Elden Ring takes place in The Lands Between, a vast realm under the Erdtree, the gigantic spectral tree visible from nearly everywhere in the game. The Lands Between were once governed by Queen Marika the Eternal.
The area thrived under the rule of Queen Marika and the power of the Elden Ring, an immensely powerful enchantment that kept everything in The Lands Between under the dictates of a Greater Will. The Greater Will was a kind of divine plan that ensured everything was going smoothly.
But, as is the case in most Soulsborne games, something went terribly wrong. The Elden Ring was shattered, and the Greater Will abandoned the Lands Between. Queen Marika disappeared. Her children fought an epic and gruesome war among themselves called the Shattering, eventually managing to get a hold of different shards of the now-broken Elden Ring, which still hold a huge amount of power.
Marika’s children, all of whom are demigods, now govern their own provinces in The Lands Between corresponding to one of the different areas in the game. Tarnished start the game in Limgrave, the home of Stormveil Castle. Liurnia is dominated by the large and very shallow Lake Liurnia and the academy of Raya Lucaria, headquarters of Glintstone sorcery. Caelid is a spooky, festering region blighted by Scarlet Rot, a nasty plague. The Altus Plateau is high up near the Erdtree, near the seat of Marika’s throne. Even further aloft are the Mountaintops of the Giants, abandoned by the creatures who once lived there.
Those are just the largest areas of The Lands Between. There’s also some smaller regions, including an underground area and dozens of tunnels and dungeons. All told, The Lands Between is a huge place.