Video Game: Bloodborne

Hunt Your Nightmares.note 

"And so the nightly hunt begins..."

Bloodborne is a Gothic Horror Action RPG developed by FromSoftware with support from SCE Japan Studio. It is directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, of Demons Souls and Dark Souls fame.

Hidden amongst the furthest reaches of the treacherous eastern mountains, the city of Yharnam lies in seclusion. Forgotten. Cursed. An affliction has plagued the city for countless ages, an endemic nightmare known only as the Scourge of the Beast. Those afflicted lose all sense of reason, transforming into deranged mutants and beasts. Night after night, "hunters" arise to cleanse the streets of these horrors.

You are an outsider to the city, seeking a cure for a mysterious disease. However, after a blood transfusion at a local clinic, you pass out and awake to a nightmare of blood, plague and death. Your only hope of escape is to serve as a hunter yourself, and descend into the depths of the ancient city to hunt the beasts and madmen that lie within.

In contrast to the Souls games' defensive gameplay elements, Bloodborne encourages the player to use a risky but rewarding offensive playstyle. Countering, for instance, now requires you to shoot your opponents as they wind up for an attack. The game has one equippable shield with limited functionality. And enemy mobs that grow in waves encourage players to go on the offensive, before they're overwhelmed. The game also features a rally system based on attacking enemies: if you take damage, you have a small window of time to attack enemies and earn all the health that you lost in the attack back.

The game was released in March 2015, exclusively on PlayStation 4. (24th in the US, 25th in continental Europe, 26th in Japan, 27th in the UK and Ireland)

On May 20, 2015, SCE Japan Studio president Shuhei Yoshida confirmed that an expansion pack DLC is in the works, with more information to be available in the year.

Has a series of character pages, which Needs Wiki Magic Love.


Bloodborne contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Iosefka's Clinic.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Regular bullets are useless against the beasts, so hunters have to use specially made ones. "Specially made" meaning the absurd combination of blood and quicksilver/mercury.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The level cap is 543, much lower than Demon's Souls (SL 712), Dark Souls (SL 709-713), and Dark Souls II (SL 838). As for what level the game is finished at, the guide recommends you be between levels 70-80 for the final story bosses, with the hardest Chalice Dungeons requiring being level 140+ and be playing in online co-op due to how hard they are supposed to be. The PvP Meta level hovers anywhere from 75 to 120.
  • Academy of Evil: The Byrgenwerth College, which gave rise to the Healing Church of Yharnam, and the School of Mensis, which is a heretical offshoot.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Consumable items like Blood Vials, Quicksilver Bullets, and Molotov Cocktails become more expensive the farther into the game you get. Luckily, the farther you get into the game, the more Blood Echoes you get from defeated enemies.
  • Alien Blood:
    • The corpse mutants in the Yharnam aqueduct are filled with green bile instead of blood.
    • More to the point, Kin enemies bleed a deep grey, and perhaps most alarmingly, the Plain Doll bleeds pure white.
  • All Just a Dream: It's repeatedly implied that the events of the game are occurring in a dream-world created by the Great Ones, and numerous lore bits indicate that what you are experiencing may not be completely real. Some of the item descriptions and two of the endings, however, indicate that the nightmare is very real.
    • You are told at the beginning, "Whatever happens, you may think it all a bad dream" before getting your infusion.
    • When killed, Micolash exclaims that he doesn't want to wake up and forget everything he's learned.
    • The description for the Lead Elixir, which states that the recipe for it is unknown to anyone, but some postulate it only materializes in the most desperate nightmares.
    • The "Yharnam Sunrise" ending has you die in the dream and awake back in Yharnam as the sun rises, just like the other hunters who "no longer dream".
    • This game draws heavily from H.P. Lovecraft's works, who proposed a number of times in his works that dreams and nightmares were absolutely real. They just take place in alternate dimensions.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The nature of the plagues in Yharnam, this can happen to pretty much anyone. It's noted that most of those who are hunting the beasts are infected with the virus themselves. Most of the angry Afflicted Villagers are torch-and-pitchfork mobs who treat you as the monster despite already being pretty monstrous themselves.
    • It is also a special case of Ironic Death, as most Hunters and members of the Healing Church who fight the beasts will usually turn into the most dangerous beasts themselves once they give in to their urges (see Father Gascoigne and the Cleric Beast).
    • The second ending; Honoring Wishes, has the player kill Gehrman, only to be absorbed by the Moon Presence and turned into the next Watcher of the Hunter's Dream.
    • The third ending; Childhood's Beginning, in which the player kills the Moon Presence and replaces it as a new Great One, to guide humanity into its future.
  • Another Dimension:
    • The Nightmare of Mensis and Nightmare Frontier areas exist in separate dream realms.
    • It's implied most of the game takes place within a dream realm created by the Great Ones. How much of it is a dream and how much is reality being sucked into an Eldritch Location is up to interpretation.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Picking up more items after you've reached the inventory limit sends those items to your storage chest in the Hunter's Dream.
    • If you have blood vials and quicksilver bullets in your storage, after dying (or transporting to the Hunter's Dream), you replenish your on-hand supply of your vials and bullets back in your inventory, just as long as you have such items in your storage.
    • If you just lost a huge chunk of health, blood vials will restore more of your life bar.
    • All of your equipment now scales to your stats. Attire/armor has a percentage based defense instead of a flat static rating, while attack items like Throwing Knives and Molotov Cocktails now have stat scaling to make them viable throughout the game.
  • Arc Symbol: Really? However, as the story progresses, the themes of dreams/nightmares, the moon, and pregnancy begin to emerge.
  • Arc Words: "Farewell, Good Hunter. May you find your worth in the waking world."
  • Armor Is Useless: The game departs from the medieval settings of its spiritual predecessors in favor of a more Victorian setting, meaning the development of firearms has rendered heavy armor mostly useless, just like in real life. Furthermore, according to the description of the only shield in the game, shields are useless against beasts, which easily overpower humans in terms of strength. Naturally, this lead to the style of fighting which Gehrman codified, eschewing armor all together in exchange for speed, as well as using versatile weapons in order to quickly dispatch beasts before one is overwhelmed. Attire is generally roughly equivalent in terms of physical defense the earliest proper chest piece gives you 110 defense, while the most expensive set only gives you 120. Instead, clothes are selected based on their resistance bonuses or their aesthetic appeal. Subverted with Cainhurst Set, it is a metalic armor set and has the highest physical resistance among all armors.
  • Ascended Meme: "FashionSouls" gets a vague reference in the Attire section of the official guide and even gets discussed with Miyazaki during the interview with Future Press. As an actual thing, "FashionSouls" got its start in Demon's Souls, where the static defenses for armor essentially became meaningless once you hit a high enough level. It continued in Dark Souls and Dark Souls II, despite the implementation of an admittedly imbalanced armor upgrade system.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: A surprisingly viable option, so long as you choose the exact right moment to attack. Bosses often damage you at close range but thanks to the rally system you'll regain your health as fast as you lose it so long as you keep wailing on the enemy. The old gameplay of "fall back and let your shield take most of the damage" is no longer possible, so retreating to heal is actually less survivable than getting right in an enemy's grill and stunlocking them.
  • Badass Cape: Gehrman gains one for his battle out of nowhere in between camera shots.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • Retired Hunter Djura, an old man from a long defunct sect of hunters who will hunt you if you insist in coming into Old Yharnam. Even without his Gatling gun, he's a serious threat.
    • Gehrman, an old man in a wheelchair who was once a great hunter. If you refuse his "mercy" at the end of the game, he will show himself to still be a master hunter, becoming a Final Boss, and arguably one of the toughest bosses in the game.
    • Eileen the Crow, an old woman who still serves as a deadly hunter.
  • Badass Longcoat: A number of the attires have long dusters or cloaks.
  • Bandaged Face: A notable number of the more human enemies have some type of covering over their eyes, whether it be gauze or some specially made mask. Due to all the weird stuff seen when you have high levels of Insight, they're either blocking their vision to keep from seeing too much or they have seen too much.
