Salt and Sacrifice: How Runic Arts Work

Runic Arts can make a big difference in how easy or difficult your time is in Salt and Sanctuary. Here's how they work.

Salt and Sacrifice has Runic Arts, special abilities tied to the weapons you find or craft in the game, rather than outright magic. Magic isn't just heretical in Salt and Sacrifice; it's the reason you're out to kill every Mage you can sink your blade into.

Using Runic Arts isn't the most straightforward mechanics, so this guide exists to explain everything you need to know. 

How Runic Arts Work in Salt and Sacrifice

Every craftable Mage weapon has some kind of Runic Art, and some you find out in the world do as well. To check if a weapon has a Runic Art, select it in either your inventory or crafting menu, then tab over once with the right trigger. 

You'll note two things:

  • Some weapons have not one but two Runic Arts, with activation bound to both X / Square and Y / Triangle.
  • Some weapons use Rage; some use something called Focus.

Using Runic Arts requires you to hold down the Left Trigger / L2 and press X / Square, which activates the Art. Note that once the animation begins, it cannot be stopped, so only use it when you have either plenty of space or time or both.

Focus Runic Arts consume Focus Points, one of the stats you're able to level up using the Tree of Skill grid. You drink Haze decoctions to refill Focus, so by default, you have three refills of your Focus Points.

Your Rage meter replaces your Focus meter when you have a Rage weapon equipped. Rather than spend Focus points, you build up Rage by attacking enemies. There's no distinction for tougher enemies, as every hit generates the same amount of Rage. Once you've accumulated enough, you can activate the Rage the same way a Focus Art activates.

There's one last wrinkle: to use Runic Arts, you have to unlock the proper Tier on the skill grid. Focus Arts use the Forbidden Glyph upgrade path, and Rage uses the Divine Glyph path.

These extend out from the bottom right part of the central set of skills on the grid. If you started as a Paladin, for instance, you'd need to spend extra points getting to those skills and would forsake the core parts of a standard Paladin build.

Which Runic Art is best for your build depends on what you're going for. Elemental damage is very important in this game, as each Mage and boss enemy has an elemental affinity, dictating their strengths and weaknesses. Fire damage does less against Fire bosses and so on.

Ideally, you'll want a Runic Art that has no damage type or is best for the Mage you're hunting. Bosses don't show their cards quite so readily, so finding out how best to fight them will take some trial and error. Well, more than usual.

Check out our review for a full rundown of what we thought about Salt and Sacrifice and its give and take Souls-like gameplay. We'll be digging more into the game in the coming days, so check out our Salt and Sacrifice guides hub.


John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.

Published May. 11th 2022

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