Tactile Thematics, 2

Passages of Plurality in FromSoftware’s Elden Ring


In late 2019, I began work on an empirical study of game development studio FromSoftware’s last decade of games, hypothesizing on the basis of my results a mechanical trajectory away from the transcendental subject and toward the tactile subject.1 Working through Demon’s Souls (2009), Dark Souls (2011), Dark Souls II (2014), Bloodborne (2015), Dark Souls III (2016), and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019), I conducted a frame-by-frame analysis of every weapon moveset across these six games—for a total of 580 weapon analyses—comparing the number of distinct animations (or moves) per controller input in order to calculate a relative complexity value per weapon and an average complexity value per game.2 To summarize these findings: in Demon’s Souls I found an average complexity of 1.21 (average of 15.72 inputs across 64 weapons); in Dark Souls, an average complexity of 1.14 (average of 16.78 inputs across 108 weapons); in Dark Souls II, an average complexity of 1.30 (average of 26 inputs across 204 weapons); in Bloodborne, an average complexity of 1.29 (25.96 inputs across 26 weapons); in Dark Souls III, an average complexity of 1.27 (average of 29.65 inputs across 177 weapons); and in Sekiro, an average complexity of 43.80 (5 inputs across 1 weapon, 40 prosthetic tools, and 17 combat arts). I also compared these moveset complexity values against the player-character attributes in each game, noting a shift away from abstract and transcendental ‘power’ in Demon’s Souls, signified by soul level, to concrete and tactile ‘skill’ in Sekiro, which does away with character stats almost all together.

More than simply game mechanics, however, it was and remains my contention that FromSoftware uses their mechanics in thematic ways, reinforcing the overarching narratives of their games at the level of moment-to-moment interaction. In my original study of these “tactile thematics,” I remarked that I did not have the time “to interrogate this thematic at the symbolic or narrative levels,” but that the data was “at least indicative of the actuality of this thematic at a mechanical level.”3 Since then, I have undertaken such a symbolic and narrative exploration, considering FromSoftware’s thematic interests in the realms of the ecological,4 the metaphysical,5 the entomological,6 the anthropological,7 and shortly forthcoming at the Canadian Game Studies Association conference, the zoological.8 Through years of play and study, FromSoftware’s anti-transcendental convictions have made themselves patently clear. Their games are not only entertainment objects but rhetorical devices that involve their players in ruptures of in-game worldviews, using their mechanics to at first subtly, and then overtly, refigure what it means to be a subject as the player-character passes from one order or rule to the next.

With the release of FromSoftware’s Elden Ring (2022) I found myself once again considering the unique tactility of the studio’s game design work, and the sheer proliferation of interactional possibilities this new game affords.9 Elden Ring features 308 weapons (far exceeding their previous high point of 204 in Dark Souls II), approximately 100 different weapon arts that can be swapped between weapons (applied through ashes of war), the return of power stancing from Dark Souls II, the return of jumping and stealth mechanics from Sekiro, the introduction of guard countering when blocking attacks, and perhaps the most profound addition, mounted combat. While Elden Ring may not reach the level of focused complexity that Sekiro does (which borrows much from the world of character action games while remaining fundamentally, in my view, a Souls game), it exceeds Sekiro by a wide margin in its expansive complexity, its wide-open approach to combat encounters and world design.

While a continuation of my original empirical project in precisely the same mode would certainly be of value, I want to narrow my focus in this paper to look at what I am terming passages of plurality in Elden Ring’s design.10 Since my master’s thesis, and throughout my writing on FromSoftware’s games, philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy’s question who comes after the subject? has been a persistent point of concern.11 I have argued that this “is the question that Dark Souls has you play, over and over again,” that FromSoftware’s oeuvre makes for “a folding, twisting interrogation that buckles under the burden of its own eternal repetition,” an interrogation in which both “the subject and its other are dead, burnt to ash, faded into darkness, and yet [in which] we ask, in the midst of this, our ongoing crisis, who comes?12 In the dialectical annihilation of the player-subject across the Dark Souls trilogy, FromSoftware supplants the transcendental and universal with a “multiplicity of actually existing subjectivities irreducible to a singular image of thought or mode of being.”13 In Dark Souls III, FromSoftware only gestures at such a pluralist world to come; in Elden Ring, this world is realized.14 For the remainder of this paper, I would like to examine some of the mechanics of this realization, and reflect on the narrative work that these mechanics perform.