  • Beast with a Human Face:
    • Patches the Spider.
    • Some spider enemies in the Nightmare of Mensis (and sometimes in Chalice Dungeons).
    • Darkbeast Paarl has what appears to be a skull for a face, as the page image shows.
  • BFG: You can get a literal hand cannon as a sidearm! Although it's a case of Cool, but Inefficient, due to how many QS Bullets are used per shot. note 
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: One of the NPCs from the Forbidden Woods is nice to you and asks for help to find him a safe place so he can be away from the danger. You can choose to send him to the Oedon Chapel, where the other NPCs you've rescued stay. Turns out, he's a beast himself and will start slowly killing the other NPCs if the player sends him there. Although with each death, he gives you Beast Blood Pellets.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The idea of Yharnam as an actual, functional city stretches the imagination - it looks like Victorian London as designed by M.C. Escher. And that's before you get to the nightmare areas.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: You have read the game title right? Anyway, Bloodborne, true to its theme, is much more bloody than the Souls games. The player character and enemies alike can become covered in blood as they fight.
    • Considering how not all the stains are red and the locations the PC crawls through, there's a chance that not all of that is blood.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Yharnam, the Pthumerian Queen.
  • Body Horror: The Game. There is not one character in this game who does not go through some horrifying transformation, madness inducing revelation, or other form of turning into a beast. Special mention goes to the lower parts of Forbidden Woods, which feature huntsmen whose heads burst into snakes as you approach them.
  • Body of Bodies: The One Reborn is a massive amalgamation of decaying corpses wrought together to form an abomination that's not even remotely human nor animal in appearance. The lower portion is made up of several human limbs (several of them twitch in a random pattern), and there's a larger skeleton acting as the "upper body", akin to a nightmarish centaur. And there's two distinct ends of the body, each acting on their own...
    • The endgame Scourge Beasts of Yahar'gul are living amalgamations made of various body parts, even having a leg for a tail.
  • Bonus Boss: There are plenty of well-hidden bosses throughout the world that players might overlook. However, there's one supreme example that requires hours upon hours of work to access. If a player makes their way down to the bottom of the Pthumeru Ihyll chalice (which requires fighting through at least five other dungeons), they come face to face with Yharnam: Pthumerian Queen. She's the same woman that you see after defeating Rom and before fighting Mergo's wet nurse.
  • Bookends: If you choose the third ending of the game, the second and second-to-last boss fights are both with fallen Hunters that use a giant, oversized cleaving tool and a shotgun. Both bosses have three distinct phases, they're both very vocal during their fights, and they both eulogize themselves after you put them down.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Conveniently, there just happen to be Antidotes lying around the Blood Starved Beast's arena.
  • Boss Banter: Micolash, Host of the Nightmare, starts taunting you after you've killed the decoy, and adds some lines in after you kill him for good.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The endgame NPC hunters, due to being created the same way as the player hunter, have been revealed to have maxed out stats and weapons, with some even having blood gems slotted in their weapons and runes equipped. Add in the fact that enemies have infinite quicksilver bullets and items and well, they can be harder than most of the bosses.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Zigzagged like crazy. Enemies with firearms have an infinite supply of bullets, but need to reload between shots unless they use the same mechanics and weapons as the player character would. On the other hand, you don't need to reload at all, but you have a limited supply of anywhere from 20 to 32 bullets on your person in addition to the ability to create 5 blood bullets whenever you want.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Ultimately, little the player does affects the overall situation. You've only accomplished killing a few lesser Great Ones in a city that's close to finished, anyways. Entities like Oedon aren't even inconvenienced by your actions, and depending on the ending, you either blithely leave the cycle, become its next integral part, or in the ending where you actually do Punch Out the Moon Presence, replace it with yourself, transformed into an infant Great One. While the cycle is broken, there's no telling what you, in your alien mindset, have in mind for "Humanity's Next Childhood".
  • Call Back: Some of the enemies and weapons reference other ones from the previous games.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Chikage and Logarius' Wheel both have transformed modes that make the weapon more powerful at the cost of draining your health. Ironically, the latter is a weapon of the Church Executioners, who claim the moral high ground over the "depraved, blood sucking" Cainhurst Vilebloods, which used the former.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: So you used the tiny music box against Father Gascoigne but listen to the tune. When you get to Mergo's Wet Nurse, it will shock you.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Old Hunter's Bone's description about the "technique of quickening" may seem just like another part of Bloodborne Lore, but when you refuse to leave the Hunter's Dream, Gehrman will use such technique against you.
  • City of Adventure: Most of the game is set within the ancient city of Yharnam, but the player will have the ability to journey to outlying locales.
  • Companion Cube: The Plain Doll is implied to be this if she isn't loved or appreciated. If she is, she gains sentience.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: What the Powder Kegs are known for.
  • Cool Old Guy: Retired Hunter Djura, assuming the player can figure out how to make him non-hostile. If the player agrees to spare the beasts he protects, he will even give them his badge and a gesture.
    • Gehrman falls under this as well. At first, he's a laid back old dude who gives you useful hints and information. He's not above getting a kick out of misleading comments. When talking about the tools of the workshop, he comes up with this little gem. "You're welcome to use whatever you find. *whispers* ...Even the doll, should it please you..."
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: One possible feature of Chalice Dungeons; long corridors with giant boulders rolling through at regular intervals, some of which have zombies blocking the cubbyholes.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Yharnam Stone, which you get for clearing all the Pthumeru Chalice dungeons appears to be this (for now, at least).
  • Cosmic Horror Story: This becomes increasingly prominent as you find references to "Great Ones", and stumble upon increasing horrifying tiers of Eldritch Abomination. Then you learn that there's something going on with the Moon... and that monstrous beings are using Yharnam as a kind of nursery to turn mankind into their "surrogate children", as they can have none of their own.
  • Corrupt Church: The Healing Church. Their solution to the scourge of beast? Initiate a massive hunt against the beasts that is tantamount to a witch hunt since most of the city's citizens are already infected themselves, and see the uninfected as the real beasts to be slaughtered. Late game item descriptions also reveal that not only is the Church well aware of the existence of the Nightmare Realm, the physical reality of the Great Ones, and the other strange happenings, they're the ones who brought the Great Ones into our reality in the first place by continuing the work of seeking the 'eldritch Truth' started by Master Willem at Byrgenwerth College. Its highest-ranking members, the School of Mensis and the Choir, also directly communicate with some of these eldritch abominations - Oedon, Kos/Kosm, and Ebrietas - and seek guidance from them in exchange for worship by their congregation.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: This far into the article, it should be clear by now that this is not actually a Gothic Horror story.
  • Creepy Cathedral: Cathedral Ward.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: The health replenishing blood vials have their own dedicated button. Unfortunately, it's the same button from the Souls games that let the player switch weapon stances (the Triangle button). The new button that changes your weapon stance/form is the L1 button.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the other Souls games alongside Bloodier and Gorier, this game takes the whole Cosmic Horror Story element and ramps it Up to Eleven.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: There's evidence to suggest that this may very well be the case for many of the Great Ones, with the Moon Caryll Rune even describing them as "sympathetic in spirit." Some, like the Brain of Mensis, are shown to be Non-Malicious Monsters, while others, like the Moon Presence and Ebrietas, do seem to want to help humanity in their own way. However, problems arise when humans decide to abuse the knowledge and power of the Great Ones for their own ends.
  • Dead All Along:
    • Once you know the password needed to enter the Forbidden Woods, you'll see that the gatekeeper who asked you for it is not only dead, but in a nearly mummified state. How he was able to speak to you earlier is never explained, but it's possible he gained enough insight to survive the death of his body.
    • Micolash, one of the bosses of the Nightmare of Mensis, is found in Yahar'Gul as a mummified corpse and is oblivious to the death of his physical body.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The game is more focused on dealing more damage than the opponent while risking your own health to defeat him. Basically, act like Guts.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Shadow of Yharnam bosses appear as regular enemies in the Nightmare of Mensis.
