Dark Souls: Humanity and Kindle Explained

Since the release of Dark Souls, a lot of you don’t know what Humanity and Kindles actually do in the game.

The very moment you touch the bonfire, the word Kindle is right there but the game fails to explain what exactly it is – and this holds true for the Humanity as well. To understand more about the game, we’ll explain what the two words mean and how it relates and depends on one another.


In Demon’s Souls, when you die in the game, you turn into a Phantom and the only time you get your body back is when you use a certain item. The differences between being alive and phantom in Demon’s Souls is that your stats are cut slightly. When it comes to Dark Souls, it’s kind of similar in a way.

You start as an Undead, also known as Hollow, in Dark Souls. After killing a semi-boss and big bosses, you will be given a Humanity Point. To turn into a human form again, all you have to do is go visit a Bonfire and click Reverse Hollow. Every time you turn into human, you’ll be using one humanity point.

Now that you’re no longer a Hollow, one of the benefits for being Human is that your item discovery will gradually increase, allowing every enemies to drop their rare items. This is very important for those trophy hunters wishing to collect all Rare Weapons. The majority of the rare weapons in the game will come from enemies you defeated and depending if you’re Human.


To increase the amount of Estus Flask, you must use Kindle in the Bonfire. However, before you can Kindle and increase the capacity of the Flask for yourself, you must use a Humanity Point.

Dark Souls: Humanity and Kindle Explained, 7.9 out of 10 based on 16 ratings
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  1. icancontribute
    October 5, 2011, 8:09 AM

    So, kindling “increase[s] the capacity of the [Estus] Flask”

    are there other ways of increasing or improving the flask or getting better flasks? I heard there was a way to get a +5 flask. is this an upgrade which occurs by “kindling”? the method you describe above. And what is the greatest or highest level of flask attainable?

    please, help me understand. I’m one of the many who didn’t get my preorderd game and is waiting in limbo.

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  2. William Pansky (@williampansky)
    October 5, 2011, 10:05 AM

    At one point I held 10 Estus Flasks, however after using them during my adventures I found that only the original 5 I was given by the dieing warrior before the first boss persisted after resting.

    Are we able to permanently increase the number of flasks we carry? Is that through Kindling?

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  3. Mark Fajardo
    October 5, 2011, 10:55 AM

    You must give an item to the Fire Keeper Soul if you wish to increase the Estus Flask. We’ll talk about it in our next article.

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  4. thomas tankengin
    October 5, 2011, 2:52 PM

    william pansky – the extra swigs from the flask only apply when you’re spawning from the fire you kindled to earn those extra swigs.

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  5. DougFresh
    October 6, 2011, 12:48 PM

    THIS is humanity and kindle explained? PLEASE go into more depth….when can I lose humanity and kindle, why do I get 10 flasks at the first fire (after asylum level), but only 5 at the fire inside the city? How rare are they? Should I keep them for bosses….Why would I use humanity if I die all the time and its rare? Etc, etc….

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  6. Mark Fajardo
    October 6, 2011, 3:25 PM

    Q: when can I lose humanity and kindle?
    A: You lose humanity when you die. You can get Humanity Points by invading someone’s world and win PvP. Sometimes you can ask someone to summon you as a phantom and defeat the boss in the area. Most of the time, Humanity Points can easily be obtained by the drops of the enemies.

    As for Kindle, every Bonfire is different. If you’re getting ten Estus flask in Firelink Shrine and you get five in Undead Parish, that means that you have to use HUmanity Points to upgrade the kindle on the bonfire that gives you 5.

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  7. CoupeDeGrace
    October 13, 2011, 1:40 AM

    Step one: Gather humanity by killing enemies and looting corpses scattered around the world (among other methods.)

    Step two: Revive yourself at a bonfire for 1 humanity point. Once you are human, you gain the ability to kindle any bonfire.

