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Video Game: Dark Souls

"I remember the first time I died. Facing down my foe was to be expected. Even inevitable. Resurrected, my soul awoke and my battles were fought harder. Death became my friend. I remember the first time I died. But dying gets easier; it's how you die that leaves your mark. Prepare to die..."

Dark Souls is the Spiritual Successor to Demon's Souls, developed by FROM Software and published by Namco Bandai.

In the Age of Ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog: a land of gray crags, arch-trees, and everlasting dragons. But then there was fire, and with it disparity: heat and cold, life and death, light and dark. From the dark came the four lords: Nito, the First of the Dead. The Witch of Izalith and her daughters of chaos. Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight, and his faithful knights. And the easily forgotten Furtive Pygmy. They brought an end to the dragons, and ushered in a golden age called the Age of Fire. But now the flames are fading. The world suffers through endless nights, and mysterious brands called the Dark Sign curse humans with eternal undeath. These immortal undead are doomed to eventual madness as they lose their humanity, and thus are locked away in an asylum in the north to await the end of the world.

Players take the role of one of these undead, as they break out of the Undead Asylum and begin a quest through the huge, non-linear world of Lordran to ring the twin Bells of Awakening, prophesied to reveal the fate and true purpose of the undead.

Dark Souls features a weightier type of Action RPG combat, encouraging players to learn enemy tells and draw out opponents one at a time. This goes double for bosses, who can kill players in only a few hits. There are over 20 weapon types, each with their own move sets. Weapon upgrades allow you to improve different stat bonuses to weapon damage, or add lightning / fire / magic / etc. damage instead.

Character classes do exist, but only determine starting equipment and stats. Builds are instead based on which stats you choose to level up and equipment you wear. Each point you put into a stat counts as a "Soul Level", which decides the level range of other players you can encounter online.

Dark Souls reuses Demon's Souls' unique online components. Examining bloodstains while playing online will replay the last ten seconds of another player's life, highlighting potential hazards. You can also leave messages on the ground about potential enemies, hazards and treasure (or to lure others into traps). Additionally, players in human form can summon two other players to help them. However, they can also be invaded and killed by others. By entering one of the game's nine covenants, players gain benefits to co-op play, invasion, hunting invaders, and so forth.

Dark Souls is also hard. Infamously hard. As the Tag Line says, Prepare to Die. A lot. The game auto-saves every few seconds, so you live with the consequences of every single action you take.

Dark Souls was released for PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 22, 2011 in Japan and October 4 and 6, 2011 in North America and Europe. A PC port, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition was later released August 24th 2012. The PC port content was released for PS3 and Xbox360 as DLC named "Artorias of the Abyss" on October 23, 2012.

Has a sequel, Dark Souls II.

The game provides examples of:

