Covenants are "factions" within Dark Souls. To join a covenant the player must make oaths to specific NPCs. With each covenant there are rewards for following the guidelines set by your "leader" and there are penalties for breaking them. Covenants may also have an effect on the player's online interactions. There are nine covenants total.
Most covenants have a unique multiplayer item useable only by members of that covenant, and even the ones that do not will have items or spells that can affect other players in some way, and as such what covenant the player has joined will have an effect on the player's online experience. Generally speaking, each covenant will focus on either cooperation (summoning/being summoned) or competition (invading/being invaded), but even then how the player chooses to play the game is still their choice. As an example, a player in the Warriors of Sunlight covenant (which emphasizes co-op pve) could be in the covenant purely for the ability to cast the Sunlight Spear miracle, and use Cracked Red Eye Orbs (an invasion item available to all players regardless of covenant) so that they may invade other players and use the miracle on them!
"The setup for the various covenants affects multiplayer situations in many different ways, especially the parameters of versus play, expanding the scope well beyond Demon's Souls. The game is designed to introduce multiplayer events as an extension of each character's role-playing in these covenants." 
Note: for the achievements you don't need to join them, once you get the dialogue that let you choose whether you want to join, the achievement will pop up.
Warrior of Sunlight
|Way of White|
Path of the Dragon
Blade of the Dark Moon
There are nine covenants in the game, each with different goals and different means of achieving those goals, all through multiplayer interaction. While most of the covenants have at least one exclusive multiplayer item for use to this end, there are certain multiplayer items that can be used regardless of covenant: the White Sign Soapstone, the Red Sign Soapstone, Cracked Red Eye Orbs, and the Dried Finger. In this way, any player regardless of covenant can be summoned by another player or invade them, or even if they are in no covenant at all. However, these items will only ever award humanity, and only two out of the nine covenants accept humanity as offerings.
Most of the covenants allow progression within the covenant in the form of ranks, starting at base (referred to as +0), and maxing at +3.. Raising your rank in a covenant will typically give boni related to the equipment or spells associated with that covenant, for example a high-ranking member of the Dark Moon covenant will have a more powerful Darkmoon Blade spell, while a high-ranking Darkwraith might be able to steal up to 10 humanity with a single use of their Dark Hand. New ranks are attained at:
- Base/+0: 0 offerings
- Covenant rank +1: 10 total offerings
- Covenant rank +2: 20 more offerings, for 30 total
- Covenant rank +3: 50 more offerings, for 80 total
In addition, it is possible to donate a maximum of 100 offerings to a covenant, but no further benefits are accrued after 80. The exception to this is the Chaos Servant covenant, in which it is possible to donate up to 60,000 humanity. However, this gives no special boni to your character and will only affect your standing in the Chaos Roster.
It is possible to leave or abandon a covenant by joining another covenant. However, abandoning a covenant in this manner will count as a sin, which will make the player the target of Dark Moon invasions unless they absolve their sins via Oswald of Carim, for a fee equal to their level times 500. If the player wants to abandon their covenant without this occurring, they must do so by speaking to Oswald.
Furthermore, some covenants have rules or restrictions that, if disobeyed, will "break" the covenant. If this happens, the covenant is immediately abandoned, and the player must absolve their sins through Oswald or else risk the wrath of the Dark Moon covenant.
Regardless of how the player leaves their covenant, half of the offerings given to that covenant are lost and their rank is adjusted accordingly. For example, if the player had given 40 offerings and were at rank +2 before they abandoned their covenant, if they return later their rank will be +1 and they will need to offer 10 more to get back to rank +2. Covenant offerings and rank cannot go below zero in this way.
If a player has been invaded and is killed, that player may indict the invader. Doing so will add the invader's name to the book of the guilty, after which they will be subject to invasions by Darkmoon covenant members. The book of the guilty only records the number of times any player has been indicted, and does not count broken covenant vows. Indictments cannot be absolved by Oswald. Oswald will also sell a Book of the Guilty to the player, and by using it the player can see how many times they have been indicted as well as every other indicted player.
It is possible to indict players who have invaded through:
It is not possible to indict a player who has invaded with:
These are the covenants which seek to lend assistance to other players through the use of the white sign soapstone, or through special abilities that assist their allies in cooperative player-versus-environment play. Note that while these covenants may be co-op flavored, there are still ways for members of these covenants to invade and kill other players, and even something as seemingly innocuous as a group healing spell can be a dangerous weapon in the hands of a savvy invader.
