Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Dark Souls I

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dark_souls_hd.jpg

"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 first game in the Dark Souls series, developed by FROM Software and published by Bandai Namco.

In the Age of Ancients, the world was unformed, and 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 Furtive Pygmy, so easily forgotten. Aided by Seath the Scaleless, a traitorous dragon, 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 Darksign 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.

The game is an Action RPG very much like Demon's Souls, and reuses many elements, such as the combat, online mechanics, and Nintendo Hard difficulty.

The game was released for PlayStation 3 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 Xbox 360 as DLC named "Artorias of the Abyss" on October 23, 2012. On December 15th, 2014 FROM Software began the PC version's transition off of the now defunct Games for Windows Live platform in favor of upgrading to support Steamworks, allowing players to transfer their data and achievements in the process. It has two sequels, Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III.

An Updated Re-release, Dark Souls: Remastered, was released May 25, 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. The remaster adds up to 6 player online pvp / co-op, redone textures, and depending on the platform, improved lighting, resolutions, frame rate and so on. And yes, praise the sun, they fixed Blighttown.


The game provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

     A-C 

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ornstein's Dragonslayer Spear, apparently. His Leo Ring states that it is rumored to have cleaved a boulder in two.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Depths look a lot like this, though some parts of them also resemble catacombs.
  • Action Prologue: The game's prologue, which involves Nito, the Witch of Izalith and Gwyn taking on the dragons.
  • Aerith and Bob: Laurentius of the Great Swamp, The Witch of Izalith, Oswald, Oscar, Logan, Solaire...
  • After the End: If it isn't after the end, it's very close to it. Although in-game lore heavily hints that the end already came, and you're just trying to keep pushing it back as if it hadn't.
  • Airborne Mook: The Mosquitoes in Blighttown, double as Goddamn Bats.
  • The Alcatraz: The Undead Aslyum, where civilization locks up people cursed with the Darksign, mostly out of fear.
  • Altum Videtur: Vereor Nox, said by Rhea as a goodbye. It means Fearfully Respect the Night/Dark.
  • Always Night: The fate of Anor Londo should the player attack Gwynevere. Oddly enough, it actually becomes relatively safer after doing this.
    • The Darkroot Garden and Darkroot Basins are both perpetually covered in darkness, which feels weird when you transition to another area where it's perpetually late afternoon.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Both endings are short and without much, if any, context as to what effect on the world your actions may have had.
  • Ancient Keeper: Kaathe and Frampt have been waiting for the day an Undead would appear before them so they can give directives towards the endgame. That said, their trustworthiness is suspect.
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: A classic example:
    • The lords of Anor Londo are the Angels that try their best to maintain the crumbling world order through the underhanded herding of the Undead and a secret plan to find a successor who can replace Gwyn as fuel for the First Flame.
    • The demons of Lost Izalith and Gravelord Nito's minions are the Devils that prowl the land, spreading chaos and misery, but don't really have a significant impact other than to provide very tough enemies on your journey.
    • The creatures of the Abyss are the representation of the Squid, given they are grotesquely deformed, corrupted beings that threaten the very balance of the Dark Souls universe by indiscriminately trying plunge whatever they can into the world-destroying Dark. Darkstalker Kaathe claims it's the ushering of a new age for humanity, but he's proven to be lying when you meet the biggest, baddest Squid around in the form of Manus, Father of the Abyss. He's a former human whose humanity ran rampant and twisted him into this form, just like every enemy in the Chasm of the Abyss. It's heavily hinted that "humanity" as described in the game is the property that makes humans unique, and confirmed by word of God that said "humanity" are all pieces of the Dark Soul.
  • 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. The Iron Golem boss is this 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.
    • Fell off a ledge into a Bottomless Pit? Thankfully, you'll still have a bloodstain, near the location you fell from.
    • The Ring of Favor and Protection gives quite a few powerful bonuses at the expense of breaking should you ever remove it. Trying to switch it out causes a pop-up window to appear, warning that it will break and thus preventing players from ever accidentally removing it.
    • If you defeat the Four Kings prior to obtaining the Lordvessel, you can still warp out of the Abyss using its bonfire.
  • 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.
  • Arc Villain: The game as a whole lacks a real Big Bad, but it still has villainous characters.
    • Seath the Scaleless for much of the main game. He's certainly the most openly villainous of the bosses you face in the main game, being directly responsible for many of the various abominations you fight as well as kidnapping people to be experimented on. And unlike most other bosses in the game, he's fully lucid and in control of his own actions, though he has apparently gone mad.
    • Manus, Father of the Abyss for the DLC content, who is responsible for the corruption of Artorias and the fall of Oolacile. Though you kill him thousands of years before the main game, he casts a long shadow over the rest of the series, with the main villain of Dark Souls 2 being one of his descendants.
  • 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 its 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. Occasionally, 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.
  • Ascended Meme: The "Praise the Sun" gesture is one for Miyazaki. The gesture originated in Demon's Souls, where it was used to extend the miracle casting animation while wearing the Ring of Sincere Prayer. Said gesture nearly didn't make the cut for Demon's Souls, but got in under the radar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Badass Bookworm: Mages in general. As far as NPCs go, Griggs and especially Big Hat Logan.
  • 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.
    • Sieglinde of Catarina as well. She is the only non-undead NPC in the game other than Dusk, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Beautiful Void: Lordran, excluding all of the unpleasant monsters and zombies.
  • 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 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.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: It's implied that Manus became the destructive Eldritch Abomination he is after being tortured by the people of Oolacile.
  • 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, which can be cut off and wielded as a weapon. Played even straighter by the Sanctuary Guardian, a manticore with a large and poisonous scorpion tail, which you can also sever and wield as a poisonous whip.
