Darkest Dungeon Character Guide

Getting into Red Hook’s new title, Darkest Dungeon? Then let me lay out some party composition advice. They’ve deviated from the classic RPG classes and mechanics enough that it can be difficult to ascertain which characters can cut it in the darkness, and which are doomed to die screaming. Let’s get to the Darkest Dungeon character guide.

Bounty Hunter

Solid, reliable single target damage with a nice bag of tricks. Go for Mark For Death, Collect Bounty, Finish Him!, and Flash Grenade. You can technically take the movement skills if you really want, but I find the shuffle from Flash Grenade to be better as it comes with a 100% stun on top. While his damage will often been outshown by the Hellion and Highwayman, the forced movement will be a welcome addition to any party. Fantastic camp skills that compliment the Highwayman.


His mobility move redeems his weak move swap, but honestly it’s difficult to justify his presence over a Hellion. His AoE damage is weaker, across a smaller area, and has a stricter positional requirement. Obviously it doesn’t include the nasty debuff, but the Hellion just has a better skillset, hands down. On top of that, he has a collection of absolute junk skills. If you really want to run him, go with Holy Lance, Smite, Stunning Blow, and Zealous Accusation. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Grave Robber

As far as I can tell, a weaker version of the Highwayman in just about every way. Granted, she has a bit of mobility, but that is outshadowed by the Highwayman’s superior damage output. Unfortunately not much more to say. I’m not even sure I should justify her existence by providing a build, but here goes: Flashing Daggers, Shadow Fade, Thrown Dagger, Toxin Trickery.


This class was hit pretty hard by recent nerfs. Breakthrough is no longer efficient to spam, and creatures now get stun resist after being stunned, limiting the usefulness of Yawp. That being said… before you could reasonably run a party of 3 Hellions and a Vestal, maybe even 4 Hellions. Now there’s an argument to be made to limit yourself to say, 2 Hellions instead. If you’re not bringing one of these in your party, you’re probably wrong. Pick Breakthrough, Yawp!, and the rest based on the quest at hand.


Grapeshot Blast is pretty much the only reason to use this Hero, but it’s a good one. Thanks to the nerf to Breakthrough this is probably your most efficient DPR from any hero and the most reliable AoE damage. I got through the achievements of the game without my Highwayman training a single skill above level 1 besides Grapeshot Blast, it’s that good. That being said, you’re supposed to have four skills, so go with Pistol Shot, Point Blank Shot, Take Aim, Wicked Slice. Oh, and you have some of the best camping skills in the game. Congratulations.


I really, really want to love this Hero. The art style is fantastic, the animations stellar, and the overall feel of the character is incredible. But the skillset just isn’t there. Solo looks fantastic on paper, but it has far too small of an effect to justify its use. With opponent’s attacks have 100 ACC, it will take an expected 10 enemy attacks in order for you to regain your action spent. At that point, you’ll be ahead a tiny amount of damage, in exchange for waiting several rounds. Granted, enemy attacks with less than 100 ACC will skew that in your favor slightly, but enemy resists, killing enemies earlier, and less than four enemies dramatically reduce the power of this attack and rapidly.

There’s a strong potential for the Jester to become a powerful front-line combatant because of Dirk alone. But he doesn’t have the stats, and his abilities in the front aren’t good enough. He arguably has the best camp skills, but only while stress is an issue (which stops being problematic as money accumulates). I had fun running Battle Ballad, Harvest, Heroic End, Slice Off. But in the end you’re just a worse Highwayman.


I’m not really sure the reason to bring this guy along. Low accuracy + short duration on buffs means that he’s spending more actions doing nothing than actually dealing damage. If buffs actually stuck around for a reasonable amount of time he could be worth something. Pass.


This is your toolbox character, and does he have a powerful toolbox. He brings a lot of forced movement and useful debuffs. However, the short duration of debuffs combined with the generally-short nature of combats mean that while his tricks are cool, they’re generally always going to be less effective than the straight damage that the other characters bring. Combos well with the Bounty Hunter.

Plague Doctor

Previously underrated crowd control, from what I’ve seen of forum discussion and other early conversation. The ability to stun the two back ranks at once is powerful, especially as those ranks tend to be the harder ones to kill quickly and can often have dangerous creatures. However, the stun nerf has started to limit the effectiveness of this ability. Further, his primary damaging attacks rely on Bleed/Blight, which see increasing resistance values from monsters as you progress in the game, handicapping his damage quickly.


Your baseline, reliable healer. Boring but solid. It’s hard to imagine an optimized party not bringing at least one Vestal. Take Divine Comfort, Divine Grace, Dazzling Light, and whatever else makes your heart happy. You want the heals for spread damage and focused damage, respectively. The stun gives the Vestal something useful to do when there’s no one to heal. I personal like Judgement in the last slot so that the Vestal gets to do damage on turns she needs to heal herself, but honestly that slot is entirely gravy.

And that concludes the character guide. For a starter party, try Vestal/Highwayman/Bounty Hunter/Hellion. Of course, Red Hook will be adding more characters, but for now, this should give you all you need to survive the Darkest Dungeon.