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  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Your starting level is between 1 and 6 depending on your chosen class, you gain a level each time you increase a stat by one point, and if you grind every stat to 99, your max level will be between 709 and 713. Each level up increases the number of souls needed to level up further, starting at triple digits and ultimately needing millions of souls to level up each time. It's perfectly possible to finish the game without even reaching 100. Most finish it within the 80-99 range.
  • Action Prologue: The game's prologue, which involves Nito, the Witch of Izalith and Gwyn taking on the dragons.
  • Action Survivor: The player character is this compared to other action games. You aren't all that powerful compared to enemies, and you always need to be careful and on the defensive. Most of the other NPCs are this as well.
  • Aerith and Bob: Laurentius of the Great Swamp, The Witch of Izalith, Oswald, Oscar, Logan, Solaire...
  • Affably Evil: Patches.
  • After the End: If it isn't after the end, it's very close to it.
  • The Ageless: The Everlasting Dragons. The Gods. Undead who have a steady supply of humanity.
  • Altum Videtur: Vereor Nox, said by Rhea as a goodbye. It means Fearfully Respect the Night/Dark.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Demons, naturally.
  • Always Night: The fate of Anor Londo should the player attack Gwynevere. Oddly enough, it actually becomes relatively safer after doing this.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Both endings are short and without much, if any, context as to what effect on the world your actions may have had. This naturally makes them both fuel for Wild Mass Guessing.
  • An Adventurer Is You: It's pretty standard set of jobs. Many of them return from Demon's Souls.
  • An Aesop: Nothing lasts forever.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The game's plot has you walking into one.
  • Ancient Keeper: Kaathe and Frampt. That said, their trustworthiness is suspect.
  • And I Must Scream: The eventual and inevitable fate of all those cursed with the Darksign and whoever links the Fire.
  • Animal Motifs: The Four Knights of Gwyn each had their own unique animal motif.
    • Abysswalker Artorias is associated with Wolves, with his Wolf Ring and the Great Grey Wolf Sif guarding his grave.
    • Dragon Slayer Ornstein is associated with Lions, with his Leo Ring and lion-shaped helmet.
    • Hawkeye Ghough is associated with Hawks, with his Hawk Ring, title, and affinity for sniping and marksmanship.
    • Lord's Blade Ciaran is associated with Hornets, with her Hornet Ring and deadly affinity with a poisonous dagger.
  • Animated Armor: The deadly Black Knights. Their bodies were burned to ash when Gwyn tried to link the fire. Possibly the Iron Golem as well.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: Gravelord Nito sleeps in his giant coffin. Siegmeyer falls asleep in all sorts of odd places including a poisonous swamp. In his armor. While standing up.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Accidentally made an NPC hostile towards you? Pay Oswald of Carim a visit so he can absolve your sins and make said NPCs peaceful again. (Unless you make Oswald hostile as well, in which case you'll have to wait until your next playthrough.)
    • Certain enemies in the game have especially rare and valuable drops. However, not all of these enemies respawn. The way to counter this is that any enemy of which there is a finite amount in the game will always have the very last one drop whatever you haven't gotten from the others yet, so you won't need to go through another playthrough.
  • Anti-Grinding: While the campaign itself doesn't punish grinding, raising your level leaves you vulnerable to being invaded by higher-level black phantoms. If you raise your level too high in the earlier areas, you'll likely end up regularly being invaded by hostile players equipped with powerful weapons and armor way above anything you have access to at that point. A similar punishment is that if you raise your level too high compared to the average level range for an area, you'll have a harder time finding players you can summon to help you. If you go too high it might become near impossible to find other players.
  • Anyone Can Die: Just about any NPC could die, either at one another's hands or due to you killing them. This even applies to some merchants/trainers, so watch out! Several named merchants wander off and become hollow after purchasing everything they have.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted; unlike in Demon's Souls, heavy armor now has the advantage of Poise, meaning your actions (including healing) aren't as easily interrupted by damage.
  • Artificial Stupidity: This shows up from time to time, especially in areas with precarious footing like Blighttown. You'll be travelling along when you'll randomly gain souls from some enemy that accidentally fell off a ledge to it's death.
    • Likewise, in some areas, it's easy to cheese an enemy into a spot where it will walk endlessly, allowing you to whale on them with impunity.
    • Sif is a Lightning Bruiser, and constantly repositions himself around the map by jumping. Ocassionally, he'll jump on top of you, one of the few safe places in a fight against him, and allow you to attack his legs before hopping away.
    • Rats in particular seem to have bugged attack priorities, where they'll often simply run away from the player, even when they outnumber you greatly and are almost always placed in corners they'll run against fruitlessly. It takes a few seconds for them to turn around, in which time you will have ample opportunity to kill them. This is particularly noticeable in the Painted World, where you can easily walk through swarms of rats with no problem.
    • One of the best ways to grind souls in the early game involves taking advantage of this with the NPCs just past the gate in Darkroot Garden. They are far too tough to take on at early levels, but if you stand in just the right spot on a certain ledge, they will try to jump down to you, bounce off your head, and fall straight off the cliff, granting you 1000-2000 souls a pop.
    • Special mention goes to the bat-winged demons of Anor Londo. Despite having a fierce thrusting attack, their evasive maneuver will often send them plunging backward to their deaths. (Extra points for forgetting they can fly).
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: This is the objective of the dragon apostles, who seek to become immortal and transcend life by attaining an ancient dragon's body. Given by what happens when you use the appropriate items to do so, it would seem that transforming into a dragon does little more than change your appearance and give you some new abilities.
  • Ass Kicks You: Four bosses (six, if you count Gaping Dragon with his belly drop and Giant Ornstein) have a move that involves squashing you with their posteriors. And Bounding Demons, who are nothing but dragon-zombies' asses and who, while not kicking, leap a hundred or so feet in the air and butt-drop on you.
  • Ass Shove: Backstabbing large humanoid enemies like the Man-Serpents and the Infested Barbarians with a one-handed sword will result in the player giving them a colonoscopy. Even more intentionally done with the Armored Tusk in the Undead Parish, a giant boar covered in silvery armor except for a small section of its rear, just crying out for a buttstab.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: Seath the Scaleless on a pile of dead dragons in the prologue.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: An absurd amount of 50 foot creatures want you dead. These include: wolves, dragons, piles of corpses, gargoyles, giant armored boars, and BUTTERFLIES!
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The giant evil hand of Manus, Father of the Abyss.
  • Attack the Tail: Several bosses drop unique weapons if you do enough damage to their tail. In the case of certain bosses, this makes the fight considerably easier. With other bosses, cutting off the tail is an achievement in and of itself.
  • Author Appeal: Director Miyazaki has stated he isn't a sadist, like many assume, and more of a masochist and that he made the game based on what he liked. The game is also Dark Fantasy and loaded with Berserk references, which he has admitted is an influence.
  • Autosave: The game autosaves almost constantly. The "Now autosaving" icon pops up every time you kill an enemy.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Stone armor set can be gained relatively early and provides excellent defense, but its sheer weight makes it very difficult to travel around in.
    • One of the biggest examples is the Dragon Great Sword, a huge person sized sword that appears to be made of flesh. Not only that but it has a special attack which causes a huge Razor Wind to tear along the ground, wrecking enemies. Unfortunately the stat requirements for it are insane, and by the time you have the stats to use it, there are other better weapons available because it also doesn't scale with stats.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:The Dark Lord ending, in which the primordial serpents bow down and declare you to be the Dark Lord.
  • Ax-Crazy: Undead that have Hollowed. Lautrec. The Darkwraiths.
  • Back from the Dead: Those afflicted with the Darksign, repeatedly.
  • Badass: You the main protagonist.
  • Badass Boast: Several NPCs have some type of Badass Boast should the player make them hostile.
  • Badass Bookworm: Mages in general. As far as NPCs go, Griggs and especially Big Hat Logan.
  • Badass Longcoat: The Wanderer's Coat and the Black Cleric Robe.
  • Badass Normal: Solaire of Astora. All of his items drops point out that none of his abilities came from magical equipment, but from pure training. In the lore it speculates that Solaire was Lord Gwyn's firstborn, who got stripped of his immortal status after an incident that apparently enraged Gwyn.
    • Sieglinde of Catarina as well. She is the only non-undead NPC in the game, and is looking for her father. What makes this significant is that we meet her in the Duke's Archives and in Ash Lake, two endgame areas. And as she is still alive at the end, she must somehow gotten through to those areas without dying. An impressive feat.
  • Badass Preacher: Clerics in general, especially Oswald of Carim.
  • Bald of Evil: Patches is as bald and cowardly as ever.
  • Balloon Belly: Easily to miss while distracted by his more obvious feature, but the Gaping Dragon has one as another sign of his gluttony.
  • Barrier Maiden: Gwyn, by virtue being the fuel for the First Flame. Whether or not this is a good thing is a completely different matter. At the end, you can potentially take his place.
  • Battle Trophy: You can cut body parts from certain enemies and keep them as weapons. You can also collect the armor and weapons of a lot of bosses.
  • Beauty to Beast: Quelaag and her sister, The Fair Lady.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Lady of the Darkling is fervently loyal to Gwyndolin because he accepted her as a follower despite her hideous appearance, providing her purpose in life. Eingyi is similarly devoted to Quelaag's sister because she sucked the deadly Blightpuss from his body, saving his life but becoming deathly sick in the process. Also, it's possible for Maiden Rhea to become friendly towards you should you save her from the Tomb of the Giants after her escorts all either hollowed or abandoned her.
  • Beef Gate: Several areas that are accessible early in the game such as New Londo Ruins, Tomb of the Giants and Demon Ruins are populated by powerful enemies or guarded by a tough boss, but a skilled low-level player can reap substantial rewards should they overcome the challenge. Particularly notable are the skeletons in the graveyard outside Firelink Shrine; aside from being extremely lethal to low-level, inexperienced players, they also drop substantially fewer souls than than the much easier enemies in Undead Burg in the opposite direction, making it clear which direction is preferable at the start. There's also Silver Knights, Havel, the areas simply being what they are, etc. to suggest a soft railroad for new players.
  • Beneath the Earth: A large part of the game is spent underground exploring in some way or another. Whether it is exploring the ruins of New Londo and Lost Izalith, the horrors of the Tomb of the Giants, discovering the Great Hollow and the Ash Lake.
  • Berserk Button: Mortals trespassing on the Tomb of Gwyn is one for Gwyndolin and as far as he is concerned, punishable by death. Clerics are a Berserk Button for Patches.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: The Bell Gargoyles and their tail axes.
  • BFG: More of a BFB, you have the enormous Dragonslayer Greatbow, which is taller than your character, has to be anchored before being fired, and shoots arrows the size of lances.
  • BFS: There's also a whole weapon category named Ultra Greatswords, though not all of them are fantastically huge. Several weapons in this category including the Zweihander, Bastard Sword, Claymore, and Man-Serpent Greatsword are perennial favorites for Player Versus Player due to their long reach and versatile attacks.
    • In many cases, the enemies whose weapons can be looted at least twice the size of the player. Those weapons don't get scaled down when you pick them up. The Gargoyle Halberd, for example, has only slightly better stats than the regular Halberd, but is half again as large.
    • The prize for most comically oversized weapon probably goes to Smough's Hammer which has a barrel-sized head.
  • Black Knight:
    • A few of these are scattered throughout the game, even in the early areas. These guys are tough, often very swift and strong; they don't respawn, so the game basically uses them as minibosses. They're usually off the main path, so encountering them is optional, but there's a chance of them dropping something powerful and awesome if you do manage to destroy them.
    • A summonable phantom Black Iron Tarkus and a black phantom Kirk of Thorns also count. Tarkus is so powerful that he can practically solo the boss you can summon him against, while Kirk is the only black phantom who attacks you more than once in the game. As far as mooks go, the Darkwraith Knights in New Londo Ruins are a Magic Knight version of this.
  • Bladder of Steel: There is no pausing, so you'll need to park your character in a (relatively) safe location if you want to take a break without quitting entirely. Your world can also be invaded by other players so long as you have online connectivity, so leaving your character idle means risking being invaded while you're not there to defend yourself.
    • Averted, if you are not participating in multiplayer. In just about every other moment, you can quit the game. When you reload the game, it will be (mostly) in the state that you left it.
  • Blade Across The Shoulder: PC carries a lot of weapons like this, justified given their sheer weight.
  • Blatant Lies: Sure, Patches, you just get these urges to kick people down to pits and loot their bodies afterwards, it's not your fault.
  • Bleak Level: Oh lord. A sizable portion of the game could easily count.
    • The Painted World of Ariamis stands out. A destroyed castle on an icy mountain, infested with hideously deformed undead and Crow Demons.
    • The Northern Asylum also deserves mention. Even snow-capped peaks appear somehow squalid under the area's perpetual gloom.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The game suffers from numerous translation and grammatical errors, mostly in the item descriptions. Multiple patches since release have fixed some, but created others.
  • Bling of War: The Armor of the Glorious, sold (and worn) by Domnhall. Lord Gwyn's robe also combines this with Badass Longcoat to an extent.
  • Blown Across the Room: Certain enemy attacks and several special attacks of various weapons, most notably the Black Knight weapons.
  • Body Horror: The Egg-Burdened. The Darksign itself could count as an example. Also Chaos Witch Quelaag and her sister.
  • Booby Trap: Sen's Fortress is like a convention center for these. Every hall has either giant swinging axes, arrow slits linked to pressure plates, or giant boulders snaking throughout maze-like corridors. There is even an elevator shaft with spikes at the top should you neglect to get off at your stop.
  • Boom, Headshot: Shooting an enemy in the head with an arrow does extra damage and stuns enemies longer. The same can be done to you. Quelaag can be pain-locked with a bow or well aimed throwing knives. if you get summoned as an ally, you can make a best friend by spamming arrows into her lovely chest and face while your host can wreck her with impunity.
  • Boom Stick: The Dragonslayer Spear can act like this, the heavy one handed attack launching a lightningbolt
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The combination of a spear and a shield is neither the fanciest or the most destructive of styles, but the long reach and the ability to block even when attacking is about as safe as you can get in this game. The v1.06 patch increased the amount of stamina that attacks from behind a shield consume in an attempt to take some of the "practical" out of this.
    • Upgrading your initial armor set (particularly for Thieves and Wanderers) provides one of the most useful armors for many situations with a balance of weight, damage block, and resistances, as there is not a universal "best" armor for lightweight armor, and they're pretty simple to upgrade. The best thing for players to do is just stick with an armor set, rather than progressively upgrade several ones. For heavy armor, the player has the ability to access Havel's armor and the Black Iron set by the mid-game, as well as the aforementioned Stone Giant set, and sticking with one of these is best. The reason these are awesome instead of boring? Havel's set and the Stone Giant armor are carved from solid stone and the Black Iron set is identical to fan favorite Iron Tarkus's equipment.
    • Most Straight Swords are this, being an excellent balance between range, speed, and power, and many of them have great stat scaling to boot. You don't need any flashy elemental effects when normal versions of the Longsword or Balder Side Sword work even better.
  • Boss Battle: Dark Souls is host to a variety of bosses just itching to stick their foot up your ass.
    • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Knight Artorias from the Prepare to Die edition. A hideous Bloathead appears in his arena and it seems like it could be the boss, but then it's impaled from above by Artorias. Doubles as a Shout-Out to the Penetrator from Demon's Souls.
    • Boss Rush: The Demon Ruins contains an odd variation of this. Three new bosses are fought in rapid succession with scores of Degraded Bosses in between those encounters.
    • Bonus Boss: Black Dragon Kalameet in the DLC is a completely optional battle that you have to go out of your way to fight, and is also a top contender for the hardest boss in the game. The only reward for beating him is a ring that doubles the amount of damage that you take when hit.
    • Damage-Sponge Boss: The two main DLC bosses, Knight Artorias and Manus, Father of the Abyss have above average damage resistance and noticeably more health than even the 5 endgame bosses.
    • Degraded Boss: The Taurus Demon, the Capra Demon, the Bell Gargoyles, Pinwheel and the Moonlight Butterfly can all be encountered as normal enemies later in the game. The Gargoyles are however, unique, non-respawning enemies, but mooks nonetheless.
    • Dual Boss: Belfry gargoyles. Smough and Ornstein.
    • Duel Boss: Gwyn, Lord of Cinder. Although you can summon Solaire of Astora to fight Gwyn alongside you if you meet him throughout the game and prevent him from going insane in his search of his "own sun" by killing the Chaos Bugs outside of Lost Izalith.
    • Flunky Boss: The Capra Demon and its two dogs. Also, Gravelord Nito with his resurrecting skeletons.
    • Get Back Here Boss: Gwyndolin, who teleports away down a seemingly endless hallway as soon as you catch up to him.
    • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle against Seath the Scaleless; his health bar never goes down, despite whatever damage you deal to him.
    • Mini-Boss: Plenty show up as unique, nonrespawning enemies at various points in the game.
    • Mirror Boss: While not true bosses, the Black Phantom minibosses basically operate like preset, AI-controlled Player Characters.
    • Puzzle Boss: The Bed of Chaos, whom you do not fight directly.
    • Recurring Boss: The Black Phantom Kirk of Thorns will show up to harass you if you're human three times in the game.
    • Skippable Boss: Eight of the twenty-two bosses are completely optional. With Sequence Breaking that number goes up even higher.
    • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Capra Demon, who requires you to master your dodging reflexes at a time where your equipment is not at an optimized state.
    • Warm-Up Boss: The Asylum Demon, being the boss of the tutorial dungeon and an Early Bird Boss if you don't choose to flee from it.
    • Wolf Pack Boss: The Four Kings, who successively spawn as time passes and can swarm you if you're too slow.
    • Boss in Mook Clothing: Most enemies that are one time encounters (that is, they don't respawn after killing them once) are this, most notably the Black Knights and the Titanite Demons. Titanite Demons are especially notable as they're the only source of Demon Titanite, the only crafting materiel that can upgrade the various weapons made from boss souls.
  • Bottomless Pits: All over the place, and one of the most common reasons of death in the game. However, this works both ways, and can be used offensively with a little maneuvering on the player's part and careful timing of their kick attack.
  • Breakable Weapons: All equipment is subject to wear and tear, though it's easy enough to repair everything. Crystal equipment is especially bad since it can't be repaired and has very low durability in the first place. A few enemies use attacks with the nasty side effect of breaking your equipment.
  • Breath Weapon: Several enemies, such as the Gargoyles and Seath the Scaleless. And if you join the Path of the Dragon, you can have one too.
  • British Accents: The English voiceovers of the game have a variety of them.
  • Broken Bird: Every female character, save Sieglinde, whose tragedy occurs within the game.
  • Burn The Undead: Yep, pyromancy can be even more effective than sorcery against common undead.
  • Call to Adventure: Having a dead body dumped into your prison cell and meeting the knight who dumped it as he lays dying kind of sets the mood.
  • Canis Major: Great Grey Wolf Sif is just as intimidating as the more gruesome monsters. He can even wield swords!
  • Came Back Strong: Those branded with the Darksign spontaneously return to life, effectively making them immortal. However, they grow closer and closer to becoming a mindless zombie called a Hollow every time. The Protagonist uses a magical essence often called "humanity" to reverse this process, making it more of a case of being Cursed with Awesome ...though it is still only delaying the inevitable. There's a reason it seems to take you so long to simply become a mindless hollow, and Kaathe clues you in to it later in the game.
