Dark Souls User Guide
Greetings Dark Souls Fans
This is a guide to help new and old players understand the basics of the game as well as some in depth looks at various aspects in particular. After nearly 120 hours of game play across multiple playthroughs, I am still finding new and exciting parts of the game to experience and explore. This guide is a work in progress and will continually be updated over the next couple weeks. Note: This was written before patch 1.04/.05 were released. All differences can be found by looking for the patch notes, listed online, I am not going to list them here.
Dark Souls is home to many classes and what can be a confusing character system. What do the soul levels mean and all the stats? Does an individual class offer long term benefits or detraction’s from others? These are easily explained unfortunately as you play the game but I will give you a quick overview.
Each class begins play with unique equipment and abilities. For example a Warrior begins with martial weapons and survivability as compared to a fragile thief or a casting class, but lacks the spells at the start of the game. To make this simple, just pick a class that gives you a framework you want to start the game off with so that your play style is reached sooner. You can customize any class to do anything. A good rule of thumb for beginners is to start with the Warrior, Cleric or Knight.
You also get a starting “gift”. These do not play a big role in the game but are another added bonus. Select whatever you wish, Master Key is recommended.
In the starting area, the Undead Asylum, you will encounter your first boss. I’m going to give you a little hint, the first time you encounter him, just run through the door on the left and ignore him, he’s near impossible. After you acquire the key to the next area you will get your chance to take him down, having collected your class gear & approaching the fog gate. Each fog gate symbolizes progression within an area, either to a new area or an encounter. This boss lies past this gate, one floor below you. Be careful, if you take too long, he will jump to you and give you a welcome present.
After you leave the Asylum you are amongst the heroes of old in Lordran a forsaken land that once symbolized power and glory, now filled to the brim with evil, death, demons and many many lost souls. At this point the game is open world and you may explore the depths of the New Londo Ruins, Catacombs or traverse the forests beyond the Undead Parish and many other exciting territories.
Combat is difficult in Dark Souls and requires your utmost attention. Any enemies if played sloppy can yield you a sword to the face or a quick slip off a cliff to your demise. It’s best to take enemies one-on-one if at all possible. You can lock onto them for added benefits from the camera and easier maneuvers. Most enemies have vulnerabilities to elements, weapon types or critical damage. Learn these by exploring the parry function, backstab and testing different weapons on the same monsters to get an idea what works best. It’s always good once you begin a fight, to end it quickly. I played on the PS3, so I will be giving tips for this console, although you can purchase this for the 360 if that is your console of choice.
Simple Combat Tips:
R1+Left Control Stick Forward (most weapons will have a kick function, do this to stagger an enemies or push them off a cliff)
R2+Left Control Stick Forward (jump attack, not all weapons have jump attacks)
Roll (Left Control Stick + Circle)
Jump (hold circle to sprint, then tap circle again to perform a running jump, requires space)
Parry (L2 with appropriate weapon or shield, not all have this function. After the animation you will see your target blown back, within a small window, R1 to perform a counter for big damage)
Backstab (approach a target from the back, if done correctly, you will see a critical backstab animation for more big damage)
2 Hand your weapon (triangle)
Estus Flask (used by the undead to replenish health, you begin the game with 5 and have exactly 5 each time you rest at a bonfire, unless it is Firelink Shrine, that sets you at 10 until you use them) This magical flask can be upgraded using a unique item called the Firekeeper’s Soul. You can find these at these locations and potentially more:
Undead Parish at the altar
New Londo Ruins (proceed until you see a ghost, take immediate right into a small uncovered archway. Go straight ahead down a narrow pathway, you will see it at the end ahead of you. Beware of the ghosts. Early on this is a worthwhile suicide run to make.
Blighttown (secret area accessed via the waterwheel at the bottom of Blighttown)
Daughter of Chaos (received by killing the Daughter of Chaos in Quelaag’s Domain at the edge of the swamps in Blighttown) note: this will break your Chaos covenant or prevent you from joining and turn the egg sack carrier next to her hostile preventing you from his pyromancy.
Gold Armored Firekeeper (first bonfire, Anor Londo, kill her to obtain) note: doing so will prevent you from using this bonfire. If you harm or kill Gwyndolin or Gwynevere or enter the fog gate protecting the tomb of the Darkmoon she will be hostile towards you.
Knight Lautrec of Carim (imprisoned within the Undead Parish, 2nd floor guarded by a Knight) After he is free, he will eventually kill Anastacia of Astora (the mute women behind bars beneath Firelink Shrine). If he succeeds, he will drop a Firekeeper Soul if killed during an event in Anor Londo.
The Duke’s Archives (after acquiring the Big Cell Key, go back to the cell that is being guarded by the blue octopus enemies for the Firekeepers Soul)
Estus Flask Upgrade Info: NPC’s who can upgrade your flask
Anastacia of Astora (mute women beneath Firelink Shrine)
Daughter of Chaos (Quelaag’s Domain)
Bonfire Keeper @ 1st bonfire in Anor Londo
Maximum Upgrade is +7 (even after you max this out, you should still go out of your way to collect them as they are worth Humanity and souls if consumed)
At each bonfire as you progress through the game, new things will be available to you, mostly through purchase. Several NPC’s sell items that you can use in conjunction with your bonfire to give you more options and resources. Eventually you will get items to repair your gear, gain the ability to attune magic, store unwanted items, gain your human form, kindle a bonfire and warp.
Once you purchase the required items, you will thereby have a permanent ability at any bonfire, save for ones that lose their Firekeepers, to reap the rewards. Attuning magic is used to bind a spell to you. Simply purchasing a spell isn’t enough to use it. Going to a bonfire and choosing attune magic, then selecting the slot you wish to put the spell in and then the spell with give you the ability to “equip” magic. More explained later in the Magic section.
Humanity is a big part of this game and in a way it is a measure of your power and also used as currency for certain things. This number is represented in your status screen at the bottom of your stats or the large number next to your health and stamina bars. You can use Humanity to revert back to your human form or to kindle a bonfire. You can think of this as adding fuel to a fire, this increases the amount of Estus Flasks you can carry from that bonfire by 5 until you kindle a different one.
