Smouldering Lake is a Location in Dark Souls 3. This optional zone is flooded with lava and fire monsters, but exploring it will reveal pyromancies and tomes from ages past.


General Information


Smouldering Lake Map

Smouldering Lake Map 1 DKS3

Smouldering Lake Map 2 DKS3

Smouldering Lake Video Playthrough


NPCs in the area




Weapons & Spells


Upgrade Materials

Keys & Other



  • Ballista shots fall from the sky in the main area. It can be turned off by following an underground path.  This path takes you past hound-rats, basilisks, and a great-sword wielding black knight.  At the end of this path is a ladder that brings you up underneath the ballista.
  • Behind the huge worm in the main area, there is a small incline in the ground.  If you stand behind this small hill, you can get the worm caught in the line of fire from the ballista as it tries to shoot you.
  • On the opposide side of the map from the worm, there is a mound of exposed stonework.  If a ballista shot hits this stonework, it will open a permanent one way shortcut to the Old King's Antechamber Bonfire
  • The ballista shot can also be used to break open a wall guarding a hidden item (Speckled Stoneplate Ring) towards the back of the level.
  • The Demon Ruins area is full of references to Dark Souls 1, including a number of statues and petrified Capra Demons and Taurus Demons, as well as live demonic statues and basilisks. It is presumed that this area is close to Lost Izalith because of these creatures and the fact that the Quelana pyromancy tome is found here by a large, petrified spider, which is quite likely to be Quelana herself.  The large tree-pillars that seem to support this cavernous are reminiscent of the Arch-trees of Ash Lake from Dark Souls I.
  • There is an easier and safer way to clear out the lake of Giant Ember Crabs. Aggro the crabs with arrows and get them chase you to the entrance of the cave where you fight Horace. The crabs are too big to get past the rocks and the will stay there, trying to smash you. Keep yourself at a safe distance and ping away at them with magic or arrows. 

Full Smouldering Lake Walkthrough

A full walkthrough including all the items, enemies and bosses followes.  Click here to go to the Speedrun Walkthrough.

Finding Smouldering Lake

Discovering Smouldering Lake takes a bit of work.  From the High Lord Wolnir bonfire, turn around and make your way to the large suspension bridge.  Attack the anchor point at that end of the bridge and it will collapse.  Once the bridge settles, you can climb down the collapsed bridge as if it were a ladder to access the area below.  Proceed until you reach the room with the large Fire Demon.  Along with the Fire Demon, in this chamber there is a Mimic up the stairs near the end of the walkway.  If you can get the Fire Demon to attack it, the mimic will kill it for you.  Additionaly, if you agro the Fire Demon, then retreat through the small entrance where you first enter this area, the Fire Demon will "de-aggro" and retreat to his original position at the bottom of the stairs, this should allow you to "bait and strike" him until you defeat him.  On the level where the Fire Demon is, you can loot a Large Titanite Shard 1x, but beware there are several skeletons that will come out here. If you exit into the next room, straight ahead you will find a corpse with Old Sage's Blindfold and Witch's Ring. Turn around and head back and make a left into another room with a Bonfire. Advance through to reach Smouldering Lake proper.

Giant Ballista and Carthus Worm

As soon as you enter Smouldering Lake, you will hear a loud mechanical sound, beware, as this is a Ballista winding up.  The Ballista will target you as you explore the area. Enter into the lake and follow along the left wall until you encounter a giant worm. You can navigate past the worm from the right side, there is a safespot to the back left of the worm behind a rock with a candled stone pillar next to it, this will place the worm between you and the ballista resulting the ballista killing the worm. Should also be noted that any type of low stance would make the ballista aim lower, therefore hitting the worm more often. The worm drops Lightning Stake and an Undead Bone Shard. 

worm boss cheese location

Up a hill to the right, you will find a Large Titanite Shard 1x on a corpse. In a doorway here you can take a staircase down to reach the Demon Ruines Bonfire. In ember form, there is a summon for Knight Slayer Tsorig here. Go back the way you came and follow the left hand wall and eventually you will come to a man-made stone wall up against a natural boulder wall. Wait here until the ballista fires at you and breaks the wall to collect Speckled Stoneplate Ring. Retrace your steps with the wall at your right to avoid the giant worm and head back to the bonfire.

Find an Estus Shard & Bonfire #2

If you'd like to explore this area further from the bonfire you just lit, head through the hallway opposite of the staircase and make a right to take the staircase down. Take the hallway into a next area and face a Demon Cleric to the left. These Demon Clerics can be tricky because, given time, they will raise a glowing ball of fire in their hands which will fire at you. There should already be 2 fireballs spawned near the Cleric (One in front of the clearic, obscured by a pillar and another over the railings.) Nearby will be a corpse you can loot for an Ember 1x. 

