[As Read on GIO.]
My Literal Naked Speedrun through Sen’s Fortress…
Something I Would not Advise to Try at Home, Work, or Elsewhere…
I would like to first make a short disclaimer before I truly begin this blog in earnest: this post involves partial nudity on the part of my Dark Souls character, and also is not in fact a speedrun of the entire game- merely the area surrounding and within Sen’s Fortress. Also, it differs from most walkthroughs and speedruns in that I left all of my weapons and clothing and items (save for a ring which would break if unequipped) in my infinitely deep bonfire box. This all having been said, I shall now take you on a deadly and perilous adventure through a chaotic and insane castle-like fortress, home to golems, giants, and other foul creatures and devious traps… Enter, if you will, Sen’s Fortress with me…
1. So, I’m sprinting across the narrow bridge between two wooded areas, leading up to the front entrance to this imposing fortress. I’m already experiencing a large amount of foreboding despair, especially since I am continually reminded of the fact I have no estus flask or any other helpful and handy equipment, save for a ring which increases my stamina and health. Fat lot of good that will do if I get into combat, but at least I can make a few more evasive maneuvers if need be… Now, let’s chronicle what happens with each subsequent death of mine- each with its own number here.
I cautiously waltz through the entryway, assuming- as many players rightfully should, that there will be some ghastly trap or another awaiting me on the other side. The Sen’s Fortress area logo promptly appears as I cross the threshold, and I carefully trot through the dark yet receding shadows as I continue on my way. Suddenly, out jumps a trollish, snakish creature of some sort with a wicked, curved scimitar of massive proportions. Rather than engaging him in suicidal combat, I roll evasively around him and make for the doorway…only to bump into his partner, whom I had forgotten about despite my past experience with the game. Death number one.
2. This time around, I’m slightly more careful, and thanks to the fact that the enemies in Dark Souls spawn pretty much in the exact same places, I know what to expect as well. I’m quick enough to dart into the thin passage behind the two monstrosities, and whether it is due to their larger size or some deity looking out for me, they decline the invitation to follow me inside. Or maybe they just know I’ll get what’s coming to me. As I ascend the stairs, I can hear an ominous swishing noise coming from the next room. As I enter, it is with a sigh of dejection, because I immediately remember this painful room and the horrors it contains: many, many slicing and dicing instruments of terror (think, Prince of Persia’s pendulum-like axe blades).
Even better, there’s a very thin bridge leading across a dark and perilous chasm as the blades swing back and forth in my path across said bridge. Thankfully I have a pretty good stamina rating, so I make a calculated dash between each blade as it swings by, thankfully not getting nicked at all- as without armor it would most likely spell disaster, especially without my estus flask. I’m halfway across when I realize somebody or something is flinging electric bolts at me. Well, not one to be easily deterred I (foolishly? grudgingly?) continue on across the bridge, dodging the last few blades and shock blasts.
Suddenly, a wild snakish monster thing appears! On the bridge! Yeah, let’s go- whoop whoop! I somehow (luck maybe?) skirt around him as he swings and misses with his large sword- maybe to make up for something? One last pendulum slices by and I’m safely (if that applies in this game…) in a small hallway leading to the left and right, past some antique statues. I choose the left way and ascend another small flight of steps along the way, stopping as I come to another bridge- this one with slightly more death and pendulums looming ahead.
There’s even less room for mistakes here, and yet another snake guy waiting at the end of the way, launching his nice little presents towards me. Thankfully, luck is on my side yet again, as he manages to stumble sideways off of the narrow ledge when I knock him back with a kick. I’m thinking he’s a goner for sure, as that’s quite a deadly fall he just took. I cautiously move into the next room and see some loot at the back, but before moving forward, I notice an oddity in the stone floor- a raised stone that is surely a trap of some devious sort. After all, in this game, I question everything. I skirt around its edges and also notice a hollow recess in the wall where something must shoot out or something whizzes out or whatever. I think I just avoided a booby trap of some mal-intent.
I open the chest I saw a moment ago, and am pleased to have found a relatively large titanite shard- a semi-rarity in this game, and a necessity for leveling up weapons and armor. I explore around the room a little more and find a short set of stairs leading to an even shorter bridge than the others. I continue forward and encounter yet another snake guy, but thankfully I get lucky once more and push him off of some stone stairs. I think he’s dead, and this is shortly confirmed by a gaining of souls.
I run up the stone stairs- these ones a little more decayed than the other flights, and am immediately crushed by a large boulder that I somehow didn’t hear coming until it was too late. I tried to jump out of the way into the tiny alcove with some white light (obviously there to be traversed) however I am unsuccessful. And I thought I’d been doing pretty well up until now. Death number two.
