Prepare to be a bit grossed out.
Dark Souls 3 boss: how to beat Rotted Greatwood
Technically, Rotted Greatwood is an optional boss; you don’t need to kill it to continue moving through the game. It does, however, hold a key item you can’t get any other way – and that in turn provides access to some of the best weapons and items out there.
If you’d rather leave it till you’re stronger, you could come back after defeating – or at least visiting – Yhorm the Giant in Profaned Capital. This arena holds a special weapon which is devastatingly effective against the Rotted Greatwood.
This boss is, uh, interesting. The battle doesn’t start till you get close, so take your time to have a look around.
You’ll notice a ton of grunts. More grunts and even red-eyed grunts will feed into the arena as you fight. It’s in your best interests to pick off as many of them as you can before you approach the tree in the far corner, so you have as clear a run as possible to the second phase. At the very least take down the one red-eyed grunt already in the arena; he’s on the right hand side, isolated from the others.
In the first phase of the battle the boss has multiple attacks including stomping, swiping its limbs across the arena as its turns in place, rolling over you to close the distance, and most dangerously attempting to sit on your head, which releases an area of effect gas you’ll need to avoid even if you manage not to get squashed.
The good news is these attacks also damage the other enemies in the arena. The bad news is they’re replaced really quickly, so you’ll always have them at your back. Dashing from one end of the arena to another can give you breathing room, but watch out for that roll attack when the boss chases you.
As for dishing out damage yourself: the boss is impervious to all attacks except on pale sacs in various locations on its body. The most obvious of these are its, uh, gonads. You may seem to be doing very little damage, but when you’ve hit them enough times they’ll burst, taking a chunk of the boss’s health.
It’s a slow beast but so large that it’s often very hard to see which way to roll or run to avoid an attack – and unfortunately even a very good shield won’t protect you from all the damage of that sitting attack. Luckily, getting smacked usually leaves you in a very good position to hack away at the tree’s testicles.
After you’ve knocked off its testicles (or several smaller targets) the boss will tantrum – as you would – causing the arena floor to break and triggering phase two. You won’t be hurt by the fall to the lower floor, and this puts an end to the add spawns. Depending on how difficult you find the two phases, you may prefer to smack away at some of the smaller targets on the boss before triggering the second phase, just to weaken them.
In the basement, the boss grows an extra hand from its belly with which it can slap and swipe more quickly than with its other limbs, and which it sometimes uses to throw groups of rocks at you. It also has several new attacks including toppling forwards towards you and attacking with its forelimbs, and standing up to topple majestically for its full length.
There are several more weak spots to take out. If you’re a pure melee build, this is more difficult (especially if you’re burdened by heavy armour), because you’ll need to identify which attacks leave which weak points exposed, and position yourself to take advantage of them. Ranged and magic users can put a little distance between themselves and the boss, or circle it, to take pot shots at targets.
You’ll need to take down sacs on the creature’s stomach, ankle, back, shoulders and wrist in order to defeat it. When you’re victorious, you’ll receive the Soul of the Rotted Greatwood and Transposing Kiln.
After the battle, grab a Homeward Bone and a soul from one end of the arena. Activate the Pit of Hollows bonfire. There’s a Sacrificial Altar behind the bonfire where you can offer Vertebra Shackles as part of the Mound-makers Covenant; don’t do this if you’re not interested in this PvP faction.
Return to Firelink Shrine and give the Transposing Kiln to Ludleth, the tiny self-declared Lord of Cinder who hangs out on his throne. You can then trade boss souls for weapons and equipment, if you fancy it. With two bosses down, Hawkwood will give you a Heavy Gem if you chat with him.