To Kindle a bonfire you first need to acquire the Rite of Kindling, which is got by killing Pinwheel within the catacombs. And also be in human form. You must have an available humanity and choose “revert to human form” prior to being able to kindle.
To use the warp function you need the Lordvessel. This item is available after you kill Ornstein and Smough within the Cathedral in Anor Londo. After their death, proceed up the newly opened path and speak to Gwynevere. After you have the Lordvessel, go back to Firelink Shrine. Talk to Frampt, the large serpent within the small shrine. You need the ring that allows you to traverse the abyss. This is collected from the Great Wolf God Sif, within Darkroot Gardens after killing him. Equip the ring and you may now travel to the abyss. Once down, place the Lordvessel on the altar to unlock the ability to warp. You can warp to a limited number of bonfires and can warp from any bonfire that does not require a bonfire keeper or still has theirs. For completionists like myself, it is recommended to do this asap, it allows for much time saving giving you access to harder to reach places within seconds.
Most items in the game can be upgraded, if you have the requisite materials and the appropriate amount of souls as payment along with a blacksmith for particular functions called “weapon ascension”. Ascending a weapon allows for further upgrading along the same path and using similar materials. For example a standard weapon like a Longsword requires Titanite Shards and can be upgraded normally to a +5 weapon. Then you must collect the “Large Ember” to allow ascension to take place giving you the ability to further upgrade to +10 etc. Some of these Embers will be easily found while a few will be difficult to obtain. After each is found, you must take them to the appropriate blacksmith to be able to use them. Here is a quick list for reference:
Large Ember (Titanite Upgrade Path) : Found in the Depths, in a chest guarded by the Butcher Demon (Blacksmith : Undead Parish)
Very Large Ember (Titanite Upgrade Path) : Found in New Londo Ruins. Top floor of the first building on your left after you drain the water. (Blacksmith : Undead Parish)
Divine Ember (White Titanite Path) : Found in a tower in Darkroot Garden after defeating the Moonlight Butterfly (Blacksmith : Undead Parish)
Large Divine Ember (White Titanite Path) : Found in Tomb of the Giants, in a room accessed by ladder leading down. Guarded by 5-6 Large skeletons. (Consider AoE miracles or Pyromancy to help clear them out) This room is towards the beginning (Blacksmith : Undead Parish)
Dark Ember (White Titanite Path) : Found in Painted World of Ariamis. After the Phalanx mini boss is killed, over in the corner is a well with a ladder. Travel down and explore to find it. Beware of the Pinwheel enemies.
Large Fire Ember (Red Titanite Path) : Found in Demon Ruins after lava is gone. Kill first boss, proceed into the ruins and take the left path as you face the 2nd fog gate. At the end of this area is a chest, guarded by 4 Worms. (Blacksmith : Catacombs)
Chaos Ember (Red Titanite Path) : Found in Demon Ruins at the bottom of the beginning area once lava is done. Guarded by several Taurus Demons, located in the middle of the lava. Proceed with caution and alot of Fire resistance. (Blacksmith : Catacombs)
Enchanted Ember (Blue Titanite Path) : Found in Darkroot Garden behind the door sealed by Crest of Artorias. Go through first area and past the Forest Hunter Covenant. In the following area go towards the right side of the map and you’ll see 2 Mushroom Parents and a small body of water with a chest in the middle. This is the ember. Pull each seperately. (Blacksmith : New Londo Ruins)
Large Magic Ember (Blue Titanite Path) : Found in the Duke’s Archives in the room where Seath the Scaleless is first encountered (the room you die in), after defeating Seath in the Crystal Cave. This area is reached by taking the lift at the beginning to the second level, defeating the phantom and proceeding into the room at the top. Watch for crystal gecko on the path. (Blacksmith : New Londo Ruins)
Crystal Ember (Titanite Upgrade Path) : Found in the Duke’s Archives, near the shortcut to the last bonfire. After you descend the ladder with the switch at the bottom. It’s in a semi hidden chest in one of the rooms. (Blacksmith : Anor Londo)
There is also a “Raw” upgrade and “Lightning” that use the Titanite Path. “Demon” that uses Demon Titanite and “Dragon” that uses Dragon Scales. These do not require an Ember. Each path uses Shards, then Chunks and lastly a Slab, a more rare, pure version.
The locations for the Slab’s are listed below:
Titanite Slab : Darkwraith (rare, located in the lower areas of New Londo Ruins), Crystal Gecko, Stray Demon (located in the Asylum after you leave and come back. Entrance is gained by taking the lift located in the back of Firelink Shrine and rolling out shortly after going up to a landing. Then go right, rolling off the edge onto a small path. Walk up and spiral around the stairs to locate a bird nest. Press X to roll into a ball, wait for a few, then the large bird from the beginning will take you back to the Asylum) After returning to the Asylum, go into the room where you encountered him the first time, fall through the floor. This drop is 100%.
White Titanite Slab : Pinwheel Enemies in Catacombs (rare drop), treasure in the Tomb of Giants at the fog gate before Nito. Drop down on a ledge and turn around to find a pathway leading to a dead end with the treasure.
Red Titanite Slab : Located as a treasure in Ruins of Izalith. Past the lava towards the end. Take a root down to the right. Eventually you will see a treasure that seems within reach. Upon moving closer the floor gives way. Stay to the left as you approach the treasure, you will land on a root system. Take this to the bottom and you will find the Slab in a chest at the bottom. The bottom is poisonous. Also Snuggly the Crow will give you one in trade for a Pyromancy Flame. This Pyromancy flame is made by taking a normal Pyromancy Flame to +15, then ascending it from the NPC Quelaana of Izalith (found in Blighttown at the bottom). Trade the new Flame to Snuggly. Note: The upgraded flame has different information and the fire damage rating is different.
