Lore of Bloodborne as interpreted by the community. This page houses facts and interpretations relating to the game, but you may also visit the newly launched Bloodborne Lore Forums. You can also find pre-release information from trailers and interviews from before the game was launched.
- See Lore Notes for transcriptions of in-game notes scattered across its areas.
- See Lore glossary for a recopilation of all the relevant in-game facts associated to each lore concept.
- See Theoretical - Player thoughts and research concerning the Bloodborne lore.
- Warning: Massive spoilers ahead, don't keep reading if you want to deduce things by yourself or haven't beaten the game yet.
- Everything that is speculation will be tagged under theory or written with words that express uncertainty.
The hunters are a group of warriors who are dedicated to keeping their regions safe by hunting down beasts - or anything other than beasts if need be - that pose a threat. Hunters are agile fighters armed with a trick weapon, a transforming melee weapon in the right hand, and a firearm in the left. They do not employ shields, but rather take advantage of their mobility in order to avoid attacks. Hunters exist throughout the world and are not exclusive to Yharnam, since a number of characters such as the protagonist and Eileen come from the outside world and are yet still recognized as hunters. However, it is believed that the Hunters started out as a branch of the Healing Church very much like The Choir. This would mean that, at least in Yharnam, Hunters were recruited by either Gehrman or the Church itself.
Yharnam is a towering, labyrinthine gothic city, home to both the Healing Church and the Blood Ministrations. As no evidence of the existence of a ruling body is provided in the game, one may presume that the Healing Church controls the city (at least indirectly). The Church focuses around healing by infusions of blood. Miraculously, blood healing can repair wounds and cure or hinder diseases. Yharnam's whole culture became focused on blood, even to the point of blood-based drinks surpassing alcoholic beverages as the most commonly consumed. Yharnam's populace is apparently viewed as insane or degenerate by the wider world, and the citizens have become extremely distrustful of non-natives as a result.
The Red Moon is a nightmare revealed after slaying Rom, the Vacuous Spider who had placed a veil over the world to keep the secret of the true nature of the world from its residents. The servants of Amygdala become fully powered, the beasts become more ravenous, and the children of Amygdala are visible at last. In this nightmare, the world reveals the Eldritch abominations it has been truly hiding. As a result, everything gets worse, and the character sees the world as they would if they had amassed 40 insight. Unfortunately, by killing Rom, you usher in the Red Moon, which is believed by some to be the coming of Oedon. It is not clear that Oedon is the Moon Presence, but he very well could be.
While this presents a weird part of the story, it is a known fact that 75% of the game’s umbilical cords can be found on women or children. During the Red Moon, Iosefka’s dialogue suggests that she has become pregnant, and Arianna gets pregnant as well. You also find a cord from defeating Mergo’s Wet Nurse. This suggests that Oedon impregnates women on the Red Moon. The criteria of these women who are impregnated has not been determined. It also seems to be that the Great Ones impregnate women to have surrogate children.
It is worth noting that one of the four umbilical cords is in the abandoned Workshop, very near the doll.
The most common form of the blood sickness appears to be lycanthropy: Humans slowly turning into wolves. Those in the early stages of the sickness have lengthened canine teeth and grow more hair. As they progress, their arms and legs lengthen and the spine hunches over and the face begins to elongate. Eventually, they grow fur and their body finishes the change into a Scourge Beast. Along with the physical transformation comes a mental degradation: At first the victim assumes all people they don't know are hostile and they'll attack on sight. As the alterations progress, the victim becomes more and more savage and hostile, until it can only stand to be around others exactly like it as "regular" humans appear to be beasts through their own blood-addled eyes. Sometimes individuals react strangely to the blood; some become unique beasts, and it's rumored that infected Clerics of the Healing Church become the largest of the monsters when they succumbed to the madness. (As seen in Laurence, Ludwig, the Vicar Amelia, etc.)
The blood sickness seems to be endemic to Yharnam, requiring periodic hunts for those very far gone. The hunters are both respected and feared: They bring down the worst of the beasts, but are at risk of contamination themselves.
Eventually, Old Yharnam was founded (obviously just “Yharnam” at the time), but it was brought low by a strange (the text says “baffling”) illness known as Ashen Blood, which was a worse form of slow/fast poison. The antidote description cites it as being a more severe case, and in the case of Ashen Blood, the antidotes only provided temporary relief. Eventually, the disease (likely spread due to blood ministrations) took over, and those infected turned into beasts. This is why the beasts in Old Yharnam are poisonous, particularly the red-eyed werewolf near the boss, and why the Blood-Starved Beast is coated with poison. After the fall of Old Yharnam, it was closed up, and Central Yharnam was built, along with the Grand Cathedral. This is perhaps the first instance of “hunters” as we know them now being formed.
The Powder Kegs were a group of hunters that tried to make explosive weapons, to varying degrees of success. A few prided creations of the Powdered Kegs are the Stake Driver, the Rifle Spear, and the Cannon. However, due to differences in designs, they were banned from the Workshop, becoming known as Workshop Heretics.
Perhaps the most influential of the organizations, the Healing Church was founded in the wake of the Choir. There were three echelons to the church: black-garbed hunters, white-garbed “doctors,” and the Choir. Though they did not spring from Byrgenwerth directly, they were explorers who found the labyrinth in the wake of that place and discovered the same remnants of the Truth, and used the research done there already to kick off their own research. However, their form of metamorphosis began with Blood Ministrations and their research/experiments with the blood.
Master Laurence, the founder of the Healing Church, and one of Master Willem's apprentices believed that in order to transcend humanity they had to research blood healing using Old Blood. During the times of Byrgenwerth, Master Willem taught all of his student to blindfold themselves so that they can "look into oneself" and that they needed to "line their brain with eyes" in order to see what the Great Ones see and acquire more eldritch knowledge, also known as insight, to further evolve into greater beings. With insight, they were able to see the world for what it is, beyond human comprehension. One of the most important of Willem's teachings is the Byrgenwerth adage "Fear the Old Blood". For only Willem respects and fears the true nature of the Old Blood in the beginning.
