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How to use Great Runes in Elden Ring

The world of Elden Ring is filled with mysteries. The game doesn't hold your hand for long before letting you venture out in any direction you like – which is both a blessing and a curse. Stumbling upon new weapons, enemies, or another gorgeous viewpoint is what makes Elden Ring so entertaining, and if the game simply pointed you towards all these locations, it wouldn't be nearly as exciting.




45 minutes

What You Need

  • Complete Stormveil Castle

  • Find the Divine Tower

But on the other hand, Elden Ring does a poor job explaining some of its most useful systems, which can be frustrating if you're new to the design philosophy of FromSoftware. No where is this more apparent than Great Runes, which get glossed over without giving you any idea as to why they're important or how to use them.

That's a bit of a shame, as Great Runes offer a remarkable way to boost your skills and stay alive during the game's most difficult battles. To help you decipher these strange items, here's a comprehensive look at how Great Runes work in Elden Ring, including where to find them, how to Awaken Great Runes, and how to harness their powers.

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What are Great Runes?

Without spoiling too much, Great Runes are one of the two new prizes you get for beating the final bosses of Elden Ring's main dungeons. In lore, they're the pieces of the titular Elden Ring, and there are six you can collect. The first you are going to encounter will be Godric's Great Rune after completing Stormveil Castle.

In gameplay, they serve two purposes: one is to simply access the final area of the game (you will need at least two), and they also provide very strong buffs for your character. However, you won't be able to do either of these unless you do some very specific actions first.

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How to Awaken Great Runes

Before a Great Rune can do anything for you, you need to first Awaken it. However, as we mentioned before, the game itself won't give you any help in figuring out how to do this. Here are all the steps you need to take.

Step 1: Get a Great Rune. Obviously, you will need at least your first Great Rune in your possession before you can Awaken any of them. If you just follow the main path in Elden Ring, you will eventually get your first after conquering Stormveil Castle.

Step 2: Find the Divine Tower. You'd never know it, but there's a very specific location you need to visit in order to Awaken your Great Rune. This Divine Tower is actually not terribly far from Stormveil Castle. Looking at the map, follow the long broken bridge that runs from the castle to the northeast. At the very end of that path is the Divine Tower.

Step 3: Open Stormveil Castle's front gate. If you didn't do so your first time through, you will need to do so in order to access the bridge.

Step 4: Survive crossing the bridge. You can choose to run or fight your way across this bridge, but either way you're in for a rough time. You'll be faced with three Guardian Golems (not at once thankfully), with the last one wielding a massive bow that can easily kill you, even at full health.

Step 5: Reach the teleporter. You may have noticed on the map that the bridge doesn't actually fully connect to the Divine Tower anymore. Fear not, because at the edge of the passable portion of the bridge, someone was considerate enough to leave a teleporter that will shoot you to the other side where a Site of Grace allows you to take a much needed rest.

Step 6: Take the lift up the tower. At the top, you will find a series of shrine-looking altars and statues surrounding a massive bone in the middle. Use the Great Rune with the statue to finally Activate it.

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How to use Great Runes

Once Activated, Great Runes are also an item you can equip for very powerful buffs, but again the way to do so isn't as simple as it would be in another game. Here's how to take advantage of these powerful items.

Step 1: After Activating the Great Rune, visit a Site of Grace.

Step 2: Select the Great Runes option and equip your Great Rune of choice into your slot.

Step 3: Use a Rune Arc. Slotting in a Great Rune alone won't give you any of the benefits of the Great Rune. To evoke whatever power that Great Rune will give you, you need to use a rare and valuable item called a Rune Arc. You can reliably purchase them from a certain merchant in the Roundtable Hold for 4,000 runes, or you can find them in the world, and even occasionally as very rare drops from enemies.

Step 4: Enjoy your buff while it lasts. Once you use your Rune Arc, the buff of your equipped Great Rune will stay active for as long as you can manage to go without dying. Once you do die — because it will happen — you will have to spend another Rune Arc if you want to regain those bonuses. These are best saved for challenging bosses where you know you can win if you just had a bit more of an edge.

Step 5: Secondarily, without spoiling again, all you need to do is reach the final area with at least two Awakened Great Runes for the door to open. Otherwise, it will just stay shut with little clue as to why.

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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