The Swamp is likely the third biome you’ll explore as you work your way through Valheim, and it’s significantly more deadly than the forests and meadows you’ve spent time in before. There’s a lot to find and a lot to avoid in the Swamp, and if you’re not prepared, you can find yourself struggling to stay alive and get the resources you need back to safety. We’re here to lay out everything you need to know about the Swamp, from what to expect from its enemies, to the things you’ll need to pilfer in order to continue your advancement through Valheim.
We’ve got lots more Valheim coverage, so check out our armor guide, our guide for beating The Elder boss, and our guides for finding Iron and making Iron armor, and for finding Silver and making Wolf armor.
How To Find Swamps
You’ll spend a lot of time in the Meadows and Black Forest biomes in Valheim’s early game, but the Swamp biome is a little tougher to track down. You’ll find this area along the coasts of various islands, usually attached to Black Forest. On your map, it’ll appear a mottled brown and black, indicating the flooded land; from a distance, you’ll know the Swamp biome by its bare, gnarled trees and the glowing green Guck resource stuck to many of them.
There are a few key later-game items to find in swamps that make them worth exploring, though they can be extremely dangerous to navigate if you’re unprepared. The enemies there drop a number of useful items you’ll need for late-game consumables, including mead and foods such as Sausage. Venturing into the Swamp is also where you get Iron, the next material you need to upgrade your armor, weapons, and equipment.
Here’s what you can find in the Swamp biome:
- Iron – Found in Sunken Crypts
- Entrails – Dropped by Draugrs; used to make Sausage
- Bloodbags – Dropped by Leeches; used in Frost Resistance Mead
- Ooze – Dropped by Blobs; used for making poison arrows and Ooze Bombs
- Guck – Found in green pods attached to trees
- Ancient Wood – Found by chopping down Ancient Trees
- Iron Chains – Found in Sunken Crypts and dropped by Wraiths; used for Forge upgrades and in Wolf Armor
- Surtling Cores – Dropped by Surtlings; used to make Kilns, Smelters, and Portals
- Thistles – Found growing throughout Swamps; used to make mead and Sausage
- Withered Bones – Used to summon Bonemass
The swamps are home to some dangerous creatures, most notably because a bunch of them can inflict you with poison, which can do devastating damage over time. Here’s what you’ll face in the Swamp biome.
Like in the other biomes, skeletons have either swords and shields or bows. They’re not especially strong in the Swamp, but their arrows can be a pain when you’re battling other enemies.
These zombie-like fighters are tougher than skeletons and can do a lot more damage. Parrying them can make them easier to take down, but beware of the ones with bows especially, because they can do a lot of damage and be tough to avoid.
These green masses of goo can be unpredictable as they jump toward you. They’re also more willing to go underwater than most enemies. Blobs don’t hit very hard but if you get close to them, they’ll release a poisonous cloud, so try to keep your distance from them and take them out with your bow. Higher-level red blobs will split into two smaller green ones when killed.
Watch out for these big black monsters in the waterways of the swamp. They’re not especially dangerous because they can’t leave the water, but if they get you while you’re too close, you’ll be poisoned. Leeches can also wreak havoc on your boats and sink rafts pretty easily, so stay clear of them. Since they can’t get out of the water, though, you can nail them with arrows pretty easily and collect the very useful Bloodbags they drop.
Wraiths are ghostly flying enemies, and they can be a real pain. They move very quickly as they cross land, making it tough to get away from them. If you can put some distance on them or spot them before they spot you, they’re fairly easy to drop with a bow and have no ranged attacks, however. If not, try to quickly melee them before they can do too much damage, as they hit hard when they’re up close.
How To Find Iron In Swamps
The most important resource in the swamps is Scrap Iron, which you can use to make the next tier of gear after Bronze. You can’t just mine Iron out of the ground, however–you have to go to specific places in the swamps to find it and cut it from certain nodes. To get to those nodes, you need a particular item: the Swamp Key.
How To Get The Swamp Key And What It’s For
Scattered throughout the Swamp biomes are black dungeon entrances called Sunken Crypts. Like Burial Chambers in the Black Forest and Meadow biomes, these are underground areas where you’ll find chests, resources, and enemies. Sunken Crypts are the only places you can get Scrap Iron, but you can’t just walk into them like you can Burial Chambers, because Sunken Crypts are locked with iron gates. Opening those gates requires a Swamp Key.
To get the Swamp Key, you need to defeat The Elder, the boss of the Black Forest biome. It’s an especially hard boss to take down, but like everything in Valheim, summoning and defeating the Elder is an involved process. Check out our complete guide to beating the Elder for more details.