Blue Titanite Slab : Dropped by the Moonlight Butterfly enemies within the Crystal Cave (rare drop), treasure in Crystal Cave. After defeating Seath, turn around and go back the way you came initially. You’ll see a path jetting out. Run up it and you will find a hidden path leading upward, into a cave ahead of you. Out the other side across from you will be a treasure. That is the Slab. The path ahead is not straight, be mindful of the snowflake animations to follow the invisible path. The Homeward Bone or Homeward Miracle are useful in getting back to the bonfire.
Titanite Chunks of all colors can be farmed easily at the end of the game in the Kiln of the First Flame. Black Knights in the area will drop them every time. Don’t worry about chasing down the Crystal Geckos or not having enough, this area will tie all your loose ends.
Finally we have Demon weapons. A Demon weapon begins as a +10 standard weapon and soul of a strong demon, these souls are unique to the boss they came from. Then you must find the Giant Blacksmith located at the front bottom of the Cathedral in Anor Londo. This area can be seen as you approach this place for the first time. After dispatching the 2 giant knights, look to the left to see a locked gate. After opening up that shortcut, you will have easy access to the Blacksmith. Initially the shortcut can be found by making your way through the entire cathedral until you reach the middle. A huge room stands before you with 2 large knights below and an arrow knight across. Two staircases, one on each side, allow you access to this lower level. One connecting to the beginning and the other leading up a large set of stairs to the boss Ornstein and Smough. Instead of going down there, travel around the top of this large room to the other side to find a staircase on your left leading down. The Giant Blacksmith and the shortcut await you at the bottom.
These weapons are powerful and can be upgraded using Demon Titanite. Demon Titanite is found primarily as a drop off of Titanite Demons (large headless demon that fires lightning at you and holds a large staff) Note: Several can be found in Sen’s Fortress (available after ringing both bells of awakening)
Crafting Tips: It is best to choose an end game weapon and work towards it to minimize wasting materials as some can only be found a limited amount per playthrough. Also, try to upgrade one maybe two sets of armor, a bow and a few different types of weapons to give you variety to take down demons with different strengths and weaknesses. Examples would be flame and lightning weapons and perhaps just one with alot of physical. Don’t fool with “Raw”, with limited potential and no elements, there are many other alternatives. Note: Crystal weapons and armor, although powerful have limited durability and cannot be repaired.
Blade of the Darkmoon (Anor Londo, 2nd bonfire, Requires Darkmoon Seance Ring) To upgrade this covenant, give Souvenir of Reprisal. There are rewards for joining and donating 10 souvenir. These are got by killing a player in pvp who betrayed this covenant.
Gravelord (Catacombs, room with Titanite Demon. Requires an “Evil Eye”. This is a treasure behind that Titanite Demon or a drop from the Curse Frogs in the Depths (rare). Lay in the coffin on the left side of that room and wait. Afterwards you appear before the Gravelord and may join and upgrade this covenant using Evil Eye’s. There are rewards for joining and donating 10 Evil Eyes.
Way of White (Petrus, Rhea of Thorolund, first available at the beginning in Firelink Shrine from the Cleric Petrus).
Princess’ Guard (Anor Londo, Gwynevere after defeating Ornstein and Smough)
Warrior of Sunlight (Undead Burg/Sunlight Altar, requires 50 faith currently but is being reduced to 25 via 1.04 patch upon release. You can also help defeat a boss as a white phantom to lower the requirement by 5 with each victory.) Upgrade with Sunlight Medal. Rewards when you join and after 10 have been donated. Special upgrade at 10 if you have Gwyn’s soul.
Chaos Servant (Quelaag’s Domain, find the hidden room on the floor below the 2nd bell of awakening to find the daughter of chaos. Speak to her to join this covenant. Upgrade by donating humanity. Reward at 30 Humanity. Also shortcut to Lost Izalith will open.) Humanity is dropped from the Blue Octopus things in Duke’s Archives, treasure and from Rats.
Darkwraith This is the available under the following conditions: defeat the Four Kings, acquire the Key to the Seal, and not have placed the Lordvessel on Firelink Altar. You will find the NPC in the abyss. You will get the Dark Hand weapon for joining.
Forest Hunter (Darkroot Garden, talk to the Cat inside the Grove of Artorias. Upon entry you will be attacked by numerous NPC’s. Kill them all to make it to the back center of this map. You’ll see a stone structure leading to the next area. In the middle on the left wall is the cat. While you are part of this covenant, the NPC’s who initially attacked you will be your ally. However, if attacked you will be kicked out of the covenant and hunted once more. There are 8 different NPC’s I have encountered here during certain conditions, four of which always respawn, a Sorceror, Thief, Warrior, Cleric. Note: The Thief is using a Ring of Fog, almost invisible.
Path of the Dragon (Ash Lake, reached from the Great Tree via the secret entrance from Blighttown. In Blighttown after reaching the swap head left. You’ll eventually see a large root. Take that up into a cave. At the end, hit the wall to reveal another passage way, and hit the next wall to open up the Great Tree. At the base is Ash Lake. All the way to the end is the Dragon. Cut off his tail for a rare weapon. Note: doing this will NOT break the covenant or cause him to be hostile. <-weird.)
Getting started on a new character:
Find spots to farm souls and find the first bonfire. Try to explore early areas to become accustomed to the game. When you find the bonfire, think of it as a checkpoint or homepoint. Each time you use these bonfires, you will recharge your Estus Flask, spells as well as respawning all of the enemies. This is a great way to farm souls, by killing and returning to respawn enemies. Look for creative ways to use these. Early on you will want a bow, arrows, decent armor and weapons and of course working on your stats. Your first big objective should be tracking down Firekeeper Souls, killing the Dragon and getting to the Blacksmith Andre, located in the Undead Parish. In your way are some traps, enemies, a few mini bosses and the distractions of a detailed environment. Keep in mind your play style and cater your upgrades to your stats accordingly. For example, if you are going melee, try to stay away from putting unnecessary points into stats like attunement, intelligence or faith, instead focus on vitality, strength and resistance. Look ahead into what you want at the end and give yourself steps to get there.
