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Standing in front of Volcano Manor in Elden Ring

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Elden Ring guide: Volcano Manor walkthrough

Join the villains, and take the fight to your fellow Tarnished

Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor is unique in the legacy of Soulsborne games. It’s a combination of NPC quest hub and Legacy Dungeon. You’ll get missions from the non-hostile characters there while simultaneously busting through illusory walls and fighting bosses in the basement.

It can also be incredibly confusing, so don’t dive in without our guide to every quest, secret, enemy, and item with our Elden Ring Volcano Manor walkthrough.

Table of contents

Volcano Manor general tips
How to enter Volcano Manor
Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast boss fight
Onward to Volcano manor
A family of champions
Volcano Manor’s secrets
Godskin Noble boss fight
The road to Rykard
Abductor Virgins boss fight
God-Devouring Serpent and Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy boss fight

Volcano Manor general tips

Elden Ring’s map, showing the location of Dragonbarrow Cave.
Get the Flamedrake Talisman +2 from Dragonbarrow Cave in eastern Caelid.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon
  • Flame on: Predictably, Volcano Manor is filled with lava and enemies that do fire damage. Spec your gear to take advantage of as much fire resistance as you can manage. You can get the Flamedrake talisman +2 at any time by defeating the boss of the Dragonbarrow Cave in eastern Caelid.
  • Climb the mountain: If you want to see everything Volcano Manor has to offer, make sure to defeat Morgott in the Capital and reach Mountaintop of the Giants before you beat the Manor’s final boss. You’ll find out why as we go.
  • Bring your lantern, and equip it in one of your pocket slots on the right side of the main menu for easy access. If you missed buying this item, you can get it from the nomadic merchant in Liurnia. You’ll be exploring some dark environments, and the lantern lets you light up your environment while keeping both hands free.
  • Pack ranged weapons: Volcano Manor and its Legacy Dungeon, Prison Town, are filled with enemies who can cause you pain at a distance. Bring ranged weapons, whether that’s a bow, spells, or throwing knives.

How to enter Volcano Manor

Volcano Manor is not the easiest location to reach in The Lands Between, but you do have a couple of different options.

Path 1: Help Rya (Volcano Manor invitation)

There’s an NPC named Rya standing in a stone gazebo right next to the telescope icon on the map for Liurnia. She’ll ask you to retrieve a necklace that was stolen from her. Travel northwest from her location and you’ll find a small shack where Blackguard Big Boggart is cooking prawns. Buy the necklace from him and return it to Rya, and she’ll give you the Volcano Manor Invitation.

Receiving the Volcano Manor Invitation from Rya in Elden Ring.
The Volcano Manor Invitation.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

When you ride the Grand Lift of Dectus up to Altus Plateau for the first time, Rya will be present and can teleport you directly to Volcano Manor.

If you’ve already reached Altus Plateau before speaking with Rya in Liurnia, she may not be present — in which case you’ll need to travel there the hard way.

Path 2: Mountaineering

Your other option is to travel to Volcano Manor manually. In the north of Altus Plateau, just south of Shaded Castle, the Bridge of Iniquity stretches over a ravine. Travel over the bridge heading west and you’ll find the First Mt. Gelmir Campsite site of grace. Continue on this path until you reach the Ninth Mt. Gelmir Campsite site of grace.

You now have a choice: You’re going to ride the nearby spirit spring up to the top of the mountain, where you’ll find a boss called Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast. Your choice is whether to fight it or run. It’s completely optional, though beating it gives you a cool weapon, some precious upgrade materials, and an invaluable feeling of accomplishment. If you’d rather just get to Volcano Manor, skip ahead in the guide. Otherwise, read on.

Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast boss fight

Fighting the Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast boss in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

This boss has a ton of health, pesky resistances and immunities, and dangerous attacks. Luckily, this boss guide will tell you exactly how to beat it.

Preparing for the fight

The Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast is immune to Frost and Bleed, so put those katanas away. And it’s tough to make a dent with physical damage. That means magic users are going to have the easiest time.

If you’d like to take the Beast on using melee attacks, we recommend buffing your armament with extra elemental damage. For sorcerers, the Scholar’s Armament spell is great, while faith casters can choose between incantations like Electrify Armament and Blackflame Blade. At this point in the game, you should have access to most areas, so if you don’t already have these spells, here’s where you can get them:

Faith casters can also buy the Lightning Spear incant from the aforementioned prayerbook, while sorcerers can use whatever spells you’re comfortable with.

Defense-wise, we don’t recommend using a shield here, as the Beast’s most dangerous attacks are all gravity-based, and blocking them is ineffective. Instead, you’ll need to learn exactly when to dodge and when to straight up run away. We’ll cover that more in the next section.

For now, simply equip the Dragoncrest Shield talisman +1 found behind the stonesword key door in the Sainted Hero’s Grave in Altus Plateau, plus anything that boosts your stamina, like the Green Turtle talisman found behind the Stonesword Key door in eastern Limgrave’s Summonwater Village.

Learn the Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast fight

The battle with the Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast will be one of attrition for most players, as it’s difficult to make a dent in the boss’s strong defenses. However, that’s mitigated by its slow and easily predicted attacks. Sure, those attacks can be tough to dodge even when you see them coming, but that’s what this guide is for.

Before we get into the boss’s move set, here are a couple of general tips:

  • Riding Torrent is not advisable, as it’s harder to dodge the boss’s attacks on horseback, and you’ll usually get knocked off quickly.
  • If you can manage to hit the boss in the face, you’ll do extra damage compared with striking its rocky body and legs.

Phase 1

The Fallingstar Beast’s attacks fall into a handful of categories:

  • Combo strikes: The beast briefly winds up, and then strikes with its head in front of it. The combo can last anywhere from one to four hits, and it often ends with a rearing-up animation followed by a frontward stomp. These attacks are easy to dodge, and you’ll have a great damage opportunity should you manage to remain in close-quarters with the boss. However, it can also throw tail and ranged attacks into the mix, which gets complicated. The best rule of thumb is to just keep dodging.
  • Grab: Occasionally, the boss grabs you in its pincers and does heavy damage, possibly even one-shotting you. It’s hard to tell this strike apart from its normal hits, but luckily, the strategy for dodging it is the same, and you should be able to avoid it with relative ease.

  • Bull charge: The boss stamps its foot on the ground and then charges like an angry bull. It often turns around and charges up to two more times afterward, though this isn’t guaranteed. Your best bet is to dodge toward the side of its head, through its horns, though the timing is admittedly tricky.

