i didnt really intend for this blog to become almost exclusively bloodborne but this is a much more permanent and easier to access place for this kind of information for people who do want to seek it out. anyway using Methods and Resources, i have been ripping apart bloodborne models from the ps4 disc and putting them back together very poorly in blender.

WARNING: my colors spaces and shaders are not lore accurate; i’m just not knowledgeable enough with 3d to achieve that. they are not completely wrong, but they are likely to be noticeably “off” from bloodborne “canon”.

i spent a lot (A LOT) of time struggling with the various (and genuinely very impressive) tools available for futzing with fromsoft files, but none of them would load the textures, even with lots of messing around. as a result, the process is annoying and takes a lot of time “by hand” to do across like 4 different programs. if you try to request a model or ask me how i do this i will drive to your house and spray you with a hose until someone calls the police on me. i don’t have anything better going on so don’t try it, buster!

now check this out:

the first endless and eternal struggle was simple: i just wanted to peek at the unused “moon” skin for the scourge beasts. this was the result of several hours of honest effort. she’s beautiful, but not what i wanted.

several very specific blender tutorials later and i did it.

uhhh. sort of! here’s what i assume is the more lore accurate coloring from bloodborne-wiki:

mine looks a little too “attack the block” instead of the signature moonlight great sword coloring. but i was excited enough i gave him a photoshoot.

bleh!!! bleh!!

some other finds include: a hank hill ass and the space pope.

the big mergo’s attendant was chosen at random, and i was surprised to see she had this weird unused skull item. this color is unaltered, its very bright blue and blonde hair. really weird.

they also have an ass.


i was going through the object files while eating a snack last night and found one of the weirdest/stupidest things ive ever seen. all the files are like in the 1KB-5,000 KB range except for this 44,000kb monstrosity that im pretty sure is the carriage the cramped casket jumps out at you from in yahar’gul. i have no idea why its this complex lol.

but it had a bunch of shit inside as well. it looked like a mix of stuff layered on top of each other that was used and stuff that wasn’t or maybe was used in like, a promo at one point. peeling away layers revealed that the interior of the stupid thing has fully rendered lanterns and fire (????????).

after all that was stripped away there was a. pile. of 6 coffins. this shit made me laugh ngl. so i removed all of the coffins blocking my path (common bloodborne problem)

underneath i found what looks like a breakable incense (?) pot and some gravestones and some other shit. there were still a bunch of layers to turn off so i kept going.

i don’t remember this rose being used anywhere.

underneath the huge pot was a little statue and a lamp on a chain

and underneath that………..

was a thing

i have no idea. it looks like a hole. it doesn’t look like anything. i think this is one of the funniest things to hide at the center of such a needlessly complex collection of assets: a thingy

then i remembered the whole reason i wanted to do all this. and yes, the slimy crawler enemies ARE distended torsos and breasts.


this period of time in the canon is a big fat question mark as a result of reshuffling ideas one million times behind the scenes. how long it took the first red moon to recede is unknown. its not known if there were other red moons between then and now. it is not known if the first moon ended organically or because of external factors. we don’t know how the church got on or what yharnam was like before we arrive. we don’t know what’s normal at all (this is a frequent position to be in when it comes to fromsoft storytelling. often times you realize in hindsight that the person you were talking to is bloodborne equivalent of homer simpson.

the history of yharnam between now and the arrival of the hunter is unrecorded by the game, either because it was uninteresting, cut from development, or intended to be an in universe secret that is so mysterious that even the people doing it don’t really seem to know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. yharnam makes a lot more sense if you imagine everyone has been inhaling chemical fumes from the burning of old yharnam for the past 50 or whatever years. or that they’ve been licking mercury off their fingers or whatever.

any remaining old hunters who participated in the fishing hamlet massacre were imprisoned by the healing church in order to maintain the control of the narrative it had over what few yharnamites it had left roaming about what remained of yharnam. the power of the red moon, the origins of the scourge, the defilement of kos, and that awful thing laurence called forth from the sky; all of it had to be hidden away. but the remaining, active members of the church hierarchy (at this point, mostly a bunch of nobodies) were not capable of anticipating how devastating the wrath of kos would turn out to be. her long-simmering curse plucked the hunters succumbing to the moon’s power and their own blood lust off the streets of yharnam on the night old yharnam burned. that night, specifically, was a catastrophe for public safety.

old hunter garb:

One day, the hunters disappeared, and Yharnamites began to whisper of the hunters’ sin.

Drunk with blood, chasing after beasts, they would pass on to the Nightmare, every last one of them

the old hunters, who would once retreat to the dream and then return good as new, disappeared permanently from yharnam. hijacked from their trajectory either to or from the dream, they were funneled into the hunter’s nightmare to engage in a bloody, endless, purposeless hunt.

brador, whose loyalty to the church appeared to be based entirely on the fact that they let him kill people with no repercussions, continued his work as a church assassin in the hunter’s nightmare. it was, after all, the only remaining proof of what happened at the fishing hamlet with the whole “baby mutilation” thing. brador’s job was to prevent overly curious hunters from reaching the nightmare’s darkest secret, and god he loved his job. he’s locked up in the same cells as the other old hunters, but apparently voluntarily. brador does not have to leave the comfort of his embarrassing NEET nest to do his job.

