I decided to get back into Demon's Souls before the hot weather takes over and makes me nervous about running the ol' PS3. I managed to beat the Flamelurker, finally unlocking the ability to craft boss weapons. Not that I was really interested in any because I'm playing a Temple Knight and discovered that the Moonlight Great Sword in this game is geared toward high-Faith characters. On the subject of special weapons, though, I trekked back into the Valley of Defilement to have a go at the crystal lizards, and discovered that an extra ladder appears once you've beaten all the world's bosses. It leads to four of the giant Depraved Ones, an enemy that's particularly hard to deal with in this zone because of the terrain. Somehow I got them all without getting hit, despite being utterly unprepared to face them. I'm getting really good at baiting out attacks and then casually stepping out of the way just in time. Too bad that rarely works on bosses.
Speaking of which, the Penetrator is no joke without Biorr. I don't know if I was getting tired of cheesing my way through everything or paranoid about Biorr possibly dying—probably a little of both—but for now I would like to try to solo him. I think the big issue is that I have no idea what I'm doing. I've watched several LPs of this game at this point, so I can try to just follow their example if nothing else, but they all dealt with the Penetrator by letting Biorr do most of the work. I'm flying blind for the first time in this entire run.
The Maneaters, meanwhile, also continues to be a wall for a different but related reason: it's completely impossible to predict. No two attempts feel like the same encounter. One time I was beating them both pretty easily until the survivor was at 25% health left and decided to just stunlock-combo me to death. Another time, one of them just flew away and never came back. (I know that can happen if you have the Thief Ring, but that was actually the time I remembered to take it off!) I've heard people describe that fight as "literally broken", as in it was never programmed properly, and I believe it.
12 bosses out of 16 down, though, and one of the remaining ones should be a cakewalk. Oh, and I figured out that I can stop leveling Intelligence if I swap out my helmet for the silver coronet, which will put me over the 100MP needed to cast God's Wrath, so that might be what I try next against Penny and the Goyles. Definitely going to go farm the crystal lizard nest in 2-2 with it.