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Elden Ring Rune Arc explained: how to gain the effects of Great Runes

A key new item in Elden Ring, the Rune Arc unlocks some seriously powerful abilities - if you know how.

While many of its core systems will be familiar to Soulsborne fans, Elden Ring changes things up in other ways, introducing new systems and items for players to get to grips with. That includes Rune Arcs, and their close relative - Great Runes.

But what do Rune Arcs do? And how do you use them? Let us explain, right below. Otherwise, you can check out our Elden Ring Beginners guide for more guides and tips.

Well, the answer as to the utility of Rune Arcs is honestly pretty simple: Rune Arcs are an item that gives your character a buff. What buff you can get depends on what part of the game you’re at - which is where things get more complicated.

Rune Arc usage & Great Runes in Elden Ring

Basically, a Rune Arc is intrinsically connected to the Great Runes, which are super-powerful items that can be equipped at Bonfires.

There’s only a handful of Great Runes in the game. Each is dropped by one of the main, major bosses of Elden Ring’s story - the Lords - and though not all of these bosses have to be defeated to advance or complete the game’s story, you’ll have to defeat at least a couple of them to progress.

Once you kill one of these lords and acquire their Great Rune, you must then travel to one of the regional great towers scattered throughout The Lands Between to sanctify and fully unlock the Great Rune for use. Each tower has a specific Rune associated with it, and it’s not exactly linear: so while you might defeat a particular boss, you might not be able to access its tower for quite some time. Some towers will also only open up to you if you complete specific side content. It’s a complicated affair.

The most obvious and easiest Great Rune to get in full is that of Godrick the Grafted - the boss of Stormveil Castle, the first major legacy dungeon the game points you towards. After defeating Godrick, the game hints that you should head to the nearby tower - Limgrave Great Tower - which can be reached through an alternative exit of the castle. If you’ve defeated Godrick but haven’t got the rune available, you need to head to the tower.

Anyway, once you unlock a Great Rune, you’ll be able to equip it at a Site of Grace within a special Great Runes menu. And this is where Rune Arcs come in; using a Rune Arc activates the effect of your equipped Great Rune.

Every single Great Rune has its own unique benefits. Godrick’s, for instance, raises all of your character attributes by a set amount - very useful. Radahn’s is more limited in scope, only raising HP, FP, and Stamina - but it raises them all more significantly. Rykard’s Rune is incredible, restoring HP each time you attack enemies. As you can see, they’re powerful items.

By equipping a Great Rune, you can then gain its effects by using a Rune Arc - it’s literally an item that just activates the effects of a Great Rune.

If you don’t yet have access to a Great Rune, you can also use them - but they’ll just provide a buff to your HP stat. That’s it. That’s all they do withour a Great Rune.

Rune Arcs can be found throughout the world as a relatively rare item of loot, and are also sold at some vendors for thousands of regular Runes.

About the Author

Alex Donaldson avatar

Alex Donaldson

Assistant Editor

Alex started out his career in the games media as an over-eager kid working on fan sites, and now has decades of experience. He's the resident expert on esoteric matters such as Pokemon Go, gaming hardware, and genres like RPGs, fighters, and strategy games. Outside of VG247 he's the co-founder of genre-dedicated website RPG Site. He also collects original arcade machines, Lego, and considers himself a whiskey buff.

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