Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls 3 Part 19: A Blast From The Past

Now that our Luck Knight has a Lucky Sword we can legitimately fight our way through the prison, earning enough souls from combat and consumed items to finally heal Fault’s little hollowing problem. We then take the prison’s secondary exit and wind up in the Profane Capitol which houses Yor the Giant, Lord of Cinder.

Is Fault strong enough to fight such a powerful Lord of Cinder? Surely this will push her to the limits of her skill and beyond…

Ha ha, just kidding. It’s a gimmick boss and a huge call back to Demon’s Souls. As long as you have enough health to survive the occasional hit this is easy.

Fault dodge rolls into the room and grabs the Storm Ruler great sword lying nearby. I then use my l33t gamer skills to run away from the boss while navigating the menu system and equipping the Storm Ruler, which is heavy enough I have to remove Fault’s helmet in order to stay light enough to dodge roll.

This rare glimpse of Fault’s actual face leaves me wondering why in the world I chose the ugly bed head hair style for the poor girl. Hopefully the DLC will introduce a barber NPC.

Anyways, once you have the sword the rest of the fight is easy. Two hand the weapon and hold down the weapon skill button to summon a small tornado around the blade. Slowly walk backwards while charging in order to avoid the boss. If necessary dodge roll. It interrupts the charge but is better than dying. Once you finally get a full charge keep holding down the skill button and then tap attack in order to unleash a brutal wind slash that should eat up around 20% of Yor’s health. Repeat four more times and you win.

Dark Souls joke or actual Oklahoma weather forecast?

Dark Souls joke or actual Oklahoma weather forecast?

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls 3 Part 18: Finally A Taste Of Power

Thanks to a suicidal loot run Fault now has access to the Profane Coal. She heads back to Firelink and hands it over to Andre the blacksmith, who warns us it’s evil (as if we somehow didn’t notice the fact it’s a cursed ever-burning skull). But that hardly seems important because now we can finally use that gamechanger item we found way back at the road of sacrifices.

It’s a Hollow Gem for making Hollow Weapons which have the unique trait of doing extra damage based on the user’s LUCK!!!

On the one hand that is obviously an evil artifact. On the other hand Fault's sword needs more pluses.

On the one hand that is obviously an evil artifact. On the other hand Fault’s sword needs more pluses.

Don’t get too excited though. Even with Fault’s high luck score switching her rapier from Fire to Hollow only slightly improves her damage and still leaves her behind your average strength or dexterity focused fighter. Still, it makes this build a little less silly and that’s always appreciated.

(Side note: Hollow weapons also boost your luck based on how hollow you are but the max is only five points and I’m not a fan of the zombie look so Fault will still be shedding her curse as soon as she can.)

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls 3 Part 17: Weird Incentive Structure

Since Fault managed to clear the catacombs she can now reach the Boreal Valley and is greeted with a beautiful snow-covered city. The entrance to the area is blocked by a force field that won’t let you pass unless you’ve defeated the boss of the Chapel of the Deep. Fault has, so she’s now free to explore this beautiful area and fight the various well designed enemies that live here.

Alternatively she could dodge roll past all of them, then dodge roll right out of the city and into the nearby river, then dodge roll her way to a nearby dungeon which she dodge rolls through until she reaches a creepy basement full of prison wardens and forgotten monsters all of which she dodge rolls past in order to grab the Profane Coal.

At which point the conga line of enemies she’s aggroed all immediately rip her to shreds. But that’s OK because she got the item she wanted and your inventory goes with you when you respawn.

This series could have just been fifty drawings of Fault running from different enemies in different areas while wearing different armor sets.

This series could have just been fifty drawings of Fault running from different enemies in different areas while wearing different armor sets.

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls 3 Part 16: Fault, Private Eye

Now that Fault has cursed her very soul in exchange for five cheap levels I give the Abyss Watchers another go and manage to barely squeeze out a win.

Back at the shrine my high hollowing and game progress seems to have caused a mysterious lady in armor to appear. Apparently she thinks hollowing is pretty nifty and has plans for making Fault queen of the world or something. Plans that start with marrying her off to some nobleman or other.

I consider playing along but decide to check the wiki first to see just what this side quest involves and discover a full page of instructions on dozens of fiddly little things that have to be done at just the right time in the plot or else you spoil the quest forever. That’s more pressure than I want to deal with in an open world RPG so I politely wave goodbye to the creepy lady and add “Remove The Undead Curse Before Things Get Weird” to Fault’s to-do list. (To do so I need to find a hidden item I already know about and then gather up five levels worth of souls all at once which might be a bit trickier).

But how about some good news? Fault has finally decided to replace the last few bits of her thief armor and is now sporting the Fallen Knight set (but with her trusty Lordric Helmet and Gauntlets). This particular set is an amazing piece of medium armor but is most notable for having a dusty brown cape that looks kind of like a trench coat from behind. So if you want to pull off the hard boiled detective look here’s your chance.

According to Google noir is "a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity." which sure sounds like Dark Souls to me.

