A towering edifice of learning and research amid a danger-filled swamp, the Academy of Raya Lucaria is one of the obligatory dungeons you must face to complete the story of Elden Ring, and it's the second on your list. Despite coming somewhat early in the game - you'll probably be around level 50 when you get here - the Academy is a dangerous spot full of twists and turns, and one wrong move will get you killed. No surprise there.
This guide will take you through the Academy of Raya Lucaria in Elden Ring. First, though, you need to figure out how to get inside, and that's a chore in and of itself.
Finding and Accessing the Academy
Locating the Academy of Raya Lucaria is the easy part. It's by far the largest landmark in Liurnia of the Lakes, to the north of Limgrave. Just go north through the swamp and it will emerge from the fog sooner or later, a little closer to the western side of Liurnia. There are two ways to reach the front gates of the Academy:
- Your first option is to go west through the Academy Gate Town, a sunken, abandoned collection of stone buildings, and through the Academy's defenses. There are a ton of soldiers with swords, crossbows, and flamethrowers along the way, and a Maneuverable Flamethrower waits near the end. Rushing through on horseback is not as hard as it may seem at first so long as you keep on hopping.
- The safer option is to teleport past all the guards. There are two places to do this, though the easier is found along the eastern banks of Liurnia of the Lakes, just east of the Laskyar Ruins Site of Grace. Here you'll find the Purified Ruins, and one of the buildings contains a teleporter that will shoot you straight to the Academy.
Regardless of the route you choose you'll wind up at the South Raya Lucaria Gate Site of Grace. The gate itself is protected by a massive blue rune that prevents passage, however, and you'll need an Academy Glintstone Key to get past it.
Check the gate and you'll find a corpse carrying a Meeting Place Map. This depicts an island somewhere in the world, and said island just happens to be off the west coast of the Academy. Check southwest of the Academy for the Temple Quarter, and check the northwest of the Temple Quarter for its Site of Grace. The island is straight north from the Site of Grace...
... though as you get close you'll discover that this is the nest of Glintstone Dragon Smarag, a massive reptilian foe. It's sleeping as you approach, but it will wake up when you get too close. Smarag's nest contains the Academy Glintstone Key that you need. You can try to sneak in, though sweeping around Smarag, grabbing the key, and then galloping back out before Smarag attacks is the safest approach. Retreat to the south and Smarag will give up the chase.
With the key you can now use the blue rune to teleport into the Academy grounds. Here you'll find a second blue rune which will take you onto the cliffs north of the Academy, along the road to the Grand Lift of Dectus. Getting up there otherwise is a chore, so the shortcut is welcome.
There's a Site of Grace dead ahead when you enter the Academy grounds. Activate it to begin your trip into Raya Lucaria.
Main Academy Gate
A nearby elevator will take you up to the entrance of the Academy of Raya Lucaria. Cross the bridge ahead to the next open area, then take a right down onto dirt. There's a Magic Grease in the bushes. Continue up the stairs to the south and you'll see two stone-headed mages in front of the gate. These jerks will cast Glintstone Pebble at you constantly as you try to climb the stairs. Block or roll your way up and slaughter them quickly.
Through the door you'll find a church, and another mage waits at the far end. If you rush him you'll draw several Marionette Soldiers down from hiding places on the stone pillars that flank both sides of the hall. Go down the right or left walls, draw the Marionettes out, and kill all three of them one-at-a-time. Try to keep pillars between yourself and the mage to avoid his spells.
Check the right side of the hall for a Golden Rune , then take two lefts. There's a summoning pool here, right beside the Church of the Cuckoo Site of Grace.
Church of the Cuckoo
At the opposite end of the hall from the Site of Grace is a door leading outside. Here you'll find a graveyard, and nearby is a blue-eyed, zombie-like monster that will shamble towards you. If these things grab you, and they will do their best to grab you, they will drain both your HP and your FP. Avoid them at all costs, especially if you're a magic user. If you try to attack this one another will lurch out of hiding to grab you.
Take a left and walk along the upper ledge of the graveyard. There's one zombie on your right that you can easily dispatch, and ahead there's a second hidden behind a wall that will try to grab you. Past them the path ends, and you'll see three Grace Mimics on a corpse on the cliff edge. Two more zombies will crawl out of the ground. Kill or avoid them.
Return to the main path and go down the slope. Take a left around the tombstones and you'll see an item further down. There's one zombie in plain sight, another ready to jump at you from the right, and near the item you'll find a whole group of zombies. Grab the Spellproof Dried Liver from the ground and run past the zombies, onto the wooden bridge.
