Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is quite the challenge. As a From Software game, that’s to be expected. But really, you’ll probably need all the help you can get. The vendors you stumble upon during your adventure can help you, provided you have some sen (money) handy. There are a handful of items you can buy that you should certainly pick up.
Like Dark Souls, Sekiro has the ever important Gourd. When Wolf drinks from the healing item, some of his health replenishes. You get the Gourd after the intro section. At first, you can only take one drink before it’s all gone. Refilling it requires a trip to a Sculptor’s Idol for a little nap.
You can expand your Gourd with Gourd Seeds. Gourd Seeds can be acquired by defeating powerful enemies, and we’ve also found them in chests. Sometimes vendors will have Gourd Seeds for sale for a whopping 1,000 sen.
Trust us when we say the high price is worth it. Once you have a Gourd Seed, you can take it to Emma outside of the Dilapidated Temple (or wherever she is marked after she moves). She’ll expand your Gourd to let you take an additional drink. It goes without saying that having more opportunities to heal and stay alive during mid-boss and boss fights is vitally important.
So whenever a vendor is willing to part with this precious item, spend some time racking up sen.
Coin Purses come in three variants: Light, Heavy, and Bulging. Light Coin Purses hold 100 sen, Heavy hold 500, and Bulging hold 1,000. Each of them actually costs more than the amount of sen they hold. For instance, it will set you back 550 sen to buy a Heavy Coin Purse. The investment is worthwhile. Death cuts your sen in half, and unless you’re ridiculously good, you’ll die a lot. Your sen can keep halving until you virtually have nothing left during the struggle to defeat a boss.
Death does not affect your Coin Purses, though. They’re stored as an item and only add to your sen once opened. For that reason, you don’t want to open them until you are ready to make a purchase (such as on Gourd Seeds). A good rule to follow is that any time you encounter a vendor, unless you’re buying something else, exchange your sen for however many Coin Purses you can buy.
Vendors also sometimes carry Upgrade Materials for your Shinobi Prosthetic. One of the early ones you can purchase, Robert’s Firecrackers, is extremely useful in both boss fights and when fighting animals like wolves. Robert’s Firecrackers turns into the Shinobi Firecracker once given to the old man in the Dilapidated Temple. He’ll upgrade your Prosthetic to give you access to a move that produces an explosive flash. Enemies caught in its wake will be temporarily blinded, immobilized, and take Posture damage. Whether fighting packs of wolves or squaring off against a ruthless general, the Shinobi Firecracker can help you get on the right track.
To use Prosthetic moves like the Shinobi Firecracker and the shuriken, you need to have Spirit Emblems. Spirit Emblems aren’t actually purchased from vendors, but they are important enough to mention here anyway. They cost 10 sen and you can hold up to 15 at a time. Any excess Spirit Emblems you have will be go towards replenishing the 15 when resting at a Sculptor’s Idol, which is where you purchase them.
You always want to keep your Spirit Emblems full. Each Prosthetic move uses Spirit Emblems. A shuriken throw uses one, while more intensive moves like the Shinobi Firecracker cost three. Get in the habit of checking your current stock at each Sculptor’s Idol and buying as needed.
Dragon’s Blood Droplet
Using Resurrection in battle gives you another chance to win, but it comes at a price. Resurrect too many times and you can get an item called Rot Essence. This isn’t an item you want, as it decreases your Unseen Aid percentage. Unseen Aid is the chance that you won’t lose sen and experience after death. Rot Essence also afflicts an NPC with a sickness called Dragonrot. While sick, you cannot complete their storylines. Rot Essence is located in Key Items. You’ll inevitably rack up a few or more of these unfortunate items.
A little ways into the game, you’ll be able to collect a blood sample from someone dealing with Dragonrot. Doing so will help Emma create a cure, giving you a Recovery Charm and Dragon’s Blood Droplet. These items will allow you to cure everyone with Dragonrot at Sculptor’s Idols. The Recovery Charm will last forever, but Dragon’s Blood Droplet does not. You can purchase this important item from vendors for 180 sen.
You can find Coin Purses throughout the world to give you bulks of sen, but the most consistent source of sen comes from enemies. When you kill an enemy, most of the time their corpse will be glowing. Stand over it and hold Square/X to take their sen. It’s easy to forget to do this, especially if you have other enemies to deal with, but try to remember to loot when the coast is clear.
If you’re in need of sen, you can reset the enemies in an area that you’re comfortable with by resting at a Sculptor’s Idol. The enemies will return to the same positions they were in before. You can repeat the same area as many times as you’d like. All common enemies respawn, but don’t worry, you won’t have to deal with the generals again.
Alternatively, you can sell back items you find to vendors. If you find that you’re not using certain items that are plentiful throughout the world (like Fistful of Ash), you can trade these for sen at any vendor.