after this, as far as one can tell, the hunts returned to a normal ebb and flow. sort of. various characters will casually mention that they’re experiencing an unusually long night the night the hunter arrives, which a really strange thing to say so casually. that’s normal for yharnam, i suppose. not so much for people who should know that the sun and moon are famously predictable entities. its not like they go wandering off around the galaxy.

as a precaution, the church would lock its gates for its own protection on the night of the hunts; without any hunters of their own, the church was forced to depend on uhhh. slave labor. they started sourcing their own church servants by pumping pthumerians from the labyrinth with blood, dressing them in doctor uniforms, and kicking them into the street. the ones walking around the cathedral ward look much more hydrated and cleaned up compared to their peers in the labyrinth, but they’re still a little…wild. the church opted to just put bells on them so any yharnamite knows to run the other way, like a rat would with a belled cat.

this enemy type drops blue elixir, a strange goo that hunters can use to turn invisible (and, therefore, avoid enemies). but for the common folk (and pthumerians), the elixir “numbs the brain”. as for the origin of the goo, consider this: the celestial minions in isz gravestone (and ONLY the minions in isz, not the over-world!) have a chance of dropping blue elixir. you can buy elixir from the hunter’s dream once you obtain the choir related “cosmic eye watcher” badge.

there are other places to get it too.


and time passed. god knows how long. long enough that the remaining old hunters have turned grey with age. gehrman has been aging this whole time into a withered old bitch. more people died. coffins began to pile up in the streets. it has to smell so fucking bad in yharnam. between the blood and the dogs pooping wherever they please and all the dead things…AND it’s fake-victorian england so you’ve got the usual english odors mixed in there (open sewers, fish head pies, piss, tesco, etc). dreadful.

anyway, there’s something i’ve been keeping to myself until now that it’s time to talk about. let’s review what we know about the old blood, objectively:

incoagulable blood was found in the mysterious pthumerian labyrinths beneath byrgenwerth. this blood was used in medical treatments on a day to day basis and by hunters in the heat of the hunt. the effects were immediate, intoxicating, and addictive. there is a “substance in the blood that hardens” that results in the formation of coldblood, beast blood pellets, blood shards, blood gems, and pebbles. but why does the blood never dry?

the blood does not coagulate because it is not dead. it is animated by the collective strength of the willpower of its previous owners. this “will” (as its called in japanese, LastProtagonist describes them as “the unfulfilled hopes and desires of one who has passed away.”) of the slaughtered accumulates in one’s blood through the process of blood ministration or the blood spilling in the hunt; when you receive “old blood” you are also receiving the ancient will of the “blood echoes” of all the previous recipients as well.

hunters knew what blood echoes were, how to get them, and sought them viciously for strength. this is the in-universe explanation for why those assholes hit you and pick up your blood echoes. i mean, it’s a gameplay thing too but like. they’re also being assholes.

Hunters sustained by the dream gain strength from Blood Echoes. They imbibe the blood with thoughts of reverence, indeed gratitude, for their victims.

remember when i suggested that the “holy medium” the byrgenwerth students found was ritual blood in part 1? the deeper you go into the labyrinth, the stronger the ritual blood becomes. this is communicated by its visual transformation in the item art: it bubbles with life and slowly forms itself into one and a half pthumerian-esque skulls.

When all is melted in blood, all is reborn.

a hunter’s spilled blood becomes part of an unfathomably old collective collective consciousness united in death and used to “embolden [the hunter’s] sickly spirit”, as a old friend would say. but blood echoes are not simply limited to the wet blood in your veins. don’t forget about the animated bones of the darkbeasts, or the powers inherent in a blood gem, or the art of quick-stepping hidden in the bone of an old hunter? what about…ah. well.

just keep it in mind.

then, one day, a foreigner arrived.

Perhaps its wearer had to stay out of sight, and travel by cover of darkness.

It is said, after all, the traveler came to Yharnam from afar.

Without memory, who will ever know?

and that foreigner…was you!

one way the fromsoft team has historically tried to tie plot threads together is by using color to indicate connections that are otherwise not outright stated for the audience. sometimes, these connections are so obtuse that its not until the game is datamined that it becomes clear what the fuck the color was even trying to communicate. trying to track colors and their usage in bloodborne is a huge pain in the ass. i’ve done my best to pick out some that stick out in my mind significant either for their ubiquitous nature or how annoying/weird they are.

let’s look at these beautiful colors together…be a rainbow shrimp with me…


crazy to imagine, but the game called “blood”borne has a lot of reds in it. let’s check ’em out.

arcane curse red

i have yet to discuss the properties of blood in yharnam that lead to the creation of arcane curse. it does arcane damage just like the blue version, but it’s red. found only in castle cainhurst and associated items.


arcane magic red

counterpart to arcane magic blue, but not associated with castle cainhurst. the hues here are more inconsistent and i’m wobbly about including the witch of hemwick’s AOE attack.


frenzy red

a handful of church doctors outside of amelia’s boss room have a stick shaped like the hunter’s mark. if they poke you with it, you get your first taste of the frenzy status effect. you won’t like it. while ebrietas is not the source of the healing church’s blood supply, she DOES spit frenzy inducing blood. she might supply them with their frenzy stick….aura.


