As heroes traverse the darkness of the dungeons, they accumulate stress. If left untreated, high amounts of stress can mean the demise of the hero, and its companions.
Accumulating stress[edit | edit source]
Stress is mainly gained by fighting during expeditions, through monsters' critical strikes and some particular attacks that specialise on dealing stress damage. A small amount of stress is also gained when entering a dungeon (depending on its level and the hero's resolve) and while travelling through it, and its magnitude is greatly influenced by the amount of light that the adventurers have at their disposal during any stressful event. Extra stress damage is suffered if walking backwards through a corridor, when getting hit by traps or through some interactions with curios, as well as when prolonging a fight excessively. Heavy stress damage will also be applied, together with health damage, when failing to satiate a hungry party, when removing obstacles without the use of a shovel or when witnessing a comrade either reach Death's Door or die. Many negative quirks will increase the amount of stress suffered by a hero in certain situations, as will the drawbacks of many trinkets.
Unlike combat damage, stress is not fully healed when finishing a mission. When returning to the Hamlet, stress levels are capped to 100. Stress persists on the heroes, rendering treatment mandatory in order to make use of a stressed hero again without heavy drawbacks, and causing difficult decisions such as retreating from a failing expedition more grave, as fleeing from fights and missions also stresses out the heroes.
The stress bar is a gauge from 0 to 200, with a threshold at 100 stress points: once this level of stress is reached, the hero will gain an affliction, with a chance of becoming virtuous instead. Afflicted heroes will often disobey the player's commands and will hinder the mission by inflicting additional stress damage on themselves and the party, potentially dragging their comrades along in their path to madness. Upon reaching 200 stress, a character will suffer from a heart attack and will either enter Death's Door or, if already on Death's Door, suffer a Deathblow.
Stress Relief[edit | edit source]
Despite the many possible sources of stress, there also are various ways of preventing and healing the stress accumulated during quests: the most typical and effective way is using two of the facilities available in the Hamlet, namely the Tavern and the Abbey, which, for a cost in gold and by holding the hero for a week, will relieve them of a large amount of stress, also ridding them of any acquired affliction. A hero that is left idle in the estate will recover 5 units of stress each week.
It is also possible to relieve stress during an expedition, by using some camping skills at the disposal of many heroes or during fights by using certain abilities. Stress will also be healed when dealing critical strikes, killing enemies, receiving critical heals, disarming traps, or interacting with certain curios.
The player can utilise a strategy where a hero can 'stunlock' enemies and use this extra time to have heroes with stress-healing abilities restore the party's stress. However doing so the player runs the risk of encountering enemy reinforcements, as more enemies will appear if the party lingers with a single enemy for too long.
Preventing Stress[edit | edit source]
In addition to some quirks reducing the amount of stress suffered by the hero, there also are many trinkets able to do such a thing. Many camping skills can buff heroes by reducing the amount of stress suffered, making careful planning and camping greatly rewarding in longer expeditions.
It is also possible to prevent suffering much stress pro-actively by, for example, hindering or eliminating enemies specialized in dealing stress damage before they can do much harm, or by traveling at high light levels and avoiding unnecessary battles and traps by scouting them out before being forced to encounter them.