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Tabletop Game / Darklight: Memento Mori

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Darklight: Memento Mori is a Dark Fantasy Adventure Board Game of cooperative Dungeon Crawling. Inspired by the Diablo series, Warhammer Quest, Dark Souls, and Dante Alighieri, the game puts up to four players in the shoes of undead adventurers bound together by the Cursed Heart in service of the Grim Warden, the Angel of Death. These Accursed embark on quests, exploring themed and randomly generated dungeons and slaughtering hordes of vicious monsters for their souls.

The game enjoyed a successful Kickstarter campaign in March 2016 and shipped in March 2018. The rulebook and several other resources are available for download at Dark Ice Games' website.

The game contains examples of following tropes:

  • Action Initiative: Each Accursed and each monster type have a fixed initiative score, which tells you the order they act in combat (from highest ot lowest; on ties, ranged monsters go before melee monsters, who go before the Accursed). Outside of combat (as well as on initiative ties in combat between them), the Accursed can go in whichever order they prefer, but they still must complete their turn once they start to move.
  • Adventure Guild: The Accursed Guild found in some towns is essentially this: a place where all Accursed congregate between missions. Mechanically, it allows you to spend souls on level-ups, and while quests can be picked up anywhere in the settlement, it would make most sense, flavor-wise, for townsfolk to send them to the Guild.
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  • A.I. Roulette: Several monsters and bosses pick their behaviors based on the current Darkness Roll.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The Grim Warden is one of humanity's fear of death.
  • Anti-Hoarding: There is a hard cap on how much stuff an Accursed can carry (equal to 10 + your Strength score), and if they ever go over it, they must immediately discard items until they are within the cap again. There are some mounts that increase your carrying capacity and you can purchase homes in towns to have extra storage there.
  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix: The difficulty of successfully casting any Source-based spells (but not Faith-based miracles) increases with every piece of Medium or Heavy armor the caster has equipped.
  • Barbarian Hero: The Nephilim is a classic barbarian, from their size and muscularity, through their disdain for any kind of armor, to their propensity for Unstoppable Rage.
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  • Cataclysm Backstory: The world of Darklight, Intermundis, has been ravaged by the Soul Plague, which saw demons invade and overrun the place, indirectly spawning the Grim Reaper into existence.
  • Critical Failure: Rolling a 1 on an attack roll is always a miss, regardless of your bonuses.
  • Critical Hit: Rolling a 6 on an attack roll is always a hit that deals the maximum damage that the weapon can deal.
  • Damage Reduction: Armor works by reducing the damage you take and is a sum of your Constitution stat, the ratings of the armor you wear, and, if you spend stamina to evade, your Evasion rating. That said, some attacks deal Wounds directly, instead of just damage (wording is important), meaning that they bypass all armor entirely.
  • Diagonal Speed Boost: Moving diagonally costs the same number of movement points as horizontally or vertically, which is especially helpful when rounding corners.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The classic trio is represented in the base game by the Black Knight, the Witch, and the Outcast, while the Exorcist supplements them as a D&D-like cleric.
  • Gameplay Randomization: The main randomizer in the game are dice, which are used for everything from hits and damage, to advancing the Dread Marker and rolling Random Event. That said, random events themselves, as well as encounters, bosses, dungeon rooms, and loot are drawn from shuffled decks of specialized cards.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: One of the Duelist's (i.e. the Courtesan/Chevalier) special abilities is a mechanical appliance that lets them quickly scale elevated terrain without having to use the stairs, as well as tumble away from attacks onto elevated terrain.
  • Hit Points: Each character has a Wounds track, where their damage is noted. When it reaches they maximum Wounds threshold, the Accursed falls but, if healed, can come back to life with a lasting Injury (a randomized penalty to their stats), which can be fixed in town.
  • Kick Chick: The Courtesan has a whole Skill Tree devoted to kicking her enemies.
  • Level Scaling: Monster and boss stats scale to the party's average Character Level.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Each Severe Wound inflicted by some events reduces the number of regular Wounds an Accursed can take before dying by one, and they can generally only be healed in a town.
  • Noob Cave: The first quest in the book, "Awakening", is designed specifically to get new players acquainted with the game, as well as serving as a prologue to the story campaign that comes with the base game.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: The Accursed cards have the male and female versions of the respective hero on each side, with their stats identical in every way (no gender-flipped miniatures are available yet, however).
  • Random Drop: Every piece of loot you acquire is drawn from a shuffled deck of loot cards. Rare Loot is drawn from a separate deck and is generally less likely to come up, yet much more powerful than basic loot.
  • Random Encounters: All monster encounters in the dungeons are random. First, they can only occur when the Dread Wheel marker lands on a skull (and then you still have a 50/50 chance of having a Random Event instead), and the exact composition of the monster group is determined by drawing an encounter card.
  • Random Event: In dungeons, when the Dread Wheel marker lands on a skull, you have a 50% chance of triggering a special event that has to be resolved as soon as you enter the room where it takes place. The specifics of the event depend on the card you draw from the event deck. Also, while traveling from a dungeon back to a city, you must draw a card from the travel event deck for every day of travel.
  • Randomized Damage Attack: All regular attacks in the game deal randomized amounts of damage (except for critical hits, which normally automatically deal max damage).
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Whenever the Accursed open a dungeon door, the next dungeon tile is drawn randomly from a shuffled deck, creating randomized layouts for every quest.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: The game adapts the Soulsborne stamina management to board game format: Each Accursed has a small number of Stamina tokens (usually about three) which they can spend either to tumble away from, or to evade successful monster attacks. Tumbling completely avoids all damage but costs two Stamina tokens, while evading merely raises your Damage Reduction against this one attack but only costs one Stamina. In order to replenish stamina, the Accursed must give up their Movement phase, effectively trading mobility for defense.
  • Resurrected for a Job: The Grim Warden grants the Cursed Heart to the Accursed for a purpose, although it is initially unclear what it is. The Revenant, however, is not bound to the Heart, instead having come back through their own desire for revenge.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The Revenant can be killed when they suffer their maximum wounds... but they also heal one Wound every turn, and don't suffer Injuries on "dying", so they generally pop right back up the next turn (the tradeoff being that they can never receive healing from the Cursed Heart). Revenants can still die from insta-kill special events and boss attacks, or from suffering too many Serious Wounds or Insanity points.
  • Sanity Meter: Each Accursed has an Insanity track in addition to Wounds track, since some attacks deal Sanity damage instead of Wounds. Taking maximum allowed Insanity damage (different for each Accursed) lowers all of their stats by one until it is cured, while taking double the maximum Insanity renders them incurably insane and, thus, unplayable anymore.
  • Solo Tabletop Game: The game can actually be played with just one player, although it is clearly balanced for a full party of four.
  • Squishy Wizard: The Blood Witch/Warlock have very few hit points and their limited starting gear forces them to rely almost exclusively on the fickle Source magic early on in the game.
  • Stripperific: While not as revealing as the original design, the Courtesan outfit in the game still shows more skin than is strictly safe for combat (although this applies to the Chevalier's outfit, as well).
  • Sword and Gun: The Courtesan/Chevalier from the Adventurers Pack add-on starts the game with a rapier in one hand and a gun in the other. These are also their weapons of choice on the official art and even their mini.
  • Turn-Based Combat: The game features an initiative queue, two action types (a move action, which you can trade for resting, and an attack action, which you can trade for a search action or another move), and a square movement grid.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Averted in that combat rolls (or "tumbling", as this mechanic is known) are very much necessary to avoid the worst of incoming damage. Because tumbles cost a good chunk of your limited stamina pool, this creates a stamina management gameplay very similar to that in the Dark Souls series that inspired it.


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