''Dark Souls'' is a series of HackAndSlash ActionRPG games developed by Creator/FROMSoftware and published by Creator/NamcoBandai.

In a fantasy world where the dead are branded with a curse that keeps them alive until they go mad, some of these individuals are chosen to help rekindle the flame that keeps the world alight, and hold off the age of darkness... that is unless the players choose to usher in that age themselves.

These games make a SpiritualSuccessor to ''[[VideoGame/DemonsSouls Demon's Souls]]'' (also by FROM, but published by {{Creator/Atlus}}), and borrows many elements. These include:
* Combat that encourages players to learn enemy tells and draw out opponents one at a time. This goes double for bosses, which can kill even high level players in only a few hits.
* Weapon upgrades allow you to improve different stat bonuses to weapon damage, or add lightning / fire / magic / etc. damage instead.
* Character classes do exist, but only determine starting equipment and stats. Builds are instead based on which stats you choose to level up and equipment you wear. Each point you put into a stat counts as a "Soul Level", which decides the level range of other players you can encounter online.
* The games feature atypical online components. Examining bloodstains while playing online will replay the last ten seconds of another player's life, highlighting potential hazards. You can also leave messages on the ground about potential enemies, hazards and treasure (or to [[ForTheEvulz lure others into traps]]). Additionally, players in human form can summon two other players to help them. However, they can also be invaded and killed by others. By entering one of the game's nine covenants, players gain benefits to co-op play, invasion, hunting invaders, and so forth.
* NintendoHard to the point where variations of "Prepare to Die" are {{Tagline}}s for the series. They also auto-save every few seconds, so you live with the consequences of every single action you take.

The games in the series include:
[[index]]
* ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsI''
* ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII''
* ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII''
[[/index]]

See also ''{{VideoGame/Bloodborne}}'', also by FROM and with similar themes and gameplay.
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!!The series provides examples of:
* AbsurdlyHighLevelCap: Each time a stat is raised by one point, a level goes up. Since each stat caps at 99, the maximum level in these games is in the high hundreds.
* ActionSurvivor: The player character is this compared to other action games. You aren't all that powerful compared to enemies, and you always need to be careful and on the defensive. Most of the other {{NPC}}s are this as well.
* TheAgeless: The Everlasting Dragons. The Gods. Undead who have a steady supply of humanity.
* AnAdventurerIsYou: Its pretty standard set of jobs. Many of them return from ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls''.
* AncientConspiracy: The games' plots have you walking into one.
* AndIMustScream: The eventual and inevitable fate of all those cursed with the Darksign and [[spoiler:whoever links the Fire.]]
* AnimatedArmor: Most of the golems are giant walking suits of armor.
* AnnoyingArrows: Played straight with the weaker arrows. Enemies can potentially require multiple headshots before they die. Anything less than a headshot and it seems they barely feel it.
** But Averted with heavier ammunition like Dragonslayer Arrows. Getting hit with one of these will do heavy damage or at least knockback targets a noticeable amount if they try to tank it.
* TheAntiNihilist: A common interpretation of the hollowing process, [[spoiler:that Undead only keep from hollowing if they have a mission that they can dedicate themselves and stay motivated towards]] is essentially a metaphor for this. Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.
* AnyoneCanDie: Any NPC could die, either at one another's hands or due to you killing them. This even applies to some merchants/trainers, so watch out! Several named merchants wander off and become hollow after purchasing everything they have.
** No {{NPC}}s get PlotArmor, so even some of the more important characters can disappear for good. Though you can talk to a variety of {{NPC}}s and even go on some side-quests for them, you don't ''have'' to at any point. It's entirely possible to complete the game as an anti-social and/or psychopathically murderous character.
* ArbitraryMinimumRange: The games have several attacks that are ineffective when the target is too close. Most of these are certain spells and attacks using long handled weapons. Many bosses are safest when battled up close, as most of their attacks have a minimum range, and those that aren't are clearly telegraphed.
* ArmorIsUseless: Averted; unlike in ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', heavy armor now has the advantage of Poise, meaning your actions (including healing) aren't as easily interrupted by damage.
* {{Autosave}}: The game autosaves almost constantly. The "Now autosaving" icon pops up every time you kill an enemy.
* BackFromTheDead: Those afflicted with the Darksign, repeatedly.
* BadassBoast: Several [=NPC=]s have some type of BadassBoast should the player make them hostile.
* BadassLongcoat: The Wanderer's Coat and the Black Cleric Robe.
* {{BFS}}: There's a weapon category called Greatswords which are somewhat big. Then you have a weapon category called ''Ultra'' Greatswords, which are huge. Both categories see a lot of use in PVP, specifically the Zweihander, which is an Ultra Greatsword that becomes a GameBreaker with the right character build and weapon upgrade path.
** In many cases, the enemies whose weapons can be looted at least twice the size of the player. Those weapons don't get scaled down when you pick them up. The Gargoyle Halberd, for example, has only slightly better stats than the regular Halberd, but is half again as large.
** The prize for most comically oversized weapon probably goes to [[AwesomeButImpractical Smough's]] [[DropTheHammer Hammer]] which has a barrel-sized head.
* BladderOfSteel: There is no pausing, so you'll need to park your character in a (relatively) safe location if you want to take a break without quitting entirely. Your world can also be invaded by other players so long as you have online connectivity and you reversed hollowing at a bonfire, so leaving your character idle means risking being invaded while you're not there to defend yourself.
** Averted, if you are not participating in multiplayer. In every other moment, you can quit the game. When you reload the game, it will be (mostly) in the state that you left it.
** Also averted if you are sitting at a bonfire. So long as you are sitting at one, you cannot be invaded.
* BladeAcrossTheShoulder: PC carries a lot of weapons like this.
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: Certain enemy attacks and several special attacks of various weapons, most notably the Black Knight weapons.
* BoringButPractical:
** The combination of a spear and a shield is neither the fanciest or the most destructive of styles, but the long reach and the ability to block even when attacking is about as safe as you can get in this game. The v1.06 patch increased the amount of stamina that attacks from behind a shield consume in an attempt to take some of the "practical" out of this.
** Upgrading your initial armor set (particularly for Thieves and Wanderers) provides one of the most useful armors for many situations with a balance of weight, damage block, and resistances, as there is not a universal "best" armor for lightweight armor, and they're pretty simple to upgrade. The best thing for players to do is just ''stick'' with an armor set, rather than progressively upgrade several ones. For heavy armor, the player has the ability to access Havel's armor and the Black Iron set by the mid-game, as well as the aforementioned Stone Giant set, and sticking with one of these is best. The reason these are awesome instead of boring? Havel's set and the Stone Giant armor are carved from solid stone and the Black Iron set is identical to fan favorite Iron Tarkus's equipment.
** Most Straight Swords are this, being an excellent balance between range, speed, and power, and many of them have great stat scaling to boot. You don't need any flashy elemental effects when normal versions of the Longsword or Balder Side Sword work even better.
** Just a stout medium shield and a good one-handed weapon will get you through ninety percent of your enemies with a simple strategy of block the enemy's attack, counter attack, repeat. It is not a flashy technique, is not heavy on damage, and is doom if attacked in [=PvP=], but it is very hard to mess up and enemies keep falling for it if you have enough patience.
* BottomlessPits: All over the place, and one of the most common reasons of death in the game. However, this works both ways, and can be used offensively with a little maneuvering on the player's part and careful timing of their kick attack.
* BreakableWeapons: All equipment is subject to wear and tear, though it's easy enough to repair everything. Crystal equipment is especially bad since it can't be repaired and has very low durability in the first place. A few enemies use attacks with the nasty side effect of breaking your equipment.
* BritishAccents: The English voiceovers of the game have a variety of them.
* BurnTheUndead: Yep, pyromancy can be even more effective than sorcery against common undead.
* CameBackStrong: Those branded with the Darksign spontaneously return to life, effectively making them immortal. However, they grow closer and closer to becoming a mindless zombie called a Hollow every time. TheProtagonist uses a magical essence often called "humanity" to reverse this process, making it more of a case of being ''CursedWithAwesome'' ...though it is still only delaying the inevitable. [[spoiler:There's a ''reason'' it seems to take you so long to simply become a mindless hollow, and Kaathe clues you in to it later in the first game.]]
* CameraCentering: The button that allows for locking on also centers the camera if no enemies are present.
* CameraLockOn: Returns from ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', finicky as ever, though a patch has helped somewhat.
* CentralTheme: Fire, death, and what beauty means in the CrapsackWorld of Dark Souls according to Director Miyazaki.
* ChainmailBikini: Like ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', this is mostly averted, as all of the armor is now unisex. You're only going to see boob-curves if your character is wearing something flexible and form-fitting like leather armor (even then, it's still sensible). The major exception to this is the "Hollow Warrior" armor set, which really doesn't cover that much at all. The pants/shoe component is just one shoe (and no pants!) and the chest armor covers just the shoulders and upper chest. It doesn't look that skimpy on a zombie, but on a healthy human female it's ''hilarious''.
* CharacterCustomization: You're given a choice of classes to determine your starting abilities, "gifts" that can be added to your starting equipment, and you have access to a powerful appearance editor with more options than you can shake a stick at (even though you're hollow most of the time, and you're probably wearing a [[ConcealingCustomization face obscuring headpiece]]).
* ChromeChampion: The effect of the Iron Flesh pyromancy makes you look like this.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Instead of just having Black and Blue Phantoms, the color will change depending on which covenant you are in during Online Play and which multiplayer item you use.
* TheCombatPragmatist: ''You''. Standing toe-to-toe with many enemies and fighting them head-on is asking for another "YOU DIED" screen. The game itself actively encourages you to not fight fairly, and many boss arenas have areas where you can hide and snipe with relative impunity. Running around behind a foe to backstab him, sniping him with arrows or magic from across the map, climbing up onto ledges they can't reach and plinking them, luring them into running off cliffs or into traps... all's fair in this game. Really, the only reason to fight "fairly" is so you can figure out the enemy's tells, moveset, and patterns by receiving their abuse firsthand.
