Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dark Souls Oct 2013 Update

Yes, you read that right. I'm way behind on these. Anyway, here are the highlights.

As expected, October was full of both pain and triumph. It began with a rematch with the second Black Knight.

The elite corps of Black Knights are proud and fierce. It turns out they're also very stupid, because once I'd lured this one down from his post atop the guard tower, I got him to chase me into the square, and just as I'd hoped, he ran straight into the roaring flames of the pyre I dove behind. Unable to reach me, he kept swinging his mighty sword in vain even as he roasted alive on the pyre. A hollow victory perhaps, but I'll take a hollow victory over a hollow mind any day.

From there, I headed back toward the Darkroot Garden, which as always required sprinting past the Titanite Demon who guards the entrance. My last attempts to vanquish him left me feeling woefully outclassed, and a bit like a Raggedy Anne doll that had been snatched up by an angry dog. So, I always darted by in hopes of besting him another time. More on that later.


With a little practice, I eventually learned the best path through the treacherous garden, fighting its fearsome Stone Golems only when absolutely necessary. Deep in the forest, I finally found and ascended the ancient stairs that would hopefully lead me to the rumored Divine Blacksmith. As I stepped out onto the bridge, exhausted and running low on Estus, I heard the unmistakable sound of an enormous monster approaching. Its call echoed in the distance. Clutching my trusty scimitar, I answered:


I grabbed a Homeward Bone and teleported the hell out of there.

After a brief respite, I summoned what little courage I could and ventured back into the forest, prepared to take on whatever awesome horror of the deep woods might be awaiting me. I returned to the old stone bridge, and was met with the most powerful and ruthless creature I'd yet faced:


The Moonlight Butterfly


I was a bit taken aback at first by what looked like an enormous but fairly harmless insect. Surely the hardest part of this encounter would be figuring out how to kill something that stayed aloft above me, fluttering on the cool evening breeze. The butterfly glowed brilliantly and sent a streak of magical energy flying toward me. I raised my shield, ready to test its power. Between my trusty shield and upgraded wanderer garb, I thought I was adequately protected even from magical attacks. I may as well have been standing there stark naked as the attack cut right through me, killing me instantly.

My next few tries went similarly. Before I could start formulating any sort of plan of attack, the accursed thing would blast me into oblivion with sparkly moonbeams of death. I started to think this fight was beyond my ability to win. Running away as it charged its attack did me no good, as the magical beam seemed to home in on my location no matter how far I got, and the bridge was too narrow to dodge. At least, that's what I thought.

Eventually, I came to the realization that, if timed correctly, I could actually dodge the fatal blow by running toward the beam and rolling under it. If the timing wasn't perfect I'd be killed instantly, but that wasn't any worse than what had happened so far.

Armed with my new longbow, I gradually bled the great butterfly out one arrow at a time. Progress was slow, and the butterfly still hit me with occasional lesser magical bolts, but I was winning the war of attrition. At last, the giant pest landed on the bridge. Whether it was preparing to launch a new attack or admitting defeat, it didn't matter. I drew my scimitar and furiously slashed away at it. The beast let out its final mournful cry and expired.

Invigorated by the thrill of victory, I ran across the bridge and up the steps of the tower ahead. There I found the one I'd been looking for, the fabled Divine Blacksmith... dead. Well, that figures. Anticlimactic as that was, he at least left his divine ember behind, which might be of some use to my still-living blacksmith friend, along with a key that would allow me to enter a new area back in the Undead Burg.


Making my way into the Lower Undead Burg, I was quickly ambushed by undead assassins. There was no time; they caught me completely flat-footed. Two rushed me from the front and overwhelmed me just as a third cut my throat from behind, all in a matter of seconds. I was not deterred, though, and didn't fall for their tricks the next time. Once I knew their hiding spots, it wasn't difficult to pick off one or two of them with arrows through the head before they even spotted me.

Nearby, I heard a man calling out for help behind a locked door. I couldn't help him at the moment, but made a mental note to come back for him. Aren't I a sweetheart?

Further into the Lower Undead Burg, I met yet another fearsome beast poised for battle:

The Capra Demon

On his own he seemed less intimidating than other things I'd faced, but his attack dogs made things more difficult, as they quickly ganged up on me and pounced as soon as I stepped inside their domain. I died multiple times just trying to get past them so I could square off properly with their master one-on-one.

Even then, he was powerful, quick, and hard to predict. I gradually learned his moves over several attempts and soon got the better of him, slashing away at his legs while he tried to crush me with his huge blades. He got in plenty of good hits and I drained most of my Estus trying to stay in the fight, but at last he fell, leaving behind his key to The Depths.

