Troy McClure Skarekrow13. You might remember me from that time I wrote something about translating the Titanite Slab from Dark Souls 3. Well guess what? There’s a little more where that came from.
So here we are again to clean up some of the rune-tastic fun from last time. With all the work that went into the slab, I decided I wanted to take a peek at all the other titanite and upgrade materials and see if it had something to tell me. Like before, this is a summary. My full thoughts and work can be followed (and added to) in this thread.
The short answer is “yes.” But let’s get to the long answer…
I had a few projects in mind, and two of these cleanly stem from the slab work. I’ll do the boring one first…
Item descriptions of the smaller pieces of titanite indicate that they’re fragments of a larger piece. I broke out my trusty “Free Sketch App” on my phone and placed the titanite shard, large shard, chunk and slab on different layers of the picture. By doing so, I was able to move, rotate and resize them all to see if they fit together like a puzzle.
Oh well. Even if they had, note how clean the rune lines are on the smaller pieces compared to the slab. They don’t look even remotely the same. While there’s no reason to doubt that, lore wise, small pieces are indeed part of a larger one, the actual images From used aren’t a jigsaw puzzle.
The reason I bring this project up is because you might also notice partial runes on the smaller pieces. If I found out that say the titanite chunk fit onto the top left of the slab cleanly and changed the first rune on the slab, well that would have been something that’d have an impact on the slab work I thought I had a decent handle on. Of note is that the shard, large shard and chunk use the same images for all three games. On their own, they are rune fragments with the chunk being the only one identifiable (part of a Sowilo/Sol rune, which is the “sun” symbol).
Phase two was looking at infusion materials. This gets a little wacky because each game uses something different. Dark Souls 2 had the infused titanite. They have some properties to indicate their type (like iridescent for magic), but no writing. So they didn’t have much to learn on the current path.
In Dark Souls 3 we’re introduced to gems. There’s no writing on these either so they were quickly dismissed for this project as well. Again, properties reflect the infusion type but even more obvious than DS2. The sharp is, well, sharp. A pyramid associated with sorcery? Makes sense.
It was Dark Souls that prompted a follow up article on runes and upgrade materials. You might remember that in Dark Souls, in addition to the standard titanite; we had green shards and three colors of chunks (and twinklies which actually appear in all three games). Before we start with the “good stuff,” I want to put out the disclaimer that on its own, there is nothing groundbreaking here. It’s interesting but not spectacular. There is one other thing to note as well. Because of my methodology on the slab, it’s easily argued that my translation is more like a faux psychic making things up to fit the known picture. I made sure to put that in the slab article because I understand that argument completely and wanted to be the first to say it’s valid. However, based on what I’ll describe below, there is some evidence that the slab translation really was on the right track.
We’ll go from what I think is least to most intriguing.
As noted, all three games use Twinkling Titanite. However, in Dark Souls 3 it is a slightly different appearance. In DS1 and DS2 the rune on it appears to have two possible choices. Naudiz or an upside down Jeran rune. The first would mean “need” or “hardship.” The second would be the opposite of “plenty” or “wealth.” Something like “scarcity.” With the understanding that twinklies are supposed to be rarer forms of titanite, the “scarcity” translation seems to fit better. But why select a flipped rune if there’s a “regular” version it also looks like?
Well, as noted, DS3 changed the rune slightly. With the change, the choices are either the flipped Jeran again, or Naudiz (again) but rotated. If you recall from the slab article, rotating the runes is technically the correct way to “invert” while rune casting. However, “flipped” runes had strong evidence for being the choice used by From. Essentially, with “flipped” Jeran, all three games share the same meaning. If using Naudiz, DS3 “inverts” the meaning from 1 and 2. So the likely choice is “scarcity” I believe. That’s fitting but hardly worth a lot of attention. Let’s throw out some fun speculation for the hell of it though…
Jeran’s interpretation of “Plenty” is often associated with wealth, but also crops/food. If taking that approach then, the flipped rune wouldn’t be simply “scarcity,” it would be “scarcity of food/crops.” DS2 states that this titanite was formed by a “cosmic event.” It could be (again, this is total speculation, but a fun thought) that the crop association does continue. A meteor as a cosmic event could lead to crop “scarcity” for sure.
Let’s move on to the blue chunks in Dark Souls, which make weapons all sorcerrific.
The most likely rune for this piece is “Laguz.” It translates cleanly to “lake” or “water.” Notably, many of the blue chunks we find in the game are near water. However, blue chunks are associated with magic, not water so what gives? Remember earlier I said my slab translation could be argued to be no more than charlatan “divination.” That’s because, even though I tried to stick to original and direct meanings whenever possible, a little symbolism necessarily crept in. Anyway, using more modern usages of divination and symbolism, the laguz rune has strong ties to the mind and subconscious. Just like sorcery!
On to the white chunks! Remember that they reinforce divine and occult weapons.
So what rune would you add to these? I don’t know what your answer would be, but whoever marked the white chunk went with the Ansuz rune. Which stands for…wait…really? Let me check my notes on this one to be sure. It stands for “God.” Huh. That seems a little too easy.
And who can forget the red chunks, associated with fire and chaos.
On the slab, there was this same rune. It was the only one that could solely be attributed to the elder age. I surmised at that point that they broke their pattern of using younger futhark runes on this one because it was a rune that changed meaning over time. This was admittedly a gamble on my part. In the younger futhark (different symbol, same “k” sound) it stood for “ulcer” or “disease.” However, as written using the elder futhark, it means…lol…can’t make this shit up…”torch”.
Last but certainly not least is the green titanite shard. Note that the green shards reinforce elemental weapons. Almost like a foundation for the other elements (this sentence is foreshadowing by the way). One of the largest leaps I took on the slab was saying a rune might be a fill in for “Yggdrasil.” I left it out of the article, but the first game seems to borrow heavily from Norse mythology, with archtrees being strongly suggestive of Yggdrasil. So when the slab had a symbol for “yew tree” which itself has strong ties to Yggdrasil I made the leap. I promise that I didn’t look at the green shard before translating the slab.
The green shard is actually a rune fragment, not a whole rune. However, the shown intersection can really only be taken from the Algiz rune. I’m assuming you can guess which rune on the slab translated to “yew tree” or “Yggdrasil.” If not, I’ll give a hint. It rhymes with “schmAlgiz.” For the following reasons, this titanite became my favorite find:
- These are most commonly associated with the area in Blighttown leading to the Great Hollow and Archtrees.
- As Yggdrasil is sort of like a foundation for all existence that “foundation of other elements” foreshadowing really comes into play doesn’t it?
- It’s green. Like leaves. Trees have leaves!
So there you have it! Whoever etched the runes onto the elemental titanite pieces was just labeling them by type. That’s…very anticlimactic actually.
If you’re wondering about the colored slabs, they’re essentially the same inscription as the regular (another shout out to dn1nd for looking at these as well). DS1/2 and DS3 slabs differ by one rune on the first line. That rune replaces one of the “gifts” of Yggdrasil I translated to and replaces it with the rune for “gift.” For real.
Oh yeah! There’s also Demon Titanite. That stuff can actually bugger right off. It’s certainly not runes, and there’s other barriers to attempting to translate it as well. If you see anything from me soon on that, it’ll likely be titled “Why I Can’t Make Heads nor Tails of the Stupid Crap Known as ‘Demon Titanite’ That I Now Hate.”
If you can’t make a catchy title, you might as well make it accurate…
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