Shadows Over Loathing Shadow Taint Guide: Obtain the Evilest Ending

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Easy steps to obtain the Evilest Ending, and more fun facts inside! Includes locations, effects, and names.

Shadow Taint and Its Effects

Similar to the bovine taint from the previous game, you gain Shadow Taint levels by consuming the accursed items you find in shadow holes, rifts, or anywhere else really.

Unlike West of Loathing, however, the counter is seemingly infinite- it’ll just keep going up and up as you eat more items. You only need five to get the “evilest ending” where you swallow the world whole in your shadow, but don’t let that stop your wicked dreams!

As you level up your shadow taint, you can talk with the freaky shadow creatures you randomly encounter, turning them into friends, and they’ll give you an item or exp. You can also remove the weird items found inside if you have the right level of shadow taint! There will also be more shadow orbs and new rifts as well. Finally, you will be able to solve the shadow magic problems in the story with your own, higher level shadow powers.

Note that once you’ve “opened your eyes” by reaching level 3 of shadow taint, there is no way of going back, and you also now loathe the un-cursing machine. You also lock yourself out of talking to certain NPCs, and hobos will no longer wish to speak to you (except for Obie and the gator hobo, for some weird reason).

Once you get supercharged with the shadow taint*, you are locked out of obtaining the buddy-specific ending achievements, except for Molly who is not putting up with this shadow-throne.

PS: Shadow Taint is shown on you character sheet below stats.

*See the perks section of this guide.

Removing Shadow Taint

There is currently no in-game way to lower/remove shadow taint, so for anyone who accidentally raised it too high when they didn’t mean to, or changed their mind, here’s how to edit your save file to get rid of your shadow taint according to another user:

Originally posted by TheAmazinBlazin:
Closing the game and going to %appdata%/LocalLow/Asymmetric Games, LLC/Shadows Over Loathing, there should be JSON files of all save games. Open the most recent save in notepad, hit ctrl+f, and type "consumables". It should take you to a value called "shadow_fromconsumables", set that to 0. Under that, "shadoweyes" needs to be set to 0 as well. (also set "shadow_confirmconsume" to 0 if you want to be extra safe, i dont think its required though). Save the file, and open the game back up, and you should be taint free.

Cursed/Shadow Items

If you want to go full in, you can choose to NOT un-curse all of the cursed items, Jessica none the wiser (yes including the fedora, just go back into your room anyways when Jessica stops you).
Doing so, the cursed items keep all their prior effects, and make you feel pretty evil.

Here’s what they do:

FedoraWill let you bypass certain random encounters and skill checks by speaking forbidden wordsStory item
Dangerous PocketwatchLowers a target’s stats by 13Story item
CompassLeads you to shadow item encountersStory item
KeyOpens any locked object, including the Black House gateStory item
SickleDeals your class stat +13 spooky damageStory item
Duck CallDeal spooky damage and cause bleeding, both equal to your mysticality; will also scare the ducks on the McMillicancuddy farmThrow the Haunted Duck Call in the H*** Hole
Fishing RodDeals your muscle +3 spooky damage; will sometimes fish up shadow itemsFound on the S.I.T bridge
Librum Umbra Malum OvillaReading will grant you special shadowy perks*Story item

Here’s a list of Shadow food items:

Wine+2 to every elemental armor
Beer+7 physical armor
Mead+70% meat drops
Milkshake+1 mysticality and +2 ap
Hot Dog+1 muscle and +5 to your melee attacks
Pickle+1 moxie and +5 to your ranged attacks
Salad+1 mysticality and +5 to your magic attacks
Elixir+1 muscle and +11 maximum hp
Grease+1 moxie and +50% item drops

And here’s the physical items you can snag from rifts:

