Darkest Dungeon is an indie dungeon crawler RPG that lifts a lot of inspiration from the works of H.P Lovecraft. Cosmic horror is quite a difficult genre to adapt because it’s more than just tentacles and nihilistic platitudes. The team at Red Hook Games manages to inject a sense of perpetual dread into the grueling experience until it festers. Darkest Dungeon deserves the accolades because it's one of the few games - other than Bloodborne - that successfully translated Lovecraftian themes into the video game medium.

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Color of Madness is the final DLC for the game and it's specifically based on Lovecraft’s Color Out of Space story. The endless survival mode is the DLC's main focus, which is just as difficult as the base game. It's especially cruel to beginners, the challenge comes in waves but blink and close your eyes, or hold your breath and the Farmstead will bury you. Some say that hero death here is okay, when in fact it’s not alright as it’s quite problematic to drag the heroes back and bring them home again. Here are some tips to help you through.

10 Refracted Not Dead

Jester From Darkest Dungeon Afflicted By Refracted Instead Of Dying

The DLC plays around with the permadeath convention, whereby if a character dies they'll reappear sometime later, although having lost their valuable Trinkets. Some can be re-acquired once the player beats the Shrieker. Similarly, any Prismatic Quirk the character had will be added onto The Thing From The Stars boss.

However, if all characters are lost then any drops and shards accumulated can be kissed goodbye. So when you feel like you are on your last legs, the best thing to do would be to flee as this course of action isn't penalized.


9 Declutter Your Inventory

Inventory Of Provisions From Darkest Dungeon

In the Farmstead, the Memory item will take up one of your inventory slots. This is a quest item that cannot be discarded, so inventory real estate is at a premium, hence it should be free of redundant provisions.

Shovels that helped you navigate obstacles and curios previously will no longer be of use. Moreover, there is the case of Torches - the Farmstead has its own unique Lighting effects, instead of dimming it changes hues, which brings about unique effects for both Heroes and Monsters.

8 Pay Attention To The Lighting

Lighting Effects Introduced in Darkest Dungeon's Color of Madness DLC - Standard Farmstead Miasma, Blazing Blue, Splendorous Gold, Haunting Green, Gleaming Red

The Color of Madness DLC brings with it an appropriate new mechanic. Lighting in the Farmsteads will periodically shift, applying new buffs and debuffs to heroes and monsters alike. The standard light-blue doesn’t affect the monsters but increases Stress and reduces healing for the player. The Splendorous golden glow increases Virtue chance, the effectiveness of Stress skills, and reduces the enemies’ Bleed/Blight resistances.

The next batch is trickier. Blazing blue increases damage against Marked targets, Debuff Skill chance, and enemies’ Speed and Protection stats. The Haunting green increases Blight Skill chance for all parties, adds +10 to the enemy’s dodge, and increases your Stress. The Gleaming red increases Bleed chance for all, and the usefulness of your healing skills, but adds a higher crit-chance for monsters.

7 Get Rid Of Useless Skills

Flagellant, Houndmaster, Man-at-Arms, And Vestal From Darkest Dungeon Camping

In the base game, it was prudent to have party members that could not only heal, damage, and stun with their skills, but also have characters with a broader out-of-combat utility. However, the Farmstead is an endless gauntlet of endurance so many standard rules of play won’t apply.

There is no exploration in the Farmstead so the Scouting ability, while generally overpowered, is useless here. In the same vein, there are no ambushes here so Camping skills that prevent them like the Occultist’s Unspeakable Commune are pointless. In fact, the Occultist is probably the class that brings the least to the table within the Farmstead.

6 Forget Occultist, Viva la Vestal

Healing Classes of Darkest Dungeon - Vestal and Occultist

A good healer is a must in any survival mode. More on the Occultist - while he has a potent heal, its nature as a single target spell isn't cost-effective in the Farmstead. This leaves Vestal (VES) as the designated healer.

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Vestal is reliable because she has both multi- and single target heals. A Hippocratic quirk will boost the effectiveness of her heals by 20 percent. Vestal’s suggested Trinkets are the Salacious Diary and the Aria Box. The Diary further increases her Healing prowess, while the Box reduces Stress by 25 percent. Finally, her Divine Comfort is a good countermeasure to the Miller boss’ Reaping ability.