Passages of Plurality

Perhaps the most striking feature of Elden Ring’s narrative, in comparison with its predecessors, is the fact that its Golden Order, the current rule of the gameworld, is confronted not with a dialectical opposite but with a plurality of alternatives. Elden Ring is not a story of disparity—of “heat and cold, life and death, … light and dark”15—but multiplicity. Where FromSoftware’s prior works—and especially the Dark Souls trilogy—are narratively and ontologically structured around a cycle of overcoming (or sublation), Elden Ring is structured by a field of anarchic abundance.16 Where Gwyn’s rule of fire is the rule, which can be supplanted by Kaathe’s rule of dark, Marika’s Golden Order is merely a rule, which happens to be the dominant one—a dominance secured through sovereign power rather than any intrinsic juridico-metaphysical right.17 Where in previous games, the player-character can choose to prop up the old, failing order, or replace it with a new one—a simple binary18—in Elden Ring, the player-character must choose between a manifold of options, none of which presents itself as an unquestionable good. In the Dark Souls trilogy, fire gives way to dark which gives way to fire, and so on; in Elden Ring, gold gives way to fracture, dusk, order, despair, frenzied flame, or stars. In some of these endings, gold persists, but transformed (fracture and order); in others, gold is tossed utterly aside (dusk, despair, and frenzied flame); and in yet others, the world itself is left behind (stars). From Demon’s Souls to Dark Souls III, the player-character must attain the power to solidify the old order or institute a new one; in Sekiro, and now in Elden Ring, the player-character must develop the skill required to negotiate and traverse a complex field of intersecting and conflicting rules.19 “There is no path,”20 no guarantee, but this openness of outcome in Elden Ring is also the very possibility of possibility as such, the shattering of metaphysical syntax by the contingency of the real.21

So, to return from such ponderous philosophical discourse to the realm of the empirical, I would like to briefly highlight four elements of Elden Ring’s design, and discuss how these elements construct alternative passages of subjectivity for the player-character, and how these elements traverse and overdetermine the player-character, animating and organizing them from without.22 These four elements are as follows: memory stones,23 talismans,24 items,25 and spells.26 While a superficial reading of this list would recognize only a standard list of roleplaying game (RPG) elements, my interest is in FromSoftware’s deliberate and particular use of these elements to materialize narrative and thematic elements of the game, and through their use integrate these narrative and thematic elements into the playing subject.

Memory Stones

In Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls trilogy, spells require slots to equip.27 In Demon’s Souls, the number of slots the player-character has available to them is determined by their Intelligence attribute (for sorceries) and Faith attribute (for miracles), and can be increased through the use of the Ring of Magical Nature and the Ring of Devout Prayer, respectively.28 The number of casts per spell slot is also determined by Intelligence, which determines the player-character’s Mana Points (MP), and which can be increased through the use of the Silver Coronet and Silver Catalyst (though catalysts can only be used to cast sorceries and not miracles).29 Faith also determines the power of miracles that the player-character casts, while an additional attribute, Magic, determines the power of cast sorceries.

The Dark Souls games introduce a new attribute, Attunement, that becomes the sole determinant of magic slots, with Intelligence now determinant of sorcery aptitude and power, and Faith of miracle aptitude and power. Like Demon’s Souls, the Dark Souls games have items that can increase attunement slots: the White and Darkmoon Seance Rings in Dark Souls;30 the Southern Ritual Band and Black Witch Hat, which increase slots, and the Northern Ritual Band, Hexer’s Hood, and Saint’s Hood, which increase casts, in Dark Souls II;31 and the Deep Ring, Saint’s Ring, and Darkmoon Ring, which increase slots, and the Dusk Crown Ring which reduces the cost of casts in Dark Souls III.32

