Comprehensive PoE Forbidden Sanctum Challenge Guide

The latest Path of Exile League brought the newest challenge, which features elements of rogue-like games. The Forbidden Sanctum presents players with a unique experience by introducing various features that would shake some of the core mechanics in the game. How can players maximize their rewards from the latest League challenge?

Table of Content

  • The Forbidden Sanctum
  • Rogue-like Mechanics
  • The Resolve and Inspiration Meter
  • Boons and Afflictions
    • Which Boons to Get and Afflictions to Avoid
    • Worst Afflictions to Avoid
  • Aureus Coins and the Merchant
    • How to Acquire Aureus Coins
    • Where to Use Your Aureus Coins
  • Accursed Pacts
    • How to Unlock Accursed Pacts
    • How to Choose Your Accursed Pacts
  • Templar Relics
    • Normal Relics and Sanctified Relics
    • How to Unlock Templar Relics
    • List of All Relic Items and Mods
    • How to Choose Your Relics
  • Offers
    • Which Options Should You Choose
  • General Strategy for Farming the Forbidden Sanctum
    • Choose the Most Optimal Builds  
    • Reset When You Get Bad Draws  
    • Always Choose Rooms with More than One Path  
    • Small Maps are Your Best Friends  
    • Optimize Your Atlas Maps  

The Forbidden Sanctum

The Forbidden Sanctum is the challenge instance for Path of Exile version 3.20. While each new League mechanic provides new elements to make them unique, the Sanctum offers an experience that would emulate rogue-like gameplay. The instance is a hidden area protected by the Templar Order. 

The temple is composed of 32 rooms divided into four floors. Each room is guarded by several strong mobs and a mini-boss, while the extraordinary bosses await players at the end of each level. Players can acquire many rewards from getting far in the Forbidden Sanctum, so Exiles should understand the ins and outs of the current League challenge. 

What are the Rogue-like Mechanics in the Sanctum?

To emulate a Rogue-like feel, Sanctum introduces a bunch of elements, such as a separate HP bar or buffs you can gain from offers. Understanding how these mechanics work will help players navigate their runs more effectively. Here are all the features of the Sanctum League:

The Resolve and Inspiration Meter

What’s unique about the Sanctum is that your run doesn’t end even if your character dies. Instead, the duration of your run is determined by a resource known as Resolve. This pool is your HP, which gets reduced every time you get hit by a damaging ability. Your Sanctum run ends when your Resolve hits zero.

What’s challenging about this is that the Resolve pool doesn’t regenerate independently. To recover this resource, you need to gain access to recovery fountains or get boons that help with regen. The limitations to Resolve recovery encourage players not to lose them in the first place. 

Inspiration is the second unique resource pool in the Sanctum. While Resolve serves as your HP, this meter is your energy shield, which will take impact first before the Sanctum health pool. Unlike Resolve, players can gain unlimited Inspiration, so they can keep increasing their shield as much as they want.

How to Acquire Inspiration: You can mainly get Inspiration from trading Aureus coins with the Merchant. Boons and Pacts can also provide you with further shielding.

How to Manage your Meter: Avoid running too close to any mobs or traps. Though being near the source of damage makes you receive less Resolve impact, it is safer to avoid those attacks. Getting builds with high mobility is highly recommended. It is possible to run on just one Resolve if you have high enough Inspiration. A player would be in an excellent position if he had more Inspiration than his current max Sanctum HP.

Players can recover their Resolve by encountering Fountains. Upon exiting a room, there is a chance that a recovery station will spawn, which Exiles can use. However, be wary when interacting with them because some Fountains can cause Afflictions. 

