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Pax Empyrean

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This mod is a comprehensive balance overhaul for Salt and Sanctuary. Weapons, armor, shields and spells have been modified for greater player choice between more balanced options. Also includes a number of quality of life changes such as gray pearls dropping from powerful enemies, less farming for creed drops, and changes to sanctuary desecration.

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Spreadsheet for Weapons, Armor, Shields, and Spells

As a balance overhaul, this mod is comprehensive. It's been in development since late 2016, and v1.06 is the seventh release. It was originally released on the Salt and Sanctuary subreddit, but I decided it was time to release it here to reach a wider audience. Here's what I've done, and why:

WEAPONS

Weapon damage has been standardized across types according to measured attack speed to provide comparable damage output over time regardless of weapon type. This represents a substantial buff for weaker weapon types such as daggers or crossbows, and a moderate nerf for some of the more powerful weapons like great hammers or the Jaws of Death. I used the Tachi as my baseline; weapons stronger than that got nerfs, weapons weaker than that got buffs. Weapons that did not have special abilities have had them added. These abilities are detailed in the spreadsheet at the top as well as in the in-game item descriptions.

High tier weapons do more damage than low tier weapons, but low tier weapons get more benefit from upgrades. At level VII, damage values are equal across tiers. This provides incentives to seek out higher tier weapons during a playthrough while also maximizing weapon choice in the late game and NG+. All weapons are viable, and within a weapon type weapons are distinguished by their special abilities as well as cosmetic differences.

Weapon base damage and attribute scaling is standardized. Almost all weapons scale off of two attributes: a primary attribute that boosts base damage by 4% per point, and a secondary attribute that boosts damage by 2% per point. This allows for a longer period of meaningful character development into NG+.

Weapon weights are standardized within weapon types. Daggers weigh 2, swords weigh 4, maces weigh 8, and so on. Some weapons are substantially heavier, but do more damage while only scaling off of a single attribute. These are designed for builds that invest more heavily in Endurance. Most weapons have had a reduction in weight, especially pistols, which weigh 4. Ammunition costs have been reduced for all ranged weapons.

Poison has been reworked. In vanilla, a typical enemy would be poisoned after four hits, which sucks because most enemies are already dead by that point. Poison now procs much more easily against normal enemies, and is reliably effective against all bosses. The Stone Roots creed is much more viable now. Poison weapons follow the pattern of being heavier than other weapons while only scaling off of a single attribute.

A wider selection of weapons is available to Wisdom and Magic builds. Wisdom, in particular, was really lacking for weapon options in the original game (and the ones you did get didn't show up until fairly far in), and prayers weren't something you could rely on for offense. This has been rectified. Weapons that scale off of Wisdom or Magic now require no more than level 2 in their weapon type, but require levels in Cleric or Magic User instead. Dexterity builds now have access to a few weapons that do pure blunt damage; lacking this was always a pretty serious disadvantage for Dexterity builds in vanilla.

ARMOR

Armor weights have been dramatically reduced and armor provides its full protection benefit without need for upgrades. This eliminates the need to farm upgrade materials for your armor and makes Endurance a more competitive option than it was in vanilla. Armor does not provide greater protection than before, but it is easier to wear, so Endurance gives greater returns without upsetting the balance in later NG+ cycles. At 50 Endurance and with a moderate weapon/shield load, you should be able to fast roll (<25% encumbrance) in any light armor set or mid-roll (<50% encumbrance) in any heavy armor set.

Many armor pieces offer special abilities and stat boosts at the cost of providing less protection than other armors of equal weight. Protection values are standardized across damage types, with the exception of a few pieces with thematically appropriate bonuses. Starting gear is improved to make initial class selection more meaningful. Bonuses are intended to be thematically appropriate where possible; the Sorcerer's set provides spellcasting bonuses while the Rogue's set boosts Dexterity and gold drops, for example.

SHIELDS

Shields have had their weight reduced by a little more than half. Shields with special abilities now have those abilities listed in their item descriptions. All shields have 100% damage reduction against physical attacks. This deals with the problem of there only being about half a dozen shields worth using.

SPELLS

Magic has been reworked in two ways: spell costs have been adjusted to take damage output and casting time into account, and magical foci have been rebalanced. Staves have been nerfed by about 25% and wands have been buffed to be equal to staves. Magic overall does a bit less damage, but is cheaper to cast so you can use it more often. The lowest damage output spells and offensive prayers are actually free to cast. Spell costs have their own page on the spreadsheet. There are heavier variants of wands and staves that do nearly as much damage as staves did in vanilla.

ENEMIES

In addition to having poison resistances tweaked so the poison effect procs faster, monsters that drop body parts (ears, ashes, etc) are guaranteed to drop those parts when killed. This minimizes the need to farm parts to rank up your creeds. The teleporting skeletons in Hager's Cavern die more easily; they were always obnoxious to fight and should be less hassle now. Saltbats no longer have crazy high elemental resistances. Carsejaw the Cruel has 60% more hit points; he was a pushover for a late game boss.

Bound Arroxes have been buffed significantly, and they drop more salt when killed. They also have a small chance to drop a Twisted Heart (same as a Crypt Keeper's chance to drop a King's Orders), which were previously limited to just one per playthrough. Certain powerful enemies (Crypt Keepers, Armor Guardians, Saltfin Creatures, and Bound Arroxes) are guaranteed to drop a gray pearl when killed. Saltfin Creatures have a small chance to drop a Drowned Tome when killed.

SANCTUARIES

Desecrating a sanctuary no longer represents a waste of irreplaceable resources. Sanctuary NPCs always drop stone statues of themselves when killed, so desecrating a sanctuary with NPCs in it doesn't lose them forever. Armored sanctuary guardians drop crystal spheres when killed, which makes those resources replaceable without making desecration irrelevant. The guaranteed drops for monster bits makes creed switching a lot less hassle.

INSTALLATION

Unzip the file. There is a readme with a changelist for previous versions and two other files: loot.zlx and monsters.zox. The loot file replaces a file of the same name in your loot\data folder, while the monsters file replaces a file of the same name in your monsters\data folder. Make backups if you'd like the option to uninstall the mod. The developers have mentioned plans to release another language patch, which will probably break this mod since the last one did. I strongly recommend making a copy of your Salt and Sanctuary folder in another location and installing this mod there, so nothing breaks when Steam updates the original installation of the game to add support for more languages.
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