* CompetitiveBalance: Each character class is given the chance to thrive in the world of ''Dark Souls''.[[note]]This is just in the beginning; during the game you can build your character to whatever playstyle you like best.[[/note]]
** GlassCannon: The Bandit, The Hunter
** FragileSpeedster: The Thief, The Wanderer
** MagicKnight: The Pyromancer, The Cleric
** JackOfAllStats[=/=]BarbarianHero: The Deprived
** MightyGlacier: The Warrior
** SquishyWizard: The Sorcerer
** StoneWall: The Knight
** This also extends to the three most common forms of combat, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
*** Melee combat is extremely practical, dealing out a huge amount of damage, reliable attacks against rushing enemies, and a massive arsenal at your disposal, all while having a very low cost to repair weapon durability. However, a large percentage of the enemies encountered can murder you easily if gotten to up close, and about a third of the bosses are very resistant to melee, and most mid to late game weapons require high levels in four of the main stat categories (Strength, Dexteriy, Magic and Faith).
*** Archery plays it safe, with clever use of sniper spots that enemies can't reach, exploitable blind spots against bosses and mobs, and weak points (usually the head) that can't be reached without manual targetting. There are many downsides, though; a decent arrow costs a rather large amount of souls, and you have to buy them in the hundreds to keep going; most bows are weaker than melee weapons; [[DoNotRunWithAGun you have to remain stationary when preparing to fire an arrow]], and manual aim is impractical at close range.
*** Magic has a large variety of uses, with healing, defensive, and offensive spells that can potentially devastate most enemies and bosses with little effort. However, most of the stronger spells are acquired late in the game, often sold at a very high price (sometimes way more souls than you can gather for one level up), and wielding them requires investing into Magic/Faith and Attunement, stats that don't show a considerable increase in power until you reach around 30-40.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: If your attacks hit a wall, they'll bounce right off. If your enemies' attacks hit a wall... they'll clip right through.
** Remember how the VancianMagic nature of spells means that you run out of spells after so many casts? Don't expect that to happen to enemies.
** On the other hand, AI Black Phantoms and White/Gold Phantoms always perform overweight "fat" rolls, despite their equipment suggesting that, at your level, they should be able to roll at <50% weight speeds.
** Your arrows go straight where you fired it - enemies can have their arrows ''curve mid-flight'' to hit you.
** When an enemy dodges he is immune for the entire animation, unlike the player.
* ConstructedWorld: While there is a lot of elements from Medieval cultures, ''Dark Souls'' is a very separate fantasy world.
* ContinuingIsPainful: Dying returns you to the last bonfire you rested at and respawns all monsters that aren't bosses or minibosses. You'll also drop all of your souls and humanity where you died, and if you die before recollecting them, they vanish permanently. Finally, if you were in human form, dying ''always'' returns you to hollow form, effectively losing the humanity you spent getting it.
* CoOpMultiplayer: Returns from ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', with the same summoning rules.
* CounterAttack:
** Parrying returns from ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', but has been made a bit easier to execute. Certain enemies can also do this to ''you'' if you're not careful.
** A well-timed normal hit after blocking an enemy attack may also cause additional damage.
* CrapsackWorld: The world of Dark Souls is a pretty bleak place to live. For starters, the First Flame is on the cusp of dying. When this happens all fire will die and there is absolutely no telling what will happen to the world other than the gods losing their power and possibly going hollow. In addition to that, a curse called the Dark Sign has absolutely ravaged the humans of the world. This curse makes its victim undead, allowing them to return to life after death. However, as they die they lose some of their humanity, eventually becoming [[AxCrazy mindless, violent hollows.]] Many nations have [[ZombieApocalypse collapsed]] because of this curse, including Lordran, the setting of the game. Undead that still have their senses are [[FantasticRacism brutally mistreated]], hunted and sacrificed to maintain the First Flame. Most of the [[TheGodsMustBeLazy gods are MIA]], although it doesn’t seem like [[JerkassGods they would]] or could do anything even if they weren’t. It really seems as though the world [[JustBeforeTheEnd is on the brink of ending]]. [[FromBadToWorse And that's just the start of it]]. This doesn’t cover the vast amount of [[OurMonstersAreDifferent deadly monsters]], [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demons]], [[CruelAndUnusualDeath terrible ways to die]], [[BodyHorror the]] [[AndIMustScream torturous]] [[FateWorseThanDeath fates]] of [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters the many]] characters, and [[AncientConspiracy the multi-millennia long conspiracy]] and battle to control the fate of the world.
* CriticalHit: Backstabs and ripostes (the latter initiated after parrying an opponent), which deal a high amount of damage whenever they connect, often enough to kill most lower enemies in one hit. This works mostly for human-sized [=NPC=]s and other players. You can also parry the some bosses, though riposting them is rarely possible.
* CriticalStatusBuff: The Red and Blue Tearstone Rings, which grant their user a whopping 50% increase in damage and defence respectively when their health drops below 20%.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Oh, yes. Most enemies have special attacks that will end your life in the most brutal of ways. Getting your throat sliced by assassins, cursed and turned to ashes by monstrous amphibians, lethally poisoned by blowdart snipers or baby skeletons, eaten alive by too many nasties to list them...
* CrystalDragonJesus: The nation of [[TheTheocracy Thorolund]] including the Way of the White. The religion surrounding Velka might be this as well, given that they mention bishops by name.
* CursedWithAwesome:
** Bearing the Darksign means your character ''is incapable of staying dead'', through there are drawbacks. See CameBackStrong and CameBackWrong above for details.
** The actual "Cursed" status effect is pretty horrible: when your curse resistance meter fills you die and become cursed, which halves your [=HP=] and prevents you from gaining Humanity or using it to become human again. The halved [=HP=] effect used to ''stack'' before being fixed in a patch. But cursed beings and weapons are the only things that can hurt the otherwise invincible ghosts in the New Londo Ruins. There is no downside at all to using Transient Curses (which inflict a temporary and harmless curse on you) or "Cursed" weapons.
* CurbStompBattle: Most boss fights go down like this on the player's first one or two tries, before the player understands the bosses tells.
** A few mobs can also kill the player if they're not careful: the Stone Knights and the Demonic Foliage guarding the Elite Knight Set can ZergRush you and prevent you from escaping with a movement-reducing spell; Black Phantoms spawned by a Gravelord infection coften fight alongside their original counterparts, making crowd control difficult for players.
* DarkFantasy: It takes place in a Tolkein style world, that's full of the undead, tries to stave off the age of dark while recovering from past ones, and has humanity be the potential for greatest darkness.
* DeadToBeginWith: The player character starts off as an undead.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts:
** A [[SurvivalMantra common motto]] for ''Dark Souls'' players is "If you can hit it, you can kill it." And this is true. Any weapon can be used to kill any enemy under the right circumstances. Just don't expect it to be done quickly this way. It's not uncommon to see conventional weapons barely even dealing ScratchDamage to later bosses, usually to emphasize that there's a better way.
** Poisons will generally do this to the player. It turns into more of a hassle than an actual threat, because if you lack any items to remove it, all you can do is immediately turn around and head back to your bonfire or try to keep pushing through to get to one. Without an appropriate number estus flasks or a fairly high health pool, you ''will'' die from it, but it will take a long time.
* DeathOrGloryAttack: Considering the difficulty of the game, and the fact that the more a weapon is big and powerful, the slower are its attacks. Because of bad timing, missing a hit or being parried by a powerful enemy leaves you stuck and unable to block or attack again for a few seconds, which makes you becoming very vulnerable. If the enemy is close enough, it has enough time to strike, which usually results in the loss of a lot of hit points (or a OneHitKill for some bosses or DemonicSpiders).
* DeathWorld: All of the nations that fell to the [[ZombieApocalypse Darksign]] are implied to be this, which is why the curse of undeath is so frightening.
* {{Determinator}}: The undead hero, and by extension the player controlling him or her.
* DieChairDie: Occasionally, the player may come across some breakable items that are just in the way. It's a lot easier to just smash the things to bits than go around them.
* DifficultButAwesome:
** Pyromancy spells are powerful, but are much less intuitive than other offensive spells. Most pyromancy spells arc when thrown, requiring you to figure out the distance and drop of the spells when throwing it at the target. The arc and height of the shot is also dependent on where the lock-on icon is located, and since taller enemies have higher lock-on reticules, you can throw the spells at longer distances than with smaller enemies. Therefore, any use of pyromancy is going to involve you figuring out arcs and distances. But once you figure out the range issues with the spells and level up the pyromancy flame high enough, the damage output is ''insane''.
** Greatswords, and other slow two-handed weapons like them. What makes them difficult is the fact that they're slow as crap, require two-handing unless you have lots of strength, and usually makes your dodge roll crap. The awesome part is due to their insane damage (especially with a [[{{Gamebreaker}} Zaphander or a Chaoshander]]) and reach compared to similarly-leveled one-handers. They're also great against some of the larger enemies, since a blow with a large weapon can interrupt their attacks, and sometimes even knock them flat on their backs, leaving them vulnerable to a follow up attack, while a smaller weapon will only take away a sliver of their health without interrupting their attack animations at all.
*** The Black Knight weapons (Sword, Greatsword, Halberd and Greataxe) take these up a notch: they're even slower than most other two-handers and can't be upgraded to do elemental damage, relying solely on their physical damage, they weigh a ton and their damage scaling is average making them seem like infinity-1 swords... but they deal ridiculous amounts of damage (to the point that most mooks and some bosses can be killed in 1 or 2 hits), can break just about any enemies block in 2 hits, will stager most enemies and some bosses (including Havel the Rock in the first game, who has a ridiculous amount of poise), AND do 20% extra damage do demons (one of the more prevalent type of boss and mini-boss). Once you get used to how slow they are and how vulnerable they leave you many bosses can be slaughtered by just tanking hits until you get close enough to wail on them.
