In Elden Ring, you’re going to die. A lot. But that’s okay because everybody does. From beginners to experts, there’s always something out there more powerful than you. The key is getting what you need so that you can be more powerful than they are. Luckily, in this guide, you’ll get exactly that. Instructions on how to be a buff character in under thirty minutes. And the best part is, because you’re going to be a spell casting Astrologer, you won’t have to fight all that much — unless you want to.

So let’s get started at the beginning. Character creation.

Astrologer

Go with the Astrologer character base. It’s the best-ranged character type in the game. It’ll allow you to fire off spells from a distance and kill things without having to get up close and personal. And, believe me, in this game you’ll want to cheese out whenever you have the chance.

For your beginning Keepsake, pick the Golden Seed. Sure, there are plenty of seeds throughout the game so others might advise taking a Stonesword Key, but that isn’t your best bet. The number of seeds in the early game isn’t as plentiful as in later regions and you’ll want to level up as fast as you can, so go with the seed. Once you have your Keepsake, you can fill out the rest of your character (name, body type, age, origin, cosmetics).

The moment that’s done and your character is created, you’ll begin the game in the Chapel of Anticipation. Spoiler alert, you’re going to die here. It’ll be the first of many deaths, so get used to it. Just know that you’re not supposed to win. Thus, when you face off against the Grafted Scion, put up the good fight and be at peace knowing that you’ll get your revenge later. In the meantime, scurry all you want but die so that you can reappear in the Cave of Knowledge.

Elden Ring Tutorial

It’s in the Cave of Knowledge that you’ll find the tutorial, along with additional good-to-know facts. One of them is about your two flasks: Flask of Crimson Tears (health) and Flask of Cerulean Tears (magic). You start off with a small number of them but by turning in Golden Seeds, you get more (which is why we wanted to start off with that Keepsake). Trust me, you’ll want as many flasks as you can hold.

Drop down into the hole to start the tutorial. This is highly recommended if you need a refresher on how to use the controller or are completely new to the game. If you want, you can ignore the tutorial and head toward the door. Just note that when you finish the tutorial, you’ll end up in the same place.

Either way, as you progress out of the beginning area, be sure to stop at the first grace point to see what that’s all about. (Using points of grace will come in handy.) Then continue to the lift and out into Limgrave.

Check Out That View!

Image of First Step in Elden Ring

I know, I know. Pausing and looking around isn’t helping you advance, but c’mon. Those graphics are cool. The moment you emerge from the Cave of Knowledge and first see that giant tree (the Erdtree) glowing in the background, it’s gotta give you goosebumps, right? And with all those ruins around, the beautiful swaying trees, and that lovely music playing in the background. It’s enticing. It’s lulling.

So why are you worried? Well, there is that creepy guy standing beyond the grace point. Don’t worry about him. That’s Varre. He’ll give you a bunch of information so try not to kill him. The same goes for the mounted knight in the distance, but for a different reason. That dude is totally tough and will kill you quickly, so avoid him as much as you can. Instead, touch the grace point straight ahead, talk with Varre, and then sneak around on the left side of the screen heading north. Eventually, you’ll come across a place called The Church of Elleh.

This location is important. When you get inside, touch the grace point and then chat with the Santa-looking stoner with what looks to be a fishing pole in his hands. This guy is a merchant. Buy what you want, although a cracked pot and a torch are good first items. Just note that you have a limited number of starting coins, so you can’t get everything. Be judicious.

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Gatefront

Approaching the Stormgate in Elden Ring.

After buying things (or not), head off to the northeast. If you follow the path, you’ll come upon a military camp around some ruins. Ignore that for now and instead go toward the large gate built into the rock wall. Outside, you’ll see another grace point (called Gatefront). Rest there and you’ll meet a woman named Malena. Malena is nice and will give you something important (Torrent) if you agree to help her.

After talking with Malena, you’ll probably want to start using your pouch. Basically, the pouch is a quick access tool, seen in the lower left of the screen, that allows you to manipulate items you use a lot. Things like weapons, spells, and flasks. Definitely read through the instructions on how to use it. It’ll come in handy for the entire game.

At this point, if you’ve done things correctly, you should have access to a quicker means of transportation. Use that to go back to the Church of Elleh. If possible, go back at night. Rest at a site of grace, if necessary, and change the time to nightfall. If things work out, a visitor will be there. A witch who’ll provide you with a gift. If this visitor isn’t there, even after walking around the church at night, then you’ll have to visit another location first (Stormhill Shack) and then return.

