More Long term "Escape the Darkwalker" mode


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I honestly can't get enough of the "Escape the Darkwalker" challenge, its atmosphere, and just overall dread caused by the setting of the challenge, and I would love a new mode that follows a similar premise, but designed for long term survival.

My ideas for the mode involve the Darkwalker searching all of great bear to find you, starting in a random region that isn't your starting region. As you survive, the Darkwalker will slowly transition to each of the regions, until it eventually enters yours. This is when the Darkwalker will comb the region, and actively look for you, resulting in the region becoming inhabitable, and if it finds you, a similar deal will occur where it will attempt to chase you, with its speed becoming faster the longer you survive.

Warning!!! I go far more into detail beyond this point, and its quite a lot of reading. Go ahead and stop here if its a bit too much. 🙂


More in-depth on how this mode will work:


Grace Period phase:

Upon spawning into a region of your choice or randomly, you'll have 5 days before the Darkwalker will spawn. These 5 days are essentially the base game, where you just survive, gather resources, and prep for later phases. There are no visual effects yet, the ost is still the same as survival mode. You will be given a journal entry, that tells you to prep for the Darkwalker's arrival to the island in 5 days.

Searching Phase:

Once day 5 arrives, the Darkwalker will spawn in a region that you are not currently within, this will be completely random so luck could be a factor. Once spawned in, the Darkwalker will be at its lowest aggression, and will "search" the other regions in an attempt to find you. What this entails in gameplay, is that the Darkwalker will take a random amount of time to "explore" a region, based upon aggression and depending on the region's size, with small regions like bleak inlet, taking the least, and Pleasant Valley taking the most. Time to search regions will decrease as aggression increases, which will be discussed later. The Searching Phase will end, upon the Darkwalker entering the same region you are also present. During this phase, much about the game is unchanged, other than the looming threat of the Darkwalker being "somewhere out there." Ost is the same. If the Darkwalker is in a nearby region that connects to the region you are currently in, a faint green fog can be spotted on the horizon, though it's exact source will be unclear.

Stalking Phase:

Upon the Darkwalker entering your region, the sky will turn green, clouds will blot out the sun, and the ambience that plays during the regular challenge will being to play. You will be able to hear the roars and growls of the Darkwalker in the distance, giving you an idea of its location in the region. During this phase, the Darkwalker doesn't know your exact location, but will use clues within the environment to determine your approximate location, known as "heat".

Low heat actions: Small item piles, singular animal carcasses that are not naturally spawned, and extinguished; player made campfires will attract little attention from the Darkwalker if it comes accrossed it. These will not give away very many clues to your postion if they are spread apart, and might help lead the Darkwalker away from your primary location, if spread quite a bit.

High Heat Actions: A lit outdoor campfire, a chimney with smokes wafting out of it, large amounts of animal corpses concentrated around a location, far distant gunshots, and other light sources placed on the ground, like flares or lanterns. These will be very obvious trails that the Darkwalker will pick up upon, and investigate immediately. 

Detection: The Darkwalker requires line of sight too see you. Though it needs to be quite close to detect the player, its vision will easily pick up on light sources that pierce the fog, and can immediately detect you if said light sources are currently in your hands. Upon reaching a medium distance to your location (assuming your not holding any lightsources), and obtaining line of sight, it will enter its chasing phase. 

If the Darkwalker investigates all high heat areas, and cannot find the player after combing the region, it will travel to a different region and once again enter its searching phase, with the caveat of not being able to enter the region again, for at least 5 days, dependent upon aggression. During the Stalking Phase, the ost will be replaced by the strange sounds and instruments that play during the regular challenge, following the same concept of the ost becoming louder and stranger as the Darkwalker grows closer, only becoming dampened when indoors. The Ost will not return to normal if the Darkwalker leaves the region without detecting you, due to a aspect described later.

Chasing Phase:

Upon spotting the player, the Darkwalker will take chase. Its speed will be based upon its aggression (discussed later), and will act similarly to how it does during the challenge: Moving in a straight line, the Darkwalker will ignore all terrain, and will kill you upon making contact, staying too close, or reaching within a short distance of you, if indoors. Escaping the Darkwalker during this phase will require a long distance between you and the Darkwalker, broken line of sight, and either distractions such as High Heat Actions, or runes which will be discussed later. It will follow you into another region if close enough. Upon escaping from the Darkwalker, it will once again enter its Stalking Phase, though it will attempt to follow your tracks for a little longer, heading in a similar direction you were when it lost you. During this phase, a green fog will envelop the region, making navigation more difficult, its density based on aggression. Much like the challenge itself, the ost will begin to go crazy and frantic, as the Darkwalker chasses you.

These are all of the phases of the Darkwalker.

Darkwalker Aggression:

The Darkwalker's aggression works on a point system, from 0 - 20, with every point increase resulting in slightly faster movement speed. Every 5 points, the Darkwalker's vision will improve, as well as its ability to track the players actions, and return to an already searched region.

