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Dark Souls x 5E: Soul Purpose

Dark Souls x 5E: Soul Purpose

“It’s dangerous to go unequipped, Chosen Ones. Here. Take thy burial gifts with thee,” said the firekeeper to the dragon Ebonwrath’s latest victims.

When the PCs return to rest at the bonfire, there’s a NPC waiting, the firekeeper. A firekeeper should be an ally for PCs and a source of information, equipment, and occasional gifts. The firekeeper is their first friend in the new world of a Dark Souls 5E campaign.

Specifically, the firekeeper gives PCs a choice of beginner’s trinket and estus healing flasks. Where the PCs are going next, they could use the help. Here are the the specific items the PCs need to get on their feet in this new world.

Love this idea? Catch up on the rest of this series!

Estus Healing

After setting the tone with game-altering new rules last time, the PCs need to be properly equipped to search for their stolen true souls.

The first item on the list is the estus flask, a personalized replacement for potions of healing, followed by souls, the method by which all things are valued.


Wondrous Item

An estus flask is a personal healing item specific to each PC that cannot be shared with or used on others. An estus flask starts with three charges which can be expended with a bonus action to regain hit points. It can be upgraded up to three times by gifting a firekeeper’s soul to a firekeeper NPC found at a lit bonfire. See the Estus Flask Upgrades table for the number of hit points recovered with each use.

Estus Flask Upgrades
Souls NeededHealing Effect
noneEstus Flask. Use to regain 2d4 + 2 hit points.
1 firekeeper soulGreater Estus Flask. Use to regain 4d4 + 4 hit points. Gain 4 total charges.
2 firekeeper soulsSuperior Estus Flask. Use to regain 8d4 + 8 hit points. Gain 5 total charges.
3 firekeeper soulsUltimate Estus Flask. Use to regain 12d4+12 hit points. Gain 6 total charges.


Souls are the currency by which most things are paid for within Dark Souls. Souls buy character levels, equipment, crafting, upgrades, and even the services of those few wretched creatures who have not yet become Hollow.

Coins and other forms of currency have no value, only Souls. Use the Soul Currency table to determine how many souls each translate to money in a standard 5E game. Convert any starting gold to souls upon character generation.

Soul Currency
Precious CoinSouls
copper piece1 soul
silver piece10 souls
gold piece100 souls

Methods for Gaining Souls

As souls are crucial for success, here’s how you get them:

  • A PC earns souls equal to the Challenge Rating of each monster killed. Each PC receives the full amount of souls, do not split them among the party.
  • Lost soul items are scattered throughout the campaign wherever gold, jewels, art objects, or other lootable wealth would appear in a normal 5E game. A PC can spend an action to crush a lost soul item and gain its value according to the Lost Soul Items table or you can carry the lost soul in your inventory to preserve its value against possible death or for later barter. Crushing a lost soul item awards souls to the PC who spent the action to activate it.
  • Killing a boss monster awards souls equal to its CR as well as a Boss Soul item that can be used for crafting, bartering, or just like a single-use lost soul item to gain an appropriate amount of souls for the monster’s CR.
  • Firekeeper Souls are all that remain of the wise firekeepers who tended to the bonfires and kept the light from dying. Use them like a lost soul item to gain 5,000 souls or to upgrade an estus flask. In the video games, firekeepers are rare, enigmatic NPCs that the player regularly interacts with.

In my campaign, the PCs met only one firekeeper: Lady Burwenna, who tends the Great Bonfire of Giantsfall Ruins. It encouraged more relationship building to have only one instead of a firekeeper at each bonfire.

Lost souls come in a variety of values, ranging from stupefied wizards to defense-stripped dragons. Lost Souls represent the poor creatures who have succumbed to hollowing, withering away until only the simple value of their soul remains.

The Lost Soul Items table includes relevant die sizes at the appropriate intervals on the table, allowing for a quick roll and reference whenever a random reward is due.

In addition to finding lost souls throughout the game, I also awarded my players a roll on the Lost Soul Items table for engagement between sessions, letting them earn souls and sometimes even humanity for sharing maps, pictures they made of the dungeons and enemies, journal entries, and responding to a weekly questionnaire about their characters.

Lost Soul Items
d20Soul ItemWorthd20 Worth
1Soul of a Mindless Wizard10011Soul of a Lost Ranger15,250
2Soul of a Repulsive Sorcerer5001d12Soul of a Broken Barbarian17,500
3Soul of a Wretched Warlock80013Soul of a Fangless Vampire20,000
1d4Soul of a Begger Bard1,00014Soul of a Hollowed Golem23,500
5Soul of a Lonesome Druid2,50015Soul of a Conquered Giant28,000
1d6Soul of a Guilty Rogue3,75016Soul of a Rebuked Mummy33,500
7Soul of a Faithless Cleric5,00017Soul of a Beaten Sphinx38,000
1d8Soul of a Benighted Monk7,50018Soul of a Fallen Angel43,500
9Soul of a Disgraced Paladin10,00019Soul of a Redeemed Demon55,000
1d10Soul of a Defeated Fighter12,7501d20Soul of a Scaleless Dragon60,000

The Path Forward

With estus flasks in hand and a few loose souls in their pockets, PCs are ready to throw themselves into harm’s way.

Next time, look for new mechanics including parrying and dodging.

about Sebastian Rombach

We can neither confirm nor deny that Sebastian is actually three raccoons in a trenchcoat. His freelance contributions can be found in Tome of Beasts 2, Tome of Heroes, and more. You can roll dice with him at https://startplaying.games/gm/dontbreakthedm or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @dontbreakthedm.

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