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Forbidden Sanctum League Guide

Note: We'll continue updating our Forbidden Sanctum guide throughout the league as more is discovered about the mechanic.


Introduction

The Forbidden Sanctum brings roguelike gameplay to Path of Exile. Sanctum is an out of map mechanic that can be interacted with once every map/zone or saved up to do all at once (8 encounters saved at once). The mechanic sees players entering the Forbidden sanctum and plotting their path through a 4 floor dungeon consisting of 32 rooms of varying types. At the end of each floor of 8 rooms players can expect to face a challenging boss.

The Sanctum features a variety of challenges; but also tools to overcome them. While inside you'll have an extra healthbar-like resource called "resolve", which takes 'damage' whenever your player is hit by monsters or traps. Upon losing all your resolve your run will end and you must start over.

Sanctums provide a range of tools to assist you in getting as far as possible each run; expect to find fountains in marked rooms to recover your resolve, powerful boons to assist you against enemies and Aureus coins used to exchange with the sanctums merchant for even more power.

In this Forbidden Sanctum guide you will learn how to maximize your loot and optimize your play with essential tips and tricks.

Entrance to the sanctum

Sanctum Rooms

There are many types of rooms in the Sanctum each of which serve their own purpose, the current rooms to consider are:

Accursed Pact Selection
Offering Room Rewards

Offering Rooms grant the player a choice of gaining immediate currency items, currency at the end of the floor or at the end of the sanctum. The riskier the option, the more rewarding it is. Failing to reach the goal specified will result in the loss of the currency.

Merchant Rooms contain a vendor that will offer you powerful boons to make your run easier at the cost of Aureus coins. The Merchant may also rarely offer you Sanctified as well as Normal Relics for a high price.

Fountain Rooms contain a fountain that can be used to restore your resolve. Afflicted fountain rooms also exist and restore more resolve at the cost of applying an affliction to your run. Rarely you may encounter one of two special fountains Benevolent (Grant maximum resolve and a Boon) or Radiant (Grant Inspiration and a Boon, remove an affliction)

Accursed Pact Rooms offer players 3 sets of choices. Each choice consists of an upside and a downside. Players can select up to all 3 pacts if they wish to, or may choose to not take a pact at all. After making at least one pact you will gain access to a random currency offering.

Treasure Rooms come in two variants Minor (two chests) and Major (5 chests) that contain chests filled with aureus coins upon completion. These coins can be exchanged with encounters for additional power during your current Sanctum.

Afflicted Rooms are highlighted in purple and when entered will curse you with an affliction for the remainder of the run. Choosing a path leading to an Afflicted Room should be carefully considered, as you may want to entirely avoid certain dangerous afflictions.


Relics

Relics are a permanent form of power progression within the Forbidden Sanctum. As you progress through the league you will unlock slots on your relic altar that you can fill with relics you find. Relics on your altar will grant their effects to you on your sanctum runs, there are 3 sizes of relics each of which have their own modifier pools.

Small Relics (2x1)

  • +x To Maximum Resolve (Prefix)
  • Gain x aureus coins at the start of the sanctum (Prefix)
  • Gain x Inspiration at the start of the sanctum (Prefix)
  • Monsters have x% chance to drop double Aureus Coins (Suffix)
  • Chests have x% chance to drop double Aureus Coins (Suffix)
  • Gain x resolve when you kill a boss (Suffix)
  • x additional rooms are revealed on the sanctum map (suffix)

Medium Relics (3x1)

  • x% increased resolve recovered (Prefix)
  • Gain x Inspiration at the start of each floor (Prefix)
  • Guards take x% increased damage (Prefix)
  • Bosses take x% increased damage (Prefix)
  • The merchant has x additional choices (Prefix)
  • x% reduced merchant prices (Suffix)
  • x aureus coins when you complete a room (Suffix)
  • Recover x resolve when you complete a room (Suffix)
  • Gain x resolve when you use a fountain (Suffix)
  • Guards impact x% reduced resolve (Suffix)
  • Bosses impact x% reduced resolve (Suffix)

Large Relics (2x2)(4x1)

  • Gain x Inspiration when you receive an affliction (Prefix)
  • x% increased maximum resolve (Prefix)
  • Monsters take x% increased damage (Prefix)
  • Gain x maximum resolve when you kill a boss (Suffix)
  • Gain x maximum resolve when you use a fountain (Suffix)
  • x% chance to avoid gaining an affliction (Suffix)
  • Monsters impact x% reduced resolve (Suffix)

You may have multiple relics on your bench and their effects stack additively. Having a good relic loadout is essential for farming the Forbidden Sanctum efficiently.

Filled Relic Altar

Rewards

The Forbidden Sanctum allows you to pick your level of difficulty and reward in offering rooms. Early in the league, picking the lower risk option is likely to be the most profitable approach. Selecting the option to defer rewards until the very end of a Sanctum run will likely be required in order for its rewards to compete with the profitability of other high end strategies

Roughly 40% of the rooms within the Sanctum are 'offering' rooms that grant currency. Players are given the opportunity to pick which rooms to enter, therefore choosing a path ahead of time that leads to a high amount of offering rooms will lead to improved overall rewards.

