open/close all folders
The Chosen Undead
The Undead Hero/Chosen Undead
The Player Character of the game. One of the Undead, those branded with the Darksign, locked into the Undead Asylum of Lordran. However, a chance encounter allows them to escape and change the fate of the world.
- Action Survivor: In a land where even the weakest enemy can kill a heavily armed and armored knight without too much effort, you WILL have to use every underhanded, cheap tactic at your disposal to survive against monsters and gods that can kill you with the flick of a finger.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: If you choose the Dark Lord ending, the Primordial Servants bow to you and acknowledge your rule over the oncoming Age of Dark.
- Character Customization: Choose your character's appearance and starting class when you start a new game.
- The Chosen One: Played with, and possibly Double Subverted. At first, it seems that the Undead Hero is Gwyn's successor according to Frampt, who claims to be an old friend of the Lord of Sunlight. Except that it's false according to Kaathe, who claims that the Undead Hero is instead supposed to be the next Dark Lord. Even then, there's an implication that the title of Chosen Undead is granted to whatever Undead manages to earn it, rather than them actually being chosen. However, with Solaire, Lautrec, and Tarkus, who have their own world where they are the warriors with the most Heroic Willpower who are trying to become Gwyn's successor (as well as the fact Solaire links the fire if he fights Gwyn with the Chosen Undead), it seems that there might be a chosen one for every world, or with the success of the Chosen Undead, there is only one "true" chosen one among them all.
- The Chosen Zero: How they are generally treated. It's not that much of a stretch given how many Undead journey through Lordran for whatever reason or another.
- Curtains Match The Windows: On the initial character creation screen, choosing a hair color will give the player character a matching eye color. However, if you go into the more detailed character creation screen, you can edit them separately.
- Cutting Off the Branches: The heavy implication that the Chosen Undead forms a large portion of the Final Boss in Dark Souls III would imply that the canon ending to this game is Linking the Fire, as the Soul of Cinder is formed from the combined power and souls of everyone that ever Linked the Fire. But then again, considering the Timey-Wimey Ball nature of the universe, it's quite possible that the Soul of Cinder is merely every Chosen Undead to have ever Linked the Fire across all time.
- Determinator: Since you're the one controlling the character, you'd have to be during the course of the game.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From the perspective of what few deities remain in Lordran at least, the Chosen Undead can completely disintegrate their plans to perpetuate the Age of Fire. Namely by killing said lingering gods, slaughtering the entirety of the Four Knights of Gwyn (and Smough), join the ranks of Darkstalker Kaathe and the Darkwraiths, Mercy Kill Gwyn, and snuff out the First Flame to become the Dark Lord of the Age of Dark, the Age of Men. And all this from someone who started off as just another nameless prisoner in some far-off asylum.
- Hero Killer: It is perfectly possible to kill several heroic figures during the course of the game, though it does depend somewhat on how noble you interpret certain characters to be and in some cases it can be justifiably considered self-defense. Most notably, with the release of the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, it is now possible to kill not only Ornstein (which is necessary), but the other three of the four knights of Gwyn as well.
- Heroic Mime: Aside from a whimper upon getting staggered (or dying), the player character doesn't really say anything, although talking to NPCs seems to imply he/she does speak, as shown by the yes/no answer prompt.
- Heroic Sacrifice: If you assume that your character is aware of what's going to happen to them, the Link the Fire ending is this.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: You never have to put a single thing in your bottomless box. There is, however, a limit on the weapons & items that you can quick-switch to.
- I Am Who?: Darkstalker Kaathe reveals that the Undead hero is a direct descendant of the Furtive Pygmy and the next in line to give rise to the Age of Dark that Gwyn tried to prevent. However, it's possible that Kaathe's claims extends to all Darksign bearers.
- Immortality: Part type 4 and part type 5.
- Lightning Bruiser: While Weak, but Skilled at the start, the player character will inevitably develop into this as they gain levels. Most high-level PvP builds fall into this category, often with added magic spells.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: All the classes start out with some kind of shield; they're pretty much essential to survival (unless one is a master of riposting). Averted for the many who make use of the Grass Crest Shield.
- Magic Knight: While the starting classes tend to either favor melee or magic, you can easily build your character up to this.
- Messianic Archetype/Dark Messiah: The Chosen Undead ultimately has to choose which one to be at the very end, either by taking on Gwyn's role as fuel for the Fire, or walk out of it and start a new Age of Dark with the primordial serpents as their vassals.
- Multi-Melee Master/Multi-Ranged Master/Bow and Sword, in Accord/Magic Knight/Etc: Any can apply depending on the player's choices.
- Not So Stoic/My God, What Have I Done?: One of Quelaag's sister's lines suggests that the player character is weeping as he/she talks to her.
- Several lines from Petrus (and interestingly, a couple from Lautrec) also seem to imply that the player character (regardless of gender) has strong feelings for Reah of Thorolund. This is most evident when Petrus admits that he abandoned Reah and her followers in the Tomb of the Giants and says in a lewd manner that in her state the protagonist can now do whatever they want with her. He also asks if the protagonist has been driven mad by emotion when they attack him if he's successfully murdered Reah.
- Protagonist Without a Past: Aside from being stuck in the Undead Asylum and hints from your starting class, nothing about the protagonist's history is explained.
- Rogue Protagonist: In a fashion; the Final Boss of Dark Souls III is heavily implied to be the corporeal manifestation of everyone that ever Linked the Fire, and it would appear that the Chosen Undead is among the souls manifested by it. The big hint you get about this is that the Soul can perform the backflip-dodge that only a wearer of the Dark Wood Grain Ring can, which was an item only available in DS1.
- Silent Snarker: Although we never hear or see his/her dialogue, some NPC lines imply this.
- Unwitting Pawn: Ultimately, the Chosen Undead is being tricked into sacrificing him/herself in order to prolong the Age of Fire. Possibly subverted should the player side with Kaathe and become the Dark Lord, though he/she may be just as much of a pawn for the Primordial Serpents' agendas.
- Virtual Paper Doll: The armor you wear is visible, so you can fight in anything from simple leather armor to a Pimped-Out Dress.
- Your Soul Is Mine: The Chosen Undead absorbs the souls of their enemies to become stronger.
The Primordial Serpents
- Ancient Conspiracy: Both of them are involved in one, but neither seems to support the other's goal. Put simply, Kaathe is working to begin the Age of Dark, using the Darkwraiths to steal Humanity and snuff out the First Flame, with his efforts often turning humans into deranged beasts if New Londo and Oolacile are anything to go by, although that's likely unintentional. Frampt seeks to preserve the Age of Fire by having you replace Lord Gwyn, but it is later revealed that the "Chosen Undead" prophecy was fabricated to lure undead to Lordran so their humanity could be used to kindle the bonfires and keep the First Flame lit a while longer until one undead manages to replace Gwyn, resulting in said undead being used to fuel the First Flame with their humanity. This is later muddied further when, if the Dark Lord ending is chosen, Frampt will rejoin his brethren to crown you as the new Lord of the Age of Dark, implying that Frampt was going along with Kaathe's plan the whole time even while telling you how to keep the Age of Fire going.
