Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
A secretive location which connects parts of the world that are very far apart, Nokron, Eternal City is unreachable when you begin a new game of Elden Ring. Though you can see the city from the Siofra River far below, you can't actually enter the place until you kill one of the game's major bosses, and that in and of itself takes a lot of doing.
This guide will take you through Nokron, Eternal City in Elden Ring. It's an appropriately nasty spot to tackle for anyone over level 70, though there's plenty of natural beauty to be found as well.
Finding Nokron, Eternal City
Nokron is hidden beneath Limgrave, and it is inaccessible until you've defeated Starscourge Radahn. Located in the far south of Caelid, at Redmane Castle, Radahn holds the stars above in check. You'll need at least one Great Rune to get into the castle, then a great deal of luck - and a ton of NPC summoning - to bring him down.
Once Radahn is dead, the stars will begin to move and fall again, and one will smash into Limgrave in a cut scene. You can find the enormous impact crater in southeast Limgrave, on the south end of the Mistwood and near Fort Haight. Look around the edges to find a wide slope down into the crater. Go down the steeper slope on the right and jump from rock to rock.
Soon enough you'll wind up in what appears to be a temple. Grab the Golden Rune  ahead and on your right, then hop down another level on the left and grab the two Soporific Greases. Going through the wall ahead will officially take you into Nokron.
Climb across the narrow rooftops. There's a tower on your right that you can leap to if you're careful. Past another jump - watch out for the gap in the ground - you'll find a Ghostflame Torch. Drop off the building on the left side from here and you'll fall down near several mercurial blobs named Silver Tears. They will shift their tactics based on the situation, and right now they will try to stab you. You should be able to dispatch them quickly. Check the body slumped against the wall for a Rune Arc.
Descend the sloped rooftops to the north and take a left, watching out for Silver Tears along the way. There are ten Burred Bolts over here. Backtrack a bit and walk along the rooftops, fighting Silver Tears as you go. They will launch projectiles at you from a distance, so watch out for shards of goo. Head south along what looks like a big apartment building to find a Golden Rune , then go north along the building's facade to find three Nascent Butterflies.
Continue following the path until it takes you through a window, along the left wall. Take an immediate left inside the window to find a Smithing Stone . Overlooking the break in the floor ahead is a Furlcalling Finger Remedy. Head over to the lantern on the left side of this room and drop down to the lower level. Behind and to the right of your landing spot is a Golden Rune  on a little brickwork island.
There are several shambling ghouls ahead, two with swords and three with bows that inflict Frostbite buildup when they connect. These guys are faster than they look but overall not a big deal. Grab the Clarifying White Cured Meat on the right side of the room and the Ghost Glovewart  from the bush in the middle before you go out the northern exit.
The Nokron, Eternal City Site of Grace is in the next room. You're now officially in Nokron.
Nokron, Eternal City
Activate the summoning pool near the Site of Grace, then head east out of the room. You'll find yourself in a courtyard. It looks peaceful at first, but there's a contingent of ghouls here who will rise up and attack you from multiple angles. Ignore the melee fighters at first and rush the three archers ahead and on your left. Take out the melee ghouls once the archers are gone.
Check the stone gazebo in the middle of the courtyard for the Ghost-Glovewart Picker's Bell Bearing , then look to the western wall. You can loop around the wall to find a hidden ghoul who's protecting a Smithing Stone . Head back to the main courtyard and you'll see a few ghouls straight across from you, wandering around a patch of grass. Run over and kill them, then pluck the Ghost Glovewort  and the Ghost Glovewort  from the bushes.
Return to the main courtyard. Check the building on your right and you'll find it open. There are two ghouls at the far end, picking at the grass near a Larval Tear, and if they're given a chance to smack their shields they will bring a group of other ghouls in from the building's side entrance. A quick ambush is in order. Through the side entrance is a grassy area with more ghouls. Check up the stairs on the right for the Greatshield Soldier Ashes and a Smithing Stone , and check up the stairs on the left for two Ghost Gloveworts . Watch out for ghouls on both sides.
