Distractions of Dark Souls

Last time, on Adventures in Oolacile, we had a cliffhanger.  The first in this entire series, I think.  What the hell, Aether?  Weren’t you just complaining about those?  You hack.  Fix it.  Fix it now.

Well, if you insist.

If you’ll recall, we ended things last time with me tromping through a forest then passing through a fog gate.  On the other side of that gate we find a cutscene.  You know what that means.  That means it’s boss time.

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And here’s our opponent.  Look at him.  All bobbly and spindly and totally smaller than me.  And here I thought the DLC was supposed to be hard!  I could totally take this guy.  I could totally take like, 20 of this guy.  I could…

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My reflections on how awesome I am in comparison are interrupted as someone else jumps in and totally takes that guy.

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Dude lifts his sword a bit, then stabs the guy again for good measure.

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Then he seems to notice me.  Dark energies begin gathering around him.

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I’m… not entirely sure I can totally take this guy.

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Dude roars at me, strikes this pose, then hurls the impaled corpse of that guy right at me.

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The corpse doesn’t quite clear the distance, it skids to my feet, but the meaning is clear.  And aww, man, Artorias?!  We were supposed to be buds!  I’d impress you with my awesome swordwork, we’d bro out and save the princess, and then be generally cool guys together until I had to return to my time!

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Drowning in Dark Souls

Last time, on Deadly Dreaming Dark Souls, I slew a dragon! Which, I know, I’ve done before, but this time, the dragon was a real dick! And yeah, the whole fate of the world destiny of the Best Chosen One moved along too, but really, someone who deserved it got what was coming to them. And really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Killing Seath left me with one problem though. I don’t have any direction now. Seath had been set up as a problem a while ago, thanks to a conversation with the Firekeeper Knightess. Now, all I’ve got are a few places I haven’t checked out yet, and nothing really pushing me to one or another. I’ve got no drive, no motivation.

Well, that’s what adventuring is all about, right? Going to a place to see new sights, rather than merely to save every living thing? That’s what I’ll do. I’m an adventurer now!

I pick my next pummeling ground pretty much at random. Off the top of my head, there are four new locations I have open to me now. Two of them seem to lead underground, so we’re going to put those off as long as we’re able. I’m just tired of underground levels. Of the remaining two, I go for this one based on nothing more than a vague impulse.

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To the edge of Firelink Shrine, beyond Anastacia’s cage, there’s a stairway leading down.

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The stairway leads to an elevator, which takes me even further down.

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The elevator lets me off in this drab, ruined city. See this? Ruins are good. I think the adventurer life may work out for me after all. There are a few corpses around, and I’m able to pick up some souls from them.

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Not all the corpses are quite dead yet. The area’s littered with these zombies. Seems they haven’t entirely gone hollow yet, as they don’t attack me on sight. Instead, they just keep doing what they’re doing, which in this case seems to be going mad against the walls. I wonder about them. There’s a lot hanging out at this entrance. Who were they? Residents of this city before it fell? Wannabe Chosen Ones who drifted down here as their sanity fled them when it became apparent they weren’t as cool as I am?

I kill this one. I kill it because I don’t trust these former people to hold onto their sanity long enough for me to turn my back on them. It occurs to me that the old me, the me when I started this journey, wouldn’t have bothered a relatively innocent victim of the undead curse, would have just left them to live out whatever life we could be considered to have left. It also occurs to me that I don’t really care. I’ve died too many times to be concerned with the waning lives of others.

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Dark Souls and Dragons

Last time, in Escape from Anor Londo, our sins finally caught up to us. What sins, I don’t know, because all those guys totally deserved it, and I’m sure there’s a statute of limitations on these things, but still, we had to do some hard time in the big house. Not a whole lot of hard time, though. We broke out within our first few minutes. And I totally shanked a guy! Did you see that?! In all my video game career, I’ve broken out of prison hundreds of times, but I never just straight up shanked anybody. I almost want to get thrown back in so I can do it again!

But we can do that later. Right now, there’s a dragon I’ve finally found a reason to be pissed off with, and I’m going to see if I can’t take it out on his hide.

So last time, we had opened up a staircase down into some sort of workshop, but never really explored beyond it. This time around, I do so, passing through the fog gate and ending up in…

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a forest? Outside the archives? Can’t say I was expecting that. I take the ladder down, then press on for a few steps.

