Salt and Sanctuary
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Pax Empyrean

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About this mod

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 v1.08 is the ninth 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. All weapons only need one attribute for scaling, increasing damage by 4% per point.

Weapon weights are standardized within weapon types. Daggers weigh 2, swords weigh 4, maces weigh 6, and so on. Most weapons have had a reduction in weight, especially pistols, which weigh 4. Ammunition costs have been reduced for all ranged weapons.

Magic and Wisdom scaling weapons have had their requirements set to 1/1, allowing spellcaster builds access to appropriate weapons from very early on.

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. All poison weapons scale off of Dexterity.

Wisdom builds have access to the full selection of Wisdom-scaling weapons from almost the very start of the game, sold by Devara's Light blacksmiths, making straight Wisdom builds a viable option. Magic builds have similar early access to Arcane, Fire, and Lightning weapons through The Three. The Iron Ones offer lightning weapons and some higher tier physical weapons, making them the early choice for non-caster builds.

Fire and Lightning weapons start with very low damage and have low scaling, but their upgrade values are extremely high. Matching elemental buffs are as powerful as Divine Blessed Weapon, but the cost of these are now very high to make the creed rewards worthwhile.

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 block 100% of damage, but require better stamina management than before. All shields of the same type have the same fully upgraded stability values, but higher tier shields start closer to the final value. Bucklers and medium shields can parry spells. Medium shields have a 0.2 second parry window, while bucklers have a 0.3 second parry window. Shield weights are standardized at 2, 4, and 6, depending on type.

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. All foci are the same when fully upgraded, but higher level foci do more damage before that point, so it still pays to upgrade. Magic overall does a bit less damage, but is cheaper to cast so you can use it more often. Low damage output spells are substantially cheaper to cast, and Flashfire is actually free. Spell costs have their own page on the spreadsheet.

CREEDS

Ranking up in a creed no longer requires monster parts. Instead, they use the following items:

3 Locks of Hair
3 Soldier's Poems
3 Lord's Orders
1 King's Orders
1 Amber Idol
1 Crystal Sphere

The Order of the Betrayer requires one Expunged Heart for each rank, reducing the total required from 10 to 6.

ECONOMY

NPC vendor inventories have been overhauled and gold is much more useful than before. Each of the early game creeds sells the complete range of weapons corresponding to their theme to creed members after ranking up once to reach devotion 2. Upgrade materials used by that creed's weapons are available for sale starting at devotion 4, with each additional rank unlocking the next level of upgrade materials. The lowest level of upgrade materials (Locks of Hair, Frozen Dolls, etc) costs 500, followed by 1,500 for the next level (Poems, Lockets, etc), then 10,000, then 25,000. A broad overview of vendor inventories is as follows:

Iron Ones: At least one of each weapon class, including some tier 2 or tier 3 weapons, and all lightning weapons. They sell the Orders and Frozen upgrade materials.
Devara: All holy weapons. They sell the Orders and Drowned upgrade materials.
The Three: All fire, lightning, and arcane weapons. They sell all upgrade materials except Beast.
Stone Roots: All poison weapons. They sell the Orders and Beast upgrade materials.
Splendor: Unchanged in terms of equipment, but they sell all upgrade and transmutation materials.
Keepers: All fire and lightning weapons. They sell the Orders, Charred, and Frozen upgrade materials.
Betrayers: Unchanged in terms of equipment, but they sell all upgrade materials.

The Nomad sells the first tier of all upgrade materials and the first two levels of transmutation materials, so you can buy an Amber Idol instead of farming for one. When you reach him in the Castle of Storms, he also sells the second tier of all upgrade materials.

Minty Skell sells all of the first two tiers of upgrade materials and transmutation components. She sells the third tier after you kill the Third Lamb, and the fourth tier after you kill the Witch of the Lake.

The Three now sell the same selection of spells as the Keepers, making them a viable Magic creed all game long, especially if you like your fire and lightning weapons.

Devara now sells the Cleric, Paladin, and Guide armor sets. The Iron Ones sell the Knight, Hunter, Officer, and Lamprey armor sets. The Three sell the Mage, Sorcerer, and White armor sets. The Stone Roots sell the Rogue, Raptor, and Assassin armor sets.

Gray Pearls can be purchased for 2,000 gold from any creed merchant.

ENEMIES

Poison resistances are tweaked so the poison effect procs faster. 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. Hanged Men have had their hit points reduced. 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 moderate chance to drop a Drowned Censer and a small chance to drop a Drowned Tome (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, Alkymancery Knights, and Bound Arroxes) are guaranteed to drop a gray pearl when killed. Saltfin Creatures have a small chance to drop a Twisted Heart when killed, and a moderate chance to drop an Enduring Skull. Alkymancery Knights also have a similar chance to drop high end Drowned upgrade materials.

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. Switching creeds is no longer a matter of farming monster parts, but rather buying the materials needed to rank up before you switch.

INSTALLATION

Unzip the archive. There is a readme with a changelist for previous versions and three other files: loot.zlx, monsters.zox, and dialogue.zdx. The loot file replaces a file of the same name in your loot\data folder, the monsters file replaces a file of the same name in your monsters\data folder, and the dialogue file replaces a file of the same name in the dialogue\data folder. Make backups if you'd like the option to uninstall the mod.