Gaping Dragon

Location Depths
Health * NG: 4,401
NG+: 15,550
Souls * NG: 25,000
NG+: 75,000
* Recorded in PATCH 1.05

Gaping Dragon is a Boss in Dark Souls.


Gaping Dragon Information

The Gaping Dragon is the boss in the Depths, and gives you the key to the upper entrance to Blighttown.

This boss is optional with the Master Key as one's chosen gift during character creation, which can be used to enter Blighttown through the back entrance in Valley of Drakes. This is most easily accomplished by simply taking the elevator down from underneath Firelink Shrine, and then circling around into the adjacent building, unlocking the barred door with the Master Key, and then proceeding across the narrow footbridge into the dark cave on the other side.

Blighttown's back entrance can also be accessed from the Darkroot Basin entrance into the Valley of Drakes without the Master Key. Enter the valley either by taking the elevator down from Darkroot Basin, or kill Ingward and enter from New Londo Ruins. However, that route is more circuitous and requires you to fight or evade some powerful enemies in the Valley of Drakes in order to double back to the Blighttown cave entrance.









The boss will rear back and then slam his exposed ribcage into the ground in front of him, doing massive damage, and stunning himself for a few seconds. This also exposes his head, which is extra vulnerable to attacks. However, he will almost always follow up his dash attack.


Dash Attack

The boss will likely use this attack after Engorge. Before the boss begins this attack, there will be a brief moment where the head and upper torso rise slightly; the player should use this time to roll away. The ground begins to shake, and he will run about halfway across the room before stopping to catching his breath. When the dash ends you get a chance to attack.


Float Attack

Sometimes the dragon will float up to re-adjust his body so that he is facing you. When you see this sprint away from him and wait for the dash once again.


Freak-Out Pound

After he lifts his head back up, he will sometimes freak-out and repeatedly attack in front of him. At lower levels, this will most-likely kill you in one hit.


Acid Throw-Up

You have to watch for this as you're attacking the tail. He will sometimes squat down, and an acidic goo will begin to cover the floor within a large radius around him, which will quickly reduce the durability of all equipped items. Prior to this attack, the boss will curl its upper body's teeth inwards and begin a slight writhing motion. In order to dodge this you must simply sprint as far away as possible, preferably towards the boss' rear since most of the acidic goo is directed towards the front.

(Tested in Remastered) If the boss is facing and near the fog gate entrance, the acid will damage the Channeler. In normal NG, three acid attacks will kill the Channeler.


Tail Swipe

If you notice the tail start to move as you're attacking it, you must roll away, or block with your shield, as he is about to preform a tail swipe. This is a low damaging attack that hits in an arc behind him and somewhat to the sides. In single strikes, his tail swipes are mostly an annoyance, however on rare occasions he will start spamming them. As they have a large attack arc including parts of the sides of his body, this can be dangerous if you are staggered or knocked down by the first one.

Cutting his tail off as soon as possible when the fight commences makes the overall battle much easier, as he doesn't seem to realize his tail is gone and will continue trying to hit people with it, which provides great opportunities to deal damage to him.



He will occasionally kick the area in front of him after lifting his head up. When he is moving (even just turning in place) his feet can also stagger you and cause minor damage.



If you are standing near one of his arms, he can grab you and eat you. While you are in the dragon's grasp (or mouth/ribcage), begin rapidly pressing L1/R1 to escape (such as R1/R2 on the PS3). Doing so rapidly can negate damage entirely, while not pressing buttons will result in death.



  • Remember to take out the Channeler before you fight this boss. There is a Channeler located near a group of large rats near the top of the wall overlooking the eventual boss fight area, beyond a small fog gate. If he is not killed prior to the fight with Gaping Dragon, the Channeler will continuously fire soul arrows at you, and may also buff the Gaping Dragon if it gets close enough to him, making it significantly stronger.
  • The Channeler's combat spells are not particularly dangerous by themselves, but have a frustrating tendency to hit you in the head from above and stagger you just as you are attempting to either run at or roll away from the boss. Killing the Channeler should be a priority prior to tackling the boss. To reach him, from the Depths bonfire, take a right outside the bonfire room and go down the stairs and past the down ladder, into the waterway filled with rats. Take a left down that waterway (past the rat-in-a-box trap at the end), then drop down and head into the passageway beside the stairs. Proceed straight (ignoring the opening to the right leading down to a drain), and after a right turn you will approach the fog gate with the Channeler beyond it.
  • It is also possible to kill the Channeler with arrows from below, near the corner that extends out along the path leading to the down stairs to the boss gate. The Channeler is several levels above you, so keep looking up as you walk and you can see him. He may shoot back, so use the pillars or a long distance bow/Hawk Ring if you have them.


When you first enter the room, keep your distance. Aggravate it and wait for it to drop its head and to start to do a dash attack. (The ground will start shaking when he does this). After he starts to dash just keep to his left or right to avoid being hit; after this, run behind him to his tail.

He will hit the wall and be stunned for a few seconds, this is your chance to do some damage and hopefully cut off his tail. Repeat this, and you should be able to whittle him down without taking any damage. The only change in this fight is the Acid Throw-Up he begins to use when he reaches 33% health.

By cutting off his tail he can no longer attack you with it, also drops the Dragon King Great Axe. Note that only part of his tail can be cut off, and attacks on the portion closer to his body (i.e., the stub that remains if the tail is removed) will not cut the tail off, and will just do damage normally. There is a noticeable ring around the tail at the location it can be cut off; attack the tail below that ring to cut it off quickly. If you are directly behind the boss and within melee range, there is a slight chance that the remaining stub of his tail will hit you.

Players should make sure to run from the yellow acid it breathes out onto the floor, which corrodes equipment quickly. The acid radiates out from the dragon quickly and for a fairly long distance, so retreat immediately as soon as he winds up for this attack. Thankfully, the leading edge of the spreading acid seems to cause far less corrosion than being fully engulfed by it. The acid can damage all equipped items, including weapons or talismans/catalysts/pyromancy flames that are equipped, even if not in active use. Having the means to repair at least your primary weapon, such as some repair powder, can avoid the risk of having to go into your inventory to equip another weapon or item during the fight.

The yellow acid seems to act as a sensory locator, as Gaping Dragon seems to charge in the direction of where the player was at the time of the breath. Keeping a good distance and moving immediately after the fluid dissipates will allow you to get into position more quickly after the charge. This could possibly also be due to the attack lowering its head, as it doesn't appear to have eyes in its ribcage.

Here are a few additional tips:

  • Being able to roll well and sprint faster can really help in this combat, so don't overburden yourself with heavy of armor. The Dark Wood Grain Ring makes the fight significantly easier.
  • One basic thing to note which makes avoiding him easier is that when he is standing upright he can be outrun but has a sharp turning radius and is very hard to move behind, but when he is on all fours he is impossible to outrun but has a terrible turning radius. For a ranged fighter, positioning yourself safely out of his reach based on his two stances is just about all you need to know to easily solo this boss.
  • Another easy way to defeat this boss is to wait until he rears up and then charges you, lock on and use sorcery or pyromancy to take out part of his life. Rinse and repeat. Keep clear of legs when charging.
  • A strategy can be used to avoid damage all together by baiting the dash attack. After the Engorge front slam, which can be baited even when standing out of range, running round the side and running up to his tail region once the charge has finished allows you to get in a few seconds of attacks. Then run away out of range and rinse repeat. A surefire strategy simple even to the newest of Dark Souls players.


Summon Help

It is also possible to summon certain NPCs to assist with this battle if you are in human form and do not already have 2 player summons assisting.

Solaire of Astoria's summoning sign can be located on the floor directly above the short staircase leading down to the boss fog gate.

Knight Lautrec's summoning sign can sometimes be found very close to the location for Solaire's, but on the other side of the adjacent pillar (up against the back wall, in the same general area as where the heavy crossbow may be found).

Both NPCs are effective during the battle, but Solaire's ability to keep his distance and throw lightning spears, may be preferable. However, both phantoms can be summoned at the same time. Having both makes the fight a lot easier since all you have to do is stay out of the dragon's way and pummel it from behind.

  • If you wish to summon player phantoms to help you complete the fight, the most common location for signs is around the Depths bonfire. Clearing parts of the Depths and opening the locked door shortcut adjacent to the Giant Rat in advance makes it very easy to return to the bonfire and pick up additional player summons as desired.
  • Summoned phantoms DO NOT have to enter the fog gate to engage this boss. If you are a summoned phantom and are proficient with bows, just wait on the balcony and pump the dragon full of arrows from safety while the host engages the dragon. The dragon will often aggro to the bow user, allowing the host to kill it from relative safety (once the tail is cut off).


