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Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Pyromancer

Joseph is an IT nerd who is a long-time fan of the Dark Souls franchise.

dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer

"Within the ranks of the Chosen Undead, those Bearers of the Curse and Ashen Ones all, there is not merely one discipline, but a multitude. For all that the redoubtable knights, mighty warriors, noble heralds, and cunning assassins might be most obvious, they are but a few amongst many." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Character Expansion Rulebook

Dark Souls: The Board Game

Dark Souls: The Board Game is a dungeon-crawler that uses dice, AI behavior cards, and node-based movement to simulate the tense atmosphere, solid combat, and overall difficulty of the video game franchise that it is based on.

The Characters Expansion adds new armour treasure cards as well as six new starting characters: Mercenary, Sorcerer, Thief, Pyromancer, Cleric, and Deprived. In this guide, I will only be covering the Pyromancer and various strategies and equipment you should look out for while playing the game.

Other Character Guides

The Pyromancer's character sheet.

The Pyromancer's character sheet.

Character Overview

The Pyromancer is magic-based character the uses pyromancies to attack his enemies and support his allies. Pyromancies are some of the strongest and most versatile spells in the game. Almost all of them are able to be used from a couple nodes away from you target, and most of them also are able to deal area-of-effect (AOE) damage.

The drawback to pyromancies is that most of them use both Intelligence and Faith in order to cast them. Your other equipment - weapon, armour, and shield - will require either Strength and/or Dexterity. This means you are going to be spread fairly thin when it comes to leveling up your stats. Every level you put into the Pyromancer is going to carry more weight than most other characters, so it might be in your best interest to wait a little longer before committing to a level.

His ability, Explosive Firepower, allows him to add an extra black die to a magic attack he makes once per spark. Despite the fact that black die have three sides that are blank this ability can be helpful during boss fights to - potentially - make the fight that much quicker.

The Pyromancer has an average taunt level, so you will need to play carefully as he doesn't have the greatest of defenses - especially magical - early on.

Starting Equipment

The Pyromancer starts with four pieces of equipment:

  • Caduceus Round Shield
  • Pyromancer Garb
  • Hand Axe
  • Pyromancer Flame
The Pyromancer's starting equipment cards.

The Pyromancer's starting equipment cards.

The Pyromancer's gear is interesting in that it gives you options on how you deal with an enemy's attack. Typically when a character is given dodge dice it is because they have poor magical and physical defenses (i.e, the Thief and Assassin). However, with the Pyromancer you get decent defenses as well as a single dodge die. That being said, with only one dodge die your chance of success is only 50%, so dodging should really only be attempted when you have additional dodge dice, or when blocking an attack would still kill you no matter what you rolled for defense.

Speaking of defense, the Pyromancer has one blue die for physical defense and two black dice for magical defense. You are guaranteed to block at least one damage if it is a physical attack, but you can potentially block zero magical damage as black dice have blank sides. Early on, it might be better to attempt to dodge magical attacks rather than blocking them.

His Hand Axe is decent for a starting weapon as it has an attack that costs zero stamina despite it only using black dice for damage. His Pyromancy Flame is where things get interesting. It has a range of two nodes, and deals magical damage. Its second attack costs four stamina, but is an AOE attack that uses two black dice. The early enemies won't have magic defense, and they tend to bunch up on the same node, so if you are lucky enough to roll at least a one on either of your black dice you can make short work of early encounters.

There is a little bit of luck to the Pyromancer early game, but when it is on your side the Pyromancer can become a devastating force.

Unique Pyromancer Treasure

There are five unique equipment cards that you are able to shuffle into the treasure deck when starting with the Pyromancer:

  • Immolation Tinder
  • Cornyx's Robes
  • Great Combustion
  • Fire Surge
  • Great Swap Ring
The Pyromancer's unique treasure cards.

The Pyromancer's unique treasure cards.

The Great Swamp Ring requires 15 Dexterity and 20 Intelligence, and is unique in that it upgrades the Pyromancer's Explosive Firepower ability. Instead of his ability giving you a black die, it will now give you a blue die meaning you are guaranteed at least one extra damage.