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I quickly draw the attention of a crystal golem, who slowly lumbers towards me. No big deal, I’ve already handled dozens of his kind. I hold back, and wait for him to come to me. Maybe if I’m fast enough, I’ll be able to carve him up like an ice sculpture before his corpse fades away. This is going to be simple.

At least, that’s what I think. I dodge backwards as he leaps towards me, then find myself right before another golem that was sneaking up on me. I dodge away once more as the second one raises his arms, and narrowly avoid the field of crystal he creates.

That’s the thing about Dark Souls combat. Fighting two enemies is exponentially more difficult and complex than fighting one. They tend to be able to really cover for each other, staggering the timing of their attacks and making it really unsafe to strike. I’ve learned to avoid fighting multiple foes as much as I can, and most of my current fighting style is built around drawing enemies out one by one. Taking on two at once presents problems for me.

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Well, most of the time it does. Here, though? They’re slow, I’m well versed in their moves, and I’m patient. I pick my moments, strike and dodge, and focus on wearing one down at a time. They never even touch me before they shatter.

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Looking around, there are crystal golems all over the place. I spot a gold one near the center of the forest here. I’ve only faced a golden golem once before, when I freed Dusk of Oolacile from it in the Darkroot basin. Does this one hold another captured being? I’ll have to crush it and find out.

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First, though, I’ve got to clear some space. If I remember right, the golden crystal golems are a fair bit stronger than the store brand, and I’m don’t want to be inviting any more of them to our dance.

With that one down, I take a quick survey over the area. There are a few more crystal golems in sight, but I don’t think I’m even close to reaching any of their spheres of aggression. Ok then.

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C’mon, big boy. It’s go time.

The golden golem is larger, stronger, and tougher than the garden-variety crystal golems. He uses the same moveset as them, though. No surprises in store there. As long as I can keep reading his moves well enough, he may last longer but he’s no more challenge than the vanilla version.

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And, of course, when I put those words out there, I’m going to eat them. I get him to within two hits of dying, then, in a moment of mistimed aggression, try to interrupt his attacks with one of my own. I strike him first, but not hard enough to stagger him, and he clocks me. Seriously, one punch did most of my life in damage and sent me flying back. Not enough to kill though, and he’s pretty slow, so I had enough time to swig some estus and rejoin the melee. This time, with him on his last sliver of life, I don’t need to play so cautious. I smack him one as he’s rearing up for an attack, and that’s all that’s needed.

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Much as I expected, the golden crystal golem held someone trapped inside. I wasn’t expecting to see such a familiar figure, though. Siegmeyer, that’s what, the fourth time I’ve had to save you? Are you sure you’re really up…

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Siegmeyer, you sound a lot… prettier than I remember.

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Oh! Well! I guess that explains it. Siegmeyer’s daughter, actually. She’s been trying to track him down, but got caught up by that golem in some way that she doesn’t remember. I mention that I’ve been seeing him around, and that seems to pick her spirits up. She resolves to head off after him. In the meantime, I’ve got a dragon to punish so I break away as well.

There are quite a few crystal golems in the area. Most of them seem to be guarding corpses. I hope you don’t mind if I skip over these. There’s only so many ways I can say “I dashed another one harder than the fist of an angry god” before it starts to get a little dull. Rest assured, I am awesome, and none of them even came close to scratching my armor. I found a bit of treasure, mostly titanite, although I did also pick up a full set of crystallized armor, the same type that the warrior in the tower before I fought Seath was wearing.

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Eventually, I started to run out of opponents. I moved closer to the edge of the forest, where the earth started to give way to a mass of solid crystal. I’m guessing that this is where all of these golems spawned from.

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Remaining Defiant in Dark Souls

So, I like Let’s Plays. Gives me a good glimpse of games I never would have tried or am on the fence on, and it’s interesting seeing other perspectives of games I already know well. But I’ve noticed a big problem in all the lps I’ve been watching/reading. They’re always trying to make progress. Constantly trying to hit some sort of performance goal, or even (gasp!) attempting to actually beat the game. What’s going on with that? Where’s all the aimless wandering, the unfocused milling about, the pointed refusal to move yourself towards completing the game? Everyone knows it’s when you’re doing nothing of value whatsoever that you get the best material. Last time, on Aether’s Glorious Dark Souls Conquest Mk. II I tried to deliver just that sort of experience, but I failed. That’s becoming kind of a standard thing here, isn’t it? My failure. In any case, the game tricked me, and I accidentally ended up making progress.