  • Tail swipes: The Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast’s tail swipes can cause big damage plus Bleed build-up, not to mention the damaging debris they sometimes hurl into the air. Luckily, they’re easy as pie to dodge. Often, especially if you’re close enough to the boss, the tail swipes will miss entirely, even if you fail to dodge at the right time.

  • Gravity quakes: For many players, the beast’s gravity attacks, which send craggy rocks jutting up from the ground, will present a serious problem. However, avoiding them is relatively simple. Dodging them is possible, but it’s easier to simply start running away from the boss when you see it begin this attack, which usually includes two small eruptions of rock under your feet, followed by a wide-area explosion that’s significantly tough to dodge. However, as long as you keep running in a straight line away from the boss, you should escape this attack most of the time.

  • Ground slam: The boss leaps into the air, curls into a ball, and lands near you, causing heavy damage. Dodging this is simple, as long as you get the timing right, and it presents a great attack opportunity as the beast uncurls.

The bottom line is that the Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast’s attacks are supremely telegraphed, and once you get the timing down, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to dodge them. If you’re having trouble surviving when you do get hit, try beefing up your HP and defense any way you know how.

Once you get it to about 50% health, the Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast will enter a second phase, which comes with a couple of new attacks — and even more chances for you to retaliate and cause damage of your own.

Phase 2

The boss enters its second phase by launching a massive gravity attack during which it flings anyone and anything close to it into the air, and then slams you back down to the ground. Luckily, this attack is incredibly easy to avoid. You should see it coming a mile away, and can simply put distance between yourself and the boss to avoid it, and then use any long-range attacks you have to cause damage during the build-up. The boss will repeat this attack now and then, and you can use the exact same strategy every time. It’s a great opportunity to chug some flasks or refresh your buffs.

In addition to that gravity attack, the Fallingstar Beast gains a deadly magic beam ability in phase 2. However, not only is it also easy to avoid, but it presents the best damage opportunity of the whole fight. It tends to launch this face-laser after two bull charges, so as long as you dodge through those and stick relatively close to it, you can deftly flank around the boss’s right (your left) side and get four or five attacks in while it’s casting the now-useless attack.

Using these strategies, you’ll wear the Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast’s health down in no time (well, maybe a lot of time, but still). Doing so will net you a Somber Smithing Stone [6], Smithing Stone [6] x5, and the Fallingstar Beast Jaw weapon.

Onward to Volcano manor

Whether you chose to fight or run past the Fallingstar beast, you’ll need to drop down from the jutting rock on the western side of the large crater.

Riding a horse to jutting rocks, which is the path to Volcano Manor. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Follow the path down, and you’ll find the Manor’s entrance, guarded by a frenzied giant.

A family of champions

Standing in front of a staircase at the entrance to Volcano Manor in Elden Ring. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

The entrance to Volcano Manor is probably not what you expected. Head up the stairs, through the door, and down the hall, and then stop at the Volcano Manor site of grace in the next room.

Tanith at Volcano Manor in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Your first stop will be to chat with Tanith, the NPC directly in front of you. She’ll invite you to join Volcano Manor and “rise against the Erdtree.” Regardless of whether you actually want to do that, tell her that you’ll join. Doing so does not lock you out of any other content or endings.

You’ll be heading to the Drawing Room shortly, but first, go upstairs to get invaded by Inquisitor Ghiza. Defeat him to obtain Ghiza’s Wheel, a unique weapon that scales with strength (and which will look familiar if you played the Bloodborne DLC “The Old Hunters”). Pick up the Smithing Stone [6] against the far wall, and then head back downstairs and down the side hallway.

The first door on your right leads to a corpse with a Perfume Bottle on it. There’s a hidden path behind it. We’ll get back to that later.

Talking to Recusant Bernahl in Volcano Manor Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

The door across from that one is blocked for now. Continue down the hall, and open the next door on the right, although for now, the room is empty. Across from that door is the main Drawing Room. Inside, you’ll find Rya, Knight Bernahl, and Diallos, assuming you spoke with him in Liurnia. Exhaust all their dialogue, and then pick up the items on the table: a Letter from Volcano Manor and the Recusant Finger.

Speak to Tanith again and she’ll explain that the letter contains your assignment. Examine it in the Info tab of your inventory, and you’ll learn the name and location of your target.

Elden Ring’s map, showing the location of Volcano Manor Request: Istvan Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

In addition, a red mark is placed on your map.

Ready? It’s time to hunt some Tarnished.

Target 1: Old Knight Istvan

Old Knight Istvan invasion location at Elden Ring’s colosseum. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Travel to the Warmaster’s Shack in Limgrave, and ride north, under the Great Bridge, and toward the coliseum. You’ll find a red summon sign on the road. Examine it to invade Istvan’s world. The fight is relatively straightforward, although the Old Knight uses an interesting gravitational weapon art.

Defeating Istvan will return you to your world with a few extra runes and the Scaled Armor set. Travel back Volcano Manor, and speak with Tanith to get the Magma Shot spell, and then return to the Drawing Room to pick up your next assignment.

In addition, take some time at this point to chat with the Manor’s other recusants and residents. Rya will wonder aloud at the strange noises she hears in the walls, while Bernahl will offer to sell you some new Ashes of War. You can also now find Patches in the entry hallway, provided you spared him during the fight in Murkwater Cave back in Limgrave.

Target 2: Rileigh the Idle

The Rileigh invasion from Volcano Manor in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

The next target is at the bottom of a ravine in Altus Plateau. You can reach it by heading south from Shaded Castle, or north from the Erdtree-Gazing Hill site of grace. Rileigh uses scarlet rot crossbow bolts, but his attacks are slow and easy to dodge, so you shouldn’t have much trouble.

This assassination will grant you the Crepus’s Vial talisman, which makes you move silently, and some Black-Key Bolts.

A brief interlude: Zorayas and the Red Letter

Back at the Manor, Tanith will grant you another reward: the Serpentbone Blade, a katana that causes poison buildup. She’ll also give you more information about Volcano Manor, revealing that her boss is none other than Lord Rykard, one of the shardbearers for whom you’ve been searching.

At this point, you won’t find Rya in her usual spot. Instead, check the room across the hall that was previously empty. Inside, you’ll find the manor’s servant in her true form: a large, bipedal snake. She’ll tell you that her real name is Zorayas, and ask you to keep her secret. There will be more to do with Zorayas later, but for now, head across the hall and back into the Drawing Room and pick up the Red Letter. This letter contains your third and final target for the Manor, but we’re going to shelve it for now.

In the drawing room’s far corner, chat with Diallos, who seems to be regretting his choice to ally with the recusants. In addition, both Bernahl and Patches will now offer you more assassination missions (you may need to speak with Patches and exhaust his dialogue several times).

