Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
One of Elden Ring's stranger, more enigmatic NPCs, Ranni the Witch is a companion from one end of the game to the other. Appearing as early as the first hour of the game, Ranni's storyline stretches to the final moments of Elden Ring, and it encompasses a number of characters who are all interesting in their own right.
This guide will take you through the entirety of Ranni the Witch's questline in Elden Ring. She's much more important to the lore than she first appears, and she will influence the very end of the game if you so choose.
Step One - Meet Ranni
Your potential first meeting with Ranni is in the Church of Elleh, right at the beginning of Elden Ring. This is meant to happen early, just after Melina gives you the Spectral Steed Whistle when you meet her at the Gatefront Site of Grace. It's found at the western end of the Gatefront Ruins in Limgrave.
Jump back to the Church of Elleh and Ranni should be sitting on a broken section of wall. Ranni calls herself Renna during this meeting, and she'll give you the Spirit Calling Bell and the Lone Wolf Ashes. She'll then depart on the wind. You won't see her again for a while.
It should be noted that this meeting is finicky. Ranni does not always seem to want to appear, and if you go past a certain point in the game she'll never show up at the Church of Elleh. Fortunately this meeting is not mandatory for her quest line, and you can acquire the items Ranni normally gives you from the Twin Husks at Roundtable Hold.
Your first obligatory meeting with Ranni for the questline is in Ranni's Rise, her tower in the Three Sisters sub-region. To get here you'll need to make your way to Liurnia of the Lakes, climb onto the western shoreline, and travel north. At the end of this path, past the Kingsrealm Ruins, is Caria Manor. Completing this small dungeon - which requires defeating Royal Knight Loretta, a tough boss - will give you access to Three Sisters. Ranni's Rise is on the far west side of the area, just past Glintstone Dragon Adula.
Upon arrival Ranni will offer to make you one of her servants. Agree to begin the questline.
First Step Problems
There are two situations in which Ranni's questline can be stalled. The first is if you've begun Sorcerer Rogier's questline. If you reach a late step in his quest he will suggest you go looking for Ranni. If this is the case Ranni will refuse to admit you into her service. You need to go back to Rogier and have him suggest that you become one of Ranni's vassals before she will accept your service.
The second, much more common situation that can stall this questline comes courtesy of the NPC named Blaidd. Blaidd is a major component of Ranni's storyline, and he needs to not be in a particular part of the world for the quest to go forward. Specifically, Blaidd cannot be in Caelid's Redmane Castle for the festive battle against Starscourge Radahn. Blaidd will not move from this location until Radahn is dead, which prevents Ranni from appearing in Ranni's Rise. You'll have to defeat Radahn before Blaidd will switch locations, allowing Ranni to appear.
Step Two - Meet the Crew
Once Ranni accepts your service she will bid you speak to her three retainers: Blaidd, Iji, and Seluvis. The three of them are found in spectral form throughout her tower. Speak to all three of them, exhaust their respective dialogues, then go back up the tower and speak to Ranni again. You need to exhaust her dialogue as well or you cannot leave Ranni's Rise.
Ranni's quest takes you in pursuit of a treasure of Nokron, Eternal City. You'll need to follow Blaidd on a bit of a scavenger hunt to find it.
Step Three - Siofra River
Blaidd tells you that he plans to head to the Siofra River to search for a way to Nokron. You can find the Siofra River beneath Limgrave, accessible via the Siofra River Well. This squat, circular building is found right beside the Minor Erdtree in the Mistwood, on the east side of Limgrave.
Read More From Levelskip
Upon descending to the Siofra River you need to make your way to the Siofra River Bank Site of Grace, just after you enter a wide-open area with a massive cliff's edge on its eastern side. Follow the cliff north and you'll soon find Blaidd, who can see Nokron but can't find a way up. He suggests that Seluvis might know something, though notes that Seluvis is seldom straightforward with his answers.
Travel back to Three Sisters. Seluvis lives in Seluvis's Rise, on the southern end of the area, a short trip from Ranni's Rise. He's unsurprisingly rather acerbic, but if you press him enough he will tell you to visit Sorceress Sellen. He'll give you Seluvis's Introduction to present to Sellen.
