Future Press game guide description: "The Blind Samaritan is a well-meaning Yharnamite doing his best to save his fellow townsfolk from the Scourge."
The Chapel Samaritan is a beggar of the Cathedral Ward who has placed incense around to ward off beasts and taken refuge in Oedon Chapel. He encourages the player to send any sane citizens of Yharnam they may meet on their travels to the chapel to keep them safe. The Chapel Samaritan is almost certainly blind and disfigured, and this is likely why he has resorted to begging to survive. It would seem these feelings of inadequacy have led him to try and help others, perhaps as a means of social acceptance. Though there may be a more sinister motive to the Samaritan’s actions.
When first met the Samaritan doesn’t immediately realize you’re a hunter because the incense he has placed around the chapel to ward of the beasts masks your scent. Eileen’s Beak Mask tells us that incense is used to mask the scents of blood and beast, in her case it is likely to keep the scent’s from intoxicating her while she hunts. The Samaritan even appears to have incense strung around his neck if you look closely.
From what we can perceive, the Samaritan’s intentions appear to be pure. After the player saves enough citizens of Yharnam, the Samaritan will ask them if they would ever consider befriending him. Becoming the friend of a hunter may lead to more acceptance socially, but the Samaritan will say himself that “Yharnam is done for”, so what hope could he have for the morning? The Samaritan also seems to be very distraught whenever any of the Chapel Dwellers die, certainly indicating he cares. Presumably with nothing left to lose nor any reason to lie, his dying words are that he just wanted to “help people.”
And yet there are a number of things that lead us to believe the Samaritan’s motives may have a darker tinge to them. The Bigoted Old Man is certainly suspicious (though he seems to be suspicious of most people), telling us he thinks the “little weasel” has a “murky past”. We also find out from the Samaritan that none of the other dwellers except Arianna will even speak to him. The Harrowed Hood description gives us a glimpse into how regular Yharnamites might view beggars:
Certain Church hunters obfuscate their identities
and slip into the nooks and crannies of the city.
This is the garb that allows these harrowed individuals to go unnoticed.
These hunters are keen to early signs of the scourge, serving
as a first line of defense against its outbreak.
Or perhaps, when the time is ripe, they find signs of the scourge
where there are none.
It just goes to show, the corner beggar is not always who he seems.
The Church obviously has a history of abusing the trust of those who take pity on the impoverished, and any who act like the Chapel Samaritan are sure to come under suspicion. The Samaritan himself understands this and tells you he’s “overjoyed… That’d you’d even give me the time o’day!” indicating that he's used to being ignored.
What’s also suspicious is that almost every time you talk to the Chapel Samaritan after a dweller dies, he will say “it’s all my fault” and apologizes. Though what seems most likely is that the Samaritan feels responsible for those who seek refuge in Oedon Chapel because it was his idea to begin with. Or was it?
It’s no secret that those who occupy Oedon Chapel often seem to suffer strange side effects. Adella will tell the player that their blood is tainted and that she can’t help herself, as she tries to stab them to death in an effort to steal said blood. We find on her body the Oedon Writhe rune. Arianna will fall pregnant during the Blood Moon and conceive a Celestial Child later on in the evening. The One Third Umbilical Cord we get from her baby’s corpse tells us that Formless Oedon, having lost its own child, now yearns for a surrogate. Both these events seem to be strongly influenced by Oedon, and funnily enough, we find the Formless Oedon rune strongly etched on the mind of the Chapel Samaritan when he is killed.
The Chapel Samaritan may believe that gathering healthy survivors into the Chapel of Oedon was his idea, but we know better. The Oedon Tomb Key tells us that the previous residents of Oedon Chapel have abandoned it and there are some who say they all went mad. This certainly seems to be what happens to the survivors we gather there, the only exception being the Bigoted Old Man. The Samaritan will tell us that everybody told him, even his own mother, that his idea would never work, that he should’ve known, but something, or someone, seems to have convinced him to continue in his efforts. It could be chalked up to desiring social acceptance or saving others, and perhaps this is what the Samaritan believed, but ultimately it seems that the Samaritan was manipulated by Oedon in an attempt to bring a suitable bearer for his blood child into the chapel. Being a beggar, who can barely move, living on the streets of the Cathedral Ward, it makes sense that the Samaritan would frequent the Oedon Chapel area in the centre of the Cathedral Ward. While making his living he may have heard the whispers of Oedon, a being that exists only in voice, but believed they were his own.
Whatever the case the Samaritan does appear to be genuinely benevolent and kindhearted, though perhaps a little misguided.