Elden Ring: How The Perfumers Went From Saintly To Depraved

In the open world of Elden Ring, FromSoftware’s spiritual successor to the Dark Souls games, nearly every enemy that players can encounter has a dramatic history, and the Perfumers are no exception. At the zenith of the Golden Order, the Perfumers of Leyndell, distinguished by embroidered aprons and cloth mask, tended to the sick and impure of the Lands Between with healing aromatics. By the time Tarnished player characters encounter Perfumers in their playthrough of Elden Ring, these apothecaries have fallen from their halcyon days – some becoming mad butchers, others poachers of living, thinking “ingredients.”

Aside from open-world exploration, a sprit summoning magic system, and horse-mounted combat, Elden Ring has also evolved the FromSoftware RPG formula by adding an item crafting system, letting players use ingredients found across the Lands Between to craft special arrows, status-curing medicines, and even explosive pot grenades. The most novel of Elden Ring‘s consumable items are the mist-spraying Aromatics. With the right recipes and all 10 collectible perfume bottles, Elden Ring players can attack players with blasts of fire and poison, turn their bodies to steel, and fortify their allies in combat, among other applications.

Elden Ring’s Aromatics Seem To Be Inspired By Pre-Modern Medical Practices

Thematically, the Perfumers enemies encountered in Elden Ring seems to be inspired by the crow beak mask-adorned plague doctors of Renaissance Europe. Elden Ring‘s notion of scented perfumes being used to heal or harm also seems to be inspired by the old pseudo-scientific theory of Miasma – the ancient notion that bad smells or bad air could cause illness, and that good smell and good air could cure them. The aromatic remedies of Perfumers are certainly effective in the world of Elden Ring, though this may have more to do with the Erdtree’s supernatural influence than any archaic notions of miasma.

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During Elden Ring’s Shattering, The Peaceful Perfumers Became Battlefield Medics

The Traveling Perfumer Set, found near the heart of Elden Ring‘s Scarlet Rot-blighted Caelid Wilds, has this description:

Garb of a traveling perfumer of no renown. […] said to be in search of new aromatics and flower gardens, in hopes of treating Misbegotten, Omen and all those seen as impure.

A similar story is told by the item description of the Perfumer Tricia Ashes, found in the Unsightly Catacombs dungeon within Elden Ring‘s Altus Plateau area.

Tricia was once known as a healer who dedicated her efforts to treating Misbegotten, Omen, and all those seen as impure. When her efforts failed, she was their companion as they died, watching over them to ensure that they could pass peacefully, free of pain.

Finally, the descriptions for each item in the Perfumer Set share this specific line:

In time past, the role of perfumer was much respected; a blessed apothecary in the eyes of the many. But after entering the battlefields of the Shattering they performed no such role, trading their aromatics for poisons and explosives.

From these three pieces of in-game lore, one can get a rough idea of what Elden Ring’s Perfumers were and what they eventually became. The art of Perfuming was likely born during the age of the Erdtree, where the golden light and dew of the sky-spanning tree infused the lands, its people, and its vegetation with astonishing vitality. The earliest perfumers, as the “blessed apothecaries” of Leyndell, Elden Ring‘s Royal Capital used Altus Blooms, Miranda Flowers, and other miraculous herbs to create aerosolized medicine, tending to the sick and to certain creatures viewed as “impure.”

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Then the Elden Ring was shattered, Queen Marika and Radagon disappeared, and the Demigods of the Lands Between went to war for the seat of Elden Lord. When Morgott the Omen King mustered his armies to defend Leyndell, he drafted many of the city’s Perfumers to aid in its defense. Whether once they tended to the sick, the order of Perfumers now used their aromatics to kill enemies and whip their fellow soldiers into a battle frenzy against Elden Ring‘s Demigod armies they fought. Even then, there were perfumers who embraced still darker paths.

Before Elden Ring’s Shattering, The Omenkillers Decided To Cure Omens With Death

Elden Ring How To Get The Omenkiller Set

Some of the perfumers in Elden Ring‘s backstory may have tended to Omens out of compassion for their painful-looking mutations. Other perfumers likely sought to “cure” Omens because their non-human physical traits offended their religious beliefs. From this second, bigoted, camp of perfumers arose a man named Rollo, whose Spirit Ashes contain the following description:

Once a famous perfumer, Rollo imbibed a physick to rid himself of emotion, thus enabling him to enact his nightmarish labor, hunting the Omen.

Wielding brutal cleavers adorned with the severed horns of Omen victims, wearing a grotesque mask modeled after creatures seen in Omen nightmares, Rollo inspired a brand-new sect of Perfumers with “twisted conscience,” united by the belief that death was the only cure for tragic Omens like Elden Ring‘s Morgott or Mohg. These Omenkillers may have seen themselves as brave slayers of monsters like the Hunters of Bloodborne; in practice, they are like the sociopathic serial killers of 1980s slasher movies, violently tearing apart anything and anyone between them and their prey.

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In Elden Ring’s Shaded Castle Area, Depraved Perfumers Overdose On Their Own Concoctions

Elden Ring Depraved Perfumer Set Showcase

The Omenkiller Perfumers might have seen their butchering work as selfless of mercy, but the Depraved Perfumers of Elden Ring have definitively abandoned their vows to heal the sick and impure. Depraved Perfumer enemies mainly occupy the poison-drenched Shaded Castle, but can also be found massacring residents in the Village of the Albinaurics. The set dropped by these Depraved Perfumers has this description:

Robe worn by depraved perfumers. The embroidery on the apron is itself a curse upon the Erdtree. These heresy-inclined perfumers imbibe their own spices to alter body and mind. Their slow descent into self-destruction is what earned them their name.

The item descriptions for the Ironjar, Bloodboil, Poison Spraymist, and Acid Spraymist aromatics all describe themselves as the “Forbidden art of depraved perfumers.” This shared bit of Elden Ring lore is consistent with the game’s depiction of Depraved Perfumers as magical drug/steroid abusers – addicted to the power granted by their own aromatics, willing to massacre innocent Albinaurics and Living Jars in order to acquire the ingredients for their next fix. If an Elden Ring player makes a habit of slaughtering certain enemies to get their hands on item ingredients, how are they any different?

Source: BANDAI NAMCO Europe/YouTube

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