Sorcery is a form of magic in the world of Dark Souls.
LoreEditSorceries appear to be tied with the power of souls. In early times, the Witch of Izalith used her soul to generate heat and flame, called flame sorceries. This art was taught to her children, but it has unfortunately died with them. Painted worlds are also known to harness their cold as magic, and frost sorceries are apparently common to them. Even another kind of sorcery, called moon sorcery and connected to the ancient Darkmoon energy, was practiced by Gwyndolin and his knights.
When exactly the present day arts were invented are uncertain, but they are derived from the research of Seath, an albino Everlasting Dragon without scales, who sided with the Lords when they waged their war on dragon-kind. To aid them in killing the semi-mortal beings, Seath pillaged the Primordial Crystal, which contained energy familiar to souls. Without it, or their stone scales, the dragons were able to be killed.
Welcomed warmly into the newly established royalty, Seath became a duke, and was permitted to keep the Crystal. He retreated into the Archives, the library castle granted to him along with dukedom, to research the nature of his treasure and discover some other way to achieve immortality without scales. In his research, which drove him blind and mad, he developed powerful arts using the energy extracted from the crystal. This would inspire the crystal sorceries.
Despite his madness and the people he experimented on, Seath's work inspired many scholars, who derived soul sorceries from his study of souls. In that sense, he is the grandfather of sorcery, in that he inspired and laid the groundwork for it, but did not truly invent it. Rather he continued searching for immortality, and eventually succeeded in connecting the Primordial Crystal with his own life force, becoming a "true undead" in that he could not be killed.
Soon schools like Vinheim's Dragon School were established, expanding on the work of Seath, and developing new sorceries, from clever sound manipulation, to the generation of powerful blasts of soul energy, often called magic. Meanwhile, in the land of Oolacile, their xanthous scholars developed sorceries that manipulated light energy, known as golden sorceries. During the disaster that consumed Oolacile in the Abyss, some of the scholars were driven mad by the Dark and realized the nature of humanity, developing the first dark sorceries seen in modern times.
At some point, the famous sorcerer "Big Hat" Logan left the Dragon School, and came across the Archives, where he studied the innovations of Seath. Though his starting attempts were imitations and not as powerful, and sometimes seemed close to the Dark, he eventually succeeded in replicating the crystallization of magic, honing it into piercing solid energy, which would become the world's first crystal sorceries. Although the mental strain of developing such magic dislodged Logan's anchor for reason, driving him mad like his predecessor.
Two schools would evolve from the fundamental work of Logan. One was located within the court of the Profaned Capital, whose sorcerers also functioned as oracles, and emulated Logan using copies of his staff. They also, through means unknown, recovered a scroll written by Logan himself, containing the sorceries he made while trying to replicate the crystal energy of Seath, and used it to assert themselves as heirs to the sorcerer. This school did not last long, as a certain oracle's relatives triggered a curse called the Profaned Flame, which mutated the sorcerers responsible and burning the capital to the ground.
While the oracles were somewhat unscrupulous in their claim, one other school made good on that very same assertion. This school was started by two preacher twins, who were said to be Logan's true spiritual successors, so that they were known to others as the Crystal Sages. They were masters of the crystal magic, and eventually served as spiritual guides for the sorcerer scholars of the Grand Archives in the kingdom of Lothric. In a pact of uncertain terms, one of the twins traveled to Farron and taught sorceries to the acolytes of the Undead Legion, developed as simplifications to slower, less agile spells, due to the Legion's emphasis on speed over power.
While this happened the other twin stayed with the scholars of Lothric, and like their predecessor - and the "Paledrake" Seath that they honored religiously - they came across destructive knowledge that threatened to pull away their reason, often causing the reader to suddenly die and crystallize their soul. Those scholars would cake themselves in an "ivory wax" that protected themselves from this danger. Eventually both twins would go mad, just as Logan and Seath did, and the king of Lothric, Oceiros, would task the scholars with assisting him with creating the perfect heir. His search for Seath's moonlight not only drove him mad like the other scholars preceding him, but it turned him into an abomination somewhat similar in biology and magical nature to Seath, and he was dethroned and kept in the palace garden, coddling his nonexistent son, protecting his life with his own.
Sorceries are a discipline tied to logic, and for this reason, one must be intelligent enough to cast them. With more intellectual development, one can increase the power of their sorcery. Most sorceries are channeled through a catalyst, so named for its ability to quickly direct magic, and some also have natural sorcery altering properties. While the most common catalysts are some form of staff, there are other tools that can act as a catalyst for casting sorceries.
In the three games, most sorceries focus on dealing magic elemental damage in some form, such as simple arrows to torrential blasts of soul energy. Others provide augmentations to equipment and to oneself, to make combat easier, or simply avoid combat altogether. Sorceries which provide that function mentioned last are usually golden.