rapid poison red

it’s the “bleed” status from dark souls and also the frenzy status from this game, but weaker. when your rapid poison bar fills up, you lose a percentage of your health. rapid poison is associated with pthumerian corpses or vileblood.


confederate summon red

spots where you summon allies for boss rights typically have an orangish hue to help them stand out from lanterns. however, if you are wearing your “impurity” rune, you can summon your confederates from the league to help you out! their color is red.


sinister bell red

when a “sinister” type bell is rung by the bell ringing woman, it summons either an enemy hunter (in online play) or a weird red construct that resembles a mob type enemy. ahhh its so sinister. the image on the right is giving bloodborne veterans heart palpitations from rage/terror.


blood red

it’s blood and it’s red. some blood isn’t red. vile/old/beast blood is. the blood of great ones is red. most of the blood is red.


red eye buff

there are two kinds of red eye buffs. one is to signal that the enemy will drop a vermin after death. the other is to let the player know that this enemy is stronger than the others. it might have super armor or the power to buff other enemies’ attacks.


rally potential red

you’re going to have to trust me and this youtube guy when we say this is what this does because i can’t find proof of this shit anywhere outside of hacked chalice dungeons (?). this extremely rare aura on this enemy means they can rally their health back the way the hunter can. i had seen this called “vampirism” before when it was misunderstood to be them stealing your health and not using the rally mechanic.


one thing to keep in mind when looking at all of these reds and oranges is that these colors were likely chosen so that they would stick out against the dark blues and purples of the environments. what we’re looking for is mostly visual consistency in HOW these colors are used to tie threads together.


you know what fire is.


the orange light of fucking get you

for whatever reason, the brain of mensis emits a bright orange light when you’re in its line of sight. this might just be a case of a nice color to contrast the purples of the nightmare.


ashen blood orange

the bloodletting beast has a unique blood color that’s really only noticeable in good light. very rusty! all the other beast blood is dark. nothing like this at all. diarrhea blood lol


summon me orange

the average, non-unique summon spot color. seems to be orange so you can differentiate it from the purple glow of lanterns from afar.


summon you orange

the strange teleportation bath in yahar’gul has a color very similar to the orange of the summon spots. this is another instance of a color that appears once. but the connection is similar enough i should mention it. and yet…different enough…who knows.


healing church orange

the beasts associated with the healing church can do an unusual move to restore their HP or to mend the limbs you “break” (allowing you to break them again for another big hit). amelia’s animation makes it the most clear that it’s an act of prayer. the bloodletting beast seems to be huffing something up off the ground. blood? its always blood, lets just say its blood.



probably the second most consequential color in the game. where red indicates the presence of beasts and blood, blue will signal the arcane and cosmic.

arcane magic blue

the counterpart to red arcane magic. still does arcane damage. the difference is aesthetic/plot/origin.


cosmic blue

this overlaps a lot with arcane magic blue. the only real distinction is that the blue color comes from specific cosmic entities, like exploding stars or meteors. as you can see the best strategy is running and screaming.


madman wallar blue

in order to communicate to the player that you can summon wallar in addition to another companion of your choosing, his summon sign is a bizarre take on the arcane blue. it’s unique to him. they should name the pantone after him.


bolt blue

the famous blue sparks from loran that captivated archibald. likely a result from the dry, desert air. kin hate this shit. zzzzzap!


fuck your entire life blue

the colors are similar enough to lump them together and they’re both equally bullshit in different ways. there’s a few enemies with this specific, weird, ring of binding magic. it’s tremendously annoying and comes from a variety of sources, such as a spell being cast or a baby crying. seems to be pthumerian in origin. brainsuckers love to use this from 500 ft away, and then takes his sweet ass time running up on you before subjecting you to a 30 second animation you will feel every single second of.

the other is the very rare, very stupid chalice dungeon warp trap.


been here blue

messengers in the chalice dungeons (and in the nightmare frontier, oddly enough) will light their little lantern after you enter a room to let you know you’ve been this way. thanks fellas.

my theory is that the ones you find in the nightmare frontier were removed from the loran labyrinth during the school of mensis’ exploration of both areas. it’s very easy to get lost in the nightmare, it makes sense why they’d want to use this free tech they were familiar with.


elixir blue

while the celestial emissary bosses do not drop blue elixir, their mob counterparts do in the chalice dungeons. the blue-eyed werewolves from the orphanage (where the celestial emissary boss is located) also have a small chance of dropping the mysterious “blue elixir”.


what if it was purple!!!!

slow poison purple

try to avoid breathing this in if you can. fart gas.


lantern purple

a mysterious color. and not the only lantern to shine with it; the church servants carry one around that looks like it came from the labyrinth. not sure what to make of it, to be honest.


blood echo purple

enemy eyes will glow purple to indicate if they’ve picked up your blood echoes, requiring you to defeat them to get them back. this is nearly the same purple from the lanterns. weird!


cosmic purple

ludwig’s pals from back in the day were given an unusual fate in the hunter’s nightmare. since they were all tomb prospectors, i think its fair to assume they picked some weird shit up down there. however, they glow and use magic with a unique purple color that rings like a bell. i assume all this shit was done specifically to annoy me personally because of how little it matches anything else.



black, white, and everything in between. so, uh, gray.

nightmare mist black


lmfao sorry for how itty-bitty the pic in the middle is. that’s the messenger’s gift in action, which is the item that defines what this stuff is. you’ll see it when attacking mergo’s wet nurse in lieu of blood (indicating she is a construct of the nightmare, evidently) and when you travel via a headstone.

white laser of explode now


corpse fire white

appears only in yahar’gul after the blood moon rises. inexplicably rings like a bell when you get close. your guess is as good as mine.


