If you’re wanting help with the Dreg Heap area in The Ringed City DLC, that’s all covered in Part One of this guide. Everything after the Demon Prince boss is in this one.
Same caveats as in Part One: I doubt I found every single item in this area, but I’ve done my best to account for the good stuff. This guide will also tell you how to find the Purging Monument, complete Lapp’s questline, dodge a pesky Dragon and phantom archers, open up shortcuts, and offer a bit of boss advice.
The Ringed City – Upper Pathways and Phantom Archer Troubles
After taking the Gargoyle Express, you’ll be dropped on a path. Admire the view, because it rules. Just before the obvious bonfire (Mausoleum Lookout) you’ll meet a strange character who asks whether you serve the Gods. I said I was just pretending, and he gave me some info about a church and Princess Filianore. Not sure what happens if you take the other option.
Watch out when approaching the open space below, because Phantom Archers will be summoned in great number by the Adjudicator in the distance. If you’re caught too much in the open with these guys, then you’re pretty much dead. Use the nearest clump of gravestones (on the righthand side) to hide behind. Turn around and run around the side beneath where the bonfire is to get the Ruin Set and learn a bit of Phantom Archer lore. Then come back to the same gravestones for cover.
After the Phantoms have loosed off three arrow volleys, run to the next set of graves on the righthand side. Make sure you’re inside the little sideways U shape so your back, sides and front are fairly protected.
Your next move is to basically sprint basically forward and roll off the circular area where the wall is slightly worn away. Do it in the right place and you’ll drop down onto a platform at the side. Go forward again to drop down to the next level before the archers shoot you to pieces. They can’t see you here.
Make your way around and kill the crystal lizard if you wish. Then go up the ladder. You still aren’t safe from the Phantoms up here, so be prepared to move rapidly. If you want a Hidden Blessing, nip into the entrance that’s below where the Adjudicator is (watch out for overgrown skeletons and another phantom with a mace). Your actual way forward is to run up to the Adjudicator’s platform, and find the steps down at the back of his platform. Watch out for another phantom with a mace here.
If you want to kill the Adjudicator for a Divine Blessing (and some peace and quiet), then cheesing him with a bow from around the corner of these steps is a good option. You just have to periodically watch for the mace Phantom and dodge his attack. Stay far enough away that the Adjudicator doesn’t summon his personal archer squad.
If/when you’ve done that, continue down the steps and then have a chat with the weird, but friendly, insect man around the corner. He has some things to say about the Dark.
Proceed carefully beyond this point, because there are a bunch of arseholes here who want to push you over the side of the cliff, or stab you, or hit you with lightning spears, or all three. The item at the end of the walkway is a pair of Purging Stones. This will prove prescient. Take a left through the door for the Ringed Inner Wall bonfire.
From the Inner Wall to the Streets (and Swamp)
From the bonfire, you can head right to meet Lapp again (if you saw him earlier), gaze longingly at the won’t-be-opened-for-quite-a-while shortcut door to the left, or go straight ahead. Watch out for ambushes from sneaky knife-wielders throughout all of this part. Just assume that one might try to jump you, or drop down on your face, after every archway. The version of these guys with spiky bits of purple rock coming out of them spread Curse, so either wear Curse resistant gear, or take them out at range, or both. If you have the Cursebite Ring from the main game, that’s ideal.
Follow the only path you really can until you end up in the flower garden with one of the cool knights with a melty sun chest. These chaps are Ringed Knights. Past him and a bit to the right is an item (not gear, it’s a Soul item I think). Fight him if you wish – he’s got a nasty flame sword move, but otherwise is basically a pretty generic (albeit hard-hitting) knight. Your time battling Lothric Knights will serve you fairly well here.
Head down the steps, watching out for some more scuttling knife guys, and approach the entranceway down there. A bizarre Turtle Priest will probably appear. These fellows can turtle up to heal themselves, and can drop a health-draining miracle sign on you. Not a huge problem when they’re alone, but paired up with other enemies (or one another) they are very troublesome. Kill this one, then go through the entrance flanked by gargoyles to meet three more. You can kick these guys when they’re turtled up to break them out of the heal. Assuming you’re using a weapon that still gives you access to the kick move, that is.