According to the memory shown by the skull in the altar of the Grand Cathedral. Master Laurence strayed from Master Willem's teachings and their paths eventually diverged. Laurence chose a different path to use the Old Blood for his experiments in order to move forward, disregarding the adage "Fear the Old Blood". He then founded the Healing Church and spread the teachings of the art of Blood Ministration. Later on, as blood healing became more common among the citizens of Yharnam, some citizens began transforming into beasts. At this point, Master Laurence discovered his mistake of using Old Blood for when it is mixed with human blood, it transforms subjects into beast. This is where Yharnam's plague of beast started.
We can tell that Master Laurence deeply regrets his decision of using Old Blood through his notes around the Lecture Building. These notes also leave clues what one must do to transcend the hunt, which he later found out after realizing his mistakes. "Master Willem was right. Evolution without courage will be the ruin of our race". "Hunt the Great ones. Hunt the Great ones". "Three third Umbilical cords"
From the Caryll Rune Beast: "Beast" is one of the early Caryll Runes. as well as one of the first to be deemed forbidden. "The discovery of blood entailed the discovery of undesirable beasts".
The leaders of the healing church, the Choir differentiate themselves from the rest of the members of the church as they received teachings directly from Ebrietas. Ebrietas, daughter of the cosmos is a celestial being who emerged from the depth of the Old Labyrinth and acted as a source of knowledge to the healing church with seemingly no ill-will thus furthering the notion that the Great Ones are sympathetic to humans. Not only did Ebrietas grant members of the Choir profound knowledge, but she also further convinced them that they could commune with the Great Ones and learn the Eldritch Truth. They believed they could ascend to the Cosmos (or at least make contact with it), and it came in a sudden and unexpected realization that perhaps while their feet were rooted to the ground, the cosmos was not immeasurably far away, but right above their heads. Together with Ebrietas, the Choir worked tirelessly to understand the Great One’s Truth.
Members of the School of Mensis desperately seek communion with the Great Ones, to the point of near (if not) insanity. Typically found wearing Mensis cages, a follower of the School of Mensis could be distinguished from a normal person from a mile away. But they certainly don't care about other humans' opinions as much as they do the Great Ones'.
Despite sharing the same goal with the Healing Church, the School of Mensis and the Healing Church do not seem to get along - this is indicated by the corpse of a Choir member locked away in the Unseen Village, which happens to be founded and controlled by the School of Mensis.
The founder of the School of Mensis, Micolash seems to have telepathic powers, being able to plant nightmares and illusions into the minds of his victims. This might indicate the School of Mensis having foul intent if they succeed in communicating with the Great Ones. They may have turned the knowledge and power they obtained onto the people, which would explain the tension between them and the Healing Church.
The pertinent Umbilical Cord for the School of Mensis' description reads as follows after obtaining it from Murgo's Wet Nurse in the Nightmare: "Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. This Cord granted Mensis audience with Mergo, but resulted in the stillbirth of their brains." When Micolash and his ilk used this cord to commune with The Infant Great One, they discovered that the power was too much and it killed the whole School of Mensis, locking the survivors in the Nightmare Realm that Micolash controls and driving them all insane. Whether or not this was intended by Mergo is up for debate
In Cainhurst Castle, Queen Annalise was a ruler over many nobles and dandies, the first Vileblood that partook in corrupted blood from Byrgenwerth. Having the ability to extract the essence of hunters' blood, Queen Annalise ordered her followers to hunt down hunters without scruple, and gained notoriety for her insatiable hunger for blood.
Annalise consumed the blood offerings brought back by her servants, and eventually became immortal due to her vile predations. A timeless society of vampire-like entities was formed in Cainhurst Castle thereafter. It was a place of refinement and sophistication, and the occasional beast that arose from the foul practice was dispatched discreetly as well as gracefully - such is the Cainhurst way. Those who served the queen did so out of loyalty, fear, and an unending desire to taste her blood, and settled with various Caryll runes that improved Visceral Attacks as a cheap substitute (as described in the rune’s texts). Queen Annalise hoped desperately one day to bear a true heir, and dubbed this the Child of Blood, which she sought to have at all costs. She sent her Vilebloods to hunt for her, and all hoped that, with enough blood dregs, she could birth a Child of Blood.
However, the justice-seeking knight commander known as master Logarius took these practices as an affront, and founded the Executioners: blood-thirsty zealots looking to kill Vilebloods at all costs. Eventually they stormed Cainhurst castle, eliminating everyone inside with extreme prejudice. Ironically, the executioners slew all the maids they could find, who likely had nothing to do with Annalise's malevolence, but could not harm Annalise due to her immortality. Seeing no other option, master Logarius sent his Executioners away and martyred himself in order to prevent Annalise from ever escaping. He stands guard in front of Annalise's tower forever, sealed off with the Crown of Illusion, so that none could enter again.
The Healing Church has pursued a strange goal for a long, long time; a goal that has been hidden from all but the highest of rank among them: to summon or harness the power of the Great Ones, beings not of this world, powerful enough to be seen as gods. They were here, in the labyrinth, long ago. They appear to be much closer than you'd think at Byrgenwerth, men were sent into the labyrinth, and an academy was built to understand the strange discoveries inside, generally called the Truth. It seems the Truth is a terrible thing, slowly breaking the mind of anyone who delves too deeply. Awful things happened at Bygenwerth, and as a result, the church closed off not only the academy, but the entire forest, calling it "forbidden".
Whether or not the Great Ones are actually gods or just higher levels of beings is inconsequential, the question itself is entirely academic. The important thing is: They exist. They have an influence on the world. They appear to be ageless, but they can be killed. Their powers are strange things, often involving teleportation or energy or things that the human world cannot do. Even perceiving the Great Ones properly requires great amounts of Insight--something Master Willem tried to do, at his own cost. The strongest of the Great Ones appears to be the Moon Presence, the creator of the Nightmare the Hunter is trapped within. Others are Oedon, Rom, Mergo's Wet Nurse, Amygdala, the Celestial Emissary, the Brain of Mensis, and Ebrietas.
