This walkthrough will explain how to navigate the forest and murky swamplands along the Road of Sacrifices in Dark Souls 3. We will show players how to handle an encounter with the Crystal Sage, and recruit a sorcerer named Orbeck to Firelink Shrine. Follow our trail of breadcrumbs below to survive the dangers on the way to Farron Keep and the Cathedral of the Deep.
The Road of Sacrifices mainly consists of winding forest trails, a murky swamp, and a series of castle ruins. Many of the enemies encountered along the way will inflict poison, bleed, or magic effects. Check the status of your character to ensure you have equipped the proper damage absorption and resistance types to prepare yourself for the encounters ahead.
The journey to the Road of Sacrifices begins just after your encounter with the Boreal Outrider Knight at the base of the giant tower in the Undead Settlement. Review our Dark Souls 3 Undead Settlement Walkthrough if you need help navigating this region or finding this tower.
From the Cliff Underside Bonfire in the Undead Settlement, travel east across the bridge to reach the tower entrance just past where Eygon of Carim sits. Step onto the elevator platform, and ride the lift to the bottom of the tower. The Boreal Outrider Knight waits in the room beyond the elevator. You must fight this ferocious foe to reach the door at the back of his chamber leading to the Road of Sacrifices. Defeat the frosty knight by dodging his fast swings and icy breath. Afterward, open the doors at the back of the chamber to discover the Road of Sacrifices Bonfire.
Follow the path ahead of the bonfire and turn left at the cliff. Look out for a creature crouched at the base of a tree along the trail. When the creature spots you, it will quickly sprout a pair of wings. These winged creatures are Corvians, and they transform when agitated.
Try to attack before the wings sprout in order to interrupt the transformation. Once the creature has wings, it may attempt to hover over you and attack while grabbing with its feet. These winged creatures are much easier to attack while grounded, so try to inflict damage prior to their transformation.
Follow the lower path down the trail, and curve around to the left to find another Corvian guarding a corpse. Take out the creature, then pillage the remains to obtain a Shriving Stone. Continue forward toward the open area. Pick up the Soul of an Unknown Traveler between the overturned wagons.
Beyond the wagons are another pair of creatures holding scythes. Don’t deal with them just yet. Instead, head left through a small opening between the rock ledges, and kill the creature to the left. Return to the open area by the wagons to fight the pair of Corvians.
Up on the hill beneath the cave, you’ll see a shaman wielding a staff. This Storyteller won’t directly attack you, but he can conjure more creatures upon unleashing a high-pitched shriek. Eliminate the two Corvians by the wagons before they sprout wings, then head uphill to kill the Storyteller. Watch out for a purple smoke that the Storyteller conjures in defense.
Behind where the shaman stood, look over the edge to find a lower ledge you can drop down onto. Go over and fall onto this small ledge, incurring a small amount of damage. Look over the edge once more to find another ledge further below, where a small collectible gleams from the bottom. This drop will inflict much more damage than the first, so make sure your health bar is nearly full before attempting this drop. Drop down to obtain the Brigand Twindaggers from the corpse.
Follow the path upward, and watch out for an enemy wielding a butcher blade. Continue up the path and pillage the next corpse to obtain a Brigand outfit, which contains a Brigand Hood, Brigand Armor, Brigand Gauntlets, and Brigand Trousers. Further ahead, you’ll find a corpse hanging over the ledge holding a Brigand Axe.
Continue toward the stone archway ahead, and be prepared to fight another winged creature who may jump down from the bridge above. Pass beneath the stone archway, and head left up the path to reach the bridge above. Fight off the pair of creatures ahead of the bridge, then pillage the corpse to obtain a Titanite Shard. This opening looks out over the overturned wagon area you were at earlier.
Retreat back across the archway bridge, and back down the path toward another stone bridge to the right. Prepare to fight several more creatures on the opposite side of the bridge, as well as another shaman. Use ranged attacks to eliminate the shaman before he can summon more creatures to fight you.
Before crossing the bridge, look over the right edge to find a ledge further below. Drop down onto the ledge, incurring a bit of damage. Follow the path as it curves left around the corner. Watch out for a pair of undead hounds in the alcove on the left. Pillage the corpse inside the alcove to receive a Braille Divine Tome of Carim. The outer corpse holds a Morne’s Ring.
Continue up the narrow path to the left of the alcove opening, and watch out for a possessed enemy near the top. Lure this enemy toward the alcove so that you have more space to fight. At the top of the path, drop down and you’ll now be on the other end of the stone bridge. Go up to the platform where the shaman once stood, and loot an Ember from the corpse at the edge.
