Shrine defender

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

This article's title is a callsign, an alias, or a nickname, as no proper name for the subject has been revealed.
A shrine defender on the Ark.[1]

The "shrine defenders"[Note 1] are a type of Forerunner structure found on select installations, including the Ark.



Shrine defenders resemble enormous dark grey metal towers with glowing portals near the top, resembling eyes. These eyes emit extremely bright orange light, capable of lighting up large expanses of land from far away.[2] Notably, their darker metal and more brutalist construction suggest a similar origin to that of the structures found within the Sentinel wall and quarantine zone of Installation 05.


A shrine defender firing its weapon.

The shrine defenders are typically constructed in groups of six, pointing inwards towards select stone structures in the middle of desert expanses. When attempting to leave the predetermined "zone" in which they protect, they are capable of firing extremely powerful orange directed-energy weapons from their "eye".[2]

In at least one instance of the defenders' placement, underneath the "shrines" in which they protected was a "crypt" area[2], indicating the shrine defenders' purpose is one of preventing escape.


The defenders were built on Installation 00[1] and at least one other planet[2], defending similarly-built areas of stone structures in the desert. At some point likely during the Battle of Installation 00, the Jiralhanae occupied the zone occupied by the shrine defenders on the Ark, though the Brutes were later forced out of the region by forces of the UNSC Aegis Fate.[3]


A shrine defender on Sandbox.

Shrine defenders are found on the Halo 3 multiplayer maps Sandtrap and Sandbox. The towers first seen on Sandtrap, and named in game files as shrine_defender - with "Shrine" being the internal Bungie codename for Sandtrap. The towers gained significance within the Halo community due to the placement of the Da Vinci Code objects near their "eyes". In gameplay, these objects fire Sentinel beam-like beams into the desert if a player attempts to exit the map, with the beam's impact on environmental geometry spawning the Brute landmines that then kill aforementioned players.[4]

The defenders return on the Mythic Map Sandbox, though still named the same internally. On Sandbox however, the defenders fire gauss cannon-like projectiles at players who attempt to escape the map. Prior to this lethal response, the defenders fire a form of battle rifle-like weapon at players. When this weapon hits a player, it flashes their screen yellow to alert them to their impending demise.[4]

Production notes[edit]

Shrine defenders were at one point intended to appear in Halo 4. The cut map Z01_Fortress features several of them arrayed around its exterior, in a similar fashion to Sandbox and Sandtrap.



  1. ^ While never officially named, the constructs are named as shrine_defender in Halo 3 game files. Note that the level Sandtrap was known as Shrine during development. Should an official name be provided, this article should be updated accordingly.


  1. ^ a b Halo 3, multiplayer map Sandtrap
  2. ^ a b c d Halo 3, multiplayer map Sandbox
  3. ^ Halo 3, multiplayer map Sandtrap: Map description
  4. ^ a b YouTube, Halo 3 - Mystery Of The DaVinci Code Easter Eggs (REVISITED & SOLVED) (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]