Darkest Dungeon®

Darkest Dungeon®

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Ancestral Trinkets
By BRAINfreeze
A guide that examines the ancestral trinkets, and how to get them effectively
"While he was alive, the Ancestor had several powerful items that have since been scattered across the land. These items are powerful, and any hero who wields them might hold that power. However, the weight of the Ancestor's horrible actions still clings to these artifacts, and any hero holding them will feel that sinister energy upon themselves..." -Excerpt from the Darkest Dungeon Wiki

The 14 Ancestral Trinkets are one-of-a-kind trinkets that grant powerful bonuses. This is to say if you've found an ancestral trinket in one of the ways described further on, it is removed from an item pool of possible trinkets that can be obtained. However, they have the offset of slightly increasing the amount of stress the wearer receives (not including the Tentacle Idol). Each trinket can be sold for 7,500 gold. A substantial amount for the desperate, but they may be difficult to get back. This may prove to be a nuisance for those trying to earn the in-game achievement of obtaining every single one

As rare and important as they are, they are not unbreakable, unlike trophy-type trinkets. If a hero dies in a dungeon, and their trinket is not recovered, it is lost. However, if the Shrieker event is active, they can easily be regained by successfully chasing off the Shrieker
Trinket breakdown

Ancestor's Bottle | +25% HP, +50% food consumed, +10% stress
Probably my least favorite of the bunch, as it has two downsides as opposed to just the stress downside. On top of that, there are much better +HP increasing trinkets that have no or more manageable downsides, such as the Life Crystal, Martyr's Seal, Overture Box, and Flesh's Heart

Ancestor's Candle | +15% damage, +2 speed, & +5 dodge if Torchlight > 50, +10% stress
A reliable trinket to have at high light levels, stress is likely to not be as much of an issue. Just keep many torches with you. Crusaders & Vestals have abilities to raise the torch level, too. However, you should make it a priority to take out Cultist Witches, Crones, and Ghouls, who can quickly lower light levels if left unchecked

Ancestor's Coat | +15% dodge; +10% stress
A great trinket to have on heroes who are very dodgy to begin with (Jester, Grave Robber), or have ways of greatly increasing their dodge (Antiquarian, Houndmaster, Man-at-Arms). Just don't rely on it all the time

Ancestor's Handkerchief | +50% bleed resist, +50% disease resist, +10% stress
A strange combination of boosts that might see some use in the Warrens, where Swine Choppers & Swine Heavers can cause bleeding & diseases respectively. If you have the DLC, it'll see much greater use in the Courtyard, where bloodlight makes it easier for heroes to bleed, and the Crimson Curse spreads very easily to unprotected heroes

Ancestor's Lantern | +20% chance of ambush, -20% chance of party ambushed, +10% stress
This would see better use in darker explorations, as brighter light levels already increase the chance of an encounter starting out in your advantage. Just know that some encounters (e.g. camping ambush, Shambler ambush) are guaranteed surprises, so this will not save you there

Ancestor's Map | +25% scouting chance, +25% trap disarm chance, +10% stress
First ever Ancestral Trinket I received, so I might be a bit biased when I say how useful this item is. Knowing what's ahead, where traps are, and disarming them with the hero holding this item is often what offsets the stress factor this item may bring about

Ancestor's Musket Ball | +10% damage w/ranged skills, +8% crit w/ranged skills, +10% stress
Great damage booster for the Highwayman, Arbalest, or a Grave Robber in the back ranks. The crit rates on their ranged skills certainly stack up well with the greater crit chance this item gives, too

Ancestor's Mustache Cream | +50% debuff resist, +50% blight resist, +10% stress
Another one of my not-so-favorites, but it does have its uses in trips through the Warrens & Weald, where blight & debuffs are common. Also worth noting if you pick this one up before a Siren fight, its very strong debuff resist can save a hero from being tempted into fighting for her scratch that. Ever since the Color of Madness update, the Siren's Song has been its own unique type of attack

Ancestor's Pen | +10% damage w/melee skills, +8% crit w/melee skills, +10% stress
The melee version of the musket ball, this one works well with a front line attacking Highwayman, Flagellant (who can work well under stress anyway), Hellion, a front line Bounty Hunter, and transformed Abomination

