stupid bitch that i am, i assumed that the lyrics to several bloodborne soundtrack songs that are widely available online were sourced from somewhere official. it turns out this is not true. what actually happened is that like 7 years ago, random people on gameFAQs attempted to listen to/transcribe the lyrics they heard and no one since has challenged these interpretations EXCEPT ONE PERSON who somehow did a worse job. we’re going to call one set of lyrics “FAQs lyrics” and the other “sheet music lyrics”.
here’s the problems with the FAQ lyrics:
they do not know latin and are trying to transcribe it.
they do not know latin pronunciation is different from modern english.
they did not know there is a difference between ecclesiastical latin (which is what these lyrics are in) and roman latin (classic? i dont care).
most of the words they heard are not even words that exist
the translations are completely different from the original text and seemingly retrofitted to force “lore” into creation.
i am pissed. this is some of the sloppiest dipshit work i’ve ever seen and the fact that it was apparently accomplished by committee is even more infuriating. at no point did people think to do .01 second searches to even check if what they wrote down is a word in any language or to check a translation source other than just dumping it into google translate. the intellectual laziness on behalf of the original creators is bad enough, but seeing them reposted in a million different places as the real lyrics because no one bothered to check is depressing.
i did “hail the nightmare” myself after what felt like an eternity of listening to a song that is not a banger over and over and over and piggy-backing off the original in an attempt to create something that i can say fairly certainly is the most accurate version (not THE accurate version). i took a look at “laurence the first vicar” last night and it’s. goddamn it guys lol. goddamn.
but the thing is, here’s my problem:
i also dont know latin
i have a degree in drawing and a minor in english. at best my spanish is 3/5.
i cant hear shit.
my methodology is probably exactly the same as theirs: listen over and over until you want to die and try to determine what noises a chorus is screaming in a different language. then write down those noises and shuffle them around to make words. i use latin dictionaries and good old google translate because apparently every translation service now that uses them. but it’s the dictionary that makes the difference. and a latin translation guide. thank you so much to youtube nerds. what would we do without you.
this is the most author’s commentary i’ll get about the original guys who attempted to translate this but i would be seriously curious to know which, if any, had attended a catholic mass regularly at any point in their lives. we went on sundays when i was a kid and while the songs aren’t IN latin anymore, the musical structure of the hymns are the same. the original translators heard breaks in words where i heard none. i’ll try to explain more below.
if you want to try to follow along, here’s a guy with the wrong lyrics:
literally from 0:00 it’s wrong. the first line he has as “sic fili scite tibi vi sacramentum” which he’s translated as “so, you imposed the sacrament on the children”. wtf.
right off on “sic”, there’s no “c” sound to be heard (come on, you know “sic semper tyrannis”, the c is not silent) and while the next two are words that exist, they make no sense in the context of the rest of…uhhh. anything. there’s 0 clever little boys in bloodborne, they’re all stupid british people.
im pretty sure the word involved is actually “felix”, as in “lucky”. here’s where i fall apart: is it
conjugated? because all those conjugations sound VERY similar.
involve reflexive pronouns? these songs often address the listener so we get a lot of verbs that end with “-te”
getting munched up with a bunch of prepositions?? (e, et, si, and everyone’s favorite cum)
my best guess is “si felici te” which im fairly certain is closer to “if you are lucky”. but in a church (ecclesiastical) context, it’s more like “blessed”.
if you’re catholic and listening to this maybe you can tell what i mean by “they hear breaks in words” where i don’t. this also leads to them assuming each line is an individual statement instead of all the lyrics being a complete thought.
anyway. “tibi” is a word, good job. i had to triple check here the difference between “vi” and “vis” and it turns out i don’t think “vi” is a thing lol. it turns out it is “vis”. as in “vis a vis”. “strength”.
oh yeah, about the sheet music lyrics. they are very rarely useful as anything but a backup for ideas. mostly because the guy managed to mishear “sacramentum” as
no notes on the next section except ummm you spelled praemium wrong op -_-;;; geeze op.
anyway, my final take is:
SI FELICI TE TIBI VI SACRAMENTUM.
ERIT PRAEMIUM SANGUINE SANCTUM.
IF YOU ARE BLESSED WITH THE STRENGTH FOR COMMUNION
YOU WILL BE REWARDED WITH HOLY BLOOD
finally something that makes some fucking sense. there’s no way my conjugations are correct but this literally feels like someone gave me sliced white bread and ketchup and told me to make spaghetti. i dont think i can do this for all of them.
welcome back. in the time since the last post, elden ring came out. most people have already finished it, but i’m saving it as a very special treat until after i finish several overdue projects. at the pace i’m going, this should only take me until the rest of my life. those who have been following me on twitter know there’s just been a constant parade of things to do that never seem to end. so, of course, my fist move is to shove aside all my responsibilities so i can write about bloodborne for a few hours. (future bea here: i guess i meant “days”)
i’ll start off with something to chew on for da real bloodborne fans out there (i’ll do my best to break it down for bloodborne neonates so it sounds the least incomprehensible): let’s talk about Formless Oedon! the pervert great one.
(future bea here: i dont know why this is 1500 words. what the fuck)
here’s formless oedon.
he’s formless. no file photo available. he is specifically described as a great one who is “lacking form, exists only in voice”. unsurprisingly, the non-entity is also a near total mystery. if you scratch the surface of arianna’s quest, we can at least infer some information and make an educated guess about his role in her pregnancy (hint: it’s exactly what you think) AND his role in the lives of other bloodborne women (hint: see prior).
the first we hear of oedon is when we pick up the “oedon tomb key” after throwing panicked molotovs at father gascoigne until he dies. the key tells us that “…the church is abandoned, and some say that the residents of Oedon have all gone mad“, which i guess might still be a shocking surprise if you’re that early in the game and have never experienced a horror story in your entire life. everyone in this game is completely nuts, that’s half of the game. anyway: the only occupant of the oedon chapel (at first) is the appropriately named “oedon chapel dweller”. we love the oedon chapel dweller; he’s a little sweetie pie. he looks like someone put dog shit on a plate and then threw a towel on it to cover it up but that’s not his fault. he’s just as god made him.
look at that smile!
oedon chapel is a certified safe zone thanks to his hard work. so come on down and bring all your pals! no, really, you can. it’s the only place where you can send npcs and they have a chance at surviving until the end game. they’re not gonna be in great shape, but they will be there. most of them.
the npcs you can bring to oedon chapel are the suspicious man, the old woman, adella the nun, arianna and, if you’re a dummy or a sadist, the suspicious beggar. the only ones of interest to us (and oedon) are adella and arianna, two young women with exceptional blood. adella is a “blood saint”, a woman who has been specifically groomed to produce blood that’s. i don’t know. it’s better, okay. arianna has vileblood.
oedon still makes himself at home in his own chapel; on a balcony you can find the “secret” +4 rune “formless oedon” just sitting around in a chest. the description reads:
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.
(it means “secretly”, i didnt know.)
the other runes have to be obtained by killing specific npcs. the +1 is found by sendinggascoigne’s daughter to fauxsefka for experimentation. this is the daughter that gives you the music box. the music box shares the same awful melody during the fight with mergo’s wet nurse at the end of the game. mergo is presumed to be oedon’s child with the pthumerian queen (another woman with uncommon blood) due to the queen’s presence near the arena and mergo’s apparent formlessness. i still dont know why the music is the same. it can’t be because it’s a banger. c-can oedon be music as well as voice. i dont know. it’s scary.
anyway, the +2 and +5 runes are in pthumeru and pthumeru ihyllchalice dungeons. the final +3 is obtained from killing the oedon chapel dweller. nothing personal, kid.
now let’s talk about the other oedon rune: oedon writhe.
there are 3 version of oedon writhe. the first is found on adella the nun‘s corpse. the second is dropped by fauxsefka if you kill her before the blood moon. if you wait until after the blood moon, she drops a third umbilical cord with this description:
A great relic, also known as the Cord of the Eye. Every
infant Great One has this precursor to the umbilical cord.
