I'm currently doing my first "no leveling-up" run of Dark Souls (1); I chose the Bandit class as a starting class (and the Master Key as a gift), and just noticed that I wouldn't be able to attune any pyromancy due to my low attunement level. Up until now (I just reached Anor Londo) things went surprisingly smoothly, the only boss that gave me a little trouble was Queelag, whom killed me twive, but I dread taking on the Four Kings without Power within and even O&S might prove to be a challenge. Do you have any tips on how to defeat these bosses, the four kings in particular, with a low level melee character that has no magic or pyromancy capabilities? Or is it easier than I imagine?

EDIT I am now facing the Four Kings and my concerns were justified. I don't think I can dish out enough damage fast enough, several attempts failed as the second king killed me before I could even kill the first. What are my options? I'm wielding a +5 Fire Battle Axe, and I can't upgrade it to a +10 now as I want to join the Darkwraith Covenant and thus can't deposit the Lordvessel.

I'm aware of the possibility of using the Red Tear Stone Ring, but that would mean breaking the Ring of Favour and Protection which I'm not too keen on...

EDIT 2 I was mistake about the embers being unaccessible before killing the Four Kings. My new plan is to upgrade my Battleaxe to +10. Furthermore, I upgraded a Giant's set. I came close to killing the Four Kings twice today, and I feel I could take them down with this equipment.

  • I cannot imagine doing a SL1 run without pyromancy. My honest advice would be to start a new character playing as the pyromancer. It would 100% be quicker than trying to push through. You cannot possibly have the DPS during 4 kings to eliminate them before getting overtaken. Mar 21, 2014 at 23:23
  • @Mondrianaire I will eventually do a SL1 pyromancer, maybe sooner than later. In the meantime, I'm not giving up that quickly though ^^. Another option I consider is to push my other battle axe to +15 (or the Hand Axe if I can find that ingame) and buff it with fire or lightning. Mar 21, 2014 at 23:27
  • You mentioned not wanting to break your RoFAP, what is your other ring? Mar 21, 2014 at 23:34
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    @Mondrianaire take a guess :3 it's the Four Kings after all! Mar 21, 2014 at 23:34
  • Have you beat O&S? Or just trying to take 4 Kings down first? Mar 21, 2014 at 23:39

3 Answers 3


There are many reasons no-level runs are done with the Pyromancy class. A no-level run is a challenge run. Its a challenge run with only one goal, to never level up. Everything else goes.

People choose pyromancy for an no-level run because Pyromancy levels up with souls, not stats. It can be pretty liberating to never have to worry about character spec and instead putting all of your souls into upgrades. A +5 Ascended Pyromancy glove is 100% the highest damage output of any no-level available weapon. Pyromancy also gives you status effects, such as iron flesh and Power Within. Power Within adds +40% to all damage output.

To answer your direct question. If you choose to proceed...

4 Kings are weak to fire, so your +5 fire Battle Axe will be golden. Your battle axe in general will be your weapon of choice going forward (and probably has been up until this point anyway). You can RTSR if you feel you have their attacks down, but you will absolutely have to be under 25% equip load so you can fast roll, which also means you will have to dodge every attack as every attack will one shot you.

The biggest factor in the 4 kings is stamina management. You are at base stamina to start out with so Green Blossom or Grass Crest Shield is your friend (or both). Always be on the lookout for the AoE as it is an insta-death if you don't have the stamina to double roll backwards.

The 4 Kings are about one thing, Damage Per Second. You absolutely have to be able to take down each king before the next one spawns. There is simply no way to face 2-3 of them with that little stamina while still outputting damage. Their health pool is the largest in the game, at nearly 10K HP(2.3K/King).

This being said, I would urge you to think tothe future. You have Nito, Seath, and BoC to go before Gwen, Fire will be useful for Nito, but almost useless for Seath. If you beat 4 Kings, I would head to Nito next, and then turn your axe to Lightning, as this will make the rest of the bosses easier.

Good Luck. That's adventurous to say the least.

  • Thank you for your answer. I already have a spare +10 Battle Axe I plan on converting to Lightning once I find sufficient Titanite to do so. I also have a +5 Divine Battle Axe to deal with the annoying skeletons surrounding Nito, I don't expect him to be much of a problem. Do you think I should break my RoFAP for the Four Kings? Mar 21, 2014 at 23:50
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    It really depends. I have not done that run so I don't know the DPS of a +5 Fire Battle Axe against Forks. If with perfect stamina management, perfect dodges, and perfect time management, you still are being overcome by more than one, I would RoFAP. That extra 20% to Stamina, Health and Equip Load will help tremendously in the rest of the game. Mar 21, 2014 at 23:54

I finally did it! As I pointed out in the edits to my question, I was mistaken about the Large Flame Ember being inaccessible to me at this point in the game (my intention being to join the Darkwraiths). It took me (an estimated) fifty attempts, and a couple of extremely close calls, but I finally did it, somehow killing all the kings fast enough so as to not have two kings fighting me at the same time, and only using four Estus flasks and 3 Green Blossoms. For anyone interested, here's my setup:

  • Armor: I wore the Giant's helm and chestpiece, both upgraded to +5, the gloves from the Goldhemmed Set, and unupgraded Hollow Soldier Waistcloth.
  • Weapons: I two handed a +8 Fire Battleaxe and wore a +5 Grasscrest Shield on my back, occasionally using it to block AOEs.
  • Rings: Besides the obligatory Covenant of Artorias ring, I wore the FAP ring.
  • Items: +4 Estus and Green Blossom.

My Equip Burden was 32.4/64.8 allowing me to mid-roll and my defense was 199, magic defense was 110. My reign of terror may now begin ^^


You can get to the lord vessel alter before the four kings after ringing bothbells go to fire link shrine towards the grave yard there will be a giant worm thing talk to him then return to him after aquiring the lord vessel after smough and ornstein btw you can get smough and ornsteins armor who ever you kill last you can buy there armor under the sewer entrance to the depths you must speak to the guy before blight town (not actually speak i never spoke to him till after fat and skinny (smough and ornstein )

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