So apparently its possible to kill King Vendrick in your very first encounter, and it may or may not be a glitch, but you can do full damage to him if its your first time fighting him. I heard this in another topic earlier and just tried it out on my new character right after i fought Velstadt, and i only had one Giants Soul in my inventory which i got from the elite giants in the black gulch. I did full damage, bought 280 a swipe with my Magic Blue Flame+5 enchanted with great magic weapon, and 218 after the buff wore off.
After a long battle in which i nearly died due to ol Vendrick jumping halfway into the wall and making his blind spot unavailable i finally manged to slay the old undead king and am now rocking the Kings Armor set! I also took his soul to Ornifex and had her forge me a Ruler's Sword, cant weild it but still nice to have lol.
So yeah if your feeling bold you can actually kill Vendrick on your very first encounter, just grab the ring FIRST cause if you mess up and die he goes back to normal and getting it might be a pain in the ass when he suddenly has full defenses and your doing 20 damage lol.
You don't have to talk to Kieran during the prison chapter in order to recruit him. Just make sure he escapes. --- Marcus is the answer for anything except "best unit who isn't Marcus," but even then he is a strong contender. - PokeAMon