Travel to Limgrave. If you look along the road that leads south to the Weeping Peninsula you'll find the Waypoint Ruins. You'll know you're in the right general area if you see a big caravan of shambling soldiers and sorcerers following a cart pulled by Trolls. Make your way into the basement of the ruins and you'll fight a Mad Pumpkin Head. It's a boss, yes, but it's also just a Pumpkin Head. Sellen is in the room just past the Pumpkin Head.
Sellen will reveal that the path into Nokron requires the destruction of Starscourge Radahn, who dwells in Redmane Castle in the south of Caelid. You'll need at least one Great Rune to reach the castle, as you'll otherwise be bombarded with explosives when you try to cross the bridge. Report back to Blaidd on the Siofra River - or not, that part's optional - then head to Redmane Castle and participate in the festival. Radahn is not an easy boss, so this might take you a few tries. Level 60 is a safe baseline for defeating the former general.
Once Radahn is defeated, speak to Blaidd and he'll say he's off to Nokron to complete the quest for Ranni. You need to meet him at the entrance to Nokron and do the same.
Step Four - Nokron and Night's Sacred Ground
You'll find the entrance to Nokron in the southeast of Limgrave, near Fort Haight. The stars that fell as a result of Radahn's defeat left a huge scar in the land, and there's a massive hole left behind. You can descend into this hole to find Nokron.
(Blaidd is not here, though if you wish you can find him in the Forlorn Hound Evergaol, just south of Lake Agheel and on the cliffs overlooking the bridge to the Weeping Peninsula. Stand on the center disc of the Evergaol to speak to him. Whether you release him or not does not matter, as he'll escape on his own anyway. This part is not mandatory.)
Proceed through Nokron until you've defeated the Mimic Tear boss and made your way across a long bridge to a grassy area filled with Ancestral Followers. Follow the southern cliffs of this area until you find the Ancestral Woods Site of Grace. You can jump off of the cliff from this Site of Grace and onto a nearby building. Follow this path to find the Night's Sacred Ground sub-region.
Proceed through Night's Sacred Ground until you reach a long road filled with Silver Tears. Fight your way through the crowd - be ready for two of them to turn into humanoids, and one into a Troll - and up to the building at the end of the street. It has a massive, dead humanoid seated on it, so you can't miss it. At the base of this building is a small room, within which you'll find a chest containing the Fingerslayer Blade. You need this to progress through Ranni's quest.
Step Five - Carian Study Hall
Return to Ranni's Rise and speak with her. She'll thank you for finding the knife, then say she needs to complete her journey alone. Keep talking and she will give you the Caria Inverted Statue. She doesn't say why you need it.
Your next destination is the Carian Study Hall. The hall is located on the eastern bluffs of Liurnia of the Lakes, almost directly east of the Academy Gate Town. Travel northeast of the town to find the Eastern Liurnia Lake Shore Site of Grace, then head inland and south. The path will carry you to the front door of the Carian Study Hall.
Normally when you go through this area you'll hit a dead end when you reach the uppermost levels. If you place the Caria Inverted Statue on the pedestal in the entrance hall, however, you'll flip the dungeon on its head. This will allow you to descend through the Study Hall rather than ascend. The NPC Preceptor Miriam and her horde of lackeys at the top make fighting a nightmare, so try to get onto the chandeliers and rafters below you as quickly as you can.
At the bottom the world will right itself as you step onto a bridge. Activate the Liurnia Tower Bridge Site of Grace, then step across the bridge. Partway across you'll run into a Godskin Noble, who despite not appearing as a boss is most definitely a boss. You can nevertheless run right past this guy to get to the Divine Tower of Liurnia on the other side, if you wish. Just watch out for black flames hurled at your back as you flee. (Though if you do opt to fight, he's carrying the Godskin Noble Set. He does have a nice jacket.)
At the top of the tower you'll find a corpse carrying the Cursemark of Death and the Stargazer Heirloom. The Heirloom is a Talisman, while the Cursemark is needed to progress Ranni's story.
Step Six - Ainsel River Main
Head back to Three Sisters with the Cursemark in hand. If you jump to the Royal Moongazing Grounds Site of Grace you'll emerge just west of Renna's Rise, and you'll notice that the once-sealed tower is now open. Enter it, grab the Snow Witch Set from the chest on the second floor, and climb to the top. There's a teleporter here...
