Blood Magic in 1.8+: An in-depth look at Sentient gear An introduction to your entry-tier gear. Okay, so we will take it as a given that you have first gone over the basics and are generally familiar with the mechanics this mod uses. Great, now we know what we're doing, so the next question is: why? What will it do for me, the evil dictator? I have my arbitrarily large supply of minions to sacrifice for my power, but what do I get out of it? Because I'm not just any old evil dictator, I'm a smart one. I want the best bang for my buck. If I'm going to have to sacrifice the dude that peels my grapes, I want to know that what I'm getting is going to be better than being hand-fed peeled grapes. Well, Mr Evil Dictator, I'm glad you asked that question! Today, we will be going over the various implements of protection and destruction. After all, how can you hold the world hostage if you don't have an implement of mass destruction to threaten with? But more immediately, there are items of personal power of interest. Because if you die, your whole plan falls apart (unless you have some kind of litch contingency plan, which is pretty cool). So, today's topic is the first tier of gear accessible to even the newest initiate: the sentient armor. This is gear that does NOT require a Blood Altar AT ALL, making it very entry-level. Sentient Gear This is the basic entry no-frills 'I have punched a tree, and done some mining, what can I get' level. However, there's actually some surprisingly powerful items to be found here. And, more importantly, they scale with you as you grow in power, meaning not only are they powerful immediately, they will continue to be powerful in relation to your alternatives as you grow in power. But wait, there's more! You can actually craft the Lesser Tartaric Gem without needing a Blood Altar. Sure, you're going to need a diamond for it, but this increases your Will capacity up to 240, which enables a whole HOST of gear options. Sentient Sword: Laying the smack down The first one is going to have to be your Sentient Sword. I mentioned this one in the basics section you should already be familiar with because it is, bar none, the easiest way to obtain the quantities of will you are going to want going forward. However, it is also one of the most powerful swords available at practically any tier, because as you increase the number of wills you possess on your person, so will the damage this weapon deals. Let's go over how much, shall we? Without any wills whatsoever, this sword deals a base 6 damage. So immediately, that's just as powerful as an Iron Sword. Not too shabby, although rather convoluted means of getting one. So, get yourself that Petty Tartaric Gem I mentioned. It can store up to 64 will. So what does THAT get you? Well, when you hit 16 will, damage ramps up to 7. That's a diamond sword right there. Without actually spending any diamonds. Score. Now we've hit the 'definitively superior to my other options at this tier' level. But, if you fill it all the way up, at 60 will (so almost at cap), it starts doing 7.5 damage. With 200 will with the Lesser Tartaric Gem, you do base 8 damage. The sentient weapons can also be enchanted just like any regular ol' piece of gear. So yes, you can put Sharpness V (or VI if you have Quark and played with Ancient Tomes) on it to make it even more powerful. Just as important to you, however, is that as you hit higher tiers, the number of will obtained per kill increases. So as you have more will, you get will faster. Not too shabby. Sentient Bow Next, the Sentient Bow is unlocked with the Lesser Tartaric Gem, although it is consumed in the process. While painful, this is a bow that does the same thing: as you get more wills, you get more damage. For early-game gear, that's really not that bad a deal. Sentient Armor But let us not focus on attack at the expense of defense. The Sentient Armor Gem is your first type of armor available to the initiate, which a lot of people tend to overlook. It costs almost all the will in your Lesser Tartaric Gem to make it, AND it requires the expensive diamond chest armor, but it may be worth it. Basically, it's a gem. It's in your inventory. Right click it, though, and suddenly you are wearing a full suit of armor. This stuff is slightly better than Diamond Armor in terms of raw protection. But more importantly, the armor never takes damage. You never have to repair it, you never have to worry about it breaking, it just works. Considering you don't even need to build a Blood Altar to make it, that's pretty cool. Keep in mind that it will consume Will when it would normally take damage. Okay, so what happens if I'm already wearing armor when I activate the gem? Well, first off, the armor you are currently wearing goes into the gem. When you right-click it again, your normal gear goes back on your body and the sentient armor goes back in the gem. Second, if your gear is enchanted, the Sentient Armor takes on those same enchantments. Don't worry, your regular armor won't lose them, when you swap them back, they'll still be on your normal armor. Yes, you can put on gold armor, enchant the heck out of it, then swap out for Sentient Armor for some extremely solid early-game armor. As your level of wills