Sekiro does not have an equivalent to magic, so we will not discuss it here, but in Bloodborne we find a prototype for how spells will work in Elden Ring. In Bloodborne, the Arcane attribute determines the power of attacks with arcane weapons and items. Importantly, there are no spells known intrinsically by the player-character. Rather, spells in Bloodborne are cast through the use of arcane artifacts known as Hunter’s Tools.33 There are no spell slots, no spell memory—only material things that hunters must learn how to wield. In Elden Ring, then, we see one development along these lines that replaces attribute-determined spell slots in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls I, II, and III, with memory stones.34 Every player-character starts the game with two spell slots, and can only increase this number by finding memory stones around the gameworld, of which there are eight. Rectangular, “black, lightly beguiling stone[s]” inset in a tarnished gold charm and attached to a similarly tarnished gold cord, these memory stones take the playing subject outside of themselves, situating their magical potential in the world at large, rather than in their interiority. Like prior games, there is also a distinct item that can increase slots, the Moon of Nokstella talisman, an artifact that brings us to next design element in question here.


As has already been noted above, in Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls trilogy, rings are used to modify player-character attributes, and enact other effects, that allow the player to customize their gameplay experience. In Bloodborne, in the place of rings are Caryll Runes, which are discovered in the world and etched into the player-character’s memory.35 As with magic, Sekiro has no equivalent to rings. In Elden Ring, rings are replaced with talismans. Unlike a ring which, as per bodily experience, is worn on a finger and becomes a part of the wearer’s phenomenological background, talismans in Elden Ring are carried in talisman pouches. Like memory stones, talisman pouches determine how many talismans can be carried. All player-characters start the game with one pouch, and can find three more as they adventure through the world.36

Some talismans look like pendants or charms, as one might expect from the name, but as the game progresses, the talismans that the player-character discovers become more and more strange and unsettling, uncanny fragments of the failing world (very much in line with the arcane tools of Bloodborne). The horn charms are the “budding horn[s]” of a “long-lived beast,”37 the scarseal and soreseal charms are eyes engraved with runes and wrapped with fine tendrils,38 the Prince of Death’s Cyst is a literal cyst taken from the face of the Prince of Death himself,39 the Shard of Alexander is a slimy, flesh-covered shard of the player-character’s adventuring companion Iron Fist Alexander,40 and Millicent’s Prosthesis is the actual prosthetic hand of another adventuring companion, Millicent, that can be taken from her in an act of betrayal.41 This is just a small selection of the eighty or so talismans that can be found throughout Elden Ring, each of which serves to mechanically involve the player-character in some element of the plot, entangling them with this or that character, this or that faction, this or that order. Rings in prior FromSoftware games are also certainly used for storytelling, but Elden Ring’s talismans do a remarkable job situating the player-character in context, serving as physicalized reminders of trials they have undergone, enemies they have faced, and friends they have lost (or turned against).


Every FromSoftware game since Demon’s Souls has had consumable and reusable items, but one of the largest developments Elden Ring introduces to the formula is crafting. Weaving together several threads of design from previous games, Elden Ring’s crafting system is surprisingly robust—so much so that one critic, Spencer of Video Game Choo Choo, was able to complete a “chemist run” of Elden Ring in which he used no weapons or spells, only quick item and pouch slot items.42 While similar challenges have been undertaken by challenge run streamers in the past (like LobosJr’s consumables only all bosses run of Dark Souls43), Elden Ring suggests such a possibility to those not typically interested in challenge runs of already challenging video games, inviting its players into alternative modes of engagement entirely outside of the modes offered by previous games.44 What is more, beyond mechanics, these modes invite player-characters into various in-game communities and their practices, the situated knowledges of the different groups populating the land.45

Dark Souls III introduced spell books, which could be found throughout the gameworld and given to sorcery and miracle teachers to unlock new spells for purchase. These return in Elden Ring, and in greater number (for reasons to be discussed below), but to their count are added a plethora of cookbooks for crafting, which can be found or purchased as the player-character’s adventure progresses. These “record[s] of crafting techniques” induct the player-character into the skillful traditions of the Nomadic Warriors and Radahn’s Armorers, the Glintstone Craftsmen and Golden Order Missionaries, the Ancient Dragon Apostles and the Perfurmers, the devotees of St. Trina and the ones afflicted by the Frenzied Flame.46 The design of these books reflect their origin, from weather-worn and blood-stained to crisp and delicate, and again serve to materialize the skill of the player-character. Knowledge in Elden Ring is not acquired through transcendental bestowal, but through dusty and crumbling tomes, through communal learnings passed down from survivor to survivor, craftsperson to craftsperson, scholar to scholar.

