An essential part of what makes Fromsoftware games special is their replayability. While we will never forget our first playthrough of each title, the new game cycles can give the player a greater understanding of the lore, boss and level design, and much more. One of the most significant aspects of replayability is allowing players to continue building their character far past the endgame. In Dark Souls and Elden Ring, we see this in the ability to continually level your character to the maximum amount, which will take quite a few new game cycles. In the world of Sekiro, an item called the Dancing Dragon Mask serves as a way to continue the grind, even after the conclusion of your first journey.
Dancing Dragon Mask Overview:
“A dragon’s head dancing mask, made whole by piecing the fragments back together. Grants the ability to exchange Skill Points for Attack Power in the Sculptor’s Idol Menu.
The Okami warrior women would wear this to Fountainhead Palace. There, they would dance as an offering for the dragon. Mysteriously, the ritual left them brimming with vigor.”
The Dancing Dragon Mask is an item that grants the ability to trade in skill points for attack power. You can trade five unspent skill points in exchange for one point added to your current attack power. As you progress deeper into Sekrio, you will realize that your skill trees will fill up all the way, leaving you with little use for your skill points. With this mask, you can cash in on all the hard work you did to get those points, adding another layer of replayability to Sekiro. This mask is not easy to come by, as it broke into three pieces, all scattered across Ashina. Below, I will go over how to locate all three of these Mask Fragments and what you will need to acquire them.
The names of each piece are split up as follows:
- Dragon Mask Fragment
- Right Mask Fragment
- Left Mask Fragment
Mask Fragment #1-Dragon:
The Dragon fragment will likely be the first that players encounter in their playthrough, as it is sold near a Sculptor’s Idol on the outskirts of Ashina Castle. This fragment is sold by the Dungen Memorial Mob vendor right next to the Abandoned Dungeon Entrance Sculptor’s Idol.
Getting to Abandoned Dungeon:
To reach the Andandond Dungeon Entrance, start at the Ashina Castle Sculptor’s Idol. From here, turn around and stand next to the woman sitting on the bridge. Directly across from you will be a tree sticking out over the water, so grapple over. Once across, head forward through the large doors in front of you, and crouch down as you approach the bridge.
Here, you will be allowed to eavesdrop on some enemies chatting on the bridge. Listening in on their conversation will reveal dialogue about someone they captured from Taro Troop and how they loaded him up with armor, making him impervious to blades. After listening to them, be sure to take them out, as they will drop an item called Gatehouse Key, which you can use to obtain Gyoubu’s Broken Horn, unlocking the loaded spear prosthetic. After taking them out, head forward past the bridge.
At the end of the bridge, there will be a giant door you cannot open. Instead, grapple up to its top and perch there for a second. On the other side, we can see a giant Bell-wielding enemy, coupled with some dogs. You can fight them, and if you do so, I recommend that you shuriken the dogs before jumping down to fight so that you can make it a one-on-one battle.
Engage or Elude:
If you choose to go the pacifist route, I do not blame you. When doing this, I try to pop a Gachiins Sugar or Spiritfall while still on the top of the wall. Then, I drop down and sprint into the opening on the other side, which leads into the Abandoned Dungeon Entrance. Inside, you will find the Sculptors Idol, which you should quickly interact with before the enemies catch up.
Congratulations, you have finished the first part of this scavenger hunt and only have two more fragments to go. Right next to the Idol will be the Dungeon Memorial Mob merchant, who will be selling the Dragon Mask Fragment for 5000 sen. Now is the time to use those coin purses you have hopefully saved up because farming that cash can be a hassle.
Mask Fragment #2-Right:
You can also access the following fragment relatively early. However, it would be best that players wait to acquire it, as there are some unique items you will need to gather before buying it. The Pot Noble Harunaga sells the right fragment in the Hirata Estate. You may be able to reach him early in your playthrough, but you will soon run into a wall. The catch is that he does not accept Sen as payment. Instead, he only takes an item called Treasure Carp Scales, and in this instance, he wants 7 in exchange for the fragment.
Treasure Carp Scales:
Before you start your quest for Treasure Carp Scales, you must unlock the Mibu Breathing Technique, which allows you to dive underwater. These Treasure Carp lie in the underwater areas in Sekiro, and it is up to you to find them all. Below I will go how many scales are in each location, and the general area of these fish will all be in the various bodies of water in that area.
