When playing as a Survivor in Dead by Daylight, sooner or later you are sure to come across a small structure of bones called a Totem. These combinations of skulls and sticks will be hidden in corners of each map and help the Killer with one of the hex perks, or Survivors with a boom perk that they have equipped to it to make life a little harder for each other.
Related: How to use Hexes in Dead by Daylight
How do Totems work in Dead By Daylight?
There are three different Totems in Dead By Daylight you can come across. First is the Hex Totem. The lit fire at the base of the Totem means that this is tied to a Killer’s Hex perk. If the fire is not lit, then you have found a Dull Totem. A Dull Totem doesn’t mean the Killer does not have a Hex perk equipped, as five Totems spawn at the beginning of the match, and another Totem could potentially have a Hex equipped to it.
The third type of Totem you can see is a Boon Totem. These are covered in a blue light and are created by Survivors with a Boon perk who find Totems and bless them. Survivors get bonuses when inside the range of their area and Killers can snuff them out when they find them. Boon perks give off a sound when they are active. Survivors can not cleanse Boon Totems.
When you get close to a Totem as a Survivor, you will notice a prompt to cleanse (or bless if you have a Boon perk equipped). During the time you are interacting with it, you do not need to complete any skill checks, but you will be stuck stationary for a while.
When you cleanse a Totem, you are essentially taking that Totem off of the field. When completed, the Totem falls apart with no chance for it to come back unless the Killer is using the perk Hex: Pentimento. They can rekindle them at that point. If you cleanse a Hex Totem, there is a good chance you just nullified one of the Killer’s perks for the rest of the match. Except for the Undying Hex (which takes over a Dull Totem when destroyed), all Hex perks need a Totem to survive. A Dull Totem has no Hex equipped to it but can still be cleansed to prevent the Undying hex from taking it over and the Survivor will gain Bloodpoints for it.
For the most part, it is really important that you cleanse a Totem if you see it, especially if it is lit. The main reason for this is it slightly nerfs the Killer in a way that they usually can not recover from. Certain Hexes will affect you when you cleanse them, so you are taking a chance when you encounter one, but overall, it is generally worth the risk of being exposed or having your cleansing speed reduced over the long haul of the match.