Darkest Dungeon is not known for its casual, forgiving gameplay. In fact, quite the opposite is true, as the game thrusts you into the thick of things at the very beginning.
Darkest Dungeons features curios, which are an essential part of exploring and can grant you a boon, an item, or something terrible. Since there are 93 unique curios, it is necessary to know everything we can about them if we hope to survive the already brutal game.
What Is A Curio?
By definition, a curio is a rare, unusual, or intriguing item. There are Eldritch Alters, Unlocked Strongboxes, Stacks of Books, Iron Maidens, and much more.
As a party explores a map, curios can be found everywhere. They appear inside of rooms or in corridor segments. Different map types will also contain specific curios. Currently, the map types are Ruins, Coves, Warrens, Wealds, Courtyards, and Farmsteads.
Unlike obstacles, curios do not block the path of your party and can be ignored in many cases. This is often recommended if you are unfamiliar with the potential effects of a curio or do not have a reasonable supply of items to counter its negative effect.
Interacting with Curios
When a party comes across a curio, there is the option to activate it through a prompt. Players can then choose to use an item if they have the appropriate type in their inventory. For example, a shovel could aid in digging up a shallow grave curio to reveal loot. However, not using a shovel might cause a 50% chance of the adventurer being inflicted with blight and a 50% chance of being inflicted by disease.
Because of this, clicking on any curios without adequate knowledge is a recipe for disaster.
With that in mind, the loot available for curios is often from a fixed pool of items and there is no RNG associated with the activation. This means that being unable to safely use a curio is not the end of the world.
However, there are a lot of downsides to curios. For example, curios can cause stress, healing, bleeding, blighting, or randomly add or remove buffs and debuffs. They can also add or remove quirks to individual adventurers.
So, you choose to use a curio, you should pick a character with strong resistances and one who can receive negative buffs or quirks without endangering the party, or a character who is already on death’s doorstep.
Usually, Curios are optional, but not all of the time. Players might notice that certain quirks force an interaction without any way to prevent it. For example, an adventurer affected with the compulsive quirk has a 20% chance of forcing an interaction with any type of curios.
This is dangerous because forced interactions do not make use of your inventory, no matter how well stocked it may be. As a result, the adventurer will interact with the curio in a default fashion. If we use the shallow grave example from above, this means that you will disregard the shovel, miss out on the loot, and gain one of the two negative afflictions, either disease or blight.
Because of this, it is important to choose your party carefully when it comes to quirks, as curios can quickly spell doom for an unprepared party.
Are Curios Randomized?
Curios in dungeons are randomized so that you never know exactly which one will appear. However, they are static events, which means that you can easily memorize or use tools to see how likely you are to activate one.
There are many tools available for this. Perhaps the most simple and straight forward is the Gamepedia entry on curios, which allows you to search for the curio you may be facing.
Since curios are such an essential part of the game, players have created various tools over the years and have shared them with the community. For example, this interactive curio tool was created by u/CaptainBlueberries.
That said, the properties of curios are predictable, and the items that work with them will remain the same between campaigns.
With it, players can select the map type they are in to see the appropriate curios that might appear. You can then click on them and more information will be displayed. It's important to note that some curios appear to be missing from this tool.
There are also quest-related curios that need to be interacted with, though these are not random in any way.
What You Need To Deal With Curios
In theory, you could load up on all the provisions to minimize the risk associated with curios. In practice, this is unrealistic because of budgetary concerns. Players simply do not have the funds to lavishly equip all expeditions with limitless items. As it stands, the following items are the bare minimum that should be taken:
- Short Map: 8 food, 6 torches, 2 shovels, 2 keys
- Medium Map: 16 food, 10 torches, 4 shovels, 4 keys
- Long Map: 24 food, 16 torches, 4 shovels, 4 keys
As for specialty items for curios, the following is safe for each specific map type:
- Weald – Since shallow graves are more common here, consider taking two extra shovels, two to three antivenom to cure blight and also to use on curios. Extra bandages can be used to cure bleed and on curios. Two holy water can be useful, but not always, and curio interaction with herbs often provides additional food, though there is usually no need for that if you're following the expedition layout listed above.
- Warrens - Similar to the weald, there are bleed and blight to consider, so take those same items. A couple of spare torches can be used to burn scrolls. Holy water can also be used in battle to buff your resistances and to gain some loot from a pile of bones. Herbs again can provide food, but should not be necessary for survival.
- Cove – Herbs are paramount here, so take a good amount. For example, take no less than four but more may be necessary due to the type of curio interactions. You should bring many bandages since the enemies here are fond of causing bleed effects. An extra shovel or two can assist with barnacled chest curios. However, neither antivenom nor holy water are needed.
- Ruins – This is perhaps the most straightforward map type. Make sure to pack a few antivenom to deal with spider enemies and a few holy water for Curios. One herb and bandage are likely to suffice.
Will Darkest Dungeon 2 Have Curios?
There does not currently appear to be a solid answer regarding whether or not curios will appear in the upcoming Darkest Dungeon sequel. Recent interviews and videos, such as the one below, compile everything we do know so far, and while the developers are keen on giving the next game a different story, it seems unlikely that curios would not return in some way.
The sequel's teaser trailer looks like something from H.P. Lovecraft’s "At the Mountains of Madness". Not including curios in the new game would be a missed opportunity. Because of this, it shouldn't surprise us if we see curios return. However, we might see them evolve from simple items into dynamic events.
For the time being, you can go forth and attempt to conquer Darkest Dungeon. Though it is useful to know as much about curios as you can, do not be fooled - the game will still be brutal.