- Bamboo Thicket Slope Idol-2 Scales
- Dragonspring Sculptor’s Idol-5 Scales
- Mibu Village Sculptor’s Idol-3 Scales
- Wedding Cave Door Sculptor’s Idol-5 Scales
- Water Mill Sculptor’s Idol-1 Scale
- Abandoned Dungeon Entrance Sculptors Idol-2 Scales
Senpou Temple, Mount Kongo
- Temple Grounds Idol-2 Scales
- Gun Fort Sculptor’s Idol-3 Scales
- Mibu Manor Sculptor’s Idol-3 Scales
- Flower Viewing Stage Sculptor’s Idol- 16 Scales
A total of 42 Treasure Carp Scales can be either found as items or farmed from the fish within the waters, and some may find this process burdensome. Farming Treasure Carp Scales is a blast, in my opinion. The underwater hunt for these Carp is a relaxing yet engaging experience. While it may seem like a hindrance that these pot nobles require a different currency, this is a great way to get players to explore every inch of the map.
Reaching Pot Noble Harunaga:
To find this merchant, you will want to start at the Dragonspring- Hirata Estate Sculptors Idol. From here, head up the path and walk towards the left side of the ledge. Below, you will see a tree protruding from the cliffside, and you will want to grapple down there. Drop down again to another tree, and you can safely land on the ground here. You will surely recognize this place, as you started your journey here.
As you approach the starting bridge leading into the estate, you will instead want to jump into the water and swim away from the bridge. Keep swimming until you reach the roof of a submerged building, and our vendor will be waiting for us here. As you approach him, he will begin to talk, saying;
“Hey, you there. Do you, perhaps, know about Carp Scales? The sparkling, shiny scales of the Treasure Carp…Bring them to me, and I’ll reward you handsomely.” Interacting with him will allow you to purchase the second mask fragment, granted they have collected the adequate amount.
Mask Fragment #3- Left:
The final area of the game is the last place we will need to access to get this mask back together. We can find this third fragment, the Left, within the Fountainhead Palace, from a similar vendor to the last one. Pot Noble Koremori sells this item for a whopping 12 treasure carp scales, so hopefully, you have some stocked up.
Finding Pot Noble Koremori:
You will want to start at the Flower Viewing Stage Sculptor’s Idol within Fountainhead Palace. There is not an especially easy way to access this vendor, at least to my knowledge, but the goal is to make it to the top of the area, meaning you will need to end up by the Palace Grounds at the top. To do this, you will first want to head forward across the broken bridge and then head right. Next, drop down instead of jumping over the gap and keep heading up and to the right. You will be spotted by a few dogs when you enter some red columns, so take them out and proceed up the river they came from.
Keep moving up and to the right; eventually, you will find a small piece of land you can jump on. Once on this land, you can reach the grapple point from the trees above, and grappling up these trees will take you to the top of the structure. Once here, head down the large stairs towards the smaller building on that floor. Sprint the whole time, and as soon as the enemy in this building turns the corner, do a 180 and grapple on top of the roof behind you. Then head left on the rooftops and grapple into a small opening in the mountain.
This opening will lead you down a small path littered with lizards, so be sure to take them out or sprint past them. Once you reach the end of this path, you can grapple across to the roof of a building, and dropping down to the ground will reveal Pot Noble Koremori. He also mentions his need for scales, so pay the man and complete your quest for the Dancing Dragon mask.
Is it Worth the Trouble?
While I enjoy the hunt for carp scales, farming is still a drag. As you can tell, acquiring all the pieces to this mask is a rather laborious process. The need to go off and farm a particular material to get an item can frustrate many, as it takes you away from the action Sekiro is praised for. The only way to balance this trade-out would be for the given item to have significant upside and should feel like a reward for the player’s hard work.
In my opinion, this aspect is where the Dancing Dragon Mask falls short. It is not that this item is a wrong item per se, but the reward for all the work put in is somewhat lackluster. This item requires a sizable amount of farming from the player even to acquire, and the payoff seems to lead to more farming. The mask does help with replayability, but as you progress deeper and deeper into New Game cycles, it becomes much more challenging to fill these skill points.
Couple this with the fact that it takes five skill points to trade for one attack power, and the Dancing Dragon Mask only seems valid for players willing to put an insane amount of time into grinding and farming enemies. This is my opinion, however, and some people may benefit from this item. Sometimes, all a player needs to beat the boss standing in their way is a little bit more attack power, and in this instance, the Dancing Dragon Mask is perfect.
In my first playthrough, I did not read what the mask did before I went and gathered all the items, as this seemed like an item I needed to have. After getting the mask, I was underwhelmed with the reality of this item, which made me regret all the effort I put into this journey for the mask. If you are not expecting this item to be a game-changer for you, then you will be pleasantly surprised with the ability to add attack power. However, I feel this mask could have offered a greater reward for the player.
Question: Will I lose the Dancing Dragon Mask when starting a new game?
Answer: No, you will keep this item in your inventory, and it is perfect for new game cycles.
Questions: Can I put on the Dancing Dragon Mask?
Answer: Unfortunately, having this item will not add the mask to your character.
Question: Is there a soft cap for my attack power?
Answer: From my experience, I can say that the soft cap for attack power is around 20, so be mindful of that when spending these points.
Looking for more interesting readings? Check out: