Fair warning, front and center, there WILL be spoilers for major portions of Dark Souls due to the identity of some of the covenant leaders and the methods used to join them. In case you don’t know, covenants in Dark Souls are best described as guilds. They don’t usually have many members, but they do have a goal and rules on reaching that goal. With that said, let’s get right into it. This is a list of all nine covenants, what their focus is, who the leader is, how to join them, how to progress in them, penalties for betrayal and the rewards they offer.
Way of White
Our first covenant is the Way of White, a group dedicated to Great Lord Gwyn and bolstering the power of the Gods. Without any clear leader, there are two ways to become a member. The first, and earliest, option is to talk to Petrus in Firelink Shrine. After a while he will offer to induct you in and give you access to his wares. The second instance the player can join is through Rhea after she has been saved in the Tomb of the Giants. After this, she can be found praying in the Undead Parish and will allow entry into the Way of White as well as buying Miracles through her.
Since this covenant doesn’t have any additional tiers to it, there is no way to progress. Instead, the Way of White makes it far more likely that members will find their way into co-op situations instead of being invaded. This is exceptionally useful for new players in the early areas. As there are no tangible rewards in this covenant, there are no penalties if you betray it. There really isn’t anything more to this covenant, just a way to make co-op more likely.
Warriors of Sunlight
Up next is the gloriously incandescent Warriors of Sunlight. The members of this covenant follow the ousted firstborn of Lord Gwyn. They make use of offensive lightning-based Miracles. While there isn’t a master, we do have a key member in the form of Solaire of Astora, a surprisingly gifted fighter in search of his very own sun. If you want to Praise the Sun and glow with golden light when summoned by other players, you must become a “Sunbro” like Solaire. To do this, you have to pray at the Altar of Sunlight near the Undead Parish with 25 or more Faith. This requirement can be reduced by five for each boss defeated as a co-op phantom.
Anytime the player is in a group that successfully takes down a boss with at least one surviving member being a Warrior of Sunlight, they will earn one Sunlight Medal. These can be offered at the Altar of Sunlight to rise through the ranks of the covenant. Starting as just a ‘Warrior of Sunlight’, it is possible to increase your rank as high as ‘Warrior of Sunlight +3’. Although, it is practically pointless to worry about going any higher than ‘+1’ since there are no more incentives after the initial 10 Sunlight Medals are offered up.
As for rewards, the player is given the Lightning Spear Miracle for joining and the Great Lightning Spear Miracle as well as the ability to trade the Soul of Gwyn for Sunlight Spear after 10 Sunlight Medals have been traded in. Just like the other two co-op covenants, the Warriors of Sunlight benefit from increased matchmaking potential. Finally, the two betrayal penalties are the loss of half of all previous Sunlight Medal offerings and the inability to use Sunlight Spear. This is likely the most well-known covenant in the game and is the source of the widely-used “Praise the Sun” emote.
The final co-op focused covenant is based around protecting the Princess of Sunlight, Gwynevere. While the players who join will not actually be guarding Gwynevere, they do speak with the Princess of Sunlight in Anor Londo after defeating Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough. As a sort of inverse version of the Warriors of Sunlight, the Princess’s Guard uses support Miracles to aid their teammates when with a group. As a co-op covenant, members benefit from a higher chance of finding co-op partners. There are no higher ranks to this covenant, although new members are given a Miracle-based ring.
Members also have the ability to use two unique Miracles that work on the caster and the people around them. These Miracles must be found within the Duke’s Archives, but can then be used freely as long as the player is a member of the Princess’s Guard. The only penalty for betraying the Princess’s Guard is losing the ability to use these two Miracles. This co-op covenant is found later and is usually overlooked.
Now that we’ve covered the groups meant to help other players, let’s look at what happens when those players would rather fight one another.
We simply can’t talk about PVP covenants and begin with anyone other than the reviled and treacherous Darkwraiths. To join the ranks of these Humanity-hungry phantoms, the player will have to meet with Darkstalker Kaathe in one of two ways. The first option is simply playing the game normally until you have the Lordvessel, going after the Four Kings before placing the Lordvessel and finally talking to Kaathe.
The second and arguably much trickier way can be done at the very start of the game. This involves making your way to and defeating Sif in Darkroot Garden for the Covenant of Artorias, finding Ingward in the New Londo Ruins, killing Ingward (because you don’t have the Lordvessel), opening the floodgates, defeating the Four Kings and then talking to Kaathe. If you can pull this off, you can become a Darkwraith before ringing either Bell of Awakening.
As a Darkwraith, the player is meant to invade other players’ worlds in the hopes of killing them and acquiring Humanity. This Humanity (or any Humanity) can be used to raise your rank within the covenant. Simply joining the Darkwraiths will net the player the Dark Hand weapon, offering 10 Humanity will earn them the Red Eye Orb (infinite invasion item) and 30 Humanity offered garners both the Dark Sword and the Dark Set. There is a tier even higher once 80 Humanity has been handed over, but this does not give any normal rewards. While these four ranks are distinct in their own rights, they also modify the power of the Dark Hand’s strong attack.
When using the Dark Hand’s strong attack, the player will suck the Humanity out of the target. This is a unique move that gets more powerful the higher your rank as a Darkwraith gets. Like other covenants, if the player betrays the Darkwraiths, half of all offered Humanities will become null and the player will be unable to use the Red Eye Orb. But honestly, once you’ve gone through the trouble of becoming a Darkwraith, why ever leave?
