bloodborne begins just shortly after your hunter-to-be asks an unknown question regarding a mysterious “paleblood“. in the opening cut-scene, a rare moment where the player occupies the POV of the hunter themselves, a man wearing the most evil top hat humanly possible dressed like a scarecrow that just got mugged of his eyeballs (the “blood minister”) rolls toward you in his Evil Horror Wheelchair™️ and starts saying a bunch of shit that makes no sense to you or anyone, for that matter.

“Oh, yes…Paleblood…”

this lying ass bitch has no idea what “paleblood” is. i guess there’s no proof he’s actually bullshitting us, but why would he know what it is. he says it in the same cadence as someone trying to soothe a startled horse and not like he has any definitive understanding of the actual question being asked. i think this guy is just making a hard sell like a car dealer. he is truly a character of no importance in any version or build of the game. i think its funniest if he’s just some asshole who makes a commission per hunter he gets to sign up and is like “oh for sure, dude. whatever. sign here.”

the hunter agrees to “sign a contract” (create a character) which is a relatively unexciting process save for a few notes:

  • the “noble scion” origin (a set of pre-made character builds to start with) has the descriptor, “scion to a respectable line with faith in your pedigree” and specializes in bloodtinge.
  • the “military veteran” origin is the only mentions of a war that occurred recently enough for you to have partaken in it. just a little (truly) useless flavor.
  • everyone’s favorite is the low stat challenge origin “waste of skin”: “You are nothing. Talentless. You shouldn’t have been born.” y-you too.

for this playthrough, our hunter is going to be a man named hunter, in honor of all the 6-11 year old boys who get yelled at in targets across america. we too are going to get yelled at by a bunch of strangers for getting into things we are not supposed to. however, the hunter has no canon gender, age, or appearance. the only information set in stone about the hunter is that they are just some schlub from out of town who remembers very little about their life before showing up in yharnam. that, and they do not have the common sense to refuse a blood and/or unknown substance transfusion from the world’s sickliest senior citizen who looks like he hasn’t washed his hands ever in his life. the hunter is a fucking idiot lol. what a dumb ass. like, after he figures out what he’s been roped into why doesn’t he just go home and take a nap. is he stupid?? let’s kill him

“Whatever happens…You may think it all a bad dream…”

this is the only appearance of the blood minister in the entire game. he is an inconsequential character, but a bizarre one. i seriously don’t think he’s particularly important to the plot and world of bloodborne; i don’t think he’s the missing lore link who will tie all this shit together once and for all. but there are points of his monologue that come off as quite strange when you think about it too much: what the hell does he mean by “you need only unravel its mystery” when it comes to yharnam. what the fuck does he mean by that. in the japanese translation he seems to be a little more direct in his sales pitch: yharnam blood will lead you to paleblood. but he won’t talk to outsiders until they “sign a contract” and get a yharnam infusion. still weird. why would he know how to get paleblood???  well, at least we get SOME information out of him. maybe?

the minister once had a larger role in the game but, in my opinion his excision from the plot was a creative one in the game’s favor. he appeared briefly as an NPC you can speak to after you wake up from your blood transfusion. he would assign you a backstory that ehhhh, you know. it overreaches a little too much in comparison to what a completely blank slate offers us. the minister’s exposition dump fucking sucks1:

“Welcome, weary traveler. To the great city of Yharnam. The troubles you must have seen. Your homeland, plagued by a sickness that spares few. You suffer. Your loved ones suffer. It’s like a curse. But there is hope for you yet. The blood used in ministration, the trade of Yharnam, is a special thing indeed…The only thing that can cure your sickness…”

the result is a bit too on the nose and raises the same questions: why does this asshole know this? maybe we look like we come from a certain place; everyone DOES instantly recognize us as a yharnam outsider, after all. i dunno. it answers some questions but raises more that are confusing and not worth investigating (what is the disease? where did the curse come from? are we visibly sick? how so? etc). i like it better when the hunter is just some dipshit who asked a question that got him roped into an eternal shift as a dog catcher for the city as cosmic punishment for his curiosity.

