Valheim Swamp guide: Swamp Key, Sunken Crypts, and more

Valheim (Image credit: Windows Central)

While the Meadows and Black Forest biomes are relatively easy for Valheim players to explore, the same can't be said of the Swamp, the third biome players will most likely encounter. Between its many dangerous enemies, unforgiving wetland terrain, and cryptic dungeons, the Swamp is a biome that will make quick work of unprepared players. Here's a detailed guide on everything you need to know about the Swamp to survive its dangers, including how to find it, how you should prepare for it, and what kinds of treasures (and foes) you'll find there.

Valheim Swamp guide: How to find the Swamp

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Finding the Swamp will require some old-fashioned exploration since each world generates locations differently. It will never generate on land that's attached to the landmass where you started the game, so you'll need to make a boat before starting your search. While you could make a raft, we recommend making a karve since it's faster and can take much more punishment from sea serpents you may encounter in the ocean. Additionally, karves also have storage space, which allows you to transport the valuable ore you'll find in the Swamp back to your home base (more on that later).

Related: Valheim sailing guide: How to build and sail every ship

Based on my experiences, you'll generally find Swamp biomes in the large landmasses that surround your starting area but are separated by it by the ocean. You can also find them much further out than that, too, but I don't recommend trying to go to those Swamps yet since they're typically attached to Plains biomes, which are even nastier than the Swamp.

Valheim Swamp guide: How to prepare for the Swamp

Source: Valheim Wiki (Image credit: Source: Valheim Wiki)

The Swamp may be dangerous, but you'll have a much better experience exploring it if you come prepared. Here are some of the supplies we recommend bringing along with you.

  • Have full bronze armor and weapons, including a good bronze buckler shield. You can make bronze by mining and smelting copper and tin ore from the Black Forest, then combining the ingots together at a Forge.
  • Maces in particular are very effective in the Swamp since many of the enemies are weak to blunt damage. Make a bronze mace and upgrade it if you can.
  • Bring a Finewood Bow with Flinthead Arrows. Many of the Swamp's enemies can be weakened or killed from afar, which is safer than melee combat.
  • Bring lots of food to keep your max health high. I recommend at least a full stack of cooked meat and berries, as well as plenty of honey from beehives you make. Mushrooms, carrots, and carrot soup (for huge stamina boosts) are also good options.
  • Make poison resistance mead, as it will help immensely with many of the poisonous enemies in the Swamp. Healing mead is good as well for quick, instant healing. Check my guide on all mead recipes and how to make them for details on how to make both.
  • Fill your karve with a few stacks of wood, as when you arrive at a Swamp, building a shelter before exploring is beneficial.

Valheim Swamp guide: Survival tips and tricks

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

These tips and tricks will help you survive and thrive while you explore the Swamp.

  • Build a Portal (10x Greydwarf Eye, 20x Fine Wood, 2x Surtling Core) at your home base and give it the "Swamp" tag. When you arrive at a Swamp, immediately place another down and also tag it with "Swamp" to connect the two. This will allow you to return to your home base instantly if you need to run from enemies or get more supplies from home. It's also a great way to transport Swamp valuables back home, such as ancient bark wood or entrails from Draugr that you can combine with raw meat and thistle to make sausages.
  • Build a fortified structure (such as the one my friends and I built above) that you can use as a defensible shelter. These can be helpful if enemies from the Swamp decide to wander over to you when you're resting up before or after an adventure in the Swamp. If there's a less dangerous biome attached to the Swamp, such as a Meadows or Black Forest, building the base here will help keep it safer.
  • It's worth noting you can attach structures to the large trees in the Swamp, as they count as foundations. Therefore, you can make a treehouse if you want, which will prevent many of the Swamp's enemies from reaching you. However, this is very time-consuming and you'll likely have to fight off lots of enemies while you build.
  • Use a hoe to raise the dirt in the Swamp's watery areas. Not only will this make more areas walkable, but it will also keep you safe from the Swamp's nefarious leeches.
  • If a Greydwarf or Troll raid starts while you're in the Swamp, try and lead them into the Swamp's enemies. The two factions will fight each other, and whoever wins will be easy for you to finish off.
  • Drink poison resistance mead before going exploring. It lasts for 10 minutes and it halves all incoming poison damage, which will keep you alive in scenarios where poison would otherwise kill you.
  • Try and keep your inventory as free as possible as you explore, as you'll want to have room for the Swamp's valuable items like iron and treasure.
  • Placing torches throughout the Swamp is a great way to find your way back to your base easily. Just make sure to fuel them fully with Resin so that they don't burn out while you're at the Swamp.

Valheim Swamp guide: Swamp enemy list

Source: Valheim Wiki The Wraith enemy in the Swamp. (Image credit: Source: Valheim Wiki)

The Swamp is home to many different types of foes. Here's a comprehensive list of every enemy you'll encounter, as well as some quick tips on how to deal with them.

