Salt and Sacrifice: Recommended Hunter Build (Whip + Crossbow)

This build is, at heart, a mixture of hunter cosplay and damage output optimization. Feel free to use different armour parts, the armour I use for my build is for the cosplay part.

This build uses whips and crossbows and requires three different stats for optimal damage output (luck, arcana, dexterity).

 

Introduction

Hello everyone,

When I recently read some people’s complaints about whips, I considered it a challenge to make a functioning build around whips that can clear all content. Since whips scale with luck, I decided to use crossbows in the ranged slot. All crossbows scale with both luck and dexterity exclusively, whereas whips scale with luckarcana, and sometimes dexterity, too. Whips and crossbows sounded like a hunter to me, so I decided to use the Snakeskin set (light armour) as this build’s armour.

Pros:
+++ drip (obviously)
++ weapon reach
++ high mobility
healing and good damage from crossbow
medium poise break potential (allowing for critical hits more often)

Cons:
– low armour protection (do not attempt to tank with this build!)
– high damage whips are slowfast whips have lower base damage and lower poise break potential

Stat Points, Starting Class, Levelling

Stat Point Acquisition

Stat points work differently from From Software games and other soulslike titles. In order to increase your character’s stat points, you need to level up, which grants you a Black Starstone for each level; then you need to spend these stones on nodes in the skill tree. You will also receive Gray Starstones; these can be used to spec out of nodes, but they are not infinite. Use them sparingly; I usually use them in order to sever connections between nodes I need if I do not need the connecting node.

Starting Class Choice

Since we want to use whips, I highly suggest to start with the Assassin starting class, as there is a close connection between the class 1 Twindagger node and the class 1 Hunter node.

Suggested Levelling Progression
Early Game

I always start with the nodes I immediately need. In this case, get to class 2 Hunter as soon as possible. Spec into class 1 Marksman for now, then spec into class 1 armour (light! armour) and reach class 2 armour as soon as possible. This path also offers vitality nodes, and we want to reach the soft-cap of 40 vitality eventually.

Slowly progress through the requirements for your weapon skills. This will level arcana at the same time.

Mid-Game

By mid-game, I suggest a vitality value of 20 to 30; when you arrive at Dreadstone Peak, keep leveling it to the softcap of 40, as the enemies tend to start hitting really hard, especially in the last area, the Elder Copse.

Late Game

In addition, we need to reach 25 luck25 arcana, and 25 dexterity, as our weapons scale with these stats. The softcaps for weapons scaling with two stats are (25/25), for those scaling with three stats (20/20/20). For further elaboration, please refer to the Whips section.

I further suggest unlocking all the light armour nodes, as there are multiple vitality nodes nearby and doing so will automatically level endurance (which governs carry weight).

As concerns dexterity, there are no dexterity nodes on any of the paths listed above, but fortunately, there are multiple nodes nearby. One can be reached from the node class 1 Twindaggers, next to it is a second one which can also be reached from the node class 1 Hunter. The final two ones required can be reached from the class ability Bolstered Dexterity (yellow).

Note. There is no need to spec into will (which governs stamina). If you find yourself with extra points at the end of the game, you can obviously put them into will, however.

My skill tree at level 105* looks like this:

*I am still working on getting dexterity to 25; afterwards, I am going to work on the light roll.

Whips

Early and Mid-Game: Ashborne Village, Bol Gerahn, Corvius’ Mire, Heart of Altarstone

The earliest whips available in the game are (in order) the Leather Whip, the Icemetal Whip, and the Serpentine Scourge.

In order to obtain the Leather Whip, you will need to find and save Shopkeeper Arnald at Ashborne Village. You can then purchase the whip from him.

In order to obtain the Icemetal Whip, you will need to find and kill Celus Zend (named version of the cryomancer).

In order to obtain the Serpentine Scourge, you will need to find and kill Varren Ovrin (named version of the venomancer).

