So I decided what the hey and got The Old Hunters, the DLC for Bloodborne. I went into the Hunter's Nightmare and... holy crap do these guys hit hard!
I realize that this is a piece of content intended for players who are probably already on a New Game+ or are seasoned veterans of the game. I expect that I'll come back here when I'm really at the endgame, at least after getting Rom down. Partially, I want to get the Whirligig Saw and upgrade it to +7 for use on Rom and Martyr Logarius (oh yeah, I'm at Martyr Logarius in Cainhurst Castle.)
But given how spine-shatteringly difficult the Hunter's Nightmare is at this point, I suspect I might be better served playing through a bit of the main game and ensuring that I have a better weapon and a few more levels on me (with that lovely free physical defense that comes with every level no matter which stat you choose.)
I think I actually have the Chunks to get my Kirkhammer to +7, and it's probably silly to hoard them because I imagine that they'll start coming with greater frequency once I get past Rom and start working on places like the Nightmare Frontier and other late-game sections.
I think once I'm actually level/gear-appropriate to the Hunters' Nightmare it should be pretty enjoyable. Through brute force parrying and chugging blood vials I've managed to unlock the first shortcut and even get a couple pieces of gear (Beast Cutter, Boom Hammer, a bunch of the Old Hunter set.) There's a guy who looks like a beast but is actually a player-like NPC using beast-themed items and I think if I can beat him without too much trauma I'll consider myself ready to continue through the DLC area.
I certainly don't expect to get past the Nightmare's first boss Ludwig until I'm quite buffed up (I'm given to understand that he's the hardest boss in the game) but I figured I might be able to grab some of the stuff from earlier parts of the area.
Still, if there's any moral to these From Soft games it's that there's always technically a way to succeed. Still, I'll happily get a little boost from higher stats if it means making it a bit easier.
Thankfully, I have a pretty good farming path laid out - I basically run Hemwick Charnel Lane, using the gate shortcut. Killing all the witches, the brick troll, the insight-induced stalker, and the three executioners on the way to the Witch's Abode lamp nets you a pretty solid number of blood vials and something like 15000 echoes, which at this point is still enough to level me up (or at least close to it.)
When I'm low on vials or bullets, one of these runs can net you about thirty-some-odd per run (if you spend your echoes at the item shop in the Dream,) so it's a neat little spot. Especially with the Kirkhammer's R2 stab, the witches go down very easily. The brick troll is of course very easy to parry and the executioners are not as easy, but still not bad, and with all the echoes I get, it's not hard to restock on bullets.
But yeah, no new boss down today. But I think I'll just blow my chunks (that sounds... exactly like vomiting) on the Kirkhammer in the faith that there will be more once I get past Rom. For the hell of it, I might also upgrade the Boom Hammer or Beast Cutter to see what they're like.