About this project
Welcome to the Darkest Dungeon.
Uncompromising, unforgiving, and unconventional, we present a fresh take on the dungeon crawler that elevates the importance of sound tactics and a character's mental state over their gear.
You will recruit, train, and lead a team of flawed heroes through twisted forests, forgotten warrens, ruined crypts and beyond. You'll battle not only unimaginable foes, but stress, famine, disease, and the ever-encroaching dark. Uncover strange mysteries, and pit the heroes against an array of fearsome monsters with an innovative strategic turn-based combat system.
You will have to tend to characters’ spirits as much as you do to their Hit Points. But in these grim situations, you'll find opportunities for true heroism!
Darkest Dungeon is not a game where every hero wins the day with shiny armor and a smile. It is a game about hard trade-offs, nearly certain demise, and heroic reversals.
Do you have what it takes to survive in the forgotten corners of the Darkest Dungeon?
- The Affliction System – heroes' personalities are paramount! Contend with paranoia, abusiveness, fear, irrationality, and a host of gameplay-meaningful quirks
- Striking hand-drawn gothic crowquill art style
- Innovative turn-based combat pits you against a host of diabolical monsters
- Classic CRPG and roguelike features, including meaningful permadeath, procedural dungeons, and incredible replay
- A distinctive game world featuring over a dozen unique playable character classes such as the Plague Doctor, the Highwayman, and even the Leper!
- Town meta-game – tend to your heroes wounds, both corporeal and cerebral
- Loot! Gold, jewels, heirlooms, and mystical trinkets. Not to mention upgradable armor, weapons, and consumable supplies.
- Things That Once Seen Can Never Be Unseen...
A supernatural tale of greed, ruin and redemption sets the stage for your adventures! Return to the poisoned remains of your ancestral estate and wrestle it free from the grip of a timeless evil unwittingly unleashed by your long-lost patriarch. Throughout your adventures, you will learn about the lands your family once called home, and uncover the awful truths that lurk in forbidden places.
Every dungeon event affects your heroes' stress levels. What will happen when they reach their breaking point?
Be warned: characters in Darkest Dungeon are not the unwavering heroes of high fantasy to which you are accustomed. While they are certainly tough and capable fighters, they are also very human: they will respond emotionally to the horrors they encounter. They get stressed, develop phobias, proclivities, and other emotional baggage. Their abilities evolve based on their experiences in the dungeons, and you must learn to lead them to victory in spite of their flaws.
Characters' stress levels respond dynamically to dungeon events. Coming across a rotting corpse may unnerve the Highwayman, or may fuel the Crusader's determination. If the pressures become too overwhelming, their resolve is broken, and they will become Afflicted with a range of psychological conditions including paranoia, panic, greed, or even sadism.
Afflicted party members will act out in a variety of ways that impact the play experience during combat, exploration, camping, and even in town. Like weary soldiers who have seen too much, your heroes will develop permanent quirks and emotional baggage based on their experiences.
- The Jester has seen one too many party members die in combat, and is prone to nihilistic rants, stressing the other party members! Do you send him carousing in town to blow off some steam?
- The Man-at-Arms has begun relying on the bottle as much as his battleaxe. His inebriated fury is a welcome damage boost for the party, but he has grown increasingly unpredictable and erratic. Do you bench him in town, or simply lash more liquor to his pack?
- At camp, the Plague Doctor's methods unnerve the Highwayman, and he refuses her treatments. Maybe you should rethink the idea of combining them in the same party again.
- A critical hit from a skeleton sends the Vestal reeling, and instills in her a crippling fear of the Undead. She can fight well enough against other foes, but if you expect her to keep her head through the Crypts, you'll first need to send her to the Abbey to do some serious prayer and contemplation.
You will be challenged to think as a tactician, a coach, and a ruler. Consider the needs of your adventurers carefully before sending them on expeditions – the consequences of your actions are severe, and permanent.
Strategize with party order, party composition, and hero abilities against a huge variety of dangerous creatures.
Tactical, strategic, and deceptively deep, combat in Darkest Dungeon combines nostalgia with the elegance of modern design. Party order is crucial for setting up attacks, and every move matters. At all times, you must juggle the need to do damage with the importance of protecting the health and minds of your party members.
Hallways are cramped and claustrophobic, and consequently, the party and monsters are organized in sideview ranks. Each combat ability has a rank requirement associated with its execution and targeting. "Zealous Cleave" (a sword strike) can only be launched from position 1 or 2 and will only hit monsters in the front row, whereas "Pistol Shot" must be triggered from the back rows but can hit anywhere. Learn to construct and manage the right combination of characters and abilities to become a dangerous fighting force!
On top of this structure, we've added in modern RPG concepts such as AOE, DOTs, HOTs, grapples, pushbacks and combos, creating a tactical sandbox full of opportunity and challenge. Be prepared to use a mixture of planning and quick thinking to overcome a huge variety of tough opponents ranging from minions & mini-bosses to massive deadly eldritch abominations!
Permadeath gives extra weight to each decision, and makes sacrifices matter.
Creep through the dark, investigate mysterious items, avoid deadly traps, and pursue your goal...
Monsters aren't your only adversary. The dungeon itself is an antagonist, rife with twisting corridors, hazards, traps, random events and of course, treasure and trinkets!
Inspired by classic Roguelikes, you'll wind your way through a maze of rooms and halls in pursuit of your goal. But with Darkest Dungeon, party order remains a crucial consideration! Put your Grave Robber in front to help disarm traps? Or keep your meat shield Crusader up there in case of ambush? As always, your choices matter.