Late Game: Dreadstone Peak, Elder Copse

The best whips in the game are, in my opinion, the Neural Coil and the Inphyrean Chain. The screenshots show both weapons at maximum upgrade level (stat point scaling is not accounted for).



In order to obtain these weapons, you will first need to find and kill Zyzak Zuun (named version of the neuromancer) for the Neural Coil and Nephael Mos (named version of the diablomancer) for the Inphyrean Chain. Both can be found at Dreadstone Peak. You can occasionally encounter roaming versions of these mages, but this is not reliably reproducable. You will then want to take the materials to the smith and craft the corresponding whips.

Evaluation of the Individual Whips
  • The Leather Whip is not worth investing in. It is a purely physical weapon with no additional skills.
  • The Icemetal Whip is the first available whip worth your while. It deals relatively high base damage and has noticeable poise break potential. It swings relatively slowly, though, so you need to time your attacks. It also comes with two additional skills; the first one is a powerful buff to its damage, the second one is a spell creating ice projectiles that will hurl themselves at enemies — powerful if and when they connect; unfortunately, they have a tendency to target enemies you are not intending to target because of vertical proximity.
  • The Serpentine Scourge is not bad for the early parts of the game. It swings noticeably faster than the Icemetal Whip, so you can spam more attacks and need to time fewer. Its poise break potential, however, is lower. It also comes with two additional skills; the first one is a buff to its damage, the second one is a spell creating venom projectiles that will hurl themselves at enemies — not as useful as the version used by the mage.
  • The Neural Coil covers both poison and light damage and scales with all three of our damage stats (luckarcanadexterity). It swings fast and breaks poise relatively reliably. It also comes with two additional skills; the first one is a neural blast (a forward-moving projectile) which can break enemy poise, the second one is a neural explosion — not that useful.
  • The Inphyrean Chain has the most drip. It covers fire and dark damage and scales with luck and arcana. It swings very fast and breaks poise often enough. It also comes with two additional skills, the first one is a buff to its damage, the second one scatters projectiles in front of you — useful to a certain degree, though I do not use it often. The buff is better.
Other Whips
  • The Chain Whip is nothing more than a reskinned version of the Leather Whip. I do not recommend it. It can be found in a subarea of the Temple of Bol Gerahn.
  • The Tendril Leash has never appealed to me in the first place. It combines cold and poison damage, so you do not gain any new damage type, and its skills are just as underwhelming as the versions used by the mage. In order to obtain it, you will need to find and kill Por Myec (named version of the fungalmancer).
  • The Smuggler’s Bane can only be obtained by acquiring 5 faction tokens for the Sheriff faction and purchasing it from the NPC Sheriff Inquisitor Kier. You can find him outside of the Temple of Bol Gerahn under a rickety bridge on a broken pillar. Since the weapon scales with conviction instead of arcana, I do not not use it.
  • The Vertebral Column can only be obtained by acquiring 5 faction tokens for the Chaos faction and purchasing it from the NPC Eater Manrin. He can be found in a subarea of the Temple of Eleven at Dreadstone Peak. As the weapon scales with strength and conviction instead of dexterity and arcana, I do not use it.

Crossbows

There are not terribly many options here.

You can find the Wooden Crossbow, but I suggest getting the Sturdy Crossbow as soon as possible; eventually you want to get the Bloodhunt Arbalest. The Bloodhunt Arbalest has decent damage and heals you for every successful hit on an enemy. The screenshot shows the weapon at maximum upgrade level (10).

  • The Wooden Crossbow can be found within a chest at Archridge Distric (Ashborne Village).
  • The Sturdy Crossbow can be purchased from Shopkeeper Arnald (one of the two NPCs you save in Ashborne Village, he can be found just to the east of Celus Zend’s hunt location, outside of the building, next to the ladder).
  • In order to obtain the Bloodhunt Arbalest, you will have to find and defeat Ture Vasari (named version of the sanguimancer) in Bol Gerahn first. The weapon covers poison and dark damage and scales with both luck and dexterity.
Other Crossbows

The other crossbows in the game are not necessarily bad, but they do not complement this build: neither do they heal the player character, nor do they receive the damage buff from our dagger charms if we exchange them respectively.

