A screenshot from the video game

Elden Ring is mostly content to let players find their way into trouble and learn through failure.

It’s evident right at the beginning: The starting area of Limgrave is situated immediately to the west of Caelid, a dangerous region that isn’t meant to be tackled until dozens of hours later. FromSoftware’s thoughtful map design subtly lets players know that it’s totally fine to explore freely so long as they’re OK with the consequences — which usually involve being ripped to pieces by a nightmare monster.

From Limgrave, it’s relatively easy to reach a number of key locations: Caelid, of course, but also the Weeping Peninsula to the south, Liurnia of the Lakes to the north, and a handful of more hidden locations situated deep underground. There are some limits, however. Later locations like Altus Plateau and Mountaintops of the Giants are connected by massive stone elevators known as Grand Lifts.

Each Grand Lift is its own sort of puzzle that can only be activated using special medallions, which you’ll of course need to go and find out in the world, typically after fighting your way through a challenging boss encounter. And while we can’t help you with those fights — though Elden Ring is unique among FromSoftware’s games for offering a multitude of ways to ease the challenges you face — we can show you where you’ll need to go to get those elevators up and running.

How to activate Elden Ring‘s Grand Lift of Dectus

The Grand Lift of Dectus is found in northern Liurnia at the end of Bellum Highway. It’s a large, cathedral-like structure carved into the base of the soaring cliff face that’s topped by Altus Plateau. If you’ve got the Bellum Church Site of Grace unlocked, that’s the closest one. Just follow the path down to the main road (aka Bellum Highway) and travel north until you reach the lift. Simple.

The medallion you’ll need for this one is split in two, with one half found in a chest at Fort Haight and the other found in a chest at Fort Faroth. We’ll start with the first of those, as it’s the easier of the two.

Where to find Dectus Medallion (left)

A screenshot from the video game "Elden Ring."

The approach to Fort Haight. You can use the rows of wooden stakes to take cover from the ballista fire that rains down from the fort.
Credit: FromSoftware

Fort Haight is located along the southeastern coast of Limgrave, east of Mistwood. If you follow the main road south through the forest, past the Minor Erdtree and the Mistwood Ruins, you’ll run directly into the fort. The biggest threat up front is heavy ballista fire that comes your way on the approach as you contend with weaker foes on the ground. But generous amounts of cover makes that section trivial for a more careful player.

The ballista fire cuts off as you approach Fort Haight’s walls, but a group of soldiers is waiting just outside the entrance and they’re backed up by a golden-domed Lesser Mad Pumpkin Head enemy. More soldiers await inside the fort, but really, the biggest threat of this whole location is a shield-bearing Godrick Knight situated in the upper ramparts. That’s the closest you’ll get to a boss fight here.

Plus, there’s even more good news: You can skip that knight. The medallion half is in a chest you’ll find at the top of Fort Haight’s tallest tower. Fight or sprint through the fort until you reach a ladder leading up to the ramparts. Take that and you’ll see the knight directly in front of you at the top. If you don’t want to engage, cut a hard right turn and sprint to the nearby tower where you’ll find a ladder just inside. The medallion chest is at the top. Easy!

Where to find Dectus Medallion (right)

A screenshot from the video game "Elden Ring."

The Fort Faroth medallion is very easy to snag if you’re not worried about losing any Runes you’re carrying..
Credit: FromSoftware

Not so fast, says Fort Faroth. You’ll find this one in Dragonbarrow, the small region situated to the north of Caelid, whose main feature is an enormous and ancient white dragon. Fort Faroth is just behind and to the east of that dragon. You’ll need to travel through Caelid to get there so, you know, be careful and stay on your horse as much as possible if you’re finding the enemies too challenging to manage.

That challenge doesn’t exactly ease up once you reach the fort itself, but just like Fort Haight, a nimble and quick-thinking player can bypass the steepest challenges this location serves up. It’s pretty quiet outside when you first arrive, but the main floor of Fort Faroth is overrun by giant bats, with some just chilling out on the ground and others hanging from the rafters.

