This Elden Ring 'peaceful' mod turns the Lands Between into a petting zoo

Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I went into Elden Ring knowing I wouldn't be able to beat 'em—at least not most of 'em. So when I saw the Elden Ring photo mode mod had an option to render myself invisible to enemy eyes, I decided I wanted to be a tourist in The Lands Between, mingling with monsters rather than fighting them. Instead of just using it to take selfies, I used it to explore the massive open world safely.

Safely-ish. Weirdly enough, even after rendering them harmless I still managed to nearly get killed by monsters. Twice. Turns out Elden Ring isn't entirely safe no matter how much you cheat.

Note: There are some spoilers below for pre-Stormveil Castle areas.

To add a little immersion to my Elden Ring tourist adventure, I create a Prisoner class character because I feel like a guy dressed in rags with a giant cooking pot on his head (I name him Pottrick) wouldn't even get noticed amidst the rest of the bizarre sights in the world. After skipping the tutorial I do the same early stuff I did in my regular playthrough—head north, pick a bunch of flowers, and acquire a horse—but this time I don't need to scuttle around fearfully. I can be just as bold as every monster in the game. I sell my collected flowers to the church vendor and buy a torch in case I decide to check out some caves. I also buy a telescope, something a tourist might want in a foreign land. The telescope sucks. This will be my only Elden Ring tip of any value: don't bother buying the telescope.

Wandering freely around Elden Ring is a genuinely pleasant experience. The world is stunning and strange and I like being able to walk right up to creatures, check out their wonderful designs and details and animation, and see what they do in their spare time, which is pretty difficult to do when they're busy trying to kill you.

Granted: they don't do a lot. There's not a real ecosystem in Elden Ring, as far as I can tell. I don't see creatures hunting those weird rolling goats or taking swipes at the birds perched on cliff edges. I've only seen one skirmish between two mobs and I think it was a scripted event rather than emergent behavior. But it's still a captivating place to explore. I see zombies digging in the dirt near ruined castle walls and wonder what they're hoping to unearth. I stumble across a winged demon creature singing opera and I'm allowed to just sit there listening politely. I take out my torch and join those strange processions shambling along the roads. I may be a simple tourist, but I feel like I'm fitting in well here.

I even ride alongside the imposing Tree Sentinel, though with my shabby rags and cooking pot helmet and a stolen sword on my shoulder, I do feel a bit underdressed. I decide to pick enough flowers and catch enough butterflies to trade for some real armor and a nice oversized weapon, so when I ride with him next time I'll feel a little more like a Junior Tree Sentinel instead of a grubby wannabe.

And despite me being invisible to everything nasty out there, the rest of the world still functions, and that includes plenty of surprises. I open a chest and get spirited to another part of the world. Wolves abruptly plunge out of the sky while I'm riding down a road, scaring the crap out of me. I walked through a tunnel that collapsed, dropping me into a chamber containing a giant rat. None of this is deadly since I've completely defanged the game, but it's still startling. Sorry to intrude, giant rat.

But leave it to Elden Ring to be dangerous as hell even with a mod rendering the game completely peaceful. At one point I come across an NPC who asks me to deliver a letter to her father in a castle. It takes me a while to find the castle (because she wasn't exactly clear on where it was, and there's a lot of stuff that looks like castles in Elden Ring). 

But I eventually find it, and wander around for ages looking for her dad. That's when I almost wind up dead.

After my heart starts beating again, I realize it was a scripted event to make the critter smash through those destructible crates. It wasn't really aiming at me because it can't see me. I just happened to have crossed the trigger and gotten in its way. But for a moment I thought the game was overriding the mod, as if it had had enough of my peaceful wandering and excessive looting.

If it can happen once, it can happen again, so I teleport back to the church and buy some chainmail armor. Just in case!

It's probably good that I did. While checking out another horrifying monster in the same castle, I decide to stand in front of it while it stalks around with a giant axe. It walks up against me and can't budge me, which I find amusing. Haha, silly giant monster, can't even move a puny prisoner out of your way?

OK. OK. Lesson learned. Don't mock the giant monsters while using a cheat to render them harmless. I absolutely deserved to get a giant axe to the head for that. (And what fine reflexes I have, huh?) Again, I assume this is triggered if the creature bumps up against some destructible scenery so it can clear a path and continue patrolling. But it still feels like the game is getting more and more pissed off that I've turned it into a harmless walking simulator. Fair enough. I think I should get back to collecting mushrooms and trade them for a little more armor.

Another surprise arrives a bit later: I get invaded. It takes me a moment to remember that AI-controlled NPCs, not just other players, can invade your game (the mod, naturally, can only be used offline). And the invaders are actually a welcome sight because while they also don't attack, they do actually see me. They run up and stand right in front of me, and even follow me around for a while before evaporating. Honestly, it's nice to have the company of an invader from time to time. I like being able to approach monsters, but being completely invisible in Elden Ring can feel a bit lonely.

After a few hours of exploring and still feeling I've seen very little of it (Elden Ring is, um, quite big), I decide to end my little tourist holiday. Playing peacefully is a nice way to see the world and its inhabitants in a (mostly) danger-free way, though I have definitely spoiled a ton of the early game for myself. And apart from sightseeing and collecting flowers and butterflies, there's just not much else to do besides taking pictures and following zombies around.

One last thing before I end the vacation, though. I've got some armor, a helmet, a proper shield, and a ridiculously oversized sword. Finally, I can do a few laps with the golden Tree Sentinel and feel like a certified Sentinel trainee instead of just a grubby tourist.

Also, I did wind up taking a bunch of selfies. How could I not? Check out some vacation photos below, keeping in mind they show a lot of Elden Ring monsters you may want to discover for yourself.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.