I’ve played something like 100 hours of Elden Ring, and yet I feel like you could still fill a book with things I don’t know about it. It’s a huge game, full of developer FromSoftware’s usual cryptic lore, and subtle touches that would still be easy to miss in a game a 10th its size.
Even if you’ve finished Elden Ring and rolled right into New Game+, odds are you don’t know all of its secrets. Here are just a few things I had fun learning about the Lands Between.
Heavy spoilers below.
Radahn’s horse goes underground and teleports when he does his meteor attack
Radahn is quite possibly Elden Ring’s most intimidating boss—he certainly presented one of the game’s biggest difficulty spikes before FromSoftware toned him down a bit in a patch. My favorite flavor text in Elden Ring is the explanation that Radahn learned gravity magic as he grew into a giant, just so he could keep riding his beloved horse Leonard. So sweet!
But what happens to Radahn’s horse when he flies up into the sky, then comes hurtling back to the ground? Zullie the Witch breaks it down: in slow motion, you can watch him shove his horse underground, presumably to keep him safe from the impact of Radahn crashing back down. OK, the actual reason is so that FromSoftware can teleport the hidden horse directly under your feet, giving Radahn a target for his attack and letting the character models reunite, but I like to think Radahn’s got Leonard’s best interests at heart.
Leyndell had vastly different enemies in the 1.0 build before the day 1 patch
Day 1 patches aren’t just for last-minute bug fixes, at least in FromSoftware’s case. Modder Sekiro Dubi recently released a video showing significantly different enemy placements in Leyndell, the Royal Capital. On the 1.0 build of the game you’d run into enemy types that are no longer present in Leyndell and find others missing, like the music-playing Oracle Envoys you encounter along the wall of the capital. There are also some significant changes to loot and item placement. That day 1 patch was a big ‘un.
You have to use the “you’re beautiful” emote to complete one NPC’s quest
The Souls series has always had these delightfully creepy voice emote items so you can say “thank you” or “you’re beautiful” to other players online. But this is a FromSoftware game: of course there’s more to them than that. Every item factors into the world in some way. In this case, you have to use the “You’re beautiful” Prattling Pate item in front of Boc the Seamster after he tells you that he’s ugly in Leyndell.
There are a few ways Boc’s questline can end, but giving him a compliment leads to the happiest outcome. Everyone needs some positive encouragement sometimes.
Fall damage is as messed up as it seems
This is maybe less something you didn’t know, and more confirmation of something you felt in Elden Ring but didn’t know for sure: fall damage doesn’t make much sense. Someone broke down the math at play and confirmed that the gap between “a little fall damage” and “you’re dead” is pretty small. It’s a mere four meters, in fact, between 16 (ouchie) and 20 (RIP).
The most confusing thing about fall damage in Elden Ring is that the items that supposedly reduce it don’t actually have any effect on how far you have to fall to take lethal damage. That distance is set, so using items or upping your dexterity stat will only affect the percentage of damage you take on falls that weren’t going to kill you anyway.
The bewitching branch item can mind control some surprising enemies
There’s a fairly scarce consumable item in Elden Ring called the Bewitching Branch; its description says you can use it to “pierce a foe, using FP to turn them into a temporary ally.” You know, the ol’ mind control trick—the kind of thing you can usually only use on low-level enemies, while bosses will laugh in your face and then kill you. That’s somewhat true of the Bewitching Branch, in that you can’t use it on, say, Malenia to turn the hardest boss in the game into your ally. But you actually can use it on the summons in one of Elden Ring’s tougher battles.
Run up to Commander Nial’s spectral summons when you face him in the Mountaintops of the Giants, give them a Bewitching Branch poke, and you can turn it from a 1v3 into a 3v1.
That’s probably the Bewitching Branch’s single most useful moment, but you can also use it to turn some formidable enemies into allies and ruin an invader’s day.
Trading in dragon hearts gives you glowing eyes, similar to the Frenzied Flame
Each dragon you defeat in Elden Ring gives you an item you can take to the Cathedral of Dragon Communion and trade in for powerful spells. What you may not have noticed is that after making four trades, your eyes will glow a bright yellow, like you just slipped on some dragon contact lenses to do a little cosplay. The dragon eyes have a catlike pupil and are actually distinct from the more fiery eyes you get if you go down the path of the Frenzied Flame.
You can also get bloody eyes by following Varre’s questline.
White Mask Varre is level 154, yet only has 1 INT
Varre, the very first NPC you meet when you step foot into the Lands Between, is not the nicest guy. He suggests that you’re “fated, it seems, to die in obscurity,” before suggesting you need his advice to survive. The irony, as unearthed by Zullie the Witch, is that Varre actually has only a single point in his INT stat. My man is a stone cold dumbass.
Every single class in Elden Ring starts with far more INT than Varre has at level 154. Even the barbarian-esque Hero starts with 7 INT.
If you kill Morgott before fighting Margit, Margit’s arena will be empty
One of Elden Ring’s big surprises is that its first major boss, Margit the Fell Omen, reappears much later in the game with a new name: Morgott the Omen King. They look and sound identical, though Morgott has some new moves to kill you with. The two are indeed one and the same—Margit is essentially the alter ego under which Morgott does his dirty work. There are loads of YouTube videos you can watch that dive into Morgott’s lore, but the fun bit of trivia here is what happens if you skip that initial battle with Margit.
If you go out of your way to avoid Stormveil Castle and fight Morgott in front of the Erdtree, you’ll be rewarded with the talisman pouch that Margit would normally drop when you beat him. You can then return to Stormveil to find an empty arena. Well, not quite empty: the site of grace that would appear after you beat Margit will be there waiting for you.
The Lands Between looks like a Furled Finger
Try finger, but whole map.
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