Furthermore, some of the essential items used in crafting—Cracked Pots, Ritual Pots, and Perfume Bottles—tie the player-character even more closely to their communities of use.47 Cracked Pots and Ritual Pots are small, magical jars used for crafting a wide number of throwable items that do various types of damage and other effects to enemies, and which mend themselves when broken, returning to the player-character’s inventory to be refilled. Like memory stones and talisman pouches, there is a limited number of cracked and ritual pots that can be found throughout the world, and as with memory stones and talisman pouches, these items effectively externalize a capacity that the player-character can build over the course of the game. In fact, the player-character can follow a line of flight and become-jar, embracing the possibilities indicated by Iron Fist Alexander and his nephew Jar Bairn, donning the Jar helmet given by Alexander (“a uniquely jarlike gesture of friendship”),48 choosing to carry the Shard of Alexander after his death, the Companion Jar talisman after returning his innards to Jar Bairn,49 the Great-Jar’s Arsenal talisman after completing the Great-Jar’s challenge,50 summoning the Soldjars of Fortune in battle,51 and even to take up the Jar Cannon that uses explosives to launch greatbolts at foes.52 This material terrain suggests a whole realm of possibilities for play, and even the possibility of life after all this conflict in the idyllic village of Jarburg in the role of Potentate.

If becoming-jar is not to the player-character’s fancy, they could instead choose to align with the “depraved perfumers” and “jar poachers,” learning the ways of those aromatic physicians. From the Perfume Bottle items—which are also limited in number and function like cracked and ritual pots—the player character can learn of the “art of perfuming,” which was “jealously guarded in the capital” prior to the Shattering before becoming “widely practiced throughout the Lands Between.”53 The various aromatics that can be crafted with perfume bottles have distinct effects from pots, allowing the user to scatter sparks in an area-of-effect,54 to spit poison or acid,55 to buff self and allies,56 and even to turn their body to steel.57 To fully embrace the technique of the perfumers, the player-character can don their garb and take up their armaments,58 and carry the Perfumer’s Talisman to increase the potency of their aromatics.59 Against the jars, the perfumers present another way of being in Elden Ring’s world, and another mode of interaction for the player-character that goes beyond those available in prior games.


The final element requiring our consideration are spells themselves.60 I have already touched on magic above with the discussion of memory slots, but with spells the passages of plurality that concern us here fully unify the levels of the mechanical and the thematic, the interactional and the narrative, the tactile and the metaphysical. Early on, players noticed that different types of spells had different magical sigils that would appear when cast. Long time lore hunters like Zullie the Witch and Quelaag set to work examining and organizing them, noticing the deliberate relationships and continuities in their design.61 Meanwhile, Redditors collected in game images and then exported high-resolution graphics of them for the community to get a better look,62 and Tumblr users turned to colour theory to scrutinize the meanings behind them.63 What all of these player-researchers were discovering was the essential plurality of Elden Ring’s metaphysics, the anarchic openness of its ontological foundations.

