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The only Soulslike where dying makes you less salty!

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.

It was released for the PS4 on March 15, 2016, with PS Vita and PC versions in the works. The Steam version released on May 18, 2016.


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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of subtle plot elements can be discovered through text descriptions and bestiary entries.
  • 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 Dominate 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Continuing Is Painful:
    • There's 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 (and if not, 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 simply improve 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 down the creatures' drop lists and lore.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Russet armor set is likely one to the Catarina set from the Dark Souls trilogy. Basically "onion knight, meet potato knight".
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whatevermancy: Salt Alkymancy, which is the origin of all the monsters found on the unnamed island.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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