How to find map fragments in Elden Ring

elden ring
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

I have an embarrassing Elden Ring confession to make: For a long time, I had absolutely no idea how to complete the map. Early on in the game, you come across a map fragment for Limgrave: a scrap of paper that fills in geographical details for the game’s first major area. I stumbled on a few more map fragments as I played, but I had no idea how to find them, other than venturing off into a new area and hoping for the best.

As it turns out, there’s a much simpler solution, and I wish I had known it before I sank dozens of hours into the game.

Finding map fragments is simply an issue of finding the right symbol on your map, setting a waypoint and following it until you reach your destination. Granted, the trip itself may be difficult, if you’re venturing through a tough area.

But once you have a map fragment in hand, you can plan out your route much more efficiently, as well as take some educated guesses about where you might find the next optional dungeon or hidden path.

How to find map fragments in Elden Ring

elden ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Believe it or not, the vast majority of map fragments in Elden Ring are already on your map, whether you’ve explored an area or not. At the beginning of the game, most of Elden Ring’s map is shrouded in a white mist. However, when you find the map fragment for any given area, it usually reveals a tiny bit of the surrounding area as well.

Rather than a white mist, you’ll see small patches of the next area as a featureless brown background, often with the vague suggestion of a road. And if you look carefully, you’ll also see where to go for the next map fragment.

First, scroll over to the area that you want to explore. Then zoom in and follow the road. Often, you’ll see a small brown obelisk right next to the road. Mark that location with a beacon, hop on Torrent, and ride there with all due speed.

These small brown obelisks represent the plinths that hold map fragments. While you can’t see much of an area until you find the corresponding map fragment, then game will almost always show you where you can find the plinth. It’s a tiny, easy-to-miss detail, but it can make Elden Ring feel radically more approachable. (Case in point: I explored almost all of southern Caelid, scouring the area for the map fragment, before I realized what the little obelisk represented.)

Limitations of the obelisk approach

elden ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

To be fair, not every map fragment is located in an obvious spot right off the road — and not every map fragment is at the entry point to an area, either. Mt. Gelmir’s, for example, is toward the latter half of the level; northern Liurnia’s is in the middle of a lake; Deeproot Depths’ is in the middle of a town square. But generally speaking, if you follow the main road in an area, the map fragment won’t be too far off.

Finding map fragments is a relatively small Elden Ring tip, but it’s also something the game never tells you how to do explicitly. Once you start filling in the map, you can start making educated guesses about which corners might hide enticing secrets. Generally speaking, it’s worth following any road all the way to its endpoint, exploring out-of-the-way ruins and hunting under mountainsides for caves.

Next: How to farm Runes in Elden Ring: Early, mid and late game spots

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.