Note: The text on the ring says "Explosive Crit" instead of "Explosive Firepower", but it is referring to the Pyromancer's ability.

The two pyromancies both deal magic damage, but fulfill two different roles very effectively. Great Combustion has a range of two nodes, and has two powerful AOE attacks that both deal magical damage. Its second attack, which requires three stamina to use, uses an orange die for damage. Fire Surge also has a range of two nodes, but its primary function is pushing enemies onto different nodes. This is great for crowd control to prevent multiple enemies from stacking on the same node and attacking the same target. It also deals decent damage on top of all that. Its first attack costs zero stamina and uses a blue die for damage. Its second attack adds a second blue die, but costs four stamina to use so you won't have many opportunities to use that attack frequently.

Transposed Equipment

After you defeat the first mini-boss you are able to shuffle an additional five "transposed" equipment cards into the treasure deck:

  • Stone Parma
  • Carthus Flame Arc
  • Fire Whip
  • Great Chaos Fireball
  • Rapport
The Pyromancer's transposed equipment cards.

The Pyromancer's transposed equipment cards.

Carthus Flame Arc is a weapon upgrade that functions as both a Titanite Shard and a Lightning Gem. It gives your weapon magic damage as well as giving it +1 damage. It requires 30 Intelligence to use, but is the perfect upgrade for the Pyromancer.

Great Chaos Fireball is the Pyromancer's "nuke". It requires 37 Intelligence and 27 Faith, has a range of two nodes, and offers no defenses. Its first attack is an AOE that costs one stamina, uses an orange die for damage, deals magic damage, as well as pushes the target one node. Its second attack is exactly the same except it costs four stamina and uses three blue dice instead of the orange one. This pyromancy is essentially a combination of Great Combustion and Fire Surge. The only reason why you would use one of those would be if you are not able to find Great Chaos Fireball.

Rapport is an interesting option to think about for your backup slot. It requires 36 Intelligence, has a range of one, and has only one attack that costs three stamina. That attack, however, ignores defense and deals three damage to a target that is sharing a node with another enemy. There are very few items in the game that ignore defense, so should you find this before your other pyromancies it is definitely worth considering.

Legendary Weapons

When you defeat the first mini-boss you are also able to shuffle five random "legendary" equipment cards into the treasure deck. There are ten legendary cards in the base game and they are:

  • Dragon Tooth
  • Fume Ultra Greatsword
  • Santier's Spear
  • Sunlight Straightsword
  • Avelyn
  • Dark Sword
  • Gotthard Twinswords
  • Drake Sword
  • Moonlight Greatsword
  • Washing Pole
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer

The Pyromancer's poor Dexterity stat which maxes out at only 27 makes it so that he cannot use over half of the legendary weapons. The ones that he can use are fairly lackluster with the exception of one.

The Sunlight Straight Sword requires 15 Strength, 15 Dexterity, and 30 Faith and can help the Pyromancer fill more of a support role while also maintaining a decent offensive presence. Its first attack costs zero stamina and uses a black and a blue die for damage. The Sunlight Straight Sword also has one upgrade slot available for something like Carthus Flame Arc to help further increase its damage potential. Its third attack is where its can be a decent support option. It also costs zero stamina, but is not an attack. Instead, it buffs all allies — regardless of distance — by giving them an extra black die for magical and physical defense until the end of the next enemy activation. It may not seem like much, but any potential advantage in this game is your best friend.

Legendary Armour

The Character Expansion introduces ten new legendary armour treasure cards. You are still only able to add five of these to the treasure deck after you have defeated the first mini-boss, but you can pick which ones you want to add instead of doing it randomly.

What makes these especially unique is that there are "normal" versions of these cards that start in the treasure deck at the beginning of the game. They are weaker versions of the legendary alternatives, however, so obtaining the legendary version will always be an improvement.