Provost Willem sought the Cord in order to elevate his being and thoughts to those of a Great One, by lining his brain with eyes. The only choice, he knew, if man were to ever match Their greatness.
hmmm. i assume that fauxsefka stole this cord from willem so she could go solo, but now it also clearly reads as her motivations for her off-the-books experimentation. not sure that oedon was really into it though. i’m going to reasonably assume we don’t cut an umbilical cord out of her.
the final rune is in the pthumeru ihyll chalice dungeon. this is the level with both the queen and her screaming baby (presumed to be mergo). defeating her reveals the baby is stillborn. you know this bc you get it as a prize. whoopee.
so to recap v quickly:
formless oedon (for his bros): little girl, oedon chapel dweller, queen yharnam
oedon writhe (for his hos): yharnam again, adella, fauxsefka
“ahhhh!!” i can hear you screaming. “who cares!!” well: i think we can trace the lineage of arianna’s baby directly within the text of the game. like, of course we can reasonably assume it’s oedon because she’s just suddenly pregnant and no one in the chapel is going “holy shit did you see that monster impregnate arianna that was crazy”. also, when you kill her (non-formless, which is odd) child, the umbilical cord description reads:
Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a
surrogate, and Oedon, the formless Great One, is no
different. To think, it was corrupted blood that began this
but why arianna? what made her so different that it succeeded? it can’t JUST be the vileblood; after all, annalise is right there waiting for oedon to give her a fucked up baby eating her vampire cummies or whatever the fuck she’s doing with blood dregs. it’s impossible to say for sure, of course, but arianna did one thing that no one else in the game did.
the chapel dweller is not popular with his fellow yharnamites. every npc ignores him. except…
Ahh, kind hunter. Thank you.
So, that lady, you told’er about this place?
Well, she.. she actually talks to me!
Well, only now and then, and she don’t mince words…
But… she’s a kind one, I can tell.
A good woman! Hee hee…
in hindsight perhaps making small talk with the guy whose god exists as a voice was poor judgement. i choose to believe that oedon exists also as the music box song and that’s why he has a worshipper rune (oedon writhe) in gascoigne’s kid and why that horrendous song shows up during the mergo’s wet nurse fight. can a god make a song be so bad that it forms a living tumor shaped like a baby in your body? bloodborne posits: yes.
arianna goes crazy after giving birth. if you consumed 4 or more of her blood, you get the unusual dialogue “i’ve never been happier…” before she loads up dark_souls_laugh.wav. arianna’s baby is a celestial child, a presumed infant larvae of ebrietas, daughter of the cosmos. these little critters are first encountered in the experimentation hall the choir called “the orphanage”. the purpose of the orphanage appeared to involve caring for the celestial children (which are labeled “kin” by the game, judging by blood color and the damage they take) as well as taking human children and mutating them into celestial emissaries for god knows what reason. honestly, the text in-game seems to suggest they just did it because they could. fauxsefka, a choir member, was attempting to do something similar with the people you send her.
i’m not sure what they were doing in the orphanage but i don’t think it was on the level. i wonder if there’s literally only one “womb that will be blessed with child” when the blood moon occurs, and every great one has to rush to be the first one in like it’s a wal-mart on black friday. maybe the choir was trying to min-max their chances of getting that baby by making the finest wombs in the cosmos. if so, then it’s funny (?) they got undercut by someone who wants to kill their seafood platter-looking baby with a brick.
lastly, i wonder if there’s anything to be gleaned from oedon’s connection with quicksilver bullets and their propensity for slaughtering beasts. all of oedon’s runes up your quicksilver bullets in some capacity, with the item description for the bullets noting that “…ordinary bullets have no effect on beasts, and so Quicksilver Bullets, fused with the wielder’s own blood, must be employed“. the rosamarinus, a device that sprays quicksilver mist, has an interesting description in light of all this:
A special weapon used by the Choir, high-ranking members
of the Healing Church.
Sprays a cloud of sacred mist, created by using blood- imbued Quicksilver Bullets as a special medium.
Arias are heard wherever sacred mist is seen, proving that the mist is a heavenly blessing.
oedon’s chapel repels all beasts because of the anti-werewolf incense, but that same incense is not found in the other churches and cathedrals. very odd…much to think about. perhaps…a rivalry…?
i think that is literally everything there is to say about formless oedon.
dear fucking god.
let’s just get into it.
the pile of laundry on the right is master willem. or “provost” according to the art book and some item descriptions. while his contemporaries split off to form the healing church for blood based worship, willem remained steadfast on maintaining his eyes-on-the-inside doctrine as the headmaster of byrgenwerth. you can’t really tell from the game but apparently he is terminally yucky when you meet him.
it’s not cum
willem facts: his blood is a pale grey. he has mushrooms growing on his back for some reason. and if you punch him enough times barehanded he’ll t-pose with the chair and it’s very funny.
oh yeah, the mushrooms. when we meet willem he’s in bad shape. you find him in his lunarium after obtaining the key with the description:
In his final years, Master Willem was fond of the lookout,
and the rocking chair that he kept there for meditation.
In the end, it is said, he left his secret with the lake.
it reads like he’s super dead. granted, not a lot of people have been to byrgenwerth lately, but i think people would have noticed if the guy in the huge rocking chair with the gold pope outfit died for real. but he’s not dead, he’s right there. rocking away and groaning wordlessly while trying to communicate that he wants you to go jump in a lake.
i’m not sure if we’ve talked about “phantasms” yet so i’ll give a quick descriptor: they are invertebrate familiars of the old ones. they are largely parasites and slugs. they make up a majority of the special arcane items in the game and some of the materials for chalice dungeon entry. they can be found in the lecture building (the augur of ebrietas), the orphanage (blacksky eye, pearl slugs, and a call beyond), and byrgenwerth (pearl slugs and the empty phantasm shell). all places dedicated to the study of the great ones and the evolution of mankind.
what happened to the phantasm in the shell? why does the eye rune willem drops after you atomize him in one hit have all this blue slime on it?
and why does that slime look exactly like the “dubious liquid medicine” blue elixir?
not too sure that’s willem, frankly. i don’t even think it’s anything sapient. just something that moved into a bigger shell when the opportunity arose.
enough of that. let’s get started. the good news about writing all of that is that, maybe. just maybe. the actual entries will be reasonably short.
doll bleeds paleblood
“seek paleblood to transcend the hunt” turns out to be the easiest part of the game. here’s the speedrun:
get killed by the werewolf in iosefka’s clinic
pick up the hunter’s weapon of your choice.
hit the doll*
behold! a paleblood guy!
the palest blood in the game belongs to the doll. it is undeniably and unmistakably #fff white.
it is NOT cum
we already discussed the moon presence and its connection to the phrase/name “paleblood” so i guess we can’t be too surprised when the lady it made turns out to bleed white gunk. its a very literal name.
okay. i am very sorry to inform you now that ahead of time, i wrote a large blood color explainer that doesn’t elucidate anything and only serves to create more questions. but we’re going to go over it now because it does a good job of demonstrating some of the weirder conscious and deliberate aesthetic choices made by the fromsoftware team. the greater purpose of this in the grander scheme of things is to help explain how we differentiate great ones from their distant relatives, kin. it’s not easy. lots of arguing about this still in many places on the internet.
there are 3 kinds of enemy classes: null, beast and kin. these rules largely determine what kind of elemental damage to do against the target, but some very odd and specific choices were made regarding what is considered kin (lesser or manufactured beings not unlike great ones) and what is not. kin tend to have grey blood; humans, pthumerians, beasts and great ones (?!) have red blood. examples of unusual red blood choices include: rom’s body, the brain of mensis (well…it is a legitimate great one after all), ebrietas, moon presence, kos, and the orphan.
“kin” within the fiction ranges from man-made attempts to communicate/replicate the great ones to less great celestial beings. human-made kin were not only intended to facilitate audiences with great ones, but as stepping stones toward the goal of evolving humanity past its current potential. humans can be made kin if they “line their brain with eyes”. the archetypal kin have alien anatomy and arcane powers (for this reason they are often the arcane magic blue in hue). examples include celestial emissaries, the false flower centipede, the crawlers from the nightmare frontier, celestial larvae, and brain suckers.
unusual examples of kin include rom’s head (?), the non-boss amygdalas, winter lanterns and ebrietas again. thats right. she does both. so do all the fish people in the dlc village. i’ll mention that slime scholars “bleed” grey goo but it’s more likely just more goo since they are not counted as kin. they are very failed attempts to transcend…unlike master willem who as far as i know is not classified by the game as kin, but bleeds the same as them.
now, you might be thinking “hold on, what about mergo’s wet nurse? she’s a great one, right?” probably not? she doesn’t bleed anything she just emits like, a black smoke. this smoke is also emitted by the wandering nightmares (canonically, just scrap parts of the nightmare that are running around reality), the “mad ones” conjured by the witches of hemwick and the ghost ladies from cainhurst and the labyrinth.