5 Highway Out Of Hell

Highwayman Hero Class from Darkest Dungeon

Tracking Shot is the Highwayman’s (HWM) once-per-battle skill, which subsequently boosts damage, accuracy, and critical chance. Despite not being considered a particularly useful skill in the base game, it’s actually a potent tool in the Farmstead. That’s because each wave is treated as one long fight, meaning its effects marginally outlast the standard three-turn buff duration.

Tracking Shot also removes Stealth, which helps deal with enemies reliant on it, like the Plow Horses. Depending on the RNG these types of enemies may become quite a handful, so any class that can de-stealth is a welcome addition.

4 Farming Comet Shards Effectively

Rewards Screen Showing The Collected Comet Shards In Darkest Dungeon

Comet Shards are the new additional currency that can be traded for Heirlooms that are used to upgrade the town. As with all resources, Antiquarian (AQN) is the key to farming them, despite being quite a weak combat class.

Equipping the Antiquarian with Crystal and Cluster Pendants will elevate her shard acquisition rate up to 55 percent. Using her Protect Me! skill in conjunction with the HWM’s Duelist’s Advance will make for an enduring survival mechanism. The standard farming team will consist of /VES/HWM/AQN, leaving the fourth back row slot to be filled up to personal preference.

3 Destroy Crystalline Aberrations

Crystalline Aberration from Darkest Dungeon

Crystalline Aberrations are husks left behind after an enemy has been slain. There are two good reasons to destroy them as soon as possible. One is that it will restore health to the party member that lands the killing blow. And two - which is no less important - is the fact that if left untouched Crystalline Aberrations will explode dealing damage to the party, potentially ending the run prematurely. They’re particularly pesky during the final boss encounter so resort to AoE spells like Plague Doctor’s Noxious Blast to clear them ASAP.

Skills with Bleed and Blight effects will be exceptionally useful when dealing with them, as damage over time spells shouldn’t leave corpses behind. In team-comp consider leaning slightly more towards Bleed as plenty of enemies will have hefty Blight resistances. Still, remember that Lighting will change, so cover your bases by having at least one party member with Blight skills. Quick note, the Miller boss is practically immune to Bleed but very susceptible to Blight.

2 Be Flexible With Your Party

Graverobber, Houndmaster, Crusader, Bounty Hunter, Jester, Arbellest, Man-at-Arms from Darkest Dungeon In Different Lighting Effects In The Farmstead

Having played through the main portion of Darkest Dungeon it’s only natural to get lulled into a false sense of security from the accumulated knowledge. The Farmstead shakes things up, forcing players to forego the specialist builds of yore. While there have already been several suggestions for class picks, there are plenty more that will work.

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The wider the variety of skills in the team, the better the team will fare. Classes with reliable stuns like Bounty Hunter’s Flashbang or Houndmaster’s Blackjack are effective tools for stalling an encounter long enough to heal and clean up. Burst teams will likely only survive a few waves before being put down.

1 Boss Tips

Bosses from Color of Madness DLC for Darkest Dungeon - The Miller, The Thing From The Stars, The Sleeper

Generally, the bosses will have high protection stat so Shieldbreaker’s Pierce and Grave Robber’s Pick to the Face will bypass the modifier entirely. Another way to get around that is with Houndmaster’s Target Whistle. With the defenses gone a mark-centric party of Bounty Hunter and Arbalest could swiftly dispose of them. The Sleeper boss is specifically susceptible to Blight from the start, so Shieldbreaker and Plague Doctors are viable picks.

The Thing From The Stars - the game's technical final boss - won’t be as straightforward. The initial strategy involves keeping the party’s HP high and stress levels low with Vestal, while the rest gradually chip away at its health. Once the remaining 45 percent threshold is reached the Thing becomes susceptible to Blight and Bleed. Keep in mind that the Thing will use Return to the Stars every turn, which wipes any damage-over-time effects, so make sure your characters can out-speed the boss to make use of those time increments.

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