using the key dropped by gascoigne and activating the cutscene into the next area triggers the progression of time. it’s very subtle, but the sky drops into a deep orange twilight. the time zone page on bloodborne-wiki demonstrates it perfectly.
lore-wise this means nothing. game play-wise, it means a bunch of flags were just flicked on and it’s time to do some side quests. some of this stuff will have you going “well, how was i supposed to know that??!” and, well. you aren’t. if the game wants you to replay it over and over again as part of the intended game play experience (and it does. completing the chalice dungeons takes at LEAST a few runs in order to gain the materials and levels required; it took me 4), then they have to keep this shit at least a little fresh the first few times you play. you get rewarded/punished in different ways for backtracking, talking to people multiple times, how you help people and some items can only be obtained on repeat runs. what i’m saying is, don’t worry about it. play the game once without a guide so you can get really confused and pissed off about what you just did. THEN you can play with a guide, and subsequently realize you missed 45% of the game’s content entirely.
the cutscene that activates the change is unremarkable, and exists to hide the map loading lol
you probably noticed the guy oozing around on the right. oedon chapel serves as your waking world safe-room and this fellow is your gracious host. you are very unlikely to know this at first and will be alarmed at his off-putting appearance. but the oedon chapel dweller is a good fellow. just look at that smile!
the chapel dweller is a blind pthumerian, as we can see from the black nails, gaping mouth, and ridiculous proportions. this is never explicitly stated, so it’s in italics but…look at ‘im. like other pthumerians we will meet from the chalice dungeons, he is draped in red and wears an incense pot around his neck. he has some of the same fashion sensibilities as the labyrinth ritekeepers, including the short stature as a consequence of having non-functioning legs. he has them. they’re just non-operational. same with his eyes. if you’re a huge fucking JERK, you can hit him once and he will “give” you a pebble (you knocked his eye out lol). but don’t hit the poor lad. he’s just trying to do his job. or something. i don’t really know what he’s doing here. people just assumed he lived here. he could just be taking shelter here as well. because its really weird for a pthumerian to be just hanging around in yharnam right? i’ll spoil this for you now: you will not meet another truly friendly, true pthumerian. there are other (unfriendly) pthumerians emerging from the chalice dungeons later tonight (spoilers!!!) also draped in red. did he come with them? who knows. we know from his comically sad dialog1 that no one prior to us liked him or believed in him, including his mother.
at one point in development, the chapel dweller would have turned on you during the blood moon and would start trying to kill all the npcs you gathered at the chapel lol. a enemy mob version of him called “demon’s fanatic” would have appeared in the pthumeru chalice dungeons alongside what is now known as the “hunting dog” (“beast of fanatic” in the file names). the spikes in the dogs make more sense aesthetically after finding out they were supposed to be paired with a guy with an equally spiky staff.
sorry for the blender UI. and the marilyn monroe pose.
this enemy version could do pthumerian fire magic and his spiked bat has spikes not unlike the spikes of the transformed bloodletter.
spikes are a very unusual feature in bloodborne weapons, even enemy weapons2. the bloodletter “is the only effective means of expelling gained blood” so let’s assume that the evil twin of the chapel dweller’s spikes serve the same purpose: bloodletting. the version that would have turned on you would have a direct interest in blood, as both he and the good twin will drop your first caryll rune of the game if you choose to brutally and heartlessly kill them: formless oedon. you should not do this, as he’s a fine chap who has done NOTHING to harm you…and you can always wait until right before you finish the game to dice him like an onion.
it’s easy to forget about oedon, of the chapel you’re currently occupying, because he literally only appears in two item descriptions and the name of two locations. and yet…if you look carefully or are completely insane…you might notice his presence seeping in where you least expect it.
let’s start with the stupid key that got you into this place, your first exposure to oedon’s name. the location where you fight gascoigne is the “tomb of oedon” and no, i don’t know why the fuck he has this key. like, literally i couldn’t even begin to guess. it’s not even the most confusing oedon and gascoigne connection in the game, somehow. the key says that the residents have all “gone mad” which seems narratively interesting until you read the translation, which is closer to “are unscrupulous”. it’s just another way to try to steer you away from trusting the chapel dweller. a n00b trap.
it’s made explicitly clear in translations that the tomb belongs to oedon and is NOT the tomb belonging to oedon chapel. however, clever players will notice a glaring problem with this tomb: there’s no tomb. a tomb is an enclosure for a corpse; it needs four walls and a roof. unless…there is no corpse to cover.