Ancestor's Pistol | +15 accuracy w/ranged skills, +3 speed, +10% stress
I'd imagine it's an offset of the musket ball, but I don't find it as useful. If you might disagree, however, it works best on the Plague Doctor if you feel like Blasphemous Vial will stress her out quicker, the Arbalest if you've got a Houndmaster or Bounty Hunter making marks, and the Vestal, whose ranged attacks have very low accuracy on their own

Ancestor's Protrait | +50% resolve XP gained, +10% stress
Another one that may not see a lot of use, since its benefit only kicks in if the bearer survives a successful quest. To offset the stress penalty, equip it to a hero of your choice, unequip it when the quest starts, and remember to equip it once again before you end the quest. This may see more use in Stygian/Bloodmoon mode, so as to help heroes be ready to take on the required quests

Ancestor's Scroll | +25% healing, +25% stress healed, +10% stress
An excellent healing booster for the Vestal or the Occultist for healing in combat, and can help them shrug off the extra stress they gain when camping with the appropriate skills. The Abomination and Leper can tank a bit better with this, since their self-healing skills apply to both spectrums, but they are more suited to attacking roles

Ancestor's Signet Ring | +10% protect, +10 accuracy, +10% stress
A great trinket to have when composing a party based around reducing damage with increased protection values. Best equipped on a Man-at-Arms, Crusader, or Leper, who can already boost their protection to greater heights, while improving their somewhat middling accuracy

Ancestor's Tentacle Idol | +20% virtue chance, +8 deathblow resist
The only Ancestral Trinket without a direct downside. The indirect downside comes from having to rely on the luck of a hero pulling through when their stress hits 100. On its own, it brings the virtue chance of a hero who is comfortable in a dungeon (e.g. a level 2 hero in a beginner dungeon, or a level 5 hero in a champion dungeon) to ~45%, making their virtue chance almost like flipping a coin

This is unfortunately not a helpful tool for any of the DLC heroes. The Flagellant will always turn Rapturous, an exclusive affliction, and the only way this is helpful to the Shieldbreaker is if you get her to be virtuous before she goes camping. She will always turn afflicted if her stress is brought to 100 during a camping trip nightmare
How to obtain: overview
There are a number of ways to obtain these trinkets, though all of them count on players being able to exit a dungeon with them safely. They are as follows:
  • Very rarely found in dungeon curios at the darkest light level (emphasis on rare)
  • Slaying a Shambler or Shuffling Horror (though this method has a pool of 5 trinkets to obtain)
  • Opening an Ancestor's Knapsack (a curio that appears on special quests)
  • Completing a long champion's quest (can be an explore quest or a room battle quest)
Exploring in the dark & the DLC
Darkest Dungeon emphasizes that great riches can be found in the darkness. They're not wrong. For if you're brave or foolish enough to go exploring dungeons in pitch black darkness, there's a small chance that one of the collectibles you'll come across is an Ancestral Trinket. The chances are low, but with the Districts DLC installed, the chance becomes greater if you've built the Cartographer's Camp. I can't find the Steam screenshot at the moment, but a player was able to find an Ancestor's Pistol when they examined a torch in pitch black.

In a recent save file, I somehow managed to obtain two Ancestral trinkets through curio interactions in the DLC areas, the Courtyard and the Farmstead. In the first case, I got a trinket by giving blood to one of the Wizened Shrews that sits around in the Courtyard hallways, and I got another by unlocking a cabinet with a key in the Farmstead

If you're not one to tempt fate with the darkness or the DLC dungeons, however, we'll go over the guaranteed ways of finding the Ancestral Trinkets
The Shambler & Shuffling Horror

The Shambler (above left) is a wandering boss who can be encountered either by rarely appearing in a hallway battle while your light level is at 0, or by tossing a torch into a Shambler's Altar (above right), both of which can happen in any of the standard four dungeons (Ruins, Warrens, Weald, or Cove). If you come across a Shambler's Altar, it's best to leave it alone, and come back to light it up when you've completed your quest if your troupe has enough steam left in them