* DiminishingReturnsForBalance: The higher the attribute, the less you benefit from increasing it further. Going above 40 or so in a single attribute is generally a waste unless you have a specific plan in mind.
* DoNotDropYourWeapon: Get gnawed on by the Gaping Dragon? Get your throat slit by an undead thief? Get stomped on by a giant? You aren't dropping your sword and shield.
* DungeonShop: Merchants tend to set up shop in hostile environments.
* DysfunctionJunction: The cast by and large is more messed up than they appear, even if they are nice people overall.
* EarnYourFun: Like its predecessor, Dark Souls is going to make you work your ass off to make it to the end. One of the game trailers puts it best.
-->''PREPARE TO DIE. FIGHT. STRUGGLE. ENDURE. SUFFER. LIVE''
** This even includes the DLC. While many other games would allow you to access your DLC purchase immediately, this series doesn't. The earliest parts of it are available somewhat early, but for the rest of it you may need to sink quite a few more hours into the game before the relevant parts are unlocked.
* EatenAlive: Several enemies will do this to you; the [[ChestMonster mimics]] being one of the sneakiest, since they don't look dangerous until they chomp on you.
* EmoteAnimation: Aside from writing messages on the ground, the small list of gestures such as waving or bowing is by design the only way players can directly communicate with each other in-game. Breakable totems containing pre-recorded messages perform the same function.
* EmptyShell: Undead that have hollowed become this, and it's also the only way for to be KilledOffForReal. [[spoiler: Gwyn himself has turned hollow after burning in the Kiln of the First Flame for a millennium.]]
* EncounterBait: There is a thrown item that lures certain types of enemies wherever it lands. Very useful around environmental hazards like ledges and open flames!
* EnergyEconomy: This is how souls work. You can use them up (energy) or sell them to other people, who also probably use them as energy for themselves.
* EpicFail: Sometimes the enemies will fall victim to ArtificialStupidity and commit suicide accidentally by jumping off a ledge.
* EscapeRope: The Homeward miracle and the Homeward Bone items allow you to instantly warp to the last bonfire rested with all your belongings intact.
* EtherealChoir: If it isn't OminousLatinChanting or a OneWomanWail, its this.
* EverythingFades: Averted, areas stay littered with broken bits of scenery and enemies' ragdoll corpses. Only bosses and elites disintegrate.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: The only things that don't are a handful of NPC's (and even then some of them do go hollow and try to kill you). The things that are trying to kill you include: zombies, walking skeletons, knights that have gone insane giant rats, giant cats, giant leeches, mosquitoes the size of cats, vicious dogs, blobs of slime, lizards that turn you to stone, metal boars, animated statues, snake men, dragons, demons, ghosts, mushrooms, the inhabitants of a painting... and that doesn't even cover the bosses (which includes gods and even more demons) or the other players who will invade to try and steal your humanity...
* EventFlag: Often occurs by talking to someone.
* EvilIsBurningHot: Sure enough, all the demons originate from the FireAndBrimstoneHell full of lava, and are resistant to pyromancy.
* ExperiencePoints: You acquire souls by killing enemies or consuming certain items, which can either be spent to level up or used as currency.
* FactionCalculus: There are several covenants the player can swear themselves to the games.
* FallingDamage: Damage is based on the height fallen and your equip load.
** In the first game, you could use the spell "Fall Control", which negates falling damage as long as the distance wouldn't have killed the player.
** In the second game, you also get equipment which negates damage based on hard amounts. So even fatal distances can be leaped and survived (while still needing to take a healing item).
* FanDisservice:
** Try stripping off your clothes/armour whilst Hollow.
** If you're a bit uncomfortable about scantily dressed dudes, male armor is a loincloth thong, where as female characters have briefs.
* {{Fanservice}}:
** Try stripping off your clothes/armour while not in Hollow form. Or wearing Hollow armour.
* {{Fireballs}}: Many different kinds, thanks to pyromancy.
* FireIceLightning: The three forms of magic you can use. Pyromancy allows you to wield fire-based spells, miracles allow for the use of lightning, and sorcery, while not ''technically'' ice-based, is characterized by bright blue and white colors and many of the spells sound like ice breaking when they impact. Further solidified by the sorcery spells that generate enormous ice-like crystals when they detonate.
* FlavorText: Most weapons, keys, and other equipment have a lot of flavor text on them. Unique souls from bosses will often explain parts of the backstory you wouldn't understand otherwise. The only way to even attempt to piece the backstory together is to try and gather every piece of equipment, find a safe spot to park it, and start writing.
* FishingForMooks: At times an essential tactic.
* ForMassiveDamage: Parrying and backstabs do far more damage per weapon than any other single attack. Though every attack does high damage when given the right conditions (usually leveling up and enhancing equipment).
* FreelookButton: Is available when you find and use the binoculars.
* GangUpOnTheHuman: The Hollows somehow know not to attack each other, just ''you'' and any other Undead that still has his or her mind.
* {{Griefer}}: Welcome to Griefer Heaven! One of the more insidious methods is invading someone's game and starting a fight near [=NPC=]s. You can't attack or interact with them, but you can trick the other player into aggroing or killing characters with an errant weapon swing. ''You can trick another player into losing stuff forever''.
* ForgotICouldFly: It's entirely possible (and beneficial) to lure winged enemies to fall to their deaths off cliffs
* {{Golem}}: If it's a giant enemy, but wearing full armor so you can't see anything underneath, it's likely a golem.
* GroinAttack: When you use a sword to riposte enemies the same height as you, you drive your sword through their midsection. When you riposte enemies slightly ''taller'' than you, your animation is exactly the same, resulting in vicious crotch stabs. Conversely, when {{Backstab}}bing taller enemies, the animation looks like an AssShove.
** Projectiles aimed at the arm or leg hitboxes deal about 10% extra damage, making it look a lot like this.
* GunsAkimbo: You can wield in the same time in each hand any combination of catalysts, talismans, pyromancy flames, and crossbows, and attack / cast spells with the left-hand weapon too.
* HammerSpace: Any weapons you equip or switch to appear out of thin air, no matter how massive they are.
* HandWave: The game explains the ability to assist other players clear areas and bosses you've already beaten in your own game as time distortion and leaves it at that.
* HealingCheckpoint: The bonfires.
* HealingPotion: Estus. It looks like glowy orange juice, which led to a lot of players referring to it as [=SunnyD=].
* HealthDamageAsymmetry: Averted, most normal enemies go down in just a few hits, but so does the player.
* HeroicWillpower: The defining trait of the Chosen Undead. As a person cursed with virtual immortality, they must resist going insane, and powering through dying numerous times while being pitted against all-powerful beings.
* HitAndRunTactics: Essential for most powerful enemies and bosses.
* HomingProjectile: Sorceries like soul arrow, soul spear, homing soul mass, and arrows. The Hurl Lightning and later lightning miracles don't home, but they move so fast that it doesn't matter.
* HowDoIShotWeb: If you try to use a spell item without having a compatible spell attuned, your character will hold the item out, shake it around a little, and then scratch their head in confusion.
* HumansAreCthulhu: Humans are treated as something alien, incomprehensible, and kind of scary by the gods and their disciples, and [[spoiler:the entire Age of Fire is built around regulating them and the Dark Souls they carry so that they won't get out of hand]]. This is because [[spoiler:Humanity is linked to the world-destroying Abyss, and an excess of it turns you into Cthulhu]].
* HumansAreGood: Miyazaki has said that he wanted to show that deep down, people are truly good. This is shown through how concerned a majority of the [=NPCs=] act towards the player. Even [[spoiler: Lautrec]], an selfish, murderous undead fervently loves the goddess of Fina and does everything he does out of his devotion to her.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: On the other hand, the extremes of humans are portrayed as a very, very bad thing. [[spoiler:Manus is a crazed ape from having his humanity go wild, and "Humanity" is the Dark Soul, swallowing everything else up.]] By contrast, the Gods tend to be portrayed as good even when they do some questionable things, [[spoiler:like fabricate the myth of a "Chosen undead".]]
* HumansAreSpecial: Implied through Humanity in general. In addition, according to Elizabeth, [[spoiler: Artorias stood no chance against the Abyss because he wasn't human, whereas the Chosen Undead can defeat Manus thanks to being human - though the Chosen Undead still needs to Covenant of Artorias to traverse the Abyss itself to defeat the Four Kings.]]
* HyperspaceArsenal: There's no limit on how much junk you carry around other than your patience for scrolling through long menus of worthless Hollow armor. (Your weight limit is for the stuff equipped on your body). If that gets tedious but you don't want to throw anything away permanently, you can also get a "bottomless box" to throw stuff into.
* ImmortalityHurts: The Curse of the Undead leaves humans unable to die, but still feel the pain of death. Then there's [[spoiler: The Four Lords, who all immortal, insane and suffering.]]
* InexplicableTreasureChests: They're just chilling in odd spots around the world.
* InfiniteStockForSale: About half the items merchants sell is in limited quantity, with the limited ones being more useful or more powerful.
* InsurmountableWaistHighFence: You can't climb ''anything'' but ladders and what can or can't be stepped over isn't always obvious. This is part of what makes the cities so maze-like.
* InTheHood: The Thief starting set, the Hollow Thief hood, the Gold Hemmed Robe hood, etc. The Dark Set is a hood with a metal skull mask, and Knight Artorias's helmet is a hood with a metal top.