- Both can give off whiffs of The Con: Short Con, Long Con, possibly a two-man con if some theories are remotely correct... You're being carefully played, whichever one you deal with, whatever their reasons and whether you can even partly agree with them or not. Frampt hits you with the high-minded, goal-orientated confidence style; Kaathe goes for what looks like the more honest, if outwardly underhanded one. On the surface, at least.
- The Bus Came Back: After being put on it for the entirety of Dark Souls II and its DLC, you can happen upon some statues in Lothric Castle in Dark Souls III that inexplicably have their faces. Also, if you kill Yuria, she name-drops Kaathe and implies that she serves him in some capacity, hinting that he and the rest of his ilk may still be around and kicking. The Painter girl in the Ashes of Ariandel DLC also inexplicably has the same eyes and skin tone (and even some scales) as the Primordial Serpents.
- Bus Crash: However, the same game implies that Kaathe and likely the other Primordial Serpents are long dead.
- Eldritch Abomination: There really is no telling just what the hell they are. The serpents are barely mentioned at all in the Story Breadcrumbs of all three games, which only makes it seem as though they don't quite belong in the world. However, they are clearly ancient, very knowledgeable, and have been meddling in the affairs of humans and gods alike for a very long time to fulfill some obscure agenda. They are implied to be massive, but they lurk in the darkest corners of Lordran, only appearing to mortal eyes when they wish to be seen, and it's up in the air if they can even die or turn hollow like nearly everything else. Whatever the Primordial Serpents are, they clearly operate on different rules from everything else. Given how Frampt reacts to most things Seath-related should you try to feed him them, it's even possible Serpents are part and parcel of Our Dragons Are Different in some way: snakes are mentioned as being lesser dragons, too, in item descriptions... however much you trust those. Which puts an interesting spin on various events, if so.
- Everyone Has Standards: If there's one thing that they can both agree on, it's in their disdain for Seath. Kaathe is open about it, referring to him contemptuously as "the traitor." Frampt, however, is more subtle; while he describes Seath diplomatically as "Gwyn's former confidante," he makes his true opinion clear with how little the scaleless dragon's soul is worth to him.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: One interpretation that's very easy to run with when it comes to either Serpent you can run into. Lies, half-truths, evasions, and foggy reasons nobody finds much out about pretty much sum both Frampt and Kaathe up, at the very least. How villainous either of them (or any other Serpents that might be involved) are, or from which angle? Choose your own take. There are options.
- Gonk: If the teeth didn't already set you off about them, then the orange bloodshot eyes, far too human nose, and what could accurately be described as flesh mustaches probably will. These things are not attractive in the slightest, and facially they barely even resemble serpents. Their voices are fine enough, just turned somewhat surreal coming out of those heads.
- Last of Their Kind/Single Specimen Species: Frampt initially seems like the latter trope, and stays this way unless you know about Kaathe, and then they become the former trope. Later gets subverted if you take the Dark Lord ending, which shows that there are many more Primoridal Serpents that live underneath Firelink Altar.
- Manipulative Bastard: Both Kaathe and Frampt to a certain degree, considering the former has facilitated the spread of the Abyss twice in the past, while the latter is one part of the forged "Chosen Undead" prophecy that, if followed to its conclusion, ends with you being used to fuel the First Flame until some other poor schmuck comes to take your place and perpetuate a cycle that will eventually end regardless.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Their giant broad teeth are easily their most defining feature, and even as they talk to you you can hear these chompers clacking away as they move their mouths.
- Voiced by: Peter Marinker
Chosen Undead, who has rung the Bell of Awakening, I wish to elucidate your fate. Do you seek such enlightenment?A primordial serpent and friend of Gwyn, who wishes to help the Undead Hero return the world to light. He is the only "merchant" in the game which you can "sell" equipment to, and the only means of breaking down Titanite.
- Big Good: He comes across as this, as he's ultimately guiding you on the path to undo the curse of Undeath and restore Fire to the world. Given how that basically means tricking the Chosen Undead to sacrifice themselves in, at best, a temporary fix for questionable reasons and after having done even more morally questionable deeds, you might revise your opinion.
- Blatant Lies:
No, no, I'm fine, I'm fine. Well and wide awake!
- If the player should wake him up after lapsing into a deep sleep for the first time, he'll act like he was never asleep in the first place.
- He claims that he was awoken by a single Bell of Awakening, but even the Crestfallen Warrior knows that there are actually two Bells of Awakening.
- Defector from Decadence: The other Primordial Serpents apparently view him as a traitor for siding with the gods and helping prolong the Age of Fire, but given that their preferred alternative may end up corrupting people into eldritch monstrosities, it's hard to hold it against him too much. He does rejoin his brethren if you go for the Dark Lord ending, though. Although it's up for interpretation if he isn't going to try to find another Gwyn to end your Age of Dark, as implied to have happened before.
- Exact Words: He tells the Player Character that it is their destiny to succeed Gwyn. Which they do, as fuel for the Fire.
- Extreme Omnivore: His means of "buying" your equipment is eating it and giving you souls in return. He'll even eat unique boss souls, most of the time outweighing the number of souls you gain from simply using them, with the exception of Smough's, for which he'll offer you a single measly soul. He also seems rather disgusted with Seath and anything related to him, only offering a single soul for crystal weapons and the Channeler armor set.
- Graceful Loser: He can be seen bowing before the Undead Hero in the Dark Lord ending, even if the Player Character disappointed him earlier by allying with Kaathe. But, like with all things with the Primordial Serpents, it's up for debate.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's actively deceiving the Player Character to a possible Fate Worse Than Death in order to prolong the Age of Fire.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Kaathe implies that Frampt is the only primordial serpent to side with Gwyn and help him in prolonging the Age of Fire, although the alternate ending makes it ambiguous since he invariably shows up along with Kaathe and several other serpents to serve the Player Character, who becomes the Dark Lord.
- Sleepy Head: You'll often find him sleeping after bringing the Lordvessel back to him. Even earlier on, you'll hear a loud snore in Firelink Shrine after ringing one Bell of Awakening.
- Squee!: He gets so excited when you bring the Lordvessel to him, that he unleashes some... very nasty-sounding growls from the depths of his throat.
- Vocal Dissonance: He speaks in a kind grandfatherly tone, which you wouldn't expect to hear from such a hideous-looking creature.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Says this is the case for the lords he sends you to kill, apart from the ones that have "fallen to wickedness."
- You Need a Breath Mint: He has terrible breath, at least according to the Crestfallen Warrior. Considering that he eats nearly anything you offer him, one such item being 'Dung Pies' which he pays you back a decent 200 souls for, this is fairly understandable.
