A Stronghold is a generated underground structure, found beneath the surface of the Overworld.
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 Mineshafts, 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. There is also a chest on the floor above.
- 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 one visited a Stronghold multiple times and knows what is where in the Stronghold, one might want to use it as a secondary base. This has its advantages, but also disadvantages:
- If one plays on a server, it is very hard to find for griefers if they don't have Eyes of Ender.
- One doesn't have to build or dig a whole base because the map generator has already done the work for one!
- There is plenty of space to store one's loot.
- A handy tip if one is moving to another location: Take anything one might want to have in one's new base, including bricks!
- If one gets lost (in the Overworld), one can find one's base by using Eyes of Ender, so remember to take some when going out.
- If one needs to go to The End (if the server does not have a warp feature that goes to The End), there is always one nearby.
- One will need lots of torches to ensure that no mobs will spawn. Otherwise, one must always be ready to fight.
- However, assuming one already have explored it thoroughly, there are likely already a lot of torches around.
- If one 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 one blocsk up the incidental entrances, one might just be able to make oneself comfortable.
- If one is 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 one's hand. Silverfish bricks are destroyed in 3 seconds, even using one's hand.
- 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 one 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.
- 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 one can go to the End without even having to visit the Nether.
- In a pre-release for Minecraft 1.0, Strongholds had glass pillars above their entrances and portal rooms.
- Majority of monster eggs (naturally generated) in strongholds are in the form of regular stone bricks. Mossy and cracked variants as well as exposed stone can also be a monster egg, but their occurrence is rare to none unless a silverfish enters these kind of blocks.