You can ignore them all, and you’ll want to if you’re not equipped to stave off the effects of poison as these bats release clouds of poison mist as one of their main attacks. Run in through the front door and head toward the back left corner of that first room. Turn left and you’ll see a much larger, high-ceilinged room with a door at the opposite end. Sprint directly to that door and immediately climb the ladder you find there.

If you do all of this quickly enough, the bats shouldn’t be able to hit you. And that’s actually it for this location if you’re just here to unlock the Grand Lift of Dectus. There’s a chest at the top of the ladder, and the medallion half is inside. If you’re feeling courageous, you could also delve deeper into Fort Faroth and try to grab the incredibly useful Radagon’s Soreseal talisman.

With both halves of the medallion in hand, all that’s left to do is head back to the Grand Lift of Dectus. Once active, it’ll zip you right up to Altus Plateau. But…

How to skip the Grand Lift of Dectus

A screenshot from the video game "Elden Ring."

This is what you’re looking for at the end of the Liurnia ravine. Find the ladders and climb them.
Credit: FromSoftware

It’s possible to reach Altus without taking all of the steps laid out above. The alternate route isn’t necessarily easy — challenge is always relative in a game like Elden Ring — but it’s at least much more straightforward. The basic gist here is: There’s a network of caves leading up to the plateau that you can reach from Liurnia.

To get started, travel north through Liurnia’s lake waters, sticking closer to the eastern side. Eventually, you’ll see a waterlogged path leading northeast through a ravine. Follow that ravine as far as you can go and you’ll eventually come to a more open area with a ramshackle village built near the base of a cliff face along with the “Ravine-Veiled Village” Site of Grace.

Once you’ve explored a bit — there’s a Golden Seed to be found, among other items — look for a series of ladders and walkways in the village that take you up the rock face a short distance. This is where our alternate route starts, with the linear path eventually leading you into the cave system.

The path through the caves is similarly straightforward, but it’s not exactly a cakewalk. Stone-skinned miners and nimble assassins are peppered throughout the interior locations, and more than a few are in prime ambush locations. Get through that stretch and you’ll reach an outdoor area of treacherous walkways and idling giant bats, some of which have some new tricks to share. (Hint: Singing is bad, always.)

Survive all of that and you’ll just have one, last hurdle to clear: Magma Wyrm Makar. This boss is entirely optional, but you’ll have to take it down in order to finish your Grand Lift of Dectus-free journey from Liurnia to Altus.

How to activate Elden Ring‘s Grand Lift of Rold

A screenshot from the video game "Elden Ring."

There’s a reason you’re not seeing the Grand Lift of Rold from the outside. Better to discover that for yourself, though. Good luck!
Credit: FromSoftware

We’ve got one of those good news/bad news situations here. You’ll be happy to know that the Rold medallion is whole and there’s no sprawling series of steps required to find it. Unfortunately, you will need to clear the significant hurdle of getting into Leyndell, Royal Capital and then defeating its main boss, Morgott, the Omen King. Have fun!

Once Morgott is defeated, your Maiden pal Melina hands you the Rold Medallion and the door leading into the Forbidden Lands opens up. Your path through the newly snowy landscape is a mostly straight shot, with some Vulgar Militiamen popping up along the way and a Black Blade Kindred boss (basically a giant gargoyle) guarding the last stretch of the way to the lift (though you can speed right past it).

That’s really it. If all of this sounds easy, then you probably haven’t been to the Royal Capital yet. Getting the Rold medallion is exponentially tougher than getting the Dectus medallion. But every step you take is also another step forward in Elden Ring‘s main story, since opening up the Grand Lift of Rold and getting to the regions beyond it is something you’ll have to do to finish the game.

How to begin your climb toward Haligtree

There’s one other twist, too: There are actually two medallions that work with the Grand Lift of Rold, with the second one only accessible after you’ve unlocked the lift and reached the Mountaintop of the Giants. 

This second, ostensibly secret medallion, is split in two just like the Dectus medallion. Assemble it and you’ll be able to reach a totally new location, the Consecrated Snowfield, and take a big step closer to Miquella’s Haligtree, one of the toughest regions in Elden Ring.

The two halves of the Haligtree Secret Medallion are found in wildly different locations, with one being easier to obtain, yet harder to find. The other is found in a much more straightforward way but with a significant skill challenge placed in front of it. We’ll start with the easy one.

