[The next part appears to be missing some pieces. Visible stains of wear and tears hint at it. Overall it does however still appear to be usable.]

My Elden Ring Arcana Run - Part 4 (Upgrades)

Next item on the List are Smithing Stones and Somber Smithing Stones. And some Runes to actually do stuff with them. While we're at it we'll also take a trip through Liurnia; And to do that a Map would be useful. And if you haven't done so already, we might want to also fetch the Lamp. For that, we need Cash - and ... because we also want to have Fun/Gameplay, I think the first stop on our List should be ...

On the Map - looking at the Swamp in Limgrave - you can see a cave-looking symbol near the Woods and the Ruins we've been to at the start. That symbol indicates a Mine. Including this one, we'll visit 5 - or 4 1/2 of them. They contain smithing stones and usually a Boss that holds an item we want. And this Cave, if you haven't already finished it, should be as easy as it gets.

So - go there, equip the Greatsword in your main hand; Because that's our "Mining Tool". The Enemies in those mines have like ... stone-skin. You can try the Helice or whatever, but you'll find that the Greatsword (two handed) does a much better job at it. A charged or running or jumping heavy attack followed by a flurry of normal attacks is like the easy way here. Even for the Boss. Because of our relatively high Dexterity we do a lot of damage here. But because of our relatively low health, that ... only takes us half the way. Maybe ... try ... not to do the whole: Attack, get Hit, try to heal, get killed routine. The Boss is slow, deceptively slow - and that's the trick here. One we'll also need when facing Margit.

    A thing about Elevators: Here - and in Dungeons that follow - most Elevators hold secrets. So instead of just using the Elevator, you should check to the left side. Usually there's a series of ledges that lead to the more valuable items we want. In this instance: A Golden Rune [4] and a Somber Smithing stone.

All in all, this was fine - but certainly not enough. You should be able to upgrade the twinblade to +3 - or both, Twinblade and Greatsword to +2; It matters not. We were only here for the experience. You can also sell the Talisman for 500 Runes.

Welcome to Liurnia - the Land of Railgun Lobsters and other hidden Fun Stuff

You may have noticed, that Liurnia is really just one giant Puddle. Our next goal is somewhere around here - and while we're at it we can go fetch some stuf.
First we head to the Church of Bellum, and find the slope that takes us down to the water - and there we head North until we come upon a shack. We're here only for the Grace and the Golden Seed. You'll find a ladder nearby. That's how you'd "normally" get to Altus. If you want to learn Dragon Incantations, you'll find a Magma-Wyrm Boss at the end of this quasi Dungeon that'll drop a Dragon Heart.

But I suppose we're not ready for that yet.

So, back the way we came - but staying on the Water - we'll find another grace before we enter the Puddle proper. While Liurnia is really just flat - we're still getting a great view here. If you from here aim at the Lesser Erdtree - you'll get to an island with a small tower on it. There's a Grace here. Approaching the tower you'll see a statue holding a tablet. Activating it will spawn ghostly figures. Straight left you'll find one of the three turtles. If you had back to the statue and continue until you reach a cliff, the second should be down the cliff to the left. That's what we collected the Kukiris for. The third one should be a bit uphill up on a tree somewhere. Once all have been hit, the Tower should be open. Up there we'll find a stone that'll give us one more spell slot.

From here, the Grace, following its light will also take you to another map for this area, and the nearby Grace. Going north from here you'll find Iji - who sells Somber Smithing stones [1] to [4] - and further north Caria Mannor. We'll go there later. For now we just return to the Island - and aim for the Bridge leading to Raya Lucaria. Beneath it somewhere is another Grace. More specifically, underneath the crooked part, the rightmost arch. If you want, stop by that small building in front for the Smithing Stone in there.

