Great Runes are the symbols of power your Tarnished must obtain to become lord of the Lands Between in Elden Ring. To complete the story, you only need to acquire three Great Runes total. The rest are completely optional and not required to reach the final boss. Seriously, there are seven major Great Runes you can acquire by defeating Shardbearers, and even if you read the descriptions, it isn’t clear at all what these Great Runes actually do. Here we’re going to break down exactly what each shard does and provide links so you can find each Shardbearer.
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10 Tips You Need Early | 12 Useful Items To Get First | 16 Best Optional Areas | Fully Upgraded Crimson Flask | First Shardbearer | Walkthrought Pt. 1 | Unlock Raya Lucaria | Walkthrought Pt. 2 | Great Lift of Dectus | Walkthrough Pt. 3 | Margit, The Fell Omen Boss Guide | Godrick, The Grafted Boss Guide | Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon Boss Guide | Starscourge Radahn Boss Guide | Godfrey, First Elden Lord Boss Guide | Morgott, Omen King Boss Guide | Fire Giant Boss Guide | How To Find Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy | How To Find Malenia, Blade of Miquella | Malenia, Blade of Miquella Boss Guide | How To Find Mohg, Lord of Blood | How To Find Dragonlord Placidusax | Frenzied Flame Ending Guide | Age of the Stars Ending Guide
Great Runes | What They Do For You
Great Runes are special equipables — only one can be equipped at a time, and they are exclusively dropped by defeating Shardbearer bosses. These are the biggest and most difficult fights in the game and are located at the end of (almost always optional) legacy dungeons.
Godrick’s Great Rune: Dropped by Godrick the Grafted in Stormveil Castle.
Adds +5 to all attributes when equipped. One of the best Great Runes in the game. The easiest and first to acquire in the game — is also technically optional. Found at the end of Stormveil Castle. Learn more about reaching Godrick and Stormveil castle here.
Great Rune of the Unborn: Dropped by Rennala in Raya Lucaria Academy.
Unlocks character respec. Unlike the other Great Runes, this unlocks a feature that can be used in Raya Lucaria by fast-traveling to the boss room. To respec, you must spend a special resource called a Larval Tear. Learn how to reach Rennala in this guide.
Radahn’s Great Rune: Dropped by Starscourge Radahn in Redmane Castle.
Raises max HP, FP and Stamina. Another useful Great Rune. This is dropped by the massive Starscourge Radahn optional boss, located in the large southern castle in Caelid. The entire area isn’t just optional — it is in the opposite direction of where you need to go. Radahn is very difficult, so you’ll want to bring as much spectral help as you can get. Here’s where to find Radahn’s arena.
Morgott’s Great Rune: Dropped by Morgott in Leyndell, Royal Capitol.
Greatly raises max HP. A simple Great Rune and the only one that is absolutely required to complete the game. Morgott is Margit’s true form located at the base of the Erdtree in Leyndell. The massive royal capitol is one of your later stops before reaching the end-game. Here’s more information about reaching Leyndell.
Rykard’s Great Rune: Dropped by Rykard in Volcano Manor.
Gain +185 HP on enemy defeat. A vampiric Great Rune that really serves no useful purpose against difficult boss but does make exploring long dungeons slightly easier. Rykard is a difficult optional boss, learn where to find him and access all of Volcano Manor here.
Mohg’s Great Rune: Dropped by Mohg in the Mohgwyn Dynasty Mausoleum.
Grants special buff to phantom ashes and other allies. One of the weirdest Great Runes doesn’t buff you, it buffs your allies — that includes other Tarnished you’re working with online. Reach the hidden Mohgwyn Dynasty Mausoleum with our guide here.
Malenia’s Great Rune: Dropped by Malenia at the bottom of the Haligtree.
Recover HP from attacks just after taking damage. Malenia gives you a small rally mechanic like Bloodborne. You can recover HP after a missed attack by striking. At least this is better than Rykard’s and can serve a function in boss fights. Learn how to reach Malenia in the full Haligtree guide.
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