Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
One of the darkest, most horrifying locations in Elden Ring, the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds can easily be missed if you're not diligent. Located beneath the shining Royal Capital of Leyndell, this grimy sewer dungeon is the place where the criminals of the Lands Between wind up when they're caught. The absolute worst of the worst NPC is here, and bending to his foul requests can change the course of the entire world.
This guide will take you through the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds in Elden Ring. It's a surprisingly large area, and some of its mazes can be a nightmare to navigate if you don't pay close attention to where you're going.
Finding the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds
The Subterranean Shunning-Grounds are located in Royal Capital Leyndell, and are largely accessible soon after you enter the city. Proceed through the area until you reach the 'lower' area of Leyndell, in the northwest, where the buildings look sort of dingy and the streets are filled with zombies. Make your way to the bottom of the giant dragon wing that allows you to climb into the outer walls of Leyndell.
Under the wing is a bridge. It will take you to a number of ruined buildings. Climb the buildings to find a small clearing with a Scarab surrounded by a number of hidden Albinaurics. Near this clearing is a well, hidden in shadows. You can climb into the well to find a secret section of the sewers. Proceed through the tunnels beyond - watch out for rats - and you'll soon find a door leading into the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds.
When you emerge from the door and first see the title card for the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds you'll be standing on a platform above a long pathway. Below you is an Omen, an ogre-like creature, and there are two more down the corridor to the left. This is a good spot for sniping all three, though Omens have a lot of health, so it may take a while.
Take a left down the corridor. A short way from the ladder down to the corridor you'll find the Underground Roadside Site of Grace on your left and a summoning pool beside a locked door on your right. Continue up the corridor a ways to find a Golden Rune , Bloodsoaked Manchettes, and a Bloodsoaked Mask, all on your right. If you regenerated the Omens by resting at the Site of Grace you can pretty easily sneak around them. Just stay out of their line of sight.
At this point you already have some choices to make as to your direction. Start by going down the ladder on the right of the Site of Grace. You'll soon find yourself on a wooden platform near a series of pipes. Look to your left for some Freezing Grease, then look above you. There are Imps in this area, and they cling to the pipes. Hitting them with a ranged weapon will more often than not send them flying to the ground when they fall onto the pipes. There are three here that you should dispatch before jumping over to the ten Serpent Arrows sitting on the first cross-section of pipes.
The pipes start to trend upward from here, and if you look above them you'll see an Imp on a bridge. Back up a bit to shoot it down. Head up the pipe to the southwest and you'll see another Imp above and to your left; take it out on the next platform. Look to your right on the platform to see yet another Imp clinging to the wall next to an item. Take it out, then hop down to retrieve the Somber Smithing Stone .
Climb up the pipe and you'll find another platform ahead, across from a doorway with a wooden walkway in front of it. An Imp will start flinging blades at you from the doorway. Take it out from a distance, then get on the walkway. There's a Smithing Stone  on your right, and if you go through the doorway you'll find stairs up to a wide hall. To the right in this corridor is a giant iron gate which you can raise via lever. This creates a path back to the Omen-filled section at the beginning of the dungeon. To the right is the Shadow Bait Incantation, though an Omen waits to ambush you if you try to grab the item.
Head back to the pipes. There's a larger wooden platform ahead guarded by several Imps, including one that's hiding on the pipes at your feet. Take them out on the platform or back by the doorway where the footing is a bit more secure. On the larger platform are five Fire Greases.
You can't go any higher in this area past this point, but you can go lower. Look below you and you'll see two Giant Lobsters patrolling the bottom of this area. You can use pipes to hop more or less safely down to the bottom - be prepared to take some damage - and find an open area with a number of items, including three Smithing Stones , a Scarab holding a Somber Smithing Stone , another Somber Smithing Stone  sitting out in the open, five Glass Shards, and Mohg's Shackle, an important item for fighting an optional boss. Near Mohg's Shackle you'll also find a hole in the wall, and inside is a path to the Leyndell Catacombs. Duck in here before you grab anything to find a Site of Grace that you can use to get the rest of the items, lest the lobsters kill you on subsequent runs. They're difficult to avoid.
