DARK SOULS™ REMASTERED: Permadeath Challenge Guide and Tips

A detailed collection of tips and suggested guide for beating the base game without dying.



Hello, I made these tips for myself for a no-death run. Since it’s finished I thought I’d upload it in case it helps anyone else. I made a note for every time I died, and also took notes from watching numerous no-hit runs from The Happy Hob. If you have the time I’d suggest watching those since they have a lot of useful tricks. Also, do a warmup run of the game once or twice to get used to things you might be rusty on. This will save you a lot of attempts. This is not a comprehensive guide but has helpful tips for each area with a suggested order.

Overall, you want to treat this as a speedrun but with minimal risk. If you play too slowly, each attempt will take too long and you’ll never finish. My final attempt was under 3 hours or so. Some risks are unavoidable, so we try to do them as early as possible to minimize the time required for each attempt.

Most importantly: this run takes patience. Put on a podcast or an audiobook. It took me over a dozen attempts, some of which were multiple hours in. But most deaths were in the early-game. Making these notes and watching the videos helped immensely, and it only took a couple attempts after doing that. Knowledge is much more important than skill for this challenge.

Make sure to start with the master key. Class doesn’t matter much but warrior starts with the closest str+dex needed. Or you can pick thief to start with the master key if you wan’t a different starting gift. You’ll need to buy lots of stuff so don’t spend all of your souls. Since it’s permadeath there’s no added risk of having a large soul bank. Also you’ll need to accumulate 30 total humanity for Izalith so don’t spend it all on kindling. It helps to pick up soul items and humanity as you go. Make sure you’re always fast-rolling, except when tanking bosses with armor.

