'Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice': How to Cure Dragonrot and Remove Rot Essence

Nothing in the first few hours of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice dramatizes the spirit of the game quite like the first time a Rot Essence appears in your inventory. Rot Essence is linked with a disease called Dragonrot that begins affecting your allies early in the campaign. First, the Sculptor catches it, and your conversations together are interrupted by hackingcoughs. Soon enough, nearly everyone you speak with will be hacking and coughing—all because you died too much. In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, dying over and over again, beating yourself bloody against the latest boss or tricky sword fight, isn't punishment enough.

What is Rot Essence?

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The more Rot Essence, the more people you meet in "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" will suffer from Dragonrot. FromSoftware/Activision

The first time you get Rot Essence, there's a cutscene. You wake up after dying and hear the Sculptor coughing. A new item has been added to your inventory: Rot Essence: Sculptor. "Somewhere a pained cough rings out continuously," the item description explains. "Owning this item reduces one's chances of receiving Unseen Aid."

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Rot Essence starts appearing in your inventory after multiple deaths. FromSoftware/Activision

Those close to you begin suffering from Dragonrot, a body-wracking sickness. "The more one with the power of the Dragon's Heritage dies, the more a sickness known as Dragonrot spreads through the world. If one known to Wolf is coughing and wheezing, it's likely they are afflicted with Dragonrot," Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice explains.

Keep dying and you'll receive additional Rot Essences —Sculptor, then Timid Maid, Fine Son—each of which not only reduces your chance at Unseen Aid, but also makes you more contagious and able to spread the sickness to more people you interact with in the world. It can be a little depressing when everyone you bump into is coughing, all because you're bad at the game, but the Rot Essences you collect are more narrative items than a substantial impediment to playing Sekiro.

What is Unseen Aid?

Unseen Aid is a random boon offered on a certain percentage of deaths, which can be found in the Pause Menu. Typically, you'll lose half of accrued Skill Experience and half of your sen after each death. You're spared both punishments when Unseen Aid is announced upon your return to the Sculptor's Idol after death. While an Unseen Aid is always welcome, a reduction from a 30 percent chance of receiving the boon down to 15 or 12 percent chance —the punishments doled out by Rot Essences— are only a small hindrance to your Sekiro campaign.

But it's hard watching the world around you grow more and more corrupted by your failures, to the point where even merchants are coughing. This makes curing Dragonrot an early sidequest priority worth pursuing in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Curing Dragonrot

Step 1: Begin your search for a cure by speaking to Emma at the Dilapidated Temple. She'll ask for blood samples from people suffering from Dragonrot.

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Emma will also confirm it's all your fault your friends are getting Dragonrot. FromSoftware/Activision

Step 2: One source for a Dragonrot sample can be found at the destroyed home on the path to Ashina Castle, between Sculptor's Idol destinations Outskirts Wall - Gate Path and Outskirts Wall - Stairway. Yes, you're making this poor woman, who gave you the Young Lord's Bell Charm and access to your dreams, even more miserable with your Dragonrot. Collect a sample of her bloody sputum and return it to Emma.

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Gather some of this old woman's bloody spit. FromSoftware/Activision

"The source of the Dragonrot is the stagnation in your blood," Emma will tell you. "The blood has only a limited amount of power available to it. Let's say you've use all of this power...The resurrection still occurs, but… it must draw on power from another source."

"From those that have the Dragonrot?" Sekiro realizes.

"The natural life force that everyone has, that allow them to live their lives and function as human beings, has been taken from them," Emma says, really sticking it to you.

Step 3: After providing Emma with a sample, she'll need some time to formulate a cure. Check back every once in a while. The cure comes in the form of a Dragon's Blood Droplet, an item that is "rarely dropped by a Divine Heir of the Dragon's Heritage."

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Dragon's Rot Droplets can cure Dragonrot. FromSoftware/Activision

"Restore the power of life to those who have been drained of it by offering this drop to the Sculptor's Idol with the Recovery Charm in hand. In turn, all afflicted with the Dragonrot will be healed. The incessant coughing must cease."

Emma will also give you the Recovery Charm, which she created. According to the item description, the charm "contains a Dragonrot victim's blood, which Emma managed to purify and solidify into a bloodstone."

"There was a Dragonrot epidemic in Ashina once before," Emma will tell you, hinting that some other warrior before Sekiro was similarly afflicted with multiple lives. "Every single person who caught it died. It is my hope that finally discovering the cure has alleviated this regret, if only a little."

Step 4: You can find the new option "Dragonrot Restoration" while communing at a Sculptor's Idol. Using the Dragon's Blood Dropet, you can cure all Dragonrot, remove the Rot Essences and return the chance of receiving Unseen Aid back to its default 30 percent value.

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You did it! FromSoftware/Acitivision

Don't worry, you'll soon have Rot Essence again. You'll also find more Dragon's Blood Droplets along the way, including for sale at Merchant Mob locations.

The Perks of Curing Dragonrot

The sidequest to cure Dragonrot and get rid of the Rot Essence in your inventory has advantages beyond the higher chance of receiving Unseen Aid. It's also a great way to learn more about the backgrounds of your NPC allies at the Dilapidated Temple. After curing Dragonrot for the first time, revisit Emma, who will give you a bottle of sake to celebrate the Sculptor's cure

"Sake is a drink meant for sharing," the description reads. Sharing the sake with Emma or the Sculptor will reveal new information about both them and your condition, including hints about Emma's father, Dogen, the legendary inventor who created your Shinobi Prosthetic.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is out now for PS4, Xbox and PC.