Dead ahead you'll see a Silver-Pickled Fowl Feet, protected by, you guessed it, more zombies, as well as a hound. Look to your left at the end of the bridge and you'll see that you can drop off of it. This will allow you to ambush the two Marionette Soldiers that are hiding up the slope, inside a small tunnel. Check the corpse in the tunnel for the Marionette Soldier Ashes. Appropriate.
(There's a path behind you under the bridge that winds around a bit, but it just takes you back to the other side of the bridge. Slightly safer, but not necessary.)
Carry on up the path a ways. If you check behind the gravestones on your right you'll see a lower outcropping of rock with several zombies worshiping in front of a tombstone. Drop down, kill all three - as well as the one that's off to your right when you land - and you can grab the Carian Knight Set from in front of the tombstone. Follow the slope on your left around the cliffs to find a Golden Rune , as well as a path back up to the graveyard.
Drop down into the graveyard and three hounds and a zombie will be on your right. Wait here to draw them over and kill them before you proceed. Ahead and on your right are two Magic Grease. Climb the hill, then check the darkened tombstones on your left. You can drop down up here to find a hound to kill and a Scarab that holds Ash of War: Spectral Lance. At the bottom of the slope from these creatures is a Golden Rune .
Backtrack, go up the slope, and check to the left of the torchlit door ahead for five Mushrooms. Kill the zombie in front of the door to leave this wretched area behind.
Ahead you'll see a huge lift that's constantly in motion. If you go up it you can jump off near the top and find a short path leading to a very welcome Site of Grace. If you ignore the lift for a second and go up the stairs, however, you'll find a large, solitary gravestone guarded by an Onyx Lord. The Onyx Lord will appear from a rift in space, giving you several seconds to rush over and start pounding him. These guys are strong if given space but stagger easily, and you can beat it to death well before it becomes a problem. The Onyx Lord drops the Gravity Well Sorcery, and you can check the tombstone for a Somber Smithing Stone .
Head over to the giant lift and hop onto one of the platforms. There are several weak commoners up here that you can kill. Check a short tunnel on your right for several Crystal Darts, then head back and go up the slope next to the door to the Site of Grace. This takes you to the top of the lift, and you can hop onto it and ride the platforms down.
Jump off the lift to the first rocky outcropping below. If you take a left here you'll find a dead end with two Avionette Soldiers, as well as several zombies that come to life once you raise a ruckus. The Avionettes are very annoying if they get into the air, so destroy them before they can do much, then take out the zombies. There's a Golden Rune , a Cuckoo Glintstone, and Avionette Soldier Ashes among the corpses. Go right at your landing spot and you'll find a place to jump back onto the upward-rising portion of the lift.
Go back onto the downward side of the lift and ride it all the way to the bottom. You'll be dumped into a pit with an Abductor Virgin, a sort of mobile iron maiden that tries to slice you with blades and stuff you into itself. So long as you avoid its grasping hands when they come out of its double doors these things aren't as difficult to defeat as they first appear. You'll find a Smithing Stone  and a Longtail Cat Talisman sitting down here, as well as a sloped path leading back onto the lift.
Ride the lift to the top and head for the Site of Grace. You're now inside the Academy.
This Site of Grace is very close to a boss, and you can easily dash from here and straight to the boss fog. Let's explore for a bit first, though.
Activate the summoning pool in this small room, then go up the stairs ahead. There's a guard here who patrols the hallways that you can kill. Take a left and you'll find a dead-end room with the Conspectus Scroll on a body, as well as a chest containing the Glintstone Craftsman's Cookbook .
If you chop the bookcase behind the scroll you'll reveal a hidden passage to a balcony. On your right is a Smithing Stone , while on your left is a leap to a lower ledge. Follow the ledge to a series of rocky jumps. These will lead you an Olivinus Glintstone Crown, as well as a quick path back to the Site of Grace. Mind that you jump off of the ledge before the crown or you'll likely fall down a gap and die.
Take a right down the corridor and you'll see two mages ahead, busy reading. Kill them before they can take blast you with magic. Go up the stairs and turn left, but be ready to get bombarded with spells if you move noisily. There are four mages and a Living Pot here to make your life difficult, and if you give the mages a chance to rev up they will bombard you with a non-stop flurry of Glintstone Pebbles. Slip into the room to attract the Living Pot's attention, draw it away, kill it, then either start sniping the mages or kill them quickly. They're pretty frail. If you wind up in a hailstorm of magic you can retreat to the stairs and around the corner, and after a few moments they'll follow you and be open to attack.