A secret symbol left by Caryll, runesmith of Byrgenwerth.
The Great One Oedon, lacking form, exists only in voice,
and is symbolised by this rune. Those who memorize it enjoy
a larger supply of Quicksilver Bullets.
Human or no, the oozing blood is a medium of the highest
grade, and the essence of the formless Great One, Oedon.
Both Oedon, and his inadvertent worshippers, surreptitiously
seek the precious blood.
huh. what. that’s so much shit that doesn’t mean anything to us. functionally, it draws quicksilver from your blood to create extra bullets, but what about the rest of it?
some absolute genius figured out the visual inspiration for the rune and thank god! because otherwise it just looks pennywise. it’s the blood moon as it descends above yahar’gul! we won’t see this until later, but we know it happened at least once in the past.
oedon has a strong association with the blood moon, so much so that this moment became tied into what little physical presence he has. this is probably the closest thing to a visual representation we have of the otherwise formless oedon. somehow the “formless” part trips people up. he is metaphorically formless in the same way that the incoagulable blood has no form and literally formless in that he has no body. he literally exists only in voice. keep this knowledge in your back pocket.
now, WE know who caryll is, even if a new player doesn’t. it’s strange that formless oedon is a “secret symbol”3 when there’s a chapel dedicated to oedon like. right here. out in the open. there are 5 versions of this rune (each one offers different bonuses. for example, formless oedon 1 gives you +1 quicksilver bullet, and so on) that increase in visual clarity with each level, and the runes associated with oedon are going to be uncommonly bloody in appearance. i’ll spoil two of these rune’s locations because we are not going to organically encounter them without online play: level 2 and 5 are in the lowest levels of the pthumeru chalice dungeons4 within special treasure areas where you plunder fancy coffins containing a mummified pthumerian corpse.
wait, where was i. oh yeah, chapel dweller.
“…Hmm? Oh… you must be… a hunter. Very sorry, the incense must’ve masked your scent.”
you’re stinky, but that’s good for the blind chapel dweller who can smell you coming and going. he has a simple request for you: if you find any sane people left in yharnam, tell them there’s shelter from the beasts at oedon chapel. sure thing, boss. let’s turn around and head back to central yharnam first to weigh our options. if you head back to doctor iosekfa from the very start of the game, she has an interesting proposal:
…Oh, well, hello…
Splendid. Let me ask you a small kindness.
You’re soon off to hunt, I presume?
Then, if you find any survivors…
Tell them to seek Iosefka’s Clinic.
Upon my Hippocratic oath, if they are yet human, I will look after them, perhaps even cure them.
This sickness, these beasts, they are not to be feared.
This time the night is long. I may be trapped here, but I should do something to help.
I’ll even offer a reward for your cooperation. Tempted?
Well, off you go, then.
i was debating to myself when to reveal this, but it seems like it was pretty obvious to everyone except me: the woman you’re talking to now is not the same woman as before; its a completely different voice. this character does not have a canon name, so we will refer to her as “fauxsefka”5 to differentiate her from the original. she’s exceedingly devious in this opening monologue, yet she never lies to you at any point. in fact, maybe she’s being a little too honest in hindsight. regardless, this fake iosefka doesn’t give out blood vials anymore. instead, when you send someone to her clinic, she will give you a little insight and some items.
now you can choose to send survivors to either oedon chapel or iosefka’s clinic. there are two characters you can attempt to direct to safety at this point, the old woman from earlier who bitched us out and gascoigne’s daughter. sending the old woman to oedon chapel nets you this charming thank you:
Do you think I owe you something? Well, that’s a fine lark. I’d say. This whole mess that Yharnam’s in, it’s all your fault, you fidgety outsiders! Our blood’s ruined, tainted by your ilk! Don’t you come near me! I know your type!
you’re WELCOME, you old bag. if you send her to fauxsefka, you’ll net a point of insight, some numbing mist6 and an assurance that the patient is doing quite well. good luck fixing your crooked-ass face, bitch!
if you return to the little girl in the window, you can and should lie to her about knowing what happened to her mother. otherwise, you lose the brooch this play-through AND her quest ends here; the game will look at you incredulously with its hands up like “you really told a little girl her mom was eaten by her dad?!” and frankly, its got a point. what’s wrong with you. instead, keep the brooch and tell her about oedon chapel. next time you reload the area and kill the pig in the sewer, it will drop a new item: the red messenger ribbon, a hat for your little friends.