  • Big Bad: The Artoria of the Abyss DLC gives one to the overall lore in the form of Manus, Father of the Abyss. He is heavily implied to be The Furtive Pygmy who lost control of his humanity and became a monster, and drags you into the past, where you get to witness a localized outbreak of the Dark.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Anor Londo is a city built like this.
  • 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 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.
  • Blackout Basement: The Tomb of the Giants is pitch-black. And filled with some of the toughest monsters in the game.
  • 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.
    • The Kiln of the First Flame, a barren desert at the end of the world guarded solely by a few Black Knights and Gwyn, the Lord of Cinder.
  • "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.
    You Defeated
  • 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.
  • Blob Monster: The Slimes found in the Depths.
  • Body Horror: The Egg-Burdened. The Darksign itself could count as an example. Also Chaos Witch Quelaag and her sister.
  • 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.
  • 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 normal upgrade paths only scales with strength and dexterity, does not do magic, fire or lightning damage, and usually has a lower attack rating than other paths. However, because of the way damage is calculated, a it will often deal the most damage to enemies.
    • In general, because the ultimate arbiter of a piece of equipment's usefulness is its numbers, "normal" gear is almost universally better in the long run that special gear (including boss and dragon weapons) simply because normal weapons upgrade to +15 and normal armour to +10, while all special gear either caps at +5 or (in the case of some armour sets) cannot be upgraded at all. The fact that the majority of special weapons simply cannot be buffed with resins or spells at all makes them even worse. While special gear will usually be stronger if you're not bothering to upgrade or buff your equipment, once you do you'll ALWAYS get better damage/protection for weight out of ordinary stuff like the Zweihander or the Ragged Set than you will out of fancy gear like the Dragonslayer Spear or the Lord's Blade Set.
  • Boss Battle: Dark Souls is host to a variety of bosses just itching to stick their foot up your ass.
  • 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.
  • 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. There is an exception in a respawning Titanite Demon on a narrow bridge in Lost Izalith. You can farm it if you're good enough, but the fight can be difficult without being knocked off the bridge by the creature.
  • 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.
  • Bright Castle: Anor Londo is an absolutely stunning castle city, with beautiful gothic architecture.
  • Broken Bird: Every female character, save Sieglinde, whose tragedy occurs within the game.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Blighttown.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
      • Considering most of the inmates appear to be mindless hollow who just stand around slumped, there probably was little concern for danger, especially with the Asylum Demon kept there.
    • 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.
  • Carry a Big Stick: The Great Club, which is essentially a giant tree branch that has high strength requirements but does monstrous damage.
  • Carrying the Weakness: Ghosts commonly drop the Transient Curse consumable, which can be used to temporarily inflict the Curse status on oneself, which is convenient, since you can only harm Ghosts while you are Cursed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Clam Trap: Maneater Clams are giant legged clams that attempt to swallow you, doing massive damage.
  • Clean Dub Name: Some think the French dub received such treatment due to the translators' wish to make the game more serious by removing anything that might be seen by the players as vulgarnote . The sequels dropped this.
  • Cliffhanger: The Dark Lord ending is something of one. Later games reveal that it's explicitly not canon, though.
  • Cobweb Jungle: Quelaag's Domain. The entire area is almost entirely covered with cobwebs and filled with giant spider eggs.
  • 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..."
  • Companion-Specific Sidequest: The game doesn't have companions and side-quests per se, but major NPCs who can be summoned to assist you in multiple boss fights, such as Solaire of Astora and Lautrec of Carim, have a number of unique interactions and dialogues with the Chosen Undead throughout the game, which constitute their Character Arc. Siegmeyer of Catarina also gets a storyline like this despite not being summonable at any point.
  • 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.
  • 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..
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The Artorias of the Abyss DLC confirms some of the most pessimistic speculation about the setting and backstory, placing the game firmly in this territory. Humans are revealed to turn into hideously powerful (and just plain hideous) monsters when their Humanity builds up too much and runs wild. The First Flame, which is responsible for civilization as we know it, is dying and there is no way to save it. The best anyone can do is prolong its life and only by offering themselves up to burn in agony as the Flame's fuel.]] It says something that the plague of undeath that has already laid several nations low is relegated to a back burner problem.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Havel the Rock. A human general who's equipment is specifically designed to fight dragons, sorcery, and gods, even though he was one of Lord Gwyn's generals. The guy's armor itself is carved straight from a rock, and requires ridiculous strength and endurance just to walk around in it. But, in order to achieve that, he has a ring that boosts his strength to carry that...and his massive club, which is literally a Dragon's tooth. But, he's beyond prepared to simply fight dragons. In his hidden room in Anor Londo, you can find a spare set of his rock armor, another Dragontooth, a miracle that pretty much negates all magic damage (crafted to fight against Seath the Scaleless), and, something that's extremely WMG-worthy, a club with an Occult damage modifier, the damage type that is lethal to divine beings...so Lord Gwyn, his Knights, and the other Gods. The only other weapons with that modifier are found by people who are opposed to, shunned from, or feared by the Gods.
  • Creepy Cathedral: The Undead Parish.
  • Creepy Crows: You are initially brought from the Undead Asylum to greater Lordran by a gigantic crow. Also the crow demons in the painted world.
  • Crystal Landscape: The Crystal Cave, lair of Seath the Scaleless; a deep chasm covered in giant (mostly blue) crystals and populated by crystal golems. The crystals have significance beyond just prettiness, since in the game, they are associated with sorcery (Seath's original invention)—and with the uglier sides of it in particular. "Golems" are actually people trapped in crystal shells, while prolonged tinkering with crystal-based magic chips away at the sorcerers' sanity.
  • Crystal Weapon: Crystal weapons are extremely powerful but have low durability and cannot be repaired by any means. Like most things crystal in the game, they are ultimately products of Duke Seath the Scaleless' research, who also invented several sorceries that temporarily turn regular weapons into crystals.
  • 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.

