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Shrines are scattered around the Gungeon and tend to have specific benefits associated with them along with some sort of cost if you interact with them. Individual shrines can dramatically change in usefulness depending on how you are playing the game, i.e. what character you are or what game mode you are in. Like NPCs they sometimes show up in secret rooms or behind locked doors, but unlike them they have no reaction if you shoot them. You can tell if a room is going to be a shrine room if there is a green light beside the path leading towards it. Most shrines can only be used once, but there are a number of exceptions that I will specifically mention. I will list the individual shrines, their effects and some gameplay notes in alphabetical order:
The Ammo Shrine will completely refill the ammo in all of your guns to max in exchange for slapping you with a 3.5 increase in curse (refer to the curse section for more information on that little present). This shrine varies dramatically in usefulness overall, obviously you want to wait until you have your weapons at the lowest amount of ammo possible before using it, as such if you find one but still have plenty of ammo left you might want to run through the rest of the floor before using it, though maybe use it before the boss to put you into a good ammo position with your best weapons. RNG around ammo drops can make it either comparatively useless or an absolute lifesaver, but overall as you get better at the game and are better able to manage your ammo economy it will probably be less useful than it seemed at the start. The curse is a major consideration, if you have zero or a small amount of curse to start with it probably won’t be much of an issue, you may even enjoy getting some tougher enemies and a bit more money, but if you have a lot of curse built up beforehand it can make things very difficult. If you find it on either a Cursed or Blessed run it’s and absolute no go, in cursed runs it will absolutely send you over the edge to get chased down by Lord of the Jammed which is simply not worth the ammo, while in Blessed runs the ammo refill is meangingless since your weapon will just change anyway, effectively increasing your curse for no upside.
The Angel Shrine will permanently reduce your health by one full heart and increase your curse by 1.5 in exchange for a flat 25% increase in your damage using any weapon. Personally I find this trade-off extremely tempting, damage increases are very valuable in this game and this is a good source for that, it’s also worth keeping in mind that it’s in line with other items that significantly increase damage since they usually also have some kind of downside or similar catch associated with them (ie Heavy Bullets decrease bullet speed, Eyepatch makes you much less accurate, Gilded bullets requires you to not spend money to get the most out of them etc). Still the hit to health is quite harsh, but if you can consistently get Master Rounds in the first three or so chambers then it should be worth it overall, otherwise you should probably leave it. Compared to other shrines the curse is fairly negligible unless you’re already packed to the gills with curse, though again this shrine won’t be an option during cursed runs if you don’t want the Lord of the Jammed tagging along to keep you company.
Unfortunately, because he has no hearts the Robot cannot avail of this shrine at all, if he interacts with it there won’t be any option to do anything.
Unlike the other shrines you don’t directly interact with this shrine to get it’s effect. The shrine has a 9 in 10 chance to drop a chest if you fire off a blank in the same room as the shrine, it’s also reusable, though each blank fired after the first chest reduces the chance for another chest to spawn by 45% until there is only a 1 in 4 chance for a chest to drop, the chests can also be mimics so be wary! If you find this chest on a floor it’s the best incentive to hold onto the your blanks as much as possible, even in boss fights (though don’t get so fixated you get hit and lose the Master Round). If I find this shrine I prefer to blast off all of my spare blanks here rather than look for secret rooms with them since it’s overall more reliable, most of the chests will be unlocked brown chests and if you have some keys to spare blue and green chests can still be good. I’ve never seen a Red or Black chest drop from this shrine though that could just be a lack of luck on my part. In cursed runs keep in mind the amount of extra mimics you’ll probably get from this process.
The challenge shrine will throw you against three waves of tough enemies after interacting with it and drop an unlocked chest after you’ve defeated them all. The chest will always be better than brown but can be a mimic. The waves are usually the hardest that you’ll find on a floor, for example there is at least one that will have two Lead Maidens which is otherwise unheard of. Still, as you get better at the game you shouldn’t have much difficulty killing the enemies, you might even get more money out of it than otherwise(especially with high curse, though of course the fight will be harder). Even if you do get hit a couple of times I think it’s worth it in almost any situation to use this shrine so that you can get that chest, unless perhaps you are literally one hit away from death.
One of the rarer shrines in my experience, I don’t believe these spawn at all if you have no curse and even with lots of curse you don’t see them very much. In exchange for a payment of 5 casings per level of curse you have this shrine will reset your overall curse back down to zero. Unfortunately it’s an all or nothing prospect, you can’t decide to just reduce your curse by 1 or 2 and pay less, you have to reduce it down to zero and pay the most amount possible to get rid of the most curse possible which can be a problem if you only want to reduce it a little or don’t have enough money to pay for the full treatment. This is one of the only two ways to decrease curse in the whole game without dropping a cursed item (the other being the next shrine incidentally) so it can be useful if you find it to prevent your curse from getting out of control, if you find it on a cursed run you can reset things back to normal and avail of curse-increasing options like buying or stealing certain items while also getting the extra money from the run up till that point. I usually avoid this shrine since I like lots of curse unless I’m lucky enough to find it while I know there is a valuable item on the floor that will require me to take on curse, like the Skeleton Key, while I’m in the middle of a curse run. For newer players using the shrine if you’ve let your curse get a bit too high can provide a very nice breather and decrease the difficulty a lot. Look at the section on curse to find out a bit more about that.
The Cleansing Shrine is also the only thing in the game that will directly inform you of your level of curse, based on what the description says before activating it, this breaks down as follows:
- 0-2 Curse: The spectres don’t disturb you.
- 3-4 Curse: You are touched by Darkness.
- 5-6 Curse: You are Wreathed in Darkness.
- 7-9 Curse: Tarry not. they come for you.