  • Camera Centering: The button that allows for locking on also centers the camera if no enemies are present.
  • Camera Lock-On: Returns from Demon's Souls, finicky as ever, though a patch has helped somewhat.
  • Canon Welding: The scaleless dragon Seath makes an appearance, who was also one of two major deities in the King's Field series. Patches from Demon's Souls also puts in an appearance.
  • Captain Obvious: Players can lay down simple messages using the Orange Guidance Soapstone for other players online, and readers of a message can up-rate it in the case of good advice ("beware of chest" in front of a Mimic) or decent jokes ("beware of chest" in front of Gwynevere). Such messages are usually rated at ten or so. The most up-rated message in the game, whenever it appears, is invariably in front of the Firelink Shrine bonfire, with a rating in the thousands and thousands. It reads: "Bonfire?"
  • Cardboard Prison:
    • Northern Asylum lets inmates keep their starting gear... for some reason. Though you do begin the game with just your clothing, the gift you picked, and a broken sword.
    • The prison in the Duke's Archives is also incredibly easy to escape from, since you can keep your gear that's heavily upgraded by this point when you're redirected there and the guard with the key is just snoozing outside your cell waiting for you to stab it in the back.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The First Flame is on the verge of dying. This is actually the second time this has happened. The first time happened about 1,000 years before the main events of the game, and caused the loss of the two most proactive Lords, Gwyn and Izalith, the complete downfall of the city of Izalith, unleashed demons onto the world and set in motion the events that caused the gods to abandon Anor Londo.
  • Cats Are Mean: The Great Felines.
  • Central Theme: Fire, death, and what beauty means in the Crapsack World of Dark Souls according to Director Miyazaki.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Like Demon's Souls, this is mostly averted, as all of the armor is now unisex. You're only going to see boob-curves if your character is wearing something flexible and form-fitting like leather armor (even then, it's still sensible). The major exception to this is the "Hollow Warrior" armor set, which really doesn't cover that much at all. The pants/shoe component is just one shoe (and no pants!) and the chest armor covers just the shoulders and upper chest. It doesn't look that skimpy on a zombie, but on a healthy human female it's hilarious.
  • Character Customization: You're given a choice of ten classes, eight "gifts" that can be added to your starting equipment, and have access to a powerful appearance editor with more options than you can shake a stick at (even though you're hollow most of the time, and even then, you're probably wearing a face obscuring headpiece)
  • Cherry Tapping: It is possible, although tedious, to defeat the tutorial area's Asylum Demon using only the sword hilt or your bare hands instead of running away as intended, though one can speed up the process by choosing the Black Firebomb as an initial gift. The game even rewards you with a weapon should you manage.
  • The Chessmaster: Gwyndolin whose plan is further explained in his character page. Completely outdone by the Pygmy, however, who set this entire chain of events into motion ages ago.
  • The Chosen One: Played with. Undead are constantly travelling to Lordran in an effort to fulfill the prophecy of the Chosen Undead, with some countries sending virtual armies of questing knights. It is not made clear if The Chosen Undead is a specific, predestined hero, or simply the first undead warrior who has the skill, humanity, and raw determination to get to Anor Londo and recover the Lordvessel.
  • The Chosen Zero: The Chosen Undead, at least in the opinion of several in game characters, though they don't know he is The Chosen One at the time. Petrus initially tells you to go away, and literally pays you to leave him alone. Rhea and her companions call you scraggly and a waste of time. Quelana calls you a fool multiple times, but in a Tsundere way.
  • Chrome Champion: The effect of the Iron Flesh pyromancy.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Patches' betrayal spree continues from the previous game. Some dialogue implies that Shiva of the East was also originally to have this trait (and cut content confirms it), but it never goes anywhere.
  • Cliff Hanger: The Dark Lord ending is something of one.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Instead of just having Black and Blue Phantoms, the color will change depending on which covenant you are in during Online Play and which multiplayer item you use.
  • The Combat Pragmatist: You. Standing toe-to-toe with many enemies and fighting them head-on is asking for another "YOU DIED" screen. The game itself actively encourages you to not fight fairly, and many boss arenas have areas where you can hide and snipe with relative impunity. Running around behind a foe to backstab him, sniping him with arrows or magic from across the map, climbing up onto ledges they can't reach and plinking them, luring them into running off cliffs or into traps... all's fair in this game. Really, the only reason to fight "fairly" is so you can figure out the enemy's tells, moveset, and patterns by receiving their abuse firsthand.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Demonic Foliage in Darkroot Forest have these as arms. The Pisaca in the Dukes Archives have this on their head, which they use to restrain you and deliver an extremely deadly attack.
  • Companion Cube: The Male Undead Merchant has a wooden basket named Yulia, which he constantly pets and talks to.
    • There is speculation regarding who/what Yulia really is. If you smash his bucket, the Male Undead Merchant does...absolutely nothing. This has led some to believe that Yulia is really his uchigatana also if you kill him, his dying words are, ''Little Yulia..."
  • Competitive Balance: Each character class is given the chance to thrive in the world of Dark Souls.note 
    • Glass Cannon: The Bandit, The Hunter
    • Fragile Speedster: The Thief, The Wanderer
    • Magic Knight: The Pyromancer, The Cleric
    • Jack of All Stats/Barbarian Hero: The Deprived
    • Mighty Glacier: The Warrior
    • Squishy Wizard: The Sorcerer
    • Stone Wall: The Knight
    • This also extends to the three most common forms of combat, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
      • Melee combat is extremely practical, dealing out a huge amount of damage, reliable attacks against rushing enemies, and a massive arsenal at your disposal, all while having a very low cost to repair weapon durability. However, a large percentage of the enemies encountered can murder you easily if gotten to up close, and about a third of the bosses are very resistant to melee, and most mid to late game weapons require high levels in four of the main stat categories (Strength, Dexteriy, Magic and Faith).
      • Archery plays it safe, with clever use of sniper spots that enemies can't reach, exploitable blind spots against bosses and mobs, and weak points (usually the head) that can't be reached without manual targetting. There are many downsides, though; a decent arrow costs a rather large amount of souls, and you have to buy them in the hundreds to keep going; most bows are weaker than melee weapons; you have to remain stationary when preparing to fire an arrow, and manual aim is impractical at close range.
      • Magic has a large variety of uses, with healing, defensive, and offensive spells that can potentially devastate most enemies and bosses with little effort. However, most of the stronger spells are acquired late in the game, often sold at a very high price (sometimes way more souls than you can gather for one level up), and wielding them requires investing into Magic/Faith and Attunement, stats that don't show a considerable increase in power until you reach around 30-40.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: If your attacks hit a wall, they'll bounce right off. If your enemies' attacks hit a wall... they'll clip right through.
    • Remember how the Vancian Magic nature of spells means that you run out of spells after so many casts? Don't expect that to happen to enemies.
    • On the other hand, AI Black Phantoms and White/Gold Phantoms always perform overweight "fat" rolls, despite their equipment suggesting that, at your level, they should be able to roll at <50% weight speeds.
    • Your arrows go straight where you fired it - enemies can have their arrows curve mid-flight to hit you.
    • When an enemy dodges he is immune for the entire animation, unlike the player.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: Four fan-made shield designs made it in the game proper: the Sanctus, the Effigy Shield, the Bloodshield, and the Black Iron Greatshield.
  • Constructed World: While there is a lot of elements from Medieval cultures, Dark Souls is a very separate fantasy world.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Dying returns you to the last bonfire you rested at and respawns all monsters that aren't bosses or minibosses. You'll also drop all of your souls and humanity where you died, and if you die before recollecting them, they vanish permanently. Finally, if you were in human form, dying always returns you to hollow form, effectively losing the humanity you spent getting it.
  • Continuity Nod: As the player crosses a bridge in the Undead Burg, the Hellkite dragon will land in front of them and then fly off. Later, when the player crosses a bridge in the downloadable content, the Black Dragon Kalameet will land in front of them and fly off in the same way.
  • Convection Schmonvection: You won't get burned even when standing next to a glowing lava river... unless you try to jump over it because there's a shiny piece of loot on the other side. In fact, you don't even get burned when standing on rock that is still slightly melted and glowing red, as long as it's not yellow-hot lava.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Returns from Demon's Souls, as explained in the description.
  • Copy Protection: In order to dissuade players from breaking the street sell date and playing the game early, Black Phantoms wearing Smough's armor and with levels maxed in every stat were released into the game and will kill premature buyers on sight.
  • Cosplay: It's perfectly possible to find nearly every set of robes, garnments or armor identical to an existing human-sized NPC in the game and pose as them, with matching weapons and sometimes shield. Domhall of Zena also provides equipment worn by some bosses after you defeat them, ranging from a scaled-down Iron Golem set to Ornstein and Smough's Scary Impractical Armors to even Artorias's worn out silver armor..
  • Counter Attack:
    • Parrying returns from Demon's Souls, but has been made a bit easier to execute. Certain enemies can also do this to you if you're not careful.
    • A well-timed normal hit after blocking an enemy attack may also cause additional damage.
  • Collision Damage: The Humanity Sprites in the Chasm of the Abyss in the Artorias of the Abyss DLC damage the player very quickly when they float through you.
  • Crapsack World: The world of Dark Souls is a pretty bleak place to live. For starters, the First Flame is on the cusp of dying. When this happens all fire will die and there is absolutely no telling what will happen to the world other than the gods losing their power and possibly going hollow. In addition to that, a curse called the Dark Sign has absolutely ravaged the humans of the world. This curse makes its victim undead, allowing them to return to life after death. However, as they die they lose some of their humanity, eventually becoming mindless, violent hollows. Many nations have collapsed because of this curse, including Lordran, the setting of the game. Undead that still have their senses are brutally mistreated, hunted and sacrificed to maintain the First Flame. Most of the gods are MIA, although it doesn’t seem like they would or could do anything even if they weren’t. It really seems as though the world is on the brink of ending. And that's just the start of it. This doesn’t cover the vast amount of deadly monsters, demons, terrible ways to die, the torturous fates of the many characters, and the multi-millennia long conspiracy and battle to control the fate of the world.
  • Creepy Crows: You are initially brought from the Undead Asylum to greater Lordran by a gigantic crow.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Averted. There is no weight limit on your inventory like in Demon's Souls, and the weight of your equipment allows for several degrees to mobility that fall between the extremes of "like a ninja" and "like a limply thrown brick." At less than 25%, you move at max speed and agility. At 25%-50%, you suffer a minor reduction in both. At 50-100%, the reductions are significantly increased, but you can still dodgeroll as long as you know what you're doing. At 100% and beyond, you are reduced to slow walking and can't roll at all.
  • Critical Hit: Backstabs and ripostes (the latter initiated after parrying an opponent), which deal a high amount of damage whenever they connect, often enough to kill most lower enemies in one hit. This works mostly for human-sized NPCs and other players, although you can also parry the Final Boss.
  • Critical Status Buff: The Red and Blue Tearstone Rings, which grant their user a whopping 50% increase in damage and defence respectively when their health drops below 20%.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Oh, yes. Most enemies have special attacks that will end your life in the most brutal of ways. Getting your throat sliced by assassins, cursed and turned to ashes by monstrous amphibians, lethally poisoned by blowdart snipers or baby skeletons, eaten alive by too many nasties to list them...
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The nation of Thorolund including the Way of the White. The religion surrounding Velka might be this as well, given that they mention bishops by name.
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • Bearing the Darksign means your character is incapable of staying dead, through there are drawbacks. See Came Back Strong and Came Back Wrong above for details.
    • The actual "Cursed" status effect is pretty horrible: when your curse resistance meter fills you die and become cursed, which halves your HP and prevents you from gaining Humanity or using it to become human again. Hell, the halved HP effect used to stack before being fixed in a patch. But cursed beings and weapons are the only things that can hurt the otherwise invincible ghosts in the New Londo Ruins. There is no downside at all to using Transient Curses (which inflict a temporary and totally harmless curse on you) or "Cursed" weapons.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Most boss fights go down like this on the player's first one or two tries, before the player understands the bosses tells.
    • A few mobs can also kill the player if they're not careful: the Stone Knights and the Demonic Foliage guarding the Elite Knight Set can Zerg Rush you and prevent you from escaping with a movement-reducing spell; Black Phantoms spawned by a Gravelord infection coften fight alongside their original counterparts, making crowd control difficult for players.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Quelaag and her sister, leaning very heavily towards the "monster" side of things. Priscilla counts as well.
  • Cute Mute: Anastacia of Astora.
  • Cute Witch: Witch Beatrice has an outfit that makes her exactly this; it even shows off a bit of female curves when most armors in the game don't. This makes discovering her fate all the more painful.
  • Darkest Hour: Literally, as the First Flame was dying, taking sunlight out with it. It was also the Darkest Hour for the world figuratively until you escape from your prison.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In fact, darkness itself is implied to be strongly linked to humanity, to the point that capital-H Humanity is represented in-game as a ghostly night-black substance with a life of its own.
  • Dead All Along: Laurentius of the Great Swamp and Griggs of Vinhiem eventually wander off and go hollow... but where they go hollow is very close to where you found (and looted) dead bodies earlier in the game wearing the exact clothing they were wearing.
  • Deadly Dodging: Sometimes pops up in PvP. Some of the more evasive enemies can be tricked into environmental hazards like the Snake Men and the Armor Bore in Undead Parish.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Crestfallen Warrior, who never misses the chance to pass a snide comment on anyone who visits the Firelink Shrine.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: A common motto for Dark Souls players is "If you can hit it, you can kill it." And this is true. Literally any weapon can be used to kill any enemy under the right circumstances. Just don't expect it to be done quickly this way. It's not uncommon to see conventional weapons barely even dealing Scratch Damage to later bosses, usually to emphasize that there's a better way.
    • Poisons will generally do this to the player. It turns into more of a hassle than an actual threat, because if you lack any items to remove it, all you can do is immediately turn around and head back to your bonfire or try to keep pushing through to get to one. Without an appropriate number estus flasks or a fairly high health pool, you will die from it, but it will take a long time.
  • Death World: All of the nations that fell to the Darksign are implied to be this, which is why the curse of undeath is so frightening. Lordran is an even more dangerous example because of a variety of other cataclysms in addition to the Darksign that ravaged it. This game isn't Nintendo Hard for nothing.
  • Dead to Begin With: The player character starts off as an undead.
  • Decoy Leader: Gwynevere
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen: Rhea and Quelana, who both warm up to the player after certain events.
  • Determinator: The undead hero, and by extension the player controlling him or her.
  • Devour The Dragon: In the Ornstein and Smough boss fight, defeating one of them will cause the other to regain all their health and absorb the power of their fallen comrade. Smough gains lightning power while Ornstein becomes huge.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything
    • There's a unique critical animation for attacking someone laying down in the coffin in the Catacombs.
    • If you Sequence Break past the Hopeless Boss Fight in the Duke's Archives, then you won't get tossed in the tower prison, preventing you from freeing the last Sorcery vendor and picking up a Firekeeper Soul. However, beating the the real boss fight of the area will cause the prison doors to open anyway. In fact, while Logan will normally break himself out if you defeat the boss, he won't do it if you Sequence Break until you go sneak into your cell and trigger the breaking out cutscene.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: By the end of the game you've killed almost every established Badass in the universe, including a couple who are gods. The Downloadable Content also sends you back in time to own an Eldritch Abomination bent on plunging the world into darkness.
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Occasionally, the player may come across some breakable items that are just in the way. It's a lot easier to just smash the things to bits than go around them.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Par for the course being a FROM Software creation.
    Truth is, Dark Souls isn't fun 95% of the time. It's the other 5% that you play for. Things are so incredibly difficult that even the tiniest victories bring you close to tears of joy and relief.
    • Pyromancy spells are not dependent on stats, but are much less intuitive than other offensive spells. Most pyromancy spells arc when thrown, requiring you to figure out the distance and drop of the spells when throwing it at the target. The arc and height of the shot is also dependent on where the lock-on icon is located, and since taller enemies have higher lock-on reticules, you can throw the spells at longer distances than with smaller enemies. Therefore, any use of pyromancy is going to involve you figuring out arcs and distances. But once you figure out the range issues with the spells and level up the pyromancy flame high enough, the damage output is insane.
    • Greatswords, and other slow two-handed weapons like them. What makes them difficult is the fact that they're slow as crap, require two-handing unless you have lots of strength, and usually makes your dodge roll crap. The awesome part is due to their insane damage (especially with a Zaphander or a Chaoshander) and reach compared to similarly-leveled one-handers.
  • Difficulty Spike: Up until Anor Londo, with Sen's Fortress being the only real exception, the levels themselves are just sorta there, yet after Anor Londo, the challenge of simply navigating the map intensifies. You have the lava field in Lost Izalith, invisible floors in the Duke's Archives, and worst of all, the near pitch darkness of the Giant's Tomb. In comparison, the final area, save for a few Elite Mooks, seems relatively easy.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: The higher the attribute, the less you benefit from increasing it further. Going above 40 or so in a single attribute is generally a waste unless you have a specific plan in mind.
  • Dirty Coward: "Trusty" Patches, who tries to kick you off a ledge while you are distracted. Twice!
  • Disc One Nuke: There are several powerful weapons available early on in the game if you know the special conditions required for obtaining them.
    • The Drake Sword is the most famous because of how easy (if somewhat time consumingly) obtained it is for new players via buying a bow and about 50 cheap arrows in Undeadburg, then shooting off the Bridge Wyvern's tail from the complete safety of standing under said bridge. It doesn't scale with stats or get much from upgrades (which it needed rare Dragon Scales to do), and requires 16 Strength to wield, but it's still a 200 damage one hander that can carry the player pretty far. It even has a ranged attack! Its only downside, besides the not scaling, is its moveset - all swings, no thrusts. Makes it annoying to use in cramped quarters.
    • If a player starts with the Master Key and spends their souls to level up appropriately they can start Undead Burg with the Astora's Straight Sword, a weapon that does about 180 damage when using it at the lowest level possible (compared to the 80ish damage from the usual starting weapons) and the Dragon Crest Shield, which blocks 100% of physical damage, is really good against fire damage and has fairly high stability, especially for a starting shield. That is, if they don't mind doing a suicide run to steal treasure from an undead dragon that can one shot them. This is a good alternative to the Drake Sword because the damage from Astora's Straight Sword scales with your stats, and you're prepared to go into the Catacombs if need be.
