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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The final dungeon brings up a ton of this for the Ancestor. Did he truly regret his actions, or was it all an act so that the Heir would come and sacrifice more souls to the Heart of Darkness in their crusade? He claims that he killed himself to both deny the villagers justice and become the Heart's avatar, but it might not really be the Ancestor speaking — it's possible that the Heart just assumed his form, or made him its puppet, or is creating an illusion to try breaking the Heir's mind before it's killed (which does succeed, albeit a bit too late). And on that note, is the Heart the source of humanity and as invincible as the ending cinematic claims, or is it an alien corruption that could someday be utterly destroyed? As mentioned on the main page, there does seem to be some level of genuine divine power bestowed by the Light, and the Heart can be damaged by perfectly ordinary guns and swords. In short, it's Unreliable Narrator to the max.
      • The reveal in the Color of Madness DLC that the Comet that strikes the Farmstead contains a gestating being of similar power proves that the Heart of Darkness was likely lying. While it might still be humanity's creator, the fact that it fears the potential power of the Sleeper and will battle the invader over control of the planet should the Heir fail to contain it makes it very unlikely that the Heart of Darkness is as invincible as it claims, or that its "birth" is inevitable.
      • In a another bout for the Ancestor, serving the Blood from the Countess to the aristocrats has been up for debate. Was it truly a shining example of the Ancestor being an idiot and tampering with things he didn't know? Was he subconsciously tempted to serve it as a sick joke towards his social circle of "bloodsuckers"? Or was the Countess showing her true colors during his murder attempt giving him, as the opportunist he is, a perfect chance and means to eliminate the degenerated aristocracy of the Hamlet in one fell swoop to claim their assets as his own?
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    • Due to the nature of the backstory comic's lack of dialogue and ambiguity, this raises a few questions for the classes:
      • Did the Highwayman undergo a Heel–Face Turn because he couldn't stand the guilt over shooting a mother and child, or was it because he shot his own family?
      • At the end of the Antiquarian’s comic, it isn't shown whether the Antiquarian chooses to save the captive woman or not. Is she an Anti-Hero who frees the woman and lets her go, or an Opportunistic Bastard who sacrificed her after killing her own master? One of her unique Crimson Court trinkets implies the latter.
      • Did the Grave Robber fall into her titular career out of genuine desperation or was she was just more selfishly trying to keep up her lifestyle? What did she really think of her deceased husband? Speaking of him, how much of her straits is really his fault?
      • Is the Hellion a coward like she truly believes she is for hiding from a fight that perhaps could have been won, or did she make a perfectly logical decision in avoiding a hopeless battle that her warrior upbringing just makes her blame herself wrongly?
      • What broke the Man-at-Arms? The unfortunate demise of the younger man he was carrying combined with him being the Sole Survivor? Or was it really his choice of going to the green standard that caused them both to be targeted by the cannons, thereby leading to his need of atonement? Was the standard a signifier of safer ground of some kind, or just a unit standard that the Man-at-Arms refused to abandon for whatever (probably not logical) reason?
      • Due to the Bounty Hunter seemingly being Only in It for the Money and the Plague Doctor's For Science! attitude, how much of their choice in traveling to the Hamlet and aiding the Heir is out of genuine heroism?
      • Is the Vestal a woman who's genuinely a bit overly dirty-minded and unfortunately also in the wrong job, or is her no-doubt strict lifestyle giving her unrealistic expectations of her own mind that she's stressing herself over?
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    • How much of the Narrator's voice is the Ancestor and the Heart of Darkness, and how much of it is simply the Heir's own slowly-failing sanity, hopes, and desires? And on top of that, there's the interpretation that some of the Narrator's lines are commentary by the divine forces supporting the religious heroes in their struggles.
    • A theory has cropped up that claims that the Heir isn't even related to the Ancestor and is simply some random person who fell for a "Nigerian Prince scam".
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The Heart of Darkness is a long, 4-stage fight with several unique gimmicks that, while a fitting battle in terms of spectacle, is not very hard to deal with. Though it can deal a lot of stress damage, it deals very little actual damage to your heroes, has only has one action per turn each phase, and the fight becomes easier in the later phases, with the last phase not even having any attacks that can hit your entire party. The only thing to really worry about is the One-Hit Kill attack that it does twice during the last phase, but even then you can choose which one of your party members the attack hits, allowing you to hold on to your damage dealers.
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  • Awesome Music: The soundtrack is a suite of brilliantly dark orchestral work, peppered with strange background instruments, low choruses and distorted industrial sounds. So much that it now has its own page.
  • Base-Breaking Character: The Jester and his Finale are a source of many arguments, and the constant buffs and nerfs that come and go with him don't help at all. Is the Jester utterly useless without a powerful Finale, simply gimped without it? Or is the Jester a perfectly usable, perhaps even high-tier character who snaps the game in half through Finale being able to one-shot certain ranks without question? Is basing the Jester around Finale the right way to play him, just another build, or completely wrong? While the fanbase tries to remain civil about it, they are definitely torn over these questions.