     D-I 

  • 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.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: If you are unlucky enough to get grabbed by Kalameet, he will give you a status effect that makes you take double damage. When you kill him, you get the Calamity Ring, which has the same effect, in case you want the extra challenge, or are a complete masochist.
  • Darkest Hour: 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 Fantasy: Like Demon's Souls, the game itself fall into this genre of fantasy.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Zigzagged. Darkness 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. However, Manus was twisted into the terrifying monster he is today when his humanity "ran wild", whatever that means.
  • 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.
    • Same goes for Rhea, if Petrus doesn't get to her first.
  • 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 Armored Boar 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.
  • Decoy Leader: Gwynevere
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen: Rhea and Quelana, who both warm up to the player after certain events.
  • 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.
    • A particularly weird example is the Bounding Demons. Zombie dragons are unique minibosses, and one of the only two in the entire game will tear itself in half trying to get to you, leaving its lower half behind once dead. This isn't too bad... until you get to Lost Izalith and have to fight about thirty sentient and really aggressive zombie dragon asses.
  • Dem Bones: The skeletons, giant skeletons and feral skeletons.
  • 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.
  • Developers' Foresight
    • 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 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.
    • In the Downloadable Content, you go back in time and potentially meet a younger version of the boss Great Grey Wolf Sif. If you took the time to save him from the Humanity Sprites before fighting the boss in present time, his cinematic intro is replaced by a longer version wherein he recognizes you and reluctantly prepares to fight you anyway.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dirty Coward: "Trusty" Patches, who tries to kick you off a ledge while you are distracted. Twice! He also uses one of the most low-risk builds in the game, carrying a greatshield and a spear so that he can poke at you while hiding behind his shield, putting himself in minimal danger in battle.
  • 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 either doing a suicide run to steal treasure from an undead dragon that can one shot them, or spamming it with arrows from a fair distance. 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 powerful 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.
    • Speaking of Black Knights, there's also a single chance of getting the Black Knight Greatsword from the non-respawning one in Undead Parish. Actually obtaining it requires some considerable favor from the Random Number God, but should you luck out and invest the stats to use it (32 Strength and 18 Dexterity, or just 22 Strength if you two-hand it), you have a weapon that, once fully upgraded (like the Black Knight Sword, it upgrades with Twinkling Titanite so you can max it out fairly early) is literally capable of defeating the Capra Demon in two swings, and virtually every basic enemy you encounter in one. With the proper build, the Black Knight Sword is quite able to carry any player through the entire game.
    • 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 and 18 Dexterity), but if you forgo 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).
    • Yet another extremely powerful weapon that a player can get from the very start is the Titanite Catch Pole, a rare drop from the non-respawning Titanite Demons in the Catacombs or Undead Parish. If you do get it, you have a lightweight halberd that has a very low stat requirement, deals both physical and magic damage, and upgrades with Twinkling Titanites. The fact that it deals magic damage allows you to hit enemies through their metal shields. At higher levels (40 Strength and 30 Dexterity), it becomes a tool primarily for dealing riposte damage (882 damage), surpassing the Black Knight Great Axe (862 damage).
    • 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.
    • A lesser example, but the absolute easiest weapon to get early on is the Estoc, which you can find on a corpse just sitting out in the open in the first part of the New Londo Ruins area. Literally all you have to do to get it after you arrive at Firelink Shrine is run down to the elevator, travel down to the Ruins and go pick it up- the only enemies between you and it are a bunch of hapless Hollows more concerned with bemoaning their fate than attacking you. The Estoc is the largest thrusting sword, meaning you can use it to stab from behind a raised shield, it has very modest stat requirements to use one-handed (10 strength and 12 dexterity), and it has the longest reach of all the thrusting swords, allowing you to skewer early game enemies with ease using its two-handed stabbing attacks.
    • The blacksmith in New Londo Ruins sells a Soul Arrow, a Heavy Soul Arrow, and Wooden Catalysts. With some grinding and soul items, any build has access to some sorcery to lay waste to enemies from a safe distance. With sorcerers, this effectively triples their magic damage output right from the start. And with the Master Key, a sorcerer has more than enough spells to take out the Zombie Dragon and grab the powerful goodies it was guarding.
  • 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 spawns clones of himself to attack you.
  • Down in the Dumps: Blighttown.
  • Downloadable Content: The Prepare to Die Edition content on consoles, named Artorias the Abysswalker.
  • Down the Drain: The Depths are your classic sewer maze, complete with giant (zombie) rats.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dragonslayer: Dragonslayer Ornstein. You find his trophy room in Anor Londo, filled with the heads of all the dragons he's killed.
  • Drone of Dread: The music that plays on the phonograph in the prison area of the Duke's Archives, which serves to incite the Pisacas into a frenzy and continues to play until you climb up and manually shut it off (or until you die and respawn at the bonfire, which is quicker and easier). It may have also been used to psychologically torture prisoners before everybody went hollow.
    • The humming sound that comes from the phantoms in the Chasm of the Abyss also counts.
  • 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...
    • Sen's Fortress is a particularly infamous case, being basically one big Death Course designed to test the Chosen Undead before they reach Anor Londo. Not only is it filled with Death Traps, tough enemies, perilous drops and more Death Traps, there is only one bonfire anywhere in it... and it's so deviously well-hidden that many experienced players who've beaten the game multiple times never actually found it without help!
  • Dual Boss: Belfry gargoyles. Smough and Ornstein, whose boss fight is so infamous among players that they earned an onslaught of fan nicknames, including Drake & Josh, The Dynamic Duo, and The Super Londo Bros.
  • 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.
    • Artorias in the DLC, even more-so than Gwyn since there are no NPC summons available.
  • 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 saved game.
  • Dump Stat: The Resistance stat is useful for innate poison resistance, but it is barely useful for innate defense, since every other stat will raise it. The amount raised by other stats is smaller, but even Resistance will barely raise defense when it's past a certain level. And when you really need poison resistance, you can get plenty from gear and/or a Poisonbite ring.
  • 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, which are respectively a disgusting sewer and a plague ridden shantytown built above a poisonous swamp. There are also hints of this with the implied poverty in the Lower Undead Burg.
  • 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 Giants. 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.
    • Reaching and maintaining level 2 or higher in the Chaos Servant covenant allows you to skip Demon Firesage, Centipede Demon, and the entire lava portion of Lost Izalith.
  • Dungeon Town: The Undead Burg, Undead Parish, and The Depths are all part of one large city. Several other areas are cities as well like New Londo and Anor Londo.
    • Lordran is in fact a dungeon country, as it's completely surrounded by a huge castle wall (visible from the Firelink Shrine).
  • Dynamic Entry: Artorias in one of the PC version trailers.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: As Miyazaki originally intended Dark Souls to be a single standalone game, many elements present in the original become this over the course of additional installments.
    • There are the lightning-breathing wyverns in Valley of Drakes, when it becomes established through further installments that lightning is the Achilles' Heel of dragons and their descendants.
  • 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 unless you have the ring called Covenant of Artorias, which allows you to survive it. It is also the location of the Four Kings.
  • Elite Mook: Several, from the boulder throwing trolls to the Dark Knights.
  • Empty Room Psych: Most rooms have something in them, but there are some exceptions which is guaranteed to cause the player to frantically search every wall for hidden passages. Of particular note is a long hallway guarded by a Balder Knight in Sen's Fortress that leads to a room-sized area containing... absolutely nothing.
