The Skald’s Guide To Valheim, Part II – The First Forsaken

Nine sunrises have I seen since I first arrived here. Nine days of backbreaking work and unspeakable wonder as I carved a place for myself in this new world. Nine nights, shivering near a fire, not from cold but the unformed fear of the horrors that I hear wandering near my shelter. Only a fool claims he feels no fear when something lurks in the darkness. Only a fool seeks to confront those lurking dangers unprepared.

It’s strange, in a way, to be seemingly liberated from fate. Before, in Midgard, each of us knew that the day of our death was set before we drew our first breath. Now, that fate has been fulfilled, only for a new unknown fate which awaits us. I’ve died twice already, once from a tree falling on me, the other time from too much smoke filling my shelter. Each time, I’ve awakened back in the bed I’ve made. Little time seems to pass from the moment of death to the moment I open my eyes in my bed.

Will this happen when I face the Forsaken? Or am I only given one chance to defeat them?

Within the first two or three in-game days in Valheim, you should have the basics pretty well established: food, shelter, heat, tools. It only gets harder from here. But that’s half the fun.

If you’re just getting started on your Valheim journey, you can read the first part of the guide here.

Expanding The Panoply

Much more likely to survive with this gear loadout than a dirty shirt and a stick.

With a secure base to operate from, you need to start thinking about improving your personal gear. You’ll want to have a crude bow and a full stack of wood arrows to start with. You’re going hunting, and it’s open season on pretty much everything nearby. Birds, as mentioned before, drop Feathers when you kill them, and you’re unlikely to be using a club or axe against them. Boars and Necks are tougher targets, in some respects, for using a bow but still worth sniping at them if only to build up your Bow skill.

Your real targets, however, are going to be deer. Now, it is possible to use an axe or club to kill deer. However, it relies on unusual circumstances, ones which cannot be consistently relied upon. You might get lucky throwing a flint spear at them, but again, it’s not going to be a consistent sort of tool. Thus, you’re going to have to use the bow with them. Deer will drop Raw Meat, the same as boars, as well as Deer Hide. Deer Hide is necessary for your first real armor pieces, but you’ll also need it for the tanning rack, another improvement to the workbench. The tanning rack should be your primary focus at first, and it’s going to eat up a lot of resources, particularly Flint and Leather Scraps. But you’re going to be out hunting anyway, so this shouldn’t be a terribly big issue.

You’ll need a total of eighteen pieces of Deer Hide to build the first three armor pieces: leather pants, leather tunic, and a leather helmet. Depending on what you find in random chests, you may also unlock the recipe for a deer hide cape, a fourth armor piece, but it will require Bone Fragments on top of Deer Hide to make. And the only reliable source of Bone Fragments requires risks you’re not yet equipped for. Better to make the three basic armor pieces first.

Deer also drop Deer Trophies, just like boars drop Boar Trophies and Necks drop Neck Trophies. You’ll want to store any trophies you pick up in chests, especially Deer Trophies at this point.

  • Leather Helmet – 6 Deer Hide
  • Leather Pants – 6 Deer Hide
  • Leather Tunic – 6 Deer Hide
  • Deer Hide Cape – 4 Deer Hide, 5 Bone Fragments
  • Tanning Rack – 10 Wood, 15 Flint, 20 Leather Scraps, 5 Deer Hide

Lay of The Land

Good news: no murder hornets here to make life difficult. Bad news: you are not knocking that hive down by hand.

As you go out hunting, you will inevitably find transition points between “Meadows” and other regions such as “Black Forests” or “Mountains.” These are higher level areas with more challenging creatures in them. Normally, these are areas you want to avoid going too deep into at first. However, if you’re smart about it, you might be able to score some extra resources. Just because creatures are hostile to you doesn’t inherently mean they’re all working together. For example, if you sit and watch, and are willing to wait in the cold of night in stealth, you might see Skeletons and Greydwarves slugging it out at the edge of a Black Forest zone. Wait until daytime, then sneak in and pick up the resources laying around. While there’s no guarantee you’ll get what you need, you may pick up items you didn’t know about previously.