As categorized on the Elden Ring wiki, there are thirteen kinds of sorceries in the game and twelve kinds of incantations (known in former games as miracles). Where in the Souls games, all sorceries flowed from intelligence and the soul, and all miracles from faith and the divine,64 in Elden Ring intelligence and faith are merely conduits for the influence of outer powers. As critic Renata Price remarks in an episode of Waypoint Radio, this state of affairs makes it possible for the player-character to undergo a transformation of belief by way of their very encounter with alternative powers.65 While in Dark Souls the player-character might abandon faith and reject Gwyn’s age of fire (and so too be mechanically punished for investing in the attribute), in Elden Ring faith can actually, materially find a new terminus. One player-character might embrace Dragon Communion,66 and receive dragon eyes in return; another might turn to the ways of the fire monks and the flame of the Fell God;67 and yet another might learn the strength of beasts, wielding claws and stones with ferocious fervour.68 Likewise, wielders of sorceries start with simple Glintstone sorceries,69 but through their travels can learn of forbidden and otherwise unheard of powers—sorceries of gravity and the full moon,70 of night and of snow,71 and even of the Primeval Current itself.72 As with the other elements of design examined in this paper, these are not trivial reskins for added flavour, but mechanically rich and interactively divergent paths for the player to take, affording not only different angles of engagement in moment-to-moment play, but different contexts for roleplaying that allow the player-character to situate themselves against the backdrop of the world and the overarching narrative in markedly distinct ways.


Elden Ring wants its players to commit, and then to challenge its players with alternative commitments, competing worldviews, and indeed, contradictory and competing realities. The world of Elden Ring is a world of events without guarantees, demanding a skillful fidelity of the player-characters who navigate it.73 It is difficult to play Elden Ring without being transformed; the plurality of endings of the game require it, one way or another.

By way of conclusion, I would like to cite from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, a pluralistic coda for this reading of Elden Ring:

Individual or group, we are traversed by lines, meridians, geodesies, tropics, and zones marching to different beats and differing in nature. We said that we are composed of lines, three kinds of lines. Or rather, of bundles of lines, for each kind is multiple. We may be more interested in a certain line than in the others, and perhaps there is indeed one that is, not determining, but of greater importance . . . if it is there. For some of these lines are imposed on us from outside, at least in part. Others sprout up somewhat by chance, from a trifle, why we will never know. Others can be invented, drawn, without a model and without chance: we must invent our lines of flight, if we are able, and the only way we can invent them is by effectively drawing them, in our lives.74

Such possibility, bewitching and fearful,75 a mystery always already unfolding76—so it is to “challenge[] the swirling constellations” of the Lands Between, to touch their light and be touched by them in turn.77 This double sensation,78 this intimate, metamorphic contact,79 is the basis of Elden Ring’s tactile thematics, the opening of a plurality of passages to worlds and ways of being yet to come.


Stein, Eric. “Tactile Thematics, 2: Passages of Plurality in FromSoftware’s Elden Ring.” Presented at the International Conference on Games and Narrative, The Games Institute, University of Waterloo, May 16, 2023. https://zenodo.org/record/7948775. Mirrors: Academia, ResearchGate.


  1. Eric Stein, “Tactile Thematics: From Power to Skill in FromSoftware’s Souls Games,” Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Annual Conference, Albuequerque, NM, February 19, 2020, https://zenodo.org/record/4603488

  2. Hidetaka Miyazaki, Demon’s Souls (PS3: FromSoftware, 2009); Hidetaka Miyazaki, Dark Souls (PS3; Xbox 360: FromSoftware, 2011); Tomohiro Shibuyo and Yui Tanimura, Dark Souls II (PS3; Xbox 360: FromSoftware, 2014); Hidetaka Miyazaki, Bloodborne (PS4: FromSoftware, 2015); Hidetaka Miyazaki, Isamu Okano, and Yui Tanimura, Dark Souls III (PS4; Xbox One; Microsoft Windows: FromSoftware, 2016); and Hidetaka Miyazaki and Kazuhiro Hamatani, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows: FromSoftware, 2019). 

