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WMG / Darkest Dungeon

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The Abomination has been effectively excommunicated from the Church of the Flame.
Hence why the particularly religious characters won't battle aside him, but will work alongside the Occultist, who also uses eldritch powers but has somehow avoided the same fate. In addition, normally the church on the Heir's estate would also shun the Abomination (due to his excommunication), but the Heir forces the church to let him in. Alternatively, the hamlet's church desperately needs the money from the use of its services.

The ancestor's Posthumous Narration is just the Featureless Protagonist hallucinating
Considering how everyone involved has been slowly going insane, along with the ancestor giving everything to the heir, which implies he cares about. It might be possible the Heir is grieved by the relative's death, along with the horrible madness in the estate. Wouldn't surprise me if all that narration is in their head.

The Brothel is unisex
Explains why you can throw female units in there. They can't be ALL lesbians, and some male units may prefer the company of men.
  • Everyone Is Bi?
  • Makes sense. The brothel may easily employ gigolos to cater to their customers, considering that the setting's attitudes for women going to the brothel, and probably homosexuality, seem to be pretty relaxed.
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  • But even aside from that, women quite simply comprise 50% of their potential customers.

The thing the ancestor unearthed from the depths was a Mirror Boss
The memoirs slowly uncovered during the game contain many incredibly monstrous things, all done with no hesitation or repentance at the time. After a lifetime of inhuman vileness and cruelty, consorting with eldritch abominations and possessing the blackest of hearts, what could possibly be enough to cause a man to flee screaming from his home and come to full atonement? Facing himself.
  • The opening cutscene clearly shows that the thing liberated from the portal wasn't his doppelganger, but a Lovecraftian monster.
  • Somewhat confirmed in a roundabout way: The first phases of the final battle involves fighting copies of the ancestor.

The Ancestor is the Big Bad
The Ancestor was involved in very shady business with dark magic and necromancy. There isn't any proof that the letter written during the opening was sincere. Making a relative of him inheriting the Darkest Estate could have been a twisted plan to lure some sacrifice fodder right into the hands of the cultists, as well as getting rid of potential Spanners In The Works (the Prophet, the Hag, the bandits...) while expecting the Darkest Estate's hazards and dwellers to be tough enough to prevent the heroes from gaining control of the domain. The Ancestor may very well be still alive, waiting in the deepest pit of the Darkest Dungeon, and serving as the Final Boss.
  • It's far more likely that the Dark God that the Ancestor summoned, and the barbed arch symbol represents, is the Big Bad, but the Ancestor might prove to be The Dragon.
  • Jossed, The Heart of Darkness is the real Big Bad and was impersonating the Ancestor during the first phases of the fight, who was really dead.

The Ancestor will be a boss
Yes, he does shoot himself at the end of the opening cutscene, but the man decided to end his life in his manor, where the most horrific abominations in the game lurk. Should he have died in the manor, it's very likely that his body was taken by the things from the portal to revive and/or corrupt it. A necrotic, tormented version of The Ancestor will serve as a boss in the Darkest Dungeon.

Wilbur is the real Swine King
Considering that the supposed Swine King kicks your ass if you kill him and he can stun-lock your party to death by screaming at them. While it's likely he's just a spotter for the Swine King, he may also be giving orders to a bodyguard of sorts and the swine declared him king for being able to control such a monstrosity. This doesn't explain why he's not wearing a crown like the Swine King, however.
  • Maybe Wilbur is The Man Behind the Man?
  • The swine folk apparently crown the physically strongest among them. Even if Wilbur controls the Swing King, he himself isn't that physically strong, so he would not be considered the king.
  • Maybe Wilbur isn't the strongest, but the smartest. He must clearly have at least a half-decent head on his shoulders to be able to control the Swine King. All the other swine seem pretty stupid in comparison, and they need a smart leader to run a civilization.
    • An extrapolation on the theory: you get an item from killing their final form. Necro's collar, Prophet's eyes, Siren's conch, etc. what do you get for killing the king? WILBUR'S flags. It's kinda dumb, considering you also get the matchman's torch for destroying the cannon, but this is WMG so who gives a caboodle.