  • Black Knight weapons or Undead Parish Halberd (up to +5) then switch to Crystal Halberd in Anor Londo.
  • Bow + large arrows (~100-200). You can buy arrows from various NPCs but I just stock up with Andre.
Firelink Shrine
  • Prioritize getting to 16 STR and 14 DEX before anything else. (Use your discretion on what to level from there. HP helps but most of my deaths were from falling off of things. Stamina is great since the run is mostly sprinting from place to place, and longer combos improve your vitally-important DPS. Str/Dex scaling is not a significant factor in this run.)
New Londo Ruins -> Valley of drakes
  • Grab NLR fire keeper soul, save and quit to reset aggro, then run back or darksign if not holding soft humanity, since it’s faster.
  • In valley of drakes, only grab the proud knight soul from the undead dragon’s left hand, which will not wake it up. Ignore the astora sword and dragon crest shield in the other hand. If it wakes up it can push you off the cliff.
  • Be careful running past the drakes. They can push you right off or kill you with lightning as you approach. If the first drake tries to hit you with a linear lightning attack, you can back off and try again. Don’t try to get the humanity in the little alcove.
  • Grab the grass crest shield from the basin. Equip it and never take it off.
  • Attempt to get the black knight halberd near the grass crest shield. Riposting the BK off the ledge works well. (If successful, just use this for the rest of the run, upgrading with twinkling when you can.)
  • On the way to Andre, grab the leather set & longbow, as well as the 2x twinkling titanite from the lizard.
  • Get at least one purple moss from the demonic foliage.
Undead Burg (optional)
  • Just don’t bother with the burg. But if you absolutely must, in the burg you can get Havel’s Ring, as well as a chance for a BK Sword and Greatsword. I’ve wasted many attempts trying to get these, even going back to the asylum trying to get the BK sword. It’s not worth the significant time and risk. The regular halberd in front of undead parish is plenty.
Undead Parish
  • Get halberd if no BKW. Get fire keeper soul, go down elevator & grab lloyd’s talismans from chests below the elevator, then upgrade estus flask (only once for now, hang on to at least one fire keeper soul).
  • Back in the parish, kite the channeler first without aggroing hollows (use a bow). Use shield + spear/partizan to kill hollows safely.
  • Send lautrec to firelink & kick him off the ledge for the FAP ring. I’ve died trying to kill him in his cage to save time.
  • Buy weapon smithbox & large arrows (100+ but as many as you can) from andre, upgrade weapon/bow, then kill andre for crest of artorias. (Use arrows to shoot him from the walkway to Sen’s, because he can stunlock you to death.)
  • If BK weapon, get purple/red/blooming moss & trade with snuggly the crow. (If trading with snuggly, trade a twin humanities for a RROS.)
  • One upgraded as much as possible, kill gargoyles. Make sure to finish off the first one quickly before the second gargoyle stunlocks you to death with fire. Also avoid the edge of the roof.
  • Travel to quelaag from the valley of drakes. Do not touch any bonfires.
  • Kill quelaag, then kill ceaseless discharge & bone back to firelink/parish. Even though you can use the lordvessel to warp later, it’s much faster to descend blighttown twice than to climb up once.
Darkroot Garden
  • Run past hostile NPCs to alvina, join covt, then kick the bodyguard off the cliff to get the dark wood grain ring. Be careful of other NPCs. (You can save and quit once you’re past alvina to make them stop chasing you.)
  • Grab the stone set from the chest near Alvina. (Or grab Havel’s set later next to the occult club.)
  • Get hornet ring in Sif’s boss room, then kill Sif.
Sen’s Fortress
  • In the first room, step to the left of the floor trap to aggro just one serpent.
  • Use arrows to kill the lightning serpent from the entrance.
  • At the final narrow bridge, use arrows to knock the final lightning serpent off. You can ignore it, but you might get knocked off so don’t risk it.
  • Buy more arrows from crestfallen merchant if needed (need at least 100). Also buy some green blossoms, five should be plenty.
  • Kill bomb giant before iron golem.
  • Stay in middle part of the arena when fighting the golem. Making the golem fall off the arena is not worth the risk of getting knocked off.
Anor Londo
  • If no BKW, grab crystal halberd from mimic. (Optional: aggro with bow to ignore giants, or kill one giant at a time and use a lloyd’s talisman.) This has just enough durability to last the rest of the run, but keep the normal halberd just in case.
  • If using BKW, grab twinkling titanite from chest behind giant.
  • Rafters: use arrow trick (shooting the ceiling above their head) to make 1st & 3rd guardians walk off to their death. Shoot the 2nd one off directly.
  • Once you’ve run past the two giants in front of anor londo’s doors, S&Q to de-aggro giants & the gargoyle.
  • Before anor londo archers: use bow to knock batwing demons off the side. (Headshot might not work, try for body shots.)
  • Archers: Once at the safe spot halfway up the rafters, S&Q to de-aggro. Once at the top, try to make the archer do a thrust attack & fall off, otherwise just block until it falls. As expected, this is where a lot of runs die. I don’t recommend trying to kill them with arrows, I’ve died/run out of healing doing so.
  • Grab Havel’s set and occult club. At giant blacksmith, make it divine.
  • If using BK weapon, buy enough twinkling titanite from giant blacksmith to max it out. If using the crystal halberd, upgrade it as much as possible. Grab titanite chunk near blacksmith if needed, but watch out for the hidden demon.
  • Kill O&S. It’s safer to kill Ornstein first.
Firelink Shrine (Revisited)
  • After killing O&S and talking to Gwynevere, PLACE THE LORDVESSEL. Forgetting this is incredibly annoying.
  • Buy more arrows and firebombs (for BoC) from undead merchant if needed. At least 5 firebombs is plenty.
Demon Ruins
  • Give 30 humanity to the fair lady. (Pop a fire keeper soul if not enough. If still not enough, skip to NLR section and come back.) Use the Izalith shortcut door, grab the sunlight maggot & crystal lizard if needed.
  • Bait out titanite demon’s lightning attack to get past more safely.
  • Grab RROS & hero soul from Izalith ruins if you don’t already have an RROS.
  • Use firebomb trick for BOC (I used this video). Once you’re in the safe spot, you have infinite time to practice lining up the shots quickly. Textures may differ by version so try to rely on the shapes/intersections of branches instead. Once you throw the first firebomb, make sure to throw the second as soon as possible, otherwise you will be attacked and it will become too difficult to line it up in time.
