valheim bonfire guide

Valheim Bonfire Guide: Let There Be Fire! 

I must thank Iron Gate Studios for giving my friends and me a ton of laughs as we tried to topple trees down on each other. However, surviving in Valheim is no laughing matter.

To survive, I’ve had to learn to live off the land and craft structures to protect myself from the elements. A Bonfire is a roaring flame, a beacon to Vikings, and a light in the darkness that can be used for cooking, sleeping, and warmth.

Thinking outside the box in survival games tends to be very rewarding for the player. Just look at all the crazy and magnificent projects built in Minecraft. The gaming community is a resourceful bunch.

Give us a sandbox or survival game, and we’ll strip it apart and use features in a way that the developers never intended or could even conceive.

It’s no secret that the building mechanics in Valheim are not the easiest to work with. It’s like being tasked with building the Millennium Falcon out of Lego with no instruction booklet. It can be challenging to understand what piece goes where.

However, there are so many cool little tricks you can perform in Valheim to create some epic builds. Take the Bonfire example. It’s a structure that is intended to be used to protect you from the elements. However, I’ve used it as a weapon to great effect. 

Welcome to a Valheim Bonfire Guide.

The Mythical and Magical World of Valheim

It wouldn’t be a survival game without monsters, and Valheim is full of them. There are clanking skeletons, ghoulish Wraiths, and ginormous abominations to kill and flee from.

Moreover, defeating bosses increases the difficulty of the game. For example, killing Eikthyr, the first boss, will enable the Forest is Moving event where the player’s base will be sieged randomly.

Furthermore, Greydwarfs, a more powerful variant of the Greyling, will begin to attack the player’s base. But what if I told you you could defeat all these enemies with a Bonfire? Yes, if it burns, we can kill it. So without further ado, let’s ignite our way into this!

Bottom Line-Up Front

The Mythical and Magical World of Valheim

The bonfire is a great structure to build in Valheim. At first glance, it’s just a much better campfire. You can place multiple cooking stations around it, keep yourself warm at night and even sleep in its vicinity. However, the bonfire is more than just shelter for the advanced player.

I place multiple bonfires around my base and push approaching enemies into the fire. This does damage on contact as well as tick damage. I amplify this damage further by placing smaller campfires near the enemies. The damage from the bonfire and campfire stack enabled me to eliminate enemies.

You don’t have to worry about creatures attacking your bonfire as it’s not a priority target by monsters. This is one of the best attributes of the bonfire. That said, bonfires can still be destroyed by indirect creature attacks.

Bonfires are more than just fire sources. Activating a Surtling Core on a bonfire will dispel lights into the sky. To attract other players on the server to your location. This can be useful if you start a boss fight and want extra support. However, I think it’s best to save the Surtling Cores by building more bonfires.

Crafting a Bonfire

Unlike real life, you can’t just build a Bonfire by dowsing a pile of branches with petrol and whatever else you find lying around in the back garden. Instead, you’ll have to collect Ancient bark, Core wood, Fine wood, and a Surtling Core. A Workbench is also required to build a Bonfire, so keep that in mind.

Collecting Fine and Core wood is easy enough. However, obtaining Ancient bark requires at least the Bronze Axe. Ancient trees are found in the Swamp Biome, so it’s a resource thats tricky to obtain. I’ve had to sail across to another island and travel far from home to find the Swamp biome.

All maps in Valheim are randomly generated, so you might be lucky enough for this biome to spawn on your starting island. That said, because the swamp is such a dangerous location, the game tends to spawn it far away from the player. It’s also the location of Bonemass, the third boss in the game.

  • The swamp can be identified on the map with a dark brown color; the swamp can even be the size of a small island.

Surtling Core

Valheim Surtling Core

A Surtling Core is the final ingredient for building a Bonfire. They appear as smoldering cubes and resemble a square of hot coal. However, they’re not a resource thats easily accessible resources, and you’ll have to do a bit of work to obtain them.

These fiery cubes are obtained in several ways, including from Surtlings, which is probably the fastest way to collect them. However, this depends on how many Surtlings you find.

Acquire Cores from Surtlings

Surtlings are fiery elemental-looking enemies. They are relatively weak and easy to kill. They are primarily found in the Ashlands. However, they can spawn in the Swamps, so keep an eye out when you collect Ancient Bark.

Surtlings are made out of fire and, as a result, are very resistant to fire damage so bonfires won’t do much good against these guys.

