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Tear Jerker / Darkest Dungeon

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Petals must fall.

I remember days when the sun shone, and laughter could be heard from the tavern.
The Ancestor

In a heavy Cosmic Horror Story with Permadeath, a cast full of Woobies, and crossing the Despair Event Horizon being a gameplay mechanic, stress is bound to build up outside the game as well.

  • The Hamlet, which is surprisingly tragic and moody for a simple town theme. Having to hear it after returning from an expedition from which you lost one or more of your favorite party members, however...
  • The backstory comics for the heroes. Not one of them has a happy ending. After all, why would happy people willingly subject themselves to the horrors of this place? It also makes a few of the character's lines Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Imagine you're a decent few weeks into the game. You've lost a fair amount of your early heroes, but you're starting to get the hang of things now with a fresh batch of explorers. One of them successfully scouts ahead in a dungeon, and not only that, reveals a hidden room with a locked chest! And imagine the shock and despair one might feel upon finding within the chest, stuffed in a bag nestled between a couple of valuable stones, Dismas's head.
    • Though it can be darkly hilarious if said adventurer who discovers it is Dismas himself. Or maybe even more unsettling. Even more so if you decide to have him equip it (it's not a bad idea to do so either given the bonuses).
  • And in the final battle against The Heart of Darkness, during the course of the final phase of the fight, you're forced to sacrifice two of your party members. Not only did you have to invest huge amounts of time and resources to get them to a level to even face the Heart, but the game sadistically forces YOU to choose which party member dies! Some heroes are willing to take one for the team, others... not so much.
    • Even worse, their sacrifice is ultimately in vain. As the Ancestor so eloquently states, this is only a temporary victory. The darkness is not destroyed, but merely sent back into slumber. It will return one day when humanity has forgotten and is unprepared, and when it does there will only be more death and devastation.
    • Faced with all of this, and unable to look at their fellow man without seeing visceral eldritch horrors, the Heir takes their own life at the end of the game and becomes a ghost haunting the grounds. Worse, depending on how you interpret the various quotes hinting at a Vicious Cycle, they may be trapped there for all eternity with countless other shades of themselves.
    • A minor note compared to all the above, but as the camera pans across the Hamlet, its buildings can be seen falling back into the disrepair you found them in when you first arrived. Even your attempts at rebuilding the Hamlet were all for nothing.
  • Some of the classes who die to the Heart of Darkness still hold fast even in the face of annihilation. This does not make their last words any less depressing or tragic. The worst of these is probably the Houndmaster:
    Houndmaster: Steady, girl. If we're called, we answer.
    • Though the Antiquarian's final words do have their own tragic view.
    Antiquarian: So I'm the final antique, yet there will be nothing around to collect...
  • While most of the heroes choose to Face Death with Dignity or even defiantly challenge the Heart of Darkness in their final moments, the Arbalest, Grave Robber, Jester, Plague Doctor, and Vestal are absolutely terrified of the prospect of sacrificing themselves and plead out with you not to kill them. Although a recent update has changed some of the lines.
    Arbalest: Please, no! I want to live!
    Grave Robber: A proper lady does not volunteer herself for slaughter!
    Jester: Hah! The joke's on me then...?
    Plague Doctor: No! Not me! I am a learned scholar!
    Vestal: I-It's too horrible! Noooo!
    • The Abomination, however, is especially sad, as he sees death as a kind release rather than something to be feared. Given how much he has suffered in the past for what he is, he finds sacrificing himself to a pure cosmic horror as a preferable alternative to continuing to live.
    Abomination: Whatever awaits, it cannot be worse than what I've endured.
  • The Crimson Court DLC introduces special class-specific trinkets that, if paired up, provide extra bonuses to the holder. The paired trinkets have a quote in the description that describes the class, and some of them are pretty sad, especially if you're aware of the backstories of the characters:
    Abomination: I must hide from the world.
    Arbalest: I remember my father's kindly eyes.
    Crusader: I will forget them. Regret is sin.
    Flagellant: We're all falling apart...
    Hellion: Outcast. Alone. Shamed.
    Highwayman: A reflex - I didn't mean to...
    Houndmaster: Even the chief was in on it.
    Leper: The last treasures of a King.
    Man-at-Arms: Glory days? Hmph.
    Shieldbreaker: Broken and Beautiful.
  • The trinkets added to the characters without an official backstory comment are less than pleasant, too. The Plague Doctor was kicked out of the university for experimenting on a test subject (who the comic reveals was her teacher), the Houndmaster was shunned out of the law by corruption from within, the Jester is confirmed to have come from a Decadent Court and the flavor text of having the last laugh on a tyrant may imply he was abused within it, the Hellion mentioning she was an outcast to her tribe, and even The Stoic Bounty Hunter was on some personal Roaring Rampage of Revenge quest.
  • Many of the afflicted quotes fall into this category when they're not being abusive Jerkasses, especially if it comes from one of your favorites. Every class (except the Flagellant) has at least one:
    Masochistic Abomination: Perhaps this violence will soothe it, keep it sleeping...
    Fearful Antiquarian: I...I would give all my gold to be gone from here!
    Hopeless Arbalest: What is it I ran away from?
    Fearful Bounty Hunter: We've been dealt out! Let us go!
    Hopeless Crusader: How can I fight for truth when I betray all I love?
    Hopeless Hellion: My spirit longs for the open air I'll never breathe again.
    Hopeless Grave Robber: I was a Lady once. Now, little more than a burglar.
    Irrational Highwayman: No! I DIDN'T KILL HER. 'TWAS AN ACCIDENT!
    Fearful Houndmaster: The pursuit of justice leads only to agony and death!
    Masochistic Leper: The dead long for torture — to FEEL once more!
    Hopeless Plague Doctor: I have nothing... I offer little more than a corpse.
    Hopeless Jester: (chuckles) You WANT more misery? You sadist! TORTURER!
    • Many, many Hopeless barks can be chilling, as many of them all but state that the hero has become suicidal.
    • Fearful barks are also quite distressing, especially the Vestal, who may have tears streaming down her face when forced to fight.
  • Some of the Ancestor's quotes when dismissing a hero can hit the strings:
    Suffer not the lame horse, nor the broken man.
    Another soul battered and broken, cast aside like a spent torch.
    Slumped shoulders, wild eyes, and a stumbling gait — this one is no more good to us.
  • The Color of Madness DLC may give us the most pitiable boss of the entire game. The Miller was an innocent man who approached the Ancestor to beg for aid after his harvest failed for a second year in a row. Seizing the opportunity, the Ancestor ordered the Miller and his farmhands to erect enchanted stone slabs around his farm turning it into a giant celestial array, hired sadistic foremen to drive the Miller, his family and his workers like slaves all while cruelly hoping that the mill would be destroyed by whatever his experiments might summon. Soon after the Ancestor killed himself, a comet fell from the sky, smashing into the mill and releasing a mist that turned everything it covered into crystal. The Miller, his family and workers went to investigate and became lost in the mists and mutated into broken crystalline husks. Now all the Miller can do is wander through the time distorted mists, desperately seeking his loved ones and never able to find them.
    • His monster category is unique: Poor Soul.
    • Even the Ancestor acknowledges how cruel the world has been to the Miller. Of course, a large part of the Miller's misery is due to the Ancestor's own actions...
    The poor Miller. Thrice a victim. The seasons took his livelihood. I took his land. And, incountable years later, the comet has taken his humanity.
  • The Butcher's Circus DLC adds hero corpses to the game. The Houndmaster's is the most tragic since it depicts his dog mourning over his bloodied corpse.
  • Heroes who've been to the Darkest Dungeon and lived to tell about it will be forever traumatized by the experience, their barks in the relative safety of the Hamlet changing to reflect this regardless of how much stress they have. These poor souls, even in victory, have been irreparably damaged as a result of your lamentable crusade.
  • If you send a hero to the brothel, they may say in their bark that they just want to be held for now.

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