Instincts are a gameplay mechanic in Mortal Shell. Instincts are exclusive to the Roguelike Virtuous Cycle Game Mode, providing the player with various upgrades and bonuses with which to tackle the new mode. There are a large selection of Instincts, each providing a unique bonus and their distribution is randomized, ensuring that each cycle provides a different experience. This page covers information on all available Instincts in the game, including their mechanics and effects.

 

Instincts Overview

When playing through The Virtuous Cycle, you do not retain any upgrades or abilities you've collected from the Main Game. Instead, you begin each Cycle with a blank template consisting of your chosen Shell, Weapon and Riposte type. In order to build up your character during a given run, you will need to collect Instincts, which are buffs that improve or modify the various capabilities of your chosen Shell, Weapon and Riposte. 

Instincts Overview

Instincts are primarily obtained by interacting with the Pillars spread across Fallgrim and beyond. Pillars are sometimes guarded by enemies and will glow orange until all enemies in the area are defeated. Some Pillars glow yellow and require a Tar offering to unlock an Instinct while some are free to use. Upon interacting with a Pillar, you will be granted a choice between 3 Instincts which modify a certain aspect of your character for the current run. Some Instincts can also be acquired when you begin a run, defeat a Boss or open certain containers. Instincts are generated randomly but usually pertain to one or two categories and types. There is a small chance to obtain a Bonus Instinct which is activated along with your chosen one.

There are three categories of Instincts: Regular InstinctsMortal Instincts and Immediate Instincts.

Regular Instincts

Regular Instincts fall into several types pertaining to direct modifications to your character's effectiveness in combat. Furthermore, Regular Instincts can drop in one of five rarities: CommonUncommon, Rare, Epic and Legendary. Rarity provides a major boost to an Instinct's value and potency. The higher the rarity, the more potent the Instinct. An Instinct has a chance of being of a higher tier when first encountered, or upgraded in tier when encountered again if you already possess it. The chance for this occurring can be improved by investing in Runic Gate upgrades. 

Regular Instincts also have a Rank which always starts at 1 and can be upgraded to the next Rank when the same Instinct is acquired again after the first time in a Cycle. Upgrading an Instinct to the next Rank will provide a minor boost to its value.

Mortal Instincts

Mortal Instincts

Mortal Instincts provide flat bonuses such as base damage, resistance to specific damage types or an increase to the health gained when you receive a new Instinct. While the bonuses are small, there are plenty of Mortal Instincts you can obtain in a cycle and stacking several of the same types can quickly raise your total bonuses. Mortal Instincts can be obtained in a variety of ways including from Pillars, Bosses and Mini Bosses or by inspecting World Objects which are shiny nodes on the ground. You can have a maximum of 10 types of Mortal Instincts per Cycle but each type stacks with each other.

When acquiring Instincts, there is a chance to obtain a Bonus Instinct which can either be a Mortal or Immediate Instinct.

Immediate Instincts

Bonus Instincts

Immediate Instincts are one-off bonuses that provide a good amount of resources and utilities such as Glimpses or recharging your Last Chance ability (if you've previously been separated from your Shell). Immediate Instincts' effects are provided immediately and are not kept as is the case with Regular and Mortal Instincts.

When acquiring Instincts, there is a chance to obtain a Bonus Instinct which can either be a Mortal or Immediate Instinct.

 

Temples & Tokens

While not providing upgrades or bonuses, Temple Tokens can be acquired at random from Pillars in much the same way as Instincts. There are three Tokens in the game, each corresponding to the three Temples. When encountered in a Pillar, you will be given a choice between the three Tokens, allowing you some freedom with which Temple to tackle first.

Tokens Sample

 

 

 

All Regular Instincts

Parry
Riposte
Harden
Dodge
Character
Roll
Last Chance
Stone Stomp
Kick
Combat
Weapon
Ballistazooka

 

Parry Instincts

Blessed Parry

Blessed Parry

A parried enemy deals x% less damage to you.

Enhanced Parry

Enhanced Parry

When parrying an enemy there is x% chance to leave it vulnerable to an Empowered Riposte even when on no Resolve.

