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The only Soulslike where dying makes you less salty!
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Salt and Sanctuary is an Action RPG made by Ska Studios, the creators of The Dishwasher series and Charlie Murder. The game takes cues from FromSoftware's Dark Souls trilogy, Demon's Souls, and Bloodborne: you have a stamina bar, which depletes as you perform attacks; sanctuaries act as your bonfires; dying has you drop your salt, which enemies can pick up to become stronger. It also takes a lot of cues from the Castlevania series — not only is there a lot of platforming involved — you get mobility upgrades that allow you to reach new areas and go through previously unavailable paths in revisited ones.

The world has been at war for centuries. But at last, a tentative means of peace: a political marriage. You are the crew member of a ship, charged with transporting your princess to her suitor. Unfortunately, it all falls to shambles as a freak storm rises and assassins strike down the crew. Death is not the end, however, as you awaken shipwrecked on an uncharted island. In fog-shrouded valleys, where grinning, mossy corpses cling to rusted arms, shambling figures begin to stir. Beneath crumbling, salt-worn structures, labyrinthine passageways lead to unspeakable evil, long forgotten by man. You only have two objectives: find the princess and escape.

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It was initially released for the PS4 on March 15, 2016. The Steam version was released on May 18, 2016 and the PS Vita port on March 28, 2017. The game was later ported to the Nintendo Switch on August 2, 2018.


The game provides examples of:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: You gain several 'brands' that open up new paths ranging from wall-jumping to reversing gravity.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The level cap is currently believed to be around 500, but may potentially be higher than that, given that certain nodes on the skill tree can be upgraded more than the indicated three times. But in your first playthrough, a Level 80 character (with the right stats and end-game equipment) can sufficiently clear the game.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: As stated in its description, the Schrarfichter has a finely honed edge so sharp that the very fabric of space seems to part before it.
  • Action Survivor: As per the genre — you're some schmuck who gets washed ashore on an island full of monstrosities, so you have to become one of these. It's especially true for the Pauper and even moreso for the Chef — while other classes at least start with weapons (even the Pauper has an axe), the Chef only gets a frying pan and some potatoes.
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    • The only notable subversions to the trope are the knight class, who has heavy armor and a sword, and the paladin, who has even better armor and a mace.
  • A God Am I: The final boss arrogantly declares himself greater than any other god, man, or flying spaghetti monster who ever lived. Unlike most examples of the trope, he has some evidence to back his claim: he stuffed the entire pantheon in his basement. The newest three are rotting and killable.
  • Airborne Mook: There is a number of flying enemies, and they can be quite a menace without a long-reaching weapon or some means of combat at a distance.
  • The Alcatraz: The Red Hall of Cages, but the torturers and prisoners are no longer distinguishable from one another.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of subtle plot elements can be discovered through text descriptions and bestiary entries.
  • Alliterative Name: Murdiella Mal.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Characters hailing from Gulchmire have green skin, black sclera, and scales instead of eyebrows. Characters from Jinderen have charcoal skin, red sclera, and small tusks.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Player characters from Markdor, Taenibir, or Liven have notably darker skin than the other origin countries.
  • Ambiguously Human: There's something very off about the Tristini. They have pale skin, Creepy Shadowed Undereyes, and an elongated jaw that appears to give them a permanent Cheshire Cat Grin, but their nature is otherwise left up in the air.
  • Anachronism Stew: In-universe. The island seems to contain weapons, clothes, armor, architecture, and locations cut wholesale from all over the world and across multiple time periods, with a Ziggurat from a southern desert kingdom built on top of a temple from a northern kingdom. It's because everything on the island was made by the Nameless God based on the memories of those sacrificed to him.
  • An Adventurer Is You: While two of the starting classes, the cook and the pauper, have poor equipment and no stat bonuses at the start, the other characters follow the standards for the trope. However, this is only the starting point, and like the Souls games, you are free to create your own character build.
    • The Knight, who wields a sword and shield while clad in plated mail armor.
    • The Paladin, who wields a mace and heavy shield while clad in mail armor.
    • The Hunter, who wields a crossbow and a whip.
    • The Cleric, who uses miracles.
    • The Wizard, who uses magic.
    • The Thief, who uses a dagger and comes with a large supply of items to use at the start, including poisoned daggers and bombs.
  • An Ax To Grind:
    • Axes are a weapon class in the game falling under the "Berzerker" skill tree and exist both as hand-axes and greataxes (which also include an anchor on a stick). On the enemy side, many drowned wield them (notably the axe-throwing Drowned Raiders). The Kraekan Cyclops also uses a massive axe you can transmute from his horn for yourself to use.
    • The Coveted is a special example — the boss fight is the axe, as you cannot damage the ghosts that wield it. As above — you can later use the axe yourself, albeit in a more adequate size.
  • And the Adventure Continues: This is how the Masterless Knight's quest concludes. Upon reaching the other end of the island, he sums up his experiences with a simple "One quest ends, but a dozen more take its place," implying he's going to continue questing, as he's always done.
  • And I Must Scream: The Nameless God's real body is the crucified "scarecrow" you encounter across the island. While his powers are immense, so much so that he can kill and replace other gods, his true body is still hanging there, unable to move. The description of the Blade of Envy transmuted from his ashes confirms that his existence was a miserable one, and killing him may have granted him peace at last. If you choose the Domination Ending, then this will be your fate, too.
    • Implied to be the fate of the Split Swordsmen — they were involved in a botched teleportation that has "left most of their bodies in the void". When they're not erratically shaking while wearing specially made armor, they're using this to Teleport Spam you with drop attacks.
    • Also seems to be the fate of The Third Lamb. While the first two Lambs, respectively the Congregation and the Lady of the Dome, were sacrificed by the Untouched Inquisitor and seemingly have died, the Third Lamb, despite having been "sacrificed" as well, is very much alive. The nature of the ominous sacrifice is never explained, but the Lamb in its current shape is described as "the bound and broken thrall of the Untouched Inquisitor", and it is said that "was made to sacrifice her will in service of the Inquisitor", along with "pride, the praise of her master, and a name". The general picture seems downright terrifying and makes killing the boss look like an act of mercy.
    • From various descriptions around the area, it would seem Hager's Cavern wasn't a hideout for the titular Dread Pirate, but a prison designed to torment him at every turn. The skeletons and Armor Mites may have arrived there later, but the witch in charge put several vicious wraiths as both wardens and torturers for Hager, specifically made to be "eternal wardens to his suffering". The description for his crafted Cutlass mentions that A Fate Worse Than Death may be often mentioned, but Hager's sorry state and the similarly warped blade's own state prove it true. Of course, when you find Hager himself, he turns out to be nothing but a hollowed-out husk controlled like a puppet by some tiny doll-like being. Which makes one think the pirate himself is still alive in that mangled, cored, putrid state, with absolutely no control of what he does and forced to watch some little parasite use his body for its own purposes. Whoever that witch was, she was clearly not messing around.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The Domination ending. After spending the whole game slaying the creations of the Nameless God and killing the fiend yourself, you become the new Nameless God of the island. To emphasize this, you're depicted wearing his armor after taking the Scarecrow's helm.
  • Animated Armor: Crypt Keepers and Alkymancery Knights are noted to be this in various flavour text snippets, and their constituent body parts can be worn as actual armor once you find the respective sets; they're usually hellishly heavy, though.
  • Annoying Arrows: Archer enemies such as the Vilehaws can re-adjust their aim until they let go of the arrow. This means that regardless of how many times you jump, roll, and run when the archer hasn't fired its bow yet, the arrow will then target your current location unless you block it, or dodge it at the right time.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you fail a Descration attempt at a Sanctuary, a Saltbat will spawn in there even if you were killed by one of the Sanctuary Guardians. Likewise there is a 5-second timer before you are locked out inside the hostile Sanctuary, giving you a somewhat limited opportunity to recover your lost Salt and exit without worries.
  • Armor Is Useless: Armor does not reduce fall damage, so it matters not when you fall from a great height. However, you can increase your chance of surviving by increasing your health through leveling.
  • Arrows on Fire: The archers in the Red Hall of Cages can fire these at you.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Present in the Iron Pot's description.
    A cast-iron pot used for reducing stocks, simmering stews and, in a pinch, cracking skulls.
  • Artificial Brilliance: When you are high-leveled, some enemies may try to retreat instead of outright attacking you on sight. In most cases where they do this, you'll later learn that they are actually trying to lure you into an area which have more enemies for you to deal with. The Arrox to the left of the Sanctuary in the Ziggurat of Dust is notorious for this tactic, running to the left area where three Lietches are waiting for their chance to ambush you in the dark.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The enemies can walk right into traps, and some with a pouncing attack may even jump to their deaths when near ledges or Bottomless Pits.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Much like the last dungeon of Dark Souls, the Nameless God's castle is one, for having no lesser mooks, and a dark, greyscale color scheme.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Tree of Men is a gigantic boss that can only be damaged by attacking its glowing parts, such as specific hanging corpses on the first phase, and its head during the second.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: The Scarecrow is usually found surrounded by piles of rotting corpses.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: While the Northern Cross Greatscissor averts this in gameplay, since its scaling in Strength and Magic makes it a viable weapon for a Magic Knight build, it plays it straight in its backstory description. Its inventor was jealous of the rival nation's Jaws of Death and wanted to create a superior weapon. While the Northern Cross was indeed recognized as the superior weapon, it was also made with rare materials, meaning it could not be mass-produced, unlike the Jaws of Death.
    • Also in-universe for the Axe of Splendor, which is noted to be extremely heavy and was never intended for use in combat. Subverted in that the right build can make it extremely practical due to its speed and reach... assuming you can afford it in the first place.
  • Backtracking: Of course, it's a Metrodvania game employing the Ability Required to Proceed mechanic. You will be able to gain access to previously-unreachable areas once you return with the necessary Brand(s). This would then allow you to enter new or optional dungeons as well as obtain rare items.
