Like any good Souls-like, Lords of the Fallen has a lot to offer those who take up the Umbral Lamp, from tons of cool magic and weapons to wield, beautifully grim locations to explore and a bunch of creepy NPCs looking to take advantage of your mute generosity. That amount of variety can also be a bit suffocating, though, and some Lampbearers may struggle with certain aspects of the game, even if they may seem simple to others. Whether it’s being able to tell whether your attacks are meaningfully damaging your opponents, how to effectively farm enemy gear or figuring out the in-depth mechanics of the Umbral realm, there are a lot of little tricks you can learn to make your journey through Mournstead even better.
Here are 13 of the best tips and tricks for Lords of the Fallen, the new Souls-like dark fantasy RPG from HEXWORKS.
Want some more Lords of the Fallen content and articles? You can check out our review for Lords of the Fallen here.
Damage Number Colours
The first important tip to know for Lords of the Fallen relates to damage types and how they affect enemies. Like most Souls-likes (and most action RPGs in general) there is a wide variety of different damage types in LotF ranging from the three types of magic damage – Radiant, Inferno and Umbral – to different melee and ranged damage options. Different types will deal more or less damage based on several factors such as the enemy’s defence, resistance, weaknesses and more. Keeping track of all these factors can be a tricky affair but, luckily, there’s an easy way of telling whether you’re dealing maximum damage or not.
When you attack an enemy and deal damage, the damage numbers which appear will be one of three colours. If the damage number is white you are dealing neutral damage to the enemy, meaning that you are dealing straight damage with no multipliers. If, instead, the damage numbers are a light grey, you are dealing resisted damage, meaning that you are dealing less damage than normal, likely on account of the enemy’s resistances. Finally, if the number comes back red, you are dealing critical damage which is higher than normal, meaning that you are hitting an opponent for a damage type they are vulnerable to.
In short, white damage numbers are the most basic and don’t have any additional multiples added, whereas grey and red damage numbers are reduced damage and increased damage, respectively. Knowing this helps you determine at a glance what a certain area is going to be like and whether you should switch up your strategy: it can help you identify what type of damage works where without needing to memorise every little encounter or enemy type because you’ll know if something is effective enough just by acting. This can be really useful in assessing your strategies for certain areas, especially when most enemy types confined to one location have a shared set of weaknesses and resistances.
Remember to Pick Up Your Souls
The next two tips have to do with Lords of the Fallen’s main currency, Vigor. This can likened to Souls or Runes and is acquired upon defeating opponents or selling items. You’ll use Vigor to either purchase items from NPCs, level up your equipment at the Blacksmith or level up your character stats at a Vestige. So far, everything to do with Vigor seems pretty standard in Soulslike land but there’s one big distinction between Vigor and Souls which may annoy some players.
Unlike most Souls-likes, Vigor won’t be directly added to your invisible piggy bank when you kill an enemy and, instead, it appears on the ground in the form of a floating purple slit of light. To acquire the Vigor, all you need to do is walk over the light and it will be added to your Vigor count. At first, this won’t be that big of an issue but it does pile up over time, especially when you run into enemies with delayed death animations or you need to quickly make your way through an area.
For example, enemies like the Inferno-wielding Proselytes have a big issue with dropping Vigor: often, you’ll have to wait for about 5 or so seconds after they die for them to eject the two lumps of Vigor they owe, which can result in some players walking off before the Vigor has dropped. What’s worse is that these delayed Vigor drops usually only occur for targets who drop a large amount of Vigor, potentially resulting in a massive loss for players who simply don’t know that they have to wait.
As such, make sure you’re always waiting around until you see the Vigor spawn to ensure that you’re getting your blood money’s worth when defeating opponents. There’s nothing worse than suffering through a tough encounter, wandering off and then realising that you don’t have as much Vigor as you should simply because you were a little impatient.