  • Draugr: These shambling undead are the most common foes in the Swamp. They mainly wield powerful axes and typically come in small groups of two or three. The best way to deal with them is to parry their attacks and then hit them back for increased damage. Some also rarely use bows, so be ready to block or parry incoming arrows if you come across this Draugr variant.
  • Draugr Elite: These versions of Draugr fight the same way normal Draugr do, but are bigger, tougher, and have purple eyes instead of green. You can also identify them by their missing arm. Parry them as you would a regular Draugr.
  • Blob: These blobs of green goop look silly, but their poison is deadly. Hit them with your mace once or twice and then roll away from them to avoid the poison explosion they do. Notably, Blobs can't attack for a few seconds after they jump, so hit them before they can poison you.
  • Oozer: Essentially, the Oozer is a more dangerous Blob. The poison explosion attack it does affects a wider area, and when it dies it spawns two Blobs. You can identify it by its brown, circular appearance. Oozers also have a low chance to drop valuable iron scraps.
  • Surtling: These flaming enemies can be found near fire geysers in the Swamp. They run around you quickly and throw fireballs, but the damage isn't too bad if you're wearing good bronze armor. They die to a few mace hits very quickly, and if they touch standing water they'll take extreme damage. They can drop Surtling Cores, which are very valuable if you ever want to expand your blacksmithing operations.
  • Wraith: These flying enemies only come out at night and tend to fly in, try and hit you, and then fly back into the air. This makes melee combat with them difficult, so we recommend using a bow to do damage and then switching to a shield when they come in close for protection. You can also wait until morning to get rid of them as well, as when the sun rises, they fly into the sky and despawn.
  • Leech: These water enemies will attack any player that dares to swim in the deeper water areas of the Swamp. Like Blobs, they inflict poison damage, although it's not as severe. They'll also attack your ship if they're near it, so surround your vessel with some walls. Hitting them from the edge of the water with a melee weapon is a good combat option, and bows work well too.
  • Skeleton: Skeletons are the weakest enemy in the Swamp, but they often come in great numbers and can weaken you to the point where more dangerous foes can kill you more easily. Therefore, don't ignore the threat they pose. Like with Draugr, parry their melee strikes or arrows and hit back with increased damage. Maces are very effective against Skeletons, so make good use of one.

Valheim Swamp guide: How to get the Swamp Key

Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas The Elder boss. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas)

To explore the Sunken Crypt dungeons found in the Swamp, you'll need to obtain the Swamp Key. You can find it by killing The Elder boss that's located in a particular Black Forest biome somewhere in your world. I won't go too in-depth about The Elder here, but here are some quick tips on how to find it and take it down.

Related: Valheim Boss Guide: How to find, summon, and defeat every boss

  • You can pinpoint The Elder's location by finding runestones in the Burial Chambers dungeons found in Black Forests. These runestones will mark The Elder's location on your map.
  • You'll need three ancient seeds to summon The Elder, which you can obtain from chests in Burial Chambers or Greydwarf Brutes.
  • The Elder is a giant tree, and thus, the best way to kill it is to use fire arrows with a good bow.
  • If you want to fight it with melee weapons, a good bronze axe is a good choice.
  • Try to stick relatively close to The Elder, as running away from it increases the chances you'll attract Greydwarves and/or Trolls to the fight. These enemies will make the boss fight even harder.

Valheim Swamp guide: Sunken Crypts

Source: Valheim Wiki (Image credit: Source: Valheim Wiki)

The valuables of the Swamp are found in its Sunken Crypt dungeons, which contain lots of good materials and treasure. You can identify them by their stone appearance and the two large green torches on the outside. If you have the Swamp Key, you can open Sunken Crypts and go inside. Notably, if you're playing with a group, only one player needs to have a Swamp Key for everyone to be able to enter.

Here's a list of what you'll find inside Sunken Crypts:

  • Enemies: Draugr, Draugr Elites, Blobs, and Oozes can all be found in Sunken Crypts. Additionally, you may also come across "body piles" that will continuously spawn more Draugr until you destroy them.
  • Muddy scrap piles: Large mounds of mud called "Muddy scrap piles" will block the hallways of the Sunken Crypts. These contain iron scraps and withered bones, both of which are very important items — the former can be used to create iron gear, while the latter are needed to spawn the Swamp's boss. You can also get leather scraps from muddy scrap piles as well.
  • Chests: Chests can be found in rooms deep within Sunken Crypts. They can contain iron scraps and iron chains as well as treasures such as rubies, pieces of amber, and pearls. The treasures can be sold to Haldor the Merchant for money.
  • Runestones: Occasionally, you can find Runestones in Sunken Crypts that will show you where the Swamp biome boss, Bonemass, is located in your world.

Valheim Swamp guide: Bonemass boss fight

Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas (Image credit: Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas)

Bonemass is the ultimate test of your skills in the Swamp, and you'll need to kill it before you move on to other biomes since it drops the Wishbone item you need to obtain silver in the Mountains. Here's how to spawn and fight the boss successfully.

  • To spawn Bonemass, you'll need to sacrifice 10 withered bones on his altar.
  • Bonemass is heavily resistant to arrows, so don't rely on your bow in this fight. You'll need to resort to melee combat instead.
  • Bonemass is essentially a giant Blob; between melee swipes, it will do a massive poison cloud attack. Make sure to run away from him every few hits so you can avoid this. Drinking poison resistance mead is also very helpful.
  • Like Skeletons and Blobs, Bonemass is weak to blunt damage. Therefore, use a mace for max damage.
  • If you need to heal, back off from the boss. Bonemass doesn't have ranged attacks, so you can retreat a good distance to heal safely.
  • Draugr and other Swamp enemies might interfere with the boss battle if you stray too far from Bonemass' spawn. If this happens, take them down before returning your attention to Bonemass, as it will be hard to fight the boss with these dangerous enemies breathing down your neck.
  • Don't run too far away from Bonemass, as the game will interpret this as you running away from the entire fight and will reset Bonemass' health.

Any questions?

Do you have any further questions about the Swamp? Let me know, and I'll happily answer them down below.

Valheim is available for $20 on Steam through Early Access. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend getting it as it's one of the best survival games for PC right now. If you do pick up the game, don't miss our beginner's guide to your first days and beyond in Valheim.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.