A Walkthough of Lake Rot
A festering miasma of deadly muck, the Lake of Rot is Caelid's Swamp of Aeonia turned up to 11. Secreted deep below the Lands Between and only accessible through a very specific series of events, the Lake of Rot is a place you may never see – and that could be a blessing, given what it's like.
This guide will show you how to get through the Lake of Rot in Elden Ring. Half the trick is getting there, though, and we'll discuss that process as well.
How to Reach the Lake
The Lake of Rot is far underground, beneath Liurnia of the Lakes, and getting there is quite a journey. To reach the lake, you'll need to aid Ranni the Witch in the majority of her questline:
- Meet Ranni at Ranni's Rise in Three Sisters, behind Caria Manor. Caria Manor is in the northwest of Liurnia of the Lakes. Avoid Redmane Castle in Caelid - or defeat Radahn at Redmane if you've already been there - to ensure Ranni appears.
- Speak to all of Ranni's servants, then to Ranni again.
- Defeat Radahn, then head to Nokron, Eternal City in southwest Limgrave, which was opened by Radahn's death. Find the Fingerslayer Blade at the Night's Sacred Ground sub-region of Nokron.
- Bring the blade to Ranni. She'll give you the Caria Inverted Statue. Use it to complete the Carian Study Hall dungeon in eastern Liurnia of the Lakes. Grab the Cursemark of Death from atop the Divine Tower of Liurnia at the end of the study hall.
- Return to Three Sisters and enter Renna's Rise. A teleporter here will take you to Ainsel River Main. Beyond it is Nokstella, Eternal City, and an elevator on the riverbank in Nokstella will take you down to the entrance to the Lake of Rot.
Lake of Rot Shoreside
When you first arrive at the Lake of Rot, you'll quickly discover that the majority of the area is a thick bog, and if you step into it for too long, you'll contract Scarlet Rot. You'll have to walk through the ooze, so either equip the Flame, Cleanse Me Incantation or use Preserving Boluses to get rid of the disease. It will quickly eat up your health. You can also set out on quick forays into the lake, exploring until your Flasks are almost out, and teleport back to the Site of Grace before you die. It's not that large an area.
Check the shoreline for Map: Lake of Rot, then look around. On the east side of the shore, you'll see a bizarre plant structure with an item at its base. Jump down to find an Aeonian Butterfly, then follow the northern wall to the east. You'll find another Aeonian Butterfly, this time in actual butterfly form, and if you keep going, you'll find a tiny island with a Somber Smithing Stone  on it. Keep your eyes open on the edges of the Lake of Rot for more Aeonian Butterflies if you're in the market for the things, as they pop up from time to time.
Head back to the Site of Grace for a refill on Flasks, then look to the southeast. There's a set of ruins shoved up against the eastern wall of the lake. Run out to it, and you'll find a Somber Smithing Stone  behind the wall of the ruins. You'll be attacked by several Basilisks here, though they don't seem terribly aggressive compared to other areas. Kill them quickly, and don't neglect the Scarlet Rot buildup if you didn't cure it.
Continue to run south along the wall to find another hunk of ruins jutting out of the ooze, this with a Golden Rune  on top of it. Kill the Basilisks sitting around the bottom. Beyond here are several smaller islands, and in the distance, you'll see one particular island with an obelisk on it. There's a button at the base of the obelisk, and standing on it will cause several small, adjacent islands to rise. You can use these to somewhat alleviate Scarlet Rot buildup. There's a conspicuous lump in the midst of these islands, but we'll come back to it from another angle.
If you look off to your right, you'll see, oddly enough, an Ancestral Follower wandering around in the sea of red. He seems harmless enough - and is - but if you take the time to kill him, you'll receive an Immunizing Horn Charm +1. Equipping this item will help alleviate Scarlet Rot buildup and is highly recommended for navigating this area. Warp back to the shore now that you have the Immunizing Horn Charm. From here, you can navigate the area with a bit less risk, and we'll collect the things we missed in the southeast by going southwest.
To the southwest of the northern shore, you'll see a stone obelisk that will raise a brickwork island on your right, allowing you to grab a Rot Grease from a nearby corpse. Further south is another of these obelisks; watch out for Basilisks as you run along the brickwork towards it. This will raise a series of pillars further south.
Look to the north. Way out in the mire, you'll see an item sitting by itself. If you run out to it you'll find ten Black-Key Bolts. A little further south of here is a tiny island with a Somber Smithing Stone  on it.
Return to the previous obelisk. On your left is what looks like the base of a pillar on a small island. Dash over and look south. You'll see another small island ahead, with a corpse between the two islands. Grab the Warming Stone on your way to the second island. This will bring a sizable pack of Basilisks out of hiding to attack you, though if you just keep running to a third island with another pillar base on it, they won't do much to follow you.
Across the bog to the south and on your right is another obelisk that's half-hidden by coral overgrowth. Run over and hit the button to raise more pillars to your right. This spot is your destination, but we'll come back to it in a bit. There are more items to the east. (If you need a refresher, however, you can rush in here to find a Site of Grace.)
To the east is a big lump of... something. Past it and near the far wall is another obelisk, just visible through the haze. Run to the obelisk and trigger it to raise more platforms around the lump. There's a Golden Rune  on a corpse near the lump ...