Renni the Witch

Image of Renni the Witch in Elden Ring.

Assuming Renni appears, agree to help her and receive your first Sprit Ash. The ashes won’t be needed quite yet but will become handy anytime you go up against a boss or are in a region where ashes can be summoned. The ashes are helpers. They’re NPCs that’ll fight on your side. There are many ashes in the game and they can all be strengthened. The ones Renni gives you are great for distracting enemies.

For now, it’s enough that you have them. If you don’t, because Renni wasn’t at the Church of Elleh, then it’ll help to get a map. Go back to the Gatefront grace point. You’ll want to enter that military camp to the south. If you prefer, you can fight and try to defeat everyone there. It’ll be tough but can be done. If you’d rather just get the map fragment, head down the road, and on the left-hand side will be a small obelisk. At the base of it is a map fragment. Pick it up and your map of the world will fill in. This piece will give you the northern section of Limgrave.

Use the map to get a better sense of where you are and where you can go. Past the Stormgate, the road heads north and then splits off to the east. At this juncture is the Stormhill Shack. This is where you’ll want to head to trigger the encounter with Renni, but before you go, read the next section.

Path To The Meteor Staff

Map to the best early staff for an Astrologer.

As an Astrologer, you start off the game with a staff. This staff is okay. It allows you to fire off spells but not with the needed oomph to obliterate foes. For that, you’ll want an upgrade. And the best early-game upgrade is the Meteor Staff.

There are two ways to get this staff and neither is particularly convenient. One way is more direct but has the potential to get you turned around and killed. Another is safer, albeit it much longer, but provides some other benefits along the way. This is the path we’re going to take.

From the grace point where you met Malena (Gatefront), get on your mount and ride north through the Stormgate. You’ll want to do this quickly and erratically as guards will be trying to shoot you and a troll will drop down attempting to crush you. If you make it through, there’ll be a Golden Seen on the other side. After that, there’ll be a grace point (called Stormhill Shack). At this grace point, you can pick up a Stonesword Key (worth getting), plus you can talk with an NPC named Rodricka. Talk with her and later you can do her side adventure (well worth it).

Elden Ring: Persons of Interest

From the shack, stick to the path heading slightly northeast. This path will pass beside some notable points of grace. The first will be the Warmaster’s Shack. Inside will be an NPC named Bernahl. This guy can teach you Ashes of War (more importantly for now, teach you what they’re about). The next one is Saintsbridge. (NOTE: Before you can get to the bridge there’ll be a small encampment. My suggestion is to ride through it unless you want to fight.)

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On the other side of the encampment, you’ll probably hear a guy calling out for help. You’ll need to take the rise on the right but when you get up to him, you’ll see a giant jar stuck in the ground. Give him a whack with your starting sword and he’ll introduce himself as Alexander. He’s not important yet but will be a nice ally later on, especially when you go to Redmane Castle.

Go back down to the main road and cross the bridge. There will be a Pumpkin Head warrior guarding the crossing but he’s fairly easy to beat. You can defeat him or just ride past. Either way, at this point, you’ll be off the map.

Heading Into The Unknown

Still on the trail for the best Astrologer class staff.

The path will continue despite being a gray blob on the map. Follow the course of the road. Before long, there’ll be a set of ruins (called Summonwater Village, which you’ll want to pass through) and after that, you’ll be in a new place called Caelid. You’ll know you’ve reached it when you see a burning wall. (NOTE: Do not engage with the creatures in Caelid. They are far more powerful than you. Just run away.)

Jump over the wall and touch the site of grace on the other side. From that grace point, get back on the road and continue northeast. The path will loop around and head south. There’ll be a couple more grace sites along the path. When you arrive at the Smoldering Wall grace point, go off the road and head southeast. You’ll stay along the ridge until it drops off. There you should find the Aeonia Swamp Shore grace.

At this point, head down into the swamp (staying on your mount) and veer a little northwest. You’ll come upon a ruin that houses the staff. It’s on the far side of the main building, outside a window. Grab the staff and then head northeast into another large ruin. In here you’ll find a basement dungeon and within a chest a very useful spell (Rock Sling). This spell works beautifully with the Meteor Staff and is a nice compliment to your starting spells.

