The Courtyard is a new location added in the Crimson Court DLC. The former lavish gardens of the estate, now sinking into a swampy mire and infested with supernatural insects.
The Courtyard is unique as the Torchlight here is always at Bloodlight. This means there is a permanent +Stress and -Bleed Resistance debuff. However, torches aren't useless here, because when used, they will boost your accuracy for the duration of one battle. Torches can also be used to destroy the Throbbing Cocoon curio for a large stress reduction.
After completing the first mission in the Courtyard, the vampiric insect infestation will begin to spread to the surrounding locations. Every run a player does in a dungeon makes the infestation level higher. At the Medium levels, The Fanatic can appear while exploring dungeons, and enemies will start dropping invitations, which can be used to access further Courtyard missions.
The Courtyard is similar to the unique dungeons encountered before, such as the Darkest Dungeon and the Vvulf Dungeon. As you progress through the Courtyard, more and more will be revealed through preset scouting, and if you do not know where you are going it is easy to become lost looking for the way forward.
Don't be fooled by the early appearance of the Courtyard, sending in weak heroes is a quick path to a shallow grave. Your heroes must be as high-leveled as possible, as the quests are extremely long at over fifty or even a hundred rooms with many branching paths, locked doors requiring special keys hidden within the Courtyard, and no camping unless you smash wine crates with a shovel to loot firewood.
Because of the extreme prevalence of Bloodsucker type enemies, be prepared for any party member that goes inside to become Vampires, if they aren't already. Bringing large amounts of The Blood is therefore a necessity, not only for Curios, but to feed your vampiric heroes. While The Blood may be dropped by Bloodsuckers, it is not enough to sustain for the long term, although abuse of Curios such as Throbbing Coccons can force combat with Bloodsuckers. Also note that non-human wandering enemies may also be found within the Courtyard, and will not drop The Blood.
Another threat the party faces is constant stress. Your heroes will gain stress at a rate of 1 point per square, and considering the obscenely long hallways that can reach 20 squares, rapid stress gain is a serious concern. Add that to the constant stress damage dealt by many Bloodsuckers, and stress can quickly build out of control, something that can be catastrophic when facing the minibosses, or the bosses proper, inside the Courtyard.
Despite all of this, it is possible to return to the Courtyard at any time, as the game automatically saves progress should you decide to retreat. Simply return later with a fresh party, and the game will return you to exactly where you last left off. Unfortunately, the game counts this as a defeat, with appropriate stress gains, and one week will advance, meaning that you must be prepared for the Hamlet to be exactly as you left it.
The lighting is considered above 75% for the purpose of Sun trinkets and quirks, thence, it's a good idea to bring hero with trinkets/quirks depending of high light, like warrior of light/photomania quirks for example, and Sun ring/Sun cloak/solar crown/etc... trinkets.
- Holy Water can be used for fountains and to boost resist against the Crimson Curse. Do not give it to Vampires (except in the passive state), as it will cause blight, debuffs and they will not get the resistance buffs.
- Torches are not necessary to provide light, but torches will boost your accuracy for the duration of one battle when used, and can also be used on Throbbing Cocoons and Thronging Hives to reduce stress with the former and gain large amount of treasure for the latter. They are also required to clear a special obstacle called Shifting Mist.
- Bandages can be used to clean a Pile of Strange Bones.
- The Blood can be given to hooded beggars. You will also almost certainly need it for infected heroes.
- Shovel on the ancient caged skeleton to uncover riches and to gain loot from bloodflowers. Can also be used to smash the crate of wine to gain firewood. Useful for extending the expedition through camping.
- Medicinal Herbs on food trays to gain a large amount of food.
The Bloodsucker type-enemies that infest the Courtyard are vulnerable to Bleed and resistant to Blight. Many also have strong defenses against stun, while others are weak against stun (especially Sycophant and Chevalier). Note that if a Bloodsucker is able to wound a party member with the attack "The Thirst", they will mutate into a second form with a different moveset.
Kills need to be quick, as they will quickly heal themself with "the thirst" (and they tend to use it only when they lose some HP).
The huge stress dealing of that place is the reason why it's important to have a team that can be pretty much "self-sufficient", in terms of health healing (Vestal of course, with full heal trinkets) and stress healing.
Thus, Jester, Houndmaster and Flagellant are on their playground, as they can deal huge bleed damage and decrease easily the stress.
For example, the Flagellant could canalise the party stress with "Endure", when the Jester will sooth his stress accumulation and his stress resistance with "Inspiring Tune". This little trick is enough to hold an entire Courtyard quest.
It is risky to bring an Occultist as your main healer, as the Bloodlight will make the bleed chance from Wyrd Reconstruction greater (-10%).
Several Bloodsucker enemies can afflict your party with the Crimson Curse, an affliction unlike any typical disease. It cannot be cured through conventional means, and can cause erratic behaviour among your party.
- Crocodilian - A ferociously powerful monster with a lot of health that moves in and out of cover during battle. First encountered in the first Courtyard mission, then later on as a miniboss in later missions, a low-level party can be in trouble when facing this creature. Vulnerable to stun, but on Champion difficulty clears Bleed and Blight with its Submerge ability.
- Trap - Courtyard traps either inflict a high amount of damage or spawn enemies.
- A Secret Door can spawn inside this area. Within it, you can find a randomly generated leveled hero who can be rescued by clicking on them. Upon returning to the Hamlet, the hero will be avaliable at the Stage Coach.
- The Courtyard is the first new location added through DLC.