Oedon, one of their number, has transcended even the others, to the point that he no longer has a physical body but instead is just a voice and an influence. He is very powerful and has become sort of "timeless", thus potentially making him the most powerful, yet the most indirect, of the Great Ones. He is also the only Great One explicitly referred to as male, with all the others' genders either female or undefined (assuming the Great Ones even have humanly-definable genders)
Some items' descriptions tell about Great Ones living in "The Dream" and others living in "The Nightmare" (Which is the case of Amygdala whose function is still to be defined, and Mergo's Wet Nurse). Humans have been able to contact them through the use of Phantasm, little invertebrates found in the Labyrinth.
Interestingly, Mergo's Wet Nurse and the Moon Presence are themselves never directly identified as Great Ones. Whether this is merely an oversight or an indication that they are indeed a different class of being is unknown.
Pthumeria was an ancient civilization ruled by Queen Yharnam. It was populated by Pthumerians, an ancient race of people who truly understood the Truth of the Great Ones and gained supernatural powers as a result. Queen Yharnam was a medium for the Great Ones, as cited by an item (saying the Choir discovered a medium, though she’s the only likely candidate). Eventually the Pthumerians retreated into a deep labyrinth, with their holy chalices being the only remnants of their ancient rituals to break the seals. Some chalices (such as the ailing Loran chalice) led to other lands, and the Isz Chalice was in particular used in holy communion with the Great Ones.
In time, a man named Gehrman would rise to the task of the Beast problem. Gehrman redesigned common clothing to provide better defense against the beasts' claws, and also created the Burial Blade, a unique weapon capable of transforming during battle to cater to Gehrman's need for a short or long weapon. Gehrman’s work was so admired as well as effective that his Burial Blade would become the basis for all hunter armament technology, later known as trick weapons. Gehrman was also a formidable fighter whose school of thought would become mandatory in any hunter's fighting style when facing the horrors of the hunt.
While it doesn’t say specifically, there is a heavy implication that Gehrman was hired by the Healing Church to work in the Workshop due to his role as an inventor, since his work place is directly beneath the Healing Church’s Oedon Chapel. Gehrman worked in the Workshop presumably until his death. He took many apprentices, who all did his duty in his honor, and may well have died long ago. The bone in the workshop graveyard was one of such apprentices, who had mastered the art of Quickening, allowing him to move at incredible speeds. Periodically, The Doll can be seen mourning at the same grave from which the bone is retrieved, leading some to speculate that this hunter was incredibly powerful and was one of the few to get close to defeating the Moon Presence making it possible that he was a viable replacement surrogate to take Gehrman's place in the Dream.
The description of the Umbilical cord found in the Old Abandoned Workshop states "Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the hunter's dream." According to this umbilical cord we can infer that Gehrman became the substitute child of the Moon Presence or that Gehrman was the one who summoned the Moon Presence itself and was then chosen (There are a few ways this could go depending on who summoned the Moon Presence. There just hasn't been enough lore discovered to fit any one claim of the creation of the Hunter's Dream.) For what purpose does the surrogate child exist? Could this mean that they possess some emotions or is it for a entirely different reason? We may never know for sure.
Secret Dialogue of Gehrman that strongly suggests that he is trapped in the Hunter's Dream for far too long and wants someone to free him. It also seems that he knows Master Willem and Laurence during times of Byrgenwerth from this dialogue.
Ludwig was acknowledged as the first hunter of the Healing Church. Ludwig fought with heavy weapons that were meant to mortally wound his enemies, an irony since the Healing Church is normally dedicated to saving lives. Nonetheless, this became a tradition among Church hunters, who employed heavy weapons just like Ludwig did. Moreover, Ludwig is also likely the first to recruit normal Yharnamites to join the hunter's rank, since the beasts are many. Eventually he fell victim to the Old Blood and changed into a monstrous beast wielding the Holy Moonlight Blade.
In time, hunters needed to receive blood ministrations in order to compete with the beasts they hunted, as a kind of all-or-nothing gamble. However, many hunters would fail, and become obsessed with, infected by, and eventually overcome by the blood, becoming beasts themselves. For this, the Hunter of Hunters did their duty, ending the lives of these madmen with grace and dignity. Eileen’s set says that they were buried in a foreign and respectful way, rather than the vile way of Yharnam (which I assume is cremation on a pyre or cross), and references a sky burial (which is a practice in which a body is dismembered and left out for the carrion birds, such as a crow, to eat). However, there is one interesting note: it says that the hope for the sky burial is that the hunters would find rest and solace in “a hunter’s dream.” This leads to some fairly open-ended speculation on what "The Dream" actually is or means.
The Player is a foreigner who has journeyed to Yharnam in search of curing an unspecified disease with Yharnam's famous Blood Ministration. Seeking 'Paleblood' the protagonist signs a contract with a man in a wheelchair (Who some speculate is Caryll the rune-smith) vowing to serve the city of Yharnam as a Hunter.
A member of the Powdered Kegs, Djura renounced his title of hunter when he failed to protect Old Yharnam. Stubborn as always, Djura remained in Old Yharnam as he watched the inhabitants of his town slowly decayed into beasts, but insists on protecting them nonetheless. Since the Powdered Kegs are rejected from the Workshop, Djura does not have much mercy or respect for the workshop conformists, and wouldn't mind shedding the blood of a few trespassers who will raise their blade against what used to be his friends.
Alfred is a hunter as well as an executioner, he has sworn to slay beasts as well as the Vilebloods of Cainhurst Castle sworn to Queen Annalise. Although the executioners are better known for their resolution, their ferocious penchant for killing, and their "merciless" nature, Alfred is surprisingly jolly and asks to befriend the player and to be comrades in arms against the scourge of the Vilebloods and the beasts alike.
Father Gascoigne came from a foreign land where he was referred to as "Father" leading to the belief that he was a cleric or a priest in his former home. No rank or title in Yharnam is referred to as Father, which implies he obtained this title before coming to Yharnam. Gascoigne had been living with the blood sickness for quite some time, which may have had something to do with his relocation to Yharnam and the joining of the Healing Church. It is unclear weather he had the sickness before coming to Yharnam, but he had the sickness long before he met the Player. As a powerful hunter, he is able to contain his beastly form even though he is infected. He seems to have set aside his affiliation with the Healing Church to become a hunter, seen by his Hunter Axe and "Pistol"; on the other hand, he seems to be eliminating everyone who tries to enter the Tomb of Oedon, and is in possession of the key to the Tomb's gate that leads to Cathedral Ward, so it might be that the Church has employed him to protect their headquarters from the scourge. He is (or once was) a black cleric, which is apparent by his garb. Church hunters who wear black garb are notorious for targeting "potential victims, before signs of sickness manifest themselves". This can explain his paranoid behaviour towards you before the battle, saying "you'll be one of them, sooner or later". His mania may have been a result of his progressive transformation taking a toll on his mind, or of him succumbing to the bloodlust of the hunt.
