Firelink Shrine got a major upgrade since the original Dark Souls days. It's more comparable to the Nexus from Demon's Souls now than anything else. As such, there are a plethora of NPCs and shop vendors that come and go throughout the game. If you've got Souls to spend, you're shopping at Firelink Shrine.
This guide covers every character found around Dark Souls 3's Firelink Shrine. I'll walk you through where to find them and how to unlock the full potential of their shops and services. However, characters that don't offer the player any services will be covered in our NPC guide, coming soon.
If you haven't finished Dark Souls 3, be wary -- there may be spoilers ahead. I left out as much as I could so you might experience the stories for yourself, but there are character, item, boss and location names scattered all about. Consider yourself warned.
If you take the time to explore Firelink Shrine, you'll find plenty of goodies. There are 2 Homeward Bones and 2 Embers hidden about the surrounding graveyard.
If you hang a right when exiting the shrine, you can find a shield hiding in a tree. Further along the left path is a katana-wielding maniac who will attack you on sight. If you kill him, you can loot his equipment set. If he falls off the edge, just quit the game and log back in and his loot will show up.
If you purchase the Tower Key for 20,000 Souls from the Shrine Handmaid, Firelink Shrine will open up even further. Exploring past the tower will yield an armor set, two rings, an Estus Shard, and a key-item to give to the Fire Keeper. The Tower Key also unlocks access to Dark Souls 3's obligatory item-trading crow nest.
The Shrine Handmaid is Dark Souls 3's general merchant. Her shop inventory has humble beginnings, but giving her umbral ash found throughout the game will supply her shop with many new wares.
Additionally, if important NPC vendors die for any reason, you can pick up their umbral ash and give it to the Shrine Handmaid. Doing this grants access to the wares they had available upon death.
Andre is Dark Souls 3's go-to blacksmith. That is to say, there isn't another (living) smith in the entire game. He will reinforce your weapons, bows, catalysts, chimes, talismans, and shields in exchange for titanite.
Andre can also infuse most weapons with gems. Reinforced, Raw, and Fire are open from the start, but to unlock the 12 other infusions, you must seek out 4 coals.
The Fire Keeper in Dark Souls 3 will level you up in exchange for Souls, but that's not all she does. If you give her the Fire Keeper Soul found on the top of the bell tower in Firelink Shrine, she will be able to cure the Dark Sigil (see Yoel & Yuria of Londor).
There's another key-item you can give her that unlocks one of Dark Souls 3's many endings. To find it, head inside the shrine from the Champion Gundyr bonfire in the Untended Graves and take two lefts down the large staircase. At the bottom, veer right into a u-turn and strike the suspicious-looking wall. The item is found on the corpse at the end.
Ludleth the Exiled is the only Lord of Cinder to willingly sit upon his throne in Dark Souls 3. After recovering a Transposing Kiln from the Curse-Rotted Greatwood, Ludleth will transform unique and twisted souls into spells, weapons, and rings.
Each unique soul has at least two rewards, requiring multiple playthroughs to get everything.
Greirat is first encountered in a cell at the High Wall of Lothric. Find the Cell Key hidden in the same room as the Estus Shard and then warp to the Tower on the Wall bonfire. Make your way down to the basement of the tower and head down the corridor. Unlock the cell at the end and Greirat will warp to Firelink Shrine with your permission.
Greirat acts as another general merchant, contrasting the Shrine Handmaid's inventory by supplying goods unique only to him. Being a thief, Greirat will upgrade his shop after you allow him to plunder out in the world.
Do not send Greirat out for a 3rd time. He will not return from his pillage on the roof of the Grand Archives. Luckily, this doesn't cut us off from his inventory. Explore the area of his death until you find his body and bring the umbral ash back to the Shrine Handmaiden.
Yoel is encountered in the Undead Settlement at the base of the 1st bonfire, Foot of the High Wall. After accepting the pilgrim into your service, he will warp to Firelink Shrine.
Yoel offers a "free" leveling service through the creation and use of the Dark Sigil. After leveling up with him once, you receive the Dark Sigil, an item that eventually turns you hollow.
With the Dark Sigil, hollowing can be tracked on the status screen. After reaching certain hollowing milestones, you can speak to Yoel to level up again.
Once you have either leveled up 5 times at Yoel or killed a predetermined number of bosses, he will die.
If you leveled up with him 5 times, Yuria will be encountered near his body. She absorbs Yoel's shop inventory and takes his place as your Dark Sigil leveler.
If you cure the Dark Sigil at any point, Yuria will disappear. Keep her around for the duration of the game and you will unlock an alternate ending.
Cornyx is encountered dangling in a cage near the Cliff Underside bonfire at the Undead Settlement. He will warp to Firelink Shrine and become your Pyromancy master, should you accept.
Bringing Cornyx Pyromancy Tomes unlocks new Pyromancies for his shop.
Irina is encountered in a cell by the tower in the Undead Settlement. After buying the Grave Key, head down to the sewer connecting the Cliff Underside and Dilapidated Bridge bonfires and unlock the door found there. Follow the path out into the ravine and head straight, turning into a room on your left. Ignore the rats and climb up the ladder. Here you'll find Irina who will warp to Firelink Shrine upon accepting her into your service.
Since Irina is blind, you must find Divine Tomes written in braille to expand her Miracle selection. Luckily, every Divine Tome available in Dark Souls 3 is written in braille.
Be wary of bringing the Deep Braille Divine Tome and the Londor Braille Divine Tome to Irina. With both dark tomes in her possession, she will stop selling you Miracles.
Orbeck is encountered in the Road of Sacrifices by the Crystal Sage boss arena. From the Crucifixion Woods bonfire, head inside the building through the crack in the wall and go up the stairs. Cross the bridge and hang a left. Hug the right wall to keep from falling and make a right. At the top of another set of stairs is a doorway on the right.
Continue through the entryway to encounter Orbeck's study on the left. After speaking with him and accepting his services, he'll warp to Firelink Shrine to sell Sorceries.
Orbeck requires Sorcery Scrolls to expand his arsenal with powerful Sorceries.
Be wary of giving Orbeck all 4 sorcery scrolls. Once you do, he will leave Firelink Shrine and get himself killed within the Grand Archives. If you can find Orbeck's body and recover his umbral ash, you can still access his inventory through the Shrine Handmaid. However, you can instead bring Orbeck's Ashes to Yuria for a unique weapon.
Karla is encountered in a locked cell in Irithyll Dungeon. Grab the Jailer's Key Ring by climbing up the ladder on the toxic church in the Profaned Capital and heading up the stairs. The key ring can be found at the end of the hall. Afterwards, warp to the Irithyll Dungeon bonfire and head down the elevator shortcut to the room with dozens of jailers.
Head to the far end of the room and turn right up the steps. Turn right down the hallway and kill the jailer blocking your path. You'll come across Karla's cell. She will warp to Firelink Shrine upon bringing her into your service.
Karla is a master of dark magic, and will take any tomes involving the dark arts. Bring her the Quelana Pyromancy Tome and the Grave Warden Pyromancy Tome, which Cornyx will refuse.
You may even convince her to teach you the contents of the Londor Braille Divine Tome and the Deep Braille Divine Tome if you don't have the heart to corrupt Irina with their dark contents.
There you have it, everything you need to know to get the most out of Firelink Shrine. Check out my NPC guide for the details on elusive characters like Hawkwood, Leonhard, and Sirris.