Proceed through the large entryway of the ruins and continue down the path to reach the Halfway Fortress Bonfire. A pair of friendly knights stand along the nearby wall. The silver knight on the left is Anri of Astora. His/her silent friend in the dark armor is Horace. Speak with Anri to learn of their journey, then talk to Horace to receive the Blue Sentinels covenant insignia.
Pass through the archway on the right, and take a moment to admire the view of the castle. Continue down the path. As the path curves to the left, you will encounter a pair of enemies carrying long crucifixion spikes. These enemies move somewhat slowly, and will lunge forward with the spike to attack you. Eliminate the hostile pair to clear the path, and continue onto the Crucifixion Woods.
If you wanted to snag a collectible near the path, simply drop off the ledge to the right to find a Soul of an Unknown Traveler on the second step down. Drop down to the swamp level, and fight off the nearby hound on the left to collect a Titanite Shard at the base of the cliff.
Enter the Crucifixion Woods along the left side of the swamp. This area consists of a large number of spike carriers, as well as groups of mushroom-like creatures that emit a poisonous smoke. Many enemies roam amongst the trees and crucifixes in this wooded area, making it difficult to give an exact count. Aside from a couple hounds, these woodland enemies tend to wander in slow moving groups. Nothing that a few well timed strikes can’t handle.
A number of collectibles can be found throughout the Crucifixion Woods. Some of these items include Titanite Shards, a Faded Soul, and a Twin Dragon Greatshield. Keep an eye out for glowing white orbs along the base of the trees to collect these items.
In the water near the giant crab creature, look for another collectible at the base of a tree to obtain the Grass Crest Shield. Keep to the left, and pass beneath the stone archway. Curve up the hill to the right to discover the Crucifixion Woods Bonfire.
From this bonfire, you can go in several different directions. Beyond the archway, you’ll find the ruins of an old fortress where the Crystal Sage boss is located. Across the swamp from the bonfire is a small entrance leading to Farron Keep. On the far right side of the swamp, there are several more collectible items guarded by a well armored enemy. We’ll start by guiding you through the fortress ruins ahead of the bonfire, in order to locate the Crystal Sage and another person of interest.
Starting at the Crucifixion Woods Bonfire, walk forward towards the stone fortress. There is a path to the left, a small hole in the wall in the center, and a path to the right courtyard. We suggest going to the right first in order to get some valuable items. If you’re not interested in an Estus Shard or an Ember, then simply go through the center hole in the wall.
Enter the courtyard to the right, and pick up the Soul of an Unknown Traveler. Beware of the large possessed enemy with a crucifixion cross on its back. Once you pick up the collectible, the crucified enemy becomes hostile and will start running at you in a frenzy.
To the right of the fire lies another crucified enemy. Kill him now to prevent any future trouble. Pick up the Ember near the fire and proceed cautiously. A cluster of those tree trunk-wielding hollows are waiting for you. Pick them off one by one and collect the Estus Shard at the end of the path. Return back to the front of the fortress and walk through the center hole in the wall.
Once inside, stop and take a look around. You will see a room full of enemies. Proceed cautiously. To the right an enemy is standing with his face to the wall. Backstab him without alerting the wizard-like enemy. If you do, he will start shooting magic spears at you. It is possible to alert all the enemies in the room, so be careful. We counted five enemies, not including the wizard. Once they are all defeated, run to the right of the stairs to find a Heretic Staff. In our playthrough, two more enemies attacked us from behind.
Proceed up the stairs and through the doorway, across the narrow bridge, and defeat the enemy with a spear and small shield. Through the doorway you have three options. The left staircase leads to an NPC sorcerer, Orbeck of Vinheim. He will teach you sorceries if you agree to bring him scrolls. If you do so, he will disappear and meet you back at Firelink Shrine.
Straight ahead leads to a room full of enemies and to the Crystal Sage boss. The right leads to a Crystal Lizard. We suggest going to the left staircase first, as that path is devoid of enemies. Before leaving the top floor with Orbeck’s study, walk around to the other side and pick up the Blue Bug Pellet at the end of the broken stairs. Do not jump down though. Return, and now go to the right towards the Crystal Lizard side.
Kill the Crystal Lizard to acquire a Crystal Gem, but be careful, because an enemy to the right may interrupt your attack. Try killing the Crystal Lizard as fast as possible; you don’t want it to get away. Through the doorway to the right you will see a set of stairs leading up to a wizard and a staff-wielding enemy.
At the ground floor is a doorway leading out to the swamp. We want to stay in the fortress, but if you want a Sage Ring and a Sorcerer armor set, walk down the stairs and into the swamp and head to the right. You will see an opening at the base of the fortress.
