Rogue Legacy 2 went into Early Access in August of 2020. While it was lots of fun having a chance to play the game at an earlier date, and the gameplay itself looks fantastic thus far, I was slightly disappointed to find how little content was available for the initial release period. RL2 was little more than a demo when it first dropped, containing only the first "castle" section of the game along with a single boss. The developers were very upfront about the fact that the game wasn't anywhere close to being finished yet and it was still entertaining to get a chance to try out this shareware version of the product. Nonetheless, I was left with a desire to play more Rogue Legacy and that meant going back to the original game to be able to experience something more than the earliest parts of the gameplay.
There was one variant that I'd always thought about trying and never found the time to test: the Pacifist variant. This would entail playing a series of characters that never attacked monsters via physical attack or spells, with the goal of completing the entire game without ever engaging in direct combat. That probably sounds impossible at face value - how could you finish the game without ever attacking anything? But there are two major aspects to the Rogue Legacy gameplay that allow a crafty and determined individual to work around this restriction. The first is the presence of the various treasure chests strewn throughout the dungeon. You can obtain gold from killing monsters but you can also obtain gold by finding and opening those chests. With enough hard work and some unusual gear it can be possible to bring back major hauls without slaying anything. The other thing that makes this variant possible is the existence of reflected damage, runes and equipment that cause monsters to take damage when hitting your character. This is definitely variant material stuff that doesn't hold much use in a normal game and I was eager to see if it was possible to defeat all of the bosses with nothing but reflected damage. Did the developers anticipate someone trying this and allow for the possibility of a purely pacifist run? Let's find out.
I won't be chronicling the results of every individual character as I did with my various class legacy series, both because I knew there would be a ton of poor unfortunate heirs and also because it wouldn't make for the most interesting reading material. My initial impression when starting out was that the charite enemies (the little white flying clouds) were a lot more dangerous under this setup. The charites ignore all terrain and fly straight towards your character. They are typically the first monsters in the room to die under a normal setup since their AI is so aggressive. Under the Pacifist variant, however, I could never attack them at all and the darned things kept circling my character endlessly. In a big room I would sometimes have five or six of them flying around in a big cloud chasing me in circles! It was pretty funny to watch.
My initial characters didn't make it very far in the dungeon. Poor Sir Lee couldn't attack and also didn't have the double jump or dash which made for a hopelessly crippled character. He was only able to bring back about 300 gold which wasn't even enough to unlock the Enchantress. The second character was able to find 500 gold from chests, enough for a single rune where I opted for the double jump, but it wasn't until my fifth character that I was able to save up enough money to afford the air dash as well. That character found a carnival game for the first time and won the axe-tossing event for a payout of 480g, a very big deal at the moment! He also discovered the first rune of the run:
Oh sure, the one variant where my characters aren't attacking and defeating monsters, *THAT'S* the time when I get a Vampire rune for my first drop! It figures. Sadly the Vampire runes were not useful at all for the Pacifist setup. Even later on down the road when I had reflected damage available, it would never be cost-efficient to take intentional damage just to lifesteal it back with vampirism. Even the weakest enemies at the start of the castle will deal about 15 damage and each Vampire rune only restores 2 HP per monster kill. Armor wouldn't be helpful here either for reasons I'll detail a bit later on. Anyway, the net effect was that lifesteal wasn't helpful for this set of characters. It was better to pump health to increase survivability while also improving the benefit from each chicken (since chickens/flasks restore percentage-based HP/MP in the original Rogue Legacy). The runes that I really wanted were the Retaliation runes and I wasn't finding them at first.
I tried to pick Barbarians whenever possible on the character select screen. I had suspected that they would be the best class for a Pacifist setup and it didn't take much testing to prove my hunch correct. Their additional health meant that they could take far more hits than anyone else while racing through various monster-choked rooms and their class-specific shout ability was incredibly helpful as well. The shout was simply better than the defensive options available on the other classes; the Paladin shield locked my character in place unable to move while the Assassin's mist form would run out of MP in mere seconds since I didn't have much in the way of mana upgrades. The Barbarian shout simultaneously popped all projectiles as well as throwing enemies away from my character's position, and the knockback alone was enormously helpful since I couldn't use the sword for knockback safety as I would normally be doing. My Barbarian characters were bringing back notably more gold than any of the other classes due to their greater survivability.
