Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City throws a tough mini-boss, a swamp, the meat of Lapp’s NPC quest and a boatload of hazards at us today.
This Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City walkthrough explores the mostly optional area around the Ringed City bonfire. Our primary goal in this area is to open the shortcut gate, and you can do that in about five minutes if you just sprint through all the enemies. Just scroll down to the shortcut gate section if you want to get it over with.
If you do want to explore, though, this area has a lot to offer. There’s a mini-boss returning Dark Souls fans will be overjoyed to see and some good items in among all the horror. The good news is that the swamp in this area is not poisonous, so you can explore at your leisure.
Keep an eye – and an ear – out for locusts (cricket men) as you roam. Many of them sit submerged in the water, only a bit of head showing. The ones you encounter around the edges tend to be passive, merely startling you by mumbling to themselves, but closer to the centre they’ll ambush and attack.
Don’t worry too much about the little locusts. These babies will only attack if you get very close or if they’re with a bigger locust who aggro’s on you.
Exploring the swamp – clockwise
Exit the bonfire room the same way you came in and either kill the locust guarding the path or drop down over the nearby ledges to the left to avoid him for now.
The swamp is spread out like a circle before you and we’re going to start by going clockwise. Cut across the middle, close to the little island made by the sunken rooftop, to avoid spawning and attracting the Halva knights at the bottom of the stairs.
Hug the left wall and you’ll go around another sunken rooftop to spot a locust. Kill it so you can grab the twinkling titanite.
Continue on along the left wall to find a ramp made by a fallen beam. Run up it to kill a humpback man. There’s nothing up here, but he’s an annoyance as you run around this area, casting his spell at you. When he’s down, head down to kill the locust patrolling around the building. Try to stay on the wall side of the building, not the swamp side, or you may attract the attention of the grey giant. If that happens, run back to the edge of the swamp and wait for him to get over it.
Now we’re going to head up the road winding up the hill, which unfortunately is guarded by three humpback men. Battling them all at once is annoying, and it’s hard to snipe them, but try to get the one on the rise above you with arrows at least. As usual, hidden body is great for ensuring you only fight one at a time if you can’t get them with rapid sniping.
In the curve of the road up the hill you’ll find a white birch bow – its special skill is great for sniping at enemies who normally dodge arrows – and at the top there’s a titanite chunk.
The curve of the road is a great place to snipe at the five locusts and three humpback men scattered around the area below, luring them to you one at a time for dispatch. When they’re gone you can gather three young white branches. There’s also some rubbish by the island with the pillar.
Keep on hugging the left wall to enter the little dome. Another humpback man is waiting inside, plus any who fled your sniping, and up to two humpback men will aggro from the surroundings as you beat up the one inside. Kill them all to collect the Church Guardian Shiv – not a weapon but a consumable.
We’re very close to the miniboss now, so it’s a good idea to snipe any nearby locusts, luring them in and getting rid of them, to avoid complications if you decide to leg it.
Iron Dragonslayer mini-boss and grey giant
As you push further into the swamp you’ll start seeing dead Halva knights. This means the Iron Dragonslayer is close. (If you aggro him and regret it, you may ned to run all the way back to the bonfire to lose him.)
This is a really tough duel: the Iron Dragonslayer is Ornstein, a notorious boss from the first Dark Souls. He’s a little easier on his own than with his old buddy Smough, but still troubling. He drops the Iron Dragonslayer set.
Ornstein isn’t really cheesable, as far as I can tell, so if you aren’t ready for a rough duel and can’t find summons to help you out: just skip him. You don’t need his fancy pants anyway. The loot near him is negligible – two titanite scales.
If you are going to try it, speed trumps survivability unless you have summons with you; unless you go pretty heavy you won’t survive many of Ornstein’s attacks, so it’s better not to be hit if you can manage it. Get in close to him and stay by his left hip, dodging under his attacks, then attacking once and circling again. If you see him winding up with his blade held as if he were drawing a sword, motor on out of there as far and as fast as you can to avoid a very tricky horizontal sweep.
Whether or not you beat up the Iron Dragonslayer, you can also choose to tackle or ignore the grey giant in the swamp. Again, if you decide to do this, make sure you clear out any nearby locusts since you don’t need that on your plate.
Because of the melee phantoms and lack of good cover in the swamp, it’s far easier to get in close and melee the giant, skipping out of reach of his melee phantoms as they appear, than to cheese him with arrows. He tends not to summon archers when you’re very close, and if he does, just circle to put the giant between you and them.
Once again, skipping this is a perfectly viable option and the loot is negligible: a hidden blessing from the giant itself, and a titanite chunk nearby. It’s almost like Dark Souls 3 is saying “hey, choose your battles” in this DLC.
Unlocking the shortcut
Now we want to check out the other side of the swamp and unlock the shortcut gate. If you don’t want to fight these enemies, just sprint past everything, following these directions to reach the gate and hopefully unlock it before your pursuers murder you. Hit the bonfire again to end the horror.
