Joseph is an IT nerd who is a long-time fan of the Dark Souls franchise.
"You are the Chosen Undead, Bearer of the Curse. It is now upon you that the fate of this world rests. You must journey across the realms, defeat the many enemies that will confront you, and ultimately choose not only your destiny but also that of this world." - excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core 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.
There are four different starting classes in the base game for players to choose from: the Warrior, the Assassin, the Knight, and the Herald. In this guide I will only be covering the Herald and various strategies and equipment you should look out for while playing the game.
Other Character Guides
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Knight
A quick guide to the Knight starting class from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Warrior
A quick guide to the Warrior starting class from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Assassin
A quick guide to the Assassin starting class from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
The Herald is the cleric of the four starting characters who prefers to attack from a distance in order to be readily available to help his party. He has the highest Faith of the starting characters, and he really good Strength and Dexterity level progressions. The Herald can be a fairly decent offensive character, but his niche is really being the support for the party.
His special ability, Perseverance, when used allows him to heal two stamina from every character in his party regardless of distance once per spark. This is a great early game ability as the encounters will take longer until you are able to get better equipment. Eventually you will be able to constantly keep stamina damage, and health damage, off your party with the various pieces of equipment you will find along the way. It is still a good "emergency button" if a late game encounter happens to get out of hand.
He also has the lowest taunt level of all the starting characters which allows him to go untargeted by enemies for longer.
The Herald starts with four pieces of equipment:
- Kite Shield
- Herald Armour
The Herald is unique in that he starts with a fourth piece of equipment. His fourth piece, the Talisman, allows him to heal his party of stamina damage they have accrued throughout the encounter. It has a range of two nodes meaning he doesn't have to be in the middle of the fight in order to help his companions.
His starting weapon, the Spear, also has a range of one node but cannot be used when the enemy is on the same node as him. Its second attack, which costs three stamina to use, adds one damage to the roll. This means that if you can roll at least a one on the black die you use for the attack you will be able to kill most of the early game enemies with a single blow. Unfortunately, the black dice in this game can roll a zero which effectively negates your attack from landing.
His shield is pretty basic, offering just a single black die for physical defense and nothing for magical defense. This is true for the other classes with the exception being the Assassin whose shield offers no physical or magical defense.
The armour for the Herald, while being called something different, is effectively the same as the armour for the Warrior and Assassin. It offers one black die for defense against physical and magic attacks, as well as giving you one dodge die to use when attempting to dodge an attack or trap. With only one dodge die your chance of success is only 50%, so dodging should really only be attempted when you have an additional dodge dice, or when blocking an attack would still kill you no matter what you rolled for defense.
Unique Herald Treasure
There are five unique equipment cards that you are able to shuffle into the treasure deck when starting with the Herald:
- Golden Wing Crest Shield
- Cathedral Knight Armour
- Lothric's Holy Sword
- Tiny Being's Ring
Of these five items the most notable are the armour and the sword.
The Golden Wing Crest Shield requires 26 Strength and Faith, and gives you one blue die for physical and magical attacks which is a significant upgrade over the Kite Shield. The minimum roll on a blue die is a one meaning you are guaranteed to block at least one damage. It also has an attack you can do for zero stamina. It has a range of zero, so you may not be able to use it much when using a weapon like the Spear.
Lothric's Holy Sword requires 27 Strength and 31 Faith to wield, and gives you an additional black die for magical defense. The real value with this weapon, however, is that each of its attacks heal one stamina off a character within one node of the Herald. It will take some investment in order to be able to equip it, but the ability to heal while attacking is fairly unique within the game.
There are five unique equipment cards that you are able to shuffle into the treasure deck when starting with the Herald:
- Saint Bident
- Grass Crest Shield
- Bountiful Sunlight
- Bountiful Light
The two weapons - Saint Bident and Partizan - both continue the trend of allowing the Herald to attack from range. The Saint Bident, which requires 35 Strength and Faith, is able to be wielded in just one hand allowing you to equip a shield. The Partizan, which requires 28 Strength, 17 Dexterity, and 35 Faith, requires both hand slots in order to equip. It also offers more defense as well as the potential for more damage. Its third ability also heals two stamina for all characters, whereas the Saint Bident only heals one character. Depending on how you choose to play your Herald both can be viable options.
The Grass Crest Shield requires 28 Strength and Faith and offers great defense - one blue die for physical attacks and one orange die for magical attacks. It also has an attack which costs zero stamina to use and heals one stamina from a character within one node of the Herald. You are able to attack once with both weapons in your hand slots, so this shield combined with the Saint Bident will allow you to deal damage while also healing yourself or a companion each one of your turns.
Bountiful Light and Bountiful Sunlight are both miracles that require 35 Faith, and 20 Intelligence and 35 Faith respectively. Bountiful Sunlight has a range of three nodes and its zero stamina ability heals six stamina from one character within range. Its second ability, which costs three stamina, heals all other characters within range six stamina. This miracle is great when playing with other characters that use a lot of stamina for their attacks, like the Knight. Bountiful Light only has a range of one node, and it's a weaker version of Bountiful Sunlight. That being said, its second ability which costs four stamina heals two health from up to two characters within range. It is a bit more versatile than Bountiful Sunlight in that regard as you won't only be taking stamina damage throughout your encounters.