There's a gate ahead. Ignore it for a moment and look to the left of it. You can run along the barred windows to find a path around the building on your left. There's a ghoul back here protecting a Somber Smithing Stone .
Go through the central gate that leads east and take a right at the bottom of the stairs. There's a shotel-wielding Swordstress that can expand her weapon into a whip down here, along with a Silver Tear. The Silver Tear becomes a major nuisance while dealing with the Swordstress, so dispatch it quickly, then fight the Swordstress. She's fast, but her weapon has trouble getting past shields. Grab the Golden Rune  from the corpse in the middle of this battlefield once all is said and done.
There's a gazebo on a grassy area ahead and on your right. Try to grab the item from the gazebo and three Silver Tears will fall on you from above. Snipe them down or lure them down by grabbing the Larval Tear, avoiding their sticky grasp. Follow the wall to the right of the gazebo and you'll find a narrow path to a Nascent Butterfly, appearing as actual butterflies rather than an item.
Aside from a Golden Rune  on the left side of the cliffs all you have left is boss fog, straight ahead. Jump down to the bridge - be sure to look behind you to find a Rune Arc, nestled against the rocks - then head into the fight.
A rather novel boss, the Mimic Tear is the epitome of 'only what you take with you'. Appearing at first as an innocuous, flattened Silver Tear in the middle of the boss arena, the Mimic Tear will take on your character's exact characteristics when you get close enough. This is a battle against yourself.
Sounds cool? It is. Fighting your exact copy is a lot of fun. It's also very easy to trivialize this fight. The Mimic Tear takes on your exact characteristics upon approach, so if you, say, take off all your equipment, then put it back on once the Mimic Tear copies you, you'll be facing a near-helpless enemy that can only punch you. You can even make the fight easier by targeting the Mimic Tear from afar before the fight begins and shoot it before it transforms.
The Mimic Tear. Cool idea, not the best execution. Oh well.
You'll earn 10,000 Runes, a Larval Tear, and a Silver Tear Mask for defeating the Mimic Tear. You'll also open up the next Site of Grace and the path deeper into Nokron.
Mimic Tear Site of Grace
Take a left from the boss arena and onto the bridge ahead. You're now far above the Siofra River, so enjoy peering down at all the places you've (probably) visited in the past. Proceed along the bridge to find a Scarab on your right with a Somber Smithing Stone , a Golden Rune  on your left, and an open, grassy area on the other side. There's more to see along the bridge, but you can also access it all by going down to the grass, so that's what we'll do.
There's a Nascent Butterfly on your left as you go down the slope towards the road through the grass. Ahead you'll see some Ancestral Followers patrolling the road. They fight exactly like the spectral Ancestral Followers on the Siofra River. Once they're gone you can peak under the bridge on your right to find a spirit NPC who hints at what you'll find down here.
Down the road and on your right is a monolith with a brazier set into its base. Lighting these monoliths will allow you to progress through this area, so make sure you set this, and any others you find, alight. The temple you're trying to activate is through the woods on your right.
There are plenty of ways to go through here. We'll start by looking to the right of the main road. If you slip through the trees and rocks here you'll find the second monolith to set ablaze. Activate it, then check the base of the nearest stone pillar for a Smithing Stone .
If you keep exploring this side southern cliff. Follow it a little ways, alongside the road, and you'll see someone singing ahead, in front of one of the monoliths. Creep through the woods and over rocks to get behind the singer. There's a path behind some rocks to the south of the singer, behind which you'll find the Ancestral Woods Site of Grace, as well as a summoning pool. This will serve as base camp for your explorations of the area - though before we deal with the forest, there's a side area to explore from this Site of Grace.
