Salt And Sacrifice Tips: Where To Go First, Farm Guiltless Shards, And More

Salt and Sacrifice, the sequel to Ska Studio’s Salt and Sanctuary, is finally out. The long-awaited follow-up delivers on the promise of more 2D Souls-like gameplay and mechanics. In order to help you out through the opening hours of the game, here are a handful of tips to keep in mind while you hunt mages through the Altarstone Kingdom. From ways to improve your discovery rate to seeking out vendors, and more, these tips will keep you standing upright in an unforgiving world.

Boost your discovery rate

Early on, resources aren’t necessarily dismal, but you will be sort of running on fumes. It’s well worth grinding out the beginning areas, especially Bol Gheran for XP and resources. In order to make your grinding less of a chore, you could spec into Luck on your skill tree which will incrementally boost (more on that in just a second) your item discovery. If that process is a bit too slow, there are artifacts that you should be on the lookout for that will raise it more drastically. Specifically, artifacts that go in your Utility Artifact slot, like an Engraved Box or Emerald Feather, will work wonders for your item discovery.

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Item discovery will boost the amount of loot and resources enemies drop throughout the game, which will really help you during mage hunts, where you’ll be fighting countless mobs of enemies who will drop elemental materials. You can use these materials to build unique armor and weapons, as well as upgrade them. Early on, when there are only named hunts to do, this will make item discovery very valuable.

From there, you just need to loot every bag and enemy you see. Early weapon upgrades will prioritize Ashpyrs, which can be found in bags that enemies in the game can often be found looting. For an example of the bag to keep a lookout for, load into Ashbourne Village and just head to the left. You will find plenty of these, especially in cave networks, and they’re very valuable for finding upgrade materials, silver, and other consumables like Firebombs and Poison Bombs.

Stockpile everything that you see

While you’re looting around, the most valuable stuff you can get in the game happens to be valley herbs and irona ore. Valley herbs are the material you use to restock on heathen flasks, which is how you heal, and can be found on red trees scattered around levels. Irona ore is found in white crystals you will often find near the edges of levels and in caves and will resupply your ammo. You can also pick up either on dead enemies. These resources are not unlimited even if they seem like it and so you should stay on top of them, especially if you’re going up against a boss fight that’s draining both your healing and ammo.

Talk to Herbalist Shenna often

When you go to new areas, you will often find new materials scattered around that are actually worth something. If you take them to the herbalist in Pardoner’s Vale (bottom right path from the middle), she’ll typically craft you new decoctions, which are throwables that can cause different damages like burning or poison. These will also need to be refilled, so the moral of the game is really to pick up everything you see in order to never run out of any of your favorite consumables.

Talk to Champion Hera too

While Salt and Sacrifice is not as vague as Souls games tend to be, it can feel like you’re lacking explicit direction and a goal won’t reveal itself for a few hours. That is why you should talk to Champion Hera who is right next to you when you spawn at Pardoner’s Vale. While she will typically remark about what the next step of your quest should be, she also has multiple other dialogue options to pick from. You’ll want to ask for rumors, which will point you to mage hunts that tend to be right around the level you can take on.

Where to find the vendor

Early on, you may notice that folks around Pardoner’s Vale do everything but buy and sell things to you. That’s because the vendor actually needs to be found near Ashbourne Village. Once you’ve defeated Uryks Necklace-of-Ears and gotten your first inquisitor tool, the grappling hook, you will be able to access them. Just follow the path to the left of where you spawn in Ashbourne VIllage and go on the higher path. This will take you to another staircase that will face you towards a drop on your right. Instead, you should now be able to jump and grapple towards a building. Go through the building and on the other side of it, you will find a vendor who will travel to Pardoner’s Vale. While you will definitely be able to craft better gear than what they offer, you can sell anything you don’t need for more silver.

Farm Guiltless Shards as soon as you can

There is one particular material you cannot get from looting the environment. That’s a Guiltless Shard. It acts like a Humanity does in the Dark Souls games, but also more specifically like a Human Effigy in Dark Souls 2. There’s something called the Magebane Rite that essentially keeps you from fully dying, but it’s really a debuff that costs you about 25% of your health bar. You can only reverse this and get your full health back by, you guessed it, using a Guiltless Shard. The mossy knight guarding the red door at the bottom of Root-Ceil Cavern in Ashbourne Village sometimes drops these shards, but the easiest way to farm them is to boost your item discovery and do random mage hunts in the game world. While the mage isn’t likely to drop one at the end of the hunt, the higher-level enemies they summon can, like the flying imps that the pyromancer will spawn.

