I've started to try out the Chalice Dungeons - I've got the one I could create using the Chalice taken off of BSB and I've cleared two of the bosses. It's not terribly hard - there are some annoying enemies, like Bell Ringers who summon endless hard-hitting (but low-health) guys and some Brick-Troll-like guys who roll up to you to attack.
The two bosses I've fought in the dungeon were not terribly complex - the Undead Giant is just a big guy who seems very weak to thrusting attacks (thankfully something that an untransformed Kirkhammer has access to via R2.) The other boss was a trio, but honestly I must outlevel this place because it just took about three charged R2s apiece to take them down. I figure I'll finish the Chalice Dungeon eventually, but I can see why these weren't the most popular feature of the game - it all feels a bit generic, and I'm sure it will continue to as I run more of them.
I took another attempt at Darkbeast Paarl, summoning the NPC helper for the fight just to see who I'd get (looks like some Yar'hagul guy.) But ironically, despite not even really expecting to put in much effort, I got Paarl down. It's tricky, keeping un-targeted so that you can aim for his legs instead of his head. If you damage his legs (I think) enough, his sparks go out, which makes phase two in particular easier.
I made a quick sojourn toward the hidden Nightmare area, but I didn't have the Tonsil Stone yet, so while I beat two NPC hunters that were quite tough, I basically came to a dead end.
However, I next headed to the Forbidden Woods, and I have a Tonsil Stone in hand, not to mention a +6 Kirkhammer. The big snake-ball enemies are not as difficult as I expected them to be, so I'm making decent progress. I've unlocked two Windmill-adjacent shortcuts, which I think means I must be very close to the Shadows of Yharnam fight.
I'm wondering if I should do that next or backtrack and do the Nightmare Frontier area. I also know that I have to go to Iosefka's Clinic at some point (and that there's a hidden passage, as of yet unfound, in the Woods that takes you there,) but I think I should save that for after I beat Rom, as I want to get the Umbilical Cord off her.
Either I'm really getting into the groove of the game, or I've leveled up too much, or the game has been getting generous, but it's definitely not feeling as hard - which is fine. I really like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but I could stand to lower their difficulties by maybe 15-20%. Actually, Bloodborne is, so far, feeling pretty much what I'm comfortable with, difficulty-wise - enough to keep you on your toes, but not nearly as brick-wall-like. The earliest part of the game, literally before opening the gate near the Central Yharnam lantern, has felt the most difficult. I'm expecting some huge difficulty spike at some point, but I won't complain if it doesn't come.
Maybe that's what the DLC is for.