Night's Sacred Ground
Look around and you'll notice that you can jump from the Site of Grace to a nearby building. This will put you on the path to Night's Sacred Ground, an optional area filled with goodies. Keep hopping until you reach some wider ledges with Rejuvenating Boluses on them.
Go up the step-like ledges on your right to find a Rune Arc, then look south. There's a Silver Tear down here, though when you jump down to it it will turn into a humanoid form that's much more difficult to defeat than normal Silver Tears. Treat it like any other NPC melee battle. Look around this landing for a Golden Rune .
Follow the edge of the building east, towards the lamp. Around the corner you'll see an enormous body on a throne. Keep following the ledge of the building to find a Nascent Butterfly, then head back to the lamp. Hop onto the worn-down wall to the east and cross. This leads to what appears to be a temple. Ignore the lower level for now and grab the Black Whetblade from the corpse in front of the candlelit coffin in the middle of the floor.
To the right of the coffin and down a hallway is a fog door. Use two Stonesword Keys on it to open up a room full of coffins and guarded by a lone Swordstress. You can easily sneak up on the Swordstress and ambush her before she can get off an attack. The Swordstress is guarding a chest that contains Mimic Tear Ashes. This is an excellent summon that essentially creates a clone of yourself, so make sure to grab the item. Check by the door for a Smithing Stone  before you leave.
If you check the windows of the hallway to the fog door you'll notice that you can hop through several of them. They lead to the outer walls of this church, and there's a Silver Tear ahead, over an easy-to-miss gap in the stonework. Jump over and kill it, then check the end of this path for a Nascent Butterfly. You can then reenter the church via another window and find another open window and find a Nox Flowing Tear on top of an archway that stretches to the other side of the church.
Head back to the main hall. If you look at the lower level you'll see a giant stone ball, sitting by itself in the middle of the hall. Attempt to lock on and you'll notice that it's actually an enemy. Either destroy it from up top, or, if you're stuck with melee options, drop down near the ladder to the lower level and destroy it from the corner. There are two more Swordstresses down here, and you don't want to fight all of these enemies at once. The ball drops a Larval Tear when defeated.
Defeat the Swordstresses however you see fit, then leave the church through the front door. The stairs out here lead to the Night's Sacred Ground Site of Grace. Dead ahead from the Site of Grace is the main road of this area, and you'll see an excessive number of Silver Tears along it. Given time and space these will turn into humanoids and ruin your day, so either kill them from a distance or get right in their faces before they can make the change. The last one near the steps at the far end will turn into a Troll, so be ready for a fight. Check the items along this road for a Celestial Dew, a Golden Rune , and a Soft Cotton.
(This road is a great place to quickly build up Runes, as well. Feel free to farm it to excess.)
Up the stairs at the end of the road you'll reach the base of the chair holding the enormous, dead humanoid. Inside the base of this odd temple is a chest containing a Fingerslayer Blade and a Great Ghost Glovewort. There's also a teleporter here, and it will shoot you back up to the Ancestral Woods Site of Grace. You're all done with Night's Sacred Ground.
Back to the task at hand. Your first visit here should be to the singing Ancestral Follower Shaman near the next obelisk. The Shamans buff nearby Ancestral Followers while they're singing, so take the Shaman down, then be ready to kill the two Followers to whom she was singing. Light the obelisk brazier. Check the road near the bottom of the obelisk for a Ghost Glovewort , a Golden Rune , and a Fireproof Dried Liver.
There are open plains ahead populated by a sizable wolf pack, and among them is a Red Wolf. The Red Wolf is exactly the same as the Red Wolf of Radagon in the Academy of Raya Lucaria, albeit without the magical sword attacks, and fighting the normal wolves and the Red Wolf simultaneously is a really bad idea. Wait until you see the Red Wolf in the distance, then slowly pull the normal wolves towards you before engaging their big brother. Summoning here will make your life easier, though be careful not to walk outside the summoning range. You'll find four Beast Bloods, a Smithing Stone , and a Somber Smithing Stone  around the giant pillar where these battles take place, and the next obelisk is behind the pillar.
