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Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Deprived

Joseph is an IT nerd who is a long-time fan of the Dark Souls franchise.


"Within the ranks of the Chosen Undead, those Bearers of the Curse and Ashen Ones all, there is not merely one discipline, but a multitude. For all that the redoubtable knights, mighty warriors, noble heralds, and cunning assassins might be most obvious, they are but a few amongst many." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Character Expansion Rulebook

Dark Souls: The Board Game

Dark Souls: The Board Game is a dungeon-crawler that uses dice, AI behavior cards, and node-based movement to simulate the tense atmosphere, solid combat, and overall difficulty of the video game franchise that it is based on.

The Characters Expansion adds new armour treasure cards as well as six new starting characters: Mercenary, Sorcerer, Thief, Pyromancer, Cleric, and Deprived. In this guide, I will only be covering the Deprived and various strategies and equipment you should look out for while playing the game.

Other Character Guides

The Deprived's character sheet.

The Deprived's character sheet.

Character Overview

Being the most pathetic of the starting characters, the Deprived serves no clearly defined role. That being said, he might be best summed up by the old adage, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one”.

With the exception of a few interesting knickknacks that will be mentioned later, the main benefit is from his stat progression. He is the only character who is able to get to level 40 in all four stats which makes him fairly flexible in what roles you choose for him to fill.

His ability, Combat Versatility, allows him to change his equipment at the start of his activation once per spark as if he were to have visited the blacksmith. This means that if you enter an encounter and realize you are ill-prepared to handle it — perhaps you have no magic defense and all the enemies deal magic damage — you can use your ability to quickly change your gear to something more appropriate. You probably won't get a chance to use this ability early on in the game as you will have practically no gear to switch to, but after the first mini-boss you should have plenty of options.

He also has the lowest taunt level of all the characters, meaning that he will be targeted the least during the encounters you will face when playing in a group.

If you want a challenge when playing Dark Souls: The Board Game, especially if you decide on playing the game solo, then the Deprived is the perfect character to torment yourself with.

Starting Equipment

The Deprived starts with three pieces of equipment:

  • Club
  • Loincloth
  • Plank Shield

There really isn't much to say about the Deprived's starting equipment other than it isn't that great. It is the worst starting equipment of any of the ten characters.

You only get a single black die for both physical and magical defense, and no dodge dice to help you. Your offensive capabilities aren't that much better either as you only have two attacks, and both use black die for damage. At least you have an attack that costs zero stamina, but that won't get you very far.

Any equipment you manage to find in the treasure deck will be an immediate upgrade. Thanks to the Deprived's even stat line, it is much easier/quicker to have the required levels to equip most early game gear.

Unique Deprived Treasure

There are five unique equipment cards that you are able to shuffle into the treasure deck when starting with the Deprived:

  • Brass Armour
  • Broken Straight Sword
  • Buckler
  • Binoculars
  • Dung Pie

The Brass Armour is a huge upgrade over the Deprived's starting equipment as it offers two black dice for both physical and magical defense. It only has one upgrade slot, but that can be overlooked as the additional defenses make up for it. It does require 25 Strength and 20 Faith meaning it will take a bit of an investment before you are able to equip it.

The Buckler is also a drastic improvement as it gives you a dodge die to use despite it still only giving you a single black die for physical defense and nothing for magical defense. It can also be used when using a two-handed weapon.

Both the Binoculars and Dung Pie are interesting support options. The Binoculars, which require 20 Intelligence and Faith, allow you to look at two trap tokens at the start of each trapped encounter. The Binoculars also are an armour upgrade, and not a weapon, so you are not sacrificing damage or defense if you choose to bring it with you. The Dung Pie has no stat requirements, and has a zero stamina cost attack with a range of one that only poisons the target. The Dung Pie can be useful early on as the odds of getting the Poison Gem are really low, but might not be the best option when playing solo.

Transposed Equipment

After you defeat the first mini-boss you are able to shuffle an additional five "transposed" equipment cards into the treasure deck:

  • Mirrah Armour
  • Painting Guardian Curved Sword
  • Great Club
  • Black Knight Shield
  • Carthus Milkring

Mirrah Armour is a fantastic upgrade for the Deprived. It gives you one blue die for physical defense, an orange die for magical defense, an additional dodge die, and on top of all that it has one slot for you to equip a ring.

