Please note a lot of the information on this page is not currently accurate and requires further research.
Bloodstained Altars to Kali are randomly placed by the game on any level except 1-1, the City of Gold, Olmec's Chamber and King Yama's Throne Room. . So long as Kali isn't too unhappy with you, you can earn favor by stunning or killing an offering and leaving it on the altar. However, allowing one to be destroyed can lead to dire punishments.
You are guaranteed an Altar and a lot of human enemies in the Haunted Castle
If you destroy a altar once it will spawn 8 spiders and if destroyed twice you will get a iron ball and chain.
The amount of favor won from sacrificing something depends on whether the offering is alive or dead, and also on exactly what you offer:
- Usually, the stun time is too short on a shopkeeper to allow him to be sacrificed alive.
- It's possible, albeit dangerous, to lure him to the altar and jump-stun him so he lands on the altar.
- If a Man-trap eats the shopkeeper, and is stunned, you can place the man-trap on the altar, and if you're lucky, both will be sacrificed, giving you 8 Favor. This is rare, and is usually very dangerous.
- Sacrificing an Idol will reward you with a Golden Monkey.
- Sacrificing a crystal skull during the dead are restless event in the jungle level will reward you with a white monkey. it appears to do much the same thing as a golden monkey.
- In multiplayer you can sacrifice your partner(s) alive or dead for 8/4 favor. as the only remaining player it is possible to sacrifice yourself and lose the game by falling from high enough onto the altar to be stunned.
As you gain favor, Kali will give you rewards in return. These occur at particular levels of favor:
- At 8 Favor, you gain a random piece of equipment out of the following: Cape, Climbing Gloves, Spectacles, Pitcher's Mitt, Spring Shoes, Spike Shoes, Paste, Compass. If you already have the item it picks, it moves on to the next random item in the list until it has checked for the existence of all eight. Having a Jetpack will also prevent the Cape from appearing, but having the Udjat Eye will not prevent the Spectacles from appearing. If none of the eight items are given to you, then you are instead rewarded with a Jetpack if you do not have one, or otherwise a box of 12 Bombs.
- If you so choose to sacrifice the Idol, you will get the Golden Monkey.
- At 16 Favor, you receive a Kapala, which allows you to collect drops of blood from enemies and convert every 8 you collect into an extra point of HP.
- At 32 Favor, you will receive 8 HP. No further rewards will be granted.
Each gift can only be received once per game.
If a sacrificial altar is destroyed in any manner, then Kali will blame you for it and you will lose 16 Favor. On top of this, you also receive a punishment:
- The first time an altar is destroyed, the head of Kali's statue will open and let loose 8 spiders.
- The second time an altar is destroyed, Kali will attach a ball and chain to your leg. Unless you carry the ball yourself, it is very slow to drag around and can cause you to hang suspended in mid-air if you jump off a ledge (it will slide off eventually though). You can also use it as a makeshift projectile, but it is limited by the length of the chain. If you are falling, the ball will soften your landing thus acting like a parachute, but only if you are not carrying it (you may throw it while falling). The ball can be dropped in magma and destroyed, freeing you for the remainder of the game. (Unlike the PC version, it will not come back upon starting the next level.)
- If a third altar is destroyed Kali will spawn 8 spiders and summon the ghost, unlike the PC version the Ghost will be spawned every level afterwards the second you enter. This is on top of you keeping the ball and chain.
- No altars can spawn on level 1-1.
- 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 related to ADOM's).
- Additionally, the ball and chain punishment is seen in Nethack, with similar implications (such as the need to carry it, and its potential as a projectile).