At aggression zero, the Darkwalker just entered its first Searching Phase on day 5. Its speed is at its slowest, allowing the player to easily outwalk it, even when fairly encumbered. Its vision is the worst, as it will likely not investigate low Heat Actions, though High Heat Actions will still grab its attention. It also takes the longest to search through regions, likely taking a minimum of 5 days before moving on during a Search Phase.

At aggression 5, the growl of the Darkwalker will be audible a crossed great bear, indicating to the player that its aggression has increased. The Darkwalker is still slower than the Player's walk speed, though it may be able to gain ground if the player is encumbered, or really tired. Now, the green fog will begin to settle during a Chasing Phase, obscuring the landscape far in the distance. The Darkwalker will begin to take interest in low Heat Actions more often, and will spot out High Heat Actions far better now. Its searching time remains unchanged.

At aggression 10, a roar can be heard from the Darkwalker a crossed Great Bear, once again indicating that its aggression has increased further. The Darkwalker is only slightly slower than the player's walking speed, now being able to gain significant ground if the player is encumbered. The green fog during chases will now be thicker, and grow closer, obscuring the landscape at a medium distance. The Darkwalker will now Stalk a region far faster, investigating Heat Actions far quicker, and taking quick notice of low Heat Actions, and easily spot out High Heat Actions. It can now take a minimum of 4 days to search a region.

At aggression 15, a far louder roar will echo a crossed Great Bear. The Darkwalker is now evenly matched with your walking speed, now requiring you to be at extremely low carrying capacity for the slight speed boost to outwalk it, and will very quickly gain ground if encumbered. The fog during chase is now its heaviest, obscuring all but a few feet in front of you. It will quickly investigate low Heat Actions, and high Heat Actions are guaranteed to be spotted and investigated. It moves within a region far faster, and will only take a minimum of 3 days to search a region. 

At aggression level 20, the Darkwalker's rage has shrouded Great Bear in darkness. A booming roar will fill the air, as the clouds will now be obscured by green clouds and fog in every region. It now moves faster than the player's walking speed, only being matched by your sprint. If it spots you now, nothing but runes will save you. It can detect you from far farther away, it will quickly investigate low Heat Actions, and always spot high Heat Actions. Fog will obscure heavily obscure the region as it stalks you now, making navigating extremely difficult.  It only takes a minimum of 2 days to search a region, and can now double back to a region without any delays. 

The Darkwalker's aggression will increase by 2 or 3 every 10 days, and an additional point if it loses you during a chase.

The Poisonous Fog:

Once the Darkwalker finishes stalking through a region you are in, it will leave a poisonous fog. This will not harm the player, but instead will leave the region uninhabitable by nature. Animals will no longer spawn, and fish will no longer be catchable, and any food left outside will spoil. This effect will be permanent unless a specific action is taken.

Now, for the actions the player can take to help aid in their survival:


The runes from the original challenge and their spray paint will return, with some tweaks.

Lure rune: This will lure the Darkwalker to the location the rune is sprayed if the Darkwalker is in the same region as the player. It will degrade after a short amount of time. The Darkwalker will ignore the player when this rune is placed. It will destroy the rune upon reaching it. (Uses 25% of the spray paint can)

Ward rune: Creates a small area where the Darkwalker is unable to detect you. When standing in the ward during a Stalking phase, the Darkwalker cannot spot you, and will not enter chase. If place during a chase, the Darkwalker will freeze for the duration of the rune, giving some time to rest. Lasts approximately 4 in game hours. (uses 50% of a can)

Dispel fog: Placing this rune will completely dissipate the poisonous fog in a region, allowing life to flourish within it again. Animals will once again spawn, fish can be caught, and food won't spoil. This rune can only be used once per region. (Consumes 25% of a can)

Dispel the Darkwalker:

Much like the challenge, you are able to find green fires located in each of the non-dlc regions of great bear, and are only lit once the Darkwalker arrives in the same region. They provide a warmth bonus guaranteed to keep you warm, and provide 4 hours of the ward effect. Around these fires will be supplies to help your survival, as well as a note. These notes will give hints towards the location of the banishment circle somewhere on Great Bear, and collecting all notes in each of the regions, will give you the final Banishment Rune.

Using the Banishment rune in the banishment circle will banish the Darkwalker for 10 days, removing all poisonous fog from the regions, as well as resetting its aggression to zero once it returns. Additionally, banishing the Darkwalker will give the player a special trait that allows them to easily see through fog, as well as be unaffected by wind effects for the remainder of their save. Banishing the Darkwalker will also allow you to once again use the Dispel Fog rune in each region again.


AND THAT... is it... dear god. So, I hope you enjoy my idea of a long term survival mode of Escape the Darkwalker, and the 5000 words that probably belong in the general discussion category. Got any ideas on what could be tweaked, add or removed? I'd love to discuss it! Either way, 100% worth taking 3 hours to write this 😄

Stay warm out there! Thanks for reading this far!:fire::coffee:

Edited by Smellyfries
Added a warning for how much reading there is lol
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