Darkest Dungeon Stress System in D&D (Download)

This week’s post is something I’ve been working on for a long time, and my first post which is a set of variant rules! Darkest Dungeon’s stress system is perhaps the core part of the game that sets it apart from other dungeon crawler games, and something I’ve really wanted to try implementing into D&D for quite a while. This system is designed to make D&D lea more into horror elements, so for those kind of games, such as those set in the Ravenloft campaign setting, this system presents a way to mechanically track your characters’ fear as they fight whatever horrors the DM has planned.

One of the major choices i made for designing this was having stress go up, instead of down like hit points, so that it’d mirror Darkest Dungeon more closely, and allow stress to build to double it’s value, which is more difficult to explain and track like negative hit points.

The additional rules I added outside of Darkest Dungeon’s original stress system, such as the Soothing Presence feat and the modifications to class abilities were based on the flavour of those abilities, or in comparison to similar abilities of the heroes in Darkest Dungeon, such as the stress gained from a druid’s transformation in reference to the Abomination hero from Darkest Dungeon.

Darkest Dungeon belongs to Red Hook Studios. You can find all of my Darkest Dungeon content here!

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