After helping the Player defeat the Cleric Beast, it seems Father Gascoigne made his way to the Tomb of Oedon. It seems either his condition started to worsen and dramatically reduce his sanity, or he had a change of heart. Either way, at that point he saw all people infected by the plague as beasts his is more closely related to the curse having a toll on his mind due to the fact that the townsfolk view you in the same manner. Though once his mind became warped like this his wife Viola would always play the music box to somehow restore his sanity and humanity. Notice this time you find her you do not find the music box near. Thus, Gascoigne attacked his own wife killing her and in turn allowing the curse to fully overtake his body. Once you've obtained the music box Gascoigne is far too gone to return back to himself. Though the box still has effects on him, it cannot impede the ailment any longer, this is why he transforms into a lycan-like beast once he is near death or much faster if exposed to the music box's now haunting melody.
Henryk is an old hunter, partner of Gascoigne. The duo fought together for a long time, but very little is known about him otherwise unfortunately making him a basic cliffnote in the history of Yharnam, though his garb mentions that something happened as a result of Henryk's partnership with Gascoigne leading Henryk to have a "tragically long life."
Whereas it is unknown what exactly did master Willem uncover, one thing is clear: he is a crucial figure whose wisdom heavily influenced the teachings of the Healing Church, and everyone is grateful for his contributions. Even members of the Choir are required to pay tribute to him. His teachings eventually branched out to organizations such as The Choir and The School of Mensis which continued his research and many of their experiments made progress. Master Willem's most important teaching is the adage "Fear the Old Blood". He encourages all the scholars of his college to seek enlightenment and ascension through other methods except using the Old Blood. We know that Laurence used Old Blood because he thinks that it is key for humanity's ascension. Which is why Master Willem felt betrayed, since Laurence didn't follow the "Fear the Old Blood" adage. So Laurence found the Healing Church and made blood ministration the cornerstone of the church.
Master Willem is acquainted with Gehrman, and likely lived in the same age as him. How exactly does he manage to live this long remains a mystery.
The Umbilical Cord Third that is found on the corpse of the impostor Iosefka reads as such "Provost Willem sought the Cord in order to elevate his being and thoughts to those of a Great One, by lining his brain with eyes. The only choice, he knew, if man were to ever match Their greatness." So it is possible he communed with a Great One just like the Pthumerians of old and was able to obtain his long life through the secrets of whichever Great One he spoke with (Rom?)
Caryll was a member of the Workshop that was able to hear the voice of Oedon, and managed to inscribe his words into runes, which (according to item descriptions) would have made Willem proud because it was power without using blood. While the runes themselves are a singular thing, their descriptions are incredibly varied and more so tend to tinge the lore here and there with extra information.
The tomb prospectors are adventurers sent by the healing church to explore the depth of the Old Labyrinth. They believe the vast labyrinth contains invaluable information of the Truth of the Old Ones. Since Ebrietas came from the depth of the Old Labyrinth, the Choir became fascinated with dungeon exploration, directly leading to these brave souls being sent to where no man has set foot since the fall of the Pthumerians. Whereas many of them returned victorious, bringing along precious artifacts, equally many were lost, perished or gone mad due to the treachery of the deep. The failures bodies are littered throughout the depths of the Chalice Dungeons like a trail of crumbs like warning signs of death of all those who tread carelessly in the depths.
Though amateur doctors, the black-garbed hunters were an extermination force and a prevention, not a cure. Their goal was to kill those who were infected, turned, and those who may be infected. They wielded large weapons and powerful firearms due to the fact they were expecting to fight very large and monstrous beasts. Soon after the Black Church Hunters were formed "their black attire became synonymous with fear, and that peculiar Yharnam madness." Their robes have their philosophy stated as follows "...When a cancer is discovered. one must pinpoint its location, reach in, and wrench it from the host's bosom."
The White Church Doctors performed the bidding of the Choir, applying blood ministrations with the intent of experimentation, rather than healing. Many of the twisted things the church produced were a result of this experimentation such as the great giants (with axes and wrecking balls) as well as the grave keepers near them are products of these experiments and are legendary beasts that would join the church on the hunt. The White Church set gives great insight into their particular thoughts on the experiments
"They (The Choir Doctors) believe that medicine is not a means of treatment but rather a method for research. and that some knowledge can only be obtained by exposing oneself to sickness."
Byrgenwerth College, led by Master Willem, is the main source of knowledge that inspired the teachings of the Healing Church, the School of Mensis, the Experiments of The Choir, and may have even influenced The Vilebloods. The scholars of this college originally found the entrance of the Labyrinth, and with the knowledge gained from it, it inspired great minds such as Laurence and Micolash who later became the founders of organizations such as The Healing Church and School of Mensis respectively. These organizations continued the research that was originally done in Byrgenwerth, though following two different schools of thought, and made varying progress like the art of blood ministration and contacting the Great Ones through dreams using the Mensis Cage.
In Lovecraft's "Dream Cycle", the act of dreaming was a method in which human beings could briefly transport their consciousness to an alternate dimension. The Dreamlands are not an illusion, they are a real place. The Dreamlands are a location just like Yharnam, Byrgenwerth, Cainhurst, or Yahar'gul. The mere fact that the player can take items from The Dreamlands and bring them back to the Waking World is proof that it's a place equally real. The Lead Elixir's description states: "Its recipe for this mysterious concoction is unknown, but some postulate that it materializes only within the most desperate nightmare."