There's no way back up to the lower levels once you jump down into the lobster pit, so you'll need to warp back to the Underground Roadside Site of Grace to proceed further. This time from the Site of Grace chamber you want to take a left, run past the patrolling Omen, and fall into the gap in the floor. You'll land in a culvert.
Look to your right to find a dead end with two rats to kill and some Preserving Boluses, then turn around and head down the tunnel. There are plenty of rats ahead, some in hiding and some not, so pull out a shield and keep it up to block their jumping attacks. They seem like minor enemies, but rats can be difficult to hit with some melee weapons and like to attack in groups.
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Before you reach the item at the end of the tunnel there will be a side passage on your right. Things get really confusing in here, so ignore it for the moment and continue to the item. Hidden on your left are several huge flowers that puff out poison. Grab the Furlcalling Finger Remedy, then bolt past the flowers before they can use any spells on you. There's a ladder at the far end that leads to a Rune Arc. Watch out for three Spider Hands that are clinging to the walls and ceiling in this room. Kill them all, then look to the middle of the chamber. There's a Lost Ashes of War here, though grabbing them will get you caught by a large Spider Hand. Bring it out of hiding before you grab the Ashes.
At the end of this chamber is a locked door that can only be opened with the Sewer-Gaol Key. Inside is Dung Eater, a vile NPC whose non-corporeal form you met in Roundtable Hold, and who would have given you the key to this cell if you had a Seedbed Curse in your inventory. If you decide to interact with this Dung Eater you can begin a quest that will change the ending of the game if you see it through.
Backtrack from Dung Eater's cell and check the pipe you ignored earlier. This area is a maze, and it's very easy to get lost. We'll try to proceed through here systematically so it isn't too confusing.
- Head straight down the pipe and go left
- Fall down the first hole you find - you'll be near a room with several Wraith Callers guarding a Stonesword Key - you can then open a door near the key and go through the adjacent tunnels to appear on the other side of the hole. where you'll find a Glass Shard
- Take a right and go up the slope, then jump over the hole at the top of the slope to reach ten Rainbow Stone Arrows (Fletched)
- Follow the pipe to the end to find an intersection
- Go left at the intersection and down the slope, checking on your right as you go for a Wraith Caller to kill
- On the right you'll find an open room full of Wraith Callers, and eventually a Revenant - run through the room, grab the Smithing Stone  and five Grave Violets, and return to the entrance
- Go back up the slope in the pipe to the intersection, through the barred doorway
- Kill slugs ahead and check the right tunnel for a Fireproof Dried Liver
- Continue down the tunnel to find an open room with a Somber Smithing Stone , a ladder, and two Omens - either find a way to kill them or get around them and go up the ladder; if you want to kill them, lead them back to the barred doorway intersection and they won't be able to follow you through the doorway
At the top of the ladder you'll leave these abysmal pipes behind, and there will be an Omen standing near a statue on your left and a heavy iron gate on your left, as well as closed double doors straight ahead. Open the gate to create a shortcut to the beginning, open the double doors, then grab the Smithing Stone  from in front of the statue. This will understandably irritate the Omen, and if you're being chased by multiple of the things you can run into the wooden double door to escape. They can't fit through the doorway.
This leads to a long, curved staircase leading downward. There are some zombies on the way down, but they're no big deal. Grab the Grace Mimic a short way down, then look for a huge break in the stairs. There's also a break in the wall on your left, and if you're careful you can drop through it to the stairs below. There's a String down here, and if you climb the stairs you'll find a Scarab holding a Somber Smithing Stone .
Near your landing point is a doorway on your right. Grab the Warming Stone ahead, then wander down the next passage. The zombies in here will attack you, but they're slow and weak. At the end of the passage is a doorway; watch out for a poisonous flower on your left. More will sprout as you go down the stairs ahead.