Once you’ve killed it, the boss will drop several Swamp Keys. you only need one, however, and you’ll be able to use it repeatedly to open any Sunken Crypts you come across.
How To Get Iron From Sunken Crypts
The Swamp Key will get you into the Sunken Crypts, but that’s only half the battle. You’ll still need to mine Scrap Iron. You’ll find it in the Muddy Scrap Pile nodes scattered throughout Sunken Crypts–these are usually big black piles of sludge that block doorways. Because they’ll be in your way a lot, they’re impossible to miss.
You’ll need a Bronze Pickaxe to mine Muddy Scrap Piles. Make sure you make the upgraded tool before you bother delving into Sunken Crypts, because you won’t get far without one. It’s also a good idea to take other players with you on your Sunken Crypt jaunts to help with any enemies you might encounter and to lug Iron out of the dungeon. Note also that you can’t teleport with Scrap Iron in your inventory, so if you’re at a distance from your base, you’ll likely want to bring a boat to take it back to where you can smelt it into Iron. Both Karves and Longships have storage bins in their decks, so you can dump some Scrap Iron on your boat and head back for another run, provided your pickaxe isn’t broken.
How To Find And Summon Bonemass
The boss of the Swamp biome is Bonemass, a giant blob that holds the Wishbone, a key item you need to continue venturing up Valheim’s tech tree. In order to kill Bonemass, you have to find it. Like the Elder, you’ll need to locate a rune stone that will mark Bonemass’s location on your map. You can find those rune stones hidden in Sunken Crypts, and if you’re already hunting for Scrap Iron, it’s likely you’ll identify Bonemass’s location along the way.
Once Bonemass’s location is marked on your map, you can summon the boss and take it down. The location marked on your map is a big skull-faced pit; if you sacrifice 10 Withering Bones there, you’ll draw the boss out for battle. You can find Withering Bones inside Sunken Crypts as well, either in Muddy Scrap Piles or in chests.
How To Beat Bonemass
Bonemass is a tough boss because it’s highly mobile, constantly pursuing nearby players. It also hits hard and can inflict poison in a number of ways, most notably with a giant area-of-effect attack where it belches poisonous goo all over the battlefield. What’s more, Bonemass triggers rain during the fight, which gives your character the wet effect and thus reduces your ability to regain Health and Stamina.
Ahead of the fight, it’s a good idea to craft Poison Resistance Mead, which shields you from Bonemass’s poison effects for 10 minutes. You’ll need a Cauldron, where you can craft Poison Resistance Mead Base from 10 Honey, 5 Thistles, 1 Neck tail and 10 Coal, and a Fermenter, which will turn the base into mead after a long wait.
Bonemass has three attacks: a wide swipe of its arms, which can do massive damage and has hits a wide area in front of the boss; a puke move that covers the area around the boss in poison; and a move in which the boss throws a glob off its own body, which will spawn random swamp enemies to attack you. With Poison Resistance Mead, you can withstand Bonemass’s poisonous puke, but the swipe attack and blob throw are both still very dangerous. Keep an eye out for extra enemies that might spawn from the throw or are wandering the swamps, because they can mess up your fight against the boss in a hurry if you don’t see them coming.
Blunt weapons have the greatest effect against Bonemass, so if you’ve got the resources for it, an Iron Mace is a good bet. Using melee weapons will put you in close proximity to Bonemass, though, and the boss does massive damage with its swipe attacks; you should absolutely block those with a shield, but even if you do, you’ll probably get punished for it. If you’re going to melee Bonemass, try to hit it from behind while another player distracts it, or catch it during certain animations, like when it winds up to throw its blobs or as it gets ready to spew poison, if you’re already immune. Your dodge roll can get you out of trouble when you’re in close, so keep that in mind.
A more effective strategy, however, might be to hit Bonemass with a ton of Frost Arrows. While the boss is pretty resistant to the piercing damage, which is what arrows inflict, the Frost effect is separate from piercing, and Bonemass will take the full brunt of the elemental damage. Using arrows allows you to stay well back from the boss and avoid poison and physical damage, which can make the fight a whole lot easier. That said, Frost Arrows are tough to come by, because you’ll need to venture into the Mountain biome to mine Obsidian and to gather Frost Glands from Drakes. Check out our Wolf Armor guide for some tips about how to survive the mountains before you’re able to make Silver armor to withstand the cold.
Beat Bonemass and you’ll get a trophy you can sacrifice at the altar where you first started in Valheim to get Bonemass’s Forsaken Power, which gives you increased resistance against physical damage for five minutes when activated. You’ll also get the Wishbone, which is essential for locating Silver and other hidden treasures buried beneath the ground.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.