Almost all hunters visit the hunter's dream at some point in their lives. The Workshop in this place is an exact copy of the Old Abandoned Workshop beneath the Upper Cathedral Ward. In the Old Abandoned Workshop, a lifeless version of the doll is present and on the altar is One Third of Umbilical Cord. Description of this umbilical cord states "Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the hunter's dream.- Abandoned Workshop". This Umbilical cord (Presumably this one is from from the Moon Presence) is what was used in the creation of the Hunter's Dream, where hunters come to receive advise/guidance from Gehrman, the first Hunter.
According to the Harrowed Hunter, the Hunter's Nightmare is a realm where hunters who are drunk with blood go to take part in a never-ending hunt. The geography is a copy of parts of Cathedral Ward and Central Yharnam . . .
High above the rest of the Hunter's Nightmare, past the lair of " Ludwig, the Holy Blade", is where you will begin to encounter the hideous secrets of the Healing Church and their search to commune with the Great Ones. Wandering throughout the many floors of the Research Hall are the grotesque attempts to turn Blood Saints into Great Ones. Whether it is the ghastly screams of the berserkers, or the cries for death of those about to succumb to the madness, you will not truly understand the sins of the Healing Church until you venture upon the steps of the Astral Clocktower. Here the first attempts at creating a Celestial Emissary to commune with the Greats Ones, known as " Living Failures", guard the entrance to the slumbering corpse of the Lady Maria.
This village is hidden behind the Astral Clocktower, which is guarded by Lady Maria. One of the first villagers encountered is muttering curses about Byrgenwerth, and the item that he gives - the Accursed Brew - has a description that suggests that many of the villagers were forcibly dissected. This suggests that the Byrgenwerth scholars came to this village and raided it (likely with the assistance of the hunters) in search of some means of contacting the Great Ones. The remaining villagers called for the Great One Kos to curse the scholars, and the scholars' successors - the Healing Church and the Hunters' Workshop - inherited the burden of the curse.
The altar of despair holds the most valuable asset the Healing Church ever acquired: Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos. Residing within the altar, Ebrietas is the only Great One that mankind has established contact with, and is also a provider of knowledge to the Choir. The upper Cathedral Ward was built to contain the altar of despair, and the Healing Church did what they could to keep the existence of Ebrietas a secret. The Healing Church also assigned personnel within the altar, to serve Ebrietas and to record her teachings. Apparently Ebrietas is especially familiar to one of these servants, and gave them her profound understanding of time. Unfortunately the human body is too frail to withstand such bombardment of knowledge, and the servant was eventually transformed into a vacuous spider similar to Rom, whose remains has the capability to reverse time (although the process would kill any normal living things).
Unwanted/orphaned Children were taken from the streets of Yharnam and experimented upon, locked away inside this orphanage to become “brilliant minds.” In fact, they became the smaller Celestial Emissaries. One of them even became a Great One, or perhaps was already a Great One that guided them (Speculation is that the Choir experimented on the Celestials in order to create a Great One). There is heavy indication that the impostor Iosefka is a rogue member of the Choir, continuing her experiments by transforming victims sent to her into celestial creatures.
Beasts are created from repeated ministrations of the Old Blood, giving rise to monsters like the Beast-Possessed Soul, Beast Patient, Labyrinth Madman, the Silverbeasts, etc. Also includes all wolves, pigs, birds and dogs.
A mysterious family of aliens. Their exact relation to one another is still not fully understood. Mind, that many alien looking things in Bloodborne are not Kin.
Kin are generally eerie creatures and remind people of the Great Ones in some cases. Brainsuckers (Baby Cthulhu), Celestial Mobs, Celestial Centipedes, Mi-Go's and the Celestial Larvae are the only known Kin currently aside from a Ebrietas, Rom, The Living Failures and Celestial Emissary.
Monsters and foes that are neither Kin nor Beast fall into this category. Most enemies fall in this category.
Examples include Huntsmen, Yeti's, Amygdala, Pthumerian Undead, Witch of Hemwick, Bloodlicker, Shark-Giant and many more.
- Pthumerian civilization age: Pretty much the destruction of Loran due to the Scourge of the Beast, and Queen's Yharnam contract with a Great One to bear a child, things didn't go as expected and Mergo was born, as an infant Great One. The Queen died in the process but her consciousness remained trapped in reality, thus we can see her at certain points of the game.
- At Byrgenwerth Master Willem and his apprentices found the main entrance of the Old Labyrinth/Tombs of the Gods. This lead to the discovery of the Old Blood.
- Students of Byrgenwerth diverge in paths with Willem: Laurence, Gehrman, Micolash left the place in order to pursue their ambitions of evolution with the use of blood.
- Founding of the Healing Church by Master Laurence, this is also the beginning of the beastly scourge.
- The Hunter's Workshop is created, with Gehrman as the first hunter and main lead, in order to control the beasts that arose as a side effects of blood ministration procedures.
- The School of Mensis is formed by Micolash, as another part of the Healing Church ( I think this actually happens in parallel with the next point, or very close in time at the least)
- The Healing Church discovered slug-like creatures (like the augur of Ebrietas, phantasms) in the Old Labyrinth and this started an inquiry into the Cosmos. Thus the Choir, high stratum of the Healing Church, was also established.
- Ever since the time of Byrgenwerth no great discoveries were made, until the Choir found the Great Isz Chalice that allowed them to have audience with Ebrietas. This started all kinds of experiments to commune with the great ones and ended up with the kin creatures we find through the game.
- The Mensis ritual starts and causes Great Ones to descend, making the moon turn red and Amygdalas appear everywhere. They achieved it contacting with Mergo thanks to one umbilical cord.
- Hunter's Dream creation: It's unclear when the Hunter's dream exactly appeared, we know for sure that it was after the Hunter's Workshop was created and it could be that the Dream appeared when they closed it. There is description that says that the nameless Moon Presence was beckoned by Laurence and his associates, paleblood. We know that Laurence worked with Gehrman and Micolash, so it's not crazy to think this was part of the Mensis Ritual as well , or at the least it had some relation. There is another key conversation that supports the creation of the Hunter's dream before Old Yharnam events, namely Djura's words, they imply that the he used to dream when he was a hunter, and he participated as a dreaming hunter in the destruction of Old Yharnam. The cord found in the abandoned workshop reads: The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the hunter's dream.