  • 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.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The fading of the First Flame is expected to result in this, to the point that Gwyn was willing to burn in agony forever to keep the Fire going. Kaathe claims it would result in a new golden age for humanity instead, but he has a bad track record of encouraging people to embrace the Dark only for it to destroy them. A possible, if not likely, result of his Age of Dark would be the Abyss swallowing everything.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The entire first level serves as a fairly effective one, but most prominently is the second encounter with the Asylum Demon. First coming up against it and finding yourself horribly outmatched, followed by getting properly geared up and thrown back in for round two effectively establishes how much of the game will continue.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Gwynevere, Princess Rhea of Thorolund and Dusk of Oolacile.
  • Evil Overlord: An ambiguous example - you can choose to end the Age of Fire and become the Dark Lord, but what this entails exactly isn't explained. Kaathe claims you would become the lord of an age of humanity, but two separate groups (New Londo and Oolacile) that previously took his advice and starting using Dark powers were promptly twisted into inhuman monsters.
  • 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.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Sen's Fortress. The area is also incredibly malicious, filled with countless Booby Traps. The Duke's Archives also counts, and it's even more evil since it's the layer of Seath the Scaleless.
  • 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."
    • Following the theory that Manus, the eldritch abomination hell bent on spreading the abyss, is what became of the Furtive Pygmy after his lord soul went out of control Darkstalker Kaathe's words take on a whole new meaning when he tells you of your ancestors wishes...
      Kaathe: "Become the fourth lord, so that you may usher in an age of dark"
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Demon Ruins. Demons? Ruins? Both present in abundance.
  • Expy: The Taurus Demon looks a lot like Zodd and Artorias looks (and fights) an awful lot like Guts from Berserk (fitting considering that Berserk was one of the inspirations for the series). A lot of enemies, or at least their move set, return from Demon's Souls.
  • Fallen Hero: Artorias was tainted by the Abyss after getting his ass kicked by Manus.
  • 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: Usually averted; one of the game's main selling points is that it's hard but fair. However, the one point people will generally agree that it rears its ugly head is the boss battle against the Bed of Chaos, generally considered to be utter bullshit for being a platforming-based Puzzle Boss in an otherwise completely combat-based game with somewhat flaky jumping controls, that relies on random One Hit Kills via Bottomless Pits to provide challenge. It's almost universally considered the single worst boss in the entire franchise (Demon's Souls and Bloodborne included).
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Fanservice: There's Gwynevere's... "amazing chest". Also Chaos Witch Quelaag and her sickly sister, The Fair Lady, who are beautiful topless women...
  • 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, while actually not all that fat according to the artbook (wears an armour that gives him an overweight appearance), 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 given his cannibalistic tendencies. 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 let out a chuckle after you kill Ornstein first, with Smough smashing 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: The burning Hollow of Lord Gwyn, encountered in the center of the Kiln of the First Flame, is the final enemy confronted by the player during a standard playthrough. After defeating him, the ability to either link the First Flame, or initiate an Age of Dark by leaving the arena after Gwyn is slain, both become available. The credits then roll and the game starts over with New Game+.
  • 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.
  • Fission Mailed: Your first encounter with Seath the Scaleless. He will be completely invincible, instantly healing all damage done to him, and will inevitably kill you, leaving you to wake up in one of the Archive's jail cells. A very good time to equip a Ring of Sacrifice (or, to be on the even safer side, a Rare Ring of Sacrifice as he can curse you while killing you) if you have one available.
  • Flunky Boss: The Capra Demon and its two dogs. Also, Gravelord Nito with his resurrecting skeletons.
  • 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.
  • Four Is Death: The Four Kings of New Londo. The Four Lords who received Lord Souls as well.
  • 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 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. Every new area you discover is the game finding a new way to punch you in the nuts.
    • Then after all of that, you get to the end and discover that your ultimate reward is to either become fuel for the First Flame or become the Dark Lord who covers the world in eternal darkness.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Furtive Pygmy went from the smallest and weakest of the Lords to the mighty Eldritch Abomination Manus.
    • Also the Chosen Undead, going from a nameless dead warrior in eternal prison just like so many others to the scourge of Lordran and arguably the world, taking down gods and ancient, powerful beings along the way, even possibly becoming the new Dark Lord and ushering in an age of darkness by extinguishing the flames of life.
  • Fungus Humongous: The mushroom platforms growing in the Great Hollow. Also the Giant Mushrooms wandering round Darkroot Garden. The infants are the size of a child while the adults are a good 8 foot tall and can kill you in a single punch
  • Gainax Ending: Given how out of the way and obtuse the lore in this game is, the endings were this to many people. The player has to make a decision that is indicated to have massive, wide reaching effects on the world as a whole but what exactly those effects are are never really explained.
  • Game Mod: One the PC version, mostly texture edits and item models. However, because 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. However, should you fight her in Dark Souls III, Yuria of Londor states that "A hollow need not be mad", implying that it's possible for hollows to retain complete sanity.
    • Despite being cursed with the Darksign like you, friendly NPCs won't respawn if you kill them.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: If you meet Quelana of Izalith in the swamps of Blighttown and either use her ability to ascend your Pyromancy Flame beyond +15 or buy any of her unique Pyromancies, the next time you speak to Laurentius he asks in wonder where you found such power. If you tell him, he departs from Firelink Shrine in search of Quelana himself but fails to find her, and if you return to Blighttown yourself, you'll find him gone hollow and have to put him down. This is justified as, despite being the starting Pyromancy trainer and capable of upgrading your Pyromancy Flame as far as the normal maximum of +15, Laurentius himself only has a +8 Flame, and Quelana is apparently invisible to anyone who doesn't have at least a +10 Flame.
  • Gangsta Style: Yes, this trope is in a game with no guns, and it's not even done with a crossbow, but a regular bow. The Black Bow of Pharis is held horizontally, while every other bow is held vertically. It has the best range of any bow in the game.
  • 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.
  • Gem Tissue: The semi-crystallized undead populating the (mainly) Duke's Archive, who have magical crystals sticking out of their bodies that give them various sorcerous abilities.
  • Gentle Giant: The game has two NPC giants.
    • 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.
    • Hawkeye Gough, one of Gwyn's four knights (now retired) spends his days carving messages into wooden discs and is always polite and courteous, despite having been blinded by people who thought he was a monster. He also happens to still be a damn good shot with his bow that is as big as he is...
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Gwyndolin, who teleports away down a seemingly endless hallway as soon as you catch up to him.
  • Ghibli Hills: Oolacile Sanctuary, your only real safe haven in Artorias of the Abyss. The Royal Wood was presumably this before being corrupted by the Abyss.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 constant health regeneration ring is no longer available, one can still accomplish temporary regeneration through a Miracle and Paladin Leeroy's Shield, Sanctus.
    • The Ring of Evil Eye will also restore health with each enemy you kill, although the amount is so pitiful that it's really only useful for keeping your health topped off in areas full of numerous weak enemies without having to waste Estus; at all other times it's better to use one of your two ring slots for something more powerful.
  • 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.
  • Great Bow:
    • The Trope Namer is the Dragonslayer Greatbow, a bow so large that it towers the wielder, to the point it requires an Anchored Attack Stance to be used. Naturally, due to its immense size, it can fire lance-sized projectiles made for hunting dragons, and the Silver Knights are more than happy to knock you down from the roof of Anor Londo with their bows and arrows.
    • Hawkeye Gough, the predecessors of the Silver Knights, has his own homemade bow that is heavier, bigger, and he uses it to shoot down Black Dragon Kalameet despite being blind himself.
  • 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.