Boons and Afflictions

Similar to Rogue-like games, players can acquire various buffs or curses. Boons can provide Exiles multiple advantages such as damage reduction, increased rewards, and other stat-increasing things. Afflictions, on the other hand, are status ailments that will deter the runs. These buffs and curses will play a huge role in determining whether you will successfully complete them. Here are all the Boons and Afflictions in the game:

  • Minor Boons
    • Fright Mask – 40% damage mitigation
    • Hare Foot – additional 60% movement speed 
    • Gold Magnet – gain 50% more Aureus coins
    • Rusted Descry – recover Resolve 50% more
    • Scrying Crystal – see an additional room ahead on the map
    • Silver Tongue – 50% discount on Merchant prices
    • Glowing Orb – recover 50% Resolve when you go below 20%
    • Gilded Lyre – receive 250 Inspiration at the start of each floor
    • Rusted Chimes – gain 100 Inspiration when you receive an Affliction
    • Mellifluous Chorus – lose 40% less Resolve when you have high Inspiration
    • Lilting Melody – gain 400 Inspiration if you complete the next room or two areas with losing Resolve or Inspiration
    • Prayer Beads – cannot lose Resolve in the next room
    • Gold Mine – gain x2 Aureus coins in the current floor
    • Lustrous Pearl – traps become slower
    • Viscious Ichor – mobs have 20% less action speed
    • Wooden Effigy – mobs have 25% less Resolve impacts
    • Sanguine Vial – mobs have 30% less max HP
    • Ornate Dagger – deals 50% more damage (minions are affected)
    • Assassin’s Blade – kill the next guards you hit instantly (can vary between 1 to 10 mobs)
    • Enchanted Urn – increase Relic effects by 30%
    • Tarnished Coin – increase Aureus coin gained by 100% while under 50% Resolve
    • Engraved Orb – increase Resolve recovery by 100% when below 50%
    • Adrenaline Vial – regen 50% of your max Resolve after entering a Boss Room
    • Mirror of Fortune – duplicate a random Offer
    • Arcane Aegis – Arcan Buffer triggers when you exhaust all your Inspiration 
    • Tarnished Descry – gain an additional 200 to your Maximum Resolve
    • Fountain of Youth – gain an additional 40 to your max Resolve when you use Fountains
    • Silver Chalice – convert the next Minor Boon you get to a Major Boon
    • Black Pearl – get 50% less Resolve impact from traps
    • Untuned Lute – gain +250 Inspiration
    • Divinia’s Gift – your next Merchant purchase has no cost 
    • Chipped Dice – you can reroll the Merchant’s Shop
    • Gold Trophy – Aureus coins increase by 10% every time you complete a room until you purchase from the Merchant
  • Major Boons
    • Silver Coin – gain 20 Aureus coins every time you lose Resolve from attacks
    • Imperial Seal – disable all traps
    • Bronze Descry – gain Ignore Resolve lost a second after getting hit
    • Silver Descry – ignore the first hit that would impact your Resolve in each room
    • Golden Descry – recover 15 resolves on every room completion
    • Priest’s Descry – gain back 75% of your max Resolve when you reach 0
    • Holy Descry – restore your Resolve fully while losing 50% of your max pool and a random boon after reaching 0. 
    • Crystal Chalice – prevents you from gaining more Minor Afflictions
    • Bronze Coin – gaining Aureus coins regenerate Resolve
    • Gold Coin – double all Aureus coins found
    • All-Seeing Eye – reveals the whole map of the Sanctum
    • Holy Water – gain random Minor Boons every time you use a Fountain
    • Sacred Mirror – duplicate three random Offers
  • Minor Afflictions
    • Accursed Prism – gain an additional random minor Affliction when you earn an Affliction
    • Black Smoke – you have limited vision of the rooms ahead on the map
    • Blunt Sword – deal 25% less damage (affects minions) 
    • Chains of Binding – get afflicted by Binding Chains on hit 
    • Charred Coin – 50% fewer Aureus Coins Discovered
    • Concealed Anomaly – upon death, Guards release Volatile Anomaly
    • Corrupted Lockpick – opening chests will cause explosions
    • Dark Pit – traps gain 100% additional impact on Resolve
    • Deceptive Mirror – there is a chance that you will arrive in a different room from the one you picked
    • Door Tax – completing rooms will cause you to lose 30 Aureus coins
    • Empty Trove – Aureus coins no longer drop from chests
    • Fiendish Wings – monsters’ action speed can no longer be slowed beyond their base stat while also gaining 30% increased attack, cast, and movement speed
    • Floor Tax – lose all Aureus coins after completing the floor
    • Gargoyle Totem – Gargoyles accompany guards
    • Golden Smoke – the rewards are not indicated in the Sanctum Map
    • Haemorrhage – you cannot regenerate Resolve until you finish the Floor
    • Honed Claws – mobs deal additional 25% damage
    • Hungry Fangs – mobs deal more impact to your Resolve by 25%
    • Liquid Cowardice – using Flasks causes you to lose 10 Resolve
    • Mark of Terror – gain Resolve Weakness upon being hit by monsters
    • Phantom Illusion – gain an Affliction upon entering a room, which is removed after clearing the area
    • Poisoned Water – using a Fountain will inflict a random Minor Affliction
    • Purple Smoke – Afflictions are unknown
    • Rapid Quicksand – traps trigger much faster
    • Red Smoke – details about the rooms on the map are hidden
    • Rusted Coin – Merchants only have one option
    • Rusted Mallet – mobs gain knockback and increased knockback distance
    • Spiked Exit – lose 5% of your available Resolve on exiting a room
    • Spiked Shell – mobs gain an additional 30% to their max HP
    • Spilt Purse – lose 20 Aureus coins every time you lose Resolve from attacks
    • Tattered Afflictions – hides the minimap and fogs 90% for the Ligh Radius
    • Tight Choker – Boons are capped at 5 at a time
    • Unhallowed Amulet – have 50% fewer choices in The Merchant
    • Unhallowed Ring – Merchant prices increase by 50%
    • Unholy Urn – Relic effects are reduced by 50%
    • Unquenched Thirst – Resolve recovery is reduced by 50%
    • Voodoo Doll – lose 100% more Resolve while under 50%
    • Weakened Flesh – lose 100 Maximum Resolve
    • Worn Sandals – slowed down by 40%
  • Major Afflictions
    • Anomaly Attractor – spawn Volatile Anomalies in rooms
    • Chiseled Stone – mobs petrify with every attack
    • Cutpurse – prevents you from gaining Aureus coins
    • Deadly Snare – traps can damage infinite Resolve
    • Death Toll – Aureus coins are no longer dropped by monsters
    • Demonic Skull – Resolve recovery is disabled
    • Ghastly Scythe – Sanctum run ends as soon as you lose Resolve (lasts for one, two, or three rooms)
    • Glass Shard – the next Boon you acquire transforms into a random minor Affliction
    • Orb of Negation – Relics effects are negated
    • Unassuming Brick – prevents you from gaining more Boons
    • Veiled Sight – rooms are unknown on the map