- Voiced by: Peter Marinker
Undead Warrior, conqueror of the Four Kings, is this not your wish? To know the truth of men, and the Undead?A primordial serpent and leader of the Darkwraith Covenant. He resides in the Abyss, and, when confronted by the player character, wishes that the Undead Hero would end the Age of Fire and begin the Age of Dark.
- Affably Evil: Sinister as he may be, Kaathe is still unflinchingly civil and polite to the player.
- Ambiguously Evil: He claims to be working for humanity's best interests and makes some good points about how the Age of Fire is already on its last legs but historically people who followed his advice were driven mad by the powers he encouraged them to wield.
- Big Good: Possibly, for a given value anyway. Should you side with him, he acts as your guide to becoming the Dark Lord and ushering in an age of man. It's unknown how honest he's being, though. However...
- The Bus Came Back: After the Primordial Serpents as a whole weren't mentioned at all in Dark Souls II, Kaathe gets name-dropped by Yuria in Dark Souls III if you kill her, implying that he (and perhaps the rest of his kin) are still alive and kicking. However, the Japanese reading of Yuria's line suggests that Kaathe is dead, which implies that Londor is his legacy rather than something he built himself, and is also surprising given that many players assumed the Primordial Serpents to be immortal.
- The Corrupter: He's got a history of this:
- Because he is the leader of the Darkwraith covenant, and by extension the one who taught them and the Four Kings the Art of Lifedrain, he is implied to be the root of New Londo's downfall.
- In the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, we find out that Oolacile was destroyed because its inhabitants were conned into trying to harness the power of the Dark (however, the Humanity of the primeval human they unleashed ran wild) by 'a toothy serpent'. Sound familiar?
- Considering his opinion of the rogue Darkwraiths, he may really have meant well in both of these cases, but the people he groomed to usher in the Age of Dark failed to properly harness the power he taught them and went insane.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Maybe... his claims that Frampt is a traitor gain a lot of credibility once you notice the holes in the latter's own claim of you being Gwyn's successor.
- Determinator: Kaathe keeps trying to end the Age of Fire, no matter how many poor saps get corrupted in the meantime. If he'd been less bull-headed in trying full-on people-experiments in closely-related places, he might have been able to step back and ask himself a little more about what connected all the failures. Instead of victim-blaming people, he might have found clues to look a little more at the flipping seal in the actual Ringed flipping City and wasted a whole lot less of everybody's time on religious frippery and lies.
- Evil Counterpart: To Frampt, being a proponent of ushering the Age of Dark, while the former conspires with Gwyn to keep the First Flame lit. However, the "Evil" title is debatable due to the Gray and Gray Morality that plagues the latter part of the game's plot.
- Greater-Scope Villain: This could well be the case, for Chester reveals that Oolacile was tricked into awakening Manus by "that toothy serpent", and there's only one serpent in this game who is in any way associated with the Abyss. Even then, he's still the leader of the Darkwraiths, a covenant dedicated to preserving its members' humanity through the art of Lifedrain, which corrupted the Four Kings and the knights under their command, though that likely wasn't Kaathe's intent.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Has the same appearance as Frampt, as well as the other primordial serpents who show up to greet the new Dark Lord in the alternate ending.
- Manipulative Bastard: Just like his fellow-serpent, Frampt. His grand stories of bringing about a new 'Age of Man' through the power of the Dark tend to result in anyone who listens to them ending up dead, insane, or dead and insane. Just ask the inhabitants of New Londo and Oolacile.
- Mr. Exposition: If you think he's honest, then he's pretty much the only one who actually explains what's really going on. However, his explanations of the way the world really works tend to contain some troubling omissions and sound a little too good to be true. The Artorias of the Abyss DLC confirms that at best he's omitting the repeated disasters his methods have caused, and at worst they are his true aim.
- Remember the New Guy: Can come across as this should you give the Lordvessel to Frampt before attempting the Four Kings boss fight (which means you'll never even meet him at all) and then choosing the Dark Lord ending after defeating the Final Boss, where he invariably appears alongside Frampt and several other primordial serpents to serve you.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: With the events of Artorias of the Abyss in mind, this is basically the most favorable interpretation of Kaathe: namely that there really is a Golden Age achievable by mastery of the Dark Soul, but he'll quickly abandon anyone who becomes corrupted in the process.
- Villains Never Lie: Subverted. He certainly appears a lot more forthright to the Chosen Undead than Frampt is. As the player learns more, however, it becomes clear that was only because he was exposing Frampt's deceptions and flowery language for what it really was. Kaathe himself makes similar grandiose promises of lordship and power while glossing over the unsavory aspects of his plan, like that people who try to wield the powers of the Dark tend to be twisted into horrifying monsters.
- And then come the events of The Ringed City a more complicated picture appears.It turns out that Gwyn betrayed man from the word go. After they did the heavy lifting unseating the dragons by harnessing their mastery of the abyss while wielding living abyss forged weapons, he feared their power and placed a seal of fire on them to show their loyalty, but in reality to stop them from harnessing the Abyss. The seal is what became the darksign when the first flame started to die out, and the entire reason that the Abyss warps humans and the cause of the undead curse. Gwyn also "rewarded" the pygmy and his pygmy Lords by banishing them to the edge of creation in a city unaffected by time. The pygmy Lords and their descendants subtly defied the gods and plotted revenge,while Gwyn forced the humans outside the city to be his slaves and devoted to him while erasing their exploits from history. Turns out things were even WORSE than Kaathe said, painting more a picture of ignorance, exaggerations and lies by omission.
- Walking Spoiler: Not only do you only meet him under special circumstances, but he also has tons of explanations about the player's true purpose, and is implied to be the cause of the Abyss' spread, both in New Londo and in the past Oolacile.
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Gwyn this, acknowledging that him linking the fire was indeed a sacrifice, and always refers to him as "Lord Gwyn".
- You Have Failed Me: Says this about the Darkwraith enemies found within the New Londo Ruins, having lost their way from the path to becoming the Dark Lord.
Bearers of the Lord Souls
The wielders of the Souls of Lords, who destroyed all the dragons, bringing an end to the Age of Ancients and starting the Age of Fire.
Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight
Leader of the Lords, King of Anor Londo, and father of the Gods of Light. He led the Age of Fire, ruling over man from Anor Londo in Lordran. His Lord Soul granted him power over Sunlight and Lightning.
- Abusive Parents: Most notably to Gwyndolin, who he decided to raise as a woman just because he was born with powers of the moon, which he considered to be feminine. He also treated the Nameless King, Filianore, and Yorshka like shit, erasing the former's name from history and exiling him from Anor Londo, and sending the latter to the Ringed City as their princess before sinking her into an eternal sleep to isolate the Ringed City from the world and restrain the Dark Soul's influence, and apparently didn't even name the last one!
- Action Dad: A mighty warrior king and father to at least 4 children.
- And I Must Scream: He has been burning in the Kiln for a really long time, meaning his defeat at the hands of the player can be seen as a Mercy Kill. In Dark Souls 3, he is revived inside the Soul of Cinder, a physical form of every soul who kept the First Flame lit.