* InvulnerableCivilians: Monsters and non-Phantom [=NPC=]s will completely ignore each other (unless a mob unintentionally hits them, in which case, those same [=NPC=]s end up attacking ''you''); also, [[PlayerVersusPlayer invading]] phantoms are unable to attack [=NPC=]s and monsters alike.
* IronicNickname: [[spoiler:"Trusty" Patches]] and Hawkeye Gough, who is blind. [[spoiler:Only because his helmet was covered with pine resin, which he either did not notice or he refuses to remove his helmet due to honor.]]
* ItemCrafting: Weapons and armor can be created and upgraded with the right materials and some help from a blacksmith NPC or a toolkit usable at bonfires.
* LavaAddsAwesome: So many areas are loaded with lava.
** Chaos pyromancies leave lava on the ground.
* LeapOfFaith: Some hidden pieces of loot require this to reach them. One can buy items (Prism Stones) specifically meant to check how far down the bottom of a pit is.
* LifeDrain: Some weapons restore a small amount of your health with every hit. As does the Ring Of The Evil Eye with every kill.
* LifeEnergy: The player character levels up by absorbing the energy of the souls of fallen enemies.
* LiterallyShatteredLives: Those statues of people you find around Basilisk nests? Yeah those were other players who got cursed by them. And you can smash them.
* LivingStatue: The Titanite Demons. The Stone Guardians. The Demon Statues.
* LockedDoor: Lots and lots of them. Many give way to convenient shortcuts as the player progresses.
* {{Loincloth}}: Your character underneath all the armor.
* LoadingScreen: There are surprisingly very few. Aside from a few select zones, all of the areas are interconnect and devoid of loading screens. For the areas that aren't connected, the loading is masked by cut scenes. However, there are loading screens when the player dies, which shows a description of a random item.
* LostForever: Many things in the game are available once (maybe twice if you're lucky) per New Game cycle.
* LovecraftLite: With enough patience and skill, you too can kill {{Eldritch Abomination}}s and gods.
* LuckManipulationMechanic: Humanity increases the drop rates of items, capping out at 10 humanity. The Golden Serpent Ring also provides a big boost in item drop rates. This ring plus 10 humanity gives the highest possible drop rate.
* MagicalEye:
** The Red Eye Orb allows players to invade and kill others, while the Eyes of Death let players curse others' worlds and generate stronger versions of typical enemies. The Ring of the Evil Eye is also said to contain a demon of the name. It lets you heal by killing people.
* MagicAndPowers:
** BlackMagic: Sorcery spells, which are related to souls (Most likely dragon souls). Abyss sorceries which draw on the power of the [[spoiler: Dark Soul]] take this UpToEleven.
** PlayingWithFire: Pyromancy spells
** WhiteMagic: Miracle spells
** MagicIsMental: Sorcery at least. The player gets spell bonuses from catalysts when you increase you Intelligence.
** MagicWand: All three types of spells require the appropriate catalyst/talisman to cast.
** RitualMagic: In the sense that it's "Magic anyone can use", Pyromancy's effectiveness is unaffected by Intelligence or Faith scores. In the setting, most pyromancers come from a place called "the great Swamp" and it's seen as "uncivilized" magic.
** StatusBuff: Plenty. Some of them come from weapons, others come from rings and armor. Heal, cure, regeneration, ability up, reflect, and protect are all present as are many other unique buffs. Debuffs also show up, like slow and poison.
** VancianMagic: All your spells have a set number of uses before you need to recharge them at a bonfire, replacing the relatively easily to recover mana bar from ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls''.
* MagicKnight:
** Due to the classes being nothing more than starting status, hybrid builds are quite common. Some weapon upgrade paths even allow you to base weapon damage off intelligence or faith instead of strength and dexterity.
** Pyromancy is practically made for this. It doesn't have any stat requirements, what you need to cast it is weightless, and damage increases simply by upgrading the Pyromancy Catalyst (but just in the first game). There isn't a single build in the game that doesn't benefit from having some pyromancy available aside from giving a few levels to open up an attunement slot or two.
* MasterOfNone: Whenever you level up and increase stats, the cost of leveling up ''any'' stat after that also increases. This means that if you're trying to have every option available to use with a single character, you'll eventually hit a point where further leveling becomes prohibitively expensive. It is still possible to eventually become a MasterOfAll, but you'll have to grind a lot of souls to do so and your options for online co-op or invasion might get reduced pretty drastically due to the level range typically required for each.
* MedievalEuropeanFantasy: This is a dark HighFantasy world.
* MenuTimeLockout: Completely averted. Time will not stand still as one burrows through their inventory.
* {{Metroidvania}}: These games involve one connected world, where players find ways to unlock paths to new areas, or sequence break to them.
* MilkingTheGiantCow: The "Praise the sun!" gesture the player can learn. It's also performed by Warriors of Sunlight, including Solaire of Astora, when the players summons one of them as a helpful Phantom.
* MultiPlatform: These games are published on multiple systems, and have ports to other systems.
* MultiplayerOnlyItem: Summon orbs. They allow you to "invade another player", which means entering another player's game to do [[PlayerVersusPlayer PvP]]. Of course, they are absolutely useless in solo mode - the few times you can invade [=NPCs=] ([[spoiler:Lautrec]] in the first game, [[spoiler:Licia]] in the second) requires using unique orbs meant only for that purpose.
* MyRulesAreNotYourRules: Enemy [=NPC=]s have unlimited ammo, whether arrows, bombs, or spell casting.
* MythologyGag: The game contains some recurring elements:
** The Sword of Moonlight, a sword that appears in nearly every game made by FromSoftware, including ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore''.
** Dragons in the souls series loves bridges (and burning those who try to cross said bridges).
** The yellow [[http://darksouls.wikidot.com/xanthous-crown "crown"]] worn by Xanthous King Jeremiah is a direct reference to the "Monk's Head Collar", an head gear from DemonsSouls. Both are enormous pieces of clothing that are a bright yellow. The definition of the former poke fun at that fact by saying: "The crown bears high-quality cloth which is quite soft to the touch, but its bright yellow color stings the eyes, and it is clearly far too big.".
** The infamous Pendant is a CallBack to the Onyx Pendant from ''Shadow Tower Abyss'', both of which are useless except for a trade in VideoGame/DarkSouls. For a time, Miyazaki trolled the community by pretending the VideoGame/DarkSouls' pendant had a use, before confirming later that it didn't.
** In both ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' and ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', there's a moment where a group of gargoyles will grab the player and carry him to an area not accessible otherwise. Said gargoyles are met later as enemies.
** Trusty Patches is a recurring character in the series: in ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' he would try to trick you into a fight with a giant bearbug and would also try to trap you by kicking you into a pit. In ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', he kicks you into a pit again, in addition to another attempted murder earlier in the game.
*** In addition, said pits the player gets kicked into happen to contain [=NPC=]s that need rescuing. ''DemonsSouls'' has Saint Urbain; ''Dark Souls'' has Rhea.
*** He appeared also as Patch the Good in Armored Core For Answer, and utilizes a sneaky fighting style in that game, not too far from his roguish ways in the other games.
** Arguably, the Lady of the Darkling is the Brass Maiden; i.e. Wynne D. Fanchon from Armored Core.
** Ornstein appears in Armored Core; his logo has the symbol of a large cat (maybe a mountain lion)
* NewGamePlus: ''Dark Souls'' is designed for these; the developers have implemented secrets that they don't expect players to find until their second or third time playing through the game!
* NintendoHard: Brutally powerful enemies who respawn every when you heal, bosses with numerous deadly moves that can easily kill you in a couple of hits, deviously-hidden traps and ambushes, ShmuckBait ''everywhere'', minibosses who will come out of nowhere, and in a few select points there are enemies set up in positively ''sadistic'' locations. The TagLine is entirely accurate.
* NoArcInArchery: Completely averted. At longer distances, arrows will start travelling in arcs, losing some damage in the process. This is why range is a stat for these weapons, as it lets players know how far the arrow will travel before it arcs.
* NoHuggingNoKissing: Love and sex are never mentioned in the series. Though marriages are mentioned.
* NoticeThis: Fallen bodies (either of your enemies, or other unfortunates who have passed on) with items to loot have a huge glowing soul-like aura above them. This even applies to treasure chests that are opened but unlooted.
* OminousFog: As in ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', it serves as a gateway into boss battles and new areas.
* OminousLatinChanting: It isn't Latin, but there is lots of chanting in the music and it is ominous.
* OneWomanWail: Several of the boss themes and the ending credits.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Averted. While armor isn't generally region-specific (excepting the head), being shot with an arrow or bolt in the leg or arm does ''more'' damage than being shot in the torso.
* OrchestralBombing: Used to great effect in the boss battles, especially Ornstein and Smough in the first game.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: They're powerful, monstrous, AlwaysChaoticEvil creatures born from the Bed of Chaos, [[spoiler:the Witch of Izalith's failed attempt at recreating the First Flame.]]
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Western-style dragons, but with stone scales instead of reptilian hide and two pairs of wings instead of the one. Then there's Seath, Wyverns, the Hellkite Dragon, the Gaping Dragon, Kalameet, et cetera. They are made even more different since Miyazaki has said that the everlasting dragons are "half living half element", something like a powerful spirit creating a bodily construct.
* OurGodsAreGreater: They're [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Greek pantheon]] style superhumans with magical powers and range in size from 10ft to 30ft. Some of them are exceptions to the humanoid form like Gravelord Nito.
* OurGiantsAreBigger: There are multiple types of giants. First are the Lords and gods like Gwyn and Izalith and demigods like Smough and Ornstein. Then there are the enormous stone giants who seem to be the manual labor of the gods as they are seen operating machinery, smithing and opening gates.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: The Undead are unmistakeably zombie-like, at least the hollow ones are. Before they go mad, they are revenants.
* OutsideContextVillain: Regardless of which side you chose, the central conflict of the game doesn't become apparent until halfway through the game, and it isn't all that [[StoryBreadcrumbs apparent.]]