Some of the biggest hazards come from your own party. Infighting, affliction act outs, and unpredictable behavior driven by stress and obsession will color your adventures. Dark curiosity may cause your Vestal to abandon the group in search of relics, or a selfish fear of starvation may drive your Leper to gorge on the remaining rations...
Make no mistake, there is terror and madness in the dark. But there is also wealth beyond measure!
Each step you take into the depths will cause your torch to flicker and fade. As the darkness encroaches, monsters become stronger, and hazards more frequent and severe. Perhaps most importantly, your heroes become increasingly susceptible to stress. But the most valuable loot and trinkets are hidden in the darkest shadows, and searching carefully in the blackness can unearth huge rewards.
Since the profitability of your expedition is certainly an important measure of its success, the question is: how much of a risk-taker are you?
Use special character camping skills to keep your party in fighting shape and bolster your defenses.
Expeditions in Darkest Dungeon are gruelling, arduous affairs, and one of the most important decisions you can make is when and where to make camp. Breaking out the firewood and provisions will allow you to make use of your characters' Camping Skills – critical abilities that allow you to mitigate the damage done to your party's bodies and minds. When the bard plays his lute, the highwayman cleans his guns, or the crusader gives an inspirational speech, this isn't just flavor--they are all tied to gameplay!
There are so many helpful things you can do with character Camping Skills, the real question is "which do you choose?" Will you calm the Plague Doctor down after a harrowing combat? Will you direct the Highwayman to forego his rest in order to scout ahead? Will you set up a defensive perimeter to keep the group safe from ambush? Or do you hunker down, conserving provisions for later, despite the fact that going without food will increase the stress of an already strained party?
Recruit, train, and equip heroes, and attend to their psychological needs and baggage.
When you first arrive, the ramshackle hamlet has little more than a run-down tavern and a leaky church. As you lead your heroes on successful expeditions, you will earn gold, and recover ancient family heirlooms which can be invested to restore the village to its former glory. Doing so will not only yield gameplay benefits, but will allow you to recruit new classes of heroes, upgrade your roster's skills, and improve their equipment.
Town is also where you can interact with your heroes on a more personal level, reducing their stress and removing some of the negative quirks they may have developed as a result of their (mis)adventures. Whether it's by means of rest and prayer, or alcohol and debauchery, depends not only on your preferences, but on their personalities!
Darkest Dungeon is being developed by Red Hook Studios in Vancouver. Our team is composed entirely of game industry veterans who share an intense obsession of gaming both on and off the computer.
We have already substantially invested in Darkest Dungeon. We believe in the game and are putting our own money where are mouths are. We've gone without pay for 9 months of full-time development so far, and covered out-of-pocket costs ourselves.
We need your support to be able to make Darkest Dungeon great. Money raised will enable us to cover expenses relating directly to game development: paying our partners, hiring additional help for key areas of the game, buying equipment, and so on.
Should we raise funds above our target, it will allow us to develop some of the stretch goal features that we think will enhance the core game. Finally, if we raise *a lot* more than our goal, then we'd be in a position to pay ourselves a living allowance during development, vastly improving our quality of life, and reducing our party's stress levels significantly!
We've gone to great lengths to create rewards that enhance your Darkest Dungeon experience, whether it be a deeper look into the gameworld via the art book and adventuring manual, or increasing your participation in the game's development by contributing hero, monster and playable class designs! Also, we've made sure that every tier starting at only $20 (Wanderer) gets both Early Access (if you wish to take part) and a voice in the development of the game.
These rewards are our way of thanking you for your interest in the game, and your support in this campaign!
To add on one of the items below, just increase the amount of your pledge--but don't change your tier! We'll send you a survey after the campaign and double-check which add-ons you want.
Check out more about our composer, Stuart Chatwood, here:
ADD ON EXTRA COPIES OF THE GAME!
Want to buy a copy of the game for a friend as a gift or because they don't have a Kickstarter account? No problem! You have two options to choose from.
Just pledge the total amount, but make sure not to change your desired reward tier selection. After the campaign, you'll get a survey where you will indicate what your extra $ credit should be used for. If you've purchased multiple copies, you'll receive extra Steam Keys when the game releases.
- ADD ON The Game: $15 per extra copy
- ADD ON The Game plus Early Access: $20 per extra copy
Your support will profoundly affect the development this game. We welcome your involvement, and hope you'll join our growing community of gamers who are looking for a fresh new take on the dungeon crawler – something challenging, rewarding, and profoundly human.
So back us, tell your friends, and add your screams to the deafening cacophony... in the Darkest Dungeon!
Risks and challenges
Making a game is never an easy undertaking, and developers have to deal with a variety of risks. Here's how we are dealing with each of them:
FINANCIAL RISK: We have invested in Darkest Dungeon ourselves, and are fully prepared to do whatever is necessary to reach completion. We saved prior to starting development so we could have the chance to make the game that we wanted to make. We wouldn't be asking for your support if we didn't already have our own skin in the game. We can do it with your help!
SCHEDULE RISK: The completion date for the game is an estimate based upon our experience running similar game projects in the past. Should some features take longer than expected to implement, there is a chance that the completion date will slip. If we feel this is necessary for the good of the game, we promise to be transparent about any date changes and keep you, the backers, informed along the way. Even better: we plan to release the game on Early Access part way through development, so even if final completion date moves, you'll get hands-on with the game before then.
FUN RISK: Sometimes, features end up being less fun than anticipated. This is why we have invested so much time and effort in Darkest Dungeon *prior* to ever bringing it to Kickstarter, and also why we assembled an experienced team. We wanted to make sure we had something that could be great before asking for your hard-earned money. Your support will help give us the resources to make the game achieve its potential.
Thank you for backing and helping make our dream game great. We hope you'll join us in the depths!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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