Poison swamps. Leaping satyrs. Delicious treasure. Welcome to Farron Keep.
Dark Souls 3: Farron Keep to Keep Ruins
As with Crucifixion Woods, watch out for Yellowfinger Heysel, an invading NPC phantom. He frequents this area and will turn up if you've used an Ember or stayed alive since the last boss.
A lot of people hate Farron Keep, but it's not as bad as it seems at first. This area of swamp poisons you as you move through the water: equip your very best poison resist gear, and spec for speed so you can dash between islands. Buy a few Purple Moss Clumps or bring a cure miracle and lots of FP Estus if you find you keep getting poisoned.
Ideally, you won't ever get poisoned; practically, you definitely will. The trick is to learn where its safe to let the poison run its course rather than waste resources curing it only to be afflicted again, and heal up only when necessary. It's a lot easier after you come to understand the layout, too.
The other major hazard is that the waters are crawling with leeches. They’re slow, but they spray poison in a horizontal mist, and often appear in groups. They’re easy to pick off with arrows, though.
There is a lot to collect in this swamp, and it’s very difficult to describe directions. In general, you want to move from island to island, following the fires and dashing off into the swamp to grab items as they crop up. Always let your poison status drain completely between islands, even though it’s a bit boring; if you've already been poisoned and are losing health, push on: you may as well get as far as you can before healing up.
Our first goal is a set of curving stairs across the swamp and left as you enter this zone; you can’t miss it if you follow the islands left of the door. First things first, though, head right from the door and around to the end of the path to spot an item glow. It has a couple of Purple Moss Clumps – very useful. Further out in the swamp you should spot another glow; it’s the Iron Flesh pyromancy. You can decide for yourself whether that's worth retrieving, but with good resistance you can grab it without being poisoned.
Back at the entrance, circle arund the other way to battle a bunch of slugs around an item glow. Now you can begin island hopping: pause at each island and look all around you to spot items. This first area includes two Titanite Shards, the Stone Parma Shield, the Ragged Mask and an Estus Shard, as well as some less essential items like ten Prism Stones – which are indeed useful if you get lost easily – and some Rotten Pine Resin. All these treasures are found on islands or a short sprint into the swamp on the left side of the islands (as you advance towards the stairs). Don’t bother investigating the end of the broken bridge near the collapsed tower; nothing but enemies there.
Before we climb the stairs there's one really important but risky item worth the effort. Move out onto the leftmost island closest to the stairs, then sprint clockwise around the edge of the hill the stairs are mounted on in order to reach some dry land – and a Darkwraith. You will be poisoned, so you may want to be prepared to cure it via quickslot and chug an Estus as you arrive on land and the fight kicks off.
This Darkwraith is not as tough as NPCs you’ve faced so far, thankfully. Keep your distance when his right hand glows, and interrupt him when he tries to cast his other spell. Otherwise, it’s a matter of rolling forward and under his attacks, hitting him once or twice, then rolling away to recoup your stamina for another go. He has a nasty combo of slashes and kicks, but he’ll stagger easily if he hits a good shield. When he’s dead you can grab the Sage’s Coal from inside the little building, unlocking Crystal, Blessed and Deep upgrades from Andre.
When you’re done treasure-hunting, head for the stairs. Watch out for a new enemy as you climb: the worm-headed satyrs fight similarly to knights, but they’re very agile and their attacks are poisonous. The most dangerous ones don’t carry weapons, and have an amazing leap attack that hits you and any friendlies nearby for sustained slashing damage. There’s also a variant that releases a poison cloud, and another one with low health, that runs on all fours and attacks similarly to dogs.
Fight through the two satyrs on this first hill and then extinguish the flame on the altar. There’s a third satyr if you circle the structure on this hill, and a corpse with another treasure. When you’re ready, head down the opposite stairs.
On the island with fires you spot from the bottom of the stairs is a very nasty satyr – the leaping kind that doesn’t carry a weapon. Be careful when you venture over there. To the right is a dog stayr. You want to take that one out before you make the dash to the broken bridge in the distance. There are several more dog satyrs around the bridge but if you run up and along it fast enough you won’t have to fight them all at once in the swamp. Be aware that you can’t sprint the last few steps; roll for quicker progress. There’s a Greatsword up there; it might not be worth the trip, to be honest.
Whether you grab it or not, head to the island where the leaping satyr was waiting for you to proceed. Other treasures in this area are much less hazardous and easy to spot (there’s another Titanite Shard, some Purple Moss Clumps and some Rotten Pine Resin) so just move forward and up the stairs to the next flame. A satyr waits to ambush you just before the top of the stairs, crashing down from your right.
Down the next path you’ll find three satyrs; two seated and one standing. The standing one is a poison cloud variant, and it has a long reach. It’s important not to fall from this bridge, so lure the melee satyrs to you one by one, then go for the last one. Past this nasty clump of baddies you can activate the Keep Ruins bonfire. You are done with the previous section forever. Feels good, doesn't it?