Game Modes

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Darkest Dungeon features different game modes to allow players to customize their playing experience.

Features of Darkest Mode[edit | edit source]

The "Normal" mode of Darkest Dungeon. Not as difficult as Stygian Mode but takes more time to complete than Radiant Mode. It is recommended for players who want a prolonged experience.

Darkest Mode differences
Select Darkest.png

Features of Radiant Mode[edit | edit source]

Radiant Mode is meant for players who want to keep their playtime low, but it is still designed to give the player just as much challenge as Darkest Mode.

It is intended to take less time overall to complete than normal (“Darkest”) mode. The mode is still challenging—monsters have the same stats and nothing about permadeath has changed. But some gameplay rules have been flexed or altered in ways that reduce some of the more time consuming mid and late game elements.

Radiant Mode differences
Select Radiant.png Never Again changed: heroes are now allowed to return to the Darkest Dungeon. However, they will undergo significant stress upon doing so, and are more likely to become afflicted instead of virtuous when in the Darkest Dungeon.*
More Power Leveling flexibility: Heroes of up to Level 4 may enter Novice dungeons. Any hero may enter a Veteran or Champion dungeon.

Stage Coach can now be upgraded to allow the appearance of new recruits starting at up to Level 4. Increased chance of upgraded recruits appearing.

Reduced cost of Upgraded Recruits upgrades.
Accelerated hero XP progression
Hero upgrade and treatment cost scaling by level reduced
Returned provisions now give slightly more money back
DODGE bonus from Radiant Light is increased from 4 to 7.5.
Tweaks to Stagecoach:
  • Added another upgrade tier to Experienced Recruits (Lvl 4 Characters will now appear)
  • Changed Experienced Recruit requirements. (Lvl 1 now only requires Lvl 1 Blacksmith and Guild)
  • New Stage Coach population option to use a Deck based system. (This can be used on all modes). New Stagecoach generation method that gives a more even long-term distribution and also favors healers more, since they are the backbone of most parties. This can be toggled off in the Options menu if you wish to still ride the bittersweet wave of total RNG.
Higher light conditions confer slightly more to party DEF bonuses.
Accelerated Region Progression
Town Events trigger more frequently to compensate for shorter playtime

* The changes to Never Again are the following| Gain 80 Stress when entering the Darkest Dungeon. Virtue Chance lowered by 25%, effectively making it a 1% Virtue Chance.

Features of Stygian Mode[edit | edit source]

Stygian is a game mode which gives you a more difficult and more challenging campaign. Unlike other modes, Stygian has instant failure conditions that, when met, will result in a "Game Over" and permanently delete your save.


This article or section may contain spoilers about the final boss. You might want to avoid reading further if you don't want to spoil the surprise for yourself!

Raid failure banner.png
Stygian Mode differences
Select Stygian.png All enemies have increased health and have higher crit chances. Stress will also be more common and upgrade costs are doubled.
All gameplay options are locked. For example, you can't deactivate the corpse apparitions or the fact that retreat can fail. This means the difficulty is absolutely locked to the maximum.
The light meter will deplete faster, at the rate of 7 (instead of 6) when exploring new areas.
On the Old Road, the Traveler's Tent is replaced by the Transcendent Terror, which makes you begin your adventure with less loot and an afflicted hero.
Unlike the regular campaign - where your victory can be as long and bloody as it needs to be - you will immediately fail if either of the following things happens:
  • You take more than 86 weeks to finish the game.
  • 12 or more of your heroes are killed.

Keep in mind that you will always lose at least two heroes to the Heart of Darkness - if you take more than 10 casualties before the final battle, you have effectively failed your quest already (as you will immediately lose when the Heart kills the twelfth hero, even if you're winning the actual boss battle). However, it is also important to note that certain team compositions can circumvent casualties on the mission via defeating the final boss in one strike prior to it reaching a certain number of hit points.

Should you fail in your quest, the game will present you with a Game Over screen explaining the cause of your defeat (either giving the creature time to awaken, or enough blood to awaken prematurely), after which your save file will be deleted.
When the final boss is dead, the game over conditions are removed and you can continue playing your file without fear of it being deleted.

Features of Bloodmoon Mode[edit | edit source]

Bloodmoon is a Stygian game mode combined with Crimson Court DLC. While all Stygian loss conditions persist in Bloodmoon, some have been adjusted to fit the new features.


This article or section may contain spoilers about the final boss. You might want to avoid reading further if you don't want to spoil the surprise for yourself!

Raid failure banner.png
Bloodmoon Mode differences
Select Bloodmoon.png In Bloodmoon, the hero casualty limit has been raised to 16.
Time limit has been raised to 100 weeks instead of 86 to account the new bosses.
You must defeat all Crimson Court bosses to finish the storyline and successfully complete the campaign.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

These are the achievements specifically related to the game's mode.

Image Name Description
Achievement66.jpg Entry Level Complete the game on Radiant
Achievement19.jpg Victory, such as it is... Complete the game
Achievement30.jpg Strict Mode Complete the game with default difficulty options
Achievement23.jpg World End Complete the game on Stygian

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Stygian Mode was originally New game+ and could only be unlocked after the first time you finish the game.
  • When Radiant was first introduced, there was a different hunger system in place. The random Hunger Checks did not occur and instead Food Provision cost increased to 125 and stack size decreased to 6 to compensate.
  • "Victory, such as it is..." achievement is described as "Complete the game" when in reality the player has to complete the game on Darkest difficulty or higher.
  • It has been tested on Completing Stygian difficulty, that completing the game on higher difficulties also unlocks achievements from completing faster and less full of danger difficulties.
  • In Radiant Mode Darkest Configuration settings are overall turned off, but nothing inside is changed. This prevents the player for receiving the Strict Mode achievement playing on Radiant Difficulty.