Armour

I use the entire Snakeskin set (Fanged CapSnakeskin CloakSnakeskin GlovesSnakeskin Boots) because it looks like a hunter’s outfit (bonus points for the extra drip) and because it is one of the lightest armour sets in the game, allowing for high mobility. It is possible to get a light roll (< 25% load) with this armour without having to level to absurd levels. The downside is obvioulsy low armour protection, though I did not have too much trouble because of it.

In order to obtain the Snakeskin set, you will have to find and kill Varren Ovrin (named version of the venomancer).

That said, feel free to use other light armour sets or pieces.

Please notice that the screenshots do not show the armour pieces at maximum upgrade level, as I am still working on the last upgrades and stat points.





Charms and Artifacts

Charms

While there is a plethora of options for these slots, I optimized the slots for damage output and stamina regeneration. The attack rating gained from the charms is substantial enough to outweigh additional protection charms for a high mobility build like this. The second ring, on the other hand, increases stamina regeneration, and is thus a no-brainer.

  • AmuletLeather Amulet (Increases attack power.)
  • Ring 1Gold Ring (Slightly increases overall attack and defence.)
  • Ring 2Whirlwind Ring (Hastens stamina regeneration.)

In order to obtain the Leather Amulet, you will have to find and kill Ghor Lorhotha (named version of the corpumancer).

In order to obtain the Gold Ring, you will have to find and kill Draeaxenerion (named version of the dracomancer).

In order to obtain the Whirlwind Ring, you will have to find and kill Aur Cyrus (named version of the aeromancer).

Artifacts

Unfortunately, BowlsUrnsFibulasIdolsVesselsFelinesArmletsFeathers, and Boxes are purely RNG dependent. I suggest looking for the following bonuses in particular:

  • + attack speed
  • + damage versus mages
  • + damage versus minions
  • + stamina recovery
  • + chance of free ammunition
  • + item find
  • + salt find

caution you against bolstering your artifacts at this point. I have tried this many times, and each time, important values have been downgraded because the values are always rerolled. I have never been lucky with the rerolls, so if you have an artifact with great values, leave it alone.

Dagger Charms
  • Venomancer’s Needle (increases poison attack)
  • Dark Razor (increases dark attack)

In order to obtain the Venomancer’s Needle, you will need to find and kill Varren Ovrin (named version of the venomancer).

In order to obtain the Dark Razor, you will need to find and kill Vodin Tenebre (named version of the umbramancer).





Upgrades

All weapons and armour pieces can be upgraded to a maximum level of 10. A weapon’s or armour piece’s class simply indicates that it starts out at that particular level. A class 0 item has to be upgraded ten times in order to reach level 10; a class 1 item has to be upgraded nine times in order to reach level 10; a class 2 item has to be upgraded eight times in order to reach level 10; a class 3 item has to be upgraded seven times in order to reach level 10; a class 4 item has to be upgraded six times in order to reach level 10; a class 5 item has to be upgraded five times in order to reach level 10.

Always (!) prioritize weapon upgrades over armour upgrades.The faster you can kill, the less damage you will take. If you follow my hunter cosplay and use the Snakeskin set, some of the weapon upgrades will compete with the armour upgrades. Again, prioritize your weapon upgrades. You can farm more materials, but this will be significantly easier with more powerful weapons.

Conclusion

This build works very well and can clear all content in the game with little difficulty. You will die, which lies in the nature of this type of game, but you will kill significantly more — unless you attempt to tank. Time your attacks, do not get greedy.

I would very much appreciate any feedback, as I do not often write guides. Is the guide well structured? Do you need more information? Is there superfluous information I should remove? Please let me know.

Regards,


Thanks to DeadByDefault for their excellent guide; all credit belongs to their effort. If this guide helps you, please support and rate it via Steam Community. Enjoy the game.

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