Elden Ring: Key NPCs and where to find them

Luke Albigés - March 5th 2022

Elden Ring will introduce you to a wide, weird, and wonderful cast of supporting characters, but as is so often the case with games like this, it's not always clear what they can actually do, nor where to find them. Given that some provide vital services (and a couple even hold the key to unlocking a few Elden Ring achievements), we thought it might be helpful to put together a list of some of the more important ones, what they do, and where to find them — we obviously can't cover every single NPC as there are loads, some just regular merchants and others playing into the side quests woven into the game, but these are the ones you'll definitely want to make time to hunt down, regardless of your build or progress. We'll be covering them in what feels like a natural chronological order of when you're likely (or able) to meet them, so expect some minor character and location spoilers as we get into a few of the later ones.

Kalé

RoleMerchant, basic equipment upgrades
LocationChurch of Elleh, southern Limgrave
While Kalé is just one of many merchants you'll encounter on your travels, he'll almost certainly be the first and his services early in the game are invaluable. As well being the only vendor who sells the Crafting Kit key item (essential for making your own consumables, based on recipes you find), he has a smithing station next to his stall which lets you upgrade your gear. It's the only place to do so in the beginning of Elden Ring, but can only improve weapons as far as +3 — if you want to make your equipment even stronger, you'll need to seek out a proper smith.

Melina

RoleLevelling up, provides mount
LocationMet by resting at a Site of Grace after unlocking three or more in the overworld
Melina can't be missed as she's integral to Elden Ring's narrative. She will be your companion for most of the game, and she'll approach you in a cutscene the first time you rest at a bonfire Site of Grace after unlocking several in the early areas — if you're following what feels like the natural route, this will likely happen at the Gatefront Site of Grace to the north of where you start. Her arrival lets you finally start spending your Runes on levelling up stats at any Grace, and she also gifts you Torrent, a spectral mount that will help you get around much faster. And it can double-jump, because of course it can.

Roderika

RoleSpirit Tuning (upgrade Spirit Ashes)
LocationStormhill Shack, northern Limgrave (later Roundtable Hold)
Most of these have been quite basic, but here's one you might have missed, as unlocking Roundtable Hold's Spirit Tuner isn't exactly obvious. For starters, you'll need to meet Roderika out in the world — follow the trail north from Stormgate and you should see her shack (and likely hear her) by the Grace on the right hand side a little way along. Speak to her here until you exhaust her dialogue (you'll get a surprisingly powerful Spirit Jellyfish summon for your trouble) and when you make it to Roundtable Hold, she'll be by the fireplace. Exhaust her dialogue again, then speak with Hewg about her. Each time you return, keep talking to the two about one another until Hewg takes her under his wing and she sets up shop opposite him. Roderika allows you to power up the allies you summon with Spirit Ashes, up to +10. Each upgrade improves health and damage, so be sure to stop by when you find one you like. Bear in mind, though, that Ghost Glovewort — the material used for upgrades here — is found rarely and in limited supply, so you may have to be a bit picky with who gets to level up.

Hewg

RoleEquipment upgrades, Ash of War manipulation
LocationRoundtable Hold
Oh look, a proper smith! Hewg can take standard gear all the way to +25 with the right materials, but he's also the only place to play around with Ash of War options on your gear. You have the ability to duplicate Ashes here (each can only be used on one piece of equipment), and you can freely swap which Ash you assign to a regular weapon (unique gear can't be tampered with) to convert its damage type and stats, and to change which weapon skill it uses. As the game progresses, you'll stumble upon a number of Whetstones — with these in your possession, you can pick weapon skills and weapon types independently based on which Whetstones you have. This means you could have, say, a large Heavy weapon for your Strength build, but with a magical AoE 'get off me' blast as the skill via an Ash that would usually give the associated weapon the Magic damage type. Most useful.

Fia

RoleDeathbed companion
LocationRoundtable Hold
Having a character that does little more than give out free hugs seems a little weird at first, but when Elden Ring reveals itself to be a game that also features talking pots and double-jumping horses, you come to realise that weird is the new normal here. Aside from her role in a side quest about halfway through the game (which culminates in a boss needed for an achievement — keep returning to her for hugs once you're deeper in the game to kick this off with her giving you a dagger to return to its owner), Fia exists purely for cuddles, so this is more a warning than anything else... while being held by her does grant you a consumable that boosts Poise for a short time, it also leaves you with a sneaky debuff that reduces your maximum health by 5%. This lasts until you use the Baldachin's Blessing item she gives you, so if you find yourself feeling a little squishy after a hug, pop that item to return to your regular max HP value.

Enia

Role:Boss gear vendor
LocationRoundtable Hold
Finger Reader Enia won't be accessible when you first visit Roundtable Hold, since her purpose is to turn the Remembrances earned by defeating major bosses into weapons and abilities and/or to sell you their equipment. When you return after clearing out Stormveil Castle, the large door in the central hub of Roundtable Hold will open and you'll be able to visit her. Remembrances can be turned in for one of two options and are lost upon doing so, meaning you won't be able to get everything on one playthrough. Fortunately, that's not too much of a big deal — contrary to what you may expect, these aren't considered legendary items so don't count towards the related achievements, plus few offer two choices that would both be beneficial for the same build. Even in those cases, a New Game+ run shouldn't be necessary, since there are a handful of Walking Mausoleums (gargantuan turtle-like creatures with shrines on their backs) dotted around the map, and you can duplicate a single Remembrance at each... perfect for when you can't make up your mind which item to go for. Defeating certain bosses will also make their equipment available for purchase, and depending on your build, some of these will likely be top-tier options (plus they look badass, which is obviously the most important thing).

Miriel

RoleAtonement, magic vendor
LocationChurch of Vows, eastern Liurnia of The Lakes
It's all too easy for things to go wrong in FromSoftware games, and this can sometimes result in important NPCs becoming hostile to you or even being killed. Elden Ring makes some allowances for this, both by having most vendors drop Bell Bearings on death that can be turned in at the Twin Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold to unlock their inventories there instead, but also with this big bishop boy who can absolve you of such sins (for a fee, naturally) in order to put right what you made wrong. I was well behaved on my playthrough and never needed the Church of Vows' services, but magic users may also want to seek it out even if they too have been good, if only to browse Miriel's available Sorceries and Incantations, which include some pretty decent healing options.

Gurranq

RoleDeathroot trader
LocationBestial Sanctum, northern Caelid
You wouldn't usually reach the Bestial Sanctum until much later in the game as it's all the way to the north of Caelid (past scores of deadly creatures), but progressing the questline for D in Roundtable Hold will lead you to a portal that takes you all the way out there even quite early on. Word of warning, there's a massive world boss right outside the door that will absolutely wreck you unless you're properly geared and levelled for this zone, but on the plus side, the area outside is an amazing Rune grinding spot as it has many small enemies (most of which wander alone) that give over 1,000 Runes each when killed. As soon as you can one-shot these guys, you can make tens of thousands in minutes here. Gurranq himself will take any Deathroot you find in dungeons off your hands in exchange for exclusive rewards, some of which are really rather nice. Another warning, though: turn-ins seem to be bugged currently and handing in multiple Deathroot at once only seems to count as delivering one, so make sure to turn them in one at a time or you'll be locked out of getting his star prize and completing this questline.

And that's it! Sure, there are losts more important characters in the world of Elden Ring, but many are key players in side quests and we didn't want to go too heavy on the spoilers here, so we focused primarily on the ones who were more about their utility. Got a favourite from this lot? Outraged that we didn't include someone? Busy hunting down Roderika because you didn't realise spirits could even be upgraded? Let us know!

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