    • Players that don't start with the Master Key can get the Uchigatana relatively easily in the Undead Burg by attacking the Undead Merchant. This weapon inflicts bleed build up for massive damage and has an enormous reach (unlike the daggers that inflict bleed). It also scales with Dexterity and doesn't require the investment of stats that Astora's Straight Sword does.
    • Starting as a Pyromancer gives you access to the equivalent of a regenerating pile of firebombs to throw at enemies. It's a while before you can find and rescue the first pyromancy trainer, but just starting out you'll be able to waste small groups of zombies in one hit or seriously damage Black Knights at a distance (provided you keep dodging their counterattacks). Killing Black Knights often gets you powerful weapons and armor so one Disc One Nuke can lead to another and another.
    • The Black Knight Sword, especially post Patch 1.5 where the drop rate was significantly increased, meaning players can very possibly get the weapon from one of the three early nonrespawning Black Knights. The stat requirements are comparatively high (20 Strength, 18 Dexterity), but easily attainable. While the weapon only has mediocre scaling, its base damage makes it very poweful throughout the entirety of the first playthrough and New Game+, and it is extremely easy to fully upgrade (Easily possible to do so before ringing the Second Bell of Awakening). It also has a very good, versatile move set with both wide sweeping attacks for attacking multiple enemies and a nice vertical combo when fighting a single opponent/tight areas. All black knight weapons also have a hidden stat that deals bonus damage against anything classified as a "demon," including the very tough titanite demons.
    • If one starts with the Master Key it is possible to get to the Darkroot Basin from Firelink Shrine, where there is a Black Knight that has a chance of dropping the Black Knight Halberd. Killing the knight can prove a bit difficult with weak gear but it is entirely possible to backstab him off the cliff for an easy kill. The Halberd is not only the strongest Black Knight weapon (much more powerful than the sword), it is arguably the strongest PVE (player versus AI/enemy) weapon in the game. Its moveset is not particularly good, but it has pretty great reach and absolutely insane damage. Its requirements are much higher than most of the other Disc One Nukes (32 strength, 18 dexterity), but if you forego a shield and two-hand the weapon, only 22 strength is required. If you begin the game as a warrior, you only need 14 levels to be able to use the weapon, which can take a little bit of time, but it's well worth the investment because the Halberd make every single boss in NG a joke.
    • Another extremely powerful weapon that a player can get from the very start is the Gravelord Sword, one of the rewards for joining Nito's covenant. It takes some smooth moves and some tricky jumps. You'll have to dodge several skeletons and make an almost fatal leap of faith, including dodging the attacks of a giant demon that can one-shot you in order to grab the items that will let you join the covenant. But, your prize is a sword that can last you the entire game, even into NG+.
    • Speaking of the graveyard, bum-rushing it, avoiding the skeletons, and getting to the end of it grants you the Zweihander. If you have the right strength/dexterity combo to wield it, it's generally considered one of the better greatswords out there, it takes down any enemy early on in a single hit, it hits like a truck against bosses (especially with a plunging strike), and it can last you the entire game potentially (especially with that Gamebreaker build with the shock enchantment).
    • The Zwei and GLS are great for builds which use strength, but for dexterity characters, the Great Scythe is located on the same Catacombs shortcut as the GLS and is actually found before it, meaning while you do have to dodge some fireballs and kick a few skeletons into the chasms, you don't have to make the jump or get past the powerful demon.
    • Dumping your first few levels into Faith, along with some clever dodging, can allow you to completely ignore the Hellkite Dragon and join the Warrior of Sunlight covenant immediately after beating the Taurus Demon. The player gets the Lightning Spear miracle from this. Along with being a spell that can be obtained rather early, it decimates bosses up to the mid-game and can One-Hit Kill most standard enemies. Investing some more points into faith and helping other players in co-op also ranks you up in the covenant, earning you an improved version of the miracle. Unfortunately, both have a low amount of charges, making them Too Awesome to Use if you're not certain about finding nearby bonfire locations.
  • Distressed Damsel: The rescue Rhea arc after she gets betrayed in the Tomb of Giants. Anastasia after she is killed by Lautrec. Sieglinde and Dusk are trapped in Crystal Golems, and the latter is kidnapped by Manus in the Downloadable Content.
  • Door To Before: Quite a lot of them; even the initial area, the Undead Burg, is surprisingly intricate.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Pinwheel.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Get gnawed on by the Gaping Dragon? Get your throat slit by an undead thief? Get stomped on by a giant? You aren't dropping your sword and shield.
  • Downloadable Content: The Prepare to Die Edition content on consoles, named Artorias The Abysswalker.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: If you remove the Covenant of Artorias ring while in the Abyss, you are horrifyingly dragged down into the darkness. The game even gives you a special message when you die; "You were consumed by the Abyss."
    • And in light of what happened to Oolacile in the new content, this kind of death can now be considered a fucking scary Fate Worse than Death if not for gameplay mechanics.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Everything verges on this at times. Although you can carry a maximum of 20 Estus Flasks and attune a lot of healing spells if you build your character right, the long stretches between bonfires filled with hordes of Demonic Spiders can make you burn through them terrifyingly fast. Add in weapon degradation, limited spell castings and the price of arrows...
  • Dug Too Deep: In the Artorias DLC, the people of Oolacile (possibly having been manipulated by a Primordial Serpent, if Chester is to be believed), were said to have disturbed the grave of Manus, thus resulting in the spread of the Abyss and the subsequent destruction of Oolacile.
  • Dummied Out: A variety of items and quests were dummied out. However, a few armor sets like the Elite Cleric Set and the Mage Smith Armor can be obtained by modifying your save game.
  • Dump Stat: The Resistance stat is universally considered to be this. Also, Attunement over 50 is a complete waste as you don't gain any more attunement slots past that point.
  • The Dung Ages: Again, the setting is very similar to Demon's Souls. The Dung Ages aspect is most evident in the Depths and Blighttown.
  • Dungeon Bypass
    • In general, there are a variety of ways to skip massive amounts of the game through the Master key gift.
    • Some careful drops can let you skip most of the Catacombs or the Tomb of the Gaints. Considering the latter has severely limited visibility, you really have to know where you're going.
    • The end of the Painted World can be reached in two or three minutes with a careful drop into the courtyard, a quick sprint to and beatdown of the zombie dragon, and jump attacking its discarded hindquarters to make them stand up so you hop down to the boss's fog door.
  • Dynamic Entry: Artorias in one of the PC version trailers.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The cast by and large is more messed up than they appear, even if they are nice people overall.
  • Earn Your Fun: Like its predecessor, Dark Souls is going to make you work your ass off to make it to the end. One of the game trailers puts it best.
    PREPARE TO DIE. FIGHT. STRUGGLE. ENDURE. SUFFER. LIVE
  • Eaten Alive: Several enemies will do this to you; the mimics, the great felines, the man-eating shells and the Gaping Dragon.
  • The Eeyore: The Crestfallen Warrior is about as cheery as his counterpart in the previous game, even sharing the same joyless laugh. Eventually, he leaves the Shrine to "do something about" Frampt and promptly Hollows on the outskirts of New Londo. The Crestfallen Merchant is no cheerier.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Two of them stand out throughout the game.
    • The Bed of Chaos: a tree-like monstrosity born from the Witch of Izalith's failed attempt at recreating the First Flame with her Lord Soul's power over chaos. Not only did it devour her and some of her daughters, but it also became the source of all demons roaming throughout Lordran.
    • Manus, Father of the Abyss: an unknown being (possibly the Furtive Pygmy) whose Humanity had gone out of control and turned him into a crazed, ape-like creature with multiple red eyes, disproportional arms, and control over the darkness of the Abyss. All he now cares about is to spread this darkness over Lordran, starting with Oolacile.
  • Eldritch Location: The Abyss, a horizonless void of pure darkness (although anything within it is still lit up). One NPC tells you that it is not for mortals. He's right, as walking into it will kill you. That is, unless you have the Covenant of Artorias, which allows you to survive it. It is also the location of the Four Kings.
  • Emote Animation: Aside from writing messages on the ground, the small list of gestures such as waving or bowing is by design the only way players can directly communicate with each other in-game. Breakable totems containing pre-recorded messages perform the same function.
  • Empty Shell: Undead that have hollowed become this, and it's also the only way for to be Killed Off for Real. Gwyn himself has turned hollow after bruning in the Kiln of the First Flame for a millenia.
  • Encounter Bait: There is a thrown item that lures certain types of enemies wherever it lands. Very useful around environmental hazards like ledges and open flames!
  • Endless Corridor: Gwyndolin fights you in one. The corridor is not actually endless but extremely long. It's possible to chase him all the way to the end where he will have nowhere to run. After killing him, said corridor turns out to be yet another illusion created by him, just like the fake daylight in Anor Londo.
  • End of an Age: The entire point of the game. The Age of Fire, the time when the gods ruled the world, is coming to an end. The lords' powers are spent, their kingdom of Lordran is an empty ruin populated entirely by undead, and the First Flame that made it all possible, is rapidly fading away. At the end, it rests of the Player Character's shoulders to either extend the Age of Fire for just a little longer... or to snuff it out entirely and usher in the Age of Dark.
  • Energy Economy: This is how souls work. You can use them up (energy) or sell them to other people, who also probably use them as energy for themselves.
  • Epic Fail: Sometimes the enemies will fall victim to Artificial Stupidity and commit suicide accidentally by jumping off a ledge.
  • Escape Rope: The Homeward miracle and the Homeward Bone items allow you to instantly warp to the last bonfire rested with all your belongings intact.
  • Ethereal Choir: If it isn't Ominous Latin Chanting or a One-Woman Wail, its this.
  • Everything Fades: Averted, areas stay littered with broken bits of scenery and enemies' ragdoll corpses. Only bosses and elites disintegrate.
    • Keen eyed players will notice that almost ALL enemies in Anor Londo will fade. They're merely illusions
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Gwynevere, Princess Rhea of Thorolund and Dusk of Oolacile.
  • Event Flag: Often occurs by talking to someone. Sen's Fortress opens up once you've run both bells of awakening.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Sure enough, all the demons originate from the Fire and Brimstone Hell full of lava, and are resistant to pyromancy.
  • Evil Overlord: Averted by you if you become the Dark Lord-since humanity is linked to the Dark Soul, the Dark Lord is simply the ruler and paragon of humans after the fall of the gods at the end of the Age of Fire, and no moral judgement is passed. Really, that ending simply raises the question of how trustworthy Kaathe is in relation to Frampt.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Seath the Scaleless is a dragon credited with inventing sorcery. He's an insane wreck in the present after vainly trying to solve the mystery of the scales of immortality that every dragon but him possessed.
  • Exact Words: Kingseeker Frampt says that the chosen undead will succeed Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight. He does not tell the undead that Gwyn is currently burning alive instead of ruling his kingdom and you will face the same fate by succeeding him.
    • Gwynevere gets in on it too, when you leave her chambers after receiving the Lordvessel.
    Gwynevere: "Now thou shalt go forth, Chosen Undead. May thou be one with the sunlight for evermore."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Demon Ruins. Demons? Ruins? Both present in abundance.
  • Experience Points: You acquire souls by killing enemies or consuming certain items, which can either be spent to level up or used as currency.
  • Expy: The Taurus Demon looks a lot like Zodd from Berserk. A lot of enemies, or at least their move set, return from Demon's Souls.
  • Faction Calculus: There are nine covenants the player can swear themselves to the game. Here's a list.
  • Fallen Hero: Artorias was tainted by the Abyss after getting his ass kicked by Manus.
    • Depending on your interpretation, Gwyn may also count. By the end of the game the old Lord of Sunlight has been reduced to the mere Lord of Cinder, having lost his family, kingdom and possibly his sanity after burning in the kiln for a thousand years.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Besides the "Prepare To Die" tag line (which is apt, as unless you are EXTREMELY lucky or skilled, you're going to die several times before you get to the mid-point of the second area into the game), there are the endings to the game. Your character either postpones the start of the End of the World as We Know It-while driving the world into further chaos by killing dozens of powerful beings on the journey-or starts the apocalypse, choosing to be the ruler of a dying world. Also, if the interpretation hinted at by several collaborated statements of Word of God is true, then by giving up on the game before completing it symbolizes your character going insane and fully turning into a Hollow. In the end, it comes down to either delaying the end, with almost a complete consensus from all characters In-Universe that there is no way to completely stop it, or getting it over with.
  • Fake Difficulty: The game ticks an awful lot of cases. Few and far-in-between bonfires? Check. No pause button, meaning you can get killed while away from the controller? Check. Stuff needed to complete achievements/trophies that cannot be re-obtained in one playthrough? Check. Completely random A.I. behavior whose movesets can unwittingly throw you off a BottomlessPit? Check!
  • Famous Last Words: Given the nature of the game, and Any One Can Die nature of the game, this shows up a lot.
    • "I would hate to harm you after death.. So, go now... And thank you..." Oscar, knight of Astora
    • "Heheh, not too shabby… I think you've done me a favour…" The Crestfallen Warrior
    • "What the… what did I do wrong…" Petrus of Thorolund
    • "Thou shalt regret this... Fear thine indelible wrongdoings..." Oswald of Carim
    • "Farewell, my rescuer…" Dusk of Oolacile
    • "But, why… What seeketh thee?" Crossbreed Priscilla.
    • "O Heretic, swathed in Dark… An eternal curse upon thee…" Dark Sun Gwyndolin
    • "But how!? You humans…. My dear…Ar..tor…..” Lord's Blade Ciaran
    • "You poor fool... You won't be able to run far enough..." Shiva of the East
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Try stripping off your clothes/armour whilst Hollow.
    • If you're a bit uncomfortable about scantily dressed dudes, male armor is a loincloth thong, where as female characters have briefs.
  • Fanservice:
    • Try stripping off your clothes/armour while not in Hollow form. Or wearing Hollow armour.
    • Quelaag provides both Fanservice and Fan Disservice, considering she's half-naked human woman, half-hideous giant spider.
  • Fantastic Racism: Although it isn't emphasised much in-game, in the backstory there is such a fear and hatred of Undead that they are hunted down and imprisoned. In some cases, this is presumably to stop them from harming people should they turn Hollow - however, Petrus (when initially spoken to) doesn't seem too keen on the player for being Undead and requests that the player keep their distance, and some of the game's cut content outright states that the Way of White admonishes the Undead. This doesn't come up much in the rest of the game as the majority of the cast is Undead.
    • Humans in general get a lot of grief from the native inhabitants of Lordran. This is particularly pronounced in the Abyss content.
  • Fat and Skinny: Smough and Ornstein.
  • Fat Bastard: Smough doesn't show much respect for his fallen comrade should you choose to defeat Ornstein first. Course, he wasn't that much better in the past (see I'm a Humanitarian below). Even Frampt knows that Smough is a bastard, going so far as to offer one soul if you try to feed him Smough's Soul. if you listen carefully, Smough will laugh maniacally after you kill Ornstein and Smough smashes his "friend" into smithereens.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Getting hit with a "curse" attack by a basilisk or other petrifying enemy. It turns your body to stone, killing you instantly, and where-ever you revive, you're stuck at half health until you get cured. Also, becoming hollow and linking the fire.
    • Firekeepers. They're forced to spend the rest of their life guarding a single, lonely bonfire and ensuring that it remains lit despite the fact that fire as a whole is slowly dying, and are explicitly forbidden from ever leaving their bonfire, and its heavily implied even conversing with others is frowned upon. If they ever protest their job, they get their tongue cut out so they can't complain anymore. If they so much as step one foot outside their bonfire's area, they get their legs chopped off. Oh, and many, many people want to kill them, as their souls are the only things capable of powering up the precious Estus Flasks.
      • Their souls are also gnawed by infinite amounts of humanity that have been donated to their bonfires. The Firekeeper of Anor Londo is noted to wear her brass armour to disguise the swarms of humanity underneath.
  • Field of Blades:
    • The gravesite of Knight Artorias is a large, grassy field, the center of which is marked by his greatsword and a large number of gravestones and regular-sized swords sticking up from the ground. It's not explained who else is buried there, though it is probably the resting places of the Forest Hunter covenant members whose spirits guard the site.
    • The Gravelord Sword Dance and Gravelord Greatsword Dance miracles obtained from Gravelord Nito should you join the Gravelord Servant covenant can count as a combination of this and Storm of Blades.
  • Filk Song: By The Escapist's Gavin Dunne, "You Died".
  • Final Boss Preview: In Artorias of the Abyss, that's Manus' hand that drags you back in time. You also get a good look at Gwyn himself in the main game's intro.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith are definitely based around this. The areas are lava filled underground caverns swarming with demons and are home to the Bed of Chaos, the twisted fount of life that birthed demons and chaos into the world.
  • Fireballs: Many different kinds, thanks to pyromancy.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three forms of magic you can use. Pyromancy allows you to wield fire-based spells, miracles allow for the use of lightning, and sorcery, while not technically ice-based, is characterized by bright blue and white colors and many of the spells sound like ice breaking when they impact. Further solidified by the sorcery spells that generate enormous ice-like crystals when they detonate.
  • Flavor Text: Most weapons, keys, and other equipment have a lot of flavor text on them. Unique souls from bosses will often explain parts of the backstory you wouldn't understand otherwise. Hell, the only way to even attempt to piece the backstory together is to try and gather every piece of equipment, find a safe spot to park it, and start writing.
  • Fishing For Mooks: At times an essential tactic.
  • Forest Ranger: The Forest Hunters, particularly Pharis.
  • Forever War: It isn't outright warfare for the most part, but there has been a long conflict over whether the Age of Fire should end or continue, a conflict that has continued for at least 1,000 years.
  • For Massive Damage: Parrying and backstabs return from Demon's Souls.
  • Four Is Death: The Four Kings of New Londo.
  • Freelook Button: Is available when you find and use the binoculars.
  • From Bad to Worse: The further you get in the game, the worse everything gets, either in difficulty, the implicit horror of the backstory behind the place you're going to, or both. You start off abandoned to rot forever in an asylum and escape to a country where everyone normal died long ago. You fight through a town where all the citizens are hostile hollows, then descend into its sewers full of rot, rats, slimes, man-eating butchers and a dragon made almost entirely of teeth. Beneath that, there's a shantytown full of ghouls with poisonous weapons hanging off the side of the sewers, and beneath that is a swamp that poisons you by crossing it. Beyond that is the lair of a spider queen and a Lethal Lava Land full of demons.
    • Then the next act starts and you're forced to go back up. The next area of progress is the nightmarish Sen's Fortress, full of so many traps and almost zero navigating room for fighting the enemies. Make it past there and you're in the one nice-looking place in the game, and it's initially got large open spaces and few hostile enemies, but progress requires you to literally slip through the cracks of the city's defenses and make precarious runs over narrow walkways while being shot at by knights with bows designed to kill dragons. And it's guarded by two of the worst bosses in the entire game.
    • Beyond there, your options are (a) to descend into the crypt beneath a crypt where animate skeletons of giants and the god of death itself await amidst impenetrable darkness, (b) to face a flooded-out ruin where the vengeful ghosts of the thousands who drowned all want to kill you and are invulnerable to conventional weapons, (c ) to face a mad scientist dragon who's turned himself and his servants into crystalline abominations immune to sorcery and who hides his secret in a crystal cave with invisible walkways—one wrong step mean death! or, (d) the burned-out, root-filled, demon-infested Lethal Lava Land city beneath everything that's the source of all demons everywhere in this land. Basically, every new area you discover is the game finding a new way to punch you in the nuts.
  • Fungus Humongous: The mushroom platforms growing in the Great Hollow.
  • Fur Bikini: What the female Player Character has under all the armor.