  3. Stein, “Tactile Thematics,” 7. 

  4. Eric Stein, “The Fire Fades: Navigating the End of the World in FromSoftware’s Dark Souls,” International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL, March 19, 2020, https://zenodo.org/record/4603492

  5. Eric Stein, “Praise the Sun: The Metaphysics of Dark Souls from the First Flame to the End of Fire,” Canadian Game Studies Association Conference, Western University, London, ON, June 3, 2020, https://zenodo.org/record/4603500

  6. Eric Stein, “Pure Vessels: The Insect and the Other in Dark Souls and Hollow Knight,” Insect Entanglements, Centre for Environmental Humanities, University of Bristol, Online, June 19, 2020, https://zenodo.org/record/4603508

  7. Eric Stein, “The Dark Sigil Will Guide Thee: The Hollowing Mechanic in FromSoftware’s Souls Games,” Northeast Popular Culture Association Annual Conference, Online, October 23, 2020, https://zenodo.org/record/4603519

  8. Eric Stein, “Beasts and Sovereigns: The Zoopolitical Imagination of FromSoftware’s Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring,” Canadian Game Studies Association Conference, Online, June 6, 2023, forthcoming

  9. Hidetaka Miyazaki and Yui Tanimura, Elden Ring (PlayStation; Xbox; Microsoft Windows: FromSoftware, 2022). 

  10. If conference attendees or later readers of this work are interested in continuing that empirical project, please reach out and I can share a copy of my original data. Also, to this end, YouTuber Zombie Headz continues to do the lord’s work, recording in wonderfully consistent detail many of the weapon movesets in Elden Ring, as he did for Dark Souls, Dark Souls II, and Dark Souls III (an effort that was instrumental in the completion of my original study). As of this writing, his Elden Ring Weapon Movesets playlist includes 105 different moveset videos, a significant corpus to begin with for further study. See Zombie Headz, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFei6EEuJdKc1Mwh7YNme7kuseYQJplcH

  11. Jean-Luc Nancy, “Introduction,” in Who Comes After the Subject?, ed. Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor, and Jean-Luc Nancy (New York, NY: Routledge, 1991), 1–8. 

  12. Stein, “The Dark Sigil Will Guide Thee,” 2. 

  13. Stein, “The Dark Sigil Will Guide Thee,” 2. 

  14. On plurality and multiplicity, see Stein, “Praise the Sun.” 

  15. Dark Souls Wiki, “Story,” Wikidot, http://darksouls.wikidot.com/story

  16. As always, I am indebted to Terence Blake’s ongoing research program in philosophical pluralism. See, for instance, Blake, “Ontological and Epistemological Anarchism,” Agent Swarm, March 24, 2018, https://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/ontological-and-epistemological-anarchism-zizek-and-feyerabend/

  17. For more on this, see my forthcoming “Beasts and Sovereigns.” 

  18. Again, see my “Praise the Sun” for how Dark Souls III begins to open this binary. 

  19. This passage, and the attendant work of intimacy, negotation, and touch, is the focus of my master’s thesis, “Fiction in the Integrated Circuit,” Trinity Western University, 2018, https://arcabc.ca/islandora/object/twu%3A456. I continued this line of inquiry in shorter form in my tabletop RPG supplement, Affinity: A DREAM Plugin, DREAMJAM, itch.io, August 3, 2019, https://vagrantludology.itch.io/affinity-dream

  20. Dark Souls II Wiki, “Aldia, Scholar of the First Sin,” Wikidot, http://darksouls2.wikidot.com/bosses:aldia-scholar-of-the-first-sin

  21. Of anarchy, Tom Nomad writes: “anarchy is only the beginning, it is only generating the possibility of possibility, the possibility of existence, the possibility of life with no guarantees and so, full of potential.” From Toward an Army of Ghosts: Immanence, Conflict, and Crisis (Berkeley, CA: Repartee, 2017), 96. For philosophical syntax, see François Laruelle, Philosophies of Difference: A Critical Introduction to Non-Philosophy, trans. Rocco Gangle (London, UK: Continuum, 2010). For more on life without guarantee, see my “No Dice, No Masters: Procedures for Emancipation in Dream Askew / Dream Apart,” GENeration Analog: The Tabletop Games and Education Virtual Conference, Online, August 5, 2021, https://zenodo.org/record/5156494

  22. We might say that Elden Ring’s psychology is externalist. Works that have been influential in shaping my own externalist perspective on psychology include: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 1945, trans. Donald A. Landes (London, EN: Routledge, 2012); Isabelle Stengers, “Reclaiming Animism,” e-flux 36 (July 2012); Alva Noë, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature (New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 2015); and Riccardo Manzotti, The Spread Mind: Why Consciousness and the World Are One (New York, NY: OR Books, 2017). 