Straight ahead from the stairs is a chest containing a Ritual Pot. Go up the stairs on the right and you'll find a double set of stairs behind you, a statue on a balcony in front of you, and a combination of three mages and a guard. Rush forward to kill the guard on the balcony, use the pillars in front of the balcony to hide from Glintstone Pebbles, and kill the mages as you see fit. A corpse draped over the balcony railing carries a Furlcalling Finger Remedy.
The boss fog is up the double stairs and straight ahead. Before you head to fight, however, check the first bookcase on your left at the top of the stairs. Whacking it will reveal a secret passage into a two-floored room. Check the chest right ahead for the Comet Sorcery, then look behind the altar on the dais for a Stonesword Key.
Use the ladder on the left side of the room to climb to the second floor, where you can jump over the rear wall to find another secret passage. At the end is a hole that will drop you into a room full of small, sedentary Living Jars that will come after you if you grab the Graven-School Talisman off of the big crystal formation. Kill them first. (Or don't. They're not much of a threat even when they're angry.)
Pop open the double door on the right side of the room. You'll be back in the room with the large Living Jar. Head to the boss fog, and, if you're feeling brave, step through.
Red Wolf of Radagon
A highly-mobile boss with magic to spare, the Red Wolf of Radagon is a challenge for slower characters. It will spend the fight leaping around the room, either blasting you from afar with spells or leaping at you to deliver claw, bite, or magical sword attacks. The Red Wolf doesn't have much health, but it's evasive enough that just hitting the thing can be a chore. Here are some tips for defeating the Red Wolf:
- Never remove your targeting lock from the Red Wolf. You need to know where it is at all times, because it's so fast that it can move from one end of the room to the other in an instant.
- Only try for one hit at a time. Two if your weapon is quick. The Red Wolf barely stays in one place, only pausing momentarily after attacks, and if you try to get greedy you'll not only miss your second attack you'll get hit by a follow-up from the Red Wolf.
- Keep moving. This is not a fight for staying still. The Red Wolf switches attack moves constantly, and if you try to stay in one place it will catch you from the side or hit you with a stream of magic.
- Summon help. Spirit Ashes are pretty great in this fight, as they distract the Red Wolf and give you a chance to blindside it. Even if they don't survive long, you won't need to hit the Red Wolf too many times to bring it down. Mobs are particularly helpful, though don't expect them to last for longer than twenty seconds or so.
You'll receive 14,000 Runes and a Memory Stone for defeating the Red Wolf of Radagon. You'll also open the way to the next area, which takes you back outside.
Beyond the Debate Parlor you'll find yourself in a large courtyard. If you wanted you could hop over to the broken staircase on the right of the courtyard, avoid the giant balls that rumble past, fight an NPC, go up an elevator, and find the final boss of the Academy of Raya Lucaria. She's very close. We want to explore more, however, so we'll skip all that for now and focus on the courtyard.
If you go left upon entering the courtyard you'll find some stairs to a landing just above the exit. There are five Living Jars up here, as well as a mage. Rush and kill the mage, then take out the Jars. A pair of bodies up here carry a Cracked Pot and a Living Jar Shard.
Hop up onto the courtyard's central fountain to find a Stonesword Key. While you're up here a Virgin Abductor will roll over and begin to attack you. The fountain isn't the best hiding spot, but it's a decent place to avoid the Abductor's close range attacks if you fight with projectiles. There are commoners here that can get in the way, though most will just die from the Abductor's blades. Check the northwest end of the courtyard for a Glintstone Firefly.
Look west and you'll see a series of arches under a bridge. Go through them to find a Golden Seed under a tree. Go south from here along the walls and you'll find a solitary corner with a gleaming crab. Kill the crab to receive a Karolos Glintstone Crown. To the north is a Golden Rune  that's an obvious trap, and approaching it will bring out a Giant Crab. This crab's spray can put you to sleep, so avoid it or kill it quickly. Check the other side of the tower where the crab was hiding for a Golden Rune .
There's nothing else in the north aside from a second Giant Crab, so head back south and check the rubble pile near the fountain. At the top are two sets of stairs, one in front and one behind, and at the top of both are mages. Rush past the group of aristocrats loitering at the bottom of the stairs in the front, kill the mages, then turn back to kill the aristocrats. Be sure to kill the mage in the small room beneath the other two mages, as well. The mage behind you can be ignored if you wish.