There’s some good loot to grab if you can face them, though. Starting at the bonfire (don’t rest if you don’t need to; we don’t want all the baddies coming back) and set out again, this time travelling anti-clockwise and hugging the right wall.
Note: if you didn’t kill the giant, make sure it’s walking away or at the far end of its patrol before venturing out where it might see you. If it aggros, run all the way back to the bonfire and hide, dodging the phantoms that arise, until it forgets you. Also, be wary of venturing too far towards the Iron Dragonslayer area if he’s still alive.
As you proceed around the swamp, kill or ignore the locust in the first alcove and keep circling around, hugging the right wall. A locust will ambush you from the water on your left as you do.
Grab the titanite chunk and the large soul of a weary warrior from the swamp and its edge in this area, but then keep on hugging the right wall to go around the little headland and climb up among some ruins. Your locust NPC is here for a chat, and you can grab the Ringed Knight Straight Sword.
If you look out over the swamp you’ll see a submerged tower with an item glow. Four locusts are hidden in the water around it, but they won’t ambush till you get right up close to the item, so you’ll probably want to snipe their heads to draw them out. Watch out for the grey giant here, too. If you get in trouble, run straight back up to where you grabbed the Ringed Knight Straight Sword and drop down the other side to reach the bonfire room where you can hide out for a few minutes before heading back. The item is the White Preacher Right Arm, a sorcery catalyst.
Keep on advancing along hugging the right wall to spot a narrow spire with an item glow. A locust is waiting to ambush you there, so snipe him out to make it easier to get the soul of a weary warrior without aggro’ing the giant – if he’s around.
Now you want to climb onto the roof of the building here, but there are multiple enemies waiting. First, there’s a ringed knight standing on guard. After you approach the building, a second ringed knight begins patrolling around the building, clockwise. A third ringed knight will drop down and head off to a side area to stand guard on his own, while a fourth ringed knight drops down to stand with the first one. So there’s a lot of potential for an absolute clusterfuck here – especially if the grey giant and iron dragonslayer are still hanging around, limiting your escape options.
I found it easiest to cast hidden body and use that to sneak past to a large boulder along the cliff edge beyond (where there’s a titanite chunk), and then cheese (good old snipe-and-run-away) from this line-of-sight breaking cover. If you don’t have hidden body, you’ll probably want to try and snipe the first one from the swamp, or lure him there to duel, then run past the building as the others drop in. There are two items to grab in this area – the Black Witch Veil is in a little nook next to the ringed knight who stands on his own, and a piece of twinkling titanite is hidden on the building if you climb to the highest point. Alternately, you can of course just sprint past all this.
Navigationally, your goal is just to use the submerged building as a ramp allowing you to drop down onto the rocky area on the far side. Make sure you drop down to just above the swamp, not on the cliff side, or you’ll just end up back by the lone ringed knight guard area again.
Ignore the road leading across the ravine for now and instead walk along the ledge above the swamp until you see a lit doorway. Enter and open the shortcut gate back to the bonfire.
“Show Your Humanity”: Lapp’s NPC quest and the Purging Monument
With the shortcut to the next area active, it’s time to do a last clean up of Ringed City Streets and complete a bit more of Lapp’s NPC quest.
One of the statues in the room outside the shortcut gate has fallen down, allowing you to read the engraving behind it, “show your humanity”. To unlock this secret, go back out through the bonfire room to the swamp, stand in the water and use Chameleon or a young white branch until you are turned into a black figure – a humanity. Walk back to the engraving in this form (remember not to interact or attack, or the spell breaks) and read it again to make a ladder appear.
There’s a one-way drop at the end of the path leading to an area patrolled by two ringed knights and guarded by a grey giant. If you don’t have hidden body this is very tough for cheesy types so you may just want to run right through.
Your goal is a spot on the far side of the area, past the grey giant and on the same side, where you can go down some stairs to a slightly lower ledge. From here, with cat’s ring or Spook you can drop to another lower ledge; there is a ladder but it’s hard to find in a panic. The drop you want on the right as you face across the great stairs; dropping to the left will put you way back and in considerable danger.
At the end of this path you’ll find a wretch and the Dragonhead Shield. Turn back and go the other way to grab a large soul of a crestfallen knight and pray to the purging monument. This can clear sin and hollowing, and revive the DLC boss if you want another go. For now just activating is enough; we want to take this info back to Lapp.
The easiest way to get back to Lapp is to drop down to the stairs using Spook or Cat’s Ring, then face out into the swamp. Turn left and hug the wall, watching out for the humpedback men, to climb the ladder. Kill or avoid the two ringed knights and overgrown wretch across the bridge, then push through to the end to find Lapp. We’ve described this route before.
We’ve pantsed this area pretty thoroughly now, so tomorrow we’ll take a look at that ravine – and maybe the dragon you may have noticed flapping about in the vicinity.