*okay you might need a point of insight before you do this. in that case either make a beeline for the madman’s knowledge in the sewers or go look at the cleric beast.
“hail the nightmare”, translated
if it isn’t bad enough that bloodborne has lore in the latin lyrics of the boss music, the latin is also terrible and nearly incomprehensible
Chorus: Donum libas You pour out your gift offering,
Solo: Inficimur we are infected!
Chorus: Maledictus bestia O cursed beast;
Solo: Maledictus O cursed one,
Chorus: Pater, do si donas O Father, I am giving, if you are giving,
Solo: Inficimur we are infected!
Chorus: Argentum aquae in tenebris. quicksilver in the darkness.
Chorus: Mater, sanguine O Mother, from the blood
Redemptoris a se of the Redeemer, your people
Exiet, exiet, pleba tua sa—(unknown) shall come forth, shall come forth safe from themselves.
Chorus: Vale, vale,Farewell, farewell,
Solo: Inficimur We are infected!
Chorus: In tenebris aquae. waters in the darkness,
Solo: Maledictus O cursed one,
Chorus: Et argentum aquae. and quicksilver,
Solo: Inficimur we are infected!
Chorus: Et argentum aquae. and quicksilver.
Chorus: Sanguine! In the blood!
Chorus: Sanguine! In the blood!
it’s a good start but even as a layman i can tell there’s problems. like where the hell did the “o”s come from? while he intended to translate with the spirit of the song as he understood it in mind, i believe he has only a passing familiarity with bloodborne. i’m going to take a red marker to this with all the misplaced confidence of a youtube essayist.
Maledictus! We are cursed!
Donum libas! Pour your offering!
Inficimur! We are corrupted!
Maledictus bestia! Cursed beast!
Maledictus! We are cursed!
Mater, do si donas! Mother, I give if you give! (?)
Inficimur! We are infected!
Argentum aquae tenebris! Dark silver waters!
Ave Sanguine! Hail blood!
Redemptoris nostrae! Our Redeemer!
Exiete! Go forth!
Exiete! Flebatur (?) Go forth! something about weeping
Vale, vale! Farewell, farewell,
Inficimur! We are tainted
E tenebris aquae! From the dark waters!
Maledictus! We are cursed!
E argentum aquae. by the silver waters!
Inficimur! We are infected!
E argentum aquae. by the silver waters!
notes: “donum libas” seems a little undersold in the original; “libas” is like pouring something for a sacred ritual. like pouring one out for a homie. “do si donas” isn’t anything, so i must be hearing that wrong. “donas” is like “you gift” and not really “you give” (i think?). that line that’s impossible to hear is truely impossible to hear. i have no idea how that guy got “quicksilver” from “silver water”. i like it, but i don’t get where it came from.
frankly the least comprehensible parts are the silver water bits but that’s def what they are saying. idk where “in” came from in the original.
i have cleaned up a lot of this including finding the right words that made actual sense. i want you all to know i was just doing to copy and paste the other guy’s work, but now it’s 5 am and i’m still hacking away at this latin like i’m a little british preparatory school boy from 1918 and my test is tomorrow. i feel semi-confident with this. why did i do this.
oh my god, this one is easy for real. the dlc sends you back to the time of the old hunters and you can get their special pants as armor. the item description reads:
Old hunter trousers that protected countless hunters from the beasts in an older age.
A widespread belief of the period was that “beast blood crept up the right leg”, and this led to the double-wrapped belt.
there’s two other leg armors that feature the belts. one is the decorative version of the old hunter trousers which are “decorated with brass trinkets.”
At the time, some hunters believed that certain metals would ward off beast blood.
On a night of the hunt, it is no wonder that people would resort to superstition.
funnily enough, the right leg is the one your character slams all his blood vials into. i think i figured out why it creeps up the right leg, guys. the only other trousers with belts are djura’s ashen hunter trousers which are also covered in ash to “ward off blood”. taking no chances, very wise.
i cannot believe he’s wearing black shoes with brown pants. everything about him sucks.
i love imagining gehrman learning about germ theory and getting extremely pissed off.
you know, you might not have thought about it, but there’s another place where beasthood infects: the left arm.
the sullied bandage from your blood ministration places the IV in your left arm. the cleric beast has that one really big arm that everyone makes the masturbation jokes about. check out the sleeves of your hunter armors…they’re wrapped in bandages…! the generic huntsman enemies in central yharnam also have one really jacked up left arm where they have been, presumably, getting their blood drips.
no half of your body is safe from the beast scourge, apparently.
hunter’s rune depicts a hanging corpse
this is the hunter’s rune (or mark).
if you want to go back to the hunter’s dream, just think about this until you die.
the hunter’s mark has ancient origins. it appears in the deepest parts of the labyrinth, including yharnam’s…wedding altar? in her boss room.
this straight up looks like a youtube thumbnail
i’m not getting into marriage in this post. that’s for another iceberg tier and is probably another 50,000 words.
the gravestones in the labyrinths reveal the evolution of the symbol over time: (source)
it used to be much more obvious that it was depicting a hanging man. this method of exsanguination was clearly popular in parts of yharnam; for example, (sources: 123) they can be found in the labyrinth, the fishing village, and old yharnam.
it’s not explicit why this is done. the hunters mark in your inventory essentially kills you (the bold hunter marks, the finite version, do not) and the rune version marks one as a “hunter of hunters” (self-explanatory). i have two theories. this is:
exsanguination as a means of preventing the dead from rising (the locked coffins around yharnam imply this is a big problem lately). i feel like it would be pretty hard to come back from the dead once there’s no blood in you.
exsanguination for yummy blood mm tastey
madman’s knowledge is a slug
rom’s real eyes
rom is gross.
looking closely at her head reveals:
the many eyes dotting her head and back are human (this scans with the in-text suggestions that rom was an ascended student created by byrgenwerth somehow).
she has two primary eyes above her slit nose and leech mouth. forming a face.
rom is a dud. but one of the more impressive pupa they managed to cultivate (her smaller spider-lings and the garden of eyes fly enemies also have human eyes, hinting that they were once human and now are even more fail versions of rom). she was blessed with an arsenal of arcane powers that she can use to near effortlessly send you and mensis reject damien back to your ancestors, but they sort of completely destroyed her brain in the process of making her kafka-esque. when you first enter the boss arena, she doesn’t even react to you until you hit her and then she panics and teleports away (women are always doing this).
the original japanese name is more direct and calls her an idiot. “vacuous” is a good word for english, since it also reflects why she remained useful to the bygenwerth scholars: she’s good at hiding secrets and keeping undead queens you pilfered from a labyrinth hostage.
knowing that there are multiple amygdalas running around yharnam, this image…does something. i was going to say “explains ___” but i realized i had no idea what it was explaining. it explains nothing, it’s just an observable pattern that implies a tenuous connection and invites you to speculate on it. they got me again!
what did she mean by this
winter lanterns have the doll’s body
as described on the tin:
hey dude! i’m a faerie! let me in!
yes, it’s got the brain of mensis as a hat as well. this image doesn’t show the winter lantern’s legs, but they’re just multiple tentacles fashioned into “legs”. another very mysterious repeating motif. what the fuck are “winter lanterns” (we know where the name came from, long story)? were they trial runs for the working version of the doll? are they the remains of the patients in the research hall (they ARE in the dlc after all and seem to be entirely confined to the nightmare)? who is plopping these brains onto a porcelain version of gehrman’s sexual fantasy? are they just doing it to be random?
the world……may never know. good, we need something to argue about sometimes.
eileen and djura once dreamed
kind of a wet fart to end on; it’s simply not a very compelling revelation. maybe it is if you’re still under the impression that the dream is personalized in some way. to be fair, these are very easy to miss; you only hear the dialogs confirming these under certain conditions.
when you’re killed by eileen in the grand cathedral at the end of her quest, she says the following:
You still have dreams? Tell the little doll I said hello.
basically “tell your wife i said hi”. eileen please, im already dead.
djura has two lines of dialog about the hunter’s dream. the first is spoken during his friendly encounter, which you have to activate by sneaking in the back way.
