Listeners of the best darned podcast in the podcastin' land will know that Darkest Dungeon wounded me terribly, recently. I had to spend the better part of a day in a waiting room, and spent it with Darkest Dungeon on the Switch. Progress in Darkest Dungeon is a bit particular. With time you can permanently level up the town that supports your heroes, but the only real, reliable buffs you can give any hero at any time are the trinkets you've earned by completing quests, killing bosses or through loot drops.
A level-nothing hero gets off the bus? That's okay! Equip them with a pair of legendary-quality trinkets and they'll go into their first dungeon dive with a serious leg up. They're rare, they're crucial to finding consistent success in the dungeons, and you can lose them - but there's only one way.
If one of your heroes die in combat, but the others complete the current battle, they'll get the trinkets the dead hero was carrying in the loot drop. S'all good.
If all your heroes die in combat? Well, there's no one to loot their corpses and carry their gear back to town - every single trinket you'd equipped on them is gone.
Long story short, towards the end of that waiting room stay, a run in Darkest Dungeon ended with a full-team wipe, and the obliteration of eight of the best trinkets in the game. My Vestal's Sacred Scroll (+33 healing) and Tome of Holy Healing (+20 healing) - gone. Dismas's Head (+25 damage +20 stress!) - gone. The Aria Box. THE ARIA BOX! GONE! My Focus Ring, my Camouflage Cloak...
I was crushed. It took weeks of dungeon runs to assemble a collection of Trinket awesome like that, and the idea of losing all that progress really soured me on the idea of booting the game up again. Darkest Dungeon and 30 Rock on Amazon Prime had been a nightly diversion, but this soured me so bad I didn't touch the game for two weeks, or so.
But last night... after a cruel streak of quickplay losses in Overwatch, unwilling to subject myself to Death Road to Canada's random-ass bullshit, I wanted something familiar that I felt I had some agency over.
I returned to Darkest Dungeon.
A quest was available - a Champion (level 6)-level quest, to fight the Horrid Shrieker. Pfft. As if I'm gonna' try that.
I've only got a single team of Champion-level heroes, but half of them are actually level 5s. Their weapons aren't maxed out because my Blacksmith isn't fully-upgraded, and their armor is like second-tier because my Armorer's barely been touched. Yeah. No way these guys are doing a level-6 boss fight.
Then, I looked at the quest details. It said it would... restore 8 of my lost trinkets. I would imagine the last 8 trinkets I lost...
I geared them up. I put a lot of eggs into this basket. I blew half my fortune making sure all their skills were upgraded, bought a stack of bandages, a stack of holy water, and my gaze turned to the... Aegis Scales. Aegis Scales are the rarest consumable in the game, and each one grants a full block on the next damage-dealing attack on the hero who uses it. The Shrieker hits for pretty much a hero's entire health pool per attack. And it attacks three times per turn. And if you don't kill it fast enough, it just flies away and you get nothing.
I brought two stacks.
I got everything back. I'm sorry I got mad, Darkest Dungeon. There's no way I could quit you.