    G-L 
  • Gainax Ending: Given how out of the way and obtuse the lore in this game is, the Link the Fire ending was this to many people.
  • Game Mod: One the PC version, mostly texture edits and item models. However, due to the fact that the save file can be transferred over from PC to console (this is mostly true for the Xbox 360), it's not uncommon to find modded files that contain near-infinite health and stamina.
    • The PC version was intentionally built without mod support to keep the online play fair, thus the above statement.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When Oscar dies, you actually get (a piddling amount of) souls.
    • You'll never lose your mind like the early-game zombie enemies, even if you spend the whole game Hollow. Maybe that's what makes this undead the chosen one; his ability to stay sane through all the trials.
    • Word of God implies that the player rage quitting and giving up with the game represents the player character losing his mind and going Hollow. So it is possible to go Hollow, if you, the player, aren't a Determinator.
    • Despite being cursed with the Darksign like you, friendly NPCs won't respawn if you kill them.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: A weird example at the start of the game: Oscar doesn't just throw you a key to help you out of your cell, he throws you an entire corpse with the key on it. You never find items on their own, they're either in a body or a box. The undead can't interact with items that aren't on bodies, even in cutscenes, apparently.
  • Gang Up on the Human: The Hollows somehow know not to attack each other, just you and any other Undead that still has his or her mind.
  • Gentle Giant: The giant blacksmith of Anor Londo is better at smithing than talking, but he's happy about the company and perhaps the nicest NPC in the game.
  • The Ghost: The Furtive Pygmy and Gwyn's Four Great Knights, excluding Ornstein. in the base game. The additional content adds all of the absent Great Knights, and heavily implies that Manus, Father of the Abyss is the Furtive Pygmy.
  • Girlish Pigtails: One of the female hairstyles. According to Miyazaki, a female graphic artist asked that they be included when she had to leave development due to illness.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Maneater Mildred and her huge meat cleaver.
  • Glasgow Grin/Cheshire Cat Grin: Alvina and the other Great Felines.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Many hollows have glowing, red eyes. The Black Dragon, Kalameet has one glowing eye. Manus and the bloatheads of Oolacile have many.
  • God Emperor: Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight.
  • Godiva Hair: Chaos Witch Quelaag, and her sister, the Daughter of Chaos. (Not that they have any nipples to cover up...)
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Darkwraiths were considered to be such an enormous threat to Gwyn that in order to keep them from spreading out of New Londo, he had a flood unleashed upon the entire city, killing everyone in it, and sealing them away. It didn't work.
  • Golden Age: The Age of Fire according to the intro. The Age of Darkness/Man according to Kaathe.
  • Golem: The Iron Golem, animated by the bone of an everlasting dragon, and the Crystal Golem enemies created by Seath.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Those gifted with Lord Souls.
  • Götterdämmerung: This is the Twilight of the Lords (who, let's face it, are gods). They've apparently been in decline for quite some time: Gravelord Nito's power has been drained by a wicked necromancer, Anor Londo (the first city of the gods) is nearly vacant, save for one god and his false image. Seath The Scaleless is completely insane. New Londo, the second city of the gods, is a sunken, ghost filled ruin with four insane demigod kings sealed inside. The Witch of Izalith has lost her godly powers in a failed attempt to stop the end of the age of Fire, which has instead resulted in the birth of armies of demons. Oh, and Lord Gwyn sacrificed his life to try and prolong the age of fire, and has become an insane godlike hollow. Your job is to finish the Twilight Of The Gods so that either a new age of the gods can begin, or an age of man can begin.
  • Gradual Regeneration: While a health regeneration ring is no longer available, one can still accomplish temporary regeneration through a Miracle and Paladin Leeroy's Shield, Sanctus.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: While it may seem that the sides are cut-and-dry, discovering Darkstalker Kaathe in the Abyss shows that Gwyn is not quite as pure as he seems and that Frampt hasn't exactly been truthful with the player, making their actions just as questionable as Kaathe's desire to bring about the Age of Dark. The true 'moral' decision seems to be between embracing or fighting the darkness rather than behaving a certain way. Things get even murkier in the Dark Lord ending: both Kaathe and Frampt are heard congratulating you and pledging their loyalty, raising the question of whether anything either of them told you had any truth to it.
    • The central conflict being between "Dark" and "Fire", rather than good and evil, with Fire implied to be the source of the Giants' strength and the reason that Undead such as yourself keep returning to bonfires and sacrificing their humanity, and the Dark Souls implied to be Humanity itself, it's entirely possible that "Dark Lord" in this context does not mean Evil Overlord. In fact, the logical result of the Dark Lord ending is that the Giants you've been fighting the entire game gradually die out, Bonfires go out and Undead will no longer be able to return after death or give up their Humanity, allowing the human race as a whole to begin recuperating and eventually flourish under your leadership, instead of simply prolonging the Age of Fire and letting things go on as they have.
  • Griefer: Welcome to Griefer Heaven! One of the more insidious methods is invading someone's game and starting a fight near NPCs. You can't attack or interact with them, but you can trick the other player into aggroing or killing characters with an errant weapon swing. See Lost Forever, below? You can trick another player into losing stuff forever.
    • The bridge-flipping levers in the Catacombs can also be used for griefing. Patches even takes advantage of them to screw the player over.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The inhabitants of Blightown aren't choosy with their weapons; some of them will happily smack you with a decaying corpse.
    • While most of the "Tail" weapons look like actual weapons, the Guardian Tail Whip is literally the Guardian's ripped-off scorpion tail.
  • Grim Reaper: Nito is effectively this. If you use the Gold-Hemmed Black Set and/or the Dark set and a scythe, you can rock the reaper look.
  • Grimy Water: The swamp underneath blight town. It's mud brown, very shallow and poisonous.
  • Guide Dang It: While the Covenant system is less vague than the Tendency system of Demon's Souls, the game leaves a great deal unexplained. Not all covenants give any immediately obvious benefits, some of them are very well hidden and one can even be permanently missed, requiring you to defeat a semi-hidden boss before a certain plot point which locks you out of it until New Game+. (specifically, you have to find and kill the Four Kings in the New Londo Ruins before showing the Lordvessel to Frampt. Otherwise Darkstalker Kaathe will never appear in the Abyss, locking you out of both some interesting dialogue about the setting and the Darkwraith covenant.)
    • It is possible to save Solaire from being possessed, but it requires a very specific action to be taken ( killing a non-respawning sunlight maggot in the maggot hallway) that isn't even remotely hinted to be important.
  • Half-Human Hybrids: Priscilla the Crossbreed, who is implied to be locked away because of her half-dragon lineage and Lifehunter abilities. The Chaos Witch Quelaag and her sister the Daughter of Chaos are both half-hideous-lava-spider, half-gorgeous-naked-women, although they weren't born that way.
    • The Player can become a half-dragon hybrid should they rank up the Path of the Dragon covenant.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The game starts out implying that you're trying to find a cure for the Dark Sign before switching into the conflict over whether the Age of Fire should be prolonged or ended.
  • Hammer Space: Any weapons you equip or switch to appear out of thin air, no matter how massive they are.
  • Hand Wave: The game explains the ability to assist other players clear areas and bosses you've already beaten in your own game as time distortion and leaves it at that.
  • Handicapped Badass: Artorias, because of his bad arm. Hawkeye Gough is blind, but can still shoot dragons out of the air with ease.
    • It's the dawn of the Age of Fire, so the power of the gods is waning. The lord souls of major bosses lose power overtime. By the time you face them, they are almost nothing compared to themselves in the intro cutscene. This explains how you can murder gods that committed genocide... on dragons... that are immortal.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The Catacombs being followed with the Pinwheel fight.
    • The Depths can be a dark, claustrophobic nightmare the first time you go through it. The boss, however, can be the easiest you've fought up to this point if you thoroughly explore the area before facing it.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The bonfires.
  • Healing Potion: Estus. It looks like glowy orange juice.
  • Health/Damage Asymmetry: Averted, most normal enemies go down in just a few hits, but so does the player.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Siegmeyer attempts to do this for you in Lost Izalith. That said, you can stick with him and prevent him from dying, leaving him grateful though a little embarrassed. The Link the Fire ending can be interpreted as this, regardless of whether it is done willingly or because of deception.
  • Heroic Willpower: The defining trait of the Chosen Undead. As a person cursed with virtual immortality, they must resist going insane, and powering through dying numerous times while being pitted against all-powerful beings.
  • Hero of Another Story: Most of the NPCs are this to a degree, though Solaire and Siegmeyer are the most notable. They're largely going on their own personal adventures in Lordran at the same time as the Player Character, who bumps into them from time to time.
  • He Was Right There All Along: The Demon Centipede can be seen clinging to the side of the building with the bonfire and Capra Demons directly preceding the Demon Firesage, but can only be fought once you reach the lava lake below said building.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Averted with Shiva's bodyguard who is semi-invisible at least. Played straight with the painting guards.
  • Hint System:
    • The Orange Guidance Soapstone allows you to leave messages for other players. Players can leave purposefully misleading or outright false messages, like writing "Jump down here!" in front of a Bottomless Pit. A common joke in Sen's Fortress is to place a message or summon sign on a pressure plate
      • There are several messages put down by the game's designers (visible by using Seek Guidance) telling you exactly where to go and giving hints about characters and treasure. One message in particular that is available to all without Seek Guidance tells players of the invisible bridge in one level that is not hinted at otherwise.
    • Keys, once you find them, often have a description that gives you a hint on where they are meant to be used and what may lie beyond. One for the Undead Burg, for example, warns you of the dogs of the Capra Demon.
    • A common gimmick is to place the message "Amazing Chest" before any encounters with a female NPC (Or Smough, for the Squick factor) "Need Head" Is a common hint as well. Video Game Perversity Potential at its finest.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Essential for most powerful enemies and bosses.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Thoroughly abused in Anor Londo where most players that remember enemy placement behind walls use long weapons to damage them from behind walls. Naturally, the enemy can do the same. Also the case with Havel The Rock if you try to kill him from behind the Darkroot Basin door. Beware one-hit kills.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: You can easily make Seath accidentally destroy the Primordial Crystal, the item that grants him his immortality. If the player is primarily a sorcerer or sorceress, it also falls under this as Seath is the creator of magic in this universe.
  • Homing Projectile: Sorceries like soul arrow, soul spear, homing soul mass, and even arrows. The Hurl Lightning and later lightning miracles don't home, but they move so fast that it doesn't matter.
  • Hope Spot: The "Bartholomew" trailer has one close to the end. During the final part of the song snippet used in the trailer, the tagline pops up word by word. It then shows the PC getting roasted by a dragon while five other words quickly flash on the screen. Fight. Struggle. Endure. Suffer. LIVE.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: The only possible reason as to why Crossbreed Priscillanote  could possibly exist.
  • Hulkspeak: The giant blacksmith in Anor Londo isn't very good at talking, but he does appear to be at least somewhat intelligent.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Way of White and the other followers of Gwyn sacrifice undead to prolong the Age of Fire. The Darkwraiths kill humans to collect their humanity and prevent it from being used to preserve the Age of Fire. Linking the Fire makes one the ultimate sacrifice.
  • Humans Are Good: Miyazaki has said that he wanted to show that deep down, people are truly good. This is shown through how concerned a majority of the NPC's act towards the player. Even Lautrec, an selfish, murderous undead fervently loves the goddess of Fina and does everything he does out of his devotion to her.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: On the other hand, the extremes of humans are portrayed as a very, very bad thing. Manus is a crazed ape from having his humanity go wild, and "Humanity" is the Dark Soul, swallowing everything else up. By contrast, the Gods tend to be portrayed as good even when they do some questionable things, like fabricate the myth of a "Chosen undead".
  • How Do I Shot Web?: If you try to use a Sorcerer's Catalyst without having a sorcery attuned, your character will hold the wand out, shake it around a little, and then scratch their head in confusion.
  • Humans Are Special: Implied through Humanity in general. In addition, according to Elizabeth, Artorias stood no chance against the Abyss because he wasn't human, whereas the Chosen Undead can defeat Manus thanks to being human - though the Chosen Undead still needs to Covenant of Artorias to traverse the Abyss itself to defeat the Four Kings.
  • Hybrid Monster: The manticore who serves as the Oolacile Sanctuary Guardian.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: There's no limit on how much junk you carry around other than your patience for scrolling through long menus of worthless Hollow armor. (Your weight limit is for the stuff equipped on your body). If that gets tedious but you don't want to throw anything away permanently, you can also get a "bottomless box" to throw stuff into.
  • I Am Who?: There are two possible interpretations. In the course of the game, ringing the Twin Bells of Awakening will make Kingseeker Frampt appear, telling you that he is looking for the successor of Gwyn, and tells you to continue the Lord's plan to preserve the Age of Fire. However, if you pledge allegiance to the Darkwraith Covenant, the Primordial Serpent Kaathe reveals that your ancestor was in fact the Furtive Pygmy and that you are the rightful successor to the Pygmy. Both arguments are end up becoming half-truths: On one hand, you are supposed to succeed Gwyn... as the Lord of Cinder, burning in the Kiln until the Third Age of Fire comes to an end. On the other, you are the Pygmy's descendant... as is the rest of humankind, you're just the one who got this far. And even then, given what happened in Oolacile with Manus, there's no telling what the hell will happen to the world should the Age of Dark occur.
  • Iconic Outfit: The Elite Knight Set. It was featured heavily in advertisements, trailers, and official art for the game. In Fan Works it's effectively the official character design for the protagonist, perhaps because of the The Everyman look to the armor. It probably also helped that in-game, with the exception of few specialized armor sets for specific situations, it was a best overall armor set in the early versions, and even after several nerfs it is still a viable end-game set. It gets a reference in Dark Souls II, where the Mirror Knight can potentially summon a NPC that wears an eerily similar armor set.
    • With the release of 'Prepare To Die Edition' for the PC, Artorias' armor set is also becoming one.
  • Iconic Item: The Zweihander to a lesser extent among players. Relatively easy to obtain in the beginning of the game, relatively low stat requirements, high damage, wide swinging arc and its relatively long reach make it a popular starter weapon for strength-builds.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Undead Burg, Blighttown, Demon Ruins, Lost Izalith, The Abyss, Tomb of Giants, etc. Basically, almost all of Lordran.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Executioner Smough used the ground bones of his victims as spice for his food, appalling the Four Knights (including his buddy Ornstein). The Butcher enemies are also mentioned in flavour text to be cannibals, and Maneater Mildred bears a self-explanatory name.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Oscar, Knight of Astora, who gives you the estus flask, the key to refight the Asylum Demon and his quest to ring the Bell of Awakening, though he was unaware there are two.
  • Immortality Hurts: The Curse of the Undead leaves humans unable to die, but still feel the pain of death. Then there's The Four Lords, who all immortal, insane and suffering.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Super Ornstein has this as his most deadly attack. It's almost an instant kill. Artorias does this to a monster in the Updated Re-release. It seems to be a specialty of the Great Knights of Gwyn.
    • The Pisacas are also fond of grabbing you with their tentacle hair and impaling you on a massive spike.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Havel the Rock wields a huge tooth taken from one of the ancient dragons as a club.
  • Indy Escape: The giant cannonballs in Sen's Fortress.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: They're just chilling in odd spots around the world. Some make more sense than others.
  • Instant Death Radius: A glitch that allows players to apply a weapon buff to otherwise unbuffable weapons let's them create this if used on the Stone Greatsword. It's special ability normally slows down any hostiles within a certain distance of the user, but when buffed, the damage of the buff is applied to this effect as well, causing anything near them to take constant unblockable magic damage.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: You can't climb anything but ladders and what can or can't be stepped over isn't always obvious. This is part of what makes the cities so maze-like.
  • In the Hood: The Thief starting set, the Hollow Thief hood, the Gold Hemmed Robe hood, etc. The Dark Set is a hood with a metal skull mask, and Knight Artorias's helmet is basically a hood with a metal top.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Monsters and non-Phantom NPCs will completely ignore each other (unless a mob unintentionally hits them, in which case, those same NPCs end up attacking you); also, invading phantoms are unable to attack NPCs and monsters alike.
  • Ironic Nickname: "Trusty" Patches and Hawkeye Gough, who is blind. Only due to the fact that his helmet was covered with pine resin, which he either did not notice or he refuses to remove his helmet due to honor.
  • Item Crafting: Weapons and armor can be created and upgraded with the right materials and some help from a blacksmith NPC or a toolkit usable at bonfires.
  • It's All About Me: Lautrec. Patches.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: That is basically this game in a nutshell. Crushed, stabbed, burned, fallen, eaten, thrown, electrocuted and cursed to come back to life every time before suffering some other brutal death. Linking the fire basically means your ultimate reward for suffering through all of that is to burn for eternity in the Kiln of the First Flame until the cycle begins anew.
  • Jerkass: Lautrec, Patches, and while it isn't immediately evident, Petrus.
  • Jerkass Gods: The story doesn't give you enough information to know of all gods are this, but the ones you meet in the game are. Subverted by the nameless firstborn son of Gwyn. Axe crazy as he may have been, he certainly does care for the warriors who follow him.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The story and lore of the game, exacerbated by the use of Story Breadcrumbs.
  • Jumped at the Call: Considering your other option was staying at your prison cell until the end of time, it isn't any surprise.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Petrus. If you don't buy all of Rhea's miracles after rescuing her from the Tomb of the Giants, then Petrus will assassinate her.
  • Justified Tutorial: The Undead Asylum. It's basically you in a neglected, derelict prison scrounging around for any available weapons and gear.
  • Kill 'em All: Almost every named human NPC character you meet (including almost every member of your Firelink motley crew) dies over the course of the game, usually at your own hand after eventually turning Hollow. note  Only Sieglinde, Dusk, Patches, Oswald, the Blacksmiths and the merchants/trainers outside of Firelink don't eventually die as part of the plot (and Dusk is displaced in space-time, and you can find a dessicated corpse that's strongly hinted to be her), and it is also possible to save Solaire from his plot death. Laurentius can also be saved from turning Hollow if the player refuses to indulge his curiosity for their upgraded pyromancy flame.
  • Kill the God: Every boss post Lordvessel is a god.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Oscar and Solaire. Siegmeyer wants to be this, but is a bit too bumbling.
  • Knight Templar: Allfather Lloyd, the leader of Thorolund. He basically organized a religion based around hunting undead and sacrificing them to prolong the Age of Fire. The Darkwraiths would likely have been the Knight Templar Evil Counterpart to the Way of White if they didn't go Drunk with Power and become Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Kudzu Plot: One of the most defining aspects of the game's story. There are so many aspects of the lore, characters, character motivations that are left up in the air including what effect the end of your journey has on the world.
  • The Lava Caves Of New York: The Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith. They aren't that deep underground.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Darkmoon Covenant is all about this. You may kill a person or two that you find expendable, abandon a covenant to join a better one, invade and kill another player for humanity or kill Gwynevere and think nothing of it after that. However, the Darkmoons are here to remind you that no bad deed goes unpunished. At anypoint as a Human if you've sinned you are branded for a Darkmoon invasion by another player, and unlike a regular invasion, it will continue to happen even after you've killed the area boss. However it's avoidable if you absolve yourself by talking to Oswald at the top of the Undead Church and paying an amount of souls depending on your soul level and the amount of sins you committed before getting absolved. The exeption to this is if you kill Gwynevere. Then you are permanently branded as a sinner until New Game+.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: The Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith. Chaos pyromancies leave lava on the ground.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Patches
  • Leap of Faith:
    • Some hidden pieces of loot require this to reach them. One can buy items (Prism Stones) specifically meant to check how far down the bottom of a pit is.
    • This is how your character escapes from The Painted World of Ariamis.
    • You enter the Abyss via one of these. Unless you don't have the Covenant of Artorias ring equipped, in which case you enter your death.
  • Legacy Character: Patches the Hyena, who first appeared in Demon's Souls.
  • Leitmotif: The game's original soundtrack (as well as the additional content) has one for every boss fight (sometimes repeated, in the case of the Moonlight Butterfly and Gwyndolin) and a few key locations, namely Firelink Shrine, the Daughter of Chaos, Princess Gwynevere's chamber, and the Ash Lake.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The binoculars look weak compared to, say, the Master Key as far as starting items go, but they do have a use. Specifically, it can be used to aim the crossbow weapons (eliminating part of the difficulty of a Guts Run).
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Siegmeyer in Lost Izalith.
  • Let's Play:
    • EpicNameBro's LetsPlay, his first Let's Play that made him really popular really quickly. He also has one for the PC version.
    • Geop, Vicas, and their merry band of goon commentators took on Dark Souls. Watch as Geop attempts a blind run, while his experienced friends capture the true spirit of the game and try to make poor Geop run into every trap and fear every fog door. Praise the Sun!
    • slowbeef himself did a solo playthrough on his Youtube channel.
  • Life Drain: The unique curved greatsword Server and the Butcher Knife axe both restore a small amount of your health with every hit. As does the Ring Of The Evil Eye with every kill. Inverted with the Chaos Blade that does damage to you for every successful strike.
  • Life Energy: The player character levels up by absorbing the energy of the souls of fallen enemies.
  • A Light in the Distance: The staircase at the entrance to the kiln inverts this. Instead of a light at the end of the tunnel, it's a dark at the end of the light. What the hell that could actually mean in relation to the ending is anyone's guess.
  • Limp and Livid: Artorias during his boss fight. Appropriate, since he recently had his ass handed to him and the only reason he's fighting you is because he's been completely corrupted.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Those statues of people you find around Basilisk nests? Yeah those were other players who got cursed by them. Smashing them is pretty fun.
  • Living Relic: Dusk of Oolacile. The remaining gods you meet in the game.
  • Living Statue: The Titanite Demons. The Stone Guardians. The Demon Statues.
  • Locked Door: Lots and lots of them. Many give way to convenient shortcuts as the player progresses.
  • Loincloth: Your character underneath all the armor.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The final boss battle.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The hidden track used for the trailer music. The last moments of the song do show up in the Dark Lord ending, but none of it is used elsewhere.
  • Loading Screen: There are surprisingly very few. Aside from a few select zones, all of the areas are interconnect and devoid of loading screens. For the areas that aren't connected, the loading is masked by cut scenes. However, there are loading screens when the player dies, which shows a description of a random item.
  • Long Game: One that spans over a thousand years! The entirety of history since the Age Of Ancients has been a story of chessmasters competing with each other through increasingly elaborate long games. On one hand, Lord Gwyn has been conspiring with Frampt in order to trick the Undead into extending the Age of Fire for a thousand years, while it's hinted that Kaathe has been trying to do the same to usher the Age of Dark. Even beyond that, it's implied that the Furtive Pygmy knew from the start that shattering his unique Lord Soul and creating Humanity would ensure that the spread of the Dark would eventually win over Gwyn's wavering Age of Fire one day. And that isn't even getting into other theories, like the one where the crow in the beginning is sent by Velka, or is Velka herself, and she is essentially orchestrating both sides to her own ends by delivering the Chosen Undead.
  • Lovecraft Lite: With enough patience and skill, you too can kill Eldritch Abominations and gods.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The Lady of the Darkling depending on how you view the Secret Police.
  • Love Redeems: Eingyi was a nasty little joker, and is implied to be the reason why the swamp below Blighttown is poisonous. However, after meeting the Fair Lady and her saving his life at the expense of her own health, he happily resigned himself to serving the Ill Girl faithfully and carrying her eggs for her.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • If you don't kill Ceaseless Discharge with the scripted event of falling into the lava it can become this; sometimes it spams relatively easily avoidable attacks with massive openings to do damage, and other times it uses extremely dangerous screen-nuking attacks with a short recovery over and over.
    • Likewise for the Hellkite Dragon. If you choose to fight it directly in battle and not shooting it with a bow, your victory depends almost entirely on the how much the dragon wants to nuke the bridge with fire and in many cases cause instant death.
    • The Demon Firesage is either manageable or next-to-impossible, depending on whether he mostly uses his easy-to-avoid belly-flop, or his insanely cheap shockwave attack.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Humanity increases the drop rates of items, capping out at 10 humanity. The Golden Serpent Ring also provides a big boost in item drop rates. This ring plus 10 humanity gives the highest possible drop rate.

