Altar farming

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In NetHack, altar farming, sometimes referred to as altar scumming in more extreme forms, is the act of camping by an altar within the Mazes of Menace for an inordinate amount of time for the purpose of obtaining numerous sacrifice gifts and favors. As with some other forms of farming, some players may consider this to be against the spirit of the game.


Monster creation does happen over time, but normally not fast enough for the purposes of altar farming. Players who want to try altar farming will usually need a way to spawn a large number of strong monsters very quickly. Useful tools for accomplishing this include:

Of course, just because you can create an extremely high number of monsters doesn't mean you'll live to sacrifice them all - various monsters that are either horrifically strong or else capable of instantly killing you must dealt with promptly. Other tools must also be on hand to manage all their death drops:

Sacrificing for gifts

One of the benefits that can be gained from altar farming is sacrifice gifts; with the extremely high number of sacrifices coming in, artifact weapons are much easier to come across, and you can get multiple in case you don’t get the one you want. Of course, the more gifts you receive, the longer it’ll take for you to get your next one. Grayswandir, Vorpal Blade, Magicbane, Fire/Frost Brand, and Stormbringer are all in reasonable reach with the use of altar farming.

Sacrificing to pray

The other benefit of altar farming is that it can very quickly get rid of your prayer timeout so you can repeatedly pray for gifts, favors, and other boons. The ones that are the most worth pursuing include:

Staying at a high enough level of luck for the best outcomes usually involves carrying around a luckstone, but be careful! If your luck’s too high, there’s a chance you’ll get crowned instead, greatly slowing down the rate at which you can pray. Once you're at max luck, you can avoid crowning by breaking a mirror and putting away your luckstone before praying, and by not making sacrifices once your prayer timeout has expired. You can also prevent crowning (even with maximum luck) by ensuring that your alignment record is below 20 when you pray. This can be checked by using a stethoscope, wand of probing, or enlightenment on yourself and ensuring that you are not piously aligned.