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Dark Souls Beginner’s Guide for Collecting Loot in Early Game – Part I

February 29, 2012

Dark Souls high level difficulty may have given you second thoughts about picking up this excellent title.  However, there is a myriad of loot available very early in the game that will help you easily defeat the first few levels.  This guide is not for the weak of heart, however, as you will be venturing into dangerous territory filled with foes that can eradicate you with one shot.  But gamers that have mastered the run-and-roll technique can amass powerful equipment and souls in as little as 30 minutes.  Don’t worry if you die frequently.  Concentrate on memorizing the level layout and enemy locations.  After a few tries, you will be flying through previously nightmare-inducing terrain.  So my fellow tech gamer, get your running shoes and courage and read on for some early Dark Souls dungeon looting.


You must reach Firelink Shrine.  Choose the Master Key as your beginning gift and make sure your equipment load is at 25% since you will be running past all of the enemies.  A weapon is not necessary for most of the guide.  I recommend you start as a cleric.

Estoc and Firekeeper Soul

From the Firelink Shrine bonfire, head down the winding stairs past the Firekeeper and continue down the elevator.  You are now in New Londo Ruins.  Here you can pick up souls, transient curse X2 and the Estoc, which allows you to attack while shielded.  To the right of the elevator is a staircase that will lead you to Rickert of Vinheim, an imprisoned blacksmith and magic seller.  To the left is a bridge leading further into New Londo Ruins filled with ghosts that require the use of a cursed weapon or a transient curse to take damage.  Once across the bridge, run past the first ghost and look to the right.  There is a walled pathway with a Firekeep soul.  You will be attacked and killed immediately after collecting it and sent back to the bonfire.

Dragon Crest Shield, Astora’s Straight Sword, Humanity, Spider Shield

Instead of heading towards the bridge to New Londo Ruins, take the tower closest to the blacksmith.  The Master Key will open the door at the top and you will find a soul just past it.  Continue to the wooden bridge and take the path to the left with the suspension bridge.  You will soon encounter a sleeping dragon guarding the Dragon Crest Shield, Astora’s Straight Sword and some souls.  If you quickly pick up the loot and roll twice, the dragon will miss you.  Otherwise, you may have to repeat the route twice to collect all the loot.

You can avoid the dragon altogether by hugging the cliff and taking the ascending path.  Later in the game you can easily poach the dragon with arrows, magic or fire from this spot.  Past the dragon is the Valley of Drakes.  Run past both drakes jumping to avoid their lightning breath attack.  Do not cross the stone bridge.  Instead head up the rocks and into the tower and up the elevator. Continue and rest at the bonfire.  Now that you are rested, let’s go get the loot. Head down to the drakes.  The Spider Shield and Brigand Set are past the drake on the stone bridge.  Keep to the left side of the bridge when you run and jump to the loot.  Immediately run while shielded (the cleric shield has high lightning defense) and past the drakes.

If you keep going back towards the drake closest to the, now awake, gaping dragon, you will notice a cave next to him (the drake not the dragon).  There is a body with humanity in the cave.  It’s possible to emerge unscathed from the cave but death by lightning is the likeliest outcome.

Grass Crest Shield

This is one the best shields in the game and can be upgraded with titanite.  More importantly, the shield recharges your stamina quickly, an important buff for any character build.  The shield is one of the easiest pick-ups in the game.  Let’s go get it.  The path for the bonfire in the cave leads down to the Valley of Drakes or leads up to Darkroot Basin.  After raiding Valley of Drakes, set your sights on Darkroot Basin.  Immediately after the cave ends, head to your right down a short path.  The body at the end holds the shield.  Do not dawdle as a halberd-wielding Black Knight is right on top of you.  Let him take you out or roll past his attack after getting the shield.

Crystal Lizard, Elite Knight Set, Blacksmith

This is a long run with no time allowed for appreciating the scenery.  After navigating past the Black Knight, take the meandering path all the way up.  It will seem like forever at first but you will end up in Darkroot Garden.  On your way, you will pass a jump off for the warrior set and a crystal lizard.  Enter Darkroot Garden and run to the right avoiding the Demonic Foliage.  Run to the end of the path and you will see a door with a glowing seal.  Just before this door, there is a path to the right.  Take it and go through the fog door.  Look to the 2 o’clock position and you will see glowing loot in the trees.  This is the Elite Knight Set.

As you approach the loot, demonic foliage and a stone warrior will spawn.  Do 3 quick backwards rolls after getting the loot and head back towards the area where you crossed the fog door.  You will pass a cave with souls guarded by more demonic foliage.  You can get it and again immediately roll back and head back out.

