Going a Little Hollow in Dark Souls

Last time, on Aether’s Adventures in Public Humiliation, we died. A lot. To a single boss. But eventually, because we are absolutely indomitable, we triumphed. And then we did a little dance.

Defeating the Capra Demon has done one very important thing. It’s let me level my strength up to 20. Of course, that number probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it means the world to me. Do you remember way back in the first entry, when I spent like two hours straight ramming my head against the Black Knight? Do you remember how glorious it was when I finally defeated him? Do you remember what I said then?

As a reward, I get a titanite shard, of which I already have several and have no clue what they do, a ring that boosts my defense when my health is low, and the dark knight’s sword.  And it is a glorious blade.  The scimitar I’ve been using all game, the one I’ve been one-shotting hollows with?  That has an attack rating of 80.  This one has an attack of 220.  Almost three times as much as my current sword.  However, the requirements for using it, both strength and dexterity, are quite high.  I meet the dexterity requirement easily, but it needs twice as much strength to use it than I currently have.  My most glorious prize, from my most glorious conquest, and right now it is naught more than a trophy.  I equip it anyway, and try a few practice swings.  My character flails around like a wiener.  I really hope I wasn’t showing up as a ghost in somebody else’s game right now.

I start putting some more points in strength immediately.  This may not be the most optimal setup for my character, but I worked hard for this sword and I’m damn sure going to use it.

Guess what, ladies.

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Oh yes.

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Look at that! That’s twice the assassin’s max hp in a single blow!

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It even swings low so there’s no escape for those blasted dogs!

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AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

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LOOK AT THAT! THE GUY IN THE BACK BLOCKED AND IT STILL DID ENOUGH DAMAGE TO KILL!

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MEAT! MEAT! YOU’RE ALL JUST MEAT!

Ahem. It’s a good sword. A slight bit slower than the Drake Sword I’d been using, but it’s got a longer reach and a wider swing. I’ve upgraded it a few times, so now it does almost twice the damage I’d been doing before. I’m very happy with it, in case you haven’t picked up on it already.

I check back in at Firelink Shrine. Looks like the Way of the White dude has some friends. I go over and say hi to my fellow Way members.

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What?! You… you dare… insult my looks?! I barely restrain my murderous fury, before moving onto the next guy. He turns out to be yet another person who doesn’t say a word. Great. I talk to the woman praying in the back. She’s actually relatively polite, elegantly claiming that she doesn’t have time for small talk right now and providing a quick statement of our resolve. But then…

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Did you see that?! She just insulted my couth! You don’t just go an insult a man’s couth like that! A man without couth is like… well, like a Way of the White member apparently. I am seriously regretting joining that club. Jeez, looks like the jerk population of Firelink Shrine is only on the rise.

I’ve got two more things to do in the Lower Undead Burg before I start checking out new areas. The first actually requires a little bit of backtracking. I hit up the merchant in the Upper Undead Burg again, the one who gave me my hideous set of chainmail armor. Turns out he has the key to the house that one guy was locked in, and he’s offering it for sale. That… actually raises all sorts of questions. Did the merchant lock the guy up in the house and try to sell him his freedom?

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In any case, I buy the key.

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The second thing I plan on doing… well, this new blade needs a good test, right? And what better way of testing it than to put it to match against the demon that was giving me so much trouble last entry? So I leave my sign on the ground. Any player in human form who passes by that area will have the option to enlist my aid in tackling the Lower Undead Burg, including the Capra Demon at the end. If we manage to beat the boss, I get a humanity point out of the deal. Works out well for everyone, don’t you think?

While waiting for someone to come along, I head back to that locked house, key in hand.

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Inside is Griggs of Vinheim, master of all the arcane forces except for those useful when dealing with a rotten wooden door. And oh my Geezer Zeus, I didn’t realize the terror this guy was in! Can you imagine?! Being locked in that house for days on end with all those filthy evil barrels? Trying to stay still, stay silent, stay unnoticed lest they pounce and devour you whole? My heart goes out to this man.

On a side note, you notice how everyone is <name> of <location>? Makes me wonder what my guy would introduce himself as? Exodus of Just Wandering Around? Exodus of the Northern Undead Asylum? EyesOnAether of Games for Windows Live? Makes me kind of glad that he’s a silent protagonist.

Anyways, he decides to rest a while, because apparently being locked up in a house for however long wasn’t enough for him, before heading back to the Firelink Shrine.

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While ridding the room of the foul taint of those barrels, I find a corpse with a full set of sorcerer gear. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save him from those barrels, but at least now he is avenged.