If you suspect you'll be fighting a Shambler one way or another, the first priority is to have one or two heroes that won't mind getting shuffled because of their ability to put themselves back into their original position without too much trouble. The Crusader, Highwayman, Grave Robber, Man-at-Arms, Abomination, Hellion, & Jester all have moves that shift themselves around while attacking at the same time, a Houndmaster & Bounty Hunter can fight rather effectively no matter what position they're in (and can mark targets for each other while they're at it), and a Vestal & Occultist can heal teammates or use abilities that weaken their targets. Between these two, however, the Occultist can heal from any position, and two of his attacks deal bonus damage to Eldritch eneimes

The Shuffling Horror is the boss of the first quest into the Darkest Dungeon. Given his status, and where you get to fight him, it's an opportunity to obtain two ancestral trinkets in the same mission, since there's an Ancestor's Knapsack a few rooms away from him (see the section on Ancestral Knapsacks)

Defeating any of them will drop one of these 5 trinkets, if they haven't been obtained already:
Ancestor's Map

Ancestor's Scroll

Ancestor's Candle

Ancestor's Bottle

Ancestor's Tentacle Idol

It can be easy to lose someone important to these fights, so if you're looking to obtain these trinkets while taking part in the least amount of Shambler fights possible, find and kill the Shambler 4 times, and the Shuffling Horror.
Ancestor's Knapsacks

Ancestor's Knapsacks are a unique curio that appear in some special missions. They act like most treasure chests, in that you find gold & loot inside them, but you're also guaranteed to find one ancestral trinket along with everything else you get.

The special missions you can find them in are as follows:
  • Wolves at the Door (special town event that may start coming up after week 35, when you've got at least 4 heroes at level 5 or 6). This special event has THREE knapsacks. Bring as many shovels as you can carry in one stack. If you can handle trying to beat Vvulf with a Grave Robber, that's even better, since there will be a total of 5 rubble walls to clear if you want to get them all without being forced to tear down a wall by hand, injuring and stressing your team out. The first two are on the far-left and far-right sides of the map, guarded by Champion-level enemies. After defeating Vvulf, another room is revealed if you choose to continue exploring. Dig through the rubble in your way, and you'll find the third knapsack in the new room
  • We Are The Flame (first Darkest Dungeon mission). Turn at the 4th intersection that appears. Within the room is a battle with an Ascended Brawler, Cultist Priest, Ascended Witch, and Rapturous Cultist
  • Lighting the Way (second Darkest Dungeon mission). From the starting room, keep going northeast. This room battle has a Malignant Growth, Cultist Priest, Rapturous Cultist, and Defensive Growth
  • Belly of the Beast (third Darkest Dungeon mission). From the starting room, keep going east when possible, and north when possible. This room battle has an Antibody and two Polyps, which is a lot less overwhelming compared to the other two room battles

Through opening all Ancestor Knapsacks, you will obtain 6 Ancestral Trinkets (7 if you count killing the Shuffling Horror in We Are The Flame)
Long Champion quests

Any trinkets you haven't obtained through the other methods mentioned before will end up in this item pool. You must undertake a long champion-level scouting or room battle quest to be rewarded with an Ancestral Trinket. The trinket you will get for a successful quest is listed as a part of the rewards

If you have obtained all the trinkets through the sure-fire ways of finding them (Shambler & Knapsacks), there should be 3 left to recover at this point, which brings me to the next important thing to know about obtaining these trinkets through this method if you missed the chance to earn them through knapsacks, or decided to start earning them sooner:

Many players have areas they'd rather explore, and may try their best to avoid taking on missions in one area or another if they have to. But if you're looking to get every Ancestral Trinket, at least one long champion mission WILL need to be done for the Ruins, Warrens, Weald, and Cove. When it's down to the last few Ancestral Trinkets that need to be obtained, some long champion missions in familiar areas will drop very rare trinkets instead. I know this, because I've tried my best to avoid the Weald and its corrupted giants & hateful viragos, but was forced to partake in one Weald exploration trip