3. Now that I can pretty well recall most segments of the fortress that I’ll be running into, I’m able to make it back to the stone stairway with the boulder that would make even Indy cringe, in pretty good time. I successfully dodge the boulder, but a snake guy descends the stairs after me as well. I’m unable to really shake him, so I backtrack to the last pendulum room and laugh as he helplessly slides off into oblivion after a solid hit from one of the devious traps. Thankfully, I’d already managed to kick the other snake people off the bridges, so I wasn’t having to watch my back every moment.
The snake guy goes down, and I ignore the white light for now- opting instead to head for the room at the top of the stairs, where I can see a faint glint of sunlight. As I arrive in the room, I notice the many statues knocked over on the ground, as well as the locked chest in the back. I immediately open the chest up and am rewarded with another ring. Just because I can’t really afford to worry about putting it on, I leave the ring where it was and head back down the stairs I just came up. Suddenly, I hear a rumble from behind, and another boulder (or the same one respawning?) drops behind me. Thankfully, luck is on my side, as I am able to sprint for the small alcove I couldn’t quite make before.
I’ve survived this far, so I may as well traverse this white light. After all, what’s the worst that could happen, right? I come into a room with a small little corridor of sorts leading to another chamber that is essentially pitch black, though a hissing snake man soon emerges from it. Now I have nowhere to run, so I know it’s going to be a tough fight. This one has a shield as well and wields a pretty powerful broad sword. Thankfully, I’ve always leveled my character up with a pretty good strength, and I’m somewhere around level 30 at this point. Still, fighting with no armor against a monster that can pretty much kill me in one or two hits sucks.
However, I get his health down to zero, and rest to lick my figurative wounds, seeing as he never once touched me. Looks like that shield slowed him down a little bit. Truthfully, this was the most harrowing fight I’ve ever had in a game that has some really intense moments. I trod through the short corridor and somehow don’t notice yet another pressure plate until I hear the ‘cah-chunk’ of my foot triggering it. I take one arrow to the back, but manage to move out of the way of the other three that follow. Great- now I’ve got about a third of my health left, so if I encounter anyone else I’m done for. Ironically, as I head back out of the room and down some stairs that look very much like the ones with the boulder (did I get turned around somehow?) I’m sideswiped by another boulder and die. Dang. Death number three.
4. Well for a Sen’s Fortress run without any equipment at all, I’m doing pretty great so far- only three deaths until now… After much pain and suffering, I make it back to where I died last time, recover my souls yet again, and get set to keep on going- albeit with a quarter of health left only. I’m probably going to meet my end sooner this time around, but oh well… I watch the same boulder go flying by several times (at least I assume it’s the same) and wait for it to go down a small chute before sprinting and jumping across the gap to another corridor side.
I duck into a side room this time to avoid another boulder as it tumbles by- not the same one obviously, as there is at least one stuck in the gap I just jumped across recently. Inside the room is a box which I punch until it opens up. Imagine my surprise when a set of arms sprout from it and pummel me to death. I’ve just encountered a dangerous new playmate. Death number four.
5. Okay, I’m back where we left off, this time with about three quarters of my health intact, somehow, and I’ve successfully and carefully tricked the box guy into getting crushed by the large boulder speeding down the stairs behind us. As he dies, I am rewarded with a lightning spear- a decently powerful weapon. I figure it’s not cheating if I grab it since I’ve earned it while here, and it sure would certainly make things to come later on slightly easier, so I indulge myself this one time.
A small steel platform descends from somewhere above into the room. I step onto it as the chains pull it back up to another room, this one looking almost like a prison cell of sorts, albeit with some grates across the floor. It’s pretty dark in here, so great things are sure to come. I cross a little bridge and go by some really, really small stairs, checking out the closed jail cell in the next portion of the room. Unsurprisingly, it’s locked and unopenable from this side. Great. So I turn back and go for the stairs, find a little lever (a big one actually), and pull it- sending a boulder crashing to my foes below.
I know it’s only a matter of time before another boulder descends quickly after me, so I make the best use of my major stamina bar and rush down several flights of stairs, bursting out into the sunlight for the first time in what feels like forever- five lifetimes in fact, for my hero. However, this good cheer comes to an end when I glance down and see the drop is much too far for me to sustain and survive in this weak state. I head back through the hall, noting that there is some NPC of some sort stuck in a steel cage. Seems her (I think…) name is Logan, and he would really appreciate being set free.Also seems to be a witch, but she promises me sorcery spells galore later on, so I let her out and waltz off for the time being…
I run back to where I dropped down at one point in the long hallway, and find some stairs I’d missed before. I’m starting to get deja vu now because most of the stairs they lead to look like exact replicas of areas I’ve already been to, so the game is really screwing with my mind at this point- at least, more so than usual. I find a shortcut into the room with the big lever and find a small side passage I’d apparently missed on my last sweep of the room. How sloppy of me.
