FromSoftware has never been afraid to dive into some grim, macabre territory in its games. From the ghastly execution animations and grotesque bosses of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to the equally dark and grotesque areas and bosses of Bloodborne, there’s nary a punch being pulled here.
RELATED: 10 Most Unique Bosses In Dark Souls History
The enemies of these dark fantasy worlds are creep-tastic enough, but let’s spare a thought for the NPCs too. These poor lost souls are some of the most uncanny and bizarre creatures in the games. Let’s take a look at Pickle Pee and some of the other strange NPCs in Dark Souls and the wider Soulsborne series.
10 Pickle Pee (Dark Souls 3)
Pickle Pee (or Pickle Pee, Pump-A-Rum Crow, or just Nestling) is undoubtedly one of the strangest characters players meet in all of Dark Souls 3,which certainly features some strange ones. Rather than offering unique questlines as a lot of similar characters do, Pickle Pee is a trader, but you can’t expect any regular old deals here.
Pickle Pee is a crow that nests atop the Firelink Shrine’s roof. Unseen when you reach her, the player can only interact by dropping certain items from their inventory for the bird’s perusal. Should Pickle Pee approve of an item you offer, it’ll offer you another in return. It’s possibly the most unconventional form of trading featured in a game in recent memory. This NPC is named after the sounds of approval it makes on being offered a particularly choice item.
9 Maneater Mildred (Dark Souls)
Needless to say, there are few truly friendly entities in the world of Soulsborne. Survivors of the chaos that always seems to be unfolding are few and far between, usually either serving their own ends, succumbing to madness, or offering nothing of real value.
Even worse, some NPCs are simply hostile on sight whatever the player does. Dark Souls’ Maneater Mildred is one example, a vicious and eerie woman wearing only a bag on her head. Wielding a butcher knife and charging at the player aggressively, it’s plain to see where she got her name. Naturally, this invader appears in Blighttown, one of the franchise’s most hatefully challenging areas, with no lore or explanation for her existence at all. Very strange.
8 Patches (Dark Souls Series)
Patches is a recurring NPC who has taken many guises throughout the series. In Bloodborne, he was a huge anthropomorphic spider with a human face... because everybody needs more nightmares like that in their lives.
RELATED: Dark Souls VS Bloodborne: Which Game Is Better?
Whichever game players meet him in, though, they’d do well not to trust anything he says. Patches is renowned for his trickery and duplicitousness, giving players the wrong advice, luring them into traps, or otherwise messing with them. It’s never really clear why or what gets from it, but some people just want to watch the world burn.
7 Head Of Vengarl (Dark Souls 2)
It’s not a dark fantasy world without the classic trope of the spooky headless knight, is it? Fortunately, Dark Souls 2 obliges with the Head of Vengarl, which is found in the Shaded Woods. One a bloodthirsty fighter, Vengarl’s disembodied head has had a lot of time to reflect while… being an undead head, he’ll tell you, and has mellowed out considerably. That’s great to hear, Vengarl. Good for you.
He does have one pressing issue to bring to your attention, though; his body doesn’t seem to have gotten this memo, continuing to terrorize the Lord’s Private Chamber with his vicious sword-swinging—although it’s first found elsewhere in Scholar of the First Sin. Defeat it, and the Head of Vengarl will sell you some items. Vengarl’s Set is also acquired this way. What an odd turn of events.
6 Snuggly (Dark Souls)
Now, Dark Souls’ Northern Undead Asylum, as the name suggests, isn’t the warmest and most welcoming of areas. They’ve got a bit of a problem with angry, slavering, undead hideous death-monsters over there. While you’re on a nice jaunt over there dealing with that, though, you’ll happen across one of the most out-of-place and adorable NPCs in FromSoftware history: Snuggly.
Similarly to Pickle Pee, Snuggly–or Snuggly (Warm And Fuzzy)—is a bird that offers item trades if the player reaches its nest. This is all well and good, but why a more fitting trader wasn’t chosen, such as a tragic cursed skeletal monstrosity of some sort, remains a delightful mystery. Still, it has become a Souls tradition—see also: Dyna and Tillo of Dark Souls 2.
5 Sweet Shalquoir (Dark Souls 2)
Bird merchants are one thing, but Dark Souls 2 brought players one of the most unique NPCs to date in the form of Sweet Shalquoir. Charming cats that speak French may be more at home in Disney movies than Dark Souls 2’s town of Majula, but, here we are.
Potentially a super important character, she’s able to remove the players from Covenants they’ve joined, so it’s best to remember her location. Not that you’re likely to forget her or her classy-yet-snarky dialogue.
4 Rosaria, Mother Of Rebirth (Dark Souls 3)
Speaking of Covenants, this mechanic has always been an interesting way to spice up playthroughs by pitting rival Covenants against each other in multiplayer while unlocking unique items, quests, and rewards. Dark Souls 3’s Rosaria’s Fingers Covenant may be the most intriguing yet.
RELATED: Dark Souls 3: 10 Things You Need To Know About Sirris Of The Sunless Realms
This invasion Covenant is led by the silent Rosaria, Mother of Rebirth. Those who join and collect the Pale Tongue item from their enemies can be ‘reborn’ with Rosaria. This allows them to switch their stats around and change other aspects of their character, a set number of times per playthrough. “Persisting will transform you into a grub,” the player’s told if they try to do this more than 5 times. It’s all very odd, as is the way that Rosaria is served by Man-Grubs.
3 Rat King (Dark Souls 2)
With the cats and bird of the Dark Souls universe met, it’s time for the Rat King of Dark Souls 2 to make its appearance. His royal furriness, incredibly, has its own Covenant that the player can join.
In doing so, The Crest of the Rat will force Grey Phantom invasions, leaving opposing players will a lot of those darn tricky rats as well as a sneaky opponent to deal with. There are two bosses in the game based on gigantic rats in Royal Rat Authority and Royal Rat Vanguard, but this somewhat friendly creature somehow manages to out-strange both of them.
2 Mephistopheles (Demon’s Souls)
Mephistopheles appears in the very first game, 2009’s Demon’s Souls. She’s one of few entities in this grim world that doesn’t want to slice you into grim, meaty chunks on sight, but she does want to do exactly this to the other NPCs.
Nobody in the Nexus is safe while she’s around. In an interesting twist, she serves the Order of the Soul, seeking to purge the area of “those with knowledge of the Soul Arts.” To this end, her questline involves a series of assassination missions targeted at the other NPCs. On completion of them, she’ll then proceed to attack the player, as well!
1 Suspicious Beggar/Transformed Man (Bloodborne)
Speaking of NPCs with secret grudges against their fellows, Bloodborne’s Suspicious Beggar is also a man to keep a very, very close eye on.
He’s encountered in the Forbidden Woods, hunched over a pile of bloody bodies. That’s just a little bit of a warning sign, but he speaks to the Hunter so politely and graciously that you might be tempted to send him to safety at Oedon Chapel. Don’t do it, though: with every boss battle the player completes, they’ll find that another of the chapel survivors—should the player have sent them thee, of course—will have been viciously killed.
Why? Because the Suspicious Beggar is actually a beast! Attack him in the Forbidden Woods, and he'll take his true, hideous form. Send him to Iosefka’s Clinic instead; he’ll get his just desserts.
NEXT: 10 Things We Wish We Knew Before We Started Playing Bloodborne