Once inside, look to your right because a crucified enemy waits for you. Defeat him and pick up the Sage Ring on the nearby corpse. At the other end of the room you’ll find an armor set: Sorcerer Hood, Robe, Gloves, and Trousers.
Back at the fortress where we left off, halfway up the stairs is another outer path leading away from the fortress and into the swamp. Ignore this path for now. If you choose to proceed down this path, keep in mind you cannot return back along the same path. You will instead have to climb back up the stairs in the swamp to return to the fortress. However, if you continue down this path, you will find a Golden Falcon Shield.
Go up to the top of the stairs, through the doorway and jump down to the right. Watch out for a wizard and other enemies along the staircase. Turn around and walk along the edge of the outer balcony to pick up a Ring of Sacrifice. When you are ready, make your way back to the front and head into the unexplored room that leads to the boss.
To recap, there were three ways we could have gone. There was a left path to Orbeck, a right path, and a room in the center that leads to the boss. We ignored the room in the center and we went left and right first. Now we are ready to go forward.
This room is full of enemies, including two wizards and three henchmen. Some enemies were sitting down, which allowed for easy kills. If you use the pillars to protect yourself against magic projectiles, you should have no problem picking the wizards off one by one.
At the far end of the room is a Crystal Gem beside the doorway. Go through the door next to the newly acquired gem and defeat the wizard along the path. The area just ahead is the boss arena. Prepare to face the Crystal Sage. If you have magic defense armor or items, now is the time to equip them.
Boss Battle: The Elusive Crystal Sage
The Crystal Sage is all about evading magic attacks and using the environment to your advantage. Like all Dark Souls games, there are multiple ways to defeat a boss. In light of that, we will explain how we went about defeating the Crystal Sage.
If you need help for this battle, consume an Ember and look for a friendly summon sign nearby. If you helped free Irina of Carim back in the Undead Settlement, a summon sign for Eygon of Carim can be found behind a pillar in the previous room before the boss.
After you enter the white mist, the Crystal Sage will emerge from the center stage in front of you. Run to the sage as fast as you can, but make sure you have enough stamina to attack. This fight is all about getting the first strike to interrupt the sage before any magic spell can be enacted.
When you run up to the sage, a couple of things can happen. The sage will either shoot a slow moving purple crystal at you, or the sage will surround itself with five small purple magic orbs. If it just shoots the slow moving crystal, you will only be able to get a few hits in before the sage disappears. If it tries to shoot you with the five purple orbs, you will have a longer opportunity to get more hits in.
We were able to diminish the Crystal Sage's health down to half in that initial engagement, simply by attacking quickly to interrupt its magic. If you are not so lucky, and the sage disappears, start looking around the room. The sage will eventually reappear. Once it does, run immediately to it and strike before it can use its magic attack. Also, watch out for the crystal spikes that pop up from the floor to damage you.
Once the sage’s health is depleted to half, the sage will change strategies. The sage will now reappear amongst three clones. The clones shoot blue magic spears at you while the original sage will continue to shoot purple. You must hit the purple sage to diminish the Crystal Sage life bar. During this phase, we suggest you take advantage of the pillars in the environment because it is difficult to evade the clones’ magic attacks out in the open.
Once we found a good hiding spot to recover, we used our trusty bow and arrow to pick off two of the three clones. If you are feeling gutsy, you may be able to simply run up and strike each imitation sage, then unleash more damaging attacks on the actual Crystal Sage. If all clones are destroyed, the sage will vanish and spawn more. Because of this, we suggest to keep at least one around as to ensure you do the most amount of damage to the real sage as possible.
With one clone remaining, run straight to the real sage and attacked it. Be careful though, because when you attack the real sage while there is a clone remaining, it will magically swap places with the clone. Keep your eye on the purple and blue magic orbs. When the sage is transferring itself to the clone, you will see a purple orb making its way towards the clone.
When this happens you can either attack the clone to get rid of it, ushering in more clones, or simply run straight to the real sage and continue your attack. Eventually the sage will vanish in retreat and the process starts again. Once defeated, the Crystal Sage will award you with the Soul of a Crystal Sage. Ignite the Crystal Sage Bonfire that appears near the stage, and decide which direction you’d like to travel next.
Finish Exploring the Swamp
You can progress into the next area, the Cathedral of the Deep, but we suggest spending a little more time in the Crucifixion Woods, because there are more things to collect. To explore the other sections of the swamp, fast travel back to the Crucifixion Woods bonfire.