Info on Stamina:
Stamina is needed by all classes and should seriously be considered earlier on in gameplay and capped out where you want it by your first play through. You will use this stat to absorb attacks, run, jump and melee. Stamina also affects equipment burden. This is a measure of how much weight you can hold and maneuver with. It is an unsaid truth, until now, that avoiding attacks in this game is by far superior than withstanding them with brute power, there is no such thing as a tank in this game. @100+% you cannot roll, sprint or do much of anything. @ 100% burden you can move slowly and do not have the ability to sprint or roll effectively. @51-99% burden you can run and still are not able to roll effectively. @ 26-50% You are able to roll and jump effectively. If you are @ 25% or below of your burden you can roll the fastest, jump farther and sprint faster.
Poison: Standard poison damage, 3hp/tick over a long duration. Cured with Purple Moss or Blooming Purple Moss. (these are collected from the tree creatures in the forest or purchased from a vendor)
Curse: A one hit kill. Once you are cursed, you lose your life and the next time you respawn, your maximum health will be cut in half until it is healed. These stones to heal curse are sold by vendors and dropped in Ash Lake or Crystal Cave by the Clam-demon things.
Toxic: Aggressive Poison damage. 6hp/tick over a long duration. Cured with Blooming Purple Moss. Note: The Spider Shield blocks poison/toxic build up completely!!
Bleed: Bleed damage. Got from build of of damage from slashing weapons. Cured with Bloodred Moss. Also dropped from tree like creatures in the forest.
Main Quest: Dark Souls is about restoring balance to Lordran and bringing the seed of this evil to rest. Beginning the game in a huge, difficult setting is hard when given little to go on. To start on your quest you need to ring the Bells of Awakening. These are literally two bells located around the world. The first is in the Undead Parish, guarded by the Bell Gargoyles. The 2nd is in Quelaag’s Domain, guarded by Quelaag. This second area is accessed by progressing through Lower Undead Burg -> Depths -> Blighttown. At the base of Blighttown lies a cave at the far end of the swamp that leads to Quelaag and the bell as well as entrance in Demon Ruins.
After ringing the bells more game world opens up to you and your quest broadens, leading you to the City of Lords, Anor Londo. Here you face more menacing denizens, more difficult trials and epic boss bottles. You now venture forth towards glory, redemption and the Lordvessel. A key of sorts to unseating the powerful Lord of Cinder, Gwyn. He is protected by Arch Bosses and an altar that lies in the shadowy depths of the abyss. An area of void, darkness and mystery only accessible by the strength of Artorias, the Abysswalker.
Useful Rare Items:
Havel’s Ring: Dropped by killing Havel at the base of the Taurus Demon Tower in Undead Burg. This is accessed with the Master Key or the Tower Key obtained in Darkroot Garden after beating the Moonlight Butterfly, along with the Divine Ember. This is also a shortcut or connection to the Darkroot Basin. The Ring increases your maximum equipment burden while equipped.
Covetous Gold Serpent Ring: Treasure in Sen’s Fortress. This Ring increases your item discovery rating by 200. Invaluable while farming items.
Covetous Silver Serpent Ring: Treasure in Tomb of the Giants. This Ring increases the souls gained by 20%
Ring of Favor and Protection: Dropped by Knight Lautrec of Carim. This Ring increases your HP, Stamina and Equip Burden. Note: If unequipped it will break. This is the NPC locked within the Undead Parish and the same that will murder Anastacia of Astora (mute firekeeper).
Rusted Iron Ring: Treasure in Undead Asylum (2nd visit). This Ring allows wearer to move freely in swamp/marsh/water effectively.
Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring. Treasure in Sen’s Fortress. This Ring allows wearer to move/attack without making any sound.
Gold Hemmed Armor Set. Treasure in Demon Ruins. Triggers Ceaseless Discharge battle. This armor is available relatively early and has great elemental resistances as well as poison and curse. It also has relatively good physical defense for light armor and overall weighs less than 10 as a set. This set is non-upgradeable. (no explanation why this and a few other items cannot be upgraded)
Light Spell. Sold by Dusk of Oolacile. She can be obtained by killing the Hydra in Darkroot Basin. Proceed to the left of the lake, next to the waterfall and hug the left side of this area until you reach a small alcove in the back. You will see a gold crystal golem. He is a little more difficult than his blue counterparts, but uses the same attacks. After you kill it, Dusk will appear next to you. After the initial meeting, she will disappear and must be summoned to be interacted with. Her summon sign is at the front of the lake very close to where you stood in your fight against Hydra. She sells other spells as well. If you attack her or she is hit by a blue crystal golem (you really should kill them all first), you must repent to get her to show up again. (Bell tower NPC). This is the most important spell to have for Tomb of the Giants, make sure you get his before you go after this area and Gravelord Nito.
Selecting spells can be daunting. Dark Souls’ library of magic is fairly extensive, covering a wide array of support, curative, offensive and defensive spells from 3 disciplines, all of which you have access to. Each discipline requires you to have a method of channeling the spell as well as the stats required and the spell itself. Most spells are found as treasure or purchased. A good rule of thumb is to specialize in one if you are primarily a caster and leave yourself access to useful lower level spells of other disciplines. If you are melee, choose utility or support and a few healing. The Homeward Miracle requires 18 Faith and is a great spell for farming or getting out of tough spots. Although some can be found as drops. Here is a quick overview:
Miracles. Primary Stat: Faith / Medium: Talisman / Requirements: Faith 12/Attunement 10 Starting NPC: Petrus (found near Firelink Shrine), Intermediate NPC: Rhea (found/saved from Tomb of the Giants):later appears in Undead Parish at the altar. Petrus will assassinate her if he is still alive at some point after you save Rhea.
