Getting Started With Darkest Dungeon's Crimson Court DLC

Blood and madness await in the Crimson Court!

After months of early access and now more than a year after full release on PC, fans have been desperately seeking even more Darkest Dungeon to ineffectually assault with a group of emotionally squishy, insanity-prone heroes.

The Crimson Court DLC is finally here, offering a unique take on vampires as mosquito-loving socialites with long proboscis noses. As expected, the difficulty level is off the charts, and it's easy to get wiped out just in the first quest!

If you don't want to be a red stain on the dungeon floor, read on for tips on how to survive the opening quest of The Crimson Court.

 You don't want to end up like this guy!

Preparing To Assault The Courtyard

The first two goals in The Crimson Court quest line are to explore the Courtyard and burn the hives -- but you can't actually access the Courtyard until completing two excursions into the Ruins first if you've started a fresh game.

Most enemies in this new area have low bleed resist, so a bleed-based party can be incredibly effective. The mosquito and vampire enemies have higher blight resistance, but its usually around 40% or below, so a blight-focused Plague Doctor with stun skills can still be useful in the back row.

Even though the first excursion into the Courtyard is listed as a short quest, it's really more of a medium length quest, but with no camping supplies – so prepare accordingly in your provisions. Enemies in the Courtyard frequently cause blight and bleed, so bring bandages and antivenom, and many of the curios either require holy water or blood (a new item found very rarely while completing quests).

The Courtyard uses bloodlight, rather than the normal light level, which increases each turn blood is shed. Torches also work differently in the Courtyard, giving each hero a boost to accuracy for every torch spent that stacks up to three times.

Hallways are much longer in the Courtyard than in the normal game areas, so there's more chances to run into traps, curios, and enemy encounters. Make sure you are stocked up on provisions and have a healing hero on hand, or you won't be making it to the end of the quest.

 Squaring off against new enemies in the Courtyard

Crimson Curse

Attacks from enemies in the Courtyard have a small chance to instill the Crimson Curse, which is like an affliction, disease, and quirk all rolled into one awful package. Unlike other diseases, the Crimson Curse can't be removed at the Sanitarium.

The base skill debuffs for being cursed are:

  • -5% to stun, blight, and bleed resistance
  • -10% to max HP
  • -10% virtue chance
  • +1 to speed

For every level of craving a cursed character gains, those debuffs go up an order of magnitude. At higher levels of craving, the character will behave as though afflicted by switching positions in battle, passing on turns, or refusing healing.

Cravings obviously are bad, but you can keep them at bay by giving a character the rare blood items found in the Courtyard.

 The Blood!

Taking blood while cursed and at the lowest level of craving gives a slight bonus to Dodge and Speed. But if you wait to feed a hero blood until they are craving it at higher levels, they go into blood lust mode -- which significantly increases damage, speed, and resistances.

By planning ahead and combining a character suffering blood lust with effects like extra damage from marking skills, you can obtain absolutely huge damage output.

A few achievements are associated with the Crimson Curse:

  • The Symptoms achievement pops when a first character is infected.
  • Having your entire roster infected at once unlocks the Blood Cult achievement.
  • The Expired achievement pops if a hero wastes away and dies from the Crimson Curse by reaching the highest level of craving.
  • Shadows Blur Together is unlocked if one of your cursed companions goes berserk and kills a team member.

 The Crimson Curse 

Crocodilian

Update: the 6/21 patch reduced the Crocodilian's health and removed his ability to heal while submerging when using rank 0 or 1 heroes.

The first quest requires you to use three special Pitch Soaked Torch quest items on Thronging Hives curios. It sounds easy, but there's a major catch. In every playthrough I've attempted so far, I've run into the utterly insane Crocodilian before coming across the third Thronging Hive, so he appears to be directly tied into the quest and not just a random boss.

Despite being a level 0 quest, the Crocodilian boss has 118 HP, deals large amounts of damage to multiple heroes, and can heal himself for 12 - 24 HP every few rounds. Expect his power to get patched down in the near future with an update, but for now, you have to think smart or there's no hope of winning.

Remember the damage bonus from blood lust? You will need this for the Crocodilian. Trinkets to increase stun and bleed are also helpful, as the boss only has 50% resistance to those -- and keeping it stunned every other round makes it much harder for the beast to submerge and heal itself.

Jaw Snapping Death

New Goodies And Events

Several new town events appear in Crimson Court -- most notably The Town Is Abuzz, which makes stress reduction activities less effective, and Blood Scourge, which sees a wandering member of the new Flagellant class appear (he may also show up in the new recruits at the stagecoach).

Other than events, the primary goodies on display are new trinkets, and they have far fewer drawbacks than normal. Antiquarians in particular make out like bandits, getting huge bonuses with no drawbacks on most new trinkets.

Also be on the lookout for the Salacious Diary, which turns Vestals into healing machines, and the Tin Flute, which makes Lepers take far less stress damage and increases their accuracy with no downsides.

 The Flagellant Appears

It Gets Even Darker

There's much more to this blood-drenched DLC, so stay tuned for further guides to come. Need help (or a refresher) with the base game instead? Check out our other Darkest Dungeon guides for more help with this punishing game:

Published Jun. 20th 2017

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