Do you like libraries?
Dark Souls 3: Grand Archives
Start at the Dragonslayer armour and move forward. Hang a right as soon as you pass the gate and follow the curved stairs down to grab a Titanite Chunk. There’s nothing else here, so climb up the main stairs and activate the Grand Archives bonfire. I hope you like the look of it, because we’ll be seeing it a lot during this lengthy crawl.
Move forward and take the Grand Archives key and Gotthard Twinswords from the corpse. The doorway to your right is a lift we need to activate later on, so go ahead and pass through the doors ahead. This area is very annoying, just a heads up. There are a lot of magic users in here, by the way, so consider your equipment choices wisely.
Okay, so: there’ll be a Crystal Sage directly ahead of you through the doors. Remember how the last one of these you fought was a boss? Well anyway, the best thing is just to ignore it, to be frank. If you damage it, it will teleport away, harassing you as you explore. Leave it alone for now, and it won’t be a pain for quite a while yet. You can’t kill it now, unfortunately.
As soon as you enter, run right. An assassin will dash away but don’t run after it; another assassin drops down behind you as you climb the short stairs. They’re upgraded from last time you saw them, natch.
There’s a Titanite Chunk up ahead (not the corpse hanging from the railing) you can grab, but it will bring you into range of the Crystal Sage, so be quick. Back in safety, watch the railings up above until a red-eyed knight patrols into view. Ping him and he’ll charge down towards you. Just leg it for the door to the archives, and he won’t follow. Now we do not have to deal with him at all, and can cheese him later if you like. High five!
Head back inside the archives and go left; if the stairs are a dead end, you missed them and ran up a set of those mobile library steps instead. There’s a Crystal Lizard ahead; the path to the right only leads to the Crystal Sage again, so feel free to drop down the short ledge as you chase the lizard down. Let it get a little lead on you and then whack it when it runs into the wall, or it pulls right and leads you into the arms of a wax-headed scholar; we’ll deal with that in a mo, hopefully. It drops a Crystal Gem and a Titanite Scale.
Move on and take the left fork. An assassin drops down, but then you can grab the Soul of a Crestfallen Knight. Rejoin the previous path and move onwards.
Look left. If you managed to avoid engaging the wax head earlier, it will have rejoined a group standing around a vat of wax. Before we do that, look right and up. See the assassin? Murder it, then pick up the Titanite Chunk.
Okay, so: there are four scholars to deal with. These guys are just buffed up spell-casters, so as long as you engage them individually it’s no big deal; out snipe them or just melee them if they’re on their own. The only thing you need to watch out for is if they spray wax around; it prevents you rolling in a really annoying way. If you get hit by it, get out of the area pronto and wait for it to clear.
When they’re all down, hug the left wall as you approach and climb the library steps to reach a Titanite Scale. As for the wax pool, you can dunk your head in it. This protects you from those occasions when the shelves attack – really! – so remember where it is for later.
Ignore the tempting door to the left and head into the shelves nearby. Eventually you’ll come to a corridor with a doorway ahead and some broken railings on the right, where you can pick up a Titanite Chunk and, if you like, snipe that knight we tricked earlier. Just past here is a room where you can collect a Crystal Chime and roll merrily through some rubbish. Hooray!
Head back to the door by the wax pool. It’s… it’s quite dark in here, isn’t it? There are two Crystal Lizards (Titanite Scale, Chaos Gem, Twinkling Titanite) and an item glow across the room, but be wary of the scholar on the balcony up and to your right.
Before you approach the lizards or item, be sure to dip your head in the wax pool in the previous room. The arms that attack out of the shelves in this area cause curse, but the wax protects you from that. You’ll still get hurt, but at least you won’t end up dead – hopefully. The item is just a soul, but look for a lever near the mobile library steps. This opens a new room to your left (as you face the lever). Inside you’ll find the Power Within pyromancy and a chest (a real one) with the Witch’s Locks whip. Also: rolling.
As you climb the stairs on the other side of the dark room, a scholar patrols in from the right. Deal with him before you go left to grab the Titanite Scale – and be wary of attack from the bookcases again.
When you go out this door the Crystal Sage will teleport to its next position, which is thoroughly annoying; keep it in mind and roll whenever you hear it casting at you if you’re not certain you’re in cover.
First things first out this door: walk straight and kick down the shortcut ladder. Turn right and grab the Titanite Chunk. Do a 180 and continue on to a Crystal Lizard. It flees past several attacking bookshelves and you’ll aggro a number of scholars, but you can easily chase it down, kill it, and return to the safety of the previous doorway without taking a hit. Give everything a chance to calm down before you head out again.
From here on, the Crystal Sage becomes a real problem. Its current position above you and left isn’t so bad right now, but if you get close and try to attack it you’ll be swarmed by enemies, and it’s very hard to pick them off while the Sage is bombarding you.
