The important stuff: Room-clearing rewards
The gist is that almost every artifact or resource you obtain in Hades, barring Charon’s Obols, Centaur’s Hearts, Poms of Power, and Daedalus Hammers, will be retained even if you die. Still, keep in mind that a full Hades run will lead you past 45-50 or so rooms. That means the goal is to prioritize the room symbols with the resources or artifacts that you want to acquire once you clear those areas.
Charon’s Obol (gold)
- Symbol: Golden coin with red glyph
- Primary usage: Purchasing items, skills, or temporary power-ups from Charon’s shop or the Well of Charon.
- Important: Items/skills that you don’t want can be sold in a Pool of Purging (found randomly in certain rooms or in a transition area in between Hades‘ regions).
- On death: Lose all your gold.
The most basic resource, gold, is lost whenever you die. That’s fine since you’ll usually have enough gold, for the most part, in a single Hades run.
Enemies you kill tend to drop gold, and you can even obtain more of this resource by selling unwanted skills/boons, breaking open vases (if you have the House Contractor upgrades), opening Infernal Troves/Trove Trials, or unlocking certain Mirror of Night upgrades and Keepsakes.
Centaur Heart (HP)
- Symbol: Blue heart with red glyph
- Primary usage: Increases your max HP and also heals you for that amount.
- Important: There are many ways you can regen lost health in Hades as described in our beginner’s guide.
- On death: Lose all extra HP added by Centaur Hearts.
Starting out on your journey in Hades will have you begging to have more health. Later, as you become more experienced and breeze through the game’s challenges, you’ll find that staying alive and avoiding damage is like muscle memory.
Pom of Power
- Symbol: Fruit
- Primary usage: Upgrades existing skills/boons.
- Important: You can select the types of skills you want to level-up, so make sure to focus on the one that’ll be useful all throughout your current Hades run.
- On death: Lose all upgrades provided by Poms of Power.
You can apply any Pom of Power you find on the same skill/boon, though there will be diminishing returns as you reach higher levels. At best, you could purchase the House Contractor’s “Vintage Nectar” upgrade which levels up a random skill for free whenever you pick up a Nectar.
- Symbol: Hammer (yep)
- Primary usage: Upgrades your weapon’s attacks.
- Important: The Daedalus Hammer is one of the most sought-after artifacts in Hades since the upgrades to your weapon’s attacks will completely change your style of play.
- On death: Lose all upgrades provided by Daedalus Hammers.
You can only obtain two Daedalus Hammers in any given Hades run. The artifact can appear randomly and, if you’re lucky, you might find one in the first room just after starting your escape attempt.
- Symbol: Green, yellow, and red gems
- Primary usage: Unlocks House of Hades upgrades via the House Contractor.
- Important: Gemstones can be used to trade for other types of artifacts (via the Wretched Broken in the House of Hades lounge), but the exchange requirements are exorbitant (ie. one Titan Blood requires 1,000 gemstones).
Gemstones are important only insofar as the House of Hades upgrades that you’re unlocking. Those that provide new in-game mechanics — Keepsake Collection (10 gemstones), Fated List (20 gemstones), or Fountain Chambers (varied costs depending on the zone) — are very important for your progression in Hades. Other upgrades include Infernal Trove plunder (varied costs) and Urns of Wealth (varied costs) and aren’t important as the aforementioned ones.
The rest are cosmetic upgrades for your bedroom and other hub areas which don’t affect gameplay. As such, gemstones should never be prioritized as rewards if you only have cosmetic upgrades available.
- Symbol: Purple crystalline tear
- Primary usage: Purchasing permanent upgrades via the Mirror of Night in Zagreus’ bedroom.
- Important: Two early upgrades from the Mirror of Night are “Greater Reflex” and “Death Defiance.” Maxed out, the former will cost 50 darkness and will give you an additional charge. The latter, meanwhile, has three ranks (totaling 1,530 darkness to fully upgrade), giving you three “extra lives” should you die in Hades‘ dungeons.
Darkness crystals are easily earned in various rooms. If you’re not fighting bosses with the proper “heat” requirement for the Pact of Punishment, you’ll get darkness crystals instead of their rare bounty drops. This is a good way to do some resource farming if you’re just looking to do casual romps.