- Badass Beard: A reasonably large mane of grey hair. Fans often joke about how it has not been reduced to ashes even after all the burning in the Kiln.
- Batman Gambit: Done with Kingseeker Frampt by fabricating the myth of the Chosen Undead, knowing that humans are Determinators and will do anything to solve the problem... thus it's just the matter of feeding them the desirable bits of facts so that the Chosen Undead will arrive at the solution he favors.
- Out-Gambitted: His long-run attempt to prevent the rise of the Age of Dark ends up becoming this should you take the Dark Lord ending. You can almost hear Darkstalker Kaathe laughing somewhere. This is seemingly averted in the long run, however, as linking the fire seems to be the canon ending of Dark Souls 1.
- Big Good: He led the combined forces of his own army, Gravelord Nito, the Witches of Izalith, the Pygmies, and Seath the Scaleless against the Dragons in the war. He also put forward a successful plan to prevent the First Age of Fire from dying, which would usher an Age of Dark and fulfill the Furtive Pygmy's own plan. Although...
- Black Eyes of Crazy: By the time the player meets Gwyn in person at the end of the game, he has gone Hollow and his eyes are gone, replaced with black voids. He is also now crazy and will attack as the Final Boss.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution/Shock and Awe: What he used against the ancient stone dragons to pierce their scales. While he doesn't use this in the boss fight against him, you can acquire up to three spells to use this yourself, the third version requiring Gwyn's Soul to obtain it.
- Brought Down to Badass: Somewhat. The Gwyn you meet in the game has only a small fraction of his godly power remaining, given he divided his soul and power among his subjects before he set off for the Kiln, becoming an Empty Shell in the process and losing what little sanity he had left. Even then, once the Player Character reaches him, he still gives one final fight with his unparalleled swordmanship and swift agility.
- Cool Crown: Fittingly enough for a god of his status. You can purchase this, along with Gwyn's entire outfit, from Domhall of Zena once you meet the merchant in New Game+.
- The Determinator: Gywn's single greatest strength, and also his greatest flaw, is he will not let the flame die. Nothing can stop him from achieving his goals. Immortal Dragons ruling over the world? Form a massive, combined force with all the other lords, and destroy these supposedly immortal things. Fire fading? Throw himself to the flames, and burn in eternal agony. The person who's killed all the other lords comes to the Kiln? Blindly charge at them with a flaming sword, and throw yourself into a deathmatch you're unlikely to win. After thousands if not tens of thousands of years, the flame is threatened by an Unkindled? Manifest yourself and charge in to defend it one final time, stronger than ever. No matter what happens, Gywn will never back down.
- Defiant to the End: Sacrificed everything he had to link the flame and prolong the Age of Fire a while longer, an act which the opening narration plainly states could only be delaying the inevitable.
- Empty Shell: The fact that he had been burning in the Kiln for almost a thousand years has turned him into a Hollow.
- Expy: He's quite similar to Odin when you look at the lore. Both are mighty kings of their respective pantheons of gods whose fear of the inevitable end of the world causes them to take extreme actions to stave it off however they can, which ultimately turn out to be futile as they are consumed by their fates anyway. Gwyn even looks fairly similar to most depictions of Odin, being a Grandpa God with a giant Badass Beard.
- Fallen Hero: You meet and fight him in a state where it's hard to even recognize him as the one who overthrew the dragons in the distant past.
- Fantastic Racism: Played with. While Gywn was certainly afraid of the darkness within humanity and the Pygmies, he did seem to have some respect for humanity, as he trusted their prominent leaders, the Four Kings, with parts of his own soul.
- Final Boss: Defeating him leads you to start a new gameplay cycle.
- Flaming Sword: Wields one during his boss fight. Can be acquired through using Gwyn's Soul in a Weapon Ascension, but the crafted version isn't on fire.
- For Want of a Nail: Take a moment, grab a warm jug of Estus, and picture a world where Gwyn wasn't rabidly paranoid about everything relating to the Dark; The Darksign wouldn't exist, the Linking of the Fire to Souls and Humanity never would've happened, the Cycle of Light and Dark would never have begun, Humanity and the Dark Soul wouldn't have become chaotic forces that ruin those that bear them, The Witch of Izalith likely wouldn't have given birth to Demonkind by trying to use her soul to create a new Flame, the Pygmy Lords and mankind in general would've faithfully served the Gods of Anor Londo, and when the Age of Fire finally came to a close, mankind would've peacefully taken up the mantle of Lords of the world in their natural Age of Dark, possibly even continuing the work Gwyn and his ilk laid out for them. But he was, and the world suffered for his hubris and his fear.
- God-Emperor: Ruled over all the nations of man from his seat in Anor Londo.
- God Is Flawed: While Gywn did many heroic things, and was by all accounts a good Lord, he was a rather bad father, and was quite paranoid about all things related to the dark.
- God Is Dead: After Gwyn's departure for the Kiln of the First Flame, Anor Londo began to see a shift in leadership, with nearly every deity leaving Lordran save for Gwyndolin. He is not met until the very end of the final dungeon, where it turns out he has become Hollow as a result of burning in the Kiln all this time.
- Grandpa God: Appears as a fairly classic example of this.
- Greater-Scope Villain: To Dark-aligned Undead, he is this from one perspective: it was his plans that ensured that the First Flame would never truly fade. Sure enough, thousands of years later, the Age of Dark has still not emerged, leaving adherents to Dark forced to fight his legacy.
- However, The Ringed City DLC brings this to new levels, with the horrific implication that he is the one responsible for the Darksign appearing at all! It is all but stated the Darksign is actually a curse implemented by Gwyn on the ancient Pygmies to seal the power of the Dark Soul, keeping the 'true' Dark Soul at bay. Those ancient humans who fought alongside the gods wielded the power of the Abyss (as they could naturally use it without corruption) against the Everlasting Dragons. In return, Gwyn created the Darksign curse to seal the power of Humanity, "rewarded" those wielders of the true Dark Soul by giving them a city to remain isolated in for eternity, made the rest subservient to the gods, killed them, and eradicated humanity's true history from the records. The end result? Virtually every bad thing that happens in the series, as discussed below, is related to Gwyn, even long after his final defeat at the hands of the Chosen Undead. The reason humanity can no longer control the Abyss without corruption is due to the Darksign curse, not an inherent corruption. The Undead Curse is the result of Gwyn's manipulation. Even dozens of thousands of years after his defeat, every living and Undead are feeling the consequences of his actions.