    • The Keeper of the Old Lords chalice dungeon boss becomes a regular enemy in harder chalice dungeons.
  • Dem Bones: One boss, Darkbeast Paarl, is a giant electrified werewolf skeleton covered in a few remaining clumps of fur.
    • The Skeleton Puppets are disjointed skeletons that are suspended and moved about with magic in a manner resembling their names.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: One ending has you defeating the Moon Presence, the monstrous perpetrator of the hunting cycle and the True Final Boss.
    • With the kind of enemies that show up in this game after a while, this trope is all over the place. One starts getting the feeling that if the Hunter was allowed to roam the actual Lovecraft-verse, the books would be a lot less bleak.
  • Disability Superpower: While Gehrman lost a leg and can hardly walk, he is able to Flash Step, which is far more effective than dodging/side-stepping.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Foreign Set is oddly similar to some of Nikola Tesla's clothing.
    • The game itself feel's like a Victorian Era Berserk game. With all the blood and monsters along with a BFS that's incredibly popular to players because of its good scaling.
  • Door to Before: EVERYWHERE. The level design uses fewer checkpoints and many more shortcuts back to earlier areas than previous Souls games. It's often possible to have a shortcut leading straight to the boss of an area right next to the save point for the beginning of that area.
  • Dream Within a Dream: If the events of the game are All Just a Dream, then the Hunter's Dream and the Nightmare Frontier/Nightmare of Mensis are a Dream Within a Dream.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Kirkhammer definitely qualifies since it has a head the size of the player character's torso, and it features a detachable hilt with a longsword in it.
  • Duel Boss: Father Gascoigne, who is a Hunter himself and even uses the Hunter Axe and the Blunderbuss, both of which are potentially your starting weapons.
    • Gehrman, The First Hunter is also one, though the player can choose not to fight him.
  • Dual Boss: The Witch Of Hemwick is this, though the second Witch doesn't appear until the first is at around half health. They each spawn nightmarish creatures that do most of the fighting for them. They also cloak themselves and teleport around whenever they aren't summoning mooks.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending/Earn Your Happy Ending: Played with, as usual for a FromSoftware game. One possible ending only requires you to select a single dialogue option, and results in you leaving the Dream, either having ensured at least a temporary end to the Hunt or simply abandoning Yharnam to fend for itself. Fighting an additional Final Boss earns you either eternal servitude or the opportunity to ensure the safety of future hunters, and locating three secret items and fighting the True Final Boss gets you transformation into a Great One, which may be the best or worst possible outcome for the future of mankind. As per the norm, it's all down to personal interpretation.
  • Eldritch Abomination: There are a number of cryptic references to eldritch entities called Great Ones, several of which can be fought as bosses. Consuming three One Third of Umbilical Cords will allow you to fight the Moon Presence, the creature responsible for controlling the nightly hunts.
  • Eldritch Location: The Nightmare Frontier, and other Nightmares traversed throughout the game.
    • The Lecture Building has somehow been made adrift in the Nightmare, presumably as a result of eldritch experimentation.
  • Evil vs. Evil: While they were once united, the Byrgenworth College and the Healing Church went their separate ways long before the start of the game. The upper echelons of the Healing Church itself, the School of Mensis and the Choir, have also split by the time of the game and each pursue their own, different means of ascension. They don't like each other much. When you travel to the Unseen Village post Blood Moon, you'll find the ground littered with the corpses of Church soldiers, suggesting that the Choir tried to stop Mensis' ritual.
  • Extranormal Institute: Byrgenwerth College, where the nightmare began.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: The description of the Eye Caryll Rune, Great One's Wisdom, One Third of Umbilical Cord, and the rantings of Micolash and Iosefka imply that gaining Insight causes eyes to grow on a person's brain. Whether this is literal or metaphorical is never clarified, though that the more Insight you have, the more the Hunter can see through the illusion that the Great Ones have cast on the world.
    • Certain enemies also have many, many eyes, either by default or they start appearing once you gain enough Insight.
    • The massive building in the Nightmare of Mensis has eyes coming out of the floor, the walls, the ceiling. There's even eyeball spiders that are pinned to the floor/wall/whatever.
  • Eye Scream: Many of the Healing Church-associated characters wear bandages over their eyes, with indications that they've possibly enucleated themselves or outright carved their eyes out to attain inner sight. The enucleation angle is supported by the spinning eyeball of a Huntsman in the cinematic trailer,note  while the outright removal of eyes is supported by the inhabitants of Henwick, the Eye Collector enemies, as well as the jars of eyeballs found scattered in certain levels.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Everything that's happened in Yharnam was due to the Great Ones' attempts to create more of their kind using humans. You fight two of these victims; Rom, The Vacuous Spider, and Mergo's Wet Nurse. The Celestial Children and the fetuses that comprise the Red Jelly chalice item are also the product of Great Ones mating with humans, a practise that evidently dates back to the Pthumerians.
    • Both the Childhood's Beginning and Honoring Wishes endings make this happen to you, but just what happens to you changes.
  • Filk Song: "Paleblood Moon", courtesy of Miracle Of Sound
  • Find the Cure: People journey to Yharnam in search of a medical remedy that once made the city famous: a Panacea said to cure any illness. The protagonist is one of those foreigners, seeking a cure for their own disease. Unfortunately it seems Yharnam itself is in dire need of a few panaceas already, as most of the folk have been mutated into beasts by the plague.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: One of the firearms is the Flamesprayer, a compact one-handed flamethrower.
  • Flash Step: Using the "Old Hunter Bone" Hunter's Tool boosts your rolling and quickstep speed significantly, changing the animation to make it look like you're teleporting. The description of said Tool also mentions a technique used by the first hunters called the Art of Quickening, which Gehrman uses during the boss fight against him.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Mysterious witches called Bell-Ringing Women appear throughout the Unseen Village (they also appear if you're ringing a bell for assistance from another player, or sometimes in Chalice Dungeons, but the Unseen Village is their main playground). The bell-ringing summons up and strengthens enemies, and for the final area of the Unseen Village they combine their powers to summon up The One Reborn.
  • Gainax Ending: All three endings have varying degrees of Mind Screw, depending on how much of the lore you've gleaned.
    • Yharnam Sunrise: How was Gehrman able to release you from the nightmare by killing you? Was it all just a dream?
    • Honoring Wishes: What the hell came down from the moon? Why has it turned you into the next watcher of the hunters? What is the hunter's dream, really?
    • Childhood's Beginning: Why did the Moon Presence make a pact with humans to hunt the other Great Ones? Are you the next of the Great Ones? Is this the eventual fate of all of humanity? What will happen to the Eldritch realm now?
  • Game-Breaking Bug: It wouldn't be a From game without them.
    • Before the 1.02 hotfix patch, using either the Small Resonating Bell (co-op) or Sinister Resonating Bell (invasion) while in the Forbidden Woods would make the Lunarium Key not spawn in the Byrgenwerth College, locking you out of the boss fight against Rom.
    • Some of the elevators can glitch out and become unusable, most notably the elevator in the Altar of Despair. The elevator will stay at the bottom of the shaft and the return lever up top will either be non-operational or you can use it but the elevator won't move. Most elevators are shortcuts meaning that if they break it's highly annoying but not impassible, the Altar of Despair's however is the only way to reach its boss so when it breaks you can never fight that boss again on your own. They finally fixed it in the 1.03 patch.
  • Gatling Good: Not if you're on the receiving end of the barrels. As soon as you step foot in Old Yharnam, Hunter Djura will call out to you to stay back or he will be forced to stop you. Should you ignore his warnings (After all, what could that old guy possibly throw at you?) he'll promptly start to mow you down with hot lead from atop the old clock tower and in stark contrast to the rest of the game's firearms his machine gun will kill and/or stunlock you fast, turning the rest of the area into a running-from-cover-to-cover hunt. The entire encounter can be resolved peacefully should you approach the area through another level's shortcut later in the game and walking up to Djura unseen.