* ParentalAbandonment: [[spoiler: Sieglinde]], who has just lost [[spoiler:her]] mother and is chasing after [[spoiler:her]] dad who left their family looking for [[spoiler: adventure.]] By the end of the game [[spoiler:she loses her father as well.]]
* PeekABangs: One of the male hairstyles.
* PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling: Several places in the games can be considered good locations for farming souls.
* PiecesOfGod: WordOfGod states that [[spoiler: Humanity are pieces of the Dark Soul, the soul of the Furtive Pygmy who was the first human. [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in humans also have regular souls.]]
* PlayerDataSharing: The online component allows players to leave each other notes and also leaves blood stains to show where other players have died. There is also a more direct co-op element, which allows players to join one another's games during boss fights or "invade" their game and kill them (see Player Versus Player below).
* PlayerVersusPlayer: There are a variety of ways to go toe to toe with other players, whether invading and killing them to steal their humanity, or hunting down aggressive players in the name of justice. The Battle of Stoicism Gazebo in the Artorias The Abysswalker DLC matches players with each other based on soul level tiers (1-50, 51-100, 101-200, 200-713) for the sole purpose of dueling each other.
* PointOfNoReturn: Completely averted. All areas of the game can be revisited as many times as the player desires.
* PowerCrystal: The most powerful sorceries are crystalline.
* PowerfulPick: The war pick, and the pickaxe which both deals thrust damage and has very good strength scaling.
* PrepareToDie: Not only is the whole game based on the premise of dying repeatedly, this very trope is used as a tagline for the game. Even the [[http://preparetodie.com official site]] has its URL named accordingly!
* PressurePlate: Show up as a way to activate elevators, and to trigger deadly booby traps that will kill you.
* RagdollPhysics: Fully in effect and as wonky as ever; even large stone giants turn completely weightless after they die, sending them sliding around from the smallest touch. You'll also every so often see enemy corpses getting stuck on your character and wobbling around for a while as you move before falling off.
* RainbowPimpGear: The game attempts to avoid this by providing most armours as a full-set, but the upgradable armour and greater variety of choices (compared to Demon's Souls), combined with the equipment weight limit, further combined with differing abilities with certain equipment, means it can be quite easy to end up looking like this.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: A lot of hollows have these.
* RedOniBlueOni: The Red and Blue Tearstone Rings. They both activate when HP is below 20%, but the red ring increases damage while the blue one increases defense.
* ReligionIsMagic: Grants healing powers, shockwaves, the ability to instantly teleport to the last bonfire you used and [[BoltOfDivineRetribution Bolts of Divine Retribution]].
* ResetButton: Visiting a bonfire (or dying and returning to one) heals you to full and fills up your Estus Flask, but also makes all the enemies (except bosses, minibosses and a few assorted EliteMooks) reappear.
* ResourcesManagementGameplay:
** You're going to have a very tough time in Dark Souls if you don't learn to how ration your spells and healing items between bonfires.
** Spamming attacks in this game is ill-advised as each attack/roll you make will deplete your stamina meter. Failing to take this into account will make things difficult for the player. But at least the stamina regenerates rather quickly.
* RespawningEnemies: The immediate area is repopulated with baddies whenever you use a bonfire.
* RespawnPoint: The bonfires serve as these in addition to granting you healing items and also allowing you to level up and use storage.
* ResurrectionSickness: When you die, drop all your humanity and souls where you died and come back looking hollowed. Being hollowed means you can't summon assistance and can't kindle bonfires to increase how much estus you get from them.
** There are rings you can wear to avoid losing anything when you die, but in the first game the ring is LostForever (but you can get more), while in the second game it breaks you have to spend 3,000 souls each time you need to repair it.
* ResurrectiveImmortality: Undead, at least until they turn Hollow, after which they die for good.
* RevenantZombie: The closest form of zombie the Undead resemble. Revenants in other fiction tended to be driven by a single purpose (so strongly that they refuse to let death stop them), and many of the Undead you meet are indeed on a quest of some sort, though none of them had a choice in becoming Undead. The game's director has even implied that a loss of purpose and giving up on everything is what ultimately turns an Undead Hollow (and killable).
* SavePoint: It's easy to think of the bonfires as save points, but the game actually auto-saves quite frequently. If you see a little flame in the upper-right hand corner of the screen, the game has just saved.
* SceneryGorn: There are many decrepit and ruined areas in the game.
* SceneryPorn: The levels in these games are designed to look amazing, whether to awe or horrify the players. The high amount of detail was even a major cause of framerate issues in the first game (so the second game had to reduce the graphics in the 7th generation system versions compared to the PC and 8th gen versions).
** A commonly found, tongue-in-cheek message you can find from other players is "Be wary of gorgeous view."
* SchmuckBait: Nearly every trap in the games are designed to draw the unwary player in. Savvy players will be able to spot the trap or at least go in with their eyes open for the ambush that's coming, while the unsavvy will keep falling for it.
** The Mimics are {{chest monster}}s that look almost identical to real treasure chests and actually contain treasure. The moment the player tries to open then, they sprout MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily and an OverlyLongTongue and proceed to messily devour the player. Attacking them doesn't help much either, as they're quite difficult enemies for first time or unprepared players.
* SchrodingersPlayerCharacter: Complete sets of player equipment for all the classes you didn't start as can be found throughout the game. Whoever you weren't playing as still left their equipment behind when they died...
* SelfImposedChallenge: Because some people don't think the game is hard enough. Aside from the standard ones listed on the page, "Castlevania/Belmont Runs" a.k.a. Whip-only runs (which the game admits flat out on the weapons description is a JokeWeapon almost useless against anything with armor) are common.
** The entire point of the Deprived class is to make the beginning of the game harder. In the long run, class doesn't matter. The Deprived start at the highest level of any class, meaning it takes longer to get stat increases compared to the other class. They start with the absolute worst equipment of any class for any purpose. The fact they have 11 in all their stats makes them a MasterOfNone out the gate, so they need to spend points just to get one aspect of the game they are moderately good at. Due to the other class selection, absolutely any character concept would be better served by a different class selection, even weird ones without a class really designed for it. For example, Thief starts with a better combined Intelligence and Faith score than Deprived, despite that not being a focus of the class.
** The famed "Guts Run", meant to emulate the main character of ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' (no helmet, no shield, only two-hand melee weapons, only crossbows as ranged weapons, no spells outside of ranged fire spells, throwing knives and emergency dagger allowed).
** This is the only purpose behind the Calamity Ring, which doubles all the damage you take without adding any benefits whatsoever.
** The Soul Level 1 run, which is completing the entire game without ''ever'' leveling up.
* * SequelDifficultyDrop: The sequels will have features that make things easier for players of the previous games.
* SequelDifficultySpike: The sequels will ramp up the difficulty in certain ways.
* SequenceBreaking: Possible through a variety of ways, from glitches to intended paths. These games aren't designed to be linear.
* SerpentOfImmortality: The description of the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring: "The serpent is an imperfect dragon and symbol of the Undead.".
* ShapeShifterShowdown: In player vs. player battles, you can use the "Chameleon" spell to disguise yourself as random clutter objects like jars and chests, but you also have to worry about your opponents using the same ability to sneak up on you.
* ShoutOut: The games are full of these, usually to ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' (as confirmed by WordOfGod).
* ShownTheirWork: When blocking with a zweihander, your character puts on one hand on the blade and holds it vertically, which is an actual German technique called ''Halbschwerten''.
* SinisterScythe: There are two various available as weapons.
* SoulPoweredEngine:
** Pyromancy and sorcery. A pyromancer's flame grows by being fed souls, and sorcery spells are often soul-themed.
* SphereOfDestruction: The Wrath of the Gods miracle. Grant, the holy hunk of iron on a stick, has this as its special ability. This is also true of the two handed attack of the Dragon King Greataxe.
* SprintMeter: The stamina bar rill reduce when running, as well as various other actions.
* StandardFantasySetting: Downplayed: No elves, no dwarves, but definitely swords, magic, and dragons.
* StatusBuff: Nearly every single ring provides you with a bonus, from the obvious (increasing elemental resistance), to the awesome (changes rolling to cartwheels), to the tricky (deals extra damage with a pierce weapon when the enemy is in mid-attack animation/stagger from attacking your shield). Other status buffs include attack power increase granted by the Dragon Torso Stone's ability to roar and the Channeler's Trident dance.
* StatSticks: The Grass Crest Shield is sub-par as a shield, but it improves stamina regeneration rate when out, which is enough to make it [[ComplacentGamingSyndrome the most widely used item in the entire game]]. You will see every type of character from {{Glass Cannon}}s to {{Mighty Glacier}}s with this shield, and they will all be wearing it exclusively on their back while two-handing their weapon.
* StealthPun: Catarina's distinctive armor would make its wearer a [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII Onion Knight]].
* StoryBreadcrumbs: There is a lot of story and lore if players care to look for it, but it is very unintrusive and requires players to go out of the way to look for it in the form of item descriptions, bits of NPC dialogue and being observant of your surroundings.
* SummonMagic: A particular covenant gives you the ability to summon black phantoms into three random players' realms. The phantoms will chase them down relentlessly and attack them without asking questions until they are destroyed by the invaded player. This gives benefit to the summoner via giving him half the souls of the slain player each time they are killed, as well as [[ItAmusedMe the satisfaction of giving another player a hard time]]. You hear it right, guys, Dark Souls has a freaking '''griefing mechanic'''! It can backfire if the invaded players find the sign you used to summon the phantoms.
* SuperDrowningSkills: Sufficiently deep water is instant death. Yeah you can [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk-wilWUSQM cartwheel]] on [[LavaAddsAwesome lava]], but deep enough water is instant death.