- The Heavy: Almost everything that happened in all three of the games has some ties back to Gwyn or something he did. The Undead Curse and Hollowing? The Ringed City hints it was his doing by placing the Darksign on the Pygmies and their descendants. The Cycle of Light and Dark? Gwyn was determined to keep the First Flame lit and hold back the Dark despite the heavy implications that it is all part of a natural cycle. Even things such as the birth of Demons, the fall of many kingdoms after Lordran, and even the end of the world itself all have some ties to Gwyn in some way.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After the Witch of Izalith failed in her attempt to re-create the First Flame, he gifted shards of his Lord Soul to the four kings of New Londo and Seath the Scaleless, and immediately set out for the Kiln of the First Flame. He knew he wouldn't be returning from it, although it's unknown if he was aware of exactly what would happen when he would relink the fire. Even Kaathe admits that what Gwyn did was a sacrifice, to burn in the Kiln for eternity, slowly going insane from the pain... Unfortunately, everything just gets even worse with him gone: those he entrusted his Lord Soul to go mad and his children are all too selfish to even bother trying to keep the country together.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: See Jerkass Gods and Kick the Dog below for a few specific examples relating to his treatment of mankind and those who bear the Dark Soul, but Gwyn is still fondly remembered as the first Lord of Sunlight and his example of self-sacrifice to Link the Fire is still held up as a noble act, despite his doing so starting the endless cycle of light and dark that would bring about the utter ruination of countless kingdoms and, ultimately, the world. Let's just say that the dude had a fondness for striking things he feared or was displeased with from the annals of history. His actions are often disputed In-Universe, and out of it.
- Jerkass Gods: Considering how much of an expy of Zeus and maybe Odin he is, Gwyn being a massive jerk was a given. His eldest son was disowned after supposedly siding with the dragons; he raised Gwyndolin as a daughter because he was born a moonlight sorcerer, to the point that Gwyndolin was fitted with a ring specifically enchanted to force him to use feminine movements and mannerisms; he sent his youngest daughter, Filianore, as a "gift" to the pygmies alongside gifting them the Ringed City, and is implied to have forced her into an eternal sleep in order to try and seal the Ringed City, therefore the Abyss, away from the rest of the world. He entirely ignored the existence of Yorshka, leaving her to be named and raised by Gwyndolin. And that's just his family!
- Kick the Dog: Gywn zigzags this with Pet the Dog with his treatment of the Pygmies, as The Ringed City reveals. Yes, their accomplishments were intentionally removed because of his fear their control of Dark. Yes he put a branding of fire, aka. the fucking Darksign to seal the Abyss within them, unwittingly spawning the Undead Curse. But he did give them a massive beautiful city to call their own as a home, crowned several prominent members Lords in their own right, and gifted them his beloved youngest daughter, whom the Pygmies and Ringed Knights grew to adore and protect. Ultimately, the zigzag lands on "Kick" instead of "Pet" because while Gywn rewarded the Pygmies, he also levied severe restrictions upon them and had many, many ulterior motives behind said gifts out of fear for the Dark Soul within them. This isn't even getting into how the gods taught the Pygmies' descendants to fear the dark, to the point that they lost what control they had over the much smaller dark within them.
- On a non-Pygmy related note, Gwyn's treatment of his son, Gwyndolin. The boy was born a moonlight sorcerer, and instead of simply accepting this, Gwyn's perception of moonlight sorcery as being a womanly art led him to force his child to act, dress, and look like a woman, to the point of forcing him to wear a ring that altered the way he moved. The fact that Gwyndolin is so fiercely loyal to his father after this horrific treatment says a lot, one way or another.
- Leitmotif: "Gwyn, Lord of Cinder", a melancholic piano piece that initially doesn't sound fitting for a Final Boss, but makes sense once you learn about what motivates him still despite his age-long suffering.
- Light Is Good: Gwyn originally defeated the dragons, brought order to the world, and sacrificed himself to preserve the Age of Fire. After burning for so long in the Kiln, however, he went Hollow, and the "good" sort of fell off. The Ringed City DLC in Dark Souls III implies that the "good" part was in question even before he hollowed.
- Lightning Bruiser: Gwyn is unbelievably fast, unrelenting, powerful, and deadly with his greatsword, traits that are put on display in the player's final fight against him.
- The Last Dance: His decision to attack you at the end could be interpreted as this. He already sacrified everything he had to relink the flame and has nothing left by the time you meet him. So, keeping in character, he may have realized what the Chosen Undead came to do, and decided to go out with one last defiant act, assuming he wasn't completely mad like other Hollows you meet.
- Master Swordsman: The only one who can come even close to rivaling him is Artorias. He shows you just how dangerous he can be with it when you fight him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: There are hints of this in Dark Souls II, but The Ringed City implies the seal of fire he put on the Pygmies and their human descendants to hold back the Dark within them is the true cause of the Undead "Curse" plaguing the world whenever the First Flame begins to fade. It it also suggested that under the rule of the gods, humans grew to lose any control over the Abyss and the Dark they could have had, leading to them becoming such a danger in the present.
- Not Quite Dead: A lot of dialogue referencing Gwyn makes it seem like he died when he Linked the Fire, which makes the reveal that he instead went Hollow down in the Kiln all the more shocking. Not only that, but even slaying him in this game isn't enough to fully keep him down; by the time of Dark Souls III, Gwyn has become part of the Incarnation of Kings/Soul of Cinder, and his move set being used in the second phase of the Final Boss fight against it would imply that Gwyn forms a rather large part of this being.
- Physical God: Arguably the most powerful of the bearers of the Lord Souls.
- The Power of the Sun: Although it has less to do with fire and more with lightning.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Whatever else you can say about him, the guy was a true believer, being entirely willing to condemn himself to thousands of years of unending agony just to preserve the kingdom he had built.
- Top God: Of Lordran.
- Tragic Hero: Probably one of the greatest in the series. Lost everything, and everyone he held dear, and ended up hollowing, and becoming an empty shell, after sacrificing himself for his people, and to stave off the dark, if only for a little.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: All Gwyn wanted to do was prolong his Age of Fire, and in doing so by Linking the Fire, it's heavily implied that he committed the First Sin mentioned in Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin by Linking the Fire specifically to Souls and Humanity, beginning the cycle of Light and Dark that would result not only in the death of his kingdom, but of countless others and all the untold suffering caused by the Curse of Undeath that no one could undo because the cycle and souls are intrinsically linked by what he did. That's kind of a kick in the teeth for a guy who was just afraid of the dark and the power of humans, although the Usurp the Fire ending to Dark Souls III would imply that the cycle can be undone. The lore also says that this cycle has happened before, so Gwyn was ultimately just holding off a part of a larger cycle.
- Villainous Legacy: Played straight, and Inverted, as Gywn has both a villainous legacy and a heroic legacy. Villainous in the whole cycle, noble-intentions or not, is his fault, as is all the destruction it caused; heroic in the Lords of Cinder, a line of Lords and heroes who selflessly submit themselves to the flame.
- Walking Spoiler: Trying to learn too much about him unravels the true plot for the latter part of the game once you meet either Primordial Serpent, given he came up with a plan to perpetuate the dying First Flame, ensuring others would take up his role once he himself had lost everything.
