Elden Ring Great Runes explained

Elden Ring Great Runes are one of the game’s big mysteries when you first discover them. You won’t really know what they are or what to do with them to start with, but these valuable boss rewards can give you a big advantage once you master their secrets. 

The short version is that by defeating most of the Elden Ring main bosses you’ll get a a Great Rune that can power you up in different ways. Each one will give you a different set of abilities or buffs that can help you in different ways. But only once you’ve activated them. 

The long version then is you need to kill one of the “shardbearer” bosses to get a Great Rune. Then you need to use a Divine Tower to activate them, as well as find and consume Rune Arcs whenever you want power them up in Elden Ring. However, you only actually need two of the to progress the story, meaning you can do as much  or as little as you like. You can just clear what you need to finish the game, but if you want to to you can collect a range of powers to help you fight. 

Coming up we’ll cover how to find and restore Elden Ring Great Runes, what each of them do, and how to farm the Rune Arcs needed to power them up below.

Great Runes in Elden Ring explained

Elden Ring great runes rune arc farming

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Many major bosses in Elden Ring drop Great Runes, mythical artefacts that can be attached to your character for potential, if limited, buffs. Once you have one restored, you can head to any Site of Grace and use the “Great Runes” menu option to effectively equip it into the Great Rune slot.

This is where things get complicated. By themselves Great Runes don’t do anything, but if you use a consumable Rune Arc while you have one equipped, it’ll have a temporary effect on you that changes according to whatever Great Rune you have in the slot. For example, using a Rune Arc with Godrick’s Great Rune equipped effectively gives you a temporary bonus to all your attributes, making you better at everything for a short time. Radahn’s Great Rune boosts your health, stamina and FP. Whatever you choose, it’s always a powerful ability and one that serves well when used just before, or even during, boss fights.

How to get Great Runes

Elden Ring godrick boss fight how to beat the grafted

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Great Runes are unique items found by killing the game’s main bosses, such as Godrick, Renalla and Radahn. If you ever want a pointer on where to find the next ones, go back to the Roundtable Hold and speak to Gideon Ofnir, who can give info about them all.

All Great Runes listed

Elden Ring great runes

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

There’s a total of six proper Great Runes that players can find an equip, with a few similar items available (such as the Great Rune of the Unborn, which can’t be “used” except to unlock a new type of merchant service from a major NPC). 

Nonetheless, we’ve listed all the Great Runes below, including what they do, what boss you need to cut down to get them, and where in the world those bosses are found. Keep in mind that you’ll need to restore all these before they can be used (explained below).

Great Runes Great Rune Boss Location Effect when triggered Godrick’s Great RuneGodrick the GraftedStormveil Castle/LimgraveRaises all Attributes by 5Radahn’s Great RuneStarscourge RadahnRedmane Castle/CaelidRaises Max HP, FP and Stamina by 15%Morgott’s Great RuneMorgott the Omen KingLeyndell, Royal Capital/Altus PlateauRaises Max HP by 25%Rykard’s Great RuneRykard, Lord of BlasphemyBeneath Volcano Manor/Mt. GelmirRestore 185 HP per enemy killedMohg’s Great RuneMohg, Lord of BloodMoghwyn Dynasty Mausoleum/Moghwyn PalaceGrants “Blessing of Blood” to Summoned Phantoms (see below)Malenia’s Great RuneMalenia, Blade of MiquellaHaligtree Roots/Miquella’s HaligtreeReduces effectiveness of Healing Flasks to 25%, but attacks dealt after taking damage recover HP

How to beat Radahn

General Radahn in Elden Ring

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Want to go get one of those Great Runes right now? Check out our guide on how to beat Radahn in Elden Ring!

Most of these Great Runes’ effects are fairly simple, if powerful. Morgott gives you a ton of more health, Godrick enhances everything about you, and Malenia turns it into Bloodborne.

The exception to this is Mogh’s Great Rune, which is… complicated. If you trigger the Rune before summoning an Ashen Spirit Summon (such as the Lone Wolves or Mimic Tear), they come in with a Blessing of Blood, which gives them a red smoky effect. More than that though, any enemies who are killed by these summons while you stand close to them grant you restored health – effectively giving all these summons lifesteal for your character. There’s also a secondary effect where whenever your summons trigger the Bleed status effect on an enemy, they get a damage boost, making it more likely they’ll kill.

But there’s more! If a player has Mohg’s Great Rune and gets invaded by another player, the invader gets a special consumable called the Phantom Great Rune. When triggered, any enemy NPCs near the invader get that Blessing of Blood. This means if you’re invading a player, you can boost all the monsters nearby to make it even more dangerous. How villainous! 

How to restore Great Runes

Elden Ring great runes rune arc farming

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Any Great Runes you find have to be empowered in a Divine Tower, and specifically the Tower in the same region as the boss who dropped that Great Rune. For example, killing Renalla in the Raya Lucaria Academy of Liurnia requires you to restore her Great Rune in the Divine Tower of Lurnia close by. It’ll only work for that specific Great Rune, and you’ll only need to do it once. This applies across the game, though some Towers are harder to get into than others, requiring you to kill difficult enemies, find items or solve puzzles. They all follow the same visual theme that marks them out though – massive tiered structures made of dark stone, usually with a bridge halfway up them that extends out to another point (though not always). We even explained how to locate the first one of these and restore Godrick’s Great Rune in our guide on how to find the Divine Tower of Limgrave in Elden Ring.

Rune Arc farming

Elden Ring great runes rune arc farming

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The Rune Arcs used to trigger Great Runes are somewhat rare, and there’s mostly no real pattern where to find them, with a couple of exceptions. They tend to be present in more structured areas after Godrick – buildings, temples, places of power or those associated with major bosses – though they do appear outside of these. The merchant on the cliffs between Raya Lucaria Academy and the Grand Lift of Dectus even sells a few, as can the Twin Maiden Husks at Roundtable Hold. If you want something more efficient than just exploring, here’s two options.

However, we did find one enemy who seems to have a small chance to drop them: the standard giant rats that appear in various locations around the Lands Between, like the basements under Stormveil Castle or the rafters of the Divine Tower of Liurnia. We found that rats occasionally dropped Rune Arcs when killed, though at a slow enough rate that farming wouldn’t be rewarding quickly. Still, if you’re struggling with a boss, the chance to power up might make it worth doing. Boost your Arcane stat for the best Item Discovery chance and try to kill them as efficiently as possible.

  • Go kill bosses in other games. If you need Rune Arcs, the most efficient way to do it is to help other players kill bosses, which always rewards the helping player with a Rune Arc (as well as a lot of Runes). Find an easier or low-level boss, leave a gold summon sign outside the door, and wait to be called in.
  • Slaughter rats. The standard giant rats that appear in various locations around the Lands Between, like the basements under Stormveil Castle or the rafters of the Divine Tower of Liurnia, can be used for farming Rune Arcs. We found that rats occasionally dropped them when killed, though at a slow enough rate that farming wouldn’t be rewarding quickly. Still, if you’re struggling with a boss, the chance to power up might make it worth doing. Boost your Arcane stat for the best Item Discovery chance and try to kill them as efficiently as possible.

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