When you boil down Elden Ring’s premise to its base elements, you have a fairly simple mission: Kill the Shardbearers and claim their Great Runes. Each Great Rune is a powerful artifact that provides substantial buffs, but unlike most equipment, you need to jump through quite a few hoops to use them.
After you acquire a Great Rune, you need to purify the item at its corresponding Divine Tower, but that still isn’t the end. In order to get the most use out of Great Runes, you need special items called Rune Arcs. Elden Ring doesn’t really tell you much about these special consumables, which leaves many players scratching their heads.
How do you use Rune Arcs? Where do you find them? Here is everything you need to know:
How to Use a Rune Arc
Rune Arcs, on their own, slightly increase the character’s maximum HP, but this boost is minimal. You are best off saving Rune Arcs for activating Great Runes.
After you restore a Great Rune to its former glory, you can equip it by resting at any Site of Grace and using the “Great Runes” submenu. Selecting a Great Rune does nothing, but if you consume a Rune Arc with a Great Rune equipped, the item activates the Great Rune’s latent power. Each Great Rune has a different effect, and it’s up to you to experiment with them to find which ones you like.
However, if you die, you lose the Great Rune’s benefits and have to sacrifice another Rune Arc to get them back. Moreover, when you inevitably acquire more than one Great Rune, you can switch between them at a Site of Grace, but the new Great Rune’s abilities won’t activate without consuming yet another Rune Arc.
If you are extremely good at surviving, especially while using a Great Rune, you won’t use many Rune Arcs. But if you find yourself dying constantly, you might want to hold off on using Rune Arcs to avoid wasting them.
Where to Find Rune Arcs
Unlike Golden Seeds, Rune Arcs don’t grow on trees. In fact, Rune Arcs are exceedingly rare if you don’t know where to look. While you will never be flush with Rune Arcs in Elden Ring, the game has ways to ensure you always have enough, give or take a few.
Odds are you will pick up your first Rune Arc after defeating Godrick the Grafted in Stormveil Castle. Talk to Finger Reader Enia in Roundtable Hold, and she will sell you several items, including a Rune Arc. Certain item sellers, such as the Nomadic Merchant, also have Rune Arcs for sale. However, aside from these NPCs, Elden Ring is devoid of any arc farming sources with one notable exception.
Every now and then, you might loot a random corpse tucked away in a nook and find a Rune Arc on its body. However, most enemies don’t drop Rune Arcs. If you want to kill creatures and loot these consumables with any reliability, you should start slaying giant rats that infest the basements and rafters of buildings in the Lands Between. While Rune Arcs are considered “rare” loot, rats drop them with surprising frequency, at least for now — FromSoftware could potentially alter loot tables in the future to prevent Rune Arc farming.