I do a bit more exploring before quickly getting notice that I’m being summoned to another player’s world. That was pretty quick. I didn’t think it worth writing up, but I did offer myself as assistance against the Bell Gargoyles, yet it took long enough to get summoned that I gave up before I could join any player. This time, I’ve been selected within minutes. I wonder if my new, more powerful equipment makes me a more attractive partner.

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Our host, a spear-wielding warrior bearing mostly equipment I don’t recognize also summons another phantom for aid, a topless woman wielding the Drake Sword that’s now so familiar to me. I don’t know either of the other phantom’s stats, but I can make assumptions on our combat performance judging by the equipment we wield. In this game, movement speed is based almost entirely on the weight of what you have equipped compared to you maximum load. That means the woman, wearing just about the bare minimum, will be the fastest and likely focus on dodging above all else. I know from experience her sword packs quite a punch as well, so I imagine she’ll be focused on hit and run strategies. I’m pretty much the exact opposite, weighed down with quite a bit of metal, but packing what is likely to be the most powerful weapon it’s possible to get by this point in the game, aside from maybe a random drop from the second Black Knight with the even bigger sword. I’ll be the group’s heavy. Our host, I imagine, is somewhere in between. He has a shield, but he uses his spear two-handed so he’s not going to be using it, necessitating an evasion-based defense. On the other hand, I imagine his mixture of cloth and metal armor means he can take a few hits.

In any case, the three of use descend on the Lower Undead Burg like a storm, annihilating all in our way. We’re not even fair about it. We stab enemies through closed doors, break off the normally group-based assassins and deal with them individually, and surround the dogs to remove their dodging space. These enemies don’t even stand a chance against us, and before we know it, we’re at the door to the boss.

I enter last, after both the host and the woman head in there. The Capra Demon’s and both dogs’ attentions are all on the two of them, leaving me absolutely unattended, and ready to test out how my new blade does. I swing twice, and cut away almost half of the Capra Demon’s health. This sword! So sweet! I’m satisfied enough with the results that I celebrate by momentarily ditching my duties and backing off to take a screenshot.

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I reenter the fray, and it’s over in seconds. With everyone piled onto the demon on top of my own very considerable damage capabilities, that Capra Demon has no hope. The boss that had given me so much trouble, he doesn’t even last a minute the second time around.

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Our victory achieved, I fade from the host’s world with a new humanity point and a surprise in hand. The host must have been a member of the Warriors of Sunlight, because I got a Sunlight Medallion for helping him out. Hmm… maybe I should consider joining that covenant, since everyone in the Way of the White sucks. Well, I don’t even know how one might go about that. It’ll be an exercise for another day.

I retire to Firelink Shrine, and find a friendly face waiting there. It’s Griggs! He tells me a story about how he was following his teacher, Big Hat Logan, into the undead lands, but got unceremoniously dumped halfway through. So sad! But then he cheers me up with a nice offer!

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Hell yeah! And unlike the Way of the White’s miracles, I actually have the stats for some of these! I pick up a basic magic arrow spell, and hit upon a realization.

For so long, the asshole to decent person ration in Firelink Shrine has been way too low. There’s that grumpy chainmail guy who’s such a jerk about everything and the fat crew with the Way of the White who insult my appearance and couth in spite of us all supposedly being in the same club. For the longest time, all we had to balance that out was that woman who upgrades my Estus Flask but doesn’t even talk. And yet, through my actions, I’ve brought new immigrants to the shrine. I’ve brought Griggs, who’s friendly and teaches me magic, and Thorolund, who’s a little cold but does fulfill his promises.

I’ve got a new mission, now. I’m going to completely invert the climate of Firelink Shrine. I am going to bring in all the people who aren’t nice to crowd out all the dicks who make Firelink Shrine home. I am going to make Firelink Shrine a nice neighborhood, no matter how many undead I have to slaughter through to do it!

How are we going to do that, though? Well, that’s going to take some exploring. We’ve got several places to explore, though! Right now, I’ve got a choice of four locations I can get to. There’s Blighttown, which is where we’re supposed to go next so hahaha screw that idea. There’s the forest out by Andre’s tower, which I’ve explored enough to know I can handle the enemies there but not enough to have reached anywhere significant. There’s the Depths, which I’ve unlocked by killing the Capra Demon, but that sounds like a total sewer level. And finally, I could go back to the Northern Undead Asylum and see what’s been going on with the place since I left in the beginning of the game.

Honestly, I’m kind of torn between a couple of those options. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery on what you’d like to see first?

Next:  Re-dominating the Northern Undead Asylum.

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2 responses to “Going a Little Hollow in Dark Souls

    • Thanks! Going back to the Northern Undead Asylum would also give me the chance to take more than two screenshots there to make up for my shameful showing at the start of the game. Sound’s like that’s where we’re headed next!

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