The Catacombs

Quick Reference

Boss NPCs Notable Loot Enemies
Pinwheel Blacksmith Vamos
Darkmoon Seance Ring
Holy Set
Eye of Death x3
Tranquil Walk of Peace
Great Scythe
Skeleton Archer
Bonewheel Skeleton
Necromancer (total of 6)
Crystal Lizard (2)
Black Knight (Axe)
Prowling Demon


A dark, underground mausoleum where clerics are tested on a mission to seek the Rite of Kindling. It precedes the Tomb of the Giants. Unless you are very confident in your abilities, bring a divine weapon(s).


General Notes

Down in the Catacombs, you will find the blacksmith Vamos, who can ascend normal weapons to fire weaponry up to +5, and +10 if you bring the required Large Flame Ember. He can also ascend +5 fire weapons to chaos weaponry if you bring him the Chaos Flame Ember.

Important Tips

  • The Catacombs consist of several underground spiraling stairs, Cliffs, Spiked Bridges (more on that later), Traps and Pitfalls.
  • The Catacombs are home to Skeleton enemies that behave similarly to the white skeletons from Demon's Souls. They have similar attacks with several new tricks:
    • Typical rolling/somersault attack
    • Strong Lunge Slash Attack
    • Multiple Slashes from 1 to 4 attacks continuously (Bleed warning)
    • Corkscrew Attack (for lack of better name)
    • This attack consists of the skeleton visibly "charging up" and then flying at you in a corkscrew spin for moderate damage. Upon hitting the ground, they will shatter, leaving them vulnerable for attack. They will reassemble eventually, if not killed.
  • The Skeletons in the Catacombs can only be permanently killed by using Divine weaponry. In this way, they will not be revived by a necromancer, although they will respawn if the player rests at a bonfire. Divine weapons can be forged relatively early in the game, and some weapons are intrinsically divine. Astora's Straight Sword and the Crescent Axe, for example, are both stock Divine Weapons. If you do not have a weapon with a divine damage modifier, the skeletons will keep respawning until the necromancer controlling that particular area is killed. The easiest way to tell if the skeletons will respawn is whether or not they award you any souls when they die. If you see souls, it means the skeleton will stay down. If not, keep running.
  • There are six sections of the Catacombs where there's a necromancer who is manipulating the skeletons around him, and as long as he is alive, the skeletons will respawn just seconds after you kill them. The best way to do this, if you possess a strong enough weapon, is to attempt a suicide run, avoiding all skeletons until you find the necromancer. Kill him off and dispatch (if you can) the pursuers, then do it again until you slay all of them. If you die, do not worry, as a necromancer, once dead, will stay dead, and you can kill off all of the skeletons in the area he was controlling without further concern. Another strategy, although extremely hard to pull off against multiple enemies, is to push them off a bridge or a cliff using a kick or a shield bash. The Force miracle is very handy for this strategy.
  • In regards to the kicking method mentioned above: though it can result in a safer run through it is not necessarily faster. Each necromancer controls a minimum of six skeletons, and convenient ledges are not always in the most convenient places, this makes backtracking essential in some areas and can even make the ordeal seem tedious when trying to rout 3-4 skeletons up a ladder at a given time. A mix of suicide and kicking can save time. The section with the giant skeleton and the Darkmoon Seance Ring comes to mind as a particular example of where mixing the two strategies can be of benefit.
  • A bow comes in handy here. Several of the necromancers can be killed right as you enter their area if you have a decent bow. An upgraded bow and approximately 40 arrows will get the job done efficiently.
  • There are a total of two bonfires in the Catacombs, one right as you come in on the left, the second behind an illusory wall near the area with the waterfall and flying skulls. Patches will also appear here if you visit during an early part of the game. The hidden passage is located just behind a ladder that leads up to the next bridge switch (where Patches appears).
  • In the remaster there is another bonfire near blacksmith Vamos, raising the total to 3.
  • Be wary of the statues found throughout the Catacombs. Some are harmless; some, once you get close to them, will launch three spikes at you, causing you to take damage. You receive minuscule damage even without guarding, but they can stagger builds that have no poise. Proceed with caution when you see one. Keep 2-3 body widths away, raise your shield, or roll past them. If observed closely, you will notice that these statues represent Pinwheel, the 'boss' of the Catacombs. Statues which emit spikes always have the Mask of the Mother at the top and the Mask of the Child in the abdominal region.
  • Some spiraling stairs have a seemingly bottomless pit which provides good areas to kick skeletons to their death (Note: if the necromancer is still alive, even kicking skeletons off cliffs will not permanently kill them). One spiral staircase, in particular, will lead you to the blacksmith Vamos.
  • Be cautious of the Wisps (exploding heads). They are proximity triggered and in some cases will seek you out. They can travel through the environment, so always be on the lookout for sneak attacks.
  • Some of the stairs will have little grottoes with items, be wary that collecting these items will usually trigger skeletons.
  • Throughout the Catacombs, you will come across bridges with Spikes protruding from them. You must search around and find the Totem Switch that corresponds to that bridge. These switches will rotate the bridge to allow access.
  • Paladin Leeroy's summon sign shows up while in human form on a cliff overlooking the pit of Bonewheel Skeletons. For those brave enough, it can lead to several early in-game benefits if you can get to him. Paladin Leeroy is an invaluable companion and can single-handedly clear the cavern floor of Bonewheels, the Axe-Wielding Black Knight, and even take care of Pinwheel, all with you watching and chugging the occasional Estus. This can lead to practical farming situations as this type of run takes about 15 minutes from the moment of game creation, if the Black Knight Greataxe or one of the masks from Pinwheel is something you would like to have for your playthrough, rinse and repeat until you get desired results.


