Elden Ring guide (opens in new tab): Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses (opens in new tab): How to beat them
Elden Ring dungeons (opens in new tab): How to defeat them
Elden Ring paintings (opens in new tab): Solutions and locations
Elden Ring map fragments (opens in new tab): Reveal the world
There’s a handy feature in Elden Ring (opens in new tab) that helps guide players down a suggested critical path with beams of light shooting out of checkpoints. If you're new to Souls games, following that path is a lot safer than what my friend did. You see, my friend started wandering around carefree as soon as he was allowed to, opened up a random treasure chest, and then ended up in hell.
Mild Elden Ring spoilers ahead: This is a fun discovery to make on your own, but it's also a punishing area to arrive in immediately. Read on if you'd like to avoid it.
Seriously, there's a treasure chest just minutes away from Elden Ring's starting area that will literally kidnap you and take you somewhere else. Once you're there, you can't fast travel back to the comfort of Limgrave until you've fought (or ran) through a particularly nasty little cave. I decided to poke the bear and check it out myself, but I wasn't prepared for how freaking mean the enemies are here.
Where to find the trapped chest
If you're wondering where this troublesome chest is waiting for you, it's a spot called the Dragon-Burnt Ruins. It sits just west of the first Limgrave site of grace submerged in some gross ankle-deep water. The ruins themselves are deceptively simple. The only enemies you'll find here are pushover zombies with torches, a few feisty dogs, and dumb rats. It presents itself as such an easy win that it feels like a tutorial for Elden Ring's many hidden dungeons.
Nestled at the bottom of some stairs, past a rat-filled room, is your "prize" chest. Open it and a cloud of smoke engulfs your body, revealing itself as a "transporter trap".
Then you end up in a wild cave called the Sellia Crystal Tunnel. I'll skip details, but know that you'll be immediately accosted by a bunch of rocky jerks at once. You can't fast travel away until you've left this cave, so you're gonna have to fight, run, or sneak (though stealth will probably only hold for a minute). The problem with fighting is that most of the enemies are resistant to blades as far as I can tell—slashes from my samurai katana kept bouncing off until I switched to two-handed mode.
If you head downhill, you won't have to go too far to find a site of grace. From there, you can step outside the cave to be greeted with a fresh hell that only FromSoftware could have thought up called Caelid. It kinda looks like an underwater reef, but evil. Once you've seen it, you're finally allowed to enter your map and fast travel away.
Considering how much trouble those rocky guys gave me, I think I'll avoid this Bloodorne-looking dimension until my samurai's a bit stronger. This is basically how I've tackled From games since Dark Souls 2, but Elden Ring's sandbox map makes it a bit easier to accidentally end up somewhere I probably shouldn't be. That's why it's nice that I can usually travel to any bonfir–ahem, site of grace I've been to at any time.
Booby-trapped chests aren't the only way to screw yourself over early in Elden Ring. There's also an NPC that you should definitely meet early (opens in new tab) on or miss out on an important combat tool.