the hunter does in fact have a bad dream with some heavy-handed imagery: a scourge beast2 made out of blood emerges from a puddle of, take a guess- blood before reaching its claws toward you with slow and palpable dread. on the first viewing, you may think that the beast is creeping forward to attack you while you’re helplessly strapped to a gurney, but on “new game plus” (NG+) knowing what you know about the scourge, it will realize that the beast is extending its hand toward you in invitation. then it erupts into flames for no apparent reason and dies. consider this both a metaphor for your good wholesome blood fighting off the beast scourge in the transfusion and a tutorial: dogs hate fire. the hunter reacts like “huh, well that was weird. well, back to transfusin’.” absolutely no sells this. what a pro.

suddenly, you are swarmed by what appears to be an alarming number of ghostly white, deformed, infant critter things. they slowly, almost gently, crawl all over you doing god knows what until the hunter decides he’s had enough of this shit and blacks out (as you are about to wake from this dream). as your consciousness fades away, a soft, russian-accented voice addresses these little freaks with solemn admiration:

“Ahh, you’ve found yourself a hunter…”

you wake up on the gurney alone in a strange medical ward. there is nothing to interact with or signs or any other life in this transfusion room. except a note in your own handwriting3:

“Seek Paleblood to transcend the hunt.”

now, this is very important: step one of bloodborne is to die. after leaving the transfusion room, the player will almost immediately be accosted by a scourge beast with half a health bar4, suggesting that the man he’s gobbling down put up a decent fight before he became dinner. don’t be afraid.

the first lesson of bloodborne: it’s okay to die.  

after you get your shit rocked, you will regain consciousness in a strange place. the amount of brain damage we must have from passing out so much must be incalculable.


before you is a garden of white cosmos (the flower, not outer space. but, get it. lol) with a cobblestone path leading to a dwelling of some kind. perhaps a chapel, judging from the empty baptismal fonts stationed near it. its doors, and the wrought iron doors opening up into a field of lilies, are locked tight. to the left, there is an item you can examine.

further up the stairs, the little baby dudes are back, weeping loudly and weirdly. they have some gifts for you: a trick weapon of your choice and a gun* to pair it with. the weapons, an axe, a saw, and a cane, are modified day to day tools or equipment and are well worn from age and use. a first time player would be wise to pick up the saw cleaver and the pistol. the threaded cane is a trick to make you hate playing video games and i don’t know who the blunderbuss is even for. having a spread shot will not be to your advantage with how we will be using it.

you can wander around a bit more, but there’s not much else here. gravestones litter the tiny landscape, but you cannot “use” most of them yet. there is one you can use right now to teleport from this location to back to yharnam by means of the strange blue-purple lanterns you will now find along your journey. these will act as checkpoints, respawn points, and your means to return to this hub world.

beyond the fence that lines the perimeter of the small, floating rock the garden sits on, there is nothing but a sea of clouds pierced with strange, wooden beams that continue up into infinity and down into whatever lies below. the pale moon hangs high overhead.

this is the hunter’s dream.

note: music does not typically appear in the overworld in fromsoft games. this allows you to listen in on enemies trying to sneak up on you or get spooked by the sound of footsteps. special exception are typically carved out for the “safe” hub areas like the firelink shrine of dark souls or uh, the other firelink shrine from dark souls 3. the hunter’s dream is no different. please enjoy the linked music, especially when we get to the boss battle bangers.

now get the fuck out of there and go kill that dog!!!!

the bottom red line blocking a doorway is the one we’ve just come through at the start; it’s now locked and can no longer be accessed for now. after respawning at the lamp, our hunter is free to fearlessly cut down the scourge beast and make their way outside. it’s twilight in central yharnam. the sun is setting.

BUT: if you return to the locked door, you’ll find that you can chat to an NPC behind it. the woman introduces herself as iosefka, who is a doctor (presumably). she informs you that you can’t be let back in without risking further spread of infection. as thanks for your service, however, she offers you a single use item you can come back and stock up on one at a time: iosefka’s blood vial. it’s uh, weird.