The Vigor Bar
Another tip related to Vigor has to do with an easy method of checking how close you are to your next stat upgrade. In the Inventory menu, you’ll be able to check your current stats and level on the left side of the screen. This section also contains information about your current health, encumbrance limit, weight and more but the most interesting thing to note is the Vigor Bar, which you can find at the top of this menu.
The amount of Vigor on the left side of the bar is how much Vigor you currently have on your person. Meanwhile, the amount on the right side of the bar is how much Vigor you need to reach the next level and upgrade your stats at a Vestige, with the purple bar in between the two indicating roughly how close you are to that next level. Honestly, it’s pretty easy to pass over and some players may not know it’s even there as they browse their wares and look at their shiny new toys.
Making a habit of checking this Vigor Bar can be extremely useful in mitigating any needless farming. If you’re deep into an area and pop in to see that you’re only 400 Vigor away from the next level, you can make a more informed decision about whether to push ahead, fall back or plant a Vestige Seedling. This can also be very useful to check when deciding on whether or not to use Vigor Skulls: there’s no point using a higher rarity Vigor Skull which grants 800 Vigor if you only need 400, letting you more efficiently decide on what items to use. Don’t neglect or ignore the Vigor Bar because it will certainly save you from some rash financial decisions more often than not.
Alternative Sources of Healing
The Sanguinarix is your Estus Flask equivalent in Lords of the Fallen, serving as your source of instant healing throughout the entire game. Like most Souls-like healing options, the Sanguinarix has a limited number of uses which will be refreshed every time you rest at a Vestige. You can increase the number of charges in the Sanguinarix by giving Pieta a certain number of Saintly Quintessence, a collectable you’ll find exclusively in Umbral, but there is a high likelihood that you’ll run out of available healing quite often. As such, you’ll want to consider carrying some additional sources of healing.
Aside from the Sanguinarix, there are two main alternative healing sources that players can utilise, with both being available early on and working effectively for the entire game. The first of these is the Healing Radiance spell, which you can pick up from Exacter Dunmire for only 650 Vigor as soon as you visit Skyrest Bridge for the first time. This method does require some very light investment into Radiance (8 Radiance, specifically) and a Radiance Catalyst to use, but these are two very small requirements in the face of a great source of dependable healing, especially if you aren’t using a ranged option or other spells.
The other option for healing is a consumable called Briostone. Like most consumables in Lords of the Fallen, this will drop randomly from slain enemies or from item pick-ups around the world. There are three kinds of Briostones – a single Briostone, a Briostone Pair and a Briostone Trio – and each one will provide you will a heal-over-time effect, with the higher rarity Briostones offering more health regen. This method is a lot less instantaneous than either the Sanguinarix or the Healing Radiance and it requires an item to use, but Briostones can be an extremely useful tool when you run out of other options or are looking for a quick top-up when moving from place to place.
No matter which kind of alternative healing source you decide to rely on, it’s a good idea to have at least one at hand alongside the Sanguinarix. Levels in Lords of the Fallen can be pretty tricky and it can be rather demoralising to make a large amount of progress, only to falter because you run out of healing. With either a stack of Briostones or a Catalyst armed with Healing Radiance at your side, you can more confidently take on the many horrors of Mournstead, even should your Sanguinarix fail you.
Higher Discovery Can Be Used to Target Farm Equipment
The Discovery stat is a bit strange when compared to everything else in Lords of the Fallen. Unlike your other stats such as Agility, Radiance or Inferno, Discovery cannot be increased with Vigor and doesn’t influence your combat ability whatsoever. Instead, Discovery essentially works as a luck stat.
At default, every character has a Discovery stat of 1. This stat determines how likely you are to find an item upon defeating an enemy, such as a piece of equipment like the enemy’s weapon or armour or a random consumable. With a Discovery score of just 1, you have no additional bonuses to your luck stat, meaning that you have the base chance of finding items and nothing more. By increasing that lucky stat, the chance for an enemy to drop an item increases exponentially.
