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Elden Ring best Keepsake: how to pick your starting gift

Which Keepsake should your character start their journey with?

Which Keepsake should you pick for your character in Elden Ring? During Elden Ring's character creation phase you're prompted to pick your character's origin, tweak their appearance to your liking, and finally choose a Keepsake for them. Keepsakes are a single, helpful starting item that, unlike everything else in your character's loadout, is completely independent of their origin class: no matter which class you've picked, you can equip them with any Keepsake that's to your liking.

What do Keepsakes do in Elden Ring?

Though the name "Keepsakes" is a new one, players familiar with the Dark Souls games will recognise the concept, since they're functionally identical to Gifts in the Souls series. Basically, it's your choice of starting item to give your character a bit of a leg-up as they familiarise themselves with the Lands Between.

There are 10 options for Keepsakes in the character creation phase, although technically there's really nine, because one of these options is to have no Keepsake at all. Perhaps the most important thing for first-time players to understand about Keepsakes is that these are not exclusive items: they're relatively common in-game resources, and you'll end up collecting plenty of all of them over the course of the game. All your Keepsake really means is a slight starting advantage in one sense or another to help you out in the very beginning.

Below is a list of every Keepsake, its description, and what it does:

  • Bewitching Branch: You start with 5 sacred branches charged with beguiling power, "said to originate from the demigod Miquella." Consume to charge your melee weapon with a magic spell that charms the enemy on the receiving end of your attack. Costs MP to use.
  • Boiled Prawn: You start with 5 boiled crayfish meats. Consuming them boosts physical damage negation.
  • Cracked Pot: You start with 3 strange cracked pots which are, in fact, crafting ingredients used to make throwing projectiles.
  • Crimson Amber Medallion: A medallion inlaid with reddish amber which increases your max HP. Note that unlike most other Keepsakes, this is not a consumable but a Talisman that offers a permanent buff when equipped.
  • Fanged Imp Ashes: The ashes of small, diminutive golems "said to hold spirits within." This Keepsake allows you to summon a spirit who can fight alongside you at specified locations in the game. Costs MP to use.
  • Golden Seed: A golden seed washed ashore from the Lands Between, "said to reinforce Sacred Flasks." Having this Keepsake in your possession upgrades your healing flasks, allowing an extra use.
  • Lands Between Rune: "The gold of grace shining in the eyes of the people of the Lands Between." You can consume this item to gain Runes.
  • Shabriri's Woe: "The crazed likeness of a noble who crushed out their own two eyes." Attracts enemies' aggression and increases their madness build-up.
  • Stonesword Key: You start with 2 stone keys shaped like swords. Can be used to open an Imp Gargoyle Lock, but each key is single-use and shatters when the seal is broken.
  • None: No keepsake. The past has been well and truly left behind. (Does exactly what it says: your character starts the game without a Keepsake.)

Which are the best Keepsakes in Elden Ring?

By a wide margin, the most useful starting Keepsakes in Elden Ring are the Crimson Amber Medallion and the Golden Seed. Both provide helpful boosts for your HP and healing at the very start of the game, and furthermore the Crimson Amber Medallion is the only Keepsake to grant you a permanent buff for as long as you keep it equipped.

If you're looking for alternative picks that are still quite useful, the Boiled Prawns will be overall beneficial to you in your first few forays into combat, if you're looking for ways to improve your early-game experiences without directly boosting your HP or healing flasks. The Cracked Pot is also a solid Keepsake thanks to its versatile use in crafting thrown projectiles that can convey a number of powerful elemental and status effects on the target, though since this sort of crafting is a little higher-level than you'll probably be up for in the first hour or two of your first run, this is probably one to pick on a later playthrough.

The Stonesword Key Keepsake has a very specific benefit, in that there's an Imp seal lock in the starting area that you can't open unless you choose this Keepsake. However, this seemingly-innocuous lock hides a very high-level area that's guaranteed to flatten your poor starting character — which feels like a bit of a troll on FromSoft's part. That's not to say there's no argument for picking this Keepsake, however; just that you might do better to save your gifted keys for other early-game locks, like those found in the Stormveil Castle and Roundtable Hold areas.

So far at RPS we haven't seen anything to recommend the Bewitching Branches, since it seems that not all enemies are susceptible to your character laying on the charm even with supernatural assistance, and might just decide to one-hit kill you anyway. We've also struggled to get the Lands Between Rune to do what it says on the tin, though of course since we've been playing a pre-release build there's a chance that the utility of both items will be more apparent in the final release. Fanged Imp Ashes are also pretty limited, thanks to spirit summons only being available at certain locations, and ultimately these are all Keepsakes I'd only recommend for subsequent playthroughs when you have a specific character build or challenge in mind.

Starting with no Keepsake is, of course, only useful for self-imposed challenges (I'm fully expecting a variant on the Dark Souls Deprived run using a Wretch with no Keepsake to pop up almost immediately). Similarly, choosing Shabriri's Woe is just a way to make the game harder for yourself if you'd prefer to up the difficulty. I know plenty of Soulsborne fans who are going to eat this kind of thing up with a spoon, but still, I wouldn't recommend either for your maiden run of Elden Ring.

If you're looking for more guides to help you through character creation, see our page on Elden Ring attributes and stats to help you think about how you want to build your protagonist. For more equipment guides to help your character survive in the Lands Between, be sure to have a look at our best weapons in Elden Ring and best armor in Elden Ring pages as well.

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About the Author
Rebecca Jones avatar

Rebecca Jones


Rebecca is now geeking out about multi-platform games on VG247, but rumour has it that if you chant "Indiescovery podcast" three times in front of your PC monitor, she'll reappear in the RPS comments section.

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