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
- Dark Sword
- Gotthard Twinswords
- Drake Sword
- Moonlight Greatsword
- Washing Pole
Of the ten pieces of equipment there is really only one that even remotely synergizes with what the Herald wants to do and that's the Washing Pole.
It requires 37 Dexterity and 21 Faith, and has a range of two nodes. It requires both hand slots to equip, but it does give you one die for dodge rolls. It can be a great secondary weapon for the Herald to use as it has a built-in bleed mechanic on its third attack. It does require four stamina to use the attack, but being able to inflict bleed for that extra bit of damage can quickly change the odds in your favor.
There are a lot of other normal treasures that the Herald can take advantage of should you come across them, but these are the most notable:
- Sunless Armour
- Deacon Robes
- Sunset Armour
- Exile Armour
- Heal Aid
- Great Mace
- Morning Star
- Reinforced Club
- Effigy Shield
- Dragon Crest Shield
The Sunset Armour, which requires 20 Strength and 24 Faith, has a good balance of stats. It gives you two black dice for physical defense and one black die for magical defense. It also still gives you one die for dodging, plus there are two slots for rings should you come across any. The Deacon Robes, which only requires 24 Faith, has similar stats. You get one black die for physical defense and two black dice for magical defense. You still only get one die for dodging, but you get one less slot for rings.
Heal Aid and Heal are very good miracles that require 13 Faith and 23 Faith respectively. Heal is a better version of Heal Aid, as it has two abilities and its first ability is the same as Heal Aid's. Its second ability costs three stamina to use, but it heals four health damage off a character within three nodes of the Herald. As most of the Herald's equipment heal stamina damage off of party members adding Heal to your extra equipment slot will give you more options to support your party.
Kukris is a unique piece of equipment as its only attack costs zero stamina, does no immediate damage, but inflicts bleed on the enemy. It has a range of one node, so it pairs well with the rest of the Herald's equipment.
The Halberd requires 18 Strength and 31 Faith to wield, and has a range of one node. It requires both hand slots to equip, but offers one blue die for physical defense. Its first attack requires one stamina to use and uses a single blue die for damage. It also has a guaranteed one point of damage on top of that meaning that the attack will deal two damage minimum due to the lowest roll on a blue die is one. The Halberd's second attack uses four stamina and adds an additional blue die to the damage roll meaning you are doing three damage guaranteed.
The Chloranthy Ring is an interesting item to use with the Herald. It requires you to have 18 in all four stats, but when equipped it allows your party members to heal three stamina at the start of their turns instead of just two as long as they are on your node. Considering you should be a node away from your companions when you are playing as the Herald there may not be many opportunities for this effect to take place. That being said, it is a passive ability meaning it doesn't take up a weapon slot and there aren't many rings in the base game. The only real downside to using the Chloranthy Ring is just the levels required to equip it.
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 and Poison Gem are extremely rare - only one copy of each - and are great against bosses. The Bleed Gem - which requires at least 15 strength 0 makes it so that the weapon you have it equipped to inflicts the bleed status on an enemy that you hit. It 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 must reapply the status.
The Poison Gem 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 must reapply it.
The Blessed Gem pairs well with the Herald as it has a requirement of 25 Faith and adds one black die to the attacks of the weapon you equip it to.
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 have managed to draw any of the gems - as you are bound to get better suited weapons to upgrade.
Strategies & Loadouts
The best strategy for the Herald is one that allows him to be behind his companions and away from having to be directly on the enemy.
- Saint Bident w/ Blessed Gem & Titanite Shard
- Grass Crest Shield
- Sunset Armour w/ Tiny Being's Ring & Chloranthy Ring
- Heal (in the backup slot).
This setup gives you three black dice and one blue die for physical defense, and two black dice and one orange die for magical defense. Remember, black dice have a chance to roll a zero meaning no damage is blocked with that roll. This shouldn't be that much of a problem though considering you should be away from most enemies.
Since your focus as the Herald will mostly be on your companions and not necessarily yourself, you may not have many opportunities to heal. The Tiny Being's Ring can help with that. Instead of healing two stamina during each of your activations, you can choose to heal one stamina and one health. Having passive healing for both your stamina and your health will help ensure you are able to continue helping your allies.
In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of ten levels:
- 3 levels in Strength (maxed)
- 2 levels in Dexterity
- 2 levels in Intelligence
- 3 levels in Faith (maxed)
The levels in Dexterity and Intelligence are only for the Chloranthy Ring, so really you only need six levels in order to equip everything else listed.
If you want to have a more offensive Herald, you can swap out Heal for Kukris. You can keep Heal for the encounters leading up to a boss, and then swap out to the Kukris in order to make the boss encounter a bit shorter. Remember, bleed is a guaranteed three damage when the enemy takes damage from something else. With the Kukris, you don't even have to roll to see if bleed is applied either.
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 Herald starting class 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 one 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