From the Crucifixion Woods bonfire, look out across the swamp and locate a set of stairs. Hop down from the bonfire mound into the swamp water. Avoid the large crab, as it will chase you across the swamp if it becomes agitated.
When you reach land on the other side, watch out for two aggressive enemies. One of these enemies jumps down from the upper wall. These enemies both move fast, and hit hard. Defeat both of them to receive the Exile Greatsword and a Great Club. Search near the wall on the left for a corpse holding a Large Soul of an Unknown Traveler.
Proceed up the staircase to the right, where one of the two enemies emerged from earlier. Pillage the corpse straight ahead at the corner of the balcony to receive two Homeward Bones. Climb down the long ladder near the entrance to discover the Farron Keep Bonfire at the bottom. For help navigating Farron Keep, head over to our Dark Souls 3 Farron Keep Walkthrough.
Climb back to the top of the ladder, and return to the entrance. You should see one large crab creature across the swamp in the distance, as well as another large crab directly to your left. Walk forward into the swamp, and locate a corpse holding a Fallen Knight armor set, which includes a Fallen Knight Helm, Fallen Knight Armor, Fallen Knight Gauntlets, and Fallen Knight Trousers.
Go toward the large crab on the left through the archway ruins. Look for a glowing collectible near the base of a tree just behind the large crab. The deep water slows you here, so proceed at your own risk. Gather the collectible to obtain a Great Swamp Pyromancy Tome. Give this tome to Cornyx back at Firelink Shrine to learn more “sophisticated pyromancies.”
We found the giant crab quite difficult to defeat. After hurting him significantly, he will burrow into the ground and come back up with his life restored. If you fight him, try killing him as soon as possible, and watch out for powerful strikes from its pincers. We found it best to simply run away from the giant crab altogether.
As you proceed left along the fortress wall, you will come across several poisonous enemies near the shore. But that’s not all. Be cautious because a crucified enemy sits in wait for you near the entrance of the fortress, with another just around the corner to the right.
Once you defeat him, enter the fortress and observe the large crystalline lizard in the locked room to your right. You cannot open the door from that direction, so ignore it for now. Turn left and you will see a large black (or is it gold?) knight at the end of the hallway. Walk carefully to the right so as not to get the large black knight’s attention, and proceed down the right hallway. At the end of the hallway lies a Sellsword armor set, which includes a Sellsword Helm, Armor, Gauntlet, and Trousers.
Jump down off the ledge and ignore the knight. If you did it right, he should not have been aggravated by you just yet. Underneath the platform you jumped from are some Sellsword Twinblades. At the end of the hall, against the wall, you will find Farron Coal. You are now at a dead end; there is nothing else to do in here for now. You will have to either pass the knight or fight him in order to get out.
Onward to the Cathedral of the Deep
The swamp is a big place, and there are plenty of hidden items throughout. Search to your heart’s content. When you are ready to continue on to the Cathedral of the Deep, make your way back to the Crystal Sage Bonfire.
When you are rested and ready, enter through the doorway left of the Crystal Sage Bonfire. It will lead you to a series of layered paths along the edge of a cliff. Do not continue down the path you are on. Instead, look down to your left and you will see a Crystal Lizard. Quickly jump down and attack it and retrieve Twinkling Titanite.
Once you have jumped down you cannot go back right away, so continue forward by jumping down to another lower path. Around the right corner attacking another Crystal Lizard will give you another Twinkling Titanite. Continuing to the right you will come to the edge of the path. Looking down, you will see a book-wielding sorceress standing next to a fire. You can jump down and attack if you want, but beware of the other enemies. We suggest patience.
Instead of jumping now, turn around and head up the path to the right. This path also leads to an edge, but it is at a higher vantage point. It also overlooks a lower path where a large saw-wielding enemy patrols. Once he is underneath you, jump and attack him for maximum damage. Attacking him can trigger his friend, who stands further down towards the fire. Defeat him as well without getting the attention of the sorceress.
Once the two saw-wielding enemies are killed, set your sights on the sorceress. Dodge her ranged attacks and avoid her hug of death. When she is defeated, grab the large collectible sitting behind her. It contains the Herald Helm, Herald Armor, Herald Gloves, and Herald Trousers.
Continue down the path across the narrow stone bridge to find the Cathedral of the Deep Bonfire. Facing the large staircase leading upward, there are two ways to go from here: up the said staircase, or down the stairs to the left. Either way, you will have to fight a difficult enemy.
From this point, you are on your way to the Cathedral of the Deep. Head over to USGamer’s Dark Souls 3 Cathedral of the Deep Walkthrough to continue on this path. For more Dark Souls 3 tips and features, check out our Dark Souls 3 Walkthrough and Guide.