Promotional art for Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree

How To Start ‘Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree’

There's a long, multi-step quest you have to do and an area you have to explore. Sorry.

A new DLC’s place within its game’s overall structure and narrative always comes on a case-by-case basis. God of War: Ragnarok Valhalla’s DLC takes place after the main game. Usually, though, DLCs kick in somewhere near the middle of the game, like Cyberpunk 2077‘s Phantom Liberty—and now Elden Ring‘s highly-awaited Shadow of the Erdtree.

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The issue is, despite starting in the middle of the game, you can’t just waltz right up to a new spot in an easily accessible area like Limgrave or something and knock on the proverbial door. There’s a whole quest you have to do to get to that proverbial DLC door. Or rather, in true Elden Ring fashion, that withered hand.

That quest—the White Mask Varré questline—was already in Elden Ring, which sets up some complications. Maybe you finished fighting Mohg and can waltz right into the DLC. Otherwise, maybe you killed White Mask Varré for so rudely calling you “maidenless,” locking you out of the DLC. Maybe you turned down any one of his shady, shady offers and now have to go back and beg for a second chance. Or maybe, like me, you never talked to this guy again after he dissed you so bad and you didn’t even realize his quest line was a thing until the DLC came out.

Finding Varré

The DLC is meant to take place in the late-middle of the game. Your level at the Mountaintops of Giants is just over the low bar for the DLC. But getting to the area which will, in turn, get you to the DLC area is a Whole Thing.

Remember when you first started the game, and some asshole in a white mask called you “maidenless” as you were still getting your bearings? That’s White Mask Varré, and his quest line is the key to this whole thing. As tempting as it might be, don’t kill him.

You don’t start Varré’s questline then and there. Instead, seek him out at the Rose Church in Liurnia. Don’t worry: even if you’re way past Liurnia in your gameplay, Varré will still be there. As long as you didn’t kill him.

Varré will give you the item that enables you to invade other players. To advance the quest, either do that three times, or you can invade the NPC Magnus the Beast Claw. You can find his red invade sign on the ground inside one of the side buildings of the Writheblood Ruins in the Atlas Plateau.

Now, go back to Varré. He’ll give you a white cloth and tell you to cover it in the “blood of a maiden.” “Preferably your own, but since you’re maidenless …” he’ll cackle. Since I absolutely would’ve killed him for insinuating that he would want me to kill my wife while also making fun of me for not having one, I’m very glad I didn’t know about this quest until the DLC.

There are pacifist ways to go along with Varré’s dark request because there are at least two maidens in the game who have already sadly passed away. You can find one in the Church of Anticipation, and the other in the Church of Inhibition. Both are a total pain in the ass to get to. However, if you’ve poked around the Four Belfries in Liurnia, there’s a good chance you can just pop through a portal to the Church of Anticipation. In any case, good luck.

Then, at last, Varré will give you the Pureblood Knight’s Medal, which will teleport you to the Mohgwyn Dynasty Mausoleum.

Yup, there’s a boss fight

Now you’re in the Mohgwyn Dynasty Mausoleum. Congratulations! Now you have to make your way through this entire area, through Mohgwyn Palace and beat the boss.

Fortunately, this isn’t a huge area—there are only three sites of Grace, plus one more after you beat the boss. Unfortunately, Mohg, Lord of Blood, is a particularly tricky boss. He’s very, very adept at inflicting Bleed. My advice is to phone a friend here, if you can. There are quite a few players in that area now, since it’s in demand. I had my much more experienced friend and his much more experienced brother lead the charge while I stood in the back and blew my big magic bubbles. (I love my big magic bubbles.)

Now, finally, when you’ve beaten Mohg and checked in at the new site of Grace, a lady will pop up near the withered corpse at the far end of the room. Talk to her, then touch the hand of the corpse. Congratulations for real this time—you’re in the DLC.

Now hell begins for real! Ah, Elden Ring.

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.