Well, now I’m determined to not let that happen again. No more progress until I’ve exhausted all other avenues of effectively wasting everyone’s time! Will I succeed in this endeavor? Find out below!

After kicking Sif to the curb, I make my way back to Quelaag’s Domain, deep in the bowels of Blighttown. This is actually pretty troublesome, and not just because Blighttown is a hole that no healthy-minded being would ever even think about. No, the problem with Blighttown is that there’s no bonfires I can warp to in there, meaning that if I’m going to traverse it, I’ve got to get halfway through the blasted sewer level again. But I do it. Why? Because I apparently lost all sense of self-respect around the time Frampt decided to give me a saliva-bath.

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Anyways, so I get to the lower level of Quelaag’s Domain, around where we killed the spiderbabe and rang the second Bell of Awakening. I notice that there’s a section of wall that isn’t covered in spiderwebs, making it oddly suspicious. The note on the floor claiming ‘illusory wall ahead’ is a pretty damning clue as well. I give it a good smack, and the wall fades away, leaving me with this view. Being surrounded by literally thousands of infant spiders in those egg sacs does not exactly strike me as a good time, but still, treasure. There could be treasure. I love treasure. I head into this new hallway.

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No treasure down here, but that bonfire is pretty tempting. Blocking my way, though, is this unfortunate soul weighted down under so many eggs nested in his flesh. He asks me if I’m a new servant. Servant to what, I don’t know I’ve no interest in killing him just to get to the bonfire, so I humor him. He lets me inside for an audience with ‘Our Fair Lady’ before shuffling aside. The bonfire’s already lit. Usually the bonfires I’ve been finding out in the wild, I’ve been lighting myself. In fact, the only bonfires I’ve found that have already been lit when I came across them were…

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those tended by fire keepers. Well. I suppose like everything else, ‘fair’ is in the eye of the beholder. I try to offer some conversation and pay my respects, but I just can’t understand her. She’s saying something, but not in any language I’ve ever heard, and her words seem to leave my head as soon as they enter.

Well, whatever. I have the option to join her covenant of bug-infested psychopaths, which I’m not going to do because seriously, no. Mr. Hive at the entrance, Eingyi, as he’s apparently called, does offer a weird list, the ‘Servant Roster, and some pyromancy upgrades for sale. I take the opportunity to boost my flame a few levels. I consider putting him out of misery, because seriously, did you see him? He’s more gross spider-baby than man, now. He seems pretty happy with his arrangement, though. To each their own, I guess.

On my way out, walking through the floor of Blighttown, I run into someone new. Someone I didn’t see here before. Someone just hanging out. Seriously? Who just hangs out in Blighttown?! All of Lordran to go chill in, and you choose the God’s Dungheap to spend your time? Something’s obviously wrong with her. She’s surprised to see me, claiming that only those with unique gifts can do so, and introduces herself as, well…

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The fabled Mother of Pyromancy. The one responsible for granting the art of pyromancy to mortals through the Great Pyromancer Salaman. Apparently, I remind her of the historic flame-wielder, and offers to teach me pyromancy as well. The power to make more things burn better? Of course I’m up for that! She warns me that in pursuing her pyromancy requires giving something up. Heedless, I pick up two new spells from her, the first a more powerful version of my fireball and the second a spell that engulfs the area around me in flames. Both circumstantial, as I don’t get enough uses out of them to make them my mainstays, but I can see getting some good use from this. As I leave her, she gives me a warning to always fear the flame, else it will consume me and I will lose myself. Then…

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Aww, I’m touched. So far, all the pyromancers I’ve met have been such nice, caring…

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Ok, less touched now. Still, the Mother of Pyromancy. Here in Lordran. Quite an awesome opportunity! I’ve got to tell Laurentius. A quick port later, and…

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He notices my pyromancy has grown, already, under Quelana’s tutelage. I let him know about the Mother of Pyromancy, thinking that he’ll be interested in it just the same as I. After all, just sitting around Firelink with nothing to do is sure to kill your hope and drive you hollow. He was kind to me, giving me a part of himself through this pyromancy flame. The least I could do is give him this one positive note to keep his sanity afloat. He resolves to reach her on his own, claiming himself enough of a pyromancer to be able to handle it himself.