Area Bosses
Asylum Demon  ♦  Bell Gargoyle  ♦  Capra Demon  ♦  Centipede Demon  ♦  Crossbreed Priscilla  ♦  Dark Sun Gwyndolin  ♦  Demon Firesage  ♦  Four Kings  ♦  Great Grey Wolf Sif  ♦  Gwyn Lord of Cinder  ♦  Iron Golem  ♦  Moonlight Butterfly  ♦  Nito  ♦  Ornstein and Smough  ♦  Pinwheel  ♦  Seath the Scaleless  ♦  Stray Demon  ♦  Taurus Demon  ♦  The Bed of Chaos

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    • Anonymous

      i feel guilty for using drake sword on this boss made it super easy and shoutout to my big bro that i summoned he got taken out by the dragon but he held it down while we were in the depth ill never forget you.... damn i forgot how to spell his name fred something lol

      • Tail sweep is a low damage attack? Lmao, you sure? That tail took away more than half of my HP bar. And it's really hard to dodge. Imo, baiting the charge attack and severing its tail is mandatory for a comfortable fight, even if the greataxe is garbage.

        • Anonymous

          Hardest thing about this fight is that damn Channeler. Made the same mistake with the Taurus Demon earlier, not taking out those archers. Outside of that, Gaping was no Midir!

          • Anonymous

            Love to see so much people playing DS in 2021. I come back to PTDE for all the achievements i don't have and feel this game is still alive.
            For this fight you need a powerful weapon if you want Solaire to be alive, otherwise the dragon will kill him before the battle ends. I never summoned him before and really surprised me how bad he is at this fight.

            • Anonymous

              this boss is pretty easy, but there is some catches
              -be ready to mash if you get grabbed. mashing fast enough will prevent most, if not all damage
              -be ready to run away if he starts vomiting. that acid don't do much dmg, but will break the durability of your weapon very quick
              -staying in his lower side is the most safe position. Instead of attacking you, he will be constantly flying up to adjust himself and trying to fall on you. Keep your weight light and just run circles aroudn him.
              -there is a special item (dragon axe) if you cut his tail off, but most of the time it's not worthy the risk of getting sweep by his tail. This weapon requires 50 of str to equip in 1 hand, and have zero scalling in all status. So you won't be using it early/mid game nor in ng+

              • Anonymous

                I did the order wrong. So this is my first time playing through Dark Souls 1 and instead of doing the bosses in the correct fashion I killed moonlight butterfly and made it all the way to Sif. After dying countless times to the wolf I went and killed Havel, then I went back to Sif just to get kicked in the ass once more. After looking for something else to do I made it back to the undead burg and unlocked some shortcuts. This eventually led me to the Valley of Drakes where I got my ass kicked. so I left there and eventually found the Capra Demon. At this point, I already had Claymore +5 so it took me a total of 2 tries to kill Capra Demon. From there, I found my way to the depths unlocked the firelink shrine shortcut, and kept going down. then I made my way to that bigass rat murdered him, and painstakingly found the gaping dragon boss fight. all goes to say I died twice to the gaping dragon and then slaughtered him. now I am in blighttown and wanting to end my eternal suffering.

                • Anonymous

                  if you are a beginner I have some tips to beat this boss: the most important rule is to stay under 25% weight, so use armor like thief armor. then to deal damage, wait for it to slam its ribcage/giant mouth into the ground, then get out of the way because then it will charge, and unless you are in NG+ with 99 vitality if you get caught under his feet, then you are dead. when the dragon stops charging, run up to its tail and beat on it. it doesn't really matter what weapon you used, because I used a normal drake sword. once you cut off the tail just keep baiting the attacks and hitting his stump. when he is at 33% health he will vomit acid that will corrode equipment, so when he closes his huge mouth while jiggling, bolt for the opposite side of the arena if you want to keep your stuff intact. once you kill him, make way to where you came from, go up the stairs go through the broken bars, say hi to domnall, and unlock the doors ant the far end of the wall.

                  • Anonymous

                    Be ware if the hitbox on his charge, it’s hit me when behind him and give his slams a wide girth because they have aoe effects to them, besides that should be an easy fight.

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