Shadows Over Loathing

Shadows Over Loathing

88 ratings
Shadow Taint and You: Being Evil Made Easy
By Felix-sishou
5 easy steps to obtain the Evilest Ending, and more fun facts inside! Includes locations, effects, and names.
updated for better readability

Special Thank you to all the commenters who have contributed thus far
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Shadow Taint and Its Effects
Similar to the bovine taint from the previous game, you gain Shadow Taint levels by consuming the accursed items you find in shadow holes, rifts, or anywhere else really.
Unlike West of Loathing, however, the counter is seemingly infinite- it'll just keep going up and up as you eat more items. You only need five to get the "evilest ending" where you swallow the world whole in your shadow, but don't let that stop your wicked dreams!
As you level up your shadow taint, you can talk with the freaky shadow creatures you randomly encounter, turning them into friends, and they'll give you an item or exp. You can also remove the weird items found inside if you have the right level of shadow taint! There will also be more shadow orbs and new rifts as well. Finally, you will be able to solve the shadow magic problems in the story with your own, higher level shadow powers.

Note that once you've "opened your eyes" by reaching level 3 of shadow taint, there is no way of going back, and you also now loathe the un-cursing machine. You also lock yourself out of talking to certain NPCs, and hobos will no longer wish to speak to you (except for Obie and the gator hobo, for some weird reason).
Once you get supercharged with the shadow taint*, you are locked out of obtaining the buddy-specific ending achievements, except for Molly who is not putting up with this shadow-throne ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

PS: Shadow Taint is shown on you character sheet below stats

*see the perks section of this guide
Removing Shadow Taint
There is currently no in-game way to lower/remove shadow taint, so for anyone who accidentally raised it too high when they didn't mean to, or changed their mind, here's how to edit your save file to get rid of your shadow taint according to another user:

Originally posted by TheAmazinBlazin:
Closing the game and going to %appdata%/LocalLow/Asymmetric Games, LLC/Shadows Over Loathing, there should be JSON files of all save games. Open the most recent save in notepad, hit ctrl+f, and type "consumables". It should take you to a value called "shadow_fromconsumables", set that to 0. Under that, "shadoweyes" needs to be set to 0 as well... Save the file, and open the game back up, and you should be taint free.

Remember to back up your save file by making a copy elsewhere before doing any save editing, unless you're confident you can undo any game-breaking changes.
Cursed/Shadow Items
If you want to go full in, you can choose to NOT un-curse all of the cursed items, Jessica none the wiser (yes including the fedora, just go back into your room anyways when Jessica stops you).
Doing so, the cursed items keep all their prior effects, and make you feel pretty evil.
Here's what they do:
Name
Description
Location
Fedora
Will let you bypass certain random encounters and skill checks by speaking forbidden words
Story item
Dangerous Pocketwatch
Lowers a target's stats by 13
Story item
Compass
Leads you to shadow item encounters
Story item
Key
Opens any locked object, including the Black House gate
Story item
Sickle
Deals your class stat +13 spooky damage
Story item
Duck Call
Deal spooky damage and cause bleeding, both equal to your mysticality; will also scare the ducks on the McMillicancuddy farm
Throw the Haunted Duck Call in the H*** Hole
Fishing Rod
Deals your muscle +3 spooky damage; will sometimes fish up shadow items
Found on the S.I.T bridge
Librum Umbra Malum Ovilla
Reading will grant you special shadowy perks*
Story item

Here's a list of Shadow food items:
Name
Effect
Wine
+2 to every elemental armor
Beer
+7 physical armor
Mead
+70% meat drops
Milkshake
+1 mysticality and +2 ap
Hot Dog
+1 muscle and +5 to your melee attacks
Pickle
+1 moxie and +5 to your ranged attacks
Salad
+1 mysticality and +5 to your magic attacks
Elixir
+1 muscle and +11 maximum hp
Grease
+1 moxie and +50% item drops

And here's the physical items you can snag from rifts:
Name
Description
Location
Apple
Increase all your stats by 13 once per fight
Cherry orchard, by the Wormfather during the grodeworm sidequest
Briefcase
Grants a forbidden perk increasing your class stat by one; requires shadow taint skill check
S.I.T library
Boots
You now travel around by skating across the shadows
Behind the cracked wall in Gumbuckle mine; note that you will not gain access to the mine if you have 3 or higher shadow taint
Candle
Sets an enemy on fire for your mysticality +7
Basement of the Dauphin House; note that you will not gain access to the Dauphin House if you have 3 or higher shadow taint
Chalice
Grants a perk*
Inside the fishmother lair under the S.I.T bridge
Coin
+100% meat drops
Black-Gold mine/Papascau ranch
Egg
Hatches into a familiar that does spooky damage to all enemies and increases your stats
Barbara's basement; requires that you offer to get birdseed for her. Note that this will replace your original bird familiar.
Hammer
Deals 5 spooky damage to all enemies
By the "important machine" in the S.I.T Hexquarry
Knife
Deals your Moxie +7 bleeding
Goldthwait park, by the jagged rocks; needs high level of shadow taint to be seen
Loop (ring)
Increased shadow creature encounters
Crystaldream junkyard, leftmost path
Mirror
Swaps stats with an ally or opponent once per fight
Boardwalk Vampire bar; requires you to progress the Mob questline
Rat
Familiar which does spooky damage to enemies
Present-day Sandwich basement; cannot be obtained after solving the witch problem, requires you to interact with the basement in the past
Rift Fragment
Can be turned into a necklace at the accessory shop; unlocks gatorman Alphonse as a buddy
Zimmer's House basement
Shorts
+50% item drops
Tentacle House
Skullcap
+13 physical armor
Gilmore House bunker
Syringe
Poisons an enemy for your muscle +7
Cave full of flies at Haim Quarry; can be obtained regardless of what you choose to do with the frogs

Combat items:
Name
Effect
Rope
Stuns one enemy for a turn
Clarinet
Reduce one enemy's stats by 13
Bomb
Does 13 spooky damage to all enemies

*see the perks section of this guide
Available Perks
There are several available perks and skills, most from the Librum Umbra Mallum Ovilla (whose title is too long to write, honestly), and a few other perks here and there.

