By Jonathan Wojcik and Rev Storm


Put yourself in the position of Elden Ring's player character a moment, The Tarnished. Everywhere you go there are skeletons, oozes, killer plants, crawling sea monsters and giant mechanical women attempting to murder you, you've suffered through poison swamp after poison swamp...and then at some point you look up and there's a god damned helium balloon coming for you. Imagine the sheer exhaustion. "What now. What is this now. Come on" you think as the balloon gets closer and you see humanoid figures dangling from it, already visibly clutching weapons in every hand.

The balloon comes closer and closer, and of course the figures drop to the ground, already swinging their swords. What are they? Humans? Albinaurics? Undead? Nope!

Battling these mindless, multi-armed warriors, you'll quickly realize that they're more like jointed dolls than living beings. A balloon has just dropped giant, murderous puppets out of the sky, because of course it has. Of course!

...And how much worse is it that some of them FLY?

The "Marionette Soldiers" are interestingly crude and rickety creations, wrapped in metal bands, devoid of facial features, jittering and prone to malfunction. The flying versions are the same base construct, but a set of wings are hooked onto one of the two pairs of arms, and they've got metal helmets that taper to a point, like a downturned bird head.

In any form, you get the impression of something made hastily, or like the stone clusters, something that has steadily deteriorated since its creation. The setting is filled with magically animate constructs and artificial life forms, but these are by far the most unstable. Who created these kooky hunks of junk?! What in the hell for??? Well, it sure better not be any wizards. Boy would I be mad if some preposterous wizard school couldn't be satisfied with the rest of its nonsense and had to unleash killer puppet people on a world dealing with MORE than enough problems, thank you!!