    Step three: Kindle a bonfire. This also costs one humanity point. In return, the kindled bonfire will now provide #10 uses of the Estus Flask, and will continue to do each time the player rests at that particular bonfire. The player can kindle any subsequent bonfire as well, for 1 humanity.

    There seems to be a way to further kindle bonfires, but I have not discovered how to do so.

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  8. Mario
    October 16, 2011, 4:38 AM

    So in effect, you need 2 humanity to ‘kindle’ a fire. 1 humanity spent on becoming human-and 1 spend on kindling a fire. Is this correct?

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  9. Gokim
    October 19, 2011, 2:07 AM

    thanks for this information, i couldnt work it out, i was doing trial and error, but using different bonfires didnt help lol

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  10. loonzy1985
    October 22, 2011, 2:35 PM

    its quite an in depth system actually. Basically you can only kindle a bonfire if your human, so thats 1 humanity if your hollowed. + 1 more to kindle ( each kindle = 5 extra estus flasks ) . to improve the healing on the estus flask i.e estus flask +1 you need to give a fire keeper soul to the mute behind bars below the first bonfire in firelink shrine ( just after you fly from the asylum ). Each bonfire is totally individual so be careful how fast you spend your humanity points. You also get 1 humanity point added to your total when you kill a sub boss or boss (i.e someone who wont respawn ) and the higher the humanity count the better the drops ( i dont know whether it matters if your human or not tho ). Anyway anyone who struggles with collecting humanity can just up the total slightly and hunt rats underneath the drake before undead parish. They seem to drop loads of the stuff.

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  11. bestgirlfriendintheworld
    January 10, 2012, 7:02 PM

    I’m playing navigator when my boyfriend gets stuck in Dark Souls. He is having a problem “kindling”. He is human and he has 8 Humanities. When he uses a humanity and tries to kindle, he is given the message that he has no humanities. What the heck is going on? Someone please help! I can’t find any site that gives me any kind of answer that makes sense. I’ve watched a vid on YouTube, and it gave that guy the option. We followed it step-by-step.

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  12. bestgirlfriendintheworld
    January 10, 2012, 7:04 PM

    Any by the way, he is at the point where he is battling the Crystal Golem and attempting to kill Hydra. So far he has taken off one of Hydra’s heads.
    That’s why he needs more in his Estes Flask.

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  13. Alex
    January 11, 2012, 8:42 PM

    Hey BFintheworld,
    When it is asking for humanities, it doesn’t mean the items in your inventory. It will use a humanity from the counter on the top left of the screen.

    Use the humanity in your inventory, then try to kindle.

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  14. SmellyOldMan
    June 27, 2012, 12:02 AM

    Can someone please confirm this?:

    So if you die and then die again before recovering your body…
    – If you are human, you will no longer be human (i.e. you will be undead)?
    -Do you loose humanity in your inventory, or just the humanity you added to you “counter” in the upper right corner?
    -The only other thing you loose is the souls that you use to level up?

    I’m not sure if all my terminollogy is correct, so I hope someone understands what I am asking. Thank you!!

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  15. ChaosImperial
    August 27, 2012, 10:08 AM

    @SmellyOldMan – If you die, then die again before you can make a retrieval, you lose anything you did not retrieve. Either way, at death you will no longer be human, but hollowed again. What you lose are the souls you’ve gathered, and the humanity in the counter at the top left of the HUD.

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  16. Dave
    October 3, 2013, 11:30 AM

    Article is not entirely correct about item discovery rate, which depends on the amount of humanity you are holding (as displayed in humanity meter) NOT on whether you are in human or hollow form.

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  17. Dave
    October 3, 2013, 11:35 AM

    Also this:

    “william pansky – the extra swigs from the flask only apply when you’re spawning from the fire you kindled to earn those extra swigs.”

    Is not correct. Resting at a bonfire that has been kindled is sufficient for receiving additional flasks and does not require spawning there.

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