    • Later installments in the franchise help to clarify the matter some, as much as anything in the series is properly explained. Artorias of the Abyss offers a second example of Kaathe encouraging people to utilize the Dark power of humanity with it resulting in them being corrupted into monsters, meaning that using Dark abilities is at best likely to backfire and at worst guaranteed to do so. Dark Souls 3 indicates that the fading of the First Flame affects all fire, up to and including the sun itself. However, the Firekeeper suggests that letting the Fire die would result not in the world ending, but beginning anew.
  • Griefer:
    • The bridge-flipping levers in the Catacombs can also be used for griefing. Patches even takes advantage of them to screw the player over.
    • The Gravelord Servant Covenent takes this up even further: instead of invading they use Eyes of Death to curse other worlds, making enemies stronger and in NG+ turn the game into a nightmare. The only way to break the curse is to find the curse sign (which moves with the Gravelord Servant) and invade their world, meaning you can't use healing items, allowing them to dictate where the fight happens. The only way these advantages are offset is that 3 people can invade the Gravelord Servant by touching the sign
  • 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 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 Blighttown. It's mud brown, very shallow and poisonous.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Despite the Flavor Text of his equipment seeming to describe him like this, Big Hat Logan is one of the more genuinely nice characters in the game until you kill Seath. Played straight with Vamos, though.
    Vamos: Hmph? Why, you have... an ember don't you? Aah, forget about it. I don't deal with that kind. What has gone wrong with embers these days?
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The serpent men who take you prisoner in the Duke's Archives don't think to strip you of your weapons before tossing you in your cell. They also see nothing dangerous in falling asleep right outside of your cell, well within range of your weapons, while carrying the very key that unlocks your cell. Presumably Seath doesn't hire these guys for brain power.
  • 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 placing the Lordvessel on the Firelink Altar for 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. It's also not possible to stop his possession from happening without first joining a specific Covenant, raising your rank in said Covenant, then finding a particular shortcut to access Lost Izalith a different way than you normally would.
    • In a out-of-the-way part of the map is a small item. The wall behind that item is fake, revealing a treasure chest with a bigger item. The wall behind that treasure is also fake. And behind it... are two areas (roughly 10% of the entire game world), a Covenant, and the end of one of the major side quests in the game. The only hint that these areas even exist is that you can see an unusual looking cave area while in an area that isn't anywhere near the entrance to the place.
    • The location of the one and ONLY bonfire in Sen's Fortress is just cruel. To find it you have to walk off the roof of the fortress at a spot where the wall around it is broken, which wouldn't be that hard to find with patience, except for the fact that a giant at the very top of the tower is constantly raining massive firebombs down on you, which is a little distracting and not very conducive to being able to carefully search your surroundings. Oh and just to make it extra cruel, if you run off the side too fast, you run the risk of missing the ledge with the bonfire on it and diving right off the side of the Fortress to your splatty death. Watch any YouTube walkthrough of the level and you're sure to see comments from people complaining that they've beaten Dark Souls several times without ever realising there even is a bonfire in the level.
    • The game is absolutely overloaded with Guide Dang It! details, ranging from a lot of mechanics which aren't explained anywhere (including something as basic as how to jump, which isn't included in the tutorial or even described in the manual), to item descriptions that outright lie to you (the Gargoyle Halberd specifies that it's a "Perfectly standard bronze halberd without any special power" when it actually boosts your resistance to the bleed, poison and toxic conditions- something that you might notice when you equip it, but is almost impossible to comprehend because of how bizarrely the status condition mechanics in the game work). Trying to play through the game without a FAQ is asking for even more pain than usual.
  • 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 Fair Lady 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.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Ash Lake is a mix of Palmtree Panic and Lost Woods. The Painted World of Ariamis 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.
  • 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.
  • Handicapped Badass: Artorias seems about half dead when he jumps you, and one of his arms doesn't work at all (and because of this, he doesn't have a shield for this fight). He's still one of the hardest bosses in the game. Hawkeye Gough is blind, but can still shoot dragons out of the air with ease.
    • It's the Twilight 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.
      • Not only is the fire, the source of their power, waning, but they've all had some serious problems to deal with. Such as Gwyn being burned alive for a thousand years and going insane, or Pinwheel syphoning off huge amounts of Nito's power while he sleeps, leaving the god unable to fight you properly.
  • Haunted Castle: New Londo Ruins.
  • 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.
  • Harder Than Hard: Each New Game+ cycle up to the 7th will increase the health and damage of all enemies and bosses; non-boss health usually only doubles, but damage is multiplied by the number of your current cycle, meaning enemies can be hitting for up to 7 times their normal damage. Griefers can have some fun with this.
  • Hell Is That Noise: In Oolacile Township, the regular enemies, Bloatheads, mutter to each other and sometimes laugh maniacally when they see you. When you're out in the open in Oolacile, you'll also hear an occasional female scream from somewhere off in the distance.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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.
    • It is also entirely possible for this to happen on stairs. Don't assume that standing above an enemy's slash or stab means it won't get you.
  • 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.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle against Seath the Scaleless; his health bar never goes down, despite whatever damage you deal to him. The same thing happens in his second boss fight, but this time you have access to his Soul Jar, and after breaking it, you can damage him.
  • 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.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Gwyn was once the most powerful and beloved of the Lords, but by the time of the game he's been reduced to an insane husk of himself.
  • Hub Level: Firelink Shrine is the center of the game world, houses most of the trainers should you find them and has quick access to many areas of the game once you unlock the shortcuts.
  • Hulk Speak: 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.
  • Hybrid Monster: The manticore who serves as the Oolacile Sanctuary Guardian.
  • 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 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. Even then, given what happened in Oolacile with Manus, there's no telling what will happen to the world should the Age of Dark occur.
  • I Call It "Vera": Avelyn, a crossbow in the Duke's Archives.
  • 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 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 Am Not Right-Handed: Do you think Knight Artorias is hard? Take a look at the game cover and notice he wields his sword in his left hand. He doesn't just have a broken arm, he is fighting you with his off-hand and still does a pretty good job.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Undead Burg, Blighttown, Demon Ruins, Lost Izalith, The Abyss, Tomb of Giants, etc. Almost all of Lordran.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: The Iaito moveset turns your character into one, the moveset's R2 strong attacks are all Iaijutsu attacks that cover a good amount of ground.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The backstab and riposte animations for many weapons involve the weapon being shoved right through the victim. This looks especially ridiculous when done with a halberd.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Havel the Rock wields a huge tooth taken from one of the ancient dragons as a club. Then again, this is also a guy whose entire suit of armor was carved out of rock.
  • Indy Escape: The giant cannonballs in Sen's Fortress.
  • The Ingenue: Anastacia and Rhea.
  • "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. Its 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.
  • Insufferable Genius: Logan is described as one, though in practice he's one of the nicer people in the game.
  • Intangible Man: The ghosts of New Londo.
  • 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: Not in this game, 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.
  • Island Of Misfit Everything: The Painted World of Ariamas
  • It's All About Me: Lautrec. Patches.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: That is 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 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.