Heir #10 was the first one to have an impressive run. This fellow was a Barbarian, of course, who also happened to roll the helpful OCD trait that grants 1 mana for every object broken. That allowed me to spam the shout more than normal and it was reflected in a full clear (without fighting) of the castle and the forest. I was able to grab every chest in both of these biomes while picking up 5027 gold along the way. It was enough to unlock the second Gold Gain upgrade along with the highlighted weapon above: the Sage Sword. I've frequently mocked the Sage gear with my previous characters because they have lowed stats and high equipment weight in exchange for a paltry 10% additional gold. You pretty much always come out ahead by taking better equipment and surviving longer inside the dungeon rather than wearing this garbage. However, for a character that never attacked under any circumstances, the Sage Sword was actually a great pickup! The penalty to damage was irrelevant and the extra income helped out a lot. So yes, I was finally able to find a use for the Sage equipment when playing an absurdly crippled variant setup. No such luck for the Blood gear though as the vampirism that it granted was pointless for these characters.
It can be hard to take screenshots for Rogue Legacy while playing since there's a lot of action taking place and rarely a good moment to pause things. I went back to my old setup of recording everything using Open Broadcast Software on a local recording and then grabbing screenshots afterwards. That allowed me to get images like this one:
This Stereo Blind character ran into a big mob in the forest while grabbing this treasure chest. Times like this were when the Barbarian shout was worth its weight in gold, removing all of the various enemy projectiles from the screen and tossing away the mages and skeletons into the distance. It's impossible to avoid taking some damage while playing this variant but it's important to minimize it as much as possible. This character was notable for winning the dagger-tossing carnival game and finding a permanent 5 mana upgrade inside. Not as useful as more health but I'd certainly take it.
Speaking of upgrades, my levels were generally going into health above everything else. More health would keep my characters alive longer, it would give them more health back per chicken, and of course I would need as much health as possible later on when reflecting damage back onto the main bosses. This advice holds true for non-Pacifist characters as well: stacking HP is probably the single most important thing that you can do to improve the performance of each heir when starting out. I was also picking up the Gold Gain upgrades whenever I had enough money to afford them since they pay for themselves so quickly. The five of them cost about 25,000 gold in total and increase all gold income forever by +50% afterwards. You only need to obtain 50k gold afterwards to pay back their cost and I've easily done that on single characters in Normal difficulty, much less counting every other heir for the rest of time. Therefore it was pretty simple to grab a Gold Gain level if I had enough money and otherwise keep buying more health.
Occasionally I would get a character that rolled an unusual trait like this Barbarian that had "The One", applying a weird Matrix-like graphical filter to the whole dungeon. This character was notable for dipping into the basement and finding the Guardian Helm in there, the highest tier of equipment that I'd unlocked thus far. The equipment that appears in chests seems to be tied to a mixture of its location (i.e. the basement has better stuff than the castle) and your character's level. It's possible to miss equipment and then be too high of a level for it to show up afterwards, with the missing stuff only appearing from defeated minibosses or when winning the carnival games. I was concerned about that with regards to the crucial Retaliation equipment but there wasn't a lot that I could do about it for now. After the success of this character in finding the Guardian Helm, I had several other characters head down into the basement in search of treasure. This backfired badly for a pair of Paladins that didn't find much of anything and came back with only a few thousand gold. I had better luck with the next Barbarian:
This character had a fantastic run that brought back 9700 gold by clearing out almost all of the castle, forest, and tower. I was getting better at the exploration aspect of the Pacifist run, pausing the game to check the minimap every time that I entered a new room. If the room was a dead end with no treasure chests inside and no passageways leading elsewhere, there was no point in heading inside any further. Might as well turn around and head somewhere else that might have a chest to open. It was a contrast from my normal full-clearing style but I was slowly getting better at adjusting to the differences of this variant. Perhaps most importantly, this Barbarian finally turned up a Retaliation rune after finding 16 other runes previously. Hooray, finally time to experiment with reflected damage! I grabbed the third Gold Gain upgrade and unlocked the Retaliation rune along with another Sprint Rune since otherwise I would have to give up the air dash.