  • Breather Boss: After the abject nightmare that is the Countess in the Crimson Court DLC, the Garden Guardian is slim pickings, particularly for a team that revolves around marking. Good thing, too, as the player is meant to fight it over and over again to farm the unique trinkets it drops. While it can rack up bleed damage rather quickly with Feed The Soil and its Plummeting Doom can hit hard too, breaking the spear is honestly a matter of marking it with something and nailing it with an Arbalest. Once that's taken care of, the boss has almost no real way to kill your party unless you break the shield: without a spear, the Guardian is left with Plummeting Doom, which hits once every other turn, giving the player plenty of breathing room to heal up in preparation.
  • Broken Base:
    • Broadly, the base is broken into those who enjoy the game's difficulty, atmosphere, and tough-but-fair mechanics, and a Vocal Minority who wants the game to be as unfairly, absurdly hard as possible so that they can flex their Min-Maxing muscles, and regards the first group as spineless whiners who need to "get gud." The corpse system below was included for the benefit of the latter, and completely reworked after massive popular protest and the boycott of several prominent modders came out against it.
    • The Corpse system has proven to be the first major schism for the game. Supporters claim it fits in perfectly with the game's realism and adds a new layer of strategy and tactics to the gameplay, while detractors claim it's either an unnecessary change that just makes an already hard game even harder for difficulty's sake, or that, while the idea behind it has potential, its current implementation is broken and nonsensical. (Corpses can have more health than the monster that created itnote , you have to waste turns destroying corpses while the enemies get free hits, it forces you to use the previously mostly unused bleed and blight abilities, etc.)
    • The August 18, 2015 patch that removed some of the corpse system's most controversial elements (being missable as if they were a normal enemy, spawning maggots with incredibly high armor and health) has split the base from the opposite angle, with detractors claiming that Red Hook "let the whiners win" by accommodating people who "refused to get better at the game".
    • A few days after, Red Hook simply made corpses optional. The lines have not shifted much.
    • Then there was the "Holiday Cheer" update, revising many game mechanics and making some of them optional. Additionally, a broad array of previously-opaque game mechanics became fully clarified. The split is between those who appreciate making more parts of the game accessible to all levels of player and feel the new clarity doesn't so much make the game easier as clear away bad design choices, and those who dislike the idea of opening the game up to new players and enjoyed the old Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • The strategy of killing all enemies save one that's vulnerable to stuns, stun-locking that enemy, and using the damage-free rounds after that to heal up the party with minimal threat has been going around, mainly because longer quests tend to be hard even by the game's standards, especially if the RNG has not been going your way. This has since been patched so that enemies and your own characters will gain additional stun resistance after being stunned once, making this strategy much more hit-or-miss. This is also compounded by the devs making the characters gain stress if the fight drags on for too long (the characters will say something akin to "Let's finish this fight and move on", which will give everyone stress). Eventually, additional monsters can join the encounter as well, making bad situations possibly far worse.
      • Can be restored with the Xmas update, which adds the option of disabling those penalties.
      • Can also still be exploited to some degree - size 2 enemies cannot trigger the battle delay stress or the reinforcements that come from the stun-locking tactic, and certain size 1 enemies won't trigger those penalties either.
    • The other "cheese" tactic that became popular was stacking a team of 4 Hellions and having each one use Breakthrough, a multitarget attack that hits the first three spots of the enemy formation, can be used from anywhere in your position, and has naturally high accuracy and crit chance, at the cost of leaving the Hellion exhausted to keep it from being spammed. Having 4 Hellions use it one after another got around the exhaust penalty and was usually enough to kill any kind of enemy encounter in a single round, while the consistent criticals kept stress levels down. Breakthrough was nerfed soon after.
    • A similar tactic grew around teams of 4 Crusaders using Holy Lance, a charge attack that targeted the rear positions of the enemy formation and moved the Crusader one space forward. Intended for use as a repositioning tool, it allowed a team of tanky melee fighters to consistently and effectively pummel the enemy's backline while maintaining a powerful frontline.
    • Also of note is one case where the game deliberately fights against the syndrome with the Stress system, preventing you from using the exact same team of overpowered heroes over and over again. Trying to do so without de-Stressing them will often result in immediate afflictions on everyone right at the beginning of the dungeon since it's possible for them to start at 100 Stress, and given how easy it is to gain another 100 Stress (which results in instant death if the option isn't disabled) just by doing the dungeon, it can snowball alarmingly quickly into a Total Party Kill. Compounding the point is that after de-Stressing a hero, they have a random chance to go missing and be unavailable for the next dungeon or two, preventing you from throwing away Cannon Fodder heroes just to speed up their stress relief. You need at least four fully competent teams to beat the game, preferably more in case the Random Number God is feeling fickle.
    • The overuse of stalling tactics to heal up mid-battle led to significant changes in the Color of Madness update that made it much harder to stall a battle via stunning.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Of all the enemies you face, the Bone Courtiers seem to be the most popular, getting plenty of art and Memetic Mutation to themselves. This is likely because of the usual skeleton obsession the net can have, the fact their Tempting Goblet is usually the first introduction players get to the Stress system and its intricacies, and just the fact there's something both hilarious and great about a posh, aristocratic skeleton that throws wine at people.
    • Behind the Bone Courtier is The Collector. Aside from a fascination with his design, he has an infamous reputation of showing up randomly to ruin perfectly good expeditions (or worsen bad ones) for unprepared parties thanks to his particularly rough Flunky Boss nature, and as such there's a fair amount of fanart and memes regarding him.