    M-R 
  • MacGuffin: The Broken Pendant in Artorias of the Abyss. It's never explained why, but it holds so much importance for Manus that he is willing to reach across time just to get it back.
  • Magical Eye:
    • The Red Eye Orb allows players to invade and kill others, while the Eyes of Death let players curse others' worlds and generate stronger versions of typical enemies. The Ring of the Evil Eye is also said to contain a demon of the name. It lets you heal by killing people.
    • The Calamity Ring obtained from slaying Kalameet is made from his singular eye. And while the ring is equipped, a red eye-like orb shines above the player's head and any damage taken by it's wearer is doubled.
  • Magical Society: The Dragon College of Vinheim. Seath and his Channelers.
  • Magic and Powers:
    • Black Magic: Sorcery spells, which are related to souls (Most likely dragon souls). Abyss sorceries which draw on the power of the Dark Soul take this Up to Eleven.
    • Playing with Fire: Pyromancy spells
    • White Magic: Miracle spells
    • Magic Is Mental: Sorcery at least. The player gets spell bonuses from catalysts when you increase you Intelligence.
    • Magic Wand: All three types of spells require the appropriate catalyst/talisman to cast.
    • Ritual Magic: In the sense that it's "Magic anyone can use", Pyromancy's effectiveness is unaffected by Intelligence or Faith scores. In the setting, most pyromancers come from a place called "the great Swamp" and it's seen as "uncivilized" magic.
    • Status Buff: Plenty. Some of them come from weapons, others come from rings and armor. Heal, cure, regeneration, ability up, reflect, and protect are all present as are many other unique buffs. Debuffs also show up, like slow and poison.
    • Vancian Magic: All your spells have a set number of uses before you need to recharge them at a bonfire, replacing the relatively easily to recover mana bar from Demon's Souls.
  • Magic Knight:
    • Due to the classes being nothing more than starting status, hybrid builds are quite common. Some weapon upgrade paths even allow you to base weapon damage off intelligence or faith instead of strength and dexterity.
    • Pyromancy is practically made for this. It doesn't have any stat requirements, what you need to cast it is weightless, and damage increases simply by upgrading the Pyromancy Catalyst. There isn't a single build in the game that doesn't benefit from having some pyromancy available because it doesn't have a downside like increasing your soul level.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • If you fully upgrade a useless hilt of a broken sword, it can be combined with a certain boss' soul to create a unique weapon.
    • In a subversion, you can upgrade any regular sword with that boss' soul and get a statistically worse version of the sword, but many players opt to do so because the degraded version of the sword has lower stat requirements and is one of the few weapons that will hit a ghost without you first being cursed.
    • Several weapons have relatively low base damage but gain signficant bonuses from player stats making them more useful at higher levels.
  • The Magocracy: The nation/citystate of Vinheim, which is run by the higher ups at the Dragon College.
  • Make My Monster Grow: Ornstein if you kill Smough first.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Gwyndolin.
  • Mask of Power: Pinwheel has three of them. The player can obtain them as well and they are quite powerful.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Returns from Demon's Souls.
  • Mega Neko: Alvina and the Great Felines.
  • Meaningful Name: Firelink Shrine.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Completely averted. Time will not stand still as one burrows through their inventory.
  • Metroidvania: As seen in this picture, all the areas are connected, there are multiple routes to different areas and each area has its' own goal, with only strength of enemies and keys to doors standing between you and the next area.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: The "Praise the sun!" gesture the player can learn. It's also performed by Warriors of Sunlight, including Solaire of Astora, when the players summons one of them as a helpful Phantom.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: A variety of enemies are like this:
    • Great Felines, which look like an unholy combination of a cat, a bear, and an alligator.
    • The Sanctuary Guardian, which seems to be the game's take on a chimera, having the body of a lion, two sets of wings, the horns of a goat and the tail of a scorpion. It's in part a manticore, albeit without the human face. Although given the horns and wings, perhaps it's a chimera/manticore hybrid.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: Even Dark Souls can't escape it. Behold, moe versions of:
  • Monster Modesty:
    • The Capra Demon's pants.
    • In the Updated Re-release, there are less transformed versions of the demonic foliage in Darkroot Forest that wield either pitchforks or hedge trimmers and wear burlap pants.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Gaping Dragon again. Notable in that the teeth are its ribcage.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Pinwheel.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • The Link The Fire ending, wherein the player is sacrificed to the fire after the culmination of his trials until the whole damn thing eventually comes full circle again. Although this ending is like the good ending in Demon's Souls, in which it gives an excuse for the constant New Game+ cycle.
    • The Dark Lord ending, wherein the player can decide not to light the final bonfire, engulfing the world in darkness once again.
  • Multi-Platform: Published on both PS3 and Xbox 360 by Namco-Bandai in North America and Europe, with a PC version now available. (Self-published in Japan for PS3 only.)
  • Murder, Inc.: Darkwraiths and Forest Hunters, who invade other players for humanities and item loots, respectively.
  • Mushroom Man: The Mushroom people, which include the adults and children as enemies. Despite looking harmless, the adults can dish out a Megaton Punch that will One-Hit Kill even high-liveled players. There is also Elizabeth in the Oolacile Sanctuary, which is similar to them, except without hands and feet.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Enemy NPCs have unlimited ammo; this isn't too bad with arrows, since you can carry 999 of them yourself, but for firebombs and especially spells it's rather egregious. This is particularly noticeably in areas such as the Darkroot Forest, where the magic users do things like spam spells which you're only supposed to be able to carry less than a dozen uses of.
  • Mystical White Hair: Priscilla the half-dragon and Quelaag's sister.
  • Mythology Gag: The game contains some recurring elements:
    • The Sword of Moonlight, a sword that appears in nearly every game made by From Software, including Armored Core.
    • Dragons in the souls series loves bridges (and burning those who try to cross said bridges).
    • The yellow "crown" worn by Xanthous King Jeremiah is a direct reference to the "Monk's Head Collar", an head gear from Demon's Souls. Both are enormous pieces of clothing that are a bright yellow. The definition of the former poke fun at that fact by saying: "The crown bears high-quality cloth which is quite soft to the touch, but its bright yellow color stings the eyes, and it is clearly far too big.".
    • The infamous Pendant is a Call Back to the Onyx Pendant from Shadow Tower Abyss, both of which are useless except for a trade in Dark Souls. For a time, Miyazaki trolled the community by pretending the Dark Souls' pendant had a use, before confirming later that it didn't.
    • In both Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, there's a moment where a group of gargoyles will grab the player and carry him to an area not accessible otherwise. Said gargoyles are met later as enemies.
    • Trusty Patches is a recurring character in the series: in Demon's Souls he would try to trick you into a fight with a giant bearbug and would also try to trap you by kicking you into a pit. In Dark Souls, he kicks you into a pit again, in addition to another attempted murder earlier in the game.
      • In addition, said pits the player gets kicked into happen to contain NPCs that need rescuing. Demon's Souls has Saint Urbain; Dark Souls has Rhea.
      • He appeared also as Patch the Good in Armored Core For Answer, and utilizes a sneaky fighting style in that game, not too far from his roguish ways in the other games.
    • Arguably, the Lady of the Darkling is the Brass Maiden; i.e. Wynne D. Fanchon from Armored Core.
    • Ornstein appears in Armored Core; his logo has the symbol of a large cat (maybe a mountain lion)
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Great Grey Wolf Sif, Gravelord Nito, Dragon Slayer Ornstein, and Executioner Smough... the list goes on...
  • New Game+: Dark Souls is designed for these; the developers have implemented secrets that they don't expect players to find until their second or third time playing through the game!
  • Nice Hat:
    • Big Hat Logan's namesake. Pharis's hat is pretty stylish. The sorcerers of Vinheim have one as part of the uniforms.
    • Chester's top hat and mask from the new content.
  • Nintendo Hard: Brutally powerful enemies who respawn every time you heal, bosses with numerous deadly moves that can easily kill you in a couple of hits, deviously-hidden traps and ambushes, Shmuck Bait everywhere, minibosses who will come out of nowhere, and in a few select points there are enemies set up in positively sadistic locations. The Tag Line is entirely accurate.
  • No Arc in Archery: Completely averted. While this might look the case, at longer distances, arrows will start travelling in arcs, losing some damage in the process. This is much more accentuated with the Composite Bow, which has the worst shot range of any bow in the game, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Black Bow of Pharis, despite having the greatest shot range, still slightly curves after a while. The Crystal Undead archers also avert this by shooting arrows that curve in mid-air just to hit you.
  • No Antagonist: Oddly enough, despite Everything Trying to Kill You, there's no real Big Bad to be found, and neither ending is clearly happier for anyone. However, Gwyndolin and Manus are the closest examples of plot-driving antagonists, the former manipulating you into following Gwyn's path, and the latter outright corrupting everything around him.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Love and sex are never mentioned in the series. The only marriage ever mentioned is off screen and neither character involved is personally encountered. It might just be that the world sucks so much no one can really bother thinking about such things, or that the Dark Sign is also Sterility Plague.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: You get 20% more souls when a single attacks deals damage greater than 150% your target's max HP.
  • Non-Linear Sequel: Though it is a Spiritual Sequel, Dark Souls is this to Demon's Souls.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Priscilla. She's the only boss in the game who will not attack you until she is attacked first. She will instead simply point you to the exit.
  • Noodle Incident: We don't know what exactly was done to create the assorted Bite rings; just that the rumors surrounding them are supposed to be incredibly horrific.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Blighttown is particularly guilty, being nothing more than a series of crude wooden platforms balanced precariously several hundred feet above the ground. Humorously, the logical results of this actually manifest in gameplay, as enemies occasionally fall off them with no input from the player.
    • Sen's Fortress is notorious for this, though it was also made specifically for this purpose. Even without the plentiful Death Traps, the entire building only has railings in places where normal people would never be expected to go, and the majority of its walkways are suspended above a hundred foot drop.
  • No Sell: The effects of the Poise stat in a nuttshell.
  • Notice This: Fallen bodies (either of your enemies, or other unfortunates who have passed on) with items to loot have a huge glowing soul-like aura above them. Treasure chests, by comparison, are practically camouflaged.
  • Not So Different: The Crestfallen Merchant believes the player and himself to be the same as the vile denizens of Sen's Fortress.
  • Obvious Beta: The Painted World of Ariamsis was the original prototype level, and Nito was supposed to be the boss of the area. Instead Priscilla (The Artifact from a previous iteration of the game and at one point intended to be a major protagonist) became the boss of the area, and the entire area has enemies with no relation to one another scattered around it. The only reason the area was included in the final product is that Miyazaki was insistent that the area be included in some fashion. Despite all this, the Painted World is such a solidly built area that it's easy to see why Miyazaki still wanted to include it.
  • Ominous Fog: As in Demon's Souls, it serves as a gateway into boss battles and new areas.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: It isn't Latin, but there is lots of chanting in the music and it is ominous.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Endurance is the one attribute all PvE and PvP builds raise equally since it both increases Stamina which is useful regardless of playstyle and allows you to carry heavier armor and weapons by increasing your maximum equipment carry weight.
    • Dexterity can be this as well: a great many of the light yet powerful weapons (such as Quelaag's furysword and most bows) scale to dexterity much more than they do to strength. While some weapons do scale to strength, faith, or magic instead, these tend not to show until later in the game.
  • One-Woman Wail: Several of the boss themes and the ending credits.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted. While armor isn't generally region-specific (excepting the head), being shot with an arrow or bolt in the leg or arm does more damage than being shot in the torso.
  • Orchestral Bombing: Used to great effect in the boss battles, especially Ornstein and Smough.
  • Orcus on His Throne: All of the bosses you fight will wait for you to show up for varying reasons, but Gravelord Nito, one of the Four Lords, and effectively the God of Death is perfectly content to sleep away his days in his coffin, observing death throughout Lordran.
  • Our Demons Are Different: They're powerful, monstrous, Always Chaotic Evil creatures born from the Bed of Chaos, the Witch of Izalith's failed attempt at recreating the First Flame.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Western-style dragons, but with stone scales instead of reptilian hide and two pairs of wings instead of the one. Then there's Seath, Wyverns, the Hellkite Dragon, the Gaping Dragon, Kalameet, et cetera. They are made even more different since Miyazaki has said that the everlasting dragons are "half living half element", something like a powerful spirit creating a bodily construct.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: They're basically Greek pantheon style superhumans with magical powers and range in size from 10ft to 30ft. Some of them are exceptions to the humanoid form like Gravelord Nito.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They were cursed by the flooding of New Londo.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: There are multiple types of giants. First are the Lords and gods like Gwyn and Izalith and demigods like Smough and Ornstein. Then there are the enormous stone giants who seem to be the manual labor of the gods as they are seen operating machinery, smithing and opening gates.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Undead are unmistakeably zombie-like, (at least the hollow ones are), but are so unusual that they fall solidly under Type O.
  • Outside-Context Villain: Regardless of which side you chose, the central conflict of the game doesn't become apparent until halfway through the game, and it isn't all that apparent.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sieglinde, who has just lost her mother and is chasing after her dad who left their family looking for adventure. By the end of the game she loses her father as well.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: One of the male hairstyles.
  • Pieces of God: Word of God states that Humanity are pieces of the Dark Soul, the soul of the Furtive Pygmy who was the first human. Played with in humans also have regular souls.
  • Physical God: Gwyn, Nito, and the Witch of Izalith mentioned in the intro. Those who ascended into Lordship at the behest of Gwyn, the other gods mentioned in lore, and possibly the Pygmy as well.
  • Pillar of Light: Appears when placing the Lordvessel at Firelink Altar. It removes the Brilliant Light that obstructs your way in several areas.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Princess Gwynevere's and Dusk of Oolacile's dresses. Dusk's dress is actually obtainable as an armor set in game.
  • Planet of Hats:
    • Astora is a standard medieval place of knights, blacksmiths, nobles, and witch hunts involving physical mutilation.
    • Carim is a rather more twisted place where people are religious, yet use humanity and souls for nefarious purposes. And they're also dubious.
    • Catarina is full of knights wearing puffy onion armor, and the majority of them are jubilant.
    • Thorolund is a theocracy that adheres to divine magic and has a lot of clerics.
    • Vinheim is attuned to sorcery, with everyone there being involved in sorcery in some way or another. Most famous among them are the dragon scholars.
  • Player Data Sharing: The online component allows players to leave each other notes and also leaves blood stains to show where other players have died. There is also a more direct co-op element, which allows players to join one another's games during boss fights or "invade" their game and kill them (see Player Versus Player below).
  • Player Versus Player: There are a variety of ways to go toe to toe with other players, whether invading and killing them to steal their humanity, or hunting down aggressive players in the name of justice. The Battle of Stoicism Gazebo in the Artorias The Abysswalker DLC matches players with each other based on soul level tiers (1-50, 51-100, 101-200, 200-713) for the sole purpose of dueling each other.
  • Pocket Dimension: The Painted World of Ariamas is literally a pocket dimension inside a painting.
  • Point of No Return: Completely and awesomely averted. All areas of the game can be revisited as many times as the player desires.
  • Power Crystal: The Primordial Crystal grants Seath the Scaleless true immortality, and the most powerful sorceries are crystalline.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Purging Stones which remove curses. With a bit of deduction you can figure out the terrible process in which they are made.note  The process behind creating the "bite" rings is also similarly terrible.
  • Powerful Pick: The war pick that can be bought from Andre, and the pickaxe that can be found on the corpses of boulder-rolling Infested Barbarians in lower Blighttown. The pickaxe in particular both deals thrust damage and has very good strength scaling, wrecking armored foes in a hurry.
  • Precursors: The game strongly implies that all humans, lords and gods were hollows before the coming of the First Flame and the life and souls that came with it.
  • Prepare to Die:
    • Not only is the whole game based on the premise of dying repeatedly, this very trope is used as a tagline for the game. Hell, even the official site has its URL named accordingly!
    • The tagline for the official strategy guide is "Prepare To Die Less."
    • The Updated Re-release for the PC is the Prepare To Die Edition.
  • Pressure Plate: Show up as a way to activate elevators, and to trigger deadly booby traps that will kill you.
  • Properly Paranoid: Players will want to attack every chest they see...with good reason.
    • There is, however, a way to differentiate Mimics from the usual chest, every one has a chain on its side, if it's curled back, it's a normal chest, but if it's curled forward, it's a Mimic. In addition, the Mimics can actually be seen breathing if one looks very closely.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Unlike Demon's Souls, in which about half of the gear was either male or female only, all armor can be worn by either gender, making gender purely aesthetic.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Fully in effect and as wonky as ever; even large stone giants turn completely weightless after they die, sending them sliding around from the smallest touch. You'll also every so often see enemy corpses getting stuck on your character and wobbling around for a while as you move before falling off.
  • Rage Quit: Sometimes a sensible strategy, in fact - if you are about to die from fall damage, quickly quitting and reloading the game will put you back on the ledge you just fell off, souls and humanity intact.
    • Also useful for avoiding invading players.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Despite a full scale Zombie Apocalypse going on, most of the areas look surprisingly good. The Undead Burg is fine, even if it's starting to get overtaken by vegetation. New Londo looks to be in good shape aside from the flooding. Lost Izalith looks great and Anor Londo looks absolutely pristine.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: The game attempts to avoid this by providing most armours as a full-set, but the upgradable armour and greater variety of choices (compared to Demon's Souls), combined with the equipment weight limit that tempts players to avoid wearing too much heavy armour at once means it can be quite easy to end up looking like this.
  • Reclining Reigner: Gwynevere. In her defense, it looks like a really comfy couch. Also, she's an illusion planted there by her brother - the actual Gwynevere is nowhere to be found.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A lot of hollows have these.
  • Red Shirt: Vince and Nico of Thorolund.
  • Regional Riff: The dramatic swell that plays when you first enter Anor Londo. It later shows up as Ornstein and Smough's boss music.
  • Religion is Magic: Grants healing powers, shockwaves, the ability to instantly teleport to the last bonfire you used and Bolts of Divine Retribution.
  • Religion of Evil: The Gravelord Servants. While the actual lore behind the Darkwraith Covenant presents their goals as ambiguous, the Gravelord Servants revolve around sending monsters to attack random people. Though to be fair, they are serving what amounts to Death in Lordran.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Man-Serpents who patrol Sen's Fortress and who act as prison guards in the Duke's Archives, and the the frog-like Basiliks in the Depths and Great Hollow. Then there's Gwyndolin, who has a writhing mass of snakes in place of legs.
  • Rescue Arc: You save a good number of NPCs like Rhea from the Tomb of the Giants and Siegmeyer's quest is a series of rescuing him.
    • The hidden quest to prevent Solaire from going insane could be considered one.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Bartholomew, by the Silent Comedy
  • Reset Button: Visiting a bonfire (or dying and returning to one) heals you to full and fills up your Estus Flask, but also makes all the enemies (except bosses, minibosses and a few assorted Elite Mooks) reappear.
  • Resources Management Gameplay:
    • You're going to have a very tough time in Dark Souls if you don't learn to how ration your spells and healing items between bonfires.
    • Spamming attacks in this game is ill-advised as each attack/roll you make will deplete your stamina meter. Failing to take this into account will make things difficult for the player. But at least the stamina regenerates rather quickly.
  • Respawning Enemies: The immediate area is repopulated with baddies whenever you use a bonfire.
  • Respawn Point: The bonfires serve as these in addition to granting you healing items and also allowing you to level up and use storage.
  • Resurrection Sickness: When you die, drop all your humanity and souls where you died and come back looking hollowed. Being hollowed means you can't summon assistance and can't kindle bonfires to increase how much estus you get from them.
    • There are exactly two workarounds for this - either wear a "Ring Of Sacrifice" or a "Rare Ring Of Sacrifice" when you die. If either are equipped, the band breaks and is Lost Forever, but you lose 1 Humanity at most (if you were Human at the time) and retain all your souls.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Undead, at least until they turn Hollow, after which they die for good.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Many. Is there a cure for the Dark Sign? Did Gwyn know what would have happened to him when he Linked the Fire? Who are Priscilla's parents? Should the Age of Fire actually continue or end? The game ultimately leaves the end result of the central conflict unanswered! You can find hints regarding the answer to some of those, but nothing definite.
  • Role Called: Dragonslayer Ornstein, Executioner Smough.
  • Roundhouse Kick: A character in the Artorias The Abysswalker DLC, Marvelous Chester, does a leg sweep version of this.
    • And Mimics will occasionally perform a deadly flying Roundhouse Kick on you. It has sent many players flying into oblivion.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: While New Londo and Izalith may seem like candidates, their backstories are given in-game. There are ruins in the Darkroot Garden and Basin, which indicates that the area was once the kingdom of Oolacile and the Royal Garden from the Artorias of the Abyss DLC/Prepare To Die Edition.
  • Running on All Fours: The Feral Skeletons. Basically giant, human skeletons that run on all fours.