  • Gendered Outfit: Mostly averted (both male and female characters can run around in a frilly dress), except for the black and white church sets (coats for males, robes for females) and the knight's set (vest and coat for males, dress-like vest and skirt for females).
  • Genre Shift: A story example. The game starts out as a Gothic Horror story, but about half way through it shifts to a Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Micolash. Justified, since he isn't armed or mutated like most of the other bosses you fight, not to mention he really doesn't want to leave the nightmare, and its knowledge, behind. He only attacks you directly (with Arcane attacks) at the end of the fight, and will spend a good chunk of it making you chase him down hallways.
  • Giant Spider:
    • The Amygdala, a 30-foot tall spider beast with a squid head and 20 eyes was seen hanging off the side of a building in the distance during the Alpha build, and is fought on foot.
    • Rom, the Vacuous Spider, is a bloated insect closer to a queen larva coated in mist and fires icicles at you, though it is accompanied by several human-sized spiders.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: The Abandoned Workshop is the spitting image of the Hunter's Dream, just with fewer gravestones. You can even find a chest with the Doll's clothes in it, and the lifeless Doll herself inside.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Insight represents the player's otherworldly, eldritch knowledge. It's gained by seeing and slaying bosses, collecting the skulls of those who had said knowledge, or from seeing certain locations. Having too much of it causes strange effects and makes certain enemies stronger. Related to this is the Frenzy effect, which builds up as your character witnesses things that are so horrifying and unknowable, that it makes their heads burst from madness. The more Insight you have, the weaker your Frenzy resistance.
  • Guide Dang It: It is a Souls Spiritual Successor after all.
    • Getting all the hunter badges is no easy feat, but each badge unlocks more items for the player to use.
      • The Saw Hunter Badge is found in Central Yharnam.
      • The Sword Hunter Badge is received by killing the Cleric Beast.
      • The Powder Keg Hunter Badge is in Old Yharnam on Retired Hunter Djura.
      • The Crow Hunter Badge is received by finishing Eileen's questline or killing her.
      • The Radiant Sword Hunter Badge is found in the Healing Church Workshop.
      • The Spark Hunter Badge is received by killing Darkbeast Paarl.
      • The Cainhurst Badge is received by joining the Cainhurst Vilebloods Covenent.
      • The Wheel Hunter Badge is received by finishing Alfred's questline or killing him.
      • The Cosmic Eye Watcher Badge is found on the Upper Cathedral Ward.
      • The Old Hunter Badge is received by killing Gehrman.
    • Certain weapons have hidden damage bonuses:
      • Serrated weapons, all of which have a flat 20% damage bonus against beast enemies. The weapons in question being the normal mode of the Saw Cleaver, both modes of the Saw Spear, and the transformed mode of the Threaded Cane.
      • Righteous weapons, which have a varying damage bonus against unrighteous enemies. The normal mode of the Threaded Cane has a 20% bonus, both forms of Logarius' Wheel have a 30% bonus, and both the normal mode of the Kirkhammer and both forms of Ludwig's Holy Blade have a 50% bonus.
    • The Graveguard set is found by jumping the cliff with the Celestial Children underneath on the otherside within the Forbidden Woods.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Zigzagged. The firearms found in the game are on par with Victorian Era firearms technology, ammunition is limited, and they are deliberately weaker than melee weapons, being used to make riposte openings. Miyazaki wanted to make sure the players wouldn't just use guns the entire game. However, while they lack the damage of melee weapons, they have enough stopping power to make even bosses stagger. However again, there are the odd firearms that actually do deal a good chunk of damage and anything used by enemies since they either focus on firearms or don't plan out ripostes and compensate by doing far more damage than yours do.
    • To be specific, shotguns like the Hunter Blunderbuss, Rifle Spear and Ludwig's Rifle have low individual bullet damage, but their wide spread makes up for it. Pistols on the other hand, like the Hunter Pistol, Repeater Pistol, the Reiterpallasch and the Evelyn, trade this spread for damage and a quicker draw. The stranger ones like the Flamesprayer and the Rosmarinus have a DPS kind of damage and require a steady stream of bullets. The Cannon, while powerful, consumes the most amount of bullets out of the entire arsenal in a single shot, hunter tools and all.
  • Handicapped Badass: Some of the NPC Hunters like Father Gascoigne and Retired Hunter Djura bandage or possibly remove their eyes, likely due to gathering too much Insight for them to handle.
    • Gehrman may have lost a foot but he can still kick your ass if you refuse to leave the Hunter's Dream.
  • Haunted Castle: Cainhurst Castle.
  • Healing Potion: The use for blood vials.
  • Healing Church Hunters Prefer Silver Longswords: All Healing Church Trick Weapons have a Silver Longsword that also works as a handle for the Kirkhammer and Ludwig's Holy Blade.
  • High-Class Glass: True to the Victorian setting, it's possible to give your character a monocle during creation.
  • History Repeats: Yharnam was not the first and will probably not be the last to suffer the Scourge of Beasts and inevitable tampering with the Great Ones. Before it came Loran, now buried by sand storms and overrun by beasts and before them came ancient Pthumeru.
  • Hufflepuff House: The Vilebloods. They're an old enemy to the Healing Church and have similar goals as to what it and its branches in the Choir and School of Mensis are trying to accomplish. However, they've been effectively wiped out by the time the game begins and exploring their home in Cainhurst Castle is completely optional.
  • The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: The Hunter of Hunters covenant consists of hunters who hunt down hunters intoxicated by their bloodlust.
  • I Choose to Stay: In the Honoring Wishes and Childhood's Beginning, the Hunter refuses to leave the Hunter's Dream. Either to pledge themselves to the Moon Presence or attempt to slay it.
  • Iconic Outfit: The workshop version of the Hunter's Set. While most of the promotional footage uses the version without the cloak, the very first CGI trailer released for the game used the version with it.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: The Great Ones are unable to have children and thus yearn for surrogates among humanity.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Logarius' Wheel, A Martyr Executioner's Weapon of Choice.
  • In Medias Res: The game doesn't tell you how came to be in Yharnam or why. The opening is just a creepy doctor mentioning something about "paleblood" and that you need an infusion of Yharnam blood to begin exploring the city's mysteries.
  • Invisible to Normals: With high enough Insight or the blood of a Great One like Rom, you'll be able to see the giant Amygdalas clinging to the Cathedral Ward's spires.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: In grand Souls tradition. While the overarching plot is relatively easy to identify, many of its specifics are deliberately left vague, and various plot elements remain open to interpretation. Anybody who claims to have a full understanding of what's going on in the game is missing the point entirely.
  • Joke Weapon: The wooden shield, which, despite being a shield, barely blocks any damage and requires you to give up your gun for it.
    • Lethal Joke Weapon: ...Though it does block gunfire quite well, making it situationally useful in areas with a lot of gun-toting enemies.
  • Karmic Transformation: According to the Sword Hunter Badge, the clerics of the Healing Church, the Corrupt Church responsible for both the outbreak of the Scourge of Beasts and a heavy-handed way of dealing with them, tended to turn into the most hideous beasts of all.
  • Kill It with Fire: Beasts are particularly vulnerable against fire.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Boss fight victories usually end with the message "PREY SLAUGHTERED" flashing in green. Killing Mergo's Wet Nurse and the Moon Presence nets you a red "NIGHTMARE SLAIN" instead.
  • Lost in Imitation: In-Universe, the Reiterpallasch's design was mimicked by the Powder Kegs in the form of the Rifle Spear.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Choosing to consume three pieces of Umbilical Cord will cut off the chance for one ending, and then another choice lies in accepting or refusing Gehrman's request.
  • Lean and Mean: The beast plague elongates the limbs of those afflicted while remaining the same width, causing nearly all the beast-type enemies in the game to appear extremely thin and emaciated.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Hoo boy, is it ever. While raising strength, skill, or blood tinge will raise damage for the weapons based on those respective stats, raising Arcane increases the item drop rate for all enemies, increases elemental damage (and some blood gems change weapon damage type to exclusively be elemental), and grants access to magic items that grant the ability to teleport, launch attack tentacles, hurl angry skulls at enemies, or even summon a miniature star. An arcane build is practically a Magikarp Power, because while it starts slow, once all the items and stats needed come together, it instantly becomes positively devastating.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Ultimately, while the Great Ones exert greater control over, and have far more understanding of, the universe, humans are more than capable of comprehending and utilizing their abilties. The player will also likely end his or her game having slain a half-dozen of them—some of which in the very dreams they dominate over.