Sorcery. Primary Stat: Intelligence / Medium: Catalyst / Requirments: Intelligence 12/Attunement 10 Starting NPC: Sorceror Griggs of Vinheim (found in Lower Undead Burg in a locked house. Just after you descend the stairs and dispatch the three dogs, go right. Requires the Residence Key(purchased from vendor in Undead Burg for 1k souls)) Intermediate NPC: Big Hat Logan (found/rescued in Sen’s Fortress. later appears in Firelink Shrine. Once progression yields entry into The Duke’s Archives, you must save Logan again. He then appears inside the Archives near the bonfire preceeding entry into the Crystal Cave on the bottom levels of the Archives. A shortcut leading to that bonfire is opened with a switch at the base of a ladder leading to this area initially.
Pyromancy. Primary Stat: Intelligence / Medium: Pyromancy Flame / Requirements: Pyromancy Flame Starting NPC: Laurentis of the Great Swamp (found near the beginning of the Depths), Intermediate NPC: Quelana of Izalith (found at the base of Blighttown near a pillar leading up to Quelaag’s Domain. Requires Pyromancy Flame +10 and the Bed of Chaos Boss must still be alive.
Notable NPC Information:
Patches: Location, near the beginning of Tomb of the Giants. If you approach the dancing lights behind him, he will kick you down a hole into danger. If you like, end him before this happens. He also appears before this in the Catacombs near the first bonfire.
Oswald of Carim: Location, at the base of the Bell Tower AFTER Gargoyles are defeated. He teaches you the Karmic Justice Miracle, sells some other stuff and gives you the ability to atone for your sins. What this does is give you a way to turn NPC hostility towards you back to neutral. For example if you accidently hit or anger an NPC, this will take them back to neutral. It is costly!
Knight Solaire: Location, Undead Burg-opposite Red Dragon before the bridge. Talk to him a few times to start his quest line. He gives you a White Soap Stone, to drop your summon sign. You can summon him multiple times through the game, beginning at the Bell Gargoyle fight in Undead Parish. If he is summoned, boss is defeated and remains alive he will award you with a Sunlight Medal. <-(used to upgrade Warrior of Sunlight covenant). He also appears in Lost Izalith, Anor Londo, Sunlight Altar. If entire quest line is completed correctly he can be summoned for the last battle with Gwyn.
Noteable Information on Tough Areas:
Tomb of the Giants: This area is probably the hardest in the game, especially for people who get frustrated or disoriented by chaotic surroundings. This area is pitch black, save for a few glowing objects (which provide no benefit). To access the later part of this level requires the utmost attention to your surroundings, patience and careful combat maneuvers. Spells you should have are: Light, Healing Miracles, and a few Pyromancy’s minimum. Iron Flesh can also be used on Nito, but shouldn’t be memorized if you have limited slots until the last bonfire.
All enemies down here can kill you individually, and quickly at that. They consist of Giant Skeletal Swordsman/Archers, and a Skeletal Dog and I have found a Black Knight down there as well. They have poor visibility and threat range, but once they know your there, you better buckle down. The dogs are the most difficult due to their sporadic and unrelenting attacks. Defense is key against them, make sure you have a good shield and only swing during there recovery time, once! They recover quickly and one false move could lead you into a multi-hit stun attack to your death or off the side of one of many cliffs. At the lower parts you will see alot of these relatively close to each other. It’s best to “pull” these. With perseverance, patience and some trial and error, you will get through this god-forsaken hell hole.
Sen’s Fortress: This place seems like a nightmare and to most people during their first hour of this place it most likely will be. Sen’s Fortress is a trap infested, serpent man ridden disaster with you in the middle. All these traps are designed to kill you instantly, over a few hits or cause you to fall to your death. The best way to progress through this place is to move with purpose and kill enemies making moving through the traps harder on you, first. The Eagle Shield is a great item to have as mitigates lightning damage fairly well, has good def and fairly light to boot. Watch for rolling boulders, and pressure plates.
Catacombs: This area is easier than the Tomb of Giants but requires a learning curve to figure out. This may be your first experience with a few enemy types in here and they all are more annoying than difficult. First is the exploding heads. You may remember something similar in Demons Souls in the Luminescent Slug Room in the Shrine of Storms. Once you get close, they glow and then explode throwing you back and causing moderate damage. Next are spiked statues. These are more of an obstacle when you happen to be hit by one and get pinned next to a bunch of enemies. Once you are within there range, they throw out 3 barbs that hit, damage and apply a mini stun. You also will see Necromancers in here, carrying lanterns. These guys throw fireballs and at a fast rate, even worse, they respawn skeletons.. making this near impossible if you don’t specifically target and kill these things. Once they are dead, they stay dead, even if you die, reload or leave the area, however the skeletons will still be around. Lastly are pinwheel skeletons. These guys are the worst and could lead to the cheapest death in this game. They don’t do alot of damage, but they seem to hit you into an un-recoverable stun, which ruins the experience for me. Of course the result is death. The best way to combat these guys is to dodge them with your shield up, wait for them to stop spinning and then attack them quickly one at a time. Also like any enemy, try to get them one at a time. You the bonfires wisely, move slowly, kill the necromancers and be cautious around your environment and you’ll learn how to navigate this joint.
Black Phantom: Black Phantoms are souls that invade your world in online or offline play. This occurs at certain points during the game while you are in body form and have not yet defeated the area boss. This lost souls will drop good treasure once defeated.
Gold/Blue Phantom: Helpful NPC’s that can be summoned to assist you in difficult boss encounters. Some require you to be in body form. Click their summon sign, which appears as a white, rune-like writing on the ground near a boss. If you summon one of these phantoms and successfully defeat the area boss and keep them alive, they can be summoned at later encounters.
Red Phantom: You are invaded by another player online.
Boss Strategies: Below are going to be a list of encounters with boss monsters and useful ways to deal with them.
Asylum Boss: (Undead Asylum 1st encounter) Run through the door on the left, with just a sword hilt you don’t have a chance. On game+ of course this is different. When you come to the fog gate later in the level, you will have your equipment and a suitable weapon. Enter. Two hand your weapon by pressing (triangle). You will see him below you looking up. Drop off towards his face and press R1 midair to perform a plunge attack for huge damage. Once you land strike another time and roll away to avoid damage. Finish him off to move on. A shield doesn’t do much for you in this fight, avoid using one if you can.