Increasing Stats In Elden Ring

Before you can use the staff, you’ll need to increase your Intelligence. And to do that, you’ll need to gain runes. This can be achieved by defeating foes. The stronger the foe, the greater the runes you receive. Another way is to collect Golden Runes. These are laying around the world, usually glowing a bright white (sometimes encased in skulls) that can be redeemed for various amounts.

In Limgrave there are plenty of foes you can defeat (even with the starting staff). Certainly enough to increase your Intelligence to the requisite number. But be aware that when you die, you lose all of your runes. They can be regained, however, by going back to the point of death and collecting the stash. Note that you must do that before dying again. If you die twice, the original stash is lost.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to use your runes as often as you can. Saving them up needlessly can be costly. Especially if you use Golden Runes because those are perishable. When you do level up, the first stat should be Intelligence. The higher the Intelligence, the more damage you do with your magic. However, don’t forget about Vigor, which can increase your health, or Mind, which works alongside Intelligence to increase your magic damage.

Memory Stone

In front of Oridys's Rise in Elden Ring

At the start of the game, your character can only memorize two spells. That works out because you only have Glintstone Pebble and Glintstone Arc. Both of them are quite useful and you’ll want to continue using them even after you gain Rock Sling. So what do you do? Get more memory slots, of course.

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The max you’ll ever attain is eight and many of them will take time to achieve, but one additional slot is very easy to snatch. And it can be grabbed without having to fight. What you need to do is head southeast. Take the road from the Gatefront and stay along it as it passes by the large lake and veers toward a choking point — called the Bridge of Sacrifice. On the other side and still further south will be a grace point called Castle Morne Rampart.

Behind this grace site and near the rock cliff is a Spiritspring. Use that while mounted and you’ll land on the backside of a tower called Oridys’s Rise. Gaining access to this tower requires solving a riddle. The answer is in the form of three tortoises. One is hidden in the bushes to the left of the stairs. Another is near the path heading away from the stairs. The final one is invisible in the pond next to the tower. Kill all three and the tower will open up. Climb the stairs and at the top will be the memory stone.

Flask of Wondrous Physick

The last piece you need to be a strong starting character is the Flask of Wondrous Physick. This flask, when blended with the proper crystal tears, can produce a force field that’ll give you needed protection in case something is able to strike you. To find the flask requires a trip to the Third Church of Marika in East Limgrave.

From the Gatefront grace, head southeast again but this time you’ll turn off the road the moment you cross a bridge. Follow along this new path as it swings north and then east. Eventually, you’ll come to a spot where a giant troll is loitering. Beyond that troll is the church. It’s at a point in the road where it begins to turn south again. Next to the grace point is the flask.

The flask comes with one of the crystal tears you need (Crimson Crystal Tear). Getting the other one (Opaline Bubbletear) requires defeating an Erdtree Avatar, specifically the one at the heart of the Weeping Peninsula.

To fight against the avatar, go from the Castle Morne Rampart site of grace, heading north and then west. There’ll be a new path and from that path a spur on the left-hand side which rises above the tree tops. This spur will lead to a rope bridge. Cross that (avoiding enemies before and after) and then loop around until there’s a path heading north toward the Church of Pilgrimage. You should go there first (to gain a grace site) but the avatar is due south.

Erdtree Avatar

Image of an Erdtree in Elden Ring

The Erdtree Avatar won’t be an easy opponent. It’ll take all you have and then some but with the help of your Spirit Ashes and firing off spells from atop your mount, you should be able to confuse and avoid the beast. When you finally do take it down, you’ll be given the bubble tear in addition to the Crimsonburst Crystal Tear.

With both tears in your possession, head back to the Church of Pilgrimage (or any grace site for that matter) and mix the two together. The concoction will produce a one-hit shield for about three minutes after you drink it. Note that it doesn’t refresh until you rest at a grace site again.

This shield isn’t the greatest defense against smaller foes but it is perfect for bigger opponents and bosses. Along with the Spirit Ashes and the upgraded staff, it should provide you with a great deterrent against the many enemies in the Lands Between.

From Beginner To Buff In Elden Ring

If you don’t stop off for any excursions or extraneous fights, this guide can be done in about thirty minutes. It’ll give you a great starting character plus provide you with many grace points that you can use later on, when you go off exploring.

Elden Ring is available on PC, Xbox One & Series X|S, and PlayStation 4/5

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