Check beside the stairs to find a small side room containing Preserving Boluses. There are more pipes here, praise be. Ignore them for the moment and look to the ledge ahead. There's a Fire Grease on the ledge, and below the ledge, down a ladder, is a huge flower. Behind it are eight Poisoned Stones. There are a bunch of Basilisks hidden around the base of the flower, and if you go down to attack it they will mob you. Check to the left of the flower to find a hallway leading to the Nomad Ashes. Use this hallway to kill the Basilisks without the flower getting involved. Backtrack up the ladder once you have the Ashes.
Return to the pipes you ignored and trek inside, then go up the next ramp. At the top you'll see a Basilisk plodding towards you. There's another one in a tunnel on your right, as well, and one far in the back. Take out all three before they drown the tunnel in fumes, and take out the peasant standing by the locked door for good measure. This door is a shortcut we'll open shortly.
Follow the tunnel to the end and go right. There's a large room with an Omen at the top of the slope. There are a lot of items to grab and plenty of space for fighting, so you should take this one on. Hit once, get back, hit once, get back, repeat. This particular Omen drops an Omen Bairn. Check the rest of the room for four Glass Shards, a Dappled White Cured Meat, and two Golden Centipedes.
If you go up the ladder near the Omen you'll find yourself back in the room with the pipes and the Imps. Cross the bridge ahead to find three Poisoned Stones and a door that leads back to the Site of Grace. If you get onto the pipe to the left of the ladder you'll find a path along pipes that will lead you to a wooden platform, high above everything else. Kill all the Imps along the way. You can use the platform to leap down to your left, where you'll find another Imp and a Golden Rune . Watch out for yet another Imp that will rush out of a doorway on your right as you approach the Golden Rune. Through the doorway you'll find a ladder you can kick down, leading back to the Omen you just fought and to the pipes beyond.
Before you return to the previous area, however, look to the set of pipes just above the Omen. You can hop down onto them and jump inside. The path will split here; start by going southwest. Through the next doorway and on your right is a Scarab. If you go down this pathway, go right, walk straight, and go left, you'll come to another barred doorway. On your left is a Warming Stone. Go through the barred doorway and follow the pipes down - watch out for a peasant on your left - until you hit a dead end with a Smithing Stone .
For simplicity's sake, reverse the directions and return to the light source at the beginning of the pipes. Then head back in, go right, and take a left. Walk to the end of this passage to hit a dead end. You'll find an Eye of Yelough on your right. Grab it and return to the light source.
Now you're facing a short uphill climb. At the end of it you'll hit another light source, as well as a Golden Rune . The path, yet again, splits here, though the right is a dead end. Go left to find four Smithing Stones . If you keep following this path you'll wind up overlooking the room with the Imps and the pipes.
Backtrack to the first lit doorway, near where you dropped into these pipes. Check down the other end of the pipe. Around the corner you'll see a rat wandering along. Go left at the end to find a Golden Rune  and an intersection. Both of these tunnels loop into each other, and both have holes in them. If you go down the left tunnel and drop down the hole you'll land beside a Smithing Stone  - and a peasant, so kill him quick - and a door you can open to create a shortcut back to the area with the Basilisks.
If you follow the rest of the pipe near the shortcut it leads to a dead-end room with a Ritual Pot and a bunch of Living Jars. There's also an elevator off to the side. If you hop on the elevator it will whisk you far to the bottom of the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds, to the Forsaken Depths Site of Grace. There's a doorway ahead with a summoning pool beside it...
... and beyond you'll find an area that looks like the many catacombs spread throughout the game. Descend the stairs, grab the Smithing Stone  that's halfway down, and stop at the bottom. There's a church past here, and if you freed him from his cell Dung Eater's summon sign will be right outside it. That's as sure a sign as any that a boss is waiting.