Most of the modern day sorceries are derived from the soul, and the soul they come from is essential to what kind of sorcery it will be classified as. Common sorceries, such as those taught by the Dragon School, are mainly drawn from the manipulation of common souls. Through a complex process of crystallization, this energy can be honed further and become solid magic with properties of both magic and solid items, at which point they are crystal sorceries. While trying to replicate the magic of Seath into an art usable by humans, he developed powerful sorceries unique in their strength and nature, but their homing properties are more closely related to the Dark than to the crystal magic of Seath.
In Oolacile, the sorceries were designed to manipulate light, and have functions that none have been able to fully replicate. While sorcery has both offensive and defensive applications, golden sorceries are utilized to completely avoid dangerous situations, whether by lighting the path, concealing oneself as some inconspicuous item, or negating the physicality of magical energies to dispel harmful spells or slow them down. Whether they all happened to be designed like this, or if light is naturally passive like this, is not made certain.
Some magics are derived from humanity, which is fragmented from a soul, and dark sorceries can be made. Magic of this type are both magical and physical, striking targets with weighty force, and having a natural harmfulness to living things. It is thought that the Dark is highly responsive to emotion, and is drawn towards emotional beings, which allows such magic to tenaciously pursue living things. Just as those who love and hate are undauntingly drawn to the object that they love or hate, humans are able to give this emotion to a portion of their disembodied humanity, which will follow that directive and cause harmful raw Dark to give chase to a target.
Three forgotten sorceries exist as well. Frost sorceries manipulate the cold of Painted Worlds, and seem to be well known to the sorcerers who inhabit a painted world, where they imbue their weapons with it. They are unfortunately developed only in the painted worlds, and those who have not experienced any true loss, such as those born there naturally, do not share the affinity to the cold as others do, and almost never use them after exiting a painted world. For example, the frost sorcerer Sulyvahn forsook some of his arts when he left the Painted World of Ariandel, but used others to enchant the weapons of Irithyll and coat Anor Londo in the unnatural winter climate.
The other, truly lost art is flame sorcery, which draws on the energy of the Life Soul of the Witch of Izalith. With her family dead or mutated, the daughter Quelana developed a flame manipulation art that she taught to a human, becoming the inventor of pyromancy and leaving behind a lasting legacy for ages to come.
Last is an art called moon sorcery, practiced by Gwyndolin, the god of the Darkmoon. How this art works is not explained, but it allowed Gwyndolin to launch blasts of light blue energy, and is a matter of faith.
- It does not seem certain whether or not the light of golden sorceries is the same as the Light Soul, but as that soul developed miracles and harmful lightning, it seems somewhat unlikely that this origin is the case.
- Due to the fact that Manus had his own catalyst with him, and that he uses it with the finesse of a human, it can be theorized that primeval humans were natural masters of dark sorceries before the first linking of the Flame.
- While the art of flame sorcery is gone, the demons living in Izalith and the Smouldering Lake can manipulate fire, but it is very unlikely that this is the same as flame sorceries. However it would not make sense for them to know pyromancies, which Quelana taught to a specific human, so the last of the three possibilities is that they can naturally manipulate the Chaos Flame that they were born from.
- It should be noted that the Demon Firesage practiced flame sorcery, but was the last living to practice it, so no longer counts.
- Just as the Witch of Izalith was godmother to pyromancy but never made or practiced it, Seath being grandfather to sorcery implies that he never truly practiced it, and that his power was the truest form of crystal magic. This power could produce a curse, and the third game confirms that the energy behind his powers is related to the crystallization effect of curse, but the mechanism is only theoretical until it begins discussion.
- Both of the spells used by Lothric appear to be holy light variations of Homing Soulmass and Crystal Soul Spear, but their nature is very unusual, and whether or not they are sorceries or miracles is uncertain.
- With the addition of The Ringed City DLC, there is a sorcery called Old Moonlight, which describes the use of souls to grant a physical shape to one's very thoughts. While this is essentially the Moonlight Greatsword forged from Seath's tail, it is said to be derived from Midir's memories of a power that came into existence shortly after a "beginning" of some sort, implying that specific technique draws upon a power that predates even the First Flame.
- ↑ Demon's Catalyst description.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Frozen Weapon description and Snap Freeze description.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Tin Darkmoon Catalyst description.
- ↑ Darkmoon Blade description.
- ↑ Moonlight Greatsword description.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Dark Orb (Dark Souls) description.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Homing Soulmass (Dark Souls III) description.
- ↑ Logan's Scroll description.
- ↑ Eleonora description.
- ↑ Profaned Flame description.
- ↑ Sage's Big Hat description.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Soul of a Crystal Sage description.
- ↑ Farron Flashsword description.
- ↑ Scholar's Shed Skin description.
- ↑ Scholar's Robe description.
- ↑ Soul of Consumed Oceiros description.
- ↑ Moonlight Greatsword (Dark Souls III) description.
- ↑ White Dragon Breath description.
- ↑ Heretic's Staff description.
- ↑ Great Soul Arrow (Dark Souls III) description.
- ↑ Homing Crystal Soulmass (Dark Souls II) description.
- ↑ Cast Light description.
- ↑ Dark Fog description.
- ↑ Pursuers description.