Although it makes things a little trickier initially, in the long run we believe it’s better to force the Sage to teleport to its third and final position by sniping it from this doorway. It’s tricky to do, but get just one shot through the railings and it will relocate to a bridge in the middle of the room. Bear in mind, always, that it is at your back, but we’ll mostly be out of its range.
Sprint in the direction you followed the Crystal Lizard, avoiding the cursed books and ignoring the stairs to left and right, to arrive on an external balcony. The shelves between you and the Sage will mostly protect you from its attacks. Collect the Homeward Bones.
Facing inwards from this balcony, dash up the stairs you can see on your left and back down. This will trigger two assassins and lure the single visible assassin. Watch out for their fire bombs. Kill them, then collect the soul up here, while watching out for the attacking books and the Crystal Sage. There’s a wax pool here, too, so remember it.
The stairs on the other side are a nightmare; better to take the ladder tucked away on that side of the balcony. You’ll now be directly opposite the Crystal Sage, but if you pop an arrow in it, it will relocate to either the left or right end of its current location. In these spots, most of its attacks hit the railings between you, or fall short of the columns making the border of the balcony, rendering the Sage noisy rather than deadly. If it moves back to the middle, pop another arrow in it to make it be quiet.
Stay right by the ladder and look left to snipe or lure a scholar and some assassins, and then cautiously ease out and look right to get another scholar. It’s well worth the effort to snipe a second scholar on this side, on the next landing down, but mostly the two assassins won’t aggro unless you make a real fuss.
Now that this area is no longer a death trap, you have a choice to make: it is possible to snipe the Crystal Sage from this balcony in absolute safety. What you need to do is approach the balcony railings and stop just out of range of its attacks, then shoot through both sets of railings; shoot straight rather than at an angle for less hit box annoyance. You can put two arrows in it before it teleports to the other end. With the Black Bow of Pharis you can do decent damage, especially with Feather Arrows.
If you’d rather melee the Sage, we need to get closer, and that means going through a nasty bit of fighting. (If you do snipe him, we go this way anyway.) Dunk your head in wax (there’s a pool on the left stairs one floor down, remember?) and then head up the left stairs from the upper balcony. Just past the stairs where an assassin was hiding (you sniped him earlier, right?) are a bunch of cursed books lying open on the ground. If you dunked your head this will be no problem – but there’s a Scholar just around the corner, too. Deal with him and grab the Titanite Scale.
You should be relatively safe past the books so take a breather, then scan the right wall and drop down to battle the Crystal Sage (or snipe him from this ledge; it’s dangerous, though). The battle isn’t too tough as long as you’ve cleared out all the other baddies along the way; just get up close to it and wail away, rolling to one side and behind it a few moments after it begins mumbling for a cast. When it teleports, immediately run to the other end of the bridge to start again. You’ll get a Crystal Scroll once it’s dead, which you can take to Orbeck at Firelink Shrine.
The Crystal Sage does not respawn once beaten, which makes this a great place to farm souls if you need to. The assassins and scholars are pretty easy to beat and you can grab tens of thousands of souls in just a few minutes of beating them up. Great for shopping.
Let’s do some treasure hunting now. Drop down from the broken railings on the Crystal Sage’s bridge so you can drop down a second time and kill a Crystal Lizard for its Titanite Scales. Dunk your head at the central wax pool, then climb up through the dark room to the level of the first external balcony, and take the stairs on the left (facing out of this building) one flight, and along to the end. Drop down to grab another Titanite Scale, then use Spook or the Silvercat Ring and roll down to the roof of the Crystal Sage’s initial position, where you can grab Avelyn, a rapid fire crossbow.
Drop down to ground level and then make your way back up to where you dropped down to fight the Crystal Sage – but keep going right to the end of the area, near a ladder. Roll to clear the path to a Titanite Scale. Don’t go down the ladder; just keep it in mind.
There’s an illusory wall in the corner right by the gap in the railings. The room beyond is home an Outrider (still terrifying). If you elect to cheese it, don’t forget about all the cursed books nearby; the easiest way is to just do one arrow at a time and walk quietly out of sight around the corner, near the ladder. It drops the full Outrider set, and the path on the other side of the room leads to the Soul Stream spell (don’t mind the snoring, the body is not dangerous).
Back track and take the ladder down now to find a Shriving Stone. Head back in the opposite direction on this level and you’ll arrive at the Crystal Sage’s bridge again. Ignore the doorway to the right and search for a lever hidden between the bridge railings and the shelves. Pull it to open a secret area where you can grab the Scholar’s Ring. Again, ignore the snoring; the body is not dangerous.
With this path open, turn your attention to the doorway by the bridge. There’s a knight standing guard at the far end. A couple of cheesy headshots often sends him tumbling off the ledge, which is amusing, but don’t feel obliged right now. There’s nothing else out there; we’ll fall down here later on.
