A Fine Dark Souls III to You [Finished]

Welcome to my Let’s Play of Dark Souls III, released in March 2016 in Japan and in April of the same year in the rest of the world. Most consider this game an action RPG, I prefer to classify it as a slow paced action game with some RPG elements. But that doesn’t roll of the tongue as easily. The series is known for being quite difficult but the difficulty is only one aspect of the game and more of a result of its atmosphere. Dark Souls III continues the proud Souls tradition of putting you into a world close to its end. And this time it is even closer than in the first two games because the Lords of Cinder who were supposed to link the fire refused to do so. And so we awaken. What are we? Not a chosen undead, like before. We’re a nameless, accursed undead, unfit to even be cinder. And so it is that ash seeketh embers.

Before we go on, I’d like to say that if you feel like you want to play this game at any point during the LP: Stop watching and go play it! A first run of a Souls game should be as blind as possible.

This LP features two runs. The first one aims to be comprehensive and informative with solo commentary. As I’ll go through the game more thoroughly this one will have considerably more videos. The second run will be a more casual romp. Most of the time I’ll just head straight for the boss In the first half of my videos I’m accompanied by Krimsh, Interrupter Jones, JunpeiHyde and in one video BFC. For the second half I have recruited shibbotech and Skippy Granola.

While it’s not required I encourage you to play the previous souls games yourself. Or at the very least watch an LP. Some recommendations can be found below.

Dark Souls by Geop - Blind run, with informed co-commentators
Dark Souls by Zain - Informative commentary
Dark Souls by me - The dude who made this is so hot!
Dark Souls II by me - My god, that voice and that accent! In case my sexuality is not already aligned properly to be sexually attracted to this man I will spontaneously do so now.

After finishing the first of the two Dark Souls III DLCs I also replayed and streamed Dark Souls and Dark Souls II but if you’re going into this LP blind I only recommend watching these until after the parts covering the Ashes of Ariandel DLC as I may or may not mention aspects of Dark Souls III up to that point.

(Pre-emptively answered questions)

Q: Wait, so there’s two runs? Do I have to watch both to get the whole experience?
A: No, both runs are self-contained. They could be considered two separate LPs if you like. I just like to do some more casual videos as a bonus to my huge serious-pants LPs.

Q: Are you a real pro at this game? I don’t want to see no casual scrub stumblin’ around. Git gud!!!
A: I’ve extensively played this game since it came out but not as extensively as you because I actually have a job and friends. I wouldn’t consider myself a “pro” I’m more of a “casual” player of this “core” game. Which is more an attitude thing than a skill thing, really. But don’t worry I’m competent enough. And even if I weren’t: I know how to edit. Still, I think I can consider myself a veteran, having started with Demon’s Souls. And yes, I lifted this Question and the Answer straight from the FAQ of my Dark Souls II LP.

Q: There’ll be DLC eventually. Either that or the Season Pass is for nothing. Will you do that too?
A: Only if it doesn’t suck (Future Update: It didn’t suck). Which, considering the track record DLCs for Souls games have so far it’s probably gonna be the best part of the game. So hell yes I’m gonna do it! (Future Update: Hell yeah, I did it!)

This LP consists of two runs. The comprehensive run will be on the left and is numbered. Clicking here will link to the update post, if there is one, or directly to the video. The casual run is on the right of the banner and is lettered. It offers a quicker run through the areas and the commentary is more on the humorous side. No thanks to me because I’m notoriously unfunny, but there’s co-commentators.

After finishing the first of the DLCs and waiting for the second I decided to play through Dark Souls and Dark Souls II again and stream it.

I’m uploading edited versions of the VODs to Youtube. Click on the banners below to find a Youtube playlist. As of the time of this writing the first game’s videos are complete while the second game’s are still being edited and uploaded.

After not having played the game since my LP ended back in May 2013 I come back for one more round in anticipation of the series finale to see how well it holds up. It’s still a very enjoyable experience but I sure wish there was omnidirectional dodging when locked on. You’ll hear me complain about that a lot, but don’t think that soured my experience. I do still believe it’s a fantastic title.

Despite being my least favorite Souls title by a pretty good margin I was always one of the defenders of Dark Souls II. Scholar, overall, improved the thing (for the most part) toning down quite a few of the worse encounters. I have only played this version once before so I’m not quite used to it. Since it’s the only game with powerstancing I went with dual Ultra Greatswords eventually because why not?

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Iudex Gundyr is latin and translates to Ashen Judge. He is the boss of the tutorial area and boy is he a boss. While the tutorial boss of Dark Souls was designed to be defeated by most people on their first try, and the expected first boss of Dark Souls II was fairly simple too this is quite a step up. If you have experience with Souls games he isn’t anything you can’t handle but let’s just put on the shoes of someone who’s never played a Souls game before. This can take a newcomer quite a few tries.

In phase one he’s pretty straight forward. A big armored dude with a big weapon swinging said weapon. Y’know, just how a lot of Dark Souls II bosses were. Gundyr also has a little but of a shoulder ram that comes out relatively quickly. Once he reaches 50% of his health, though, Phase two begins.

Blackness erupts from a spot in his neck and a giant black… thing… just kind of sticks out of him, attacking you. If you’re locked on it can easily block your entire view if you’re too close. I personally never had to dodge many of its attacks, though, because what I tried when I first fought him seemed to be a good strategy: Just stand behind him. The only two things he can do are turn, in which case you strafe accordingly, or jump up, trying to crush you upon landing. If he does that just move away and then carry on as usual.

Depending on your starting class he can be harder or easier, though, he’s probably the most diffucult with the Thief. Unless you’re good at parrying of course. But even if you don’t you can get through phase one with your dagger and bow. For phase two you can use the firebombs you found to take care of him. So it’s not like the game doesn’t give you any options. I haven’t measured time or anything, but if you use the Warrior as a starting class you can probably kill Gundyr the quickest, as the weapon’s special skill buffs its damage output and the weapon itself isn’t exactly weak either. The easiest kill will probably be the Sorcerer’s or the Pyromancer’s. The Pyromancer has the damage advantage here while the Sorcerer has a greater range. Essentially those two classes allow you to stay at a reasonable distance and still do decent damage.

Dark Souls III:
The Darksign is the sign of an accursed Undead.
The Darksign returns its bearer to the last bonfire rested at, or the bonfire at Firelink Shrine, but at the cost of all souls held.
Carriers of the Darksign are reborn after death, and eventually lose their minds, turn Hollow. And so it is they are driven from their homeland.

Dark Souls II:
An accursed mark. The Darksign induces death, returning the player to the last bonfire rested at, at the cost of all souls held.
Do what you must to gather the pieces, scraping them into some semblance of a whole, before the will to do so fades."

Dark Souls:
The Darksign signifies an accursed Undead. Those branded with it are reborn after death, but will one day lose their mind and go Hollow.
Death triggers the Darksign, which returns its bearer to the last bonfire rested at, but at the cost of all humanity and souls.

Estus Flask
Dark Souls III:
The Undead treasure these dull green flasks. Fill with Estus at bonfires, and drink to restore HP. The journey of an Undead has always traced the bonfires, and no journey of import has been made without an Estus Flask.

Dark Souls II:
A green glass bottle of unknown make. Fill it with Estus at a bonfire, and drink from it to restore HP.
The nature of the link between the Estus flasks and the bonfires that illuminate the world of the Undead is entirely unknown.
But that is of little concern, for any Undead knows the value of these precious flasks.

Dark Souls:
The Undead treasure these dull green flasks. Fill with Estus at bonfire. Fills HP.
The Estus Flasks are linked to the Fire Keepers. The Dark Tales also make reference:
An emerald flask, from the Keeper’s soul. She lives to protect the flame, And dies to protect it further

Ashen Estus Flask
Undead treasure these dull ashen flasks.
Fill with Estus at bonfires, and drink to restore FP.
Quite befitting of an Unkindled, an Ashen Estus Flask turns a bonfire’s heat cold.

Coiled Sword
Sword missing from the shrine bonfire. Cannot be equipped as a weapon. Thrust into the shrine bonfire to restore its power and enable travel between bonfires.
This sword is only bequeathed to chosen ash, as judged by the Iudex, who awaits the arrival of ash as a scabbard.

No Unkindled can ever truly claim the embers that burn within a champion’s bosom, which is precisely what makes their yearning for warmth so keen.
Gain the strength of flame and increased max HP until death.
With the strength of fire, the summoning signs of Unkindled become visible, and seekers of embers can be summoned to join in co-operating. But beware, the embers may also attract invaders.
Note: The inventory sprite for the Ember has a similar shape to that of Humanity from the first Dark Souls.

Homeward Bone
Dark Souls III:
Bone fragment reduced to white ash. Return to the last bonfire used for resting, or to the shrine bonfire.
Bonfires are sustained by the bones of the Undead. In rare cases, their previous owner’s strong urge to seek bonfires enchants their bones with a homeward instinct.

Dark Souls II:
A white-ashen bone. Return to last bonfire rested at.
Bonfires burn on the bones of Undead and this bone, belonging to one whose journey was cut short, has the power to travel to bonfires. As if it yearns to resume its futile quest…

Dark Souls:
Bone fragment reduced to white ash.
Return to last bonfire used for resting.
Bonfires are fueled by the bones of the Undead. In rare cases, the strong urge of their previous owner’s to seek bonfires enchants their bones with a homeward instinct.

Estus Shard
Dark Souls III:
A shard soaked in Estus.
Give to the blacksmith at the shrine to increase usages of the Estus Flask.
In the old days, it was rare to see an Estus Flask far from its owner, but this shard offers hope, however shattered.

Dark Souls II:
The shard of an Estus Flask. Shards are deeply soaked in Estus. Graft the shard to an Estus Flask to increase flask uses.
Over the ages, countless souls rested their bones as they drank from the original flask. And now this shard remains, serving as a vestige of their hopes and dreams.

For those curious, I will not include item descriptions with every update, I’ll save those for when we’ve cleared an area, or most of it. I will, of course, also only include info about the boss if we actually face one, duh. Sometimes I may find something else to talk about, like today!

How the Level design in Dark Souls III guides the player
I briefly touched on this in the video but didn’t feel like it was a good idea to elaborate on it right then and there in the interest of pacing.

There are quite a few tricks Dark Souls III and some other games use to guide the player without literally pointing an arrow towards the general direction of the objective or having a neat line on the floor show you where to go. Let’s take the spot I briefly talked about in the video, for instance, and go all the way to the bonfire from there:

You’re standing on on a ledge near a ladder, looking down. You see there’s an enemy but he doesn’t move or even seem to be looking in your direction. So you are climbing down the ladder and you’ll most likely be facing towards the wall, which will allow you to spot a path right next to the door. Because the level designers want you to know there’s a path. However, they think it’s better for you to go there later since it’s actually a much longer and somewhat more difficult route through the level. And here comes the hollow from before, shooting you with a crossbow, which does relatively little damage as rangers are mostly used to put pressure on the player, not necessarily to kill them.

Since the enemy is very hesitant to move you’ll just move in to kill the single enemy. Only around the corner there are more enemies who are now about to attack. So you move in to fight and once you’re done you’ll probably spot another ladder. You are likely to just go down to what appears to be a single small platform, maybe hiding an item but there’s a path further on. Since you went this far already you might decide to just move on that way, which is the short path through the level. And from here the game tries to guide you to the shortcut back to the first bonfire.

You may be low on Estus at this point if this is your first run, maybe even out of it. So the next, more powerful, enemy is easy to avoid, just patrolling around a well. In fact. It’s a simple matter to just run past him as long as you have a little patience. You’re even able to pick up the treasure without drawing his attention. Once you left this room again your gaze is directed towards an important looking church-like building and the really tough knight enemies are patrolling around in a pattern that would make it impossible to just sneak by. You know they are tough because there was one right in your way before you reached the second bonfire of the level. So maybe not a good path to take. But where to go?

Without having to look for a path you get hit in the back with a crossbow bolt again to show you a path… again. So on you go, to kill that enemy. But even though this game is incredibly nice to you doing that, without you realizing it, it also makes sure you know it’s not your friend by placing an enemy in a way so it can attack you from behind easily. It’s a tough kind of love. In this example, after all, you get guided by being shot in the back. But since you probably don’t want to deal with the Knight that patrol the church you’ll check that other path out and are on your way to the shortcut, with just regular hollows in the way, though, there is an ambush on the way there, but it only feature four of the weakest enemies you can find in the area.

The most obvious tools the game uses to subtly guide the player are:
Enemies: Monsters established as dangerous may make you go the other way, a lack of enemies altogether may make you favor a path etc.
Items: Their glow is quite eye-catching, it’s used both to draw your attention towards certain spots, often to reveal paths that you can’t reach yet but the game wants you to be aware of. Sometimes they are also just a trap, of course)
Light sources: There is some lantern or fire near a lot doors or ladders or other points of interest. Sometimes just for flavour, obviously. But remember Blighttown from Dark Souls and the Valley of Defilement from Demon’s Souls? Both of those areas guide you simply by making you follow the light in the most literal way.

