Elden Ring players need to upgrade their weapons to survive in the Lands Between. Other than equipping Ashes of War, you can use smithing stones to upgrade your favorite weapon’s overall damage. However, there are several schools of thought in play when upgrading weapons. Some weapons require different kinds of smithing stones, whereas others require different tiers of smithing stones. Furthermore, you can only upgrade weapons on your own up to a certain point. Then you’ll have to bring them to Roundtable Hold and talk with Smithing Master Hewg.
Smithing stones are the most important piece of the upgrading puzzle. They’re scattered all over the Lands Between but can also be found as random pick-ups from dead enemies. So, where do you find more smithing stones in Elden Ring? Specifically, where can players look if they need to find them quickly?
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Smithing stones are random and rare. Most of the time, you won’t know which enemies drop them. That means upgrading weapons, especially in the early game, is no easy task, nor is it something you should take for granted.
As you venture across the Lands Between, you’re bound to find weapons you like using more than what you have equipped. However, that means upgrading those new weapons to make them viable in the game’s later stages. Now, your number one goal is finding enough smithing stones to upgrade your weapons. So, where should you look?
Look for tunnels
Tunnels are rife with smithing stones and are pretty easy to spot on the map. If you’ve unlocked an area’s map fragment, look for small black circles outlined in a red/orange hue. You’ll find them on the sides of cliffs like the one depicted above. Once you enter the tunnel, ride the lift down and proceed forward until you find a site of grace.
Some tunnels don’t have lifts, like Gael Tunnel on the border of Limgrave and Caelid. You’ll have to navigate carefully to not die from fall damage. Thankfully, fall damage in Elden Ring is remarkably forgiving.
While exploring tunnels, you’ll find miners with tough skin. This causes your weapon to bounce like you’re striking a shield. Thankfully, they’re squishy, so your attacks will interrupt theirs. Ultimately, you’ll bounce off of each other until they eventually die. Jumping, two-handed, and heavy attacks bypass the bounce-back, so use them to kill miners quickly. Miners, however, don’t succumb to most status effects like bleed or poison.
Other than miners, you’ll find several other enemies while exploring tunnels like soldiers and land octopuses. Each tunnel is different. However, they all have plenty of smithing stones for scavaging!
Collect the stones
In the tunnels, you’ll collect smithing stones like any other resource in Elden Ring. They look like yellow rocks sticking out of the wall or ground. When the “acquire material” prompt appears, press the appropriate button. You’ll also find identical-looking white rocks from time to time. These are somber smithing stones used to upgrade special weapons. The images above are from Raya Lucaria’s Crystal Cave, which proved bountiful.
You’ll grab smithing stones of various levels this way, used to upgrade weapons to +3, +6, +9, and +12. For example, Gael Tunnel has level four smithing stones, whereas Raya Lucaria’s Crystal Tunnel has level one, two, and three stones. The crystal tunnel is also full of Crystal Digger enemies instead of miners.
Finally, at the end of each tunnel, you’ll come across a mini-boss battle. Defeat the tunnel boss for a unique key item. For example, after defeating the boss at the end of the Crystal Tunnel, we got the Smithing-Stone Miner’s Bell Bearing, an essential item to give to the Twin Maiden Husks. They work like the Handmaiden from Dark Souls 3, in that you can buy things from them. However, instead of Ashes, you give them bell bearings. This, coincidentally, leads us to our next Smithing Stone farming location.
The Twin Maiden Husks
You can buy an assortment of items from the Twin Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold. Increase their available inventory by giving them bell bearings. You’ll find a few bell bearings early on by defeating tunnel bosses, exploring tunnels in general, and by defeating the Bell Bearing Hunter, a special enemy that only appears at night at the Warmaster’s Shack site of grace. However, three won’t become available until after defeating General Radahn and accessing the Mountaintops of Giants area.
As you give the Maiden Husks bell bearings, you’ll effectively upgrade the level of smithing stones you can buy. The Twin Maiden also sells valuable multiplayer items like Blue and White Cipher Rings. The blue ring works like the Blue Sentinel seal from Darks Souls 3. You’ll be randomly pulled into another player’s world to protect them from an invader. The white ring works like the Way of the Blue seal in that it calls another player into your world when someone invades you.
How to upgrade weapons in Elden Ring
Without going into grand detail, here are all the basics you need to know about how to upgrade your weapons in Elden Ring. Once you’ve got enough smithing stones and runes on hand, head to Smithing Master Hewg in Roundtable Hold. He can upgrade any weapon to any level, so doing all upgrades through him is just easier. However, if you don’t feel like traveling to Roundtable Hold, you can upgrade weapons to +3 at any anvil. There’s one at the Church of Elleh site of grace, just north of where you started the game. Since you can fast travel to Roundtable Hold at any time, we don’t see any reason not to do everything through Hewg.
Besides upgrading your weapons, Hewg can also duplicate your Ashes of War. Typically, you can only have one enchantment equipped on one weapon. If you want to apply the same enchantment to another weapon, you’ll have to remove it from the previous one. With Ashes of War duplication, you can run the same enchantment on two different weapons.
Duplication costs one Lost Ashes of War, which you can buy from the merchants scattered around the Lands Between.
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