Which Boons to Get and Afflictions to Avoid: When deciding which Sanctum effect you should take or risk, you have to be very careful since they have a tremendous influence on your runs. For Boons, you ideally want to take those that would prevent you from getting into Afflictions, help you gain Inspiration, Resolve, or Aureus Coins, or give you lifelines. It would help if you generally avoided Curses that would prevent you from getting Boons, eating a massive amount of Resolve, or will inflict significant crowd control. 

Best Boons to Get: Holy Water, Crystal Chalice, Gold Trophy, Priest’s Descry, Bronze Coin, Silver Coin, Gold Mine, Gilded Lyre, and Lilting Melody.

Worst Affliction to Get: Poisoned Water, Purple Smoke, Tattered Afflictions, Tight Choker, Cutpurse, Ghastly Scythe, Orb of Negation, Unassuming Brick, and Chiseled Stone. 

Aureus Coins and the Merchant

As players run through the Sanctum, they often pick up a currency known as Aureus coins. These tokens are exclusive to the temple and cannot be used anywhere else. These coins can be used to trade with the Merchant inside the Sanctum for various boons or regen. However, this currency does not carry over to multiple runs, as they are depleted once you end your current challenge. 

How to Acquire Aureus Coins: There are multiple ways to acquire coins in the Sanctum. The most reliable way is to open Templar caches after the end of each room. Players can also receive tokens from killing guards, mobs, and bosses. Some Accursed Pacts can grant you Aureus in exchange for something detrimental. Several Boons can boost your acquisition of this currency to maximize your coin generation. 