Speaking of rings, the Carthus Milkring is also a perfect piece of equipment as its ability allows you to dodge without having to spend any stamina. It requires 24 Strength and 30 Dexterity, so it is not that expensive to invest in should you find it in the treasure deck.

The Painting Guardian Curved Sword is a really interesting weapon choice. The sword requires 26 Dexterity, Intelligence, and Faith and has two slots available for upgrades. Both of its attacks allow you to move one node, roll for damage, apply bleed, and move a node again afterwards. The only differences between the two attacks are that the second attack uses three stamina instead of zero, and it uses three black dice instead of two. This is why the two upgrade slots are so important. You can equip a Titanite Shard for at least one guaranteed point of damage, as well as a Sharp Gem to add an extra black die to each of its attacks. There is still a chance to roll all zeros on the black dice, but the bleed status helps to offset that. The bleed status doesn't deal any extra damage until that same enemy takes damage from another source, in which case the bleed status activates and inflicts an additional three damage. Afterwards, the enemy is cured of the status and you can reapply it.

The Great Club is a powerful two-handed stick. It requires 35 Strength, has a range of one node, gives you a black die for both physical and magical defense, and has one upgrade slot. Oh yeah, it also uses orange dice for its attacks! Its first attack costs zero stamina and uses one orange die for damage, and its second attack costs three stamina and uses two orange die for damage. The Great Club is one of the best weapons in the game as the only drawback to using it is that it is two-handed, but that can easily be overlooked thanks to shields like the Buckler.

Legendary Weapons

When you defeat the first mini-boss you are also able to shuffle five random "legendary" equipment cards into the treasure deck. There are ten legendary cards in the base game and they are:

  • Dragon Tooth
  • Fume Ultra Greatsword
  • Santier's Spear
  • Sunlight Straightsword
  • Avelyn
  • Dark Sword
  • Gotthard Twinswords
  • Drake Sword
  • Moonlight Greatsword
  • Washing Pole

The great thing about the Deprived is how versatile he can be, and how that can lead to you using a multitude of weapons and strategies each time you sit down and play. All of the legendary weapons are viable, so I will only touch on a few that are particularly interesting.

If you choose to go the route of an Intelligence build, the Moonlight Greatsword is a good secondary weapon as all of its attacks do magic damage. This way when you come up against an enemy, or boss, that has lower magical defense than physical defense you can switch to the Moonlight Greatsword and still be able to do consistent damage. It doesn't offer any dice for dodging, and it only has one black die for physical defense, so if you choose to use this weapon be mindful of enemy placement. It is also two-handed so you will need to rely on shields like the Buckler to help offset the lack of defense. The Moonlight Greatsword requires 21 Strength, 21 Dexterity, and 31 Intelligence, so you will need to completely max out Intelligence if you choose to wield it.

Both the Dragon Tooth and the Fume Ultra Greatsword also work as great secondary weapons. They require a lot of stamina to use, they are both two-handed weapons, but they both also have a very strong AOE attack.

The Dragon Tooth's second attack costs a whopping six stamina to use, but uses one blue die and two orange die for damage and is an AOE. Its third attack costs zero stamina, and when used it heals you two stamina damage meaning you can effectively heal four stamina in one turn (two from the start of the Deprived's turn). However, you are not dealing any damage when you do that.

The Fume Ultra Greatsword's third attack is its AOE which costs four stamina to use. It only uses one blue and one orange die for damage, but the lower stamina cost compared to the Dragon Tooth can make it the better option in various encounters.

Washing Pole is another very useable two-handed secondary weapon. It offers no defense other than a single die for dodging, but it does have a range of two nodes, however, as well as two slots for upgrades. It has three attacks, and its first two are rather lackluster. Its third attack is why it can be a functional secondary weapon. It requires four stamina to use, and it uses two blue die for damage as well as apply the bleed status on an enemy. It can be an effective option when you need to back off from the fight for a while to avoid further damage all while still dealing damage yourself.