And hey, while I’m here, do you remember Frampt? The primordial serpent? You can feed him items in exchange for souls. A wide variety of items, including one that I’ve been picking up over and over again in Blighttown.

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Hey, you remember when he decided to transport me inside his blasted mouth? The indignity of it? Yeah.

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Down the hatch.

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A quick bump for Dark Souls

We’ve had an odd progression, in our journeys through Dark Souls. We started our journey because some dead guy threw a corpse at us and told us to go be the chosen one. From there, we rang some bells because some asshole told us to. Then we had to go find the macguffin because a freaky snake told us to. Last time, on Baby’s First Dark Soul, we finished that up, then we were tasked with our greatest quest yet! We have to go talk to the freaky snake again, because a holy hot chick told us to! Hey, the quest giver counts for a lot.

First thing first, we’ve got to get back to Firelink Shrine. We’re a pretty long walk away. Well, I think. After Sen’s Fortress, I have no idea where those demons flew me off to. For all I know, we could be two doors down from Firelink. In any case, it was a long, hard journey to get here, and it’d be a long, hard journey to get back. If I even can. The demons might be a little hesitant to carry me away after I killed a bunch of them. Luckily, we’ve got other options.

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With the Lordvessel in hand, we’ve linked up several of these bonfires, and can freely transport between them. We can’t connect with all of them, in fact, the list of what we can teleport to is disappointingly lacking. Still this is probably going to save us a lot of time walking. And a lot of cheap stupid deaths, most like.

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In any case, in spite of the Firelink Bonfire going out, I can still port here.

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First thing that I notice is this. You might not think there’s anything odd about this screenshot. That’s because you hadn’t gotten used to the constant waves of depression and body odor coming from this corner. The crestfallen warrior is gone. I wonder about that. I didn’t think he actually had it in him to leave this place. Mayhaps he, so inspired by my performance, has decided to do something other than sit there and suck? Is he no longer crestfallen? I’m not sure what to call him now.

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As you’ll recall, we had ourselves a brutal, bloody battle with Lautrec to get the Fire Keeper’s soul back. Using it, I can return life to her. I can bring back one of the few meager bits of light in this world that’s just so blasted dark. And yet… I find myself hesitating. As this keeper has taught me already, a Fire Keeper’s soul is a powerful thing. I could use it. I could have this consumed to upgrade my Estus Flask, improving my healing abilities and better keeping me alive in the long run. And I mean, really, wouldn’t that be a better use of her soul than just sitting in this cage and not talking to anyone? Isn’t this more important than…

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I can’t believe I’m thinking like this. The undead curse is getting to me.

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Doom, Despair, and Dark Souls

Last time, on Aether’s Grand Struggles in Dark Souls, I managed to both lose and win at the same time. I’m so awesome that even death can’t bring me down! Seriously, I’ve been rampaging across this game for close to forty hours, and I’ve yet to show any signs of stopping! I’m starting to think the heavy reputation this game has is just people blowing wind. Well, at least I was. Something happened, though. Something turned my opinion around. Like, all the way around. I had an experience that once again filled me with fear for what’s ahead in this game, an experience that nearly ended this entire playthrough, an experience that once again had me prepared to die. Anor Londo, much like most areas, has a boss battle. Among veterans of the game, this boss battle is particularly infamous.

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And it’s the only thing I have left to complete.

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Stepping through the fog, I’m greeted with a brief pan over the area I’ll be fighting in. It seems to be a large chapel or great hall of some sort. At least I won’t be running out of room here.

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At the other end is… this. Executioner Smough. You may remember Smough from one of the statues at the start of Anor Londo. I… think he’s supposed to be male? It’s a little unclear. He looks to be wearing a corset, but obviously that’s doing him absolutely no good. He wanted to be part of the Four Knights of Gwyn, a group of the strongest and most trusted warriors serving Geezer Zeus. His skills we up there, but he was barred from entering due to his brutality and cannibalism. Still, he remains, guarding Geezer Zeus’s old home, Anor Londo. Swift, strong, and massive, I’ve got myself a very tough challenger in him. I can already tell, this fight will take me to my limits.

But wait! There’s more! As I ready my blade, motion in the balcony above catches my eye.

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Again, this is someone we’ve seen as a statue at the start of Anor Londo. Dragon Slayer Ornstein. Captain of the Four Knights of Gwyn. Possibly the most powerful warrior at Gwyn’s command.