I notice a pressure plate and some arrow slots (or spears or something) blocking my way, so I carefully trigger the plate and back off before sprinting through after the (yes, arrows!) projectiles have fired. I enter a small room with a window, through which I can see some brilliant sunlight. Maybe I’m almost out of this place! Nope, just kidding- I enter a room down the way where there is yet another bridge and several pendulums. And here I was thinking that stuff was finished with…
This time there is absolutely no spare space between blades, so I’m going to have to do one crazy sprint towards the other side of the bridge, which is a lot thinner than the rest- this really just gets good. I haul donkey across what turns out to be actually a short bridge, encountering another snake man once I reach the other side. Thankfully, now that I am armed, I make relatively short work of him without sustaining any damage at all. I continue up some stairs and find myself approaching an even SMALLER bridge. Great, this thin thing will surely have a plethora of devious booby traps surrounding it as well. Seems as if the closer I get to freedom, the more determined to destroy me this place is…
I start my crossing of the bridge, more cautiously now, as I hear some pendulums in the distance… However, suddenly a surprise blast of lightning hits the ground at my feet, leaving me unharmed, but startled into action. In order to avoid a sure death, I begin a suicidal sprint towards the looming axes. Thankfully, there’s actually a small safe zone in between the axes, so I am able to let the axes behind me deflect his blast before continuing on up some stairs to the right. Catastrophe averted- for now. Oh look- some white light. I smell a difficult fight brewing…
I’m finally outside, but there is still no bonfire in sight, and there still seems to be quite some way to go. I actually go downwards, as there seems to be nowhere else to head, and I encounter the (easy, for my level normally) standard hollow, skeletal knight of the game. I make short work of him after dodging his slow attacks and sprint around the corner, taking one of his buddies by surprise- allowing me to backstab him for a rare one-shot kill. I’m felling pleased now, but not comfortable yet…probably better that way. There’s a chest back here which opens pretty easily and rewards me with yet another ring- which I ignore.
Seeing nowhere else to go, I scratch my head before heading back up to the ledge I was just on. Somehow, with all of my perceptive skills, I managed to miss a blatantly obvious staircase right in front of me. Time to get the eyes checked… Heading up several sets of stairs, grabbing a soul along the way, I start to slowly see myself approaching the highest point of this deadly fortress. Could I really be so near the end? Thankfully, I’ve been here before (and though I haven’t spoiled anything yet) and I know where the “secret” bonfire is on a ledge below a broken portion of wall near the soul I picked up. I take a little fall damage, but light the bonfire and rest my weary soul for a moment or two, leveling up four times in the process.
I take a shortcut back to where I just leaped from, dodging a firebomb or two this time- now that the hollows are alerted to my presence, and the enemies have respawned. I sprint up the stairs and make my way across some greco-roman looking pillar pathways relatively clear of enemies. I cross a bridge, go up some stairs, across some more pathways, into a room, and through some white light. I brace myself, as I hear distant rumbling undoubtedly emanating from behind the thin veil of light, and I know what lies ahead…
Oh look, an Iron Golem. This ought to be fun… Be prepared for a death, and maybe some subsequent ones, to come… This battle is bad enough with armor and good supplies and an estus flask especially, so this ought to be…interesting…
I manage to barely avoid some odd air-blast sweep of the titanic golem’s axe as he slowly approaches me, thanks to my diving skills. His range is pretty long, but thankfully I picked up the spear- this would be quite impossible without any tools whatsoever, so I think that cheating is allowed. I dash in for a few cheap blows, but even with my powerful weapon they don’t do much damage compared to the thing’s health bar total. He’s got about a tenth chunk off of it though.
He swings at me a few more times, but I duck under his tremendous legs, poking him a few times as I go, doing a little bit more damage. This is going surprisingly well thus far… He’s lost about a quarter of life now, but is getting faster with each swipe, and coming closer to meeting his target as well. I dodge several more strikes and manage to whittle him down to half of his overall health. The giant’s attacks are coming faster and faster now, and I’m taking a bit of residual damage from some area-centered blows, but not enough to kill me- yet.
Finally, I’ve got him down to within two more strikes, give or take and…he stomps me into the stone. Just like that, my progress lost for the fight, so near the end. Yeah…pretty disappointing… Well, I’ll spare you guys the details of my next (and final) life, but I did successfully defeat the golem on my sixth life. Although I didn’t go back through the area or anything, I think this really counts as conquering Sen’s Fortress- a lofty feat for players even with their equipment and skills. I may be a veteran or something thereabout, but this was still pretty difficult- even if it seems like I only died a handful of times compared to the first time I went up against this place. Hopefully you all enjoyed this lengthy blog, and will if I make more like it. Adios folks. Comment below- congratulating or degrading my Dark Souls skills as you will.