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In many levels there appears to be an Altar to Kali. What purpose does it serve and how can I use it?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Damaging an altar (either with bombs or by enemies/traps while you're in the level) will result in punishments:

  • Damage an altar once and you will get a lot of spiders after you.
  • Damage once twice and you'll also get a ball a chain that you have to drag around the level.
  • Damage one a third time and the level will also go dark and a ghost will be summoned. Unless you're right next to an exit you are unlikely survive this.

Sacrifice items to an altar to get rewards:

  • Drop a gold idol to get a golden monkey that runs around the level crapping gold. I think this might eventually net more gold than the idol would have given you, but it's hard keeping the monkey alive.
  • Drop a stunned (or dead) enemy to please Kali a little.
  • Drop a stunned damsel to please Kali a lot - one damsel is enough for a random item reward.

Please Kali enough and you get the Kapala - a skull cup that gives you back health from bleeding enemies.

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As an amusing bit of trivia, accidentally sacrificing yourself on the altar (falling or being knocked onto one while stunned) also seems to please Kali equally to a damsel; every time it's happened to me, a random item reward has spawned. – CloudyMusic Jul 19 '12 at 16:05

In the original Spelunky they were all the things were worth sacrifice points, I believe the Stunned Damsel/Idol were 8 (if dead the damsel is worth 1 or 2, the same goes for regular enemies, alive they are 2, dead they are 1) I have a feeling a stunned Shopkeeper is also worth 8, at 8 sacrifice points Kali gives you a random item, at 16 (2 damsels) you get the Kapala, I think at 32 (4 damsels) you get an extra 8 lives, I believe the Throne in the Black Knights castle acts as a regular altar.

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Any way to confirm those relative values? I thought the PC version gave 99 bombs at the top, has anyone confirmed that it's 8HP? – Keith Jul 12 '12 at 8:50
Added link to sacrifice point values. – walrus helmet Jan 18 '14 at 3:26

In addition to the other answers - if you are playing split-screen, try putting your friend on the altar. Guaranteed item at the cost of a friend!

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Can you really call them a "friend" if you're sacrificing them to get items? :) – Tim S. Apr 6 at 22:56

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