This is the earliest covenant available to the player, and can be joined by speaking to Petrus in Firelink Shrine. Two of the character classes, the Knight and the Cleric, are already in this covenant when they start the game. This covenant does not have a unique multiplayer item, nor does it have any covenant-restricted items or spells. The player cannot gain ranks in this covenant.
There is no known way to break this covenant except by abandoning it.
This covenant is available after defeating Ornstein and Smough in Anor Londo. This covenant does not have a unique multiplayer item, and it has two covenant-restricted miracles: Bountiful Sunlight and Soothing Sunlight**. The player cannot gain ranks in this covenant.
Attacking Gwynevere, the Sunlight Princess, will break this covenant. Killing Gwynevere will turn Anor Londo dark and the player will be subject to Darkmoon Covenant Ring invaders, whether or not they were in the Princess Guard covenant.
- This covenant groups the player with other Princess Guard covenant members more often when online, giving them access to more assistance and making it less likely to encounter players from hostile covenants.
- The player receives the Ring of the Sun Princess upon joining this covenant, which boosts the effectiveness of Miracle Synergy. Wearing the ring gives a boost equal to standing near one resonance sign, and wearing the ring while standing near one resonance sign gives a "double boost", which is the same as standing near three resonance signs without the ring. There are no further synergy boosts beyond a double boost.
The player can find this covenant at the sunlight altar at the end of the Hellkite Drake bridge after the Taurus Demon. The player must have at least 25 faith to join, with the requirement dropping by 5 every time the player is summoned by another player online and helps them defeat a boss. This covenant does not have a unique multiplayer item, but when the White Sign Soapstone is used the player's summon sign will be gold instead of white to show other players that he or she is a Warrior of Sunlight. Joining this covenant is necessary to get the Lightning Spear, Great Lightning Spear, and Sunlight Spear miracles, but only the Sunlight Spear is covenant restricted. The player can gain ranks in this covenant, and must be at least +1 to gain to gain the Great Lightning and Sunlight Spear miracles. Players in the Warrior of Sunlight covenant and all other summoned/allied players will be awarded a Sunlight Medal for defeating a boss together. Sunlight Medals are not awarded to Warriors of Sunlight who defeat a boss on their own. Players in the Warriors of Sunlight covenant can offer Sunlight Medals at the Sunlight Altar to gain covenant ranks.
There is no known way to break this covenant except by abandoning it. Even attacking and killing Solaire will not break this covenant.
- Players in this covenant will have a golden summon sign and appear as a golden phantom when summoned to another player's world.
- Players who defeat a boss with a member of the Warriors of Sunlight (either summoned or as the host) will receive a Sunlight Medal, as will the Warrior of Sunlight player.
- This covenant groups the player with other Warrior of Sunlight covenant members more often when online, giving them access to more assistance and making it less likely to encounter players from hostile covenants.
- Players in this covenant can cast the Sunlight Spear miracle.
These are the covenants whose goal is to defeat other players online in combat, typically through the use of their unique multiplayer items. A hostile player in these covenants will have a variety of tools to assist them in this task, though they are by no means required to use them. That said, players in these covenants are not prohibited from helping other players (such as through the white sign soapstone), and indeed may prove particularly dangerous to more hostile invaders by turning their own tools against them.
Players in this covenant:
- Have exclusive use of the Red Eye Orb, which acts as an infinite-use Cracked Red Eye Orb.
- Will steal more humanity from other players when they use the Dark Hand's special attack. The amount of humanity stolen increases with the covenant rank.
By far the most popular player-versus-player covenant, and also the most difficult to join. Prospective Darkwraiths must defeat the Four Kings before placing the Lordvessel at the Kiln of the First Flame. Those who succeed will find the NPC Darkstalker Kaathe, who offers to teach them the Art of Lifedrain. This covenant's unique multiplayer item is the Red Eye Orb (awarded at rank +1), which acts as an infinite-use Cracked Red Eye Orb. The Red Eye Orb can only be used by members of the Darkwraith covenant. It does not have any covenant-restricted equipment or spells, but a Dark Hand is given to the player upon joining and the Dark Armor set and a Darksword are given to players who attain the +2 rank. Players may offer Humanity to Kaathe to raise their covenant rank.
Note that the Red Eye Orb, Cracked Red Eye Orb, and Red Sign Soapstone do not have an upper invasion cap, meaning members of this covenant risk invading players far over their level, up to the maximum level of 713.
Attacking Kaathe until he leaves will break this covenant.
Players in this covenant:
- Can wear the Cat Covenant Ring to be summoned by Alvina and slay other players for Titanite (and occasionally rubbish or pendants)
- Have access to Shiva of the East, a merchant who sells rare, hard-to-find weapons.