Where To Use Your Aureus Coins: Players can use their coins whenever they encounter The Merchant in their runs. This NPC will offer players various things, but the most notable ones are Inspiration recovery and Templar Relics. Multiple Boons will be provided every now and then in the shop, including Gold Trophy, Chipped Dice, Divinia’s Gift, and Gold Magnet.

Best Usage of the Coins: The main reason you want to generate more coins is to get more Inspiration. Since this shield has no limit, you can keep increasing it if you have enough currency to spare. Alternatively, you can use these tokens to recover Resolve in a tight situation.

Accursed Pacts

Upon progressing your Acts, you will eventually unlock Accursed Pacts. These deals provide players with various Boons or benefits in exchange for getting an Affliction or other detrimental effects. These agreements appear randomly, and Exiles will be given three options. Accursed Pacts can be encountered on all floors. Here are all the potential deals that you can get in your runs:

  • Acquire a Specific Boon = Lose 25% Max Resolve
  • Acquire a random Major Boon = Lose 50% of Max Resolve
  • Acquire two random Minor Boons = Lose 50% of Max Resolve
  • Acquire a randomized Minor Boon = Acquire a random Minor Affliction
  • Acquire three random Minor Boons = Acquire a random Major Affliction
  • Acquire a random Minor Boon = Acquire a random Minor Affliction
  • Acquire 200 Inspiration = Lose 200 Resolve
  • Convert all Max Resolve into Inspiration = Have only 1 Resolve
  • Exchange Inspiration for Aureus coins = Lose all Inspiration
  • Guards are Twinned

How to Unlock: Complete the Sanctum Temptations quest in Act 7

How to Choose Your Accursed Pacts: Players should be very cautious when they accept deals. A wrong choice can end your run in just one turn. The best way to decide which contracts to go for is to check your current status. What Boons do you have? How many Afflictions are you plagued with? How many Resolve do you have left? Are you lacking Aureus coins? Do you have high enough Inspiration?

Templar Relics

Aside from Boons, Afflictions, and Pacts, Relics are another set of things that can influence your runs. These items modify the Sanctums and can provide significant advantages to the players. Unlike other aspects of the challenge, Relics are account-bound and not exhaustible, which means Exiles can use them repeatedly. Gamers can acquire two types of these items in their runs: Normal and Sanctified.

Normal Relics and Sanctified Relics

Both types of Relics perform the same function, but they do so with varying degrees and efficiency. While Normal ones only affect the run itself, Sanctified pieces can have effects outside of the Sanctum, making them even more special. As players can expect, the latter is rarer and harder to find. 

How to Unlock: The Relic Altar and its pieces can be accessed by completing the In Search of the Sanctum quest in Act 2

How To Use: To use your relics, you need to place them in the Relic Altar as you explore the temple. Please note that this is the only time you can customize your pieces since you can no longer add or remove them during a whole Sanctum run.

Exiles can differentiate these two easily since Sanctified Relics have an orange glow behind their item art. Here are all the pieces in the game, along with the Normal and Rare modifiers:

List of Relic Items and Mods

  • Censer Relic
  • Processional Relic
  • Candlestick Relic
  • Urn Relic
  • Coffer Relic
  • Tome Relic
  • Papyrus Relic

Normal Relic Mods

Sanctified Relic Mods

Choosing Your Relics: Obviously, the best relics would be the Sanctified ones, but the best specific piece is situational. Choosing items should depend on your build, specifically whether you are running ranged or melee sets. Relics that increase your Inspiration and Aureus coin generation are excellent and reliable picks.


