Saturday January 11, 2020
The First of the Dead
“Nito sleeps deep within the Giant Catacombs, quietly overseeing all death, and waiting for his servants to usher in the Eye of Death.”
Gravelord Sword Dance
So we’re down to our final two Lord Souls before we can fill the Lordvessel and find Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight, and the First Flame. As I mentioned last time, I’m going to tackle the Tomb of the Giants, and Gravelord Nito first, because that area is marginally less miserable. We’ve already been down to the Catacombs, so we can simply warp to the bonfire near the blacksmith, Vamos, and start there.
The entrance to the Tomb of the Giants is just beyond Pinwheel’s boss arena, so we have to get through the Bonewheel Skeleton pit once more (fun times) and then drop down into Pinwheel’s old stomping ground. There’s a ladder at the far end that we can climb, to emerge into the Tomb of the Giants. There’s a gimmick for this entire area – it’s so dark, you literally can’t see at all. There’s a couple of workaround options: you can use one of the Necromancers’ Skull Lanterns (but this takes up your shield hand). If you’ve already been down to Izalith, you can use the Sunlight Maggot as a helm, or finally, if you’re a caster, you can learn the Cast Light spell from Dusk. We’re going to go with the Cast Light option; we’ve already attuned it at the last bonfire.
There are Prism Stones scattered along the path here, so theoretically, if you had no light source, you could try to follow the stones to make it to the first bonfire, but I don’t recommend trying this. There are a couple enemies, and cliffsides to fall off along the way. We do our best to make our way down, past some Giant Skeletons, sliding down some sarcophagi, and manage to get to the first bonfire in the area. It’s off a small cliff (accessed via ladder) and beside a pile of bones.
I light it, rest, and then continue, back up the ladder. There’s an area off to the right here where we could get a Divine Ember, but it’s a pain in the ass, and I don’t need it, so I’m not going to bother. More importantly, there’s an NPC waiting for us.
This is Patches. He asks us if we’re a cleric (“No…?”) then offers to share some treasure with us – it’s just down in the pit next to him. Would we like to take a look, he asks? Sure, why not? As soon as you move towards the pit, Patches will boot you down into it. Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal, Patches!
We’ve got to find a way out of this now. But first, there’s another person down here – someone who also probably fell victim to Patches. It’s Rhea of Thorolund, Petrus’ lady companion that he “lost” in the Catacombs so long ago.
She tells us about her predicament, and warns us that her two knight companions – Vince and Nico – have gone hollow, and are still in the area. Sure enough, if we move much further beyond where Rhea sits, they will attack us. They’re not too difficult with my Homing Soulmass though. Otherwise, you can simply kite them around the stone pillars in the pit, and take them out one at a time.
Once they’re defeated, we can return to speak to Rhea. She’ll thank us for putting them out of their misery, and says she’ll attempt to return to Firelink. Good luck, see ya later! We can escape this pit now – just ahead is a narrow passageway that leads to a ladder. We’ll also encounter the Bone Tower (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like) enemies for the first time. These towers of skeletal remains are really easy to deal with, but they do like to pop up from the ground (behind you, occasionally) so it’s important to be wary.
From this ladder, we can get back to Patches, who will be waiting for us. Needless to say, he’s a bit surprised to see us. But hey, he wants to be pals, so everything is totally cool now, right?
You can kill Patches here, but I usually choose to forgive him, because he becomes a merchant later in Firelink Shrine. He sells some decent stuff, so we can buy all his wares, and then murder him. So yeah, we totally forgive you Patches, buddy, pal. We’ll see him around. Past our new BFF, there’s a narrow ledge leading around the pit we crawled out of. Just beyond is a nasty enemy, a Skeleton Beast, but thankfully, my Homing Soulmass is enough to one-shot it. These enemies (they look like skeletal dogs) do obscene amounts of damage, and most of their attacks can guard-break you, even with a high stability shield. We’re going to want to deal with these as little as possible.
There’s a Black Knight on this path that we’ll have to fight while a Giant Skeleton archer fires at us from the darkness. I just try to keep moving to avoid being shot, while backstabbing the knight. After the knight is dead, I move over to deal with the archer. From behind its location, I can drop down onto an outcropping to reach an item – the Covetous Silver Serpent Ring. Wearing it will net you an increased amount of souls. Once we pick up the ring, a group of Bone Towers will emerge, so roll out to avoid being surrounded. We can roll off another ledge nearby (this is quite hard in the darkness) to the next bonfire. It’s lit!
There’s a weird warren of passageways beyond this bonfire, so I just move forward slowly and carefully, to avoid the Skeleton Dogs, and any other enemies lurking. I find my way to another ladder leading down, which allows me to proceed along a cliff ledge. In the distance, we can actually see the trees of Ash Lake. I meant to reverse my hollowing at the bonfire (there’s an NPC invader in this area) but I forgot, so I’ll get him next time.