  • Lunacy: Lore notes throughout Yahar'gul state that madmen - aka the Healing Church and its followers - toil to beckon the moon, and that's not even the tip of the iceberg. Killing Rom turns the moon crimson and dyes the sky purple with Paleblood, unleashing all sorts of freaky monstrosities and driving people even crazier than they were before. The true final boss is an eldritch creature called the Moon Presence.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: No parrying aside, the Wooden Shield can sometimes block bullets and other small projectiles leaving you unscathed. This makes the Wooden Shield somewhat useful.
  • MacGuffin: The Paleblood. It's never made clear what exactly it is, just that it's supposedly the cure for whatever disease ails the Player Character, thus providing motivation for why he/she must travel through Yharnam and beyond. After killing Rom the Vacuous Spider in Byrgenwerth, it becomes clear that the true purpose of the journey was to find and kill the newborn Great Ones Mergo and the Moon Presence.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A Call Beyond, which unleashes a barrage of shooting stars and chase after your foes like homing missiles.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Beast Roar Hunter Tool, which unleashes a sound wave powerful enough to deflect bullets and other projectiles.
  • Meaningful Name: The Amygdala, which are named after a part in the brain of the same name that deals with emotions (in particular the flight-or-fight response, i.e. fear and aggression).
    • Reiterpallasch roughly translates from German to Cavalry Sword.
    • Chikage translates from Japanese to Blood Shadow.
    • Tonitrus translates from Latin to Thunder.
  • Metroidvania: A rare 3D example.
  • Mercy Kill: When Gehrman offers you "mercy", or vise versa.
  • Mind Screw: Copious amounts. Several things are flat out never explained, such as the Hunter's Dream, the Formless One's motives, the weird blood moon that rises at certain points, the degrading nature of Yharnam, etc., the world is populated with mind-destroyingly powerful Eldritch Abominations that the Church worships and are capable of completely altering reality at their will, the game world changes completely over time and several instances will leave you wondering if what just happened actually happened or that your character isn't just completely bonkers.
  • Mini-Boss: There are several, most of whom are Hunters scattered throughout Yharnam. They make up for their lack of brute strength with their agility. They can also parry your attacks.
  • Mirror Boss:
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • Vicar Amelia is a massive, snarling beast with features of bears, wolves, and stags, with a large mane of hair on its back, as an exaggeration of her human self's Rapunzel Hair.
    • Also, later on in the game you'll encounter crows with dog heads and dogs with crow heads...
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The game has a large focus on "trick weapons" that have two different forms that can be cycled through on the fly.
    • The Standard Workshop Weapons are weapons that don't have any strong affiliation with neither the Healing Church or the Vilebloods, so they tend to belong to other lesser known Hunter groups.
      • An Axe to Grind: The Hunter Axe, a Saw Hunter Weapon, can transform between a one-handed axe and a two-handed axe resembling a halberd.
      • Blade on a Stick / Sniper Rifle: The Rifle Spear, which is a Powder Keg Hunter Weapon and a mimic of the Reiterspallasch, is exactly how it sounds; a spear that can transform into a rifle.
      • Cane Fu / Whip It Good: The Threaded Cane, a Saw Hunter Weapon, transforms between a cane and a metal serrated whip.
      • Carry a Big Stick / Shock and Awe: The Tonitrus, one of Archibald's infamous creations. Its a mace that can generates electricity.
      • Knife Nut: The Blade of Mercy, a Hunter of Hunters' Weapon, is a lightweight short-sword that is made with a magnetic metal known as siderite that can also be split into two.
      • Pile Bunker: The Stake Driver, a Powder Keg Hunter Weapon and Djura's favorite weapon, is an arm-mounted dagger.
      • Serrated Blade of Pain: The Saw Cleaver and the Saw Spear, both Saw Hunter Weapons, are saws with handles that fold out to make them behave like a cleaver and a spear respectively.
      • Sinister Scythe / Sinister Scimitar: The Burial Blade, Gehrman's Weapon of Choice and the original Trick Weapon. Its a scythe with a detachable blade that can act as a scimitar. Like the Blade of Mercy, the blade is made of the magnetic mineral siderite.
    • The Healing Church Weapons are known to be more strength based weapons than the others because of the strength and handling required and are meant for the more larger enemies that, ironically, most of the Healing Church Hunters become.
      • Absurdly Sharp Claws: The Beast Claw, made by the Irreverent Izzy, is a two-pronged claw made of the still living bones of a Darkbeast, that when transformed, it turns both gauntlets, that are worn when wielding the claw, along with your own hands to beast talons with the left hand becoming the size of the actual weapon.
      • Cool Sword / BFS: Ludwig's Holy Blade, The weapon for Ludwig's successors. Its a one-handed silver longsword that can be used in tandem with the sheathe to become a two-handed greatsword.
      • Cool Sword / Drop the Hammer: The Kirkhammer, The standard Healing Church Weapon. It uses a slightly shorter silver sword than Ludwig's version. It can become the handle for the large stone hammer.
      • Improbable Weapon User: Logarius' Wheel is an executioner's choice of weapon. It resembles a heavy stagecoach wheel. Transformed, however, it opens up to unleash a continuous vapor of blood, which makes it stronger with arcane damage the more revs it goes, but weakens the wielder in the process, quicker with each form.
    • The Vileblood Weapons, while few in number in comparison with the other two, require a more bloodtinged wielder to effectively use these weapons, but the Vilebloods themselves were nearly killed off by the Executioners.
      • Katanas Are Just Better: The Chikage, a strange weapon for the Queen's Royal Guards, its transformation is actually a powerful blood rite that slowly saps the wielder's health away but becomes stronger with a higher bloodtinge. On a side note, it has a static rapid poison effect for both transformation.
      • Royal Rapier / Handguns: The Reiterpallasch, the standard Vileblood weapon, its a rapier that has a pistol attachment. This mechanism was mimicked by the Powder Kegs in the form of the Rifle Spear.
  • Meaningful Name: Chikage (千景) literally means "Thousands Views", however if you separated the word into Chi Kage (血影), it means "Blood Shadow", which foreshadowed its usage of blood.
  • Molotov Cocktail: A potent weapon against crowds and beasts.
  • Mook Maker: Chime Maidens. In addition to appearing whenever the player calls for help via a beckoning bell, attempting to summon adversaries by ringing their own bell, they can also be found in later levels summoning mooks until killed. They're especially dangerous in the Chalice Dungeons, where they often appear in groups, and start to summon spiders as the player gets into the deeper dungeons. Lots of spiders. Who can spot the player from several rooms away.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Or rather, the Eldritch Abomination Wants To Be A Mommy. The Great Ones keep impregnating humans. The resulting offspring die, but it doesn't occur to them to stop trying.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous:
    • Amygdala is a gargantuan humanoid with several elongated limbs mimicking a Giant Spider, and makes use of most of them during its boss battle. You can hack them to debilitate it.
    • Mergo's Wet Nurse is a six-armed wraith that wields a sickle-like blade on each hand, and mainly tries to dice you up in a flurry of slashes.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Character creation has you choosing your origin/upbringing before your journey to Yharnam in order to generate your stats, replacing the "class" system from the Souls games.
  • Multiple Endings: With potentially all the endings coming to pass, on different nights, in different dreams, eventually.
    • Yharnam Sunrise: With the night coming to an end and a number of the other Great Ones' vanquished, Gehrman offers to release you from the Hunter's Dream and forget all you have seen. Agreeing has him behead you with his scythe. You awake the next morning back in the Cathedral Ward's graveyard. The Doll is then seen in the Hunter's Dream, wishing you farewell.