    S-Z 
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Oscar of Astora, the friendly NPC who rescues you from your cell and provides you with the Estus Flask. You can also kill him, though this could be seen as a Mercy Kill — he outright tells you he will go Hollow once he dies, and indeed will attack you if you return to the Undead Asylum later.
  • Sacrificial Lion: A good number of friendly, likable NPCs will suffer tragic deaths, usually by going Hollow, depending on the circumstance.
  • Sad Battle Music: Several of the boss themes, specifically Sif, the Moonlight Butterfly, Priscilla and the final boss.
  • Save Point: Averted, as Dark Souls auto-saves very frequently. The campfire serves more as a checkpoint; when you die you respawn there.
  • Saving the World: The end goal of the game. That said, fans still aren't sure how to do it.
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • Blighttown is a decrepit pit of decay and death; the upper part of it is a shantytown mostly made of poles and lashings, like a crazed treehouse project. The lower area is a nasty, poisonous swamp-cesspit in the bowels of the city. If you take the time to look around, though, you can even see the city high above the chasm you're in, and vice versa.
    • New Londo Ruins, after you've drained it, is wet and slick everywhere with mountains of bodies lying everywhere.
  • Scaled Up: Players who join the Path of the Dragon can eventually transform themselves into an anthropomorphic dragon, complete with a Breath Weapon and an insane bonus to unarmed damage, at the cost of not having any poise.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Like Demon's Souls, the game features beautifully rendered dark fantasy areas with atmosphere to die for.
    • There are many locations in the game that simply look gorgeous, such as the city of Anor Londo bathing in the evening sun or the massive underground Ash Lake, stretching as far as the eye can see. The best part? Most of what you see isn't for show. Upon entering the Undead Burg, you may not realize that, yes, you can climb up that tower and make it to the top of that huge arching bridge and the ruins it connects to on either side. You can even see the arching bridge as far down as the Valley of Drakes, and conversely, you can see the bridge in the Valley of Drakes from the Darkroot Basin.
    • You can even see the Duke's Archives from the Undead Burg in what seems like a simple decorative skybox. Think again; you'll be visiting it later in the game.
    • A commonly found, tongue-in-cheek message you can find from other players is "Be wary of gorgeous view."
  • Schmuck Bait: Numerous examples:
    • The Great Hollow is home to many Crystal Lizards. However, they have the tendency to run off the designated platforms they spawn in and die by themselves. Knowing they are the Crystal Lizards with good loot inside them, players are usually tempted to jump down to grab the loot. Unfortunately, this is The Great Hollow, where any false step means death.
    • The Mimics are chest monsters that look almost identical to real treasure chests and actually contain treasure. The moment the player tries to open then, they sprout More Teeth than the Osmond Family and an Overly-Long Tongue and proceed to messily devour the player. Attacking them doesn't help much either, as they're quite difficult enemies for first time or unprepared players.
    • Nearly every trap in the game has Schmuck Bait designed to draw the unwary player in. Savvy players will be able to spot the trap or at least go in with their eyes open for the ambush that's coming, while the unsavvy will keep falling for it.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Kind of? Complete sets of player equipment for all the classes you didn't start as can be found throughout the game. Whoever you weren't playing as still left their equipment behind when they died...
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Darkwraiths sealed within the flooded areas of the New Londo Ruins and the Four Kings sealed within the Abyss.
  • Secret Police: The Blade of the Darkmoon covenant, who are dedicated to hunting players who have sinned according to the Book of the Guilty.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Because some people don't think the game is hard enough. Aside from the standard ones listed on the page, "Castlevania/Belmont Runs" a.k.a. Whip-only runs (which the game admits flat out on the weapons description is a Joke Weapon almost useless against anything with armor) are common.
    • The entire point of the Deprived class is to make the beginning of the game harder. In the long run, class doesn't matter. The Deprived start at the highest level of any class, meaning it takes longer to get stat increases compared to the other class. They start with the absolute worst equipment of any class for any purpose. The fact they have 11 in all their stats makes them a Master of None out the gate, so they need to spend points just to get one aspect of the game they are moderately good at. Due to the other class selection, absolutely any character concept would be better served by a different class selection, even weird ones without a class really designed for it. For example, Thief starts with a better combined Intelligence and Faith score than Deprived, despite that not being a focus of the class.
    • The famed "Guts Run", meant to emulate the main character of Berserk (no helmet, no shield, only two-hand melee weapons, only crossbows as ranged weapons, no spells outside of ranged fire spells, throwing knives and emergency dagger allowed).
    • This is the only purpose behind the Calamity Ring, which doubles all the damage you take without adding any benefits whatsoever.
    • The Soul Level 1 run, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: completing the entire game without ever leveling up.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: The areas in Dark Souls are even more hazardous than in its predecessor, mostly due to the large amount of bottomless pits and the fact that normal enemies have gotten even more dangerous. On the other hand, area bosses are generally more manageable, with some exceptions.
  • Sequel Escalation: Of Demon's Souls. More Weapons, more armor, more areas, more bosses.
    • The planned sequel, Dark Souls 2, promises to take things further, starting with the Tagline: Go Beyond Death.
  • Sequence Breaking: Possible through a variety of ways, such as the bug that allows players to fall from any height and live.
  • Serpent of Immortality: The description of the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring: "The serpent is an imperfect dragon and symbol of the Undead.".
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The most efficient way to defeat the Bounding Demons in Lost Izalith. Also an efficient way of killing the first Black Knight in Undead Burg.
  • Shape Shifter Showdown: In player vs. player battles, you can use the "Chameleon" spell to disguise yourself as random clutter objects like jars and chests, but you also have to worry about your opponents using the same ability to sneak up on you.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Marvelous Chester, who wears a very well made long coat and top hat. The player can obtain this armor by killing him.
  • Shining City: Anor Londo was once this. Now it is the lost city.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The game probably found some inspiration in the manga Berserk:
      • The plot setup is that a mysterious brand curses the protagonist making him fight demons and other monsters.
      • The Darkwraith Covenant's icon looks like a Behelit.
      • Rickert of Vinheim is probably a reference to the namesake character from Berserk, as is his profession as a blacksmith.
      • The cover of the PC version shows the Dark Knight Artorias in Guts' typical pose from the manga. The armor they have is also suspiciously similar. Not only that, when you actually fight Artorias, his fighting style is similar to a Full-On Berserker Guts.
      • The Wheel Skeletons are probably based on these monsters.
      • The Onion armor is meant to be another Berserk reference, resembling the rounded armor worn by Bazuso.
    • There's an armor set out there which can make you look like Elminster.
    • One of the scripted black phantom invaders you'll encounter in the game is called Paladin Leeroy.
    • One of the recurring NPCs that can be summoned is named Witch Beatrice.
    • The Silver Knights in Anor Londo use their bows to fire javelins, reminiscent of the swords fired by Archer.
    • Oswald may be a reference to the corrupt Pardoner from The Canterbury Tales, who, like Oswald, pardons people of their sins for a high price.
    • Speaking of said masked, stylishly black-clad pardoner, he has a weapon called Velka's Rapier that has a completely unique strong attack in its moveset that involves slashing a "V" into the air. Zorro he isn't, but he's certainly evocative of him.
    • The Cheshire Cat seems quite comfy around some rowdy hunters, no?
    • A small, frail leader like Gwyndolin hiding behind an illusion of the giantess Princess Gwynevere? Where have I heard that one before...?
    • Upon dying, a person is at risk of completely losing their humanity and turning into a horrific creature called a Hollow.
    • After escaping the Undead Asylum, a large Raven takes you under its wing to the Raven's Nest.
    • Ornstein and his Lion motif might be a reference of the famous American composer Leo Ornstein.
    • Translated text from the Design Works artbook reveals a couple of Harry Potter references: the rotating stairs in the Duke's Archive were inspired by the moving staircases in Hogwarts and Sieglinde is apparently is supposed to resemble Hermione underneath that onion-shaped helmet.
    • The NPC Summon Black Iron Tarkus may be a reference to the minor character from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Tarkus.
    • Speaking of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Smough and Ornstein are probably the expies of black knights Tarkus (The big one) and Bruford (the small and agile one), including the disrespectful treatment of the latter's death by the former.
    • Also, it has been directly stated that the Armor of Thorns is a reference to the 77 Rings challenge from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
    • The story of Artorias of the Abyss involves the player rescuing a princess at the behest of a sentient mushroom. Where have we seen this before?
    • One of the invader NPCs is Jeremiah, a king in exile. His armor is conspicuously yellow.
  • Shown Their Work: When blocking with a zweihander, your character puts on one hand on the blade and holds it vertically, which is an actual German technique called Halbschwerten.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Queen of Sunlight Gwynevere and the Darkmoon God Gwyndolin.
  • Sinister Minister: Oswald of Carim qualifies, in spite of being more morally ambiguous than anything else, although he does have an ominous air about him. Then there's Petrus, who turns out to be a murderous liar.
  • Sinister Scythe: There are two scythes available as weapons, as is a Reaper armor set if you dig that sort of thing. Crossbreed Priscilla uses one as her weapon and her soul can be used to make a third one.
  • Skull for a Head: The Capra Demon. The Darkwraith armor set gives the appearance of this.
  • Slasher Smile: Marvelous Chester and the player if they wear his top hat.
  • Sleepy Head: Kingseeker Frampt occasionally lapses into a very deep sleep, which can be a bit irritating if you want to feed him items. Give him a good smack (but only one!) and he'll wake up.
    • Then there's Siegmeyer, who is often found asleep, sometimes standing up, and, on one occasion, while standing in the middle of a poison swamp.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: The credits theme "Nameless Song."
  • Soul Powered Engine:
    • Pyromancy and possibly sorcery. A pyromancer's flame grows by being fed souls, and sorcery spells are often soul-themed. Considering many of the sorceries are also spells that were present in Demon's Souls where magic was point-blank explained as this, this seems likely.
    • The First Flame/Flame of Disparity. When the Flame was dying at least one thousand years ago, Gwyn sacrificed himself and became the Flame's fuel and has been burning alive (or possibly undead) ever since.
      • If the player chooses the Link the Fire ending, they replace Gwyn as it's new fuel source.
  • Spanner in the Works: The player can become this towards Gwyndolin.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The Wrath of the Gods miracle. Grant, the holy hunk of iron on a stick, has this as it's special ability. This is also true of the two handed attack of the Dragon King Greataxe.
  • Spikes Of Doom: One of the more sadistic traps in Sen's Fortress involves an elevator that you ride up. If you stay on it too long, it continues going up right into a spiked ceiling. If you look closely, the elevator is caked with blood.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Knight Kirk, a notorious Darkwraith (actually a Chaos Servant} who can invade and attack you up to three times, wears the Armor of Thorns, which is appropriately covered in spikes. It has the effect of damaging whatever enemies the wearer rolls into.
  • Spiritual Successor: Done by the original developers of Demon's Souls, similar setting, even a very similar title. The game likely would be Demon's Souls 2 if Sony didn't own the IP.
  • Stable Time Loop: One gets created over the course of Artorias of the Abyss. The Player Character is dragged into the past where he/she ventures into the Chasm of the Abyss, kills Manus, and rescues Dusk. The truth of the event is intentionally kept hidden by Elizabeth to ensure its stability, and the legend goes that it was Artorias who did the deed, but Dusk can't help but think that Artorias looked a lot like the Player Character.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Downplayed: No elves, no dwarves, but definitely swords, magic, and dragons.
  • Status Buff: Nearly every single ring provides you with a bonus, from the obvious (increasing elemental resistance), to the awesome (changes rolling to cartwheels), to the tricky (deals extra damage with a pierce weapon when the enemy is in mid-attack animation/stagger from attacking your shield). Other status buffs include attack power increase granted by the Dragon Torso Stone's ability to roar and the Channeler's Trident dance.
  • Stealth Pun: Catarina's distinctive armor would make its wearer a Onion Knight.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: There is a lot of story and lore if players care to look for it, but it is very unintrusive and requires players to go out of the way to look for it in the form of item descriptions, bits of NPC dialogue and being observant of your surroundings.
  • Summon Magic: A particular covenant gives you the ability to summon black phantoms into three random players' realms. The phantoms will chase them down relentlessly and attack them without asking questions until they are destroyed by the invaded player. This gives benefit to the summoner via giving him half the souls of the slain player each time they are killed, as well as the satisfaction of giving another player a hard time. You hear it right, guys, Dark Souls has a freaking griefing mechanic! It can backfire if the invaded players find the sign you used to summon the phantoms.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Sufficiently deep water is instant death. Yeah you can cartwheel on lava, but deep enough water is instant death.
  • Taken for Granite: In the sewers, Great Hollow, and during both encounters with Seath, you're likely to find a bunch of statues that used to be people, usually courtesy of the nearby frog-like basilisks breathing gray gas. Given the fact that the number of statues changes frequently, it is highly likely that these statues are actually other players who got cursed. In an unusual variation on the trope, though, people turned to stone also sprout a bunch of leaf-shaped rocky spikes from their bodies, as if they were growing granite crystals from the inside out.
  • Take Up My Sword: Oscar of Astora asks you to at the beginning of the game.
  • Teleport Spam: Gwyndolin and Pinwheel.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: Bartholomew and All Saints' Day by The Silent Comedy in various trailers. In the latter, the only sung lyrics increase in desperation as the trailer goes on.
    "One day, will this be over?"
  • Theme Naming: Gwyn, Gwynevere, Gwyndolin; the Daughters of Chaos whose names are known start with "Quel".
  • The Theocracy: The nation of Thorolund.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: If you free Big Hat Logan he gets access to The Duke's Archives, the library of the Mad Scientist and grandfather of sorcery dragon Seath the Scaleless. Logan will develop and sell powerful crystal versions of sorceries, and after the player has bought them all and killed Seath the Scaleless he gets completely lost in the knowledge and doesn't even recognize the player. After this, he'll disappear from his usual spot and show up nearly naked and completely insane in the room Seath is first fought in. Upon killing him, it's revealed he went so far as to try (and partially failed), to replicate Seath's curse-inducing crystal breath.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet:
    • A spell called "Grave Lord" lets you challenge a random player to a battle by leaving a symbol in their world that spawns powerful, rampaging enemies. If they find it, they can invade your world and return the favor.
    • There is also an item in the game specifically meant for this, the Red Sign Soapstone. It has infinite uses and its only purpose is to leave a sign on the ground others can touch if they wish to challenge you.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works The Crystal Ring Shield, crafted using The Soul of the Moonlight Butterfly and any +10 shield; When used as a weapon, rather than the usual parry, it will actually throw rings of light at the target - at the cost of durability.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Time travel makes no sense and comes across as just a throwaway thing for gameplay purposes, until you start finding out about the specific summons and avenging the Fire Keeper. It's still pretty inconsistent.
    • The flow of time in Lordran is warped, allowing individuals - both NPC's and other players - from the past and alternate dimensions to be summoned or invade as phantoms.
  • Tin Tyrant: The Iron Golem pictured above. A relative of the Tower Knight, perhaps? Also, the Black Knights and Silver Knights who appear as Elite Mooks in various levels.
  • Title Drop: Kaathe tells you about the Dark Soul if you bring him the Lordvessel.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Lautrec.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Rings of Sacrifice will save your souls and humanity if equipped at the time of death, but they break after use; a variant called the Rare Ring of Sacrifice also removes the curse ailment if you're cursed at the time of death.
    • The Ring of Favor and Protection increases your health, stamina and carrying capacity, but there are only two (with one being very well hidden) in each game run and it cannot be removed once equipped or it's lost.
    • Crystal Weapons are exceptionally powerful and durable. However, you can't repair them once they are broken, so it's best to save them for backup.
    • The Divine Blessing. A potion that fully restores your HP and cures all status effects (except for curse, unfortunately). It's also quite hard to get and only available in a very limited number per playthrough, so better don't "waste" it...
      • Note that the game discourages this habit with regard to normal healing items. You only have one, your Estus Flask, and it always tops off whenever you reach a bonfire. Therefore, if your life is in danger, chug away!
    • The DLC adds Elizabeth's Mushrooms to this list. They give you incredibly powerful Regenerating Health for 30 seconds. But there are only 4 of them in the entire game, and 3 are a reward for beating the DLC.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The Player Character, who starts as nothing more than an Undead prisoner, quickly climbs their way to the top after countless trials and becomes able to fight powerful beings such as the Lords introduced in the prologue.
    • Each subsequent iteration of New Game+ (up until +7) increases NPC health and damage potential, making enemies and bosses much harder to fight. The same also applies to allied and neutral NPCs, which can lead to shenanigans such as Leeroy oneshotting the 400~ HP Bonewheel Skeletons with over 2500 damage.
  • Took a Shortcut: Pops up from time to time, primarily with Siegmeyer.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: New Londo and its Sealed Evil in a Can. Anor Londo and its Decoy Leader and Man Behind the Man.
  • Tragic Monster:
    • The Hollows are all undead humans, just like the Player Character, whose minds cracked as a result of their condition. Some of the few lucid people you encounter will inevitably share the same fate.
    • The Witch of Izalith and her children became demons with various deformities as a result of their failed attempt to relight the First Flame.
    • The Pisaca in the Duke's Archives were all humans who had been subjected to Seath's experiments after his Channelers abducted them.
    • At the end of the game, you'll find that Gwyn himself is one, having gone mad from burning alive for the past 1000 years.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers reveal a startling amount of bosses in them. Thankfully there are still many unseen bosses and only one end game boss is seen.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay:
    • The whole game is basically learning how long you can go without dying to a hazardous area or a boss, and what mistakes to avoid whenever you do wind up as a smear on the wall.
    • unlike Demon's Souls, coming back to life, humanity in this game, is not only more common, but the item to restore it is no longer dropped rarely by a single, and very hard, enemy. Also, death no longer takes away half of your health without curse, meaning death, while still heafty, comes much cheaper than in Demon's Souls.
  • Troll: The game can be a haven for them, considering the difficulty and the ability to leave online hints for other players to find. What distinguishes a "troll" from a "griefer" in this matter is that unlike in griefing, the comments left have no ability to directly make life difficult for another player. However, some trolling players get kicks by the thought of Naïve Newcomer players falling to their deaths after reading messages saying "Try jumping" near a Bottomless Pit, and other such things. Players quickly must learn to be careful about what messages they trust.
  • Tsundere: Quelana, who is fond of calling the player a fool and Rhea of Thorolund who initially doesn't have the time of day for him. They both warm up as The Protagonist progresses through their quests.
  • Turns Red: The Tearstone rings do this for you. One of them increases you defense, the other your attack.
    • Ornstein and Smough do this. When one dies, the other gains some of his abilities and becomes significantly more difficult (and also heals up to full health).
  • Unblockable Attack: Many bosses and even normal enemies possess powerful grapple attacks that have to be dodged.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Theoretically, a human cursed with the Dark Sign lives forever, but people rarely live that long in Dark Souls. Ultimately it is inverted as no cure for the Dark Sign is found by the end of the game.
  • Unfortunate Names: If you experience Ceaseless Discharge for more than a twenty-four-hour period, consult your cleric.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Characters that use under 25% of their equip burden can do this almost endlessly. Characters between 25% and 50% can do a reasonable dodge that can get them out of a pinch, but can't chain it. Characters that use over 50% of their equip burden just flop on the ground when they try to dodge roll.
  • The Unreveal: The identity of first born, the location of the Pygmy, what happens after the First Flame dies.
  • Urban Segregation: Just compare the opulence of Anor Londo with the tight, cramped streets of the Undead Burg. Granted, the Undead Burg has been abandoned as a city for a long time but the different in luxury enjoyed by the gods compared to their subjects was extremely vast.
    • Even among the lower stata of undead society, there is a great deal of disparity. From the Undead Burg, you descend to dilapidated slums housing a criminal underclass, and from there to the Depths where those banished from the Undead Burg dwell. And then it's on to Blighttown where even the cursed occupants of the Depths would fear to tread.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Stealth isn't really all that great in the game because even though there are many branching paths, they almost all include small paths with enemies packed in too tightly to avoid.
  • Vader Breath: The Titanite Demons (in spite of the fact that they don't have faces).
  • Vagina Dentata: The Gaping Dragon, which very obviously resembles a fifty-foot-tall toothed vagina on legs when it rears up to attack. Yes, it will try to engulf you at every possible opportunity. Even squickier, one of its attacks has the thing vomit a massive wave of acid.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Dark Hand, which is really the awakened power of the Dark Soul, allows undead to steal the humanity from others in a sort of vampiric kiss.
  • Vendor Trash:
    • The equivalent of it, anyway. Some enemies and fallen bodies have static soul items for you to snag, which, when used, grant you some souls to spend.
    • Once you get far enough into the game, you will unlock a way to dispose of all the trash-armor accumulating in your inventory. The souls you get are a pittance, but that's better than nothing.
  • Videogame Caring Potential:
    • You can help other players in their games by allowing your phantom to be summoned.
    • You can ease the suffering of the Daughter of Chaos by offering her Humanity.
    • You can avenge a Firekeeper who had been murdered, and even restore her to life, provided you're willing to part with a Firekeeper Soul.
    • So here's Great Gray Wolf Sif, giant wolf guarding the grave of his former master, Artorias of the Abyss. There were those who thought Sif was a hard boss to kill, due to his Lightning Bruiser combat style. Then the DLC rolled out, and with it, should the player go through the DLC and rescue the wolf cub before fighting Sif, a complete redo of his introduction cinematic plays instead of the original, to better accommodate the fact that, thanks to the DLC story happening in the past, Sif remembers who you are: the old undead friend who once saved his life. He's still honor-bound to guard Artorias's grave, regardless of whoever trespass into it. Manly Tears were copiously shed by the fans.
  • Videogame Characters:
    • Airborne Mook: The Mosquitoes in Blighttown, double as Goddamn Bats.
    • Blob Monster: The Slimes found in the Depths.
    • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Black Knights early on. Havel the Rock. The Titanite Demons, which the game seems to enjoy making you fight them in tight areas with little ability to maneuver.
    • Border Patrol: The Skeletons near Firelink Shrine when first encountered. They teach players pretty quickly that this is the wrongest path you could possibly take. Realizing that it doesn't deter the most hardcore of Determinators, FROM made the skeletons in the area from that path, Catacombs, reassemble themselves upon death, just to make sure the message hits home.
    • Chest Monster: The mimics. Opening one accidentally will cause them to do a massive attack that will most likely kill the player, and teach them to never open a chest without attacking it first.
    • Dracolich: The undead dragons and the bounding demons, considering that the latter are the lower half of the former. Seath is also considered one by virtue of his Primordial Crystal, which grants him Complete Immortality unless it's destroyed.
    • Dem Bones: The skeletons, giant skeletons and feral skeletons.
    • Elite Mook: Several, from the boulder throwing trolls to the Dark Knights.
    • Everything Trying to Kill You: Almost everything that isn't a fellow gamer in co-op mode will be trying to kill you (and succeeding a good deal of the time).
    • Fake Ultimate Mook: Ceaseless Discharge can be seen as this. It is the largest boss in the game and very intimidating, but is one of the easier bosses in the game.
      • Capra Demon also qualifies, when you first fight one it is in a small area aided by two extremely fast enemies so beginners would naturally find this difficult. However, fighting them alone is much less hassle but it is rare to happen as once they become a regular enemy they are placed tightly together so you will usually attract two or three at the same time.
    • The Goomba: The Hollow Warriors seen in the first section of Undead Burg. Their move set is almost identical to that of the Dreglings in Demon's Souls, and are the easiest enemies in the game to fight. That said, the still pose a threat, especially in groups.
    • Invincible Minor Minion: The Skeletons in the catacombs. You can defeat them, but they'll quickly revive and reassemble themselves as long as the necromancer hiding himself nearby is alive. Or kill them with a Divine weapon.
    • Invisible Monsters: Two of the Forest Hunter NPCs. Semi-invisible at least.
    • Invulnerable Civilians: Heavily averted, as all NPCs can be killed. Even worse, one accidental hit on one, be it a merchant, or a blacksmith, and that NPC is permanently hostile, and often leads to their death, which can be disastrous later on if you happen to kill a merchant. You can, however make all hostile, yet alive, NPCs non hostile by paying Oswald of Carim an obscene amount of souls. 500 souls times your Soul Level to be exact, resulting in (for example) people at level 50 needing to amass 25,000 souls just so the woman who sells moss doesn't try to kill you.