Target 3: Great Horned Tragoth

Great Hound Tragoth invasion during Volcano Manor Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

The Letter to Patches provides your next target. If you already traversed the Ruin-Strewn Precipice and defeated the Magma Wyrm boss, you can travel directly to the boss’s eponymous site of grace and find Tragoth’s invasion sign nearby. Otherwise, you’ll need to travel up the ravine that leads north from the Liurnia Lake to find the dungeon, and then make your way through it at this time.

Coldly murdering your old pal Tragoth nets you the extremely heavy Bull-Goat Armor set. Tanith won’t give you a reward for this one, since it was technically Patches’ mission. Instead, tell Patches that it’s done, and then rest at the nearby site of grace and return to him once again. He’ll reluctantly hand over the Magma Whip Candlestick, a Dex/Faith weapon with fire damage.

Targets 4 and 5: Vargram and Wilhelm

The Bernal invasion in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Meanwhile, Bernahl has provided two more targets: Vargram the Raging Wolf and Errant Sorcerer Wilhelm, located in Leyndell. The sign is in the middle of the main room of the Fortified Manor — the Capital’s version of the Roundtable Hold.

Bernahl will join you for the fight, making it a breeze. Your reward is the Raging Wolf Armor set. When you speak with Bernahl again in Volcano Manor, he’ll also give you the Gelmir’s Fury spell.

Cross the hall, and speak with Rya/Zorayas again to get your last hint that the Volcano Manor hides more secrets than you’ve yet discovered. She claims she saw a serpent enter the room next door and never emerge again, and she implores you to share any secrets you discover with her. For now, we’ll put a pin in the assassination missions to oblige her request.

Volcano Manor’s secrets

Elden Ring Volcano Manor secret wall or hidden wall
Volcano Manor’s secret wall
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

In the room next door to Zoryas, you’ll find a hidden passage behind an illusory wall (or hidden wall or secret wall) in the back right corner, where the crooked painting hangs. Roll into the wall to dispel the illusion, and then make your way into Volcano Manor’s secret corridors.

Inside the walls

The snail enemies here shouldn’t cause you much trouble. You’ll find Budding Horn x3, a crafting ingredient, in the next room. Skip the stairs for now, and head down the hallway in the back left corner, watching out for the snails on the ceiling. Pick up the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook [21] at the end of this passage, which enables you to craft Alluring Pots that can lure humanoid enemies.

The wall to the left of this item is another illusion, so smack it with your weapon, and head through to pick up the Depraved Perfumer Carmaan Spirit Ash.

Now backtrack to the room with the stairs and descend to find a Bloodhound Knight waiting in the dark. You can sneak up on him for a critical attack, or try attacking with range from the hallway. He’s also susceptible to status effects, so wear him down with poison or Scarlet Rot if you have to. Pillage his corpse to obtain the Bloodhound Claws, a close-range weapon that causes blood loss.

Your next stop is the Prison Town Church site of grace, which will serve as your starting point for the Prison Town Legacy Dungeon hidden within Volcano Manor.

Into Prison Town

Open the church’s doors, and head outside. To your left, all you’ll find for now is a shortcut you can’t use yet and some decent Lord of the Rings jokes.

Go right, activate the Summoning Pool, and begin your descent into the town.

Over the rooftops

Let’s explore the rooftops first. The Man-Serpent in front of you shouldn’t prove too much trouble. Their Mr. Fantastic stretching abilities can be annoying, but the sword-and-board varieties can be easily outmaneuvered. Continue heading southwest, killing the zombies and Man-Serpents as you go. Jump across a small gap to a round-ish roof, and then drop off to an overhang below to grab a Smithing Stone [5].

The Omenkiller in the courtyard near the bonfire below can be troublesome to melee users, though spellcasters can easily whittle him down from this perch. He drops the Great Omenkiller Cleaver, a greataxe that causes bleed. Note that this guy does respawn, so we’re going to grab everything down here now so we can avoid returning.

Down at street level, watch out for zombies who wield Fire Poles and Poison Pots, as well as annoying dogs. A corpse near the fire has a Drawstring Fire Grease, while one on the other side gives you a Golden Rune [6]. An open cell to the northeast contains the Erdtree Seal, an incantation caster with a 40 Faith requirement. Return to where you dropped down to the plaza, and a doorway set into the eastern wall leads outside to a rock ledge.

Collecting a Stonesword Key from a corpse in Prison Town inside of Volcano Manor Elden Ring.
Pillage the body for a Stonesword Key.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Turn right, and follow the walkway around the corner; however, tread carefully, as the walkway ends in a drop that you’ll want to avoid. Instead of falling down, get a running start and land on the stairs across the gap to pick up a Stonesword Key.

From there, drop down to the rock ledge and continue around the corner.

If you have any Fire defense gear, like the Flamedrake talisman (which we’ll help you to get in our Groveside Cave walkthrough), now is the time to equip it. Don’t worry too much about touching the lava here, as it won’t kill you instantly. You can walk through it, though it does slow you down and cause damage. This cavern is host to several small Living Jars that explode when attacked. Kill or avoid them. It’s up to you. Either way, pillaging the bodies in this chamber nets you a Golden Rune [9], the Smoldering Shield, and, on the island in the center of the lava flow, a Smithing Stone [6].

Standing on a rooftop, looking at several other rooftops in Prison Town, within Volcano Manor om Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

On the other side of the cavern, past the sarcophagus, you can leap onto another rooftop. Be careful of more zombies, whose Poison Pots can be irritating. After a somewhat difficult jump across a gap between two round-ish roofs, you can climb the rock pathway to get back up to the town square. However, we’re going to warp back to the Prison Town Church site of grace to resume our exploration of the upper roofs.

Back to the top

Head outside the church, kill the nearby Man-Serpent, and then jump down onto the rooftops once more. This time, turn right at the jutting chimney and drop down to a slightly lower level. A corpse on a walkway has a Golden Rune [5] for you to pick up, but be careful — this area can be surprisingly treacherous, as the zombies above you will attack with Poison Pots as you try to explore, and the nearby Man-Serpent likes to pick you up in its jaws, inflicting Poison. Take them out from a distance before exploring any further.

Climb the narrow pathway upward, claim the Golden Rune [9] from a corpse ahead, and then proceed around the building to a ledge with three zombies. Take them out, and then use target lock to spot the dogs on the street below, including one in the mouth of an alleyway to the north. Kill them from a distance if you’re able.

Looking down from Prison Town at an Iron Virgin patrolling the streets below. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

There’s also an Iron Virgin patrolling the street below. This is your best perch from which to take it out without risking painful death. Wait for it to come within range, and then hit it with whatever spells, incantations, arrows, or throwing weapons you can muster. Anything is better than fighting these things head on.

