Dishonored Stealth Guide: How to Play Without Killing Anyone

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Dishonored gives you the freedom to play how you want, with a combination of deadly gadgets and powers. Killing is incredibly fun, but wanton destruction will increase the chaos level in the fictional setting of Dunwall. Your actions have consequences, and if you aren’t into cold-blooded murder you can keep your hands clean with a nonlethal playthrough of Dishonored.

Completing Dishonored without killing won’t be easy. That’s why the stealth masters at Game Front have put their minds together to create a basic guide to get you started in your nonlethal endeavors. It takes patience and perseverance, but the tips and tricks below will make your bloodless campaign easier to handle.

If you’re looking for a regular guide to Dishonored, check out Game Front’s walkthrough. There are more extras, guides, and collectibles to discover on the Dishonored cheats page.

Nonlethal Walkthrough: Overseer Campbell from Mitch on the Game Front Youtube Channel

Part 2: House of Pleasures

Part 3: The Royal Physician

Achievement / Trophy Unlocked

  • Clean Hands (100 points / Gold):
    You completed the game without killing anyone.

Nonlethal Stealth Guide

No One Is Exempt – Completing A Nonlethal Run

  • If you don’t want to kill, you’ll need to avoid being seen. This guide will help you get started with your nonlethal journey in Dishonored.
  • Completing missions through nonlethal means will limit your options, but reward you with a lower Chaos level and a different ending if you choose to follow this path.
  • To achieve a “Nonlethal Run” through Dishonored, you can never kill. Period. That includes primary targets or tutorial guards. No NPC “doesn’t count” in a nonlethal run. Any kills will wipe your progress.
  • During a nonlethal run, you can be caught without penalty. Simply escape and hide until the alert calms down.

Silence Is Golden – Basic Moves for Stealth

  • When sneaking, only use nonlethal takedowns. Choke guards instead of stabbing them, and be diligent when hiding unconscious bodies.
  • While sneaking, use lean and Dark Vision to get a good view of your environment and enemies while remaining hidden.
  • Travel high, use Blink in guarded areas to hop from hiding spot to hiding spot. Stay in stealth mode, and use Possession to discover new routes, or scout ahead of your position.

Many Paths to Success – Using the Environment

  • Be alert, be aware — study each area well. You can find optional entrances into guarded areas, or side-paths that will lead you to new NPCs with ideas of their own.
  • Listening to conversations or reading notes can give you clues to gaining access to new routes, or to discovering nonlethal means of neutralizing targets. Listen for codes, rumors, and more.
  • Don’t rush ahead. Take time to maneuver and explore each area thoroughly. You’ll be surprised what you discover sometimes. While you’re playing patiently, be sure to save your game often and in multiple slots.

Equip Yourself – Recommended Upgrades and Equipment

Supernatural Abilites & Enhancements:

Note: Make upgrading easier with the Rune Collectible Guide.

  • Blink: Upgrade Blink to give yourself more distance with each teleport. This is an easy ability to upgrade at a cost of only three [3] runes. An essential early upgrade.
  • Dark Vision: One of the most important abilities for a Ghost Run, Dark Vision is still very handy while trying to avoid killing. This power will allow you to view living things through walls, and to see their cone of vision. This is an essential power, but you can save the upgrade for later stages of the game.
  • Possession: A very powerful tool for getting places Corvo doesn’t belong. Possess fish or rats to get through narrow metal grates, or Possess guards and walk them out of your path. This is another essential ability you’ll want to upgrade as soon as you’re able.
  • Agility: Upgrade Agility to Level 2 during your nonlethal run to boost your speed and decrease fall damage, perfect for a roof-lurker on the go. You’ll also gain a double jump that makes climbing up to high vantage points a breeze.

Equipment & Blueprint Upgrades:

Find these hidden items on the Dishonored: Blueprint Locations Guide.

  • Crossbow: The Crossbow is the only weapon you’ll use when trying to complete Dishonored without killing. Upgrade accuracy, reload speed, and whatever else you can afford periodically to help make your Sleep Bolts always hit their marks.
  • Sleep Bolt: One of the best tools you’ll have available in Dishonored. This is the only way to knock out guards at long-range. Upgrade them to make these bolts useful even during combat. Just make sure to hide the bodies. You can purchase up to 10 Sleep Bolts from Piero’s Workshop, try to keep your stock full for emergencies.
  • Boot Stealth: An obvious upgrade, you’ll need to find a special blueprint to unlock this perk. At its first stage, it makes running and walking silent. At its second stage, you’ll be able to sprint silently. In your nonlethal run, you can be caught — running silently will make escape easier.
  • Mask Optics: Not completely essential, but another useful tool for scouting locations. Upgrading will allow you to zoom in more, and to eavesdrop on conversations from afar. Perfect for listening in without having to expose your position.

Bone Charms:

NOTE: Bone Charms are randomly placed in each campaign. They are helpful, but not essential. Find every collectible on the Bone Charm Locations Guide.

  • Strong Arms: This charm will allow you to choke enemies faster, leaving you exposed for a shorter duration.
  • Undertaker: You’ll be able to carry corpses at a slightly faster rate with this charm equipped.
  • Swift Shadow: Another good stealth charm, this grants you the ability to move faster while in stealth mode.
  • Welcoming Host: If you’re a fan of possession, this charm will allow you to possess white rats for longer periods of time. Good to use in conjunction with the Albinos charm.

There’s Always Another Way – Nonlethal Side-Quests

  • In each mission, there is a nonlethal option for neutralizing your primary target. These options are often tricky, and always require talking to a character you can find roaming the area.
  • Before taking down your enemies, search the neighborhood carefully and try to find any optional quests available to you. These can be easy to find with some basic exploration, but can require completion of several side-quests to reach.

Find more extras, tips, cheats and secrets with Game Front’s Channel on Youtube, featuring Zac, Mitch, and James.

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11 Comments on Dishonored Stealth Guide: How to Play Without Killing Anyone


On October 11, 2012 at 12:20 am

I would also suggest the time-stop skill. It comes in handy.


On October 13, 2012 at 4:48 am



this article specifically talk about non-lethal stealth run and you come out with KILL?

Big Steve

On October 14, 2012 at 12:51 am

read his post a second time then you should apoligise


On October 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm

@cracksys skill, not kill -_-


On October 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm



He suggested time stop because it is good for running away when in a fight, essentially vanishing.


On October 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I’m wondering if killing a rat or a dog counts as killing anyone. Or is it just human NPCs?


On December 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

If you wanna get this achievement/trophy, is it neccesary to start a new game and NOT kill any of the assassins comming to kill the empress at the start of the game?

if so, how do i do that? just keep blocking?


Kevin Thielenhaus

On December 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm


None of the achievements apply for the tutorial, don’t worry! You’ll only have to refrain from killing once you begin your first mission hunting Overseer Campbell.


On January 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I bet half the people that read this didn’t know where any of the Blue Prints were. Other than the lack of detail this was great.

Kevin Thielenhaus

On January 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm


Thanks for the kind words! But, you’re totally right about the Blueprints. I’ve added a link to our Blueprints Locations Guide to the top of that section, that should help point people in the right direction.

Thank you, again!


On February 6, 2013 at 12:59 am

Can I poison the Bottle Street Gang with the infected rat viscera, or does that count as a kill?