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.
To begin, a transcription of the opening cutscene: “In the Age of Ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog. A land of gray crags, archtrees and everlasting dragons. But then was Fire, and with Fire came Disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course, Light and Dark. Then from the Dark, They came, and found the Souls of Lords within the flame. Nito, the first of the dead, The Witch of Izalith and her Daughters of Chaos, Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight, and his faithful knights. And the furtive pygmy, so easily forgotten.
With the Strength of Lords, they challenged the dragons. Gwyn’s mighty bolts peeled apart their stone scale. The witches weaved great firestorms. Nito unleashed a miasma of death and disease. And Seath the Scaleless betrayed his own, and the dragons were no more.
Thus began the Age of Fire. But soon the flames will fade and only Dark will remain. Even now, there are only embers, and man sees not light, but only endless nights. And amongst the living are seen carriers of the accursed Darksign. The Darksign brands the Undead. And in this land, the Undead are corralled and led to the north, where they are locked away, to await the end of the world… This is your fate. Only, in the ancient legends it is stated, that one day an Undead shall be chosen to leave the Undead Asylum, in pilgrimage, to the land of ancient lords, Lordran.”
Pretty good, huh? I remember hearing this for the first time way back in 2011 and being so excited. You won’t be surprised to know that you play as the Chosen Undead, but in a twist I hadn’t seen in a story before, you have no idea what you’re supposed to do next. Led by the words of others, you travel across Lordran, slaying the Lords mentioned above and collecting their Souls. Once they’re all dead, you have access to the Kiln of the First Flame, where Gwyn resides, waiting…
Despite the many hundreds of hours I’ve spent with Dark Souls, I have a minor struggle when fighting the hollows that roam these first corridors.
I always play as a Dexterity based character, but I have to choose the Pyromancer this time, who specialises in Strength. Like all RPG’s, the classes share the same stats, but each begin with different values already assigned. I usually choose the Wanderer, who starts at level four, with higher points in Dexterity. The Pyromancer, however, is the only class that starts at level one. If that sounds a little mad, don’t worry. I didn’t really get it straight away either. Why don’t they all start at level one?
The small differences between the weapons in Dark Souls is one of the things that keeps me coming back. Even between a broadsword and a longsword, you are forced to change your approach to combat. Starting with 12 Strength and 9 Dexterity, I’m not going to be using the sort of weapons I’m used to. Dex weapons are fast and allow you to easily reposition between attacks, meaning I can score more backstabs - a powerful attack that deals heavy damage and temporarily staggers. Strength weapons are the opposite, as you’d expect. With many of them, you have to choose your moment carefully. A wiffed strike with one of these will leave you open to counter attacks for a far longer time. As I won’t be able to increase my health, I’m going to want to avoid taking damage as much as possible.
Being a Pyromancer, I also start with Fireball, a low damage attack. Pyromancy doesn’t scale with my stat levels, thankfully. I need only to find another pyromancer in the world to upgrade my Pyromancy Flame, the equivalent of a sorcerer’s wand. Laurentius is trapped in The Depths for now, an area I don’t often visit, but I will have to go save him if I want to buy new pyromancies.
There are only six hostile enemies in the Asylum before you reach the boss, but I had to use up all of my Estus, my healing item. Luckily, I didn’t need them for taking on the Asylum Demon. I remember falling many times to this guy in my first hour with the game back in 2011, but I know all of his tricks now. Doing a leap attack off the ledge rather than a typical falling attack, I deal far more damage. It’s exploits like this that I will have to abuse if I’m going to get to Gwyn.
Carried by a giant crow, I arrive at Firelink Shrine. From here, I make my way up to the Undead Burg. Still not used to the axe’s timing, I am getting munched by the hollow soldiers between Firelink and the aqueduct. Once in the Burg, down a side path is a merchant, who I buy a Reinforced Club from. The heavy attack is a leaping smash, good for closing distance. It also deals bleed damage, building after multiple hits, but this weapon has a longer recovery time from missed swings. I have a feeling this is going to be my key weapon for now, until I can get some more pyromancies from Laurentius.
Rather than continue through to the Taurus Demon, I backtrack to Firelink intending to travel down to the New Londo Ruins below, but I’ll save the Ruins, the Valley of Drakes and more for the next part.
Thank you for checking out the first part of this diary series. I hope to continue using this style, documenting both my current experience and previous, to make this feel like less of just a walkthrough. Later parts, I imagine, will be longer than this, as otherwise this diary may go on for about a hundred entries. Let me know what you think so far in the comments!