He leaps down.

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Two warriors, both at the height of human potential, both among the most dangerous fighters in Lordran, individually. And I’ve got to take them both on at once.

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Bringing it Back to Dark Souls

Last time, on Aether’s Adventures in Barely Hanging On, we got sucked into a painting with no way out and very limited supplies, and had a hard time. Seriously, we’re starting this episode at the same bonfire we started the last one at. We’ve made no real progress. However! We’ve gained some knowledge, about our enemies, the area, and our tactics! And as G.I. Joe taught me, knowledge is power. So this time, now that our muscles are all full of knowledge, we’re going to put it to good use!  We’re going to steamroll our enemies with knowledge!  We shall make sure that every single strike has all the knowledge we’re able to muster behind it!  We’re ready to give all our enemies a nice blast of knowledge! Right to the face!

Basically, what was really holding us back last time were the engorged zombies and the toxic explosion they go through when you kill them. After playing with my equipment for a while, I found myself a good way around that status effect: using a lightning spear, which allows me to attack while keeping my guard up, and a spider shield, which can block poison entirely. In this game you can have two pieces of gear equipped to each hand and switch between them as you see fit, so I’ve still got my pyromancy and my Black Knight Sword at the ready, in case I fight an enemy far enough away or strong enough to need either of those, but for the most part, it’s the shield/spear combo that’s going to be carrying me through this area.

And carry me through it does. Now, both the shield and weapon I’m using now are far less effective than my standard gear, even after I’ve upgraded them with what titanite I had on me. The spear is weaker, taking me longer to kill, while the shield’s a lot smaller than my usual and can’t negate damage entirely. Still, the combination makes me pretty much immune to the engorged zombies toxicity, which is really what’s been sending me back to the bonfire repeatedly. I take more damage than I used to, but I still breeze through the area much quicker than I had been before.

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Now that I don’t have to worry about my enemies so much, I can explore some areas I completely missed before! For example, the rafters in one of the larger buildings I passed through on my way to the tower. This guy seen here has usually either completely missed me or dropped in on me while I was slaying his fellows on previous runs. Now that I’m climbing up to the rafters, he seems at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I make that decision for him. He can burn and die. There’s not a whole lot else going on in the rafters, although I do find an Egg Vermifuge. This is a sour-tasting, fuzzy chestnut that will purge any parasitic eggs that have been laid in my body. I sincerely hope I never have to use this. I take it anyway, because as my adventures in Ariamis have been demonstrating, only a fool goes unprepared. Besides, you can never tell what people are doing to my body all those many times I spend dead.

The rafters also lead me to a window with a ladder heading downwards, overlooking the fortress wall. I descend, and travel along the wall until I find a stairway descending into yet another room. Inside, I find a few more enemies to kill, and a chest containing a set of Painting Guardian clothes. You remember those guys in white that I killed by the bundle outside of this painting? The outfit they were wearing. I briefly ponder slipping it on myself and seeing if I can sneak by them, but I drop the idea quickly. As any woman who’s seen me would probably tell you endlessly, I’m really beefy. The waif-like Painting Guardians would probably be able to tell I don’t belong in a heartbeat. They’re probably all hollow anyways, and they seem to be able to tell who’s lost their mind already. Interesting fact in the description of these clothes, though. These guardians are charged with protecting the paintings of Ariamis, meaning there’s either more than one entrance to this world, or that Ariamis is the artist and has created several different worlds. Also, hollow or no, nobody remembers why they’re supposed to be guarding the paintings anyways. They just do it, probably because there’s nothing better to do in Lordran if you’re not the Best Chosen One.

Dark Souls Engorged Zombie Pyromancy

I make my way back to the beaten path, heading towards the tower that’s been my stopping point thus far. Now, I want to take a break here to show off something. I’ve killed these engorged zombies dozens of times before. You know this, you read the last post. But have you ever seen anyone burn so beautifully as this? Seriously, just look at that! Exquisite! I am an artist, and flame is my medium!

Dark Souls Crow Demon

Anyways, back at the tower, we go through our usual song and dance. First step, lure the crow demon out and engage him. He doesn’t have a whole lot of moves, and only one really dangerous one. Now that I know his tells he’s not much danger. He goes down after a few hits. He leaves behind a blood-stained, shrunken human ear. A Souvenir of Reprisal, it’s supposed to be proof that someone who has sinned against the gods have gotten their supposedly just desserts. It’s a human ear, though, obviously not from this demon.