The Forbidden Sanctum introduces a new equipable item class; "The Sanctified Relic". This relic can only be acquired from the league mechanic. These relics are bind on account, active even outside the sanctum and incredibly powerful. Sanctified Relics are not a tradeable reward, but they're still very valuable and are likely to make the sanctum worth farming regardless of other rewards.

Intelligence Stacking Relic
Power Charge Relic

Gameplay

You will gain access to 1 additional Forbidden Sanctum room per Campaign Zone or Atlas Map that you complete, so farming smaller/shorter Maps are ideal for stacking up a full Sanctum floor to run all at once (8 rooms).

When mapping, prepare your sanctum floor while running a low investment atlas strategy such as Eldritch Altar or Alch and Go farming in order to maximise your currency gains while trying to farm Sanctum content.

When selecting your path through the sanctum, plot a course that provides the most connected rooms. Granting you a higher chance of encountering an offering room. Select the highest risk level you think you can do in offering rooms to receive loot worth your time, taking a risk is better than receiving a paltry reward.

Monitor your resolve and Aureus Coins at all times, selecting merchant and fountain rooms only when necessary.

Forbidden Sanctum Roguelike Floor Map

Map Choice

When farming Forbidden Sanctum in the endgame, small maps that can be completed quickly are always preferred to maximize the amount of floors you can clear per session. The maps below are fantastic choices for speed mapping.

  • City Square/Mesa are considered the fastest and most linear maps in Path of Exile. They are  almost identical every time you run them, making them the top picks for speed mapping strategies. Being so small and fast to run means they don't have the best natural mob counts, thus they are difficult to sustain effectively without investment.
  • Toxic Sewer is one of the best map layouts in Path of Exile, boasting a strong natural monster count for easy map sustain. It is one of the only linear indoor maps, making it a great choice for builds without a lot of AoE that still want to clear extremely fast.
  • Ashen Wood  is a small open layout map with a good natural mob count and a very easy boss. It also drops The Scout Divination Card which adds additional profit to your farming sessions.
  • Canyon is similar to Ashen Wood. It is a small open layout map with almost no terrain to obstruct your movement or league mechanics. This makes it easy to run and a great candidate for synergising with other leagues.
City Square Map
Mesa Map
Toxic Sewer Map
Ashen Wood Map
Canyon Map

Materials

Rolling Maps

Rolling your maps correctly is mandatory for making profit and sustaining maps in the end game.

For this strategy, roll all of your maps using the following materials that you intend to run for Forbidden Sanctum.

  1. Clean Your Maps -  Ensure all of your maps are identified and then use an Orb of Scouring to make them all normal rarity, since achieving 20% quality on white maps requires significantly less Cartographer's Chisels.
  2. Chiseling - Use Cartographer's Chisels on all of your maps until each one is 20% quality.
  3. Alchemy Orbs - Use Orb of Alchemys on every map you have at 20% quality. Re-roll maps your character cannot run using Orb of Scouring and Orb of Alchemy.
  4. Vaal Orbs - Use Vaal Orbs on all of your appropriately rolled maps. Some maps may transform or receive new modifiers, so weed out any maps with modifiers your build cannot run or maps that are no longer on a favourable layout. On average, using Vaal Orbs on high tiers maps is always worth it.

Optimizing

Strategy Synergies

To ensure you're making as much currency as possible in the end game you should combine your forbidden sanctum preparations with another atlas strategy. The strategies we recommend include the following:

Eldritch Altar Farming is a mapping strategy that focuses on moving fast and prioritises running small maps quickly, making it the ideal partner for Forbidden Sanctum. Altars only unlock in the endgame so this strategy will have to wait until then.

Alch and Go is a strategy similar to eldritch altar farming in what it offers in the speed clearing department but is accessible at all stages of atlas progression. It is also another excellent pick for pairing with Forbidden Sanctum farming.

Orbs of Horizon

If you are struggling to sustain high tier maps with layouts that are ideal for speed mapping, you can use Orbs of Horizons to transform maps you don't have a use for into better layouts.

Each tier of maps will transform into a specific set of map layouts which change each league. Use Orbs of Horizons on the following tiers of maps you don't have a use for to re-stock your map pool.

Tier 16 - Toxic Sewer, Graveyard

Tier 15 - Dunes, Ashen Wood, Grotto

Tier 14 - Canyon, Underground Sea

Some of these maps are fantastic for speed mapping while some are just mediocre, however using all of the recommended maps here will allow you to easily sustain a map pool early on in a league.


Summary

This guide explains:

  • An overview of the Forbidden Sanctum league mechanic
  • What each of the rooms within the sanctum do
  • The power of relics and the modifiers you can expect to see on them
  • The rewards you'll find that make farming the mechanic worthwhile
  • How to run Sanctums efficiently in the end game
  • Ideal map choices and how to roll them
  • Strategy synergies and a tip to sustain maps at high tiers

Credits

Written by Grimro.
Reviewed by Fyregrass.


Changelog

Aug 15th 2022
Article Created.

Dec 25th 2022
- Additional Sanctum Room Info Added - Relic Modifiers Added