    • Among the classes themselves, while each of them have their fair share of fans, the Leper, the Plague Doctor, the Bounty Hunter, and the Occultist are among the most popular. And of course, Reynauld and Dismas — the starting Crusader and Highwayman you receive during the tutorial.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: The most popular seem to be Reynaud & Dismas, Grave Robber & Plague Doctor and Vestal & Leper.
    • Following the Color of Madness patch that allowed them to adventure together, Abomination/Leper seems to have become quite popular as well.
  • Fanon: As far as fanworks are concerned, many people tend to treat the preset names for each hero in the game's code as their Canon Name. note 
  • Friendly Fandoms: Darkest Dungeon fans get along will with fans of Dark Souls, due the dark aesthetic and storylines of both settings. Because of this, this spills over into the For Honor fandom as well, due to the latter two being on friendly terms and the visual aesthetic of certain classes matching Darkest Dungeon counterparts.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Around the time of the Inhuman Bondage update, the Plague Doctor's blight got a buff causing, at its base, four damage a turn. On top of that, it could be stacked to do EIGHT damage a turn — even later-level enemies would melt under such an onslaught. This made the Plague Doctor a must for any area that wasn't infested by Fungi (due to their naturally high Blight Resistance, which gets MUCH higher at later levels). This is normally counterbalanced by the fact that Blight only does damage on the enemy's turn, but when it does over half their health that's hardly a problem for long.
    • Stuns in general. With the right trinkets on characters like The Hellion, Plague Doctor, and Man-At-Arms, you can trivialize most encounters simply by chain-stunning enemies while the rest of your party does the hard work. Hell, you can even trivialize the Darkest Dungeon, bar none the hardest area in the game, with a couple heroes with a stun equipped with trinkets that increase stun chance.
    • After the release of The Crimson Court, it became widely known that surprisingly the Jester was an EXTREMELY effective boss killer, and his Finale skill was able to cut through most of the new bosses with relative ease almost single-handily, which Red Hook emergency patched a few days after release. Finale's current state is that it can deal a lot of damage, especially with a critical hit, but it takes enough setup that you will, at the very least, need to endure the boss's tender mercies for quite a while before you can finish it off.
    • In the interval between The Crimson Court and The Color of Madness, the Flagellant could, with a bit of luck, perform successful solo runs of Champion-level dungeons thanks to his unique near-death-focused mechanics.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Bone Courtiers and their upgraded versions. Not only are they almost always are the first to attack in a turn, they also have incredibly high accuracy and dodge rating, plus their normal attack, Tempting Goblet, increases stress. The fact they almost always hide at the end of the enemy formation doesn't help. The one saving grace is that dragging them to the front line stops their use of Tempting Goblet dead in its tracks, and they're forced to use the non-stressful Knife In The Dark. Even then, they're still annoying in that they can still hit like a middle ground between a Bone Rabble and a Bone Soldier, the latter of which does actually deal respectable damage, and being in the front doesn't affect the Courtier's speed and dodge chance at all.
    • Bone Arbalests. They're a lot like Courtiers, with the one difference being that their normal attacks deal a shitload of damage instead of increasing stress.
    • Swine Wretches in the Warrens. Much like Bone Courtiers, they're incredibly fast and evasive, but in addition to their attack, Vomit, piling up stress very quickly, unlike Courtiers, moving them to the front doesn't affect their attack disposition at all, and Vomit also has a possibility inflicting a variety of diseases, such as Tetanus, Syphilis, The Runs, The Yips, and Creeping Cough. Like Rabies, these are permanent unless cured at the Sanitarium. Unlike Rabies, they don't provide any kind of positive side effect and only serve to to make the infected hero borderline useless. Made somewhat less irritating as of the Inhuman bondage update, which separated Quirks and Diseases and made treating the latter cheaper and easier (there's a small chance all diseases will be cured, instead of just the selected one).
    • Cultist Acolytes will rarely do more than 1 damage in a given turn; instead, they'll either use Stressful Incantation to harm a party member's morale, or Eldritch Pull/Push to force your frontline fighters to the back and your ranged fighters or support to the front. As one might guess, they have high dodge and a tendency to stay in the back row.
    • The Crones in the Weald are like Cultist Acolytes on crack. They're even faster, even dodgier, and their stress and debuff attacks hit two party members at a time. Bring her to the front, and she'll use an AoE Blight attack on your two frontliners. This Blight attack is even capable of inflicting diseases, similar to the attacks of Swine Wretches.
    • Gargoyles are extremely speedy with a high prot stat and immunity to bleed, and will therefore tank most parties like champs. Their claws and tail lashes never break single-digit damage but the former has a very high crit chance and the latter a high chance of stunning.
    • The Madman. Possessing possibly the largest speed and dodge stats of an ordinary enemy in the game, he stands at the back of the opponent's formation and does nothing but increase your heroes' stress with his gibberish. He is the one enemy you don't want to appear towards the end of a run when tensions are running high, because there simply is no avoiding taking significant stress damage from him. Additionally, while his AOE attack stresses out all four party members, his single-target attack inflicts horror, a stress-over-time effect that can only be cured with Laudanum... which you likely didn't bring.