From here, or walking on for a little bit, you should see a wandering Mausoleum. If it's too foggy, check the map. You'll see a mine up ahead somewhere. We can now either complete our tour through Liurnia or do it while we're here. Apart from the Smithing Stones we'll find in there, what we need is at least one of those Glintstone pebbles that the Mages in here drop; And the Loot from the Boss. You can see the Boss arena when looking down one of those beams. As for the Pebbles, if you passed through the Camp near where you can buy the Lamp, you may have picked up the Handbook containing the recipe for them. One of the materials is found in this cave.
The Boss should also be relatively easy. The thing with those things is that you first have to stagger them once - after that they become vulnerable. Just be careful not to get hit by them and you should be fine!
Oh yea ... and ... "Puppets". Yuk ...
    Shortcut Elevators: In this cave you'll find one of the tried and tested "Shortcut Elevator"(TM)s. If you're in the first chamber you should be able to spot it. It's at this point like ... ancient wisdom, handed down generation by generation, that once you're using one - you send it back up - or down, respectively - just in case.
    They only fail if you do!

    As for the Puppets. I might just leave you to it - but, if you got extra throwing Knives ... consider using them. Once you got all you might find here, you can also just run through.

    With the Loot we can now buy Smithing Stones [1] and [2] at Roundtable hold. With the Runes collected you should also be able to take the Twinblades to +8, the Greatsword to +3 and the Helice to +3 also. Almost. Sort of. Now however - if you use Golden Runes and you have some Runes left, you can always dump them into Smithing Stones.

    Back at the Grace under the Bridge, if you walk out and look at Raya Lucaria, you'll see arches at its foundation. Beneath one of them is a Stonesword Key. Using Torrent we can rush in - find the Item in one of the Arches - and move along until we can basicalyl just move back onto the water. Right there should be some ruined buildings and a site of Grace.
    From here just mark the Map Obelisk and head there. Right away you should come unto what looks like a Sunken Church with two towers at the right end of it. On one of them is a chest containing another Stonesword Key. That should be all we need for now. 3 To get the Assassin's Prayer Book and 2 for something we'll get to soon enough.
    Then, moving on to the map, slightly right of the straight line there you'll find another Golden Seed.

    Now we have a bit of a choice. If you open the map, to the south you'll find a Telescope symbol and a group of "Islands" nearby. Slightly to the northwest of those you'll find another one. Here we'll find the "Dex Tear" - which gives us a Dexterity buff. Further Northwest you'll find an island with a building on it, further Northwest another group of Islands and Further Northwest - straight to the west of Raya Lucaria - is where we find the Key to Raya Lucaria. Now, all of that is Optional, in a sense. We don't need either per se. But we might as well. Mark both on the map and head there.

    On your way to the first Island you'll find a shack with a Grace. Apparently the stuff the guy there, Boggart, sells is pretty good. If you want, you can from here move to the telescope icon, speak with the Girl you find there, accept her quest and return to Boggart. He'll sell the Necklace for 1000 Runes - and if you do, he'll sell crabs that boost all resistances for 600 each.

    As for the Key - just rush past the Dragon, pick it up and skidaddle.

    More Bell-bearings
    Our next step is the Altus Tunnel. You can find it once you follow to road on Altus Plateau, near where we picked up the first map there, up to the North. Slightly Southeast of the base of the Bridge. The Boss here are two Crystallians. The Tunnel is really short - though there's what's called a "Malformed Star" in here I never bothered to get rid of to explore what's there. Other than picking up the Golden Rune [7]. Doesn't matter. Other than that, this is business as usual. But make sure to find the Somber Smithing stone [5].

    From there we 'can' go to the hidden tunnel east of where we picked up the second map there. The Mines themself are hidden behind an illusory wall. The Bellbearing is in a chest and there is no need to venture any deeper just yet or ever (Illusory Wall behind the Chest), other than stocking up on Smithing Stones [5] and the 17.000 Runes of the Boss. With the Helice, you can hit him with a charged attack - and once you're close he's probably going to try and swipe at you with some of his magic. You can dodge that with the Helice's skill and follow up. That should be enough to stagger him. However - the premises are somewhat perilous. Rinse and repeat. And with that, it's time for our first REAL challenge. Almost. Upgrade all your stuff - we don't have Somber Smithing Stones [4] just yet - Level up, spend your Runes, we're going back to Limgrave.