    • If you try to proceed straight towards the entrance of the Castle of Storms via Bandit's Pass without the Vertigo Brand, an Old Man will appear by the gates telling you to go back as you are unable to cross the gap yet. At this point, you actually need to go to the Village of Smiles by backtracking a bit, and descending a series of platforms in the Bandit's Pass.
  • Badass Boast: The Scarecrow, voice of the Nameless God, will reply with one of these if you tell it you want to know what exactly it is.
    While they scurry to and fro, I am.
    While they cherish their pretty deities, idols, and false lords, I am.
    While they fight their trivial wars, live and die for mortal kings and scoundrels, I am.
    All priests of false gods kneel to Me.
    All kings and empires great and small kneel to Me.
    Life kneels to Me.
    Death kneels to Me.
  • Bastard Bastard: Carsejaw the Cruel was an illegitimate son, and his title of Duke was technically entirely fake due to this. It's believed that the shame he felt over this fact led to an ever-worse hunt for scapegoats to blame the nation's ills on, until he became the full-blown cunning and bloodthirsty tyrant he's now known as.
  • Beef Gate: Each of the early-game bosses serves this role to make sure you've gotten a good grasp of the game mechanics.
    • The Sodden Knight checks to see if you've gotten a good grasp of rolling, jumping, and blocking, as well as a demonstration that bosses get much nastier midway through a fight.
    • The Queen of Smiles, though skippable, serves as a test of the player's ability to read a boss' tells and predict their projectiles.
    • The Mad Alchemist is a check for your ability to withstand elemental attacks, either by evading them or having proper resistance gear.
    • The False Jester and Kraekan Cyclops check to make sure you've gotten skilled at rolling, dodging, and blocking attacks, both the quick and vicious and the huge and powerful. If you've learned how to block and evade, they should present no challenge, but if you haven't, they'll ruin you in seconds.
  • BFS: The game's exaggerated art style means that just about every great sword (and great hammer and great axe, for that matter), will be ridiculously large, often longer than the Player Character is tall. The game doesn't always acknowledge their ridiculous size, either, making it seem like hauling around a blade you could pole vault with is a normal thing to do.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The war between Askaria and Tristin is either this or outright Evil vs. Evil since neither side can be even considered remotely good. The former is a warmongering expansionist empire that's been warring with its neighbors and persecuting adherents of other creeds in order to make the Three the dominant religion (and is in effect unknowingly doing the bidding of the Nameless God). If the Red Hall of Cages is anything to go by, the country is also no stranger to committing torture on a massive scale. Meanwhile, Tristin's history is rife with its own fair share of atrocities, subjecting elemental mages to genocide, and being home to the Order of the Betrayer.
  • Blackout Basement: Certain areas are completely pitch-black, prompting you to use a torch (at the cost of using your weapon one-handed), equip a lantern charm, or cast a spell.
  • Bladder of Steel: This game doesn't have a true pause mechanic like Dark Souls. Sure, you can open your inventory, read the bestiary, and adjust your settings, but you can still be attacked by nearby enemies.
  • Blade on a Stick: You can equip Spears and Halberds, which mostly scale in damage with the Dexterity parameter.
  • Bling of War: The House of Splendor offers a set of Resplendent heavy armor, and it is about as golden and brilliant as you can imagine for a creed so obsessed with wealth. It's surprisingly practical for something so shiny, however, as the tooltips note, and attracts even more gold to you through a Gold Drop bonus, which is handy if you want an Axe of Splendor to achieve ultimate shininess.
  • Blob Monster: The Poisonous Cytoplasms that you can encounter in The Watching Woods, and they hang from trees, are semi-transparent, and drop only when you are beneath them.
  • Blood Magic: The Blood Spells offered by the Order of the Betrayer are powerful, but also debuff your character after each use. The Betrayer craves bloodshed, so his gifts require that his followers shed some of their own blood to spill the blood of others.
  • Body Horror: Due to her abuse of salt alkymancy, the Witch of the Lake is described as having a grotesquely disfigured form under her robes. Peering under them will give you a clue as to how bad things are: she's sprouting a great number of monstrous, gore-encrusted spider-like talons where her legs are supposed to be. And for her melee attack, she mauls you with a... limb of indeterminate origin that looks like fleshy, mutated brambles.
  • Bonus Boss: While certain bosses can be skipped by finding an alternate path around them (for example, if you kill the Kraekan Cyclops, you get a key that allows you to bypass the False Jester), the Queen of Smiles, Murdiella Mal, Carsejaw the Cruel, Ronin Cran, and The Three are completely optional and not required to beat the game. The Queen of Smiles is notable in that she is the second boss in the game, but you are not required to kill her at all to access the next area, the Watching Woods.
    • Some other bosses are skippable, though it's probably not intended for them to be. For example, the Sodden Knight (the first boss) can be skipped if you make a very precise Leap of Faith from the correct ledge, landing on a platform just high enough that the fall damage doesn't kill you. The Mad Alchemist can be skipped by plummeting down an elevator shaft that you're supposed to activate after killing him, which also nearly kills you with fall damage... and puts you right in front of the Kraekan Cyclops.
  • Booze-Based Buff: The money-obsessed House of Splendor uses only the classiest booze to buff themselves. Their health and stamina potions are wines, and they have a liqueur laced with flakes of actual gold that boosts attack, defence, and amount of money dropped from enemies. Notable in that drinking too much booze too quickly will poison you.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Kureimoa's plainness and usefulness is even noted in its description. It's got decent damage for an early game weapon and excellent Strength scaling, making it a perfectly good weapon for a Greatsword wielding character build for most of the game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Crypt Keepers are one of (if not the) toughest and strongest mooks that you encounter in the game. These are black gigantic armors that dual-wield axes, can run and jump towards you, and can deal a large amount of damage capable of instantly killing unprepared players. In other words, they are very aggressive. Fortunately, there are only two spawn points for them in the early-to-mid dungeons – one in Mal's Floating Castle and the other is in an optional pitch-black area guarding the Divine Will Prayer item. They also appear in the Salt Alkamancery and the Crypt of the Dead Gods, the two end-game dungeons before the final one. Unfortunately in all areas, the surrounding is almost devoid of light that they seem to perfectly blend with the darkness.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Siam Lake and the Still Palace only contains the Witch of the Lake and The Nameless God respectively.
  • Bottomless Pits: If you try jumping at the lowest points of an outdoor dungeon, you may sometimes be treated with a Game Over screen even before your character hits the ground.
  • Breath Weapon: The Kraekan Wyrm can breathe fire, while Skourzh and The Third Lamb breathe lightning bolts.
  • Broken Angel:
    • The Third Lamb. Its bestiary entry reveals that it was once a noble beast who had the praise of her master, her pride, and a name. The Untouched Inquisitor saw sin in those and made them sacrifices, just like the Third Lamb herself. The trope description "Now imagine someone took a sledgehammer to that marvel and left it bleeding and broken on the floor." may have been quite literal in this case, judging by the way the boss moves during the fight.
    • The Three. It doesn't get much worse than gods being reduced to rotting undead corpses.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Pitchwoods, especially if you want to get everything and join the Fire and Sky Creed. It's a challenging platforming section, in stark contrast to most of the other areas in the game. Dying of fall damage is a very real possibility here. Furthermore, the first part of the area is home to the Spindlebeasts — these things will almost certainly kill you with one hit if you don't kill them first (which thankfully isn't too hard since they have low health). Oddly enough, the boss of the area isn't too bad in comparison, especially if you have a reliable means of dealing fire damage.
  • Bullet Hell: A very challenging and frustrating gimmick of the Witch of the Lake. She fires arcane bolts that either follow you, or fill up the entire screen. And you can easily evade past them nor simply block them either.
  • Cain and Abel: Azredak and Devara, respectively. Devara is the patron goddess of the Devara's Light creed, and upholds the virtues of kindness, humility, and foregiveness. Her brother, Azredak, leads the Order of the Betrayer, which calls for murdering indiscrimately and spreading malice across the world. And fittingly, Azredak intends to one day murder Devara.
  • Call-Back: A few to Ska's previous games.
    • The Dishwasher: The salt-knotted hairstyle is similar to the Dishwasher's hair, while the chef "class" is likely based on his mentor, the Chef. Also the "Jaws of Death" greatsword is actually a giant pair of scissors — the same as one weapon in Dishwasher. A large number of skill nodes tell of the end of the world, describing events from the Dishwasher times in the lexicon of the era, thus referring to him as a "scullery maid".
    • Charlie Murder: One of the hair colors is called Charlie Green.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Those who follow the Order of the Betrayer are openly sadistic, with some members gleefully saying how they prefer to kill women, children, and anyone who can't fight back.
  • Character Customization:
    • At the start of the game, you can choose what your character looks like without wearing any helmets nor armor.
    • With the massive possibilities in the Skill Tree, you can customize your characters' build and weapon specialties.
  • Chef of Iron: One of the starting classes is in fact the ship's chef, whose starting weapon is even a Frying Pan of Doom. While it's a bit of Joke Character, there's nothing stopping him from slaughtering the invading marauders on his boat, making calamari of the Kraekan on the deck, and slaying multiple gods on the island.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: King Jaret is one of many figures you'll read about in the game's Flavor Text, particularly about anything concerning the Castle of Storms. It's eventually revealed that he's the old man who's been guiding you since the very beginning.
  • Chest Monster: The Mimku. It's a big squid-like Kraekan with a ravenous appetite and the ability to disguise itself as anything. And they've learned that the surest way to get a meal is to take the form of a treasure chest.
  • Classic Villain: The final boss, the Nameless God, possessing the classic traits of greed, wrath, pride, and envy.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Enemies don't fall when they step on fragile wooden platforms. Said platforms would only crumble when you step on them. And you can use this tactic to your advantages, but stepping on a wooden platform with an enemy on top, you can watch the poor creature fall to its death.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The game has two-player co-op right off the bat. However, it has a few problems: it's local couch co-op only and due to the fact that the co-op mode was a late addition to the game, the game isn't balanced for the feature and there was very little to no QA testing for it, meaning there's a number of game-breaking progression bugs in the game should you play co-op. At least there is a workaround in order to play co-op online: you need to use the PS4 Shareplay feature.
