Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Relocation Due

Time for a quick progress report on Valheim. So many things happen so fast, it's easy to lose track if you don't keep notes. 

And since I don't keep notes, this is of necessity an impressionistic account. Everything in it definitely happened but I wouldn't swear this was the order it happened in. 

A lot of other things happened, too. I either deliberately left them out or I only remembered about them after I'd passed the point where mentioning them would make any sense. Lastly, I don't doubt plenty happened that I'm not remembering at all.

With that caveat, here's what I got up to yesterday. 

It was a day of mixed fortunes. I'd begun by taking the portal to the small hut on the edge of the swamp, where I'd set up my mining camp the day before. There was a sunken crypt just at the bottom of the escarpment. I'd ventured down to investigate and found it occupied by nothing more than a couple of blobs, no threat at all now I have my newly-fermented poison resistance potions.

When I struggled back up to the camp, bags filled with scrap iron, there was an unpleasant surprise waiting for me. The portal lay in ruins. The stockade I'd built around it was completely untouched. There'd been a huge thunderstorm. Could it have been struck by lightning? 

Who knows? I shrugged, rebuilt the portal from the debris and went to bed. 

When I awoke I decided to go straight back to the crypt to finish mining the rest of the iron there. That took a long time. It was only when I emerged, laden down with iron, that I spotted the green lights of another crypt not far away. I wanted to go straight there to see what I could find but it was late. I marked it on my map for future reference and headed back to camp.

Next morning I cleared out the rest of the first crypt and brought the ore back to camp. Then I went down to see about clearing out the second. There was an oozer hanging about but I sprinted past and ducked inside. The crypt seemed empty but I could hear the tell-tale buzzing of flies. Somewhere deeper inside,  a pile of rotting bodies festered in the dank, green water.

Exploring the first couple of rooms passed without incident. I took as much ore as I could carry and made the short run back to camp. I was getting low on food by now but the nearest supplies were back on the main island and I didn't want to take the time to portal there. 


The outer entrance to a sunken crypt: some wooden walls and a workbench and it makes a great temporary base camp.

The second crypt seemed even quiter than the first. I thought I'd chance it with the supplies I had on me. Back I went again.

This time all did not go well. The crypt was proving to be quite extensive. I broke through into a new room and the buzzing got louder. I could see the body pile but I guessed I could edge around it. My working theory was that draugr only woke if you trod on their decaying corpses. It's a theory still unproven.

There was a chest on a podium. I wanted to see what it held. I was hoping for iron and my hope was rewarded. Iron indeed and lots of it. I was loading it up when grunting behind me alerted me to the presence of something large. A draugr elite. I didn't see it spawn so I couldn't say if it came up out the pile of bodies or wandered in from another room. 

Its origins didn't make much difference. It was huge and powerful and my health was already low from not having gone back to get more food when I had the chance. Even so, I would have dodged the creature and escaped had I not found myself caught up on the jagged spikes of scrap I'd left blocking the doorway, when I'd rushed into the room in greed and haste.

Loot in haste, repent at leisure, as they say. I died at the draugr's feet. That was going to be a fun corpse run. I'd tried to follow the first rule of imminent death in Valheim - die in an open space as far from where the thing that killed you lives as possible - but by running I'd been hoist on my own petard, almost literally.

When I woke up in my bed my first thought was to rush straight back while I had the blessing of the gods. So I  did and at first it looked good. The run back was quick and easy. It even turned out the elite had wandered away from corpse. That would have been good news if where he'd wandered hadn't been right to the entrance. He killed me the moment I came through the door.

I tried once more but this time the oozer I spotted earlier had come back. It was squatting like a toad on the roof of the crypt. If oozes had eyes I'd have said it was staring right at me.

"It's always a troll" - Potshot.

At this point I had to stop for lunch. Me, the player, that is. Me, the character should have stopped for lunch long ago. Then all this might never have happened. 

A break to think things through in these situations is good. Get some perspective. I decided my best option was to portal back, eat, get dressed in my spare armor, bring a bow and some more poison resistance mead to deal with the oozer first. Then I'd go in and either kill the draugr or, better, if it had wandered into another room, grab my first corpse and run.

I logged back in and a troll was smashing down my portal. I don't know if that's how the first one got destroyed but this time the troll didn't leave the walls up. He knocked down the entire compound, flattened the portal and stomped off. Nothing I could do to stop him.

At this point I could have rebuilt the portal and carried on with my original plan but it was less immediately appealing than it had been. I didn't even have a hammer. I still had the immunity buff, though, so I thought I'd give it one more try.

And this time the gods smiled on me. The oozer had wandered off and when I entered the crypt so had the elite. I could hear him groaning somewhere but he wasn't at the front and when I got to my corpse he wasn't there either. I looted and ran.

