A "jail" area within a stronghold
On foot, or other usual means of travel
A Stronghold is a randomly-generated underground structure found in Minecraft.
Up to 128 strongholds spawn per map on the PC edition, as of The Combat Update (vs only three on the Xbox and PS3 editions). Most strongholds have a Monster Spawners (for Silverfish), an abundance of Stone Bricks, Torches, Chests with randomized loot, Stone Slabs, and blocks found mainly underground such as Cobblestone.
A hazard worthy of note that is found inside Strongholds is the Silverfish. In addition to the spawner, some of the blocks the stronghold is composed of will spawn silverfish when broken; they are only distinguishable by their fixed mining speed, which is comparable to wood. Some of the items commonly found inside a Stronghold include Coal, Apples, String, Compass, Paper, Books, Iron Bars, Redstone Dust, and sometimes a Clock or Gold Ingots.
It is possible and relatively common for Caverns, Underground Ravines, Abandoned Mine Shafts, and Dungeons to intersect a Stronghold. It is also possible for Stronghold hallways to extend out into a body of water, allowing for easier detection of the Stronghold. When generated after 1.0.0, Strongholds also contain a portal room with an inactive End Portal, which when activated with 12 Eyes of Ender, can be used to travel to The End.
Tips for exploration
When exploring a stronghold, it is advised to bring some useful things.
- Pickaxe - There might be Mossy Stone Bricks or ores (extremely rare) that could be useful to mine.
- Sword or other weapon - Many mobs, including Silverfish, may be encountered, so be prepared with a weapon.
- Eye of Ender - The most important resource while exploring and finding a stronghold. These are required to find the stronghold and activate the End Portal.
- Health Potions - Health may get low, if attacked by hostile mobs. Regain the health by using health potions.
- Iron or Diamond Armor - These kinds of armor are strong enough to keep a player while facing enemies within a stronghold.
- Bow and several Arrows - This will be convenient later on in The End while fighting.
- Food - All the fighting and exploring will cause a player to lose several hunger points. Make sure there is enough food items which restore at least 3 or more hunger points.
- Compass - This could be used to help a player get their bearings and navigate the many rooms and corridors within a stronghold.
- Torches - Like caves, strongholds are very dark inside. Plenty of torches will be needed.
- Bed - Placing a bed in a stronghold and sleeping in it, will allow a player to remain in the stronghold if they die, rather than running back from a long distance.
While there is no predefined template or blueprint for a Stronghold, there are several rooms that may generate in a Stronghold. Here is a list of rooms and what they contain:
- Hall: Big room that may contain a fountain. Often used as the entrance and/or to connect other rooms.
- Jail: Empty rooms behind, Iron Bars, Iron Doors (Usually opened), and Buttons.
- Small library: Bookshelves, Wooden planks, Chests and Cobweb.
- Large library: Same as a Small library, but with an added floor above, with a balcony and Fences and Torches arranged in a in a chandelier-like style. Both floors are connected by Ladders.
- Empty rooms: This is self-explanatory, often generated to the sides of Halls.
- End Portal Room: The room contains an End Portal and a Silverfish spawner.
As a Base
If you visited a Stronghold multiple times and know what is where in the Stronghold, you might want to use it as a secondary base. This has its advantages, but also disadvantages:
- If you play on a server, it is very hard to find for griefers if they don't have Eyes of Ender.
- You don't have to build or dig a whole base because the map generator has already done the work for you!
- There is plenty of space to store your loot.
- A handy tip if you are moving to another location: Take anything you might want to have in your new base, including bricks!
- If you get lost (in the Overworld), you can find your base by using Eyes of Ender, so remember to take some when going out.
- If you need to go to The End (if the server does not have a warp feature that goes to The End), there is always one nearby.
- You will need lots of torches to ensure that no mobs will spawn. Or, you must always be ready to fight.
- However, as you (assumingly) already have explored it thoroughly, there are likely already a lot of torches around.
- If you are in SMP, the last advantage also counts for other players armed with Eyes of Ender.
- Since they are often exposed by Ravines, Abandoned mine shafts, and Dungeons, it makes it easier to find for griefers. However, if you block up the incidental entrances, you might just be able to make yourself comfortable.
- If you are moving and following the tip named above, mining some Stone Bricks might awaken Silverfish.
- An easy way to discriminate between normal bricks and Silverfish bricks is to see how fast it mines with your hand. Silverfish bricks are destroyed in 3 seconds, even using your hand.
- For some reason, the stairs leading to sections are Cobblestone Stairs instead of Stone Stairs. Only the ones that lead to the Portal, are made of Stone.
- End Portals become useless if there is an Abandoned Mine Shaft or a Ravine cutting right through it (As at least one of the 12 portal surround blocks tends to be destroyed on generation).
- There is a possibility that you will be unable to locate the portal, because it will be hidden inside the stones.
- It is extremely rare, but possible, for a dungeon to be just outside the portal room, thus cutting off the rest of the Stronghold or not spawning it.
- It's extremely rare, but if you go to the portal and go in it, you will go to the Nether instead of The End.
- If a stronghold is found at diamond level, there is a possibility that it will cut through Bedrock. Usually staircases going down to here are just an empty room.
- Strongholds can sometimes spawn under oceans or other bodies of water. This occurrence can make them hard to access.
- Although it is extremely rare, an End Portal in a Stronghold may already have all 12 Eye of Enders fitted into the End Portal Frames, meaning you can go to the End without even having to find Diamonds.
- It is possible for a Stronghold to generate under a Village.