  23. Elden Ring Wiki, “Memory Stone,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Memory+Stone

  24. Elden Ring Wiki, “Talismans,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Talismans

  25. Elden Ring Wiki, “Items,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Items

  26. Elden Ring Wiki, “Magic Spells,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Magic+Spells

  27. A system with its roots in “Vancian magic,” derived from Jack Vance’s Dying Earth novels (1950-84), and common in roleplaying games since Dungeons & Dragons (1974). 

  28. Demon’s Souls Wiki, “Spells - Magic and Miracles,” Wikidot, http://demonssouls.wikidot.com/spells

  29. Demon’s Souls Wiki, “Silver Coronet,” Wikidot, http://demonssouls.wikidot.com/silver-coronet and “Silver Catalyst,” Wikidot, http://demonssouls.wikidot.com/silver-catalyst. Important to the plot of the game, the Talisman of Beasts can cast both sorceries and miracles. For more on this, see my “Beasts and Sovereigns,” forthcoming

  30. Dark Souls Wiki, “Attunement,” Wikidot, http://darksouls.wikidot.com/attunement

  31. Dark Souls II Wiki, “Attunement,” Wikidot, http://darksouls2.wikidot.com/attunement

  32. Dark Souls III Wiki, “Attunement,” Wikidot, https://darksouls3.wiki.fextralife.com/Attunement

  33. Bloodborne Wiki, “Arcane Items,” Bloodborne Wiki, https://www.bloodborne-wiki.com/2015/03/arcane-items.html

  34. Elden Ring Wiki, “Memory Stone.” 

  35. Caryll Runes overlap with Covenant mechanics from the Souls games, and also point forward to Great Runes in Elden Ring. There is much in Bloodborne that warrants further study. For now, see Bloodborne Wiki, “Carryl Runes,” Bloodborne Wiki, https://www.bloodborne-wiki.com/p/caryll-runes.html and “Covenants,” Bloodborne Wiki, https://www.bloodborne-wiki.com/p/covenants.html

  36. Elden Ring Wiki, “Talisman Pouch,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Talisman+Pouch. An editor on the wiki notes that this usage is likely a variations on Shinto and Buddhist omamori, amulets consisting of small items inside brocade bags. 

  37. Elden Ring Wiki, “Immunizing Horn Charm,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Immunizing+Horn+Charm

  38. Elden Ring Wiki, “Marika’s Soreseal,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Marika's+Soreseal

  39. Elden Ring Wiki, “Prince of Death’s Cyst,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Prince+of+Death's+Cyst

  40. Elden Ring Wiki, “Shard of Alexander,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Shard+of+Alexander

  41. Elden Ring Wiki, “Millicent’s Prosthesis,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Millicent's+Prosthesis

  42. Spencer, “I Completed Elden Ring Using Only Items,” Video Game Choo Choo, July 6, 2022, https://videogamechoochoo.com/i-completed-elden-ring-using-only-items/

  43. LobosJr, “Dark Souls Consumables Only All Bosses Challenge,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4u6G4YFiH1g8cbVXqc_342wbWsIXBjZh

  44. Though, LobosJr has also undertaken such a run of Elden Ring. See “Elden Ring Consumables Only,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVDIXUXJIIvGfJzUYZzVvn2PfiIMqTe4f

  45. Donna Haraway, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective,” Feminist Studies 14, no. 3 (Autumn 1988): 575-599. 