I think this type of game design is great as it manages to hold one’s hand without insulting one’s intelligence, but it also sometimes gives you a slap on the wrist just to remind you who you’re dealing with and if it’s feeling particularly devious it may just clothesline you face first into a wall if you don’t pay enough attention. It’s a though kind of love that rubs some players the wrong way. One drawback of this kind of design that I can think of is that not all pieces fall into place every time because different people just play games differently. For instance, that path down the ladder from the beginning of our trip? I didn’t even see it on my first playthrough, because I was too focused on the enemy facing away near the corner down the ladder. But that still made me go down the easier path, I simply missed out on the optional, longer, route for the time being, though, I did find it during a second run I did to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

For the regular LP click on the banner in the middle (or the number) You may also click on the letter A for Episode A!
Episode A features Interrupter Jones and Krimsh who also accompanied me for the bonus episodes of my Dark Souls II LP. We do not take this very seriously and I am a Kayfabe Brazilian??? We also go through the game faster but I didn’t know that when we went through the Cemetery of Ash so that part took me a whole five minutes.

Also, I barely explain anything about NG+, essentially enemies scale up a bit, you get to keep your stuff from the first playthrough, there’s new rings in set locations and… that’s it.

Vordt of the Boreal Valley:

Vordt of the Boreal Valley is the first proper boss. While Iudex Gundyr was definitely the hardest Tutorial boss of any Souls game Vordt is among the harder actual first bosses too, perhaps easier than the two bosses you can encounter as your first in Bloodborne but definitely more challenging than the Taurus Demon from Dark Souls as well as both the Dragon Rider and the Last Giant from Dark Souls II. So don’t feel too bad if you die a couple times. Even I as a veteran died to what I know think is a pretty simple boss once or twice during my first run.

Before the fight you have a chance to inspect the arena. There’s no geography you can use for strategic purposes but you’ll notice that the ground is very uneven and heavily damaged, most likely due to multiple heavy impacts. Possibly by a giant mace. Additionally, the giant gate you’re supposed to go through is shut tight by roots, implying that it hasn’t been opened in a long while.

The fight starts slow and simple the music does a nice job of setting the atmosphere here. Vordt pretty much only has a few swings with his giant mace to fend you off. He can do a dash to close some distance and smash his fist down on the ground. It’s easiest to just stay under him But once half of his health bar is depleted the fight heats up.

In the second phase Vordt grows much more aggressive and the music tries to keep up with him. One of the most obvious examples of the music dynamically adjusting to the fight reaching another phase. In additon to his attacks from phase two he can now dash attack you. He normally does it up to three times but some report that he can do it a fourth time as well. If you notice him inhaling it’s your chance to get behind him or to his side and hit him a few times because you don’t want to be in front of him anyway. He’ll breathe ice on you in a wide arc. It induces frostbite, like most of his attacks, which decreases your stamina regeneration as well as your defense and does a little damage too. Unfortunately staying under him is not all that safe anymore in the second phase as he can now smash his mace down for some AoE damage. If you get under him it’s best to retreat after a few hits to be safe.

If we read the descriptions of his Soul as well as the weapon and the ring we can make from it (further below) we get an idea of who Vordt is: An Outrider Knight under the command of a Pontiff Sulyvahn(Whoever that is, at this point in the game we don’t know) who gave Vordt a Ring that turned him from a regular humanoid knight into the beast that we see in the boss fight. We also learn that he was not dispatched on his own. There’s mention of a “fleeting dancer” being by his side.

Soul of Vordt of the Boreal Valley
Soul of Vordt of the Boreal Valley.
One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use to acquire many souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
Vordt served as an outrider knight, never far from the fleeting dancer.

Vordt’s Great Hammer (made from Soul of Vordt)
Great Hammer wielded by Vordt, the outrider knight of the Boreal Valley. Weapon is imbued with frost, and causes frostbite.
Frost accumulates in the body causing frostbite, which saps one’s health, lowers absorption, and slows stamina recovery.
Skill: Perseverance - Anchor weapon in earth to temporarily boost poise. Damage reduced while activated.

Pontiff’s Left Eye (made from Soul of Vordt)
Bewitched ring that Pontiff Sulyvahn bestowed upon his knights.
Recovers HP with successive attacks.
Knights who peer into the black orb are lured into battles of death, transformed into frenzied beasts. No wonder the Pontiff only provides these rings to those dispatched to foreign lands.

Dungeon Cell Key
Key to a cell holding thieves and the like.
There is no shortage of brash thieves in Lothric and these particular thieves likely scaled the wall from the Undead Settlement.
But they are only willing to practice their thievery on the High Wall, for their fear of Lothric Castle, rumored to devour men, keeps them clear of its grounds.

Blue Tearstone Ring
A ring set with a large rare tearstone jewel. Temporarily boosts damage absorption when HP is low.
This stone is said to be a tear of sorrow of the goddess Caitha, and of course, tears are always more beautiful near death.

Small Lothric Banner
Small banner held by Lothric messengers. Hold up outside the main castle gate to be greeted by an escort.
When the High Wall appeared, the path to the Undead Settlement was blocked, and messengers came bearing this banner. They were sent out with a duty, but had no way of returning.

Alluring Skull
Dark Souls III:
A skull resplendent in the scent of souls. Prepared by evangelists of the Cathedral of the Deep.
Throw to shatter, spreading souls which attract enemies. Not effective for all foes.

Dark Souls II:
A skull of unknown ownership.
Smashing it releases traces of souls, which can attract nearby foes.
Does not work on all enemies, but can prove useful in unexpected ways.

Dark Souls:
A skull with meekly lingering souls. Throw to shatter and spread souls to attract certain types of enemies.
Souls are a concentration of life, and the life-starved Hollows are lured by its power. Not effective for all enemies.

Undead Hunter Charm (Lloyd’s Talisman in Dark Souls and Dark Souls II)
Dark Souls III:
Tool used to hunt down the Undead. Block Estus recovery within a limited area.
Used long ago by Lloyd’s cleric knights on their Undead hunts. Although Allfather Lloyd is long forgotten by the Way of White, his hunts have lived on, and this charm allows one to challenge Undead without fear of tenacious healing.

Dark Souls II:
Talisman used by cleric knights. Blocks Estus recovery within a limited area.
It is said that the cleric knights used these talismans to hunt down accursed Undead.
Cleric knights fight with pride, and by blocking the recovery of the Undead, they can also fight with impunity.

Dark Souls:
Talisman utilized by Allfather Lloyd’s cleric knights to hunt down the Undead.
Blocks Estus recovery within a limited area.
In the outside world, the Undead are accursed creatures, and Lloyd’s cleric knights are widely praised for their Undead hunts. This blessed talisman blocks Undead recovery, allowing the knights to fight with impunity.

Astora Straight Sword
Dark Souls III: A well-crafted sword named after the ruined land.
Astora, before its fall, was a land replete with royal blood, and this weapon is both a reminder and heirloom of that era.
Skill: Stance - While in stance, use normal attack to break a foe’s guard from below, and strong attack to slash upwards with a forward lunge.

Dark Souls:
Straight sword of an unknown knight, likely one of Astora’s superiors.
High-quality weapon with a powerful blessing.

Lothric Knight Sword
A well-crafted straight sword designed for thrusting attacks, wielded by the venerable Knights of Lothric.
The Knights of Lothric, with their drakes, once crushed anything that threatened their shores. Of course, that was a long, long time ago.
Skill: Stance - While in stance, use normal attack to break a foe’s guard from below, and strong attack to slash upwards with a forward lunge.

Lothric Knight Shield
Shield of the renowned Lothric Knights, decorated with the royal crest.
The Lothric Knights contended with dragons, and their shields have suitably high lightning absorption befitting a dragonslayer’s arms.

Lothric Knight Greatshield
Greatshield of the renowned Lothric Knights, decorated with a holy symbol.
The knights who formed the High Priestess’ guard carried greatshields such as these, which were granted high magic absorption through her blessing.
Skill: Shield Bash
Without lowering your guard, strike the enemy with the shield to knock them back or stagger them. Works while equipped in either hand.

Lothric Knight Armor (Set)
Armor of a celebrated Lothric knight. A strong steel armor, if a little worn.
The Knight has served as one of the Three Pillars since ancient times, and shares place alongside the wyverns as a symbol of Lothric.
Only those possessing a knight’s resolve are fit to wear this garment.

Okay, I could get this done sooner than expected. Turns out my project files and everything else for the LP could be recovered from my dead PC. (Even if it weren’t, I at least saved the footage elsewhere so it would have been some editing and commentating that needed to be redone. Thankfully, I don’t have to!)

Storytelling in Souls Games
I don’t want to get into the actual story and plot of the games. Rather I’d like to talk a bit about the presentation. For all it’s worth the plot of Dark Souls wouldn’t be anything special if it were presented in a more conventional manner with cutscenes feeding the player new information or audio and text logs about events and characters. In fairness, the item descriptions are basically text logs, though, in a very abridged form which makes it feel very different. There will be a lot of times where we have just enough information to make an educated guess about what’s going on, but not enough to absolutely confirm anything. I was theorizing a bit near the beginning of the video, for instance, but none of it is confirmed anyway. In fact, I may be completely off.

Item descriptions is only one of the three big aspects of how the story of a souls game is presented to the player. There’s also NPCs and The environments themselves often tell stories as well. There’s a lot of care put into the level designs. There will be plenty of details that can give you clues on upcoming gameplay challenges, obviously. See scorched ground? Better look out for some dragon swooping down.

But there’s also bits and pieces that drive the story or give you an idea about the history of a place. Aside from the actual environments you will also find items in specific spots and their descriptions may give you some insight on the area you’re going through. Perhaps there’s specific enemies? Maybe there’s an NPC nearby too? I consider all those parts of the environment. And this is where it may all come together. Let’s take the story of Lautrec from Dark Souls, for instance.

We’re entering a church. The bottom level has an altar with a Firekeeper’s Soul on it. Eventually you discover Lautrec imprisoned in the upper level of the church, since you ahve the key anyway you let him out, what could possibly go wrong? I mean, he seems a bit off, has a sick laugh and all that. But all the other NPCs have that as well. He even gives you a bit of a reward for rescuing him if you return to Firelink Shrine and talk to him. where he hangs out near the Fire Keeper.

Time passes and you return to Firelink Shrine to find that the bonfire has been extinguished and can’t be used anymore. You notice that Lautrec is gone and the Firekeeper is dead. Then next time you meet Lautrec he’s in Anor Londo, another area with a fire keeper. After you kill him he drops the Soul of the Fire Keeper from Firelink Shrine. Even though you may not catch on to these clues your first time around or even on a second run, they are definitely there and you could figure out that Lautrec just wanders around to kill Firekeepers. If you read descriptions to items relating to Lautrec you can find out that he does so out of some twisted love for the goddess he worships.

And you might not even question why he’s imprisoned but this is where a whole new layer comes into this. Because why was he even imprisoned? Hollows don’t take prisoners. The only one in the entire game who does is Seath. And there’s a couple of enemies specifically linked to Seath, like the Crystal Golems, you can find near where Dusk is imprisoned. Or the Channelers, who explicitly kidnap people for Seath. One of the Channelers can be found in the Undead Church where Lautrec is held. Was he maybe stored in that cell to be transferred to Seath’s Archives later for his experiments? If you Rescue Rhea from the bottom of the Tomb of Giants she will also go to that church… and later still will show up in Seath’s Archives.

Dark Souls II seemed to focus a bit more on the gameplay aspect but that doesn’t mean that it’s devoid of that kind of storytelling, though, a lot of it boils down to “vague vague vague, ending item description with a question?” it still has its moments. Dark Souls III returns to form a bit but there’s not too much we can talk about in that regard at this point.

It probably all comes from Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of All Souls games except for Dark Souls II (where he was merely supervising), reading English novels despite not speaking English all that well. There were a lot of parts that he couldn’t understand, so he filled in the blanks himself. A lot of the time he found that what he came up with was way cooler than what was actually written in the stories he liked to read. And that’s where the “Tell some, let them guess the rest” approach comes from.

Unfortunately I forgot to make a weapon showcase for this video and only noticed once it was already uploaded. Instead I will do it at the beginning of the next video. Please forgive me!

The Curse-Rotted Greatwood

The community calls this thing Treeballs and the game calls it a Greatwood.
As far as Dark Souls bosses go this is an odd one because you can only damage it in specific weak spots: The bulbs. Not only that, you barely do any damage until you’ve dealt enough to the weak spots. Then the weak spot explodes, blood gushes everywhere and a huge chunk of health gets blown off of the bosses health bar. The trick is navigating the various attacks while continuously dealing damage to the bulbs that make up the weak spots.

Most prominently, right in the center between the legs are the community namesake of the boss: The tree’s balls. While you can take them out first it’s best to destroy some of the other bulbs first because as soon as you got his balls phase two starts. So taking out other weak spots before makes the much more difficult second phase shorter. The easiest ones are probably the ones on his left hand and leg. Take those out alongside with the balls and he’s down to 50% health.

In Phase #1 he can sweep or crush you with his arms. He can also roll over, which looks harder to avoid than it is. The most annoying attack is him lifting his wooden butt up into the air to drop back down and release some yellow/brown-ish stuff. Which is fairly annoying. It’s acid and will deal damage to your equipment’s durability. It’s best to stay away until it’s gone.

