Friday, March 12, 2021

Under The Sea

For once, when I sat down to write today's post I had something specific in mind. Of course, that meant I ended up writing about something else entirely. I often don't know what I'm going to say until I hear myself say it and it's not much different when I write.

Rather than forget about the post I'd originally intended or even save it for tomorrow, I thought I'd just get on and do it. So here it is. Two posts in one day. Blame Valheim.

The original theme was going to be continual discovery and the way not looking stuff up on the interweb keeps everything fresh. You can see that's how the original post starts out. Where it was heading, though, was towards a couple of things you could almost call tips. Or spoilers.

I'm sure anyone who's been reading the wiki or following game guides will know both of these already but I discovered them for myself and I'm very happy I did. If anyone reading this wants to do the same, I guess they'd better leave and maybe come back later, when they feel they've seen and done it all.

I hope no-one does. Leave, that is, not come back later. Personally, I've set my parameters so that things I read on other people's Valheim blogs count the same as discovering them for myself in game but those are just house rules. Everyone makes their own.

Enough with the spoiler alerts. And anyway, the first isn't even a spoiler. It's a genuine tip.

How To Recover Iron Nails From The Sea Bed When Your Longship Sinks (Again)

Remember when my longship mysteriously sank? Well, it happened again only this time I heard it. Didn't see it, just heard it.

I was inside my hut on the new, northern island. I'd just woken up and I know my ship was there because I'd seen the mast tip bobbing about through a gap in the wall.

For some reason I decided to tab out and check Feedly. Don't know why. There was a new post up at TAGN and I was halfway through it when I heard a horrendous crash. I tabbed back and ran outside, expecting to see a troll or worse but there was nothing. Nothing but some wreckage floating on the calm waters.

My longship had self-destructed. I have no idea why. There were no creatures nearby. No rocks for it to strike. There wasn't a breath of wind. It was particularly strange since I'd been away from that ship for several game days and it had apparently been floating there perfectly happily the whole time. I find it suspicious that both sinkings have happened right after I've come back home from a long trip and had a good night's rest.

I had a portal right there so I wasn't stranded and the hold of the boat had been all but empty but I was cross about losing another hundred iron nails. This time, though, the ship has gone down closer to the shore. I wondered if I might be able to salvage them.

I waded out a ways and there were the nails. I could see them on the sea bed. It looked like they were about ten feet down in crystal clear water. I tried swimming over them and pressing "F" (I changed the default "E" key to "F", which is what I use in every game) but no joy. 

And then I had an idea. What if I raised the land with the hoe? I didn't figure I could drain a whole bay but I'd noticed when I'd been mining that fixed objects drop to a new level when whatever's supporting them gives way. I wondered if that might work the other way around.

To cut to the chase, it does! It took me a good few stacks of stone (there are no rocks left standing a hundred meters in any direction from my hut) but I was able to build a breakwater out to the spot. I was trying to work out whether it was feasible to encircle the entire area and drain it (probably not - water seems to have a set level) when I had the inspiration to target the nails and raise the land directly beneath them.

At first I thought I'd just buried them. Or, worse, maybe they'd been destroyed. They certainly disappeared. I carried on building my breakwater with a vague plan of filling the whole area then mining down to where the nails had last been seen. And then I happened to open my inventory to get something and there were my nails!

There hadn't been a message or if there had I'd missed it but when I'd raised the land beneath them they must have been shunted upwards into range and I'd auto-looted them. So things can be recovered from the sea bed after all.

I wouldn't like to try it more than a few yards from land. You'd need boatloads of stone if it would even work. Close to shore, though, it can definitely be done because I've done it.

Now all I need to find out is why the damn longships keep sinking in the first place. 

Why You Should Never Build A House On The Back Of  A Giant Turtle

I didn't actually do it. I only thought about it. Luckily I found out why it was a bad idea before I got the workbench out.

There was this island up the coast from my castle. I'd been looking at it every time I passed by. It had a lovely, round, domed shape, a few trees here and there and some lumpy things down low that I couldn't quite make out from the shore. Tin nodes, maybe.