Looking down from Prison Town at a Teardrop Scarab on a rooftop.
Kill the Teardrop Scarab for a Somber Smithing Stone [5].
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Lastly, look down to the northeast to spot a Teardrop Scarab hiding next to a chimney. Kill it for a Somber Smithing Stone [5], but be careful that it doesn’t lure you back down into the plaza below and get you into another brawl with the Omenkiller there.

From the rooftop that the scarab was on, you can jump to the town’s main walkway, where the Iron Virgin was patrolling. First, head upward, back toward the Prison Town Church site of grace, and climb toward a conical roof to find a Smithing Stone [6]. Keep climbing on the main road, and you’ll find a Furlcalling Finger Remedy guarded by three dogs in an alleyway on your left. Return downward, and follow the road to a corpse with a bundle of Fire Arrows x10, near a dog you killed earlier. Continue downward until you reach the Stonesword Key fog gate.

Stonesword Key door

The prize for using your Stonesword Keys here is the Crimson Amber Medallion +1, which significantly raises your maximum HP. However, there’s another Iron Virgin inside the fog gate. Your best bet upon entering is to run past it to the staircase, and then sprint upward and take out the six or so zombies on the upper floor. Grab your prize, and then take out the monstrosity from this elevated position. Alternatively, you can teleport back up to the site of grace, and then finesse your way back down here any way you see fit. There’s no extra prize for killing this thing.

Across the bridge to the Guest Hall site of grace

However you choose to do it, make your way back down here, and cross the bridge being guarded by a Man-Serpent to the south. The door ahead of you is blocked, but you can explore to either side.

First, jump over the low wall on your left and loot the Albunauric Bloodclot off the corpse on the roof. Continue to find an open door into the structure. Using target lock in the doorway will reveal several zombies hanging from the ceiling. Kill them and enter, taking out another enemy on your left before turning right to open the front door from the inside.

There’s another enemy hidden by the barrels under where the others were hanging, guarding the Beast Blood you can loot off a corpse in the corner, and another hanging from the ceiling further into the building. Continue tapping the target lock button as you explore and try to avoid being attacked by surprise.

Backtrack a bit to the now-open front door, and follow the path to its other side. Around the corner, a Man-Serpent guards a Smithing Stone [4]. Just before that, a ladder leads to the roof. Find a ledge with an open door that you can drop down to on the western side.

Overlooking the Prison Town Guest House Ledge during Volcano Manor in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Use caution: Another Omenkiller waits inside. He guards the Albinauric Staff and Albinauric Mask on a guillotine. Continue into the next room and climb the ladder for a Golden Rune [10].

Drop down to the roof, head inside, and then proceed deeper into the house to find a crawling Albinauric on the staircase. Watch out for its grab attack. Kill it, and proceed downstairs, watching out for more on the ground floor.

Behind and under the stairs you’ll find a Golden Rune [9]. There’s another hanging enemy in the hallway to the north, with another crawling Albinauric beyond it. Hang a right in the next room, and enter the doorway to reach the Guest Hall site of grace and another summoning pool. Breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t get complacent — there’s a lot more to come.

From the Guest Hall site of grace

You can have a chat with Melina, your Finger Maiden, at this site of grace. The open doors outside the grace room lead to a closed balcony with a patrolling Man-Serpent and a corpse with Explosive Greatbolts x5. You can jump down from here, but there’s no point. Instead, open the closed door inside, turn right, and descend the ladder.

This area is home to fire slugs and zombies, neither of which pose much of a threat. Jump over the lava across from the ladder, and round the corner to find a slug guarding a Fireproof Dried Liver, a consumable that boosts Fire damage protection.

Turn around and jump over the lava again to kill a zombie on a slope next to a house, and then leap up the embankment and onto the roof for a Somber Smithing Stone [6]. On a stone plinth across more lava, guarded by several slugs, is a Golden Rune [9]. Watch out for zombies on rooftops here, as they’ll throw annoying pots at you.

Standing in front of Elden Ring’s Prison Town Cages during Volcano Manor Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

You can jump up some cages in a corner here to find a Smithing Stone [6] on a roof. From there, either traverse the rooftops or climb the stairs at ground level to the east to reach a wide platform surrounded by hanging cages and patrolled by a Man-Serpent wielding a candlestick whip. The elevator (lift) on your right will take you down to a lower level. Enter the cave ahead to face off against a Magma Wyrm.

Magma Wyrm, Blackflame Monk, and beyond

There are several viable strategies here, and this miniboss shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as the last time you faced it. You can choose to lure it out of the lava, and then backtrack to the elevator and attack it from a distance. The Magma Wyrm is quite resistant to magic, though the Rock Sling spell is as reliable as ever. In addition, you can summon spirit ashes here, so take full advantage. The beast drops a Dragon Heart when slain.

Standing in front of lava near the Magma Wyrm miniboss in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor Prison Town Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

A corpse on the ground in the vicinity holds a Smoldering Butterfly, while one across the lava to the west has a Smithing Stone [7].

Take the elevator back up to that wide platform, and ride the other elevator up to the base of a staircase with an imposing Blackflame Monk at the top. Go right instead, and loot the Somber Smithing Stone [5] from the corpse hanging over the edge (take note of this spot, as we’ll be returning later).

Prison Town Godskin Noble Bug Volcano Manor Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Here’s something fun: As of this writing, venturing into the northeast corner of this clearing triggers a bug that prematurely begins the upcoming boss fight, though there doesn’t seem to be any point in doing so, and in fact, this will irritatingly prevent you from opening your map and fast traveling. The fight even remains active after you rest at a grace. Interesting stuff!

The Prison Town Bridge Shortcut during Volcano Manor in Elden Ring
Use the lever to deploy the bridge and unlock a shortcut.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Anyway, head up the stairs and defeat the Blackflame Monk. Don’t enter the temple yet; instead, turn left and use the large lever to activate the shortcut bridge from much earlier.

Either cross the bridge or fast travel back to the Prison Town Church site of grace, and prepare to fight the Godskin Noble boss.

Godskin Noble boss fight

The Godskin Noble boss fight in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Preparing for the fight

The Crimson Amber Medallion +1 behind the Stonesword Key fog gate in Prison Town is worth equipping, even though you’ll need to avoid getting swallowed by a couple of Iron Virgins to claim it.

Elden Ring’s map, showing the location of two katanas to help in the Godskin Noble boss fight. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

In addition, this boss is susceptible to both Frost and Bleed effects. The best thing you can do is load your weapons up with both, and go in whole hog to layer on these damaging statuses as quickly as possible. Power-stancing dual katanas by equipping one in each hand and tapping L1/LB to attack with both is one of the best ways to accomplish this; for Int/Dex builds, Moonveil, acquired in Caelid’s Gael Tunnel, and the Uchigatana, found in the Deathtouched Catacombs in Limgrave, make an unstoppable combo, particularly if you give the Uchi the Cold affinity using the Glintstone Whetblade found in Raya Lucaria.