Area map

Three Ways to Get to the Bottom

Your journey to the boss in this area will lead you to the bottom of the valley you've been crisscrossing over. There are three ways to get here:

  1. The primary (and slowest) way is winding down the valley using the ladders and bridges, and entering via the final necromancer's chamber. At some point, you'll have to do this to kill all of the necromancers. The final approach starts from the hallway with the Prowling Demon, down a ladder in a room to the right. After dispatching two skeletons, another ladder leads down to the final necromancer, protected by two skeleton archers. This tomb is open to the entire bottom level - meaning that anything can find its way in here, so be expecting the unexpected.
  2. The shortcut method is the quickest and is accomplished by carefully dropping down a series of cliffs. This will likely only be used as a shortcut to the boss, the Gravelord Covenant/Sword, or the Tomb of the Giants beyond and will require some healing afterward. Jump down off the first bridge after the bonfire (run past three skeletons). Turn around fast and jump down again to the broken bridge. Turn left, toward the group of skeletons and go a little less than halfway down, then drop down onto a ledge (you will find a soul there).
    There are now two more ledges, one on either side of the ledge you are currently on. On one of them, you will find the Holy Set with a Mace. Here you also find the summoning sign for Paladin Leeroy if you are in human form.
  3. The Third way is explained in the Blacksmith section.

Once in the valley, you'll discover a new variety of skeleton enemy - the bonewheel skeleton. They approach on foot, but as they near you, they climb into the spiked wheels they carry with them and roll after you at high speed. Because of their quickness and the limited visibility due to heaps of bones and size of the area, you'll be hard-pressed to defend against any more than 2 of them at once. They also have a long aggro range, so be careful when you are down here, or you could accidentally attract 3 or 4 of them. If they get a solid hit on you, They will stagger-lock you into submission. The only ways to defend against a full-on attack is A.) Have a strong shield, or B.) Get the jump on them and attack before they start rolling at you (risky). One more thing, they deal damage on both their front and back, so it is possible that you kill yourself while closing in from behind. Counter-intuitively enough, they do not damage you if you land on one.

Shortcuts and hidden paths

  • Video showing the shortcuts from the first bonfire in the Catacombs > area with the bonewheel skeletons > Pinwheel's boss room > the first bonfire in Tomb of the Giants
  • At one point, you will come across a stairway to nowhere; you can fall sideways from this stairway to a platform and then to another platform for a decent shortcut.
  • Also, be aware that some coffin areas (the square ones with fresh-looking dirt around them) may have hidden pitfalls in the dirt, usually in the corners. These lead to new rooms and provide a bit of a shortcut.
  • Once you've defeated the Prowling Demon, you'll be able to access a shortcut to the Tomb of the Giants. There is an open coffin in the Prowling Demon room; get in and wait. Someone will close the coffin and transport you to the Altar of the Gravelord (eye of death required).

Prowling Demon

This Prowling Demon acts the same as the one near the first blacksmith in the Undead Parish. The main difference is the location. Rather than a large open room, you are now in an enclosed corridor. This makes it much harder to strafe behind him and makes his jump attacks much harder to dodge. A long-range strategy is recommended.
Behind the Prowling Demon are some Eyes of Death, which are required for joining and usable only by members of Nito's covenant.

Black Knight (Axe)

Be wary in the area with the Prowling demon; there is a ladder leading down to a coffin room. There are two pitfalls around the coffin in the middle of the room, one at the top and one at the bottom, that lead to a room with an axe-wielding Black Knight. Avoid these if you don't want to encounter the Black Knight, but this can be a shortcut once you've cleared the level. If you decide to take him on, keep in mind that he can get a free shot at you from falling. Also, be sure to take care of any skeletons in the area, so they don't fall there with you - it is near impossible to take on the Black Knight with respawning skeletons hanging around. Note that the area the Black Knight is in opens to the bottom level of this area, so be wary of the Black Knight dropping down from his area if you don't kill him before going down. The Black Knight can be taken down with similar strategies listed on the Black Knight Page.
Circle strafe, Backstab, rinse, repeat.
Has a chance to drop Black Knight Equipment, including the Black Knight Greataxe. Guaranteed 1,200 souls, and a White Titanite Chunk

Blacksmith Vamos

You can get to him from the 2nd bonfire. If you come from the bonfire, don't go over the bridge. Go right in the cave again and find the circular staircase that ends in a drop-off. Aim your body at this drop-off and walk forward (do NOT roll) - don't worry, you'll land on an outcrop. Below this is a ledge with a Green Titanite Shard. Continue dropping, and you'll land on the top of a tunnel with an opening into it. Drop down to trigger a cutscene, introducing Vamos, who will create an opening from the tunnel into the bottom level of the area. This is the third and final way to get to the bottom.

The very first time you try and go through this hole, you can miss all the ledges as long as you fall directly into the hole at the bottom. Even though it will show you in a death fall animation, the cutscene should interrupt this death (first time only), and you will land in the hallway unharmed.

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