. Pulls enemies up two rows. I honestly just use this for damage and the move is just a fun bonus. Also kills corpses.