Dark Souls Undead Dragon Fight

With the crow demon out of the way, it’s time to slay the dragon! Just like last time, I begin my march down the bridge, and the undead dragon charges me. From there, the fight unfold much like last time, although I’m playing a lot more defensively and keeping a better eye on him now. He only has two attacks, one where he vomits toxic sludge at me, and another where he tries to stomp on me. By paying attention, and staying out of the way when my stamina runs low, I’m easily able to avoid both. I simply swipe at whatever body parts are available until I run out of breath or he starts to move, then stay out of the way as he attacks before pressing forward once again.

This time, the dragon falls without doing much damage. He was barely even a challenge the second time around. He leaves behind a dragon scale, which will allow me to upgrade dragon equipment. I also find a Bloodshield behind him, a solid piece of gear that might be worth replacing my current shield with, should I bother to upgrade it.

Turns out that when the dragon charged me, well, only half of him actually did anything. All of him from the waist down is still waiting at the end of the bridge. It does nothing as I approach. I’m able to stand it upright, hitting the legs with a leaping attack, but all that’s behind it is the broken remains of the bridge. I could drop down to the bridge below for a shortcut of some sort, but I decide against it. There’s no telling where that will end up, and the fall’s going to hurt.

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Breaking Through Dark Souls

Last time, on Aether Gets Destroyed at Dark Souls, we tackled the trap-filled serpent’s den that is Sen’s Fortress. We made good headway into the dungeon, then unexpectedly got killed in a way that is both manly and heroic and would totally take down pretty much anyone else anyways.

But now we’re back! We’re back, and we’re going to cow this fortress! We are going to singlehandedly drive it and everyone within to their knees.

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Right. I do that, and make it back to where I previously died. What? You want me to write up re-doing everything I did last time? Nope. Did pretty much the same things, except better, with less treasure-hunting. Although I did score a sweet flamberge off of a fallen serpent mage.

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Also, It looks like I wasn’t the only person to die at this bridge. Why are the ghosts I find never wearing clothes?

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First things first, I have to take care of the mage watching over this bridge. I try matching her magic with pyromancy, but I find I can’t get a spell to hit her without leaving myself open to hers. Instead, I just stick with my bow, slowly and steadily plinking her health down with my archery.

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I’m in there somewhere, I promise. In the time between my last one and this, someone has kindly left a message on the ground marking where the safe spot in between blades are. That’s a genius idea, and I took up the habit on every one of these pendulum bridges I passed through after this. Which is totally none, because this is the last one in the fortress and I certainly didn’t die a couple of times past this point. So I’m not sure why the thought even crossed my mind.

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The bridge ends at a T-intersection, both paths covered by pressure plates. I head to the left first, and avoid the darts shot at me. Turns out, there’s nothing really worthwhile on that path, although it’d let me sneak up on the serpent mage were I coming from the other direction. I take the other way instead, again triggering the dart launcher, but I’m up the stairs and through a fog gate before any projectiles even reach me.

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Pressing On in Dark Souls

Last time, on Doom, Despair, and Dark Souls, my status as the Best Chosen One became known to the world after I rang the two Bells of Awakening. Of course, this isn’t a role one can take lightly. Just being a chosen one has a lot of responsibility, but being the World’s Best Chosen One is more than most people can bear! Will I be able to handle the burden? And what is that burden exactly? Let’s find out together!

We ended up in Quelaag’s Domain last time, a giant sexy spider’s den deep in the bowels of Lordran. This place has an exit leading even deeper, into a place called the Demon Ruins, but honestly, after a sewer level and that blasted Blighttown, I’m done with being underground. I need some sun on me. So I head upwards, back towards Firelink Shrine.

Upon arriving back at the closest thing I have to a home base, I stop for a bit to chat with my new best friend, Laurentius of Great Swamp. You remember this guy. He’s the guy who gave me the power to unleash the fiery passion in my soul upon my enemies. I buy up all his pyromancy spells, because being able to throw fire is awesome, and he tells me a bit about the nature of pyromancy magic. A pyromancer’s power truly does come from the soul, as it turns out, and when Laurentius gave me my pyromancer’s flame and the ability to throw a blaze from my hands, he also gave me a little bit of himself.

