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There is an area in Dead Cells that contains numerous references to Dark Souls, including a bonfire, writing on the wall that says “git gud,” and a body you can search for items.
Runes are permanent upgrades attached to your save file. These upgrades give you new abilities that let you access areas you otherwise couldn’t reach. To get a rune, you will need to go to a specific location and fight the Elite enemy that spawns when you approach the special obelisk in the area, or by fighting a boss. There are seven runes in the game, each with a different ability.
Vine Rune – The Vine Rune gives you the ability to make vines grow from certain green plant clumps in the game, granting you access to the Toxic Sewers and the Ramparts. You can get it by defeating the Elite Undead Archer in the Promenade of the Condemned.
Teleportation Rune – With the Teleportation Rune, you can teleport between certain special coffins, granting you access to the Ossuary and the Forgotten Sepulcher. You can get it by defeating the Elite Slasher in the Toxic Sewers.
Challenger Rune – The Challenger Rune opens the door in the Prisoners’ Quarters that lets you play the Daily Run competitive multiplayer mode. You can get it by defeating The Concierge, one of the game’s bosses, found at Black Bridge.
Belier’s Rune/Ram Rune (renamed) – The Ram Rune increases the power and range of your Dive attack and lets you use it to break through fragile areas, granting you access to the Ancient Sewers. You can get it by defeating the Elite Slasher in the Ossuary.
Spider Rune – The Spider Rune lets you wall jump and climb walls, granting you access to the Graveyard, the Prison Depths, and the Slumbering Sanctuary when entered via Black Bridge. You can get it by defeating the Elite Caster in the Slumbering Sanctuary, in a room where you will need to use your newfound wall jump to leave.
Homunculus Rune – The Homunculus Rune gives you the ability to move your character’s head separately from their body, detaching to travel a set distance away (if you take the head too far, it will automatically return), where it can move turrets, grab loot, grab blueprints, stun enemies, and access areas too small for your body to enter. This will let you access the Cavern. You can get it by defeating the Hand of the King, the last of the game’s current bosses, in the Throne Room.
Customization Rune (added in version 1.2) – With the Customization Rune, you’ll unlock Custom Mode, which is accessible from the main menu and lets you create custom runs. You can get it by defeating the Elite Undead Archer in the Ramparts.
The paintings in High Peak Castle include depictions of many things from popular culture, such as:
In the room with bugs on display in cases on the wall, you can see the main character of the game Hollow Knight.
The portals in and out of the Challenge Rifts resemble the portals in the Portal series.
New abilities are granted through runes. These are permanent upgrades that let you access new areas.
Mutations are passive boosts you can unlock between levels. Different mutations give you different boosts, and you can have a maximum of three in effect at a time depending on how many areas you’ve cleared in your run. To unlock a new mutation, you must find its blueprint and then give the blueprint to the Collector. In addition, you’ll need to spend Cells to unlock the mutation.
Blueprints are highly important. Some blueprints unlock new mutations, for a variety of passive effects, while other blueprints unlock new weapons, shields, secondary skills the player can equip for combat (two being equipped at a time), traps, turrets, grenades, and powers.
The Acceptance mutation makes it so that you have to kill 50% fewer enemies to remove a curse than you otherwise would. However, eating food will curse you.
To get the Acceptance blueprint, you’ll need to find the three Moonflower Keys.
This is no easy task. The three Moonflower Keys are hidden in secret rooms accessible through invisible passages, one in the Ramparts, one in the Graveyard, and one in the Forgotten Sepulcher. Each is also behind a locked door that requires you to have a Gardener’s Key from the Promenade of the Condemned.
Therefore, if you want to get the Acceptance mutation, you’ll need to have all three Gardener’s Keys (which means you’ll also need The Ram Rune and the Spider Rune). Then, to access the Moonflower Keys, you’ll need to be able to go from the Ramparts to the Insufferable Crypt. This means you’ll need three active boss cells so you can visit each of the required locations in a single run, get the three Moonflower Keys, and use them to unlock yet another hidden room in High Peak Castle, where you’ll find the blueprint for Acceptance.
Punishment is a shield that damages nearby enemies whenever it absorbs damage, which makes it useful. The blueprint for the Punishment shield is in the Clock Tower, behind a locked door. To get the key for this door in the Clock Tower, you will need to ring the four bells in the Clock Tower in order from the lowest pitch to the highest pitch. When you ring the fourth bell, the Bell Tower Key will lock (as long as you’ve already used the Clockmaker Key). The Bell Tower key unlocks the door to the Punishment blueprint.