The world of Dark Souls can be a lonely place. The very nature of the locations, the worlds and the storylines fall over themselves to repeatedly hammer home the fact that your presence ultimately means nothing.
Even the death, revival and retrieval mechanic that are at the very core of the experience are structured around the fact that your death is inevitable and ultimately pointless. But still there are thousands of people that have spent the hundreds of hours that are needed to see these stories through to their conclusion. And challenging gameplay, immersive locations and lore can only stave off so much frustration, so there must be something else that keeps us all coming back.
For a lot of people, that can be the characters. Not just for their sense of familiarity and the small times when their repeating dialogue moves from being frustrating to being comforting, but for these islands in an otherwise changing landscape where you are trawling through a new game and stumble across someone you recognise.
All complaints about fan service notwithstanding, here are ten characters that appeared in more than one of the three main-line Dark Souls games.
"Trusty Patches" in Dark Souls 1 is first encountered in the Tomb of the Giants, when he offers you some treasure and then kicks you down a hole to die when you lean forward to look for it.
He is (presumably) full of guilt and goes to great lengths to make amends after, should you climb out and confront him.
Similarly, in the Catacombs he trip a switch that nearly drops you to your death while you are crossing a walkway but should you forgive him, he will relocate to Firelink and become a merchant.
In the third Dark Souls, now called "Unbreakable Patches", he locks you in the tower at Firelink Shrine and when you escape, is surprised but keen to apologise. Next, in the Cathedral of the Deep, he dresses up as Siegward and lowers you to the Giants. Again, cue remorse and regret when confronted.
Finally, as Lapp, once he remembers who he is, he kicks you down off a ledge again, although this time it is to exactly where you need to be. While he is consistently tricky and repeatedly devious, he is nothing if not consistent.
He also appears in Demon's Souls as "The Hyena", and Bloodborne as "The Spider."