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I’m honestly touched.

Aside from that, there are two new things at Firelink Shrine, one good, and one bad. The good part is that we have a new resident, yet another person who’s not a complete jerk. Yay!

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Although he does happen to be a bit monstrous.

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Ah, so that’s all the Best Chosen One needs to do? Just become the next Geezer Zeus, lording with godly might over the realms of man? I just link the Fire, cast away the Dark, and purge Lordran of the Curse of the Undead? Is that all?

If you’ll excuse me a second, I’m starting to get a little lightheaded.

It’ll be ok, right? I am the Best Chosen One, after all. It’s not like I’ve died dozens of times already just ringing the Bells of Awakening, and besides, even if I have, which I totally haven’t, I’m undead, so it doesn’t much matter. I can die all the times! All I’ve got waiting for me is eventual demented insanity, and an eternity of looking a burned and wrinkly and…. ugly? Ok, I’ll do it. I’ll purge the undead curse. I can’t go through life not being beautiful!

To cure the undead, though, first I need to get the Lordvessel from Anor Londo. Before that, though…

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Right. So, the Kingseeker Frampt does have some usefulness for me, besides just dispensing direction and looking like an inbred worm demon. He’ll eat my junk items for me, removing them from my inventory and giving me some extra souls in return. I take advantage of that, to make things less cluttered. My pockets started getting a little full after the fortieth set of crappy armor I stuffed in there.

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Even Captain Mopey here is impressed with me. Doesn’t stop him from complaining about our new guest, though.

I did mention that there were two new things at Firelink Shrine, right? The first was Frampt. The second, well…

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The bonfire’s out, and I can’t light it. This concerns me.

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I investigate. The Firekeeper has been slain. Our bonfire, the main factor that made Firelink so welcoming and safe, has been lost. The mute woman has left behind nothing but her clothes, and a Black Eye Orb. This orb allows me to invade the world of the murderer of a Firekeeper and reclaim their soul. Something tells me she left this there knowingly, hoping someone would be able to save her. Conveniently enough, the eye constantly watches towards Anor Londo, our future destination.

In not unrelated news, the knight Lautrec of Carim has gone missing. Methinks I have a suspect.

But, before I can reach Anor Londo to track down the firekeeper’s killer and regain the Lordvessel, first I’m going to need to traverse Sen’s Fortress, and insidious den of traps that random giant opened up when I rang the two bells. Now, there are quite a few places I have yet to explore, and most of my gaming instincts are telling me to take care of the side areas before bothering with the route the game wants me to take, but I’ve read up on what this Lordvessel does, and I’m thinking I want to get my hands on that before I go exploring. So, it’s the plot path for us!

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A Dark Souls Intermission

Last time, on Pain, Suffering, and Sewer Levels, we slew an absolutely grody dragon and waded in human excrement for a few hours. This time… well, this time’s going to be a little different. Occasionally, I spend a bit of time just dicking around in Lordran in between entries, leveling up, upgrading my gear, and generally doing things that don’t really advance me in the game so much. Normally, nothing worth writing about happens in those times, so I don’t make posts about them. This is one of those times, ‘cept some things happened that are probably going to come into play in the future, so I can’t get by keeping it behind the black. I’d just append it to a bigger update, but frankly, Blighttown sucks and I hate it, and that’s probably going to be a pretty sizable post already. So here. Here’s a little orphan post, shoved into the world all on its lonesome.

If you’ll recall from last update, Domhnall of Zena was kind enough to let us know that we had some resurrecting undead ahead of us, and we’d need divine weapons to properly end them. Now, if you were going to describe me in one word, you’d probably use “gorgeous”. But if you asked a blind person to describe me in one word, they’d call me “prepared”. There’s no way that I’m going to dive into Blighttown without getting myself ready. At least, not while I’m publishing all my misadventures to the world, most of whom are probably already mocking me for my failure. And as it so happens, the freakin’ sewer level holds the slimes, who I can grind for the material I need to make my weapons divine.

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That’s right. You want to hold the power of Geezer Zeus in your sword? You’ve got to wade around in foul and dig through some living muck. My guess is that they’re trying to instill some humility, before granting their favor.

Green Titanite collected, I make my way back to Andre, the blacksmith. Now, I just have to pick which weapon to make divine. None of the unique weapons work, meaning I can’t use my beloved Black Knight Sword, my Drake Sword, or any of my most powerful gear. In fact, it seems my best choice may be that scimitar I started the game with.