The second phase starts once you’ve killed the balls for the first time. They will reform and a giant arm will emerge from them. He can do all of the attacks from the first phase in addition to some new ones. Most of them are related to his newly formed hand which can hit horizontally or do a hard-hitting pound. He can hit multiple times with his arm two, it’s best to steer clear of his frontside until you’re absolutely sure he’s done. Another attacks is his patented flop. He gets up and just falls down. This’ll do a number on you but is easy to avoid and gives you an opportunity to hit some of the more difficult to reach bulbs. Like the one on his elbow.

I recommend always going for the bulb on his back first in phase two because he can’t really do much of use against you just destroying it. Attack the others as they present themselves to you. If you somehow destroyed all of them and the boss is still alive, which shouldn’t be possible, the hand is there as a failsafe. It can’t be destroyed, so you can just keep attacking it until the health bar is completely gone.

Below will only cover the boss soul and weapons we can make from it, the rest of the items will follow as soon as we’ve finished the entire area.

Transposing Kiln
An old transposing kiln from Courland, crafted with stitched crystal lizard hide
Give to Ludleth, Lord of Cinder to conduct soul transposition. This kiln can transpose twisted souls to craft special items with their concentrated essence.
Deemed forbidden by those unable to make proper use of it.

Soul of the Rotted Greatwood
Soul of the Curse-rotted Greatwood.
One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use to acquire many souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
Ever since its establishment, all manner of curses have managed to seep into the Undead Settlement. The worst of them were sealed away inside a spirit tree, but eventually the curses took their toll.

Hollowslayer Geatsword
Dark Souls III:
Greatsword used for a lifetime by a masked knight. Harbors the fears that lurk within the mind of Hollows, and is particularly effective against them.
Bestowed to a proper Mirrah knight long ago. Two-hand to execute special sword techniques.
Skill: Stance - While in stance, use normal attack to break a foe’s guard from below, and strong attack to slash upwards with a forward lunge.

Dark Souls II (Mirrah Greatsword):
Greatsword issued to the proud knights of Mirrah’s official order. This one was wielded by Lucatiel.
This greatsword demands advanced skill in a rare and unique sword technique.
A tiny message is inscribed on the blade, a promise to someone special.

Note: That someone special in the Dark Souls II description supposedly is Alsatiel of Mirrah, Lucatiels Brother. Lucatiel was a Dark Souls II character whose arc revolved around the process of her going hollow and losing her identity ever so slowly as well as the angst that comes with losing ones mind while staying just sane enough for long enough to notice it. It ends with her demanding of the Player to remember her name. Alsatiel is an NPC invader who appears in the area that follows that event

Arstor’s Spear
One of the curses that festered within the belly of the Greatwood, and a terrible weapon favored by Earl Arstor the Impaler.
The spear is enwreathed in rotten, heavily poisonous meat. Defeating foes restores HP.
Skill: Shield Splitter - Take a large step forward and make a single focused thrust to puncture enemy shields and inflict damage.

Lucatiel of Mirrah
Many, including myself, say that the NPCs of Dark Souls II were not as interesting as those of the first Dark Souls. In Dark Souls I you could almost say that each NPC represented a player archetype. The Crestfallen Warrior was one who reached a part too hard for them, and gave up. Siegmayer is the guy who moves on, but not without help. Solaire on the other hand is the one helping people, and even offers you help for multiple tough bosses while Kirk is all about the PvP who instead invades you at multiple points throughout the game.

But even those who could not easily be linked to the behaviour of real players had engaging storylines in their own right, like Logan or Petrus and his fellow clerics. Even those who merely served as merchants came alive, even if a lot of their arcs simply revolved around them going hollow once their stock was depleted. Others affect the world, like Lautrec, who kills an important NPC making your life much more difficult. It gave you the feeling that you were not the only one who mattered in the world, which is something that video games only rarely do.

It’s difficult to deny that Dark Souls II’s characters were different, but not really in a good way. Some of them had some form of progression, but overall the NPCs were more static. You found them, they moved to Majula, the hub, to hang out there with you forever. Only very few of them had anything interesting going for them once that happened. Lenigrast had one remark once you brought back his daughter and Maughlin become more and more obsessed with his mad profits. But none of them really had an effect on the world around them, or seemed to have any agency of their own. They merely existed, and showed up alongside your path on a few occasions.

Even the overall theme of the game got forgotten, which, in a way, is ironic. Because one of the central themes is the loss of one’s memory and identity through the undead curse. Characters will remind you that they forgot something. Usually “Why am I even here? I don’t know. Oh that’s why! No, never mind.” There is one NPC who really explores this theme, though. Lucatiel of Mirrah.

There are four locations she shows up in initially, you don’t need to visit them in any particular order. Once you’ve met her four times she will appear at a final spot close to the end of the game. A much more forgiving way of handling side stories than the specific step-by-step instructions you need to wiki up for Dark Souls and, as we will no doubt find out, Dark Souls III.

What makes her more interesting than other Dark Souls II characters is that her character actually grows. Or declines, depending on how you look at it. Because every time you meet her she has more and more trouble remembering. Let’s just read some of her Dialogue. The following is only a bit from the first encounter.

Heh heh. You are an odd one. Normally, people keep a safe distance when they see this mask. But you… I am called Lucatiel. From the land of Mirrah, to the far east. across the mountains. They say Drangleic brims with powerful souls. And so I came to claim my share. But what a strange place… Even the rumours did not prepare me.

You can tell that she is still, as far as Dark Souls characters go, reasonably sane. During the second encounter she opens up a bit. Tells us about herself. How she was born into a kingdom of constant battle, how she became a warrior and was good at her job. But then she came to Drangleic, the world of Dark Souls II. She forgot why, but only for a moment, when her train of thought reminds her, possibly without her even noticing that she couldn’t remember a moment ago.

Have you heard of the Undead? These poor souls affected by the curse. An Undead gradually loses his humanity, until his wits degrade completely.
Finally, he turns Hollow, and preys upon others. And a Hollow can never be human again. One can skirt this wicked fate only with the help of the souls found here. Assuming, of course, that the legends are true. I can only hope…that they are.

At this point in the dialogue Lucatiel removes her mask, revealing a partially hollowed face. The next time we meet her she opens up yet more, but tells us she has more trouble than before to remember things. She is afraid to lose herself.

I’ve found my thoughts growing hazy. My memories are fading, oldest first. The curse is doing its work upon me. I am frightened… Terribly so… If everything should fade…What will be left of me…

Next she tells us about her brother and how he eclipsed her in almost every way. But one day he disappeared and Lucatiel is absolutely certain that he succumbed to the undead curse.

If only someone would hear my tale… My brother must have come here, too. Soon, I may forget even about him…

It becomes apparent that she tells us about herself in an effort to be remembered. We can tell that she is seriously depressed. Of course, we are all totally hilarious and absolutely well-adjusted goons who make fun of people for the most idiotic reasons, especially if video game characters get consumed by a fear that consumes them emotionally and they philosophize about it as a result. But who can blame her? She gradually loses her mind and her past, but she remains sane enough to notice it. Meanwhile, her flesh rots off her body and she is conscious to feel it as the curse gradually consumes her. It only grows worse until the next time we meet her.

Loss frightens me no end. Loss of memory, loss of self. If I were told that by killing you, I would be freed of this curse… Then I would draw my sword without hesitation. I don’t want to die, I want to exist. I would sacrifice anything, anything at all for this. It shames me, but it is the truth.

She continues the thought on her MySpace

Sometimes, I feel obsessed… with this insignificant thing called “self”.
But even so, I am compelled to preserve it. Am I wrong to feel so? Surely you’d do the same, in my shoes?
Maybe we’re all cursed… From the moment we’re born…

I made light of it. But only because I wish I could say “it’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it”. Our next encounter is the final time we meet Lucatiel.

Who are you… Oh… No, forgive me… I know you… Yes, of course.
How goes your journey? I know not what you seek in this far-away land… But I pray for your safety.
My name is Lucatiel. I beg of you, remember my name. For I may not myself…

This is the last thing she says. Unless you kill her in which case she’ll go: “My dear brother…
Shortly after this final meeting her brother actually appears in front of us as an invader. Lucatiel was incredibly close to finding him, possibly to be invaded and killed by him herself. But even though, this is our last meeting with Lucatiel, the story gets a small continuation in Dark Souls III. Because we learn what probably happened to her.

The curse-rotted Greatwood is a tree located in the undead settlement. The inhabitants of the settlement used to feed their accursed to the greatwood. This, eventually, turned it into what we fight as a boss. One of the weapons we can make from the Soul is Lucatiels sword. Not only that, we can find the Mirrah Armor very close by. It’s at the base of the tower we drop down to at the end of this video. However, the mask is not found here. To acquire it a vertebra shackle has to be traded with the crow in Firelink shrine. It has the most telling bit of lore

Mask attached to a ceremonial hat.
A Hollow once fought valiantly with this mask, but feared the fading of her self, and implored a comrade remember her name. Perhaps that is why this gentleman’s mask is named after a woman.

I’m not sure why it’s called “This gentleman’s mask” Maybe someone inherited it from her. Perhaps the player character of Dark Souls II? It is very likely, though, that Lucatiel’s soul has been fed to the greatwood, because we can make the Hollowslayer Greatsword from the Greatwood’s soul. It makes sense that the Soul of something that was essentially a dump for curses helps us create items the belonged to the accursed. Since undead, including hollows, are notoriously hard to kill for good she may have survived for a long time after Dark Souls II, even if she ended up inside the curse-rotted greatwood ages before Dark Souls III. The timeline is not clear at all anyway. And that is very intentional.

But with all that said, Lucatiel is one of the few NPCs in Dark Souls II that are actually interesting. Even though she lacks some of the elements that made the characters in the first game so engaging, she helps us get a glimpse into the head of someone as they go hollow. The process of gradually turning is something that has been missing from the first game. It’s a step we’ve always just skipped. For that she is unique because for her I probably would not even have considered that aspect of hollowing. So, for that, let’s remember her name.

I released Episode B earlier, when I didn’t know how much damage was done to my project files after my old computer had died! This is the part where I would have released it properly! It covers the Undead Settlement in under 20 minutes, that is WITH some of the optional stuff.

Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland
Demon’s Souls is probably the Souls game that the least people have played. It was the first, after all, and more of a sleeper hit with a cult following than the other Souls games which were critically acclaimed and very popular. So many probably don’t know about Astraea, though, there’s at least one reference to this boss fight in every Souls game after Demon’s Souls.

Astraea is found at the end of what’s probably the vilest area you’ve seen in any of the Souls games. Blighttown is sunshine and rainbows by comparison. You have to battle through a blood filled swamp with some devious enemy placement, near the end you find a shantytown, the sound of flies buzzing about fills your ears the entire time. There’s a strong sence of dread building due to the combination of audio and visuals, and you can’t help but wonder what’s ahead. Because your job is to kill the Archdemon who hides in here and take their Demon’s Soul. Naturally, you’re expecting the most horrible monstrosity as you enter Astraea’s Lair. The entire area and the following boss fights are one of my favorite sequences in games.

It’s best you see for yourself (Yeah, this is a video link, click it!)

Maiden Astraea is worshiped as a christ-like figure in the middle of this swamp. She is a saint turned demon, a human who supposedly lost faith down in this dark place and embraced demonhood, but kept her appearance and her sanity. She used her powers as a demon to ease the suffering of those residing in the Valley of Defilement. There’s some old merchant lady who claims Astraea made things worse, but I’m not sure I believe her. Another NPC we can find the the Valley is Selena Vinland, Garl Vinland’s Sister, who came to find her brother and Astraea. Selena describes the place as “strangely pure” despite being filled with all manners of grossness.

Garl Vinland is Maiden Astraea’s last surviving Knight, it’s made clear that neither Astraea nor Garl want to harm you. Entering the boss arena you are asked nicely to leave. Once you approach Garl you are again asked to turn back and leave them be. He will not even attack you unless you step very close to him, and he won’t properly aggro and pursue you until you take off a significant amount of his health. You can also attack Astraea from a range with a bow and she will desperately ask you to stop.

Once Garl is dead Astraea willingly hands over her Demon’s Soul by committing suicide, but not without disdain for you in her voice.

It’s one of those moments in games that just make you go “Am I really the good guy?”. It’s executed really well and comes almost completely unexpected. To the best of my knowledge you could just ignore the Valley of Defilement entirely, because to enter the last stretch of the game all you need to do is kill one of four Archdemons, Astraea being one of them. Though, on my playthroughs I always killed all the archdemons, so I don’t know if there’s something else that prevents you from going on at the end if you haven’t killed them all.

I mentioned earlier that Dark Souls I, II and III each referenced Astraea and Garl Vinland in some fashion, so let’s go over it real quick.

In Dark Souls I we had Rhea of Thorolund, who looked very similar to Astraea, and assumed a similar sitting pose when found at the bottom of the Tomb of the Giants. Meanwhile, Paladin Leeroy looked somewhat similar to Garl Vinland, particularly the fact that he wielded a huge mace. But those are only visual similarities, the characters don’t even have anything to do with each other, aside from showing up in the same location.

