It’s easily one of the most fun solo mechanics in a From Software game in years
Elden Ring spirit ashes are like solo co-op AI partners: it’s as simple as that. But there’s a few nuances as to how they actually work.
Getting Elden Ring spirit ashes:
So at the start, you can get them in one of two ways.
- From Renna the Witch. After you get the horse near one of the first rites (bonfires), go back to the Church of Elleh (the rite/checkpoint very close to the start of the game, as soon as you exit the tutorial crypt). Renna should be there and will give you the Spirit Calling Bellitem required to summon NPCs.
- If you don’t find Renna (this happened to me on my first playthrough!), progress through the game and speak to the maiden at rites until you’re granted access to the Roundtable Hold hub zone. From there, if you’re facing the balcony, go left, then right down the hallway. Speak to the inanimate statue and get NPC summoning that way.
How Elden Ring spirit ashes work:
So you can only summon spirit ash companions in specific areas. Generally, these are around world bosses or in boss arenas (with exceptions, typically world boss arenas like gaols).
The rule is that if you’re in an area with a named enemy to fight, your spirit ash item (which you have equipped to a quick slot or a d-pad slot) will “light up.” This indicates that you can use it. Diving deeper, you can use them when in the proximity of a rebirth monument (a statue in the open world).
Once you do use them and they’re successfully summoned, you cannot re-summon them until you rest at a site of grace (bonfire). So you can’t spam NPC ally summons, even if you have the FP (MP) to do it. This is important, because some spirit ashes cost so much FP to summon that they’ll actually gate you from using them if you don’t have enough maximum FP to support the actual use of them.
You can buff or heal them, though, so remember that if you have a build that can cast AOE buffs.
How to upgrade Elden Ring spirit ashes:
You need to pick up Glovewort items, which are generally found in crypts.
If you find yourself heavily using NPC spirit ash summon builds, or relying on them a lot, make a point to visit crypts, and pick up everything in them, including the flowers on the ground (they usually light up).
With these crafting materials in hand, you’ll be able to upgrade your summons with Roderika, the Spirit Tuner, back at the Roundtable Hold hub. She’ll set up shop next to the blacksmith, Smithing Master Hewg, but first, you’ll need to talk with her and Hewg several times. Look for a unique dialogue option, and keep running back and forth.