Asylum Boss/Stray Demon: (Undead Asylum 2nd encounter) After returning to the Asylum, proceed into the main chamber and you will fall through the floor. Immediately heal! This boss has few attacks, but powerful ones. The melee can be avoided by running towards him and trying to stay behind. His AoE is devastating and consists of a frontal cone as well as a small amount just behind him. If you are reasonable distance away from him you will avoid this entirely, if not, put up your shield to help. The best place to fight this guy is behind him. You want to avoid and then attack, then back away to avoid again. It will take some time, but with persistence you will find your groove and learn his “tells”. He also can fly, as he does, just move away from him. He drops a Titanite Slab.
Taurus Demon: (Undead Burg, 1st fog gate) As you come out turn around to your right and you’ll see a ladder. Kill the 2 undead and go back down. Walk about 70-80% of the way down this path to trigger Taurus. Once you seem him show up, even before his bar is displayed, sprint the other way back to the ladder and climb up. This is the same as the first boss in the Asylum. You’ll see him looking up at you. Two hand your weapon, drop off, and R1 in midair. If you managed to find the pine resin earlier in this level, coat your weapon with it before this for even more damage. After you land, sprint right between his legs to the other side. As you approaches from the other side sprint to him and he’ll jump over you trying to hit you. You’ll go right between his legs. Continue sprinting to the ladder again. Do the same as above. 2-3 hits should kill him depending on your damage, 1 hand/ 2 hand, and enchants. This is another example of a shield not being useful, just take it off for this one.
Red Dragon: (bridge connecting Undead Burg to Undead Parish) First time you encounter him, make sure to shoot his tail off, by using a bow from the bottom of this bridge. There are two ways to get around this guy easily. The first is a glitch. As you enter the Undead Parish for the first time, you’ll come out into a walkway/courtyard type area. A large locked gate to your left with a set of stairs directly next to you and a undead soldier to your right. If you go up the stairs next to you, you’ll find a Black Knight at the top. You can shoot the dragon from here with one arrow and kill him and without getting the attention of the Black Knight if you are careful. On game 1, this yields 10k souls. The other way is by going to the top of the bridge and running down to the stairs on the right. Once he kills all the undead in the middle, go back out and roll to the left/opposite side. Fire an arrow at him. He will fly down to you. Run around him on the right side and into the walled section he was guarding. Afterwards he just fly’s off. No souls though for this method.
Skull Dragon: (Valley of Drakes/Painted World of Ariamis) These guys are easily taken our with arrows. There is no sense in making a boss encounter more difficult just at the expense of souls. Purchase fire or heavy arrows, sit back and let loose.
Bell Gargoyles: (Cathedral-Undead Parish) The battle begins with one of two gargoyles. Once the first is around 50% health, the second will join the fray. They are easily dispatched with careful play, spin around to the back, avoid the fire and try to watch yourself as you can fall off. You can also summon Knight Solaire to join you in this fight.
Capra Demon: (Lower Undead Burg) This guy is annoying and can be a game killer until you figure out a small window of opportunity, especially your first time through. When you enter this area you are instantly assailed by 2 dogs and Capra, a dual wielding monstrosity. Immediately put your shield up and run to the far right side of the screen. This will give you some room to maneuver. Once past them, go up the stairs to your left and hug the wall. This will give you space to create between you, the dogs and the boss Capra and as a result giving you the ability to pick off the dogs, heal or cast a spell. Once the dogs are dealt with, Capra is easily dispatched using regular tactics. Just watch for his “charge” attack. He will grip both swords in both hands for devastation. Everything else can be blocked.
Gaping Dragon: (The Depths) This guy looks alot worse than he is. With patience, Rusted Iron Ring and a decent weapon, you should be able to take this guy out with minimal to no damage being done to you. First off, there will be a caster at the top of this area that needs to be killed prior to your engagement with G. Dragon. He can be found like this: from the bonfire in the depths, take your first right. Proceed down the stairs and go straight ahead. Follow the path left and eventually you will come to a fog gate. Go through and you’ll find the caster and 3 rats. After he is dead, he will be so permanently. Go back to the boss gate and begin. His attacks are easy to spot and can be avoided easily. The first I’m going to call “slam”. He will rear up, and slam is tentacle/teeth head into the ground in a large radius in front of him. Just move out of the way. He is vulnerable during this attacks for a short time. Then after “slam” he will walk almost directly forward for a short distance. He is vulnerable for a moderate duration after this. This boss can fly and this attack is the worst in his arsenal. If he takes air, just move in any direction away from him and he should miss you every time. This is in part due to your fast movement, especially if you are using the Rusted Iron Ring. There also is a barf type attack that degrades your equipment, he literally looks as though he is going to puke and you should just run as far away from him as you can. The range on this is huge. Gaping Dragon also has a tail swipe which can be avoided by staying away from it. You can cut it off for a rare weapon. At the very back of this area is a pit (where he originated from), if you go back there.. you dead!
Queen Quelaag: (Quelaag’s Domain) She is relatively easy if you avoid particular attacks. The spider will spit lava around her in an arc and if that hits you it can be game over as it stuns you and causes moderate damage. This leaves you vulnerable and unable to cast. Spin circles around her and wait for openings. She has a frontal AoE, similar to that of Stray Demon. Also a series of fire-based sword strikes. These can all be blocked, but you will take damage. If you are having trouble with her, you can summon Maneater Mildred just to the right of the bonfire, by being in human form and defeating her Black Phantom form first, then summoning her using the sign. Mildred will distract Quelaag if nothing else and is a big help as a result.
Pinwheel: (Catacombs) This guy is weird. He will clone himself and have copies around the room. All of which can damage you with the primary fire based ranged attack. Get aggressive in this fight, equip some flame resistance stuff and put the hurt on. He doesn’t have much hp and isn’t that difficult but you can get overwhelmed if you don’t lay the smack down early on. Try to stay away from casting spells unless they mitigate fire damage or are ranged damage spells. Also these would be best to cast ahead of time if possible. Defeating him will net you the Right of Kindling, which will make Anor Londo easier.