Drop down to the chandelier from the crossed beams in this room and jump across to an otherwise inaccessible landing where another evil Turtle Priest is lurking. Below is another Ringed Knight with a spear, and you don’t want a turtle helping him out. You can also snipe him from up here if you’re patient.
When you consider it safe, drop down and go through the only door. You’ll find a long set of steps and a trio of Harald Knights coming towards you. To the right, at the door, you can chat with Princess Filianore’s handmaiden who will ask you if you know the name of God (I opted to say Gwyn) and then ask you to kill a dragon called Midir for her. No biggie. If you say yes, she’ll give you the Sacred Chime of Filianore. Sometimes one of the Harald Knights will attack you when talking to this NPC, so be aware of your surroundings before initiating the conversation.
From here, if you head across the first grassy archbridge that goes over the long staircase (watch out for more dagger and lightning guys), you’ll reach some gardens. There’s a Ringed Knight in the first one, and an NPC invasion (Seeker of the Spurned) in the other. Behind where he spawns is the totally fabulous Black Witch set, and, if you kill him, you get the Wolf Ring +3. If only Poise was still so useful eh?
That first archway bridge is a very handy place to do drop attacks on the Harald Knights over and over again if you wish to thin them out. Watch out for a cursed fellow and another healing Turtle Priest at the base of the bridge (on the left).
Making your way further down the steps will take you to a swamp-like area where three more Harald Knights will spawn (jesus christ Dark Souls). If you hug the right hand wall as you head down, you’ll find a way through that leads to the archway bridge over where the three swamp Haralds appear. Of course, that way still has some cursed guys and a Ringed Knight (plus the Ringed Knight Spear weapon), but it’s an option. There are some non-essential items dotted around the staircase itself, usually guarded by a dagger guy or two.
However you reach the swamp, you want to hang right. The tiny insects are fine, but as soon as you find some steps on the right, you’ll also find a larger insectoid who wants to murder you with magical branches and fart sticky material in your face. What a jerk. Defeat (or dodge around) him, go up the steps, and you’ll find the Ringed City Streets bonfire. This is a pretty solid base from which to explore the swamp. If you veer too much to the right on the approach you’ll end up at a dead end, but at least there’s a White Preacher Head helmet thing here.
Swamps and Their Fauna
Before turning full attention to the swamp, head out from the bonfire and back towards the area the Harald Knights spawn (the mouth of the swamp). On the wall around the furthest righthand corner there’ll be a ladder. Watch out for a spinning Turtle Priest man. Go up (you may take a bit of Turtle Priest nasty-miracle damage here), and you’ll find the conversational insect guy again. He’ll give you some more lore.
The bridge immediately below is the one which leads to the Ringed Knight Spear and the shortcut through to the main street staircase.
Instead, if you head up further from where the talking insect guy is, and then cross that bridge, you’ll (beyond more Ringed Knight enemies) reach a little alcove where Lapp is hanging out. He wants to know if you’ve found the Purging Monument. You haven’t, yet. He’s next to the Covetous Serpent Ring +3.
There’s one other direction you can go from insect guy’s vantage point. You’ll drop down, then climb up a little path to face NPC invader Silver Knight Ledo. If you triumph, Ledo’s Great Hammer will be yours. On the path to reach him, there’s a way to drop further back down via rocky platforms. You’ll find Havel’s Ring +3 on a corpse there.
Back at the swamp, if you head right across (from the bonfire) to the left hand side and hug that side, you’ll reach a sort of mound with about three Turtle Priests on it and the White Birch Bow. Continue on and into the sunken church tower beyond to find the Church Guardian Shiv (which is basically infinite throwing knives – albeit, not very powerful ones). If you keep going to the very end of the swamp, you’ll run into the Dragonslayer Armour boss as a normal foe. Kill him and you’ll receive the Iron Dragonslayer set.