Elden Ring’s map, showing the location of Wyndham Catacombs. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Magic and Lightning damage are also both somewhat effective against the Godskin Noble, giving faith and casters plenty of options. Strength-based characters can always use Grease-based items to augment their heavy weapons with these elements; you can craft Lightning Grease after finding the Ancient Dragon Apostle’s Cookbook [1] in the Altus Plateau’s Wyndham Catacombs, while the Glintstone Craftsman’s Cookbook [5], found in Raya Lucaria, holds the recipe for Magic Grease.

As far as defense, you’ll want to maximize your Fire protection to defend against the Godskin Noble’s Black Flame attacks. If you haven’t already, go grab the Flamedrake talisman +2 in Dragonbarrow Cave in eastern Caelid.

Elden Ring’s map, showing the location of Dragonbarrow Cave in eastern Caelid. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Learning the fight

Godskin Noble’s combos are extremely annoying, with an unpredictable mix of slow and fast attacks, all of which have the potential to cause massive damage. It can be extraordinarily difficult to discern when the Godskin Noble’s combos have actually ended. There are exceedingly few moments when it’s genuinely safe to get in a hit of your own.

When to heal: When you have to chug a flask, do whatever you must to put a pillar in between you and the boss. Otherwise, there’s always a chance he’ll catch you with a long-range thrust attack.

If you’re playing a sorcerer, one thing you can do to give yourself a slight advantage is to cast Terra Magicka at the fog gate, and then cast some offensive magic just after you cross the threshold into the fight. This will allow you to safely get in some damage, though it’s just a small head start and ultimately unnecessary.

The key to this fight is learning exactly which attacks leave you enough of an opening to retaliate. To that end, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of Godskin Noble’s moves.

Phase 1

His standard attacks generally comprise variable combos of thrusts and swipes. He can combine these in unpredictable ways, and it’s generally not safe to attack just because you think a combo is over.

Attack opportunity: You can be certain that the Godskin Noble’s current combo has ended when he sidesteps after an attack. This brief movement leaves him open.

One of the Godskin Noble’s trickiest attacks is a powerful delayed thrust. The Godskin Noble raises his sword back and waits for an extended period, before slamming forward with a stab that can cover a shocking amount of ground while easily slashing your health in half. The best way to avoid it is to literally count two beats out loud when you see him raise his arm: “One, two, dodge.” Dodging early and getting caught by this one is a common source of death.

The Noble also uses a couple of Black Flame attacks during its first phase. Black Flame causes brief damage-over-time when it attaches to you, but both attacks are easy to avoid. When he drags his left hand at his side for a moment, roll away, as he’s going to surround himself in flames.

Attack opportunity: On the other hand, when he raises his flame hand above his shoulder, he’s about to toss a fireball your way. Dodge toward him and get in an attack or two.

He’ll also occasionally belly bump you when you’re close to him, though it’s not too damaging, and generally worth the risk when you’re trying to cause damage or stack status effects.

Attack opportunity: Lastly, the Godskin Noble sometimes raises his right leg into the air, bringing it down for a slam that does area damage. Dodge backward to avoid it, and watch for the follow-up that usually, but not always, comes. If he raises his leg up again, dodge toward him, and get in your own attacks. He sometimes gets stuck in a pattern doing this multiple times in a row, which is your golden ticket to serve him up some damage.

Phase 2

At around 50% health, Godskin Noble rises into the air and enters Phase 2.

Attack opportunity: Get away from him while he’s doing this to avoid the Black Flame damage, and then get close after he lands to retaliate.

During this phase, he adds some attacks to his repertoire. Two of them should simply be avoided at all costs. The first you’ll likely notice is a little thing we like to call the dinner roll. It’s telegraphed when he stands in place and jiggles, and then leaps into the air and turns on his side. He then Sonic-the-Hedgehogs around the room, causing damage every time he hits you. This can go on for a disturbingly long time. Thankfully, it’s easy as pie to avoid once you know how: Simply roll into him when he gets close.

The second, even more dangerous new attack is a flurry of thrusts that can easily one-shot you if they catch you off guard. You can tell he’s about to unleash this when the boss briefly raises his sword vertically in front of his face, as if he’s assuming a combat stance. The trouble is that this readying movement lasts a fraction of a second before he begins wildly stabbing you, so all you can do is be extra careful about when you choose to try to attack him in this phase.

Attack opportunity: The third new attack during Phase 2 gives you a big opening to attack. When the Godskin Noble soars high into the air, he’s about to slam into the ground, causing damage in a small area around him. Once you get the timing down, you can roll toward him and easily get in several hits. He’ll usually bounce you off him afterward, but it does little damage compared with what you’ll be able to inflict.

With Godskin Noble defeated, you’ll gain 50,000 runes, plus the Godskin Stitcher weapon and the Noble Presence incantation. Rest at the Temple of Eiglay site of grace and take a breather — we’re still far from done.

The road to Rykard

After defeating Godskin Noble, rest at the newly unlocked Temple of Eiglay site of grace, and spend your runes if you have enough to level up. Out the church’s north side door is a shortcut you can’t yet use, so ignore it for now. You’ll be heading up the lift to the grace’s right shortly, but first, pick up the Serpent’s Amnion key item from the altar and travel back to Volcano Manor.

Find Rya in her room and choose the dialogue option to “tell her of the dark side of Volcano Manor,” followed by “give Serpent’s Amnion.” Return to the Temple of Eiglay and prepare to advance.

Head up the nearby elevator and explore around the temple’s upper level to find a Golden Rune [9] on a corpse. Head outside to the balcony via either exterior door and drop down over the ledge to the north onto the volcanic rock shelf below.

Standing on the Temple of Eiglay Balcony, ready to drop below in Volcano Manor in Elden Ring
Drop off the balcony here.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Activate the summoning pool while remaining wary of the burning slugs that inhabit the area. A Golden Rune [12] hides down a small walkway against the balcony wall, while a corpse on the lava pool’s far side has a smoldering butterfly.

Looking down at the Temple of Eiglay Item in Volcano Manor from Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Follow the path east to find a Furlcalling Finger Remedy on a body, and then drop down to another lava rock path to the north.

Continue along the path until you reach a large pool of lava.

