Let’s Illustrate Dark Souls 3 Part 26: 8 Ranks in Knowledge (Dungeon Design)

First stop on Fault’s pre-endgame leveling tour is Irithyll Prison. I happen to know there’s a NPC down here who’ll be our buddy if we break her out of jail. She’s in the same rough area where we found the Profane Coal, which is too bad because that area was guarded by half a dozen of those jailer cultists who temporarily drain your max HP every time you get close. That wasn’t such a problem when Fault’s only goal in life was to dodge roll her way to the coal and then die, but now that we need to survive long enough to hold a full conversation with someone we’re going to need to clear them out.

Fortunately Fault has just enough DPS and stamina to safely stun lock one of them to death, so all we have to do is aggro one of them, lead it away from the rest of the group and then stab it to death before they can kill us. As long as we don’t ever let them attack it doesn’t matter that we’re down to only 1 hp.

A tedious process to be sure, but it earns us a bunch of souls and lets us free a prisoner who might very well be an abyssal child of darkness but, hey, what’s a cursed fate or two between friends? This particular lady is an important late-game trainer for dark sorceries, advanced pyromancies and a possible source of dark miracles. Fault can cast absolutely zero of these so rescuing her was more of just a thing to do to pass the time.

Next up is one of, in my opinion, the better bits of level design in DS3 and one I’m going to talk about at length (so I wouldn’t blame you if you skip to the next post).

It all starts when you open one of the rare non-mimic chests in the game and find access to a key that supposedly opens the oldest cell in Irithyll prison. But where would we find that?

Well, the key description mentions that the first prisoner was a giant and the first cells were built at his feet. So let’s go find a big room with a giant. Or at least a big room that used to have a giant before Fault stabbed him in the shin a few dozen times.

Looking around the room you’ll notice some cell windows built into the wall and behind one of them is a room with a corpse, an item and a locked door. Seems like a good candidate for the cell we’re trying to unlock. But how do we get over there?

You think for a bit and remember that there was a certain path in the Profane Capital that lead to an underground swamp surrounding a small church that had stairs that lead right back to the giant’s room. Obviously that means the Church must be right next to the giant’s cell and thus right next to the room you’re trying to unlock.

You head to the area to investigate but realize that following the stairs back to the giant takes you much too high to reach the door you want. So you go back down the stairs a bit and start looking around really closely and notice that one of the windows set into the rock wall near the roof the church doesn’t have any bars set into it. Jumping through that window leads to the cell behind the giant’s room and gives you access to a covetous ring that increases your item discovery rating by 50. Added on top of Fault’s high luck we’re close to breaking 200 now. No idea what that mathematically means but I expect many good drops in her future.

Anyways, what I like about this particular secret is how logical the whole progression is. It’s not some random secret you can only find through luck or by obsessively head butting every wall you find in search of illusions. Instead it’s a matter of following clues and thinking carefully about level geometry.

Treasure in hand Fault does a little bit more grinding and exploring and finally earns enough souls to raise her luck to 42 and, more importantly, raise her strength to 14. That is just high enough to switch over to the Dragon Crest Shield, which I personally think is one of the best medium shields in the game. It completely blocks physical damage, almost completely blocks fire damage and can take a few hits before depleting all your stamina.

The best defense is a good offense, but the Dragon Crest shield is a close second.

The best defense is a good offense, but the Dragon Crest shield is a close second.