Players can acquire various rewards from loot and Offers. The latter is a system wherein Exiles are given three choices at the end of specific encounters. The three options are rewards: they can get the loot at the end of the room, save it for when they finish the current floor or collect it at the end of the whole Sanctum run. The prizes become better if you collect them later, but you also risk not getting them if you end the run before acquiring them. Here is all the potential loot in the Forbidden Sanctum:

  • Aureus coins in exchange for your Inspiration
  • Convert All 99.9% of your Resolve to Inspiration
  • Remove all Boons and Afflictions
  • Randomize all Boons and Afflictions
  • Gain 200 Inspiration in exchange for 200 Resolve
  • Gain 50 Resolve
  • Blacksmith’s Whetstone
  • Armourer’s Scrap
  • Orb of Transmutation
  • Orb of Alteration
  • Orb of Chance
  • Glassblower’s Bauble
  • Chromatic Orb
  • Jeweller’s Orb
  • Orb of Alchemy
  • Orb of Fusing
  • Orb of Scouring
  • Cartographer’s Chisel
  • Chaos Orb
  • Orb of Binding
  • Orb of Regret
  • Gemcutter’s Prism
  • Blessed Orb
  • Vaal Orb
  • Orb of Horizons
  • Instilling Orb
  • Regal Orb
  • Enkindling Orb
  • Orb of Unmaking
  • Awakened Sextant
  • Stacked Deck
  • Censer Relic
  • Processional Relic
  • Candlestick Relic
  • Urn Relic
  • Coffer Relic
  • Tome Relic
  • Papyrus Relic
  • Sanctified Relic
  • Veiled Chaos Orb
  • Orb of Annulment
  • Divine Orb
  • Exalted Orb
  • Divine Vessel
  • Sacred Orb
  • Mirror of Kalandra

Which Options Should You Choose: On average, the most optimal would be to choose the rewards you can get at the end of the floor. The first option might provide less loot, and getting the prizes after completing the whole Sanctum is risky. However, if you are confident in your skills and got promising Boons, then choosing the last one is okay. Exiles should still weigh their options since sometimes you can get better loot from acquiring the rewards right away.

General Strategy for Farming the Forbidden Sanctum

If you are looking to farm the Forbidden Sanctum, then there are several things you need to know. From gear to actual strategies, these tips can help you be more efficient in the current League mechanics. Here are the things that Exiles should keep in mind for the Forbidden Sanctum:

Choose the Most Optimal Builds

The first thing you should do to prepare for your Sanctum runs is to choose the right build. While all setups can work in the challenge, several abilities will be more efficient at finishing the League mechanic. Spellcasting, summoner, and ranged figures are advantageous over melees due to their maneuverability. 

Reset When You Get Bad Draws

Aside from skill, your chances of successful runs are highly influenced by your Boons and Afflictions. While you are provided with options of which to get, the field of possibilities is generated randomly, so this part relies mainly on luck. If you got the worst Boons and Afflictions, it is best to start over and hope for better RNG in your next run.

Always Choose Rooms with More than One Path

You determine your route in the Forbidden Sanctum. You are given multiple choices in which rooms to enter, which will also feature what areas they are connected to. Picking the levels with more than one connected path is the safest and most efficient way to get to the end of the floor. You have more options to choose from and can decide to be more beneficial and secure for your run.

Small Maps are Your Best Friends

Only one room in the Sanctum can be accessed per zone, so players must enter multiple maps to finish their challenge runs. It can be tedious to complete your current area so that you can start another instance. The best way to farm Sanctum effectively is to do small maps. They are easier to clear and allow you to do multiple runs quickly. Here are some excellent examples of short farm maps:

  • City Square
  • Mesa
  • Toxic Sewer
  • Ashen
  • Canyon

Optimize Your Atlas Maps

Some players tend to forget that your Atlas Tree also affects your Sanctum runs. To maximize your profit from the challenge, you should invest in efficient, low-cost builds, mainly if you focus more on the League mechanic. The Eldritch Altar and the Alch and Go paths are some of the best setups that you can go for. In addition, using currencies can improve your map qualities is also advised, which includes Cartographer’s Chisels, Alchemy Orbs, and Vaal Orbs. 

Need To Know:

  • If you get disconnected or crash during your Sanctum runs, you will be able to redo the same room the next time you encounter an entrance to the temple (only if you didn’t complete the room). However, any items you got during the previous encounter are not saved. 

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