Standing at the shore of a large lava pool in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor Prison Town. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Leap over the burning streams and make your way toward the nearby structure. Watch out for the Iron Virgin just out of sight against the wall to the west. You’ll need to kill it if you want to fully explore this area, as the darn thing will follow you even over the lava, and you’re fooling yourself if you think it’ll take any damage from it.

Once you’ve dealt with the monstrosity, skirt around the base of the structure, rolling or backstepping over the lava, to find a Teardrop Scarab holding a Somber Smithing Stone [5] around the corner. Keep going, hopping across a narrow lava stream and past an open window. Skirt along this building and under the stone serpent heads, killing the pair of Man-Serpents who ambush you from the lava. Head inside the small arched doorway and kill the curse frogs inside, preferably from a distance if you don’t want to be one-shotted by their death blight attacks. Pick up the Somber Smithing Stone [6] and return outside, to the open window you passed earlier.

A Prison Town Open Window inside Volcano Manor in Elden Ring
Head through the open window.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

If you’ve followed the guide up to this point, you’ll find Rya inside, and in quite a sorry state. At this point, you can fulfill her request and earn the Daedicar’s Woe talisman, which increases the damage you take (yay?). However, you can also leave her alive, and meet her again after you defeat Rykard. Up to you.

Another interlude: Zorayas, Tonic of Forgetfulness, or not

If you don’t kill Zoryas here, you can return to Tanith and speak with her about Zorayas’s troubles. She’ll give you the Tonic of Forgetfulness, which you can give to Zorayas to relieve her of the knowledge of her origin. Doing so will cause Zoryas to fall asleep. She will wake up again after you defeat Rykard.

Your third option is to hang on to the tonic, as it does have alternative uses elsewhere in the game. Instead, you can simply leave Zorayas where she is for now and continue on the path toward Rykard.

Final target: Juno Hoslow, Knight of Blood

The Elden Ring Juno Hoslow invasion in Volcano Manor Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

At this point, you can also complete the final assassination mission (doing so previously would have locked you out of receiving the tonic from Tanith). The Red Letter’s target is Juno Hoslow. You will find his sign in the Mountaintop of the Giants — which is why we recommended you defeat Morgott and reach this area prior to tackling Volcano Manor.

Juno’s invasion sign is on the western side of the frozen river past the Ancient Snow Valley Ruins site of grace. Invade him to earn the Hoslow’s Oath gesture.

The fight is actually fairly difficult. Juno’s whips do heavy damage and build bleed quickly, and he employs the Bloodhound’s Step Ash of War to dodge your attacks. All you can really do is get good at dodging his whips, or try to stun-lock him with a spell like the Carian Piercer.

Once you’ve dispatched him, Juno drops Hoslow’s Petal Whip and the Hoslow’s Armor Set. Return once again to Volcano Manor. Tanith will give you the Taker’s Cameo talisman, which restores your HP upon defeating enemies (awesome). She’ll also invite you to meet with her Lord, Rykard. Accepting the offer will teleport you straight to the boss.

For now, however, decline the invitation — we still have a lot more to do around Volcano Manor first.

Back on the path

Return to the Temple of Eiglay, and once again ascend the elevator, making your way up to the large lava pool. Jump into the window near the Iron Virgin’s hiding place, and head down the ladder to the left of the closed door. Descend to find Drawstring Fire Grease on a body, and then continue down the staircase, killing the crawling Albinaurics and Albinauric sorcerers as you go. At the bottom, the Missionary’s Cookbook [6] waits inside a cell. It contains the recipe for Holyproof Dried Liver.

Looking down at a body to pillage for the Crimson Tear Scarab helmet within Volcano Manor in Elden Ring.
Pillage the body for the Crimson Tear Scarab helmet.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Make your way back upstairs, up the ladder, and out the door. Jump over the wall to the south to find the Crimson Tear Scarab helmet on a ledge.

Jump down, make your way back up, and then continue, killing the Man-Serpent and climbing the stairs.

A crawling Albinauric waits to ambush you in the next room. Kill it, and then activate the elevator on the south side of the room. This lift returns down to the Temple of Eiglay, opening the shortcut from earlier. In addition, while riding the elevator up or down, you can deftly hop off just below the top to find a hidden room with a single zombie and a Stonesword Key. (This room is also accessible via an open window across from the one that leads to Rya’s current location).

Back on the main path, continue north/northwest into an area filled with zombies who explode with poison when you kill them, not to mention a pair of extra dangerous Man-Serpents whose weapons spray magma all over the place. From here, you can climb out onto the stone serpents hanging over the lava, one of which holds the Commoner’s Headband.

Into the room ahead and through a closed door, you’ll find a pack of zombies and Man-Serpents, including one with a giant, bulbous head who throws sorceries your way. Lure these out, and kill them one at a time to make your life slightly easier. You’ll find the Man-Serpent Ashes on the altar ahead.

There are two exits on the upper floor of this room. The east door takes you to a teleporter that sends you to Rykard’s boss fog. Congrats! Feel free to head there now and activate the Audience Pathway site of grace and summoning pool, or, if you have enough flasks to keep exploring, head out the door on the other side to find a fog gate that requires two Stonesword Keys to pass.

The final secrets

Through the gargoyle fog gate, you’ll find a treacherous jumping puzzle.

Prison Town’s Cage Jumping puzzle with Sniper in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

If you descend across the cages ahead of you, you’ll be accosted by a sorcerer who will snipe you from a ledge on the room’s far side.

A Prison Town Secret Drop down to a body with a Stonesword Key in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Instead, look to the right of the entrance for a ledge you can drop down to. Follow the path and defeat the Man-Serpent with a candlestick whip and the Albinauric sorcerer. Pick up the Dagger talisman, and then drop to the nearby cage and then to the level below to get your revenge against that sorcerer and pick up the Rune Arc on the ground.

Prison Town Jumping Puzzle screenshot showing Distance Attacks in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor
Take out Albinaurics from above with ranged weapons.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

From there, you can jump down the cages as normal. The ground floor is crowded with crawling Albinaurics. If you have ranged weapons, you can take them out from above before jumping down.

Pick up the Royal Knight’s Resolve Ash of War at the fireplace through the door on the east side of this room. Upstairs, open the door for yet another shortcut back into Volcano Manor. Head back down and pick up the Seedbed Curse from a corpse on the other side of the large chamber. This key item relates to the Dung Eater’s storyline; hang onto it for now.

Elden Ring Prison Town Iron Virgin stuck in a Doorway in Volcano Manor
Get the Iron Virgin stuck in that doorway and enjoy the cheese.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Up the nearby stairs, lure the Iron Virgin to the doorway to take it out in relative safety (though its attacks can still reach you through the walls). Outside, pick up the Somber Smithing Stone [7] on the ledge.