- Old Yharnam tragedy that ended up with the city burned in order to control the scourge of the beast:
- It could be that what caused this was the Mensis Ritual and that transformations are boosted by fear, as the name of the great ones known as Amygdalas seems to point out. However, It's unclear what actually triggered it, if the red moon or the ashen blood sickness mentioned in some descriptions.
- It could also be that the ashen blood started poisoning everyone in Old Yharnam and the Healing Church used a massive amount of blood to counterattack this sickness, making the scourge grow exponentially in the city.
- However, the most probable scenario seems to be a combination of the previous two cases. The ashen blood epidemy started and the Healing Church tried to cure everyone through Blood Ministration. Then the Mensis Ritual took place ( since we know from a description that during that night the moon turned red) and this was the final catalyst for the scourge to break out.
- After watching what happened, Master Laurence realized he had committed a terrible mistake in relying on the use of Old Blood and tries to fix his mistake. Aside from finding some of his notes it's unknown what he did after this point. The only evidence that is left of him is that he turned into a beast in the Old Labyrinth.
- Speculation: Willem used one of the cords and contacted another Great One.
- Kos (or some say Kosm) granted eyes to Rom, the spider that hid the Mensis Ritual and the horrific consciousness of Queen Yharnam with a veil.
- Yharnam rises as a city again, with its old part burnt and closed. The Healing Church kept their experiments with Blood.
- I believe this happens many years in the future, the Blood Minister appears in the city, creating hunters for the Hunter's Dream.
- One of these anonymous hunters retrieves Laurence's skull from the old labyrinth.
- Our protagonist travels to Yharnam seeking Paleblood, where they are treated with blood by the mysterious Blood Minister, turning them into a Hunter with a contract with the Hunter's Dream. This Blood Minister is theorized by some to be Caryll, the runesmith.
- The main goal to transcend the hunt for now is looking for "Paleblood", and so the adventure begins.
- Before Byrgenwerth everything is pretty much normal, but from this point on, the hunt is no more a traditional hunt, but something more like a Lovecraftian gothic horror story. This set up is shown after defeating Rom, The Vacuous Spider, revealing the Mensis Ritual performed time ago and making the moon turn red again.
- The Queen's consciousness appears and we can hear Mergo's cry in front of the red moon. We are left in Yahar'gul and our next goal, according to the lore notes scattered across the area, seems to be stopping the ritual, which is also mentioned to be the source of the scourge. Notice this doesn't mean that everyone is cured from turning into a beast, but just the trigger is suppressed.
- Defeating Mergo's Wet Nurse will cease Mergo's cry and thus the Ritual is stopped. The hunter has fulfilled the contract with the Hunter's Dream and the Hunter is not needed anymore. This yields the end game events:
- Accept Gehrman's offert: Finish the contract with the Hunter's Dream, with this the Hunt is over and you live to see another day, Yharnam's sunrise. The scourge is not a threat anymore.
- Refuse Gehrman's offer:
- If the hunter did not make use of the umbilical cords, the Moon Presence makes them the new surrogate and they are tied to the Dream just as Gehrman before them.
- Having used all the cords, the hunter's insight now is too high and they can see through the Moon's Presence intentions. The Hunter defeats it and becomes a Great One themself, raised by the Doll.
- After these events, it's unclear whether or not people treated with blood will continue to transform. The Moon Presence could be the primordial source of the scourge of the beast, in which case the third ending would be the best endgame scenario.
At the beginning
Formless Oedon was pregnant and was going to have Mergo's Wet Nurse to look after it once it was born. The Wet Nurse is formless just like Oedon and are probably the same species of Great One. However poor Oedon, just like every other Great One, suffered a miscarriage and so started searching for a surrogate mother to give birth to another child. She found the Yharnam Queen in the depths of Pthumeria and it was then the Old Pthumerian culture made contact with the Great Ones and Oedon selected Queen Yharnam to give birth to Murgo. The Pthumerian culture eventually fell after the Queen had Murgo ripped from her stomach and when they died out they kept the secrets of communicating and the secrets bestowed upon them by the Great Ones were lost with them until the Church discovered Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos.
Come our equivalent of the 1850s-1890s
The Bygrenwerth College Scholars found passage into old Pthumerian labyrinths and the chalices that were used to communicate with the Great Ones. Willem, Gehrman, and Laurence discover the old blood and begin testing it. However this blood is most likely from the Moon Presence who presents itself later on to Gehrman. (Side note: others have intimated their believe that the Old Blood could have been Ebrietas' blood)
Willem becomes frightened of the beasthood bestowed upon the ones who have taken the Old Blood and insists that it is no longer used saying "Fear the Old Blood", Laurence disagrees and says that Willem is a coward and not willing to take the risks to ascend beyond mere humanity old blood. Gehrman used the oldblood on himself.
Willem continues to head Bygrenwerth (and they found the other way to transcend humanity through Caryll Runes) while Laurence starts the Church with the blood and Gehrman becomes first hunter.
The Church also found Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos. This motivated the Choir (and by extent the School of Mensis) to further in experimenting on the Old Blood. They also experimented on artificial Great Ones such as the Celestial Emissary so as to find even more Great Ones or create them entirely.
Laurence gives blood to Cainhurst and its Queen, Annalise, becomes the Vileblood Queen. Her Vilebloods that were sworn to her bring her Blood Dregs to gorge herself on in order to make her pregnant with a "Child of Blood", it seems that she is trying to create a Great One within herself or at least something similar. Logarius then led the executioners to fight these abominations. However Vilebloods are almost immortal, Logarius died to stop people from finding her. He then sealed her chamber with the Crown of Illusions and stood guard to kill any foolish hunter who tries to free her. (It is assumed that after Logarius' sacrifice the bridge to Cainhurst was destroyed by some great force by the Executioners returning to their land)
BLOOD SICKNESS STARTS
Willem continues to lead Bygenwerth, Laurence starts the Church fighting faction, Gehrman trains hunters.
