Dead Cells Runes are one of the few unlockables that persist between runs - and are among of the game's most useful.
Like a Metroidvania, they allow you to access new areas, from secret rooms to entirely different paths on the way to the end boss. Many are easy to miss - unless you know where to look.
If you're interested in more advice, we recommend checking out our Dead Cells tips page.
How to unlock the Vine and Teleportation Runes to use the tickle and rub abilities
One of the more curious discoveries at the start of Dead Cells are strange objects - specifically a green mass and a statue - you can 'tickle' and 'rub'. However, despite the button prompt, 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 beanstalk-like structures to explore new areas.
To unlock it, reach the second area, the Promenade of the Condemned, and at the end, you'll find a room with an Elite Archer inside. Defeat it - we recommend taking it on at range with arrows, and by throwing out loads of equipment such as Sinew Slicers - and the Rune will be your reward.
Not only does it allow you to continue through the second area to reach the Ramparts, using it in the opening Prisoners' Quarters provides access to the Toxic Sewers, giving you multiple routes as you progress to the end game.
The second, 'rub', requires the Teleportation rune. First, unlock the Vine rune then visit the Toxic Sewers as described above. You'll encounter a caged character who asks for the rune. Continue exploring the area until you come across the boss room, with another Elite enemy to find. Again, ranged weaponry and equipment works best to deal with the many foes it spawns.
Once defeated, you'll earn the Teleportation rune. This has slightly more use than the Vine in each of the game's areas, allowing you to warp through walls to find hidden compartments, often with useful upgrades to help you on your run.
Teleportation can also be used at the end the second area, by going past the lift up to the Ramparts, so you can reach the Ossuary.
Other Dead Cells Rune locations for Ram and Spider Runes
The above Vine and Teleportation Runes are the basics to help you start understanding branching paths in the game, and there are many more as you continue to continue to explore.
Beating the Elite in the Ossuary (accessed by using Teleportation at the end of the Promenade of the Condemned, by going past the lift up to the Ramparts) unlocks the Ram - so you can ground pound through specific markers in the ground.
Meanwhile, locating the Elite in the Slumbering Sanctuary unlocks the Spider rune so you can jump up walls. This video by TheBooFlame shows the fight in action:
Finally, beating The Concierge boss at the Black Bridge unlocks the Challenger's Rune so you can access the Daily Challenge, found in the game's very first jar-filled area, or from the main menu.
Completing this every day for a certain number of days give you unique Blueprints, so it's worth keeping on top of!