    Here - at the very first site of Grace we found, right after the Tutorial cave, there's a fog wall with an imp Statue that requires two Stonesword keys to open. Heading in there, be careful not to get hit by the Chariot. Down the very first slope, near the bottom is an alcove to the side. From there you can get to the other side of the slope. Wait until the Chariot is moving up. Then it's safe to run down to the very end. There, around the corner, you're safe. Here head to the right, up the slope. Following the path, at the end, you'll find a Ghostly Knight sitting in a room. His Weakness is the Bloody Slash we have on our Twinblades. Two slashes should be enough. And that's our Sacred Seal.

    Remember the Ruins where we picked up the Twinblades? Remember the notion of a Trap? Now its time to spring it. After making sure we have Assassin's step equipped, provided you can use it. It's not urgently required. However, the situation is the following: We can't teleport around until we rested at a Grace. It is nearby, easy to access, but we're better off starting here in this shack.

    There are two options. So, the miner that's walking up the slope right in front of the shack. We can attack him - or not. With Sacred Blade we should be able to snipe them off, move up the ledge, jump up onto the shack and hope that it all goes well because these Cockroach-esque Creatures ... they are ... let's say ... formidable. It seems like they're just annoying, but they kind of know what they're doing. Slithering around, attacking from afar, going for a combo ... . But their jitteriness can also be their downfall here. It certainly is easy for them to fall off of ledges. But ...
    Way simpler is to use Assassin's step. First we can take a tour around the shack to pick up the Smithing stones. Returning to the shack for safety. Also with Assassin's step, we can hope to get onto the shack without the thing up there noticing. In that case we can backstab them or otherhow push them off or just move past. We need to get up there to get to the next part of the cave. Be weary of the Miner around the corner there. There's another cockroach ontop of the shack you'll spot ahead; And once dealt with make sure to kick down the ladder. Generally you can make it back up there without the Roach on the shack noticing. Just ... stay quiet enough.
    Other than the obvious, there's just a Golden Rune [5] and a hidden Smithing Stone [5] around here.
    With the Somber Smithing Stones [4] - we only need a [6] and a [7] to also use our [8] and [9]. We won't get a 7 for some time however. But we'll need a [6] one way or another. There's one on Mt. Gelmir, But we're broke. And where's the fun in that? Sure, we're broke because we just spent it all because apparently ... uhm. Well. There's a trick here. Also.

    Naturally you'll have to dodge the Boss's attacks. He has two 'magical' attacks. One is that stuff starts glowing purple around him. This one you have to get out of, but once the spikes have come out you can jump in - going for an attack before it recovers. Once their horns glow purple but you don't see that stuff around them, it'll appear beneath your feet. In that case, run. Eventually you'll also have to jump out of it. It'll do that three times. The third one is larger and has to be jumped out of - I think. It's a good opportunity to get another attack in. Once they're charging at you, understand that you have to dodge the Horns ... so, keep to either the left or the right - but the timing is really precise. I call it "Evil Timing".
    Other than that however - try to not only stick to them, but aim to approach them only from the side - and whenever it dodges out of the way, dodge to be right by their side. And try to just stand there for a while. It's ... reasonably safe there. So, you only have to watch out for them moving away.
    And with the Bloody Helice it only takes like two charged attacks to stagger it. But don't rely on it. Time also matters with this. But yea ... Easy!