I no longer dream, but I was once a hunter, too.
the second is another kill quote:
I should think you still have dreams?
Well, the next time you dream, give some thought…
the “thought” he’s referring to is the fact that beasts were once people. he’s still reeling from this discovery, somehow. i figured that out the millisecond i saw a werewolf and said “that’s a werewolf”. maybe djura blew his head up one too many times like greg kelly.
when djura realized he was slaughtering sick people (technically i guess, i don’t think they’re getting better dude), he quit the hunt and could no longer return to the dream. eileen became disheartened by the gradual, steady corruption of her former hunting partners from their excessive blood use so she took on the “hunter of hunter” mantle to assure them a dignified death. much more important than your stupid dream. it seems as though the vast majority of hunters kill and kill and kill endlessly until they are killed or driven mad or transformed. only a rare few break the cycle, however they choose to do so.
i’m back, with another self-indulgent 3,000 words about a video game and how normal i am. i was trying to figure out how to start these subsequent posts but i got a great idea: i will use this space to inform you of the current state of the bloodborne community. for example:
BLOODBORNE COMMUNITY UPDATE: today it was discovered that by uncommenting two lines of code, a kick attack was restored. it doesn’t really do any damage, but it staggers an enemy. this is a less exciting update to me than the discovery that the moon in the yharnam sky isn’t a .jpg but a fully rendered round sphere. like why would they do that. the moon is flat in the hunter’s dream. why is one flat and the other rendered!! you know what i don’t want to think about this anymore.
oh hold on breaking news: japanese bloodborne players discovered you can do gestures while using hunter tools, so it looks like the effects are coming out of your dick.
level 2: the tip
today’s madness level indicator is gehrman, the first hunter. you meet gehrman in the hunter’s dream after you gain your first point of insight, which most people gain after seeing one of the two first bosses, the cleric beast or father gascoigne. right after the beast scrapes you against the pavement (or gascoigne pins you between gravestones and clobbers the shit out of you), gehrman makes himself known to the hunter in order to encourage you to give the hunt all you’ve got, guide you through the blood-drenched streets of yharnam and to make a very inappropriate sexual offer. gehrman is an “old hunter”, one of the first to treat the hunt as an organized attempt at dog control, and is now very, very, very, very, very, old, having been apparently kept alive by the power of the hunter’s dream. what a poor old man……..NOT!!!! fuck this shitty old bitch.
for bloodborne aficionados, here’s a weird tidbit: gehrman can appear in the garden before you gain your first point of insight. i happened to be recording the time i found him there and i was quite shocked. he didn’t do anything but mumble at that point (his dialog doesn’t change until the next moon phase) and nothing else happened. i just had no idea he could do that.
for normal people: the old man is almost always in a chapel that only opens after you see the first boss. let’s get on with this.
arianna is vileblood
shit, i already covered a lot of this in my little addendum at the end of the last update, but why not refresh your memory: arianna is a saveable character who is heavily, HEAVILY implied to have special blood. one way they do this is by having her give you special blood. in hindsight, maybe implied isn’t the right word; it’s pretty overt.. yet somehow this remains a frequent re-occurring discovery to people who presumably just learned how to read.
here’s the clues, detective. first, arianna is wearing the noble dress, which explicitly states it’s clothing for cainhurst nobles. it’s kind of a weird thing to wear on your day off from your job as a prostitute but who knows, maybe it’s really soft or something.
“ahem, um , excuse me? um, wearing clothes doesn’t make you royalty”. fine, here’s some more proof, you little doubting thomas. arianna will act as a “blood saint” and give you a vial of her blood to heal with (it also boosts your stamina recovery). the description is:
A member of the old Healing Church would know that her blood is similar indeed, to precisely what was once forbidden.
oh such as…………………..THE FORBIDDEN BLOOD OF CAINHURST???? yes.
here’s some interesting info about royalty in bloodborne. first, let’s get you up to speed on arianna’s entire questline(s). much like the other survivors of yharnam, you can choose to send arianna to iosefka which will net you some numbing mist. the numbing mist description reads:
Said to be used by the blood hunters of Cainhurst, its recipe is a secret closely guarded by the line of nobles inhabiting the castle.
OR you can send her to the cathedral, where things can end up one of two…well. three ways. but we’re not going to count “can be someone’s lunch” as an option. taking blood too many times from arianna in front of another survivor, adella, will trigger murderous jealousy in adella. but, if you just avoid being seen taking blood or don’t take it at all, arianna will fulfill the prophecy found in the books of byrgenwerth:
When the red moon hangs low, the line between man and beast is blurred. And when the Great Ones descend, a womb will be blessed with child.
i think its kind of cute
its implied that the celestial child arianna gives birth to after you end the nightmare of mensis is the “child of blood” that annalise has been attempting to uh…host? through the use of blood dregs.
i’m ending this with an even more useless fact than usual: arianna actually has 3 different face models she swaps through as she grows sicker.
this is what happens when women are not given cucumber lime gatorade
lmfao. okay. so. “chalice dungeons” are optional areas for grinding blood gems and blood echoes. i guess we should talk about the chalice layers since they will end up being important to refer back to. you can first enter chalice dungeons by obtaining the “ritual blood” item left on the altar in front of the flayed, dead (blood-starved) beast in old yharnam and the “pthumeru” chalice you get from the flayed, alived (blood-starved) beast. the blood of this magical dog and his special cup will unlock the labyrinth beneath byrgenwerth, which will then unlock deeper and deeper labyrinths.
you can also create your own chalice dungeons and invite people to try them out. in this case, “cummmfpk” is the code for a hacked dungeon that gives you 83,489 blood echoes if you just stand there for like 5 seconds. you can reload the dungeon over and over and get infinite enormous amounts of EXP. it’s great for cheaters and people who are just sick of the first part of the game and want to steamroll through it but. you know. the unfortunate randomly generated name…
cum dungeon facts: the layer 1 boss is a keeper of the old lords. layer 2 is a maneater boar. layer 3 is a headless bloodletting beast. all of them drop glitched items you can’t pick up. data-miner/soulsborne experimenter zullie the witch did some exploration of the cum dungeon to see who was dying in such a weird manner. the health bar doesn’t drop all at once (otherwise it would be easy to assume something was put outside the map and fell to its death) but instead is taken off in chunks. turns out there’s an enemy hunter who is placed in the path of a swinging blade that loads weird.
paleblood is the moon presence
in my opinion, they spell this out for you directly as well but for some people it’s still a matter of debate for some reason. i don’t know. i’ll present my argument.
the note in iosefka’s office at the start of the game and the messengers in yahar’gul mention “Paleblood”:
it’s capitalized. it’s a name. the name given to the moon presence that you kill to transcend the hunt.
oh nice going laurence.
curiously, there IS a character that bleeds white blood…we will get into later.
the doll was based on maria
i talked about this on tumblr before, so i’m going to copy-paste my answer and clean it up for you all.
the first hunters of the beasts were gehrman and lady maria; they worked together long, long before the player character ever arrives in yharnam. together they founded they principles and core techniques that other hunters worked off of when hunting beasts, based out of a workshop underneath the cathedral ward of the healing church (who, unbeknownst at the time, was responsible for the spread of the beast scourge through the act of irresponsible blood ministration). this is the abandoned workshop you discover that has an eerie resemblance to the hunter’s dream.
there is an abandoned doll in the abandoned workshop who looks identical to your friend, the animate doll. the doll is almost always standing in her spot in front of the church, though she occasionally moves from her designated spot to pray in front of a grave near the doors of the dream workshop. she never comments on why she does this.
back to the abandoned yharnam workshop: inside you will find some weird shit. a hair ornament for the doll, a spare set of clothing for the doll (the description adds that the clothing was made with “a precision and obsession that borders on mania”) and the umbilical cord, signifying that a deal occurred between the hunters and the moon presence here.