  • Competitive Balance: Two of the end-game Heavy Armor sets contrast each other in terms of gameplay benefits.
    • Mighty Glacier: The Tier 4 Umbral Set awarded for defeating Carsejaw provides the highest defense stat and elemental resistances even at its full upgrades. However its drawbacks are that it has a low balance and high weight parameters, slowing the movement speed of your character as well as making evade rolls more difficult.
    • Fragile Speedster: The Tier 5 Overlord Set awarded by getting the Domination ending has much less defensive stats than the Umbral Set, but it is the lightest Heavy Armor - lesser weight and higher balance stats mean you can move and evade just as fast, while also capable of equipping end-game weapons earlier in a New Game+.
  • Continuing Is Painful:
    • There are two systems in the game, Wounding and Focus, that decrease your stats. Wounding decreases your max Health as you take damage, and the more damage you take, the more max HP you lose; while Focus gradually decreases your max Stamina as you attack, dodge, and cast spells. The cap for how low Wounding leaves your max HP is unknown, but Focus is always equal to half your max Stamina. That said, there are rings that mitigate the effects.
    • Dying causes you to lose all of your salt, and 10% of your gold. You can get your salt back if you killed the enemy that killed you, but that monster will be powered up significantly. Mercifully, if it's a boss, you don't need to kill it to get your salt back, just deplete 1/4 of its health bar. If you died from an environmental hazard such as falling, then your salt will become a Saltbat enemy for you to kill.
  • Convenient Weakness Placement: The Queen of Smiles is weak to holy damage, and three Blessed Pages are found right before her boss room. Slightly less convenient is the Sodden Knight's weakness of Birian Firepots to the back (his cape is apparently very flammable), since you have to buy them for 100 gold each... unless you picked Devara's Light as your starting creed, in which case you're out of luck as your merchant will sell Lightvessels instead.
  • Counter Attack: The parrying mechanic. With a well-timed press of the attack button when blocking with a shield or buckler, you can stagger minor humanoid mooks, making them open for a painful counter attack.
  • Crapsack World: It goes without saying. The known world has been embroiled in wars of any and all kinds for centuries, from religious crusades to witch hunts to wars of royal succession. Then you've got the Kraekan and all the shit on the island. You eventually find out that the Nameless God is the one behind everything (other than the Kraekan), who manipulates every creed out there into constant war for the sake of sacrifices and sating his sheer hatred of gods and their followers.
  • Creative Sterility: The Nameless God cannot truly create anything. He's only able to make copies and imitations of things based on the memories of those castaway souls that wash up on the island.
  • Critical Status Buff: The Redhair Charm greatly increases attack power when the wielder is near death.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gods aren't easy to kill, even for one as powerful as the Nameless God. But it appears he found a way by exploiting the fact that Gods Need Prayer Badly: The descriptions for the Trinity weapons would imply the Nameless God imprisoned the Three (and probably every other deity he's impersonated) inside the Crypt in coffins even they couldn't escape, and started answering their prayers in their stead, not letting a single bit trickle to the imprisoned gods to starve them out. This would explain their emaciated state when you fight them, and why they're referred to as Forgotten: This is what happens when a deity's left with no prayers, be it through simply being forgotten or because someone intercepted every prayer.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Three are the most recent and popular of the three starting Creeds. They are devout worshipers of the three gods who bring order to the world — the King, the Knight, and the Judge. It is the most balanced of the three starting Creeds, though it does favor melee builds thanks to the buffs available to the Creed. Though it turns out The Three are long dead and their role was usurped by the Nameless God.
  • Cycle of Hurting:
    • Attacks from large enemies will almost certainly send you flying and knock you on your ass. They have a habit of perfectly timing their next attack to hit you just as you pick yourself up, in the split second between your Mercy Invincibility wearing off and you regaining control of your character, sending you flying again. And again.
    • Also, being trapped between two smaller enemies that can attack very quickly such as Drowned Soldiers or Retchfeeders can leave you trapped as a tennis ball for a while.
    • Speaking of Retchfeeders, like the large enemies mentioned above, they have a habit of timing their pouncing attacks so that Retchfeeder B will get you with his the second Retchfeeder A is done chewing on your face. This also applies to any other enemy with a pouncing attack.
  • Dead Guy on Display:
    • You can find hanging corpses of adventurers being displayed at certain spots of outdoor dungeons. Although in some cases like the arena of the Kraken Cyclops, one can see decapitated heads impaled on spiikes. It turns out these are the characters of other players who have recently died in that area. However, this feature can only be seen if you are playing the game online.
    • Subverted for the Impaled Knights in the Pitchwoods. One can easily think that these impaled corpses are already dead, but they are pretty much reanimated and will jump towards you should you get near them.
  • Deity of Human Origin: The Nameless God. This is not a good thing, since unlike the gods of fire, he is still killable, fallible, and driven by the same desires he had as a mortal.
    • Given that the last three areas in the game include the Salt Alkemancery, it is possible that, rather than being born a god, The Nameless God was one that was manufactured artificially. Given that the Witch that runs the place has a large, brutish creature that is allegedly her "best" creation, the Nameless God was either created on accident, or was viewed as a failure.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Everything is greyscale within the Still Palace, including the battle against the final boss.
  • Dem Bones: Mostly present in Hager's Cavern as Angsty Bones, Hunting Bones and Primitive Bones.
  • Determinator: The Player Character. After being washed up on an island that follows its own rules and populated with undead and Kraekan, they battle their way to its heart, first to find the missing princess and then to put an end to an evil god. Likely dying and suffering many times in the process.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You kill the lord of the island who's known only as the Nameless God. You can also slay the Three, though they're in a considerably weakened state by the time you find them. Skourzh could also count; his dominion over the sea makes him an especially powerful and god-like Kraekan.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: You can parry a lesser enemy's melee attacks by properly timing the attack button while blocking. Successful parries will stagger the enemy and leave them vulnerable for a massive damage, which can One-Hit Kill the weaker ones. But as the game presents you enemies that can attack faster and can execute combos, parrying becomes more difficult and you'll risk losing Stamina from aimless blocking.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Every parameter is soft-capped at 50. Parameter levels before it would have a noticeable whole-digit increments, while parameter increments post-50 would only provide minuscle benefits which are mostly halved or merely increase the stat by decimals.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Shrouded Bulwark can be obtained very early in the game, provided you start with the Amber Idol. In the early game, it will be stronger than the Kureimoa it is transmuted from. However, the Kureimoa has much better Strength scaling, thus it may be more powerful in the late-game when you are higher-leveled. Note that there is only one Kureimoa to be found in the wild (near the Village of Smiles, which is the third level), and only followers of the Three or Iron Ones can buy them. All the other creeds are out of luck.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The bottoms of most dress/robe-style armour lack shoes. In some cases, the thumbnail on the equip screen will clearly show shoes, but your character will still be barefoot when wearing it.
  • Door to Before: It's very common to open a door and see that it leads back to a place you thoroughly explored in the early game.
  • Downer Ending: Both endings. Either you can become the new god of the island, forever trapped and unable to escape, forced to keep the cycle of war going. Or you can escape... leaving you adrift in the middle of the ocean, the sole survivor of the wreck. Everyone else, including the princess, is dead... and there's little chance of you being rescued. But maybe, just maybe, the cycle has finally been broken.
  • The Dragon: Kraekan Wyrm Skourzh would be this, figuratively and literally. He serves as the final obstacle between you and the Big Bad, and the Story Breadcrumbs describe him as having power over the sea and control over storms, meaning he's the one who sinks ships and delivers the souls of the drowned to the Nameless God.
  • Driven by Envy: The Nameless God, as a Deity of Human Origin, may have the power of a god, but still has the soul of a mortal. He is consumed by envy as he can never have a candlelit soul like a true god, to the point that he captured and starved them all to death out of sheer hatred. Many areas of the island are covered in lit candles as a testament to this desire. His signature greatsword is even named the Blade of Envy and is described as being forged in the flames of his envy and avarice.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Black Sands Sorcerer, at the conclusion of his sidequest, has come to realize the true nature of the island and decides there's only one way out.
    Black Sands Sorcerer: This island wants me to kneel. To abandon my soul to it... I can’t... I won’t. I should’ve died at sea. I... I can still die at sea. Take this gift. I won’t need it anymore. Good luck, kind stranger. May you fare better than me.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hammers and Greathammers are some of the weapon classifications that you can use.
  • Dual Boss: The Unskinned and the Architect. The Three are a triple boss.
  • Dual Wielding: The Crypt Keepers, titanic Animated Armors that they are, carry a ridiculously huge hammer in one hand, and a similarly gigantic axe in the other. You can craft them, too, but they are perhaps the heaviest weapons in the game, to the point the game remarks just being able to lift one of the damn things is a more effective deterrent than the weapon itself.
  • Dummied Out: There are equippable items that were cut out from the final version despite having unique artworks and effects still present in the code, such as the Fluke's Ward, Stone Ring, Heartspent, Twinmetal Ring, Band of the Humble and Frozen Charm. However, they can still be spawned using a cheat program.
  • Dump Stat: Dexterity-centric builds are difficult to rely on as you would be forced to use short-ranged weapons that scale from that parameter. The range alone is problematic as you would lack the massive arc-hitting strikes or long-ranged magic spells that Strength-centric and Magic-centric weapons respectively provide. While you may be hitting fast with Dexterity weapons such as daggers, whips and spears, you'll have a hard time dealing with enemy swarms and those that are resistant to the Slash damage type, which almost every Dexterity weapon has in common, as well as the damage type that most enemies are resistant to.
  • Ear Ache: Ears seem to be the go-to source for war trophies and alchemical transfusions in Salt and Sanctuary. Expect to amass a wide array of them over the course of your journey.
