Think of runes in Elden Ring as souls in the, well, Dark Souls franchise. This is the game’s basic currency, essentially your XP and cash rolled into one. Here’s our Elden Ring guide to help you with rune farming and leveling.
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Elden Ring rune farming and leveling guide
You won’t be able to level up yet at the start of the campaign. Instead, you’ll have to progress a bit further by heading north and reaching Gatefront. This is a camp that’s filled with soldiers, but there’s a Site of Grace nearby. When you interact with it, an NPC named Melina will show up. She asks if you’d like her help in transforming your runes to strength. Accept her offer and this will begin the leveling process in Elden Ring. From this point onwards, you’ll be able to use the level up function when resting in a Site of Grace.
Note: This is also where you’ll receive your Spectral Steed Summon. This is Torrent, your horse that can be used for quick traversal and mounted combat. Also, make sure you return to the Church of Elleh at night so that a witch named Renna can provide the ability to call on specters to aid you in battle.
The basics of leveling and acquiring runes
The way leveling works is that you use the runes you’ve acquired to boost a particular attribute/stat (i.e., Strength, Dexterity, Faith, and so on). Ideally, you’ll want to focus on one main stat, perhaps the type of weapon or playstyle that you’re comfortable with. Likewise, you might want to dump a few points into Vigor (for HP) or other stats (in case a weapon/shield that you like requires it to be raised further).
As far as the currency goes, there are a few ways to amass runes in Elden Ring. The most common is simply by slaying enemies. Tougher enemies such as bosses yield more rewards, too. There are also items called Golden Runes that give cash when they’re used/consumed via your inventory. Golden Runes are found everywhere, but do keep an eye out for the following:
- Graveyards or overworld tombs – Some of the glowing items here are Golden Runes.
- Skulls with glowing eyes – You can destroy these by galloping over them while on horseback or just rolling on top of them. Pick up the Golden Rune afterward.
Note: Dying will cause you to lose all the runes you have in your possession. However, you can go back to the place where you died to pick up your currency (i.e., a corpse run). If you die again before you’re able to grab what you lost, then your runes are gone for good. Still, there’s a particular item that can be used to prevent the loss of runes on death.
The Troll Carriage
As for farming runes in Elden Ring, the most reliable spot I’ve found in the early game is the Troll Carriage. This is located in southeast Limgrave near the Waypoint Ruins Cellar (i.e., the same place where you meet Sorceress Sellen).
When you reach this area, you’ll see two Trolls pulling a massive carriage. They’re also flanked by zombies and a couple of soldiers. The good news is that the trolls are lumbering oafs that are shackled to the carriage. You can stay on your horse and stab/slash them while avoiding their stomps.
When a troll has taken enough damage, quickly put it out of its misery or it’ll break free of its shackle and you’ll have to fight it normally. Also, watch out for the barbarian that’s on horseback once it aggroes (it’ll give you more of a challenge than the trolls).
Each troll here provides around 1,000 runes and, if you defeated the other fodder, you should have a decent haul. You can pick up the Great Axe from the chest behind the carriage, too.
When you’re done, fast travel back to Waypoint Ruins Cellar and rest there to respawn your targets. Hopefully, your quick rune farming runs in Elden Ring would be enough to keep you leveled, or at least allow you to buy more stuff from vendors.