     J-P 

  • 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 some of the ones you meet in the game are. One exception is the nameless firstborn son of Gwyn. Axe crazy as he may have been, he certainly does care for the warriors who follow him. Then it's revealed in Dark Souls 3 that he betrayed Gwyn to join the dragons.
  • 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 you in a neglected, derelict prison scrounging around for any available weapons and gear.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Playing in the Maiden Dress and Antiquted Dress sets each puts the player character in a Pimped-Out Dress, which does nothing to impede your fighting ability, and even enhances certain skills.
  • 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 (At first glance anyway...)
  • Knight Templar: Allfather Lloyd, the leader of Thorolund. He 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. Both dwelve deeper into the underground than Quelaag's Domain, which is already under Blighttown; Blightown itself is below The Depths (you could think anything under that point is quite deep), which is in the lower levels of the Undead Parish. The Ash Lake, the real surface of the world, is at approximately in the same depth as Demon Ruins.
  • Large Ham:
    I am Siegmeyer of Catarina, and you shall feel my wrath!
  • 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.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Patches
  • Leap of Faith:
    • 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).
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Demon Ruins and the first half of Lost Izalith.
  • 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.
    • Grim and Dingo have recently begun their own playthrough, with blind-running Dingo at the controls and an experienced Grim offering nudges for the sake of progress.
  • 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 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.
  • Living Relic: Dusk of Oolacile. The remaining gods you meet in the game.
  • Living Shadow: The humanity phantoms in the Chasm of the Abyss.
  • 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.
  • 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, Gwyndolin has been conspiring with Frampt in order to trick the Undead into extending the Age of Fire for a thousand years after Gwyn used himself as fuel, 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.
  • The Lost Woods: Darkroot Garden and Darkroot Basin.
  • Lovable Rogue: Patches.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 its wearer is doubled.
  • Magical Society: The Dragon College of Vinheim. Seath and his Channelers.
  • Mage Killer
    • There is a character named Havel the Rock who has high Magic resist armor, a weapon that increases Magic and Pyromancy resistance, and a shield with very high Magic defense. He also is the creator of the Magic Barrier spells, which very heavily reduce Magic damage. His flavour text states that he hated magic almost as much as he hated Seath, who just so happened to be the father of sorcery.
  • 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 sword (if made from a regular weapon the sword has worse stats, but can damage ghosts).
    • 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, to Gwynevere and Frampt. That said, he's only carrying on the legacy of his father, who has long since hollowed.
  • Mascot Mook: The Black Knights appear on the game's disc and various promotional images.
  • Mask of Power: Pinwheel has three of them. The player can obtain them as well and they are quite powerful.
  • Mega Neko: Alvina and the Great Felines are the size of large horses.
  • Megaton Punch: How the adult mushroom people attack you. It does a ton of damage, but is quite easy to avoid.
  • Meaningful Name: Firelink Shrine.
  • Mercy Kill: You arguably do this to Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, and if you pick the Dark Lord ending, the First Flame and the Age of Fire in general.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 operate like preset, AI-controlled Player Characters.
  • 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.
  • Monster Knight: A few enemies qualify. The Capra Demons, the Balder Knights, the Black Knights, and the Darkwraiths.
  • 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.
  • Mooks Ate My Equipment: The Gaping Dragon and his acid vomit AOE attack.
  • 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 rekindle the first flame, plunging the world into darkness and ushering in an Age of Man, with the player ruling over what's left of the world as the Dark Lord.
  • 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-leveled players. There is also Elizabeth in the Oolacile Sanctuary, which is similar to them, except without hands and feet.
  • Mystical White Hair: Priscilla the half-dragon and Quelaag's sister. You can also give yourself this in character creation.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Great Grey Wolf Sif, Gravelord Nito, Dragon Slayer Ornstein, and Executioner Smough... the list goes on...
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Most of your actions bring doom to the other characters.
    • Telling Laurentius about Quelana causes him to go looking for her. He hollows in Blighttown.
    • Buying all of Rhea's spells will leave her completely defenseless. She is kidnapped and sent to the Crystal Prison, where she hollows.
    • Repeatedly helping Siegmeyer destroys his self-confidence, which leads to him going hollow out of despair. Actually, it's more likely that he hollows because he finds out the mother of his daughter is dead. The last time you meet him, he is in good spirits. Then, his daughter will tell you she delivered her mother's final words to him. The next time you see Siegmeyer, he had hollowed and was killed.
    • Releasing Lautrec from his cell results in Anastacia's death. To be fair, he kills her regardless of whether you help free him, but at least in this case you know you're responsible.
    • Sometimes even talking to characters can get them killed. Exhaust of all the Crestfallen Warrior's dialogue? He'll go to New Londo Ruins and turn hollow. Really, the only way to ensure they live is to not talk to them at all.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Noob Cave: Undead Burg.
  • 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. While axes swing across the narrow path. And snake men take pot shots at passersby.
  • No-Sell: The effects of the Poise stat in a nutshell. A character with high poise will be harder to interrupt or stagger while taking damage, and it usually correlates with heavier armor. Thus, a well armored character, in addition to being able to absorb more damage, can simply bull through and continue to strike home where other characters would be driven back under a rain of blows.
    • This is why enemies like Havel the Rock, the Titanite Demons and the myriad of bosses are so dangerous: not only do they hit like a train they're also nigh on impossible to either stagger or interrupt their attacks, making timing your attacks essential
  • 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 Ariamis 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.
  • Obviously Evil: The Darkwraiths, who wear skeletal armor, take people's souls, serve the Abyss, and are called the Darkwraiths.
  • 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 is this to a lesser degree, as it not only scales weapon attacks but controls spellcasting speed. Thus melee and magic builds make this a priority stat.
  • 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.
  • Orgasmic Combat: When your player character receives a particularly damaging attack, he\she makes some rather suspicious moans.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They were cursed by the flooding of New Londo and cannot be hurt by things that aren't cursed.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • The Darkroot Garden just after the sealed door can gain the player several thousand souls each time through (by tricking each hostile NPC into running off a cliff), and there is a bonfire just outside the door.
    • The first area in Anor Londo has six Sentinels who drop fifteen-hundred souls each for a total of nine-thousand souls for clearing them all, and a bonefire right between all of them to reset them.
    • Once you open the front door in the Painted World of Ariamis, you can farm the phalanx monsters in the middle of the courtyard, just a few dozen steps away from the bonfire.
    • The underground cavern in the Tomb of Giants area, just before you encounter the boss Gravelord Nito, where small skeletons respawn infinitely whenever you walk into the water at the bottom of the cavern. The skeletons are easy to kill (although because this is Dark Souls they can still pose a danger if you're not careful and they mob you) and, while they don't drop a lot of souls on their own, you can fight so many of them at once it racks up quickly. Even better, they're one of the very few enemies in the game to also drop Humanity, so this is an excellent place to grind especially if you're trying to gain ranks in the Chaos Servant covenant.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • NPC Phantoms, both beneficial and hostile, can only be encountered when you are human and before you've defeated the boss in the area you are in. It is very easy to miss both the summon/invasion and any items after they disappear if you don't know ahead of time.
    • Kill an NPC you wish you didn't? Too bad, they're gone for good until the next cycle.
    • Oswald can absolve sin if you seek him out. Killed Oswald? Too bad, no more absolution for you.
    • Ingward can cure Cursed status instead of needing to use a Purging Stone. He is the only NPC capable of doing this, so you're advised not to kill him (though there is a Sequence Breaking reason to do so).
    • Some merchants go hollow after buying all their items. Others can go hollow prior to that happening for some story reason, potentially taking away their merchant status before you've bought everything you could from them.
    • There are many Yes or No options in the game when talking to NPCs, and saying the wrong thing can permanently lock you out of certain things until next cycle.
    • After a certain point, the Firelink Shrine bonfire will go out. Though this important hub world bonfire can eventually be restored, it can remain out depending on a decision later in the game.
    • Though copies of spells can be used to increase your casting limit, many of them are only available a finite number of times per cycle, with just once being fairly common too.
  • Personal Space Invader: Several enemies have devastating grab attacks.
  • Philosophical Choice Endings: "Is a world's fading life worth preserving at all costs or is it better to just put it out of its misery?" The game is set in a dying world that barely clings on to life. The ending asks the player, after they've seen the best and the worst the land has to offer, whether it is worth sacrificing their character to artificially prolong its life for a few centuries or whether the current age should finally come to an end, giving the world a chance at rebirth. The ending asks you whether you will sacrifice yourself to artificially prolong the current Age of Fire for a little while longer or put it out of its misery and embrace the impending Age of Darkness. Essentially, it is a question of the ethics of euthanasia, only applied to an entire world.
  • 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.
  • Physical Religion: The dominant religion of the setting is based around worship of the Lords, with Anor Londo as a forbidden holy city.
  • 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, which has several bows and ribbons and a lace shoulder cape, is actually obtainable as an armor set in game.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pocket Dimension: The Painted World of Ariamis is a pocket dimension inside a painting.
  • Point of No Return: The Fog Gate to the Final Boss in the Kiln of the First Flame, Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, is a one-way trip for a playthrough of the game. After defeating the Final Boss, the player cannot return to the rest of the game and only has two options: Link the First Flame for the standard ending, or walk back out the now-clear Fog Gate, which will automatically give them the Age of Dark ending. Even Homeward Bone will not allow you to leave once the boss has been destroyed.
  • Power Crystal: The Primordial Crystal grants Seath the Scaleless true immortality.
    • Crystalized weapons get considerable stat boosts over other forms, at the cost of being unable to repair them (save for the times you reinforce them).
  • 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.
  • 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. The stone dragons also appear to be this, but in the present day only a few are left.
  • 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. And unlike a lot of games, armour doesn't change its appearance depending on the wearer- a woman wearing full body plate is almost indistinguishable from a man, while a man wearing female armour (such as the Maiden Set) is basically cross-dressing.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Bed of Chaos, whom you do not fight directly.