increases, so does the protective qualities of the Sentient Armor. This starts off at Diamond Armor, and only goes up from there. Alternate Will One last thing about the Sentient gear for the higher-tier practitioner of Blood Magic, there's a way to customize your gear by using a different sort of will. In the basics section, I had briefly mentioned that there was an 'aura' of will which could be harnessed with the Demonic Crystallizer and fed with the Demonic Crucible. You can make Crystallized Will, which has several uses. However, there's a small (10%) chance that you get a different sort of will. There's four different types of wills than the one you are already familiar with: Corrosive, Destructive, Steadfast, and Vengeful. Crafting a Tartaric Gem with a crystallized will of one of these types will 'taint' all will in that gem with that 'flavor'. This has an impact on your sentient gear! Corrosive will cause your sword to have a poison effect. The higher tiers increase the duration, but you need over 400 will to be able to apply Poison II effect. Your armor will turn greenish and will have the ability to inflict a poison effect on anything hitting you, rather like a Thorns effect. Destructive will causes your sword to be even more dangerous. Not only does it increase the base damage it does (9 damage with 200+ will), it also reduces the cooldown. You know, that mechanic that was included in the 'combat update' that keeps you from spamming your sword swings? Yea. Every time your attack goes up, your cooldown for your sword goes down, meaning you can swing both faster AND stronger. Very solid option. This is particularly interesting when combined with the effect from the Sentient Armor, which changes color to a reddish hue and increases the cooldown for the cost of increasing damage still further. The net effect with both sentient sword and sentient armor is that it will swing roughly the same speed, but hit like a ton of bricks. Steadfast will be a more defensive option. It will actually reduce the amount of damage your sword does (7 damage at 200 will), but you get a damage absorption buff every time you hit something. Every hit gives a half heart of damage absorption on top of your current health pool, stacking up to a maximum of 5 hearts, and the time it will last resets every time you hit something. It doesn't last very long, though. More wills extends the duration, but not the protection. Your armor will gain knockback resistance, and further increase protectiveness as your wills increase. Finally, Vengeful. Vengeful is your 'non-combative' option. Basically, it has the worst damage per hit, and it actually gets longer cooldown as you get more wills. However, it gives you a run speed boost that increases with your wills. So, if you want to be Benny Hill, and don't really care about attacking, here you go. Your armor also increases your run speed at the cost of being the least protective of the armors. Combine, and you will have high mobility at the expense of overall lower combat strength and defensive qualities. An interesting note about the Sentient Bow. The Vengeful property increases the speed of your arrow's flight, the rest simply appear to increase the damage the arrows do. Repairing One of the problems with the Sentient Weapons (sword and bow) is that they do take damage with use. Now, they are fairly cheap to replace, but what if you have enchanted them? There's a couple of ways to keep your gear in tip-top shape. The easiest is simply going to be the Repair enchantment. It consumes experience orbs you collect to repair the item in question. Done. Other than that, they can be repaired in a Forge with a Crystallized Will. That's not something you can get prior to Tier 3 Blood Altar, sadly, but it is something to keep in mind. Your armor, of course, will never be damaged as long as you have the Wills to keep it repaired. In Conclusion The Sentient Sword is solidly the most powerful early-game melee weapon available to you, bar none. It is available even earlier than The Ender from EnderIO, and can do roughly the same damage (although without the bonus to head drops and enderpearl drops from endermen), because it does not require Dark Steel to craft. None of the higher-tier Botania swords are available as early as the Sentient Sword is. And with how the wills increase the damage of the sword, it remains relevant throughout your career. The Sentient Bow is likely your first real ranged weapon, but it likely won't be your last. The new Tinker's Construct ranged weapons are going to be a better option in the long run, but they do require the Tool Forge and certain materials to maximize effectiveness. The Sentient Armor is, for when you can gain access to it, tremendously protective. It's a full suit of armor that you keep repaired with your wills and is the single most defensive armor in the early to mid game. It will generally become obsolete once the Living Armor becomes available, as the Living Armor has modular upgrades with highly desirable effects, however it also requires a full Tier 3 altar set up to obtain. In the meantime, this can stop the slings and arrows of outrageous mobs. And this is but the beginning of your arsenal as you delve into blood magic. Enjoy.