* SwordAndGun: Instead of wielding a shield, you can choose to bear a crossbow or a magic-related item in the left-hand, allowing you to throw bolts or cast spells with one hand while hitting with the other.
* TinTyrant: Several enemies wear full armor, if not being only armor, when you fight them.
* TragicMonster:
** The Hollows are all undead humans, just like the PlayerCharacter, whose minds cracked as a result of their condition. Some of the few lucid people you encounter will inevitably share the same fate.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay:
** The whole game is learning how long you can go without dying to a hazardous area or a boss, and what mistakes to avoid whenever you do wind up as a smear on the wall.
** unlike ''DemonsSouls'', coming back to life, humanity in this game, is not only more common, but the item to restore it is no longer dropped rarely by a single, and very hard, enemy. Also, death no longer takes away half of your health without curse, meaning death, while still heafty, comes much cheaper than in ''Demon's Souls''.
* {{Troll}}: The game can be a haven for them, considering the difficulty and the ability to leave online hints for other players to find. What distinguishes a "troll" from a "{{griefer}}" in this matter is that unlike in griefing, the comments left have no ability to ''directly'' make life difficult for another player. However, some trolling players get kicks by the thought of NaiveNewcomer players falling to their deaths after reading messages saying "Try jumping" near a BottomlessPit, and other such things. Players quickly must learn to be careful about what messages they trust.
* UnblockableAttack: Many bosses and normal enemies possess powerful grapple attacks that ''have'' to be dodged.
* UndeathAlwaysEnds: Theoretically, a human cursed with the Dark Sign lives forever, but people rarely live that long in ''Dark Souls''. [[spoiler:Ultimately it is inverted as no cure for the Dark Sign is found by the end of the game.]]
* UnstableEquilibrium: Multiple examples:
** It is far easier to remain indefinitely hollow than to keep up your human form, but being human (as well as holding "soft humanity") confers multiple advantages. Humans can summon NPC helpers in some areas as well as other players if playing online. Higher humanity gives a better chance at items that randomly drop, and some items dropping early in the game allows for {{Disc One Nuke}}s that can help players snowball into further success. Higher humanity increases resistance to curse, a rather nasty status effect that persists through death and halves your maximum health until cured. Being human as opposed to hollow does suffer the disadvantage of being open to invasions by {{NPC}}s and other players, but since NPC invaders can provide useful items upon defeat there is still an incentive to open yourself up to at least those invasions. To further rub it in, the items that grant human status and soft humanity are somewhat rare or otherwise difficult to obtain, leading to players typically either starving for humanity if they're doing poorly or having an excess of it if they're doing well.
** Exploration is practically vital to success. A number of useful items are off the beaten path, rewarding players who explore and disadvantaging those who don't. Some particularly useful items and shortcuts can feel like they require GuideDangIt levels of necessary exploration, such as performing a LeapOfFaith in a spot where you have little to no reason to believe it would be helpful. The game often provides hints, but YMMV whether they are clear enough or not.
** Certain items only available once per New Game cycle are often guarded by tougher than usual enemies and scenarios. In some cases, acquiring such an item proves that you never really needed it in the first place. (e.g. The Large Divine Ember is found in a claustrophobic environment with multiple giant skeletons. Clearing it can be one of the hardest parts of the Tomb of the Giants, yet doing so means you probably don't need it at all since those skeletons are one of the few things the divine status effect is useful against.)
** When you die, you lose your souls and humanity, though you do get one chance to recover them. (Can to be boosted to more than one chance, but that requires the use of a rarely available and finite quantity item, which is its own little UnstableEquilibrium scenario since skilled players can use it as insurance while poorly performing players will lose it for no gain.) Since souls function as a combination of xp and currency, losing your souls frequently likely means you are worse off than a player who only rarely dies. The game also doesn't care about the amount of souls at stake. Whether it's a measly 100 or a hefty 1,000,000, when they are lost they are gone for good. Even worse is the fact that particularly bad losses can actually reward ''other'' players with a unique vagrant enemy.
* UselessUsefulStealth: Stealth isn't really all that great in the game because even though there are many branching paths, they almost all include small paths with enemies packed in too tightly to avoid.
* VancianMagic: Spells have a set number of uses. Items will partially restore uses while resting at a bonfire restores them in full. There are also pieces of equipment that increase the number of uses.
** In the second game increasing attunement (which determines how many different spells can be used at a time) also increases spell uses at certain level amounts (which varies per spell).
* VendorTrash:
** The equivalent of it, anyway. Some enemies and fallen bodies have static soul items for you to snag, which, when used, grant you some souls to spend.
** Once you get far enough into the games, you will unlock a way to dispose of all the trash-armor accumulating in your inventory.
* VideogameCharacters:
** AirborneMook: The Mosquitoes in Blighttown, double as GoddamnBats.
** BeefGate: The Skeletons near Firelink Shrine when first encountered. They teach players pretty quickly that this is the wrongest path you could possibly take. Realizing that it doesn't deter the most hardcore of {{Determinator}}s, ''FromSoftware'' made the skeletons in the area from that path, Catacombs, ''reassemble themselves'' upon death, just to make sure the message hits home.
** BlobMonster: [[http://i.imgur.com/g40rT.jpg The Slimes]] found in the Depths.
** BossInMookClothing: The Black Knights early on. Havel the Rock. The Titanite Demons, which the game seems to enjoy making you fight them in tight areas with little ability to maneuver.
** ChestMonster: The mimics. Opening one accidentally will cause them to do a massive attack that will most likely kill the player, and teach them to never open a chest without attacking it first.
** {{Dracolich}}: The undead dragons and the bounding demons, considering that the latter are the lower half of the former. [[spoiler:Seath is also considered one by virtue of his Primordial Crystal, which grants him CompleteImmortality unless it's destroyed.]]
** DemBones: [[http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o312/oracrest/Dark%20Souls/12-noscale.jpg The skeletons,]] giant skeletons and feral skeletons.
** EliteMook: Several, from the boulder throwing trolls to the Dark Knights.
** EverythingTryingToKillYou: Almost everything that isn't a fellow gamer in co-op mode will be trying to kill you (and succeeding a good deal of the time).
** FakeUltimateMook: Ceaseless Discharge can be seen as this. It is the largest boss in the game and very intimidating, but is one of the easier bosses in the game.
*** Capra Demon also qualifies, when you first fight one it is in a small area aided by two extremely fast enemies so beginners would naturally find this difficult. However, fighting them alone is much less hassle but it is rare to happen as once they become a regular enemy they are placed tightly together so you will usually attract two or three at the same time.
** TheGoomba: The Hollow Warriors seen in the first section of Undead Burg. Their move set is almost identical to that of the Dreglings in ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', and are the easiest enemies in the game to fight. That said, the still pose a threat, especially in groups.
** InvincibleMinorMinion: The Skeletons in the catacombs. You can defeat them, but they'll quickly revive and reassemble themselves as long as the necromancer hiding himself nearby is alive. Or kill them with a Divine weapon.
** InvisibleMonsters: Two of the Forest Hunter [=NPC=]s. Semi-invisible at least.
** MascotMook: The Black Knights appear on the game's disc and various promotional images.
** MetalSlime: The crystal lizards/geckos (making a return from ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls''), which shine brightly but tend to turn invisible (and are thus un-attackable) when you run into them. Should you manage to catch one, you're likely to get some rare ores for weapon refinement.
** MonsterKnight: A few enemies qualify. The Capra Demons, the Balder Knights, the Black Knights, and the Darkwraiths.
** MooksAteMyEquipment: The Gaping Dragon and his acid vomit AOE attack.
** NightOfTheLivingMooks: Many of the enemies encountered are undead of some sort: zombies, skeletons, ghosts, etc. Then again, almost everyone you meet is undead, including the player character.
** PersonalSpaceInvader: Several enemies have devastating grab attacks.
** PinataEnemy: The Forest Hunters and the Darkmoon Soldiers. They are quick, cheap, sources for souls. The single respawning Titanite Demon is this as well for the Upgrade Stone it drops.
** RandomlyDrops: Many enemies drop rare unique weapons like the Titanite Demons and the Channelers. A few drop rare armor like the Mimics.
** RecurringTraveler: Solaire, Siegmeyer, and Sieglinde.
** RevivingEnemy: The skeletons in the Catacombs.
** RoamingEnemy: The various special NPC hollows, which appear under special circumstances, and are tragic to fight.
** RodentsOfUnusualSize: Giant evil rats!
** ShieldBearingMook: The Giants in Anor Londo. Completely invincible from the front. Other enemies have shields, but they aren't as difficult or invulnerable as these guys.
** SmashMook: The Infested Barbarians.
** TheUndead: Almost everyone you meet is undead, whether or not they look or act like it. This makes sense within the setting, as those who bear the Darksign stay warm and fleshy for a while before they turn into mindless ghouls.
** TheUnfought: [[spoiler: The Furtive Pygmy, who never shows up or is even properly mentioned outside of the intro, unless you buy the speculation that he became Manus, Father of the Abyss. Artorias for the original version of the game, but averted in the UpdatedRerelease.]]
** UndeadChild: The baby skeletons in the Tomb of the Giants.
** VulnerableCivilians: All [=NPC=]s can be killed. Even worse, one accidental hit on one, be it a merchant, or a blacksmith, and that NPC is permanently hostile, and often leads to their death, which can be disastrous later on if you happen to kill a merchant. You can, however make all hostile, yet alive, [=NPC=]s non hostile by paying Oswald of Carim an obscene amount of souls. 500 souls times your Soul Level to be exact, resulting in (for example) people at level 50 needing to amass 25,000 souls just so the woman who sells moss doesn't try to kill you.
** WhenTreesAttack: The Demonic Foliage that patrol Darkroot Garden.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: It is perfectly possible to kill any and every NPC (including the blacksmiths and merchants) that you come across, should you feel inclined to do so. There are some exceptions, such as in the first game [[spoiler: the Everlasting Dragon in Ash Lake which you can damage for a weapon, but will neither die nor turn hostile]].
