Dark Souls Shields-Only Run – To The Forsaken City

Today was a day of preparation for all that was ahead.  I was on the path to Anor Londo, and in doing so, likely the next largest roadblock:  Smough and Ornstein.  They were the target because they stood in the way of further invasions from Knight Kirk, who held the shield I wanted.  It began with the climb out of Blighttown, which oddly enough only took about 3 minutes with me hurriedly rushing past everything, only stopping once to push an entire clog of 4 ghouls off a ledge as they stood around a ladder I needed to climb.

The first stop was Sen’s Fortress, which I immediately realized should be the second stop.  My shield, in its current form, was no longer cutting it, and I needed to reinforce it magically.  The Fortress itself went by quicker than I expected.  I did everything I could to kill the snakes with traps and boulders, because they did far more damage than I could.  I then left as soon as I unlocked the shortcut and purchased some green titanite shards, and got myself a nifty +5 magical hollow soldier shield.  It essentially doubled my damage output.  Granted, it was doubling next to nothing, but every bit helps for this run (don’t let the screenshot below fool you, the damage shown is 11 hits worth).

While I was out upgrading my shield, I decided it was time to grab the Grass Crest Shield, for the added stamina regeneration.  After making the quick detour, I returned to the Fortress and took the shortcut back to the top.  The firebomb-throwing giant was surprisingly easy with the new shield; I was able to kill him by the 4th of his frenzy attacks.

The Iron Golem was also little trouble with this setup.  He didn’t seem to have nearly as much health as either the Gaping Dragon or Quelaag.  Each hit took off a noticeable sliver of the health bar, and there were far more opportunities to cause damage, especially during the times he gets staggered.  The only problem I ran into was when I had him down to about 30% health, I accidentally blocked one of his attacks instead of dodging or just taking the hit, and it sent me sliding an incredible distance, right off the edge to my death.  I then got to return and do the entire battle over again.

Before going to Anor Londo, I decided to exit the Fortress and gather some items that could be useful.  I wanted Havel’s ring, and eventually needed the divine ember for the Catacombs.  That meant the poor Moonlight Butterfly was in my way.  Luckily, with the new shields, neither it nor Havel posed much of a threat.  The Butterfly took a while, with only being able to attack it while it was perched on the bridge, not to mention it also constantly regenerated health while doing so.  It would have been more dangerous had I approached it at a lower level, as the shields I had available didn’t do much in the way of absorbing its magical attacks, and I was constantly taking small chunks of damage from the random spike attacks when I couldn’t dodge them, even while blocking.

Havel went down without ever touching me.  At a Soul Level of 47 (the same I was for the Iron Golem and Moonlight Butterfly), and with a fairly high endurance (with it being one of two stats that is consistently getting points allocated to it, and with the Ring of Favor and Protection), none of his hits could breach my stamina.  With Havel’s ring, I replaced my Tiny Being’s ring that I had taken as a starting gift (every bit of health helped early on), pumped in a few more stat points to endurance, and with my current equipment, brought my equip burden perfectly down to 25%.

I was now prepared for Anor Londo.  I pressed through the Fortress one last time, and made my way to the gorgeous city.  The first gargoyle went down easily.  I think he glitched out partly; after I got him to about 75% health, he did a jumping attack to what seemed to be outside of his aggro range, and I ended up in front of him as he tried to walk back to the area he is programmed to stay in.  He then just tried to walk through me as I beat him to death.  I didn’t even realize what he was doing at first.  The second gargoyle made up for it, though, and nearly killed me.  He was wildly aggressive, and kept attacking with his tail in the air, and hitting me in the back.  Don’t I have a shield there?  Why does that hurt me?

I returned to the bonfire one last time to replenish my flasks, and then set out to push through what I had forgotten about until I arrived in Anor Londo:  The silver knight archers.  I didn’t even bother trying to kill anything in the way.  It was the first time I had simply run past it all on that path, and it worked out surprisingly well.  The archer luckily attacked me how I wanted him to when I got close – not with his bow – and I found I could knock him ever so slightly back if I hit him at certain times.  Off the ledge he went, and I continued to the safety of the interior bonfire.  I sure hope it’s safe at least, because now I’m stuck in here until I manage to get a door open.

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