The easiest way to boost your Discovery stat is to use a Lucky Paw, a type of consumable that you’ll acquire randomly as you battle against the foes of Mournstead. Using a Lucky Paw doubles your Discovery stat, meaning that you’ll be twice as likely to spawn an item from an enemy kill as you were normally. This effect only lasts for a short amount of time but you should gather more than enough Lucky Paws across your journey to not worry about them.
With this in mind, you can use a Lucky Paw to either farm desirable enemy equipment or use it to passively increase your consumable gains. For the former method, popping a Lucky Paw will massively increase your chance of getting an enemy’s armour or weapon: all you need to do is use the item and then farm the enemy with the gear you want until you get it. You can, of course, do this same thing without increasing Discovery but using a Lucky Paw will just make the experience much smoother and more. Meanwhile, for the latter, having a Lucky Paw active as you just move throughout the world will make consumables like Briostones, Manastones and even more Lucky Paws spawn at a much more consistent rate.
Check the Journal for Notable Areas to Explore
At the start of your adventure, you’ll find a Key Item called Tacitus’ Journal. Tacitus was said to be a fearless explorer and cartographer who travelled all over the Oathlands, eventually arriving in Mournstead where he was never seen or heard from again. Scraps of Tacitus’ work can be found lingering around the start of each named location in Lords of the Fallen and you can examine their contents in the menu’s Journal section.
Instead of being a traditional map, the location maps you find are more illustrations and scrawlings depicting Tacitus’ understanding of an area. Aside from the item descriptions, there isn’t any text to accompany the drawings and they don’t add any map markers or guide you directly to where you want to go. In fact, a lot of the time, these maps mainly serve as a form of visual storytelling, depicting the fall of Mournstead through some beautifully penned artwork.
However, these pages do hide some secrets. More often than not, the Journal entries hint at several high-interest locations. Tacitus’ illustrations usually allude to their exact location and how to get there by way of a lot of large arrows or red markings. While somewhat obtuse, these little snippets can be extremely helpful in directing your attention towards certain landmarks. If you ever find yourself at a loss or are sure that you’ve missed some obscure, out-of-the-way area, check the Journal to see if old Tacitus has put down any useful information.
Expanding NPC Shop Inventory
There are several NPCs throughout Lords of the Fallen who will sell an assortment of wares to you. We’ve previously spoken about Exacter Dunmire who sells a variety of Radiance-focused magic options early in the game, but there’s also the Blacksmith who sells different ammo types, Molhu the Umbral merchant whose goods are a lot more otherworldly in nature and many more. One thing some players may be wondering is how to expand the inventory of these NPCs as the game goes on, seeing as most of their initial wares will become obsolete later in the game.
Well, the answer lies in the NPC questlines. Most NPCs have some form of quest attached to them which, almost always, involves collecting a specific item for them. Dunmire, for example, requests that you seek out any heretical objects from around Mournstead and bring them to him for disposal which, after a while, evolves into a more involved questline. There are similar events for almost all NPCs but there is another benefit to finding these items aside from progressing the NPC questlines.
Upon giving an item to an NPC with a shop, they will likely gain a selection of new goods. For example, giving the Tortured Prisoner an item integral to her questline expanded her inventory significantly, allowing me to purchase more Inferno-based items and spells. If the NPC asks for a lot of different items, such as Dunmire, then not every item retrieval will increase the shop inventory but most do so make sure to check back in on your shopkeepers each time you progress their quest steps as there may be some sweet goodies hiding away.
Buy the Pilgrim’s Perch Key Early
Pligrim’s Perch is one of the early game areas you’ll explore during the opening hours of Lords of the Fallen. This location is built into the side of a sheer cliff and many pilgrims and worshipers of the Hallowed Sentinels call it home. If you spend any significant time in this location, you’ll soon run into more than a few locked doors which can only be unlocked with the Pilgrim’s Perch Key.