Head the other way down this hallway, to encounter 4 Ghru beasts, similar to the ones encountered in Farron Keep, except they have an "embered" appearance. Outside of this aesthetic change, there is no difference in attacks. One spear wielding will patrol the nearby area while the other 3 (one sword, 1 toxic and 1 more spear) are around the corner. Continuing on this hallway at its end you will find a room with 2 Ghru beasts. Before entering and attempting to loot the corpse (Ember 1x) on the left of the room, players should note that there is a Smoldering Rotten Flesh from the ceiling as well as a Demon Statue around the corner. Make a left until you come to a hole in the floor. The corpse on the other side holds an Estus Shard, but the jump is rather difficult. The jump itself is a shortcut to the upcoming bonfire, and that even if you fall though, the shard is still obtainable.

If you manage to make the jump and obtained the shard, take this hallway to the end being wary of the 6 Smoldering Rotten Fleshes which drop down from the ceiling. Make a right at the end of the hallway and attack the wall at the end to reveal an Illusory Wall. Enter into the next room to discover and light the Old King's Antechamber Bonfire.

However, if you fell through the hole in the floor to the lower level, you will encounter 3 Ghru beasts, 1 Spear, 1 sword and 1 Toxic. To the right of where the spear wielding was sitting, there is a doorway and that there is a lootable corpse in the 1st left turn of this tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, left should bring you along some stairs and at the top is the Old King's Antechamber Bonfire. From the stairs, there is an Illusory Wall on the left, which leads to a path. Following this path, there should be a break left and that there are 6 Smoldering Rotten Fleshes waiting on the ceiling. The Estus Shard is on a corpse behind those 6.

Finding Izalith & Quelana Pyromancy Tomes

Exit the bonfire room through the door opposite of the Illusory Wall. Continue straight ahead into a room, where a ghru will be seated to your left and will be joined by others. A prostrate corpse here can be looted for the Izalith Pyromancy Tome.

Backtrack out of this room and make your next left down a hallway. Follow it left and left again to find a Crystal Lizard. Make your way back to the bonfire and exit the doorway which leads to a staircase heading down. Make your right at the next hallway and make your next right to the dead end where a corpse lies with an Ember 1x. Turn around and head right to continue going down the hallway where you will encounter some ghrus. Follow this hallway to left and into a room of ghrus. Exit the doorway into the next room where you will encounter a fire statue to the left and some more ghrus. Behind a pillar here will be another statue and a ghru.

Exit this room and at the end of the hallway, make a left and attack the wall to reveal an Illusory Wall. Step into the revealed room to encounter a Black Knight wielding a great axe. You can loot the Black Knight Sword from a corpse here. Go back down the hallway and into the larger room with pillars. There are 2 Fire demons are here and will fire at you with their orbs. Dispatch them one by one, using the pillars for cover. In the corner of this there is an item, but beware of the Smoldering Rotten Flesh above as well as the Ghru and 2 more Smoldering Rotten Fleshes accompanying it. You can then loot an Undead Bone Shard. From a doorway in the corner of this room, follow the hallway and take your first right which will bring you to a room with 3 small rats. Attack the wall in this room to reveal an Illusory Wall. Head down the short hallway and head left to find the Quelana Pyromancy Tome. Nearby take the staircase down to come to a lava pit.

Equip your best fire protection gear and spells like Flash Sweat. Drinking estus will delay the fire damage from the lava as well as heal you. Dash in and grab Toxic Mist, continue drinking estus and loot the White Hair Talisman. These are the only 2 items here. Return to the stairs if you are able. Otherwise retrace your steps from the bonfire if you died after looting the talisman. There's a small bug where if you enter the lava blocking with your shield, the damage from the lava will be blocked, equip a high fire resistance shield such as the dragon crest shield and don't stop blocking.

Alternatively if Spells are out of the Question, wearing the full Havel's Set while under 70% load, having at least 25 Vigor and drinking 2 Estus every 2 rolls will also work (Be aware though that you will literally burn through your Estus, so having the full 15 Charges is advised!)

The lower portion

Return to the room where all the fire demons where an exit through an openening to a hallway that comes to a hole. Drop down and take out the rats. To the right, attack the wall to reveal an Illusory Wall. Open the chest to reveal a Large Titanite Shard 3x. Behind the chest, attack the wall to reveal another Illusory Wall. Drop down to the ledge to loot the Izalith Staff.