Outside I put my armor back on, ate some sausages and a yellow mushroom, all I had, then stepped back inside. The draugr elite was standing at the far end of the entrance hall. I quickly swung my bow up and put a couple of ironhead arrows into him. It took half his life and sent him staggering back. 

As he righted himself I ducked back outside and waited a few seconds. Then I stepped back into the crypt and gave him a couple more. That took most of the fight out of him. He closed in and a blow from my axe finished him off. 

One death for a whole crypt filled with iron seemed a fair bargain. It would have been, too, if the same damn thing hadn't happened again. I'd made the assumption the crypt was clear by then but there was another bone pile. Also one of the heaps of scrap metal had a draugr entombed inside it and another led to a room with a couple more. There was at least one more death (mine, I mean) maybe two. It's all a bit of a blur, now.

Before. Suspiciously elf-like.

In the end it was very much worthwhile all the same. It was a big crypt. A lot of rooms. I spent an hour or more exploring it and digging it out. I came away with nearly two hundred pieces of scrap iron from altogether.

Now I had to decide what to do with it all. Another hour or so passed as I moved between shelters, picking up the ore I'd stashed in various chests to carry it back to the compound on the hill so I could consolidate my gains in one place. I'd made three short-term shelters during the operation, one the fortified front of one of the crypts itself, another under a fallen tree. I had chests filled with ore and gems in all of them.

I was pondering the complex logistics of getting the ore back to my foundry on the other island when the ground began to shake. The troll was back. This time I was fit to deal with him. He was battering the outer perimiter fence when I put the first arrow in him. By the time the atack was over the fence was still standing and the troll was down to the last sliver of health... and then he ran.

I followed him through the woods but I couldn't get a clear shot to bring him down and by the time I caught up to where I'd last seen him he'd vanished. It was odds on he'd be back so I set about making the camp troll-proof. 

It took me a couple of hours. I didn't just expand and strengthen the perimiter, I dug out a cave in the side of the hill and roofed it over, then I put the portal back up inside, underground. Let's see the bastard knock that down!

By the time I'd finished my little camp had turned into a secure base. I thought about the long and arduous trip I'd have to take to get the ore back to my log cabin deep in the south of the first island. It wasn't as though I could even bring the boat close and the terrain was utterly impossible for a cart. It would mean five or six overland journeys just to get the metal onto the ship, then a long sea journey, then several more overland runs. Hours and hours of work.

After. I might be part orc, y'know.


Or I could just build a new foundry where the ore was. It would only need a small amount of copper and tin and the mining camp was literally built on top of a large copper deposit with all the tin I could want in sight along the river at the base of the cliff.

So that's what I did.

With all the ore safely tucked away in chests I was free to use the portal network. I zipped about, grabbing everything I needed from my other houses. I dismantled a couple of non-ferrous upgrades at the original foundry and re-installed them in the new one. Everything else I made from scratch. It probably saved me more than eighty per cent of the time I would have spent shipping the ore home.

I decided I'd make the log cabin into my food warehouse and kitchen. The fermenter, the cauldron, the five beehives, the three cooking spits, they can all stay where they are. Having portals makes splitting bases by function no stranger or less convenient than having a bedroom, a kitchen, a workshop in different rooms of the same house.

Then I spent the rest of the day smelting iron. I deforested the entire clifftop for wood. The place looks like a logging camp now. It's not anywhere I'd want to live but it's finally dawned on me that in Valheim, where you live and where you work don't need to be the same. 

When I've finally made everything I can make out of iron and upgraded it all as far as it can go I'll close the doors on my cliffside foundry and re-locate to somewhere with a better view. And better neighbors.

For now, though, it's all hands to the bellows.


  1. Haha I tell you what, it is such a BOON that you get your mats back for stuff that's destroyed in Valheim, incl. portals! We would have been stranded far away from home if not for that, many times before. Of course, we would then have to start taking extra portal materials with us at all times, but who wants to do that right?

    And we only just set up our first mining hub for iron yesterday. It was tricky to find a place that was close enough to a swamp biome but not too close to draugrs and what else. Now we are somewhere right between dark forest and swamp, on a small patch of meadows biome. We built a large wall first and a house with two levels, before putting up the portal there. For now, it stands.

    1. I think things like the way your mats are still there when something gets destroyed, the gravemarkers on the map, the way graves float on water and so on all go some way to explain Valheim's runaway success. The devs have managed to leave in the thrill and excitement of the adventure while taking out the pain. Deaths and failures still sting but it's just a sting; in other games it's a seeping wound that takes far too long to heal.

    2. Indeed. The way portals are linked by name is also super handy, like so many other things. It's cool how stuff doesnt despawn easily too or the fact you dont automatically go into encumbered state once you already reached 300/300. It's that kinda stuff that shows you how much thought has gone into things from the devs side.


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