How to find the Haligtree Secret Medallion (right)

A screenshot from the video game "Elden Ring."

This is how Liurnia’s expansive plateau looks when viewed from the “Fallen Ruins of the Lake” Site of Grace. Your destination is the opening beneath that church.
Credit: FromSoftware

Our destination is the Village of the Albinaurics (that’s what the Site of Grace is called, too), located in southern Liurnia. The village is located beneath the towering plateau that fills out a big chunk of the region’s southern area, so stick to the lake waters as you ride south and look for yawning openings in the rock face beneath the Liurnia plateau.

If you’re having trouble finding it, travel to the Liurnia Site of Grace called “Fallen Ruins of the Lake.” And if you haven’t found that one yet, it’s located a short distance due west of the “Academy Gate Town” Site of Grace. Look for a large pile of rubble blanketed in yellow leaves — the Site’s eponymous “Fallen Ruins.”

From that Site, head directly south while keeping yourself pointed slightly to the left of the church steeple visible at the top of the Liurnia plateau (mind the giant murder lobsters along the way). A massive opening in the cliff face beneath the plateau is what you’re looking for. There’s another Site of Grace, “Folly on the Lake,” that found in a stone gazebo-like structure just before you head into the village.

This spot isn’t nearly as deadly as other locations we’ve visited, especially since you can just stay on your horse and avoid most of the threats if you wish. The medallion half isn’t in an obvious spot, though. It’s actually in the possession of Albus, a character who has hidden himself away in a pot while devastation and ruin came for his little village.

To get the medallion half from Albus, you have to find and hit the pot where he’s hiding. The pot itself is on the larger side and it’s just sitting out in the open along one of the village’s paths. If you really don’t feel like searching, you can find any number of videos that will show you exactly where it is.

How to find the Haligtree Secret Medallion (left)

A screenshot from the video game "Elden Ring."

Congratulations, welcome to one of the worst points of interest in this entire game: Castle Sol.
Credit: FromSoftware

The other half of the medallion is the reward you get for clearing the boss of Castle Sol, a point of interest found along the northern border of Mountaintop of the Giants. I’m going to tell you now in the bluntest terms possible: Castle Sol sucks.

The suck starts right away, too, as a pair of Lion Guardians are waiting in the courtyard right when you get inside. It’s possible to stealth (or simply sprint) your way past them, but just like other Lion Guardians in Elden Ring, defeating this pair clears them out for good. They’ll never respawn.

The rest of the castle amounts to one of Elden Ring‘s larger non-dungeon points of interest, with plenty of side paths to explore and optional treasures to discover. But our goal here is the medallion half, and to get it you’ll need to reach the boss: Commander Niall.

The boss himself is relatively uncomplicated. He hits hard and brings a mix of punishing range and close-quarters attacks to the fight. But for most players, it’s the ghostly Banished Knights who fight at his side that make this fight so challenging. They both materialize together right as the fight starts, with one carrying a sword and shield and another armed with two swords.

I’m not here to give you a full-blown boss walkthrough, as there are plenty to be found all across the internet. But the plain fact is that this fight is hard. One of the beautiful things about Elden Ring is how many ways there are to give yourself an edge in various challenges. But even in this low-key more-forgiving FromSoft game, there are certain skill walls that need to be climbed and the Niall fight is one of them.

The advice I’d offer as someone who finally cleared this fight after a mighty struggle: Figure out how to deal with the dual-wielding Banished Knight. If you’re a spellcaster and have magic that can nuke it quickly, then that’s your best bet. Niall is technically the only enemy that needs to die for this fight to end, but his dual-sword ally’s innate speed and maddening teleportation ability make going after just the boss almost impossible.

Finish this fight and you’ll get another half of the Haligtree Secret Medallion. Bring both halves back to the Grand Lift of Rold’s Forbidden Lands entrance and hoist the now-assembled medallion — you might need to use the D-Pad to cycle from the main Rold medallion to the secret one. You’ll be whisked off to the Consecrated Snowfields, where new threats await along with the last puzzle you’ll need to conquer before opening the way to Miquella’s Haligtree.

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