- 10+ Curse: No one can help you.
As the last point suggests the shrine also will not work at all if you are at ten or above curse, watch out!
Probably the most complicated shrine of them all, this shrine will give the player a random benefit along with a random downside if you use it. The Benefits are as follow:
- Cleansed: Removes a random amount of curse
- Bolstered: give the player 1 or 2 permanent health upgrades
- Gift: Spawns a chest (can be a mimic)
- Renewed: restores a random amount of missing heath
- Paid: Receive between 20 to 99 casings
- Hasted: Movement Speed increased
- Shielded: Receive 1 to 3 pieces of armor
- Blanked: Receive 1 to 10 blanks
- Reloaded: Ammo capacity increased to 125% or all ammo refilled on all guns
The Negative effects are as follow:
- Limited: Reduces Ammo capacity on all guns by 30%
- Cursed: Increases curse by 5
- Unsteady: Increases reload time
- Disarmed: Steals the weapon you are currently holding
- Robbed: Steals 25-100% of the casings you have
- Pained: Damages the player for 1 to 2 hearts worth of damage
- De-Blanked: Steals a random number of blanks
- Enfeebled: Permanently removes one heart worth of health
- Priceless: No negative downside is applied
As you can see using this shrine is like pulling a slot machine for one positive and negative effect, unless you manage to get the Priceless modifier. Using this shrine is entirely up to the player and their willingness to trust in the RNG and take some risks for some gains, but I will say that it’s easy for you to lose out harshly by using the shrine, some of the benefits can be of little use (Cleansed and Renewed will be of little to no use if you have little or no curse gained or health lost respectively, while if you manage to get Limited, Robbed or Unsteady it can seriously set you back and hobble you for the rest of the run). In particular I recommend against using it in cursed runs if only because getting the Cursed modifier can be completely fatal. Still, if you do decide to use it and the dice rolls in your favour it can be very useful, and it’s worth keeping in mind that you can take certain approaches to tilt the odds to your advantage. Before using the shrine, If you’ve spent all of your money, used all of your blanks (looking for secret rooms or fighting bosses for example), know there is at least 2 hearts worth of health lying around somewhere on the floor and hold out a low value weapon like the Lowercase R then that will go a long way towards mitigating a large number of the downsides, and hey, you might even get Priceless. If you play as the robot them the health related negatives won’t effect him, though neither will the health related positives. Sometimes the effects will just cancel each other out and nothing really happen, ie you get both Bolstered and Enfeebled to end up with the same amount of max health as before.
A final note about this shrine is that there is a vanishingly small chance, 0.1% that using the shrine will instead cause it too explode, reduce your heart containers to just 1 but also increase your damage 4 times! I usually give this shrine a miss if I see it but if you feel like you want a bit more spice in your gungeoning career, then take the gamble with this and make things more interesting.
The Glass Shrine will grant the player 3 of the Glass Guon Stone items with no downside, refer to the Pickups section for more on them. Interestingly this is one of the only shrines that has absolutely no cost associated with using it, so be sure to use this whenever you see it for the small benefit it provides.
Found in the first room of the first floor, if you’ve defeated the past of the player character interacting with this shrine will set your curse to 9, see the section on Cursed Runs for more info.
A statue to the legendary Ser Junkan, this shrine will take junk that you have in your inventory and replace them with pieces of armor. Can be particularly useful for the robot and give him a good supply of armor, it’s worth keeping in mind that the 5% damage increase the robot gains for holding each piece of junk is not lost when you give them up to this shrine. You can use the shrine muliple times to get rid of multiple junk in your inventory. If notice this shrine on a floor and find some low quality chests and limited keys you might want to consider destroying the chests for junk and dropping them off at the shrine to get a bit more value for the junk, though if you have ser junkan (the passive item) dropping off junk at this shrine will make him less powerful which isn’t worth doing.
The Peace Shrine will take whatever gun you are holding out when you interact with it and in exchange heal you for a full heart’s worth of damage and can be repeated. This is actually a pretty good deal if you’re badly injured since you can offer it poor quality guns like the Convicts’ shotgun you likely will never use past the first few floors, otherwise they’re probably best sold or thrown into a gun ♥♥♥. Of course it won’t do anything if you are at full health and taking weapons away will make you weaker if you have the passive item Unity, just to keep in mind.
In Blessed runs you can exploit this shrine by feeding it guns endlessly until your health is maxxed out, the constantly changing gun seems to be considered unlimited for this purpose!
Fans of Vlambeer are sure to appreciate this guy, alas, no airhorns or gangster rap! Y.V. will fittingly cause your guns to randomly shoot extra bullets as you fire by offering casings at this shrine, the more casings you offer the higher the chance extra bullets will be shot out. The amount of extra bullets that will be shot is also random. This can massively increase your damage output overall as random shots will vomit it out a slew of extra projectiles to ruin an enemies day, however as you use the shrine each additional use to increase projectiles will raise the cost of the shrine by 10 casings (the first use will be 10 casings so the second one will be 20 casings and so on), so the shrine quickly becomes extremely expensive. Because of this it’s exceptionally useful to find this near the end of a cursed run when you can blow hundreds of extra casings for Y.V’s ability to murder everything around you, or have the Briefcase of cash item or be good when using the Loot Bag item. If a shot does not activate the effect then the likelihood of the next shot to activate it will increase, by 3.7% each time (on top of the base activation chance based on the amount you’ve used the shrine). The amount of extra bullets will be 2 to 4 times that of a single bullet and cost no additional ammo.
Powerful weapons with little ammo get the most out of this, seeing a Stinger or BSG fart out a slew of projectiles for way more destruction than usual is a thing of beauty. I would recommend you get at least a few uses out of this shrine whenever you find it.