gave Darkest Dungeon II The relationship mechanic seems like a minor factor compared to the stress your heroes can suffer, as well as quirks and other debuffs during combat. But if you’re not careful about your party’s current relationship levels, they can quickly start to clash with each other, leading to various awkward moments. Learning how to use this mechanic to your advantage is the key to getting the most out of each campaign and of course managing to survive longer.

Following the release of The Void Between Us update in January 2023, the relationship has been largely recast. As a mechanic that caused some debate in the community after the early access period, if you thought some of its random elements didn’t work enough in its favor, the latest changes should be welcomed. This guide explains everything you need to know about relationship skills in Darkest Dungeon II, as well as the best ways to build positive relationships among your crew.

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How to Build Relationships in Darkest Dungeon II

Relationships and affiliations go hand in hand. Your level of affinity between characters is going to determine the types of relationships they can form, positive or negative. After the release of The Void Between Us update, Relationships can now only be made in hotels.. Except for the first visit you make after your introductory trip on your bandwagon, each subsequent visit to future Inns will result in different pairings.

It is worth noting that the relationship will not happen until then. After you rest, so you have some leeway to try and tip the scale either way in your party. Once you’re all set, the screen will indicate any relationships that have been created before you begin. Clicking on them will tell you whether the result is positive or negative, as well as detailing which relationship skills were affected (more on that later).

'Playing cards' are a great hotel item to promote relationships - both positive and negative.
‘Playing cards’ are a great hotel item to promote relationships – both positive and negative.

There are different ways to build bonds between your party, but if you’re wondering how to build positive relationships in Darkest Dungeon II, here are some tips:

  • Keep an eye on hotel items: Items such as ‘playing cards’ are usually cheap, and can also be obtained as loot or rewards during campaigns. Unless your characters’ affinity levels are already at a level you’re comfortable with, using these items before starting the next campaign can help a lot. At the end of the day they’re still a gamble, but who knows, pushing your luck might bring you favorable results in the end.
  • Ins itself can also affect your relationship.: Whenever you arrive at a hotel, make sure to hover over its icon in the top left corner to see if the party will be affected.
  • During decision-making moments, trust your gut.: On occasion, you’ll have to decide between different party members before an encounter or during interactions with NPCs. You can tell if a choice is affecting someone positively or negatively by the colored “aura” (gold and blue, respectively) around the characters. It’s up to you how you want to deal with each situation – be sure to pay attention before making the wrong choice.
  • Your actions in matters of war: Similar to choice-driven events, using certain skills has different effects on others. Thankfully, this is indicated by any color during that character’s turn, so it’s up to you how you want to handle each situation. Sometimes you really need to use a specific skill and a negative result will inevitably occur.
  • Points are important.: Quirks also play a big role in how relationships will work for this character. Most are usually irrelevant, but it’s always worth opening the character screen and double-checking yourself. Also note that new Quirks are bound to appear in all campaigns.

Those are the basics, but then remember that Darkest Dungeon II thrives on random values. Your characters are bound to increase or decrease their affinity points with each other during campaigns. The steps above are just tools to counter these effects, so you can try and change the rules in your favor.

Also, remember this Relationships only last for the duration of the campaign., and don’t stay with you throughout the race. You can change from positive to negative and vice versa, so having a negative relationship after your second visit to a hotel isn’t the end of the world.

How Relationship Skills Work in Darkest Dungeon II

As mentioned earlier, the decisions you make during combat affect your party relationships. Once a bond is formed, a randomly selected skill from each of the two characters will receive a positive or negative buff. Thus, every time you use said skill in combat, the effect will occur, further influencing the relationship.

At this point, positive relationships are respectful, hopeful, and loving, while negative relationships are suspicious, hateful, and jealous. Skill buffs and debuffs can vary greatly during combat, from dealing with random stress or healing blisters to enemies attacking or defending each other.

Watching party members go against each other is stressful enough if you choose the wrong skill, but some dialogue barks add some interesting personality to your heroes.
Watching party members go against each other is stressful enough if you choose the wrong skill, but some dialogue barks add some interesting personality to your heroes.

If you’re trying to keep as much peace as possible, I recommend always double-checking skills before using them. For example, if a party member has just been killed, or has a debuff status (like blood or blight), it’s likely that taking care of them will net you some brownie points. .

Whenever you have positive relationship skills, I recommend using them as often as possible. Negatives, on the other hand, are trickier: you can’t replace them with characters’ skill bars, so they’ll stay there for the duration of a campaign. And, well, if the skill the game randomly chooses is one you rely on often, prepare to annoy people every time you use it.

Relationships in Darkest Dungeon II can be quite random, so it’s important to prepare yourself for every possible scenario – our A beginner’s guide A step-by-step explainer to beat and Denial mind could help.

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