There are a few things players should know before descending into the gutter. The first and foremost of these is that it is ridiculously dark! As you enter, you should up the brightness to max on the game (if you haven't already) and keep a lit torch on you at all times. This may mean you cannot hold a weapon and shield (torches fill your left hand slot), but at least you won't fall to your death due to being unable to see or be back attacked by enemies in the blackness. Another thing about this section is that it has several split paths, meaning the way you go through may not follow the guide in a linear order. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to jump ahead or back in this section to find the relevant info. Just keep it in mind. The final warning is about poison spitting statues. This area is full of them. Smash them as quickly as possible on sight and have some poison curing items on hand if possible or some poison resist equipment on to reduce the impact of their sometimes unavoidable status attacks. With those warnings out of the way, lets descend into the dark depths.
We'll start off the area guide at the first bonfire of the gutter (find directions to this bonfire in the pit section), that can be accessed via the lowest level of the pit. Standing next to the bonfire on a large square platform is where you should be standing to start off. On the same platform in the corner should be a vase that can be smashed open for a Dung Pie (yummy!) and a fire sconce. These can be lit and are essential in your journey through the area. Light every one you see to reduce the general gloom of the area and keep track of where you have been. This is the most torch intensive section of the game, so don't be afraid to use most of your torches here, as they aren't needed too much later on (here and there but if you keep ten or twenty minutes on the timer you should be good). Head back to the bonfire and look for a wooden bridge nearby that crosses to another platform.
Before you reach the other side of this small bridge, know that the platform beyond has a section of floor that will crumble away if you pass over it (it is a square area, slightly to the left from the end of the bridge). If you stick to the far right or left edges when exiting the bridge, you should easily avoid it. This is the first of the diverging paths in this area if you do fall down there at this early point, skip ahead to the first platform path split section below. For now, we'll stay on the upper path. Walk on the edges of the platform to reach a sconce to light on this platform (while keeping an eye out for the mutated dog on the nearby platform, yes it can be triggered if you get too close while moving to light the sconce).
Now the platform is lit, backtrack and take the other bridge off the platform. Look carefully to spot a mutated dog on the next platform (sometimes he moves behind objects and can be hard to spot). Mutated dogs are far slower than their earlier brethren that we have encountered, but do significant damage and have larger pools of health. This means keeping your guard up at all times, you may want to swap out the torch for a shield here (and relight it after defeating the dog) if you are a melee fighter. Ranged characters will be able to pelt the dog with impunity due to it's slow movement speed. Once it is dead, light the torch in the center of the platform. You should see a poison statue leaning against a wall to the right of the sconce so smash it. On the other side of the same wall that the statue was leaning on are two slouched hollows. Take them out before they pose a threat (preventing back attacks when you move to the next platform) and destroy the second poison statue.
Head up the nearby ramp to reach another wooden platform. You should spot three slouched hollows who will attack when you near them and a pair of poison statues (one hanging by a rope). Smash them both up before continuing. As you approach the ramp to the next wooden square, hollows should be visible shambling down below on an large ledge. If you have ranged attacks, this is a good opportunity to thin them out as you will be arriving there very shortly. If you haven't destroyed the hanging statue yet, it will spit poison as you ascend the ramp. On the next platform, a poison statue will be immediately visible to your right as well as a hollow and a sconce straight ahead. Take out the hollow, dismantle the statue and light the sconce.
You should see a hole in the platform that you can drop down through to land on the ledge below. Be warned that as soon as you drop down, you will be attacked by at least three hollows (less if you sniped them from the above ramp before). Five more are hanging on the edges of this ledge and will climb up as you approach them, so be wary about moving around when engaging the initial three as you may end up fighting all eight at once by accident. Once the area is clear, light the nearby sconce and smash the vase in the middle for a Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier as well as the several poison statues scattered around.
