Imagine that reality as you know it melts away around you. In its place is complete darkness and a terrible, creeping dread that burrows into your mind and spreads through your nervous system. You’re cold, you’re scared, and a voice whispers all of the terrible secrets of the universe directly into your brain, disabling your prefrontal cortex. 

Now, you are a husk.

Yikes, right?!? That’s essentially what Elden Ring’s Madness status effect does to you in a nutshell. It’s a pretty rough effect to deal with when you fight enemies that inflict Madness, such as the various Frenzied enemies around the Frenzy-Flaming Tower and Raya Lucaria, but there is some good news…

You can harness Madness for yourself to inflict on enemies. 

Do you want to make all who attack you see through the veil of reality until their minds break and they’re reduced to drooling, shivering bundles of fear? Sheesh, who hurt you?

Just Kidding! Let’s put the Old Gods and Cthulhu to shame with this deep dive into Elden Ring’s Madness weapons and skills.

The Madness status effect can only really be inflicted on a handful of enemies and boss characters in the game since it only affects tarnished characters. HOWEVER, PVP builds that incorporate Madness are the bane of many players’ existence, making it incredibly useful for players who get invaded frequently or go looking for fights online. 

Struck by Insanity: Physical Madness Weapons

While there are no less than 15 different enemies that can curse you with madness, your options are limited when it comes to returning the favor.

Altogether, there are only really 3 madness “weapons” that you can, and one of them is just a seal that helps you do extra Madness damage. Don’t discount that one yet though, because it’s a critical aspect of all Madness builds.

That “non-weapon” Madness weapon is the Frenzied Flame Seal.

Frenzied Flame Seal

It's not exactly a weapon, but you'll need it for the incantations we cover later on.

Gives a 20% buff to Frenzied Flame Incantations when equipped

  • Madness buildup (55)
  • Can be upgraded with Somber Smithing Stones
  • Obtained by completing Hyetta’s questline

Item Description:

Formless sacred seal bestowed by the maiden of the Three Fingers.

Enhances incantations of the frenzied flame.

This seal is the mark of the Lord of Frenzied Flame. Scales incantations using strength, dexterity, intelligence, and faith all together.

I’ll admit it’s kind of a pain in the butt to land the Frenzied Flame Seal. You can only begin it once Irina’s questline has been completed (meaning she’s kicked the bucket), and it involves collecting several Shabiri Grapes. Yeah, the eyeball things. 

You’ll also have to take down Morgott before the quest line can be completed, so get ready for that fight. It’s ROUGH. But once you come out victorious, you’ll have a Madness-buffing seal on your side!

Next, we have the only actual weapon on this very short list - Vyke’s War Spear.

Vyke’s War Spear

Ah, a pokey stick. One of history's oldest weapons.
  • A spear weapon with 103 base physical attack, scales with Dexterity and Faith
  • Madness buildup (65)
  • Can be upgraded with Somber Smithing Stones
  • Dropped by Festering Fingerprint Vyke after he is defeated

Item Description:

War spear singed and blistered by fingers, used by Vyke, Knight of the Roundtable Hold.

Like Vyke himself, it has been tormented by the yellow flame of frenzy from within.

Vyke’s War Spear is a pretty awesome weapon. But it has some downsides. 

First, it can not be equipped with any Ashes of War. If you’ve gotten used to having a specific Ash in hand for any kind of maneuver, you’re going to be out of luck with this one!

That’s not all, the weapon’s only skill - Frenzyflame Thrust - does great Madness buildup to enemies… and the user. 

That’s right, every time you use Frenzyflame Thrust, you’re going to take some Madness for yourself. This is fine if you’re playing carefully and using the skill wisely, but it’s easy to get wrapped up and end up inflicting yourself with madness. I used Vyke’s Spear quite a bit for testing, but it’s not something I would use as my main weapon for that reason. There are too precious few ways to heal Madness to be whipping out the Frenzyflame Thrust anytime it’s called for, and I can’t be trusted so it just sits in my inventory.

But hey, if you’re more responsible than me, go for it!

You actually have to fight Festering Fingerprint Vyke as part of Hyetta’s questline, so these two weapons are actually connected. What a small world!

Finally, the last Madness weapon - if you can call it that - is the Fingerprint Stone Shield.

Fingerprint Stone Shield

Nothing makes me feel more safe than hiding behind a big slab of rock!
  • A Greatshield with 139 physical attack and 100 physical guard
  • Madness buildup (70)
  • Can’t be upgraded, but can have its affinities changed for better scaling
  • Can be found at the Cathedral of the Forsaken; Morgott must be defeated before it can be claimed

Item Description: 

A great stone shield with an intricately carved fingerprint design.

One of the heaviest of all Greatshields.

Part of the tomb of an ancient god, the Readerless Fingers relayed their message through these imprints, said to be the very seeds from which frenzy first sprouted.

This is a big, heavy, honkin’ slab of rock. Because of that, it gives pretty awesome protection, but it also reduces your mobility quite a bit. You aren’t going to be running and jumping very much with this thing out. However, if you want to give up on trying to parry and want to just stop the majority of incoming damage, this is the shield for you!

In order to get it, you’ll need to have defeated Morgott to remove the seal blocking the area (also connecting it to the previous two madness weapons), and then you’ll have another boss battle with Mohg, Lord of Blood to deal with.

With that handled, you’re going to need some pretty awesome platforming skills to scale down the shaft that contains the shield. This is one of the trickiest platforming portions in the game in my opinion, and it took me a good few tries before I was able to land safely instead of falling to my doom.

The Shield Bash skill that comes with the shield by default is pretty helpful, but the Fingerprint Stone Shield can also be equipped with select Ashes of War to increase its usefulness. 