    • The Pelagic Shaman is a weak rear-formation stress-causing enemy of the Cove, similar to other ones seen in other dungeons, but have some different distinctions to bring the aggravation to players — they can also buff one of their allies to increase damage, accuracy, and critical chance, or heal them. Like Courtiers, this is only mitigated by dragging them to the front line, upon which they're forced to use weaker melee attacks. Failure to deal with an encounter with them present will almost certainly put the odds against you...
    • The Rapturous Cultists. They typically start turns by using Flesh Wall, which makes them absorb the damage given to whomever they're protecting. They typically do this to the far more dangerous Eldritch Priests, meaning you'll have to chew through their solid health bar or give them a good stunning hit before being able to get a whack at the Priests. They can also use Flesh to Flesh, making them heal other party members. Basically, until they're dead, any enemy formation with them in it is impenetrable if you don't have a stunning attack. Bonus points if there's two of them, because they can heal each other with Flesh to Flesh.
    • Ectoplasms. They tend to be weak even when the whole party consists of Ectoplasm, but they can multiply quickly, dragging unlucky parties into a long game of whack-a-mole. To make matters worse, if there are no other enemies, they drop no items.
    • The regular Farmhands in the Farmstead deal more damage than Mooks in other areas (with the exception of the Pelagic Groupers, which are Demonic Spiders in their own right) and can inflict heavy Stress damage with Sow the Seeds, which also has a chance to Blight your heroes. Thankfully, they have low HP, low resistances, and relatively low speed, making them fairly easy to kill.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A bug included in the first release of the final game added the special boss trinkets (which you get from killing the level 5 version of the bosses) to the list of trinkets your characters could win in the gambling hall. The fandom responded appropriately to the implication of Wilbur going boozing in the Hamlet and gambling away his flags.
    • For a while, all attacks at least had to do 1 Scratch Damage, occasionally allowing a Bounty Hunter to kill an enemy by pointing at them with his Mark Target ability. This was patched out with the game being re-coded to allow attacks to do no damage.
    • Heroes used to be able to start with diseases right off of the Stagecoach... like as a Vestal with syphilis.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • The Gibbering Prophet. He constantly preached against the ancestor in the Hamlet, and as a result the Ancestor tried to have him starved, drowned and stabbed to death. Not only did none of these work, they did nothing to deter the Prophet. Tragically subverted when the Ancestor showed the Prophet the portal, which finally caused the Prophet to snap.
    • Any hero that gains a virtue, considering what they went through only to be able to No-Sell being stressed for so long.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Given just how horrible the dungeons can be, anyone who happens to develop the abusive affliction while in a dungeon has probably earned a pretty fantastic Freudian Excuse for turning into an unlikable asshole. This also applies to heroes who acquire manias or phobias while in the dungeons.
    • The Highwayman was a merciless bandit, but one robbery he killed a woman and her child by accident, something that had a massive impact on him and most likely drove him to the Hamlet. What's more, while under the influence of the paranoia quirk, he will sometimes say "Your face, how can you have her face!" implying that he has massive guilt issues over the matter. Some fans have even theorized that they were his lover and child.
    • The Siren, The Drowned Crew, and The Necromancer were all once people that admired or at least trusted The Ancestor before he stabbed them in the back for his own purposes. When you read their backstories, it can be easy to pity them.
    • The Miller in the Color of Madness DLC was just a man who, in desperation, asked the Ancestor for help when the harvest failed. The Ancestor did as the Ancestor does, and now the Miller is a hollowed-out, crystallised minion of the thing within the Comet. You'll still hate him, but you'll feel a bit sorry for him even so.
  • Memetic Badass: Wilbur is the REAL Swine King.Explanation 
    • APEX PREDATOR Explanation 
    • The Crusader, thanks to his legendary "Zealous Accusation" ability giving him the power to literally kill skeletons, vampires, and mind-shattering Lovecraftian horrors by showing them a really mean letter he wrote.
  • Memetic Loser: The first boss you'll likely face in the game, The Necromancer, is often regarded as a joke of a boss battle and at best is only considered to be a very mild challenge. Fanart usually depicts the Black Speech speaking, ominously shrouded being responsible for the abundant amount of undead skeletons terrorizing the region as a wimpy loser who is constantly being hunted down/bullied by The Crusader (or 4 Crusaders).
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • How does a cauldron dodge?! It's a magic cauldron.note 
    • Truly, this is the Dankest Dungeon.
    • The Bone Courtier (WELL STRESSED MY FRIEND) and "HOW QUICKLY THE TIDE TURNS!"
    • The Narrator/Ancestor is very quotable, thanks to his dramatic, flowery way of speaking, and if he's not directly quoted in a discussion about this game someone is still bound to try and imitate it.
    • To follow with the Ancestor's quotability, some of his more memorable quotes have been "graphed out" like so.
    • As noted above, fanart and memes usually show that the Collector spends its time waiting around until it's called to ruin a run.
    • Most of the time anyone's speaking of the Occultist class, they'll be talking about said class healing for 0 and inflicting bleed, probably on a party member at Death's Door. While rarer, there's also the occasional defender bringing up the other side of the coin in the form of critical heals that could bring a dying Leper to full health in one shot.
    • The Bounty Hunter and his plentiful *snort*ing.
    • Local Man Ruins Everything. While this was a separate meme, it's particularly popular among Darkest Dungeon fans because of just how much it applies to the Ancestor; when accidentally kickstarting the apocalypse from sheer boredom is merely the cherry on top, "everything" is Not Hyperbole at all.