Direction time, look at the rock wall that edges one side of the ledge and then walk to the left side of that wall to find a lower path (there is another path on the right side of the wall made of wood but we will be using that later), drop down to the rock path below. In front of you will be a wooden building on a circular ledge and above to the right is a higher ledge with a chest you cannot reach yet. Instead, drop down onto the circular platform below with the wooden building and light the sconce right in front of you. Continue moving around to find a pair of poison statues to break and a ladder on the other side. The jars inside the building have nothing inside, so jump on the ladder and climb to the top. When you reach the top, move around the narrow walkway to find a sconce to light and a poison statue to destroy (this one would have shot at you while you moved along the dirt path opposite). Head back to the top of the ladder and jump across to the dirt path.
That chest I mentioned before should be waiting for you on the left with a Ring of Soul Protection inside. On the other end of this ledge is a sconce and a poison statue. A word of caution before you light it though. Many players (myself included) have reported that upon lighting this sconce, they were invaded by a red phantom by the name of Melinda the Butcher. She may take a few minutes to reach you, but should come from the direction of the bonfire (through the hole that you used to drop down to this area). Ranged characters should be able to wait until she drops down and then quickly spell her to oblivion (yeah the game, with it's weird leveling system and Patrick Stewart). Melee characters will need to drop back onto the starting platform and engage her (her weapon is quite easily blocked with a decent shield and she is relatively weak). Once you are done, return to the ledge (if you aren't there already) and line yourself up with the wooden structure to see a ledge that you can jump down to (not the level you jumped down off, the one below). Inside is a chest with a Twinkling Titanite and a Small Smooth & Silky Stone in it. Grab them and return to the ledge to drop back down to the starting platform. Now, to take that path we passed up earlier on the right. This path heads upwards, with three vases at the end. Break them to find a Life Gem inside and then drop off the end of the ramp, back onto the first bonfire platform to resupply.
Now we are back at the bonfire, we can take the path we didn't take at the start of this area and fall through the floor of the first platform. Cross the bridge and kill the mutated dog on the next platform again to make sure he doesn't join you as you are trying to fight hollows below. If the hole is there and you are a ranged character, you should be able to kill off two hollows from above. This will make the drop less dangerous.
First platform path split:
Depending on the circumstances as you fall down the hole, you may be facing a pair of hollows, or four hollows and a mutant dog from above. As soon as you land, immediately start dealing with the slouched hollows who will begin to rise. If the dog does fall through, immediately prioritize it, as in this small space it can be a death sentence to ignore it. Once the small room is clear, you should see two vases (if they haven't been broken) on one side of the room. Behind them is a walkway with a sconce at the end. From this vantage point you should be able to see a lower platform nearby with two hollows (one holding a torch). Ranged characters will be able to make short work of these guys before jumping down to the platform. Melee characters will just have to engage them after the aerial maneuvers. Sprint and jump down to the lower platform and engage the hollows if you haven't already. Now the platform is clear, light the nearby sconce.
Looking towards the mist door (away from the sconce), you should see a ladder on the left side of this platform leading upwards. This leads up to a ledge with a sconce and poison statues as well as a cave. At the end of the cave is a locked door that can only be opened with the Forgotten Key. You will not obtain this key until you reach Black Gulch, so ignore it for now. For those coming back with the key, open the door to be confronted with a heap of poison statues and Havel's Armour set hidden inside a jar. Back on the platform, head in the direction of the mist door. Cross the narrow bridge between platforms to reach another. Be careful of the missing square in this platform. Leaning against a wall to the right are two poison statues and on the left side of the platform is a sconce to light. Now that is out of the way, you can drop down the hole in the platform you avoided earlier.