Iron Golem: (Sen’s Fortress) Iron Golem is similar to the Tower Knight from Demon’s Souls. His attack throws a shock wave through the air, which is better avoided than blocked. This attack will dissipate if you place rubble or wall between you and it. He has 1 attack that must be avoided at all costs. It’s a grab move. If you are in front for whatever reason and he lunges at you, roll between his legs. It is a good idea to remain behind him as often as you can. When he attempts to melee you, roll towards him aiming to be behind him. He will miss you every time. The way to kill him is not to directly damage him, but to damage his legs, and only one at that. Once he has sustained enough damage to one of his legs he will be staggered. Attack the leg he is favoring and he will fall to the ground. Two hand your weapon or cast to your hearts content to bring him the rest of the way down, he should die before getting back up. It’s also best not to lock on.
Dark Sun Gwyndolin: (found at the 2nd bonfire in Anor Londo). You need the Darkmoon Seance Ring to get this area. This boss is optional. Enter the fog gate to engage the boss and break the Darkmoon Covenant. A few basic attacks, easy to dodge but boss can be frustrating. This is a ranged onslaught. If he raises up but you see no casting animation, he is going to throw knives. These can be blocked. If he raises up and you see blue, he will cast homing soul mass. These can be avoided by being being a pillar on either side. His best attack is a large orb, that he fires. You can roll through this or run around it. Move or roll at the appropriate time to avoid. The object is to avoid his attacks while moving closer to him. If you get too close he will began to teleport away. The best bet is to test this distance, wait for him to attack and then sprint next to him, two hand your weapon or cast. You should be able to get in 3-4 attacks or 2 spells. It is entirely possible to kill him without being hit. Make sure to explore the chamber beyond for 3 treasure chests.
Dragonslayer Ornstein/Smough🙁found in the Cathedral at the center of Anor Londo) This will be one of if not the hardest fight in the game. A trying experience indeed. If you are planning on going after platinum or completing multiple playthroughs on one character I suggest you kill Smough first on your first play through. He is the fat one with the huge hammer. This will in fact leave the more difficult boss for last, but doing so on your first play through will be better than when he is more difficult on game+ or after. You will want a fire and lightning based weapon, preferably maxed out if you can. You will also want the ability to mitigate a moderate amount of physical and lightning damage. If you have progressed Solaire of Astora, you can summon him for this fight making it 200% easier.Lightning Spear/Quelaag’s Fury Sword are good choices here, along with upgraded Eagle Shield(Blighttown)
Smough is weak to lightning believe it or not and Ornstein Fire. Lock on to Smough and circle him counter clockwise. His attacks will drain your stamina no matter how big, best way is to step out of the range of his attacks all together. He has an attack that makes him jump and do a ground pound. This is when he is most vulnerable, unload on him. Outside of that attack, it is a good rule of thumb to keep a pillar in between you and him. Look for openings, do not get greedy. It’s ok to two hand something when he is wide open, just make sure to give yourself time to recover. After he is dead Ornstein gets big.
Ornstein now is stronger. There is really only one attack you need to watch out for. It’s a lunge attack while his spear is charged with lightning. If he hits with it, you are impaled and then a burst of lightning explodes throwing you off the spear. It may be an insta-kill depending on your damage resistance and health. A good rule of them against Ornstein is to keep a pillar in between him and you, roll under his attacks and stay close to him. Bait him to use Smough’s ground pound (watch out for lightning AoE damage) then go in for some hits. (don’t forget to use fire on him) The rest of his attacks can be blocked for minimal or no damage. Do not get careless, stay close to him, avoid the charged thrust attack and you should walk out of this one. Remember if at all possible keep Solaire alive as he can be summoned in future boss battles and earns you a Sunlight Medal.
The only difference to the above strat is killing Ornstein first, which makes the 2nd phase easier. Smough will now have enchanted attacks of the lightning element. Use above strategy on him and he will go down easier than Ornstein.
Great Wolf God Sif: (Darkroot Garden-Grove of Artorias) One of my favorite fights. You square off with an ancient, arrogant, demi-god. The attacks are telegraphed fairly easily. Sif jumps around alot as well. You probably won’t get more than 2-3 hits at any given time and very well may only manage 1. At the beginning he will charge at you. It’s best to run and roll under it. At mid range he will swipe at you and then come back the other way. If you get hit twice, even with a shield up, expect to take moderate to heavy damage. If you stay away during this, he likes to follow it up with a slam attack with good range. It’s extends in a straight line. You can roll to the side to avoid, or block. There is also a spinning attack that does fairly good damage. He’ll grip the sword and spin. Another version, much weaker is a type of evasion. He’ll spin and jump hitting you as he leaves range. Usually this is automatically blocked if you shield is up and it doesn’t do too much. Once you learn the moves he can be brought down easily. There is a good ring in this area behind the altar-like stone structure where you triggered him. (Hornet Ring- increased critical damage) <- effective for backstab and parry/retort
Boss Fights to Unlock Kiln of the First Flame and Lord of Cinder Gwyn
Seath the Scaleless: (Crystal Cave) This guy looks terrible but is actually a pushover. The first time you encounter him in Duke’s Archives he kills you without a chance. Just make sure to not get cursed. It may also be a good idea if you have alot of souls or humanity, to equip a ring of sacrifice before going in for the first time or spending all your souls before hand. For the 2nd and final confrontation, you just need to bait his attacks, stay in close for a few seconds and then run back to avoid his retort. Begin by breaking the crystal pillar in the back of the cave, breaking his invulnerability. Then kite him to the middle of the room giving you some space. Then wait for him to rear back. As he does this, sprint in to his body (front) and beat him up. After you hear the crystals break, retreat out to avoid his next attack. Rinse and repeat. You can also cut his tail off for the Sword of Moonlight. An intelligence based greatsword with a bonus ranking of A. This is best got at the beginning of the fight. If you wait or are unsuccessful, you will have to deal with tail slams and swipes. You must cut off the big tail in the middle, the ones of the sides damage him but do not yield the weapon. Seath’s Soul must be surrendered to the Lordvessel at Firelink Altar.
