Dark Souls is my favourite game of all time. I have completed it multiple times, but I am going to attempt a new challenge - the Onebro run. The name “Onebro” is given to someone who defeats the final boss, Gwyn, at Soul level one. No easy task.
Last time, I ventured down into the Depths beneath the Undead Burg to rescue a pyromancer named Laurentius. This mission took me through the Capra Demon, a goat-headed, dual-machete-wielding monster, and a couple of man-consuming Butchers. Next, I have a double date with two Gargoyles to prepare for.
Outside the shrine sits Laurentius, looking rather relaxed for a man who until recently was destined for the chopping board. He asks me if I am adverse to magic, if I find it “unsavoury”, but as a fellow Pyromancer, I’d be an idiot to say yes. From this point on, he will act as a vendor of spells and he also upgrades my Pyromancy Flame. A higher level flame improves the stat bonus and magic adjust stat, basically meaning my base damage is higher with every spell. Now, I’m going to be honest, this part is the one that brings the series up to date with my first play session of Onebro, however many weeks ago that was. I can’t actually remember what level I upgraded it to now, because I came back later and upgraded it again. My bad!
Anyway, I purchase the Fire Orb and Combustion spells: a stronger but slower fireball, and a close proximity burst of flame. I then spend the rest of my souls upgrading the Flame as high as possible, because I’m not going to need my souls for anything else. Resting at the bonfire lets me “attune my magic”, so I unequip the regular Fireball and fill my two spell slots with the new ones.
I made a mistake that costs me a little bit of time, though with this not being a timed run it’s not so much of an issue - I forgot to speak to Solaire after defeating the Taurus Demon. Having passed through that boss fight, you are standing on a great bridge (it’s a really, really good bridge). The bridge leads to the Undead Parish, and is guarded by the Hellkite Drake I encountered earlier upon entering the Burg for the first time. Rather than attempting to cross, if I head the other way, there’s a small balcony area: this is where you meet Solaire.
Much is speculated about this Knight of Sunlight: who is he? What does he mean by “seek my very own sun!”? Is he actually the lost son of Lord Gwyn? His cheerful, confident demeanor has turned him into something of a meme since Dark Souls released - and I think he’s a great mascot for the series. Agreeing to his offer to travel together on the journey across Lordran, he will gift you the White Sign Soapstone: an item that allows you to summon other players for assistance, and “jolly co-operation!”
Having the Soapstone also allows me to summon Solaire himself to tackle the Gargoyles. The quickest way to get over to the church, I think, is to use a Homeward Bone to return to Firelink Shrine and ride the elevator up there. I have to make my way up to the roof, so climbing the stairs on the left, I have a short exchange with a Balder Knight around the corner. Next, I have to carefully smash a path through the Hollows and the Channeller in the next room: he can buff the strength of the Hollows, making them far more of a threat than usual. The door directly opposite where I entered leads to the roof, but there are a few items to pick up on this floor: a Soul in the room adjacent to the ladder, and a path that double backs along the opposite side of the church.
There’s another Balder Knight down here, but he is the final enemy in this area. Behind him is a door that I can smash through, revealing a hidden room. In a cell, I find Lautrec of Carim, who thanks me for rescuing him, and promises me a reward for my help. He won’t move straight away, but if I return to Firelink later, I will find him resting on the lower level beside Anastacia. I’ll tell you more about this mysterious man next time.
It’s time to ascend. At the top of two sets of ladders is a small landing with a fog gate, and a golden summon sign before it. Interacting with this sign summons Solaire to my aid, rising from the ground as a radiant phantom. I step through the gate onto the tiled rooftop, and proceed forward to trigger the cutscene.
What had appeared to be an ornamental stone figure begins to twist and come alive, leaping down from the tower. Armed with a large halberd, and the advantage of flight, the Gargoyle is the first real test of Dark Souls. I can’t project my Fire Orb too far ahead of me, but that’s why I wanted Solaire beside me; he can hurl Lightning Spears, much like Gwyn did in the battle against the Everlasting Dragons. The Gargoyle’s tail is also shaped like an axe, and it uses it appropriately; the best option is to focus initial attacks there, as a few solid hits will sever it.
After falling to approximately half health, the fight dynamic changes: another Gargoyle drops down from the tower. This one is weaker, starting with half health too, but focuses on attacking from range. With one breath, a large area before it becomes bathed in flame. My best advice for this chap is to wait for him to attack and try to get behind him before his windup finishes. When he’s breathing out, he doesn’t move, and is open for damage.
The main thing to avoid is losing sight of one of the Gargoyles. If you’re focusing too much on one, the other will catch you. If Solaire is holding up, he should be able to distract at least one of them for a time, so watch him too. With all my upgraded equipment, it takes little time to bring the two of them down.
The door to enter the tower they guarded is now open, and I venture inside. It’s near empty, but for a ladder leading up. I climb until I reach the very top, where I find a switch beneath a large bell. I pull it.
Next time, I make a mad dash into a dangerous area to retrieve a powerful aid, and search for a hidden blacksmith in the shadows of the Catacombs.