You can pick up the Pilgrim’s Perch Key from the NPC Stomund. He’s the grumpy knight-looking fellow to the right of the Skyrest Bridge Vestige and he’ll sell the Key to you for an eye-watering 9,500 Vigor, which is a massive amount early in your journey. While the price is very steep, it’s super worthwhile to pick up the Pilgrim’s Perch Key as early as possible. With it, you can freely explore Pilgrim’s Perch and gain access to several important areas containing hidden armour sets, bosses and even a path to two of the beacons you must cleanse for the main story.
If you’re strapped for cash and need a quick injection of Vigor, try repeatedly farming the group of enemies outside the Sanctuary of Baptism Vestige, which is the first Vestige you’ll likely encounter after departing from Skyrest. These enemies don’t offer a ton of Vigor but they’re very easy and are located right next to the Vestige for quick farming. Warp to the Vestige, beat them up, claim their Vigor, rest and then repeat until you have enough to buy the key from Stomund.
Keep An Eye Out for Moths
The final set of tips for Lords of the Fallen is going to revolve around Umbral, the Land of the Dead which you can access using the Umbral Lamp. Umbral is easily one of the best and most transformative parts of LotF, setting it apart from its contemporaries in the Souls-like genre for how it positively enriches every part of the game. As a result, this means that there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Umbral and how it works.
The first major thing to know is how to spot when there’s an object or structure in Umbral while you’re still in Axiom, the Land of the Living. Axiom and Umbral aren’t two completely different worlds – they’re more like the same template with different bits and bobs built on top – and there often going to be times when you need to dip into one realm to get around an obstacle in the other: for example, there may be a massive, gaping pit in Axiom which can only be crossed by visiting Umbral, where a large, skeletal bridge will serve as your saviour. The game is full of these moments but recognising them can be difficult sometimes.
Of course, you can just wave around your Umbral Lamp to get a brief glimpse at the other realm but this can quickly grow dangerous for a reason we’ll explain in the next tip. Instead, there’s a far easier and simpler method for identifying when something is interesting in Umbral: while in Axiom, things like Umbral bridges, platforms or Umbral beings will be replaced by a dense cloud of white moths. Whenever you see this large swarm of moths, you can be sure that something is interesting on the other side, allowing you to confidently rift or raise your Umbral Lamp without needing to roam around the whole map.
While a small thing, knowing to keep an eye out for these moths while wandering around Axiom is a great way of saving time and mental energy. When you’re first starting out in Lords of the Fallen and learning how Umbral works, you can easily get into the mindset that you need to check every door, every gate and every hole just in case there’s something there in Umbral: knowing this trick with the moths can help alleviate a lot of that concern and allow you to more organically explore Mournstead and its surroundings.
Be Careful When Using the Umbral Lamp
Looking out for the moths as indicators of objects in Umbral isn’t just a good way of saving time. It’s also a good habit to get into if you want to save your life and free Umbral resurrection. By holding up the Umbral Lamp, you are manifesting a brief slice of Umbral upon Axiom in your Lamp’s light. This is what allows you to safely cross bridges without needing to rift, but it doesn’t just form structures. If there are enemies in the light when you hold up your Lamp, they’ll also become a physical part of the world, allowing them to block your path or even attack you if you aren’t able to move away.
It worsens, though, thanks to what happens if you take damage from an Umbral enemy while still in Axiom. If an Umbral enemy attacks you whilst you are holding up the Lamp, they will instantly teleport you into Umbral: it doesn’t matter how much damage the attack does, it is simply the act of taking damage which facilitates the transportation. This can be especially frustrating when you are using the Lamp to get through traversal puzzles as a sneaky enemy can quickly rob you of your free resurrection if you aren’t careful, potentially air-dropping you into a sea of relentless Umbral foes.
There isn’t really an exact science or method to avoid this other than simply being cognisant and careful of the consequences of recklessly using the Lamp. If you know that there are enemies nearby, get some distance and then use the Lamp again in their direction: even though they’re in Umbral and you aren’t, they’ll try and chase you, opening up the path forward. In short, be cautious and deliberate when using the Umbral Lamp as waving it around willy-nilly will likely result in some frustrating encounters with the denizens of Umbral.
