Picture this: you’ve just crawled out of the Elden Ring tutorial area. You’ve just taken down the first miniboss with your hide barely intact. Then out of absolutely nowhere, a stranger makes fun of you for not having a girlfriend. Or at least, that’s how many players have chosen to interpret one of the earliest NPC interactions in Elden Ring.
Here’s the full line: “You are maidenless. A bit player, fully divorced from the strength of runes.” What the NPC Varré actually means, though it’s not immediately clear to the player, is that you need a “Maiden” guide who will allow you to turn the runes you pick up into stat gains. But it’s a lot funnier to imagine that he was actually calling you out for playing Elden Ring on a Saturday night instead of meeting someone nice at a bar. This whole interaction is so much better if you started out playing as a Wretch, which is a class where you start out almost buck-naked. Forget maidens. Some of these Tarnished don’t even have any clothes.
Don’t worry; you’ll eventually meet the Maiden after finding three Sites of Grace aboveground. But it hasn’t stopped players from adopting “maidenless” as a community in-joke. While simply calling someone “Maidenless” gets the point across, some people have gone a step further with the memes. One of these meme formats involves Megamind due to a similar meme about not having any girlfriends.
These jokes are more self deprecating than serious, since anyone who is playing this Soulslike game right now is likely sinking absurd amounts of time into their run. And I have to admit, it’s charming to be so thoroughly trolled by a video game. If most video games are power fantasies, Elden Ring is the opposite of that. Not only can you die to an enemy in two hits, you might get one-shotted by a question about your marital status. It’s not a FromSoft game without a little bit of pain and humiliation.
Here’s one bit of advice: whatever you do, don’t attack Varré after he calls you maidenless. He attacks you with a bouquet of flowers, and he remains hostile when you fast travel back to the point of interest, until you kill him. To quote Kotaku’s EIC Patricia Hernandez, who made this hasty error: “I regret my entire life.”