- Will not be invaded by other Forest Hunter members in Darkroot and will not be attacked by the otherwise hostile NPCs there.
Members of this covenant swear allegiance to Alvina in the Darkroot Forest, who will then summon them to slay other players who stray too close to the grave of Artorias. The covenant member is awarded souls and Titanite for each player defeated in this way, and will receive awards from Alvina herself after the first and third such victories. This covenant's multiplayer item is the Cat Covenant ring, which the player can wear to be summoned by Alvina to invade another player in her domain as a blue Dark Spirit, but only if they are in the Forest Hunter covenant. Up to two Forest Hunter members can invade a player simultaneously in this fashion. This covenant does not have any covenant-restricted items or spells, but it does have a covenant-restricted merchant: members can buy weapons from Shiva of the East after he moves to lower Blighttown, but only for as long as they remain in the covenant. Players gain covenant ranks by being summoned by Alvina and defeating forest trespassers, but nothing is gained for it. Instead, Alvina will award the player with a Divine Blessing after their first successful kill and a Ring of Fog after their third.
Just like with the Darkwraith covenant, the Cat Covenant ring does not have an upper invasion limit, so players in this covenant run the risk of invading someone far above their own level.
Attacking the NPCs in Darkroot Forest at any time after joining this covenant will break it. If the covenant is broken, the remaining NPCs will turn hostile and the player is subject to Forest Hunter invasions once more. In addition, the Forest Hunter covenant is unique in that the player cannot re-join it if the covenant is broken until they have absolved their sins with Oswald of Carim. Attacking another player who is in the Forest Hunter covenant will not break the covenant.
Players in this covenant:
- The Dragon Head Stone and Dragon Torso Stone are more powerful when used by members of this covenant, and are even more powerful with higher ranks.
Members of this covenant swear allegiance to the Stone Dragon in Ash Lake, one of the few remaining Everlasting Dragons, and offer it Dragon Scales so that they may one day become dragons themselves. The covenant's unique multiplayer item is the Dragon Eye, which places a distinctive invasion sign that other players can interact with to allow the dragon covenant member to invade their world. Only players who are human but do not already have another player in their world (be it a summon or invader) can see or use the dragon sign, making it a guaranteed one-on-one duel. The player who wins the duel is awarded a Dragon Scale and some souls. It does not have any covenant-restricted equipment or spells, but players who join the covenant are given the Dragon Head Stone, and members who reach rank +2 are given the Dragon Torso Stone. The player does not need to be in the covenant to use these items, but their effectiveness increases with their Path of the Dragon Covenant rank. Members of this covenant can increase their covenant rank by offering Dragon Scales to the Stone Dragon in Ash Lake.
Because this covenant is rarely used, there are a few false rumors surrounding it. To wit: the rumor that Path of the Dragon covenant members can only invade and duel other Path of the Dragon covenant members is false; the rumor that Path of the Dragon covenant members can only invade players who own or are carrying a Dragon Scale, while implied in the Dragon Scale and Dragon Eye descriptions, is false; and the rumor that players will lose a Dragon Scale if defeated by a Path of the Dragon covenant member is false.
There is no known way to break this covenant except by abandoning it. Even attacking the Stone Dragon will not have any negative effects, as the Stone Dragon is immortal and thus impossible to kill.
Players in this covenant:
- Have exclusive use of the Blue Eye Orb and Darkmoon Blade Covenant Ring, with which they can punish players who were indicted or have broken their covenant vows.
- Have exclusive use of the Darkmoon Blade miracle, which is by far the strongest weapon buff in the game.
By forming a covenant with the Dark Sun Gwyndolin, players who join this covenant can invade indicted players and punish them for their sins (by killing them). This covenant has two unique multiplayer items: the Blue Eye Orb and the Darkmoon Blade Covenant ring. Darkmoon covenant members who invade players with these items and defeat them are awarded a Souvenir of Reprisal, which can be offered to Gwyndolin to increase their covenant rank. Members of this covenant have exclusive use of the Darkmoon Blade miracle, which is a very powerful weapon buff that becomes more powerful as the player increases their covenant rank. Players who reach rank +2 in the Darkmoon covenant are given the Darkmoon Talisman, which is the most powerful talisman when used by characters with more than 40 faith.
Attacking the illusion of Gwynevere or crossing the fog barrier into Gwyn's tomb will break this covenant. Players who have killed Gwynevere will be invaded by other Darkmoon players who are wearing the Darkmoon Blade Covenant Ring.