Back in the first part of the guide, we mentioned you may find pre-generated structures laying around. In your explorations, you may find entire villages, still abandoned, but definitely something to work with. Once you’ve gotten your main base established, it wouldn’t necessarily hurt to keep an eye out for suitable structures near zone transition points which you could use as temporary camps or supply depots. Build a workbench in one, fix things up, and get it almost livable. The only suggestion would be to not construct a bed. In order to mark up the map, open it with the M key (by default), and pick an icon. When you’ve found a spot worth noting, go into the map, double click, give the marker a label, then hit enter. To help make stations more easily visible while running through the woods, create a standing torch outside the structure. Ruined buildings do not have these torches in front, so if you see one, you know it’s one you’ve been working on. The torches will eventually run out of fuel, Resin in this case, so keep them fueled often.

Some of those pre-gen structures will have bulbous bee’s nests attached to a wall. Getting too close to them will inflict a poison effect which damages health pretty quickly. To deal with this, use your bow and shoot the nest until it’s destroyed, then wait about ten seconds or so (the poison can still be applied right after you destroy the nest). Once the coast is clear, you’ll probably see a dropped item, a Queen Bee. With this, you unlock the blueprint for the beehive improvement for your base. The immediate effect of beehives is that you get Honey, a consumable food in the same category as Mushrooms or Berries. It takes a little while, but you can get up to four pieces of Honey from a beehive. The more long term utility of beehives will be discussed later.

If you’re the sort of person who isn’t exactly great reading a map, you can make things a little easier to help find your way around. The hoe has a function called “Pathen” which creates a path or trail. This will help you to navigate through dense forest and other terrain obstacles, particularly if you’re having to make a corpse run. You may need to clear out rocks and saplings as you go. We’d recommend waiting until after you’ve beaten the first boss before working on trails, and make sure that your hoe is up to level 3 for maximum durability.

A final tip: if you’re deciding to lay low in a way station or home base because it’s getting late, but you don’t want to sleep, you can look at the map or minimap for hints of when it’s getting on towards daytime. At night, the shrouded areas turn dark, while they show up as light brown in day.

Eikthyr, The Great Hind

Oh, deer…

Once you’re feeling like you’ve gotten sufficiently geared up for the first boss fight, you’ll need to make a sacrifice in order to summon Eikthyr, a giant deer with a bad attitude and lightning bolts to throw around at need. The sacrifice point should have been marked shortly after you started the game, when Hugin prompted you to click on the Vegvisir stone. You will need two Deer Trophies in your inventory to activate the altar.

Eikthyr is certainly bigger than what you’ve been hunting up to this point. He has three different attacks. The first is an AoE lightning stomp which does moderate damage, but easily soaked if you’ve upgraded your shield and armor. The second is a line attack, also lightning-based, fairly damaging, but again easily soaked with upgraded armor. The third is a simple headbutt type attack with his antlers. Keep in mind that you will want to watch your stamina. Definitely go into this fight when you’re at Rested status and as close to a full meal as you can get. We recommend a three course meal of Cooked Meat, Grilled Neck Tail, and Red Mushroom. With a level 3 spear and shield, you can take Eikthyr fairly quickly provided you take cover from time to time. Depending on the altar location, you may have better cover than some spots, but as long as you’re careful, block right before his attacks, and adopt a “stick and move” pattern, it should only be a couple of minutes to defeat him.

Once he’s down, he’ll drop an Eikthyr Trophy which you’ll need to return to the Standing Stones and mount on the hook. He will also drop a new crafting material, Hard Antler. This will unlock a new tool, the antler pickaxe. Return to the Standing Stones, mount the trophy on the hook, and unlock Eikthyr’s Forsaken power. When activated, it will reduce the stamina consumption of running and jumping by 60%. Definitely a bonus if you’re going to be doing a lot of running. Head back to your home base and craft the antler pickaxe. You’re going to need it for the next major step in your progress.

Not only an easy mark, but a sore loser as well.
  • Antler Pickaxe – 10 Wood, 1 Hard Antler

One Forsaken has been brought down, but there’s still four to go.

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