In Dark Souls II Velstadt, the Royal Aegis, looked a lot like Garl Vinland, though, he took more after Paladin Leeroy. Very similar helmet, huge-ass mace. There’s no Maiden Astraea Lookalike that I can think of off the top of my head, though.

Dark Souls III has Irina and Eygon While they fulfill different roles again, this time they are linked together and very much meant to remind us of Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland, the two pieces to one of the most powerful moments in a Souls game. Their relationship to each other seems much different than Garl’s and Astraea’s. Eygon cares for Irina, but seems to have given up on her. He’s also in some way supposed to remind us of Lautrec from Dark Souls, being kind of a shady guy who may or may not do something you’ll regret not killing him for at some point.

The below list also contains items covered in the Curse-rotted Greatwood update, in fact, those will be first.

Transposing Kiln
An old transposing kiln from Courland, crafted with stitched crystal lizard hide
Give to Ludleth, Lord of Cinder to conduct soul transposition. This kiln can transpose twisted souls to craft special items with their concentrated essence.
Deemed forbidden by those unable to make proper use of it.

Soul of the Rotted Greatwood
Soul of the Curse-rotted Greatwood.
One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use to acquire many souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
Ever since its establishment, all manner of curses have managed to seep into the Undead Settlement. The worst of them were sealed away inside a spirit tree, but eventually the curses took their toll.

Hollowslayer Geatsword
Dark Souls III:
Greatsword used for a lifetime by a masked knight. Harbors the fears that lurk within the mind of Hollows, and is particularly effective against them.
Bestowed to a proper Mirrah knight long ago. Two-hand to execute special sword techniques.
Skill: Stance - While in stance, use normal attack to break a foe’s guard from below, and strong attack to slash upwards with a forward lunge.

Dark Souls II (Mirrah Greatsword):
Greatsword issued to the proud knights of Mirrah’s official order. This one was wielded by Lucatiel.
This greatsword demands advanced skill in a rare and unique sword technique.
A tiny message is inscribed on the blade, a promise to someone special.

Note: That someone special in the Dark Souls II description supposedly is Alsatiel of Mirrah, Lucatiels Brother. Lucatiel was a Dark Souls II character whose arc revolved around the process of her going hollow and losing her identity ever so slowly as well as the angst that comes with losing ones mind while staying just sane enough for long enough to notice it. It ends with her demanding of the Player to remember her name. Alsatiel is an NPC invader who appears in the area that follows that event

Arstor’s Spear
One of the curses that festered within the belly of the Greatwood, and a terrible weapon favored by Earl Arstor the Impaler.
The spear is enwreathed in rotten, heavily poisonous meat. Defeating foes restores HP.
Skill: Shield Splitter - Take a large step forward and make a single focused thrust to puncture enemy shields and inflict damage.

Young White Branch
A young white branch.
Use to transform into something which blends into the surroundings.
Little Dusk’s first sorcerer’s staff eventually became a seedling, and then three white birch saplings. The young branch is said to still contain echos of little Dusk’s capriciousness.

Young White Branch (gift from the Giant)
Branch of a young white birch received from a giant, apparently as a token of friendship.
Become something that blends in to the surroundings. Consumed with use.
"Good friend, no hit.
Note: The Young White Branch is a different entry in your item list, though, it is also just called a young white branch. The description is different. It’s best not to use the one you get from the giant, because he will attack you again if you don’t have it in your inventory.

Special brew of Siegward of Catarina. Perfect for travel in its jolly barrel mug.
Restores HP and temporarily boosts frost resistance.
Leave it to Siegward to discover a drink that even an Undead can enjoy. Perhaps his long years spent Undead have left him wanting to drain a cup or two and revel as if he were still among the living.

Undead Bone Shard
Dark Souls III:
Undead bones that yet burn.
Cast it into the shrine bonfire to boost the recovery provided by the Estus Flask.
The bonfire’s cinders are the bones of Undead, and a bone that still burns is a fresh cinder indeed. Before feeding upon death, one must first pray to it.

Dark Souls II: (Called Sublime Bone Dust, but has the same purpose)
Charred, ashen bones. Cast them into the Far Fire in Majula to increase the HP restored with each use of your flask.
They say these are the remains of a saint who cast himself into the bonfire. But we will never know for sure, for soot and ashes tell no story.

Irithyll Straight Sword]
Straight sword bestowed upon the Outrider Knights of the Boreal Valley. This weapon is enshrouded in frost, and causes frostbite.
Every Outrider Knight one day devolves into a beast, constantly hounded by Pontiff Sulyvahn’s black eyes.
Skill: Stance - While in stance, use normal attack to break a foe’s guard from below, and strong attack to slash upwards with a forward lunge.

Plank Shield
Makeshift shield cobbled together from wooden planks.
Provides minimal protection, and at the cost of moderate humiliation.
Skill: Shield Bash - Without lowering your guard, strike the enemy with the shield to knock them back or stagger them. Works while equipped in either hand.
Note: Not really important in any way, I just like the description

Spiked Mace
Choice weapon of the evangelists of the Cathedral of the Deep, mentors of the dwellers of the Undead Settlement. Its long, sharp spikes cause great pain and bleeding.
Skill: Spin Bash - Bash foes with a large spinning motion. and utilize momentum to transition into an overhanded strong attack smash.

Evangelist’s Robe Set
Robe of an evangelist sent from the cathedral.
These teachers, all women, came to enlighten inhabitants of the Undead Settlement and sent carriers on the path of sacrifice.

Pale Tongue
Proof of a red orb invader’s victory over a Host of Embers.
Claiming tongues as trophies was originally the practice of an infamous troupe of invaders, who offered them to their speechless goddess.

Vertebra Shackle
A special bone collected by members of the covenant of Mound-makers, discovered in the corpses of their victims.
Only one such bone is found in the vertebrae, and the Mound-makers believe it to be a shackle of the gods. In their minds, each victim is another connection, an addition to the family.

Red Eye Orb
Online play Item. Invade other worlds at will
Defeat the Host of Embers of the world you have invaded to gain the strength of fire.
The red eye orb is rooted in a tiny land swallowed by darkness long ago. Some choose to put the orb to other uses. To embark on this path, enter the service of Rosaria in the Cathedral of the Deep

Loretta’s Bone
Old, discolored human bone with several holes bored into it.
A woman’s corpse in the Undead Settlement was found clutching this bone. Her name was Loretta.

Mortician’s Ashes
Umbral ash of a resident of the Undead Settlement who made a living burying corpses.
With this, the shrine handmaid will prepare new items.
Note: Among other things the Shrine Handmaid will now sell the Grave Key, which allows you to enter the door in the sewers of the Settlement

Hawk Ring
Dark Souls III:
Ring associated with Hawkeye Gough, one of the Four Knights of Gwyn, the First Lord.
Extends the range of arrows.
In his later years, the giant Gough was blinded, but this did not prevent him from striking down a calamitous dragon with his Greatbow.
Note: If you are a Monster and kill the Giant he will drop this ring

Dark Souls II:
A ring graced with the engraving of the hawk. Extends the range of arrows.
Blue eyed Durgo, the nomadic bowman, had many valiant victories in battle, half owing to the boon of this ring.

Dark Souls:
One of the special rings granted to the four knights of Gwyn, The Hawk Ring belongs to Hawkeye Gough, who led the Greatarchers.
Boosts bow range, so that arrows fly like they were shot by Gough’s great bow, which took down high-flying dragons.

Bloodbite Ring
Dark Souls III:
One of the bite rings native to Carim. Increases bleed resistance.
The crafting of these rings is forbidden, perhaps owing to a fear of malleable stone. Clerics, however, dabble freely in the art.

Dark Souls II:
One of several “bite” rings, known for their peculiar design. Increases bleeding resistance.
The similar, oddly disturbing design of these rings suggests a common source. Whoever the master craftsman was, he clearly knew his trade.

Dark Souls:
One of the infamous bite rings commissioned by Sir Arstor of Carim.
Despite the dreadful rumors surrounding its creation, this ring is an unmistakable asset, in its ability to help prevent bleeding.
Note: Just one of the items that mentions Arstor, whose spear we can make from the Soul of the Greatwood. Funnily, aside from the spear his name is only mentioned in the descriptions of the first Dark Souls

Way of Blue
Pale blue sheepskin parchment detailing the moon of an ancient accord. Equip to pledge oneself to the Way of Blue. Members of the Way of Blue are the beneficiaries of an ancient accord. When a dark spirit threatens them, a blue spirit will grant them assistance, and help root out the invader. Summoning takes place automatically while this is equipped."
Note: I forgot to include this after beating the High Wall, but you get it there, from Emma

Warrior of Sunlight
An ancient talisman depicting a holy symbol bestowed upon the Warriors of Sunlight. Equip to pledge oneself to the Warrior of Sunlight covenant.
Warriors of Sunlight are brilliantly beaming co-operators who place their golden signatures to help those in need, for it is their duty to deliver a great conquest to their summoner.

Mound Makers
A malformed vertebra found by the mad, with a queer symbol on its inside, proof of the shackles of the Gods. Equip to pledge oneself to the Mound-makers covenant.
The mound-makers wish only to add to their mounds, becoming mad spirits whether summoned as co-operators or invaders.
They are blithe to those around them, for in their minds, any kill might lead to another shackle.

The casual episode covers exactly what’s in the video. Only in eight minutes instead of roughly 30:00. The rest of the video is walking to the next area. Which isn’t in the main video. So if you only have a few minutes and maybe prefer a more casual atmosphere this is probably the way to go.

Crystal Sage

The Crystal Sage is an interesting boss. It’s almost like they saw Pinwheel from Dark Souls and tried to find a way to make him less of a joke. Full disclosure. I died to pinwheel once. In my LP of the game no less. The Crystal Sage is kinda similar after all.

The Sage is a spellcasting boss, it does have a melee attack but that one’s just kind of there. You might not even see it if you’re aggressive enough because he’ll flinch out of it every time you hit him. My general advice for Phase 1 is to dodge past all the purple stuff to reach the Sage to lay the smack down on his candy ass until he peaces out! Once teleported he’ll reappear at a different location. Though, the spots he can appear in are fixed the order is randomized. Crystals will appear to come from the ground, to my knowledge they do no damage whatsoever. Just touching them will break them.

Once he’s down to roughly 50% of his health the second phase starts, and now you also have to dodge blue stuff. The Sage will summon three clones. They have the same moves as the big guy himself only they die in one hit and their magic is blue instead of purple. A wise person will kill the clones before attacking the real boss because their spells are quite damaging. Always be on the move and ideally bring a fast weapon in case your main hand one is of the slower variety. This will reduce the time you’re just standing around in an attack animation, waiting to be killed by magic coming from a total of four sources. I found myself having trouble on my huge-weapon run for this reason.

Once the clones are dead continue to spam attacks on the Sage proper until he teleports and the whole game begins anew. Depending on how powerful you are you can kill him in 2-6 teleports on most characters. This is due to you being able to fight him much later in the game by going down a different route first. All in all he’s not too hard, but definitely not to be underestimated. That last part is true for every boss, but especially this one, because if things go south they go straight to the pole.

As we can learn from the description of his Soul and the spell and weapon we can make from it this was only one of two crystal sages. This one sided with the legion of Farron Keep, an area close by. Oddly enough he’s not guarding the path to Farron Keep but to the Cathedral of the Deep. The other sage, at this point, we don’t really know anything about.

A Brief History of Big Hat Logan
A lot of people drew connections to Big Hat Logan from Dark Souls when they saw the Crystal Sage and the hollow sorcerer’s with the big hats. Some went as far as saying that one of the sages was Logan himself. In truth it’s more like they are part of a big Logan fan club. So I find it best, for those not already aware, to describe who Logan is exactly.

In Dark Souls we first learn of him from Griggs of Vinheim, who admires Logan and tells us about how awesome of a sorcerer Logan is and how shit he is by comparison. Griggs paints us a picture of a Legend. And for all you know he may be just that. Logan is a fairly well hidden NPC. A lot of people might not find him on their first playthrough. I think this is intended to enhance the myth of the Big Hatted Sorcerer. On the other hand, they may not have made it that way for any specific reason. Another character, Rickert of Vinheim, will let you know that Logan is over 100 years old and shouldn’t even be alive. Thing is, he’s of course undead, which grants him some form of immortality. Interesting that the people who know him did not consider this. Is he really that awesome?

When we find Logan he’s in a cage in a room that has no real entrance (we have to bust a hole in the wall to get there), just hanging out there with his huge hat, being fairly chill, especially considering the situation he’s in. Once freed he’ll go to Firelink Shrine and set up shop near Griggs, who’ll just go “Noooo, don’t go to me, I suck, Logan’s right over there, go to Logan, he’s a basically demigod”. Naturally, Logan has much more powerful spells in stock than Griggs.

After the game progresses far enough Logan moves on. But not before telling us where to. In fact this would not be the first time he’s telling us he made his intentions clear form the start: He wants to go to the Duke’s Archives, which belong to Seath, the Scaleless Dragon who betrayed his own race and got granted the title of Duke by Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight. But I’ll find an excuse to talk about Seath in more detail at a later point, as he’s probably my favorite Souls antagonist, so for now I’ll stick to what’s essential for Logan’s story.