... though grabbing the item will cause the Dragonkin Soldier that is the lump to rear up and attack. Though a somewhat tame enemy for this point in the game and easy enough to kill, the Dragonkin Soldier can be a pain if you're also suffering from Scarlet Rot. Try to heal the Rot before taking it on, and be careful not to fall off your island. Attacking its legs is advised, as is the use of summons, as they don't care about Scarlet Rot. You'll receive 58,000 Runes and a Dragonscale Blade for defeating the Dragonkin Soldier. Nearby islands in this area have a Lightningproof Dried Liver and a Golden Rune .
Past the Dragonkin Soldier's chain of islands and in the southeast corner of the Lake of Rot is a small building surrounded by pillars. Island hop your way to it, and you'll find a bunch of basking Basilisks. Ignore the building for the moment and run up the fallen tower on the left. A corpse at the top holds a Smithing Stone . There's another fallen tower ahead, smashed up against a rock cliff, and if you run over to it and climb up onto the rocks, you'll find a path across pillars to get inside the building. Atop another pillar in here, you'll find a Mushroom Crown.
That's it for the optional stuff. Jump back to the Site of Grace, rejuvenate your Flasks, and begin island hopping your way to the large shrine in the south, near the two sets of pillars that you raised earlier. Don't worry too much about getting hit by Scarlet Rot along the way, as just inside the shrine and down a set of stairs – head to the left, not the right - you'll find the Grand Cloister Site of Grace. You can use this to restore yourself, then head back outside the shrine. There are some Preserving Boluses on a corpse just outside the entrance, and if you head left to the southwest corner of the area, you'll find a building that contains the Nomadic Warrior's Cookbook .
There. You made it. Things don't get easier past here, but at least you're out of the ooze.
There are stairs leading down and west near the Site of Grace, and you need to drop through the brickwork to proceed. Before you do, jump onto the ledge on your right, hopping over the gap in the stone. Around two corners, you'll find a Golden Rune .
Backtrack and fall down the hole. You'll land on a lower ledge. There's another, much larger gap ahead, and try as you might, you can't jump it to land on the other side. Ah well. Drop right down, then keep going down ledges until you're on the lowest floor. This area is patrolled by Lesser Kindreds of Rot, and their numbers – and long-ranged attacks – can be a real pain. Take them down one at a time.
Head east, away from the obvious destination point. Kill the Lesser Kindred of Rot, then look down the river to your left. There's a Smithing Stone  and a Smithing Stone  at the end, though if you head after them, the ground will begin to rumble, and an Ulcerated Tree Spirit will burst out of the water at you. Retreat to the ground if you want to fight it, and make sure you heal any Scarlet Rot you may have contracted. You'll get a Golden Seed for defeating the Tree Spirit.
Head west. There's a Golden Rune  on the left side of the water, and ahead, near the long stairs to your destination, are a ton of praying Lesser Kindreds of Rot. Fighting them all at once is a poor idea, so if you want the Scorpion's Stinger inside the temple ahead, draw them away one at a time with ranged weapons, starting at the back. A suicide run up the steps is feasible, but you need to be fast, and you shouldn't run in a straight line. You'll find a Ghost Glovewort , eight Fan Daggers, and a Smithing Stone  on the stairs leading up to the temple.
Once you're done with the temple, get behind the Lesser Kindreds of Rot again and take a left, following the water. You'll find a path to a waterfall, as well as a cluster of coffins. If you activate a coffin on the left, you'll be shuttled to a watery cave, and an enormous boss fog awaits you.
Astel, Naturalborn of the Void
Hoo boy. Bet you didn't see this coming after that lake of muck. A massive celestial insect with the skull of a human, Astel, Naturalborn of the Void, is quite a challenge. Capable of a mixture of long-range and close-range attacks, from simple pincer bites to summoning down a swarm of meteors, Astel is one surprise after another. It's more beatable than it looks, however, and shouldn't give you a ton of trouble once you've practiced a few times.
- Be ready to defend the instant you enter Astel's boss fog. Astel always opens the fight by firing a bolt of energy at you, and it's very fast. If you aren't good enough at dodging these bolts, you can throw up a shield instead. You won't take as much damage as you'd think.
- Stay relatively close to Astel. Its long-range attacks are hard to avoid, and while some of its short-range attacks are brutal, the worst of them don't come out that often. Staying close to Astel will also allow you to get in more hits, as a lot of its attacks will just plain miss you, and it's a little slow to recover.
- That said, watch for Astel's area of effect attacks. It has a few, and as soon as you see the signs of one starting up, you need to run for the hills.
- Aim for Astel's head. Astel's body doesn't take much damage, but you'll inflict a normal amount by aiming for the head. This will also speed up the staggering process. Staying near its head is less dangerous than you'd think.
- Watch out when Astel teleports. Occasionally it will teleport overtop of you, then sweep down, try to grab you, and eat you. Not good, and usually instant death. Watch the skies for a few seconds after Astel disappears before you look elsewhere.
- Pull in a strong, bulky summon. Astel gets a lot of extra health when you get other PCs, but Spirit Ashes are great here and can help you stagger the giant bug. Mobs will probably get wiped out quickly, so stick to a single fighter to help you out.
Defeating Astel will earn you 60,000 Runes and the Remembrance of the Naturalborn. Defeating Astel will also open up a cave at the back of the arena, and you can use it to access an elevator that leads up to the Church of Celes Manus, on the southern cliffs of Liurnia of the Lakes. If you're progressing through Ranni the Witch's questline, which is likely, the church is your final stop. This is the end of the Lake of Rot, so pat yourself on the back.