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How to Find and Loot a Minecraft Nether Fortress

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Finding a Nether Fortress, like it or not, is key to “finishing” a Minecraft survival game.

Whether you’re a finalist, a speedrunner, or working slowly through your Minecraft world, the path to the ender dragon always involves a journey through the Nether. Even if you happen to stumble upon a stronghold, you’ll still need to fill the final portal with Eyes of Ender (Eye of Enders?), an item with Blaze Powder in the crafting recipe. And if you can’t find the Fortress, Eyes of Ender will guide you. Either way, you’ll need Blaze Powder, which can only be obtained from a Nether Fortress.

A Minecraft Nether Fortress in a Basalt Delta

How to find a fortress in the Nether?

The problem with this, especially for speedrunners or those struggling in the terrifying landscape that is the Nether, is that strongholds aren’t always so easy to find. Unlike Woodland Mansions or Ocean Monuments, there’s no map to guide you on your way, and unlike Lush Caves, there’s no landmark marking its location. No, instead you just have to traverse the hot and dangerous underworld until you find one.

Nether Fortress Generation

That said, it can be useful to at least know what you’re looking for and how they generate. First, Nether Fortresses appear similar to Nether Update Stronghold Remnants. Upon generation, the world will divide the Nether into sections of 368 by 368 blocks in Java Edition and 416 by 416 in Bedrock. There is then a 64 block wide border between these sections. A Nether Fortress or Bastion Remnant then has a chance to spawn in each of these sections, weighted by the Bastion Remnants. According to the Minecraft Wiki, there is only a 40% chance of a Fortress spawning instead of a Remnant Bastion in Java Edition, and 33.3% in Bedrock.

Minecraft Nether Fortress Bastion
A Minecraft Nether Fortress entering a bastion remnant

What biomes can have a Nether Fortress?

Nether Fortresses, unlike Bastion Remnants, can be spawned in any Nether biome. Therefore, you don’t need to avoid biomes when looking for a stronghold. The different Nether biomes are:

  • Nether Waste
  • basalt delta
  • crimson forest
  • warped forest
  • Soul Sand Valley

What level Y is a Nether Fortress?

A Nether Fortress can be found at most on the Y axis, as it extends to the bottom of the Nether. If there is a lot of space under the fortress, for example if it spawns above a lava ocean, it will spawn Nether Brick pillars extending all the way to the ground.

Nether Fortress structure and blocks

The best thing to keep in mind when looking for a Nether Fortress is that it’s made of Nether Brick. Believe it or not, this Dark Red Brick variant stands out from other Nether blocks, even in Crimson Forests. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure you keep an eye out for any nether bricks on the horizon or exiting the netherrack. As a fortress can be mostly covered in Netherrack, this is the best way to make sure you don’t miss one.

Structure of the Nether Fortress

A Nether Fortress has a few different rooms that can spawn inside it, but are not guaranteed. This is where you’ll want to pick up the Nether Fortress-exclusive main loot. If you come across a stair room, it should house Nether Wart on either side of the stairs. This is the only place, other than the housing units of the bastion remnants, to loot the nether wart, needed for brewing.

The other main location of a Nether Fortress is its Blaze Spawner Rooms. As expected, each of these houses houses a Blaze Spawner, up a small staircase, and the room itself can sometimes be covered by Netherrack.

On the other hand, the long, connected hallways of a Nether Fortress might be filled with roaming zombie pigmen and wither skeletons, as well as some loot chests.

Nether Wart Nether Fortress Minecraft
A farm room in the Nether Wart Fortress

Mobs found in a Nether Fortress

Flambé

Blazes are the main mob you’re looking for in a Minecraft Survival world. As mentioned at the top of the guide, you need Blaze Powder to craft an Eye of Ender, essential for locating and opening the portal to The End. Blaze Powder itself is crafted from Blaze Rods, dropped after killing Blazes.

Blaze is a tough mob to face, so you’ll need to be prepared. The best way to defend against their fireballs is to use a fire resistance potion, which will allow you to walk up to them and hit them with a sword or an ax without fear of death. Without it, you’ll have to be more methodical. First, you can take a bow and hit them with a ranged attack. However, The Blaze’s attack is also ranged, so you’ll always want to protect yourself against it. The easiest method is to simply build a pillar behind which you can hide.

Each Blaze kill can drop 1 Blaze Rod, but it cannot drop any. Killing a Blaze with an Enchanted Plunder Sword will drop the Blaze 0-4 Blaze Rods.

Minecraft Nether Fortress Flame Generator

Wither Skeleton

If you’re a true finalist, you may not be here for the Blazes, but to spawn a Wither. A Wither is another Boss monster, like the Ender Dragon, but is manually spawned by the player and not required to get to The End. However, if you just want to battle The Wither for success or bragging rights, you’ll need three Wither Skulls, which are rarely dropped by Wither Skeletons.

Wither Skeletons don’t hit very hard and only carry stone swords, but if they hit you, they’ll give you the Wither effect, which reduces your health over time, down to half a heart, giving you always want to be careful. Again, try hitting them from a distance with a bow so they can’t get close enough to hit you with the Wither effect.

Wither Skulls are an incredibly rare drop, with only a 2.5% drop chance. According to the Minecraft Wiki, the Looting enchantment increases chance by 1% per level‌ (Java Edition) or 2% per level‌ (Bedrock Edition), for a maximum of 5.5%‌ or 8.5%‌ respectively with Looting III , but of course that requires killing them with an enchanted sword. Their skull still drops if killed by a charged Creeper.

Wither Skeleton Nether Fortress Minecraft

Zombified Piglin

As with the rest of The Nether, you will most likely encounter Zombie Piglins while exploring Nether Fortresses. As usual, this is a neutral mob, but you’ll need to be extra careful not to hit one by mistake when fighting Wither Skeletons or Blazes, as even an accidental hit will cause all of them to activate nearby Zombie Piglins.

Piglin Zombie Nether Fortress Minecraft

Nether Fortress loot

In addition to Blaze Rods, Wither Skeletons, and Nether Wart, you can find other valuable loot by exploring the corridors of a Nether Fortress. Chests can be found along the hallways, containing valuable and rare items such as diamonds, diamond horse armor, and saddles.

Article Chance
Gold bar 49%
Saddle 35.3%
gold horse armor 29.1%
Nether Wart 19%
Iron ingot 19%
diamond 19%
Flint and Steel 19%
iron horse armor 19%
golden sword 19%
golden chestplate 19%
Diamond horse armor 11.8%
Obsidian 8%

More Minecraft Structures

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