     Q-Z 

  • 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.
  • Ragnarök 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.
  • Randomly Drops: Many enemies drop rare unique weapons like the Titanite Demons and the Channelers. A few drop rare armor like the Mimics.
  • Random Drop Booster: The first 10 humanity points increase the drop stat up to 210. Either the Gold Serpent Ring or the Symbol of Avarice will add another 200 (but will not stack if both are worn).
  • Rare Random Drop: The drop rates for some items, particularly Titanite Slabs (which come in 4 separate flavours) can be infinitesimally low. Basic non-elemental Titanite Slabs, (used to max out all standard, Lightning and Crystal weapons and non-special armour) drop only from the Darkwraiths of New Londo with a drop rate of 0.21%! Fortunately, the game gives you at least one guaranteed slab of each type during a playthrough (if you can find them, since some are rather well-hidden), but if you want more (to upgrade a full set of armour, for example) you're going to be reduced to farming, quite likely for hours.
  • Ravens and Crows: A giant crow carries you away from the Undead Asylum to Lordran, the unseen goddess Velka is associated strongly with crows (and may be connected to the aforementioned giant crow), and the Painted World of Ariamis is home to humanoid crow demons.
  • 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.
  • Recurring Boss: The Black Phantom Kirk of Thorns will show up to harass you if you're human three times in the game.
  • Recurring Element: Almost every From Software game features recurring elements and Call Backs to earlier games they made, and Dark Souls contained multiple to Demon's Souls:
    • The Asylum Demon strongly resembles the Vanguard, except you're supposed to run from it during the extremely-difficult first encounter rather than dying to it.
    • The Hellkite Dragon on the bridge between Undead Burg and Undead Parish is a repeat of the Red Dragon (and to a lesser extent, the Blue Dragon) from the Boletarian Palace.
    • The Bell Gargoyles are take 2 of the Maneaters, right down to the second one joining the fight when the first one is at half HP.
    • Blighttown is the Valley of Defilement again.
    • Maneater Mildred is Executioner Miralda wearing even less clothing.
    • Averted with Shiva of the East, who was supposed to be a straight rehash of Master Satsuki, with the Chaos Blade standing in for the Makoto sword, but this was Dummied Out and the Chaos Blade was just made an alternate boss weapon option to Quelaag's Furysword.
    • The Pisaca are similar to the Mind Flayers, although the enemy archetype would be revisited even more blatantly in Bloodborne and Dark Souls III.
    • Pinwheel is a rehash of the Fool's Idol, which would be seen again in Dark Souls III in the Crystal Sage.
    • The pairing of the Necromancers and the reanimating Skeletons in the Catacombs was another take on Demon's Souls' Reapers and Shadowlurkers (another element that would be revisited again in later games).
    • The fate of Fallen King Allant was mirrored in the fate of the Witch of Izalith, reduced to a basically helpless Zero-Effort Boss within the heart a gigantic treelike abomination (the Old One and the Bed of Chaos respectively).
    • Phalanx itself reappears in the Painted World of Ariamis.
    • Artorias' entrance is the same as Penetrator's, and Artorias himself is probably the boss most-similar to Penetrator in general.
    • Gwyn, Lord of Cinder has a lot of resemblances to False King Allant as hyper-aggressive swordsmen kings, including the grab attack (although Gwyn can't drain soul levels with his).
  • Recurring Traveler: Solaire, Siegmeyer, and Sieglinde.
  • 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 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
  • Reviving Enemy: The skeletons in the Catacombs.
  • 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.
  • Roaming Enemy: The various special NPC hollows, which appear under special circumstances, and are tragic to fight.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Giant evil rats!
  • 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. Giant, human skeletons that run on all fours.
  • Sackhead Slasher: The Butchers, a pair of massive and tough enemies in the Undead Burg Depths who ambush you with their giant cleavers and wear sacks on their heads (you can loot such a sack from their bodies and wear it yourself, although it offers next to no protection). Further down in Blighttown, there is also an NPC invader named Man-eater Mildred, who likewise wears a sack on her head and wields a Butcher cleaver. All three of them are said to be cannibals, and the first Butcher is introduced hacking away at what is very likely human meat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Manus the Father of the abyss, until the people of Oolacile disturbed his grave...
  • Secret Police: The Blade of the Darkmoon covenant, who are dedicated to hunting players who have sinned according to the Book of the Guilty.
  • 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.
  • Sequence Breaking: There's the bug that allows players to fall from any height and live. Also, choosing the Master Key as a starting gift (or just choosing the thief class) allows you to open several doors without having to first get certain keys.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shifting Sand Land: While the heat has mostly died out, the Kiln of the First Flame is a desert made of ash and cinder.
  • Shining City: Anor Londo was once this. Now it is a lost city.
  • Shoot the Dog: Happened to New Londo in the past, when it was flooded with most of its citizens still inside to stop the Darkwraiths. When you drain the water you can find huge piles of dead bodies in the lower parts of the city, along with some very-much-still-alive Darkwraiths.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There are numerous nods to Berserk:
      • The plot is set off by a mysterious brand which curses the protagonist to 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, right up to his left arm being dead weight.
      • The Wheel Skeletons are probably based on these monsters.
      • The Taurus demons look like Zodd.
      • One of the summonable NPC's looks like an adult version of Schierke (and Dummied Out content for the game includes a child model for her that resembles Schierke even more).
      • Dark Sun Gwyndolin has been compared to Griffith, an androgynous white-haired lord with a connection a dark sun/eclipse.
      • Broken Straight Swords are broken in the same way as the blade Guts used during the Eclipse.
    • 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?
    • The Silver Knight Armor, with its white half-cape, worn without a helmet combo'd with a suitable BFS, makes a female Chosen Undead look like they walked right out of Claymore. There's even a customization option to give the player character the Claymores' trademark silver hair and eyes.
    • One of the invader NPCs is Jeremiah, a king in exile. His armor is conspicuously yellow, and includes wrappings.
    • Pinwheel's Theme includes a few notes that sound like they belong to another mask-themed villain.
    • The Chaos Eaters in Lost Izalith look suspiciously like the Yithians from HP Lovecrafts The Shadow Out of Time.
    • The name of Anor Londo might be one to Lord of the Rings, as "anor" is the elven word for "sun" and Anor Londo is the home of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight and his family. Thus, "Anor Londo" could mean "City of the Sun".
      • Compounding that, the passageway to Anor Londo is opened by ringing two bells. Making them Londo Bells.
    • The cragspiders in Blighttown are named after an enemy from the Glorantha setting, while Quelaag is nearly identical to Glorantha's version of the monster.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography:
    • Barring Sequence Breaking, early areas includes a forest, a town, and a church which are overrun by undead but mundane in-of themselves. Mid-game, the locales turn more hostile, including Blighttown and Sen's Fortress. Late-game areas are even more threatening and/or far more esoteric, including The Grim Reaper's crypt, a cave made entirely of crystal shards, and finally a giant kiln surrounded by a wasteland of ashes.
    • Artorias of the Abyss has its own sequence of escalating geography: It starts in a forest with a few ruins. Then you find a coliseum and on the other side is a ruined city. Through the city you find a path to an underground mine filled with physical manifestations of darkness.
  • 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: The Great Scythe and Crossbreed Priscilla's Lifehunt Scythe are these, though they're in the same weapon class as halberds and other polearmsnote . There is also a weapon simply called a "Scythe," but its closed blade makes it look like a Bardiche, instead.
  • Skippable Boss: Eight of the twenty-two bosses are completely optional. With Sequence Breaking that number goes up even higher.
  • 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.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Painted World of Ariamis and the Crystal Caves.
  • Smash Mook: The Infested Barbarians, who use either giant clubs or giant boulders to attack you.
  • Smug Snake: Petrus, Lautrec, Oswald, and Patches.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: The credits theme "Nameless Song."
  • Soul-Powered Engine:
  • Spanner in the Works: The player can become this towards Gwyndolin.
  • 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.
  • Squishy Wizard: Pinwheel packs some pretty powerful sorceries, but has pathetically low health and goes down quick against almost every weapon in the game.
  • Surplus Damage Bonus: A relatively little-known mechanic, any single hit dealing at least 150% of an enemy's maximum health's worth of damage will provide a 20% bonus to the souls gained from the kill.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The swamp section of Blighttown, an obvious callback to Demon's Souls Valley of Defilement.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Thin Chin of Sin: The Marvelous Chester in the DLC is a mysterious merchant in the Royal Wood who sports a Joker-like pointy chin and mad grin. As you descend in to the ruins of Oolacile, he will ambush you as a Dark Spirit and try to kill you.