A great relic, also known as the Cord of the Eye. Every infant Great One has this precursor to the umbilical cord. Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the Hunter’s Dream.
this deal appears to have included the creation of the living doll.
there’s one last item: a bone that gives you a sick new ability to disappear when you sidejump, called “quickening”. its found at the same gravestone at the abandoned workshop that the doll prays at in the hunter’s dream. the item description is this.
The bone of an old hunter whose name is lost. It is said that he* was an apprentice to old Gehrman, and a practitioner of the art of Quickening, a technique particular to the first hunters.
and that was all. until the dlc came out.
the second to last boss of the dlc is lady maria of the astral watch tower, who is extremely, uncomfortably, very creepily visually similar to the doll. they even have the same voice. personality wise? nothing alike. maria is a firecracker. the doll is passive and demure; gehrman even offers her to you as a sex object.
oh thats……..oh no
in the original post, i erroneously stated that only maria and gehrman could use the quickening, but it turns out there’s two hunters in the hunter’s nightmare who can use it. they have saifs that operate much like gerhman’s burial blade, implying they were his and/or maria’s apprentices. however, the point is that maria can use the quickening without casting.
all this to say: gehrman is a sex criminal and it is good that he is in hell
bonus tip: it seems like the bloody crow of cainhurst has her other leg bone.
*result of poor translation, the original pronoun here is gender ambiguous.
chalice illusory walls
lol this one is very short and sweet. in dark souls, there are a number of fake walls you can roll through that reveal treasure or secret areas. bloodborne does not have these at all………except for literally one place: lower pthumeru. for some reason, in this chalice dungeon only, there is one illusory wall on every level, for a total of 4. what’s behind them? treasure mostly, but the final one has a messenger bath that sells versions of weapons that take different gem slots than the vanilla version. this doesn’t matter to anyone who isn’t really into build mechanics.
fun fact! very, very, very, VERY, VERY, VERY, SO VERY RARELY, a bath messenger will be replaced with patches. yes, THAT patches.
[nervously looks around for a hole]
rom was a she
another short one. and is it important? probably not. but if someone calls rom a ‘he’ they don’t know SHIT. FAKE bloodborne fan. let’s ATTACK THEM.
straight from the man himself:
Miyazaki: That’s another hard one. Hmm… Which would it be for this game? Maybe this is cheating a little, but if you ignore gameplay for a moment, it’s Rom, the Vacuous Spider. From the design and atmosphere to that kind of plaintive air she has, I really like her. There are some oddly cute aspects to her moves and modeling.
its just because she has a lot of feet, i think.
yharnham, pthumerian queen
an eerie pthumerian woman in a white ball gown stained with blood at the abdomen appears as an apparition (?) twice in the base game. first, after defeating rom, the woman must be approached for a cutscene to begin; while she stares up at the approaching blood moon revealed after rom’s defeat, a baby begins to cry. then, you meet her again outside of the boss elevator that leads to the fight with mergo’s wet nurse (where the baby’s cry is loudest). after the defeat of the wet nurse, the woman will bow to you in appreciation before fading away.
this is yharnam, pthumerian queen, and she is a secret boss fight in the game, available only to those who. who do the. chalice dungeons. all of them.
the good news is that your dungeon progression carries over to new game +. but here’s the thing: doing the chalice dungeons is an exercise in tedium. they layouts are all largely the same with almost no deviation. enemy/boss levels are static and unchanging. since there is a lot (like a LOT) of new, cool stuff in the dungeons that cant be seen anywhere else (including exclusive loot) they are unfortunately worth going through. you will not like it though! unless you are a little mouse who was trained to run through mazes for cheese and still gets the dopamine even when there’s no reward at the end.
okay, there’s some reward. the yharnam fight whips ass. it was a seriously great fight and i was immediately frustrated that such a fun and interesting boss battle was locked behind some of the worst video gaming of all time. i cannot understate how long and agonizing and aggravating doing this is. im certain getting plat for bloodborne took years off my lifespan.
i have, in my madness, created a flow chart of ONLY the chalice dungeons required for the yharnam fight. i know that this APPEARS to be very straight forward. however, i will do my best to convey the experience of actually completing this gauntlet. please use this for reference.
the pthumeru chalice dungeon is a joke. by the time you finally get around to completing it (read: when you get stuck in the base game), all of the enemies will be so low level that you will just slice through each layer like a hot knife on butter. the only notable creature is the final boss, the watchdog of the old lords. i want you to think about him. remember him. you have the advantage of knowing he’s coming. i did not. right now? at this moment? no big deal.
no!!! no!!! not on the rug noooo!!!
there is little of interest in central pthumeru when it comes to the quest to see a pretty lady. you might find yourself tempted to use the “hintertombs” chalice you find here, but try to stay on task. we’re here to, ostensibly, have fun and the best way to do that is to avoid the hintertombs.
although the hintertombs IS home to the scariest fucking thing ive ever seen in a video game. so head on over if you want to shit your pants.
i agree, youtube video title.
welcome to hell! lower pthumeru lures you in with a false sense of security by soft-balling you an insultingly easy repeat boss fight. the game then has the audacity to throw yet another repeat fight at you, but worst of all it’s a boss you’ve fought two times already: the undead giant. “ah,” you will think to yourself, “i’ve done this before, piece of cake”. then, from literally the entire opposite end of the room, the giant does a little twirl and blends you into a slurry with his new chains.
this is the fight where, after so many failed attempts lasted a humiliating 10 seconds or less, i realized i could no longer progress in the chalice dungeons without starting new game plus. i needed exp. the kind of exp you can only get from defeating bosses. so, let me be clear, this path to the hot babe is not linear. by the time i reached the final layer of pthumeru i was on new game+ 4. that’s all of bloodborne 5 times. i think the winning solution to beating this guy is to abuse his weakness to fire with molotovs and shooting him in the face with the ol’ cannon-and-bone-marrow-ash combo.
still having fun? not for long! now fight rom again (AGAIN???) in a room with several huge pillars in it. this fight is pretty annoying, but not too difficult. it’s mostly luck based on whether or not her horde of 20 or so spiderlings manage to pincer attack you in the dressing room sized arena.
boss number three: the bloodletting beast. he is a complete bastard but at least he’s new. note: if he touches you, you WILL die, because he does 12 bazillion damage on every hit. if you somehow survive the first hit, you WILL be juggled into a second one. his arm span is approximately the length of the room and he moves faster than the speed of light, so trying to get some distance between the two of you for a healing break is impossible. this is a “don’t get hit” fight. the first one.
the first one.
welcome to cursed and defiled pthumeru.
in a cursed and defiled dungeon, your hp is halved. hope you’ve been putting points into vitality because if not, ahahahaha. enjoy your no-hit run of the entire labyrinth! (i did this to myself as a staunch, smug believer in “just dont get hit”. this was the most painful lesson ive ever been taught about putting points into hp and the reality of being able to avoid every hit). out of the kindness of their hearts, fromsoft did you a service and changed enemies so that they do half of the damage they usually do.
except fire damage. oh, also your first boss is the keeper of the old lords, who uses fire based magic attacks. so, this moment was finally the point when i understood that this wasn’t a game meant to be “fun”, it was intended to keep very sick people occupied so they don’t do vigilante crimes with all their spare energy.
the watchdog of the old lords happens to you. again.
the deck is already stacked against you. 8 out of 10 times you get trampled by the dog before you even have time to finish walking through the fog gate. you level up but the incremental health improvements aren’t enough to make a difference and by now your level is so high that it takes significant effort to stack up the blood echoes. you equip your fire-resistant hunter clothes which gives you a 1% boost in defense. nothing is working. it’s time…to summon an npc hunter!
i’m 99% sure this is the boss that forced me to go from ng+ all the way to ng+3 before i had the exp to beat it. after many days of being violently trampled in the exact same way, at the exact same moment, i felt my sanity fraying and my ability to emotionally regulate in a healthy manner deteriorating. it is fundamentally cruel to create a game that can be beat fairly so long as you engage the game on its own terms and then ambush you with the bloodborne equivalent of trying to fight a flaming mack truck with a knife. while losing repeatedly, i said some things to the game i can’t take back, but i meant it and i stick by it.
it was only through the wisdom of goons i was able to finally put this horrible beast in the ground. use a very upgraded saw spear and just poke his head from a distance. he has absolutely no chance against the power of a poking stick.
