As you play Hades, you will find a variety of items you can use to permanently upgrade Zagreus so he is ready for longer runs.
In this Hades guide, we cover three related items that rank among the most useful in the game: Nectar, Keepsakes, and Ambrosia. Make sure you grab Nectar whenever you can, since it grants eventual access to powerful Keepsakes that make your life much easier.
As you make ill-fated Hades runs toward the surface, you’ll occasionally enter chambers that award Nectar when you clear them. Once you access the Wretched Broker, you can also exchange five Chthonic Keys for a single Nectar. There are certain other situations where you acquire additional Nectar, as well.
Nectar does not vanish from your inventory when you perish. Although you can eventually exchange Nectar for exciting items when visiting the Wretched Broker, early on you’re better off giving it away to the underworld’s most notable residents. The Keepsake rewards they offer in exchange for a single Nectar rank among the most useful in the game, and you can get them quickly (more on that in a moment).
There are 24 individuals you may bribe in this manner. Most of these NPCs frequently appear in the Great Hall and adjoining quarters. Others reside in more hostile territory. Approach your ally, and press the button indicated to offer them a Nectar. If you wish to offer Nectar to a god, press the button indicated before establishing a connection and choosing your boon.
The first time you give Nectar to a particular character, you receive a Keepsake in return. Before you begin your next run, equip a Keepsake by accessing the cabinet located to the left of your various weapons in the large room with Skelly the training dummy. You will wear the desired Keepsake for that entire run, unless you purchase the Keepsake Collection, Regional upgrade from the House Contractor. That upgrade allows you to change your equipped Keepsake between regions.
As you clear enemy encounters with a particular Keepsake equipped, the Keepsake slowly ranks up, and its capabilities improve. As an example, the Owl Pendant ensures the next Boon you find comes from Athena (one time per run). By default, it also improves by 10% the odds of receiving a Rare or better blessing. Those odds increase to 15% at the second rank and to 20% at the maximum rank. Other Keepsakes offer stat improvements or perks when you meet various requirements.
Several NPCs will eventually award you a second gift, in addition to their Keepsake, in exchange for a rarer item called Ambrosia. You acquire Ambrosia by clearing the third region for the first time with each Infernal Weapon equipped, and after that point it is also available for trade via the Wretched Broker.
Start by establishing a strong bond with a character using Nectar and conversation. Depending on the NPC, some other simple task may also be required. Eventually, you will have the option to offer a bottle of Ambrosia. The first time you hand over the Ambrosia, you will receive a companion. There are only six characters with a companion to offer: Achilles, Dusa, Meg, Sisyphus, Skelly, and Thanatos.
You can choose which companion to bring along on a run by accessing the Keepsake cabinet. By default, you can summon a companion only once per escape attempt. If you upgrade your companion’s rank by making offerings of additional Ambrosia, that number increases.