If you're like me at this point, and you're hopeful to avoid fighting if possible, stock up well on food & supplies, and bring along trinkets & skills that allow for greater chances of scouting & not being surprised by monsters. Take on the explore missions, and keep the hallways well-lit to (hopefully) avoid any nasty surprises
In a nutshell
To obtain all 14 trinkets without having to rely on luck, and with the least amount of effort, you would need to do the following:
  • Beat the Shambler 4 times, & the Shuffling Horror
  • Open up the 6 Ancestor's Knapsacks when presented with the chance to do so
  • Traverse at least 3 long champion-level dungeons spanning all four main dungeons
  • Chase off the Shrieker if you lost any of them along the way to get them back
Upon returning home with the 14th trinket, you'll be rewarded with the achievement "Sentimental relics from our forefathers...", and having some of the most powerful items in the game, next to many of the trophies you've probably gotten from killing champion bosses
Thanks to...
Naturally, I couldn't have done this guide alone. This guide was created thanks to the help of:
  • Darkest Dungeon Wiki, for providing the opening quote, and many of the images
  • RNGesus, for letting many of my heroes live to know how to obtain these
  • theLheo, who pointed out a bit of missing information I forgot to fill in the first time
  • foxhound438, who reminded me of how inaccurate an attacking Vestal can be sometimes
This is an open list. If you've got something you want to add, and it becomes a part of it, that's grounds for being credited
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Sir Lancevrot Jun 19, 2018 @ 2:56am 
thx, i'll be waiting
BRAINfreeze  [author] Jun 18, 2018 @ 6:02pm 
No bug. Same deal. Wait for the Shrieker to appear again, and the candle should be a part of his item pool of stolen trinkets
Sir Lancevrot Jun 18, 2018 @ 4:44pm 
i've lost candle with heroes and now, after 5 killed shamblers can't obtain it. they just refuse to drop ancestor's trinkets. is it a bag or something else?
Chopsuey Jun 17, 2018 @ 6:47pm 
Dude, I just had the shrieker spawn for me and I got all my ancestors trinkets back, what a stroke of luck! Couldn't kill the nest though :(
BRAINfreeze  [author] Jun 17, 2018 @ 6:30pm 
It's very unlikely you'll kill him anyway. He has a truckload of HP, he moves 3 times per turn, and on his very last move on the 4th turn, he'll flee (while also really stressing your team out). But like I said, you can make the trip more worthwhile by destroying his nest, which gives 1-5 trapezohedrons, along with the other trinkets
Chopsuey Jun 17, 2018 @ 5:12pm 
So wait for the shrieker, got it. And don't kill it when fighting it? Just wait the fight out?
BRAINfreeze  [author] Jun 17, 2018 @ 4:48pm 
Trinkets that have been lost because your heroes died with no way of getting them back are set into an item pool of the Shrieker. When the Shrieker makes its round as a playable dungeon, and the rewards are not one of its trinkets, holding off four turns of its attacks lets you regain 8 trinkets at a time. Be sure to take out its nest, too, since it holds valuable Trapezohedrons
Chopsuey Jun 17, 2018 @ 4:17pm 
Over time, I have lost some of my trinkets, is there a way to get them back?
BRAINfreeze  [author] Dec 27, 2017 @ 1:14pm 
Heroes that contract the Crimson Curse have their other diseases wiped out (if they had any), and will not contract other diseases until it's cured. The only other upsides it has are slight increases in speed when the disease is passive, or an infected hero is craving. In bloodlust mode, however (feed a hero blood when craving), they get boosts to speed, attack, stun, & blight resist, in exchange for sometimes acting in ways you'd hope they wouldn't.

Now, the cartographer's camp still has benefits, even in total dark. Better chances for better loot, for one. It also slightly increases chances of scouting, crit chance, and surprise encounter chances in your favor.
(((WhoDid911)) Dec 27, 2017 @ 1:00pm 
Does The Crimson Curse have any positives? Also, if I prefer to work in complete darkness, does The Cartographer Camp have any benefits, then? Thank you, again, in-advance for any advice/help!!