The legendary armour cards are:

  • Catarina Armour
  • Guardian Armour
  • Embraced Armour of Favour
  • Adventurer's Armour
  • Dark Armour
  • Black Iron Armour
  • Black Knight Armour
  • Gold-Hemmed Robes
  • Crimson Robes
  • Havel's Armour

Note: The legendary versions will have an orange flame in the upper right-hand corner of the card, whereas the normal versions will not.

dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer

I would love to recommend the Gold-Hemmed Black Robes for the Pyromancer, but unfortunately the highest Dexterity that he can achieve is 27 and the Dexterity requirement for the robes is 28. So close. This also rules out the Dark Armour and the Adventurer's Armour from being options for him as well.

Even with those options off the table, there are still a couple that the Pyromancer may find useful. The first is Embraced Armour of Favour. It requires 23 Strength and 33 Faith so you will need to max your Faith. It gives you one blue die for physical defense, two blue dice for magical defense, but only one dodge die. Its ability allows you to heal one health whenever you use Explosive Firepower. One health doesn't seem like a lot initially, but often times one health is the difference between life and death.

The Crimson Robes can be a decent option for the Pyromancer as well. It requires 22 Dexterity, 32 Intelligence, and 22 Faith, and has fairly impressive defenses. You get one blue die for physical defense, a blue die and a black die for magical defense, and two dodge die. Its ability can help the Pyromancer fill some sort of support role as it allows you to removed a condition token (i.e, bleed) from an ally whenever you use the her ability. This may not come up much throughout your game as there aren't many enemies that have the ability to apply conditions to you or your party, but it is always good to have the option available to you should you need it.

The Catarina Armour can be a fun option is you manage to max out your Strength. It requires 33 Strength, and gives two blue dice for physical defense and one blue die for magical defense. It also has two slots available for rings. The downside to this armour is its ability makes it so that running costs two stamina per node instead of just one stamina. The Pyromancer can work around that limitation, however, by attacking more from range with his pyromancies.

Notable Treasures

There are a lot of other normal treasures that the Pyromancer can take advantage of should you come across them, and these are the most notable:

  • Fireball
  • Poison Mist
  • Heal Aid
  • Heal
  • Reinforced Club
  • Morning Star
  • East-West Shield
  • Firebombs
  • Dragon Crest Shield
  • Sunset Armour
  • Firelink Armour
  • Black Armour
  • Soulstream
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dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer

Poison Mist is a pyromancy that can be a very fun option if you manage to get it early game. Its second attack is an AOE that poisons all enemies in the node that the Pyromancer targets. You don't have to roll a die to determine if the poison is applied or not as it is applied automatically which gets around the enemy's defense. A lot of the early game enemies only one health, so if you can group them up and then use Poison Mist you can end encounters really early without too much reliance on random dice rolls.

Fireball is another pyromancy that also has an AOE attack. It requires five stamina to use, but you get to roll two orange dice for damage and it is magic based too. Its first attack is really not worth using. Despite it costing zero stamina, it only uses two black dice for damage which can both land on zero.

The East-West Shield pairs really well with the Pyromancer. It requires 28 Intelligence, but it gives a black die for physical defense, a blue die for magical defense, and also gives you a dodge die. Since the Pyromancer is lacking in physical defense, any option that gives you dodge die will help your ability to survive tremendously. You can go with the Dragon Crest Shield instead if you would rather not deal with dodge dice and just have solid defenses instead.

Speaking of dodge dice, the Black Armour is another good option for the Pyromancer. It requires 20 Dexterity and Intelligence, and gives you a blue die for physical defense, a black die for magical defense, and a dodge die.

Weapon Enhancements

There are also nine other treasure cards you should look out for when drawing from the treasure deck:

  • Sharp Gem
  • Titanite Shard
  • Heavy Gem
  • Simple Gem
  • Crystal Gem
  • Blessed Gem
  • Blood Gem
  • Poison Gem
  • Lightning Gem
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-pyromancer

The Titanite Shard — which requires no stats to equip — is arguably the most valuable out of the gems, as the extra +1 damage means that you'll break through most of the normal enemies' physical defenses without even having to roll the dice.

