Hades Pact of Punishment Guide: Conditions, Bounties, & Heat Explained
Finishing your first run in Hades is only the beginning. The story continues long after you take down the final boss for the first time. Just as the narrative keeps building, so too does the difficulty and rewards you receive. It's all possible through the Pact of Punishment, served to Zagreus for daring to escape the Underworld.
Simply put, the Pact of Punishment makes it possible to reap additional rewards for conquering the game's boss encounters, but you'll need to work harder to do so. This guide will give you some pointers about where to start and a general overview of what to go for at higher difficulties.
What Is The Pact of Punishment and How Does It Work?
Once you return to the House of Hades after your first clear, you'll find a glowing, orange door in the Courtyard that has a scroll above it. This is the Pact of Punishment, a set of difficulty modifiers called "Conditions," that you can use to reset Hades' rewards, called "Bounties," for a run.
Heat and Grades: How they affect Bounties and Conditions
Applying any modifier adds 1 point of "Heat" to your Heat Gauge. Exceeding the Heat Gauge does nothing except add more modifiers, so having 5 Heat when your maximum is 1 Heat doesn't give you anything extra.
It doesn't reset your progress, either, so if you want to jump into something more challenging early, you can. Bounties are weapon-specific, so your 10 Heat Shield run doesn't affect the rewards for your 1 heat sword, etc.
Each Condition has multiple grades. For instance, the "Lasting Consequences" Condition reduces the amount of health you recover from healing items in increments of 20%.
At its maximum, Lasting Consequences causes a 100% reduction in healing from items in the world. This means all healing items: food, fountains, anything. Ability regen and health increasing items like Centaur Hearts still apply, but there is no way to regain health through outside means when you max out Lasting Consequences.
The various Condition grades have different Heat values, as well. Extreme Measures revamps Hades' boss fights with new mechanics or complications, beginning with the Furies in Tartarus. Each additional grade adds a Heat point, so if you max out this Condition to its fullest, Extreme Conditions alone grants 10 points of Heat.
You have to purchase the fourth and final grade from the House Contractor, and Hades himself will comment on your audacity.
Max out everything in the Pact of Punishment, and you'll get more than 60 Heat for your troubles, plus a lot of pain. If you're spendthrift with your endgame materials, you'll need the Pact to replenish your stock.
Best Pact of Punishment Conditions
Ultimately, the Conditions you apply through the Pact of Punishment comes down to what you're most comfortable with. The first time you try a run with Heat attached, you won't have any reason to use almost half of the Conditions on offer, as some have a base Heat value of two or more.
Early Endgame Pact of Punishment Conditions
For that 1 Heat run, I recommend either Convenience Fee, Lasting Consequences, or if you're feeling bold, Damage Control.
Convenience Fee increases the price of all of Charon's items by 40%. Boons now cost 210 gold, Poms of Power 140, and so on. You'll feel the increase here.
But if you've depended on Charon's shop for a lot of your power, adding this Condition will wean you off of it. If you do decide to visit the Boatman, it will force you to make more measured choices than just buying everything in stock.
Lasting Consequences lowers the amount of health you receive from healing items across the game in increments of 20%. One rank is noticeable, but it won't completely stall any run.
You'll need to be more conservative with your play, or at least kill everything much quicker than you had previously. In either case, you'll become a better player without causing too much trouble.
Jury Summons is a flat 20% increase to enemies, to a maximum of 60%. You should have a good handle on what builds and weapons work best for you by this point in your Hades career, so it's just a matter of learning how to move through enemies efficiently.
Defense is just as valuable as offense, and Jury Summons will teach you both.
Middle Endgame Pact of Punishment Conditions
Once you've got a few runs with Heat under your belt and upgraded your relationships, gear, and skills, you can add the following Conditions to your repertoire.
Benefits Package adds a Perk to armored encounters behind Skull doors. Perks are dangerous traits that make each encounter more difficult. The rewards for such encounters don't get any better, but this can shake up what were previously easy fights into something more interesting.
Extreme Measures complicates boss fights with additional mechanics or hazards. You can safely apply two ranks of this Condition without adding much difficulty.
You'll only really feel the Heat at grades three and four, as the final sets of bosses receive a more significant buff to their attack patterns and health bars. The bosses of Tartarus and Asphodel, while more difficult, are far more manageable.
Late Endgame Pact of Punishment Conditions
Approval Process forces you to give up a single Boon before entering a new region of the Underworld. You're given a choice of three random Boons, so you have some control over what you give up.
You're stacked with more than 20 different boons by the end of any run by this point, so listing three isn't the end of the world.
Tight Deadline puts an actual timer on your runs, to a minimum of five minutes per floor. Run out, and you'll take damage every second until you die.
Thankfully, leftover time carries over, so if you complete a floor with time to spare, it's added to your time limit. It's still dangerous, and you need to be at the top of your game to finish, but it's essentially a time-attack modifier.
Pact of Punishment Tips: Suggested Weapons and Abilities
The best weapon and build for your Pact of Punishment runs will ultimately come down to preference. If you don't mind losing a few to bad RNG or carelessness, going all out with something like the Fists of Malphon or the Stygius Sword is a good way to get runs done quickly and with tons of excitement.
If you're looking for more assured victory, something like a spear or bow run could be more up your alley. The Rail of Adamant machine gun also makes for some interesting, and slightly safer, playstyles, as you can keep away from your foes.
The Shield is probably the safest option, as if you aim it right, you can block almost any attack in the game, including big boss attacks. The only things you won't avoid are traps and Olympian effects, though both are simple enough to keep out of.
The abilities you choose are again up to your preferred style. For defense, Athena and Aphrodite could make your life easier. For quicker fights, Dionysis, Ares, and Zeus are good options, as well. For critical damage, add a little of Artemis.
Remember, there are thousands of viable builds in Hades, and played correctly, melting bosses is possible with even the strangest builds. Hades is cool like that.
With all that information in tow, you should be able to make the most of your Pact of Punishment runs in Hades. If this guide helped you become an unstoppable force, consider checking out our other Hades guides for more tips, including which keepsakes are the best.