  46. Elden Ring Wiki, “Cookbooks,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Cookbooks

  47. Elden Ring Wiki, “Cracked Pot,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Cracked+Pot; “Ritual Pot,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Ritual+Pot; and “Perfume Bottle,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Perfume+Bottle

  48. Elden Ring Wiki, “Jar,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Jar

  49. Elden Ring Wiki, “Companion Jar,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Companion+Jar

  50. Elden Ring Wiki, “Great-Jar’s Arsenal,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Great-Jar's+Arsenal

  51. Elden Ring Wiki, “Soldjars of Fortune Ashes,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Soldjars+of+Fortune+Ashes

  52. Elden Ring Wiki, “Jar Cannon,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Jar+Cannon

  53. Elden Ring Wiki, “Perfume Bottle.” 

  54. Elden Ring Wiki, “Spark Aromatic,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Spark+Aromatic

  55. Elden Ring Wiki, “Poison Spraymist,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Poison+Spraymist and “Acid Spraymist,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Acid+Spraymist

  56. Elden Ring Wiki, “Uplifting Aromatic,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Uplifting+Aromatic and “Bloodboil Aromatic,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Bloodboil+Aromatic

  57. Elden Ring Wiki, “Ironjar Aromatic,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Ironjar+Aromatic

  58. Elden Ring Wiki, “Depraved Perfumer,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Depraved+Perfumer

  59. Elden Ring Wiki, “Perfumer’s Talisman,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Perfumer's+Talisman

  60. Elden Ring Wiki, “Magic Spells.” 

  61. Quelaag, “Sigil Art Design and Evolution,” Twitter, April 20, 2022, https://twitter.com/xIngenue/status/1516937911911944192

  62. u/trolledwolf, “As some people were asking for them,” Reddit, April 3, 2022, https://www.reddit.com/r/Eldenring/comments/tvmrx2/as_some_people_were_asking_for_them_heres_all_the/ and u/One-Eyed-Dragon, “Collection of Spell Sigils or Glyphs,” Reddit, November 18, 2022, https://www.reddit.com/r/Eldenring/comments/yyljm8/collection_of_spell_sigils_or_glyphs_fixed_version/

  63. yournextflame, “Elden Ring Sigils and Color Theory,” Tumblr, August 2, 2022, https://www.tumblr.com/yournextflame/691494799908405248/elden-ring-sigils-and-color-theory

  64. Again, I want to emphasize two significant caveats: firstly, in Demon’s Souls, we learn that sorceries and miracles share a source (see my “Beasts and Sovereigns” for more on this), and secondly, in Dark Souls III, we encounter the beginnings of plurality through the divergences between Divine, Londor, and Deep spell books (see my “Praise the Sun” for more on this). 

  65. I believe this was during the Elden Ring Spoilercast, Waypoint, December 23, 2022, https://play.acast.com/s/vicegamingsnewpodcast/elden-ring-spoilercast, but I am also certain that Price has made this argument on several occasions. I will miss the critical treasure that Waypoint has been for all these years. Essential reading, essential listening. Be good and be good at it—FCGH. 

  66. Elden Ring Wiki, “Dragon Communion Incantations,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Dragon+Communion+Incantations

  67. Elden Ring Wiki, “Fire Monk Incantations,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Fire+Monk+Incantations

  68. Elden Ring Wiki, “Bestial Incantations,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Bestial+Incantations

  69. Elden Ring Wiki, “Glinstone Sorceries,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Glintstone+Sorceries

  70. Elden Ring Wiki, “Gravity Sorceries,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Gravity+Sorceries and “Full Moon Sorceries,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Full+Moon+Sorceries

  71. Elden Ring Wiki, “Night Sorceries,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Night+Sorceries and “Snow Witch Sorceries,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Snow+Witch+Sorceries

  72. Elden Ring Wiki, “Primeval Sorceries,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Primeval+Sorceries

  73. Here I invoke Alain Badiou’s terminology from his Being and Event, 1988, trans. Oliver Feltham (London, EN: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013). 

  74. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, vol. 2, 1980, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 202. 

  75. Elden Ring Wiki, “Comet Azur,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Comet+Azur

  76. Elden Ring Wiki, “Ranni’s Dark Moon,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Ranni's+Dark+Moon

  77. Elden Ring Wiki, “Sorceress Sellen,” Fextralife, https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Sorceress+Sellen

  78. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 95. 

  79. Stengers, “Reclaiming Animism,” 4ff. 

Previous Post Next Post

« Mechanics of Speculation Imagined Agency »