The Blood Gem is extremely rare — only one copy — and is great against bosses. The gem, which requires at least 15 strength, makes it so that the weapon you have it equipped to inflicts the bleed status on an enemy that you hit. It doesn't deal any extra damage until that same enemy takes damage from another source, in which case the bleed status activates and inflicts an additional three damage. Afterwards, the enemy is cured of the status and you can reapply it.

The Poison Gem is another extremely rare gem with only one copy. It requires 15 Dexterity and, when equipped to a weapon, inflicts the poison status on an enemy that you hit with an attack. It doesn't deal any additional damage until the end of that enemy's activation when it deals one damage. Just like with the Blood Gem, once the enemy takes the poison damage they are cured of it and you must reapply it.

Be careful when equipping gems as once they are equipped you cannot remove them from a weapon. Typically you want to wait until after the first mini boss — if you've managed to draw any of the gems — as you are bound to get better suited weapons to upgrade.

Art from the "Dark Souls: The Board Game" rulebook.

Art from the "Dark Souls: The Board Game" rulebook.

Strategies & Loadouts

There are so many different options for the Pyromancer. Or at least it feels that way until you start looking at all your available options. Sure, the Pyromancer can equip a lot of items, but it can be difficult to find synergy between all of them. That being said, the Pyromancer is an extremely powerful character and the following build demonstrates that perfectly.

  • Reinforced Club w/ Titanite Shard and Carthus Flame Arc
  • East-West Shield
  • Black Armour w/ Great Swamp Ring and Chloranthy Ring
  • Great Chaos Fireball (in backup slot)

This build will give you one black die and one blue die for physical defense, one black die and one blue die for magical defense, and two dodge dice.

Black Armour is chosen here due to its balance between defense and having two ring slots available. You really want to use the Great Swamp Ring to power up your ability as one black die does not add a lot of value late game. The Chloranthy Ring requires you to have 18 in all four stats, but when equipped it allows you and your party members to heal three stamina at the start of your turns instead of just two as long as they are on your node. One additional stamina may not seem like a lot, but its a passive ability that doesn't take up a weapon slot and it will help offset the cost of your more powerful attacks. The only real downside to using the Chloranthy Ring is just the levels required to equip it.

The Reinforced Club is used due to it having two upgrade slots and having an attack that costs zero stamina to use. This weapon, when combined with the Titanite Shard and Carthus Flame Arc, allows you to do a minimum of three magical damage per swing that costs zero stamina. It is extremely consistent and is a very good option when fighting in close range.

The East-West Shield is used for its dodge die. There aren't a lot of options for the Pyromancer when it comes to getting dodge dice, but this shield is pretty good.

The Great Chaos Fireball is the Pyromancer's option for bosses, as well as enemies that stack up on the same node. The range of two nodes should help the Pyromancer stay out of harms way as the rest of his party tanks for him. It also allows him to play a bit of a support role by being able to push enemies to a different node.

Levels Required

In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of 9 levels:

  • 2 Strength
  • 2 Dexterity
  • 3 Intelligence (maxed)
  • 2 Faith

If you would rather not rely on dodge dice to avoid damage, you can go with Cornyx's Robes and the Dragon Crest Shield. This will get you two blue dice for physical defense, and a blue die and an orange die for magical defense. This won't change the levels required to equip everything.

Good Luck!

As there are so many cards in the treasure deck trying to find a specific build, much less a specific card, is going to be extremely difficult. Just use what you can, and hold off on using any of the gems until after you've defeated your first mini-boss at least. That way you will have a better assortment of gear to choose from and make a better decision.

I would recommend using the souls you collect from completed encounters to draw from the treasure deck first before leveling up. That way you don't level up Intelligence and Faith, for example, and then get a really good weapon you want to use that requires Strength and Dexterity.

Hopefully this has helped give you a better idea on whether or not playing the Pyromancer starting character is right for you or not. Feel free to comment below if I have missed something, or if you have found an even better gear combination than the ones I have listed above!

"You may be remembered either as Lords of Cinder yourselves, forever joining the Soul of Cinder, or as Ashen Ones, ushering in an Age of Humanity where the curse of undeath is at last lifted—but chaos will ultimately consume all." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core Rulebook

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