Going Down in Dark Souls

Last time, on Diamonds, Daisies, and Dark Souls, we did nothing!  A whole lot of nothing!  I mean, we’ve had our Dark Souls breathers before, but this was spectacular in its nothingness.   We accomplished absolutely zilch in our last post.  But don’t worry.  That one was just the appetizer.  I hope you didn’t fill up, because here’s where we get to the actual meal.

And yet every time I start a post like that, I always spend the first couple paragraphs just dicking around.  Who am I to break with a good tradition?  In this case, I just bugger off to Anor Londo, and spend a good long while hanging with the giant blacksmith there.  He’s not my best friend.  I haven’t had good luck with best friends.  But he’s close.

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Specifically, meeting Sif in the past reminded me that I had his soul in my pocket.  I figured I saved his life, so he probably won’t mind this next part, and have the giant blacksmith hit his spirit with a hammer until my shield absorbs it.  That gives me the same shield Artorias granted him, to protect him from all those ghosts in the Abyss.

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Except mine’s a lot sexier, of course.  I know, because I picked up the original, worn out shield from Sif back in the past as well.  Oh, and do you remember how Elizabeth decided to keep my deeds and glory a secret, in order to keep the whole time paradox thing from happening?

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Yeah, causality can go screw.

I have armed myself with two of the exact same shield, from different points in time.  I bear the power of paradox itself.  Let’s see how good it is in a fight.

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The zombie gazes into this impossibility I have created.  One shield sure, but two of them?  Its mind tears itself apart from the very thought of it.

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The reality of my paradox resolves itself right in its face.

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None can stop the wrath of time itself, the thing that should not be!

Anyways, it’s fun breaking the laws of the universe, but it’s not very effective at killing people, so I lose interest quickly.  Firelink Shrine has grown a bit lonely.  You remember when I was trying to make Firelink a decent place to live?  When I was trying to fill it with people who weren’t horrible, in this world that was nothing but?  Man, what happened there?

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Nowadays, all we have here are the lost sorcerer who’s cool and all but doesn’t seem to have any direction in life…

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that one chick who doesn’t want to talk to me…

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and freaking this guy.  Do you even remember this guy?  I hope not.   I wish I didn’t remember this guy.  Also there’s Frampt Dungmouth and the crazy merchant guy who makes me-sized replicas of boss equipment after I kill them.  Everyone needs a hobby.  Anyways, Domhnall aside, this isn’t really the neighborhood I feel part of anymore.  Nowadays, Firelink has become less the closest thing I had to a home and more the place I just pass through to get to wherever the blazes else I’m going.  I realize that, and it makes me a bit sad.

I do get to spend a bit of extra time here, however.  There’s only one place left that I haven’t yet conquered.  It’s obvious that this is the way to go.  And I’ve been putting it off, because it goes underground, and I really, really hate going underground, but it’s time to get to it anyways.  The only thing is, between there and Firelink Shrine, there’s a whole horde of skeleton warriors.  About as wimpy as you’d expect from a bunch of guys with no muscles, but the fact that they come back from death even faster than I do makes them problematic.  Unless I figure out some way to keep them down, I’m going to end up with the world’s ugliest groupies following me around everywhere.

It takes either divine might or good old fire to kill them for good.  I’ve got fire aplenty for the guys at the entrance, but not knowing just how many skulldudes I have to deal with, I’m thinking I shouldn’t rely on pyromancy alone.  The spells are powerful, but you run through them quickly.  Which leaves divine or fire weapons.  But I don’t think I have any fire weapons, and divine weapons rely on faith for damage, which, I think given that I’ve been fighting through this hellhole of a world for what seems like years with absolutely no help from above, I think you’ll forgive me if I’m a little low in that stat.  None of these options really suit me.

I look through my armory for a while.  Also, I have a full-fledge armory now!  That’s pretty sweet.  Anyways, I do have a few weapons that deal divine damage, but my low faith makes them not-very-viable if I were to fight anything stronger than those bony little wimps.  I have plenty of stronger weapons that can grind the skeletons to dust, but even from dust they can reform without something divine playing at them.

It takes me a while, but I do find something that works.  One weapon that doesn’t look to actually do divine damage, and thus doesn’t have a faith requirement, but still seems to have the divine modifier ticked.  A quick trip to the giant blacksmith to power it up later, and we’ve got game.

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The Silver Knight Spear.  I picked it up off of a grinding run I did in Anor Londo a good long while ago.  Its damage seems to be all physical, but the touch of the divine is enough to make sure the dead guys stay dead.  Well, except for me.

So equipped, I head through the graveyard and down into the caves beyond.

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The Catacombs.  I’ve been here before.  A severed head screamed at me, so I left.  I don’t have that luxury this time, so I head underground (eeeeurgh) again.

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A bony guy comes up to greet me.  Note those floating heads in the lower left corner.

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They scream at me again.  The first one explodes harmlessly.

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The blasts from the second and third catches me, though.  The damage isn’t too bad, but it does send me flying.  I just bet that eventually they’re going to jump me while I’m going across a suspended pathway.

With the three of them dead, I walk down the stairs.  It leads through a doorway.

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This guy tried to ambush me.  I never saw him coming.  He still missed me like whoa.  I almost felt sorry for him.  Instead I stabbed him off the cliff.  For fun.

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I dropped down after him.  A giant pile of bones breaks my fall.  Who even piled those up here?  What the hell is the purpose for this place?  Not exactly a restland for the honored dead.

No idea how to get back up, but who cares?  There’s slaying to be done!

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There’s a lot of these skeletons found slumped against the walls.  I don’t see manacles or anything, but I get the impression they were once chained here.

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I’m starting to wonder if I might be a bit overleveled for this place.  I’ve not found anything that can really threaten me yet.