Blade of the Darkmoon
Imagine Gwyndolin’s Darkmoon Blades as the moral police of Lordran. Any player who has accrued PVP-based sin is eligible to be visited by one of these “Bluebros”. Joining this covenant requires Gwynevere to be around and for the player to speak with Gwyndolin through the fog gate to his boss room. To speak to him you must acquire the Darkmoon Seance Ring from within the Catacombs so that the illusion that blocks the stairway down will dissipate… or kill Gwynevere and request absolution. Once Gwyndolin has been spoken to, the player is given the Blue Eye Orb (invade any guilty player’s world) and the Darkmoon Blade Covenant Ring (invade players who are in Dark Anor Londo after killing Gwynevere).
Members will earn Souvenirs of Reprisal from successful invasions (or Crow Demons in the Painted World of Ariamis) which can be offered to raise the member’s rank within the covenant. After 10 have been offered, the player receives the Darkmoon Blade Miracle and the Darkmoon Talisman as well as slightly raising the MagAdjust of Darkmoon Blade. This is done twice more at 30 and 80 Souvenirs given, meaning the Miracle won’t be at its full power until a total of 80 offerings have been made and the +3 rank has been achieved. If a member betrays the covenant, they lose half their offerings and the ability to use Darkmoon Blade.
Path of the Dragon
This is a simpler covenant entirely based around willingly dueling other players. Deep in Ash Lake, the Stone Dragon waits for a worthy champion. Once the Stone Dragon is found, the player can simply join the Path of the Dragon without any other requirements. After you’ve joined, you’re gifted a Dragon Eye (places Dragon soul signs in other players worlds for dueling) and a Dragon Head Stone (transforms the player’s head into a dragon head that can breathe fire). The Stone Dragon requires Dragon Scales to raise a member’s rank which can be earned through winning duels while summoned through a Dragon soul sign.
10 Dragon Scales offered strengthens the fire breath attack of the Dragon Head Stone while 30 Dragon Scales offered earns the player the Dragon Torso Stone and an even stronger fire breath attack. Finally, 80 Dragon Scales offered increases the damage on the fire breath attack and makes the buff from the Dragon Torso Scale better. Like the others, half of your current offerings will be lost if you betray the covenant.
The Forest Hunter covenant only wants to protect the Forest area of Darkroot Garden. They do this by invading the worlds of intruding players and attempting to defeat them. After the player has found Alvina and successfully joined the covenant, they are given the Cat Covenant Ring, which is used to passively invade the world of any other player ‘intruding’ on the Forest area of Darkroot Garden. If the member is victorious over the intruder, they will earn one of several random items and slowly raise their rank in the covenant.
The only rank related reward that is important at all is the one for killing three intruders: the Ring of Fog. This ring makes the wearer much harder to see and is very fun to use when making ninja builds. Other than the ring, members also gain access to a new vendor with a fully unique inventory. Finally, betraying this covenant makes several NPC’s hostile and can even earn the player a point of sin.
The final and possibly most difficult to explain PVP covenant are the Gravelord Servants. Joining this group is as simple as finding an Eye of Death (there is a bundle of three in the Catacombs behind Titanite Demon) and taking a nap in a coffin that is sticking out of the wall. After a short time, the player will be brought before Gravelord Nito himself and is allowed to join his Servants. Instead of directly interacting with another player, the followers of Gravelord Nito infect other players’ worlds (New Game + or higher) with extra enemies.
The only way for the players to free themselves of this plague is by using the soul signs left by the Gravelord Servant. This will draw them into the Servant’s world where they will fight to the death. If the infected player wins, then all infected players are cured. If the Gravelord Servant is the last one standing, they earn some souls and an Eye of Death, the item used to initiate the infection and also raise the rank with Gravelord Nito’s covenant.
Upon joining the player is gifted with the Gravelord Sword and the Gravelord Sword Dance Miracle. After 10 Eyes of Death have been offered, the player earns the Gravelord Greatsword Dance Miracle. Finally, at 30 and 80 offerings, the MagAdjust of both Gravelord Miracles is increased. If betrayed, the covenant will strike half of all offerings from the records and both Gravelord Miracles will do less damage.
That’s the last PVP covenant, let’s move on to our only PVE group.
As the only truly PVE focused covenant, the Chaos Servants only want to help the Fair Lady. Since Humanity eases her pain, all Servants are asked to bring as much back to her as they can. After Quelaag is defeated in Blighttown, the player will ring the Bell of Awakening and work their way down the stairs behind the bell. In this room is an illusory wall that needs to be hit to reveal a passageway to the Fair Lady. Parked in the player’s way is Eingyi, a loyal Servant of the Fair Lady. After confirming that you are a new member, he slowly clambers towards his mistress.
Once the player interacts with the Fair Lady, they can join the covenant and gain access to Great Chaos Fireball. From this point on, the only interaction the player will have with this covenant is offering Humanity to the Fair Lady. There is no reward for 10 Humanity given, but 30 grants the player Chaos Storm and a shortcut between the Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith. This shortcut is by far the most important reward because it allows the player to save Solaire of Astora before he goes mad. The only penalty for betraying this covenant is losing credit for half of your previous offerings.
That’s all nine covenants covered! This should make finding and joining any covenant a piece of cake. With so many to pick from it can be hard to stick with just one. Just remember you can always talk to Oswald at the top of the Undead Parish to safely leave a covenant without inflicting a betrayal penalty. We’ve got another double dose of Dark Souls YouTubers this time with Dave Control and TerraMantis. These guys both have a bunch of Souls content and were some of the first creators I ever found when I started getting into the game. Our next piece will be the final article in the Dark Souls Rundown series and we will be taking a spoilerific look at just what the Chosen Undead is meant to do during their time in Lordran.
Until then, Praise the Sun and Vereor Nox.