“””fun””” “”””””fact””””””: the defiled chalice watchdog of the old lords has the second most hp of any boss in bloodborne with a whopping 23964 hp. he is second only to the second fight with a bloodletting beast which barely squeaks by with more at 24052 hp. they didn’t want to make it too easy, you see.
don’t think this is over yet. we still have one more defiled boss. haha but at least it’s one we’ve fought before AND it doesn’t do fire damage! whew! right? …right?
is this good
wrong, moron. defiled amygdala WILL jump on your head. she WILL stomp on you. she WILL hit you with her arms and kill you in one hit. this boss is the maddest i have EVER been at a video game. im talking white knuckle rage that could only be suppressed by turning the game off and standing in the other room for an hour while my heart rate slowly returned to normal. i hate her. she is so flighty and takes to the air with little provocation and will use heat seeking technology to land directly on you no matter how far you run. and the thing about amygdala is: some parts of her body take more damage than others. her legs and tail take the tiniest wafer thin slivers off her health bar while those who bravely go for her arms and head are rewarded for their bravery with much larger damage chunks. so your choices are:
get really close to her and hack away at her legs and ass for 15-20 minutes hoping she doesn’t successfully stomp on you in that extremely long period of time like a coward and a yellowbelly would.
shoot her in the face with a cannon 10 times after baiting a specific attack that brings her head very close to the ground (wasting 10 very expensive and rare bone marrow ashes and replenishing your bullets with your precious health vials because every cannon blast costs 5 fucking bullets!), perform a visceral attack when she’s staggered, apply bolt paper and look to god for salvation.
both of these are bad. when you finally deplete that health bar, you’re worse off for it. you’re a worse person now. you have a status effect irl causing you psychic damage. fromsoft games are rarely unfair but the defiled dungeon takes the cake as the biggest bullshit of all time.
oh my god but finally. FINALLY, we are on the last chalice. this broad is within goosing distance (i have already forgotten why we are looking for her). and great news: the pthumerian descendant fight is fun; you’re finally playing bloodborne again and not “i wanna be the guy”. here’s a neat detail: the descendant fights with a sickle that splits into two separate ones during the second phase…like a trick weapon…! who REALLY invented what!!!
next is a fight that is annoying but in a way that is familiar and understandable: the blood-letting beast is back baby!!! and this time, he’s headless! it’s still a very hard fight, and during the second phase a big worm grows out of the stump on his head and spits fast poison at you, making it difficult to stay close to him. at this point, i was too close to the end and was fully in the thrall of a life wasting sunk cost fallacy. i finished bloodborne ng+4 to defeat the beast.
oh my GOD SHE’S HERE. WE DID IT.
kind of a milf, reblog.
the fight lasts about 3 minutes.
it’s a little easier than you expect, but you spend the entire time dodging, weaving and running to keep yourself moving. this is a different character model than the one we’ve seen at other locations: the one in the chalice dungeon is pregnant (but still bloodied) and her illusions are not. it’s impossible to stay close to her and just hack away since the baby’s cry paralyzes the hunter if they’re within AOE distance. she has 3 phases and is the only user of blood arts in the game besides maria (excluding martyr logarius, alfred and the hunter who all use a pale imitation of the REAL blood arts) and she makes maria’s blood arts look like little baby shit*. stay limber, hunter, you have to be fast on your feet for this. it’s a hell of a rush.
when it was over, i felt a consuming, dark emptiness swallow my chest as i realized i would never experience this very fun activity again. this shit took way too long. sure, i could just use a glyph and go to a hacked dungeon where i could fight her, but then i’d have to buy playstation’s online service and i’m not paying for my internet twice!!! its the principle of the matter!!!!
and now you know how it feels to play from software’s “bloodborne”. writing this section took the most time because whenever i sat down to hammer away at it, i would have to re-experience the emotional agony of doing the chalice dungeons and my suffering would become so great that i could only be revived with a defibrillator.
defeating her rewards you with an item that does nothing. well, it implies the queen is undead in the exact same way that annalise is, which is interesting. all hail the undying queens of blood!
*oops future bea here. i forgot the bell ringing women in yahar’gul use blood magic to make guys that kill you. so jot that down.
the research hall is byrgenwerth
come on man.
the same enemies…the same clutter items…somehow chunks of byrgenwerth got sucked into the nightmare. byrgenwerth is a really small area for how much it’s hyped up in the lore; it’s literally a two story room and the tiny grounds (oh, and a lunarium but that thing is really REALLY small). but if you take the lecture hall into consideration (which is actually a large two story wing of labs and classrooms), the size of the area is more analogous to other areas in the game.
to access the first floor of the lecture hall, you need to be smunched into the nightmare dimension by an amygdala.
this is how your cat feels when you pick them up
therefore, i think it’s fair to assume that amygdala is responsible for the theft of the lecture hall. the first floor double doors of the lecture hall lead to the nightmare frontier where you can find amygdala’s sad little house. the second floor is accessed via micolash’s skull in yahar’gul (the entrance to yahar’gul is guarded by the amygdala you use to access the first floor) and the double doors lead to the nightmare of mensis, an area which shares aesthetic overlap with the frontier. case closed.
except i have no idea why it would do this. another weird detail is that there’s a unique pthumerian church giant here with flaming hands. why is he here? to learn? not with those hands.
here’s some relatively baseless speculation: when willem and micolash had their ideological split, micolash made a deal with amygdala in a similar vein to gehrman’s deal and just took some school with him. amygdala also seems directly tied to the blood moon (more on this later, i see its on my chart lol) which was micolash’s very weird personal project he was working on, so i think it’s a fair assumption that these two were in cahoots together in some capacity. mergo’s cord is proof of a covenant, hey oh shit i just realized where they got the cord from lol. oh no. sorry yharnam pthumerian queen.
anyway: let me sum up. byrgenwerth had access to the labyrinths (chalice dungeons) which we can presume are beneath the college itself. this is where they met yharnam pthumerian queen and friends. the first schism of byrgenwerth between laurence and willem revolved around what to do with the discovery of blood that makes you live forever, which lead to the creation of the healing church. the second lead to micolash bailing on willem to found the school of mensis under the healing church, which coincided with the development of another church organization called “the choir”. while the choir did human experimentation with ebrietas and laurence turned people into dogs, the school of mensis took over the unseen village to do something i still don’t understand entirely. some of it involved discovering loran (the chalice was likely provided by amygdala since she drops it after you defeat her) and stealing a darkbeast from loran (paarl) to play with. all three institutions are in a race to see who can elevate humanity into godhood first.
speculation: micolash chooses the DIY option: mergo is the stillborn child of blood you win (?) as a prize after defeating yharnam pthumerian queen. using the umbilical cord from mergo, which they pilfered from yharnam directly (killing mergo in the process, byrgenwerth is established in canon as loving matricide especially when they’re pregnant), they forged a pact with amygdala who gave them cover while they uhhhh mashed people together into a horrible monstrosity called “the one reborn” using parts provided by the ladies of hemwick and the yaharghul kidnappers. i would assume “the one” was intended to be a body for the brain that mensis “retrieved from the nightmare”. they fucked up really bad and (almost) all their brains turned off except for micolash, who used his infinite time in the nightmare to become a long distance endurance runner, and some guy named edgar who was actually a choir member in disguise doing covert ops. lol owned.
killing the brain grants you the living string, a one of a kind item used exclusively to open the great pthumeru ihyll chalice. this was its final connection with its mother. the brain itself was a legitimate great one, even if the body was going to be artificial, but it was dying.
1. why are the bell ringing women from the chalice dungeons in yahar’gul? if they teamed up with the school of mensis (as it seems they have), why? are they in service of yharnam and looking to revive the child of blood? i think yharnam is going to notice the difference guys.
2. why do winter lanterns have brains very similar to the mensis brain? both also have messenger corpses in them (as many things in the nightmare do), why? why is the doll the body? why do they sing?