Mohg, the Omen
A rather nasty villain with deeper ties to Elden Ring's lore than you might immediately realize, Mohg, the Omen is a powerful foe. Strutting slowly around his dim, underground church, Mohg fights with an enormous trident and splashes of red liquid that turn to fire when they hit the ground. With limited space in the church it's difficult to avoid his attacks, making this a tough battle indeed. Some tips:
- Most of Mohg's trident swings are just a little slow. If you roll too early you'll get hit by them anyway. Wait about a half second after he starts to swing before you react.
- Mohg's liquid tosses are very difficult to avoid if you dodge in any direction but forwards. If you go through the liquid you'll avoid damage every time. Watch out for fires behind you, however.
- Don't stay near Mohg for too long. He can rain liquid down around him, creating a very painful patch of fire near his feet. Hit him once or twice, then back away. This will also keep you away from his trident.
- Don't get cocky when using ranged attacks. Mohg moves slowly, but his trident has such a ridiculous range that he can more or less hit you from the other side of the room when he starts to attack. Be ready to move after you launch one or two projectiles, especially if you're fighting alone.
- Use Mohg's Shackle. Similar to Margit's Shackle much earlier in the game, this item will allow you to temporarily root Mohg in one spot twice during the fight. This will give you a chance to carve a deep hole in his health.
- Get help, but don't count on Dung Eater himself to be too useful. He can get in some decent licks, but Dung Eater tends to die pretty quickly in this fight, and will leave you dealing with the extra health he handed to Mohg. A strong Spirit Ash will do better in this fight.
You'll earn 75,000 Runes and the Bloodflame Talons Incantation for defeating Mohg, the Omen. You'll also find an Erdtree's Favor +1 in a chest on the altar of the church.
Dead end? Not quite. Activate the Church of the Forsaken Site of Grace, then hit the wall behind the treasure chest. The shrine will sink into the ground, revealing a hidden pathway that's absolutely teeming with bodies.
Church of the Forsaken
Straight ahead from the entrance to this grim place is a deep pit. There's a precarious wooden plank leading across it, and a zombie-like character is wandering the other side. These guys don't seem so bad at first, but they can use Frenzy magic and waste you if you don't take them out quickly. Grab the five Grace Mimics sitting nearby.
Look below you. There's another plank, and you can drop down onto it if you're very, very careful. At the lower end of the plank you'll find a Golden Rune , and at the upper end you'll find, well, more bodies. There are three more zombies here, one walking around and two sitting on ledges. Kill them all. Five Eyes of Yelough are sitting to the right of the zombie that was wandering.
There's another drop below the central plank. Hop down to find a Frenzied's Cookbook  on the upper end of the plank. At the lower end are three more zombies, including the one that's playing music, and three Hefty Beast Bones.
Now comes the horrible part. Walk to the left ledge of this little alcove and look down. There's a stone slab jutting out of the wall, and many more all the way down the shaft. You need to carefully fall, hop, and occasionally roll along these little platforms, all the way to the bottom. The jumps aren't as bad as they look, though if your stomach doesn't churn while doing this then you aren't human. Be slow, patient, and careful.
You'll know you've survived when you reach a slab with the Inescapable Frenzy Incantation on it. Crawl under the arch and get back on solid ground. Look to your right and you'll find a passage leading to a Fingerprint Stone Shield. There's a zombie sitting beside it, and when he rises up you can goad him into blasting the cloth-covered structure back in the main passage. Beneath it is Note: Miquella's Needle.
Go down the stairs nearby and you'll be able to safely jump to the bottom of the shaft... though when you do the floor will give out. You'll land near the Frenzied Flame Proscription Site of Grace. Near here is a door that looks absolutely horrifying, and it will only open if you completely strip your character of clothes.
BE WARNED! What lies beyond this door will change the thrust of the storyline, and you'll have chosen the end of the game. You aren't completely locked in, but reversing this decision is very difficult, and requires defeating one of the hardest bosses in FromSoftware history. If you'd planned on getting a different ending, leave the door alone and teleport out of this wretched place.