Keep running as if your life depended on it, which it does.  Continue past the path to Darkroot Basin.  You will have to evade some demonic foliage and end up in a stone structure with columns.  Inside is a Prowling Demon.  This is the toughest non-boss enemy in the game.  He will hurl lightning and swing his giant catchpole.  Stay to the left as you go up the stairs and into Undead Parish where you will meet Andre of Astora, a blacksmith who can upgrade basic and divine weapons and sells much useful gear.  Up one floor from Andre is the bonfire.

Zweihander, Winged Spear, Talisman, Homeward Bone, Cracked Red Eye, Firebombs

The Undead Parish bonfire is a hub for Sen’s Fortress, Darkroot Basin and Firelink Shrine.  Sen’s Fortress is unavailable at this point.  From the bonfire, head to the highest level and follow the way out.  You will end up in a courtyard with 3 undead soldiers guarding a temple entrance.  The temple is also full of enemies and Black Iron Tarkus, your first mini-boss, protects a body with a Firekeeper Soul.

You will soon return to raid this area but for now, run straight through the courtyard and into the temple.  Continue until you see a pair of elevator doors and roll into the open one.  The elevator floor has a trigger activating a shortcut.  You will be taken down to the lower level with a connection to Firelink Shrine.  Follow the stairs down and you will soon see the starting bonfire at Firelink Shire.  Go ahead a rest for a brief repose.

Return to face the elevators once again.  You will notice you can drop into one of the openings.  The drop leads to an inner courtyard with 4 treasure chests containing weapons and important items like the homeward bone 6X and Lloyd’s Talisman 4X.

The next section is tricky with a higher than average likelihood of death, which is the reason for resting at the bonfire.  Stand at the edge of the opening from the courtyard with the 4 treasure chests.  You will see a pile of bones down and a bit to the right.  There are some powerful weapons and souls here but guarded by strong skeleton warriors.  They will animate as you approach the piles of bones on the ground.

Drop down and immediately start heading down the grass path in between the graves.  You will see the bright glow of souls surrounded by bones.  Pick up the souls and continue to the right.  You will see another loot glow at the end of the grave marker.  Pick up the Zweihander and quickly turn right heading roughly back where you had started.  You will soon come upon a very large grave with a giant skeleton and the winged spear.  Turn 45 degrees and roll forward twice to evade the swings of the now awakened giant.  Continue back up your original path.  You may have to pass and evade the 2 undead skeletons if they did not give chase.  Keep going and continue on a 2 o’clock bearing.  You will come up to the edge of the cliff with another guarded grave with souls.  Pick them up and suicide off the cliff.

Once back at the bonfire, investigate the local area.  You should be able to quickly find humanity and firebombs.  There is also “hidden” soul loot.  One is located up the stairs past the elevators to the shrine.  One is located on the upper level of the flooded temple ruins.  The last one is on the lower level outside the temple ruins.  As you head into the area with the skeletons, carefully circle along the left and past the first mural ruins and look to your left.

Firekeeper Soul, Halberd, Basement Key

Here is another tricky bit definitely worth the risk.  Return to the temple via the elevators.  Tarkus may be waiting for you just past the elevator door or further over guarding the body with a Firekeeper soul.  He is very slow and telegraphs his swings.  Roll or run past him and pick up the loot at the shrine.  Turn around and you should see pews on either side of the temple.  Past them are 3 armored undead soldiers with deadly rapiers.

Do not run down the middle aisle, as a Sorcerer will snipe you with Soul Spear from the alcove above.  Instead proceed down either side of the columns with your shield raised.  As you approach the soldiers, the furthest one will spawn followed shortly by the other two.  Some quick turns and rolls should let you progress safely into the front stairs.  Take a sharp right and pick up the halberd, then proceed to the large gate where you can find the basement key.  You can try running back to the elevator, trip the lever to lower the gate or let one of many chasing enemies kill your avatar.

You can stop here.. or continue to Part II if you don’t scare easily.


From → Video games

  1. mark permalink

    Wow. This guide here is quite literally the single best guide on beginning this game on the entire net. I played up to SL 56 before realising that I had made some typical newbie errors and wanted to start again. This catapulted me up hours and hours of gameplay and I’m now just 20K souls til I buy the Crest from Andre and farm my way back up to my former glory (and beyond). Thank you, so so so so much!

    • I am glad I was able to help. You can collect 20,000 souls right from the beginning of the game and it should take you about 10 minutes before you can buy the Crest of Artorias. If you watch my Youtube channel, I have a lore walkthough. The very first part of the very first video shows me getting the Crest quickly (plus the video and sound quality are much better). I actually have “optimized” the early looting run and may post another video but with an emphasis on collecting all of the early weapons as opposed to souls.

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