Pilfering Parry

Pilfering Parry

A parried enemy drops x% more Tar upon death.

 

Lucky Parry

Lucky Parry

A parried enemy has a x% increased chance to drop an item on death.

Counter

Counter

When Parrying, there is a x% chance to immediately deal y damage to the parried enemy.

Explosive Parry

Explosive Parry

When Parrying, there is a x% chance to release a blast that deals y damage to all other enemies in range.

Riposte Instincts

Heal Riposte Damage +

Heal Riposte DMG +

Heal Riposte damage is increased by x%.

Heal Riposte Life +

Heal Riposte Life +

Healing effect of the Heal Riposte increased by x%.

Bloodsucker

Bloodsucker

Upon killing an enemy with the Heal Riposte there is x% chance your next y attacks have lifesteal ability.

 

Blood Communion

Blood Communion

Upon executing the Heal Riposte there is a x% chance to release blood projectiles.

The Last Drop

The Last Drop

Upon killing an enemy with the Heal Riposte there is a x% chance to regain full health.

Explosive Heal

Explosive Heal

The Heal Riposte also deals x damage to all enemies in range.

Harden Instincts

Harder Longer

Harder Longer

Harden lasts for x% as long upon being broken.

Harden Cooldown -

Harden Cooldown -

Harden cooldown is reduced by x%.

Adrenaline Rush

Adrenaline Rush

When Harden is in cooldown, stamina refills x% more rapidly.

 

Barbed Shell

Barbed Shell

x% of the blocked damage taken while hardened is dealt back to the attacker.

Staggering Shell

Staggering Shell

Getting struck while hardened has x% chance to stagger the attacking enemy.

Super Hard

Super Hard

After recharging the Harden ability, there is x% chance to gain Enhanced Harden.

 

No Pain No Gain

No Pain No Gain

When struck while hardened x% of the blocked damage up to y is converted to Resolve.

Dodge Instincts

Quick Dodge

Quick Dodge

Dodge speed, while not locked-on, is increased by x%.

Quick Evade

Quick Evade

Dodge speed, while locked-on, is increased by x%.

Extended Dodge

Extended Dodge

Your Dodge covers x% longer distance.

 

Effortless Dodge

Effortless Dodge

Dodge stamina cost, while not locked-on, is decreased by x%.

Effortless Evade

Effortless Evade

Dodge stamina cost, while locked-on, is decreased by x%.

Fiery Dodge

Fiery Dodge

When Dodging, there is a x% chance to release an AOE that sets enemies on fire.

 

Freezing Dodge

Freezing Dodge

When Dodging, there is a x% chance to release an AOE that freezes enemies.

Poisonous Dodge

Poisonous Dodge

When Dodging, there is a x% chance to release an AOE that poisons enemies.

Explosive Dodge

Explosive Dodge

When Dodging, there is a x% chance to release blast that deals y damage to enemies in range.

Character Instincts

Max Health +

Max Health +

Maximum health is increased by x%.

Max Stamina +

Max Stamina +

Maximum stamina is increased by x%.

Max Resolve +

Max Resolve +

Upon defeating a Boss there is x% chance Max Resolve is increased by 1.

 

Stamina Refill +

Stamina Refill +

Stamina refill rate is increased by x%.

Regeneration

Regeneration

Health slowly refills over time til x% of your max health.

Resolve Drain -

Resolve Drain -

Resolve drain over time is decreased by x%.

 

Close Call

Close Call

There is x% chance that up to y damage taken is drained from stamina instead of health.

Saving Throw

Saving Throw

Upon receiving a deadly blow there is x% chance that 1 Resolve is consumed instead, saving you from death.

Sprint Cost -

Sprint Cost -

Sprinting costs x% less stamina.

 

Resolve Gain +

Resolve Gain +

Resolve gain is increased by x%.

Roll Instincts

Effortless Roll

Effortless Roll

Roll stamina cost, while not locked-on, is decreased by x%.

Effortless Reflex

Effortless Reflex

Roll stamina cost, while locked-on, is decreased by x%.