You will land in a decent size room with nothing in it. Head through the nearby door shaped gap in the wall. Before advancing, look through the gap in the wall to spot a mutated dog. There are also two hollows present on the opposite side of that room so be careful. Once they are out of the way, head back to the area between rooms and smash the vases here to pick up a Dark Pyromancy Flame (a very nice weapon for pyromancers that increases in power the more hollowed you are) and a Rotten Pine Resin. Climb the ladder in the room to fight another pair of hollows and light a sconce. Head up the ladder on the other side of the room to reach another floor with a cluster of vases to your right at the top. A hollow will try to attack you from behind after a few seconds so don't stop to admire the scenery (the dark, formless, black scenery). Where the hollow was is a sconce to light. Smash the vases to grab a Soul of a Nameless Soldier. The ledge next to the sconce leads to a jump point that can take you back to the first bonfire but contains a drop trap and several poison statues, so unless you are out of resources or fell down here by accident early, avoid this ledge.
Instead, drop down to the platform next to where the vases were standing (not the hole back inside the building). Pay attention to the bridge when you land as after a few seconds an exploding mummy will run across the bridge and try to explode on you (the explosion will not kill him so he will keep trying until you finish him off). Once he is out of the way, break the pair of poison statues to the right and light the sconce to the left of the bridge. Walk onto the bridge, a hollow may already be walking towards you or drop down from a bridge above as you continue your trip across. As you near the other side, you should be able to see another mutated dog you need to take on. Remember to avoid rolling here as the bridge is very narrow. You should also notice a hollow standing on a platform above next to a ladder if he doesn't drop down and attack you early. Deal with him when he drops down or climb up and fight him. A torch bearing hollow will also approach from the right path here if you get to close so remember to keep an eye out. Climb the ladder (if you haven't already) deal with the hollows, light the sconce and pick up the Black Firebombs from the chest. There is also a poison statue up here to smash as well.
Back down the ladder, it's time for this to become a platform game. Yeah. Look towards the ladder and move around the right side of the platform (looking for two poison statues immiately to your left to smash). After breaking the statues, you should see two heavy planks jutting out (looking suspiciously like a leap of faith point from Assassin's Creed) on the same side as the structure to the right. If you look down from them, you can see a ledge below that you can drop down to safely (if you have little health left, put on the silvercat ring or heal up before dropping down). The ledge you drop down to will overlook a hollow below. Plunge attack or use ranged attacks to kill him quickly and then drop down to his level. Stay on this level and move around the outside of this platform to find two vases inside as well as a sconce to light. Break the vases to find a Titanite Chunk within. Now, head back to where you dropped down and drop through the hole in the wall.
Where you land, there will be a hollow on the ground next to you that will begin moving. Quickly dispatch it and light the nearby sconce. One of the jars on the other side of the room contains the Tattered Cloth Armour set. Behind where the vases were is a poison statue hanging from a rope. Players with ranged attacks should take it out to prevent it being a nuisance shortly. Melee characters will just have to avoid the poison shots when they are on the dirt ledge shortly. Use the door shaped hole in the wall nearby to find another sconce to light. Head back into the previous room to where the vases were and jump over to the dirt path (melee characters being mindful of the poison statue). Observant players may notice the three hollows hanging from the edge of the cliff to your left. If you have a torch and / or get too close, they will climb up and attack you. Do not roll around here if you can avoid it as it is very easy to roll into the void by accident (I know from personal experience. It's a long way back from the bonfire). Once you have dealt with the trio of hollows, light the nearby sconce and travel along the ledge the other way to find two hollows lying next to a chest. Activate them by attacking or getting close and finish them off before opening up the chest to grab a Ring of the Evil Eye. Players who delay too long on this end of the ledge may be attacked by a hollow who climbs all the way down the massive ladder next to you. If he doesn't he will be up above.
Climb up the long ladder next to the chest. At the top will be three hollows (or two if you killed one earlier). Light the sconce nearby and smash the vases to your right to pick up the Soul of a Proud Knight. Inside the small structure is another exploding mummy, so lure him out and finish him of before his blasts can kill you. Break the vases inside (where the mummy was standing) to grab a Bandit Greataxe. A second sconce can be lit nearby as well on a sloped piece of flooring that you can drop down slightly to. From this position you can drop down to a platform below and use a ranged attack to break the poison statue on the ledge behind and slightly above you. Between where you landed and the poison statue location is a narrow gap with a vase inside. Drop down and smash open the vase for a Flame Butterfly. Look at the remains of the vase and then turn around and drop down to the platform below. This will take you back to the place we dropped off initially (the Assassin's Creed leap of faith spot).