Drop down to the hallway and proceed forward and to the right. You will encounter basilisks along the way. Head right down the hallway and before a staircase, head left and forward down the hallway and make a right down the stairs to encounter Knight Slayer Tsorig. He is a difficult fight and his Fume sword is fast and powerful. Time his attacks and attack when he has missed and left himself open. If you have Boulder Heave, you can just knock him into the lava. You can loot him for the Fume Ultra Greatsword and the Black Iron Greatshield.

In this room is another lava pit where you can loot Sacred Flame, Ember 1x. Follow the same procedure as the prior lava pit to loot these items. Return to the large staircase and take it up and make a right to cross the bridge here and take on the black knight. To the right you can loot a Soul of a Crestfallen Knight 1x.

Turning off the Ballista & Defeating Horace

Take the ladder up the stone wall, and which leaves you on a ledge where you can ascend another ladder. Once at the top you can drop down to the ledge on the right to loot the Dragonrider Bow. Drop down to the next ledge and take the ladder back up to the top.

Enter the large open room and head left, dropping down to the next level and taking the path up the left side. To the right will be 3 bonewheel skeletons. To the left are a group of skeletons. Proceeding past them and up the path you will encounter some red eyed skeletons.

Defeat the skeletons and approach the large gear driven ballista. Operate the handle to rotate and disable the weapon. (A Bloodbite Ring +1 can be found near the ballista in NG+1) Continue ahead and drop down a series of ledges until you land in the water and make an immediate left to enter a cavern where you will find 2 Crystal Lizards. Follow this path into an open area where you will find Horace the Hushed waiting. He two hands a halberd. Defeat him to loot the Llewellyn Shield. Loot the corpses in the area for a Large Titanite Shard 2x, and Yellow Bug Pellet 2x. After killing him you can find Anri back at the catacombs to further the quest line.

Return to the main lake area to loot the remaining contents of Large Titanite Shard 4x, and in a far corner, a Chaos Gem

The giant worm here packs a punch and makes lightning attacks. You want to damage it while it is stationary which can take a while to bring it down as it doesn't stay put very long. Kill it to earn Lightning Stake and Undead Bone Shard 1x. If you are having trouble and/or want to just cheese it you can stand on the rock platform in front of the gate, start using projectiles, and when it stands up to cast a lightning beam (which will point exactly the other way and not towards you) just run up to it, and start smashing. Run back to the platform and repeat. You can also stand on the rocky area directly behind the worm between it and the boss gate, it never turned around to attack me while doing so. Rather it just rampaged around it's area and attacked the empty pace infront of it. Loot the corpses around here for a Large Titanite Shard 1x and the Shield of Want.

When ready to take on the boss, approach the boss fog at the top of the stairs past the worm. If in ember form you can find a summon sign at the bottom of the stairs for Great Swamp Cuculus. Enter the fog to fight the boss of this area, Old Demon King. After defeating him, light the Bonfire, where you can port out and continue on to Irithyll of the Boreal Valley via the Catacombs of Carthus.


Smouldering Lake Maps

Smouldering Lake Map 1 DKS3

Smouldering Lake Videos

Smouldering Lake Walkthrough Part 1 (Main lake area, Old Demon King Boss)

Part 2 (Demon Ruins Area, Ballista)


Speed Run Walkthrough

A fast walkthrough of how to get to the end of the level the fastest, picking up only essential items goes here. 



    • 01 Apr 2017 02:14  

      This is my favorite mid-game area to invade due to the wide variety of hazards to use against gonkers. If you spawn on the lake and the host/phantoms are underground, pay attention to the ballista because it will shoot in their general direction despite not being able to hit them at all. The sandworm provides excellent cover for healing if they're greedy and trying to kill you rather than going for the boss. Tsorig makes an excellent ally if they're actually dumb enough to follow you down there. Just be wary of the black knights because for some reason they can attack you even when not seeded. The bridge before the ballista area guarded by a black knight is still a good place for a showdown especially if you have Force or a weapon with a stomp/launch type WA. Nobody survives long enough to get out of the lava.

      • 17 Feb 2017 18:34  

        You can actually get to the Old King's Antechamber Bonfire quite easily if you make the ballista hit a hole to the ground near the wall which it can break under it before the giant crab enemies, I accidentally noticed and there is only one enemy on the way until the bonfire, and then you can get the estus shard pretty easily without even making the jump and kill the fire statue safely

        • 30 Jan 2017 01:09  

          The Mimic trick for the Fire Demon doesn't appear to work anymore. I did it last night and the fire demon killed the mimic before it even had a chance to attack.

          • 19 Jan 2017 00:35  

            What is the area shown in the cave opening, before reaching the red eyed skelies and the lever for the balista. It looks like some sort of cathedral or castle. If its from DS1, I wouldn't know, haven't completed it.