Quick Roll

Quick Roll

Roll speed, while not locked-on, is increased by x%.

 

Extended Roll

Extended Roll

Your Roll covers x% longer distance.

Dagger Roll

Dagger Roll

When Rolling, there is a x% chance to throw daggers at the nearest enemies that deal y damage.

Lava Roll

Lava Roll

When Rolling, there is a x% chance to release molten projectiles that deal y damage on impact.

 

Hardening Roll

Hardening Roll

When Rolling, there is a x% chance to Stone Stun enemies in range.

Last Chance Instincts

Damaging Separation

Damaging Separation

When separated from your Shell, there is a x% chance enemies in range receive y damage.

Harder Separation

Harder Separation

When separated from your Shell, the petrification AOE range is increased by x%.

Healing Separation

Healing Separation

When regaining your Last Chance, there is x% chance to be fully healed.

 

Long Separation

Long Separation

When separated from your Shell, all enemies in range remain petrified x% longer.

Near Death Experience

Near Death Experience

There is a x% chance you are not separated from your Shell when losing all health.

Withering Separation

Withering Separation

When separated from your Shell, all enemies in range are weakened and deal x% less damage to you.

Stone Stomp Instincts

Big Impact

Big Impact

Stone Stomp blast radius upon landing is increased by x%.

Enhanced Stomp

Enhanced Stomp

Stone Stomp blast damage upon landing is increased by x%.

Kick Instincts

Ashen Kick

Ashen Kick

Kick releases a burst of flames, enemies in range are set on fire and receive x damage over 5 seconds.

Critical Kick

Critical Kick

There is a x% chance to leave a kicked enemy vulnerable to an Empowered Riposte.

Damaging Kick

Damaging Kick

Kick deals x damage to enemies.

 

Debilitating Kick

Debilitating Kick

A kicked enemy has x% less poise and is more vulnerable to getting staggered.

Combat Instincts

Light Attack Stamina Cost -

Light Attack Stamina Cost -

Light Attack stamina cost decreased by x%.

Light Attack Damage +

Light Attack Damage +

Light Attack damage increased by x%.

Heavy Attack Stamina Cost -

Heavy Attack Stamina Cost -

Light Attack stamina cost decreased by x%.

 

Heavy Attack Damage +

Heavy Attack Damage +

Heavy Attack damage increased by x%.

Momentum Attack +

Momentum Attack +

Plunging and Running Attack damage increased by x%.

Momentum Atk Stamina -

Momentum Atk Stamina -

Running Attack stamina cost decreased by x%.

 

Finishing Blow

Finishing Blow

The Heavy Attack combo finisher has a x% chance to leave a basic enemy vulnerable to an Empowered Riposte.

Staggering Finisher

Staggering Finisher

The Light Attack combo finisher has a x% chance to immediately stagger a basic enemy.

Enemy Weakness +

Enemy Weakness +

Damage dealt to basic enemies is further increased by x%.

 

Boss Weakness +

Boss Weakness +

Damage dealt to Bosses is further increased by x%.

Hallowed Sword Hallowed Sword Weapon Instincts

Mechanical Spike DMG +

Mechanical Spike DMG +

Mechanical Spike damage is increased by x%.

Molten Spike Burn Duration +

Molten Spike Burn Duration +

Molten Spike burning damage lasts for x% longer.

Molten Spike DMG +

Molten Spike DMG +

Molten Spike damage is increased by x%.

 

Smoldering Made Smoldering Mace Weapon Instincts

Burning Foundry Stone

Burning Foundry Stone

Foundry Stone's ability burning effect deals x% more damage.

Enhanced Awakened Stone

Enhanced Awakened Stone

Awakened Stone ability damage is increased by x%.

Masterwork Foundry Stone

Masterwork Foundry Stone

Foundry Stone ability effect lasts for x% longer.

 

Martyr's Blade Martyr's Blade Weapon Instincts

Frostbite

Frostbite

Radiant Winterglass frost spike damage is increased by x%.

Long Winter

Long Winter

Radiant Winterglass freeze effect lasts for x% longer.

