Bloodstained Altars dedicated to the fickle goddess Kali can be found scattered throughout the caves. So long as Kali isn't too unhappy with you, you can earn favor by leaving stunned or dead bodies as offerings upon the altar. This increases your hidden 'favor rating' which will incrementally earn you useful rewards as it rises, including items and health.
However, destroying an altar (or even simply allowing an altar to be destroyed) will anger Kali, reducing your favor standing with her.
If her anger surpasses the favor you've earned, she will inflict dire punishments upon you that will increase in severity if you continue to offend her.
Altars may generate at random in any of the five main areas of the cave, but never in Olmec's Lair, King Yama's Lair or in most bonus levels. Altars also never appear on the first level of the mines.
A guaranteed altar will be found near the exit of the Haunted Castle, shaped like a giant throne.
The amount of favor won from a sacrifice depends on the 'value' of the offering.
Generally, more dangerous enemies are worth more, and Kali prefers them stunned, rather than dead:
|The Black Knight||8||4|
|Scorpion Fly||6||No Corpse|
- A Spelunker will be accepted as a sacrifice if they land upon an Altar while stunned. The favor will still be rewarded, but you will not be able to benefit from this unless resurrected by the Ankh or playing with another player in co-op mode. Any bestowed bonus takes effect immediately prior to dying by sacrifice (so, for example, you will not be able to keep the 8 HP invigoration bonus after sacrifing yourself and then being ressurected by the Ankh).
- A monster doesn't necessarily need to be on the altar because of the player to be sacrificed. A monster that falls onto the altar and gets stunned will still be accepted as a valid sacrifice and the player will gain favor, even if the player had nothing to do with the monster falling onto the altar.
- In practice, the Shopkeeper's stun time is usually too short to allow him to be sacrificed alive, but it's possible - albeit risky - to lure him above an altar and stomp him so he lands stunned upon it.
- Despite being quite powerful, Vampires and Mantraps are worth the least favor because of the very little blood they contain.
- If a Mantrap eats a Shopkeeper, if you're fast enough you can place the stunned mantrap on the altar. Both will be sacrificed at once, giving you their combined favor value. This is usually very dangerous, as Shopkeepers will break out from inside Mantraps completely unharmed, and will continue their rampage if they have been angered.
- New Spelunkers unlocked from Coffins can be picked up and placed on the altar. The same can be done to other players in co-op mode.
- While Croc Men can be stunned, they will always wake up before being sacrificed, so it is not possible to offer them.
Corpses that cannot be sacrificedEdit
- The corpse of the Alien Queen is too heavy to carry and she is immobile whilst alive, but no Altar will ever appear in the Mothership anyway.
- The corpses of Fire Frogs always explode before Kali accepts them as sacrifices.
- Skeletons and Piranha Skeletons won't be accepted as sacrifices as they contain no blood.
As you gain favor, Kali will reward you for your devotion.
Rewards are given incrementally, with greater rewards given for higher levels of favor.
"She seems pleased with you!"
At 8 Favor, you gain a random Accessory from the following selection:
|Climbing Gloves||Pitcher's Mitt||Spring Shoes||Spike Shoes|
- Kali will never give you an item you already own.
- Having a jetpack will prevent the Cape from appearing, but having the Udjat Eye will not prevent the Spectacles from appearing.
- If you already have every item on the list, then you are rewarded with a jetpack.
- If you already have a jetpack as well as the 7 non-cape items above, you will be given a bomb box instead.
"She seems ecstatic with you!"
At 32 favor, you "feel invigorated" and gain 8 HP.
The altar is made out of two blocks, it has been confirmed during daily challenges that each side will normally give different items. No more rewards are given after invigoration.
Some sacrifices immediately grant certain special rewards when they are sacrificed, instead of increasing favor.
- Sacrificing a Golden Idol will spawn a friendly Golden Monkey that defecates treasure.
- Sacrificing a Crystal Skull will spawn a Crystal Monkey (see Golden Monkey) that also defecates treasure. Since a crystal skull is valued $5000 more than a golden idol in the jungle, sacrificing the skull usually isn't worth the same reward and the triggering of the ghost.
- Sacrificing a Mystery Box will spawn an Eggplant, as well as cause the level music to change to an 8-bit-esque tune.
Note that if your favor is negative when you make the sacrifice, the item will disappear but you will not get any reward.
If a sacrificial altar is destroyed for any reason, Kali will blame you for it and your favor will decrease by 16. Then:
- If your favor is reduced below zero, eight Spiders will be immediately be released from Kali's statue.
- If you destroy two or more altars, Kali will attach a Ball and Chain to your leg. This is independent of your favor. The ball can be destroyed by dropping it into lava or by crushing it with a Pushable Block, Crush Trap, Shield or Olmec. You can also destroy it in The Ice Caves by roping or climbing down to just above The Abyss , and dropping the ball and chain into the abyss.
- If you have destroyed three or more altars, Kali will immediately summon the Ghost in the current level, as well as in every subsequent level immediately after entering. The early ghost punishment is also independent of your favor. The ghost will stop being summoned early if you manage to destroy your ball and chain. The ghost that is summoned is the same ghost that spawns if you hang out in the level too long, just appearing earlier, so you won't get two ghosts because of this. (The only way to get two ghosts is by getting both the normal ghost and picking up the Crystal Skull.)
- Altars feature in many Roguelikes (such as Nethack and ADOM) in which any enemy over the altar could be sacrificed, dead or alive. As such, Spelunky's altars are most similar to those in ADOM.
- Additionally, the Ball and Chain punishment is seen in Nethack, with similar implications such as the need to carry it, and its potential use as a projectile.