Now that we're back head in the opposite direction from the leap of faith, across the wooden plank to the next platform. Five poison statues will be in your way down here so take your time and smash them and light the sconce before heading up the ladder. At the top, turn to your right for another sconce to light and a bridge. Stomp across the bridge and fight the hollow hiding behind a pole at the other end. Two sconces will also be waiting for you here but watch out for the hole in the floor as it leads down to a room with a mutant dog inside. You can take this lower path, which leads to a Black Firebomb and a couple of dicey jumps to ledges filled with poison statues. The easier way however is to keep on this level and cross the next bridge. On the other side you will find yet another sconce and will probably be attacked by hollows coming from a cave to the right.
There will be three hollows in the mouth of the cave (minus any you killed after lighting the sconce), to the right is a poison statue and another sconce to light. We will be coming back to that sconce shortly but for now head into the cave. As you move deeper, you will see a heap of vases on the ground. One on the left has a hollow slouched in front of it who will awaken as you approach. Kill it off and open the chest nearby for a Wicked Eye Greatshield. Back at the mouth of the cave and the last sconce, look underneath the platform you are standing on to see a mutant dog. Ranged characters should be able to target and kill it before dropping down. Melee characters will have to engage it after the fall. Be careful of the holes in this platform as you move around. The vase here can be broken to collect the Poison Arrows inside. If you are running low on supplies you can skip ahead to reach the next bonfire quickly and then backtrack when you are fully stocked, but if you are OK, there is a little detour we can take first. Look to the left of the mist door to see some poison statues to beat up and a walkway leading to another cave with a sconce to the right of it.
Looking into the cave is a swirling blue mist with a giant ant surrounded by poison ticks. The giant ant is actually neutral to you and will not attack. The blue mist can cure poison (at the cost of slight durability damage) so it you do get poisoned by the ticks just step into it. Carefully target the pair of ticks while avoiding attacking the giant ant (casters and melee characters with large weapon acrs need to be especially wary). On her far side, you will find a pair of poison statues and two vases with Poison Moss in both of them. Head back out to the previous platform and travel through the mist door.
In the room beyond the door are a heap of ladders, poison statues and slouched hollows (who may not attack if you are holding a torch unless you get too close). Ignore the ladders for now and on the exact opposite side of the room from where you came in is a portion of wall you can break through. Behind the wall is a sconce to the right, a bonfire to the left and another sconce beyond it. Once you have restocked, head back to the room full of ladders. From the doorway closest to the bonfire, look for two vases to your left and break them to reveal a hidden ladder and a Dung Pie.
Climb down the ladder and look to the other end of the platform where the hollow corpse is dangling on a piece of timber. Below are two vases that you can drop down to. Break them open to pick up a Rotten Pine Resin. Off to one side below this platform should be a dirt ledge with a single vase on it. Plummet down to this one and open the nearby chest for a Great Club. Next to the chest is a ladder leading down to ground level. But be careful as four hollows are waiting for you below. Ranged characters would be wise to look for targets below before descending (you should be able to kill at least two). When you are ready, climb down and deal with any remaining hollows. Smash the regular vases down here to find Life Gems, a Torch and the Dark Fog spell. Against the wall will be several strange looking containers. These are full of corrosive acid that will eat away at your equipment if you are near them when they break, so use some ranged attacks to clear the way.
After the containers are out of the way, behind them is a hole that drops down to a lower level below. Drop down to pick up the Fragrant Branch of Yore from the corpse and light the sconce. In the other direction is the mist door that enters into Black Gulch. Read on in that section to continue on.