Elden Ring starts out a tough game, and it only gets tougher as you go along. Players who aren't accustomed to FromSoftware's penchant for murderous difficulty will be caught flat-footed by the rough introduction to this new world, and they may want to over-level a bit before tackling, say, the first boss.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to get to enemies that quickly drop more than enough Runes to get you to beyond-beginning levels. This guide will show you the path to quickly leveling through the early areas of Elden Ring.
Step One - Defeat the Tibia Mariner
Your first goal is to take out the Tibia Mariner, one of the bosses that litters Elden Ring's overworld. The Mariner is located in Summonwater Village, a set of ruins to the northeast of your starting location. Head north from the Gatefront Ruins to the Saintsbridge Site of Grace, then follow the path east across the bridge. The road will take you to the Summonwater Village Outskirts Site of Grace.
Here you'll find D, Hunter of the Dead, and he'll warn you to avoid Summonwater. Ignore his warning and enter the remains of the village. The Mariner will appear in the shallow waters and slowly canoe around. He has the following attacks:
- If you're nearby the Mariner will rear his vessel up and try to squash you.
- If you're nearby the Mariner may also try to splash up spectral water with his oar.
- The Mariner will summon spear-wielding Skeletons who will follow you around and try to poke you to death.
Sound intimidating? It's not. The Tibia Mariner is an easy kill. His attacks are slow, his Skeletons are slow, and you have tons of time to land hits. Just follow him around, keep an eye on the Skeletons, and beat the undead ferryman to death. (Second death?)
Step Two - Meet Gurranq
Once the Tibia Mariner is gone you'll find D near the entrance of Summonwater. He'll recommend you take his place killing undead on behalf of Gurranq, the Beast Clergyman. Agree to his proposition and he'll point you towards a portal that will take you to Gurranq.
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You're looking for a Site of Grace called the Third Church of Marika. It's a small, green-yellow set of ruins to the southeast of Summonwater Village. You can either skirt around the cliffs leading down to the water or take the riskier route and jump down them, on horse or off. There are enemies along the way, but nothing exceptionally dangerous.
Activate the Site of Grace, then check the bushes against the cliffs beside the ruins. There's a portal here that sticks out like a sore thumb once you're close enough. Check it to jump out of this region...
... and reappear in the far northeast corner of the world map. You're now in Dragonbarrow, an area you're not normally intended to visit for a while. Here you can speak to Gurranq at the Bestial Sanctum Site of Grace and trade him Deathroot, such as the one you received for defeating the Mariner.
We don't want Gurranq, however. We want what's outside his lair.
Step Three - Kill Vulgar Militia
This section of Dragonbarrow is sparsely populated by small, weapon-wielding creatures known as the Vulgar Militia. These soldiers are your targets, and so long as you approach them correctly you can make an absolute killing in Runes.
Before you go after them you need the right setup. Leave the Bestial Sanctum, past the big, imposing Black Blade Kindred boss - it will usually let you leave without a fuss - and go down the road, heading south. There's a bridge ahead, and beside it is the Farum Greatbridge Site of Grace. Activate it before you attack any of the Vulgar Militia. This will allow you to repopulate the area once you've killed enough of the Vulgar Militia.
Now for the fun. Staying well away from the Black Blade Kindred - it will come after you if you return to the Sanctum - move through the countryside and kill the members of the Vulgar Militia, one by one. Though their attacks are very powerful at this point in the game the Vulgar Militia are slow to strike, can be backstabbed easily, and stagger after several successive hits. Sneak up behind one from a distance (which is also surprisingly easy), land a back attack, and keep swinging until it's dead. If the Militia member spots you first, hang back until they've attacked (they have a variety of weapons), then swoop in and catch them in a long combo until they're dead. Ranged players should have little trouble shooting them from a distance.
Each Vulgar Militia member that you kill will earn you just over 1,000 Runes, and though they're tough to spot at first you can find a lot of them loitering around near the Bestial Sanctum. Keep refreshing the area once you've run out of targets and you'll swiftly earn a ton of Runes. Revisit here as much as necessary to power up your character.