    • Reynauld, the Crusader given to you at the start the of the game, and his kleptomaniac habits. Found some gems you wanted to bring back home? Reynauld's going to steal them for himself instead. Is someone bleeding to death and you need bandages from the curio to save them? Reynauld will steal that too. Found a secret room, spent your key on the chest and rolled 3 puzzling trapezohedron and a rare head trinket? Reynauld will be taking that. In the Crimson Court, and finally found the colored key needed to fight the areas boss battle and progress further into the DLC? Reynauld won't allow that. Stumbled upon Jerusalem by some odd coincidence? Reynauld will seize it. Reynauld became a vampire and killed one of your party members to satiate his blood? He couldn't find anything to steal, so he stole a life instead.
    • REMIND YOURSELF. Explanation 
    • The Crusader's Zealous Accusation skill. The fact that he is damaging an enemy by holding up an accusing scroll is either hilariously goofy or incredibly badass.
    • "Friendliest Dungeon"/"Color of Friendship" (and other variations, after Color of Madness removed the limitation of the religious classes refusing to party with the Abomination.
    • Whenever anyone brings up party suggestions, someone is bound to suggest Quad Lepers.
    • "Dild", an edit of Reynauld and Dismas' sprites that resulted in a midget consisting of Reynauld's legs and Dismas' head. This got so memetic that it resulted in a mod on Steam.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Practically everything the Ancestor did before the start of the game, including selling a young woman into what is practically sexual slavery to the fishmen, stabbing his arcane tutors and curio suppliers in the back after everything they've done for him, hiring the Brigands to terrorize the Hamlet into submission, attempting to murder the only person who is rightfully speaking out against him then driving him insane when that doesn't work, feeding civilians to the demon-possessed swinefolk, and ultimately becoming the herald of The Heart of Darkness and manipulating his own heir into a Thanatos Gambit that would give said abomination the strength to destroy the planet.
    • Finally, he may have reached as soon as the beginning when he started the Crimson Court. He planned on killing the Countess because she seemed power hungry. While it was badass that he was able to fight her off, it also shows how good he was at fighting even back then. Had she been innocent, he would have absolutely butchered her without remorse.
    • The Color of Madness DLC is especially noteworthy, not least of all because for the first time, his memoirs of the events display open and outright malice, revealing that even in death he has zero remorse for what he did to the innocent Miller, and in all likelihood all of his other atrocities:
      The Ancestor: The poor Miller. Thrice a victim: the seasons took his livelihood, I took his land, and now, uncountable years later, the comet has taken his humanity. My only regret is that I did not live to see that shoddy mill smashed to pieces by the miraculous bounty I reaped from beyond the void!
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Every time you make a Critical Hit or kill an enemy.
      Narrator: Executed with impunity! / A singular strike! / Prodigious size alone does not dissuade the sharpened blade.
    • The Narrator as a whole, really. He speaks with just the right amount of flair and ham to make your actions and victories seem even more epic than they are.
      "These nightmarish creatures can be felled, they can be beaten!"
    • The brief fanfare that plays when a battle is won.
    • The faint chime of stress damage being reduced. Bonus points if it's after a One-Hit Kill from a Critical Hit, which means it spreads to the adventurers that didn't make the kill.
    • On a similar but much better note, the loud and proud sound when your tremendously stressed-out hero gets a positive Resolve check and becomes Virtuous. No matter what virtue you get, a character becoming virtuous is reason to celebrate.
    • The "quest complete" music, especially after a really harrowing outing where you barely manage to keep everyone alive and sane.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Whenever one of your heroes fails a resolve check and becomes afflicted. It's pretty much This Is Gonna Suck in audal form.
    • The sound of a hero receiving stress, which is something you'll be hearing a lot in one quest alone, most of the time in quick secession.
  • Narm:
    • While a lot of the setting's grim tone can fall under Narm Charm or simply being balanced out with A World Half Full, the description of some of the precious gems in the game are just downright too edgy to take seriously. For example, Sapphires are "Blue, like strangled dreams" and Emeralds are "Green, like molten envy".
    • The Cove's "Sea Maggot" which is marked as eldritch despite clearly merely being a giant sea snail. Between the recycling of an existing creature name, clear mislabeling in multiple ways, and the creature itself not being remotely threatening. It is practically a mockery of the association with deep sea creatures with the eldritch.
    • Any time one of the Narrator's hamtastic lines pops up at a frankly inappropriate moment qualifies. "A singular strike!" when all that happened was a 4 damage crit on a debuff or waxing poetical about great amounts of treasure when all you did was open an abandoned backpack to find twenty coins are some common examples. Then there's "Inspiration... and improvement!" from gaining a 40% stun resist buff that you're guaranteed to get once you lose the stun status.
  • Narm Charm: The grim darkness of the setting is almost relentless, and overplayed to a parodic degree. Top this off with the narrator's hammy Purple Prose and alliterative jaunts. It's all so comically overwrought that there's virtually no chance it's by accident. The crusader can kill people via showing them an accusing scroll for crying out loud! But when the player is feeling the stress as their party lingers on the edge of Perma Death... it all works.
    "In the salt-soaked crags beneath the lowest foundations, we unearthed that damnable portal of antediluvian evil."