    • Honoring Wishes: You reject Gehrman's offer and have to fight him instead. Upon defeating Gehrman, his Eldritch master, the "Moon Presence", descends to make you its next emissary. Some time later, the Doll is seen pushing you in Gehrman's wheelchair back towards the mansion in the Hunter's Dream. The Hunt begins again, with you as the next Keeper of the Hunters.
    • Childhood's Beginning: The Hunter consumes at least three of the four pieces of Eldritch Abomination umbilical cord hidden across Yharnam to "ascend to the level of a Great One" and face the Moon Presence instead. However after you defeat the Moon Presence, you end up turning into an infant abomination yourself. You are eventually found by the Doll as a small slug / squid creature, seemingly to be raised into the next of the Great Ones.
  • Magic Music: The Choir Bell uses Quicksilver bullets to heal you.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Enemy hunters use many of the same maneuvers, weapons, and techniques that the player is capable of. However, they deal a lot more damage with their attacks (including their guns), have Bottomless Magazines, and have much more health at their disposal. But on the other hand, they can't replenish health via the Regain system, and none seem to carry as many blood vials as the player does.
    • NPC hunters can use their firearms while wielding their trick weapons two-handed mode, which you can't, but on the other hand, the player character is the only person that can preform Visceral Attacks even though you are just as susceptible to staggering as any enemy in the game. with the two exceptions of Retired Hunter Djura and Gehrman The First Hunter, they two are capable of utilizing Visceral Attacks.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Several women end up impregnated by the Great Ones in the game's later half.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Yharnam borrows artistic direction and mood of the Tower of Latria from Demons Souls.
    • The Cleric Beast draws from Manus's design.
    • In the demo, Gascoigne says "sick creature... may you rest in peace... Umbasa" when he kills you. This line is cut in the final game.
  • New Game+: Returning from the Souls series is the feature to replay the game's story, while keeping your equipment and ramping up the difficulty. Miyazaki and his team even claim to have trouble beating it!
  • Nintendo Hard: It's almost redundant to list this trope on a FromSoftware game, but for the sake of completeness...
  • No Name Given: The old man during the intro administering you the Yharnam blood is only mentioned in the credits as "Blood Minister".
  • Nonindicative Name: The OST track "Soothing Hymn" is not very soothing.
  • The Nose Knows: Weirdly, everyone in town notices your smell. Somehow you smell like the moon and that marks you as a hunter. Either there's something very wrong with you, the townspeople, or both.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: The people of Yharnam are effectively vampires, and the Scourge of Beasts pretty much turns people into werewolves...but neither term is ever used.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: In spades. It's taken up to eleven in Yahar'gul when ending up there early by getting killed by a Snatcher. Listen
  • Once per Episode: The game reuses themes and plot points featured in both Demons Souls and Dark Souls.
    • A mighty kingdom is left in ruins after a Zombie Apocalypse.
    • Adventurers making a pilgrimage to an ancient, forgotten land in search of a cure to a mysterious disease that afflicts them.
    • A cursed katana that damages its wielder.
    • Miyazaki's favorite Dirty Coward, Patches, shows up. He'll also try to kick you off a cliff yet again.
    • The god's of the world are jerks who care very little for the well being of humanity.
      • This one is actually subverted; the Moon rune states that "The Great Ones are sympathetic, and will often answer when called upon." And Kosm and Ebrietas, at the very least, actively answer prayers addressed to them.
    • Downplayed compared to Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, but the cyclical nature of the conflict still implied in one ending, and possibly two.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The beast-disease infecting the citizens of Yharnam turns them into mixes of humans and various beasts, like wolves, spiders, crows, and so on. In general, most of these resemble werewolves of some sort; this is the most common enemy type, as opposed to the Soul series' usual penchant for undead zombie-folk.
    • The origin behind the lycanthropes - them being hybrids between humans and a squid-like Eldritch Abomination of the full moon - is also fairly unusual.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: After blood ministration became the medical practice in Yharnam, the sheer popularity of it (healing, an alternative to alcohol, maybe even an alternative to sex) shows such blatant undertones of vampirism without it ever being mentioned. Perhaps vampires never appear because in a world where everyone commodotizes blood it would be redundant.
    • The Cainhurst Vilebloods, or what is left of them, embody the typical Eastern European vampire appearance-wise. Their preferred method of gaining blood, however, is to salvage blood dregs from the corpses of the slain for their Queen.
  • Out Of Context Villain: The starter monsters and bosses draw from Gothic Horror and while they're very intimidating they are at least understandable. Then you get halfway through the game and the enemies start becoming more and more alien and bizarre, dreams and reality merge, and alien THINGS start showing up. The giant werewolf of Vicar Amelia is downright mundane compared to the betentacled monstrosity of Ebretias hidden beneath the altar where Amelia was praying.
  • Pile Bunker: One weapon available in the game is the "Stake Driver", a large gauntlet-like Blade Below the Shoulder that can be extended and retracted.
  • The Plague/Zombie Apocalypse: The Scourge of Beasts infecting Yharnam turns those afflicted into mindless monsters, with the later stages of the disease turning the infected into literal beasts. Although Yharnam isn't the first place this has happened.
  • Plague Doctor: One of the available attires is the plague doctor-esque Crowfeather Set, the signature of the Hunter of Hunters covenant.
  • Platonic Cave: Heavily implied to be the entire setting.
  • Player Headquarters: The Hunter's Dream.
  • Plot Device All Along: The Umbilical Cords may seem like a rare type of Insight obtaining item but really, consuming at least three of the four you can find will unlock the third ending.
  • Portal Pool: The Byrgenwerth Lake, which contains a portal to an eldritch realm containing Rom.
  • Posthumous Character: Laurence the chief disciple of Master Willem.
  • The Power of Blood: The use of blood is a central theme of the game.
    • Blood Ministration, Yharnam's unique medical practice is based on receiving a transfusion of unique unknown healing blood. Something happened to those who have received blood ministration, causing the beast outbreak that has enveloped Yharnam. Said healing blood is also implied to be what created the bridge between the human world and the Nightmare Realm that causes the game's plot to begin with, though the link between the two worlds is seemingly what the Byrgenwerth scholars had wanted in the first place, with the blood being an added bonus.
    • Blood Echoes replaces souls from the Souls games as the level up and item buying currency.
    • A stock of blood vials is used to recover health, replacing the Estus flask from the Dark Souls games.
    • The strike-back mechanic allows you regain health if you cut into enemies immediately after your own injuries and bathe in their blood.
    • Dying to an enemy can potentially cause them to take your Blood Echoes, which makes them stronger. The player then has to slay said enemy in order to re-obtain their Blood Echoes.
    • Bloodstones and Blood Gems are used to upgrade your equipment.
    • The player can sacrifice some of their health to create five temporary blood bullets at any point.
  • Power of Love: The Plain Doll implies that being loved makes her sentient.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Father Gascoigne: "Too proud to show your true face, eh? But a sporting hunt, it was!"
    • Hunter Djura: "I should think you still have dreams? Well, the next time you dream, give some thought...To the Hunt, and its meaning..."
    • Eileen the Crow: "You still have dreams? ... Tell the little doll I said hello..."
    • Gehrman: "You must accept your death. Be freed from the night."
  • Prepare to Die: Yes, it's not an official Souls game, but it's essentially a gothic spin on the Souls formula. As such, you'd better be prepared to die. A lot. Because Bloodborne is a hard game.
  • Procedural Generation: The Root versions of the Chalice Dungeons. While the default Chalice Dungeons have a set layout, the Root versions always have a random layout. The Root versions even provide a "world seed" code, so that each particular layout can be saved and shared.
  • Punny Name: The School of Mensis. It's a dirty joke, since Mensis can refer to a woman's menstrual cycle as well as to the moon, and blood, the moon, and pregnant women feature heavily in Bloodborne, which in itself is a pun.