Alright, let's try out that new Retaliation rune. Take this, monsters!
Well that was... underwhelming. Unfortunately one Retaliation Rune wasn't enough to kill monsters reliably. It would only return half of damage taken and therefore required getting hit three or four times to kill a monster. Having a single source of retaliation damage was more of a curiosity than a viable strategy for playing the game. Interestingly, the retaliation damage tended to scale along with the monsters: it took about the same number of self-hits to kill something in the forest or tower as it did in the castle (although obviously the character in question was taking much more damage in the process). I still needed more Retaliation runes and especially some of the Retribution gear before I would be able to take a stab at the bosses. I was pegging 300% return damage at a good place to make the first attempt which would require six total runes/items with 50% damage return apiece.
The other burning question that required experimentation was how retaliation damage would interact with armor. In the original Rogue Legacy armor functions as simple percentage-based damage reduction; for example, adding 50 armor causes your character to take 33% reduced damage from all sources. Would the damage reduction from armor be applied before or after the retaliation damage was reflected? Testing with armor sadly confirmed what I expected: armor reduces damage taken but also reduces damage reflected, i.e. the armor is applied before the damage reduction takes place. Armor was therefore not terribly useful as far as killing bosses although it would naturally be helpful in passing through the dungeon itself. Let me explain this better with some actual numbers. With no armor reduction in place and 100% retaliation damage, my Pacifists would have to take 100 damage to deal 100 damage to a boss. With armor cutting that damage in half, the same Pacifists would take 50 damage to deal 50 damage back. No help at all. I was avoiding any levels in the armor category for the moment so that I could customize an exact amount needed for upcoming bosses. I knew that the math surrounding armor was going to be extremely important for one fight down the road.
Now that it was clear that retaliation damage wasn't very useful outside of the specific case of boss fights, I went back to my standard pattern of trying to find as much gold as possible on each character run. I was searching for three different targets at the moment: gold as always, the missing runes, and any pieces of Retribution or Sage equipment. For the first category, I knew that I would likely need to max out all 75 of the health upgrades and that was going to cost a lot more money. The runes were self-explanatory as I needed to find all five of the Retaliation runes and then I had the chance to get health upgrades from fairy chests if all 55 runes were discovered. For the equipment category, I still hadn't found any of the Retribution gear and the Sage items had been scant outside of that initial Sage Sword. They usually drop from miniboss fights and of course I wasn't engaging in them with these characters. This was one time when I could actually use the darn things and they refused to appear!
The pictured Barbarian above was a particularly good venture into the dungeon that brought back 12,000 gold in total. I was able to clear out healthy portions of all four biomes and find another Retaliation rune along with the first items from the Sky set. That was a sign that my character level was getting high enough for the Retaliation gear to start appearing and I was crossing my fingers that they would drop. Three heirs later, I landed my first big hit down in the basement:
Excellent news, this Barbarian was on the verge of death when he managed to unlock the Retribution Chest. I equipped it afterwards and pasted the resulting stats into the screenshot for comparison purposes. The Retaliation gear has the unusual property of LOWERING your character's armor so that they will take more damage (and therefore reflect more damage) when hit. This makes the Retribution items impractical for anything but a wacky variant setup like this one and I don't have a lot of experience with using them. I had been sitting at zero armor and I wasn't sure what effect these items would have. To my surprise, the armor value wrapped around into negative territory instead of remaining at zero. Negative 15 armor that meant characters would be taking 8% more damage than the base value when struck. This was actually pretty bad when traversing the dungeon on a normal gold-gathering expedition although it might come in handy against bosses. Now I needed to find the other four items in the Retribution set along with the remaining missing Retaliation runes.
