Dragon Rot is tricky stuff. The nasty affliction can severely impact your progress in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. That’s because it lowers your Unseen Aid (the chance that you won’t lose gold and XP when you die). Dragon Rot is also incredibly scary, at first, since you have no idea what it is — or how to fix it. Thankfully, Dragon Rot is easy to cure once you know how. You just need to follow some simple steps. That’s why we’ve put together this handy Dragon Rot guide for Sekiro, with tips and steps on how to cure it. Check it out!
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What is Dragon Rot in Sekiro?
Sekiro does not warn you about Dragon Rot right away. It’s meant to be a surprise. And it is — a nasty one, at that. But know that it’s a world condition that only sometimes appears when you fully die. That is to say, you will not develop — or accrue — Dragon Rot in Sekiro if you use the resurrection mechanic. It only has a chance to appear when you respawn at a Sculptor’s Idol.
The effects of Dragon Rot are twofold. First, and most obviously, you will receive less Unseen Aid the more Dragon Rot you develop. Unseen Aid is the small percentage chance that you won’t lose half your experience points and Sen (gold coins) when you fully die. The chance starts at 30 percent and gets progressively lower the more times Dragon Rot triggers. You can always check your current Unseen Aid chance by pulling up the pause menu, too.
The second side effect of Dragon Rot is more insidious. Not to mention the game doesn’t really tell you it’s happening. Specifically, the unlabeled “quests” that several NPCs offer throughout the world will not progress — not if they specifically have Dragon Rot.
Keep in mind that Dragon Rot does not spread evenly. Instead, each time you die, there seems to be a semi-random chance that particular characters will develop the plague. It can develop in far more than one person at a time, too, every time the Dragon Rot progresses. But only those characters with symptoms will “pause” their quests. Everyone else will move around and request things normally. Likewise, infected vendors and merchants (like the Sculptor and members of the Memorial Mob) will still offer their normal services. Sekiro isn’t that mean.
There are two ways to tell if someone has Dragon Rot in Sekiro. The first is obvious: coughing. Speaking to any NPC with Dragon Rot will show them coughing and sputtering. Your protagonist might even comment on their condition. The second guide to who has Dragon Rot is checking Rot Essence. These are key items that appear in your inventory whenever the Dragon Rot gets worse. Each one is tied to a specific person, comes with a little caricature of what they look like, and will obliquely describe them. It’s not completely transparent, but checking Rot Essence is better than traveling all over the world.
How to Cure Dragon Rot in Sekiro
Here’s the really important bit: There is a cure for Dragon Rot in Sekiro! You just need to know where to look, what to buy, and which items to keep. And that’s what this next section of our guide is all about.
On the subject of what to keep, you absolutely want to hold onto any Dragon’s Blood Droplet you might find hiding in the world. This is an incredibly rare resource that’s vital to cure Dragon Rot. It’s also limited and consumable — meaning you might accidentally waste it before ever realizing the item’s true value. To that end, do not use any Dragon’s Blood Droplet from your inventory. All you get for doing so is a slight bump in “resurrective power,” which fills as you kill enemies anyway. Not to mention there are other, less valuable items that let you do this as well.
Now let’s talk about… talking. Specifically, we need to know who to speak with about curing Dragon Rot. If you’ve paid attention to the plot of Sekiro at all, you might have a guess. You need to go see Emma — the doctor residing back at the Dilapidated Temple — as soon as you develop Dragon Rot for the first time. She will mention finding a blood sample to use in a cure.
From here you need to find and speak with someone who has Dragon Rot. We specifically found the Dragonrot Blood Sample after talking to the old woman in the Ashina Outskirts, but it seems that most afflicted NPCs will work. Now just bring the blood sample back to Emma. She needs time to work out the cure, so fast travel away, maybe kill a few enemies, and return.
Emma will give you the two items you need to cure Dragon Rot in Sekiro: the Recovery Charm and a single Dragon’s Blood Droplet. Don’t worry about the former. It’s just a key item that sits in your inventory, and marks that you can now cure Dragon Rot. The Dragon’s Blood Droplet is more important. You can take this consumable to any Sculptor’s Idol in Sekiro to completely cure Dragon Rot — for a time. To use it, just select the new cure option that becomes available in the Sculptor’s Idol menu.
When Should I Cure Dragon Rot in Sekiro?
This is a tricky subject. Although, for our money, it’s usually better to wait until you have something very specific you want to do. Unseen Aid is nice, but hardly a vital component of Sekiro. Its proc chance is low, even at its maximum, and acquiring skill points isn’t really vital beyond a few key abilities. Not to mention, if you really want to grind out XP, you should probably use a farming loop. Find a place where you can reliably kill lots of enemies. Then run it over and over again, until you reach a full skill point (you won’t lose skill points even if you die — just surplus experience).
We personally like the rooms just above “Ashina Castle – Antechamber.” The blue samurai there don’t provide tons of XP, but they are easy to stealth kill. Not to mention they drop (the extremely annoying to acquire) Divine Confetti. You need a lot of this to deal with several mini-bosses throughout Sekiro.
Gold coins are a similar matter. Instead of trying to gather them over time, it’s often better to just stop and farm up the amount of Sen you need for a specific item all at once. That reduces the odds of you dying and losing all your hard-earned progress. If you don’t know what to save for, just buy generally useful items (like Pellets), or bags of gold from vendors. There’s a slight fee for converting Sen into money pouches, sure, but trust us when we say you save a lot more than you use in the long run.
When it comes to side quests, however, curing Dragon Rot is another matter entirely. These unmarked missions provide some useful items and lots of easy-to-miss story in Sekiro. They’re not super hard to identify, though. Just pay attention to what various NPCs have to say. If they ask you for something, mention going to a specific location, or change areas frequently, odds are that they have an associated side quest. Feel free to cure Dragon Rot any time you’re absolutely sure you can push one of these Sekiro sub-plots forward. That’s assuming the character in question is afflicted, of course.
Don’t fret too much, though. There are quite a few of the valuable items to go around. You can find Dragon’s Blood Droplets in the world and outright buy a few (for 180 Sen) from most merchants. As long as you’re judicious, you shouldn’t need more than a few to keep everyone healthy long enough to complete all available side quests in Sekiro.
On that note, this should be everything you need to know about how to cure Dragon Rot in Sekiro! We hope this makes the game just a bit less terrifying for you all. Good luck and take care out there in Ashina.