Dead Cells: Where to find the vine, teleport, and other movement ability runes
Motion Twin’s well-crafted rogue-lite Dead Cells is right on the cusp of its August 7 release date, but if you decided to hop into the fray early via the game’s PC early access build, you might be wondering what sorts of long-term goals there are to work towards.
Our recent tips and tricks guide is an excellent resource for getting your bearings, but eventually you’ll need to find and acquire a series of key ability runes. Not only do these runes grant you fun new traversal options, they also allow you to access new parts of the Dead Cells map, opening up additional level routes and sometimes even entire new levels.
What are runes?
Runes are essentially what make Dead Cells into a Metroidvania rogue-lite as opposed to a more traditional roguel-lite. When you acquire a rune, you’ll permanently unlock a new traversal ability that can be used to reach previously inaccessible areas in certain levels. You’ll also never lose a rune or its ability once it’s acquired even if you die and start a new run since runes are permanent and persistent upgrades.
As you explore the world of Dead Cells, you’ll occasionally stumble across little plant clumps on the ground that can be interacted with. If you interact with a plant clump while you have the Vine Rune equipped, it will magically transform into a vine ladder of sorts that can be climbed.
Finding the Vine Rune is a relatively straightforward affair: just keep an eye out for a room with a large stone in its center as you explore the Promenade of the Condemned, the first level you reach after clearing the game’s initial Prison level. However, the game won’t just hand the rune over, and you’ll have to best an Elite enemy in combat to claim the Vine Rune as your own.
Since the Vine Rune is required to reach the Promenade’s exit, you’ll essentially be confined to the Prison and the Promenade until you can acquire the Vine Rune.
Acquiring the Vine Rune will also allow you to access a second exit in the Prison, an exit that leads into the Toxic Sewers. You’ll learn quickly that the Toxic Sewers provide a bit stiffer of a challenge than the Promenade of the Condemned, but it is into the sewers you must venture if you want to find Dead Cells’ second key ability rune: the Teleportation Rune.
Similar to the Vine Rune, you’ll have to defeat a powerful Elite enemy if you want to claim the Teleportation Rune for yourself. With the rune in hand, you’ll be able to interact with the standing coffins you’ll find in certain levels to teleport over to otherwise unreachable areas.
During your Dead Cells travels, you may wander over specific parts of the floor that are inscribed with a glowing sigil. If your first inclination was to try and break the sigil floor panels with a ground slam, your instincts were spot on, but such sigils won’t actually break unless you’re in possession of the Ram Rune.
The Ram Rune can be found in the Ossuary, a tough level which can be accessed by heading to the end of the Promenade of the Condemned, going past the elevator that takes you up to the Ramparts, and using the Teleportation Rune coffin to reach the Ossuary entrance. By now you should know the drill: explore the Ossuary, find the room with the large stone, defeat the Elite enemy that spawns, and the Ram Rune is yours.
Sadly, the Ram Rune doesn’t augment the combat potential of your ground slam in any way, though the falling debris from the floor panels you destroy can damage and even kill any unfortunate enemies that happen to be patrolling the area beneath the panel.
The final traversal rune is the Spider Rune, and there’s a good reason why it’s saved for last. Obtaining the Spider Run allows you to run up walls and even chain multiple wall-runs by leaping over to other nearby walls. Before you can get the Spider Rune, you’ll have to first acquire all of the previous traversal runes (Vine, Teleportation, and Ram) and then follow a very specific level route to reach a tough late-game level called the Slumbering Sanctuary.
To reach the Slumbering Sanctuary, proceed thusly: from the Prison, use the Vine Rune to reach the Toxic Sewers. Next, use the Ram Rune to open up a path from the Toxic Sewers into the Ancient Sewers. From the Ancient Sewers, you’ll be able to proceed into The Insufferable Crypt where you’ll have to face a large floating boss enemy called Conjunctivius (a.k.a the boss formally known as The Watcher). If you defeat Conjunctivius, you’ll be able to proceed into the Slumbering Sanctuary.
Of course, as you likely know by now, your work is not quite done once you reach the Slumbering Sanctuary. One final time you’ll have to find and take down a tough Elite enemy to add the Spider Rune to your inventory.
The Challenger Rune is slightly different from the other runes in that it doesn’t grant a new traversal method, it merely unlocks the ability to attempt daily challenge runs (you can find the challenge run entrance near your initial spawn point in the Prison). Also unlike the other runes, getting the Challenger Rune doesn’t require finding and besting an Elite enemy, though you likely won’t be thrilled with the alternative method.
To get the Challenger Rune, you’ll have to defeat The Concierge (known previously as The Incomplete One) in The Black Bridge level. You can reach The Black Bridge via a number of different routes, but the quickest and most straightforward way is by going from the Prison to the Promenade of the Condemned, then from the Promenade to the Ramparts (meaning you’ll need the Vine Rune), then finally from the Ramparts to the Bridge.