  • If you don’t want to use this exploit, keep in mind that bed of chaos may make you lose more attempts than anything else. That’s why we do it first.
  • Optional: kill Fair Lady for estus upgrade… if you can bring yourself to do it lol
  • Be ready to S&Q for failed jumps. Practice runs beforehand help a lot.
  • The first drop is done shortly after opening the first door, down to the area with the floating heads. After the first drop, run into the doorway (the one leading to the warp coffin) & S&Q to de-aggro enemies and heal.
  • The second drop goes from where you landed in the first drop, down to the items above the bonewheels. Be ready to S&Q if the second drop goes poorly. Roll & heal immediately after landing.
  • Plunging attack bonewheels or use bow as needed.
  • After pinwheel, equip the sunlight maggot and go straight to the first tomb of the giants bonfire. If you make a leap of faith after the first giant skeleton, you can land on/near the slide that takes you to the first bonfire near patches. Kindle it so that you have 20 estus.
  • You can try for the black knight halberd here as well, but by now you should already have a decent weapon so I don’t think it’s worth the added risk.
  • Run straight to Nito, taking the platform that holds the Silver Serpent Ring. (The jump is tricky but it’s safer than taking the normal path.) Run/roll past the pinwheels, ignore the items. (Seriously, ignore the 20k souls just sitting there, run past them lol)
  • Nito: Equip havel’s set or the stone set. Fat roll is ok. Use the divine club to kill the skeletons, then switch to your main weapon for Nito. Wait for him to approach the safe starting section, so you don’t aggro the large skeletons. Simply strafing around Nito is plenty, just R1 and heal your way to victory. The explosion attack is the best chance to get free damage in, just take the hit and heal afterward.
Duke’s Archives
  • For the first large room, run to the left side (behind the bookshelf) then up the stairs. Take the left path on the stairs and run to the left of the archer to get around it. Try to go quickly so you don’t end up with buffed crystal enemies on the elevator with you. Unfortunately, S&Q will put you back on the bottom with the elevator up top, and the lever will be on the wrong side, so it might be safer to try to kill any enemies that are on the elevator.
  • Note: I didn’t consider it a failure to die to Seath in the first encounter, since it’s scripted. The same goes for most hitless runs, since they don’t use glitches. However, if you want to go for a truly deathless run, you can try duke skip. Keep in mind this is harder than anything else in the run and you have very little chance to correct for mistakes if you miss.
  • For scripted death route: At the top of the elevator, put on RROS. Don’t fight the crystal warrior, instead lure him around the lever to run past him. The lizard will block you for a while so you can kill it if you want. Die to Seath. Thanks to RROS we don’t need to worry about getting cursed.
  • At the prison, homeward bone after the music turns on to reset the pisacas.
  • At the bottom of the prison, shoot near the top of the ladder to lure a serpent down to fight it one-on-one. After killing serpents one at a time, grab the key.
  • Homeward bone and run up the ladder before the serpents do.
  • Try to bait out the dance from the first channeler to kill him, then keep going. Don’t run past him, kill him. It’s risky but not as risky as getting shot from both directions shortly later. Watch out for the other one shooting you, and beware the drill attack that can one-shot you.
New Londo Ruins
  • Run straight to the midpoint where the first shortcut ladder is, killing ghosts as needed. S&Q to reset aggro.
  • From the bridge below, use your bow to kill ingward (use headshots to aggro him before he gets pushed too far. Once aggro’d, he will keep walking towards you into the railing so you can finish him off easily). Do NOT try to go talk to Ingward for the seal. It doesn’t matter how much you like him, that is practically suicide.
  • Run straight for the seal. Once activated, S&Q to reset aggro. Backtrack a little bit to the area before the elevator room and drop straight down to the platform where the Four Kings fog door is. Be wary of the darkwraith waiting at the bottom, it can finish you off after you land. Don’t idle for too long on the stairs past the fog door since ghosts can still follow you in.
  • Don’t forget to equip the covenant of artorias!
  • You can either tank this boss with havel’s/stone set or fast roll. I would recommend tanking with mid-roll for minimal risk.
  • Place an item on the floor after landing in the abyss to mark the center point.
  • Time is everything, especially with low damage. If they launch the tracking magic at you, block it with a shield and heal. Keep attacking them as they die since you can keep damaging the main health bar. If you get to a situation where there are two spawned at once, angle the camera so you can see them both at once. They won’t always attack you right away so you still have some time. If things start to look bad, S&Q to restart the fight and try again.
Kiln of the First Flame
  • Equip the hornet ring before going into the level. Put green blossoms on your hotbar if you have any. Put on havel’s or the stone set, ideally the max physical and fire defense that will still let you mid-roll. You won’t have any time to change equipment once the black knights are chasing you.
  • If using crystal halberd, farm the first BK for chunks until it’s +4. (Use smithbox to upgrade at lordvessel.) As long as you can parry the BK, this is a low-risk and high-reward improvement.
  • Be careful not to get one-shotted or knocked off by BKs along the way.
  • Bridge black knight: aggro it and lead it around the pillar to get past it. This is risky since it can hit you through the pillar, but you don’t want to try to squeeze past it on the narrow walkway.
  • If low on health, S&Q before the fog door to de-aggro and heal. Otherwise go straight for the fog door. Once inside the Gwyn fight, make sure not to stand too close to the fog door or a BK might hit you from behind.
  • For this fight, parrying is practically required. It’s very consistent, but I still almost died here. If you’re not used to it, you should practice beforehand.
  • After the first riposte, use a green blossom to bait out his slow 2h attack for a free parry. When he does the ordinary combo, block the first attack, then parry the follow-up. It’s much easier and more consistent that way. If he tries to grab you, just walk or roll backwards and heal if needed. You’ll take a bit of chip damage from blocking, so you can use estus after a riposte but this is a gamble if you’ll have enough time to finish healing.

By Goatmeal

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