- Weaksauce Weakness: A rather infamous example in the Dark Souls community. With his high speed and unrelenting attacks, Gwyn would actually be one of the toughest bosses in the game, on par with False King Allant... except almost all of his attacks can be parried, allowing you to kill him with just a few parries. Granted, even that requires a decent amount of skill to pull off. It's also possible to get his A.I. stuck on the pillars in the room, giving you time to heal that you're not supposed to have.
The first of the dead, a literal mountain of corpses, and Leader of the Gravelord Servant Covenant. His Lord Soul granted him power over Death, and he functions as the Grim Reaper. After the great war against the dragons, he was content with laying dormant in his domain while death and misery spread over Lordran. Nito himself resides in a massive coffin deep within the Tomb of the Giants.
- And I Must Scream: Quite literally. Screaming can be heard with no clear source through many of Nito's movements and attacks, some more numerous than others, implying that some of the corpses that make him up may at least be partially self-aware. If they are, there's no doubt that they're in a great deal of pain. Or just very upset you woke them up.
- Atop a Mountain of Corpses: He is a mountain of corpses. Specifically, he's a giant skeleton wearing a mountain of skeletons as armor. Hell, the greatsword he uses and the replica swords he makes for his servants are also made of corpses!
- Badass Cape: A non-corporeal one.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Unlike Gwyn and the Witch of Izalith, he does not care if the Age of Fire comes to an end, instead contenting himself with spreading death and misery throughout Lordran as part of his Lord Soul's nature.
- Body of Bodies: A giant skeleton that is made up of other skeletons.
- Dem Bones: Is a giant skeleton wearing armour made from other skeletons.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: His powers have waned through the ages because of Pinwheel's Power Parasite. This may explain why the Chosen Undead is able to fight and defeat him in the game proper.
- Flunky Boss: He's flanked by several skeletons, all of which resurrect quickly unless you kill them with Divine-type weapons. If you take a few steps further into the boss area, a few giant skeletons will also assist Nito.
- The Grim Reaper: Serves as one for the game's setting due to his Lord Soul giving him power over death.
- Leitmotif: "Gravelord Nito", a haunting piece which features an equally foreboding chorus and and eerie wail that imitates the wind.
- Minion Master: The most dangerous thing about the fight against Nito are the swarms of reanimating skeletons he has at his beck and call.
- One-Man Army: To the war against the dragons, Gwyn brought his army of knights and possibly even a few members of his own family. The Witch of Izalith brought all seven of her daughters, powerful fire witches like herself. The Furtive Pygmy also partook in the war with his brethren. Nito brought... himself, and his awesome powers of death and decay.
- Out of Focus: In the long term, anyway. While in his intitial appearance in Dark Souls 1, he was just as powerful and noteworthy as the other bearers, he receives less and less attention in comparison to the others as the series progresses. It's to the point where come Dark Souls 3, Nito doesn't even receive a reference in any flavor text.*
- Plague Master: His covenant is dedicated to infecting unwitting Undeads' worlds with powerful monsters that only disappear when the Gravelord servant is defeated.
- This is also how he contributed to the war with the dragons, by "unleashing a miasma of death and disease".
- Sinister Scimitar: Which is made of corpses and spreads plague! By joining his covenant, you will receive one and, if done early in the game, it becomes a long-lasting Disk One Nuke.
- Magic Knight: Uses a wide array of Gravelord-related magic spells during his boss fight, on top of his trusty sword and grab attacks.
- Mighty Glacier: Slow, limping, and telegraphs his attacks a lot, but he's got the standard late-game boss health pool, and his attacks are devastating to low-stamina players.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: It doesn't get more intimidating than having the moniker Gravelord.
- Fluffy the Terrible: ...Although this is blunted somewhat by the fact that his name is pronounced just like "neat-o".
- The Omniscient: Of a sort; the flavour texts repeatedly state that he's able to oversee from his tomb all matters of death, as well as members of his covenant.
The Witch of Izalith
The mother of the Daughters of Chaos and one of the greatest wielders of the Old Fire Arts. Her Lord Soul granted her power over Flame and Chaos.
- Fate Worse Than Death: It's implied that there are still traces of her consciousness within the Bed of Chaos, since Quelana asks you to Mercy Kill her.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: When the First Flame started to wane and give rise to the Age of Dark, she attempted to use her power to recreate the First Flame with a soul, possibly on Gwyn's order. She succeeded at first, but lost control, which resulted in the Flame of Chaos completely taking her over — or whatever it did to her and her city. The resulting abomination became known as the Bed of Chaos: a font of life that became the source of all demons in Lordran. This event also spawned pyromancy, replacing the old fire arts. What makes this all a little worse? In DSIII, it's very strongly hinted that the only reason why her attempt went so very badly wrong to begin with was because she was trying to kick-start a cycle within a still-incomplete (and unstable) cycle. Said cycle only being a thing in the first place because Gwyn had already unbalanced everything by trying to seal away the Dark Soul by placing the Dark Sign on humanity — a thing which had already gone horribly wrong for all concerned, not that they realised it.
- Playing with Fire: She and her daughters weaved storms of fire in the war against the dragons, and she even created a unique form of pyromancy that has since been lost to history. The Bed of Chaos itself casts some very powerful fire spells as well.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female bearer of a Lord Soul; it might be Two Girls to a Team, since the Pygmy's gender is ambiguous.
- Statuesque Stunner: What is seen of her in the prologue cutscene; she's much taller than her daughters, who are more human-sized.
- The Unseen: Unlike Gwyn and Nito, you don't seem to meet her in the game, even though Frampt and Kaathe explicitly include her in your new quest to gather Lord Souls as to satiate the Lordvessel. This is because she has become the present-day Bed of Chaos.
- Walking Spoiler: Moreso than the other Lords in their present-day state, due to the fact that she had been devoured by the Bed of Chaos, making it hard to talk about either character.
The Furtive Pygmy
An unknown Lord, both figuratively and literally. Unlike the three other Lords, he doesn't seem to have participated in the war against the dragons, and is ultimately relegated to the background, "so easily forgotten". In The Ringed City, you travel to the homeland of the Pygmies and find out that they did contribute to the war effort, but were Unpersoned by the Gods because of their fear of the Abyss.
- Ambiguous Gender: The Furtive Pygmy is not referred to with a gendered pronoun, being referred to by name in the opening and as "your ancestor/progenitor" by Kaathe. The opening silhouette seems vaguely male, but also somewhat inhuman. As the individual who all humans come from, it's possible the Furtive Pygmy predates humans having sexes. The Ringed City makes it known that there were many Pygmies, meaning it wasn't the sole parent and even shared its Dark Soul with the rest.
- Almighty Janitor: Despite being so easily forgotten in comparison to the other Lords, he is responsible for creating humanity and his efforts to give rise to an Age of Dark were effective enough to bring the other Lords to their knees and threaten the Age of Fire. You can argue that some of his efforts finally come to fruition in Dark Souls III, when the First Flame finally begins to flicker out... yet, it's unlikely there was any plan in the beginning. If anything, "trying to fix the crap that Gwyn broke through many actors' trials and errors" isn't a master plan so much as an Indy Ploy. And, it might not be his/hers/whoever's, anyway.