I was making use of the secret shrines as I found them in the dungeon due to the hopes of rolling Calypso's Compass. This rare shrine bonus points to a hidden door that can be located anywhere in the dungeon and holds two chests inside that often have higher tier equipment. I did find Calypso's Compass a couple of times and snuck into the hidden room but without getting any of the Retribution gear that I most wanted. However, the side effect of using all of the secret shrines meant that I picked up the horrible Hedgehog's Curse repeatedly as well. That thing is such an incredible pain in the butt, causing your character to lose gold every time they take damage. This is bad enough under normal circumstances where your character can kill all of the monsters and then pick up the lost gold afterwards. It was much, much worse when my Pacifists could never clear a room to give them time and space to recover lost money. Repeated Hedgehog's Curses cost various different characters untold thousands of gold while playing this variant, argh. I really hope that this doesn't make a repeat appearance in Rogue Legacy 2 since it's just not fun to experience.
By the time that my characters were hitting roughly Level 65 they had become strong enough to clear through most or all of the full dungeon. This Barbarian rolled the Eidetic Memory trait that causes all monsters to appear on the minimap as red dots, leading to the amusing image above. I believe that she opened up every single treasure chest that could be reached across all four biomes on a fantastic haul of 20,000 gold. I wasn't sure that it would be possible to bring back that kind of sum while leaving every monster untouched but apparently having some extra gold income from Bounty runes and Sage equipment helped make it doable. Most of the gold in the dungeon comes from treasure chests anyway; only a minority typically ends up getting dropped by the enemies. (Of course it's a lot easier to make it to the chests without the monsters in the way!) I picked up two more Retribution items along the way including landing the Retribution Sword from the dagger-tossing minigame. It was a good thing that I could win both carnival games every time or else I might miss out on some of this vital equipment.
Here's another small tidbit that I noticed while playing these characters: the portrait gallery screen labeled every single one of my characters as "Useless". It even labeled the Barbarian who brought back 20,000 gold as a useless heir! I can only conclude that the game must do this ranking based on number of enemies killed, not gold obtained, as otherwise I would be seeing better superlatives attached to my characters. The Pacifists were not pleased that the designers only seemed to value cruel bloodshed instead of their heroic effects to raid the dungeon without doing harm!
When my characters reached Level 80, I decided that it was time to make an attempt against the first boss. I switched from my gold-generating default setup over to an alternate retaliation design, wearing the three Retribution pieces of gear discovered to date along with three of the Retaliation runes. They combined together for 300% damage return (50% each) and the various Retribution equipment each subtracted 15 armor from my latest Barbarian for a total penalty of 29% additional damage taken. This was the exceedingly rare situation where I made use of the Architect to preserve the dungeon layout from the previous character and head directly to the castle boss door. Khidr was waiting inside and the first major fight of the variant was underway.
Well, first major "fight" should be in quotation marks because this was nothing like a normal encounter with Khidr. The boss had 1500 HP that needed to be overcome and it didn't matter whether my character jumped directly into the big eyeball or stood around to get hit by the red goo projectiles. The damage would reflect back onto Khidr either way and this whole duel was essentially a mathematical exercise as to whether or not I had prepared sufficiently ahead of time. Khidr is supposed to deal 43 damage with its attacks but that was boosted to the pictured 55 damage thanks to the armor penalty from the Retribution gear. The resulting 55 damage was then reflected back at Khidr at triple strength for 165 damage per hit. It was clear almost immediately that Khidr would die in ten hits while my Barbarian would still have plenty of health remaining. That was a relief since I knew that the later bosses would be more difficult and I needed some room for error here against the first one. In any case, this was the weirdest boss fight you'll ever see as I made no attempt to dodge Khidr's attacks and stood around until the eyeball killed itself.