As I started toward The Depths, I met another undead merchant, an old woman this time. I found her quite charming for someone missing all of her hair and most of her face. Death is a bit rougher on some folks than others, I guess. I returned to the first undead merchant and found he was selling the very key I'd needed in the Lower Undead Burg. I used it to go back and free the young man who had been trapped there; a sorcerer as it turned out.

He offered to teach me sorcery, which intrigued me, but didn't strike me particularly useful. At least not at the time. I did learn a few token sorceries from him, and even went back to inquire to Petrus about learning a miracle, but only realized after purchasing it that I was currently unable to cast this divine magic. I find my lack of faith disturbing.


With those distractions sorted out, I began my descent into The Depths. Foreboding as the name was, I took things slow and cautious, and was rewarded for doing so. The zombies and attack dogs I encountered were no problem to eliminate one at a time.

The Butchers were a little strange, but having killed a giant sparkly butterfly not long ago, I wasn't really fazed by this stuff anymore. I lured one to me and easily cut her to ribbons as she awkwardly swung her meat cleaver about. The other was on the floor below unable to reach me, so I just plunged arrow after arrow into her thick head until she died. I'm surprised her creepy Texas Chainsaw head sack was still intact for me to take as a trophy.

Aside from finding another powerful ember to bring to the blacksmith, there was a man trapped in a barrel in a back room, apparently fated to be the Butchers' next meal. He thanked me graciously and then offered to teach me pyromancy. Now that was a school of magic that interested me. Aside from the weightless spell catalyst and the lack of reliance on magic-boosting stats, I just like setting stuff on fire. I spent a whole play session just learning all I could from him and strengthening my pyromancer's flame. It may have slowed my progress a bit, all for an ability I didn't have much immediate use for, but it seemed worth it for the cause of getting to shoot freaking fireballs out of my hands.


After that, something compelled me to return to the Darkroot Garden to search for anything I might have missed. Of course, this meant once again facing the Titanite Demon, but rather than run this time, I decided to try a new approach.

It occurred to me that, of the few times I'd slipped up and gotten killed by him, it was always in melee. The great metal demon was far too strong to risk squaring off with as I had other foes. And yet, the demon takes a very lazy approach to guarding his territory unless provoked. As long as I stayed at a distance, he seemed content to sit there and leisurely fling lightning bolts at me. While terrifying at first, this attack is actually far less dangerous for my elementally-resistant wanderer's gear, and in fact, if I just ducked behind a boulder at the right moment, he couldn't hit me at all.

A ludicrous idea occurred to me: I could just use my bow. Would that even work? Could I possibly kill a demon, animated from a chunk of metal ore from a meteorite, with ordinary wooden arrows? It seemed absurd, but I had to try, and the risk of failure was almost nonexistent so long as I kept a safe distance.

I went with my plan. The demon spotted me and hurled a lightning bolt. I ducked behind the boulder, waited for an opening, then stepped out and let an arrow fly. It inflicted about as much damage as you would expect shooting a wooden stick at a block of metal would inflict. Even so, I wasn't ready to quit. As he threw more lightning bolts, I kept ducking behind the boulder then back out to fire again. He wasn't hurting much, but it didn't matter. He couldn't hurt me at all, and I had a lot of arrows.

We continued this way for a while, each launching dozens of projectiles at the other. He only hit me a couple of times when I got careless, and as expected, my gear protected me very well. I only had to stop briefly to recover behind the boulder, then got back to it.

I'd fired close to a hundred arrows, not sure how much good it was even doing, when finally to my delight the creature staggered. It was starting to feel the effects of my endless barrage. Even then, it stayed at a distance, certain that its lightning attack would strike true and kill me. It never did. Well, one can hardly expect a creature whose brain is a lump of rock to be very clever. After what felt like an eternity, the beast roared in agony and fell, succumbing to its death by a thousand pin pricks.


Things after that weren't too harrowing. I proceeded through the forest again, encountering familiar Stone Golems, strange slithering Possessed Trees, and some unholy abominations of nature known as frog rays.

I dispatched all of them with careful precision, and left with a powerful magic ring in my possession. I saw fit to open the Gate of Artorias with the magic seal I'd gotten from the blacksmith, but decided not to press my luck by going inside. At least not just yet.

Thus concluded my misadventures for the month. Finally, here are some stats for October:
  • Total Deaths: 12
  • Total Workout: 120 pushups, squats and curls, some indeterminate number of crunches
  • Total Boss Victories: 2
  • Playtime: 10 hrs 39 mins
  • Total Cumulative Playtime: 30:56
Toward the end of the month, I was dying a lot less, and so decided to step up the workouts a bit in November. I'll have an update on all that whenever I get around to it.

I hope this was mildly amusing to read. If not, you probably shouldn't have read this far, but thanks. Clearly you're as much of a glutton for punishment as I am, if not more. Congratulations.

That'll be it for now. Peace and love, readership. Praise the sun.

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