  • Edible Bludgeon: There are potatoes in this game, and they are used as throwable projectiles.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Pretty much everyone you can find who's affiliated with the Order of the Betrayer is sporting sickly pale skin and black hair, in keeping with their ominous nature. They also appear to be from Tristin, which gives them a creepy Cheshire Cat Grin as well.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Kraekan, a whole league of sea-linked creatures of variable shape and power who love to prey on the Saltborn and seem to be particularly aggressive and powerful around the island you're shipwrecked in. The lore also implies that these creatures aren't bound to just the island, but are everywhere.
  • Eldritch Location: As you progress through the game, you'll encounter various locations that, according to several characters, should not be there at all, given that they are quite famous buildings that are most definitely not located on the island. This is because the Nameless God creates these duplicates of lost or ruined civilizations from the memories of those that wind up on the island. Given that the Kraekan, the Lovecraftian deep sea creatures that you encounter on occasion, are indicated by lore to be common throughout the world, it is possible that the entire world is like this.
  • Elite Mook: The Bronze Knights in the earlier stages can be significant threats as they are fully armored (resist the Slash damage attribute), can deal a lot of damage in return, and can block your attacks.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Coveted is heavily implied to be this. It's an Executioner's Axe that craves more victims. The ghosts that wield it are actually slaves to their desire for the Coveted (hence why they are called "The Coveting" in their bestiary description). The description of the scaled down weapon version transmuted from its ashes claims that all of its past owners eventually succumbed to increasingly unbridled and self-destructive desires. Fortunately, this has no in-game effect.
  • The Empire: Askaria, which is described as one of the dominant kingdoms in the world and constantly at war with other nations, and also the home of the religion of The Three. Though not outright said, it is strongly implied that Askaria is the country that sends the player's ship out in the introduction, ostensibly for a political marriage. The aggression of Askaria is also implied to be due to the influence of the Nameless God, pushing the followers of The Three to spread their religion so he can steal their prayers for himself.
  • Engrish: An unexpected instance with the Kureimoa. The story behind it is somewhat amusing, as A German Spy reveals: when James named the weapon, he used the romanized katakana for Claymore as a joke, but AGS thought it was intentional and left it be when he was revising the equipment names and descriptions.
  • Equipment Upgrade: There are two mechanics that allow the player to strengthen their weapons and armor. Both require rare crafting materials and specified amounts of Salt.
    • The typical Upgrade which can be requested from Blacksmiths increases all of the item's stats. This process can be performed for a maximum of seven times per item.
    • Transmutation which can be performed by Alchemists, allow for the conversion of an equipment into another one within the same classification (or in some unique weapon types like Greatscissors). However, this can be inverted as the game still provides you a non restrictive weapon forging mechanic via the option to downgrade any weapon. For example, you can Transmute a Tier 5 Greatsword into a Tier 4 Greatsword (or lower).
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Everyone except the key NP Cs that you can talk to in the dungeons. Yes, even the NPCs that you summon to the Sanctuaries will attack you if you desecrate their place.
  • Experience Booster: The Grasping Ring increases the amount of salt obtained from slain enemies.
  • Experience Points: Salt functions as both experience and the currency used to upgrade and transmute equipment.
  • Expy:
    • As the game is utterly shameless in its Dark Souls inspirations (not that that's bad), there are several for this series alone, primarily from the first game.
      • Ronin Cran is one of Knight Artorias — an optional disgraced knight who buffs himself up with darkness and has very persistent combos including a somersault attack.
      • Kraekan Dragon Skourzh is practically a dead ringer for Seath the Scaleless — a magic-wielding dragon who has multiple tails and no hind legs.
      • Carsejaw the Cruel heavily resembles Gravelord Nito in both appearance and combat style. The only difference is that he lacks Nito's giant shockwave attack but can Teleport Spam instead.
      • The Masterless Knight can be considered one of Siegmeyer of Catarina, due to his love of endless questing and adventuring.
      • The Nomad is one of Domhnall of Zena, selling boss armour sets after the appropriate boss is defeated.
      • The Bronze Knights play a similar role as the Black Knights, serving as endgame-level Elite Mooks that are encountered throughout the game, and who implicitly serve the Final Boss.
      • The Nameless God is one of Gwyn. Both are the Final Boss of their games, both use greatswords and have a very similar grab attack, and both have sad piano music playing instead of something more appropriate for a boss battle.
    • The Unspeakable Deep is a double whammy. It looks very much like Cthulhu and/or his Star Spawn, but it also serves as Salt and Sanctuary's equivalent to the Vanguard from Demon's Souls, being a massive starter boss that's meant to kill you and start the adventure.
  • The Faceless: The Nameless God, as well as the player character if you wear the former's head equipment, Overlord's Turban. While a majority of the head equipment cover the wearer's entire face, there's actually nothing covering the face when you wear the said Turban. Instead, you get a pitch black void in the part where the facial features are supposed to be located.
  • Faction Calculus: There are seven Creeds that you can join throughout the game, and each one of them offers varying consumables, default weapons, spells, and Devotion quests.
  • Fallen Hero: The old man who welcomes you on the island at the beginning of the game reveals that he's actually King Jaret from the original Castle of Storms who fell into temptation and ended up a servant to the Nameless God just before the final boss.
    • The same goes for Ronin Cran — a masterful knight who fled the Castle of Storms after some transgression.
  • Falling Damage: Again, like Dark Souls, you take damage if you fall from great heights, some would instantly kill you if you don't have a high health pool.
  • Final Boss: The Nameless God
  • Fireballs: The first spell of the mage class, which is actually convenient against the first true boss (The Sodden Knight is weak to fire)
  • Flaming Sword: Some spells, and the Pitchfire consumable covers your weapon with flames.
  • Flavor Text: The items, equipment and weapons have text descriptions that either expand the lore or narrate how the weapons were created.
  • Flunky Boss: The Mad Alchemist, who summons Blob Monsters to pin you down before calling down fire and lightning.
  • Forever War: What part of "at war for centuries" doesn't count? Although the lore implies it's mainly a series of skirmishes surrounding the rise and fall of various religions and pantheons.
  • Fusion Dance: The Armor Mite is a fusion of two creatures – An Ogre Crab for its lower half and a bipedal victim for the upper.
  • Girls With Mustaches: Facial hair is not restricted to male characters; you can give females all kinds of beards if you feel so inclined.
  • Glasgow Grin: The Queen of Smiles specialized in doling these out on the many, many victims of her frequent rage- and paranoia-fueled purges. When her subjects finally turned on her, they only thought it fair to give her "the widest smile of them all". If her wraith is any indication, they outdid her by prying her lower jaw off.
  • God Is Dead: The new pantheon known as The Three were slain by the Nameless God who usurped them. They are now mere undead rotting mockeries of their past glory.
  • God Needs Prayer Badly: A certain optional boss fight's spoils end up stating this is true about the Gods in this setting. The Nameless God apparently exploited this to kill them.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Queen of Smiles, a former queen of Liven who was infamous for decorating her kingdom with the grotesquely smiling corpses of the people she killed. Also doubles as The Caligula, since she developed all sorts of phobias (including but not limited to cats, twins, gourds, sea foam green, and the number 14), all of which resulted in jailings, banishments, and executions on a massive scale.
  • Gold Fever: The House of Splendor Creed really, really, likes gold. They wear gold masks to hide their flawed faces, offer a unique consumable liqueor with gold flakes in it that increases gold find rate, use golden silk cloths to remove poison, and at higher levels of devotion sell expensive golden armor and a golden axe which is one of the best (and priciest) one-handed weapons in the game.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • You can hold the roll / evade button while in a ladder to quickly slide down. No tutorial segment nor Journey Bottle in the early stages mention this.
    • Aside from being a guaranteed drop from The Unspeakable Deep, there is only one other way to acquire the Drowned Tome per playthrough, and it is located in an area which requires tricky jumps.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Very much averted! With high Dexterity, a upgraded top tier gun can tear through enemies and kill the final boss in about ten hits. Additionally they can open enemies to a riposte if fired just before the enemy attacks (just like in Bloodborne).
  • Hammer Space: You can switch weapons instantly with a single press of a button, no matter how heavy they would be. Notable with the two-handed weapons such as Greathammers, Greataxes, and Greatswords – the weapons you swapped from would disappear in thin air.
  • Hard Light: Comes in two flavours: grape and cherry. The former manifests as wisps of purple smoke, and you need an upgrade to make it solid. The latter manifests as walls that block your path, and you need another upgrade to make them go away.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The Sanctuaries.
  • Healing Potion: Every Creed has their own variant, but all share the same function of fully restoring your health.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Red Hall of Cages — a structure seemingly made only from cages, torture devices, and curious mechanisms made to be a gigantic torture hall. But after years of rot, the line between prisoner and torturer disappeared, and they surely are happy to find a new victim: you.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Masterless Knight, the Despondent Thief, and the Black Sands Sorcerer. All of them travel around the island for their own reasons, and independently uncover the secrets of its unearthly nature.
  • Hint System: Just like the Souls series, you can leave messages to other players in the form of a Message in a Bottle they can pick up and read. And again, other than sticking to the predetermined structures, players can put anything they wish, from actual, helpful advice to outright lies and anything in-between.
  • Homing Projectile:
    • One of the rather tricky attacks employed by Pale Witches, a lightning ball that splits into three homing projectiles.
    • The Witch of the Lake has two attacks that fire a barrage of homing Arcane projectiles.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Subverted with the Unspeakable Deep. It's a challenging opponent that can easily one-shot your prologue character, but it can be beaten. Winning doesn't change anything, but it does reward you with an achievement, a good amount of salt, a Black Pearl, and some high-end upgrade/alchemy materials including a Drowned Tome (only one of which can be obtained per playthrough otherwise, and it's in a Guide Dang It! location).