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Apparently that blade is just raging with godly might now.

Of course, any new weapon needs a good test before being put to action. And I think I’ve got the perfect patsy in mind. You may remember way back in our first entry, there’s a small coven of skeletons just outside of Firelink Shrine. I took them on when I first entered the area, but had no way of countering the regenerative abilities. Well, I may not be able to get vengeance on the stupid bridge wyvern, but these guys should be well within my grasp.

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On the way back I bump into Laurentius of the Great Swamp, who we had previously saved from a dire fate as barrel chow. He made it back to the shrine safely, thus furthering my mission to populate the area with people who aren’t total dicks.

Laurentius is a pyromancer, practitioner of one of this world’s three types of mystic power. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? You remember Griggs? A magic user we rescued from the clutches of the vile barrel, who relocated back to Firelink and taught me how to use his art? Can you predict what happens next?

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Oh yes. In fact, this is much more significant gain than when I was taught the past two schools of magic. I am My character is not very intelligent, meaning his sorcery is weak. Nor is he faithful, limiting the miracles he can use. The spells of the Great Swamp are considered “unsavory” by most proper magic users, largely because absolutely anyone can be an effective pyromancer. These spells don’t scale with intelligence, like sorcery. They don’t scale with faith, like miracles. Instead, they scale with the amount of souls I give Laurentius to upgrade my flame.

And Exodus here may be neither smart nor pious, but he’s pretty damn good at killing monsters.

I’ve finally got some magic my physically-focused character can effectively use. On the flip-side, I don’t get as many uses out of pyromancy as I would the other schools, but that’s what Geezer Zeus invented giant honking swords for.

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So we’ve got two new tools for dealing death. What say we test them out?

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My fireball works well. Really well. Deals really solid damage to the skeleton, and has the added effect of preventing them from regenerating. This could be exactly what I’ve been needing.

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My new sword doesn’t work nearly so well. Lets talk a bit about weapon scaling. Most weapons have one or two stats that boost the amount of damage they deal. For example, with my beloved Black Knight blade, my attack power is boosted significantly by my strength, and less so by my dexterity. Divine weapons, as it turns out, are primarily boosted by faith. And as had been previously mentioned, my faith leaves something to be desired. As a result, while I could slay these guys in a single blow with my Black Knight Sword, albeit leaving them open to revival, it takes several swings even double-handed with this stubby little divine blade.

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And unfortunately, they have more skeletons than I have fireballs.

With the drastically reduced damage I deal, I go through quit a few failures in this graveyard, most of which are absolutely unremarkable and we won’t be talking about them. Nope. We will not. I’m able to retrieve my power each time, so I don’t take any permanent losses at least.

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Through perseverance, I eventually make it to the end, where this giant skeleton awaits. Through some clever dodging, I’m able to take care of his smaller attendants before turning my attention solely to Goliath here.

Drawing him out towards the entrance to the graveyard gives me a lot more room to work with. Convenient since I’m out of fireballs and this sword isn’t going to be taking him down in any sort of hurry. Defense becomes my most important asset here, and I play this slow, dodging his attacks and slowly whittling away his shins.

This is actually a picture of him dying, not spiking a sword through my head.

This is actually a picture of him dying, not spiking a sword through my head.

Eventually, Goliath has had enough, and gives up the ghost. I get a bit of treasure out of my conquest, most of which is unremarkable save for a pair of binoculars. More important than that, though, is the message I’ve sent. It’s taken me eleven updates worth of play, but I’ve finally taken my revenge for their brutal treatment of me back when I was bright-eyed a bushy-tailed. These skeletons will now send the message to the bridge wyvern and everyone else, that nobody’s gonna be able to kill me and live. Except they’re dead now. So they’ll just have to give the bridge wyvern the message in hell. After I kill her.

In any case, pyromancy’s great. It gets my whole-hearted recommendation, if you’re looking to slay some enemies but don’t get good grades and never went to Sunday school. The sword, not so much. Either I’m going to have to read up on my Geezer Zeus bible or I’ll have to upgrade it some more before it’s even worth considering using in all but the strictest circumstances. I’ll figure something out. Or will I? Tune in next time to find out!

Next: We get to the place.  That place.  You know the one.