  • 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:
    • The Gravelord Servant covenant 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. It was the Lord Soul the Furtive Pygmy possessed and passed the pieces of down to his descendants—that is all of humanity. So "Dark Souls" actually means "Human Souls".
  • Token Evil Teammate: Lautrec.
  • Tongue Trauma: Anastacia of Astora had her tongue cut out so she could never say any god's name in vain. This is apparently common practice in Astora.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • The Ring of Sacrifice and Rare Ring of Sacrifice will each save your souls and humanity if equipped at the time of death, and the latter also undoes curses if that is what killed you. Yet they break after use and only a finite amount can be gained in each playthrough. Since the most likely places you can die also mean dying would be frequent, the rings have little purpose (except the first time you fight Seath, where dying is the only way to progress).
    • 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 you better not "waste" it...
      • 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 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 Lie: The "Prepare to Die" trailer makes it look like the giant crow is one of the game's bosses with an alarming slow-mo shot of it reaching out for the Chosen Undead, but in fact it's actually completely peaceful and helpful.
  • Tree Trunk Tour: "The Great Hollow" Brutal Bonus Level, which is set inside a colossal Archtree and populated by basilisks and other nasty monsters.
  • 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).
  • Underground Monkey: The Asylum Demon is rehashed into the Stray Demon and the Fire Demonsage. While the later two have a slightly different moveset, they all use the same model and fighting style. They're also all low in the area of fire resistance, despite the last one appearing to be covered in flames.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Didn't think you were playing a Bullet Hell game? Dark Sun Gwyndolin is here to teach you how wrong you are.
    • One of the biggest complaints about the Bed of Chaos is that it's more like a platforming challenge than a fight. And Dark Souls has infamously bad jumping controls.
  • The Unfought: The Furtive Pygmy, who never shows up or is even properly mentioned outside of the intro, unless you buy the speculation that he became Manus, Father of the Abyss.
  • 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.
  • Undead Child: The baby skeletons in the Tomb of the Giants.
  • Underground Level: The Catacombs and the Tomb of the Giants.
  • The Unreveal: The identity of Gwyn's first bornnote , the location of the Pygmy note , 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 Spell: A lot of the Sorceries, Miracles and Pyromancies are interesting, but ultimately worthless due to a variety of flaws.
    • Undead Rapport is a Pyromancy that turns undead enemies to your side for a while. Unfortunately it has to be cast from such close range that you could spit in their face and it has a slow cast time, so it's almost impossible to actually use without being hit.
    • Acid Surge projects a cloud of acid fog that degrades the equipment of anyone caught within it. Unfortunately, this is completely worthless in PvE, and even in PvP the effect is so miniscule (it only does 8 points of equipment damage, when most equipment has between 200 and 400 durability on average) that it'll basically never do anything. It DOES actually work effectively against opponents using crystal katanas (katanas have low durability to start with, and converting them to crystal reduces this further to 10% of normal in exchange for monumental damage)... except there's no way of knowing whether that opponent's katana is crystal or not just by looking at it.
    • The Poison Cloud Pyromancy is more useful than Acid Surge at least, but even in PvP poison just isn't that effective, not to mention the fact that even trying to cast it can make you very vulnerable if your opponent just charges through the cloud and hacks you down. Toxic Cloud is marginally more effective, but still not very popular, especially as it's not hard to avoid, yet only comes with a single cast.
    • The Iron Flesh Pyromancy used to be a Game-Breaker- until the developers nerfed it savagely hard. Now while it's active you move as if you're encumbered (over 100% encumberance level), meaning you plod around like a statue and literally cannot backstep or roll at all. While it still gives your body automatic deflection, it doesn't boost your actual defence even nearly enough to make up for how easily opponents (in PvE or PvP) will absolutely run rings around you. You can't cancel it until it wears off on its own, either.
    • A lot of Sorceries and Miracles replicate the effects of fairly common or easy to find items (e.g Remedy heals Poison, Toxic and Bleed buildup, Homeward warps you back to your last bonfire just like a Homeward Bone, Hush silences your footsteps like the Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring). Since one of the biggest restrictions on magic use is the number of slots you have available to equip spells in, these are generally extremely difficult to justify using.
      • Undoubtedly the worst of these is the Resist Curse sorcery. Contrary to its name, it doesn't grant you Curse resistance (which might be slightly useful), nor does it actually cure Curse once it's been inflicted on you (which kills you instantly then locks you in Hollow form with 50% of your health reduced until you cure it). No, what it does it remove the buildup of Curse you've accumulated before it becomes fatal. Since status condition buildup fades over time as long as you're not receiving more of it, the only way this would be any use is if you stop to cast it while you're actually in a fight against a Curse-causing opponent (like Seath the Scaleless or a pack of Basilisks). And just to add insult to injury, it only comes with 4 charges.
  • Vader Breath: The Titanite Demons make this sound (in spite of the fact that they don't have faces).
  • 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.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Kiln of the First Flame
  • 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 Cruelty Potential: Killing Hawkeye Gough. The guy actually helps you take out a boss and is nothing but kind to you, yet you can kill him for absolutely no reason.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: One of the more common messages outside Gwynevere's chamber is "Amazing Chest Ahead".
  • Villain Team-Up: Ornstein and Smough certainly aren't big fans of each other (and Smough will happily smash Ornstein if he falls first), 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.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Definitely the Bell Gargoyles that stand between you and the first Bell of Awakening; the Asylum Demon is basically a Warm-Up Boss (by Dark Souls standards anyway) and the Taurus Demon is basically the same thing in a more precarious arena, but the Gargoyles are where the game stops going even remotely easy on you. They can fly, breathe fire over a wide area, have a number of quite fast attacks that can take an incautious player off guard (unlike the slow and telegraphed swings of the two demon bosses) and, most significantly, you have to juggle fighting two of them at once. As the saying goes, the true Dark Souls begins here.
    • If you manage to overcome the Gargoyles by summoning help (summoning Solaire makes them much easier, summoning Solaire and Lautrec trivialises them) then the next candidate is the Capra Demon, who requires you to master your dodging reflexes at a time where your equipment is not at an optimized state, requires precise awareness of your cramped surroundings and, unlike the Gargoyles, has no naturally-occurring NPC summons available to help you.
  • Walking Spoiler: Darkstalker Kaathe's mere existence is a spoiler for the alternate ending of the game.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Gwyn, Lord of Cinder and Final Boss is cripplingly weak to parrying. He can be done in by 3 ripostes if you are build right... and have any skill with the parrying function.
  • We Have Reserves: Hawkeye Gough indicates that this was how Gwyn's knights defeated the Everlasting Dragons. According to him, they lost knights at a ratio of roughly sixty to each slain dragon.
  • "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.
  • Wham Episode: Meeting Darkseeker Kaathe is this for the main game, revealing the existence of the Dark Soul and that Kingseeker Frampt and the gods are merely using you to futilely prolong the Age of Fire. Conversely, the entire Artorias of the Abyss DLC is this as well, showing the consequences of ushering in the Age of Man and allowing the Abyss to spread, and revealing that even Darkseeker Kaathe is hiding things from you.
  • 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?
    • 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 stumble. Go ahead, try not to feel terrible about that. Unlike most cruel actions, doing this is compulsory to complete the game.
  • When Trees Attack: The Demonic Foliage that patrol Darkroot Garden.
  • 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.
  • Wolf Pack Boss: The Four Kings, who successively spawn as time passes and can swarm you if you're too slow.
  • 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 gives a sweeping view of the city.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Several characters speak like this. The Giant Blacksmith combines it with Hulk Speak.
    • Gwynevere and Oswald of Carim, in particular, do this.
  • 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: 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 Outlived Your 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.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The intro states that the rise of the Darksign and the Undead has more or less caused the collapse of the world. What makes it even worse than a normal zombie apocalypse is that there's no real way to avoid being "infected." The Darksign apparently just appears on people and slowly causes them to go Hollow.


"Well, now you know... And I can die with hope in my heart."

Alternative Title(s): Dark Souls 1

Top