North of the area with the wolves the ground becomes a bit rocky, and at the top of the rocks you'll spot two Shamans singing near the next obelisk. They're surrounded by rats that are difficult to see from a distance. Get a bit closer and try to draw the rats away from the Shamans, then take the singers out. Near the obelisk you'll find a Scarab with Ash of War: Enchanted Shot on it.
The two Shamans were singing to a set of ruins just off the coast from the mainland. You can jump to these ruins to find a Ghost Glovewort , a Golden Rune , and, inside the upper temple, another Shaman guarding an Ancestral Infant's Head. You'll need to get onto the right walls of the ruins and use your horse to jump to the temple.
Return to the shore by walking along the walls of the ruin and jumping onto the thin, rocky beach between it and the land. Wander along the northern cliffs and you'll start running into Spirit Jellyfish, and hear more singing. Head south towards the singing and you'll find the rear of a small temple. There are giant deer remains here, watched over by a Shaman and a few Ancestral Followers. The last obelisk is directly behind the deer, and you can sneak in, activate the obelisk, and sneak back out without raising a ruckus.
Follow the northern wall until you wind up on the edge of a cliff. There's an Old Fang at the edge of the cliff. This leads to another area, and since we're almost done with the Ancestral Woods we'll ignore this spot for now. Head right along the cliff and you'll find the top of the area's large temple. Climb along the top of the temple's support beams to find a Mottled Necklace +1.
Continue to follow the top of the temple around and you'll find a safe - albeit stomach-churning - drop down to the temple grounds. This will allow you to avoid the contingent of Ancestral Followers idling outside the temple, formally known as Hallowhorn Grounds. (Though if you do go through the front entrance, you'll find five Hefty Beast Bones and eight Kukri near the base of the temple.)
Assuming you've activated all six obelisk braziers in the area you'll find the giant deer corpse inside the temple alight with eldritch energy. Approach the corpse and touch it to be warped to the boss fog.
Regal Ancestor Spirit
A massive, majestic beast with few Elden Ring peers in terms of natural beauty, the Regal Ancestor Spirit is nonetheless a handful. Taking a page from the Ancestor Spirit of the Siofra River in terms of tactics, the Regal Ancestor Spirit ramps things up a few notches by using powerful new attacks that can rip you to shreds. This isn't the same fight, so don't treat it as such. Some tips for bringing the Spirit down:
- Try to stay under, or behind, the Spirit. Its frontal attacks hit pretty hard, whereas you only need to worry about the occasional body slam when you're under the thing. (At first, anyway. That changes later on. You still want to stay near its underside throughout the fight, though.)
- Get away from the Spirit if it starts to glow. The Spirit's new attacks all take the form of energy-charging moves that tend to render it virtually unhittable until it's done. Wait until the Spirit loses its new colors before you move in for a hit.
- That said, assuming you have a lot of health, you can get a lot of damage in if you go after the Spirit while it is drawing strength from the spectral animals that wander the arena. This will damage you, as well, but you can outpace the Spirit's restorative move in terms of damage if you get in enough hits. Heal immediately after it's done.
- Rush at the Spirit if it starts to glow and collapse. This means it's about to teleport, and until it is entirely gone you can still do damage to the Spirit. Get in a hit or two, then follow it to its new location.
- Summons work okay here, though the Spirit's blue fire attacks tend to rip mobs of lesser summons to pieces. Go with a stronger, single spirit with a ranged attack.
You'll earn 24,000 Runes and the Remembrance of the Regal Ancestor for defeating the Regal Ancestor Spirit. You'll also reveal a warp pad in the north of the cavernous arena that will take you back to Hallowhorn Grounds.