With the layout of the dungeon still locked down, it was easy to eat the various chickens at the teleporters and head over to the forest boss with the same character. Alexander was notably stronger with more health and more damage but the math of the encounter was fundamentally the same. The boss had 2150 HP and my current Barbarian was reflecting triple damage; simple division indicated that I needed a little over 700 HP in order to survive to the finish and emerge victorious. This character wasn't quite at full health when the fight began but she still had enough to get the job done. That was assuming that it was only Alexander who damaged my character, however, as any damage from the little skullhead minions wouldn't be applied to the boss and therefore wouldn't count. This could be a problem if the boss duel went on long enough since I've seen Alexander breed this whole chamber full of minions if given enough time. Fortunately I only needed to reflect back the same ten hits and the whole thing was over in less than 30 seconds. It felt bizarre to stand in the middle of the giant purple beam fired by Alexander but that was actually the correct way to manage this battle: be absolutely sure to take damage from the main boss and not the minions.
Eliminating the second boss drained this heroic Barbarian's lifebar down to nil and she expired shortly thereafter. I ended up with this amazing farewell portrait:
Exactly two opponents slain: Khidr and Alexander, nothing else. Bet you won't see that too often!
My following characters went back to their gold-generating rune and equipment setup to continue getting stronger for the remaining bosses. Three of the next four characters were able to pull in at least 14,000 gold and I was able to keep pumping the health stat even though the cost of each level had increased enormously by now. Heir #40 had my best non-Barbarian result to date with a Paladin, amassing 18,000 gold along with another Retaliation rune, one of five total runes acquired while exploring the whole dungeon. There were twelve more runes still missing and I was only lacking one more Retaliation and Bounty rune apiece. One serious concern was the lack of Retaliation equipment appearing; this had been several full clears of the whole dungeon without the last two items showing up. I was worried that I might have to win them at the carnival minigames since these characters couldn't find them as a reward for defeating minibosses. It looked like I had blown past the character level at which the Retaliation gear can appear in treasure chests without the last two pieces appearing. By the time that heir #44 had collected another 20,000 gold it had been six consecutive trips where I'd either completely cleared the dungeon or come close without finding any new equipment. There wasn't much I could do though other than cross my fingers and hope to get lucky.
I ended up facing Ponce de Leon when my character had reached Level 120; I would have done so sooner but the previous three heirs didn't roll as Barbarians and all of the other classes lacked the health needed to take down the bosses. This character was supposed to use the Architect to go kill Ponce only for me to forget to lock down the dungeon, whoops. I was able to find my way up to the boss room in the tower anyway (despite no double jump rune) and eat two teleporter chickens to get inside at full health. The boss fight was hilariously easy again, simply walking into the flames repeatedly until Ponce was dead. Apparently I had overestimated this fight because I only needed about 750 HP available at 3x damage reflection and I'd brought far more than that. This Barbarian character still had about 500 HP left over afterwards and a Health upgrade dropped afterwards in the chest, nice! Even 5 HP helped a bit. The first two bosses had dropped a bunch of useless attack and magic damage upgrades, blargh! Who would want those things, heh.