Through a cave, we end up in another darkened passageway, with a steep drop on one side. While running along the ledge, Bone Tower enemies will emerge in front of you, and behind you at specific points, so we keep an eye on our backs. After the Bone Towers are dealt with, there are two Giant Skeletons to down before our way is clear. The room beyond is full of familiar looking enemies – they’re mini Pinwheels! This boss has been demoted to regular enemy, but they are still dangerous. They’ll spam magic attacks at you, so use the pillars to hide behind, and deal with them from range. Don’t die, by standing out in the open like a dingus. Not that I did that or anything.
But on the bright side, now I can reverse my hollowing, since I’m back at the bonfire. I also make a quick trip back up to Firelink Shrine, to purchase Gwyndolin’s set from Domhnall. Can’t meet Nito, the First of the Dead looking shabby, can we?
This time, when we reach the cliffside with Ash Lake in the distance, we get invaded by Paladin Leeroy. If your brain automatically went, “LEEEEEEROOOOY JENKINS!” that’s probably what this is a reference to, and I think that’s pretty awesome. Good on you, FromSoft.
This time when I reach the Pinwheel room, I take them out without dying. Success. Now all we have to watch for are the tiny baby skeletons swarming all over the area. They’re extremely dangerous because they a) spawn infinitely and b) inflict Toxic. If you’re going to pick up the items in this area, be careful, and have Blooming Moss on hand. I don’t need anything here, so I head straight into the boss fog.
The Ravelord Nito fight is going to be a pain for us, because there are respawning skeleton minions that we also have to deal with. Again, we are sans a Divine Weapon, so they will continue to re-animate. I slap the Ring of Fog on, on the off chance that they won’t see me. It actually works, but I die quite quickly because I’m trying to test something stupid.
I had seen online that two-handing a weapon, and blocking while Nito casts the Gravelord Sword Dance miracle makes it pass right through you – a possible glitch in the remaster. I tried to test it myself, but couldn’t pull it off, so I can’t confirm if this actually works or not. Anyway, another death (ding!) and we’re running back to the boss room.
This attempt goes a lot smoother – the Ring of Fog works, since I’m hanging out in the entry area, and the skeleton minions don’t aggro. I wait for Nito to approach me, while dodging his ranged attacks. From here, I just spam my Crystal Homing Soulmass, and it shreds through him fairly quickly.
We’re awarded with our first (whole) Lord Soul, and we can light the bonfire to get the heck out of here. Only one Lord Soul left to go. But I really (really) don’t feel like going down to Izalith right now, so I might go for a bit of a wander in the DLC. In order to access the DLC, we need to head into Darkroot Basin, where we first encountered Dusk in the Golden Golem. There’s a portal there now – when we inspect it, a very scary, very large, dark hand reaches out and pulls us in.
We’re in a grassy cave, in the Sanctuary Garden, and just ahead is a fog wall. Really, Dark Souls? At least there’s a bonfire immediately. Our first boss is the Sanctuary Guardian, a chimera that shoots lightning, and has some other claw/bite attacks. Its tail is also poisonous, so we should avoid that.
I don’t like this boss at all – mostly because the design doesn’t quite work for me. It doesn’t feel like it fits with the world of Dark Souls, but hey, what do I know? It’s a reasonably easy boss, and once beaten, we’ll have access to the Oolacile Sanctuary.
Here, we can speak to the Mushroom lady, Elizabeth (as you do) and she’ll tell us that Dusk has been kidnapped by a primeval human, whatever that it. She asks us to help the Princess once more, and of course, Abracadaniel (known scholar and gentleman) agrees.
Past the Sanctuary is the Royal Wood, and it looks a little familiar… A lot like the Darkroot Garden from back home. It is, in fact, the exact same area, thousands of years in the past. There are some Gardeners, and Stone Guardians in this area, but they’re all pretty easy to deal with. We’re at a good level to tackle the DLC, so we’re doing okay.
When we try to cross a bridge at the far end of the wood, in classic Dark Souls fashion, a dragon drops to impede our progress. This is our first glimpse of the Black Dragon, Kalameet, which we’ll have the option to fight later on. He flies off after giving us the ol’ once over.
This next section is another small wooded area, and we can unlock a few shortcuts. Most importantly, we can access the next boss, once we take an elevator down from one of the crumbling stone towers. We’re not going to do this just yet, however. There’s an NPC to the right of this boss arena, so we’ll go talk to him instead.
Marvelous Chester is marvelously sketchy – serious Lautrec vibes. But he does look really cool. Beyond Chester is another shortcut elevator, which gives us easy access to this area from the first section of the wood.
This seems like a good place to take a break. I’m not sure if I’ll leave the DLC for now to do Izalith, or if I’ll just continue with fighting Artorias next time. Stay tuned to find out~!