... and it will shoot you to Ainsel River Main. Check the coffin dead ahead for the Miniature Ranni, then head south down the river. Past the Site of Grace you'll find an open area populated by Claymen and a Malformed Star, a huge, insectile thing that fires rocks at you from a distance. Get right underneath it to avoid the majority of its attacks and beat its skull until it dies. Scour the area for items.
To the southwest is a watery, downhill tunnel. Follow it until you start running into giant ants. The tunnel splits ahead, and if you keep following the lit sections you'll soon come to Nokstella, Eternal City.
Step Six - The Baleful Shadow
Pause at the Nokstella, Eternal City Site of Grace for a moment and check the menu of options. You'll see that you can try speaking to the Ranni doll you found. Do this multiple times and Ranni will reply. This is the real thing, and if you bug her enough she'll command you to hunt down a Baleful Shadow for her.
Head along the river that runs through Nokstella. You'll come to a structure on your left with an elevator that descends to the Nokstella Waterfall Basin. Talk to the doll a few more times at the next Site of Grace, then run through the cave ahead. At the end is an elevator to the Lake of Rot - but just before you get on, a Baleful Shadow will emerge from the ground and attack you. It probably looks familiar. These things use heavy swords to smack you around, so ranged attacks are safest. If you must use melee, wait a moment before rolling to avoid attacks. The Shadow's swing is slow.
The Baleful Shadow will drop the Discarded Palace Key. Assuming you've completed this area, which is probably the case, jump all the way back to the Raya Lucaria Grand Library in the Academy of Raya Lucaria. This is the place where you fought Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, and there is a locked chest here that the key opens. It contains the Dark Moon Ring, another key item. The end of the road is drawing close.
Step Seven - Lake of Rot
Return to the Lake of Rot Shoreside Site of Grace. Your next destination is almost directly south of here, through the Lake of Rot. This large body of... water... will inflict Scarlet Rot on you if you stand in it for too long, and Scarlet Rot quickly saps your health. You can either take the slow approach through the area, looking for obelisks with buttons that raise islands to walk on, or you can plow straight south and into the temple at the other end. There's a Site of Grace not far from the temple entrance. You won't need that many Flasks to make it across, so long as you run most of the way.
Beyond the entrance is the Grand Cloister. Drop down several ledges after the Site of Grace, then walk south. You'll see a group of Lesser Kindred of Rot worshipping at the base of a shrine. Take a left here and follow the river to a waterfall. There's a coffin at the edge of the waterfall that will send you to another area...
... and here, past boss fog, you'll face Astel, Naturalborn of the Void. A huge, bug-like creature, Astel will teleport around an enormous battlefield and attack you with its huge pincers, as well as its copious gravitational powers. Getting in close and walloping Astel's skull is generally safer than trying to remain at a distance, though watch out for occasional area of effect attacks.
Once Astel is out of the way you'll find a Site of Grace in the north, and near it is a cave. Climb the slope inside to find an elevator that will ascend out of the ground.
Step Eight - Cathedral of Manus Celes
You've reached the end. When the elevator emerges from the ground you'll find yourself on a beautiful, moonlit grassland in the south of Liurnia of the Lakes. Follow the path northeast and you'll see a ruined building ahead. As you approach, the massive Glintstone Dragon Adula will teleport in, but you can avoid it and run right into the building if you want.
This is the Cathedral of Manus Celes. Activate the Site of Grace inside, then look on the right side of the cathedral for a hole in the ground. Drop down into it, and... well, you'll see for yourself what happens next, assuming you brought the Dark Moon Ring with you. Speak to Ranni once all is said and done to receive the Dark Moon Greatsword. This brings Ranni's quest to a close, and unlocks an alternate ending for the game as well.
(Looking for an epilogue? There's one last thing you can do. Return to Ranni's Rise. You'll find Blaidd on the front steps, and he's... not doing well. You'll need to fight and kill Blaidd. Doing so will earn you Blaidd's Set, as well as the Royal Greatsword. Poor guy. Look for the Black Wolf Mask near Seluvis's Rise to complete the full Blaidd cosplay.)