- Symbol: Purple key
- Primary usage: Unlocks additional Infernal Arms (weapons) for Zagreus in the House of Hades training area; also unlocks additional Mirror of Night permanent upgrades.
- Important: If you obtained the “Fated Keys” upgrade from the House Contractor, collecting Chthonic Keys will net you additional Fated Authority (reroll dice).
As mentioned, Chthonic Keys will be necessary for your progression in Hades since the artifact lets you unlock more weaponry. Ideally, you’ll want to save up to four of these to obtain Varatha, the Eternal Spear (one of the best weapons in the game). The Mirror of Night upgrades are also important since they’ll provide permanent bonuses to Zagreus in future runs.
Fated Authority/Fated Persuasion (reroll dice)
- Symbol: Six-sided die
- Primary usage: Reroll an existing/possible reward.
- Important: You’ll initially earn these as additional items if you have the House Contractor’s “Fated Keys” upgrade and you obtain Chthonic Keys as rewards in Hades‘ dungeons. Later, you can get the “Fated Authority” or “Fated Persuasion” upgrades from the Mirror of Night. These are outrageously expensive, but they’d give you reroll dice at the start of your escape attempt.
The first kind of reroll die, Fated Authority, lets you alter the rewards prior to entering a room. The second kind of reroll die, Fated Persuasion, lets you change existing boon or Well of Charon item choices. If you have a lot of these, then you’ll be able to plan ahead to ensure that you’ve got the right skills and items as you clear Hades‘ levels.
- Symbol: A bottle filled with orange liquid
- Primary usage: Gifted to gods and other characters to obtain a Keepsake (relic).
- Important: Hades can be gifted nectar and you’ll get additional dialogue. Sadly, he won’t give Zagreus a Keepsake.
Multiple nectars should be gifted to the same character in order to increase Zagreus’ affinity with them. This will open up more dialogue related to the character as well as a favor (sidequest) that can be completed. You could even romance certain characters if you’ve improved your relationships with them.
- Symbol: A really fancy bottle filled with orange liquid
- Primary usage: Gifted to characters once you’ve maxed-out Zagreus’ affinity with them; may unlock additional companions for recruitment.
- Important: Ambrosia is an extremely rare artifact that can only be obtained by defeating Theseus and the Minotaur in Elysium.
Most characters who can be gifted ambrosia require at least five or six nectar before affinity can be maxed out. After that, they might present you with a favor/sidequest or a romance option, and then, once you give them ambrosia, a companion could be unlocked.
- Symbol: Well, it’s a diamond.
- Primary usage: Unlocking House Contractor upgrades.
- Important: The diamond is primarily obtained when defeating the Lernaean Bone Hydra in Asphodel. Charon’s shop in the Temple of Styx region also allows you to purchase a diamond for 1,000 gold. The price of the diamond (along with other items and artifacts) will be discounted if you managed to defeat Charon since he’s also a secret boss in Hades.
The “Contractor’s Desk” upgrade unlocks more jobs for the House Contractor. It only costs two diamonds, and many other high-tier House Contractor upgrades require diamonds as well.
There are those that give you additional resources or items when you pick up certain artifacts (ie. collecting gemstones gives extra gold) and those that are related to character favors or sidequests (ie. freeing Orpheus or buying some music tracks). You can also spend one diamond to buy a Fishing Rod — this lets you fish in various pools of water in Hades‘ levels with a very low chance of obtaining some rare rewards.
- Symbol: Blood droplets with a golden spiked ring
- Primary usage: Upgrades your Infernal Arms (weaponry) or unlocks additional weapon aspects that completely change their attack animations.
- Important: Titan Blood can be obtained when you defeat the Furies in Tartarus and Hades in the Temple of Styx. It’s also sometimes sold in Charon’s shop in the Temple of Styx region for 1,500 gold.
Upgrading your weapons or unlocking aspects using Titan Blood is very important in Hades. It’s not just to boost your DPS; it’s also to slightly change your playstyle since there are weapon aspects that provide different attacks.
Next up, let’s take a look at Charon’s shop and the power-ups from the Well of Charon.