    Once out of the cave, move to the right - keep to the side of the swamp - until you get into some kind of ravine. At the end of it is a weird hovering ballface. Next to it is a Somber Smithing stone [5] in case you need it. Moving along you'll eventually find some ruins where you can find the Meteor Staff, and further along you'll find a site of Grace. From here straight south we'll find the Cathedral of Dragon Communion - and from there it's a short trip to the map of this region and a Golden Seed a bit South of that.
      3 Dimensions: Nearby you'll find Birds. You can try to approach the nearest one from downhill and try to fight it. Next try you try to lure it downhill to turn around and attack it from high-ground. There's a notable difference.
      Oh yea: They'll flap their wings. That's not bad. It'll stun you, but by the time they sweep down for their attack you're not stunned anymore. If you keep a distance their pecking won't touch you and you mostly just have to watch for their stomps and biting attack.

    Heading south you can try to pull all the dogs towards the fight going on further south - jump over the walls, activate the Grace and watch.

    Anyhow, we're not here for Radahn. We just did this while we're here. Before facing Margit however, there's two more Bosses we want to kill.

    The Last Rot-Bender

    So - get rid of all your Runes. Your Helice should be at +6, your Twinblades at +16 - and for all I care we have enough in our backpocket so that we can now dump most of what we earn into Levels. At least, we don't have anything else to do with it. Once you're at 22 Vigor, jacking Constitution up to 16 should help, especially with equipping more stuff. And after that ... it's ... whatever.

    Now we're tackling an Erdtree Avatar. Go to the Smoldering Church or what it's called - at the border between Limgrave and Caelid - head up the road towards the Village, but take a turn left down to the Erdtree instead. Crazy? You may be surprised how much damage we do right now. Sure, these things might not bleed - but we don't care. Maybe you got something else - maybe something with fire - but that's not needed.
    Other than the standard attacks you'll have to learn how to dodge - you have to watch out for their Jumping attack and them stomping their staff into the ground. Usually they'll charge ... so you have to wait a little for the attack to come out. So, take a deep breath. When they stomp their staff into the ground, you have to dodge twice. Once to escape the staff, then to escape the blast - and then you should right away hop on torrent to dodge the projectiles coming at you. With this Avatar that's difficult, but it shouldn't come to that anyway. What we want is for them to do the Jump attack. Once they land, they spray out a cone of Rot in front of them - and at this point this kills us very quickly. The idea is to start walking to the side, I usually walk to the right, once they're in the air - and once they come down dodge so that we end up as far behind them as possible. There we should be out of harms way. Here we charge an attack - and sometimes we can also get one or two normal attacks in. However, we watch out for what they'll do next. If they knees twitch, that means they'll jump again, which is what we want. They may also lift their leg or do something with their Staff. Once you stagger them, you don't need to stand directly in front of them. I think it's enough once you can see the glow. Usually it's just a step to the left and it'll trigger. Because the Critical Attack animation makes you invulnerable, you can also step onto the rot for a bit to get it off. Then either heal or follow up with a charged attack. So, not too difficult. There is possibly a little bit of luck involved - like, once you dodge the jump and start to charge your attack - and you then notice that youre standing in the rot, it's probably too late already.
    It's a bit ... boring maybe ... grindy ... but generally you can take it as practice to observe and react without freaking out whenever the enemy moves.
    Also, I tend to see the Runes I carry there as some kind of Sacrifice.

    What we get out of this is a superior Stamina Tear. I at least think that the regeneration is better than what little extra stamina we get out of the other. So, we'll throw that into our Physik, maybe, and head on to the next one. On the map, slightly to the east, we've already activated a Grace. This time we take the right path instead of the left one.
    Here the area is a lot more open - so, dodging the projectiles should be easier. This one does however have a lot more health. But also drops a LOT more Runes. 91.000 to be precise. The two Tears we get are great also. Just putting the two together ... isn't too bad. Except, the effect of the "Staggering Tear" doesn't last very long.

    By now your Vigor should be at 22 and your Constitution at 16 - and so ... only thing missing is to get ready ...