The Occultist is a time traveling Abdul Alhazred.
  • Abdul never actually died in 738 A.D. Instead, he was sent forward in time to whenever DD takes place and is eager to study the secrets of the Dungeon.

The Leper's broken sword was the sword he once wielded as a king, which coincidentally broke around the same time he developed leprosy.
Due to its sentimental value and the inherent symbolism (a broken sword wielded by a broken king who is nonetheless still able to fight), he refuses to replace it with a proper sword at the blacksmith. Instead, he has the blacksmith forge better swords that look broken but actually aren't.

Arbalest's father might be victim of racism.
Considering the Medieval/Renaissance setting of the game, it can be inferred from this comic that the mobs were motivated by racism against Arbalest's family.

The Heart of Darkness actually testing humanity.

It's not a benign god by any means, but its core motivation is that of a Mad Scientist seeing how perfect it can make its creations before leaving the planet, destroying it in the process. It regards empathy as a positive trait, so when it was awoken by how despicable the Ancestor was, it decided that it had gone wrong somewhere and decided to begin reformatting humanity into something a little less vile than the species that produced him. When you fight it, it tests your heroes via the Come Unto Your Maker move to see if they will give up their lives for the sake of humanity — something even the scared ones submit to, which is why it allows you to kill its avatar and leave the planet alone for the next eon or so. But the trial, as Q would say, never ends — eventually, someone will disgust it enough to wake it up and there will be no one to provide a counterpoint, or eventually it will decide the experiment has reached completion and destroy the planet... but not for a while yet.

The game takes place during a "Groundhog Day" Loop, focusing on the rise and fall of the Ancestor.
Main pieces of evidence:
  • The Narrator's assertion that history will repeat itself in the epilogue.
  • The description of the Ancestor's Portrait in the game's code.
    Though painted a hundred years ago, the resemblance to you [the Heir] is uncanny.
  • The Hamlet falling into the same exact state of disrepair as the beginning of the game in the epilogue.
  • The Heir in the stagecoach after the fall of the Hamlet in the epilogue.
  • In NG+, any hero who interacts with the transcendent terror during the tutorial will instantly get a wagonload of stress while babbling, "Time — an endless cycle! Iä! Iäää!"

Lesser pieces of evidence:

The above reveals, not only are the Heir and the Ancestor the same, that the Hamlet is in a repeating cycle of ruin and repair at the hands of the Ancestor/Heir. The loop repeats when the Ancestor sends the letter and kills himself, and the Heir accepts the letter and takes over the Estate. Other pieces of evidence imply that, once caught in the loop, one cannot escape it.

  • The heroes and the Heir do not seem to remember anything about the loops. The townspeople, however, do appear to remember what happened during the loops. Then again, the heroes and the Heir are able to die during the game, but the townspeople (at least the major ones, anyway) always survive. Maybe death robs one's memory of the cycles.
  • This cannot be the case as if the entire thing is a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and the Heir really is the ancestor... then who exactly unearthed the portal? The Heir does everything in his/her power to set things right, and since the Heir is the ancestor, that means the ancestor also did everything to set things right. So who exactly is responsible for the estate to be in such a poor condition? The Heir kills himself as soon as he seals the Heart away, so he doesn't go through the same Moral Event Horizons that the ancestor did. And if the Heir doesn't, the Ancestor didn't either. So... we run straight into a Temporal Paradox object-loop variant.

The Final Boss is actually the Scholar of the First Sin
Lord Aldia is removed from the cycle, and yet still as attached to it as any mortal is. Undying and eternal, he gets to watch the cycle repeat forever. Aldia attempts to influence things from the background in each successive cycle to find a way to break it for good (such as artificially prolonging the Age of Fire or shortening it), but ends up losing a bit of himself as well until he becomes the eldritch entity we find at the end. What we see of the final boss is just basically the degenerate form of him, stripped almost completely down. Eventually, after a few more cycles he'll be little more than a pulsing madness.
Aldia is not the creator, although he probably guided the formation of the world as it is in Darkest Dungeon, and no matter his machinations or the resolve and courage of the heroes... eventually the light will fade once again and only embers shall remain.