The right hand side of the swamp is the way you ultimately want to go. Beyond the Adjudicator guy (in the cul-de-sac before the submerged Church building) you can find the Preacher’s Right Arm staff behind another submerged piece of architecture. Also from this area, you can make your way up onto another platform where yet another talking insect (or maybe the same one again) will whisper sweet things about the Dark to you. In this area, you can pick up the Ringed Knight Straight Sword too.
From up here you can sometimes observe the larger insect creatures leading a pack of smaller ones, like baby ducks. How sweet.
To actually progress, you need to hang to the right hand side of the swamp and head for the submerged Church with the Ringed Knights all over it. On the left hand wall you can get the Black Witch Veil. But you want to use the Church roof like a ramp to carry you over to the path on the other side. Hang right as you do so, and you can open up a helpful shortcut to the Ringed City Streets bonfire.
Accessing the Purging Monument
In the room with the shortcut door, you may have noticed a wall engraving that states “Show Your Humanity”. Doing so is a little convoluted, but not actually difficult. You’ll need either the Chameleon spell or a White Branch. Head back out to the swamp (kill the insect man in your way), and cast your transformation spell of choice. If you’ve gone far enough out, you’ll transform into an adorable Humanity form.
Return to the engraving and a ladder will appear. Go up there to reach an area with two Ringed Knights and an Adjudicator. Ignore those guys (or beat them up, if you fancy), and find the ladder heading down just beyond the Adjudicator. At the bottom, you can head away from the archway bridge to find a Dragonhead Shield. The other way takes you to the Purging Monument that Lapp keeps banging on about. You can’t miss it, it’s a big pile of weird heads.
You can use the Purging Monument to remove Sin (Absolution) or remove your Hollowing (Dissolution). Here, you can also ‘Restore the King’s Decree’. This will basically revive a boss we haven’t met yet.
Return to Lapp and tell him about the Purging Monument. He’ll be delighted and, if you haven’t already figured it out, pretty much reveal who he is/was.
Dragon Dodging 101
Back at the Ringed City Streets bonfire, head out from your new shortcut, say hello to a dragon in the distance, and hang right to meet a Ringed Knight and, under the bridge, the Dragonhead Greatshield.
As you cross the bridge itself, prepare for the dragon to behave like a classic Dark Souls dragon – swooping down and breathing a shitload of fire. There’s a space to duck into on your right, but it has a pushy dagger guy inside too. At the next break in the dragon firebombing, grab the nearby item outside and roll off the cliff to the left to the path below (you’ll be safe from fire there). Beat up the foes down there and, when the time is right, head up and into the entrance. You can dash back and grab the remaining item outside if you want – it’s a Soul of some kind.
Inside the spiral staircase tower, you can head downwards to meet some skeletons and an item or two. If you’ve followed Lapp’s quest to this point, he’ll be here too with a tantalising offer for you. Follow his instructions and allow the inevitable to happen.
Alternatively, you can chase the Crystal Lizard up the stairs and, whoops, the floor gave way. You’ll now be invaded by an NPC called the Moaning Knight. Kill him in the tight quarters (watch out for other skeletons too) and you’ll get the Blindfold Mask as a keepsake.
Whichever path you take, you need to drop off the ledge marked by the purple pennant. If you met Lapp, you already did that (with some help). Work your way along the only paths open to you until you come to a chest. Surprise! It’s a mimic – it holds the Ring of the Evil Eye +3. Take a left through a skeleton corridor when you’re able, and head up some stairs to get to the Shared Grave bonfire.
Head out from here, and squeeze yourself up against the left wall while Midir breathes fire a couple of times. Then run to the handy rock barrier while he does it a couple more times. Don’t linger, or he’ll figure your hiding place out. Instead, run out beyond him and make a beeline for the next entrance. If you wish to fight him later as an optional boss, then you’ll need to damage him enough to dislodge him from the bridge.
I found the best way to do that was to use the rock barrier just before you reach him. Wait for the fire breath attack that goes over the rock (you’ll learn to recognise the tell when Midir looks your way), run out, stab him in the foot a few times, then run back behind the rock. Stay safe there until he goes for the fire attack that goes over it, and repeat the process. Not too painful.