Logan was fascinated with Seath because he had attained true immortality. Logan describes him as a “true undead” in a later encounter. The source of Seath’s immortality is a crystal. In fact, Crystals are all over Seath’s archives. Once we find Logan he is, of course, captured again. This time in a cell befitting of the myth that surrounds the man. But it’s way too big for him. So of course, we rescue him again. And he moves to a different spot in the archives where he begins studying Seath’s research on immortality and begins to sell us crystal infused versions of his previous spells.

And here is where Logan’s story begins to mirror Seath’s. In the process of researching way to become immortal he went completely mad. His research included kidnapping people to experiment on them and fusing various monsters with people or other monsters. We have Man-Serpents and Cthulhu Nagas roaming about his place, for instance. Then there’s regular crystal infused hollows. While Logan doesn’t actually do that, delving into Seath’s research still turns him insane. This becomes apparent if you visit him again later, he’ll just ramble on about how great seath is and eventually his ramblings beome unintelligible. Once all of his spells are purchased he moves on to a final location: The room we first fought Seath in.

Logan decided in order to become immortal he must be more like Seath. Since Seath was a Scaleless, naked dragon, Logan stripped himself of all his clothes and hung around in the archives. Most other characters in the first Dark Souls go hollow and attack you somewhere once their stock is depleted, Logan doesn’t. He still attacks you but he’s specifically not hollow. Just bonkers. The only reason he’s still wearing his hat is so you can tell it’s Logan. And that’s where the tale of the legendary Logan ends. Pantsless and no idea what’s going on anymore.

Today well have us a bit of a quickie, we’re going back to Firelink Shrine and explore that belltower we couldn’t access before.

Fire Keepers
If you scroll down to the items you’ll see that all of them are related to Fire Keepers. So, what’s a Fire Keeper even? There isn’t too much we know, to be honest. They are women who tend to the bonfires. In the first Dark Souls specifically a Bonfire tended to by a Firekeeper actually extinguishes if the Firekeeper dies. Let’s just go over hte Fire Keepers that we know of.

Dark Souls had Anastacia, who hung out in a cave behind bars in Firelink Shrine, she was mute because her tongue was cut out. Over the course of the game she can actually get killed by a different NPC and later be revived. Being revived restores her tongue reveals that she hates to speak to us because she’s afraid her “impure tongue” might offend.

Then there’s the Fair Lady, or Queelags sister. Some call her Quelaan, but that’s just a fan name that sounds too similar to Queelana, an actual character in Dark Souls. Residing between Blighttown, The Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith, The Fair Lady is a sickly, blind, spider lady who could only speak in her own tongue, which the player can understand by equipping the Old Witch’s Ring. She tells us that she is deathly sick because she sucked the poison out of a man. That man happens to be nearby (supposedly he’s responsible for ruining Blightown). Her Sister, Quelaag, is a more healthy spider lady who made it her mission to collect humanity to ease the suffering of her sister.

The last knwon Fire Keeper of Dark Souls is Lady of the Darkling who is found in Anor Londo. Whe is a Darkmoon Blade loyal to Gwyndolyn. Her entire body is hidden under brass armor which she wears because she’s ugly as fuck. To her words at least. If you clip through her helm somehow or change her equipment by tinkering with files it turns out she actually has a normal face. Anyway, she is so loyal to the Darkmoon Blades because Gwyndolyn welcomed her with open arms despite her exterior.

In Dark Souls II there’s only one active Firekeeper: the Emerald Herald, Shanalotte. Opposed to the other Fire Keepers we know from the first game she seems dedicated to guide the Chosen Undead, welcoming them as “the new monarch” basically out of the blue as soon as you talk to her for the first time. She is an artificial person created by Aldia, more specifically, she’s supposed to be a Dragon, who Aldia believed to be the key to overcoming the undead curse.

There are three more firekeepers in Dark Souls II but they are all retired. The three old women from the start of the game. Well, there’s a fourth but she only shows up in the intro cinematic (presumably). These retired Firekeepers all look very similar to the Shrine Handmaid in Dark Souls III. The three old ones help the player character find their identity by uh… allowing them to create a character. They also tell the player that they will die a lot und lose their souls because Dark Souls II sure is HARDDDDD lol.

In Dark Souls III there is only one Fire Keeper that we meet, she’s the level-up lady in Firelink Shrine and she happens to blind, which is now apparently true for all Fire Keepers. In this very episode we also find a corpse of a fire keeper on top of the belltower. We then find a couple more corpses on the ground floor of said belltower. I didn’t consider this when recording commentary but much like Shanalotte from Dark Souls II they may be artificially created, much like her. They could be a copy of that one we loot the Fire Keeper Soul from. Seeing as we can find so many dead ones in one spot and they seem to be taken to the trash like once they are no longer needed this may be the case. But this is just me theorizing without any research. But it is a possibility that they’ve been using the same Fire Keeper over and over every time the fire faded to help the Chosen Undead of the time and now the Unkindled. I could, however, be completely wrong with all of that.

In any case, if These Firekeepers are not born by natural means then Aldia probably is not responsible for it as he was against linking the Bonfire. Then again, there may be things we’ve yet to learn.

But I think I went a little too far with my theorizing. Let’s move on to the item descriptions.

Firekeeper Soul
Dark Souls III:
Soul of a Fire Keeper who is said to have returned from the Abyss.
This Fire Keeper preserves the bonfire, and serves its champion. She is said to have soothed and accepted the dark sigil, which has tainted her soul.
And yet, her soul will one day embed itself in the bosom another Fire Keeper.

Dark Souls (Regular):
Soul of a long-lost Fire Keeper.
Each Fire Keeper is a corporeal manifestation of her bonfire, and a draw for the humanity which is offered to her. Her soul is gnawed by infinite humanity, and can boost the power of precious Estus Flasks. Reinforced Estus Flasks capture denser Estus, allowing for increased restoration of HP.

Dark Souls (Anastacia of Astora):
Soul of the Ash Maiden, Fire Keeper of Firelink Shrine.
A Fire Keeper’s soul is a draw for humanity, and held within their bosoms, below just a thin layer of skin, are swarms of humanity that writhe and squirm.
Was the Ash Maiden locked in this dark prison for some transgression, or by her own will?

Dark Souls (The Fair Lady):
Soul of a Daughter of Chaos, Fire Keeper of Quelaag’s Domain.
A Fire Keeper’s soul is a draw for humanity, and held within their bosoms, below just a thin layer of skin, are swarms of humanity that writhe and squirm.
To her, the countless eggs which appeared were cradles for each tiny humanity.

Dark Souls (Lady of the Darkling):
Soul of the Darkmoon Knightess, Fire Keeper of Anor Londo.
A Fire Keeper’s soul is a draw for humanity, and held within their bosoms, below just a thin layer of skin, are swarms of humanity that writhe and squirm.
Her brass armor serves to disguise this ghastly form.

Fire Keeper Robes
Robe worn by the guardian of the shrine.
The Fire Keepers were robbed of light, to better serve as vessels for souls. Only those who cherish the writhing, searing darkness were given the keeper’s black attire.

Estus Ring
A green ring crafted from shards. Increases HP restored by Estus Flask.
This ring was entrusted to a certain Fire Keeper, but in the end she never met her champion, and the ensuing tragic farce became a favorite tale of the masses.

Darkstalker Kaathe

When Yuria dies she mentions that she failed Kaathe. Even if you played Dark Souls you may have never encountered Kaathe because in order to even find him you have are not allowed to give the Lordvessel to Frampt, who is much more readily accessible. But knowing who Kaathe is gives us a good idea of learning more about what the Hollows of Londor are up to, considering that their allegiance seems to be with him. First, here’s his dialogue upon meeting him in the Abyss, entered from the ruins of New Londo, after retrieving the Lordvessel:

"The truth I shall share without sentiment. After the advent of fire, the ancient lords found the three souls. But your progenitor found a fourth, unique soul. The Dark Soul. Your ancestor claimed the Dark Soul and waited for Fire to subside. And soon, the flames did fade, and only Dark remained. Thus began the age of men, the Age of Dark.

However… Lord Gwyn trembled at the Dark. Clinging to his Age of Fire, and in dire fear of humans, and the Dark Lord who would one day be born amongst them, Lord Gwyn resisted the course of nature. By sacrificing himself to link the fire, and commanding his children to shepherd the humans, Gwyn has blurred your past, to prevent the birth of the Dark Lord.

I am the primordial serpent. I seek to right the wrongs of the past to discover our true Lord. But the other serpent, Frampt, lost his sense, and befriended Lord Gwyn. Undead warrior, we stand at the crossroad. Only I know the truth about your fate. You must destroy the fading Lord Gwyn, who has coddled Fire and resisted nature, and become the Fourth Lord, so that you may usher in the Age of Dark!"

Even though Kaathe’s intentions oppose Frampt’s he tasks you to do the exact same thing. To kill Gwyn. But instead of linking the fire he wants you to just not do that. Once you did as you’re told, funnily, both Frampt and Kaathe show up to welcome you as their Dark Lord. I’m not sure this if this is supposed to tell us something about Frampt or the primordial serpents as a whole. But that’s something to ponder on for another time, really.

Kaathe seems to want to help humanity reach their true potential the Dark Soul he mentions most likely being the source of Humanity (Humanity being an in-game item and a mechanic in Dark Souls). So every human has a bit of the Dark Soul inside them. Souls games make clear thet humans are creatures of the Dark by their nature. Kaathe commanded the Darkwraiths to collect humanity, which is essentially synonymous with the Dark.

Embracing the Dark and possibly hollowing is seen as a means to end the age of fire for good and jumpstart a new age of man. We never really learn what happens after you become the Dark Lord, though, if you go through with Kaathe’s plan. At this point I should also mention that by killing Yuria we’ve locked ourselves out of one of the endings for Dark Souls III, but don’t worry, we’ll still see it and how to get it.

As an interesting aside: Some people believe that Gwyn “resisting the course of nature” as Kaathe put it, was Gwyn linking the Fire to Humanity, which is why the curse of undeath appears every time the flame is fading. It makes sense and is a very interesting theory for sure. This could also be the “First Sin” that is being referred to in the Title of Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin.

Soul of a Crystal Sage
Soul of a Crystal Sage.
One of the twisted souls, steeping in strength.
Use to acquire many souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
The twin Crystal Sages once serves as spiritual guides to the scholars of the Grand Archives, and one went on to ally with the Undead Legion.

Crystal Sage’s Rapier
Thrusting Sword with tiny crystals scattered across its blade, used by the Crystal Sages for self-defence.
The crystals boost the magic damage inflicted by the sword, and the item discovery of its wielder, fruit of the lifetime of research conducted by the sages.
Skill: Stance - From stance, use normal attack to back step and execute a surprise attack, or a strong attack for consecutive thrusting.

Crystal Hail
Unique sorcery developed by extraordinary preacher twins known as the Crystal Sages.
Casts a cascade of small crystal soulmasses from above. Crystal soulmasses have piercing qualities.
In a pact said to have been formed long ago, one of the Sages allied with the Undead Legion in order to train the sorcerers of Farron.

Butcher’s Knife
Butcher’s knife with an oddly large blade wielded by the madwoman haunting the Road of Sacrifices.
Squarely-landed hits restore HP.
Back in the Undead Settlement, the woman acquired a taste for human flesh, of which she took glee in partaking.
Skill: Sharpen - sharpening the blade increases HP restored with each successful hit.

Golden Falcon Shield
A metal shield fashioned in the form of a falcon with wings outstretched.
The golden falcon was the emblem of an ancient band of sellswords, and even to this day, many mercenaries remain who look upon it as a token of good fortune.
Skill: Parry - Repel an attack at the right time to follow up with a critical hit. Works while equipped in either hand.
Note: the description is most likely a reference to the Band of the Hawk/Falcon from Berserk

Exile Greatsword
Bloodstained greatsword wielded by one of the Watchdogs of Farron, who preside over the slumber of fallen warriors. The blade is a reminder of the exile’s past misdeeds.
Inhuman strength is required to wield this heaviest of curved greatswords.
Skill: Spin Slash - Slice into foes with a large spinning motion, and continue spinning to transition into a strong attack.

Great Corvian Scythe
Great scythe of the forlorn souls guided by heretical storytellers. The Mistress of the Painted World is said to wield a great scythe herself. Great scythes inflict profuse bleeding, such that the blood patters on the wielder.
Skill: Neck Swipe - This attack aims for the scruff of a foe’s neck, and when successful, functions as a head shot, inflicting heavy damage.
Note: The Mistress of the Painted World is Priscilla, from Dark Souls. She could be found in the Painted World of Ariamis, which was filled with human-bird hybrids, much like the enemies in the first stretch of the Road of Sacrifices

Black Knight Greatsword
Dark Souls III:
Ultra greatsword wielded by the Black Knights who wander the lands. Designed to face chaos demons.
The Black Knights constantly faced foes larger than themselves, and this sword’s unique attack greatly reduces enemy poise.

Dark Souls II:
Ultra greatsword wielded by knights who served a lord of light in a long forgotten age.
Even after their flesh was charred by flame, they remained as strong as ever, and stood watch, challenging visitors to their land.

Dark Souls:
Greatsword of the black knights who wander Lordran. Used to face chaos demons.
The large motion that puts the weight of the body into the attack reflects the great size of their adversaries long ago.