“it’s not cum” white

its spit. arcane spit.


kin blood grey

its hard to see this shit spewing out while the hunter is in the middle of trying to squish this bug, but its that murky shit in the center of the frame. possibly mercury? possibly not.



for the stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

moonbeam green

this is the only green of significance i know of in the entire game. a long running reference to the unique seafoam hue this sword has in every fromsoft game.


fucked up fire blue

i could not even BEGIN to try to tell you what the fuck this is. it only appears when you have 15 or more insight, like the eyeballs on the lanterns these guys use. there’s only two of these guys in the game and this fire appears nowhere else. the fuck!


bell-ringing buff red/bell-ringing attack purple

the red robed bell-ringing pthumerian women from the one reborn fight will buff him over and over unless you take them out first. they’re the only ones with this ability and i have no idea what they’re doing. conversely, the chalice dungeon versions have a weird purple AOE that iirc drains your health. these are unique. i dont know why they do that.


what the fuck red

when the snatcher/kidnapper enemies are at 75% health, they will suddenly stop, scream like a velociraptor, glow red, and then start kicking the shit out of you 3x as hard and fast. i don’t know. its scary.

the pale moon changed.

yharnam changed.

something was happening in old yharnam. something predictable, yet shocking.

[…] the baffling sickness that ravaged Old Yharnam long ago

These tablets only provide short-term relief. The ashen blood ailment eventually triggered the spread of the beastly scourge.

alternative translation from LastProtagonist:

A mysterious ailment once *plagued the old town (Old Yharnam)

with an interesting translation note:

*Plagued is taken from 蝕んだ – Which literally means worm-eaten in one sense. (Other definitions of the term include spoiled, rotten, eat into, destroy.)

perhaps ashen blood is not a disease spread by bacteria, but the result of a parasite infesting a host. don’t forget: the augurs of the great ones are invertebrates. until now we have only been considering the mainstream snails, slugs, and kos parasites. but there are other invertebrates as well…maggots, vermin, amoebas…

As it was, clerics transformed into the most hideous beasts.

the church had made one notable discovery during their various stupid scientific inquiries: the ghastliness of one’s beast-hood had some correlation to how much the afflicted embraced their fate. their attempts to just roll with becoming beasts failed and in the process they discovered a rune they then immediately deemed forbidden: beast’s embrace.

After the repeated experiments in controlling the scourge of beasts, the gentle “Embrace” rune was discovered.

When its implementation failed, the “Embrace” became a forbidden rune, but this knowledge became a foundation of the Healing Church.

alternative translation from LastProtagonist:

Knowledge of it has certainly become (a/the) cornerstone of the Healing Church.

the church was well aware of the seductive power of the blood. and they were terrified of it. there’s an old healing church prayer you can hear a handful of church members recite that acknowledges the temptation of beasthood.

Seek the old blood.
Let us pray… let us wish… to partake in communion.
Let us partake in communion… and feast upon the old blood.
Our thirst for blood satiates us, soothes our fears.
Seek the old blood… but beware the frailty of men.
Their wills are weak, minds young.
The foul beasts will dangle nectar and lure the meek into the depths.
Remain wary of the frailty of men.
Their wills are weak, minds young.
Were it not for fear, death would go unlamented.

yet, in the end, laurence, the first vicar became a beast. the hunter can gain the beast’s embrace rune by defeating his eternally burning beastly form trapped in the hunter’s nightmare.

ugggh alright. let’s talk about laurence. i’ve been dreading this because i hate this part of the lore being so overtly WRONG.

here’s the thing: fromsoft changed its mind after the fact for some reason. this is the least i’ve understood a creative decision in my life. i’m mad online about it. for a lot of reasons.

here are the facts of the case, your honor:

  1. objectively: laurence is a cleric beast:
    1. there is a fight with “laurence, the first vicar” in the dlc
      1. the first optional boss encounter in the base game is the “cleric beast”.
      2. the cleric beast drops the “sword hunter badge”, which explains that healing church clerics were often also hunters under ludwig’s tutelage and transformed into the worst beasts.
      3. laurence is a high ranking member of the church
      4. the laurence we fight has the literal exact same model as the cleric beast but on fire.
      5. the skull you use to initiate the fight is “laurence’s skull” with the item description: “Skull of Laurence, first vicar of the Healing Church. In reality he became the first cleric beast, and his human skull only exists within the Nightmare.”
larry the worst vicar cleric beast

pretty fucking definitive right?


remember the incredibly long and drawn out exploration of the chalice dungeons i’ve been dragging us through this whole time? prior to the burning of old yharnam, i think it’s reasonable to assume that the church tomb prospectors wrapped their exploration, but we are going to put the details aside until we experience them as the hunter; the church doesn’t stop fucking around down there for a long while. the fact that the hunter can encounter boss monsters that have been mutilated by the healing church in the past strongly suggests that hunter is not experiencing some kind of time displaced version of the chalice dungeons. they are simply empty because they are dying and there are no hunters or prospectors left to explore them. as above, so below.