Once inside the entrance, follow the Crystal Lizard up the stairs (for once this is not a trap) to see a very interesting statue. Then pop back down and hit the wall next to the stairwell entrance. It’s an illusion, and there’s a Turtle Priest behind. Go through two more illusion walls and pick up the Lightning Arrow miracle. It’s a good one. There’s a lift just off from this room which will finally complete the shortcut back to the Ringed Inner Wall bonfire. Bet that one was still bothering you.
There’s a space to roll off the lift to reach a hidden area where you can pick up an Ember and drop down to reach the Chloranthy Ring +3 on the statue. This is also the way to the optional boss: Darkeater Midir. There’s an illusionary wall in the room with the statues (one to the right of the crouching figure). Go through here, down some stairs, and find the Antiquated Plain Garb and Violet Wrappings. The entrance to the fight with Midir (the dragon) is behind the altar. If you didn’t knock him off the bridge yet, this will be blocked by an impassable fog door.
Why does Darkeater Midir have that name? Because midair is where he spends half his time. Ha ha hooo boy.
Alright, this geezer is no joke. I actually think it’s beneficial to fight him solo, because unless you’re very actively co-ordinated with another party who’ll stay back while one of you baits the main attacks, it’s just going to make it harder to predict and read his attack patterns. Whatever you choose, he’ll unfortunately have an absolute shitload of health. Shira can be summoned as an NPC if you go back and tell her Midir fell in the chasm (wait too long and you won’t be able to do this because she won’t be at the door any more).
Even though you’re going solo, it’s a reasonable idea to Ember up for the extra health if you have them to spare.
Okay, protip number one. Every time after the first encounter, when you drop into the boss arena just stay standing still. Midir will do his temper tantrum move and end up pretty much right in front of you. Trust me, he does it every time and the flames will whiff in front of you. It’s great.
Your primary objective is to be hitting him in the head. It doesn’t do huge amounts of damage, but it’s better than anywhere else on his body which takes even less damage. In the first phase of the fight, you’ll get a couple of decent windows for doing this. I’ve tried a mixture of locking on the head and not locking on – whether it’s a benefit is somewhat situational (locking on when up close will help you land the hits, but can hurt when trying to get away). I’ll leave that to your personal discretion.
Window One: If you’re close in front of him and he does the two wide swipes with the long build up, great. He’ll dip his head down after doing so and is good for a couple of pokes.
Window Two: When he backs off and does his downward flame attack followed by the laser. Run in from the left (Midir’s right) and stick just at the edge of the flame AoE (if you get there early). Then dash in diagonally while he’s doing the first phase laser – he won’t hit you, and will slump down for some lovely head attacks. If you’re really lucky he’ll follow up with some slow swipes and you can stab him some more.
Those are my favourites in phase one. If you learn his overhead smash or double bite ‘tells’ you might get decent at sneaking a stab or two at the end of these as well. I found those a bit risky, but doable.
Of course trying to stab his head means you spend quite a lot of time in front of him. If he does the quick double swipe attack, he’s about to rear up and breathe fire downward, so vacate the area after dodging (or as part of dodging) those attacks. If he roars in phase one, chances are he’s going to do a big bite at you.
If he rocks back on his back legs a little while you’re at a distance, he’s going to do a charge attack. Rolling into/under him works okay for this; but if you end up behind then watch for the tail swipe. If you end up in front, watch for any of his frontal attacks (including the temper tantrum). Wind up under him and you might be able to get in a stab or two, but try to sort out your positioning (and the camera) as a priority.
When Midir hops up into the air, then he’s probably going to do a firebombing raid. These go in a pretty straight line and you can dodge through it with good timing. Better to try to keep track of him with the camera (I know, I know) and position yourself out of the way.
At about half health, he’ll do a Dark magic charge-up AoE. Don’t stick around for that, obviously. In this second phase he gets a couple of augmented attacks and seems prone to doing double temper tantrum moves (which I largely found it was best to just try to steer clear of – there aren’t many good attack windows unless you can find yourself right next to his head when he stops the combo).
