Elden Ring rune farming locations
Elden Ring has a brutal difficulty curve, especially if you spend a lot of your time trying to claw through the game's major "Legacy" dungeons. The enemies and bosses there can crush you in a single hit or wear down your resources so fast that it can be tough to make progress.
For much of the early game—which, remember, will be a good amount of time in its massive open world—you'll be starved of opportunities to level up. Runes, the currency you spend to increase your stats, are hard to come by in large quantities. For a casual or new Souls player, this has the benefit of not being as punishing when you lose your souls because you can't return to your body, but for diehards, you might want a way to punch up your class' stats to equip certain weapons and magic abilities.
YouTube user PowerPyx found a great spot to farm runes that you can get to early in the game as long as you have your horse, Torrent. They claim it'll net you about 300,000 runes per hour, which is enough for many, many levels at the beginning of the game even if you only do it for 10 or 20 minutes. The catch is that it's largely only useful for magic users, but melee-based characters can manage after some practice.
They lay out the exact instructions in the video, but you essentially want to visit the Third Church of Marika in Limgrave—it's located east of the first few Sites of Grace. From there, you need to head northeast to find a portal sitting in water. That portal takes you to Greyoll's Dragonbarrow, a high-level area that features one of the game's strangest characters. There are relatively weak enemies around there that you can defeat with several spells or whacks with a sword to gain about 900 runes per kill. The enemies stagger with most attacks, but if you're low level they may be able to kill you in a single hit.
Another magic-based farm location that isn't as efficient, but more manageable, is located in Stormveil Castle at the Secluded Cell Site of Grace just before the boss. Here, you can use your Spirit Calling Bell to summon some allies and take out the giant that grants about 1000 runes. Melee players can brave it too, but watch out for the two cloaked attackers nearby.
For melee builds, or anyone really, you can simply work your way through the initial camp of soldiers at the Gatefront Site of Grace, which is north of the starting area. Stealth can get you close to many of the armored knights before they can get you, but just watch out for the high-ranking knight that patrols in the middle of the camp.
A bit later into the game, I found a post at the Liurnia Highway North (past Stormveil Castle) Site of Grace where you can gain runes while AFK. Right next to the checkpoint are a bunch of soldiers fighting spiritual attackers and one giant (which you need to run over with your horse to trigger). The giant will smash most of the soldiers pretty quickly and grant you about 43 runes per kill. It's not much, but if you want to mindlessly do it while watching Netflix it could be useful.
If you need more tips, check out our introductory guide to Elden Ring, which features eight tips to get you started on your journey through the Lands Between.