3. who the fuck is the wet nurse lol
mysteries galore. i have been very slowly working on a little project so that i can make a chart explaining various important character relationships to refer back to. this shit is confusing.
i still have many more to go. its impossible to draw paarl in a simplified style. have you seen that motherfucker’s face. go look it up right now.
hi, i have movie reviews to do. but since i have spent the last 2 months re-arranging my molecules after adding new medication to my daily regimen, i’m feeling a little rusty. before i get back to writing things that are good, i would like to stretch my brain writing something bad. stick with me.
my friends, allow me to present to you…the greatest videogame ever made in human history
my relationship with the 2015 fromsoftware title “bloodborne” could best be described as “worrying”. considering the already fragile mental state/ego of the dark souls community, this is a confession that should put me on a list of some kind. if we aren’t creating incredibly tortured and tenuous connections between the barest scraps of information, then we’re reading other people’s baseless speculation and going “wow, that really makes sense to me”. they should add whatever we have in the next DSM; i didn’t realize how deeply insane i sounded until i tried to talk to another human being about the game with my mouth in a real-life physical space. go to another person right now who doesn’t know what bloodborne is and try to explain who the celestial emissaries are without being forcibly removed in a straight jacket. life imitates art, i guess.
as much as i try not to succumb to the urges*, i too find myself weaving elaborate narratives as a result of my love affair with the fromsoft lore delivery system: the player must take the initiative to read item descriptions and notice their placement, examine the environment for context clues both big and infuriatingly miniscule, and explore every inch of yharnam to try to to gain even an inkling of what the fuck is happening. that’s how it starts. then you’re reading interviews, cracking the game for cut content (fromsoft famously just leaves all of their cut content in the game and there’s always a stunning heap of it) and comparing beta versions of the game’s map that looks like it was drawn on a napkin with the canonical map. collecting and making sense of fromsoft lore is arduous, deeply annoying work that involves reading a lot of annoying and wrong people’s ideas to try to spur some of your own, but at least we can take comfort in the fact that its also extremely pointless and time consuming.
[sobbing] help us we are very sick (via the bloodborne-wiki)
(as a weird site note: i do not think i would call the collective of people are absolutely nutty about fromsoft a “fandom” due to fandom culture’s inability (largely, not entirely) to gain traction in these circles. obviously there are people that share fanart, ideas, and mods, but the cooperation within the community has been, i think, drastically shaped by 2 things: 1. the sexlessness of the games themselves. which i recognize is a bold and incredible claim for me to make considering gwynevere’s massive honkers and the suspicious number of women without shoes on. but while the developers are horny as hell, i dont think anyone in the dark souls universe knows what sex is except for arianna. that’s one out of how fucking many?! additionally, no one wants to see these beef jerky people have sex because then they’d have to think about how they’d fall apart like someone shredding a boiled chicken. and 2. the game itself utilizes and fosters stark, silent, jolly cooperation. your ability to communicate to other players is limited entirely to silent gestures and, if they find them, wood carvings that yell “IM SORRY” when you smash them on the ground. the community, i think, mirrors the relationships you build within the game. anyway)
ive never seen people communicate like this in a videogame. incredible stuff (via kite pride worldwide @somethingawful)
at some point this year, in a fit of self-righteous pique, i created and posted my own “bloodborne iceberg” meme as a catty response to the two that i knew existed at the time. the existing ones were, in my eyes, baby shit; either barely scratching the surface of the stories and details i found fascinating or they were just fucking WRONG. stupid wrong! the kind of wrong that makes you realize some people’s ability to think critically calcified in the 8th grade. as soon as people start trying to drag lovecraft shit into bloodborne lore i completely lose it. no!!! you are NOT utilizing outside knowledge to draw logical conclusions when you say byrgenwerth is miskatonic university!!!!!
shut up!! shut up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
anyway here’s the damn thing already:
if you don’t know anything about bloodborne, this is probably like word salad to you. if i showed you this and told you it made sense to me, you would be right to take me to a hospital. but i know there are fandom rubberneckers who have no interest in playing the game itself who nevertheless enjoy looking at charts detailing how desperate for answers or explanations we’ve become. of course, i personally think that the soulsborne (a portmanteau of “dark souls” and “bloodborne”, both fromsoft creations) games are not to be “solved” and should retain much of the deliberate, artful ambiguity. i think generally anyone who has interacted meaningfully with me would agree that attempting to discern a definitive, irrefutable, seamless meaning to narratives that are purposefully constructed as to invite the reader to fill in the gaps on their own is sad. just a sad, sad way to interact with art. absolutely refusing to do anything but examine it at arms length so it doesn’t touch you.
the gimmick of the iceberg is this: it’s supposed to be a collection of easter eggs, observations and theories, or (arguably) plausible speculation (colloquially known as “lore”) that grows more and more obscure/bizarre as you reach the bottom. the image on the right that accompanies each level is intended to depict the level of psychic damage you would have taken to store all this stupid shit in your brain.
i will go over all of these and why i chose the images i did. I’ll also try to include (when possible) the origin of specific theories and a determination of how plausible they are. i’ll do my best to provide the information necessary so that the uninitiated can try to understand what the fuck im talking about, but you’re going to have to use context clues for some things. this will contain spoilers and frank discussions of nasty shit like infanticide. reader beware!!! you’re in for a scare!!
level 1: surface knowledge
our image for this level is the player character, the hunter, in his iconic outfit that you find in a sewer in the game.
altar of despair + annalise
jesus christ, i started out with one that requires a 3 hour lecture to understand. and, even better, no one else understands it either. i’m going to do my best here: there is- uh, were a contingent of nobles called “vilebloods”; vampires to compliment the abundance of werewolves in this game. there is only one living vileblood left: the vileblood queen, annalise.
annalise is immortal and impossible to wound, but its not really clear why she is. people have all kinds of theories, but i have trouble working around how she is the seemingly only immortal being in the entire game*†. by all appearances she is an average noble woman who also happens to have a helmet welded to her face to prevent her from, presumably, biting or eating people.
*wrong! future bea here. the “undead giant” in the chalice dungeons technically counts. although he looks like he’s been forcibly stitched back together a few times where as annalise is physically fine. zombie undead vs vampire undead i guess.
all hail the undying queen of blood!
it can’t be a trait inherent to vilebloods because the rest of them were brutally slaughtered by a church sanctioned group. i assume someone came up with the helmet solution when they realized they couldn’t kill someone described explicitly as “undead” and trapped her in her magically concealed throne room. despite the best efforts of the executioners, you show up and find her. okay, now here’s where it gets a little awkward, through a series of unfortunate events you facilitate, she is mashed into red paste by a maniac.
annalise is the leader of a covenant (a pvp thing) so her being dead is kind of inconvenient if you’re trying to raise your rank. fortunately, there’s a solution: you can dump a chunk of what’s left of her (specifically her liver) on a rock in an underground cave beneath the grand cathedral that has a big dead spider on it. the message “time flows in reverse for this scrap of flesh” pops up and next time you visit annalise she’s back on her throne good as new! why, you may ask?
don’t worry, she’s fine (long story)
your guess is as good as mine. its not clear why this happens at all. my theory is simple: the altar of despair (the big spider rock) is located in an area of the game world that is kissing the unfathomable, eldritch cosmos (look around, you’re in great isz!) and is bound to have some weird shit happen there. all the bosses in that dungeon end up being ones you’ve already killed…how mysterious…!
this is a surface level game mechanic. i have no idea how people discovered it in the first place but now its a open secret.
celestial emissaries were people
whew! this one is easy. there’s a boss/enemy mob called “celestial emissaries” that look like 1950s b-movie rubber aliens. their name suggests they were meant to be a conduit between humanity and the great ones, but how did they come about…?
well, in the clinic of a woman named iosefka, we find…THIS!!!!!
oh my god they were people all along aaaaaaaa
its hard to miss this in game. just open your eyes.
abandoned old workshop
if you manage to pull off the most spectacular acrobatics of your life (thank you fromsoft, i love your platforming sections), you can discover a location called “the abandoned workshop”. it is an eerie, run-down replica of the sanctuary area of the game, “the hunter’s dream”. the hunter’s dream is not a physical location (it is a literal dream) and there are items to collect related to the original group of hunters from hundreds of years ago (“the old hunters”) that makes one wonder why it was abandoned and when. there’s even a lifeless version of the doll.
this is easy to find in the game. it’s a lot harder to get to.