the dead children collected from loran unsealed a cursed and defiled wing of the labyrinth (we’ll get back to the contents of this area later) which in turn revealed the truly final chalice dungeon: great pthumeru ihyll, the pthumerian capital. the bosses of this area (again, more later) include two pthumerians. but, by the time the hunter arrives, there’s a new addition to the boss roster: a bloodletting beast with no head. remember the headed one? it’s blind and cut nearly in half? the headless one reveals that it’s being puppeteered by massive, rapid poison spewing vermin resembling maggots.

so no head? [smashes cell phone on the ground]

the thing is: we know where the head is. the skull is sitting in the grand cathedral of the healing church being worshiped as a holy relic. before the hunter touches it to progress the plot, it glows arcane-ly through the massive gash in it’s head.

now…compare the locations of the gashes on the beast and the skull! my unfounded theory is that the church really did think they killed the bloodletting beasts. they didn’t get back up and start moving around until later either because of the undead blood or the worms.

now, my point is: this skull is laurence.

  1. objectively, laurence is the headless bloodletting beast:
    1. the skull is of the bloodletting beast or, as its known in japan “the host of the beast blood” [looks at u meaningfully]
    2. the skull is located in the grand cathedral, which is not accessible to the public after the events in old yharnam. it is the centerpiece of a reliquary dedicated to it.
    3. a note we can read on the way to slap his bald head invites all members of the church to “Place your hand on the altar’s sacred covering, and inscribe Master Laurence’s adage upon your flesh”.
    4. touching the skull plays a cutscene of laurence leaving byrgenwerth (your character is experiencing something similar to what happens when they crush a skull with a madman’s knowledge or great one’s wisdom).
    5. this teaches you the adage that laurence learned from willem: fear the old blood.
    6. in the dlc, the one of the nightmare versions of the grand cathedral has the same reliquary, but instead the skull on the altar is laurence’s HUMAN skull

SO??? WHICH IS IT FROMSOFT??? again, i don’t subscribe to the idea of projected consciousnesses in bloodborne (outside of micolash, a special case), there is no reason why laurence would be the only character in the entire game whose soul was separated from his body and made in to a terrible boss fight. and that’s really the kicker of all this shit: the laurence fight is godawful. the cleric beast is not a particularly fun or memorable fight and i don’t think anyone was clamoring for an encore. you have to fight the stupid cleric beast a quadrillion times every time you start a new game plus (its optional sure, but you need the EXP) and lighting the fucker on fire makes it so, so much worse. at the halfway point, laurence splits in two and starts crawling around shitting and farting all over the place and puking on your shoes. you can’t regain your health via the rally mechanic reliably because fire does multiple tics of damage, which sets the meter to 0 gains before you have a chance to get close enough to attack him.

it didn’t have to be this way. laurence a flambe is not in the fucking artbook. there’s no trace of the fucker at all. he was a last minute addition for reasons i will never be able to understand. someone at fromsoft felt really strongly about the fact that they might release a game that doesn’t have a tedious lava section and course corrected before the game could ship.

why laurence is NOT the burning cleric beast:

  1. his absence in the art book and existence prior to the DLC in the form of the skull on the altar makes his dlc appearance superfluous
  2. giving him the generic cleric beast design fails to differentiate a major contributor to the current crisis in yharnam to the player
  3. boss music not that good
  4. the fight is like trying to shoo a bat out of your house with a blanket
  5. optional fight underplays character’s narrative purpose
  6. yells too much

why laurence is NOT the headless bloodletting beast:

  1. the perspective in the cut-scene with willem is not laurence’s; you see his form briefly from afar1 so whatever is viewing him is doing so from a bunch of different angles
  2. how’d they get his ass down there.
  3. the shape of the skull on the altar doesnt match the face shape of the bloodletting beast with the head.
  4. there’s already a boss named “laurence, the first vicar” and its not this one

i hate fire laurence. i am on the bloodletting beast team here but both are, annoyingly, correct. they just openly contradict each other. pick one or both or neither and let’s move on. if we assume the laurence in the DLC is the real one, then the flames would imply that he died during the burning of old yharnam.

but how was laurence killed?

an experimental workshop of good repute, the powder kegs, (and their forefathers the oto workshop) built an armory of weapons that boomed, burned, slammed, crushed, and operated under a very simple mantra: “if a weapon ain’t got kick, it just ain’t worth it“. old yharnam, under siege by it’s rapidly transforming population, was now the under the purview of the powder kegs.

or, it would have been, were it not for the ideological freaks amongst them. djura was a famous old hunter whose reputation was such that the iconic stock standard hunter’s tri-corner hat was based on his own. he was described in his own hat description as “uncommonly kind and dreadfully foolish”. djura, bless his heart, could not separate the beasts from the people they had once been. what was happening to old yharnam was too much for him to take.

the healing church commanded that old yharnam be burned to the ground in a last ditch effort to contain the spread of ashen blood, but at that point they were asking too much. djura and his allies refused to continue to participate in any more of the slaughter. to drive the point home, they went as far as to renounce their hunter’s vows. which meant no more dreaming, no more reawakening, no more growing stronger. he broke his contract with the moon. no more endless life for you, boy!