Firstly, his laser attack gets more ridiculous. If you see him head to the back wall of the cavern, start sprinting over there in the same manner as the flame/laser in his first phase. Approach from your left (his right) kind of in line with under his wing. You want to be able to get under him while the light show is starting. Go and hug (and hey, stab a bit) his left foot (on your right side) and you should be absolutely safe from the laser explosions. Wait it out, then try to get in a few more head stabs (it can be tricky because Midir will kind of slump over and his body will be in the way).
He’ll also be able to summon little humanity cloud things now. If possible, run or roll in a fairly wide semi-circle as they swoop in. As long as you’re far enough away they shouldn’t get you. If they start coming at you when you’re right in his face, then some will probably hit you.
If you’ve battered Midir’s head enough, he’ll eventually flop forward for a riposte opportunity (seems to happen during the last 20-30%). This is ideal, because it takes off a lovely chunk of his health.
That’s … about it. Learning the tells on the moves he’ll do when you’re in front/near his head is a big part of winning this fight. Exploit the windows of attack when you can, and be prepared for the long slog. He appears to be a bit vulnerable to lightning; but I wouldn’t start burning through your supply until you’ve got nice and familiar with his move-set.
Best him, and you’ll get the Spears of the Church covenant badge, the Soul of Darkeater Midir, and the endless admiration of your peers. You can use his Soul to transpose the Frayed Blade or Old Moonlight (a sorcery).
Churches and Champions
When you’re done with all that, go back to the Gwyn statue and go out of the other door to meet a Ringed Knight wielding double blades. Kill him to get that very weapon: the Ringed Knight Paired Greatswords. The altar for the new Spears of the Church covenant is just ahead, with a Spear Fragment item just behind it. The item across the gap over the other side is a pair of Twinkling Titanites.
Ignore the warning at the door to the church and head inside for more boss fight antics.
NOTE: The offline experience against Halflight (which is what I had, pre-release) is going to be very different to online. Online, Halflight is potentially a real player who is a member of the Spears of the Church covenant. Obviously that could make things much tougher. Or much easier, if they’re crap. This is the boss you can revive with the Purging Monument.
If you do this bit offline, then you’ll fight an NPC called Halflight, the Spear of the Church. Argo the Adjudicator (who you should just avoid going near to prevent him joining the fight for a bit) will first summon a Painting Guardian, and (after a short while, so use the time as best you can to damage or kill this first guy), Halflight himself. Try to kill the Guardian, since he has a heal. At about half of the boss’ health another Painting Guardian will be summoned and the music will really kick in.
Halflight has some fairly nifty sword moves. He’ll summon lightning orbs, can do a straight purple magic attack along thr ground and, when he glows for a bit, he’s about to summon spears from the floor in the general vacinity. He’ll shoot you with a bow if he’s feeling frisky. If you’re having trouble, I recommend using the cathedral pillars like an utterly courageous hero. None of his attacks can really go through those. He’s basically an NPC invader with a boss health bar though, so he shouldn’t really cause major problems. Lapp/Patches should be available as an NPC summon if you finished his questline.
Once you’ve beaten up Halflight and made fun of his poncy open shirt (or defeated a real life person in PvP), you’ll get a Titanite Slab and Filianore’s Spear Ornament. You can offer the latter back out at the Covenant shrine if you wish. Otherwise, head through the newly opened entrances and up the stairs to the Church of Filianore bonfire.
Travel up the elevator, and say hi to snoozy Princess Filianore. In the proudest tradition of Dark Souls, it’s now time for you to RUIN EVERYTHING by touching things you shouldn’t.
Let the cut-scene play out, and behold the new bonfire Filianore’s Rest.
Step outside to meet a rather sad and pathetic gentleman trying to drag himself up the hill (he’ll make it to the top, but then just die without saying much, alas). This area is pretty open. If you swing around to the left, behind Filianore’s tower, you’ll find another Ringed Knight – kill him for another Titanite Slab.
If you hang right instead, you’ll reach a dilapidated building. Walk far enough inside and Shira, Knight of Filianore will take you on. Beat her, and Shira’s Set will be available back through the door where you first spoke (she’s the lady who wants you to kill Midir). You’ll also get the Crucifix of the Mad King immediately. She should still be around to fight even if you first trigger the next boss fight in this area.