The Vestal doesn't really use the brothel.
She just goes in there and destresses by talking to/preaching at whomever she hired.
  • Then how does she get syphilis?
    • Through a psychosomatic/nocebo effect.

The endless supply of Heroes are actually incarnations of the original people shown in the comics
The original adventurers died long ago, but their spirits still remain bound to the world. The Heart's influence is drawing these wayward souls to it, granting them (multiple) new forms to inhabit, and is feeding on their continued torment and suffering as they are sent into its dungeons again and again. That no one else seems to notice or care is a symptom of the spreading madness. Tying into the above "Groundhog Day" Loop WMG, this might apply to the "Heir" as well, actually an incarnation of the Ancestor himself. The Heart has trapped a bunch of poor souls in a vicious cycle of suffering and bloodshed to nourish its premature awakening.
  • This cycle could be how the Heart of Darkness intends to fuel its final awakening. All of the so-called "premature awakenings" are actually failed attempts at fully waking up. Also, the never-ending, never-changing stream of monsters, such as the cultists (which must have a huge adult population, given how often the Heir's forces can take them out) and skeletons (which should dwindle in number once the necromancers are gone), must be locked within this loop as well.

The Heir may not be entirely human.
Take a closer look at the Ancestor's Portrait again. It's already been mentioned in its description how it looks exactly like you, despite it being a hundred years old. However, once you look at the portrait's icon in question, the Ancestor really isn't in the frame... nor is anyone remotely human. Now, if the portrait is supposed to present a picture of the Heir, what exactly is the Heir?

If the Heir is indeed a Humanoid Abomination, then that might actually have an impact on the "Groundhog Day" Loop WMG. Consider how a lot of the eldritch entities you face have some potent magic. Who's to say that the Heir doesn't either? Instead of letting time pass normally and letting the Heart of Darkness win like the epilogue suggests, the Heir simply goes back in time to improve his strategy in hopes of eventually figuring out a way to permanently destroy the Heart of Darkness.

Hell, considering the art style, the Heir might be the lovecraftian answer to Hellboy, all things considered: neither the Heir nor Hellboy may be human, but they will punch out gods to protect humanity.

The ending might actually be a bunch of crock.
In The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, it is revealed that The Heart of Darkness took on the guise of The Ancestor, voice and all. He even uses this form in the first stage of his fight. In the ending, The Ancestor's narration declares that The Heart of Darkness will win anyways, with all of your victories being for naught and that you commit suicide. But remember how it used The Ancestor's form? For all we know, The Heart of Darkness might just be throwing in a few false dying words in an attempt to psyche The Heir out. The Transcendent Terror curio that pops up at the beginning of a game just might be an Easter Egg from the Red Hook crew made to mess with the player and fuel Epileptic Trees.

The ending might not have been a time loop restarting, but the Ancestor's last memories before death
In a last ditch effort to stab at thee from beyond either the abyss or the grave The Heart of Darkness tries to do away with the Heir/your will to live by making things seem pointless. But there are a few clues that point in a lighter direction. The exact same narration remaining in the Ancestor's voice, for one. The spirit that warns of timeloops in the NG+? Looks like the Ancestor, not you, didn't get off scot free for all his crimes.

The Houndmaster was screwed over by his less moral colleagues in his origin story.
In one of his character descriptions, The Houndmaster was described as an ex-lawman, and in one of his speech bubbles whenever he lands a crit, he can say that "Mercy is for the courts!" Why would he say that? Maybe he was granted some level of mercy by a courtroom that screwed him over? That would explain why he came to the Hamlet, due to disillusionment.
  • Alternately, The Houndmaster is Jack Slate.
  • Further enforced by his trinket set in the DLC, which states "Even the Chief was in on it."

Becoming Irrational leads to being a Mad Oracle.
While irrational, the Plague Doctor will rant about "tiny creatures smaller than grains of sand" and refer to others as germs. An irrational Houndsmaster may insist that their hound was the first creature to orbit the terrestrial sphere. These are not mere It Will Never Catch On jokes, but actual glimpses of their future.

