His lower body is thin, apparently flayed, and sports four asymmetrical, but strong, hoofed legs, while his upper torso is a portrait of pure madness: between two long arms with large sharp talons, protrudes a disproportionate hunch that shows a circular maw lined inside with irregular teeth and clusters of eyes, and his face, apparently blind from the right eye, is a melted visage of wrinkled skin and crooked teeth, stretched over an elongated head vaguely resembling that of a horse.
- Underground Corpse Pile:
Ludwig was the first of many Healing Church hunters to come, many of whom were clerics. As it was, clerics transformed into the most hideous beasts.
Under Ludwig's leadership, the Healing Church gained its own core of hunters. Ludwig trained his hunters to be honorable Spartans, and even trained ordinary Yharnamites, effectively uniting the populace and using it to combat the scourge.
Ludwig wielded a mystical greatsword that he himself discovered, allowing him to channel the abyssal cosmos. He looked to the sword and the tiny beings of light that surrounded it for guidance, allowing him to empty his fears, even in the middle of a hunt. It is implied the sword is itself sentient to some degree, which influenced Ludwig greatly.
Despite seemingly being respected Ludwig had his detractors, who appear to have disagreed with his methods and did not appreciate his hunters. These detractors dismissed Ludwig as a beast-possessed degenerate and he suffered much denigration at their hands.
At some point, Ludwig succumbed to the bloodlust and mutated into a horrifying beast, a terrible cross between horse, wolf and man. He was trapped in the Hunter's Nightmare, and completely lost himself to the blood. He resided in the Underground Corpse Pile where, by killing countless beasts and hunters in his blind rage, created the blood river which flows through the Nightmare.
Alternatively, for players with passive playstyle, they can acquire the Simon's Bowblade early, then summon an NPC Hunter to tank and safely deal with Ludwig from a distance. This tactic works well for both phases.
First Phase (Accursed)
Much like The One Reborn, Ludwig has limbs in a variety of locations, making it difficult to attack him. These flailing atrocities cause blunt damage when struck by them. A set of legs on his rear can kick behind him, while other arms scattered throughout will swipe when given the chance. His front-end is host to his two primary arms, which will perform wide, heavily damaging sweeps. His left side has only a single frail appendage. Keeping distance will cause Ludwig to occasionally spit a damaging fluid.
When he screams and grips to the ceiling, sprint in the direction of the farthest wall. Ludwig should land just behind you if you don't slow down.
Second Phase (Holy Blade)
A second phase begins when he loses 50% of his health. In this phase, he will use far-reaching sword strikes and launch arcane attacks, ranging from relatively small AoE's to ranged waves of moonlight. One of note is a particular attack where Ludwig raises the Sword high over his head, charging it with arcane energy, before slamming onto the ground, releasing a massive blast that blankets the entire area in front of him. As this attack can potentially one-shot, either attempt to stagger him during the charge-up sequence or run to the other side of the boss arena.
It is also worth noting that, unlike in his first phase, he no longer takes bonus damage from serrated weapons, which while making minimal difference in the fight is still worth mentioning. The implication of this is that the first phase was Ludwig as just another beast gone mad, and that the second phase is the sword bringing back his humanity and sanity enough to give him a dignified death as a man instead of being slaughtered like a beast.
|Click to see dialogue|
- Ludwig is no longer considered a beast in his 2nd phase, so serrated weapons will no longer deal bonus damage.
- After the battle, his severed head is found lying near the stairs. Wearing church-related attire will cause him to pose the player a question regarding the church. Answering yes will cause him to thank the player for letting him know that he did not suffer for nothing. He then quietly dies and the Holy Moonlight Sword spawns on his corpse. Answering no will cause him to mope for a bit before dying to the hands of Simon the Harrowed.
- Alternatively, not wearing any church-related attire will cause him to talk about a thread of light he once clung to. After his dialogue is finished, he will break out in a fit of bestial giggles and shrieks, with the occasional horse sound in between. Killing him is the only way to acquire the sword at this point, as his shrieks seem to have no end.
- Simply leaving Ludwig's head untouched and leaving the area before coming back will lead to Simon killing him, handing the Holy Moonlight Sword over when the player next speaks to him.
- If the player kills Ludwig with a visceral attack he will have a different death animation, along with a different death sound. The implication is that the visceral attack is giving him a dignified honorable death while simply hitting him repeatedly is giving him a brutal death, being slaughtered like a beast.
- Ludwig is the only boss who has two different songs for his boss fight, although they are combined into one song on the soundtracks for the game (with “Ludwig, The Holy Blade” being chosen for the song title.”
- While most beasts are wolf-like in nature, Ludwig is horse-like in his deformities, and the only beast to have such a unique appearance.
- Much like the Abhorrent Beast the Afflicted Beggar turns into, Ludwig still retains his cognitive functions and the ability to speak.
- The Guidance rune was discovered by Ludwig and is directly associated with him. There is also a theme regarding the rallying mechanic and Ludwig himself. Since rallying is the act of recovering health by attacking, shortly after being attacked, this could perhaps be what ultimately fueled his bloodlust. Even the Holy Moonlight Sword itself possesses high rally potential. It can also even be theorized that since Ludwig calls his sword his true mentor, the sword itself was that which transcribed the Guidance rune unto him.
- At some point in the game's development, one could have summoned Yamamura for the boss fight with Ludwig.
- Whereas the design of Ludwig the Accursed is based on a horse, and maybe slightly on Odin's horse Sleipnir (which also had eight limbs), Ludwig the Holy Blade design is based on a centaur.
- During the cinematic, the part of Ludwig's silhouette (his legs twisting) can be seen on the platform climbing the chamber ladder. But before entering the combat area for the first time it can be seen that there is nothing there.
- Sword Hunter Badge description from Bloodborne.