Miscellaneous:
Name
Effect
Obtaining
Forbidden perk
Increases your class stat by 1
Read the item in the rift briefcase; requires 5 levels of shadow taint
Shadow-Charged
Changes the ending you take the malevolent entity's throne
Absorb the energy from the umbratanium pillars around Government Valley
Shadowy Waters
+10 maximum hp and +3 hp regeneration
Drink from the shadow chalice; will also give you a fish-head
Haunted
Gives themed dialogue options
Say you're searching for something dark during the prologue

Cursed Book:
Name
Effect
Shadow Chomp
Deals 5 spooky damage and heals you by the damage dealt
Shadow Embrace
Deals 13 spooky damage to an enemy and also yourself; damage done to you can be reduced by you elemental armor
Shadow Vortex
Steal 1 muscle, mysticality, and moxie from each other combatant; includes allies
Occlusion of Shadow
Elemental armor challenges are easier
Suffusion of Shadow
Stat challenges are easier
Collusion of Shadow
You start combat with three shadow creatures on your side
The Shadow's Vision
+1 mysticality and +5 to magical attacks, -10 maximum hp
The Shadow's Vanity
+1 moxie and regular familiars will not aid you in combat; only the shadow rat and bird will aid you
The Shadow's Protection
+1 muscle and +5 physical armor, -1 ap

Taking all the nine perks/skills from the Librum Umbra grants you an achievement!
Fun Facts
  • Alphonse will sometimes randomly find shadow items for you.
  • you can absorb the president
  • No more candy from the nice hardware store man :,((( (thank you fillanator)
  • If you put P O O P in the rift guarded by the dean it makes a "special" noise.
  • Tony Fiasco doesn't like your cursed hat, but he'll pay you anyway.
  • If you have a level 5 shadow taint, you can absorb your class' rival and take their cool hat during their final encounter! Neat!
  • When you open your eyes, they're full of the same starry material as all the other evil things. You probably already knew that, but it's still a fun fact.
  • Most NPCs, especially quest NPCs will not react to your sudden evilness, which is funny.
  • Interacting with yourself in mirrors after opening your eyes, your reflection will say "perfect, never change" and you'll respond back with garbled shadow speak.
  • Getting St. Polycarp's blessing while tainted or having the haunted perk will cause you to respond with "it burns a little!"
  • Approaching the Church of St. Polycarp with a high level of shadow taint will cause you to be struck by lightning.
  • The Sandwich museum guard is immune to the cursed fedora and all other compulsion. Truly the power of minimum wage is great.
  • Using shadow items will affect the environment, e.g. more dead trees and an omnipresent black fog.
  • Using the fedora on the man in the S.I.T archives will cause him to say a string of cursed words back at you.
  • Having the "agent of chaos" starting perk will allow you to get the good ending despite being a horrific creature of evil (- Grung the Goblin)
  • As you gain more shadow taint, your dreams will be increasingly haunted by demonic eyes and mouths.
  • You can kiss one of these mouths!
109 Comments
Grung The Goblin Dec 29, 2023 @ 3:26pm 
also shadow combat items such as bombs increase haunteness
Grung The Goblin Dec 27, 2023 @ 6:02pm 
BY SOMETHING
IUNNO
Grung The Goblin Dec 27, 2023 @ 6:01pm 
WAIT NO
I BELIEVE THAT THE HAUNTENESS MULTIPLIES HOW MUCH TAINT YOU GET
Felix-sishou  [author] Nov 6, 2023 @ 11:21am 
@Grung The Goblin thank you for this information!
Grung The Goblin Nov 5, 2023 @ 1:45pm 
also with the perk "agent of chaos" (its one of the starting perks that you get when talking to ethel, its quit hard to find!) you can get the good ending even when you absorb the shadow pylons, among... other things the perk does...
Grung The Goblin Nov 2, 2023 @ 4:31pm 
Note: the haunted perk increases the amount of haunteness(TM) (more haunteness increases how many trees are dead and how thick fog is) that you get from using shadow items(hat, watch, h ss hole duck call, etc) this is ultimately cosmetic.

Eg. using the shadow key gives you 25 haunteness(TM) with the haunted perk you get 30(maybe more maybe less)

and if it isn't clear, the fog and dead trees aren't a byproduct of having shadow taint, the dead trees and fog are a byproduct of using shadow tainted ITEMS.
ballin but at what cost Sep 5, 2023 @ 10:21pm 
how to become the worst man/woman/unknowable entity alive guide working 2023 (no hacks) ((no cheats)) (((legal))) ((((maybe))))
BlueCheeseFactory Aug 15, 2023 @ 9:15pm 
thank you for guiding me to become my worst self ♡
Ocelotgirl19 Mar 18, 2023 @ 10:19am 
love the guide tho, for the evil monster in all of us~
Ocelotgirl19 Mar 18, 2023 @ 10:17am 
uh not me during my first play though just sticking my two fingers in every space hole i see and then eating whatever i find, with the scouts honor, what a nice human i am.