Congratulations! You’ve now seen everything Volcano Manor has to offer — almost.

One last detour

There are two ways to reach Volcano Manor’s final secret. The easier method is to return to the Temple of Eiglay site of grace, and then head out the front doors and past the Fire Monk, and over to the corpse hanging off the edge.

Prison Town Secret Drop near the Temple of Eiglay site of grace in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor
Drop down here.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Drop down to the ledge that we noted earlier, and follow the path through a tunnel. Alternatively, travel to the Schoolhouse Classroom site of grace back at Raya Lucaria, and then head outside and ride the massive, rotating lift down to the very bottom. There, you’ll find an Iron Virgin. Fight it until it grabs and eats you. Allow this move to kill you, and you’ll wake up in the same area back at Volcano Manor. Be warned, though: You will lose your runes in the process.

A Prison Town Secret Area filled with lava in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor
Behold, Prison Town’s secret area!
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Either way, proceed across the lava rock platforms, taking out the Giant Bats as you go. The platform with the item on it contains a Smoldering Butterfly, but be careful, as you’ll be attacked by several bats when you jump to it. Continue through the tunnel with two bats, and then jump down the platforms to reach a chamber full of Burning Slugs.

Down another series of ledges and onto the platform below, a crawling Albinauric and an Albinauric sorcerer await you. Head up the stairs to find the Subterranean Inquisition Chamber site of grace. At this point, provided you haven’t died again, you can return to Raya Lucaria and pick up your lost runes.

Back at the Inquisition Chamber, the area below is littered with burning slugs. There’s a Smithing Stone [4] on a fallen pillar in the middle of the lava, and a Smithing Stone [6] on the far side of the room. Proceed down the tunnel and fall through the false floor to land in a chamber filled with Budding Cave Moss, and prepare for a boss fight on the other side of the green fog gate.

Abductor Virgins boss fight

Preparing for the fight

Elden Ring Abductor Virgins boss Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

The Abductor Virgins are immune to all status effects, so leave your Scarlet Rot, Bleed, Frost, and Poison weapons at the door. However, that doesn’t mean they have no weaknesses. This duo is plenty susceptible to sorcery, and even weaker to Lightning damage, giving most players plenty of options to soften them up.

  • Sorcerer builds can use whatever spells you’re comfortable with, although Glintstone Arc gets a special nod, since it can hit both Abductor Virgins at once. (If your class didn’t start the game with it, you can buy this powerful spell from Thops at the Church of Irith in southern Liurnia, or from Sellen in the Waypoint Ruins in Limgrave.)
  • In addition, Rock Sling, found in the Street of Sages Ruins in Caelid, is always useful for the extreme stagger it causes.
  • If you’re a Faith caster and thus better equipped for the lightning route, try the Lightning Spear and Electrify Armament incantations you can buy from any incantation vendor after finding the Dragon Cult Prayerbook on a knight who patrols just south of the Artist’s Shack in Liurnia.
  • And if you’re determined to go the melee route against the Abductor Virgins, you can craft Lightning Grease after finding the Ancient Dragon Apostle’s Cookbook [1] in the Altus Plateau’s Wyndham Catacombs.
  • Melee fighters can also craft Magic Grease using the Glintstone Craftsman’s Cookbook [5] found in Raya Lucaria. Lube up your sword or mallet with either of these and you’ll be giving these Abductor Virgins the business in no time.

Learn the Abductor Virgins fight

This boss is a dreaded duo composed of two Iron Virgins, one wielding dual saw blade wheels, and the other swinging sickles. Chances are you’ve fought both variants separately prior to this moment, but we’ll go over their move sets here just in case.

First, a general tip: Avoid using target lock during this fight. It’s much easier if you learn to continuously move your camera manually so you can keep both in view. Use target lock only to land attacks, and then promptly unlock and swing the camera around however you need to in order to see both bosses at the same time.

Abductor Virgin (wheel) attacks: The wheeled Abductor Virgin is undoubtedly the more dangerous, due to its greater mobility and its attacks that can easily hit you multiple times. Focus on taking this one out first. Its most dangerous move involves lowering its spinning spike wheels in front, and then charging toward you, sparks flying. It can cover a lot of ground doing this, surprising you even when you think you’re safe on the other side of the room. It also likes to briefly raise its wheels in the air, and then bring them down for a potentially devastating spin attack. Get away from it and avoid this at all costs.

Abductor Virgin (scythes) attacks: The scythe Abductor Virgin’s attacks are no less powerful, although they are generally slightly easier to avoid, as this one’s movements are more predictable. Its most common attack involves raising one scythe in the air and hurling it toward you. This can hit from quite a distance. Even worse: Although it can be tempting to get some of your own damage in after it throws a scythe, doing so is dangerous, because the blade can nail you on the way back as well. And the scythe Abductor Virgin has its own spinning attack that’s even more dangerous than the other’s, since this one covers more ground while performing it. When you see this attack coming, either run as far away as possible, or try to dodge inside the blades’ radius.

To make matters worse, both foes have the ability to grab you and chew you up, which can cause massive damage. They tend to do this when you’re directly in front of them, which is exactly where you’ll often find yourself when you’re scrambling to get in some damage in between their attacks. When you see their front doors open, dodge toward them. If you get the timing right, you earn yourself an opportunity to cause extra damage by hitting their weak point. If you don’t, jam on the R1/RB and L1/lB buttons to get released from their grip early.

Attack opportunities: Thankfully, the Abductor Virgins’ main weakness is their slow speed. They have plenty of downtime in between attacks, so once you get good at dodging them and managing the fight, you’ll have lots of opportunities to strike back. As is often the case, your safest strategy will be to leap in and get a single attack off, and then prepare to dodge whatever is coming next, especially with two of these enemies in the fray.

The best time to attack during this fight is when once of the bosses locks itself into a lengthy attack animation, like a spin or charge ability, while the other is far away on the other side of the room.

Study their attacks until you have a good sense of how long each one lasts, and use these opportunities to get close to one while the other is occupied. When you’re up against two massive enemies that can do huge amounts of damage in a short span of time, your best bet is to play it safe.

With these tips, the Abductor Virgins will have kidnapped their last unsuspecting sorcery student. Defeating them will earn you the Inquisitor’s Girandole weapon.

And now you have just one more boss to worry about in Volcano Manor. When you’re ready, return to the Audience Pathway site of grace and gear up to fight the God-Devouring Serpent and Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy.