            • 10 Jan 2017 06:09  

              "Continue ahead and drop down a series of ledges until you land in the water" after the ballista usually leads to a large loss of health, because the first drop is too large. I just found out you could use dagger's WA 'quickstep' to go down that first ledge without any loss of health whatsoever.

              Seems like it has the same properties as the crow quills WA had originally, ignoring gravity =D

              • 27 Dec 2016 06:31  

                The worm is super easy to kill from behind, it has no animation to turn, so it wont be able to hit you a single time. Just run past him and meele it from behind when it uses its lightning attack.

                • 19 Dec 2016 16:04  

                  Please fix the explanation for the Lower Portion. It doesn't make sense even as an instruction or a sentence.

                  "Return to the room where all the fire demons where an exit through an openening to a hallway that comes to a hole."

                  • 21 Nov 2016 12:28  

                    Is it possible to make teh Balista friendly? As you can turn it back on? I was going to test it but didn't want to have to scale that area again after it presumeably blows me away.

                    • 31 Oct 2016 04:49  

                      I did this area in a completely "wrong" order.
                      Looted all the itmes in the lake while doding balista fire, then slipped past the worm and summoned the npc phantom to kill the demon king, and THEN found out there are actually demon ruins by getting the hole at B (see map) to open. Didnt know there was a different way in until i came out of it. Fun area.

                      • 19 Oct 2016 22:32  

                        Is there some easy or cheaty way to get to Tsorig? I haven't been through yet but I really want the FUGS and don't want to have to run all the way to him each time

                        • Knight Slayer Tsorig02 Aug 2016 13:38  

                          Before killing this guy, I tried getting the items in the lava pit near his spawn. He followed me and died from the lava damage shortly after I did. I went back and his sword, shield and ring were there waiting for me. Much easier than fighting him! :)

                          • "Blocking" the Lava Pits14 Jul 2016 23:35  

                            It seems that this method of getting through the Lava Pits for items has been fixed, as I was not able to functionally ignore the lava while blocking with repeated attempts to do so.

                            • Misinfortmation (do not try the jump for estus shard)05 Jul 2016 10:47  

                              There's a comment here about not being able to make the jump and I agree with him, I tried everything and couldn't make it. Simply find the illusionary wall and take the first left, there are a bunch of gooey enemies hanging from the ceiling but it's much safer than being ambushed by ghrus if you miss the jump. Just posting this because the other comment was downvoted, maybe some may make the jump but it's a pointless risk.

                              • walk on lava?03 Jul 2016 11:29  

                                is there a way to walk on lava to get the sacred flame without suffering too much damage? i remember there used to be a ring on DS1, is there some piece of equip that nullifies or reduce floor/lava damage?

                                • Just another speculation.23 Jun 2016 14:36  

                                  Smouldering Lake, a part of the arcane Izalith, is much move vast than what was given to us in the vanilla game. Distant chaos-burnt trees are fading into the abyss: this area is just enormous, presumably consuming the whole under-mantle of the mortal ground known to man. And yet it is somehow just a dead-end with a Deity of Cinder in its far corner. Chaos Flame and the Witches of infamous Izalith deserve much more love.<br/><br/>And here comes my observation. I have noticed a slightly disturbing placement of demonic spawns - already dead ones - in the Old Demon King's area. There are 4 major piles of bodies there, two in the centre (used as a cover against said boss) and two by the walls. Not only every single one of those piles can be punched to bruises and sprays blood with each hit - an evidence of "alive" in-game models, which can possibly be an upcoming content piece, but there are artificial spikes behind one of those piles by the wall. Like someone was guarding an entrance with those spikes (there are several chaos centipedes - ugghh - on them) trying to stop an onslaught of demonic spawns. My speculation is: there will be an Izalith part in the upcoming DLCs. The whole place is presumably dead, even greater demons are slaughtered, leaving their cancer-incarnated minions guarding what is left. Taking into consideration those artificial spikes, and that is the only controversial evidence I have now at my disposal, we could possibly see a small settlement of survivors, or new inhabitants (as it is known, Quelana was the lone survivor of the days long past), and many areas surrounding it. Moreover, those survivors could tell us another tale about the Witches of Izalith: what happened at the exact moment when an artificial First Flame gave birth to many demonic incarnations and burnt Izalith to ashes. They would tell us their truth, and I wish this truth was ground-breaking. <br/><br/>Old Demon King is just a sentinel of an old truth considered to be heresy. His crucible, and those piles of demons are his previous contenders, is presumably not a dead-end, but another cross-road leading to those who fear the Flame. "And so it is, that ash seeketh embers."<br/><br/>

                                Load more