Rune Arcs are rare items in Elden Ring, which come with cryptic instructions. The item description states “Grants the blessing of an equipped Great Rune upon use”, but this doesn’t tell the whole story.
When you first obtain some Rune Arcs, the chances are you won’t have the means to get the maximum benefit from them. If you use one from your inventory, you’ll see it consumed with no noticeable effect. Rather than wondering if you’ve wasted such a grand-looking item forever, we’ve got you covered with all relevant information below.
Here’s everything you need to know about Rune Arcs in Elden Ring, with a full explanation of how they work as well as the Rune Arc farming locations.
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What do Rune Arcs do?
These items certainly look important, but it’s not entirely clear how or when you can use them effectively. The function of a Rune Arc works as follows:
- If you have a Great Rune equipped, then a Rune Arc will bestow a temporary bonus depending on the Great Rune
- If you do not have a Great Rune equipped, then the Rune Arc will actually give you a tiny but permanent HP increase
As for the Great Runes, these are obtained by defeating certain bosses, which we’ll discuss in far more detail later.
How long do Rune Arcs last?
When a Great Rune is equipped, the bonus conferred by a Rune Arc will last until you die. Once you have died, you’ll have to use another Rune Arc to gain the bonus again.
This means a Rune Arc’s bonus duration is rather like a piece of string… but in Elden Ring it generally means a pretty short time.
When is the best time to use Rune Arcs?
This one’s all a matter of personal preference, but in my experience there is definitely an optimum time to use up your Rune Arcs.
The perfect situation to expend Rune Arcs in Elden Ring is when you are taking on a boss and have had a few unsuccessful attempts. Tougher bosses will usually take multiple tries, and a first attempt may waste the precious Rune Arc before you have properly learnt the attack patterns. If you do manage to beat them within a few tries, then you didn’t need a Rune Arc anyway.
Another perfectly good time to use a Rune Arc is when you have gone a long way into a dungeon without finding a Site of Grace. You can fast travel back to save your runes but would have to explore the section from scratch, so the Rune Arc’s helping hand will reduce the chance of a rage-inducing death that costs you your progress plus thousands of hard-earned runes.
Elden Ring Rune Arc locations
Although Rune Arcs are quite rare, you will find them dotted around the Lands Between. If you are fairly thorough in your exploration you will likely find at least a couple of dozen on your adventure, as well as having a few dropped by enemies and bosses.
Furthermore, these can be purchased from merchants such as the Twin Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold or the Nomadic Merchants. Unfortunately, merchants have them in limited supply, and they are not cheap (typically 4,000 runes, but sometimes 8,000!).
You can also earn Rune Arcs by playing online multiplayer. If you invade another world with Festering Blood Fingers and defeat the Host of Fingers, you will obtain a Rune Arc. You’ll also get a Rune Arc if you help another player take down a boss. This is a solid way of farming Rune Arcs because there is nothing to stop you doing this indefinitely.
How to farm Rune Arcs offline
it is actually possible to farm Rune Arcs without ever venturing into another world.
Believe it or not, you can receive Rune Arcs from rat enemies that are commonly found in caves and sewers. Rune Arcs are a very rare drop, but they do drop them eventually. In a few hours you can end up with more Rune Arcs then you’ll ever need. They do not need to be the giant rats – small rats will also suffice.
Some good places to find plenty of rats are the Earthbore Cave in the Weeping Peninsula of Limgrave (map location pictured above) or the bottom section of Castle Morne (near the Beside The Rampart Gaol Site of Grace).
Increase your chances by bolstering your Discovery stat as much as possible. The Silver-Pickled Fowl Foot items can drastically boost your chances for 3 minutes by increasing Discovery by 50. The buff will end when you fast travel so make sure you return to a Site of Grace on foot to rest and respawn the enemies. The best accessory to assist is the Silver Scarab, but unfortunately this can only be found late in the game, in the hidden tunnel between the Grand Lift of Rold and Miquella’s Haligtree.
If you’re really desperate, you can even respec to boost your Arcane attribute, before respeccing back once you’ve finished farming. You can hold 99 Rune Arcs at a time, and keep a large reserve in your inventory too.
How to get Great Runes and how to restore their power
There are seven Great Runes in Elden Ring, each earned by defeating a powerful boss. However, getting the Great Runes is only the beginning. You’ll have to go out of your way to restore power to these runes by finding the corresponding Divine Tower, reaching the top and touching the Fingers there.
Everything you need to know about each Great Rune can be found below.
Godrick’s Great Rune
This is obtained by beating Godrick the Grafted at the end of Stormveil Castle in Limgrave. Godrick’s Great Rune will raise all attributes by a moderate amount.
You can restore power to Godrick’s Great Rune by reaching the top of the Divine Tower of Limgrave. This is found from Stormveil Castle by reaching the large bridge on the eastern side of it. This is easy to see on the map, but has its fair share of enemies in the way. When you find the Limgrave Tower Bridge Site of Grace, you’ll be able to cross the bridge and find a teleporter that takes you to the Divine Tower.