the powder kegs appeared to have participated to some extent in the burning of old yharnam, but it’s not clear when they turned against the church. it’s unknown if they retaliated against the church in the heat (lol) of the moment. what we do know, is that the powder kegs began to espouse an extremely heretical point of view: what if being a beast wasn’t the worst thing that could happen? the unique beast man who drops the firing hammer badge from the oto workshop is using the beast’s embrace rune and irreverent izzy’s forbidden masterpiece, the beast claw. a strange contradiction: the more one fights their inner beast, the more warped and twisted they become. by contrast, the bestial hunter’s face is remarkably human and resembles a midpoint between the average hunter and the disarmingly human abhorrent beast.

alternative, more clear translation from LastProtagonist:

The red moon is close, the town is nothing but beasts. There’s no end. It’s all too late now. Must it all burn?

djura keeps watch over the old yharnam from the top of its bell tower now. the church left djura and the other traitors to their fate, locking the door behind them, and covered the entrance to old yharnam with a concrete slab statue in a church of no importance off the beaten path. old yharnam is abandoned, yet years later, still burns eerily. djura and his allies wear hunter’s gear that repels flame, either by ash (perhaps replicating an old ash ceremony2 from the labyrinth) or by capes made permanently damp by the undying beast blood.

this shit baffled me for a long time. like how can old yharnam still be on fire when we get there if this happened a million years ago?? but remember the slugs the fishing village was using as oil from part 2? personally, i could buy that magic slug oil takes much longer to burn. i mean, all fire in bloodborne is magical and eternal. the labyrinths should be dark as shit but only some rooms are. the most still have candles and torches that work. the fire is magical. sure. ok. its not like this is the first or last time fromsoft would make up a plot beat about a fire that never burns out.

if the yharnam hunters refused to kill their compatriots (laurence included), then someone else with the stomach for it would have to do it. someone untethered by emotional connection. a real weird fucked up guy.

a hunter of hunters.

brador, strongly implied to be the first hunter of hunters and assassin of the healing church, came from a far away foreign land. but not just ANY foreign land; brador is from the same homeland as both the hunter AND father gascoigne (a famous old hunter who makes it out the other end of tonight’s mess). his vest is a recolored version of the clothes your hunter arrives in. you can tell which one is brador’s because it looks like he just got done talking to you about huey louis and the news.

his arm bands are just a recolored version of gascoigne’s! according to gascoigne’s garb description, “‘Father’ is a title used for clerics in a foreign land, and there is no such rank in the Healing Church”.

brador, on the other hand, was no holy man, even if he is technically a member of the healing church3. in fact, he showed up wielding something that i feel like more people should have been confused and alarmed about: the bloodletter, a transforming mace in the shape of the hunter’s rune. literally what the fuck is that. did the church give it to him? did he bring it from home? where the fuck did it come from?? for the player, the bloodletter is to the bloodtinge build what the holy moonlight sword is to arcane builds. its intended to fill a missing weapon niche. but in lore….fuck man. when you use it transform it, you stab yourself in the chest with it which “expel[s] tainted blood”, turning it into a mace made of a huge chunk of blood with frenzy spikes4 coming out of it. it’s like a truly ugly and twisted version of the vileblood chikage weapon.

the antlers are not perfectly exact but they are approximate enough to say with certainty that brador killed a cleric beast, presumably laurence.

Brador donned a compatriot’s beastly scalp and hide while still moist with blood. Most of the blood stains on this hide were from that day.

NO, I DON’T KNOW HOW BRADOR COULD HAVE SCALPED LAURENCE IF LAURENCE STILL HAS HIS HEAD IN THE DLC. IT MAKES NO SENSE. but why else would i care if brador killed some random cleric guy unless it was an important cleric guy. why else would the church wind up trusting him with a monumental task later? but brador buddy, do you know how many freaky monsters i’ve fought by the time i’ve found you. i’m not impressed by your little cleric beast cosplay. grow up bitch!

ludwig was also doing not so good.

a popular theory (that i love) suggests that ludwig fought beasts on horseback during the original hunts. and because of that, ludwig has a…REALLY unique appearance when compared to the other cleric beasts. these images have been edited for clarity. i’ve done my best to label his unorthodox features. under the same principles that lead to the fused body monstrosities in the late base game, ludwig melted into his horse.

When all is melted in blood, all is reborn.

ludwig too became prisoner of the hunter’s nightmare. goodbye ludwig. see you when the hunter catches up to you.

story time!

Once upon a time a troupe of foreign constables chased a beast all the way to Yharnam, and this is what they wore.

The constables became victims of the beast, except for one survivor, who in turn devoured the creature whole, all by himself.

moral: there was a hungry man. he was so hungry everyone died. the end.

1. they just used micolash as a stand in for laurence in that cutscene, which is pretty funny. for a character that has existed in every draft of the game, laurence has never been given a physical appearance that wasn’t beast mode, as far as i know.

2. dont think too hard about the bone ash set. its just a dark souls reference lol. like how the yamamura set turned out to be a wink to sekiro’s development

3. i literally don’t know why they bothered to equip him with it because he won’t use it under any conditions, but brador carries ludwig’s rifle, a church weapon.