  • Reconstruction: In this day and age, the standard Gothic Horror motifs ain't what they used to be. Only vampires still retain any of their weight in the eyes of the public. This game makes them all proper scary again. Infectious werewolf bites not doing anything for you? How's about a werewolf apocalypse? Witches dancing in the light of the full moon laughable? Not when you walk in on the witches and they stop dancing to descend upon you with meat cleavers and red-hot pokers. Torches and Pitchforks are a lot less silly when they're all pointed at you, and there's so much bloodletting and blood-consumption that everyone in town is pretty much already a vampire. This is also probably why Not Using the Zed Word is in play; if it doesn't have a familiar label then old horrors are new again. And if you thought the Cosmic Horror Story was becoming old hat, this game makes that fresh again too; all the eldritch horrors are an Out Of Context Villain that just ramps up the horror due to how unexpected and WRONG they are.
  • Recursive Precursors: The Healing Church was preceded by the Byrgenwerth College, who in turn based their teachings on the ancient relics of the Pthumerians.
  • Regenerating Health: Of a sort. The Rally system focuses on regaining health and there's certain weapons that regain more health than others. The weapon with the most health regain potential is the Hunter's Axe.
  • Religion of Evil: The entire religious practices of Yharnam, which involve the worship of the Great Ones, monstrous beings from another dimension who seemingly care little for the affairs of men except as pawns to spawn a new Great One. The upper echelons of the church - the School of Mensis and the Choir - have differing methodologies as to how to accomplish this. A notable observation is that unlike most works inspired by Lovecraft, this religion is practiced by the majority, up to and including the leaders of the city, rather than people on the fringes hiding from the eye of the law. Then again, Yharnam doesn't exactly have many ties to the outside world, drawing parallels to The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
  • Rain of Blood: A brief, subtle one after you complete each boss fight.
  • Sad Battle Music: Like Dark Souls before it, the track used for the final boss of BloodborneGehrman, the First Hunter—is not an epic and orchestral score, but a sad and somber piece.
  • Sanity Meter: The Insight mechanic and the Frenzy meter. Insight is gained either from using the Madman's Knowledge item or from encountering and slaying bosses. The more Insight you have, the more you see of this world: more enemies show up, enemies gain new attacks, and the enemies get harder. (Plus, there's the Amgydalas just hanging onto the walls that you can see once you have enough Insight.) Most dangerously though is: having a great amount of Insight greatly reduces resistance to the "Frenzy" status effect, which allows certain enemies to kill you almost instantaneously. However, Insight can be spent either by summoning another hunter online or through the Insight shop in the Hunter's Dream.
  • Sanity Slippage: What you presumably experience when your Insight rises (or maybe you become more sane?).
    • Also experienced by most of the NPCs in the game. Most of the ones who won't leave their homes will start to go insane if you check in with them as the game goes on, with some going silent eventually, and of the NPCs you DO save, some of them begin to crack after the Red Moon Event. The church lady is just huddled over chuckling to herself and will apparently kill the other young woman under certain conditions. The young woman begins to hunch over as a strange affliction takes her. Ironically the old lady starts off in a terrible mood and devolving into panic much faster only to become very calm (and mistaking you for her child). This is because she evidently went SO nuts that she began taking sedatives to calm down (she'll even share).
  • Scenery Gorn: Just like its predecessors. The environments are dark, dank, and filled with death, disease and decay.
  • Sequential Boss: Most bosses in the game. As you deplete their health pools, they can act more aggressive, use a different set of attacks, move faster, hit harder, and in some cases, even transform.
  • Shock and Awe: The Bolt Paper and the Tonitrus Trick Weapon, a mace that can spark itself for seven seconds.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The Hunter's Blunderbuss, Ludwig's Rifle and any other spread-shot firearms count.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Yharnam Hunter outfit is inspired by the Iconic Outfit from Brotherhood of the Wolf.
    • To Berserk:
      • The Hunter's Mark has been compared to the Brand of Sacrifice, although the Heir rune fits the motif better.
      • A more specific Berserk Shout-Out, but this time its one to the darkest moment in the series: should Arianna be in the Oedon Chapel when the Red Moon Event happens, she disappears into the Tomb of Oedon sewer. Upon finding her, she's sitting in another chair with a demonic looking baby at her feet. Arianna's Surprise Pregnancy and subsequent labor/childbirth mirror Griffith/Femto's rape of Casca and the early childbirth of her and Guts' demonically corrupted child.
      • Another specific Berserk Shout-Out. Logarius' Wheel, the signature weapon of the Executioners covenant, is highly reminiscent of the torture wheel used by Mozgus' musclebound disciple.
    • The Gold Ardeo helmet bears a heavy resemblance to the iconic helm of Pyramid Head, although it is shaped like a conical pyramid rather than a rectangular pyramid. Fittingly, the Gold Ardeo forms the helmet portion of the Executioner Set.
    • One of the enemies in the Nightmare of Mensis is a giant brain covered with eyes. The nickname the fandom gave it is... Mother Brain. Although with the homages to H.P. Lovecraft, the Brain of Mensis is essentially a Shoggoth, which appeared in his novella At the Mountains of Madness.
    • Armored Core
      • The Reiterpallasch is a reference to Wynne D. Fanchon from Armored Core: 4 Answer]], she piloted an AC named Reiterpallasch.
      • The Stake Driver, being a Pile Bunker, resembles the Parrying Blade which can be attached onto various AC as melee weapons.
    • Dark Souls
      • The Evelyn pistol is a reference to Repeating crossbow Avelyn from Dark Souls
      • Alfred, The Executioner, who openly asks you to co-operate with him is a reference to Solaire of Astora, by the time when you gave him Unopened Summon, he says "Praise the Good Blood", which is a reference to "Praise The Sun" message seen all over the place.
      • Patches The Spider is a recurring character who kicks people into various pits by tricking them with treasures below. Should they survived, Patches will beg for forgiveness and becomes a merchant.
    • The entire plot plays out like one giant Lovecraft novel, with similar themes and entities to boot. Specifically, it's an homage to his Dream Cycle stories, which feature an alternate dimension that can be accessed via sleep and intersects with our world at points. It is also the home of some of Lovecraft's eldritch abominations, most notably Nyarlathotep.
      • A great deal of the story can be attributed to Lovecraft's works: Yharnum is, essentially, Innsmouth, but with beastmen instead of fishmen; Byrgenwyrth College is Miskatonic University, but without the voice of reason; The Amygdala enemies are entities similar to the invisible spawn of Yog-Sothoth from The Dunwich Horror; and the Pthumerans, the race that came before mankind, are like The Great Race of Yith, minus the bizarre non-human anatomy. Oh, and The One Reborn? That could easily have come out of Reanimator.
    • The lantern-bearing groundskeepers in the Cathedral Ward cemetery are near-identical in design to the gravediggers from the Castlevania series — in both hooded and hatted varieties.
      • Speaking of which, the entire Cainhurst Castle area is an obvious homage to the series too: a huge, isolated castle in the mountains, haunted by all manner of classic horror creatures, from ghosts to sentient gargoyles to zombified servitude, culminating in a very tough boss fight against a skeleton wielding a scythe and his perpetually spawning flurry of pointy weapons which must be carefully dodged.
      • Still on Cainhurst Castle, some find Annalise's helmet design to bear more than a passing resemblance to Griffith's iconic birdlike headwear.
    • The final fight with Gherman is very similar to the final boss fight with The Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater(Such as the fight being in a field of white flowers, fighting your tragic mentor in a final duel to the death).
  • Silver Bullet: Or rather quicksilver (i.e. mercury) bullets infused with blood are a staple in a hunter's arsenal.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Many of the Healing Church's weapons are forged from silver and deal Arcane damage.
  • Sinister Scythe:
    • Martyr Logarius wields a staff adorned with a sickle blade that glows red. He mainly uses it to conjure dark magic, but is not above trying to slash you with it, in addition to wielding a sword in his left hand.
    • Gehrman, the First Hunter, carries a large scythe on his back, and uses it in conjunction with both a blunderbuss and a pistol during the Final Boss battle.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Some boss leitmotifs fall under this. "Lullaby for Mergo" is a childish, soothing jingle that happens to play when fighting one of the darkest and most unnerving bosses in the game. It's not helped by the boss' disturbing introduction, much less the accompanying baby wails.