You, the player, are the Heart of Darkness.
You, the player, are responsible for the destruction of the world. No matter how hard you fight with your characters, no matter how many beasts you slay, their world will end when you uninstall the game, and there is nothing they can do to stop it. The reason that once you delve into the Darkest Dungeon that the humans in the game start resembling the monsters and gore is because they really are the same. They are both lines of code dictated to preform tasks. You are their maker. You created them when you started a save file, and because of this, it is you who decides which one of the heroes dies.
  • In addition to explaining how the Heir/Player can somehow sway which exact heroes it insta-kills (the Heart could just pick 2 heroes randomly or let the player choose just one hero and randomly pick the other sacrifice), the Heir/Player being or merely being a part of the Heart of Darkness would explain why the Heart doesn't just kill the Heir and throw the Hamlet and heroes in chaos.

The Fanatic's symbolic animal will be Bats
The reason will be because bats are one of the many natural predators of mosquitoes, and considering much of imagery involving the vampires that will be appearing in the upcoming DLC so far involve mosquitoes heavily, and the nature of both animals being mostly nocturnal (mosquitoes become more active at night, by the way), it would seem fitting that a man dedicated to purging the parasite based undead would take up a creature that preys upon their symbolic animal. It would also be fittingly ironic on a meta level as well, as in traditional media it is usually bats that are associated with vampires, and in this game we have a zealous man of the cloth taking up an animal that, in most other depictions and franchises, he would be completely against.

The Man-at-Arms isn't actually a soldier.
He's actually a gym teacher, and the battle shown in his comic is simply a game of capture the flag that went horribly, horribly wrong.

The Bounty Hunter yearns to be a hero
His origin comic will show him do the stuff we know he would in a Crapsack World of horrific darkness and violence, namely finding people on wanted posters, collecting their severed heads, and also cutting off hands to turn in for added gold at the end of the day. He'll ignore the anger and disdain of the populace as he leaves the town hall where he collects his salary, but will eagerly rip off and read avidly a "Help Wanted!" notice leading him to take the stagecoach to the Hamlet of the Ancestor. During the ride, there will be focus on the recruitment poster the Bounty Hunter is still fixated upon, specifically the bottom part that reads "BE A HERO! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!"
  • Well with the release of the Bounty Hunters comic, it's now entirely possible that he was probably the equivalent of The Punisher before he joined your gang of crooks and exiles at the Hamlet.

The Fanatic is this world's equivalent of a hate criminal
The Crimson Curse is regarded as a tragic but morally neutral sickness that does not impinge the moral character of those with it, ergo why the Caretaker just starts stocking Blood vials when he realizes vampires are about — vampires who haven't gone all bug hybrid yet are simply victims of a plague, and even most hybrids are stuck in a delusional state, more pitied than feared (the Crimson Court happens to have been evil before the Countess infected them, and thus they combine their already vicious attitudes with an actual biological need for blood). The Fanatic, on the other hand, is the Light Church's equivalent of a radicalized terrorist — he may have a sympathetic past, but he's channeled his anger into a desire for destruction that disgusts pretty much everyone who doesn't share his cruel creed.
  • Since the Fanatic is hunting anyone afflicted by the Crimson Curse anywhere but the Crimson Court, this is pretty much confirmed.

The Countess is a different kind of vampire than the rest of the Crimson Court
While the other Crimson Court humanoids are in various stages of mosquito mutation, the Countess herself can maintain a fully human appearance (as evidenced in the cutscenes) and during her boss fight will alternate between the two forms at will.

Drinking a vampire's blood doesn't seem to be the best way to become one.

The Heir is actually a Frontline General rather than a Non-Entity General...
...They're just an Action Survivor and or Non-Action Person, and the Heroes are escorting them through dungeons. Depending on how you play the game, perhaps their role is to issue orders and take notes... Or maybe they're just there to watch the carnage, regardless of which side it's on.
It would explain their involvement with the fight on the Old Road (they need to be escorted to safety from the wreck of the carriage, after all), it explains who afflicted heroes might address when they pass turns or perform random actions (as the player and thus possibly the heir does give the heroes orders), and why they're the one who makes the Sadistic Choice during the fight with the Heart of Darkness. They become a Shell-Shocked Veteran, Go Mad from the Revelation, and shoot themself because of the horrors they've witnessed firsthand.