Lucky Winterglass

Lucky Winterglass

There is x% chance to not consume a Petrified Winterglass charge on a successful attack.

 

Hammer and Chisel Hammer and Chisel Weapon Instincts

Foul Blast

Foul Blast

When you throw the Chisel there is x% chance it releases acid projectiles that deal y damage.

Leeching Chisel

Leeching Chisel

x% of the damage dealt by the Chisel, up to y, is converted to health.

Lightbringer

Lightbringer

Upon killing an enemy there is x% chance the Hammer is imbued with light for y seconds.

 

Plague Lord

Plague Lord

Foul Censer poison lasts for x% longer.

Potent Perfume

Potent Perfume

Perfumed Censer single-target damage is increased by x%.

Rotten Censer

Rotten Censer

Foul Censer single-target damage is increased by x%.

 

Suffocating Censer

Suffocating Censer

Perfumed Censer AOE damage is increased by x%.

 

Axatana Axatana Weapon Instincts

Axe Boost

Axe Boost

Damage of the Axe weapon ability is increased by x%.

Dual Wielder

Dual Wielder

Damage of the Katanas' weapon ability is increased by x%.

Firetana

Firetana

There is a x% chance your Axatana sets enemies ablaze.

 

Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal

There is a x% chance the axe's Heavy Attack will deal 200% damage and 200% poise damage.

Secret Technique

Secret Technique

Transforming the Axatana triggers an explosion dealing x damage to all nearby enemies.

Sliced and Diced

Sliced and Diced

There is a x% chance an enemy starts bleeding when damaged by the dual katanas.

 

Ballistazooka Instincts

Reinforced Bolts

Reinforced Bolts

Large Bolts damage increased by x%.

Ballistazooka Reload +

Ballistazooka Reload +

Ballistazooka has a x% quicker reload time.

Deep Pockets

Deep Pockets

x% chance for ranged enemies to drop Large Bolts.

 

Blasting Bolts

Blasting Bolts

There is a x% chance Large Bolts explode on impact dealing y damage to all enemies in range.

Explosive Bolts

Explosive Bolts

There is a x% chance Large Bolts explode on impact setting on fire all enemies in range for y seconds.

Freezing Bolts

Freezing Bolts

There is a x% chance Large Bolts explode on impact freezing all enemies in range for y seconds.

 

Poisonous Bolts

Poisonous Bolts

There is a x% chance Large Bolts explode on impact poisoning all enemies in range for y seconds.

 

 

All Mortal Instincts

Damage +

Damage +

Base damage +1.

Movement Speed +

Movement Speed +

Movement speed +5.

Runic Syphon

Runic Syphon

Acquiring a new Instinct restores +5 additional health.

 

Tar Drop +

Tar Drop +

Enemies drop +5 Tar.

Fall Damage Resist +

Fall Damage Resist +

Fall damage resistance +5.

Fire Damage Resist +

Fire Damage Resist +

Fire damage resistance +5.

 

Freeze Damage Resist +

Freeze Damage Resist +

Frozen damage resistance +5.

Knockdown Resist +

Knockdown Resist +

Knockdown resistance +5.

Poison Damage Resist +

Poison Damage Resist +

Poison damage resistance +5.

 

Unparryable Attack Resist +

Unparryable Attack Resist +

Unparryable attacks resistance +5.

 

All Immediate Instincts

Endless Unborn

Endless Unborn

Immediately restores your ability to reclaim your shell upon death.

Grisha Hunter

Grisha Hunter

Immediately adds 20 Glimpses.

Vampire Hunter

Vampire Hunter

Immediately adds 15 Glimpses.

 

We Were Never Friends

We Were Never Friends

Immediately adds 15 Glimpses.

Grisha Liberator

Grisha Liberator

Immediately adds 30 Glimpses.

 

All Temple Tokens

Token of Ash

Token of Ash

A token for those who are called to the Shrine of Ash.

Token of Martyrs

Token of Martyrs

A token for those who are called to the Crypt of Martyrs.

Token of Infinity

Token of Infinity

A token for those who are called to the Seat of Infinity.

 

 




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