There’s a deep level of customization you can do to your character in Lords of the Fallen. When creating character builds, one of the features you’ll constantly be poking and prodigy are runes—an item that can be added to weapons that can enhance a specific stat. And for that, you’ll need a rune tablet, one of which you can give to Gerlinde or Sparky.
Picking which blacksmith you should hand your rune tablet to is a tough choice, but thankfully, there are no wrong answers here; it all comes down to preference.
As you follow along the story in Lords of the Fallen, you’ll encounter (and rescue) Gerlinde, a blacksmith. She’s one of the most important NPCs in the game since you’ll most likely speak with her on a regular basis. Gerlinde is responsible for raising the attack power of your weapons using Deralium Stones. If you give her the special tablet items found in Mournstead, she can socket runes into your weapons, tweak their damage scaling, and even give small bonuses.
On the other hand, Sparky is a mysterious creature that, ironically enough, Gerlinde takes her as a slave after those events. Sparky possesses special knowledge in Runesmithing that Gerlinde wants to learn about but refuses to share it with her, thinking that she’ll use it for evil reasons.
If you give Gerlinde the rune tablet, she’ll happily thank you and tell you to return for your reward later. At this point, warp to another location, then back to Skyrest to speak with Gerlinde again. You’ll receive a rune called Crafter’s Essence, which removes all stat and weight requirements on any shield or weapon you socket it into. Because of its diamond shape, you can only add the rune to gear with diamond-shaped slots.
If you give the rune tablet to Sparky, he’ll commend you for your decision and thank you for choosing morals over greed. This will set him free from Gerlinde and her imprisonment, allowing him to permanently leave Skyrest with his newfound freedom.
Once you’ve set Sparky free, he’ll give you the ability to runesmith at any Vestige checkpoint. This lets you upgrade your socket runes or weapons into them yourself whenever you want. You don’t have to warp back to the Skyrest to let Gerlinde do the work for you.
Whichever choice you make, both will still have consequences. If you give the rune tablet to Gerlinde, Sparky will lament your decision bitterly. He’ll then state that he’s not surprised to see mortals choose greed over morals. Gerlinde having the final rune tablet means she no longer has a reason to keep Sparky alive. Suffice it to say, after you receive the Crafter’s Essence, Sparky will be gone, with the implication that he’s already been executed.
Gerlinde will also mention that she plans to leave Mournstead to travel to a new place, but for the remainder of the game, you can find her in Skyrest. She won’t have any additional dialogue after this.
Meanwhile, giving the rune tablet to Sparky will make Gerlinde angry at you. While she’ll still socket runes and upgrade your gear for you, all the prices in her shop will be raised permanently.
In the grand scheme of things, there’s no definitive answer here. If you want to do the “right” thing, giving Sparky the rune tablet is the way to go. Gerlinde is undoubtedly in the wrong for forcing Sparky into a life of servitude, and it’s strongly implied in the game that she’d get rid of him as soon as he doesn’t serve a purpose anymore. Being able to upgrade weapons from Vestiges across Mournstead is nice, though, as it’s more convenient than visiting Skyrest whenever you need anything from Gerlinde.
On the other hand, giving Gerlinde the rune tablet is more beneficial for you. Having the ability to smith from any Vestiges is neat, but it’s nothing more than a convenience; you’re not getting any benefits for your combat or build effectiveness—you’re merely saving a few trips to Gerlinde’s shop. Plus, the Crafter’s Essence gives you a ton of spare equipment for much heavier and more protective armor. It also makes advanced weapons easier to wield.