Legendary Armour

The Character Expansion introduces ten new legendary armour treasure cards. You are still only able to add five of these to the treasure deck after you have defeated the first mini-boss, but you can pick which ones you want to add instead of doing it randomly.

What makes these especially unique is that there are "normal" versions of these cards that start in the treasure deck at the beginning of the game. They are weaker versions of the legendary alternatives, however, so obtaining the legendary version will always be an improvement.

The legendary armour cards are:

  • Catarina Armour
  • Guardian Armour
  • Embraced Armour of Favour
  • Adventurer's Armour
  • Dark Armour
  • Black Iron Armour
  • Black Knight Armour
  • Gold-Hemmed Robes
  • Crimson Robes
  • Havel's Armour

Note: The legendary versions will have an orange flame in the upper right-hand corner of the card, whereas the normal versions will not.


The Adventurer's Armour is the clear standout for the Deprived. It requires 22 Strength, 32 Dexterity, and 22 Intelligence, and has phenomenal defense. It gives you two blue dice for physical defense, one orange die for magical defense, a dodge die, and two slots for rings. Its ability also gives you an additional dodge die against traps. It is a very well-rounded piece of armour and worthy of being called "legendary".

The Gold-Hemmed Black Robes can also work perfectly for the Deprived. It requires 28 Dexterity, Intelligence, and Faith, but gives you one blue die for physical defense, two blue dice for magical defense, and two dodge die. It also has one slot available for a ring. Its ability is rather lackluster as it only happens when you use the Deprived's ability and all it does is heal you one stamina.

Notable Treasures

There are a lot of other normal treasures that the Deprived can take advantage of should you come across them, and these are the most notable:

  • Drang Armour
  • Hard Leather Armour
  • Black Iron Armour
  • Gold Hemmed Black Robes
  • Effigy Shield
  • Dragon Crest Shield
  • Eastern Iron Shield
  • Great Axe
  • Reinforced Club
  • Morning Star
  • Shortsword
  • Brigand Axe

The Great Axe, requiring 32 Strength and 22 Dexterity, is a great backup slot option for the Deprived. It has a zero stamina cost attack that allows you to roll two blue dice, as well as offering an area-of-effect (AOE) attack for three stamina. It has one blue die for defense, and has two upgrade slots. The only downside is that it requires you to use both handslots to wield it meaning you can't use a shield. Or does it?

The Effigy Shield, requiring only 10 Strength and Faith, is equipable even when you are using a two-handed weapon, like the Great Axe. It only offers one black die for both physical and magical defense, but it's just enough to help offset the negatives of using a two-handed weapon.

The Hard Leather Armour, requiring 26 Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence, can be a good choice for the Deprived due to it giving you two dice to use for dodging. If you are unable to find the Mirrah Armour then this can be a suitable substitute to take you into the endgame.

Weapon Enhancements

There are also nine other treasure cards you should look out for when drawing from the treasure deck:

  • Sharp Gem
  • Titanite Shard
  • Heavy Gem
  • Simple Gem
  • Crystal Gem
  • Blessed Gem
  • Blood Gem
  • Poison Gem
  • Lightning Gem

The Titanite Shard — which requires no stats to equip — is arguably the most valuable out of the gems, as the extra +1 damage means that you'll break through most of the normal enemies' physical defenses without even having to roll the dice.

The Blood Gem is extremely rare — only one copy — and is great against bosses. The gem, which requires at least 15 strength, makes it so that the weapon you have it equipped to inflicts the bleed status on an enemy that you hit.

The Poison Gem is another extremely rare gem with only one copy. It requires 15 Dexterity and, when equipped to a weapon, inflicts the poison status on an enemy that you hit with an attack. It doesn't deal any additional damage until the end of that enemy's activation when it deals one damage. Just like with the Blood Gem, once the enemy takes the poison damage they are cured of it and you can reapply it.

Be careful when equipping gems as once they are equipped you cannot remove them from a weapon. Typically you want to wait until after the first mini boss — if you've managed to draw any of the gems — as you are bound to get better suited weapons to upgrade.

Art from the "Dark Souls: The Board Game" rulebook.

Art from the "Dark Souls: The Board Game" rulebook.

