Oath Runes are special runes that have a variety of effects on your character, ranging anywhere from new multiplayer options, to changing how your character uses certain weapons, to outright transformation of the player character. These special runes are only obtained from major characters in the game, often after completing a long and involved questline or succeeding in some difficult task related to that character. Oath Runes may only be placed in the fourth, teal colored slot for Caryll Runes, and only one Oath Rune may be equipped at a time. Note that half of these runes may cause summoned players to sometimes be hostile and attack you, and it's prudent to read up on all of their effects before equipping one.
Joining a covenant is as simple as equipping the associated Oath Rune; it's getting the rune in the first place that's the problem. There is no penalty for removing an Oath Rune or switching to a different one. Bear in mind that having certain Oath Runes equipped may cause you to be enemies with players who have an opposing rune equipped, and attempts to co-op with them via the Small Resonant Bell or Beckoning Bell will pit you in a fight with them instead.
"Pledgers to this oath are Cainhurst Vilebloods, hunters of blood who find dregs for their Queen of coldblood, particularly in that of hunters. Yet the corrupt are heretics in the eyes of the Church, thus subject to the wrath of the Executioners."
Covenant leader: Annalise, Queen of the Vilebloods
Associated Rune, Badge, and Equipment: Corruption, Cainhurst Hunter Badge, Chikage, Evelyn, Cainhurst Set, Numbing Mist
How to Join: Speak with Annalise, Queen of the Vilebloods to acquire the Corruption Oath Rune, along with the Cainhurst Hunter Badge and the Respect Gesture.
- Members of the Cainhurst Vilebloods can give Blood Dregs to Annalise, and are ranked on the Vileblood Register according to how many Blood Dregs they've given. After giving the first Blood Dreg, Annalise will reward the player with the Deep Respect gesture.
- While the Corruption rune is equipped, enemy players you invade or are invaded by, and all NPCs, will drop a Blood Dreg when killed.
- While the Corruption rune is equipped, other players with the Radiance rune will be hostile if summoned or when you are summoned by them. When this happens, the summoned player will be purple instead of blue, but will still use up a summon slot meaning the host can summon only one other player and can still be invaded by another player. Purple players are not allied with invading players, and can still attack them. It is possible for two summoned players to be hostile in this manner, denying the host any assistance at all.
- The Corruption rune gives a passive +1 regen effect at low health (under 12.5% hp). The effect will end once you have 12.5% or more hp.
"The Executioners despise the impure Vilebloods, and no matter what the circumstances, would never cooperate with the bloodthirsty hunters who serve the undead queen, Annalise."
Associated Rune, Badge, and Equipment: Radiance, Wheel Hunter Badge, Logarius' Wheel, Gold Ardeo
How to Join: Complete Alfred's side quest in which you help him discover the last survivor of the Vilebloods. Acquire the Unopened Summons from the room Annalise is found in. Give these summons to Alfred to get the Church Bow (Male) gesture, leave and warp to Annalise's chamber, speak with Alfred and exhaust his dialogue to get the Wheel Hunter Badge (at this point the player can walk up to Annalise's remains on her throne and grab the Queenly Flesh), then warp to Cathedral Ward and return to the place where you first met Alfred to find the Radiance Oath Rune.
- While the Radiance rune is equipped, you will be hostile against any Vileblood player you summon or are summoned by. When this occurs, the summoned player will be purple instead of blue, but will still use up a summon slot meaning the host can summon only one other player and can still be invaded by another player. Purple players are not allied with invading players, and can still attack them. It is possible for two summoned players to be hostile in this manner, denying the host any assistance at all.
- The Radiance rune increases the amount of hit points recovered with Blood Vials by about 2%.
"These watchmen admonish those who have become addled with blood. Be they men or beasts, anyone who has threatened the pledgers of "Hunter" oath has an issue with blood."