    • Mascot Mook: The Black Knights.
    • Metal Slime: The crystal lizards/geckos (making a return from Demon's Souls), which shine brightly but tend to turn invisible (and are thus un-attackable) when you run into them. Should you manage to catch one, you're likely to get some rare ores for weapon refinement.
    • Monster Knight: A few enemies qualify. The Capra Demons, the Balder Knights, the Black Knights, and the Darkwraiths.
    • Mooks Ate My Equipment: The Gaping Dragon and his acid vomit AOE attack.
    • Night of the Living Mooks: Many of the enemies encountered are undead of some sort: zombies, skeletons, ghosts, etc. Then again, almost everyone you meet is undead, including the player character.
    • Personal Space Invader: Several enemies have devastating grab attacks.
    • Piñata Enemy: The Forest Hunters and the Darkmoon Soldiers. They are quick, cheap, sources for souls. The single respawning Titanite Demon is this as well for the Upgrade Stone it drops.
    • Randomly Drops: Many enemies drop rare unique weapons like the Titanite Demons and the Channelers. A few drop rare armor like the Mimics.
    • Recurring Traveler: Solaire, Siegmeyer, and Sieglinde.
    • Reviving Enemy: The skeletons in the Catacombs.
    • Roaming Enemy: The various special NPC hollows, which appear under special circumstances, and are tragic to fight.
    • Rodents of Unusual Size: Giant evil rats!
    • Shield-Bearing Mook: The Giants in Anor Londo. Completely invincible from the front. Other enemies have shields, but they aren't as difficult or invulnerable as these guys.
    • Smash Mook: The Infested Barbarians.
    • The Undead: Almost everyone you meet is undead, whether or not they look or act like it. This makes sense within the setting, as those who bear the Darksign stay warm and fleshy for a while before they turn into mindless ghouls.
    • The Unfought: The Furtive Pygmy, who never shows up or is even properly mentioned outside of the intro. Artorias for the original version of the game, but averted in the Updated Re-release.
    • Undead Child: The baby skeletons in the Tomb of the Giants.
    • When Trees Attack: The Demonic Foliage that patrol Darkroot Garden.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: It is perfectly possible to kill any and every NPC (including the blacksmiths and merchants) that you come across, should you feel inclined to do so. The only exception is the Everlasting Dragon in Ash Lake.
  • Videogame Items And Inventory and Weapon Tropes:
    • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ornstein's Dragonslayer Spear, apparently. His Leo Ring states that it is rumored to have cleaved a boulder in two.
    • Always Check Behind the Chair: Useful items are often hidden inside or behind containers, furniture, and other such objects.
      • As a prominent example, you'll never find Ash Lake and the Path of the Dragon covenant unless you notice that a particular chest hidden by an illusion wall is actually in front of another illusion wall.
    • An Axe to Grind: There are numerous axes in the game, and a fully ascended elemental Greataxe is one of the, if not the most destructive weapon in the game. Gargoyles have axes for tails that can be cut off and used.
    • Annoying Arrows: Arrows aren't that big of deal in this game excluding those fired by other players much stronger than you and if a Silver Knight is flinging them at you - though the size of those "arrows" are more like javelins. Even then, the majority of deaths they cause is getting knocked into a bottomless pit instead of actual damage.
    • Antidote Effect: Natch.
    • Armor-Piercing Attack: Lightning weapons, as most armor and shields aren't particularly effective against it. Also thrusting swords, which translates into them having higher critical damage when performing backstabs and ripostes.
    • Arrows on Fire: Fire arrows, naturally.
    • Automatic Crossbows: Avelyn.
    • Bag of Holding: Present in the form of the Bottomless Box, a sort of portable bank that can only be used at bonfires.
    • BFS: The Dragon Greatsword, apparently this game's version of the Dragon Bone Smasher. This weapon appears to have more in common with Nightmare's Soul Edge. Any weapon in the Ultra Great Sword counts as do many weapons as in the Great Sword category.
    • Blade on a Stick: Some weapons classify as this, such as the varying types of spears and halberds.
    • Blow Gun: The blowdart snipers in Blighttown carry these.
    • Breakable Weapons: All weapons (and armor) degrade slowly with use. Certain enemy abilities cause durability damage on your items, and some weapons allow you to use a powerful special attack at the cost of rapidly degrading the weapon's condition. Fortunately everything can be repaired relatively easily aside from the frail and unrepairable Crystal items.
    • Broken Faceplate: The Balder Set. Good armor but it is clear it has seen better days.
    • Cosmic Keystone: The First Flame. The Lordvessel.
    • Day Old Legend: Natch.
    • Disk One Nuke: See the weapons discussed in Disk One Nukes.
    • Drop the Hammer: Many of the blunt weapons, the most ridiculous of these are Grant and Smough's Hammer.
    • Dual Wielding: As in Demon's Souls, you can equip an off-hand weapon, sacrificing your ability to parry for extra attacks, unless that weapon is something like the Parry Dagger.
    • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Unique weapons tend to be rare drops off enemies or forged from special souls, while their armor is usually found hidden in a chest somewhere.
    • Experience Booster: The Covetous Silver Serpent Ring and the Symbol of Avarice helm. Also the overkill mechanic where you get more souls if you deal 150% of the monster's max hp in one blow.
    • Flaming Sword: Quelaag's Fury Sword. Also wielded very effectively by Gwyn, Lord of Cinder. You can also gain it if you keep his soul and use it in a Weapon Ascension, though the crafted version isn't on fire. Normal upgradeable weapons can be temporarily this by applying Charcoal Pine Resin, which adds fire damage to your weapon.
    • Healing Potion: Your main method of recovering health is a substance known as Estus, which is stored in a dull emerald green glass bottle/flask that you can refill at bonfires. This completely replaces the healing items of Demon's Souls.
    • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Generally Averted. While there are a few helmets that let you show off your face, most of them are pretty obscuring. There is no option to cosmetically hide the helmet either.
    • Heroes Prefer Swords: Swords are the most numerous weapons in the game. In addition, four of the ten classes start with swords as their weapons.
    • Iaijutsu Practitioner: The Iaito's strong attack.
    • Infinity–1 Sword: All the Disc One Nuke equipment and some of the Ascended weapons seem like Infinity+1 Sword material, but the often limited upgrade options compared to the generic equipment make them qualify for this. Certain magic spells have a high number of uses, but actually end up using most of them during one casting.
    • Infinity+1 Sword: Mostly averted, since you can excel with any decently upgraded weapon, whether they're acquired early or late in the game, and subsequent playthroughs make sure you're never out of tough enemies. However, the Moonlight Greatsword, which is acquired by cutting Seath's middle tail, is a potential candidate for this, due to its unique scaling and damage type, making it a favourite for magic builds.
    • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Averted, all of the keys in the game are permanent and besides the Master Key only open specific doors.
    • Joke Item: The whip. The item's description states that it's not intended for combat and extremely ineffective against enemies. Whip based characters are a common self imposed challenge.
    • Katanas Are Just Better: At least for Dexterity-focused characters, as their damage increases with higher Dex. They tend to be quick, too.
    • Laser Blade / Hard Light: The Moonlight Greatsword is something of a magical version of this. The actual physical blade is tiny, about the size of a dagger. The larger blade that makes up the bulk of the weapon is a magical projection of moonlight.
    • Level-Locked Loot: Dark Souls uses stats to determine the effectiveness of weapons. Any player can equip any weapon, but if the player character doesn't have the minimum stats to properly wield it that weapon's performance will be severely penalized.
    • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: No matter what class you're playing as, you need a shield. It is suicide to play without one, that's why even the "Deprived," who starts off naked, gets one. Dual Wield builds are a common form of Self-Imposed Challenge by advanced players, and players using a two handed weapon still tend to use a shield and switch stances when not attacking.
      • Shield Bash: Greatshields and smaller shields with spikes on them can do this instead of parrying, with the main benefit being breaking the enemy's guard. Other shields can only bash if used in your main hand, only allowing you to use them as a weapon, making it rather useless.
    • Lost Forever:
      • All acquired souls and liquid humanity are permanently lost if the player dies a second time without retrieving them.
      • The Darkwraith Covenant if you bring the Lordvessel to Kingseeker Frampt rather than Darkstalker Kaathe in The Abyss.
      • Seven of the nine Covenants can be lost forever if the player gets a bit bloodthirsty. The exceptions are the Warriors of Sunlight (because you don't need an NPC to enter, just kneel at a statue with enough Faith) and the Path of the Dragon (the Everlasting Dragon is completely impossible to kill). Although permanently barring yourself from the Forest Hunters requires attacking Alvina and Oswald (you can't kill Alvina, she just leaves if you attack her until you get Oswald to pardon you).
      • The Ring of Favour and Protection if you remove it.
      • Anything offered by NPCs will be lost forever if you kill them before getting it.
      • The "tail" weapons if you kill the enemies without cutting off the tails first.
      • Due to the fact that all the above can be re-obtained or re-accessed upon restarting a playthrough, the only true items that can potentially be Lost Forever in a single character savefile are covenant items such as unique weapons ( or armor, in the case of Darkwraiths) should you decide to drop them and fail to recover them for one reason or another.
    • Magic Staff: Catalysts. They can also be used as melee weapons.
    • Master Swordsman: Gwyn and Abysswalker Artorias.
    • Oddly Shaped Sword: Quelaag's Furysword, shaped like a piece of a spider's exoskeleton. Also, it ignites when you swing it.
    • One-Handed Zweihänder: You can use a variety of heavy weapons with only one hand, and if you have a high enough Strength stat you'll be able to do it without penalty (the listed strength requirement is to wield one-handed, wielding two-handed effectively increases your strength by 50%). Amusingly, the inverse is also possible, allowing the player to use a six-inch dagger or small shield with both hands. Artorias himself does this in his boss fight because of his bad arm, although he could wield it one-handed anyway due to his skill with it.
    • Plot Coupon: The Twin Bells of Awakening. The Lordvessel. The Lord Souls.
    • Poisoned Weapon: Certain unique weapons can poison enemies, as can poison arrows and throwing knives. Blighttown has enemies using poisoned darts and poisoned giant wooden clubs!
    • Possession Implies Mastery: Nope. While you can use all weapons and armor you pick up, using them without the proper stats will make using the weapon less effective, leading to awkward attack animations and severely reduced damage. One-handed weapons even need to be used with both hands to wield even remotely effectively. One place where this stumbles slightly is the use of the Painting Guardian Sword, which is explicitly stated to be a weapon and technique exclusive to that order — there's no way for the player to properly imitate their Dual Wielding style.
      • In a meta sense, some weapons have quirky movesets or unique attacks that require practice on the player's part to use effectively even if the player character has no issues performing them.
    • Power Fist: The Dragonbone Fist, crafted from a fist weapon and the Iron Golem's core.
    • Razor Wind: The Drake Sword and the Dragon Greatsword. Both are unique from Demon's Souls Stormruler in that its special ability can be used anywhere. That said, the special ability takes a huge chunk out of the sword's durability.
    • Reduced Mana Cost: The Dusk Crown Ring, effectively, with it doubling the number of sorcery casts at the price of halving HP.
    • Reforged Blade: The True Greatsword of Artorias, forged from a broken sword!
    • Rolling Attack: Wearing pieces of the Thorn armor set will allow you to damage any enemies you touch while rolling.
    • Royal Rapier: Richard's Rapier, the rapier of a prince of a distant nation.
    • Scary Impractical Armor: A variety of armor is like this, Ornstein's and Smough's armor sets immediately come to mind.
    • Schizophrenic Difficulty: Due to the open-ended nature of the game, you'll end up running into a place meant for a much higher leveled and better equipped character. Especially in the beginning, where the way to Undead Burg is at the very side, and the most obvious paths available lead to an area filled with ghosts immune to regular weapon damage or a graveyard with high-level skeletons, which if you manage to get past, you'll have to fight resurrecting skeletons and exploding skulls that do high damage.
      • Blighttown as well. It's right after the sewers, which has One-Hit-Point Wonder enemies that give humanity after dying and boss that can be defeated with two NPC summons. The area is filled with enemies that telegraph their moves and can easily be backstabbed, but there are a shitload of them and they actually seek YOU out. On the plus side, it has a lot of loot in obvious places. Too bad the loot can only be accessed by jumping over bottomless pits, maneuvering swaying bridges, or should you find an easy place to jump down to it, you'll find the floors collapse if they're jumped on from a certain height.
    • Shock and Awe: There are a variety of enemies that use lightning as an ability such as the Titanite Demons and Dragon Slayer Ornstein. The player can forge lightning weapons which have additional lightning damage and are some of the best weapons in the game and can also obtain three miracles that lets them throw lightning bolts Zeus-style.
    • Shockwave Stomp: The two-handed power attack of the Dragon King Greataxe is slow but damages all enemies around you with a shockwave at the cost of weapon durability.
    • Sinister Scimitar: Many of the curved swords and greatswords.
    • Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: Mostly averted. The majority of thrusting weapons can only thrust, and most slashing weapons only slash. There are a few oddities like the estoc, a long, unsharpened sword meant for thrusting, having a slash attack.
    • Special Attack: There are a large variety of weapons with unique special attacks. These can range from devastating uppercuts with powerful knockbacks, the Drake Sword and Dragon Great Sword's Razor Wind attacks, special grabs in which you steal another's humanity and many others.
    • Spin Attack: The heavy attack of certain weapons. The Belfry Gargoyles in Anor Londo also have an aerial one.
    • Stab the Sky: The Stone Greatsword's special attack does this before casting a spell that slows enemy movement speed.
    • Stance System: Your attacks depend on whether you choose to wield your weapon with one or two hands.
    • Starter Equipment: Each of the game's ten classes has its own set, though you can find all of those equipment sets lying around somewhere.
    • Sword Beam: The Moonlight Greatsword has this as its special attack, making it even more reminiscent to the Moonlight Sword seen in previous From Software games.
    • Sword Drag: The Black Knight Great Sword and Black Knight Great Ax do this as part of the build up for their strong attacks.
    • Sword Lines: Great Grey Wolf Sif when wielding the massive Greatsword of Artorias.
    • Sword Sparks: Hitting a wall causes this.
    • Twenty-Four-Hour Armor: Invoked. Without it, you would die more often.
    • Whip It Good: Two different whips are available weapons.
    • With This Herring:
      • You find a proper weapon and shield within the tutorial dungeon but just starting out, you have nothing more than the broken hilt-shard to wield against zombies. Justified since you are in a dungeon.
      • The Deprived's "proper weapon and shield" are a wooden club and plank. He/she also doesn't start with any armor.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: The developers tried to limit this by requiring player-set messages to be assembled from a given list of words. Unfortunately, "need head" is a possible combination. Guess what message tends to pop up the most?
  • Videogame Settings:
    • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Depths look a lot like this, though some parts of them also resemble catacombs.
    • The Alcatraz: The Undead Aslyum, where civilization locks up people cursed with the Darksign, mostly out of fear.
    • Ascetic Aesthetic: The path that leads to the Kiln of the First Flame. It's unlike anything else seen in the game. The area is almost a White Void Room with a downward staircase floating in the void. Ghostly apparitions of the Black Knights walk across the staircase. It really builds of the dread of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • Beautiful Void: Lordran, excluding all of the unpleasant monsters and zombies.
    • Big Fancy Castle: Anor Londo is an entire city built like this.
    • Blackout Basement: The Tomb of the Giants is pitch-black. And filled with some of the toughest monsters in the game.
    • Bleak Level: Kiln of the First Flame.
    • Bright Castle: Anor Londo is an absolutely stunning castle city, with beautiful gothic architecture.
    • Bubblegloop Swamp: Blighttown.
    • Cobweb Jungle: Quelaag's Domain. The entire area is almost entirely covered with cobwebs and filled with giant spider eggs.
    • Creepy Cathedral: The Undead Parish.
    • Dark Fantasy: Like Demon's Souls, the game itself fall into this genre of fantasy.
    • Down the Drain: The Depths are your classic sewer maze, complete with giant (zombie) rats.
    • Down in the Dumps: Blighttown.
    • Dungeon Town: Most of the game. The Undead Burg, Undead Parish, and The Depths are all part of one large city. Several other areas are cities as well like New Londo and Anor Londo.
      • Lordran is in fact an entire dungeon country, as it's completely surrounded by a huge castle wall (visible from the Firelink Shrine).
    • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Sen's Fortress. The area is also incredibly malicious, filled with countless Booby Traps.
    • Garden of Evil: The Darkroot Garden is one of the more lush areas, but it's full of living plants trying to kill you.
      • Lost Izilath is some kind of twisted inversion of the usual traits of this trope. It's a deep underground city full of lava and demons, but everywhere you go, there's bare tree roots covering everything. The source of it all is the Bed of Chaos, or rather what's left of the Witch of Izalith. So it follows the "plantlife everywhere" part of the trope while visually reminding you of death and fire instead of smothering greens and poison like most gardens of evil.
    • Hailfire Peaks: The Ash Lake is a mix of Palmtree Panic and Lost Woods. The Painted World of Ariamas is a mix of Slippy-Slidey Ice World and Big Fancy Castle. New Londo Ruins is a mix of Big Fancy Castle and Big Boo's Haunt.
    • Haunted Castle: New Londo Ruins.
    • Hub Level: Firelink Shrine is basically the center of the game world, houses most of the trainers should you find them and has quick access to many areas of the game once you unlock the shortcuts.
    • Lethal Lava Land: The Demon Ruins and the first half of Lost Izalith.
    • Great Big Library of Everything: The Duke's Archives. Naturally Big Hat Logan loves hanging out here and reading the unbelievably vast collection of tomes.
    • The Lost Woods: Darkroot Garden and Darkroot Basin.
    • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Kiln of the First Flame
    • Noob Cave: Undead Burg.
    • One Time Dungeon: Completely averted. All areas of the game can be revisited.
    • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The area next to the hidden bonfire in Darkroot Garden. Two Darkmoon soldiers in Dark Anor Londo are also a good grinding spot.
    • Planet Heck: The Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith are clearly meant to evoke this. They're underground, Lethal Lava Lands filled with decrepit ruins and overrun with demons.
    • Secret Level: Several.
    • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Painted World of Ariamis and the Crystal Caves.
    • Shifting Sand Land: While the heat has mostly died out, the Kiln of the First Flame is a desert made of ash and cinder.
    • Swamps Are Evil: The swamp section of Blighttown, an obvious callback to Demon's Souls Valley of Defilement.
    • Temple of Doom: Sen's Fortress. While it isn't in a jungle or desert, its an ancient fortress built as a testing ground for undead who want to succeed Lord Gwyn. It's one of the most dangerous places in the game and packed full of booby traps.
    • Underground Level: The Catacombs and the Tomb of the Giants.
    • World Tree: The Great Hollow. The level is just one long descent down the inside of an enormous tree. The Ash Lake shows that there are hundreds of these under the world.
    • Wutai: The "Far East" is like this, and we meet a few characters from there who are a Samurai and a Ninja, but we never get to go there personally.
  • Villain Team-Up: Ornstein and Smough certainly aren't big fans of each other, but they're more than happy to work together to kick your ass.
  • The Voiceless: Anastacia of Astora, the Fire Keeper of Firelink Shrine cannot speak because she had her tongue removed. She gets better if revived after Lautrec kills her, though she considers her restored ability to speak sinful.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Abyss.
  • Warp Whistle: Obtaining the Lordvessel allows players to warp between the major bonfires.
  • Was Once a Man: Quite a few enemies. Hollows, the Pisaca in the Duke's Archives, Quelaag and her sister, Ceaseless Discharge.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: You can kill the Hellkite Dragon that guards the bridge in Undead Burg by climbing a nearby tower and shooting its wings with arrows. Or rather, one arrow. The only difficulty in regards to that is the Black Knight that lies in wait on top of the tower. Although this only applies to the console version if it hasn't been patched at all.
    • Ceaseless Discharge in the Demon Ruins can be killed very easily by running back to the fog gate and waiting for the boss to throw his hand down and whacking it a few time. In truth, the boss began to fall into a bottomless pit and threw his hand down to catch himself.
    • Gywn, Lord of Cinder and Final Boss is cripplingly weak to parrying. He can be done in by 3 ripostes if you are build right.
  • We Have Reserves: Hawkeye Gough indicates that this was how Gwyn's knights defeated the Everlasting Dragons. According to them, they lost knights at a ratio of roughly sixty to each slain dragon.
  • Welcome to Corneria: NPCs have a set amount of dialog they're say, which changes as you advance through the game.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Gwyndolin, by virtue of his father being dead. We don't know enough about their lives together when he was alive, but the fact that he was raised as a girl suggests it wasn't that great.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Darkwraiths, of all people, turn out to be this-they actually want to be strong enough to bring about the Age of Dark, aka What Kaathe Says (And Evidence Suggests) Is Humanity's prophesied Golden Age.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When you attack Priscilla the half-dragon, she calls you out on such offensive dickery. This is also something of the standard response to you attacking non-offensive NPCs.
    Why?
    • Particularly offensive in Priscilla's case, as she's completely non-aggressive unless attacked, even gives you directions to leave the area, and is in an area that's separate from the 'real' world to boot. You have to go out of your way to even meet her, let alone attack her, which makes the whole thing feel extra dickish. Naturally, FROM Software made sure there's an achievement/trophy for killing her, just so people will feel EXTRA bad about slaughtering her just for a miserable platinum/max achievement score.
    • Eingyi will call you a monster and attack you if you kill Quelaag's sister.
    • After dealing enough damage to Sif, he'll start to limp, attack slower, and even stumble. Go ahead, try not to feel terrible about that. Note that unlike most cruel actions, doing this is compulsory to complete the game.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The premise is that your hero can never die, no matter what, he'll just keep coming back. The player feels his pain.
  • The Wild Hunt: The Forest Hunter covenant. A group of bandits lead by the Cheshire Cat, they indirectly guard Sir Artorias' grave with the rest of the forest. Joining up with them allows you to invade other players' worlds and loot their corpse.
  • Witch Hunt: The Undead in the Undead Asylum were victims of this, rounded up and imprisoned to await the end of the world. An item description also mentions a band of clerics who hunt Undead.
  • Wizarding School: The Dragon College of Vinheim. According to lore, the higher ups in the college effectively run the nation/city state, whatever it is.
  • Worf Had The Flu: Knight Artorias' limp left arm suggests that it's broken and not strong enough to wield his signature Greatshield - which he had given to Sif at that point - during your fight with him. One shudders to think what happens if the player has to fight him with both hands intact, untainted by the Dark, with both his Greatsword and Greatshield at his arsenal, considering he handily beats most players with one arm broken...
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Despite being a Crapsack World, this pops up from time to time. Standing atop the Undead Parish, having just rung the first Bell of Awakening provides players with an absolutely breath taking view of the world around them, where they can see all of where they've traveled, and some of what is to come. The cut scene that plays when players first arrive at Anor Londo also counts.
  • Wretched Hive: What the Female Undead Merchant thinks of Lower Undead Burg. It is filled with thieves as she said indicating that this was true at one point in the past, but they've gone hollow since then.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Several characters speak like this, although it's more jarring when it comes from the mouth of the Giant Blacksmith (arguably intentional), as he combines it with Hulkspeak.
    • Gwynevere and Oswald of Carim, in particular, do this.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Letting your guard down or trying to rush forward because you're facing enemies you've easily beaten before is generally a terrible idea and will end up with you feeling like an idiot for dying to simple zombies or skeletons you could've easily beaten with some patience. There's also repeatedly dying by falling off into a Bottomless Pit because of totally preventable causes.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Your character starts the game in the Undead Asylum.
  • You Already Changed The Past: To add to the general weirdness of time travel in the game, you encounter Artorias in the PC version by time travel, meaning you likely were the person to kill him in the past.
    • Even crazier, the new content reveals that Artorias was actually consumed by the Abyss. He had failed. The one who actually defeated the Father of the Abyss and is the real hero is YOU. Your deeds were credited to Artorias and his early demise due to his corruption was forgotten.
  • You Fool!: Alvina calls you this if you attempt to kill her. Quelana uses it as a term of endearment.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Like Demon's Souls, giving your character a custom hair colour is possible. Three of the preset hair colours are even Dark Blue (which seems to be common in Carim), Dark Purple (which is noted to be a colour of a near extinct race) and Silver.
  • You Have Outlivedyour Usefulness: Lautrec does this to Anastacia of Astora, the Firelink Shrine Firekeeper. Kingseeker Frampt says this of the remaining Lord Soul owners.
    • The player himself can benefit greatly from this trope, as many NPCs drop useful items if killed. Bonfire keepers are frequent victims: once the player finds other nearby bonfires, they're of more use dead.
  • You No Take Candle: Snuggly/Sparkly the Crow speaks like this.
  • Your Soul Is Mine:
    • The level-up system is explained as absorbing the souls of fallen enemies into the player character's own. The game raises questions about what exactly is the soul.
    • Enemies and players who have the 'Lifedrain' ability (Dark Hand weapon) can drain humanity from a target.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Many nations, including Lordran, were absolutely devastated by the Darksign's appearance.


"Well, now you know... And I can die with hope in my heart."
Demon's SoulsCreator/From SoftwareDark Souls II
Dante's InfernoFantasy Video GamesDark Souls II
BravomanCreator/Namco BandaiDark Souls II
Demon's SoulsWestern RPGDark Souls II
DamnationPlay Station 3 Dark Souls II
DarksidersXbox 360 Dark Souls II
Demon's SoulsAction RPGDark Souls II
Demon's SoulsEastern RPGDark Souls II
Dark MessiahSteamDarksiders

alternative title(s): Dark Souls
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