The Houndmaster hired the Bounty Hunter
In the Houndmaster's comic, he encounters corrupt lawmen that have killed an innocent woman. In the Bounty Hunter's comic, he kills those very same lawmen. It's not a huge stretch for the Houndmaster to have hired a professional to deal with them.

The Light is a separate Eldritch Abomination opposing the Thing Which Came From The Portal.
There's been some discussion on the Light and its followers, and what that means in a Lovecraftian universe. More specifically, the Heart of Darkness claims to be the creator and destroyer of humanity. If true, then does that mean the Heart is the Light under a different name? The most obvious solution is that there are multiple great powers within the Universe, some of which have an interest in cultivating followers. One of Lovecraft's inspirations, William Hope Hodgson, used benevolent-yet-mysterious powers who opposed the more sinister Eldritch Abominations, and appeared in the form of light.

The Player is the Light
The Heir and the Ancestor are set up to be not so different, in a sense. Both have thrown away the lives of hundreds to achieve their ends, the Heir is implied in the ending to off himself just like the Ancestor, and both end up neck deep in the affairs of the Occult for one reason for another. However, their reasons for doing so are almost complete opposites. The Ancestor was an incredibly selfish individual who committed many of his crimes simply out of boredom, while the Heir's deaths were all focused towards a noble goal. While the Ancestor was directly responsible for more than a portion of his body count directly, the Heir's guilt is only in murder by inaction, if even that. They cannot, do not draft in unwilling to face the horrors of the dungeon, and when those who have proved themselves need help, the Heir will provide it. Therefore, if the Ancestor was a puppet to the Heart of Darkness, who is to say there is not someone guiding the Heir? someone opposite the Heart of Darkness. A so called creator who views his creations as nothing at best, who desires to destroy what he has made... what could be a foil to such a monstrosity? One who neglects to even account for their existence in this world, who has no deep ties to the peoples of this world, no debts to pay or collect, yet follows the Heir through Hell and back? ...You.

Darkest Dungeon takes place in the same universe as Deep Sky Derelicts.
Other than the sci-fi setting the games have a similar theme and artstyle, and considering it takes place in a Derelict Graveyard in space it could be that the humans fled earth before The Heart could take it over.

If the narrator is who many think it is, then that explains his tone when referring to the Farmstead.
One of the more popular WMGs is that the Ancestor is not what he seems in that he's actually Heart of Darkness. If so, that would explain his tone towards when speaking of the Farmstead, which he refers to with uncharacteristic malice. Should the above spoiler be true, then the malicious tone of the narrator towards the Farmstead could very well be characteristic of that theory; that the narrator is the Heart of Darkness, and his malice towards the Farmstead is directed to the Comet, which it recognizes as a potential threat.

The Ancestor and Heir will have no part in the sequel
Wayne June will be an artifact because there's no way Red Hook will want to get rid of him.

The sequel will take its main inspiration from At the Mountains of Madness
And it will feature a Shout-Out to the Mi-Go as a possible enemy faction in the mountains, among other things.
  • Somewhat confirmed, the teaser for the sequel, shows some of the Party in front of a snowy mountain that seems to be made of eldritch horrors.

The poor tactics of the Collector's minions are intentional
The fight would be much tougher if the heads would always heal and guard the Collector instead of each other. However, they're presumably enslaved by the Collector and acting under duress, so they're intentionally using less than optimal tactics to help you defeat him.

The Countess is a Cainhurst Vilebood
  • A lot of the aspects of the Crimson Curse are very similar to the Vilebloods from Bloodborne, especially the Bloodlicker enemy, who, like those afflicted with the Curse, has a massive distended belly full of blood and are more insectile than batlike, The Countess was one who was too much even for the inhabitants of Cainhurst and sought to create her own little queendom in the Estate, Hell, the entire game could exist in the Bloodborne universe, and The Heart is a more antagonistic Great One like the Moon Presence.