The following Barbarian ended up being my best run of the whole variant thus far, exploring every single room in the dungeon from start to finish before having to commit suicide afterwards. I had enough Sage equipment and Bounty runes to be gaining 20 gold per coin, double the base rate, and I amassed a surprising 30,000 gold purely from chests. I genuinely didn't think it was possible to get that much money in Normal difficulty while running a Pacifist variant. She also brought back no less than seven runes, the last five runes along with two stat upgrades afterwards, including most importantly the final Retaliation rune:
Very nice! With the complete set of all 55 runes in hand, I could stop focusing as much on the fairy chests for future characters. I was also able to max out the health stat with the last level in that category, 75/75 upgrades completed, which meant that there were diminishing returns to adding further levels beyond what I already had. Barbarians would have about 1400 HP with my boss-fighting Retribution gear setup and that would have to be enough. Unfortunately I still only had three of the five items in the Retribution equipment set and that meant I was limited to 400% damage return instead of the maximum possible 500% damage return. Would that end up mattering? Maybe. It was certainly going to make things more difficult because I had one giant hurdle upcoming in the form of the fourth and final boss:
Herodotus. If you've ever played Rogue Legacy for yourself, you might have been anticipating that this boss was going to cause major problems for the variant. Herodotus is a giant blob that divides each time that it takes damage into smaller and smaller forms. It will divide 32 times in all and that meant my unfortunate Barbarians were going to have to take 32 hits at a bare minimum to defeat this challenge. Note that 32 hits is far more than the 10 hits that they had been taking against Khidr and Alexander, making it a real question as far as whether that 1400 HP lifebar would be sufficient to complete the battle. Making matter worse, there are quite a few other sources of damage within the Herodotus boss chamber. There's the pressure plate floor spikes as an always-present danger and any hits from the floor spikes would reflect damage back on the spikes themselves, not the blobs that I needed to destroy. Even worse, every time that a blob splits it creates a flying earth mage which will float around the room raising pillars up from the ground. There would be 16 of them in total by the end of the encounter and once again any damage done by the mages would not be reflected back against the boss itself. I would have to make sure that there was enough health and damage reflection to survive 32 hits against Herodotus while also making sure not to take any damage from the mages or the floor spikes. That was not going to be easy at all.
Let's start with the math of the Herodotus duel itself. On Normal difficulty, each Herodotus blob has 172 HP and deals 44 damage. The goal here was to have enough reflected damage to kill each blob in a single hit while also taking as little damage as possible in the process. The default -45 armor (29% increased damage) from three pieces of Retaliation equipment wasn't going to work here: 29% extra damage would mean 44 * 1.29 = 56 damage per hit, and 32 hits at 56 damage apiece would be 1800 damage - too much to survive! Fortunately you can increase your armor by purchasing levels in between character runs, but the trick was that I could only do this in one direction. I could add more armor by purchasing levels but then I couldn't "undo" those levels afterwards if I screwed up the math. Again, I needed to have the blobs die in one hit while minimizing damage taken as much as possible. Getting back to the default state of zero armor actually worked out perfectly here: with 400% reflected damage, my Barbarians would take 44 damage and reflect back 44 * 4 = 176 damage, just barely enough to take down the blobs in a single reflected blow. I ended up taking ten levels in the armor stat (+4 armor apiece) which effectively canceled out the penalty from the Retribution gear. With the necessary setup in place, I got down to the business of trying to defeat the boss for real.
This was a very difficult encounter and it took a lot of trial and error to succeed. The biggest problem was the fact that there was no margin for error; 32 hits at 44 damage per hit was 1408 damage taken, pretty much the entire Barbarian health bar. That also relied on my Barbarians never taking a single hit from the floor spikes or the earth mages, neither of which was realistic. The solution to this battle was to keep rolling the encounter until I had the good fortune to find some chickens in the crates of the boss room. That's not exactly a common occurrence but it does happen from time to time and I could keep locking down the dungeon with the Architect to re-roll the boss fight until Lady Luck was shining on me. I actually made a mistake here because I hadn't maxed out the Potion upgrades despite having plenty of money to do so; they would have increased the benefit provided by each chicken from 11% health restoration (155 HP) to 15% health restoration (211 HP). An extra 60 HP here and there would have made a real difference. Anyway, as much as I'd like to tell everyone that I was a platforming god and made it through this boss fight via my mad skills, the truth is that I tried Herodotus about eight or nine times until I got lucky. On the winning attempt, there were two chickens in the room at the start that I was able to eat during the fight, and then a third chicken dropped from one of the defeated Herodotus blobs. That was extremely good fortune and it proved to be the difference even though I made some mistakes and took several hits from the earth mages. Better to be lucky than good and all that jazz.
