There's some nice loot to be had from the Iron Keep region of Dark Souls 2, but it's tricky to take it all without inflicting fire damage against yourself. We've got a guide to safely pinching all of the very best gear, before you prepare for the show-down with the Smelter Demon.
Iron Keep guide
After emerging into the Iron Keep area, head down the stairs on your left until you come to a bonfire. Light it, and then head back upstairs and make your way over the bridge. Kill the pair of enemies waiting for you on the other side - you can kite them one at a time by edging closer and then retreating onto the bridge - then go through the massive doors ahead of you.
There's a small set of stairs here leading up to a round area with a statue breathing fire. There are two enemies in the immediate vicinity and you can kite them one by one as well. Do the guy facing you first, then the guy on the right who is facing away from where you enter.
Now carry on up the next stairs along and kill the trio of enemies at the top. As one of the enemies is a little further off and firing arrows at you, we recommend luring them back downstairs and picking them off one at a time. As you will have noted by now, their attacks are quite easy to read, block and respond to.
Once all three are dead, go back upstairs to where the archer originally was. Interact with the wall here to expose a hidden door, then go inside to loot 20 Fire Arrows from a spot just behind the catapult.
Walk through the door in this hidden room, then interact with the right-hand wall to activate another hidden doorway. Kill the enemy lurking on the other side of it, then grab the Pharros' Lockstone from its spot in the corner.
Smash up the pots in here and you'll be granted some fire resistance. Equip any other fire-resistant gear you have in your inventory, then jump down to the floor below and grab the Iron Key that's just by the fire spout. Even if you've got decent fire gear on you, don't take too long doing this as you'll still take quite some damage.
Where to find Magerol
"It's well worth grabbing a Fragrant Branch of Yore now if you don't have any on you."
Take the stairs all the way down to get to a hallway on your left. Travel down it and you'll come to a merchant called Magerold when you reach the end. Have a chat with him and check out what he's selling. It's well worth grabbing a Fragrant Branch of Yore now if you don't have any on you.
Now go back down the hallway to where you originally entered the keep and head back up the stairs where you killed the various enemies. Walk through the door into the open area with lava pulsing far below and follow the path ahead of you all the way around to your left. Kill the next enemy along, but watch out for the archers who are positioned to your front and rear. With careful positioning you can fight on this pathway while their arrows clang harmlessly into nearby pillars.
Carry on down the stairs on your right, then kill the next enemy along and activate the lever to drop a bridge. Ignore the nearby room for now, as it's full of flames and practically impenetrable at this moment in time.
Where to find the Zweihander Sword
Go back upstairs and then carry on walking towards your left to cross the bridge you just lowered. When you get to the end, drop down onto the path, go right and head to the end of the platform you're on - jumping a small gap - to loot the mighty Zweihander Sword from a coffer.
Now head towards the opposite end of the path, kill the enemy you encounter, then walk through the mist to begin the fight against the Smelter Demon.
Head back to the first page of our walkthrough for more Dark Souls 2 help.