Gravelord Nito: (Tomb of the Giants) This guy also looks terrible but is surprisingly easy. Equip a good weapon and use green herb or Cloranthy Ring to boost stamina regen. Stay close to him and his melee will miss. Once in a while he will charge a dark energy AoE. Just black it and deal with the damage. Run around him and attack from the sides and back as much as possible. His AoE will also kill the re-spawning skeletons that are in there, so you don’t need to deal with them at all. If you do, make sure you are using an upgraded divine weapon. (at least +5) Going two handed is fine in this fight, but make sure you shield up for the AoE. He should go down fast. This soul goes to the Lordvessel as well.
The Four Kings: (New Londo Ruins/Abyss) This boss can be hard to get to, but once you figure out how, you can run there without fighting much more than an enemy or two. It’s a single life bar, but attached to an unending supply of Knights. Each of them take approximately 20-25% of the total health. So you will kill 4-5 of them. The ranged, slow moving purple stuff is hard to dodge and does alot of damage. The name of the game here is to bring the pain and burn through each of them. If you drag the fight on too long it’s game over. Kill quick, move to the next, block if you have to. Move in close and let em have it. One the first game, they shouldn’t be much of a problem if you are prepared and have decent stats/gear/tactics. Soul to Lordvessel.
Bed of Chaos: (Lost Izalith) Gimic style fight. There are 3 targets to this boss and each one much be taken out in order to finish. You begin by sliding down a ramp into the boss area. You’ll see bright orange globes within some briar/roots on the far left and right. These are the first two targets. Watch out for the swiping arms, hug the outer wall and make your way to the first. After you take it out the boss will sprout a flaming scythe like arm. The floor will also give way. Try to make your way to the other side. If you fall in or are killed, don’t worry the boss encounter still has your progress and you do not need to take the first target out again. After the 2nd is gone, the hardest part awaits. There is a single root in the middle that you need to jump to from the edge above right in the middle. You have to watch out for Firestorm spell, 2 scythe like arms and the 2 regular arms. Jumpt to the root below and watch as you run up to not get hit by the arms moving side to side. Roll through the roots in the middle until you get to the heart below. This thing is a one hit kill for you but can dish out horrendous damage if you are careless. You can also be hit inside him the flaming scythe arms. After the heart is gone, the boss soul is yours. This also goes to the Lordvessel.
After all Lord Souls are returned to the Lordvessel, the door to the Kiln of the First Flame will open.
Great Lord Gwyn, Lord of Cinder: (Kiln of 1st Flame)
Side Bosses/Mini Boss
Hydra: (Darkroot Basin, Ash Lake) Hydra is daunting at a glance but very easy once you get the hand of it. At range, all the heads will fire a water attack at you. If it hits, you will most likely be knocked down and take moderate to heavy damage. This attack can be avoided by simply running towards Hyrda. Your target is to get close enough for him to melee, doing so will stop him from spitting water. You have a small section of land in the water to stand on. Note: If you go too far, you can fall off and die! When he is attacks, he will rear back and all the heads will fly at you. Just put up your shield. You should block everything. Immediately look around you and attack the heads. 2-3 hits should kill each head and take life off the bar. Rinse and Repeat until all heads are done. Note: The Hydra in Ash Lake is slightly harder, but battled the same way.
Moonlight Butterfly: (Darkroot Garden) Extremely east boss to kill for melee fighters or casters for that matter. The attacks are all ranged and one AoE(explained later). You can block everything for minimal damage or roll to avoid. There is also a reasonable amount of time in between so you may go 10 seconds without being attacked. They are also all magic based, so if you have the Crystal Ring Shield, this dude won’t do squat to you. After a while, Moonlight will fly around a bit and land next to the bridge within melee range. Unload! 2 Handed, everything you have. You should easily kill it on your first game. If Moonlight isn’t killed, eventually you will see a green orb begin to form. This is the AoE. If you are concerned you will not bring it down fast enough. Just put up your shield and back away during this to avoid it. It is by far the most powerful attack. I was able to kill it in 4 swings my first time.
Centipede Demon: (Demon Ruins) Annoying is the name of the game here. He will come from the other side of the lava and rush you. There really isn’t a great strategy to this guy, other than to avoid as much as you can. Seems the safest place is to be under him. Sometimes he will jump up in the air. When he does roll away. At the beginning he will throw his arm at you, roll to avoid. Once you do enough damage to his arm, it will fall off yielding the Orange Ring (greatly reduced hp loss while walking lava and no stun). Try to keep your back to the fog gate at least in direction. If you hits you in the lava, your done.
Demon Firesage: (Demon Ruins) This guy is just like the Asylum Demon/Stray Demon. Frontal cone AoE, melee attacks and the ground pound. Stay close to him, bait the ground pound, move and attack. He will do this over and over if you are in the correct range. Shouldn’t be too hard. The AoE can be avoided by being behind him a ways or blocked for light damage. Also you take less the farther you are away. It seems to have a smaller range and potency than that of the Stray Demon within the Asylum.
Crossbreed Priscilla: (Painted World of Ariamis) You begin neutral with her and must attack in order to trigger the battle. For this reason, she is optional, you do not need to fight her. In fact after reading this if you do not wish to do so, just walk past her to the end of the bridge to leave the Painted World of Ariamis. When you begin, again if you wish to acquire rare weapons, 2 hand your best weapon and attack her tail first to start the fight. If you cut that off you get a rare weapon. Shortly after, she will go INVISIBLE. This can be countered with poison/toxic cloud. I got it to tick on her and it left the animation on her. You can also look on the ground to see her foot prints. After she has taken enough damage, she will revert back to being visible. After you do a little more damage, she goes Invis again. Her attacks cause bleeding. Bring moss if you have some. It’s safe most of the time to roll away and sprint to heal. Try to stay away from spells unless they are AoE, or support. Iron Flesh may be a good choice if you just want to hash things out.