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • Several bosses and enemies fit this trope, but the best is the Nameless God, who is a deity, but unlike other gods, he is born of salt, not fire, and as such, is mortal. Not mortal in the "Will Grow Old And Die" sense, but the "Stab Him Enough Times And He'll Die" sense.
    • The Candlelit Lady is a more benign example. She looks human, but she describes herself as a being "born of light," not salt like the Player Character, all other humans, and the various gods. In fact, she appears to be the only entity in the entire game who is born of light instead of salt.
  • Human Sacrifice: Talking with the Despondent Thief, the Black Sands Sorcerer, and the Old Man will reveal that this was the true purpose of your voyage: to send sacrifices to the island. It's strongly implied that the princess you were escorting was a slave disguised as a princess to hide the true nature of your "mission".
  • Humongous Mecha: The Tree of Men is a truly disturbing Haunted Technology example being a freaky amalgamation of torture devices decorated with its victims hanging off its limbs.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: While their is the Weight parameter which limits what you can equip, there are no limits to how many weapons, armor, and items are stored in your inventory.
  • I Have Many Names: When you meet him for the last time in The Still Palace, Jared tells you that he has held many names and titles long ago. But then he Subverts this trope by concluding that titles, fame and infamy are worthless on the island... And you'll never get to know what those names are.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Impaled Knights are victims of Carsejaw the Cruel, those who attempt to instigate a rebellion against him. There fates? Being impaled on stakes while standing upright. Some of them even get their heads replaced by horses. And oh, don't think that they've truly died from this, as they will jump and attack you when you approach them.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: The Trinity Scepter is basically a scepter once used for channeling magic. But due to its massive size, it is used and classified as a Greathammer in-game for bashing your enemies.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: There are treasure chests everwhere, and most of them are found near ledges or at the corners of a room.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: A lot of the Tier 4 equipment can surpass most of their "end-game" Tier 5 counterparts and that they can be upgraded faster with cheaper salt, whereas Tier 5 equipment all require Drowned items such as the extremely rare one per playthrough Drowned Tome. Case on point:
    • Schrarfichter is the highest Strength-scaling Greatsword and has a faster attack speed. At 50 STR, it outclasses the Trinity Sword in terms of raw power which provides a Lifesteal effect, has a higher base attack stat but lower Strength-scaling. With the Tier 5 Greatsword skill, you can even one-hand the Schrarficter with a shield or torch on the other.
  • Invisible Monsters: The Whispermen and Whisperladies in the Dome of the Forgotten. And oh, they are also invisible in the bestiary.
  • It Is Dehumanising: The scarecrow constantly refers to our protagonist at "it."
  • The Jester: A jester is lurking around the island. He's as clownish as you can expect, and speaks in riddles and rhyme, but you need to find him in order to get a brand. He's also one of the few people who knows about the Nameless God and what the island really is.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Just like From Software is wont to do with their games, Salt and Sanctuary's story and lore has to be pieced together from whatever you can glean from the NPCs' dialogue and the reams of Flavor Text that are available.
  • Kaizo Trap: The platforming segment that allows you to reach The Blackest Vault and the guaranteed spawn location of the Drowned Tome. The area is pitch-black and you'll have to drop down several platforms while taking damage and kneeling every time you fall. Fortunately, the game provides you a hint - drop down the side where water is dripping, except for the last jump, where the platform underneath it is wooden, and guarantees your death from falling into a deep void. But if you find bottles (left by other players) telling you to jump to the right, you can evade this trap in your first try.
  • Kick the Dog: After believing that sin should be made as sacrifice, the Untouched Inquisitor sacrificed three Lambs – the first was his congregation, the second was the Lady of the Light, Laineia and the Third was the latter's pet Kinoa.
  • Kill and Replace: The Nameless God murdered The Three, the trinity of most recently worshiped gods in the world, and took their place, using his powers to grant their miracles. They are inside the Crypt of Dead Gods, and have become undead monsters that are mere shadows of their former selves.
    • Worse are the implications that not just the Three, but every god in history is buried in that tomb. The Three are only able to fight you because they're still reasonably "fresh". The rest are too dead, too decrepit, to be able to move anymore.
  • Kneel Before Zod: In your first conversation with it, the Scarecrow says that you will one day kneel before him. It's technically true; you're forced to take fall damage when commencing the fight against the Nameless God, making you look as though you're kneeling. Doesn't mean you're ready to submit just yet.
  • Knight Templar: The Untouched Inquisitor came to a temple that may or may not have been filled with sinners. It is unknown if their sins were real, or just the Inquisitor's imagination, or if it was a combination of the two, but either way, he set to work with a will. By the time he was done, he was the only one left. Not even the Lady of Light's pet, The Third Lamb, was spared. The First and Second sacrificial lambs were the whole congregation and the lady herself.
  • Leap of Faith:
    • Reaching the Forgotten Three requires a set of these by the end of the route, with a dark pit like a mineshaft with platforms out of sight that will severely wound you, maybe even kill you from fall damage if you miss one. However, there is a hint, it's just hard to spot if you haven't been told of it: The candles in the background trace the path you must follow, and lead from each platform to the next.
    • Reaching the Blackest Vault, where the Order of the Betrayer sanctuary is located, requires you to jump off several ledges and take fall damage from the long drop. Missing a ledge will kill you with fall damage. There is a way to tell which side of the ledge to drop down from: see which side of the ledge has water flowing down from it.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Iron Pot the Chef gets as a starting item (one can also be found soon after battling the Queen of Smiles), is about as non-lethal as one can imagine for a cast iron pan when every other weapon is either an actual weapon or something big and/or sharp enough to act as one. However, while most other weapons have their damage improve only slightly with upgrading, the Iron Pot's damage skyrockets until at max level it hits reasonably hard, with a higher base damage than the Mountain Breaker making up for the lower Strength scaling. That, and it swings just as fast as before, meaning you can quickly beat the piss out of anything weak to Strike without the usual drawback of hammers. Magikarp Power in action.
  • Level Grinding: You are encouraged to farm salt, and level up if you want to equip higher-tier weapons, armor and spells. Not to mention that increased parameters allow you to have a better chance against enemies from all kinds.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Weapons, Armors and Spells can only be equipped if you have learned the necessary Tier Level from the Skill Tree.
  • Life Drain: The Trinity Greatsword restores a minuscule amount of HP for every hit.
  • Light Is Good: Devera, the most unambiguously good of the deities in the setting, is described is the Goddess of Light. in addition, underneath the Watching Woods, there is the Lady of Candlelight, a gentle being who claims to be born of pure light and has the ability to forgive the player's sins and cleanse their corruption. Also, one of the motivations of the Nameless God is that he was born of salt like mortals, instead of being a creature of candlelight, and being a flawed creature of salt dove him into his mad, greedy rage.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • Murdiella Mal is an ethereal butterfly-like being who wields holy magic. She's just as monstrous and horrible as any other Kraekan.
    • On the humanoid end of the scale, there's the Untouched Inquisitor, who is unquestionably holy by story and mechanics, but committed some of the most evil acts you will find in the entire island (which is saying a lot).
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: At least at the time of release, compared to other builds, magic starts out very strong, and only gets stronger.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: Well, Fire and Sky, but it's basically the same. Getting out of balance in one direction or another will cause some damage, but it can be migated (or worsened) with the use of certain rings.
  • Locked Door: Typical from both Dark Souls and Castlevania games. In Salt and Sanctuary, they open up shortcuts between areas.
  • The Lost Woods: The Watching Woods
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: The Willpower Attribute not only increases your Stamina and Focus. It also raises your Item find rate, increasing the chances of obtaining rarer items from slain enemies.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields outright negate all damage if the corresponding resist stat reaches 100. Otherwise, it results to damage reduction. You'll need a shield if you are dealing with enemies and bosses that rely on ranged attacks, but each successful block will slowly drain your Stamina.
  • Machete Mayhem: The Red Guillotine used by the Torturers in the Red Hall of Cages. Due to the weight of the blade, its single cutting edge, and blunt tip, it's classified as an axe rather than a sword. It's also possibly the best one-handed weapon for pure Strength characters, as the Axe of Splendor requires a decent amount of Dexterity to surpass it.
  • Mad God: The final boss, the Nameless God. Unlike other gods who are born of fire, he is born of salt, and as such, is mortal (meaning killable), fallible, and ruled by an insatiable desire. This has driven him quite mad.
  • Magic Is Mental: Magic Spells increase in damage the higher your Intelligence stat becomes. This also applies to Prayers, which rely on the Wisdom stat.
  • Magic Knight: While several bosses combine martial prowess with magic, two of them play this particularly straight, having the appearance of imposing armored swordsmen who also wield powerful magic:
    • The first boss, the Sodden Knight, wields a huge sword while occasionally blasting the floor with lightning magic. When he Turns Red, he combos the lightning magic with an overhead jumping slash.
    • The final boss, the Nameless God, wields a huge sword in tandem with Bullet Hell magic attacks.
  • Magic Wand: Spells can only be equipped if you have these in hand, aside from the Magic Tier requirements from the Skill Tree.
  • Magikarp Power: Most early-game weapons have low base damage, but exceptionally high scaling. This means that many, even the lowly Midshipman's Dirk, will eventually outpace the various weapons stronger than it.
  • Marionette Master: A small doll dwells in the cavity of the Disemboweled Husk, controlling the dread pirate's body and movements like a marionette.
  • Megaton Punch: Mother Merles' headbutts are not to be taken lightly. Getting knocked off a ledge and landing about half a mile away is an entirely real possibility.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • The battle against the Third Lamb is essentially putting the once-noble beast out of its misery after everything the untouching Inquisitor did to it.
    • The battle against the Forgotten King, Knight, and Judge is one of these, as you are ending the tortured imprisonment of the Three by the Nameless God so he can steal their prayers.
    • The battle against the Nameless God is described in the entry for his equipment as being an act of mercy, as his death released him from the mad torment of his life and his unending desire to gain a soul of candlelight rather than one born from salt.
