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Needle Knight Leda in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Should You Kill All the NPCs Early in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree?

Yes, you can kill every NPC in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree. But should you? Should you really?

One of the hallmarks of any Soulsborne game is the ability to kill any and all NPCs you come across. Elden Ring is no different, and neither is the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. There’s a new cast of characters, all of whom have their own stories and eventual rewards for completing their questlines. But you can kill them if you so choose. Should you?

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Should You Kill the NPCs Early in Shadow of the Erdtree?

Dryleaf Dane in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

If you want to kill every NPC Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree, you are completely within your rights to do so. And if you want easy access to their gear, like Needle Knight Leda’s weapons and armor, you can just kill them the first time you see them and take their stuff. And if all you want is some cool new armor and weapons, that’s totally your prerogative to do.

However, you shouldn’t kill any Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree NPCs early on your first playthrough for a few reasons.

NPCs Give You Quests

First and foremost, NPC questlines eventually reward far more and more valuable gear, spells, and equipment if you progress them past when you first meet the NPC, meaning if you kill them right away, you only get a fraction of the rewards you’d get if you followed their storylines.

The story of the NPC Quests is Entrapping

Writing and experience of completing NPC quests are so good in Shadow of the Erdtree that failing to complete them does you a massive disservice. There aren’t any long-winded slogs like Ranni’s quest in the DLC, and I was generally interested in every character I met.

NPCs Can Help You in Boss Fights

If you enjoy summoning NPC allies for boss fights, killing them, at first sight removes them from the summoning pool, and you’ll be forced to rely on the historically unreliable summoned human players, who might help you or might troll you. As stupid as the NPC AI can be in Elden Ring (and it can be very stupid), at least you know they’ll always at least try to help.

Gear Up Before You Try To Kill NPCs

If you decide that you want to kill NPCs in Shadow of the Erdtree, you should be aware that it’s not going to be easy because of how the Scadutree Fragment system works — almost all the NPCs you find will be absolute tanks who deal almost insulting amounts of damage.

They’ll also have more than 10,000 health and a Flask of Crimson Tears that restores 50% of it. And I can’t forget how NPCs don’t fight like other players do, with input reading, a complete lack of self-preservation instinct, and reaction times that no human can boast. That means actually beating the NPCs you want to kill might be far tougher than it’s worth, and you’re better off doing their quests as a matter of convenience than anything else.

Most of the questlines take you all around the map, or at least around parts of it, so that’s another progression reason to help the other characters with their problems and see the ends of their stories.

In summary, don’t kill every NPC early in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree unless you know you want their gear specifically and not something in their questline loot pool. I don’t condone ever killing them, really, but if you’ve already done their quests a bunch of times and you’d rather not deal with them (and choose not just to ignore them), then I suppose killing them for their gear isn’t the worst thing you can do, strange as that sounds.

In any event, if you’re looking for more coverage of Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree and the game more generally, check out the Elden Ring guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.