Incidentally, this fight would have been massively easier if I'd been able to turn up the final two pieces of Retaliation equipment. That would have given me 500% damage return and allowed my characters to stack additional armor while still one-shotting the blobs with reflected damage. I could have added extra armor to the point where the blobs were dealing 172 / 5 = 35 damage per hit while still defeating them in one reflected attack. Needless to say, 32 blobs multiplied by 35 damage per hit equals about 1100 damage and a much less tense battle with a far wider margin for error. On the other hand, if I'd missed out on any more Retribution gear then I might not have been able to do this battle at all. Thank goodness I was able to win one of those items from a carnival game! (I also could have tried to use Grace runes here to lower the monster level of each blob but I'd already decided before the variant started that I wouldn't be going down that route. I wanted to beat the bosses on the default difficulty, not mess around with making them easier opponents.)
There were no foes left to defeat at this point aside from the final two bosses. My Barbarian was severely injured after overcoming Herodotus and I decided to go scout out Johannes so that I could get the boss stats for the next heir down the line. I completely forgot that I had a whole dungeon full of teleporter chickens to raid and went into the boss doors with barely 200 HP remaining. However, the small area that plays out in the initial demo contained a pair of chickens and I discovered to my surprise that this was in fact sufficient to defeat Johannes after all. This guy was ENORMOUSLY weaker than Herodotus as far as the Pacifist variant was concerned, with a mere 1900 HP that needed to be overcome. That was only six hits taken at 360 reflected damage per strike with my Barbarian taking 6 * 90 = 540 damage. Really? That was it? My Barbarians had been struggling with the extremely tough Herodotus challenge for the last few hours and this felt like a summer breeze in comparison. Johannes dropped three chickens when he was defeated and there was a fourth chicken inside one of the little torches in the final boss room. This provided a huge health refill for the Fountain:
Let's look at the math of this encounter one final time. The Fountain had about 2600 HP and dealt 110 damage per hit, which was reflected back four times over at 440 damage. Another simple division exercise indicated that the Fountain would die in six reflcted attacks and therefore my Barbarian character needed only 660 HP in order to survive. Since those chickens had taken him back up to roughly 900 HP, this whole duel was a forgone conclusion. No, better than that - it was literally impossible to lose the fight! You can't damage yourself in Rogue Legacy, only take damage from outside sources, and any damage inflicted by the Fountain would rebound back against him. There are no spiked balls or traps in the final boss room so there was nothing to save the Fountain. I could dash around dodging his attacks like a madman or stand in place twiddling my thumbs, the outcome would be exactly the same either way. It's pretty hilarious to me that with the proper setup the player literally CANNOT LOSE against the final boss. After long hours spent exploring through the dungeon while unable to swing a weapon, I was concluding this variant run with the easiest boss fight of my life. I'd like to think that I earned it with all that time spent preparing to reach this moment.
In conclusion, it is therefore indeed possible to beat Rogue Legacy as a pure pacifist that never attacks a single enemy from start to finish. There are schools of philosophical thought arguing that violence harms the attacker as much as the victim and this variant run was an example of that line of thought acted out in practice. My Barbarians only used their swords to break pots and torches, never using them to cut down the monsters in their path, only for the bosses to destroy themselves through their own lack of virtue. Herodotus was by far the most difficult opponent and if it weren't for the big blob I'd almost say that this variant was fairly routine. (It wasn't as high on the fun factor as I expected though - I like fighting the monsters in Rogue Legacy, that's my favorite part of the gameplay!) I wanted to showcase the ending upgrade screen here to highlight the two stats that I never upgraded: zero levels in the attack and magic damage stats! 0/75 in both categories. Probably not something you're likely to see from other players of this game.
It took 61 heirs and about eight hours of total time to complete this variant. I'm not planning on continuing into the New Game Plus modes largely because of how difficult Herodotus proved to be. I think that all of the other bosses would be readily doable with the other two items from the Retribution set but surviving the assault of the blobs isn't something that I'm eager to try again. I'm happy with stopping here and proving that Normal difficulty can be completed under this ridiculous variant. I did record footage from all of the main bosses and I'm going to edit it together into a short video for YouTube that I'll link below. The Herodotus battle in particular was pretty wild and hard to capture properly in written form, it's something that needs to be seen in practice. Thanks again for reading along - I hope you enjoyed this short journey. On to Rogue Legacy 2!
Pacifist Variant Boss Rush Video