  • Steam Punk/Gothic Punk: The game has a very Gothic-Victorian Era feel likened to the Jack the Ripper era of Victorian London.
  • Spiritual Successor: For Demons Souls and Dark Souls. Like those two titles, Bloodborne is an Action RPG with horror elements. Similarly, the game is directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, who also directed Demon's Souls and the first Dark Souls.
    • More than a few fans have also noted how the game's Victorian Era-like setting reminds them of Nightmare Creatures.
    • Some fans consider the game a 3D Castlevania game done right when compared to Konami's own varying track record of 3D Castlevania titles.
  • Star Power: How "A Call Beyond" works. It creates small exploding stars as a Projectile Spell.
  • Start X to Stop X: Laurence, the Byrgenwerth Heretic, may have undertaken one of the most ill-advised examples of this trope in history. Scattered bits of lore and notes from the Lecture Hall suggest that, as Yharnam fell apart under the blood curse and the Great Ones' presence, he attempted to purge the Great Ones and exterminate the beasts by summoning another Old One - namely, the Moon Presence, which created the Hunt and the Dream to give humans a fighting chance against the beasts, but also sealed Yharnam in an endless nightmare realm until the job was done. If the player decides to submit their life at the end of the game, the plan even succeeds, as the Dream burns, the nightmare breaks, and all the corporeal Old Ones and their acolytes are slain by the Hunter, allowing them to leave the city peacefully.
  • Summon Magic: The Executioner's Gloves summon ghosts to attack the enemy as a Projectile Spell. And the Augur of Ebrietas is used to (partially) summon a Great One to kill your enemies.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Trick Weapons
  • Sword and Gun: The mixture of melee combat and gunplay is to make the gameplay much more aggressive. The character is even featured in the cover using a Saw Cleaver in one hand and a blunderbuss in the other.
  • Take That, Audience!: The description of the shield subtlety bashes players who were expecting to rely on them the same way they used to in From Software's previous games.
    "Shields are nice, but not if they engender passivity."
    • Also in the choice of the Villagers who hide behind wooden shields, the shields can be staggered through in a single hit leaving them wide open to attack, and even if they shield bash you, it does almost no damage.
    • The game also takes the piss out of people who spam-abused dodge-rolling in previous titles by way of the Merciless Watchers; grossly overweight mace wielding ogres in the Chalice Dungeon naked except for boots that somersault across the floor to get in swinging range of you. This variant has quickly become a laughingstock of a mob; if you pop in an old Souls game and PvP one of the overwhelmingly common heavy armor builds that curls up like an armadillo to back pedal out of a whiffed attack, so will they.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The main modus operandi of the Yharnam mobs throughout the streets.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Gaining too much Insight can cause some weird things to happen. The whole game is possibly an even deeper extension of this, with the world acting as a mass shared lucid dream that the player traverses through.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: A more realistic example in fiction. Both the Blade of Mercy and the Burial Blade are forged from siderite, a meteoric iron alloy which becomes magnetized after it has been heated. For the Blade of Mercy, the magnetic field is what keeps the twin blades together, as the wielder must force the blades apart in order to use the transformed state. For the Burial Blade, the magnetic field helps keep the scimitar-like blade attached to the folding scythe snath. Keeping with the mythical "magic" properties associated with thunderbolt iron, both weapons cause both regular physical damage and arcane damage.
  • Title Drop:
    "We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood. Our eyes are yet to open... Fear the old blood."
    Master Willem
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: If you've consumed at least three Umbilical Cords, the Moon Presence will back off after attempting to embrace you, most likely because you eat Umbilical Cords. This also initiates the True Final Boss fight.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The chosen weapons of many enemy types, who also seem to be prone of shambling around in large mobs until they notice the player.
  • True Final Boss: After consuming at least three Umbilical Cords and defeating Gehrman in the "Refuse" route, the player is treated with an additional fight against the Moon Presence, as well as a third possible ending upon defeating it.
  • Vagina Dentata: Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos. Her head looks like a massive vagina with writhing tentacle-like teeth. Also when she hovers, her lower body begins to resemble something else...
  • Video Game Caring Potential: If he is made non-hostile, Retired Hunter Djura tells the player that he has been watching over the beasts in the burnt-out district of Old Yharnam, and asks the player to leave them be. If the player agrees, Djura gives them his badge and teaches them a gesture out of gratitude.
    • Note that it's quite easy to be forced into this, as making Djura non-hostile is somewhat of a hidden process.
    • The plain doll is given life by being loved and cared about, if you go into a certain optional area you can obtain an item to give her as a gift. If you do so, she cries with joy despite that being physically impossible and admits her sincere love for you. The stone itself is an item that gives a persistent Regenerating Health effect.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The player can also choose to simply kill Djura and the beasts he protects.
    • The player can also attack and kill several friendly NPCs that have done them absolutely no wrong, such as the Oedon Chapel Dweller, for the sake of Item Farming. Even worse, it's possible to attack and kill the Plain Doll, despite all that she's done for the player. You Bastard. (Luckily, it isn't permanent.)
  • The Voice: Besides a handful of people that you can send to a safe haven, most of the characters you speak to will remain behind closed windows and locked doors.
  • Warmup Boss: Father Gascoigne. To beat him, you will have to learn how to riposte and use items mid-combat. His fight is the first fight where riposting is almost necessary to win.
  • Was Once a Man: Nearly all the monsters in Yharnam were once human, until they started transforming into beasts.
    • The player themselves, in the Childhood's Beginning ending, as they become a new Great One.
  • Weird Moon: The moon seems way too big to begin with and over the course of the game seems to get even closer/bigger. Also, it is never obscured by clouds, in fact the moon is always in front of the clouds. By the end of the game it becomes apparent that the "moon" is merely the physical representation of the thusly named Moon Presence throughout most of Yharnam's dream, up until the end (depending on the player's choice) where it will appear in its "real" form.
  • Wham Episode: Byrgenworth College. This is where you begin to realize that something more otherworldly and sinister than just a simple plague is at work here. And once Rom the Vacuous Spider is slain, the moon turns red and everything goes From Bad to Worse as the Cosmic Horror Story goes full tilt.
  • Where It All Began: Both the final boss and true final boss are fought in the flower field in the Hunter's Dream.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Shadow of Yharnam are three ringwraith-like creatures who get progressively more difficult for each one of them killed.
  • Woman in White: Yharnam, the Pthumerian Queen wears a white wedding dress, complete with veil. It doesn't stay white for very long, though...
  • Would Hurt a Child: The player character is forced to slaughter an innocent child in order to end the hunt. Granted, said child is a reality-destroying monstrosity, but it's still a child.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Some of the most powerful Great Ones (like Oedon and Kos/Kosm) transcended physical form and merely exist as concepts. In Oedon's case its "Blood and Voice".
  • You Kill It, You Bought It:
    • Choosing Refuse at the end forces you to fight and kill Gehrman, at which point the Moon Presence appears and makes you take Gehrman's place as the keeper, sitting on his wheelchair waiting for the hunt to begin again.
    • The third ending, which requires more work, has you killing the Moon Presence, with your character being reborn as a Great One and leading the Dream Realm to its next childhood.
  • Your Head Asplode: Effectively what the Frenzy status ailment does to you; if the frenzy bar is filled completely, you lose a huge chunk of your health along with a huge burst of blood from your face. Unlike poison, its meter continues to rise a bit even after you're away from what's causing it, and the higher your Insight the more vulnerable you are. The Nightmare of Mensis has something even nastier in a chamber that drives you mad and damages you just from seeing it thousands of meters away.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The dreams and nightmares of the Great Ones are "just" that, but as they are dreamt by beings that are physical and meta-physical gods, these areas and their inhabitants are as tangible as anything else.
  • Zerg Rush: The Celestial Emissary fight consists of several alien-like monsters bum-rushing you, with none of them lasting longer than two or three hits. Midway through the fight, however, one of them will supersize and provide the bulk of the boss' health.