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Elden Ring: "Somewhere a Great Rune has broken" explained

Great Runes seem like things that shouldn't break, but in Shadow of the Erdtree there's a first time for everything!

The Tarnished riding their horse as the Great Rune breaks in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

The most terrifying part of Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC isn’t the gigantic bosses, unexpected ambushes or horror-focused stealth sections, but when you’re wandering towards the Black Keep, a smashing sound effect plays and you get the message: “somewhere a Great Rune has broken”.

In a game as esoteric as Elden Ring, where steps in NPC quests can often go wrong without you realising, it’s very easy to worry that you’ve messed up. When this happened to me the first time, I froze in place and frantically looked around to see what mistake I’d made.

But don’t despair, the Great Rune breaking is a natural part of Shadow of the Erdtree.

What does the “Somewhere a great rune has broken” message mean in Shadow of the Erdtree?

Don’t worry, as you explore Scadu Atlus the “somewhere a Great Rune has broken” message means nothing more than you’ve reached the point in the game where the story progresses to its next phase.

The Tarnished riding towards the Black Keep as the Great Rune breaks in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Once you see this message, all you need to do is check in with the NPCs dotted around the map and see how their positions have changed in relation to the message.

For instance, with the Great Rune broken, Sir Ansbach at the Main Gate Cross Site of Grace and Redmane Freyja at the Three-Paths Cross will both move to secondary locations and advance their quests.

Needle Knight Leda on the other hand, will have new dialogue and missions for you to undertake.

From a story sense, without going into spoilers, if you interact with the Crosses of Miquella around the Shadow Realm, you find remnants of Miquella, pieces they have left behind in an effort to reach the inside of the Shadow Keep.

Miquella is an Empyrean, the demigod progeny of Queen Marika, and therefore the holder of Great Rune. As they strip away pieces of themself in the Lands of Shadow, they must leave behind the Great Rune as well, which breaks as the intrinsic part is removed from the whole.

It’s implied that Miquella the Kind is able to charm and influence people, and that their Great Rune is the source of this intoxicating charisma. Without it, the followers of Miquella throughout the Realm will no doubt have been affected, but to what extent you now need to find out for yourself.

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