three third cords
one of the items in the abandoned old workshop is “one third of umbilical cord”. it is described as the “precursor to the umbilical cord” (?). there are four one third umbilical cords in bloodborne but you only need three; a note left by someone who felt they didnt have to elaborate gives us this stark information: “three third cords”.
careful distinction: it is not “one third of an umbilical cord”. you aren’t collecting 3 parts to one cord. you’re collecting one of three umbilical cords from three (well, four) different…origins. there is some debate about whether this is the case of a bad translation. in other versions (including the UK iirc) have it listed as “third umbilical cord” which not only makes more sense considering the item picture is of an entire umbilical cord, but the idea that alien space gods have 3 umbilical cords is delightfully repulsive to the human species. it invites a little more imagination than just a standard human pregnancy and makes the “making a eldritch baby” process sound much more complicated and mysterious.
you can tell they are aliens due to the presence of goop in this image. goo is a vital part of alien culture
anyway, these items give you three insight (a game mechanic that reveals hidden horrors as the number goes up) when you “consume” them (very unclear what this means, terrifying to contemplate), and eating three of them sets you up for the real final boss of the game (“the moon presence”), who can only be summoned by the cords.
since we’ve talked about the workshop, here’s the description of the umbilical cord you find in the workshop:
“Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the hunter’s dream.”
the umbilical cords herald encounters with the great ones no matter whether it was because humanity attempted contact or the great one just decided to drop by unannounced. the being described as the “pale moon” responsible for the creation of the hunter’s dream is the moon presence. the child loss part is extremely unclear. i dont think anyone knows wtf that shit’s about.
yes, they are covered in eyes. don’t worry about it. that’s just your “eyes on the inside” as they say (or Insight….get it?).
you’re likely to discover at LEAST one of these one any given playthrough.
iosefka is an imposter
the first character most people meet in the game is Iosefka (pronounced “yo-sef-ka”), a doctor who has locked up her clinic for the duration of that night’s hunt (the hunt is a frequent event, but people within the world of bloodborne start to comment and worry about how supernaturally long the night is lasting this time) to protect her patients. she’ll only talk to you through the door for everyone’s safety, gives you a little medicine vial of her own creation, and then gently and kindly shoos you away.
come back later after progressing to the next big area of the game and iosefka has a job for you: send her any survivors you find. if you do this, she’ll give you a little something for your trouble. send her enough people and the veil will drop, allowing her to indulge in some patented Fromsoft Sinister Laugher.
how awkward, this isn’t the iosekfa from the start of the game! this is an impostor!
affectionally called “fauxsefka”
you never see the original iosekfa’s face and enough time passes between your first encounter and the next that you likely forget what her voice sounds like. they are certainly two different people though; the new iosekfa is a high ranking member of the church who seems to be engaged in unauthorized off-hours research that involves turning people into celestial children (see above) so that she herself could transcend humanity. the only way into the clinic is through the back, so when you sneak in she’s quite cross with you for discovering her unethical experimentation and will try to kill you.
whatever, bitch! i was one of the last people on the planet to realize there’s two iosekfas so i think everyone figures this out at some point.
an initially seemingly useless gesture you learn from a withered corpse at the highest echelon of the healing church. you hold your arms like you’re saying it’s 9 o’ clock.
if you hold it for one minute, the hunter will switch the arms. now it’s 3 o clock.
do this in front of a giant rotten brain you find in a big hole and get a special caryll rune (a gameplay mechanic that gives you temporary boosts): moon. moon (the one in the sky) is important. i have no idea what the gesture is trying to convey. a funny (maybe good?) guess is that your hunter knows math and is doing gauss’ pythagorean right triangle proposal.
the only other character who reacts to this is the doll, who claps politely when you swap hands and not when you begin the gesture, like all other gestures. odd.
this is another one where i have no idea how people found it. i THINK it was the official guidebook lol.
mergo’s lullaby=music box
the worst track in the game, lullaby for mergo, is an intentionally off-tune clunky music box song. off tune means SCARY.
this song is encountered for the first time at the very start of the game. a young girl gives you a music box with the hopes that it will bring her father back to his senses and stave off beasthood just a little while longer. you can use it in the fight with one of the first bosses, father gascoigne, to stun him. the song appears once again as the background music for mergo’s wet nurse. she was robbed of a better song.
i would guess its an in universe folk song. it’s also hard not to notice they’re the same bc they’re both terrible in the exact same way.
that wraps up the first part. see you next time with uhhh oh cum dungeon, great.
† future bea here again, sadly i came up with some more “theory”. i was going to mention that there’s one character in the game that probably SHOULD be undead: yharnam, pthumerian queen (the city was named after her). she is the true, TRUE end boss of the game but requires a ton of dedication and diving into the (optional) chalice dungeons to fight her as a boss. you encounter her mourning her infant (who appears to have been cut out of her) in the base game twice.
there is a stark difference between her appearance in the game and in the chalice dungeons: the boss version is pregnant.
god this is so stupid complicated but someone out there might appreciate it. the second half of bloodborne is VERY baby-crazy, starting with the first appearance of yharnam as you unwittingly reveal the blood moon. the blood moon is a bad omen:
“When the red moon hangs low, the line between man and beast is blurred. And when the Great Ones descend, a womb will be blessed with child.
well, there’s a red moon and people are turning into dogs. the great ones do appear to be descending. but who was womb?? was it this mysterious queen?? no. because after you defeat the queen in the chalice dungeons, your reward is (to many people’s annoyance) a dead baby that’s functionally useless:
a dead baby is about as useless as it gets
this item literally serves no purpose in game but has an eerie item description that shares many similarities with the item “queenly flesh” (annalise’s aforementioned chunk):
A sacred heirloom left by Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen.
The Queen lies dead, but her horrific consciousness is only asleep, and it stirs in unsettling motions.
when the moon descends, one woman gets pregnant: arianna. we know arianna is a cainhurst (the castle of the vilebloods!) relative or descendant of some sort based on her dress’ item description. the blood you can solicit from her is described as forbidden and after you kill her “child” , the umbilical cord it drops suggests that this isn’t just an ordinary monster baby.
“Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate, and Oedon, the formless Great One, is no different. To think, it was corrupted blood that began this eldritch liaison.”
arianna’s vileblood in her vileveins elevates this monster kid from “oedon’s one night stand” to a prophesized “child of blood”. we know about oedon from his caryll runes: he has “inadvertent worshippers” (our dumb asses for revealing the blood moon) who “seek the precious blood” (hot babes). if oedon can impregnate vilebloods, then he is responsible for arianna’s baby AND yharnam’s baby.
yharnam’s baby lives in some strange capacity despite its stillbirth. with enough insight you can hear it cry in the distance while in the chalice dungeon boss fight, the baby takes a more pro-active role by paralyzing you with its screams. oedon is described as “lacking form, exist[ing] only in voice”; a quality he apparently shares with his offspring. given all of this AND yharnam’s appearance at the bottom of the loft in mergo’s nightmare, i think it’s fair to assume that mergo is just a voice. there’s nothing in the baby carriage because there’s no physical form for the baby. because mergo is physically dead, the attempt by the school of mensis to communicate with it resulted in a “stillbirth” of their brains.
alright, finally back to annalise, who oedon skipped over. poor annalise thinks she the last vileblood, having no clue about arianna. but annalise was working very, very hard to be the recipient of that child of blood. the cainhurst knight set explicitly states this. the rune “blood rapture” has three different versions, one is found on queen yharnam’s bodyguards, the other is found on annalise’s most bastardly knight. yharnam wears a low poly version of the ring of betrothal, an item with freakish rarity that you can only give to annalise for new dialog (but she rejects your marraige proposal). worst of all, annalise’s covenant revolves around “getting the queen her cummies”.
come on man
and here is why annalise knows about yharnam: even in the deepest possible parts of the chalice dungeons, you will still find piles and piles of cainhurst armor and bones from the knights who went into the dungeons and never came back. treasure from the chalice dungeon can be found in cainhurst castle. there are even a few very rare living cainhurst knights in the dungeons, presumably bringing back something for their queen to eat.
all this to say: annalise is not the only immortal. there’s also queen yharnam. and oedon is mergo’s father and mergo is just a noise you soothe away. i can’t believe you read this. fuck us all.