- Character Title: A subtle example, as the Pygmy's Lord Soul is the titular Dark Soul.
- The Chessmaster: According to Kaathe, the Pygmy waited out the war against the Dragons and even the Age of Fire in order to give rise to the Age of Man/Dark. But the Pygmy's mission was lost to man due to Gwyn's efforts in preserving the dying Age of Fire. Despite this setback, his plans are possibly carried out by his descendants, i.e., the human race, all of which received pieces of his Lord Soul. Then The Ringed City shows that Kaathe is lying through his big, flat teeth: the Pygmies truly respected the Gods, but were essentially cast by the wayside out of the paranoia they held against the Dark.
- Four Is Death: He is the fourth and final Lord Soul bearer mentioned in the prologue, and despite being forgotten compared to the three others, is said to have made a long and elaborate plan in which he scattered his soul and gave a fragment to all his descendants, who would become the humans of the Dark Souls universe. Throughout the main game and the Downloadable Content, you get to witness the fruits of said plan, in which the influx of humanities, being closely related to the darkness of the Abyss, starts corrupting several locales and spawns unrecognizable abominations, the greatest of which is Manus, Father of the Abyss. However... things may not be that clear. Because that picture depends on how trustworthy you take Kaathe to be.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was said to be most likely too physically weak to truly help the other Lords fight the war against the dragons, yet was also said to have proved to be the most clever of the Lords; by splitting his Lord Soul, the Dark Soul itself, and granting the shards to his descendants, whom would eventually became the human race... they are set to rule in an Age of Dark after the Age of Fire finally ends. It's also possible that he's actually Manus, Father of the Abyss; if so, then he began as a pathetic nobody and ended as the most nightmarish being Lordran has ever seen, playing this trope twice over. However, buyer beware. Propaganda from a lot of sides means all of this is almost certainly lies.
- The Ghost: Is mentioned once by name in the opening narration, and what scarce few information is left is provided from an NPC that will only appear under very specific circumstances. He never appears in-game proper unless he was warped into Manus, Father of the Abyss.
- Meaningful Name: The reason he is called the Furtive Pygmy is possibly because of his frail stature compared to the other bearers of the Lord Souls. It also makes sense considering he is the progenitor of the human race, and the average human is small when compared to lesser deities such as Ornstein and Artorias.
- Non-Action Guy: Unlike the other lords, he was said not to have taken part in the war against the dragons. Given his only appearance in the prologue makes him look rather frail, he probably just wasn't fit to fight the dragons. Then The Ringed City reveals that the pygmies did help in the war against the dragons. Lies, damned lies and Serpents.
- The Plan: The Furtive Pygmy waited out a whole war and the First Age of Fire to give rise to an age where humans ruled. While Gwyn took measures to prevent this, he was only delaying the inevitable, although whether this happens in the present is still up to the player. The Ringed City throws a massive hole into the story: the Pygmies never had any plan to try and overthrow the Gods, they respected them. Though the Pygmies harnessed Dark and Fire in equal measure rather than obsessing over one.
- The Scapegoat: Strong, strong whiffs of this... Gwyn and company certainly spent a lot of time paining the Pygmy (and humanity as a whole) as Evil-Bad-Wrong. And, even more time carefully blotting them out of historical events.
- Title Drop: According to Kaathe, the Pygmy's Lord Soul was the Dark Soul, going as far as to say it was unique, even compared to the other three Lord Souls.
- The Unseen: Only appears in the prologue cutscene as a silhouette, but not in the game proper. We think.
- Walking Spoiler: Despite not appearing in the game proper, his existence is perhaps the most crucial plot point in the entire story, as it is impossible to talk about it without giving away the fact that it's the other face of the coin in the debate over whether or not the Age of Fire should continue, with the opposite being Gwyn's struggle to prolong it, which is another major spoiler. Then, there's the possibility of him having turned into Manus, Father of the Abyss, which is an even bigger bag of spoilers. Worse: he may not have been plotting anything, at all: Gwyn was paranoid over what looks like nothing, as you find by the time you get to Ringed City. If anything, other people have been trying to fix what Gwyn borked by trying to deny the Pygmy's whole existence and inheritance. So, less Mastermind Of All Our Dooms; rather more like Gwyn's victim and scapegoat.
Seath the Scaleless
A primordial dragon who betrayed his brethren because he was born without scales. Lord Gwyn presented Seath a Dukedom and the archives of Anor Londo. He holds the title "Grandfather of Sorcery". Gwyn gave Seath a fragment of his Lord Soul before attempting to stave off the end of the Age of Fire. Seath drove himself insane and blind while researching the Scales of Immortality he was born without.
- Atop a Mountain of Corpses: In the intro. A mountain made up of his own kind, no less.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In his desperate search to become immortal, he vehemently researched the Everlasting Dragons' scales after helping the Lords win the war. He obtains his wish due to the powers of the Primordial Crystal, but by then he's become too insane to really embrace his newfound immortality.
- Birds of a Feather: Scared and envious of that which he cannot truly understand, he strikes out at everything he fears and goes to great lengths to deny reality? Gosh — no wonder he and Gwyn got along so well. Says something that those who loved one couldn't stand the other, when they were so much alike.
- Breath Weapon: Uses "crystal breath" which takes the form of a powerful beam that grows crystals on the ground where it hits and can curse you. Later, you can "acquire" a reverse-engineered spell based on it from Big Hat Logan, though it lacks the ability to curse.
- Combat Tentacles: Has three tails that function as these. You can cut the tip of the middle tail in order to obtain the powerful Moonlight Greatsword, which is ideal for most magic-oriented builds.
- Complete Immortality: By way of his primordial crystal, which lets him shrug off all kinds of damage until it is destroyed.
- Crazy-Prepared: He actually puts a cell around the nearest bonfire so that when you resurrected after his Hopeless Boss Fight, you'd be captured!
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Manscorpion Tark, implied to be one of his creations, pities him because he drove himself insane trying to find out why he was born different and mortal, never realizing what it was he truly lacked.
- Establishing Character Moment: The first time we see Seath in the opening movie, he's perched on top of a pile of dragon corpses, roaring triumphantly.
- Evil Albino: Very much so. He commands the Channelers, most of which are assigned to kidnap young women, before turning them into horrid tentacled creatures known as the Pisaca.
- Evil Chancellor: Or evil duke, at any rate. It's implied that Seath used to be less insane during Gwyn's time, but whether or not he was any less malevolent is up for debate.
- Eyeless Face: As if he wasn't weird enough already...
- Freudian Excuse: He was born without scales, and thus without the standard dragon immortality — in other words, he basically had a terminal disease from his race's perspective. Much of his betrayal was based around fixing that.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Seath was by far the most controversial figure under Gwyn's lordship. While the the Lord of Sunlight rewarded him generously with his own dukedom, archive, and even a fragment of his soul, the Scaleless was hated by many other close confidantes of Gwyn, including Havel and Frampt.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Betrayed his kin just for being born different.