4. “frenzy spikes” are physical spears of blood that occur as the hunter is taking frenzy damage. the shoot out of the hunter’s skin and retreat if the frenzy meter subsides. they are literal, physical things. you’ll stumble upon corpses in the late game who have them protruding out of them every which way. typically, unlike the bloodletter versions, they are sort of crystalline in structure, like a snowflake

alright, this section contains the most “outside” information i am willing to drag into a plot analysis of a video game about werewolves that has its own internal scientific/magical logic. i am always hesitant to draw conclusions based on real world fiction and facts for this fantasy horror video game for a few reasons, but primarily its because the human brain has an incredible imaginative ability to see patterns where there are none. chasing this instinct with wanton abandon will quickly cause you to lose sight of whatever point you were making in the first place until you’re just writing paragraphs about how this thing is kinda like this other thing. so what? why would that outside information matter in this context?

that’s the line i’m trying to walk here: the real world qualities of chemical elements might have some subtle impact on the world of yharnam that is not explicitly spelled out for the player in item descriptions. this is because your character would not know this either.

i’m sure you can intuit by now that things were starting to get pretty fucked up as several calamities started hurtling toward each other. the healing church had no interest in the hunts as acts of bloodshed, sport, or as a catalyst for transformation like those other freaks. the gloves used by the healing church doctors explains that the church only “engages in the hunt in a medical capacity”‘; when the church got involved in the hunt it was for hygienic purposes, not for funsies. beasthood was a truly dreadful fate, and the clerics who were under ludwig’s’ command were, unbeknownst to them, at risk of the most gruesome transformations of all.

but until then, swag life

with the hunts becoming more and more regular in occurrence, superstitions and rumors were running rampant about the beast scourge.

Old Hunter gauntlets made of brass to protect their weapon-bearing hands.

At the time, some hunters believed that certain metals would guard off beast blood.

On a night of the hunt, it is no wonder that some resort to superstition.

old hunter trousers:

A widespread belief of the period was that “beast blood crept up the right leg”, and this led to the double-wrapped belt.

(that’s the leg you inject your blood vials into)

old hunter arm bands:

Old hunter arm bands wound tightly to prevent infection with the scourge.

Of course, the idea that the scourge was infectious was pure hearsay.

oops. i guess they don’t know what germs are yet. but they’re on the right track in a weird way; some metals ARE antimicrobial, including copper and it’s alloy cousin brass. copper and its alloys are typically conflated with with yharnamites and hunters (see above). other antimicrobials, such as silver and gold, (like the ardeo, the thread in the surgical long gloves, or the cainhurst armor) were employed by the healing church and cainhurst to “repel” beast blood. silver was also used in the church’s righteous damage weapons1 like ludwig’s holy blade (a mundane mass market replica of the holy moonlight sword for church hunters) and the kirkhammer.

another antimicrobial is mercury, or as its known colloquially, quicksilver. if you’re of a certain age, you were instructed by one or more adults at some point not to break open a thermometer and play with the badass silver liquid inside because it makes you die horribly. unlike the aforementioned elements, iron (found in armors associated with the school of mensis) doesn’t melt when in contact with mercury(external link). look, its all very simple. like pokemon. mercury defeats silver and silver defeats dog and dog defeats guy wearing a big stupid iron hat and mr. hell-in-a-cell defeats mercury.

don’t take this too seriously. the information that actually matters is that they accidentally stumbled upon ways to protect themselves from a contagious disease and formed weapons and armors that worked for reasons they didn’t understand. in time, they would come to use another very reliable means of sterilization as a proactive means of disease control: fire.

a popular theory in bloodborne lore discussions argues that grey kin blood is composed of mercury. i was quick to dismiss this at first, but it seems like it has a lot of legs. there are select enemies that drop quicksilver bullets, which are made from only two ingredients: your blood and mercury. its not surprising that enemies with firearms such as the huntsmen would drop them, but things start to get weird when the drops start to come from the ghastly pale church servants (seen below in the doctor uniforms). maybe some of them just have a few in their pockets for safekeeping? some of them use guns after all. in fact, many of the enemies on the list have quicksilver bullets due to how the game code handles projectiles.

but the drop rates on kin enemies is noticeably higher, and no kin wield guns. the slime scholars, the garden of eyes, brainsuckers, and celestial emissaries drop quicksilver bullets. isz gravestone is absolutely drowning in the damn things. the kos worshiping snail people, the nightmare apostles (those are the giant spiders; the ones with human heads drop twice as many bullets), winter lanterns, and the merciless watchers of the pthumerian labyrinths, while not kin, clearly share more visual overlap with kin than their other pthumerian brethren. like, the merciless watchers are inexplicably robin’s egg blue instead of white. i would agree with the general consensus that there seems to be a direct connection between one’s degree of kinship and the amount of quicksilver in their blood.

there are a few other oddball enemies. first, the labyrinth madmen (the super scary guys who scream at you) drop a shit ton of bullets, they are also…beasts. they take beast type damage unlike other pthumerians. this might seems strange until you look closely; the labyrinth madman have clawed toes, fangs, and clawed hands but few other easily visible markers of beasthood. there are VERY few beasts in the pthumeru labyrinth and of the few that remain, they feel almost cultivated for a purpose.