Entering Umbral Will Heal You… Technically
Withered health is an interesting mechanic which can be compared to the Rally system in Bloodborne. Ordinarily, your health Withers if you block or parry an attack, or if you perform certain actions such as siphoning while in Umbral. Dealing damage causes Withered health to transform back into normal health. If you happen to take damage while you still have Withered health, it will instantly decay and you will lose all of it, on top of taking the damage from the initial attack.
In this way, Withered health is both a means of making up for your mistakes and a way of punishing players who are too passive. It’s a double-edged sword. However, there is one main area where Withering your health is massively beneficial and can get you out of some serious scrapes by instantly filling your entire health bar.
When you arrive in Umbral with a portion of your health missing, the empty section becomes Withered. Essentially, this gives you a single free shot of instant healing if you can find something to whack and restore that Withered health. This doesn’t mean that you’re invincible, of course, all that Withered health means nothing if you take even a single hit. Used at the right moment, though, this trick can help you narrowly recover from a nasty hit, save some precious Sanguinarix charges or provide you with the means to
Use Umbral Effigies for Continual Revives
Our second to last Umbral tip relates to the Umbral Effigies and how you can use them to technically cheat death a lot more often than you should be able to. Upon entering Umbral, you can only escape by finding and interacting with one of these Effigies, limiting where you can exit and return to Axiom. You’ll mainly find them around the start or end of areas filled with Umbral traversal puzzles but, if you’re smart, you can use them for a different purpose.
Upon dying in Axiom, you are resurrected in Umbral. After that, you’ll only return back to your last Vestige if you happen to die again. Essentially, this gives you two lives, one in Axiom and one in Umbral, which can be really useful when exploring. If you manage to make it to one of the creepy little Umbral effigies, though, and rift back into Axiom, you’ll actually get back your free revive. Hypothetically, this means that you can continually chain revives and infinitely come back so long as you keep returning from Umbral through the effigies. There’s a slight hiccup in the fact that you can only use each effigy once per rest, so you cannot continually revisit a single effigy.
With this in mind, memorising the locations of each Umbral effigy and learning how you can quickly make it back to one you previously passed is invaluable knowledge, especially in the game’s tougher areas. Knowing that you can just continually cheat death and refund your Umbral revive can make exploration in Lords of the Fallen a lot more fun and rewarding as you can for longer periods without returning to a Vestige. Mastering this tip will take some time and the ability to remember where the effigies are but it will pay off massively in the long run.
Don’t Misuse Vestige Seedlings (and How to Get More)
Our final tip has to do with the Vestige Seedlings. Seedlings are strange little consumables that will earn upon killing a boss which you can plant in certain spots called Umbral flowerbeds. This spawns a temporary Seedling which acts the same as a Vestige. Once planted, a Seedling will remain in that spot until you create a new one and you can warp back to it whenever you want, essentially serving as a customisable bonfire that you get to choose the location of. In theory, this is a great system and allows players to tailor-make their experience.
However, knowing where to place a Seedling can be tricky. Often, Umbral flowerbeds are weirdly spaced out, with some being mere inches from one another or within safe walking distance of an actual Vestige. If you accidentally use your Seedlings on one of these flowerbeds it will be a massive waste of precious resources, especially because there isn’t a way to reclaim Seedlings once you’ve used them. And, while it’s true that you can purchase an infinite amount of Seedlings from the Umbral merchant Molhu, it can be very frustrating to need to teleport back to Skyrest and spend upwards of 2000 Vigor just to correct a mistake you made in the past.
Instead, make sure to scope out each Umbral flowerbed properly and only use your Seedlings at opportune moments. The best place to plant a Vestige Seedling is right before a major boss fight: most of the bosses in Lords of the Fallen will have an Umbral flowerbed right outside their arena and, if you have a Seedling spare when you make it there, you can plant it for quick easy access to the boss in case you die. Other good locations include the halfway point between two Vestiges or just before or after any Umbral-related traversal puzzles.
Those were 13 of the best tips and tricks for Lords of the Fallen.