Dead Cells runes are one of the few unlockables that persist between runs and are among the most useful in the game.
Like a Metroidvania, they allow you to access new areas, from secret rooms to completely different paths on the way to the final boss. Many are easy to miss unless you know where to look.
If you’re interested in more tips, we recommend checking out our Dead Cells tips page.
How to unlock the Vine and Teleportation Runes to use tickling and rubbing skills
One of the more curious discoveries at the beginning of Dead Cells are strange objects, specifically a green mass and a statue, that you can “tickle” and “rub.” However, despite the button message, nothing happens.
These require you to unlock Runes before you can use them.
The first, “tickle”, requires the Vine rune. Once you have it, you can create large bean stalk-like structures to explore new areas.
To unlock it, reach the second area, the Walk of the Damned, and at the end you will find a room with an Elite Archer inside. Defeat him (we recommend facing him from a distance with arrows and throwing a lot of equipment like Sinew Slicers) and the Rune will be your reward.
Not only does it allow you to continue through the second area to reach the Walls, but using it in the initial Prisoner’s Quarters provides access to the Toxic Sewers, giving you multiple routes as you progress to the end of the game.
The second, ‘rub’, requires the Teleportation rune. First, unlock the Vine rune and then visit the Toxic Sewers as described above. You will meet a caged character who will ask you for the rune. Continue exploring the area until you find the boss room, with another Elite enemy to find. Once again, ranged weaponry and equipment work best to deal with the numerous enemies it spawns.
Once defeated, you will obtain the teleportation rune. This has a bit more use than Vine in each of the game’s areas, allowing you to break through walls to find hidden compartments, often with useful upgrades to help you in your run.
Teleportation can also be used at the end of the second area, past the elevator to the Walls, in order to reach the Ossuary.
Other Dead Cells Rune Locations for Ram and Spider Runes
The Vine and Teleportation Runes above are the basics that will help you begin to understand the branching paths in the game, and there are many more as you continue to explore.
Beating the Elite in the Ossuary (accessed using Teleport at the end of the Walk of the Damned, past the elevator to the Walls) unlocks the Ram, so you can hit through specific markers on the ground.
Meanwhile, locating the Elite in the Sleeping Shrine unlocks the Spider rune so you can jump walls. This video from TheBooFlame shows the fight in action:
Dead Cells: The Spider Rune
Finally, beating the Janitor boss on the Black Bridge unlocks the Challenger Rune so you can access the Daily Challenge, found in the first flask-filled area of the game, or from the main menu.
Completing this every day for a certain number of days will give you unique blueprints, so it’s worth keeping an eye on!