Advance down the center and you’ll meet The Ringed City’s final boss: Slave Knight Gael.
Gael Force Wins
Get ready for three phases (luckily all on one health bar; but it’s a big fucking health bar). Also maybe get ready to summon help, because Phase Three is … something else. There’s no shame in summoning. After getting to Phase Three a few times and laughing, that’s what I did.
PHASE ONE: This one isn’t too bad! Or maybe I’ve just had a lot of practice at it. He’s got some pretty Artorias-ey moves for the first third of his health (which, again, is a BIG pool). By this stage of your Souls career you’re hopefully capable of dodging through wide sword-swipe combos. He’s got a delayed swipe. He’s got the double, quicker swipe, sometimes followed by a leap and a downward sword stab. He’s got a rapid four swing combo followed by a leap and downward stab (signaled by a little roar). I try to just get out of the way of the first four swings and then back into position for a stabby stab when he lands the plunge.
If he’s somewhat distant and looks like he’s powering up, he’s going to do a swooping charge – just dodge or move to the left. Don’t get impaled on this one, it’s pretty grim. Once you get it down he’ll end up next to you or near you for a hit to two. If he leaps up in the air for a downward smash, try roll under him (and again, have a window for a stab). You can occasionally stagger him out of attacks in this phase, and phase two, but don’t rely on that – treat it as a bonus. There’s no riposte, as far as I can tell.
I had pretty reasonable and consistent success sticking to his left (your right), circling around a bit, and trying to dodge to my right pretty much the whole time. It may not be optimal, but it got me to Phase Two (solo) with most of my Estus a few times.
PHASE TWO: He decides to stand up straight for this. If you’re at a distance (and sometimes even if you’re not) he’ll either fire a repeating corssbow at you, or launch some miracle frisbees (these return from the direction they came, so don’t get hit twice). Sticking up your shield or dodging through those attacks once you learn the timing are pretty much your options. You can run to the left (or right) with the crossbow move if you’re quick enough.
He’ll now be doing more stationary spins and thrusts. Watch out for two things: one, his bloody cloak can hurt you in this phase. Two, some of his moves leave his sword stuck in the ground, which he’ll then jank out. This janking upswing can hurt you quite badly. If he powers up for a short time, he’s going to do a wide-area spin. Probably best to just back (roll) out for those, then go back in. He doesn’t have too many close quarters moves in this phase. It’s a case of just learning the timing on them I’m afraid. No magical tricks here. The end of each of his main thrusts or swings are your windows. You have to stick this phase out to a point that looks a little over one third health. Gael will then start doing a mega-charging up motion and kind of groaning. Get out of the way.
PHASE THREE: … Because he’s going to explode out some Dark Soul goop. Wherever the goop lands, there will be a little symbol indicator on the floor. Avoid this, because lightning will strike there. As if you don’t have enough to deal with already. This phase broke me and made me start summoning, so I may be of limited help at this point.
Basically, he’s now very, very aggressive (typical final phase stuff). He’ll be able to shoot his repeater crossbow while leaping into the air. He can close distances extremely rapidly with leaping attacks. He’s a menace. Look forward to lots of overhead slam leaping attacks, forward thrusts, and pretty much him being on your arse the whole time. Best of luck.
A small amount of good news: he is fairly susceptible to Bleed damage in all phases. Lightning seems like a reasonable option too. I saw some success with summons who had miracles (Lightning Spear/Arrow etc). They may just have had massive Faith stats, of course.
Defeating him will earn you (and it is earned) the Soul of Slave Knight Gael and the Blood of the Dark Soul. The former can be transposed into Gael’s Greatsword or his Repeating Crossbow. If you own the Ashes of Ariandel DLC, you can give the Blood to the painter girl in the attic and (potentially) save what remains of humanity. It’s a bit of a low-key presentation for a fairly important ending, but there we go. Congratulations, Ashen One, you’ve finished The Ringed City, Dark Souls 3 and most likely the Souls series.