It’s hardly worth using a Guiltless Shard until you’re at a boss fight, but since those could be a hard time, it’s great to be stocked up on them. Additionally, at least one NPC will ask you for Guitless Shards, so they’re worth having in abundance. As a backup, you can use them to recuperate some health if you’re in a real bind, but this should be a last-ditch effort.

Upgrading weapons versus scaling them

Much like the Souls and Souls-adjacent games, there is weapon scaling based on the skill you spec into. Many of them are even familiar to From Software fans, like Strength, Dexterity and Arcane. Based on the grade the weapons have listed on them, the weapons will scale up to a greater degree parallel to this skill. However, scaling is very incremental in Salt and Sacrifice. I’m talking about going up in power by about tenths of a single point unless your weapon has the highest possible scaling grade and even then, it’s hard to justify scaling over raw damage early on. It’s worth it in the long run to obviously level up your skills, and scaling begins to pay off after a while, but just don’t go thinking that your weapons will magically become incredibly overpowered off scaling alone in the first few hours.

Instead, you can and should use all those materials you’ve hopefully been scrounging for and level up your weapon directly. You’ll find a smith going up a path to the right of where you spawn in Pardoner’s Vale. The smith themself will help you craft armor and weapons from parts of mages that you hunt (more on that in a bit too), but a table nearby will let you upgrade the stuff you do have already. Upgrading here will make your weapon’s strength go up more dramatically, which will come in handy very quickly as some of the early bosses, particularly the second major fight, are outsized DPS checks.

Seriously, learn to dodge

Unsurprisingly, given the fact that Salt and Sacrifice takes cues from Souls games, there is a dodge roll and it is hugely important to combat. I would go so far as to say it’s the single most important thing you should get down early on. “What’s there to master? It’s just a dodge,” you might say. Yes, but there are some caveats to this game’s dodge and how it interacts with other mechanics.

First of all, unless you’re rocking a shield, the block/parry pays off very little. Your stamina gets chunked to bits pretty quickly and you’ll be losing some health blocking with anything but a shield, and every bit of it is precious in the early game since you don’t have much. Blocking and trying to nail the timing for parries, especially on big boss fights, mostly just opens you up to big damage opportunities for bosses, who will not only hit you brutally hard, but can even juggle/stunlock you to death. This all means that dodging should be the go-to, so invest in your stamina and prepare to spam it.

Secondly, the dodge roll in Salt and Sacrifice is a lot more generous than some of its contemporaries. That is to say that you can cover quite a bit of ground by rolling. This can be great for putting space between you and a deadly enemy, but could mean that you miss a window to attack a particularly gnarly and heavily defensive opponent. Learning when to dodge in order to position yourself just behind someone is going to come in handy as those enemies become more and more common.

You don’t need to take every mage hunt immediately

As you begin exploring more of the regions, you will find mage hunts in the wild. They may be named or they could be nameless, which really just distinguishes them in terms of importance. While you may feel the need to take them on immediately, you actually don’t have to. Once you’ve interacted with and discovered them, they are saved in a sort of log at the portal you use to travel to each location. It helps to be prepared for a mage hunt, so no need to rush in without a plan.

Try your best to survive a mage hunt

The basic rhythm of the game’s progression is that you will hear about a mage you’ve got to hunt down as part of the inquisition, go to the region they are in, and quite literally track them. They’re bigger than everything else so they’re impossible to miss, but you’ll have a spectral trail to guide you right to them. You’ll do damage in phases as they zip around the map before getting to their final destination, and this damage does carry through to the final fight, so it’s quite possible to get a mage on your first try if you’re careful and smart. If you die during the hunt, their health will reset. To that end, rest and resupply at obelisks as much as you can during your mage hunts. Basic logic of how these games work might make you afraid of accidentally resetting encounters by resting, but mages are the exception to that and you’ll just spawn all the lesser enemies back. Going into the final phase of a mage hunt with all your flasks and ammo will be key to you making it out as simple as possible.

As a bonus, you can hit named mages/bosses as they’re being introduced. Everything will slow down and their title card will pop up every time you enter the boss arena. For those 4-5 seconds, you can launch some ranged attacks or just hit them if they spawn close to you and those are free hits you’ll never regret taking. The less of the fight you have to actually do, the better off you are.

With all of this in mind, the inquisition will be hard pressed to find a better mage hunter than you so go forth! For more on the unforgiving indie, check out the Salt and Sacrifice review roundup.

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