  • Paranoia Fuel: If you didn't get lucky and scouted ahead, it's impossible to tell if you won't run into a group of Demonic Spiders the very next second. It's enough to make one try and keep the torch lit at all times, except even then there's a chance, however slight, of your party running into a group of monsters and getting surprised.
  • Porting Disaster: The PS Vita version of the game has some serious control issues relating to adapting a PC game for a handheld system like this. In addition to this, the UI hasn't had many changes from the PC release, which makes for a tough time reading all of the fine print on character and menu screens. Has since been fixed, however.
    • Averted in the iPad version, with the control scheme switching nearly seamlessly from mouse to touchscreen.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Originally, If your heroes level up their resolve to levels 3 and 5, they'll refuse to go back and do quests of the previous levels. This can be a real kick in the pants if you were getting a well-trained group for, say, the Necromancer Apprentice and they decide that doing so is beneath them. The Radiant Update in February 2017 eased the requirements with the Radiant difficulty, where heroes of level 4 or below will do Novice dungeons, and all heroes will traverse Veteran and Champion dungeons.
    • Heroes only being able to venture into the Darkest Dungeon ONCE is especially annoying for newcomers. You might inadvertently use up all your most-powerful heroes on the first attempt... and there are still 3 more, potentially more-difficult conquests left. A February 2017 update changed it so that on Radiant difficulty, heroes will run Darkest Dungeon subsequent times, albeit with significant disadvantages.
    • All heroes were originally recruited at level 0 no matter what point in the game you were at, until an "experienced recruits" upgrade was added to the stagecoach. This was a huge problem if you lost a high-level hero and wanted to train a replacement, because you'd have likely moved beyond the ability to do level 1 (or even 3) dungeons. Taking a low-level hero into a dungeon that is "beyond them" will give them massive stress at the very start as well as much more stress damage in general, making them next to useless and having to be carried by the rest of the party. Getting a new hero back to the resolve level of your old one was a huge test of patience and, more often than not, downright luck.
    • The Crimson Curse, a "disease" added in the Crimson Court DLC. While having it makes heroes immune to all other diseases and gives them a decent suite of buffs via the "The Blood" item used to treat it, the high chance of infection, ability to spread to other heroes while infected ones are idle in town or in stress-relieving activities, and the fact that they'll end up dying if they're left without The Blood for long enough, it's more often than not a complete pain to deal with, and most of your infected heroes will more often than not end up becoming liabilities. Mods that reduced the infection chance quickly shot up as a result even among the more hardcore players, due to the facts (as of this writing) it's essentially impossible to leave a mission without getting half your party vampirized every time, and it takes a long time and chain of quests until the Curse becomes treatable at the Sanitarium.
    • Hunger. It's not a meter, not even a hidden one. Hunger is based on random event tiles on hallways. This turns bringing enough food for your party into a complete guessing game. The Color of Madness DLC lets you build the Mill, which prevents heroes from experiencing hunger checks, but that's restricted to DLC.
    • Before the Color of Madness expansion, The Abomination was unable to be partnered with religious classes (ie. the Crusader, Vestal, Leper, and Flagellant). This disappointed a sizable chunk of the playerbase that thought his skills would synergize well with theirs, and many were concerned that because the Abomination was created by a fan as a crowdfunding reward, it is unlikely that it will be removed. It was only changed long after the class was first introduced, both because of fan outcry and because many people modified the game files to remove the restriction anyway.
    • The limited inventory space, while adding an element of resource management to the game, also means the player has to make the constantly irritating decision of whether to keep their supplies or discard them to get treasure.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • The plot, the atmosphere, the look of some monsters, and the quirks-afflictions system basically make the game Cthulhu Mythos: The Roguelike in all but actual name.
    • It could also be considered a spiritual cousin to the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay universe.
    • According to the developers themselves, "the central idea was to try to bring Lovecraft into the Middle Ages, to get him out of the 1920s". They also note that the game may have unconciously been inspired by Ravenloft.
    • Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame is noted as an influence in some of the concept art on the site, and it shows in both the art and the setting - a very Gothic Horror yet pulpy atmosphere informed strongly by Lovecraft.
    • The setting and gameplay mechanics can easily make the game eerily reminiscent of a SuicideSquad chapter.
  • Spoil At Your Own Risk: There is actually nothing stopping you from viewing the ending by opening up the game files. On the other hand, you're left without context if you don't actually play the game.
  • Squick:
    • Thanks to the wonders of the RNG, it's possible for your party to include a Nymphomaniac Leper, which is actually a lot less bad that it sounds, as "Nymphomania" isn't an affliction forcing a hero to randomly molest his fellow party members, but a positive quirk which grants a better stress decrease when visiting the brothel. The true Squick is to imagine the Leper going to the brothel...
    • The other disturbing quirk is 'Deviant Tastes' which prevents the hero from using the brothel. They'll mention they've never been welcome there after a certain...incident.
    • Used against your party, as well. Many enemies will attempt to invoke this, such as an undead courtiers throwing tainted, acid wine at your heroes, Swine Wretches will vomit on them, and the Hag will sample her stew, all of which will both damage your party and stress them out.