According to Google noir is “a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.” which sure sounds like Dark Souls to me.

Anyways, with the Abyss watchers out of the way Fault can head to the catacombs which are full of regenerating skeletons with extremely aggressive attack patterns. Fault’s lack of faith means no holy weapons which puts her at a big disadvantage when it comes to fighting here.

So instead of fighting I just dodge roll my way between bonfires and head straight to the boss.

Now normally this would be a horrible idea. The Luck Knight gimmick means we usually want to be over-leveled for bosses but skipping an entire area worth of XP has left us a bit on the weak side.

But don’t worry, the next boss is a gimmick boss and thus requires practice more than stats.

Basically he’s a giant skeleton who is only being tied to this realm by those big gold bracelets he’s wearing. Breaking bracelets does huge damage to the boss and smashing all three is a guaranteed victory. Admittedly it takes some experimentation to figure out how to best attack the bracelets without getting smashed but once you’ve got thing figured out this guy is easy.

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls 3 Part 15: Terms And Conditions May Apply

With the Chapel of the Deep out of the way Fault heads back to the poisonous (but leech free!) swamp and messes around with some signal fires in order to open the path to the next boss: The Keepers of Farron.

They’re another one of those interesting multi-stage boss fights. In the first stage you fight multiple keepers at a time, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on whether they decide to all focus on you or instead fight among themselves.

Finish off the boss and there’s a surprise cutscene where the blood from all the keepers comes together to reanimate a single super-keeper who lights their sword on fire and sure fights a lot like a certain Bloodborne DLC boss.

Fault makes no progress here.

Obviously I’m going to need to grind for some levels.

Or do I? One of my Firelink buddies keeps mentioning something about drawing out true potential. Fault finally lets him do it and receive a free stat point in exchange for being saddled with the good old undead curse from the first game. Now every time Fault dies she becomes slightly more Hollow. It’s just as gross as in the first game but fortunately Fault is wearing a full helm so nobody can really tell.

Like most RPG protagonists Fault will do almost anything for more pluses.

Like most RPG protagonists Fault will do almost anything for more pluses.

The good news here is that the more hollow Fault gets the more power her buddy will give her. This means I can earn up to four more bonus stat points just by jumping off the nearest cliff again and again.

But that hardly sounds sportsmanlike so instead I head back to the Farron Woods and take an elevator hidden in a certain tower in order to reach the top of the crumbling ruins of a once great highway bridge. Lurking here is an optional mini-boss: a washed up Stray Demon from the first game. Where Dark Souls demons were beings of fire and chaos this one has cooled down to mere rock and dust. Doesn’t mean we can take things easy though; it still has an axe bigger than Fault and while it can’t spit fireballs it can spit rocks.

Clearly this is a great place to die a bunch and rack up some hollowing.

Instead Fault emerges victorious on her second try.

Ok, new plan. Back to the Chapel of the Deep to fight those two giants that were always stomping around in the muck. You know, the ones you were clearly meant to outrun and out-think on your way to the boss.

Fault kills them both in one try without even resting at a bonfire in between. As powerful as they are they can’t really attack things near their feet and they telegraph their few stomping moves way too much.

So my plan to get Fault killed in honorable combat is apparently a bust. Time to just run around and let things maul her to death until I qualify for all five bonus points.

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls Part 14: Vigorous Religious Debate

Fault has finally finished gathering up all the obvious free goodies in this part of the game so it’s back to the Chapel of the Deep to do some good old classic dungeon crawling and beat the next boss standing between us and the Lords of Cinder.

This particular boss fight is actually kind of neat. When you enter the room you are faced with a horde of hollow priests, one of which is glowing red. Killing the glowing one does damage to the boss and causes the glow to jump to a different priest.

So you worship a being called Saint Aldrich, Devourer of Gods? Fascinating! Do you maybe have a pamphlet I could read?

So you worship a being called Saint Aldrich, Devourer of Gods? Fascinating! Do you maybe have a pamphlet I could read?

About halfway through the fight the glow will stop jumping from priest to priest and instead manifest as some sort of evil Anti-Pope surrounded by a handful of extra tough Anti-Bishops or something like that (I’m a bit fuzzy on the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Church of the Deep). On my non-gimmick file, where I did dungeons out of order and was extremely over-leveled, I finished the fight without seeing what the second half really involved.

But now that I’m trying to Luck Knight my way through a level appropriate boss fight I had the pleasure of discovering that the Anti-Pope and his buddies can work together to summon a cursed mist that auto-kills you if you don’t finish the fight fast enough. (Surprise! Fault did not finish the fight fast enough her first time.)

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls Part 13: Power Underwhelming

Last time Fault looted all the obvious treasure from the outskirts of the Chapel of the Deep. This time it’s back to the road of sacrifice to poke around the various ruins and swampy corners we ignored before. This yields some awesome treasure including the Farron Coal (which I completely forget was hidden here).

Bringing coals back to Andre unlocks new weapon upgrades and one of the Farron Coal upgrades is poison. Poison is one of the few weapon stats that supposedly scales with luck so we’ll be taking advantage of this as soon as we can find a poison stone to work with.