Players in this covenant:
- Have exclusive use of the Eye of Death multiplayer items, which can be used to dramatically increase the difficulty of another player's game (see above).
- A Gravelord Greatsword Dance with a very high covenant rank is one of the most powerful area-of-effect spells in the game.
- Gain access early in the game to the Gravelord Sword (weapon), which is strong enough on its own to carry them through the game.
Players who ally themselves with Gravelord Nito become Gravelord Servants, who are notorious for their ability to curse other players' worlds and spread misery. Players cursed in this fashion may find their world populated by powerful monsters, and must find and defeat the Gravelord Servant to remove them. Gravelord Servants have exclusive use of the Eye of Death multiplayer item, which is used to curse other worlds. This covenant does not have any exclusive equipment or spells, but players who join the covenant are given the Gravelord Sword (weapon) and Gravelord Sword Dance (miracle), the latter of which becomes more powerful as the member's covenant rank is increased. Players who reach the +1 rank are given the Gravelord Greatsword Dance miracle, which is a more powerful version of the Gravelord Sword Dance and also deals more damage as the covenant rank is increased. Covenant rank is increased by offering Eyes of Death to Gravelord Nito.
Since Eyes of Death give very little feedback when they are used, it can be hard to figure out how they work, or if they are even working at all. In order to use an Eye of Death, the player must be a Gravelord Servant, be in human form, and be in an area where the boss is still alive. When an Eye of Death is used, a black mist emanates from the Gravelord Servant and a special Gravelord Sign will appear in other players worlds relative to where the Gravelord Servant is standing. This sign will follow the Gravelord Servant as he or she moves around, updating about every 10 seconds. As such, it would benefit the Gravelord Servant most to stand in a high-traffic area while waiting for invaders. Other players who find the Gravelord sign can use it to invade the Gravelord Servant as a blue Spirit of Vengeance and attempt to kill him or her. Up to three players can invade the Gravelord Servant at once in this manner. Additionally, if a player who has a Gravelord sign in their world is in NG+ or higher, that area of the game will be populated by extra "black phantom" enemies, which are more powerful version of the local monsters.
This covenant is not broken if the player defeats Nito, but they will be unable to gain further ranks until the next NG+ cycle.
This section is composed of only one covenant, the Chaos Servants, which seeks to alleviate the Daughter of Chaos's suffering by feeding humanity to her. The covenant does not suggest any way in which this humanity should be gathered, nor does it give the player any additional tools for doing so. As such, Chaos Servants can just as easily be allies or aggressors, or may even join another covenant to gain access to their multiplayer items, returning later to donate any humanity gathered.
Members of this covenant are tasked with offering humanity to the Daughter of Chaos, an albino chaos witch half spider... demon... thing... who speaks an unknown language. The player can understand this language by wearing the Old Witch's Ring. Covenant members are given the powerful Great Chaos Fireball pyromancy upon joining, and will gain the Chaos Storm pyromancy upon attaining rank +2. As well, at rank +2 they gain the ability to open up the Demon Ruins/ Lost Izalith shortcut, which is needed to save Solaire and make him available for the battle with Gwyn, as well as bypassing a large part of the Demon Ruins and most of Lost Izalith itself. In addition to being the covenant leader, the Daughter of Chaos is also a Fire Keeper and can upgrade the player's Estus Flask with Fire Keeper Souls. She will also drop her Fire Keeper Soul if killed, but her bonfire will be snuffed out.
While the merchant Eingyi is associated with the covenant, you do not actually have to be a Chaos Servant to buy from him or use his services. Eingyi will initially only sell a Chaos Roster and Egg Vermifuges, and offer to upgrade the player's pyromancy flame (but not ascend it). Players will not be able to buy pyromancies from him until they have spoken to him while infected with parasitic eggs. Eingyi may give the player a Pyromancy Flame even if they already have one, but the triggers for this are not known.
This covenant does not have an exclusive multiplayer item. Instead it has the Chaos Roster, which is a constantly updating list that shows how much humanity the player and other players have donated to the covenant along with their stats and equipment. Abandoning the covenant will not affect their standing on the Chaos Roster, however their rank will still decrease. This covenant does not have any exclusive equipment or spells, and the chaos pyromancies acquired through this covenant can be used even if the covenant is abandoned. Covenant rank is increased by offering humanity to the Daughter of Chaos.
This covenant will be broken if the player kills the Daughter of Chaos. Killing Eingyi will not break the covenant.
- Members of this covenant are able to open the Izalith shortcut at rank +2, which once opened will stay open even if they leave the covenant.
For players interested in User Made Covenants, please go here. Or visit our dedicated covenant forum.