Black Knight Set
Dark Souls III:
Armor of the Black Knights who roam the lands.
The knights served the First Lord Gwyn, and followed him into the flame upon its linking. They became ash, but still wander the realms to this day.

Dark Souls:
Armor of the Black Knight who haunt Lordran.
The knights followed Lord Gwyn when he departed to link the flame, but they were burned to ashes in newly kindled fire, wandering the world as disembodied spirits ever after.

Fallen Knight Armor
Armor of an order of fallen knights who disbanded and fled but met untimely deaths.
The drab, tattered cloth conceals tough, black metal which provides dependable protection from fire. It is just possible to make out the majestic gold engravings on its surface.

Conjurator Set
Attire of traveling conjurators.
Conjurators were the predecessors to pyromancers, and spent their lives roaming the lands. No wonder their attire was designed to protect them from fire, poison, and other threats of nature.

Braille Divine Tome of Carim
A sacred braille tome from Carim, filled with advanced miracles.
Give to a storyteller to learn advanced Carim miracles.
In the Way of White, there is a tradition of placing great faith in the words of the blind, and braille tomes are not unusual.

Great Swamp Pyromancy Tome
Pyromancy tome from the Great Swamp containing advanced pyromancies.
Give to the old master pyromancer to learn advanced pyromancies of the Great Swamp.
Spells of the Great Swamp are passed down from master to pupil. Without a master, there is no pupil, but without a pupil, there is also no master.

Farron Coal
Coal used for weapon infusion.
Long ago, used to forge the greatswords of the Undead Legion of Farron.
Give to the blacksmith in the shrine to allow the use of gems for heavy, sharp and poison infusion.

Sage Ring
A ring given to Farron’s Undead Legion by one of the preacher twins, known more commonly as the Crystal Sages."
Shortens spell casting time.
The sorcerers of Farron’s Abyss Watchers were known to be lonesome warriors who would only rely upon more pragmatic spells.

Morne’s Ring
A malformed ring given to knights of Carim.
Boosts miracles.
Morne served the goddess Caitha and later became an apostle of the Archbishop. They labored together to provide comfort to the suffering.

Great Swamp Ring
Ring said to be chiseled from the bone of a flame salamander by blighted Pyromancers living in the Great Swamp.
Boosts pyromancies.
It is believed that salamanders are the descendants of demons, born of the Chaos Flame, from which Pyromancy is also said to have originated.

Let’s Compare Souls games to Castlevania
So, I mentioned that the Cathedral of the Deep reminds me a bit of the level progression in classic Castlevania games, where you start outside the castle and work your way inside (over the course of several levels), so let’s take this as an excuse to compare Dark Souls to Castlevania. There are people who would actually describe Dark Souls as a 3D Castlevania, though, I’m not sure if they mean the classic or the Metroidvania games, both of which are enjoyable in their own right, though in entirely different reasons. I’m going to focus the similaities of Souls games to classic Castlevanias here. Mainly the first one.

Castlevania is a rather slow paced action game. The challenge is less based on reflexes but mastering your movement, which has a very deliberate restriction that many people hate: The Jump physics. Once you jump you are commited to that jump, there’s no adjusting in mid air. And while Castlevania is not the only game to feature this by a long shot it’s one of the better known examples, mainly because it does the whole thing very right. The levels are built with that element in mind. There’s no weird precision jumping you need to do Additionally, there’s a brief delay before your attack, you also need ot keep that in mind when maneuvering through a level because even enemies that would be cannon fodder in other games can be threatening if you blink at the wrong moment. This isn’t so evident early on, as the game eases you into how it works but you’ll take more damage from enemies with every level. It is tough, yet fair and has a satisfying difficulty curve, which some would say is one aspect of what makes a well designed game.

You might now say “But IGgy, sure, these elements are somewhat similar, but that applies to many games!” And You’d be right. The Metroidvania comparisons holds up even less so in my opinion because those games are mainly exploration with there not really getting much of a challenge in combat. So let me throw you a curveball and tell you of another game that reminds me of Dark Souls.

The game is a fantasy game set in a bleak world. At the start you are given some vague direction and a weapon, though, you could just skip that if you like. Your job now is to find specific objects and if you find all of them something happens. Brilliant, right? Along your path there’s plenty of secrets to discover. So many that you can not be expected to find them all on your own. A few of them are required for progression too, so it’s especially cruel. There’s no friendly player messages that tell you that this is an illusory wall right there, or that you need to try jumping (if you want to die). No, this game is older. You went to school and found some nerd with the same game and he’d tell you that he’s heard from his cousin who heard from his friend whose uncle works at nintendo that if you set that tree on fire a secret passage appears. I’m talking about Zelda. The Original one. While I would agree that describing talking to some dude at school hardly constitutes a gameplay mechanic this aspect of Zelda is something that Dark Souls reminded me of in that regard. There’s many a thing to discover and a lot of them will not be found on your own. But we have the internet now, so secrets are dead. But if you choose to ignroe the internet here, aside from the online functionality of Souls games, you can get a bit of that sense of wonder back trying to decipher some message’s meaning and whether it was supposed to help or hurt you.

Yeah yeah, I know, not a very good comparison. Castlevania and Zelda have nothing to do with Souls games. Oh wait, both of those games are hard! Difficulty, such a Souls thing! Haha.

Deacons of the Deep

The Deacons of the Deep are a simple but unique boss fight. I’d say it’s a mob boss done right. Compared to the Royal Rat Authority or… well… the Magus and his Congegration from Dark Souls II this is downright glorious. It is an easy fight but it still manages to convince you that it’s dangerous with its atmosphere and the sheer number of opponents.

All but one of them are regular Daecons that we’ve fought in a few parts of the Cathredral. The don’t really do anything those don’t. Maybe they are a little less agressive to make them more manageable despite there being a lot. One of them will always have a read glow. that is the one that you have to attack to deplete the boss health bar. It’s safer to run headfirst into a group, but if that’s where the glowing one is don’t shy away from getting into the middle of them. Using your weapon to hit a lot of them at the same time is more fun than it should be.

Once you’ve taken out enough red glowing ones the Archdeacon will appear. That Archdeacon’s name is Royce. He wears different robes, a pope hat and is your new target. Hit him with your preferred means of dealing damage until he dies.

There’s one thing the Deacons can do that is dangerous: They can curse you. If you notice your curse meter bilding up slowly then find and kill the ones that channel darkness to the ceiling. I only died to the Deacons voice and that wos on my first attempt when I didn’t even notice the curse build-up.

The Deacon’s are guarding Aldrich’s coffin, which is huge, at the center of the room and completely empty. So technically you could say they guard nothing, though you do get a peculiar small doll for beating them…

Soul of the Deacons of the Deep
Soul of the Deacons of the Deep. One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use it to acquire many souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
After Aldrich left for the Boreal valley, Archdeacon Royce remained in the cathedral with the high priests, to keep eternal watch over their master’s coffin.

Deep Souls
Sorcery of Archdeacon Royce and his deacons, said to have been imparted to them by McDonnell of the Boreal Valley.
Fires dark soul dregs.
Souls which swell from the deep pursue their target, drawn towards life.

Cleric’s Candlestick
Candle stick used as both sword and catalyst. Used for worship by the Deacons of the Deep.
The deacons, under the guidance of Archdeacon McDonnell, became both Clergymen and sorcerers.
Skill: Guiding Light - A candle provides a temporary source of light which reveals additional guidance.

Small Doll
Small silverwork doll depicting a young squire.
In the legendary old city of Irithyll situated in the Boreal Valley, the Pontiff Sulyvahn gave this doll to valued subjects, so that they might use it to cross the barrier when they return home.
Listen carefully, and you can hear it say, “Wherever you go, the moon still sets in Irithyll. Wherever you may be, Irithyll is your home.”

Astora Greatswords
This greatsword, bestowed only upon elite knights, is a relic of the ruined land of Astora.
Designed for a focus on thrust attacks, this sword is hard and sharp, but not unusually heavy.
Skill: Charge - Hold sword at waist and charge at foe. Use strong attack while charging to extend the length of the charge.

Executioner’s Greatsword
Greatsword of a debauched executioner used for beheadings.
This sword retains a keen memory of its executioner’s duty, and absorbs FP from each fallen foe.
Skill: Stomp - Use one’s weight to lunge forward with a low stance and increased poise, and follow with strong attack for a spinning slash.

Saint-Tree Bellvine
Sacred chime for casting miracles of the Gods. A bellvine cut from a small saint-tree that has been meticulously tended to.
Saint-tree bellvines are customary in the far north, and allow for faster casting than ordinary sacred chimes.
Skill: Gentle Prayer - Recovers HP for a period of time, albeit extremely slowly. Works while equipped in either hand.

Saint Bident
A silver bident decorated by a holy symbol, formerly wielded by Saint Klimt. He discarded this weapon, that draws upon one’s faith, on the day that he put his own faith behind him.
Skill: Charge - Hold spear at waist and charge at foe. Use strong attack while charging to extend the length of the charge.

Drang Hammers
Paired hammers of the Drang Knights, descendants from the land known for the legend of the Linking of the Fire.
When the Drang Knights disbanded, they scattered across the lands as sellswords. They quickly became known for shieldless, aggressive tactics that struck fear in the hearts of men.
Skill: Spin Bash - Bash foes with a large spinning motion, and utilize momentum to transition into an overhanded strong attack smash.

Drang Armor Set
Dark Souls III:
Armour of the Drang Knights, proclaimed descendents of the land known for the legend of the Linking of the Fire.
Fine protection that is both light and strong, having been reinforced with rare geisteel.
The Drang knights were once feared sellswords, until treason meant descending into the abyss, and they were seperated forever.

Dark Souls II: (Llewellyn Set)
Armor reinforced with rare geisteel. Belonged to Chancellor Wellager.
Quality equipment that is both light and strong. Crafted by the castle’s resident master smith Llewellyn, and supplied only to a selected few.
His work easily identified by its lack of ostentation, Llewellyn focused solely on an economy of simplicity and strength.

Notched Whip
Dark Souls III:
A whip with thorny spikes that shred slaves, causing heavy bleeding.
The Cleansing Chapel uses whips such as these in order to produce the drops as puddles to wipe clean during its rituals.
Skill: Impact - Strike from the left to evade shields and deal a stinging blow that temporarily slows stamina recovery. The shackles of bondage lie deep in the hearts of all humankind.

Dark Souls II:
A whip covered in spikes. Shreds skin and causes bleeding. Very effective against bare flesh, but not against enemies with armor or like protection.

Dark Souls:
Whip with sharp spikes. Only slightly effective against armor and tough scales, but quite formidable against enemies with exposed skin. Also causes heavy bleeding.

Barbed Straight Sword
Dark Souls III
Sword of Longfinger Kirk, the infamous Knight of Thorns. This sword’s blade is lined with countless deadly thorns.
The thorns of this ominous weapon induce heavy bleeding.
Skill: Stance - While in stance, use normal attack to break a foe’s guard from below, and strong attack to slash upwards with a forward lunge.

Dark Souls:
The choice weapon of the infamous Darkwraith Kirk, also known as the Knight of Thorns for the gnarly spikes on his favorite weapon.
This frightful sword deals only thrust attacks, and causes heavy bleeding.

Armor of Thorns
Dark Souls III:
Armor of Kirk, the notorious knight of Thorns.
A dense patch of thorns grows form its surface.
A fitting item for the murderous Kirk, for even the simple act of rolling can damage enemies when wearing this attire.

Dark Souls:
Armor of Kirk, knight of Thorns and notorious member of the Darkwraiths. A dense patch of thorns grows from its surface.
It is a fitting item for the murderous Kirk, for by simply wearing it and rolling, one can damage enemies.

Spiked Shield
Dark Souls III:
Shield of Longfinger Kirk, the notorious Knight of Thorns. The surface bristles with thorns.
Its vicious design makes it an effective weapon, and its thorns can inflict heavy bleeding on those unfortunate enough to be struck.
Skill: Shield Strike - Use shield to attack enemies. Works while equipped in either hand.

Dark Souls:
Shield of the infamous Darkwraith Kirk, Knight of Thorns, Covered with spikes.
Can be used as a weapon. Sharp spikes cause heavy bleeding.

Curse Ward Greatshield
Dark Souls III:
Greatshield given to those who resisted the curse long ago.
Far too heavy for an ordinary person, perhaps it signifies the foolishness of resisting the curse.
And yet, those who bear the weight of this shield will not find its protections against curses wanting.

Dark Souls II (Pursuer’s Greatshield):
Greatshield of the Pursuer.
For those who can handle the weight of this shield, it offers resistance to curses.
The Pursuer hunts down those branded by the curse, as if each Undead soul that he claims will atone one of his sins.
Note: The shield seems to be rotated by 90 degrees in Dark Souls III, aside from that they look identical

Archdeacon Robes
Armor worn by an Archdeacon of the Cathedral of the Deep.
Presented solely to delegates of the gods. Of the three Archdeacons of the Deep, one cast off his white crown and left the cathedral to stand by Aldrich.
A sign of the Way of White’s highest rank. Of the three Archdeacons of the Deep, one stood over Aldrich’s casket, with hope that he would return one day.
Of the Archdeacons of the Deep, one attended to Rosaria, Mother of Rebirth, whom he deemed a goddess.