God-Devouring Serpent and Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy boss fight

God-Devouring Serpent Rykard Boss Fight in Elden Ring’s Volcano Manor Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

At the end of the long gauntlet that is Volcano Manor and Prison Town — or after murdering several of your fellow Tarnished, if you chose to go that route ⁠— comes the long-awaited boss fight with the next bearer of a shard of the Elden Ring, Praetor Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy. What Gideon didn’t tell you back at the Roundtable Hold, though, is that Rykard has been eaten by a God-Devouring Serpent, and you’ll have to deal with that first in this extremely metal two-part boss fight.

Thankfully, we have some tips for you.

Preparing for the fight

The fight with Rykard and the God-Devouring Serpent is unique among all the bosses in Elden Ring because there’s only one weapon you should ever use for it, and that weapon is provided to you as soon as you enter the boss arena.

Elden Ring’s Respec menu Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

The Serpent-Hunter Great Spear has several interesting qualities. For one thing, it has no stat requirements, so any character can wield it. It can also be upgraded by Hewg, the blacksmith in the Roundtable Hold, increasing its damage and improving its scaling. Speaking of which, the Serpent-Hunter scales with Strength. Although it’s not strictly necessary, you might want to considering visiting Rennala at Raya Lucaria to temporarily re-spec your character for this fight. You can safely pump all your points into four stats:

  • Vigor: to survive getting hit
  • Mind: to use the Serpent-Hunter’s special attack
  • Endurance: for the stamina to run away
  • Strength: for the sweet, sweet damage

Then, when it’s over, feel free to visit the academy and return to your normal build.

That means you’ll need at least two Larval Tears. This is a limited item, meaning there’s no way to farm them, but you should have at least that many in your inventory already by this point. If not, check the graveyard in the Village of the Albinaurics, as well as the soldier who transforms into a runebear east of the Agheel Lake South site of grace.

Elden Ring’s map, showing the location of Dragonbarrow Cave.
Get the Flamedrake Talisman in Dragonbarrow Cave.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

It’s wise to use a shield for this fight, since the boss has a couple of attacks that are difficult, if not impossible, to dodge. Other than that, there’s not much you can do to prepare here. Upping your Fire defense by wearing the Flamedrake Talisman (found in Dragonbarrow Cave) might help, though the lava in this fight is the least of your worries.

Elden Ring’s map, showing the location of Lakeside Crystal Cave.
Get the Latenna Spirit Ash Lakeside Crystal Cave.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

In addition, if you’re considering using a Spirit Ash, you might went to upgrade one that uses ranged attacks so it can actually stay alive during the fight. Latenna, found in the Lakeside Crystal Cave in southern Liurnia, is a good option.

Learn the God-Devouring Serpent fight

Let’s start this with a disclaimer: It’s completely possible to stun-lock both phases of this fight and never have to deal with a single attack from either the God-Devouring Serpent or Rykard himself.

The trick is in the Serpent-Hunter’s powerful L2/LT attack, which charges up a long-reaching, magic-fueled stab that causes big stagger. If you follow up with another L2/LT right after the first, you’ll slam the boss with an uppercut that does massive damage. However, landing that attack also puts a cooldown on the boss’s stagger, so you have to wait several seconds before you can stun him again. If, instead, you simply stick to the first L2/LT with a second or two in between each attack, you can easily keep him stunned for the entire fight, provided you have enough FP to keep using the attack continuously.

Some players may prefer to use the Serpent-Hunter’s full attack and simply learn to dodge the bosses’ abilities — in which case, keep reading.

Phase 1: God-Devouring Serpent

The first thing to know about the God-Devouring Serpent is that it’s surrounded by a pool of lava, and it will spend the entire fight trying to close the distance to you and trap you against a wall. You want to continuously circle around it to avoid this. At the ideal, medium range, the Serpent will mainly stick to a handful of predictable attacks.

  • Bite strike combo: The Serpent strikes lightning-quickly with its huge jaws, combining up to three bites in a row. Learn to dodge this or block it with your shield.
  • Grab bite: The boss rears back and lunges toward you after a slight delay, grabbing you in its mouth and hurling you to the ground. It’s essential that you learn to dodge this.
  • Venom spray: He sprays venom that lands in pools around you. The resulting clouds cause poison build-up, as well as massive damage if you stay inside one. Don’t get caught trying to pull off an attack during this, as the venom can easily tick your health down to zero while you’re stuck in the Serpent-Hunter’s lengthy animations.

  • Fire slam: The boss slams the ground, spraying lava in an arc. This is generally to punish you for getting too close; keep your distance and you can easily avoid this one.

  • Earthquake slam: Far more dangerous, this earth-shattering slam may be impossible to dodge. Learn what the wind-up looks like and use your shield to tank through it, and you should only take a bit of damage.

With the Serpent-Hunter’s full L2/LT+L2/LT combo, you should be able to cause massive damage in between the boss’s attacks. Every time you stun him, wait for his next attack, dodge or block it, and then attack again. That’s generally enough time for his stun cooldown to expire, and you’ll have him on the ground and moving on to phase two in no time.

Phase 2: Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy

Upon reaching Phase 2, this boss will, first of all, treat you to one of the most metal cut-scenes in video game history. Once you’ve recovered from the sight of Rykard’s face emerging from the back of a giant serpent’s head and then pulling a wriggling, blasphemous blood sword out of his own mouth, you’ll need to prepare for some new attacks.

  • Sword strikes: Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy has a few different patterns for sword strikes. Some of them are easy to predict and dodge, while others are slightly trickier. During sweeping combos, Rykard will sometimes slam his sword down and then rake it across the ground. Try not to dodge early. The other one to watch out for is the downward thrusts that cause area damage.

  • Flaming skull trails: Rykard periodically spews flaming skulls from his mouth. The skulls careen on a seemingly random path around the arena, leaving a trail in their wake that explodes a moment later, because of course that happens. It can be tempting to try to attack through this, but you don’t want to be caught in the Serpent-Hunter’s long animations when that explosion hits.

  • Flaming skull rain: Partway through this phase, the sky opens up and homing, fiery skulls rain down from the heavens. It is awesome. All you can do is dodge, but thankfully, that tends to be pretty effective.

On top of that, the snake part of the boss will still occasionally fire off the same attacks it used in Phase 1. If you’re determined to not simply stun-lock the boss using Serpent-Hunter, and then you’ll have to get good at dodging these attacks.

Whether you choose to stun-lock Rykard and the Serpent into oblivion, have fun spanking him with a few friends, or take the fight as slowly as possible just to savor the audiovisual spectacle of it, you should have Rykard’s Remembrance and Great Rune in your hands in no time.

And with that, you’ve done everything there is to do in Volcano Manor and its accompanying Legacy Dungeon, Prison Town. Just make sure to return to Rykard’s boss arena later for a fun encounter with someone whose station in life you’ve considerably lowered by defeating this boss, and don’t forget to check up on Zoryas again when you get the chance.