Sekiro: Dragonrot and Rot Essence Guide

In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice the main character, Sekiro, can return from being killed thanks to the Dragon Heritage. This ability comes with a significant consequence, which is those around Sekiro catch an illness known as Dragonrot. What is Dragonrot? Why do you have so many Rot Essence items in your inventory?

This guide breaks down the meaning of these critical mechanics, and how to cure characters of their rot essence so players can progress the story.

Dragon Heritage

What Is Dragonrot?

Dragonrot is a deadly disease the NPCs in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice can catch due to Sekiro continually coming back from the dead. The Sculptor is the first to acquire the infection. The more times a player dies in the game, the more the disease spreads. Those infected by it are slowly dying, and it’s up to the player to cure them.

To do so, you first need to know which characters have the disease. You can learn this by visiting your inventory, going into the Key Items section, and viewing the Rot Essence items you’re holding. You can determine which characters catch the disease based on the small descriptions in the Rot Essence item. After that, go and visit these individuals and ask for a sample of their blood. Emma needs their blood to determine a cure.

Rot Essence

After you’ve died multiple times, you’re going to start acquiring items called Rot Essence. They usually have a name attached them to, such as Rot Essence: Faithful One, or Rot Essence Timid Maid. These items not only stand for the characters infected with Dragonrot, but it also brings down Sekiro’s Unseen Aid. Unseen Aid is a helpful mechanic where the player has the chance to return from a final death with all of their experience points and money intact.

The game starts with Sekiro having 30 percent Unseed Aid. This number jumps down to 15 percent once the player has a Rot Essence item, and the number continues to dwindle the more Rot Essence the player carries. Not only will the Unseen Aid go down, but if players have a Rot Essence of specific characters who have given Sekiro a quest, Sekiro cannot complete or continue that quest until they receive the cure.

There’s no meter showing how many more deaths a player has until they gain a new Rot Essence item and Dragonrot infects a random character in the world. This hidden mechanic makes dying even more difficult, including knowing when to cure everyone.

Curing Dragonrot

You’ll get the chance to cure NPCs of the illness by speaking to Emma at the Dilapidated Temple every so often. The first NPC to catch the disease is the Sculptor. You’ll learn about the condition by visiting his temple and seeing Emma tending to him inside of his workshop. To find a cure, Emma needs an additional sample, so you need to die a few more times and wait for another NPC to catch Dragonrot. Don’t feel you need to die on purpose, because you’ll rack up enough deaths in the game to naturally progress. When you see a second Rot Essence item in your inventory following a death, you’ll know you’re ready to find this person.

Check your inventory in the Key Items section to determine who it is. Once you know, seek them out in the world and ask for a sample of their blood. They’ll hand it over without a fuss, which you can take back to Emma. She’s going to inform you she needs more time to work on a cure, so continue playing the game for a while and return to her when you’re ready. She’ll hand you two new items: Dragon’s Blood Droplet and Recovery Charm.

To use these items you need to visit a Sculptor’s Idol. You can use the one located right outside the Dilapidated Temple. You’ll find you have a new option when resting at the idol called Dragonrot Restoration. Choosing this allows you to use up your Dragon’s Blood Droplet and cure everyone infected by the disease. Doing so increases your Unseen Aid back up to 30 percent, and removes all of the Rot Essence from your inventory.

While they no longer have the infection, they can still catch the disease as you progress through the game and continue to die. The more a player dies, the more Rot Essence they’re going to have in their inventory. The worst part is, there are a limited number of Dragon’s Blood Droplets available in the world, so using them whenever you get the chance is not a good idea, especially when you start facing the more challenging bosses near the end of the game. It’s better to use it when you have to and feel comfortable with the current path you’re on.