Paladin’s Ashes
Umbral ash of a worn-out paladin who sought the Cathedral of the Deep. With this, the shrine handmaid will prepare new items.
This paladin paid quite a price for his headstrong justice.

Deep Braille Divine Tome
A braille divine tome of the Deep, belonging to the deacons of the cathedral.
Intended to teach divine protection to the deacons of the deep, but later, dark tales were added to its pages, such that it is now considered a thing profane.

Aldrich’s Sapphire
A malformed ring left by Aldrich, Saint of the Deep. Recovers FP from critical attacks.
Aldrich, infamous for his appetite for flesh, apparently had the desire to share with others his joy of imbibing the final shudders of life while luxuriating in his victim’s screams

Lloyd’s Sword Ring
Ring given to knights of the Way of White. Depicts Allfather Lloyd’s Sword of Law.
Boosts attack power when HP is full.
Much time has passed since the worship of Lloyd was common in the Way of White. The clerics of Carim had always strongly asserted that Lloyd was a derivative fraud, and that the Allfather title was self-proclaimed.

Deep Ring
A ring bestowed upon the Deacons of the Cathedral of the Deep. Allows attunement of additional spells.
In the Cathedral slumber things most terrible, and as such, the deacons require a grand narrative, to ensure they do not falter in their duty. A philosophy, to ward away the madness beckoned by the grotesqueries at hand.

Rosaria’s Fingers (Covenant)
Sacred seal of Archdeacon Klimt, who served Rosaria, Mother of Rebirth. Equip to pledge oneself to the Rosaria’s Fingers covenant.
Rosaria’s Fingers collect tongues in her name. Some do it to be reborn; others do it to help comfort their voiceless goddess.

The Swamps
Poisonous swamp areas, at this point are a staple of the Soulsborne games. Every game had some variation of that theme as a gameplay area.
It started in Demon’s Souls with the Valley of Defilement, feeling like a journey into the Heart of Darkness. Through a shantytown up above further and further down until you reach the vile swamp. If you go further still you’ll find another shanty town in the middle of the poison, fly’s buzzing as you trudge through. All of this is leading up to the Maiden Astraea fight, one of the most powerful moments in the Souls series, I’ve covered this in a previous post, though.

Dark Souls explored this idea again with Blighttown, a shantytown up above and you travel down into a swamp. Dark Souls II is the odd one out, while it has areas that mirror the swamp-area mechanically it doesn’t actually have a swamp area. Harvest Valley is, instead, a daylight area with several mining tunnels that have poisonous gas seeping out of them. Another area in Dark Souls II covers the Shantytown aspect: The Gutter. Blightown on the other hand skips the shantytown part and goes straight to the swamp in the Nightmare Frontier. I will not get into the latter here, mainly because it takes a different approach and I also haven’t played Bloodborne as much as the other games.

Dark Souls III brings us Farron Keep. Out of the swamp areas this is probably the most well designed one, though, I personally like the Valley of Defilement more due to the atmosphere and by association with the Astraea fight.

Whether there’s a shantytown or not, these areas always share a few of their elements. The Valley, Blighttown, The Gutter and Farron keep all guide you by placing fire to draw you to specific places. Dark Souls II being the exception/subversion to this rule. In the Gutter there’s barely any flame, instead you have to light sconces yourself allowing you to easily retread your steps in case you die. You do get to see a fog gate in the distance, at least, giving you a vague idea of where to go. Although I never liked the area when I played Dark Souls II, looking back on it it’s probably one of the better ones in the game.

The other areas, again, guide you with various fires around the area. The thing is that the swamps of the Valley of Defilement, Blighttown and Farron Keep are fairly open and potentially allow you to go places and get lost, so the path to progress is always lit. If you feel like wading through the poison later on or if you’re just feeling lucky you can ignore this and just get some treasure that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get depending on your build there may be some essential items, even. We haven’t found them yet but there’s two Socrcery Scrolls in the swamp of Farron Keep. Aside from those there aren’t really any treasures that are essential for other builds, just nice to have. Whether they are worth being poisoned is your call.

The shantytown part has been cut in more recent variations or, in case of Dark Souls II, it’s been relegated to being it’s own separate area. Valley of Defilement 1, Upper Blighttown and The Gutter are arguable more easily navigated. Here too, there’s some fire showing you the way. Mostly easily missed ladders. It’s easy to get lost here. They tend to be very vertical areas as opposed to the horizontal swamp aspect.

Generally, if you want to boil these areas down to one aspect they all share it’s that they try to push players out of their comfort zones. I mentioned in the video that when I played Demon’s Souls first I thought I was missing some kind of trick to get through the swamp, an item that makes me immune to poison, or a way around that I’m just not seeing. I thought the game wouldn’t make me do THAT! This is true for the vertical aspects of the areas too. They encourage you to drop down ledges, something you’d usually avoid, to get through the area more easily. One of the paths in The Gutter makes you actually jump over a large gap down onto a different platform. They include an area that does this in every game simply to teach players to be a bit more daring sometimes. They also want you to know that they don’t fuck around.

Oolacile is a land that has been long gone by the time Dark Souls rolls around, at least untl the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, which let us explore this past version of another area of the game. And there is a chance that in Dark Souls III we have returned here once more. Several things related to Oolacile can be found in Farron Keep.

We have a small island of dead Killer Mushrooms, the Crown of Dusk. Dusk being a character from Dark Souls who originates from Oolacile. Later on in a cave we can find another dead Mushroom that presumably is Elizabeth f´rom Dark Souls next to a chest that contains Dusks dress as well as a scroll with light sorceries that were previously sold by Dusk and Elizabeth (further proof of my ridiculous theory that Dusk and Liz are the same person! That or the corpse in the cave is Dusk, I dunno). We can also find a Darkwraith here, while Darkwraiths are more commonly associated with New Londo they are also associated with the Abyss, which ran rampant in Oolacile. Then there’s a sharpshooting giant helping us defeat a large enemy, but I’m not sure I should count that one. There are yet more details that would link the area to the Abyss but that’s something that we’ll see soon.

All of this might mean that it’s the same place or a place with similar roots. But what do we actually know of Oolacile?
From Dusk we learn that it is home to a gentler magic that takes it’s power from light. There’s a spell that illuminates the area around the player, spells that obscure them or their weapons. Then there’s Chameleon. Also some repair spell or whatever, not sure how that’s light related but I’ll take it. None of the spells are offensive, so it stands to reason that Oolacile was peaceful for the most part.

We also know that eventually someone dug around a bit too much and awoke Manus, Father of the Abyss, who many believe to be the Furtive Pigmy. This unleashed the Abyss on Oolacile transforming its inhabitants into monsters, even corrupting Artorias who came to stop the spread of the Abyss. Eventually some unknown hero succeeded in doing this (It’s us).

Years pass by and the Royal woods of Oolacile become the Darkroot Woods while the Oolacile Township disappears and roughly in its spot New Londo rises with the purpose to contain the Abyss. Eventually even that crumbles away. Who knows what happened here next? Eventually it may have become Farron Keep.

Abyss Watchers

And so we fight our first Lord of Cinder. A Lord of Cinder is somebody who has linked the fire before. In this specific case they are multiple lords of cinder, though technically they are united by the blood of the wolf that flows inside them. That wolf is the Great Gray Wolf Sif, loyal companion to Artorias, the Abysswalker and Wolf Knight. The Abyss Watchers’ duty is to fight against creatures of the Abyss. Considering that there is a part of the Abyss inside them too it’s quite ironic that they are locked in an eternal battle against each other. It is not too far fetched to assume that the Abyss Watchers, aka the Legion of Farron is what became of the Forest Hunter covenant from Dark Souls after Alvina, another of Artorias’ animal companions, left.

This link to Artorias shows in the fighting style of the Abyss Watchers. They use a weapon that looks very similar to the Greatsword of Artorias too and a lot of their moves mimic Artorias’ Style from the first Dark Souls. Even the opening of the music is reminiscent of Artorias’ theme.

As long as you learn to deal with their swings one Abyss Watcher isn’t going to give you a lot of trouble. But this is where the fun starts. A short time after the battle starts a second Abyss Watcher will join the fray. They don’t share a health bar so your job is to beat the first one. Fighting against two can be a much more difficult challenge, however, this being a relatively early boss fight the game is not too cruel. Because the third Abyss Watcher that joins the battle will be a red-eyed one, presumably corrupted by the Abyss. That third one will actually attack both the Abyss Watchers as well as you if you get too close. Mostly the third focuses on his colleagues, though. You can kill the second and third Watcher, but they will get back up after a short while. So it is wise to try and lock the second and third watcher into battle and take care of the first one while the other two fight.

Once he’s down the blood of the wolf begins coalesce into the dead body of one Abyss Watcher. Phase 2 begins and now the boss is on fire. Literally. There won’t be any additional Watchers joining in on the fun but the one that’s left is much more dangerous than the others. In additon to a few new moves the existing ones get powered up as well. The trail of flames his sword leaves behind now can actually damage you. What makes this fight fair, considering the point in the game we’re at, is that you can easily stagger the Abyss Watcher. If you can get one hit in you will usually also be able to get in a second or third before it’s smarter to get out for the time being and look for another good opportunity to attack.

This fight is pretty awesome all things considered. The music does it’s part. It’s a fair challenge but it still feels intense.

Soul of the Blood of the Wolf
Soul of the Blood of the Wolf. One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use to acquire numerous souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
The blood was spread amongst the Abyss Watchers, and their souls are one with the soul of the wolf blood master.

Farron Greatsword
Greatsword of the Abyss watchers which is atypically paired with a dagger.
The dagger is utilized as a wedge in the left hand while the greatsword is held in the right, a unique technique that was synonymous with the Undead Legion. Confounds foes the manner of wolves hunting prey.
Skill: Parry - Deflect an attack when timed properly and follow up with a critical hit, executed with the dagger.

Wolf Knight’s Greatsword
Dark Souls III:
Greatsword of Artorias tainted by the dark of the Abyss, and master of the wolf’s blood of Farron.
The wolf knight was the first Abyss Watcher, and his sword is more punishing against creations of the abyss.
Skill: Wolf Sword - While in stance, use normal attack for a low spinning slash, or the strong attack to leap forward in a vertically-slashing somersault.

Dark Souls II (Majestic Greatsword):
An ancient greatsword of unknown origin. This sword was passed down through generations, until it reached Gordin, wandering knight of Forossa, and was lost upon his death.
Uncannily, every last one of the prominent swordsmen who inherited this weapon was left-handed.

Dark Souls (True Greatsword of Artorias):
Sword born from the soul of the great grey wolf Sif, guardian of the grave of the Abysswalker Knight Artorias.
Sir Artorias hunted the Darkwraiths, and his sword strikes harder against dark servants.

Dark Souls (Cursed Greatsword of Artorias):
Sword born from the soul of the great grey wolf Sif, guardian of the grave of the Abysswalker Knight Artorias.
The sword can damage ghosts, as it was cursed when Artorias joined a covenant with the creatures of the Abyss.

Dark Souls (Abyss Greatsword (of Artorias)):
This greatsword belonged to Lord Gwyn’s Knight Artorias, who fell to the abyss.
Swallowed by the Dark with its master, this sword is tainted by the abyss, and now its strength reflects its wielder’s humanity.

Soul of a Stray Demon
Soul of the stray demon. One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use to acquire numerous souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
The Stray Demon, now lacking even a trace of flame, was once the gatekeeper of Lothric.

Havel’s Ring
A ring for warriors keen on heavy acoutrements. Increases maximum equip load.
This ring was named after Havel the Rock, the battlefield compatriot of Gwyn, the First Lord.
The art of war has been a constant since ages past, and those who would follow in Havel’s footsteps are no fewer now than in his own day.

Boulder Heave
Art of a stray demon of a stifled flame. Spews a boulder from one’s mouth. The boulder is heavy, but shatters easily.

Watchdogs of Farron (Covenant)
Ancient medallion depicting the crest of a wolf. Symbolizes the pact with the Old Wolf of Farron. Equip to pledge oneself to the Watchdogs of Farron. The Watchdogs ensure that the warriors sleep in serenity, by taking the form of loyal spirits and hunting down those who would trespass the woods of Farron. Summoning takes place automatically while this is equipped.

Wolf’s Blood Swordgrass
A leaf signifying duty fulfilled by the Watchdogs of Farron, who stand beside the old wolf to ensure serenity to those at rest. Depicts a swordgrass leaf stained with dried blood.
Long ago, the swordgrass leaf quietly identified members of the Undead Legion. In the rotted forest rest the spirits of warriors past, their acceptance and gratitude toward their guardians is expressed eloquently by the humble leaf.

Black Bow of Pharis
Dark Souls III:
A black longbow named after a hero of old, known for the unusual stance from which it is fired.
Has a longer range than standard bows, but successful usage requires a trained, dexterous hand.
Skill: Pharis Triple-shot - Swiftly nocks three arrows with finesse after drawing the bow, firing them simultaniously.

Dark Souls II (Hunter’s Blackbow):
A black bow designed for long distances. Difficult to handle at first, and requiring some amount of practice to master.
The hunting Goddess Evlana was no goddess at all, but rather a brave and highly skilled bow huntress. Long after her demise, the passing of lore transformed her into a deity.