Strategies & Loadouts

There is no limit to the number of builds that you can do with the Deprived, but I am only going to focus on two: an offensive build and a tank build.

The Offensive Build

  • Great Club w/ Titanite Shard
  • Buckler
  • Mirrah Armour w/ Carthus Milkring
  • Great Axe w/ Titanite Shard & Poison Gem (in backup slot)

This build relies heavily on dodging rather than blocking. You are only getting one blue die and two black die for physical defense, and one orange die and one black die for magical defense. If you switch to using the Great Axe then your defenses change slightly. You will have two blue dice and one black die for physical defense, and only one orange die for magical defense. The number dodge dice, two, remains the same though so you will have a 75% change to successfully dodge an attack regardless of what weapon you choose to use.

You won't be worry about the stamina cost of dodging frequently thanks to the Carthus Milkring negating the stamina requirement.

The Great Axe is used in this build specifically for its AOE attack. It is meant mostly for encounters with normal enemies as they tend to bunch up on the same node. The Poison Gem is used to still get more damage on enemies that have higher physical defense. You won't really be using the Great Axe on bosses as that is what the Great Club is for. It is slightly less consistent than the axe when it comes to damage, but the added range of the club can give you more options for dealing with a boss. It doesn't matter how much damage you can do if you aren't able to survive for long enough to see the enemy defeated.

Levels Required

In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of 7 levels:

  • 3 Strength (maxed)
  • 2 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 2 Faith

You can also substitute the Mirrah Armour for the Gold-Hemmed Black Robes if you are able to find it. Its functionally the same, except giving you two blue dice for magical defense instead of one orange die as well as giving you an extra dodge die. You will need to level up Intelligence twice, however, which will make the build more expensive.

The Tank Build

  • Dark Sword w/ Titanite Shard & Blood Gem
  • Dragoncrest Shield
  • Adventurer Armour w/ Carthus Milkring & Binoculars
  • Reinforced Club w/ Titanite Shard & Lightning Gem (in backup slot)

With this build you are getting three blue dice for physical defense, one blue die and one orange die for magical defense, and one dodge die. This means you are guaranteed to block at least three physical damage and at least two magical damage should you choose to block those types of attacks. Even though you will primarily block incoming attacks, the dodge die is useful to have for those situations where no matter how much incoming damage you are able to block you will still die. The Carthus Milkring is used in this build to make those "life or death" dodge rolls easier to do since you won't have to take into account the stamina cost to dodge.

Despite this being a tank build you can still do a considerable amount of damage with the two weapons. The Dark Sword has a very consistent base attack that costs zero stamina, and can be made even more consistent with the addition of a Titanite Shard. This makes it so that you are guaranteed to do at least two damage. The combination of a Blood Gem is great for bosses as it adds to the consistent damage during each of the Deprived's activations.

The backup weapon is the Reinforced Club mostly due to its relatively low stat requirements — spoiler alert, but this build requires a whopping nine levels to complete — while also having two upgrade slots and a zero stamina cost attack. Just like with the Dark Sword, you will want to use a Titanite Shard to have a more consistent time dealing damage. The Lightning Gem is primarily to help the Deprived take advantage of enemies that have a lower magical defense.

Levels Required

In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of 9 levels:

  • 2 Strength
  • 3 Dexterity (maxed)
  • 2 Intelligence
  • 2 Faith

Good Luck!

As there are so many cards in the treasure deck trying to find a specific build, much less a specific card, is going to be extremely difficult. Just use what you can, and hold off on using any of the gems until after you've defeated your first mini-boss at least. That way you will have a better assortment of gear to choose from and make a better decision.

I would recommend using the souls you collect from completed encounters to draw from the treasure deck first before leveling up. That way you don't level up Intelligence and Faith, for example, and then get a really good weapon you want to use that requires Strength and Dexterity.

Hopefully this has helped give you a better idea on whether or not playing the Deprived starting character is right for you or not. Feel free to comment below if I have missed something, or if you have found an even better gear combination than the ones I have listed above!

"You may be remembered either as Lords of Cinder yourselves, forever joining the Soul of Cinder, or as Ashen Ones, ushering in an Age of Humanity where the curse of undeath is at last lifted—but chaos will ultimately consume all." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core Rulebook