    • Several of the bosses are disgusting to look at, especially the Swine. The Swine Prince/God is a morbidly obese humanoid torso with a pig's head, shambling around without legs and spilling its intestines out on the ground. The Formless Flesh is even worse, a horribly misshapen Body of Bodies made from dozens of pig corpses hideously mashed together into one disgusting blob, and one of its attacks (judging by the stumpy little legs sticking out of the top) involves shooting a fanged tentacle at you out of what clearly used to be a pig's anus.
  • That One Attack:
    • "Arterial Pinch" of Uca enemies. Deals minuscule damage but inflicts heavy bleeding. Unless you are ready to cure it immediately, it will drop the character to 0 HP in two to three turns, and probably outdo any healers you might have in damage per turn. And heaven help you if it hits the same character more than once before it wears off. Made less scary if you always bring the Plague Doctor to the Cove, who has a skill that cures bleeding for any character.
    • "Treebranch Smackdown" of the giants. It's the attack they're actually least likely to use, despite always carrying a uprooted tree with them. You'll be thankful for that, because when they get around to swinging it, one hit will do so much damage that an average non-buffed non-tanky character will be instantly dropped to 0 HP (and a crit will bring anyone barring a buffed Leper down to 0). And stunned for good measure. And they may be already poisoned by another of the giant's attacks (which targets multiple characters), meaning they could die before you get a chance to do something about that.
    • "Revelation" is used by a series of minibosses in the Darkest Dungeon. They guard quest objectives, so you will have to fight your way through them. The attack is so strong (around 20 damage and 40 Stress) that you're given special trinkets explicitly designed to render a character almost immune to it. However, you've only got three, so unless you're Guarding the last unprotected hero, expect them to snap after 2 exposures to it.
    • The Final Boss has a move which it can use only twice in the battle; otherwise it would be unwinnable. It will instantly kill a character, no questions asked. And you get to chose the target. The only other option is to stack enough buffs in the right way to One-Hit Kill it before it drops to the point to use it or bring only two heroes so the attack doesn't activate, both of which aren't exactly easy.
    • "The Thirst" is a shared one among all Bloodsuckers. Hits fairly hard, spreads the Crimson Curse, heals the user and transforms them into a more dangerous form you'll need to deal with right after.
    • "Apex Predator", used by The Crocodilian, can hit anywhere between one to three targets, doing absurd amounts of damage and has an incredibly high crit rate. Your one solace is that this skill is telegraphed with the Crocodilian using Submerge to become nigh-untouchable, giving you a brief moment to heal and buff to brace for the oncoming strike... because if you don't, it will make a mess of your party.
    • The Miller boss from the Color of Madness DLC moves from "irritating but manageable" to "utter bastard" thanks to The Reaping, an attack that combines high damage, high critical hit rate, spammability and the ability to hit your entire party at once to form a ridiculous barrage of damage and stress. Did you fail to put down his endless minion spam quickly enough? Bucketloads of damage to the face for everyone!
  • That One Boss: There's a reason Darkest Dungeon has its own page for these.
  • That One Level:
    • The Weald can be somewhat tougher than the Warren and Ruins because it has a higher than average chance of having thorn thickets obstruct your path. Clearing them by hand inflicts damage, stress and darkens your torch, but shovels are expensive and take up a lot of space. It also contains a lot of the most annoying enemies, including the rabid dogs, corrupted giant and slimes.
    • The Cove is filled with a lot of enemies that are either fast, can dish out tons of damage, cause heavy bleed, or any combination of the three. Not to mention some of them can even heal and protect their teammates. It also has the thralls, who explode for party-wide damage in their second turn. The thralls themselves aren't the problem, but them being shielded by guardians, being healed to full by the priests or hiding behind a wall of tough mobs on the other hand is.
    • The Darkest Dungeon itself is hellishly difficult. The enemies are absurdly strong, the map is hidden, there's no curios or ways to get supplies inside the dungeon, and if you retreat one of your heroes has to die to let the others escape. Even when you do beat a mission in it, the heroes from that party will refuse to go again, forcing you to have multiple parties; combine that with the high death rate and you'll burn through your roster like crazy. What's worse is it seems it was made like that on purpose.
      • Of the Darkest Dungeon levels, the second seems to be the point where most people hit a wall. The first level might as well be a tutorial for this one. On top of facing hordes of the scary new Darkest Dungeon monsters, you have to complete not one, but three (mini-)boss encounters fighting against Templar Warlords. They'll be accompanied either by enemies that push and pull your party, or by a Templar Impaler, which is basically the same thing, except it can stun. They have pretty massive hit points (around 140), moderate dodge, and two moves a turn. In addition, they have access to Revelation, a skill that inflicts absolutely massive damage and stress damage. You will be needing those Trinkets you got from the earlier mission to render your heroes mostly immune to that attack, which leaves you operating at half efficiency as each member can only access one other Trinket. Also, you only get three of them, leaving a party member completely exposed to Revelation unless you come prepared with guarding skills. On top of this, because of the way scouting works in the Darkest Dungeon, the first time through, you won't even get to see where the boss encounters are. Even if you do know, you only get two campfires to prepare for the three fights, leading to either having to battle unbuffed or a painful amount of backtracking.
