Death is inevitable at one point or another in every survival game, regardless of the genre. You’ll probably end up somewhere you shouldn’t be during your journey. Or maybe you underestimate an enemy’s attack damage, and it takes you down in a single shot. Whatever the case, you’re going to die a few times as you learn the ropes of Valheim. And this game certainly knows how to punish you for your mistakes. One of the most popular questions new players ask is: what happens when you die? We’re going to cover everything you need to know so you can prepare for the worst.

What happens when you die in Valheim?

When you die in Valheim, your character respawns at your bed. If you never claimed a bed, you’ll spawn at the starting area containing the stones of power. Your entire inventory, including all of your equipped items, will go into a gravestone (similar to a chest) at the exact spot you died for you to pick up. 

Your character also incurs an XP penalty upon death. The result is a 5% reduction to your current skill levels, which is fairly significant if you die often. While some players complain this is too harsh, Valheim is a hardcore survival game, after all. You may notice a “no skills drain” buff on the top of your screen after death. While this is active, you cannot lose any more skills from dying. When you loot your corpse, you’ll get a corpse run buff that significantly reduces the amount of stamina you use for a brief period. Utilize the short buff window to escape from any mobs camping your body.

We have a few tips for you if you’re new to Valheim. First, your death location is marked with a skull and crossbones on the map. If you die a second time, the previous marker will disappear, so you may want to make a manual marker to remember your body location. Luckily, the gravestone emits a red glow making it easy to spot from a distance.

As you can imagine, this can be problematic if you died in a location far away from your bed or starting area. That’s one of the factors that makes this game so challenging. It will help if you plan your moves to avoid being unable to retrieve your body. An easy and cheap solution is to craft a workbench and bed nearby whenever entering a sketchy area. You can also create a nearby portal and connect it to somewhere with a bed like your main settlement.

According to one of the Valheim developers on Reddit, they have explored many different paths to alleviate some of the frustration associated with dying. However, making it easier for players who die a lot takes away from part of what makes Valheim a hardcore survival game. The best players rarely ever die, and if they do, they have a backup plan. One of the developer’s tips is to not rush into areas you can’t handle. Plan accordingly.

I can’t pick up my body in Valheim!

If you can’t pick up your body in Valheim, you probably picked up some junk on your run back. Clear out your inventory and try again. If you still can’t pick it up, you were probably using the Megingjord belt. The unique merchant belt increases your carrying capacity, so without equipping it first, you’ll be over-burdened and unable to loot your items.

What happens if you die in the Ocean in Valheim?

If you happen to die in the Ocean biome in Valheim, whether by drowning or being attacked by a Sea Serpent, don’t panic. For one, your gravestone acts like a buoy and floats on the surface of the water. All your items remain in your gravestone, so the only thing to worry about is the trek back. If you’re in a group, have one of your friends pick you up. As a solo player, this could mean crafting another boat and sailing back to your corpse.

What happens if you can’t get back to your body in Valheim?

It’s not likely that you’ll die and be unable to obtain your body. The worst-case scenario is dying deep in an area like the Mountains. Freeze damage can kill you quickly, so if this happens, eat the best food and pop a Frost Resistance Mead to negate the freezing damage.

Another frustrating area to die is in the Plains biome. There are mobs here called Deathsquitos, and they certainly live up to their name. If you have no armor on, they’ll one-shot you with ease. You can roll and dodge their attacks with the proper timing. 

If all else fails, you may need to craft another junk set of armor so you can survive the trek back to your corpse. When that happens, you’ll learn the valuable lesson of being more cautious and not underestimating the enemies in Valheim.