Once you rescue the blacksmith Gerlinde in Lords of the Fallen, she'll become one of the most important NPCs you speak with on a regular basis. She primarily upgrades the raw attack power of your weapons with Deralium Stones, but if you bring her the special tablet items you can find throughout Mournstead, she'll be able to socket runes into them that tweak their damage scaling and give small bonuses as well. Giving her the first tablet allows her to add one rune to weapons, while the second one gives her the ability to add another. With the third and final Rune Tablet from the Tower of Penance, though, you have a choice to consider.
Sparky, the mysterious creature Gerlinde ironically takes as a slave after you free her from her prison, possesses special knowledge of runesmithing that Gerlinde wishes to learn. However, he refuses to share it with her, believing that she will use it for evil reasons. By giving her the final Rune Tablet, she'll be able to learn this knowledge from it instead, but will no longer have reason to keep Sparky alive. If you give Sparky the tablet, though, he'll be able to use its power to break free of his shackles and escape Gerlinde's grasp.
Both choices lead to some unique and exclusive rewards, and also have a significant impact on the fates of both of these characters. Thus, you're probably wondering which character you should give the Rune Tablet to. Here are our thoughts on the matter, as well as a clear explanation of all the benefits and drawbacks of each choice.
What happens if I give the Rune Tablet to Gerlinde?
If you choose to give Gerlinde the Rune Tablet, she'll thank you happily, and will tell you to come back later for your reward. Sparky, meanwhile, will lament your decision bitterly, though he notes that he's not surprised to see a traveler choose greed over morals.
If you warp somewhere else, warp back to Skyrest, and speak with Gerlinde again, you'll receive a special one-of-a-kind rune called the Crafter's Essence. This rune removes all weight and stat requirements on any weapon or shield you socket it into. Something important to note is that due to its diamond shape, this rune can only be added to pieces of gear that have diamond-shaped rune slots. Sparky, unsurprisingly, will be gone, with the implication being that Gerlinde executed him.
Gerlinde will then mention that she soon plans to leave Mournstead and venture to another land, though she remains in Skyrest for the remainder of the game. She has no additional dialogue after this, but her smithing services will still be available to you.
What happens if I give the Rune Tablet to Sparky?
If you choose to give the Rune Tablet to Sparky, he will commend and thank you for the decision, leaving Skyrest with his newfound freedom permanently. Gerlinde, meanwhile, will grow angry with you. While she'll still upgrade gear for you and socket runes, the prices of the items in her shop double permanently.
As a show of appreciation for your choice to free him, Sparky gives you the ability to runesmith at any Vestige checkpoint. This means you can upgrade weapons or socket runes into them yourself out in the wild, instead of warping back to Skyrest and having Gerlinde do it for you.
Lords of the Fallen Rune Tablet: What should I do?
You now know the outcomes of each choice, though you still may be wondering which one is better in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, there's no clear or definitive answer here. Even so, here are our thoughts.
From a gameplay perspective, giving Gerlinde the Rune Tablet is more beneficial. While the ability to smith from Vestiges is nice, it's nothing more than a convenience. You're not getting anything that benefits your build or combat effectiveness — you're just saving yourself trips to Gerlinde's smithy. Gerlinde's Crafter's Essence, meanwhile, can reduce the weight and stat requirements of many weapons and shields to nothing. That gives you a ton of spare equip load you can use for heavier, more protective armor, and also makes many advanced weapons much easier to wield. It's also the better choice for folks roleplaying "evil" characters.
If you want to do the "right thing," though, you should give Sparky the Rune Tablet. In terms of moral, Gerlinde is clearly in the wrong here, as she's forced Sparky into a life of servitude and is strongly implied to have killed him as soon as she didn't have a use for him anymore. Upgrading weapons from Vestiges is a nice touch, too, though gameplay benefit isn't the reason you should be giving him the tablet.
Lords of the Fallen is available to play now on Xbox Series X|S and PS5 for $69.99, as well as on Windows PC (Steam and Epic Games) for $59.99. It's quickly become one of my favorite Soulslikes ever, and is undoubtedly one of 2023's best Xbox games and best PC games.
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