The product of a slow and careful refinement process,
this rare blood vial appears to be a clinic original.

girl what the fuck. what does that mean. it restores more hp than a regular blood vial but that’s not really going to help you in this game. i think this is generally accepted to be serum, which is similar to plasma except the blood is allowed to clot before it’s put in a centrifuge. the result is a thin yellow liquid with no white or red blood cells. i think the “slow and careful refinement process” is supposed to be a little tongue in cheek means of differentiating this spooky not-blood from the spooky-not blood of real life; the centrifugal process is anything but slow and careful.

after chopping the dog into mincemeat, you will gain your first blood echoes. you will carry this “collective will” from the blood until you can use it to level up (after we explore most of the first section, the challenge of this first bit is to learn to hang onto your blood echoes). blood echoes function like souls in the souls games with one exception: enemies can pick up your dropped blood echoes (!) necessitating you to defeat them to gain them back. this will also be your first experience with the rally mechanic; in order to encourage and facilitate lightning fast, high risk/high reward game play, you can recover a large percentage of lost hp by consecutive retaliating attacks within a short time limit. each hit recovers more of the lost hp. the in-universe explanation for this is that the blood from your enemies invigorates you. makes sense. just like real life.

exiting iosefka’s clinic, there’s a sight you don’t want to see near a hospital: a graveyard. it’s fenced off for now so the only way is forward into central yharnam, which is in absolute disarray. strewn about are suitcases and clothing with no owners, there are carriages that have been abandoned and the horses nowhere to be seen, and the locals are total dicks. the huntsmen roaming the streets during this twilight of the hunt keep yelling terrible things at you that hurt your feelings like “YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE!” and “YOU PLAGUE-RIDDEN RAT!” and it’s all very unkind. also they’re hitting you with axes and shooting you in the face and such. luckily, they’re also pretty lethargic, so you can get the jump on most of these guys just by running up on them from behind. the problem is the sheer NUMBER of huntsmen stumbling around tonight. everybody is out and about.

there’s only three huntsmen in the way here and two of them are taking a little nap on the floor; this is the games way of introducing you to the different “states” enemies can be in: patrolling, alert but static, and “asleep”. after dispatching of these fellows, pull the lever on the right to drop an iron ladder down to where you can reach it.

as you climb the ladder, an absolutely HIDEOUS, but distinctly inhuman screech will echo out. don’t worry about it. keep climbing. at the top is your next checkpoint blue lantern and a very curious red lantern, hanging outside of a window covered in padlocks and chains.

the image above is a little inaccurate, the gate to the left should not be open yet. right now, there’s nowhere to go but right. but first. let’s go up to the window and have a little chat with the occupant. red lanterns indicate the presence of an NPC inside of a building you can speak to. this scottish fellow is gilbert.

bloodborne lesson 2: make friends!

he’s so sick he can’t even stand, so he’ll have to speak to you through the window. he, like you, is an outsider5 and and came to yharnam looking for a cure but got the same welcome from the locals. he warns you that the town is cursed and to get out once you get whatever you came here for. but he’s up to chat and answer some questions:

“Paleblood, you say? Hmm… Never heard of it. But if it’s blood you’re interested in, you should try the Healing Church.”

yeah, that sounds like an organization with good intentions. let’s try it. gilbert advises you to cross the valley via the huge bridge you can see from where you’re standing if you turn around. from there, we’ll progress to the cathedral ward where the grand cathedral is located. normally, gilbert says, yharnamites do not share their secrets with outsiders. but if you take advantage of the chaos of the hunt…well, we might have a chance.


1. here is a lance mcdonald video about this cut content. all of this shit is from a very old build where the “ebrietas” he mentions in his cut content was the name of the moon presence. its very far removed from the end product.

2. all of the fromsoft cut-scenes are rendered in engine, but i don’t know where this guy is in the files. i would be interested to know what his eye color is. hard to tell.

3. the japanese translation clarifies that what is called simply “handwritten scrawl” in english is YOUR handwritten scrawl.

4. you CAN defeat this wolf with only your fists, but there’s no point. the game doesn’t reward you. if anything its more contemptuous of your behaviors and abilities because now if you want to progress the game you have to go and stand around waiting for someone to kill you like a total moron.

5. very strange that he’s able to determine you’re an outsider entirely by how you dress.

*completely inconsequential but funny detail: one of the messengers is looking down the barrel of the pistol lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>