Micolash still believed in the old blood and formed the school of Mensis to find another way to commune with the Great Ones. Eventually Micolash managed to summon Amygdala and her lesser forms with his school's hard work as well as created the first artificial Great One, the One Reborn. Bygernwerth's Rom transcended as well around this time and serves as the veil that prevents people from seeing the true state of the world
The fight to cleanse Yharnam (now Old Yharnam) was a failure so the Church sealed and burned the place. Djura felt bad about failing to protect Yharnam, decides to stay with his old friends and neighbours till the end of days.
The fight against the Scholars of Mensis was a failure as well so the Church sealed away the Forbidden Forest (The only true path to the School left) and deemed the place forbidden to hide their shame.
Come modern era
The Hunter (you) come to Yharnam looking for paleblood to heal and made a contract to be a hunter to obtain the paleblood.
The hunt begins.
The Cleric beast is another clergy member who succumbed to the madness of the Blood. Father Gascoigne attacks on the way through Central Yharnam, you are able to witness this transformation. This is the power (and the curse) of the Old Blood. Entering the Church in the Cathedral Ward sets the Hunter on the way to kill Vicar Amelia, also a clergy member who has turned into a beast.
The Hunter ventures into the forbidden woods, fighting all manor of viper and crazed villagers. The Hunter eventually reaches what's left of Byrgenwerth and the old husk of a man Willem sitting in his rocking chair staring out at the Moonside Lake who only points to it when the Hunter attempts to speak with him. The Hunter discovers Rom, the Vacuous Spider and slays it lifting the Veil and the hunter sets eyes on the Queen Yharnam for the first time her very obviously pregnant belly sliced open and no child left. She is dead but her spirit lingers on tied to Murgo her infant Great One.
The next area the Hunter enters is Yahar'gul, Unseen Village and finds what appears to be a Great One but is later revealed (by Lore) that it was a manufactured Great One made by The School of Mensis. Killing this beast allows the Hunter to enter the Nightmare of Mensis.
The Hunter goes on then find the Lecture Room where some of the Scholars that gave homage to Master Willem resided, all that's left of them is slime creatures and notes indicating that Master Willem was right and they should have heeded his words. Stepping through the door at the end of the hall you reach the the Nightmare of Mensis which is being sustained by Murgo and his Wet Nurse. The Hunter kills Micolash there, ending his dream and unbinding him from his nightmare. Micolash still has a physical body but since the physical body has been long dead, that's the end for Micolash and his mad School of Mensis. The Hunter progresses to the top of the tower and discovers Queen Yharnam standing in a courtyard staring up to the loft where Oedon is keeping her lost child, the Great One Murgo, and where Murgo's Wet Nurse is protecting the infantile Great One.
Going to the loft and slaying the Wet Nurse and ending the Nightmare is the completion of the quest Gehrman had sent the Hunter out on and upon returning to the Hunters Dream the Hunter finds the Dream is on Fire and the Doll mentions that Gehrman is waiting for the Hunter. Approaching Gehrman presents a choice, to let him free the Hunter from this fate or to free him instead by killing Gehrman himself.
There are three possible endings which are explained in the next segment
- In the Yharnam Sunrise ending, where Gehrman the first hunter cuts off your head, you don't actually die or are killed. Gehrman offers you what he thinks is a release from the Great ones. In the past, Gherman used the umbilical cord that you found in the Old Abandoned Workshop to create what he wishes, but instead he summoned the Moon Presence. He then became the surrogate child of the Moon presence and was permanently placed in a Workshop in the Hunter's Dream, this workshop is identical to the real one in reality. He doesn't want you to be trap in the dream like he was for god knows how many hundreds of years. He offers you release and "to see the morning sun" and cuts of your head in the Hunter's Dream so that you will never be able to dream again and make the same mistake as he did. When you die, you wake up back into the waking world and your connection to the Hunter's dream is destroyed and you leave a gravestone there. If you look around the Hunter's dream there are many other gravestones, therefore showing that many other Hunters got disconnected from the dream by accepting Gherman's offer.
- To prove that other NPC hunters in the game were disconnected from the Hunter's Dream is when you die from Eileen Hunter of Hunters she will say "You still dream? Tell the little doll hello". Djura also mentions and asks you if you still dream when you die from him.
- With this ending, the plague of beasts continues every time the Pale moon appears. Since the hunter in this ending no longer dreams, he/she continues hunting down beasts or a path similar to Eileen and Djura.
- In the beginning of the Old Abandoned Workshop, Gehrman tried using the umbilical cord, which you later find there, to achieve something he desires. It is not yet clear what he hopes to achieve using the umbilical cord, but he summoned the Moon Presence and he was then trapped in a identical workshop in the Hunter's Dream, a separate plane of existence. The description of the Umbilical cord "Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the hunter's dream.- Abandoned Workshop". According to this umbilical cord, the moon presence lost it's child and yearned for a surrogate. Surrogate means proxy or substitute in the dictionary. This means that Gehrman became the substitute child of the Moon Presence. For what purpose does the surrogate child do? It is not known yet. Why do they seek substitutes/proxies? Maybe the Great ones grieved the lost of their child and its their way of coping? Could this mean that they possess some emotions or is it for a entirely different reason?
- In the other ending where you refuse Gehrman's offer and kill him. You give him peace after him training thousands of hunters over the years during his stay in the Hunter's Dream. You will become the substitute surrogate child of the Moon Presence and become the watcher of the land and the new guide for future hunters. It's a big circle of blood, a big giant cycle where hunters come and go.
- The plague of beasts continues with this ending except your role is that of a guide who will train hundreds or thousands of hunters over time until another hunter ends your life. The hunter becomes under the influence of the moon presence and then replace you, similar to what happened with you and Gehrman.
- Let me explain what you become after defeating the moon presence. Basically you become a baby Great one. "The Choir" and "the Healing Church" is the reason why this infection started in the first place after using Old Blood as a way to treat various ailments . The problem with old blood is that it reacts with human blood, the old blood heals but transforms man to beasts and that's where the beastly scourge began. From the Caryll rune beast "Beast" is one of the early Caryll Runes. as well as one of the first to be deemed forbidden. The discovery of blood entailed the discovery of undesirable beasts".