At the top of the stairs is a Golden Rune , and in the small room you'll find a Glintstone Whetblade. Go up the northern stairs and you'll find a locked door. Not much use... though you'll find more to do by hopping over the railing on your left. This leads to a double set of stairs with mages at the top and bottom. Kill the one up top, then turn back and kill the one at the bottom who's probably ignoring you. Open the door at the bottom to reveal a path back to the courtyard, then go up the stairs to the top. A body overlooking an adjacent rooftop carries a Golden Rune .
Jump over the railing and onto the rooftop. Follow the roof to find two Marionette Soldiers. Rush both before you start getting pelted with arrows. The tower to the right of the Marionettes has a ladder to climb, though check around the corner beside the ladder to find a Golden Rune  before you ascend.
There's a bridge at the top that is guarded by three Avionettes that are perched like statues. Target them to pick them out of the scenery then shoot them from afar. They're far easier targets when they're flopping around on the ground. A mage at the end of the bridge will try to goad you into crossing prematurely, but stay away until you've destroyed the three Avionettes. Dealing with all four at once is a nightmare. Check the body near the mage for five Crystal Darts.
Go around the tower ahead to find five Meteor Bolts. You can drop onto a lower rooftop from the bolts, and there's a path of rooftops beyond. On the second rooftop drop you can see another rooftop ahead, across a gap that looks like it's just a bit too far. Time your jump just right and you'll land on the opposite rooftop. An Avionette will show up to attack you and a Marionette not long after, so be ready to thrash them both.
Continue dropping down rooftops, destroying more Marionettes as you go, until you reach a doorway. Inside are two more Marionettes, to your left and right, and a ladder. Climb the ladder to the top of what turns out to be a bell tower. Up here is a chest containing a Full Moon Crossbow. Drop out of the bell tower on the west side and you'll land on a rooftop leading back to the main path, where you'll find a Smithing Stone  that you probably spotted earlier but couldn't reach.
Return to the main path and keep dropping down rooftops until you see a Soldier Marionette on your right. Deal with it as you like, though if you make noise the one straight ahead will begin firing arrows at you. Carry on past the arrow-slinging Marionette to find a Golden Rune , then double back and return to the first Marionette. Drop down onto the ledge below where it was standing and you'll find a path to an Imbued Sword Key. Jump to the nearby tower to find two Smithing Stones  on the far ledge.
Back on the main path you'll see a ladder and an adjacent rooftop with some patrolling Marionettes. At the bottom of the ladder is a room with a Somber Smithing Stone . Grab the item, then go back up the ladder and leap to the adjacent roof. Thrash the Marionettes. Check the west side of this curved rooftop to find two Magic Grease, as well as a pair of Avionettes that will try to ambush you from above when you go for the item.
Enter any of the open windows on this curved rooftop and walk onto the rafters. You're back in the church where you began your Raya Lucaria excursion. Grab the Golden Rune  from the body on the rafters. If you're feeling gutsy you can drop onto the chandelier below to get a second Academy Glintstone Key. This can be given to Thops, an NPC at the Church of Irith.
Either drop off of the chandelier or go down the scaffolding at the side of the building to reach the lower balcony. Beside the scaffolding is another shining crab, this one carrying the Twinsage Glintstone Crown. Grab it and head inside the church. The upper level is patrolled by two guards and a mage. Try to kill the mage first, as his spells are quite potent. There's a Shattering Crystal Sorcery on a body on the west side of the walkways, as well as a ladder you can kick down. This will allow you to access the Church of the Cuckoo Site of Grace.
Across the bridge from the body with the Sorcery is a covered bridge into a nearby tower. It's blocked by a powerful opponent who will fire explosive arrows at you from a distance. They also have a rapier, though the crossbow is by far the greater threat. Try to goad them down the bridge and onto your side, where you can smack them around up close and keep them staggered. Getting hit by the arrows can immediately kill you, so you don't want to give them the chance to fire. Azur's Glintstone Staff is waiting on the other side of the bridge.
That's it for the sizeable side path. Warp back to the Debate Parlor and return to the courtyard from earlier. This time, walk along the right side of the courtyard. There's a broken pathway floating over empty air here that you can cross to if you drop onto some nearby buttresses. This will trigger enemies in the building at the top of the stairs to summon massive iron balls, however, and they'll send them down the stairs at you. If you keep your distance you can watch the direction of the balls as they bounce their way down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs is a Smithing Stone , partway up the stairs is a Furlcalling Finger Remedy, and if you hop onto the broken buttress partway up the stairs you'll find eight Crystal Darts.