Great Rune of the Unborn
This Great Rune is obtained by beating Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon in Raya Lucaria Academny in Liurnia. This one simply allows you to respec by speaking to Rennala afterwards and providing a Larval Tear. Therefore it does not work like the others and you will not need to restore its power.
Radahn’s Great Rune
Obtained by beating Starscourge Radahn after teleporting from the Redmane Castle festival in Caelid. Radahn’s Great Rune will increase maximum HP, FP and stamina, making it a great all-round choice.
Restore its power by scaling the Divine Tower of Caelid. This is in the northern part of the Caelid region, found northwest from Dragonbarrow. Don’t approach this tower with many runes in tow because falling to your death once or twice is pretty likely. Access the Divine Tower by jumping along the large tree roots and ledges before scaling the building from the outside. As long as you find this Divine Tower, you can get inside and reach the top without any further keys or items (Torrent can help too). Note that there is also a route down to the bottom of the tower, but this isn’t the way to the fingers.
Rykard’s Great Rune
The next Great Rune is Rykard’s Great Rune, obtained by beating Rykard, Lord of Blesphemy. This will involve clearing the Volcano Manor dungeon in the northwest part of the Altus Plateau. This Great Rune will restore HP when you kill enemies.
Restore power to Rykard’s Great Rune at the Divine Tower of West Altus. This is found by making it through the Sealed Tunnel, which is a hidden location right in the southwest part of Altus Plateau. It’s on the outskirts of Lyndell, near the edge of the map in the outer lake. You’ll have to break down some secret walls down before beating the Onyx Lord. Although you can reach this area before beating Rykard, the path to the top of the tower will be sealed shut unless you have defeated him first.
Morgott’s Great Rune
This is obtained by beating Morgott at Lyndell. Morgott can’t be skipped without glitches or hacks, effectively making it an unmissable Great Rune that provides a massive HP boost.
To restore its power, you must visit the Divine Tower of East Altus, which is found in the Royal Capital of Lyndell. Take a detour on the way to the Forbidden Lands, which you are directed towards after beating Morgott. Instead of heading across the bridge to the Forbidden Lands, go right and take the southern bridge instead, which leads to the Divine Tower. Unfortunately you must beat the Fell Twins on the way, who are awkward because the screen will go pitch-black. Once you’ve bested them, the way will be clear and you can restore power to Morgott’s Great Rune and Mohg’s Great Rune (see below).
Mohg’s Great Rune
Mohg’s Great Rune is obtained by beating Mohg, Lord of Blood, who can be accessed by finding the teleporter in the western part of Consecrated Snowfield and making your way through the underground map. It’s an unusual one, which grants your Spirit Ash summons the ability to absorb health from their attacks. This health-steal will also heal you, making it a decent option if you have a powerful summon equipped.
This Great Rune is also restored at the Divine Tower of East Altus, found in the eastern part of Lyndell as discussed above.
Malenia’s Great Rune
Finally, defeat Malenia, Blade of Miquella to acquire Malenia’s Great Rune. This one restores your HP when landing attacks, just like Malenia herself.
As for the restoration of power, this is done at Isolated Divine Tower. This is reached via the teleporter by the Divine Bridge Site of Grace. It’s possible to reach Divine Bridge very early in the game, but the teleporter to the Divine Tower won’t be working if you try too early. The easiest way to get here is via the chest at the top of the Tower of Return in the Weeping Peninsula of Limgrave. Use the chest to teleport to Divine Bridge, and then find the teleporter beyond the giant to teleport to Isolated Divine Tower. Go to the top and touch the fingers as usual to activate Malenia’s Great Rune.
What is the best Great Rune to equip?
Obviously this will depend on your playstyle, and the descriptions above will give you a good indication of what may work best for you. The more Rune Arcs you acquire in Elden Ring, the more Great Runes you can test out.
My personal preference was with the all-round benefits of either Godrick’s Great Rune or Radahn’s Great Rune.
The least useful against bosses is Rykard’s Great Rune, which will do absolutely nothing in most circumstances since you have to actually kill the boss to heal. Mohg’s Great Rune is an effective option if you have a high-level tanky summon such as the Mimic Tear, where you can basically leave them tackle a boss alone. However, this is so cheap I’m not sure I’d recommend it.
Recap: How to use a Rune Arc
To be clear, if you wish to use a Rune Arc to power up a Great Rune, you must complete the following steps:
- Obtain any Great Rune by defeating one of the bosses above
- Restore power to the Great Rune you wish to use by touching the fingers at the corresponding Divine Tower
- Rest at a Site of Grace and equip the Great Rune in the ‘Great Runes’ section (you can only equip one at a time)
- Then consume a Rune Arc by selecting it in your inventory – if this is a stat-boosting Great Rune you will instantly see your power considerably increase
That’s all there is to it. Hopefully our guide of Rune Arcs explained, along with the Rune Arc locations in Elden Ring will help you on your quest.
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