Yeah, the lack of a decent book drove me up the wall as well. And as for the Lloyd's Talisman, you have to actually Use it to prevent healing. Your character will throw it on the ground in front of them.
Also, who the hell told you the game was "fair"!? It's quite possible one of the most evil and insidious games to date.
That's like the common defense on the escapist.com "The game is hard, but it's fair. If you die it's because you screwed up" la dee da. Heard it about 150 times.
So the Talisman is a 1 use item for 500 souls? what the heck. Lame. Maybe if I'm fighting the black knight or something.
Though, I suppose it doesn't make sense that I'm carrying it as a hollow and able to heal myself so . . whatever. After I finish being mad at the game I'll try it again.
That rage at Dark Souls makes me smile inside. Because I raged at it too, but in the end, the overcoming all of that is what makes it rewarding; wouldn't have it any other way.
And the game's combat system is fair, once you figure it out. You only die because you did something dumb like trying to get in too many swings, rolling in the wrong direction, messing up parry timings, forgetting to block, trying to heal in front of an enemy, trying to block instead of dodging a grapple (which can't be blocked), walking into traps, etc. If you're patient and careful you can literally just not take any damage whatsoever. The mobs are fairly predictable, pretty much tell you exactly what they're about to do, and can be coaxed into doing rather stupid things if you know what you're doing (mostly luring them into walking off cliffs).
The process of figuring it out, though, is pretty brutal. Downright evil at times, by intentionally omitting information (such as the talisman's use - it's written effect prevents enemies from drinking Estus Flasks, only useful in PvP when invading really, but the mimic-calming effect is what you really want to use it for most of the time). I find that part of the appeal - your character is literally learning how to fight better without being tied to arbitrary numbers/levels/stats/skills.
* Droid803 after playing 80 hours of Dark Souls the past two months.
Now? I guess I'll be playing TERA:Rising (F2P). I got SpardaSon21 playing too. (oh boy what have I gotten myself into...but those fluffy tails...)