Associated Rune, Badge, and Equipment: Hunter, Crow Hunter Badge, Blade of Mercy, Crowfeather Set
How to Join: Complete Eileen's side quest. Regardless of initially meeting her in Central Yarnham she will be outside the Cathedral Ward looking over the balcony. After clearing most of the Cathedral Ward and opening both outer gates, talk to her and she will mention a "mark" she is hunting. Travel from the Cathedral Ward lamp to the Tomb of Oedon lamp by foot (you can't warp to the Tomb of Oedon lamp until finishing the next step). Help Eileen kill her mark and you will receive her praise and the Approval gesture (Eileen must survive or her quest ends, be especially careful since she isn't immune to your attacks). The next time you need to help Eileen will be after the Rom boss fight. After Rom, head to the Grand Cathedral lamp. Again this lamp should be non-operational and will require footwork. Help Eileen kill her mark again and speak with her again to get the Crow Hunter Badge and the Hunter Oath Rune. If you avoided Eileen or did not do any part of her side quest, she will instead be hostile at the Grand Cathedral after Rom and only drop the Crow Hunter's Badge.
- While the Hunter rune is equipped, there is a small chance (~30%) that a summoned player will be hostile to you, or you will be hostile against a host who summoned you. It is unknown what conditions must be met to trigger this if any, but even against players who do meet the conditions for it the effect will only activate about 1 time out of 3. It is generally assumed that players who frequently invade or kill NPCs are considered "Blood Addled". The rules for hostile summons are identical to the ones under Cainhurst Vilebloods and Executioners.
- The Hunter rune will boost stamina recovery speed by 10%.
"The League is a band of Hunters who have taken an oath and are bound by a single purpose. By aligning yourself to The League, led by a mysterious figure in a constable's garb and bucket helmet, you can assist other players online in the game and compete in The League's online rankings leaderboard.
In addition to The League, players will also be able to use The League cane and summon co-op NPCs within the game, perfect for tackling challenging areas and bosses."
Covenant Leader: Valtr
Associated Rune and Equipment: Impurity, Master's Iron Helm
How to Join: Speak with Valtr and accept his invitation into The League to receive the Impurity rune and League Staff.
- While wearing the Impurity rune, being summoned by another player and helping them kill a boss will award you with a Vermin.
- While wearing the Impurity rune, the player can see and summon additional Old Hunter npcs who are not available without it.
- Players in this covenant are ranked on the League Staff according to how many Vermin they've crushed (Vermin are crushed by using them).
- As the player smashes more Vermin, Valtr will gain new dialogue and eventually leave, leaving behind the Master's Iron Helm. After this, his stats as a summon will receive a significant boost.
- Sometime after the first Vermin smashed, the Younger Madaras Twin will appear as a hostile NPC near the Forbidden Woods lamp. He will attack on sight, and killing him awards the player with the Madaras Whistle. Contrary to the rumors, he will not actually kill Valtr if left alone, and can be safely dealt with later if needed.
- The Impurity rune gives a +2% boost to your HP while summoned.
"Those who swear this oath take on a ghastly form and enjoy accentuated transformation effects, especially while wielding a beast weapon"
Associated Rune and Weapon: Beast's Embrace, Beast Claw
How to Join: Defeat Laurence, the First Vicar.
- Equipping the Beast's Embrace rune will transform your character and make them look like a beast. This does not make your character weak to gems with the Beasthunter effect or resistant to gems with a curse that reduces damage against beasts.
- While the Beast's Embrace rune is equipped, the Beast Claw's moveset is completely changed, its damage is increased, and it gains the ability to build up Beasthood even when not in trick mode.
- While both the Beast's Embrace rune and Beast Claw weapon are equipped, your character's dodge is changed.
- The Beast's Embrace rune boosts your Beasthood by +15.
"Those who take this oath become a Lumenwood that peers towards the sky, feeding phantasms in its luscious bed. Phantasms guide us and lead us to further discoveries."
Associated Rune and Weapon: Milkweed, Kos Parasite
How to join: Find and give three Brain Fluids to Saint Adeline.
- Equipping the Milkweed rune will transform your character and make them look like a kin. This does not make your character weak to gems with the Kinhunter effect or resistant to gems with a curse that reduces damage against kin.
- While the Milkweed rune is equipped, the Kos Parasite's full moveset is unlocked and it gains a significant damage multiplier and range increase.
- While both the Milkweed rune and Kos Parasite weapon are equipped, your character's dodge is changed.
- The Milkweed rune boosts your Discovery by +10, slightly increasing how often items drop.