  • Message in a Bottle: The Hint System, copied almost entirely from Dark Souls in the form of messages anyone can leave, takes the form of random bottles lying around with messages in them for you to read. During the Black Sands Sorcerer's sidequest, it's implied that in the context of the story, all the messages you find from other players were in fact left by you on previous respawns. You've just died and respawned so many times that you can't remember them all.
  • Metroidvania: The game is made up of one large continuous world. True to form, you gain access to new areas by acquiring movement-based abilities as you travel, and collect keys to open locked doors.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The "Flint & Steel" sword has (as the name implies) a flintlock gun built-in. It's notably the only ammo-consuming weapon that can use a charm.
  • Money for Nothing: Unless you're using a weapon that needs ammunition, there's not much to buy in this game, since you upgrade equipment instead of buying it and upgrades are done with salt. The only thing that needs any kind of saving-up is the Axe of Splendor (which admittedly requires a lot of it, costing 200000 gold), and the only other thing remotely close to that price can be crafted with the Tree of Men's Ashes and a Shimmering Pearl.
    • Thankfully, it is later averted when you gain the ability to buy sacks of salt with it, although the trade off is 500 gold for 100 salt.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The "lord" of the Mire of Stench, That Stench Most Foul, is nothing but a walking mass of mouths and teeth.
  • Monster Compendium: Has a bestiary which contains the creatures' drop lists and lore.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The Clay Phantoms and Things Of Arms have several pairs of arms.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two major endings, with seven variants each based on which creed you're following.
    • Domination: If you talk to the "scarecrow" every time you encounter it, then you have the option to take its helmet off after defeating the Nameless God. If you do take its helmet off, then you'll automatically put it on and become the new Nameless God. This ending nets you the Overlord armor set.
    • Salvation: Simply jump down the well. You'll appear in the middle of the ocean, with the island gone and yourself as the sole survivor of the attack.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: No matter how much you pump up your character's Strength, they will always maintain the same scrawny look.
  • Nature Spirit: The Stone Roots venerate these spirits instead of the gods. Followers of the creed are viewed with suspicion because of their mastery of poison.
  • Nay-Theist: The Iron Ones bow to no gods, revering only the iron will of humans. Oddly enough, they still have clerics who can teach prayers. Among the three starting Creeds, it is the most suited to builds that rely less on magic and more on martial prowess.
  • New Game+: Another feature shamelessly borrowed from FromSoftware. After you beat the game, you can replay it from the beginning with all your gear and levels intact, while fighting tougher enemies.
  • Nintendo Hard: Oh yes. This game was modeled after the Souls series, so this comes with the territory.
  • No Name Given: The Nameless God, obviously. Well, Jaret mentions near the Still Palace that while it is humanity that gives names to the gods, he requests that you must not give a name to the god that dwells in the said palace.
  • Note to Self: The Black Sands Sorcerer's sidequest implies that all of the messages in a bottle you keep finding (which were left by other players online) were actually left by yourself in a previous respawn. You've just died and respawned so many times that you can't remember leaving them (plus the Nameless God is probably screwing with your head).
  • Oculothorax: A rather disfigured case. The Hearseekers are abonimations made from human experiments wherein their hearts (and consequently, chests) are replaced by a very large encompassing eyeball that takes up a majority of their body.
  • Oh, Crap!: The player will be saying this a lot, since, just like Dark Souls, this game has a habit of dropping surprise ambushes on the unwary who go running after a shiny piece of seemingly unprotected loot, or after an enemy who seems to be retreating.
  • The Old Gods: Devara, the Goddess of Light. Her Creed is the oldest one known and still widely followed, though its membership has been dwindling over the centuries. It specializes in healing and prayers, making it well suited to cleric and paladin builds.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Mal's Floating Castle, which can only be accessed by reversing gravity with a Vertigo Brand in an optional area, allowing you to ascend to the skies until you reach a certain platform that normalizes your gravity.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Once you learn the proper nodes from the Skill Tree, you can one-hand previously two-handed greatswords, greataxes, greathammers and polearms without any major drawbacks. These can help you carry a shield or torch on one hand and strike using a powerful weapon on the other.
  • One Time Dungeon: The ship level can only be accessed once (after you create a new character) and a New Game+ won't bring you back there. Although a Sequence Breaking glitch allows you to exploit a control scheme to return to this very first level and fight The Unspeakable Deep again.
  • Optional Boss: Several boss fights can be skipped.
    • The Queen of Smiles can be bypassed entirely, though its not recommended, since killing her gives access to areas with good gear.
    • The Kraekan Cyclops can be ignored if you've taken down the Mad Alchemist first, as defeating him unlocks a door that lets you bypass the Cyclops' arena, but you'll have to fight the Jester as well. Alternately, you can ignore the Mad Alchemist and the Jester and fight the Cyclops.
  • Our Demons Are Different: They're referred to as Kraekan. They're believed to originate from the sea and the most common form, called the Unspeakable Deep, resembles a certain octopus-headed eldritch horror, but they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and most of the ones you encounter are mysteriously landbound.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Again, the Kraekan: the most powerful individuals of this species, aside form Murdiella Mal, mix draconic features with aspects of deep sea beings: the Unspeakable Deep has powerful clawed arms, two flipper-like wings and stands on all four, while its head is comparatively small with cephalopod-like tentacles around the mouth; the Kraekan Cyclops is almost humanoid but it is covered in sharp quills and scales; the Kraekan Wyrm has an armored dragon body, with functional wings and powerful tail; Skourz has a slender saurian neck and prensile hands but its body ends in a mass of writhing blue tentacles.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: The people of the Jinderen Archipelago at least bear a few similarities to fantasy orcs, with their dark skin, tusks, and the red sclera in their eyes, but it's hard to say what exactly they're supposed to be. Little is known about them however, as few venture into Jinderen. There don't even appear to be any marks of Jinderen culture on the island, which only makes them more mysterious.
  • Our Souls Are Different: There are two kinds of souls: Saltborn and Candlelight.
    • Saltborn souls are those of normal, mortal life, with all life connected to the oceans and salt forming the physical material of the souls of mortals. When creatures die, the salt of their souls can be collected and used in various ways, although Salt Alkymancy is considered The Dark Arts by most religions and countries as it is a perversion of the natural order. Creatures born of salt can exist readily in the physical world, but are fated to die and have their salt reused in the cycle of life and death.
    • Candlelight souls are a sort of divine essence associated with the gods, the Candlelight Lady, and the the higher Kraekans. Candlelit souls experience life in a mush more intense and vivid manner, but are fleeting and cannot stay within the physical world for very long; according to the Candlelit Lady, even being on the Nameless Island is difficult. The source of the conflict within the story of the game is because the Nameless God was born with a soul of salt, and desires a soul of light, and is doing everything he can to try to become a candlelit soul, to the point that he has been driven to madness.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The game begins with this. A war between two expansionist nations is about to come to a close with the arranged marriage of a princess. And then a Kraekan appears seemingly out of nowhere, attacks the ship with her on board, and leaves you stranded on an island that follows its own rules.
  • Path of Inspiration: Pretty much what the creed of the Three is or has devolved into. The Knight, the King, and the Judge are little more than decaying husks barely clinging to life. Every prayer directed to them is implicitly heard by the Nameless God instead, who's been using the creed to drown the world in endless war for centuries.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Mal's Floating Castle, a relatively out of the way bonus area that requires almost every brand in the game to reach, is a prime location for farming. The Crypt Keeper very near the sanctuary can drop Lord's Orders, King's Orders, and Shimmering Pearls, as well as quite a bit of money and salt, especially with the right idols placed in the sanctuary.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Souls stolen by enemies from your deaths will be permanently lost if you fail to recover them from that same enemy. The causes of which include dying from a different enemy, or from an environmetal death.
    • There are unique items that are only obtainable once per playthrough, such as the guaranteed Drowned Tome drops from the Unspeakable Deep and a chest from the left of The Blackest Vault. If you forgot to obtain them, you'll have to wait for another New Game+ cycle.
  • Plague Doctor: Alchemists typically wear the beak-like mask associated with the profession, and it's even described as being filled with pleasant-smelling herbs meant to protect the wearer from illness. The Mad Alchemist fittingly also wears the mask.
  • Poisoned Weapon: Can be applied to your own weapons with the right consumables. On the enemy side, a lot of the mounted crossbows in the Mire of Stench have poisoned arrows.
  • Power at a Price:
    • Magic Spells work like this, as each one decreases your maximum stamina when used. Without a ring to mitigate the effect, it can completely deplete your stamina bar.
    • The Silversalt Charm boosts your weapon's attack power significantly, but drains salt with every attack.
    • The Mireheart Charm adds significant poison damage to your weapon, but attacking will also poison you.
  • Power Glows: Spells and consumables that provide elemental attributes will make the weapon glow depending on the element (White for Light, Orange for Fire, Dark Green for Poison, Blue for Lightning, and Dark Red for Arcane).
  • Pre-Explosion Glow: Bosses die this way, covered with glowing cracks, then glowing all over before violently exploding into mist (or a cloud of salt?).
  • Pumpkin Person: Early in the game, you can find the Ghastly Gourd, a jack-o-lantern helmet. Judging from the strung-up bodies of other players, it appears to be a rather popular choice of headwear.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Disemboweled Husk, the remains of a feared pirate captain, is controlled by a tiny doll-like creature that has made a home in his hollowed-out corpse. The doll drops after killing him as his transmutation material.
  • Random Drop Booster: The Kismet Stone increases your item find rate.
  • Reduced Mana Cost: The Burning Sky Ring reduces the cost of magic spells and prayers.