Make your way up the stairs, avoiding the iron balls, and you'll find brief sanctuary at the top in a small room. To the right in this room is a teleporter. If you use it you will be shot away from the Academy of Raya Lucaria, to the Church of Vows. This small, peaceful location is on the eastern cliffs of Liurnia on the Lakes, and is home to Miriel, Pastor of Vows, a giant tortoise that can teach you magic. Handy.
The door on your left is locked, so go straight ahead. There's an elevator to the boss fog here, at the top of an elevator, and standing guard in front of it is Moongrum, Carian Knight. Moongrum is a skillful, sword-wielding opponent who can parry your hits if you try to attack him with melee weapons while his shield is up. Use ranged attacks if you can, or combine jumping attacks with quick dodge rolls if range isn't an option. Moongrum can also use Sorceries, but they're a welcome respite from the parrying. You'll get a Carian Knight's Shield for defeating Moongrum.
(Having trouble with Moongrum? Avoid the whole mess by running past him and getting on the elevator. He will often fall into the pit below it.)
Ignore the elevator for the moment and go left, into what looks like a garden. Kill the mage on your left when you go through the garden gate, then take out the aristocrats working nearby. A corpse near the mage holds a Golden Rune . Ahead is a path to a shortcut that returns you to the courtyard from earlier. You've almost gone full circle through the place.
Go back to the garden. You can hop over the railing near where the mage was standing to find a ledge. This leads to a ladder and a locked door. Open the door to find the room just before Moongrum, then go up the ladder. At the top are several mages and a Pumpkin Head. Take out the mages before attacking the Pumpkin Head. Destroying the lot will stop the iron balls from falling onto the stairs below. Check the chest by the far door for a Glintstone Scarab, then jump off the balcony outside the door to find a Golden Rune  beneath the balcony where you were just standing. Another jump down will take you to the teleporter to the Church of Vows.
And that... is... that! You've seen everything the Academy of Raya Lucaria has to offer, with just one exception. Return to the elevator you avoided before and go to the top. You have a boss to conquer.
Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon
Your final confrontation is a two-part battle against Rennala, the queen of Raya Lucaria. This battle isn't too difficult, especially compared to some of the later fights, though Rennala can still take you down if you don't know how to fight her.
This fight is split into two different battlefields. During the first Rennala will float above the fray in a golden bubble, leaving her students to attack you from the ground. To pop Rennala's bubble and drop her to the floor you need to go after the students hurling books at you. These have glowing golden auras around them. Kill three of these and Rennala will fall down for a time, allowing you to smack her around. Rennala will eventually release a shockwave, forcing you to retreat and go hunting for students again. A few hints for the first phase:
- Prowl the outermost edges of the battlefield for the students you need to defeat. This will keep you away from the rest, as well as any falling chandeliers.
- Avoid glowing globes. These will explode after a little while.
- Don't bother attacking the non-golden students. They don't do a whole lot, and will keep spawning. Your focus is defeating Rennala.
Defeat this first phase and you'll be shunted to a moonscape setting, where Rennala will attack you like a more typical boss. She favors evasive tactics and constant magic. This phase is more difficult than the first, though it's easy to knock Rennala around and disrupt her attacks. Some more tips:
- Rennala will always begin with a massive beam attack. Run to one side or the other to avoid it and close in on her. Hitting her will disrupt the beam.
- Keep on Rennala at all times. Hitting her will stop most of her attacks and force her to change tactics. The longer she's allowed to cast spells, the worse things get for you.
- Eventually Rennala will begin to summon spirits to help her. Don't bother fighting them. They will disappear after a short while. Either run from them or continue to pursue Rennala instead.
- Save your NPC summons for the second phase of the fight. They will get in trouble and contribute little to the first. Rennala does poorly under a sustained attack from multiple angles, and you can quickly chew up her health with help.
You'll earn 30,000 Runes, the Great Rune of the Unborn, and the Remembrance of the Full Moon Queen for defeating Rennala. You'll also discover that she's not dead, and Rennala can allow you to redistribute your stats or change your look and gender in exchange for a Larval Tear.
That's all for the Academy of Raya Lucaria. Before you leave, however, you may notice a chest near Rennala. It's locked, with no obvious key nearby. You won't be able to open this chest for quite a while, and it's part of a quest line, so... don't worry about it.