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I've seen in other game series that an in-game language corresponds to some real-life language, such as the various forms of Hylian in the Legend of Zelda series. I had never questioned that the runes that make up a summon sign or a message actually meant anything in Dark Souls until inspecting the inscriptions on the back of the thrones in Firelink Shrine. Each one appears visually different. If it were any other game series, I'd just assume it were a minor detail, but I can't assume that here. Cursory googling has led me nowhere. Is there any evidence confirming or denying that the runes in Dark Souls actually translate to something meaningful, or do they simply look cool?

Note: I tagged both the series and Dark Souls 3 because I'm not sure if the language had always been there, or if it just now "showed up" so to speak in the third game.

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TL;DR: looks like more than one language (or character set) are used. One of them could be based on Futhark

Well, I did quite a bit of research.

I have installed DS1, DS2:SOTFS and DS3 (as every fan should), so I've checked and screenshoted following things:

  • summon signs;
  • player messages;
  • monument in Majula (DS2);
  • lord thrones (DS3).

I will add all screenshots in the end of answer grouped by games.

I've noticed following things.

1. For player messages and summon signs - all three games uses exactly the same pattern, but in DS3 it's mirrored! I'm judging by the 'rune' which looks like '4' in DS1 and DS2.

2. Summon signs. All summon signs have exactly one pattern - so there is no difference in red and white summon signs. I've tried to google 'runic languages' and find out one of the oldest one - Elder Futhark. All runes from summoning sign (DS3 version) was present there! So I've attempted to 'decode' summon sign. I've got something like this:

decoded summon sign

Which rune by rune means:

  • W - Joy,
  • P - Luck,
  • I - Ice,
  • G - Gift,
  • E - Horse,
  • U - Auroch,
  • S - Sun.

Well, that's looks like result: Joy + Luck + Sun + Gift - sounds like jolly cooperation! :)

I've also attempted to google translate the word itself "wpegius", but nothing interesting: "pegius" could mean "Pegasus", but in my opinion this is wrong track.

3. Player messages. Unfortunately, the previous point could be all wrong: in player message pattern there are some 'runes' which are not in Futhark - for example one could find two different variations of rotated '9' (or 'e').

4. Majula message. Looks like it contains absolutely different set of symbols. One could see 5 line of symbols. Lines 2 and 5 are equal. While some symbols are present in many alphabets, I failed to find "snowflake" symbol (line 1, symbol 10 or line 3, symbol 2) anywhere.

5. Messages on lord thrones. The letters are worn beyond recognition... So, the quality of textures there are poor, these look more like random scratches.

All analyzed messages:

DS1 - player message and summon sign

player message summon sign

DS2 - player message, summon sign, Majula monument

player message

summon sign

Majula monument

DS3 - player message, summon signs, throne messages

player message summon sign summon sign throne - aldritch throne - ludleth throne - lothric throne - yhorm throne - abyss watchers

Used tool - rune converter

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    Each example where it appears there is a single "word", it is the same word flipped 180 degrees. – blaughw Jun 11 '16 at 5:37
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    @blaughw , yep, I mention it in p.1 and p.2. At the moment of taking screenshots I had no idea where is up or down of message. I leave it as it not to enforce my vision, but to give everyone chance to read it in alternative way – arghtype Jun 11 '16 at 6:39
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    Oh wow! Apologies for not accepting this one sooner. throws stone on ground VERY GOOD – zarose Jul 12 '17 at 21:59
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TL;DR: There is no confirmed source for anything about the Language, I am however looking into it myself now.

As far as my research went I couldn't find anything about the writing being based on something or meaning anything, this however did get me interested in looking at the actual langauge in the game a bit more, I'll see if the signs do actually correspond to actual words / letters consistantly across all Dark Souls games. If you're interested I can update this answer if I find something interesting about that.

Someone on reddit said that he read somewhere that the symbols are based on a dead Language and when tried to translate only spells out gibberish. Will look into it however.

Since the Souls series is such a big franchise now and is known for its hidden lore and secrets, I wouldn't doubt that they made up an entire language that is consistant across all 3 games, with maybe slight changes because of the time that has passes between what happened in Dark Souls 1, 2 and 3.

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