The woman and child the Highwayman accidentally killed were the Crusader's wife and son.
Not only is it the sort of dark thing the game would pull, but it makes sense within the story too. The Crusader is no doubt extremely famous now, given the size of the army he's leading, so his family would know he's still alive. And with the war over, even if he didn't want to visit them, it wouldn't be too hard to find where he is. So they paid to go visit him instead, perhaps to persuade him to return home, but they never arrived because the Highwayman robbed that particular carriage. Also note how similar the woman and child in the Crusader's comic looks to the woman and child in the Highwayman's comic...

It would also explain why the Highwayman and the Crusader start together. The Highwayman knows whose family he killed, so he's seeking redemption by putting himself at the mercy of the man he wronged, and the Crusader can't bring himself to be angry at the Highwayman because he believes, with his borderline-fanatical devotion, that their deaths were the Light's punishment for his moment of weakness at wanting to return home by making sure he no longer has a reason to. It would also explain how the Shameful Locket still turns up — The Crusader tasked himself with forgetting his family, according to his own Crimson Court set, so he gives his last keepsake from them, the locket, to the Highwayman to serve as a reminder of his promise to be a better man.

The Bounty Hunter was hired by the Houndmaster to kill his corrupt boss.
Another one based on similar appearances. The corrupt officer in the Houndmaster's comic looks a lot like the crime lord the Bounty Hunter kills, and the crime lord's mooks look to be wearing uniforms. Who would post a bounty on a chief of police, though? Someone who knows what they've actually done. The Houndmaster has no shortage of evidence, as shown by his Crimson Court trinket, so the morally-gray anti-hero Bounty Hunter would still take the job and probably enjoy it.
  • This isn't a WMG, the two comics make it as clear as possible that it's out-and-out canon.

The Final Boss is a Lavos Spawn
It shares many similarities to Lavos: buried in the center of the planet, it waking up will destroy the planet, had some involvement in humanities' evolution, possibly came from outer space, grants power/insanity to those who worship it, and it big enough that the final battle is inside it.

The Sequel will be missing 2 of the original heroes
Either just as a reference to or the explicit canon choice for who dies to the Heart of Darkness's two insta-kill moves.

The Shamblers are out-and-out extraterrestrials who've come here to feed their broods
Its fight has a galaxy for a backdrop, the mechanics of the fight are totally alien compared to any other boss, it's only fought when the room is as dark as interstellar space, and it has no connection to The Heart (as demonstrated by the first boss of the Darkest Dungeon being a Shambler that has been corrupted by the heart). Altogether these facts would seem to indicate that the Shamblers are quite literally out of this world. As for what they're here for, given how prominent their spawn are in a given battle, it's quite likely that it's trying to feed us to them.

The adults themselves wouldn't be likely to eat us, given that they have teeth more suited to herbivory (the Volumetric Mouth could serve a number of purposes; perhaps it serves a display function, perhaps the mouth doubles as the orifice from which the offspring are birthed ala Birdo, or perhaps the adult simply needs to swallow certain vegetation whole like a snake). The spawn, however, do have pointed teeth like a carnivore. A creature having vastly different diets at different stages of its life happens all the time even in earth biology, after all. Caterpillars generally feed on leaves, but adult butterflies generally feed on nectar. Tadpoles generally feed on algae, but adult frogs generally feed on... any creature they can fit in their mouths, really. Also note that both of these larvae bear little to no resemblance to the corresponding adult form, whereas with the Shamblers you can actually make out which structures in the larva likely become which ones in the adults. The ring of eyes, for example, likely all bunch up on one side of the trunk as the creature grows, much like the eyes of a flounder do (though the species' fondness for complete darkness may indicate that these organs aren't actually "eyes" in the strictest sense). Then one mouth grows bigger while the others wither and fuse shut, and finally one day the creature detaches itself from whatever rock it's rooted to and flips upside down, its antennae having developed into locomotive tentacles.

In any case, it's actually likely that the adults are feeding far more than just the heroes to their spawn. After all if even humans with guns, swords, and magic make for such easy prey, what hope does, say, a random deer or bear have? Heck, maybe the Necromancer and Collector have to compete with these things for bodies behind the scenes.


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