- Handicapped Badass: He's completely blind. You can exploit this with the Slumbering Dragoncrest ring or the Hush sorcery.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: You can make him accidentally destroy his own Soul Jar by goading his attacks towards it. Making him destroy it himself shocks him enough that he's left wide-open for attack for a couple of seconds.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: In the first encounter with him, his Soul Jar is nowhere to be seen, meaning he regenerates from any damage dealt to him, and you are helpless as he wails on you with constant magic attacks. Dying to him is required to progress, so wearing a (Rare) Ring of Sacrifice to prevent losing souls and Humanity and possibly being cursed is very recommended.
- Immortality Inducer: The Primordial Crystal.
- Immortality Seeker: He founded Sorcery, conducted endless horrific experiments, and drove himself blind and insane in his search for immortality.
- Leitmotif: "Seath the Scaleless", a schizophrenic track which reflects his insane state.
- Light Is Not Good: His skin is white and, as the Grandfather of Sorcery, his power lies in the bending and manipulation of light. He's also one of the cruelest beings in the entire game.
- Mad Scientist: While he is implied to have been quite sane initially, he went mad well before the game takes place.
- Our Dragons Are Different: A Western-style dragon like the brethren he betrayed. But he has white flesh instead of scales, insectoid wings, no hind legs, and three tails instead of one, the lesser two on either side of him essentially functioning as legs. The lower half of his body is now covered in crystals due to the years spent in proximity to the primordial crystal.
- Our Liches Are Different: By the time you meet him, he has essentially become a Dracolich due to the primordial crystal, which acts as his Soul Jar. This leads to...
- Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: Type IV, but only so long as the primordial crystal found at the end of the Crystal Caves is intact, which you must destroy to be able to damage and kill Seath during your rematch.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Averted. Gwyn did pretty well by him, granting him a dukedom and an archive to further his research, much to Havel's dismay, who is extremely wary of Seath.
- Sanity Slippage: According to the Darkmoon Knightess, Big Hat Logan, and Sweet Shalquoir, Seath drove himself insane in his search for the Scales of Immortality he was born without. He ironically became immortal due to the primordial crystal he took when he defected from his brethren, and the sequel implies he's been able to reincarnate himself into different beings ever since, with the latest form being the Duke's Dear Freja.
- Token Evil Teammate: Among the bearers of the Lord Souls, his moral ambiguity is non-existent; he's a psychotic jackass who betrayed his entire species out of envy, and as such is despised by at least two members of Gwyn's inner circle (Frampt and Havel) and presumably more still.
- Transplant: Originated in the King's Field series.
- Villainous Legacy: While Seath himself remains dead, his archives end up critical in King Ocerios' downfall to madness and the fall of the kingdom of Lothric in Dark Souls III.
The Four Kings
Rulers of former New Londo whom Gwyn granted their positions and a piece of his Lord's Soul for their counsel. However, they fell prey to the beasts of the Abyss that appeared under New Londo, and the knights of the city were corrupted into Darkwraiths. This event led to the whole of New Londo being flooded and magically sealed. They now reside within the Abyss itself: a pitch black void in which nothing can survive, save those who have made a covenant with the beasts that dwell within it.
- Area of Effect: Staying too close to them will make them trigger a magical explosion that spreads over a large distance, forcing you to stay back as far as you can.
- Ax-Crazy: Their use of lifedrain made them corrupted and violent, to the point where New Londo had to be flooded with everyone still inside to contain them.
- Damage-Sponge Boss: The total health bar for this boss is the highest in the game, topping at around 9,500 in the base game. The New Game+ also gives them a significant health boost, elevating them to a whopping 16,000 HP. In a game where the hardest-hitting non-augmented attack doesn't deal beyond 800 damage or so in a single hit against bosses, this is saying something.
- Dark Is Evil: A sterling example of what the powers of Dark can do to a person. This even extends to the point where their arena is nothing but a featureless black void.
- Death Cry Echo: Every time you whittle down an individual king's health to zero, he disintegrates and lets out a high-pitched scream that resonates within the Abyss.
- The Dividual: Everything in the game treats them as pretty much the same character, from their lore to their boss battle.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: It's implied that prolonged use of Life Drain corrupted their form even further than the mindless Darkwraiths that wander the New Londo Ruins.
- Expy: Of the Nazgul; they're former rulers of men who fell prey to a form of temptation and became deformed, ghastly shadows of their former selves. They also wield magic/cursed swords, and, if given the chance, they will also attack you together.
- Fallen Hero: Were once noble and just rulers, enough for Gwyn to entrust shards of his Lord Soul before he departed for the Kiln of the First Flame. Then Kaathe appeared and tempted them with the Art of Lifedrain. What's a bit worse? Gwyn's own paranoia, which branded all humans not in the Ringed City with the Dark Sign? Pretty much condemned them to lose control of anything Dark-related. They and Kaathe were on to a loser from the start, whatever their goals. So, not so much fallen, as pushed.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: According to the Dark Souls lore, there are only four kings of New Londo and they can all spawn during the fight against them if you drag it out for too long. If all four are killed and there is still life left in the overall boss health bar, more kings can spawn. Possibly intentional from a programming standpoint, but almost impossible inside the lore. The only way it can be Hand Waved in-universe is the convoluted to hell flow of time allowing the slain kings to fade back into existence.
- Ghostly Glide: They float in the middle of the void.
- Leitmotif: "Four Kings", a nerve-wrecking theme which features a deep male chorus, oppressive brass, and panic-inducing violins.
- Magic Knights: They all wield a sword in battle, and are able to cast various homing magic projectiles at you.
- No Name Given: Their names are never mentioned and are likely forgotten by history.
- No-Sell: They're immune to bleeding and poison, and never flinch, even as you kill them.
- Nothing Is Scarier: As soon as you fall down to the Abyss and land on a pitch-black, horizonless void, you are greeted with... nothing. Not long after, the first of the Four Kings emerges from the shadows and engages you in battle, with more kings spawning every subsequent minute.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: They have a very spectral appearance, almost to the point that it's easy to forget that overuse of the Art of Lifedrain made them this way.
- Synchronization: Hurting one of them hurts all of them. See below for details.
- Walking Spoilers: You do not learn about them until you speak to Ingward, who briefs you on the situation in New Londo. The fact that they have been corrupted by the Art of Lifedrain introduced by Kaathe also turns the latter into one.
- Wolf Pack Boss: Each King's health equates to about one-fourth of the boss health meter, but this is played with in a few ways: the total boss health is actually less than four individual kings' health added up, the kings respawn when slain, and inflicting enough damage to empty the boss health, however distributed between the individual kings, will win the fight, even if some of them are still alive. This can lead to such shenanigans as beating the Four Kings by fighting a total of five kings, killing two and only wounding the other three.
- You Have Failed Me: This is evidently how Kaathe sees them.