  • Religion of Evil: The Order of the Betrayer, a secret Creed dedicated to the Betrayer, whose thirst for suffering knows no bounds. You have to prove that you're willing to die trying to desecrate another Creed's Sanctuary just for the opportunity to join it. Increasing your devotion to the Creed requires succesfully desecrating other Creeds' Sanctuaries. It's so evil that merely drinking its healing consumable corrupts you a little. Unsurprisingly, the Creed specializes in debuff items and dark magic.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The Bloodless Prince was this to The Dried King, back when the king was alive. Basically, the king built a false prince out of clay, and tried to use him as a replacement after his brother died. The... thing that it became would drive the king insane, either by just existing, or intentionally.
  • Reset Button: Kneeling at Sanctuaries refills all your Health, Stamina, and Creed items, as well as making non-boss enemies (except Bronze Knights) reappear.
  • Respawn Point: Justified unlike the magical Bonfires of Dark Souls. Whenever you die, an unknown merchant will always drag your body to the previously-entered Sanctuary, but they take 10% of your current gold in return.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: The Witch of the Lake wears the traditional black robes and steepled hat associated with witches.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The final room in the game, where the Nameless God truly resided, is an endless field, with no visible roof or walls, completely covered in lit candles. It serves as one final example of how much he desired a candlelit soul.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The Flavor Texts of the Overlord Set, symbolizing the desires of the Nameless God.
    • Crown – His desire for dominion.
    • Candelabra – For his desperate attempt to find a candlelit soul. The one that drove him to the path of darkness.
    • Greaves – An image of a man is engraved on the bottom left of its heel and a woman on the right pair. This represents his contempt for saltborn as crushes them under his feet.
    • Gauntlets – An image of the candle is engraved in its palm. Much like the Candelabra, this symbolizes his wish to grasp the unattainable in the land.
  • Rush Boss: The Mad Alchemist is a Glass Cannon whose attacks, at that point in the game, are more or less impossible to just ignore due to their erratic nature and sheer volume. You can't tank them, either, because he's got excellent elemental coverage with them, and only elemental attacks which heavy armor does little about. As such, the boss fight ends up being a battle of damage, trying to end him before the bottled potion spam becomes too much to bear.
  • Save the Princess: What you set out to do once you awaken on the island. Of course, it rather quickly ends up becoming... complicated.
  • Scary Scarecrow: A creepy talking scarecrow appears in certain locations to taunt you and question your true motivations. It's what's left of the Nameless God's true body, and if you choose to take his power for yourself, then your body also takes the place of the scarecrow.
  • Scenery Gorn: Expect to find desolate ruins, piles of corpses, and all other kind of macabre imagery in your journey across the island. Most notably, bosses are usually preceded by rows and rows of dead players on display.
  • Schmuck Bait: Some unique items obtainable in the dungeons will spawn ambushing enemies even if you just get near them. A notable example is the Pumpkin head equipment being guarded by the Saltless – enemies that you are supposed to encounter only at the end-game dungeons, and can quickly whittle down your defenses and health with their Flasks of Defilement.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Or specifically, Player class. All of the starting equipment worn by each of the classes can be found in chests. Which means, even if you didn't start with this one class, you can always find their equipment somewhere else.
  • Screaming Warrior: The Nameless God is constantly bellowing during the fight, every attack punctuated by another cry. From the tone, he's either in agony, or enraged beyond reason, and truly he has reasons to be both.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The Despondent Thief, if you've met and spoke to her at every opportunity, will eventually decide that no treasure is worth staying on the island and uses bits from the many wrecked ships on the Far Beach to build a boat of her own and leave.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: You can set gameplay restrictions when you create a new character, and this carries over New Game+ cycles. For example, the "Iron Pot only" challenge requires you to use the Iron Pot, and equipping any other weapon makes them practically useless (they would act as if you haven't learned the necessary Skill to equip them properly).
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • The game is not strictly linear as you are able to skip some boss fights if you have the right items that allow you to bypass dungeons. The existence of shortcuts also allow you to skip through parts of dungeons (such as the shortcut to the Pitchwoods from The Blackest Vault, effectively opening a path that bypasses the Spindlebeast-infested area), as well as a shortcut to Carsejaw's boss arena.
    • There is an easily-exploitable glitch that allows you to fight The Unspeakable Deep again if you fail to defeat it during the first level. Since the sinking ship is actually located above the Shivering Shore, climbing the first ladder and pressing the roll and jump buttons repeatedly at the same time (or binding them both to one key) causes you character to float upwards until you can return to the ship. You can even do this while you are near the end-game and return to the Shivering Shore. With higher stats and better equipment than when you first encounter The Unspeakable Deep, you can technically One-Hit Kill the boss.
    • Likewise, a glitch allows you to have a longer jump, giving you the opportunity to skip even boss battles by jumping at specific platforms.
  • Set Bonus: Equipping armor pieces belonging to the same set will grant you an additional passive effect (which is not hinted on any tutorial), such as the Umbral Set which reduces damage taken from non-physical attacks by 80%.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Mimku revert to their true squid-like forms if you attack them or fall for their trap. Averted with the False Jester, who is described in the Bestiary as being "of undefined shape", which could possibly mean it has no true form at all.
  • Shear Menace: The game includes a couple of Greatsword-type weapons that are classified as Greatscissors, which can be used as regular two-handed swords, or as a massive pair of shears to cut enemies to ribbons.
  • Shield Bash: As opposed to light shields and bucklers that allow you to parry enemy attacks, attacking while blocking with Tower Shields will allow you to do this to enemies instead. While the bash does minimal damage to them, it greatly reduces their stamina, as employing shield bash against a shielded enemy will cause them to stagger with repeated attempts.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Russet armor set is likely one to the Catarina set from the Dark Souls trilogy. Basically "onion knight, meet potato knight".
    • An NPC calls herself "Bloodbrow", which is derived from "Blood Bro", a community nickname for the Brotherhood of Blood covenant members of Dark Souls II.
    • Carsejaw's helmet (also the Umbral Visor which can be forged from him) looks exactly like Shredder's from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
    • While the game is unapologetic about its Dark Souls inspirations, the "Hunter" starting class is clearly modeled after a Bloodborne player character.
    • The backdrop for the sanctuaries of the Iron Ones looks an awful lot like the Iron Throne as it's depicted in Game of Thrones.
    • Go all the way to the bottom left of the Mire of Stench and you'll find a merchant named Old Gre— er, sorry, "Alde Griggs".
      Griggs: You ever drink Pessmud out of a boot?
    • Retchfeeders closely resemble Xenomorphs.
    • The bestiary entry for the Bedspiders references two franchises.
      Bedspiders were discovered in Devil's Maw Crater, a volcanic lava bed deep in the mountains of Markdor.
      • Additionally, "Markdor" gets mentioned several times in the Flavor Text of some items, equipment, and even in the skill tree nodes.
  • Sinister Scythe: Scythes are one of the classifications of weapons that you can use, and most of them scale with Dexterity.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet:
    • The Grim suit of armor, which is typically worn by those in the Order of the Betrayer creed, consists of cloth lined with human bones. It shows you what a fun bunch they are.
    • Carsejaw the Cruel, unlike his source material, is not a skeleton made of skeletons, so he must do this to make his Gravelord Nito cosplay as accurate as possible.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In this game, Kraken-based enemies are called "Kraekans" and Liches are "Lietches".
  • Stance System: You can wield a weapon with one hand for versaltility when paired with shields and other weapons, and the benefit of increased attack speed. Or you can dual-wield them for stronger (but slower) attacks that can sometimes hit multiple enemies at once.
  • Starter Equipment: Each of the classes have their own, but you can still find them in the dungeons regardless of which class you started with.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Like the games it's inspired by, most of the story and lore of the world has to be pieced together from what you hear the characters say as well as from the Flavor Text you read from item descriptions and the Tree of Skill.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: The Pale Witches' long hairs cover their entire face, much like the common depiction of this type of ghost.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The Fort-Beyond-The-Mire and the Far Beach are connected by a large body of water between them. You need the services of the Boatman who sails you across. But if you try to jump from the boat into the water, you'll find out that it's just another of those Bottomless Pits that send you plummeting down to your death, while also overlapping with this trope.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The Jaws of Death and Northern Cross can both be used like a huge pair of scissors.
  • Sword and Gun: Enforced. Guns (and crossbows) can only be equipped in the shield slot, not the weapon slot, so it's impossible to have a gun without a sword (or axe, or mace, or whatever). The only exception is Flint & Steel, which can be equipped in the weapon slot because it's a sword with a gun built into it.
  • Take Me Instead: The cause of the Hanged Men in the Red Hall of Cages which led them to their deaths. This was brought upon by the law which allows anyone to save a condemned man by voluntering their life in the condemned man's place.
  • Teleport Spam: The Bones skeleton enemy type, though it's mostly present with Angsty Bones — they disassemble and reassemble in a blink of an eye and do it all over the place. Good luck trying to get a hit on them.
    • The Split Swordsmen use a lighter version of this trope — they'll jump up and then reappear over you attacking downwards and repeat this attack a few times.
  • The Theocracy: Askaria is a mix of this and a kingdom, notable in that the state religion elevates the country's founding aristocracy as gods.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Every area you go into, and just outside of every boss area, you will see corpses on display — hung, strung up, impaled on spikes (either whole or just as a head). These aren't random, but the actual characters used by players who tried, and failed, to clear that area. So you know just what you're in for as you go in. The ones preceding Carsejaw the Cruel deserve a special mention — not only are they strung up or impaled, they're also beheaded with a horse head attached above them as mockery.
    • Even worse when you see a guy who was using the exact same equipment that you are.
    • There's also a candelabra in place just outside of each boss room, with lit candles representing how often the boss has been defeated recently.
    • And finally, if the boss is particularly nasty, you can always find the area right before the candelabra littered with bottles telling you that you're gonna have it rough.
  • The Undead: A lot of enemies fall under this heading, including many of the bosses.
    • Notably, they all are almost always described as 'drowned', alluding to the fact that you, your ship and its crew (and the princess) weren't the first to end up on the island.
  • Title Drop: A variation. While it is not an exact mention of the game's title. A line said by Jaret near The Still Palace contains two out of the three words.