Cross to the other side of the Sage’s bridge and climb the stairs to a lift on your right. Go down and pull the lever at the end of the path to open a shortcut.
Back at the top of the lift but without going back down the stairs to the bridge, look for a set of stairs to the right leading back into the main room. There are two scholars wandering around in front of you, and another scholar just to your right as you advance. A fourth scholar is hiding in the shelves on your right as you cross the space. Be wary of the cursed books.
When it’s safe(ish), collect the Large Soul of a Crestfallen Knight from the back of the room. There’s a chest tucked away to the left of the door leading away from this area, with some Titanite Scales.
Go out the door and up the stairs. A Crystal Lizard (Titanite Scale, Refined Gem) is just on your right – but mind the cursed books. There’s a Fleshbite Ring in the corner here; be quick to avoid curse if you haven’t got a wax head.
Head outside and turn left to descend a short ladder. In this area you’ll often see tempting spots to drop down for treasure. Avoid them until we mention it!
Follow the path to the rooftops and look right. See that item glow? After you advance a short way you’ll be ambushed by a gargoyle warrior. If your nerves aren’t up to it, turn and flee back to the ladder at the first hint of movement. He usually gets stuck behind the nearby tower for your cheesy convenience. The item is a Titanite Chunk.
Continue on over the rooftops, hugging the edge, and you’ll spot a Corvian shaman and four Corvians below; if you want to grab some extra treasure, kill them and drop down to this ledge. There are two one-way paths off this ledge. First, head on to the far end and run and jump down to a ledge with a Titanite Chunk. You can then make a much easier jump to the lower balcony back in the main room. Go back to the corvians’ ledge and go in the other direction to find a Hollow Gem, and follow the path around to a Titanite Chunk. Dropping down here gets you back to the Sage’s bridge.
Back on the main path on the rooftops, walk past the drop to the corvians until the path turns left; you’ll see a gargoyle warrior and an item glow. The gargoyle can be lured all the way back to the ladder for archers. The item is a Soul of a Weary Warrior.
Just past where the gargoyle was you can turn and climb to a higher rooftop to reach two Crystal Lizards. Another gargoyle warrior will attack as you advance into this area. Facing the lizards from the entrance to this area, charge at the right hand one, missing the left one; with any luck, it will flee right off the roof back towards the path, so you can kill it there and avoid the gargoyle. You can then go back and lure the gargoyle, then if you’re very lucky, take out the second lizard which is just staring into space. You’ll get Titanite Scales, a Heavy Gem and a Sharp Gem if you kill them both, now or on repeat visits.
The path now diverges. Pick one of the following, or try them both.
- Drop down to the lit balcony right near the path to the area with two Crystal Lizards. You can optionally drop down via a ledge slightly further back in order to collect a Titanite Chunk. You’ll have to kill or sneak past a single knight to make your way along the balcony, which is home to two assassins, too.
- There’s a sloping path upwards from the Crystal Lizard area. Follow it up and all the way to the end, then roll down to the next rooftop to grab a Titanite Chunk. Notice you can run and jump back to the ladder area from here. There are two gargoyle warriors on this rooftop; you can aggro them one by one and pull them down to the previous area for safer fighting (or cheesing). One is through the arch and another is above you, less obviously. Once they’re down you can cross over to a lower rooftop and climb through a broken window.
In either case your goal is the inner balcony near the broken window, where you must kill a scholar. You can then collect an Ember and, on the snoring corpse, an Undead Bone Shard. Kick down the shortcut ladder on the other side.
Head further along the balcony (or backtrack, if you came via the knight’s balcony) to reach a wax pool. There’s a door just past this leading to a courtyard out in the fresh air. This is our path forward.
There are three NPCs guarding this path. All three of them are massive jerks and they’re very difficult to get one on one; if you do pull just one, drag him right back into the Archives, or all the rest will join the fun almost immediately.
There’s very little that can be done to cheese these three, so this is one of the toughest battles in the game for stealthy types. If you have a dagger with high poison or bleed, you can try inflicting status effects. The closest baddie is definitely the toughest of the three, as he’s quick and aggressive; the heavy and the spellcaster are much less risky if you just keep cool and hit hard. If you really struggle, bring a friend; it’s a very quick run from the Grand Archives bonfire to this area now that you’ve opened a stack of shortcuts. This area is full of summon signs – but also invaders, so be wary.
The good news is, these guys don’t respawn. You can collect the Onikiri and Obadachi, Sage’s Crystal Staff and Golden Wing Crest shield from their bodies and a Soul of a Crestfallen Knight from the area they were standing in.
Activate the lift in the room just after the NPCs; it leads back to the bonfire. A good spot for a break, don’t you think?