* VideogameItemsAndInventory and WeaponTropes:
** AbsurdlySharpBlade: Ornstein's Dragonslayer Spear, [[InformedAbility apparently.]] His Leo Ring states that it is rumored to have cleaved a boulder in two.
** AlwaysCheckBehindTheChair: Useful items are often hidden inside or behind containers, furniture, and other such objects.
*** As a prominent example, [[spoiler:you'll never find Ash Lake and the Path of the Dragon covenant unless you notice that a particular chest hidden by an illusion wall is actually in front of ''another'' illusion wall.]]
** AnAxeToGrind: There are numerous axes in the game, and a fully ascended elemental Greataxe is one of the, if not ''the'' most destructive weapon in the game. Gargoyles have axes for tails that can be cut off and used.
** AnnoyingArrows: Arrows aren't that big of deal in this game excluding those fired by other players much stronger than you and if a Silver Knight is flinging them at you - though the size of those "arrows" are more like javelins. Even then, the majority of deaths they cause is getting knocked into a [[BottomlessPits bottomless pit]] instead of actual damage.
** AntidoteEffect: Natch.
** ArmorPiercingAttack: Lightning weapons, as most armor and shields aren't particularly effective against it. Also thrusting swords, which translates into them having higher critical damage when performing backstabs and ripostes.
** ArrowsOnFire: Fire arrows, naturally.
** AutomaticCrossbows: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvuRq7HgEKY#t=6m27s Avelyn.]]
** BagOfHolding: Present in the form of the Bottomless Box, a sort of portable bank that can only be used at bonfires.
** {{BFS}}: [[http://image01.w.livedoor.jp/p/k/project_dark/550b23933d8fd651.jpg The Dragon Greatsword,]] apparently this game's version of the Dragon Bone Smasher. This weapon appears to have more in common with [[SoulSeries Nightmare's Soul Edge]]. Any weapon in the Ultra Great Sword counts as do many weapons as in the Great Sword category.
** BladeOnAStick: Some weapons classify as this, such as the varying types of spears and halberds.
** BlowGun: The blowdart snipers in Blighttown carry these.
** BreakableWeapons: All weapons (and armor) degrade slowly with use. Certain enemy abilities cause durability damage on your items, and some weapons allow you to use a powerful special attack at the cost of rapidly degrading the weapon's condition. Fortunately everything can be repaired relatively easily aside from the frail and unrepairable Crystal items.
** BrokenFaceplate: The Balder Set. Good armor but it is clear it has seen better days.
** CosmicKeystone: The First Flame. The Lordvessel.
** DayOldLegend: Natch.
** DiskOneNuke: See the weapons discussed in [[DiskOneNuke Disk One Nukes]].
** DropTheHammer: Many of the blunt weapons, the most ridiculous of these are Grant and Smough's Hammer.
** DualWielding: As in ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', you can equip an off-hand weapon, sacrificing your ability to parry for extra attacks, unless that weapon is something like the Parry Dagger.
** ExclusiveEnemyEquipment: Unique weapons tend to be rare drops off enemies or forged from special souls, while their armor is usually found hidden in a chest somewhere.
** ExperienceBooster: The Covetous Silver Serpent Ring and the Symbol of Avarice helm. Also the overkill mechanic where you get more souls if you deal 150% of the monster's max hp in one blow.
** FlamingSword: Quelaag's Fury Sword. Also wielded very effectively by [[spoiler:Gwyn, Lord of Cinder. You can also gain it if you keep his soul and use it in a Weapon Ascension, though the crafted version isn't on fire.]] Normal upgradeable weapons can be temporarily this by applying [[StatusBuff Charcoal Pine Resin]], which adds fire damage to your weapon.
** HealingPotion: Your main method of recovering health is a substance known as Estus, which is stored in a dull emerald green glass bottle/flask that you can refill at bonfires. This completely replaces the healing items of ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls''.
** HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: Averted. While there are a few helmets that let you show off your face, most of them are pretty obscuring. There is no option to cosmetically hide the helmet either.
** HeroesPreferSwords: Swords are the most numerous weapons in the game. In addition, four of the ten classes start with swords as their weapons.
** IaijutsuPractitioner: The Iaito's strong attack.
** InfinityMinusOneSword: All the DiscOneNuke equipment and some of the Ascended weapons seem like InfinityPlusOneSword material, but the often limited upgrade options compared to the generic equipment make them qualify for this. Certain magic spells have a high number of uses, but actually end up using most of them during one casting.
** InfinityPlusOneSword: Averted, since you can excel with any decently upgraded weapon, whether they're acquired early or late in the game, and [[NewGamePlus subsequent playthroughs]] make sure you're never out of tough enemies. However, the Moonlight Greatsword, which is acquired [[spoiler:by cutting Seath's middle tail]], is a potential candidate for this, due to its unique scaling and damage type, making it a favourite for magic builds.
** InterchangeableAntimatterKeys: Averted, all of the keys in the game are permanent and besides the [[SkeletonKey Master Key]] only open specific doors.
** JokeItem: The whip. The item's description states that it's not intended for combat and extremely ineffective against enemies. Whip based characters are a common self imposed challenge.
** KatanasAreJustBetter: At least for Dexterity-focused characters, as their damage increases with higher Dex. They tend to be quick, too.
** LaserBlade / HardLight: The Moonlight Greatsword is something of a magical version of this. [[http://i.imgur.com/m9C9N.jpg The actual physical blade is tiny]], about the size of a dagger. The larger blade that makes up the bulk of the weapon is a magical projection of moonlight.
** LevelLockedLoot: Dark Souls uses stats to determine the effectiveness of weapons. Any player can equip any weapon, but if the player character doesn't have the minimum stats to properly wield it that weapon's performance will be severely penalized.
** LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: No matter what class you're playing as, you ''need'' a shield. It is suicide to play without one, that's why even the "Deprived," who starts off naked, gets one. DualWield builds are a common form of SelfImposedChallenge by advanced players, and players using a two handed weapon still tend to use a shield and switch stances when not attacking.
*** ShieldBash: Greatshields and smaller shields with spikes on them can do this instead of parrying, with the main benefit being breaking the enemy's guard. Other shields can only bash if used in your main hand, only allowing you to use them as a weapon, making it rather useless.
** LostForever:
*** All acquired souls and liquid humanity are permanently lost if the player dies a second time without retrieving them.
*** The Darkwraith Covenant if you [[spoiler:bring the Lordvessel to Kingseeker Frampt rather than Darkstalker Kaathe in The Abyss.]]
*** Seven of the nine Covenants can be lost forever if the player gets a bit bloodthirsty. The exceptions are the Warriors of Sunlight (because you don't need an NPC to enter, just kneel at a statue with enough Faith) and the Path of the Dragon (the Everlasting Dragon is completely impossible to kill). Although permanently barring yourself from the Forest Hunters requires attacking Alvina ''and'' Oswald (you can't kill Alvina, she just leaves if you attack her until you get Oswald to pardon you).
*** The Ring of Favour and Protection if you remove it.
*** Anything offered by [=NPC=]s will be lost forever if you kill them before getting it.
*** The "tail" weapons if you kill the enemies without cutting off the tails first.
*** Because all the above can be re-obtained or re-accessed upon [[NewGamePlus restarting a playthrough]], the only true items that can potentially be LostForever in a single character savefile are covenant items such as unique weapons ([[spoiler: or armor, in the case of Darkwraiths]]) should you decide to drop them and fail to recover them for one reason or another.
** MagicStaff: Catalysts. They can also be used as melee weapons.
** MasterSwordsman: Gwyn and Abysswalker Artorias.
** OddlyShapedSword: Quelaag's Furysword, shaped like a piece of a spider's exoskeleton. Also, [[FlamingSword it ignites]] when you swing it.
** OneHandedZweihander: You can use a variety of heavy weapons with only one hand, and if you have a high enough Strength stat you'll be able to do it without penalty (the listed strength requirement is to wield one-handed, wielding two-handed effectively increases your strength by 50%). Amusingly, the inverse is also possible, allowing the player to use a six-inch dagger or small shield with both hands. Artorias himself does this in his boss fight because of his bad arm, although he could wield it one-handed anyway due to his skill with it. That said, even with enough strength to wield a greatweapon in one hand, the possible moveset is more limited than when wielding it with both hands.
** PlotCoupon: The Twin Bells of Awakening. [[spoiler: The Lordvessel. The Lord Souls.]]
** PoisonedWeapon: Certain unique weapons can poison enemies, as can poison arrows and throwing knives. Blighttown has enemies using poisoned darts and poisoned ''giant wooden clubs!''
** PossessionImpliesMastery: [[AvertedTrope Nope.]] While you can use all weapons and armor you pick up, using them without the proper stats will make using the weapon less effective, leading to awkward attack animations and severely reduced damage. One-handed weapons even need to be used with both hands to wield even remotely effectively. One place where this stumbles slightly is the use of the Painting Guardian Sword, which is explicitly stated to be a weapon and technique exclusive to that order -- there's no way for the player to properly imitate their DualWielding style.
*** In a meta sense, some weapons have quirky movesets or unique attacks that require practice on the player's part to use effectively even if the player character has no issues performing them.
** PowerFist: The Dragonbone Fist, crafted from a fist weapon and the Iron Golem's core.
** RazorWind: The Drake Sword and the Dragon Greatsword. Both are unique from ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' Stormruler in that its special ability can be [[SoCoolItsAwesome used anywhere.]] That said, the special ability takes a huge chunk out of the sword's durability.
** ReducedManaCost: The Dusk Crown Ring, effectively, with it doubling the number of sorcery casts at the price of halving HP.