Dark Souls:
The preferred black bow of the heroic archer Pharis.
Has a longer range than standard bows, but is more difficult to use. Without proper abilities, results will be underwhelming.

Pharis’ Hat
Dark Souls III:
Broad-brimmed leather hat. Traditionally used by master archers, and especially favored by forest-dwelling hunters.
The name Pharis is said to have once belonged to a hero, but is now more widely known as a style of hat.

Dark Souls:
Broad-brimmed hat favored by the archer heroPharis.
Pharis was an accomplished archer, and though he was human, he ranked alongside Hawkeye
Gough, one of the Four Knights of Lord Gwyn. His hat is universally popular among children.

Dark Armor Set
Dark Souls III:
Armor of the Darkwraiths, relics of a small country that fell to the dark long ago. Looks as if it may crumble to dust at any moment.
The Darkwraiths were the oldest of the Red Eye Invaders, and rumored to have served a Primordial Serpent.

Dark Souls II:
Armor of a knight subsumed by dark.
No one knows the true identity of these men who are said to freely manipulate dark. Old foreign legends describe them as poor souls who chased the lost art of life drain.

Dark Souls:
Armor of the Darkwraiths, former knights of New Londo who descended into Dark.
Their armor transformed, and remains a symbol of the Dark servants and their diabolical art of Lifedrain.
Some say the skeletal mask of an ancient Darkwraith is partially fused with the flesh of its face.

Antiquated Dress
Dark Souls III:
Dress sewn in a long-lost fashion.
The elaborately embroidered, ivory-colored silk is imbued with ancient magic power.
No protection is offered by this garment, as it was never intended for battle.

Dark Souls:
A dress from the ancient fallen land of Oolacile. Its ivory-colored silk features elaborate embroidery and is imbued with ancient magic power.
One cannot expect any physical protection from this garment, as it was not meant to be worn in battle.

Sage’s Coal
Coal used for weapon infusion.
The white magic flame produced by this coal was given to the Undead Legion long ago by one of the Crystal Sage twins.
Give to the blacksmith in the shrine to allow the use of gems for crystal, blessed, and deep infusion.

Golden Scroll
A golden scroll chronicling the vast research of the xanthous scholars.
Give to a sorcerer to learn the arts of Oolacile.
In the lost land of Oolacile, the sorceries orchestrated light, and were said to shine in golden hues.

Sage’s Scroll
Scroll containing sorceries of the Crystal Sages. Give to a sorcerer to learn Sorceries of the Sages. As any sorcerer knows, sorcery is a talent, and these sorceries were refined to nurture a very special talent.

Dreamchaser’s Ashes
Umbral ash of one who dreamt of joining the Undead Legion.
With this, the shrine handmaid will prepare new items.In the end, the dream chasers who wandered aimlessly in the rotted forest found a sense of fulfillment.

High Lord Wolnir

Wolnir is a very large skeleton imprisoned in his own small part of the Abyss. A lot of people like to theorize that he’s the Player Character from Dark Souls II but I don’t believe that was the intention. That theory is mainly based on the description of the crown, which mentions that Wolnir defeated lords and ground the crowns of them to make his own crown. The idea here being that tose crowns would be the three crowns from the DL that would, when combined with the fourth crown, the one of king Vendrick along with Vendick’s blessing would grant immunity to the effects of the curse. But again, I don’t like that theory or believe it holds any ground because his story seems to be a different one in that he was a ruler of some kind and eventually conquered other kingdoms and ground the crowns of their lords to dust to make his own crown in order to crown himself high lord.

Fighting Wolnir can go quick either way. It’s possible to die really fast, and also to kill Wolnir quickly. In our fight he didn’t even get a chance to show off half of his attacks. If you attack Wolnir normally you’ll notice that your attacks do very little damage. What you need to do is to attack his bracelets, once one is destroyed Wolnir takes a huge chunk of damage.

It’s best to stay on the outside of his arms because if you stay on the inside you might get dragged into the fog of death by his attack and idle animations. Staying on the outside also makes all of his other attacks easier to dodge and less effective in general. He can sweep with his arm, which you can dodge through or run away from, he can breathe fog, which can either be dealt with by running or getting really close, there’s a bit of a sweet spot between the fog behind him and the one he’s spitting across the arena.

Wolnir will also summon skeletons on some occasions but he almost never does it for me. I find them very trivial to deal with as long as they stay on the inside for the arms while you’re on the outside. Another thing that we didn’t see was his sword. Wolnir can get out his sword, which extends his moveset somewhat but since all his attacks come out really slow anyway they should be simple enough to predict and dodge.

His most dangerous move is probably just moving forward. If you get too far away he will charge towards you, which also causes the fog behind him to advance. So if he actually catches up with you you’re dead. He can sometimes also do this regardless of your distance to him after destroying a bracelet, so it’s wise to get ready to run for a few seconds after a bracelet is dealt with. Aside from that it’s better to stay close rather than far away, because if he repeatedly charges you’ll eventually reach the wall behind you, making a comeback from that is incredibly hard. But destroying a bracelet makes him go back down a bit too.

Just wrapping up the Catacombs! Also a bit of another area we won’t be exploring fully until later.

Soul of High Lord Wolnir
Soul of the High Lord Wolnir.One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use to acquire many souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
Lord Wolnir of Carthus sentenced countless souls to gruesome deaths, keen to outlive them all.

Wolnir’s Holy Sword
A holy sword eroded by the Abyss. When Wolnir fell to the Abyss, he was gripped by a fear of true darkness, and pleaded to the gods for the first time.
This holy sword, together with three armlets stripped from the corpses of clerics, gave him some semblance of comfort.
Skill: Wrath of the Gods - Thrust weapon into earth to emit powerful shockwave. The wrath of those swallowed by the Abyss is a thing to be wary of indeed.

Black Serpent
Pyromancy discovered from the Abyss by High Lord Wolnir that inspired the black arts of the grave wardens.
Releases undulating black flames that trace the ground.
Be it sorcery or pyromancy, all techniques that infringe on humanity lead to the same place. That is to say, they all seek a will of their own.

Wolnir’s Crown
Crown of Wolnir, the Carthus conqueror.
Once upon a time, such things were bequeathed judiciously to each of the rightful lords, until Wolnir brought them to their knees, and ground their crowns to dust. Then the crowns became one, and Wolnir, the one High Lord.

Grave Warden Pyromancy Tome
A pyromancy tome of the grave warden, from the Carthus catacombs.
Give to the pyromancer master to learn black flame sorceries.
High Lord Wolnir of Carthus succumbed to the Abyss, but the pyromancer later became a grave warden, and discovered the black flame.

Grave Warden’s Ashes
Umbral ash of the grave warden of the catacombs of Carthus. With this, the shrine handmaid will prepare new items.
The old man began as a squire, carrying his master’s accoutrements. He ended his days a grave warden, and carried them still.

Soul of a Demon
Soul of a demon. One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength.
Use to acquire numerous souls, or transpose to extract its true strength.
Demons were born of the Chaos Flame, but the flame has not survived, and the demons are a dying race.

Demon’s Fist
A demonic fist that burns with fiery essence. Its wielder can release this power through use of its Skill. When two-handed, fists are equipped in each hand.
Skill: Flame Whirlwind - Spin through opponents with abandon, flaming fists outstretched. Using a strong attack while spinning utilizes your momentum to slam the ground with both fists.

Demon’s Greataxe
Dark Souls III:
This greataxe, a favorite among demons, contains the strength of fire. The demons, born of Chaos, harbor fire, and yet they are twisted and malformed, such that they were never meant to be.
Skill: Demonic Flare - Briefly cause flame to flare, and smash it upon earth and foes.

Dark Souls:
Carved from the bones of fellow demons. Wielded by the lesser Taurus demons.
This axe is imbued with no special power, but can merrily beat foes to a pulp, providing you have the strength to wield it.
Note: This is a different weapon with the same name from the first game, I’m including it just because I can

Black Blade
Dark Souls III:
A short katana wielded by the swordsman and distinguished guest of High Lord Wolnir. This shiny black blade is thick, but shorter than the typical katana.
The swordsman was a master of a rare technique, traces of which can be observed in this weapon’s strong attack.
Skill: Hold - Assume a holding stance to rapidly execute a lunging slash with a normal attack, or a deflecting parry with a strong attack.

Dark Souls II (Berserker Blade):
The katana of a berserker, by its name.
The thick, shiny black blade cuts exquisitely. Its origins and owner are unknown, but at some point the blade became known by this name.

Old Sage’s Blindfold
Attire of pyromancers of the Great Swamp, particularly favored by old sages.
The large blindfold blocks out unnecessary light, allowing one to observe a pyromancy’s true essence.
The flame reveals all, and obscures all.

Carthus Milkring
Ring worn by the warriors of the sand kingdom, Carthus. Slightly boosts dexterity and obscures the wearer while rolling.
The sword technique of Carthus allows for fluid movement with a curved sword. Masters of the technique are said to dazzle their opponents by moving as weightlessly as a grain of sand. They live for their High Lord Wolnir, conqueror of most kingdoms known to their people.

Carthus Bloodring
Ring worn by warriors of the sand kingdom, Carthus. Boosts rolling invincibility, at the cost of defense.
The sword technique of Carthus allows for fluid movement with a curved sword. Masters of the technique are said to dazzle their opponents by moving as weightlessly as a grain of sand. They live for their High Lord Wolnir, conqueror of most kingdoms known to their people.

Carthus Pyromancy Tome
A pyromancy tome from Carthus
Give to the old pyromancer to learn advanced pyromancies of the Great Swamp.
Carthus pyromancies developed in isolation from other forms, explaining their divergent evolution.

Witch’s Ring
The Witch of Izalith and her daughters, scorched by the flame of chaos, thaught humans the art of pyromancy and offered them this ring.
Greatly boosts pyromancies.
Every pyromancer is familiar with the parable that tells of the witches espousing the need to fear the flame, and teaching the art of pyromancy to men in hopes that they might learn to control it.

Knight Slayer’s Ring
Ring of the savage Tsorig, more commonly known as the Knight Slayer.
Long ago, Tsorig engaged the guardians of an ancient city in a bloody confrontation, and returned with their rings as his prize, still frozen on their dismembered fingers.

Unsorted thoughts about Irithyll and what’s within:
Let’s head to Irithyll, the really pretty city that is home to Aldritch, Saint of the Deep as well as another major player that we haven’t met yet, Pontiff Sulyvahn. He was briefly mentioned in a few item descriptions. It’s also where Vordt of the Boreal Valley came from because… y’know Irithyll is in the Boreal Valley, an Outrider Knight. To know what an outrider knight is it’s best to just reread the description of the Pontiff’s Left Eye, a ring we can make of Vordt’s Soul

“Bewitched ring that Pontiff Sulyvahn bestowed upon his knights.
Recovers HP with successive attacks.
Knights who peer into the black orb are lured into battles of death, transformed into frenzied beasts. No wonder the Pontiff only provides these rings to those dispatched to foreign lands.”

The Pontiffs Right Eye has the exact same description, aside from the effect, and we get it from the Wolfgator, implying that this is either what an Outrider Knight looks like without armor or once they’ve fully transformed into a beast. Though, the description also reads that he only gives the rings to those dispatched to faraway places. Presumably for reasons of safety, or Sully doesn’t want those filthy beasts near him. I’d also like to draw attention to the fact that these Pontiff Beasts have gaping open bellies with teeth anf everything, reminiscent of the Gaping Dragon from Dark Souls. Although, the Gaping Dragon’s Story was that it was a dragon so gluttonous it developed new mouths to eat literal shit in the sewers with.

Greirat calls Irithyll “Home to moon-worshipping nobles”. There’s exactly one character linked to the Moon: Gwyndolyn, last surviving deity of Anor Londo from Dark Souls. She was born male but raised as a woman due to her affinity to the moon. Gwyndolyn is also the daughter of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight. We also find a Proof of a Concord Kept as well as the Roster of Knights which make reference to Gwyndolyn’s Covemant, the Darkmoon Blades. The Darkmoon Blades both guarded Anor Londo and Gwynevere’s Illusion and hunted down sinners (players who invaded a lot).

Aside from that, there are a few other items that are connected to Anor Londo in Irithyll, though we haven’t found a lot of them yet. This gives fuel to a few theories regarding the nature of Irithyll. Maybe it was built in the place where Anor Londo once stood, or maybe the people of Anor Londo went here after The illusion of Sunlight was shattered and the truth that it’s cursed with an eternal night was revealed. The Pontiff Knights being what became of the Silver Knights or perhaps the Sentinels. Then again, it’s also night in Irithyll, and we can always see the moon hanging in the sky, so who knows?

While we don’t know everything yet it is quite an interesting place. It is actually one of my favorite areas in the game. It looks sweet and offers a decent challenge it’s also a place ware a lot of the lore comes together, concerning Aldrich and Outrider Knights such as Vordt. Then there’s Anri, whose questline will reach it’s conclusion later on in this area. It’s quite dense in that regard and I really like it for that. But we still have half of the area ahead of us. And then there’s the Dungeon below as well.