So we take the second exit out of the Road of Sacrifice and end up in the swampy Farron Keep which is full of poison slugs and toxic swamp water (But no leeches. Yay!). Fault then stabs her way through about twelve slugs and lo and behold one of them drops a poison stone. I must say that farming with a luck score is pretty neat.

Back at base Fault has Andre infuse her old bandit knife with poison. This not only adds the poison effect, it improves the existing bleed effect. Damage per-hit unfortunately takes a bit of dive but that’s what the fire rapier is for. Our new poison dagger will be for hit and run tactics against tough targets that we don’t want to fight outright.

Or at least that’s the plan. I have no idea how well poison works in Dark Souls 3 but it scales off of luck so this would be a pretty sad luck build if I didn’t try it at least once. (Update: It’s not that great. Most normal enemies are faster to just kill than to poison while most bosses are virtually immune to status ailments. Fault will be sticking with her rapier.)

This zombie feels mildly inconvenienced by having been poisoned.

This zombie feels mildly inconvenienced by having been poisoned.

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls Part 12: Pants At Long Last

Last time Fault cleared the road of sacrifice by killing a giant evil wizard. At this point the game actually opens up quite a bit and we now have two different bosses we can tackle in whatever order we please. Or… we could ignore that and instead run around grabbing treasure from all the new areas we’ve unlocked.

We start off by heading towards the Chapel of the Deep and looting a corpse that happens to be wearing a full set of herald armor. Which means… PANTS!

Yes, the herald pants not only have better defense than the deserter’s trousers they also go all the way to the end of Fault’s legs which leaves us looking like a proper adventurer and less like a bedraggled street urchin forced into a life of crime. Which technically is exactly what we were, having started the game as a thief and all. But no longer! We’re actually starting to look like a proper Luck Knight.

This is what happens when it's 11:30 at night and you suddenly remember you haven't done your daily sketch.

This is what happens when it’s 11:30 at night and you suddenly remember you haven’t done your daily sketch.

To celebrate I head back to town and find that one of our NPC buddies is now selling a small shield with 80% damage reduction instead of the pathetic 60% we’ve been using. Eventually I hope to have the stats for a 100% shield but for now this is a big step in the right direction.

Fault then head back to the Chapel of the Deep and discover it’s literally crawling with maggot infested zombies and all sorts of leech monsters. Getting hit by them leaves you covered in tiny parasites that slowly fill up your bleed meter. When it maxes out you take major damage.

Fortunately a high luck score increases the size of your bleed meter which means Fault can walk around covered in leeches for quite some time before taking damage… which actually doesn’t sound like a lucky experience at all. But it does give us all the survivability we need to grab some estus flask upgrades and various other trinkets before putting the chapel on hold in search of a less disgusting place to go treasure hunting.

Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls Part 11: How Magical

Fault has been doing a surprisingly good job of carving her way through the road of sacrifice without dying every three steps so I decide it’s time to head to the next boss. On my non-gimmick file I got lost and didn’t fight this boss until much later in the game when I was severely overpowered, so fighting it at the level I’m supposed to is actually kind of nice and gives me an opportunity to see all of the boss’s attacks! On the downside I wind up dying half a dozen times or so before winning but by Luck Knight standards that’s a roaring success.

Anyways, the boss here is a big old wizard who shoots you with crystal magic and teleports away every time you land a good combo on him. When he gets low on health he’ll start summoning clones that die in a single hit but spam magic attacks until then. Try to avoid getting caught in their crossfire and don’t get so focused on hitting the true boss that you neglect to watch your back for clones firing surprise crystal lasers.

This is actually one of the clones. The real boss is RIGHT BEHIND YOU RIGHT NOW!

This is actually one of the clones. The real boss is RIGHT BEHIND YOU RIGHT NOW!

Let’s Program A Prisoner’s Dilemma: Index

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a famous Game Theory thought experiment that tries to answer questions about why sometimes people choose to cooperate with each other and sometimes they choose to trick and betray each other.

While it can be analyzed using nothing but pure math we’re going to take an AI approach to this classic dilemma by building a bunch of simple simulations and then putting them in a big virtual room where they can either work together or prey on each other. Watching their behavior and seeing who comes out on top should hopefully give us some insight into how real humans approach similar situations.

Let’s Program A Prisoner’s Dilemma Part 1: Game Theory Is Less Fun Than It Sounds

Let’s Program A Prisoner’s Dilemma Part 2: Crime And Punishment

Let’s Program A Prisoner’s Dilemma Part 3: Fight In Cell Block D

Let’s Program A Prisoners Dilemma Part 4: Heaven or Hell, Let’s Rock!

Let’s Program A Prisoners Dilemma 5: What Is A Decision Making Process?

Let’s Program A Prisoner’s Dilemma Part 6: Eye For An Eye

Let’s Program A Prisoner’s Dilemma Part 7: Survival of the Fittest

Let’s Program A Prisoner’s Dilemma Part 8: And The Moral Of The Story Is…