** ReforgedBlade: The True Greatsword of Artorias, forged from a broken sword!
** RollingAttack: Wearing pieces of the Thorn armor set will allow you to damage any enemies you touch while rolling.
** RoyalRapier: Richard's Rapier, the rapier of a prince of a distant nation.
** ScaryImpracticalArmor: A variety of armor is like this, Ornstein's and Smough's armor sets immediately come to mind.
** SchizophrenicDifficulty: Due to the open-ended nature of the game, you'll end up running into a place meant for a much higher leveled and better equipped character. Especially in the beginning, where the way to Undead Burg is at the very side, and the most obvious paths available lead to an area filled with ghosts immune to regular weapon damage or a graveyard with high-level skeletons, which if you manage to get past, you'll have to fight resurrecting skeletons and exploding skulls that do high damage.
*** Blighttown as well. It's right after the sewers, which has OneHitPointWonder enemies that give humanity after dying and boss that can be defeated with two NPC summons. The area is filled with enemies that telegraph their moves and can easily be backstabbed, but there are a shitload of them and they actually seek YOU out. On the plus side, it has a lot of loot in obvious places. Too bad the loot can only be accessed by jumping over bottomless pits, maneuvering swaying bridges, or should you find an easy place to jump down to it, you'll find the floors collapse if they're jumped on from a certain height.
** ShockAndAwe: There are a variety of enemies that use lightning as an ability such as the Titanite Demons and Dragon Slayer Ornstein. The player can forge lightning weapons which have additional lightning damage and are some of the best weapons in the game and can also obtain three miracles that lets them throw lightning bolts Zeus-style.
** ShockwaveStomp: The two-handed power attack of the Dragon King Greataxe is slow but damages all enemies around you with a shockwave at the cost of weapon durability.
** SinisterScimitar: Many of the curved swords and greatswords.
** SliceAndDiceSwordsmanship: Averted. The majority of thrusting weapons can only thrust, and most slashing weapons only slash. There are a few oddities like the estoc, a long, unsharpened sword meant for thrusting, having a slash attack.
** SpecialAttack: There are a large variety of weapons with unique special attacks. These can range from devastating uppercuts with powerful [[{{Knockback}} knockbacks]], the Drake Sword and Dragon Great Sword's RazorWind attacks, special grabs in which you steal another's humanity and many others.
** SpinAttack: The heavy attack of certain weapons. The Belfry Gargoyles in Anor Londo also have an aerial one.
** StabTheSky: The Stone Greatsword's special attack does this before casting a spell that slows enemy movement speed.
** StanceSystem: Your attacks depend on whether you choose to wield your weapon with one or two hands.
** StarterEquipment: Each of the game's ten classes has its own set, though you can find all of those equipment sets lying around somewhere.
** SwordBeam: The Moonlight Greatsword has this as its special attack, making it even more reminiscent to the Moonlight Sword seen in previous From Software games.
** SwordDrag: The Black Knight Great Sword and Black Knight Great Ax do this as part of the build up for their strong attacks.
** SwordLines: Great Grey Wolf Sif when wielding the massive Greatsword of Artorias.
** SwordSparks: Hitting a wall causes this.
** TwentyFourHourArmor: Invoked. Without it, you would die more often.
** WhipItGood: Two different whips are available weapons.
** WithThisHerring:
*** You find a proper weapon and shield within the tutorial dungeon but just starting out, you have nothing more than the broken hilt-shard to wield against zombies. Justified since you are in a dungeon.
*** The Deprived's "proper weapon and shield" are a wooden club and plank. He/she also doesn't start with any armor.
* VideoGamePerversityPotential: The developers ''tried'' to limit this by requiring player-set messages to be assembled from a given list of words. Unfortunately, "need head" is a possible combination. Guess what message tends to pop up the most?
* VideogameSettings:
** AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: The Depths look a lot like this, though some parts of them also resemble catacombs.
** TheAlcatraz: The Undead Aslyum, where civilization locks up people cursed with the Darksign, mostly out of fear.
** AsceticAesthetic: The path that leads to the [[spoiler: Kiln of the First Flame]]. It's unlike anything else seen in the game. The area is almost a WhiteVoidRoom with a downward staircase floating in the void. Ghostly apparitions of the[[spoiler: Black Knights]] walk across the staircase. It really builds of the dread of [[spoiler: TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon.]]
** BeautifulVoid: Lordran, excluding all of the unpleasant monsters and zombies.
** BigFancyCastle: Anor Londo is a city built like this.
** BlackoutBasement: The Tomb of the Giants is pitch-black. And filled with some of the toughest monsters in the game.
** BleakLevel: [[spoiler:Kiln of the First Flame.]]
*** Also Blighttown. Sure, the Depths wasn't sunshine and rainbows, but it mainly just looks like a typical unlit sewer. But the ''precise moment'' you step through the door from the Depths to Blighttown, the tint of the game becomes a sickly green, darkness becomes inky and barely broken by improvised torches, and solid stone structures give way to ramshackle, rickety wooden planks over a putrid swamp full of disgusting giant bugs. You see ruin before Blighttown, in Blighttown you see ''rot''.
** BrightCastle: Anor Londo is an absolutely stunning castle city, with beautiful gothic architecture.
** BubblegloopSwamp: Blighttown.
** CobwebJungle: Quelaag's Domain. The entire area is almost entirely covered with cobwebs and filled with giant spider eggs.
** CreepyCathedral: The Undead Parish.
** DarkFantasy: Like ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', the game itself fall into this genre of fantasy.
** DownTheDrain: The Depths are your classic sewer maze, complete with giant (zombie) rats.
** DownInTheDumps: Blighttown.
** DungeonTown: Most of the game. The Undead Burg, Undead Parish, and The Depths are all part of one large city. Several other areas are cities as well like New Londo and Anor Londo.
*** Lordran is in fact a dungeon ''country'', as it's completely surrounded by a huge castle wall (visible from the Firelink Shrine).
** EvilTowerOfOminousness: Sen's Fortress. The area is also incredibly malicious, filled with countless [[BoobyTrap Booby Traps]].
** GardenOfEvil: The Darkroot Garden is one of the more lush areas, but it's full of living plants trying to kill you.
*** Lost Izilath is some kind of twisted inversion of the usual traits of this trope. It's a deep underground city full of lava and demons, but everywhere you go, there's bare tree roots covering everything. The source of it all is the Bed of Chaos, [[spoiler: or rather what's left of the Witch of Izalith.]] So it follows the "plantlife everywhere" part of the trope while visually reminding you of death and fire instead of smothering greens and poison like most gardens of evil.
** HailfirePeaks: The Ash Lake is a mix of PalmtreePanic and LostWoods. The Painted World of Ariamas is a mix of SlippySlideyIceWorld and BigFancyCastle. New Londo Ruins is a mix of BigFancyCastle and BigBoosHaunt.
** HauntedCastle: New Londo Ruins.
** HubLevel: Firelink Shrine is the center of the game world, houses most of the trainers should you find them and has quick access to many areas of the game once you unlock the shortcuts.
** LethalLavaLand: The Demon Ruins and the first half of Lost Izalith.
** GreatBigLibraryOfEverything: The Duke's Archives. Naturally Big Hat Logan loves hanging out here and reading the unbelievably vast collection of tomes.
** TheLostWoods: Darkroot Garden and Darkroot Basin.
** TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon: [[spoiler: Kiln of the First Flame]]
** NoobCave: Undead Burg.
** OneTimeDungeon: Averted. All areas of the game can be revisited.
** PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling: The area next to the hidden bonfire in Darkroot Garden. Two Darkmoon soldiers in [[spoiler:Dark Anor Londo are also a good grinding spot.]]
** PlanetHeck: The Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith are clearly meant to evoke this. They're underground, [[LethalLavaLand Lethal Lava Lands]] filled with decrepit ruins and overrun with demons.
** SecretLevel: Several.
** SlippySlideyIceWorld: The Painted World of Ariamis and the Crystal Caves.
** ShiftingSandLand: While the heat has mostly died out, the [[spoiler:Kiln of the First Flame]] is a desert made of ash and cinder.
** SwampsAreEvil: The swamp section of Blighttown, an obvious callback to ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' Valley of Defilement.
** TempleOfDoom: Sen's Fortress. While it isn't in a jungle or desert, its an ancient fortress built as a testing ground for undead who want to succeed [[spoiler: Lord Gwyn]]. It's one of the most dangerous places in the game and packed full of booby traps.
** UndergroundLevel: The Catacombs and the Tomb of the Giants.
** WorldTree: The Great Hollow. The level is just one long descent down the inside of an enormous tree. The Ash Lake shows that there are hundreds of these under the world.
** {{Wutai}}: The "Far East" is like this, and we meet a few characters from there who are a Samurai and a Ninja, but we never get to go there personally.
* VirtualPaperDoll: You get a fair variety of armor set in the games, that are not only visible when worn, they are all split into four parts (head, hands, torso, legs), so players can mix and match as they like (usually for exploiting stat bonuses for each armor).
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: The premise is that your hero can never die, no matter what, he'll just keep coming back (though the form is the usual game respawning).
* YetAnotherStupidDeath: Letting your guard down or trying to rush forward because you're facing enemies you've easily beaten before is generally a terrible idea and ''will'' end up with you feeling like an idiot for dying to simple zombies or skeletons you could've easily beaten with some patience. There's also repeatedly dying by falling off into a BottomlessPit because of preventable causes.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Like ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', giving your character a custom hair colour is possible.
* YourSoulIsMine:
** The level-up system is explained as absorbing the souls of fallen enemies into the player character's own. The game raises questions about what exactly is the soul.
** Enemies and players who have the 'Lifedrain' ability (Dark Hand weapon) can drain humanity from a target.
* ZombieApocalypse: Many nations, including Lordran, were absolutely devastated by the Darksign's appearance.
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