Every time I saw it I thought about what a fine spot it would be to build something. Steep enough so the waves wouldn't come over the top, small enough that no annoying wildlife could live there, far enough out that trolls couldn't wade close enough to lob rocks. I was imagining building maybe a lighthouse or a watchtower.

I had to make a run up the coast by ship so when I came near to the cute little island I couldn't resist pulling in for a better look. As I got close enough to see them properly I realized the "tin nodes" were giant limpets. Or maybe barnacles.

Hmm. A suspiciously regular-shaped dome-like island with an oddly smooth surface covered in barnacles. What does that suggest to you?

Giant turtle!

I didn't really think it was a giant turtle, of course. I've played games where there are giant turtles. There's one in both EverQuest and EverQuest II for a start.  It's a fantasy trope but is it Norse fantasy? Is it really

No, I don't think it is. So I moored the ship and jumped out to take a look. Which was when I discovered the limpets were indeed barnacles. And you could interact with them. 

I wasn't sure quite how to interact. Pressing "F" did nothing so they weren't a food you could gather. Maybe you could break them up with the pick?

Yes, it turns out in Valheim you can mine abyssal barnacles with a pickaxe and if you do what you get is chitin. As soon as I chipped off a chunk some recipes popped up. They vanished too fast to read although I spotted the word "Harpoon" before they disappeared. 

Gleefully, I began hacking away at every barnacle I could see. I'd mined about twenty-five chunks of chitin when the ground began to shake. There was a grinding noise, too. I looked up. I knew it. 

Told you so! Giant turtle!

I dithered for a second. There were several more barnacles waiting to be mined. Nothing seemed to be happening now so I brought the pick down on another shell. 

Oh, boy! That did it. The whole island began to vibrate. Great gouts of spray appeared all around the edge. I forgot all about the chitin. I sprinted for my ship and leapt aboard. Lucky for me it hadn't drifted far from the spot where I'd left it.

I stood on the deck wondering whether I ought to grab the tiller and get the hell out of there before the turtle turned round. I don't know what they eat but it was certain sure this one was big enough to eat me and my ship if it had a mind to.

Fortunately for me, it seemed all the beast wanted to do was get away from the annoying hammering on the outside of its shell. In a series of titanic heaves the island submerged. In a few moments all that was left was calm, clear water. 

As I sailed away I thought what a good thing it was I'd not come with a whole load of stone, wood and iron to build my island getaway. I carried on up the coast, counting my blessings. And my chitin.

I still haven't found out what to do with it. It doesn't go in the smelter. I can't work it with the hammer or the workbench or the forge. I even tried the stonecutter but no dice. Maybe there's another piece of workshop equipment I haven't discovered yet.

Could be. In Valheim, there's always something new to find.


  1. You didn't get some recipes with the chitin? You might need to upgrade your workbench. I was also on the back of one of those islands earlier this week to harvest some of those barnacles and had the same result; the island howled at me and started to move off. Back to the boat!

    But the chitin opened up the abyssal dagger and the abyssal harpoon for me, the latter which allows you to harpoon a sea serpent and drag them to shore so you can slay them more easily. Or such is the story, I haven't tried it yet.

    1. It occurred to me as I was writing the post that when I checked the workbench I might have been at a house with a low-level workbench. I only have one fully upgraded one and its at a house I don't use as much as i did. I'll go back and check there.

  2. I wonder if your longboat doesn't just slowly decay? You might try setting up a workbench and repairing it after a day or so.

    1. I'm still trying to figure out how decay works for objects. In some of my houses some of the wood decays for no obvious reason. It's easy to see it because the wood goes a greenish color. In others, even when I haven't been there for weeks, nothing changes at all. Some of it is creatures attacking but that doesn't explain the decking being damaged when none of the perimiter fencing is. I wonderd if it might be weather damage.

      As for the boats, my Karve was still pristine after more than two weeks left completely unatended whereas my longboat showed damage after a couple of days. Again, I wonder if it depends how many storms there were in the area they were moored.


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