- "The Choir" who are elite clerics of the healing church wanted to acquire more knowledge of the cosmos and to do that they wanted to communicate with beings called the Great Ones. The hallucinations you are experiencing as a hunter is the side effect of the insight that you received.The hallucinations are in fact a form of telepathy and shows you the "truth" of this world in the eyes of the alien species, hence "insight" and "Madman's knowledge". "The Healing Church" continued its use of Old Blood on the denizens of Yharnam but most of their experiments failed which lead to an infection that turns man to beasts. But there are certain people who survive the blood transfusion and became hunters, they were then used by the healing church to eradicate Beasts that grew too strong that could threaten the experiments. The choir also wanted to make a man/Great one hybrid so that this creature could allow humans and the alien species to communicate, leading to the next evolution of humans. This would explain the existence of the Celestial Emissary, this boss is not a Great one but in fact a human created/experimented by the choir as a tool to communicate with Ebrietas. The Celestial Emissary is guarding the entrance of Ebrietas.
- Yharnam, the Pthumerian blood queen was one of the surrogate that were used to be the vessel that carries the man/Great one hybrid baby back in Pthumerians civilization. After Byrgenwerth scholars discovered the entrance of the tomb of the old lords/labyrinth/Chalice dungeons, specifically Master Willem and his apprentices, including Master Laurence, they attempted to unlock knowledge lost in the Pthumeru age, they wanted to "line their brains with eyes". Because the Pthumerians unlocked the wisdom from the great ones and due to this gained unspeakable power.
- In this ending, after consuming three umbilical cords you become that man/Great one hybrid. That slug is the hunter and turned into a baby Great one after defeating "Moon Presence". You are the first of the next evolution of the human species. This would explain the trophy you receive once "Childhood Beginnings".
(Lore note) - This only an interpretation based on the given facts and it is recommended that updating should take place if new facts of a better interpretation is available. This lore is necessary because it ties up the majority of the loose ends in the Bloodborne story however many lore enthusiasts don't seem to want to explain. This is because most don't feel there is enough to fully draw conclusions that's why this is under lore and not its own page.
The idea of the Eldritch truth is spread throughout the game as people from Master Willem, to even the choir (a group of people), have tried to achieve an evolution toward a higher state of being by learning the Eldritch truth. The truth it is not expressed by simply a sentence or a phrase, rather it is a state of being in existence. The great ones understood this either through naturally knowing the eldritch truth, having been humans or beings which gained enough insight to evolve, or an otherwise unknown method to understand the true state of reality. Later as you, the player, by killing Rom made the true reality of the world shown ( for an arbitrary reason his death either as part of a ritual or by being the thing holding back people from seeing reality. (This needs to be confirmed or greatly defined )) or by gaining 40 insight you saw the reality of the world as it truly was, and achieved what those before you sought to do but failed. They failed by using other methods like lining your brain with eyes, using the mensis cage, or accepting a great ones power many of which failed to achieve true enlightenment as a side effect resulted in madness, deformation/transformation into a monstrosity, or death for the user with their corresponding method.
However you, as the player, achieved this by gathering insight throughout the world and absorbing it into your itself. Following this, utilizing the action of using the item in game you crush the skull in your hand releasing this partial knowledge into the world which channels into you for some reason either because of proximity or another variable. Other ways such as fighting nightmarish enemies which provoke your mind into perceiving them, which forces you to gain insight so you can fight them it is also a safe method of gaining insight. This way you don't get side effects (as far as I know if you find any then add them).
This makes you able to perceive the great ones fully, and able to see the world as it truly is plus interacting with the real reality; such as being able to enter and face enemies in the yahar`gul unseen village under the blood moon which was previously not fully available. The difference in the area as far as how deep you can go into it between the variety of enemies is shown in a comparison of the area and when you are captured by the Snatchers and taken to hypogean gaol as well as after you visit the area and have killed rom. The player thus gain`s true enlightenment or simply understand the eldritch truth. As well on a final note, you are probably wondering how blood ministration fits into this explanation well in the Bloodborne universe blood is used as a cure/healing or a way of making a individual stronger. Therefore, in a sense it is moving towards this same goal although from a different direction. It ultimately never leads to the Elderitch truth as the humans wanted (ideally they got to be elevated, understand more with a clear mind, and be in control of themselves), just a monstrous transformation but considering many of these enemies end up in the true reality you could say they reached the physical state of enlightenment but their minds are completely gone in most cases and they just attack anything they can. So they got what the wanted they just can`t enjoy it.
It may be possible that these messengers are a type of Kin tied to the insight, given that you have to have a minimum amount of insight to see them, that they are very small, and that they are only partially in this world and that each time you kill a boss they somehow are able to obtain the garb and weapons of the fallen foe. Also notable that they take insight and blood as payment for certain items and are sympathetic to the hunters cause finding their way through the ether to help even in the deepest dark of the chalice dungeons. The messengers are known to come from the nightmare though.
A breif text on them reads "These small creatures have crept out of a nightmare, and while they may not look too friendly, they accompany hunters, follow their orders, and take care of messages left for others."
[This is speculation given that very little is known about the Messengers and their role]
This creature is slightly odd seeing as she isn't human but speaks and moves and even cries so we can assume a certain amount of intelligence. She is also able to translate the blood echos into personal power for the Hunter. This bit of info leads us to believe she is very very powerful and there is a good deal of speculation (but very little concrete evidence) that a Great one or some other form of Eldritch being actually gives the doll life by inhabiting it.
The best evidence we have is on the Caryll Moon Rune stating "The Great Ones that inhabit the nightmare are sympathetic in spirit, and often answer when called upon." So either the Moon Presence gave her life or she is inhabited by a weaker (but still powerful) underling or servant. The Doll also prays to the dream, to the flowers, to the moon, to the messengers even as well as the ancients to guard the hunter and let him/her have a "pleasant awakening".
This hearkens back to real world religions like the greeks, egyptians, the native americans, or any other polytheistic religion which basically follows the idea of praying to multiple spirits/gods/holy things (Like the Chalices for instance) we can make a stab at guessing that the Great Ones are like gods given their power and the Doll knows their power (assuming she was given life by the moon presence or is posessed by a lesser Eldritch being/Great One)
(As for the role the messengers play in trading for insight or how this works into the third ending are beyond me, but if someone makes a future edit. Please edit the lore should you find the details.)