Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
The number of optional locations you can visit in Elden Ring is pretty staggering, and you can easily skip vast sections of the game. The Academy of Raya Lucaria is not one of those places you can avoid, however. Found in Liurnia of the Lakes, the Academy houses a Great Rune that you must collect to complete the game. The problem is that the main gates are blocked by mystic runes that won't let you pass unless you have something very specific.
This guide will show you how to enter the Academy of Raya Lucaria in Elden Ring. It's not that tough, though the item you need to get is easy to overlook if you don't check your item menu.
Finding the Academy Gate
Your first challenge, if you haven't completed it already, is getting to the Academy's front door. The Academy of Raya Lucaria is enormous, sitting right in the middle of Liurnia of the Lakes, but there are only two ways in, and one of them is inaccessible at first.
You have two options for accessing the South Raya Lucaria Gate:
- First, you can storm the front door. If you go west through Academy Gate Town you'll find a road leading straight up to the gate. Problem is, it's guarded by a ton of soldiers, some manning heavy artillery. You can make the trip this way, but it will be difficult. You can summon using Spirit Ashes during every inch of the trip, which is highly recommended if you decide to go this route.
- Second, you can look for a teleporter. If you check the eastern shores of Liurnia of the Lakes that run just north of the Liurnia Lake Shore Site of Grace - it's way at the south end of the region - you'll find a soldier-filled location called the Purified Ruins. One of the hollowed-out buildings near the water contains a teleporter that will shoot you straight to the gate. Make sure you activate the nearby Site of Grace so you don't need to make the trip to the Purified Ruins a second time.
So you've arrived. The big, blue rune is still in the way. What now?
Finding the Academy Glintstone Key
Check the body just outside the gate. It carries a small map pointing to an island. This is a spot just off the western coast of the Academy of Raya Lucaria. Leave the Academy, return to the waters below, and check southwest of the main Academy island for the Temple Quarter. On the west side of this is a Site of Grace.
North of the Site of Grace is a small, rocky island, the one depicted on the map. It looks harmless enough at a distance... that is, until you get close enough. You'll quickly discover that this is home to Glintstone Dragon Smarag, a massive boss that will stomp you flat earlier in the game. The Academy Glintstone Key you're looking for is sitting right behind the big reptile. You now have two options:
- Sneak in behind Smarag and grab the key. It will likely wake up anyway, but so long as you don't do anything crazy you should be able to get away without trouble.
- Hop on your horse, run in behind Smarag, and grab the key before it gets to its feet. Flee for your life, as Smarag will get annoyed and start to attack. Smarag uses magic as well as fire, and getting hit from behind by a massive Glintstone Pebble can ruin your day.
In either case, returning to the Site of Grace - or simply fleeing far enough in any direction - will throw Smarag off, and it will retreat to its island.
Return to the Academy with the key. Now that it's in your inventory the rune will allow you to pass onto the grounds. Congrats, you're about to head into another long, deadly dungeon.
(While we're here, it's worth noting that there is a second blue rune just inside the main gate. If you use this rune you'll be shot far over Raya Lucaria's northbound bridge and deposited on the road to the Grand Lift of Dectus. You'll ultimately need to head to the Lift to proceed with the game, so don't forget this gate.)