The shield’s blocking performance can be easily bypassed with two different skills: Unblockable Blade and Piercing Fang. Both of those will allow enemies (probably invaders) to attack you right through the shield. With the severe drop in mobility, that can be an issue, so be prepared to cut and run or switch to something else if you encounter this situation. 

That’s not all! There are additionally a few skills and incantations that can inflict Madness, and we’re gonna talk about them now.

The Flame of Frenzy

This is only the tip of the Madness iceberg.
  • An incantation that fires beams of Madness from the user’s eyes (it’s really cool)
  • Does up to 28 Madness buildup, casts very fast
  • Can be charged for even more powerful beams
  • Can be picked up from a corpse in the Calli Baptismal Church

Item Description:

Incantation originating from the maddening Three Fingers.

Causes the yellow flame of frenzy to burst forth from the caster's eyes.

Charging increases the range of the burst.

The flame of frenzy deals damage and causes buildup of madness. This incantation also causes buildup of madness in the caster, and is only effective against Tarnished.

Elden Ring has an insane list of awesome-looking spells, and The Flame of Frenzy is pretty high up on that list. 

This incantation fires the flames of Madness from the user’s eyes, and does some pretty decent damage for a relatively low cost of just 16 focus points. Given the speed you can fire it off at, you might think you can chain one cast right into the next, but that unfortunately isn’t possible. 

You can, however, adjust how wide or focused the beams are before they are fired. All you have to do is aim the camera up to get a wider area of effect on the incantation, or point it down to deal more focused damage at close range. I didn’t know this when I started using it, but it is pretty helpful once you get the hang of it.

Frenzied Burst

  • An incantation that fires a single, powerful beam of Madness that can penetrate multiple enemies and armor
  • Does 90 Madness buildup standard, but can do 105 Madness if charged. 
  • Works as a long-range attack
  • Can be found by killing a Teardrop Scarab in Lirunia of the Lakes, in the Church of Inhibition area.

Item Description:

Incantations originating from the maddening Three Fingers.

Releases concentrated blasts of the yellow flame of frenzy from the caster's eyes.

Charging enhances potency, enabling the blasts to penetrate the enemy's guard.

In times past, every single person who attempted to control the flame of frenzy succumbed to madness after a desperate internal struggle. This incantation is a testament to a meager victory.

If the previous incantation works like a machine gun, Frenzied Burst is like a rocket launcher. 

This incantation costs 33 stamina and fires a single, high-velocity beam of Madness in a straight line from the user’s face that can be charged up to penetrate multiple enemies and do even more damage. It’s super useful, especially if you want to take enemies down at a distance.

However, this one also does a little bit of Madness damage to the user. It’s only 20 to 30 Madness, but it’s still something to keep track of. 

For enemies that have shields, Frenzied Burst won’t necessarily go through their defenses, but it will do a TON of stamina damage that you can definitely capitalize on.

Inescapable Frenzy

Are you familiar with Ghost Rider's Penance Stare? Yeah, this one is kind of like that.
  • A more intimate eye-based Madness Incantation
  • Does 50 Madness buildup
  • Only works as a close-range attack
  • Can be found on a corpse in the Shunning Grounds in a new area found after defeating Mohg, The Omen

Item Description:

Incantation originating from the maddening Three Fingers.

Causes the yellow flame of frenzy to blaze from the caster's eyes.

The caster then latches onto foes, spreading the madness.

This incantation also causes buildup of madness in the caster, and is only effective against Tarnished.

To gaze into one another's eyes is truly the most intimate form of human contact.

This incantation is pretty gnarly. 

It takes a little bit of a windup, and you need to be within grappling range in order for it to work. But, if you activate it and all of the conditions are right, the user will grab an enemy’s head and look directly into their eyes with the flames of Madness to inflict a ton of damage. 

It’s probably the most outright violent of all of the Madness incantations. As the item description says, there’s just something about the intimacy of the attack that makes it more sinister and scary than other attacks. 

It costs 31 stamina to cast, which is in line with the previously mentioned incantations. Also like those other incantations, this one only works on Tarnished targets, so it won’t be any good on the majority of enemies in the game. 

Inescapable Frenzy got a major buff in Patch 1.09. Since that was implemented, the incantation now does an extra 25% damage, and the grab angle was also increased from 60 to 80 degrees. Not bad at all!

Unendurable Frenzy

That's one hell of a headache!
  • A prolonged Madness Incantation 
  • Does 40 Madness buildup
  • Great at close and medium-range
  • Can be obtained from a chest in a treasure room hidden in Yelough Anix Ruins; requires some fancy platforming with the aid of Torrent

Item Description:

Incantation originating from the maddening Three Fingers.

Causes the yellow flame of frenzy to violently burst forth from the caster's eyes.

Hold to continue channeling the flame. This incantation can be used while in motion.

It is the maddening pain and unstoppable tears of those afflicted with the flame of frenzy brought into being.

Do you love the awesome flame beams of The Flame of Frenzy, but wish the incantation lasted longer? Well say hello to Unendurable Frenzy!

This incantation is literally a longer-lasting, more powerful version of the first incantation we mentioned. It takes 40 Stamina to initiate, but you can continue the effects until all of your FP is used up. Madness damage builds as long as the target is being hit, which means you’ll be able to max out a target’s madness meter before you run out of resources in most cases. 

BUT, if for some reason the target doesn’t reach Madness before the incantation ends, a secondary attack is triggered where the user throws their head back and unleashes flames in an arc from their face, affecting a 360-degree area around them. 

Need something for crowd control? Unendurable Frenzy is up to the task.