    • The Brigand Invasion town event that can happen once you've met a certain set of requirements. It's short, but hellishly difficult (the game even gives it the difficulty rating of "Darkest", something that it only shares with the Darkest Dungeon missions) and filled with beefed up brigands that can bring your party to both the brink of death and insanity very quickly. At the end of it all is Vvulf, the boss of all brigands. He tosses highly damaging bombs at your team that blow up if you don't destroy his bomb barrel (which has innate Riposte, so any attack that doesn't destroy it will hurt the hero), summons those brigands mentioned earlier, has an attack that stresses your whole party out, and has the ability to guard his summons. And, like the Darkest Dungeon, abandoning the mission forces you to sacrifice one of your heroes so the other 3 can escape. And last but not least, if you ignore the mission when it comes up or you abandon it, two of your town facilities will be destroyed, chosen at complete random, which brings its upgrade level down by one. Thankfully, if you manage to complete the mission, you won't have to deal with it ever again on that playthrough. Plus, it doesn't count as ignoring it or abandoning it if you get a party wipe, so you can stave off destruction by sending in trash, just-off-the-wagon teams to get slaughtered.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Expect each update to bring another Vocal Minority portion of the fanbase to complain about the game, usually about it adding yet another RNG factor into the game.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • The Plague Doctor wears layers of loose-fitting clothing and a beak mask and hood combo, leading some to believe she is a man. The only leads that the Plague Doctor is a woman are being referred to female pronouns in some in-game descriptions, and having visible breasts in her afflicted portrait. In August 2017, Red Hook unveiled her backstory comic, showing her without her uniform.
    • The Houndmaster's Irish Wolfhound suffers a similar fate. Only being referred to as a she in a few voice lines, and Red Hook making a Scooby-Doo Shout-Out with the Houndmaster's announcement, doesn't help.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: While this game is no graphical powerhouse by any means, it makes stellar use of its aesthetics. The gothic art-style, the subtle ways the camera moves and zooms in or out during battle... It's all very immersive and mood-setting. It's very telling when the particle effects, camera, and motion are all so brisk and sharp that many don't notice there's only a single frame of animation in attacks until they're specifically told.
  • The Woobie:
    • The caretaker has remained behind by himself ever since the narrator died, and judging by his frequent visits at the village facilities, this has taken its toll. Considering all the horrors now lurking at and around the estate, and that he has been in the middle of them for months or perhaps even years, all the while nearly everyone else abandoned the area, it is not difficult to feel sympathy for the poor guy.
    Narrator: "The poor caretaker. I fear his long-standing duties here have...affected him."
    • The Leper, who well crossed the line into Woobie territory before he ever set foot in the Hamlet. He has such a Nightmare Face that he can't ever take his mask off without causing agony to people around him. He has worn this mask for so long that he considers air on his face, even air in a place as horrid and foul as The Warren, to be intoxicating. And as one of his quotes would indicate, he has spent his entire life in pain from the disease that is wrecking his body, to the point where he tells the other heroes to not waste medical supplies on him, which may also be the result of Death Seeker tendencies. It's even worse after his backstory was revealed in a comic: he was a beloved king who exiled himself after he contracted his disease to protect his people, much to their sorrow.
    • The Abomination's previous life before the game is depressing based on the comic, which he was given Cold-Blooded Torture by the priests at the penitentiary that he would escaped when he transformed into the beast after he was branded with Mark of Shame for his lycanthrophy. Not to mention shunned by religious characters (Vestal, Crusader, and Leper) for his status.
    • The Arbalest's background seems bleak, too. She lived in a shack in the woods with her father (no mention of a mother), when the father came back badly wounded, chased by a mob with Torches and Pitchforks. He forced her to run after gaving her a crossbow. The last panel shows a crying little girl alone in the wood, with nothing else than a nightgown and a crossbow as tall as her, and her home in flames behind her.
    • The Featureless Protagonist to a certain degree, an heir of a damned family having to redeem their birthright and stop the madness an older relative unleashed. All while keeping the heroes, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, in check. It doesn't help that updates allow the heroes to run amok with his/her money. And then at the end of the game, they discover that they were manipulated all along and that everything was pointless, leading them to take their life as well (and possibly be trapped in some kind of "Groundhog Day" Loop as a spirit).
    • The Shieldbreaker's background and journal reveals that she was a famous exotic dancer that was forced to be a vizer's harem girl. She decided to overthrow her captors... right off the edge of a cliff. She was then pinned under the wreckage of the caravan as a snake came inching closer to her. Ultimately, she decided to cut off her own hand rather than die at the hands of the snake. She survived, but at the cost of no longer being a dancer. But even though she survived the wreckage, her life as a dancer was over, she fears that the vizer's men are still after her, and the snake still haunts her in her dreams...
    • The Jester long suffered under a Decadent Court, having been routinely mocked, spat on, and even having swords thrown at him. Eventually, the abuse became too much for him to bear and he slaughtered the entire court. This may sound like a happy ending at first, but if you notice in the last panel, the door he exits stage from bears the stress symbol hangs over his head...
    • Let's face it — most if not all of your general cast have their moments. No one comes to the Hamlet because of a happy lot in life.
    • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Even some of the bosses qualify. The Siren was just a young village girl with a crush on the Ancestor before he offered her to the Pelagics, who transformed her into a hideous brood mother. The Color of Madness brings us the Miller, a poor farmer who made the mistake of going to the Ancestor seeking aid for his crops, and ended up trapped in time as a crystalline abomination forever separated from his family for his trouble. His enemy type is even listed as "Poor Soul".

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