    Jaret: Alas, we are born of Salt, bound by Sanctuary.
  • Toilet Humor: The description for the Venomous Blade incantation notes that it was hidden in code within "musings on singing with one's mouth full and an ode to farts".
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Encouraged. One does not simply rely on a single loadout for defeating every single enemy and boss in the game, you'll eventually run into bosses that force you to learn how to read attack patterns and adjust equipment accordingly. The Witch of the Lake serves as a warning to players who simply think that Greatswords are enough, you'll need Arcane-resistant shields and armor if you even want to get past her.
  • Troll: Thanks to the Message in a Bottle hint system, some players have left (or will leave more) hints that fall into this category. Such examples include bottles that tell the player "to jump down a cliff for treasure", when in reality, there is nothing there except from falling to death.
  • True Sight: The Phial of Undersight and the Undersight Prayer allows you to see the invisible enemies such as the Whispermen.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: That Stench Most Foul grew from its initial small size by eating its own creator (who is said to have had more ambition than caution). It kept growing after that, since it ended up enjoying the taste of human.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Carsejaw the Cruel — the pretender Duke of Tristin who rallied his supporters to particularly violent Witch Hunts. As mentioned above, the dead bodies of players before the boss fight are needlessly mutilated.
  • Undead Child: The Drowned Porcelain enemies wouldn't be out of place in a horror game — small drowned children bearing broken porcelain masks (which were required to be worn by children of nobles) and large knives. They almost always try to grab and stab you repeatedly.
  • Undying Loyalty: With emphasis on "undying": The Lietches you find in the old Ziggurat are the remains of the Sun King's most faithful court sorcerers. The Bestiary description and their dropped Ribs state they remained alive not due to the island's strange properties or any dark magic at work, but because they were just that loyal to the King, to the point death was not a good enough reason to end their service.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: How you evade attacks. With the right timing, you can get past larger enemies. But don't expect lengthy invincibility frames though, as some attacks can still damage you even when you're rolling.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: If you manage to defeat the final boss, wear all of his equipment and carry the Order of the Betrayer's Devotion to a New Game+, you can look like a miniature version of the Nameless God and walk in Sanctuaries that worship him. Despite all of these, the Order's NPCs will just treat you like a fellow believer, even if you are already looking exactly like their god.
  • Uriah Gambit: According to the Old Man, everyone who ended up on the island, including yourself, was betrayed in this manner by the ones who sent them on their "missions".
  • Vicious Cycle: The Nameless God causes conflict and war to spread across the world; one or more of the ruling kingdoms sends a tribute of ignorant dupes to the island he lives on; sometimes it's a boat of diplomats, sometimes it's a war boat of knights and mercenaries, sometimes it's an escort ship carrying slaves disguised as lords or princesses; the sacrifice grants the Nameless God some of the candle-lit power he craves and new artistic material to build his twisted island, and he puts a stop to the conflicts... then he begins lusting for more power or gets bored of his latest creations, and the cycle begins anew.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: When you Descerate a Sanctuary, any non-hostile NPC will turn against you. Those merchants you've been previously trading with before? They will not hesitate to draw their weapons against you. And once you kill an NPC, they will be gone forever in that playthrough.
  • Videogame Dashing: The Dart Brand provides this as a gameplay / platforming mechanic, but it can only be performed in mid-air and is limited to two consecutive dashes until you land.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The armor pieces that you equip visibly affect your character's appearance, and they are divided into categories, allowing you to mix-and-match them from varying sets into endless combinations.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Several Kraekan have the ability to do this. Mimku have the ability to transform into anything, they just choose to pose as treasure chests because they've learned it's the easiest way to get a meal. The False Jester chose his form in order to trick people who were looking for the actual jester.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Kraeken Wyrm, as well as the Third Lamb. Both bosses pose considerably greater challenge than the previous ones, and you do not want to get into these fights unprepared. Especially the Third Lamb gets incredibly erratic and much more aggressive in the second phase, and is perfectly capable of ending you very quickly. The Kraeken Wyrm is there to teach you just how dangerous the wounding mechanic can be — should you come unprepared, you can easily end up with your max HP halved a minute into the boss fight.
    • The Tree of Men is another example — it most cases you could simply roll through most attacks or even take them and just just heal back the damage you took. But this time around, you need to attack specific weak points and make use of the environment to do so, while also paying attention to where you stand. This is where you learn that rolling is not everything, and that you better learn some actual platforming if you want to keep going.
    • The third boss, the Mad Alchemist, proves a challenge for new players. Whereas the first two bosses are fairly ponderous with easy to read tells, the Alchemist moves very fast, spamming his potions across the arena to unleash fireballs, lightning storms, spectral blades, and poisonous blobs. If he isn't finished quickly, the player will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of spells piling up in the boss arena. Relying too much on sword and board will prove to be fatal, as the elemental and poison attacks chew through your meagre defences at such an early point in the game.
    • The Sodden Knight serves as a perfect "WELCOME TO SALT AND SANCTUARY" whack to the player's head, demonstrating exactly the sort of skills you are going to need in order to get through the island. Beating him requires a display of every skill that'll get you through the rest of the game, and (especially to those who haven't played Soulslikes before) he will keep you at bay until you can truly "Git Gud" and learn the proper playstyle.
  • Walking the Earth: The Masterless Knight admits to have been questing for its own sake since he was 13. Even being trapped on the island has done nothing to quell his sense of adventure.
  • Wall Jump: The Shadowflip Brand grants you this as a platforming mechanic, and you can combine it with the Dart Brand should the gap between the walls be large enough.
  • Warp Whistle: Calling Horns allow you to teleport to any Sanctuary that has a Guide in it.
  • Warrior Poet: The Masterless Knight is shown to have a very philosophical mindset, as he ends every conversation with a proverb of wisdom.
    "Whenever you're scared and alone, remember that you are your own hero."
  • Was Once a Man: The Nameless God was born mortal, but the power of the island made him something both more and less than human. However, no amount of power could give him what he really wanted — a candlelit soul like the souls of the true gods born of fire.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: As stated in the Martial Flair's description, they are carried by the street thugs as tools of intimidation.
  • Wham Line:
    • From the Old Man once you reach the Siam Lake:
      Old Man: Fleshy flotsam... with a shared secret. You are all the betrayed, you are. I've seen slaves and whores masquerading as nobles. I've seen soldiers and sailors wrecked from the same ship with different ideas as to what their mission was. You sad, sad wanderers. Do you know by whom you were betrayed? And why? You had your princess to find. Or did you?
    • The three sidequest NPCs all drop one at some point in their respective sidequests, as they realize that something very strange is going on.
      Masterless Knight: The Red Hall of Cages should not be here. It should be in Askaria. It's an infamous dungeon there, well known for its legacy of blood and misery. So why is it here? Even... that castle we were just in. Did it not remind you of Cloudencasse in Kulka'as? I've never seen it in person, actually, but I know enough about it to know that that castle did not belong here. Cloudencasse... the Red Hall... these are near-perfect replicas, all together here. Is this the work of some mad architect?
      Despondent Thief: I... I found him. My nobleman, I mean. I recognized his dress, I'd only seen him from afar before, but there he was, up close, dead. I cut his robes off in search of jewels. You know what I found? I found a brand on his neck. They don't put brands on the necks of noblemen. Know who they put brands on the necks of? Slaves. A slave in nobleman's dress. What's a slave doing in nobleman's dress?
      Black Sands Sorcerer: This ziggurat we're in... well... it reminds me of that great tomb built by the Sun King of Kulka'as. [...] When I found this ziggurat, I thought I'd gone mad. But I'm no stranger to dark magic. Imagine a demon that feeds off of the ruins of nations.... a demon that... "collects." Such a powerful being could dwell on this island. Or perhaps this island is the demon. And it feeds... claiming men, women, kings, countries.
  • Wham Shot: If a boss introduction can count as a shot, then the one introducing the Forgotten Three definitely counts. The Three have had massive influence in the setting, you've been finding tidbits here and there of what their followers have been up to and what they have been doing, and with a single screen you are told they've been Dead All Along, made into starved husks by the owner of this hellish island you're trapped in. While the items you can forge from their ashes elaborate on this, the biggest impact comes from seeing them dead right in the Nameless God's personal oubliette.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • You don't rescue the princess, and you never really find out what happened to her. The most you have to go on is a dress that matches what she was wearing in the prologue, implying that she washed up on the island and was eventually killed. And that's assuming she didn't just drown when the ship sank. It's also possible she was never even a princess in the first place, but a slave who was simply dressed up for a sacrifice, but you never get the full story on that either.
    • The Marauders who ambushed your ship. You never actually meet any of them once you arrive on the island. Their description in the bestiary states that none made it to the same place as you.
      They killed your captain, but you alone washed up on the shore.
  • Whatevermancy: Salt Alkymancy, which is the origin of all the monsters found on the unnamed island.
  • Whip It Good: Whips are available in this game as well, and they scale primarily with Dexterity.
  • Whip Sword: Two of the whips in the game are classified as "Sword Whips". When wielded in one-hand, they remain in sword form during light attacks and extend during heavy attacks. Despite the name, you don't need to level up Swords in the Skill Tree to use them, only Whips.
  • Witch Hunt: The Wrathful Dreads are the ones executed by the pretender Duke Carsejaw's witch hunts.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Ronin Cran's greatsword was broken during his flight from the Castle of Storms. While it's still a potent weapon, it can no longer be considered a proper sword — it's actually an Axe type weapon.
  • Wutai: The kingdom of Kar'hi, where the only two katanas in the game originate from.
  • You Keep Using That Word: "Obliterated" is the "You Died" of Salt and Sanctuary...but doesn't really fit, since you respawn, and "obliterated" implies that something has been completely destroyed. Meanwhile, "vanquished" is used for the bosses, who don't come back. The messages really should have been switched.
  • Zip Mode: Guide NPCs allow you to travel to friendly sanctuaries that you have already claimed and visited at least once for that playthrough.

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