AppleIncrease all your stats by 13 once per fightCherry orchard, by the Wormfather during the grodeworm sidequest
BriefcaseGrants a forbidden perk increasing your class stat by one; requires shadow taint skill checkS.I.T library
BootsYou now travel around by skating across the shadowsBehind the cracked wall in Gumbuckle mine; note that you will not gain access to the mine if you have 3 or higher shadow taint
CandleSets an enemy on fire for your mysticality +7Basement of the Dauphin House; note that you will not gain access to the Dauphin House if you have 3 or higher shadow taint
ChaliceGrants a perk*Inside the fishmother lair under the S.I.T bridge
Coin+100% meat dropsBlack-Gold mine/Papascau ranch
EggHatches into a familiar that does spooky damage to all enemies and increases your statsBarbara’s basement; requires that you offer to get birdseed for her. Note that this will replace your original bird familiar.
HammerDeals 5 spooky damage to all enemiesBy the “important machine” in the S.I.T Hexquarry
KnifeDeals your Moxie +7 bleedingGoldthwait park, by the jagged rocks; needs high level of shadow taint to be seen
Loop (ring)Increased shadow creature encountersCrystaldream junkyard, leftmost path
MirrorSwaps stats with an ally or opponent once per fightBoardwalk Vampire bar; requires you to progress the Mob questline
RatFamiliar which does spooky damage to enemiesPresent-day Sandwich basement; cannot be obtained after solving the witch problem, requires you to interact with the basement in the past
Rift FragmentCan be turned into a necklace at the accessory shop; unlocks gatorman Alphonse as a buddyZimmer’s House basement
Shorts+50% item dropsTentacle House
Skullcap+13 physical armorGilmore House bunker
SyringePoisons an enemy for your muscle +7Cave full of flies at Haim Quarry; can be obtained regardless of what you choose to do with the frogs

Combat items:

RopeStuns one enemy for a turn
ClarinetReduce one enemy’s stats by 13
BombDoes 13 spooky damage to all enemies

*See the perks section of this guide.

Available Perks

There are several available perks and skills, most from the Librum Umbra Mallum Ovilla (whose title is too long to write, honestly), and a few other perks here and there.


Forbidden perkIncreases your class stat by 1Read the item in the rift briefcase; requires 5 levels of shadow taint
Shadow-ChargedChanges the ending you take the malevolent entity’s throneAbsorb the energy from the umbratanium pillars around Government Valley
Shadowy Waters+10 maximum hp and +3 hp regenerationDrink from the shadow chalice; will also give you a fish-head
HauntedGives themed dialogue optionsSay you’re searching for something dark during the prologue

Cursed Book:

Shadow ChompDeals 5 spooky damage and heals you by the damage dealt
Shadow EmbraceDeals 13 spooky damage to an enemy and also yourself; damage done to you can be reduced by you elemental armor
Shadow VortexSteal 1 muscle, mysticality, and moxie from each other combatant; includes allies
Occlusion of ShadowElemental armor challenges are easier
Suffusion of ShadowStat challenges are easier
Collusion of ShadowYou start combat with three shadow creatures on your side
The Shadow’s Vision+1 mysticality and +5 to magical attacks, -10 maximum hp
The Shadow’s Vanity+1 moxie and regular familiars will not aid you in combat; only the shadow rat and bird will aid you
The Shadow’s Protection+1 muscle and +5 physical armor, -1 ap
Taking all the nine perks/skills from the Librum Umbra grants you an achievement!

Fun Facts

  • Alphonse will sometimes randomly find shadow items for you.
  • you can absorb the president
  • No more candy from the nice hardware store man :,((( (thank you fillanator)
  • If you put P O O P in the rift guarded by the dean it makes a “special” noise.
  • Tony Fiasco doesn’t like your cursed hat, but he’ll pay you anyway.
  • If you have a level 5 shadow taint, you can absorb your class’ rival and take their cool hat during their final encounter! Neat!
  • When you open your eyes, they’re full of the same starry material as all the other evil things. You probably already knew that, but it’s still a fun fact.
  • Most NPCs, especially quest NPCs will not react to your sudden evilness, which is funny.
  • Interacting with yourself in mirrors after opening your eyes, your reflection will say “perfect, never change” and you’ll respond back with garbled shadow speak.
  • Getting St. Polycarp’s blessing while tainted or having the haunted perk will cause you to respond with “it burns a little!”
  • Approaching the Church of St. Polycarp with a high level of shadow taint will cause you to be struck by lightning.
  • The Sandwich museum guard is immune to the cursed fedora and all other compulsion. Truly the power of minimum wage is great.
  • High levels of shadow taint will affect the environment, e.g. more dead trees and an omnipresent black fog.
  • Using the fedora on the man in the S.I.T archives will cause him to say a string of cursed words back at you.
  • As you gain more shadow taint, your dreams will be increasingly haunted by demonic eyes and mouths.
  • You can kiss one of these mouths!

More of this sort of thing:

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Written by Felix-sishou