Red ribbon that messengers are oddly fond of.
The thick, pungent red was drawn from the organs of some unfortunate victim.
A strange choice indeed, but perhaps for the messengers wearing this accessory constitutes a form of mourning.
swag. in retrospect, it was kind of unrealistic to expect a six year old to navigate the streets of yharnam on her own while its crawling with bloodthirsty universal horror monsters, but your hunter doesn’t seem too bothered by this outcome. git gud, kid.
OR you can send her to iosefka’s clinic to get some insight and lead elixirs7. but no swag. choose wisely…!
oh! and gilbert! sweet gilbert. he’s still hacking away in his little house. he gives you a flamethrower, which really would have come in handy during the previous two boss fights, but you can’t yell at him because he’s dying. you can’t tell him about shelters, because he doesn’t have the strength to leave his home.
“What inflicted me was incurable, but this town gave me hope…
Their strange blood bought me time.
I was most fortunate. Unharmed by the plague of beasts, I can even die human. *coughing*”
that’s the spirit. while we’re gallivanting around and headed back to oedon chapel, let’s take a moment to appreciate the statues of central yharnam and what they can teach us about yharnam culture. some of the statues in bloodborne are clearly plot and lore related; others are literally just replicas from various places in france. the yharnam ones are easy to find because they look demented instead of stately and royal8.
you know, when i graduated with an art degree i knew i wasn’t going to be using it to do anything of value but this is worse than i ever could have imagined.
anyway, the statues that appear to be original feature common themes: bandages, covered eyes, lamentations toward the sky, and bizarre proportions. gotta be honest, the artist carving this rock to look like fabric bunching up might be some kind of actual prodigy. that shit’s hard.
lol at that spout placement. note the messengers at the figure’s feet. throughout central yharnam, sculptures of messengers are used to hang lamps; evidently they are a common and familiar part of yharnam life. though the figure’s face is veiled (another recurring feature), their gaping mouth reveals that they are a pthumerian. take a closer look at their hands; at first glance it may appear that they are leaning on the lamp post, but a closer look reveals that the pthumerian IS the lamp post. it’s using both hands to support the iron fixture and the messengers are desperately propping them up.
pthumerians appear quite often in sculptures. these wailing pthumerian woman turn up frequently. a weird note on this sculpture: in this depiction, they still have hair.
as for the remaining statues in this area, i don’t have any brilliant insight as of yet. i still need more time to untangle what’s appropriated from real life and what’s wholly original.
good hunters…did you REALLY look at the sky? the directions gilbert gives you and careful observation will reveal that the brilliantly bright orb in the sky right now is not the sun setting, but the moon rising. however, that’s not the surprising thing. have you noticed how the moon lays…in front of the clouds?
1. dialogue after the death of all npcs: “I only wanted to help… Just once in my life… They told me it would never work… My mum always told me, everybody kept telling me… I should’ve know, I shoul’ve… Gods, please, I’m sorry, so sorry…”
2. the closest i could find was the pthumerian elder’s burning mace thing, which is similar to the bloodletter in that it’s a ball of spikes on a stick. but not really.
3. some of the UK translations differ from the US in notable ways, but one is that the US may have erroneously marked some caryll runes as secret when they should not be. this is not one of those runes.
4. the root chalices, anyway
5. both characters use the same character model. iosefka/fauxsefka is always actually behind the door when she’s talking to you.
6. unsure why this is the resulting gift she gives you for nearly every character. but i presume its unused anesthetic from whatever she did to them. or just shit that was lying around. there is a more supernatural connection between iosefka’s clinic and cainhurst beyond just the appearance of numbing mist but we’ll cover that when we return to the clinic from a different entrance.
7. i don’t know what to make of this! lead elixirs are already a very enigmatic and rare item. true to its item description, it “materializes only within the most desperate nightmares” such as the nightmare frontier, the nightmare of mensis, and the hunter’s nightmare. its only appearance in the waking world is in the immediate vicinity of a portal to the nightmare frontier. this kid…does? have a connection to the nightmare? dont worry about it for now.
8. i’m like 99% sure that the gryphons and spouts in central yharnam are gargoyles from notre dame.