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I follow the path along, and come to what looks like a giant door.  There’s no immediately obvious way to open it, however.  No holes, hinges, or knobs.  There is a path to the side of the room leading down, however.  I take it.

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It’s occupied.

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Not for long.  Dude fires flames from that shrunken head, there. I try not to think about the mechanics of how that works.  My new shield easily absorbs the damage.  His flesh easily absorbs my spear.

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A bonfire down here, and a switch.  I press in the switch, a bunch of gears turn, and when I head back up, the large door from earlier is open.

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Hey!  I’m not underground anymore!  Man, that perks me up.

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Of course, parades in Dark Souls always get rained on.  Here, both a skeleton and one of those creepy pyromancers come to ruin my day.  The fireball splashes harmlessly against the cliff I’m on.  The skeleton is similarly ineffective.

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The pyromancer really can’t reach me up here, but I’m not willing to walk along while he showers me with flames.  I feather him until he dies.  I really need to start carrying around a lot more arrows.  I don’t often use them for killing, more for luring enemies out, but they’re a useful enough tool that I really don’t want to be running out.

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With the pyromancer cleared, I take a path leading along this chasm.  There’s not much of worth here.  A few skeletons.  Whatever.

A ramp heads up to a burial chamber.  Seems like the place to be, so I take it.

Can you guess what I found in the place you put dead people?

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Yeah.

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Yeah.  One of them leaves me their shield. I’m pretty sure I already have plenty of them.

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I also find a weapon down here, left behind by one of the legitimately dead guys, something that would let me stab and smash someone at the same time.  I might have to give that a try, once I get somewhere that could actually kill somebody.

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I kill a bunch more skeletons.  Like, a bunch, you don’t even know.  Eventually, the chamber opens up to a cliffside path.  Looks pretty clear.

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No foreseeable obstacles.

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I send an arrow straight through this floating head.  It’s intangible, and the arrow passes through without it even knowing.

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I walk past this statue, and long spikes pop out to skewer me.  Turns out, this was trapped.  Why you would want to trap a place for people to visit their beloved departed, I don’t know.  Seems like it would just add more to the pile.  Luckily, I had my shield raised at the time, so even though the spike penetrated all the way through my hips and shoulder, it in fact only impacted my shield.  Don’t you love hitboxes?

The head explodes harmlessly.  I come across another skeleton.  He also explodes harmlessly.

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The next few statues are also trapped.  Again, although my chest is pierced clean through in this image, it in fact hit my shield first, so I am completely unharmed.

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There’s a corpse with some souls on it here, and this switch.  It rotates the bridge behind it, so it can actually be walked on.

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Two skeletons wait on the other side.  I could easily kill them at once, but I don’t want to linger on the bridge in case something happens to flip the switch again.  Can’t imagine it’d be very pleasant if this turns on you.  I feather the first to draw him across.  After he’s slain, I charge the second.

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If he still had a groin, this would be very unpleasant for him.

Beyond the bridge, the path heads underground again.  I spy some treasure glowing in the darkness.

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Umm… I kind of feel like I’m interrupting something here.

The body held souls.  The statue held spikes.  Likely what created the body.

I head downward a bit, taking a staircase just inside the cave entrance.  Once again, I spy some treasure in the darkness, and head towards it.

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The treasure’s guarded.

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Also trapped.  This doesn’t stop me any more than the skeleton did.

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I come across a pair of what look to be recently filled graves.  The ground drops out from under me as I step on one, and I fall to the floor below.

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I find a pair of crystal lizards in the path leading out of here.  I slay them, run through a gauntlet of spike statues, and find my way to another set of graves.  One of them has an obvious pitfall.  No place else but forward, so I step on it.

It drops me out near another switch.  A familiar switch.  The same switch I already flipped to ready the bridge to take me there.  I return to the cave area, and take the staircase within as far down as it goes.

That leads me to a switch and some souls.  I flip it, but what it does is not immediately apparent.  I look around for a good long while, before I find a newly opened area.

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Two things of note here.  One, a bonfire hidden behind an illusory wall, which I find thanks to a message from another chosen one.  Second, there’s another switch, which flips another bridge.  I head down, and start across it.

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A skeleton drops down behind me, just entering my field of view as I pass.  Luckily, my reflexes are quick, and I round on him before he can attack.

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At the end of the bridge, there’s a fog gate.  Doesn’t seem to be a boss gate, but even so, I take a moment to muster my will before I stride on through.

Next time: Black and white and dead all over.

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6 responses to “Going Down in Dark Souls

  1. The halberd was my favorite weapon. At some point, it became my solution to every monster encounter, and I got quite a lot of mileage out of it.

    A tomb with death traps so that they could add new dead bodies? We could be looking at the greatest scam ever presented in a video game (or the remains of it at any rate).

    Also, if you ask me, I don’t think that sunlight maggot has completely fulfilled its penance for killing off such a cool character. Should you find yourself in a dark area, you should make it guide your way.

    • Well, considering what we find at the end of the tomb, and what he may be using those bodies for, I’m not so sure that scam’s too far off the mark. Has to be some reason it kills you when you go to pay respects to the dead, right?

      And thanks for the tip. I had just stumbled into the area I think you’re talking about at the end of this play session. I had figured you were supposed to dart from prism stone to prism stone, but the Sunlight Maggot is a much better tool, and one I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself.

      • Then people will go to pay respects for the people who attempted to pay respects for the dead. And then after that…

        A skull lantern would also do in a pinch, but you can’t use it and a shield at the same time, so I wouldn’t recommend it as much.

      • I’ve never found a skull lantern anyways, so looks like the maggot’s the way for me! Although I’ve been wearing the Gargoyle helm pretty much all game. I don’t know if people will still recognize me without it.

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