so here’s the theory: given the healing church’s history of using live subjects for experiments and celebrating the gruesome demise with sainthood, these “saints” from the sage’s hair and wrist item descriptions read like failed attempts to prevent the outbreak by using quicksilver injections. evidently, the beast plague was unable to take full hold in pthumeru due to the presence of mercury in the blood of the pthumerians. but those who WERE infected were only barely transformed. the church sought to work off of this information but were apparently willing to ignore a critical symptom of mercury poisoning: you get twitchy and weird. like a (labyrinth) “madman”. “mad as a hatter” as they say. man, there should be more evil hat guys in this game. huge missed opportunity.

the other weirdos are the two variants of the clockwork patients: the ones with the infected arms (due to being injected over and over with something…hm!) and the crawling ones, who have the dubious honor of having successfully grown eyes on the inside, as demonstrated in the art book. other patients don’t! just a smidgen of kin in these guys.

in conclusion: i don’t know. i forgot if this had a point. but you read it anyway, sucker!

oh wait, hold on. i remember now lol. the hunter has a mechanic where they’ll draw their own blood in order to generate 5 “blood bullets” if you’re in a bullet emergency. the only difference between a quicksilver bullet and a blood bullet is the name and where you get it. what the fuck did that old man put in us at the beginning?? is mercury the “tinge” of “bloodtinge”?

the appearance of ashen blood wasn’t really helping things either. old yharnam (which is right next to where the school of mensis conducts its research in yahar’gul, where they would have been experimenting in and around loran, home of exotic diseases) was getting it the worst. in response, healing church doctors were split into two categories and sent into the communities with specific instructions. black healing church doctors were used as…preventative measures, and were the most prolific. ignore the pthumerian look of these guys for now, we’ll get there.

Attire of Healing Church hunters. The Holy Shawl2, symbol of the Healing Church, flutters proudly on their backs.

Most Healing Church hunters are elementary doctors who understand the importance of early prevention of the scourge. Achieved by disposing of victims, and even potential victims, before signs of sickness manifest themselves.

Their black attire is synonymous with fear, and that peculiar Yharnam madness.

we gotta read between the lines on these and do some lateral thinking. in the same little back alley where we find the black church clothing set, we find a bunch of poison knives which are “often used for self-defense by special doctors in the Healing Church”. this class of doctor know that the best cure for a sickness is to prevent it from happening in the first place. one way to achieve that is by killing people both suffering from the scourge and those uh, made too much noise about the outbreak.

given how you find quite a few black church doctor garbed corpses all over yharnam (and i do mean, “all over”), i think its safe to assume that these guys were not popular among the masses and were met with resistance from the well armed and riled up townsfolk.

the next tier were the white church doctors, described as “specialists in experimentally-backed blood ministration and the scourge of the beast”. remember: these are the same people who came from byrgenwerth, a school that was putting slugs in its head to obtain “more eyes” to become smarter (??). in fact, the white church set can be found between the grand cathedral and byrgenwerth in the now forbidden woods. the woods became host to a small, incredibly shitty village where the eccentric locals would conduct “forbidden research” (in the forbidden woods…double forbidden), a phrase that would get you placed on a watch list in the real world. the vibes of this place are fucked, we’ll talk about it more when we get to it during the course of the hunter’s journey. just keep in mind that these doctors were doing beast-based experiments with an unusual mindset:

They believe that medicine is not a means of treatment but rather a method for research, and that some knowledge can only be obtained by exposing oneself to sickness.

that sounds kind of bad actually. i don’t think you’re supposed to do that.

there was also a secret agent class of the church stalking the streets of yharnam, disguised as beggars. the first stages of the disease would cause the pupil to collapse, revealing one’s state of “blood-drunkenness” to the world. not only did they make them targets to the church, but blood-drunk hunters had a tendency to…disappear mysteriously. to obfuscate this from nosy church doctors and as part of their continued superstitious practices, yharnamite hunters began to wear bandages covering their eyes to the point where it became a societal norm. check out the statues around central yharnam and the cathedral ward: most of the statues are depictions of people with their eyes covered by hoods or bandages. and so, in turn, these secret church hunters would don these coverings and go do evil assassin shit.

These hunters are keen to early signs of the scourge, serving as a first line of defense against its outbreak. Or perhaps, when the time is ripe, they find signs of the scourge where there are none

as long as you have even just a few eyes on the inside you can still see just fine with your eyes covered, or at least your hunter doesn’t struggle with it. cloth bandages are nothing; master willem and the choir students have no problem seeing with their eyes covered with solid gold.

so here’s the rundown:


HEALING CHURCH: in trouble

YHARNAM: weird


WOODS: forbidden

BYRGENWERTH: unknown, presumed fucked

CAINHURST: ransacked

HEMWICK LANE: not important right now

LORAN: ailing

ISZ: dead

PTHUMERU: nearly explored

THE CHOIR: sluggish

MENSIS: mental

EBRIETAS: lonely

things became so shitty so fast. and it’s not like they weren’t trying to fix things. they were just incredibly unethically sound while doing so. whats a little human experimentation between friends. the good news is that when you hit rock bottom there’s nowhere for you to go but up.

1. see: the section on logarius

2. the shawl’s importance is that it will appear in all attire related to the church. weirdly, there’s one outfit we can’t get that i don’t even think was programmed or made at all: ludwig’s hunter outfit. its a cross between the executioner garb and tomb prospector garb. he and the giant squid hunters in the hunter’s nightmare wear them. it’s grey.