Whether you take on the Regal Ancestor Spirit or not, your next destination is on the cliffs behind and above Hallowhorn Grounds. Leap down one ledge from the top, then check on the right for a Stonesword Key. To the left is a slope down to two Silver Tear Husks and the Aqueduct-Facing Cliffs Site of Grace. Continue down the slope to find a buttress leading onto the adjacent buildings.
Upon landing you'll be in the Siofra Aqueduct. One wrong move will send you flying off ledges with no return, so watch your step. There are two circular, connected structures here, and a Lesser Crucible Knight is patrolling across the bridge between them. If you can find a way to push him off the ledge, great; otherwise, try to lure him into one of the structures before you start fighting. Inside the structure on the right you'll find the Missionary's Cookbook .
On the path ahead you'll come to a waterfall, and standing atop the waterfall is another Crucible Knight, this one with a ridiculous spear. Sneaking up on him is ill-advised, as there are ghouls nearby that will smack you around - and, also, you can't backstab this guy. Shoot at him before entering the building to draw him out, then defeat him near the stairs. You'll receive a Somber Smithing Stone  for taking out the Crucible Knight, and there's a Smithing Stone  on the waterfall where he was standing.
Kill the ghouls inside the aqueduct, check the structures on the other side of the aqueduct for a Scarab carrying the Order Healing Incantation and a Golden Rune , then proceed down the main passage of the aqueduct. There's a small waterfall ahead, and if you try to target you'll see something through it, namely a small group of ghouls. Rush in and slaughter them all before they can cause much trouble. You'll find a Golden Rune  in front of the waterfall, a Smithing Stone  inside the waterfall, and a Rune Arc in the room to the left of the waterfall, along with a few more ghouls.
To the right of the waterfall is a balcony with a breathtaking view, as well as an NPC who will give you the Inner Order Gesture when you speak to him. He is part of a quest involving D and Fia, and unless you've progressed their storyline he won't have anything to say. Go up the stairs here and you'll emerge into a massive cave, backed by a waterfall... and, of course, things will not go smoothly once you enter.
Another staple of the Souls series, gargoyles seem to worm their way into every one of the games in one form or another. Elden Ring is no exception, and here you need to face off against two of the things... although, as is also standard, the second won't show up for a while. A combination of melee and ranged attacks, the Valiant Gargoyles aren't too bad on their own, but together they're pretty rough. Some tips for beating them:
- Don't try to rush through the first half of the fight. You want to preserve as many of your restorative Flasks as you can for the second half, when the second Gargoyle shows up. Take your time, and don't go for too many risky hits.
- Focus on one Gargoyle at a time. Even if you're alone and the second Gargoyle shows up, you don't want to split your focus. Continue with your normal tactics and do your best to take down the first Gargoyle before going after the second. (It's arguably a bit easier than the first.)
- If you see green ooze entering the arena, immediately get away from the Gargoyle responsible. For all their flashy attacks the Valiant Gargoyles' poison is the worst, and will demolish your health in seconds if you sit in the mire for too long.
- Save your summons for the second half of the fight, if you plan on using any. You'll want the additional distractions for the second Gargoyle. They won't inflict significant amounts of damage, in all likelihood - you just want them there to keep one of the Gargoyles away from you.
- And as for summons, go for healthier, single summons over mobs of smaller ones. The reach and arc of the Gargoyles' weapons are broad enough that they will hit everybody in a single blow most of the time, and their poison vomit will crush a group of summons very quickly.
You'll earn 32,000 Runes, the Gargoyle's Greatsword, and the Gargoyle's Twinblade for defeating the Valiant Gargoyles. Piece of cake, right?
Once the Gargoyles are out of the way the Great Waterfall Basin Site of Grace will appear in the west, by the waterfall. It can be difficult to spot at first. This serves as a bit of a clue for finding your ticket out of here: A coffin that's sitting in the waterfall. Walk into the water near the Site of Grace to find it. You can hop into the coffin and it will whisk you away to the next major region of the underworld, Deeproot Depths.