Moreover, after defeating a Surtling and defeating Bonemass, you’ll enable the “There’s a smell of sulfur in the air” event. Where the skies will be filled with smoke and ash, and Surtlings will swarm you.

Suppose you’re not quite ready for the Swamps or a long way from the biome. Consider delving into the Burial Chambers that spawn in the Black Forest, as I’ve often found Surtling Cores lying on the floor of the Burial Chambers.

However, be careful when exploring these areas, as many enemies will spawn here. A bow and spear helped me out here, as the passageways are very narrow, enabling me to choke the enemies into a single-file.

Steal from Fulings’ Bonfires

Surtling Cores can also be taken from bonfires in Fuling Villages. However, the goblin-like creatures won’t take too kindly to you robbing their stuff. They can be formidable in a fight due to their large numbers, so try to take them out from afar.

Fuling Villages can only be found in the Plains biome. Like Greydwarfs, Fulings come in all different shapes and sizes, and you must contend with Fuling Berserkers and Shamans.

Placing Bonfires on Any Surface

Placing Bonfires on Any Surface

You must meet rules and criteria when building in Valheim, like ensuring structures have proper support from the ground. However, Maybe you want to get creative and make a colossal lighthouse or Tolkienesque beacon for a hobbit to climb. There are ways to bend the rules in Valheim to build amazing structures.

Early in the game, you won’t be able to build a Hearth, a structure that can be placed in your base to provide you with heat, lighting, and a place to cook food. However, with a little know how you can get campfires and bonfires inside your base and built upon foundations and even wood. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  • Place foundations with the material of your choice.
  • Use the Hoe tool to raise the ground until it spills onto one foundation.
  • Place the bonfire onto the dirt-covered foundation. If it doesn’t work, raise the ground more.
  • Once the bonfire is placed, you can lower the ground, leaving the bonfire on top of the foundation.

Don’t Breathe the Smoke!

Valheim’s building mechanics are tricky. You can’t just build a house on a whim; you have to plan its foundations and consider ventilation carefully. That’s right, if you want to make a giant lighthouse or base with a bonfire or other fire source, you have to ensure ventilation for the smoke to escape.

It will be snuffed out if too much smoke builds up around a fire. Moreover, if your character comes into contact with smoke, then they will gain the “Smoked” status and take tick damage. 

The game doesn’t really explain this very well to the player. However, there are several ways to stop the build-up of smoke in your house:

  1. Build a chimney – This is a crucial way to ventilate smoke from your house. I recommend building a chimney three blocks high.
  2. Channel the smoke – Smoke can be channeled as it always rises to the highest block. Use blocks to guide the smoke towards a hole in the roof or channel it far enough on the ceiling, and it will disappear without leaving the house.
  3. Vent smoke out a wall – Similar to channeling, you can change smoke’s direction to guide it through a hole in a wall.

Remember that smoke particles in Valheim are much bigger than in real life. Smoke will build up if there isn’t enough space vertically or horizontally. However, you only need to ensure one of these.

Smoke will disappear once it has been in the air for some time. So Chimneys aren’t required if you build a house with at least three blocks of space free above a fire.

Valheim is subject to many kinds of weather, and it’s not uncommon for a storm to manifest quickly. Rainfall can be a big problem when trying to keep fires alight.

A well-built chimney or ventilation system will enable your fire to continue roaring in a storm. Note that storms and harsh winds can change the directions of rainfall which could make contact with your fire. 

  • Bonfires work slightly differently from other sources of fire. While they may produce smoke, they cannot be put out by rainfall. 

Every House Needs a Good Kitchen!

I used a bonfire as my main source of heat and light for my house in Valheim. As I thought it was rather fitting for a Viking and there’s plenty of space for cooking! However, if you’ve tried cooking on a bonfire in Valheim you may have encountered some clunky issues.

While it’s possible to use a bonfire as a Cooking Stations’ main source of heat it can be tricky to place. I got the best results by placing wooden poles to form a bench-looking structure around the bonfire and then placing the cooking stations on top.

Bonfires as a Weapon

Bonfires as a Weapon

Burning enemies to death are my favorite use for the bonfire. Swarmed by a pack of Greydwarfs? They’re just more fuel for the fire. Bonfires are incredibly useful for defending an area or base from would-be attackers.

Creatures that make contact with a bonfire take damage and tick damage. The same works for campfires; the two can be used in unison to deal even more damage.

There are lots of kinds of enemies in Valheim, and they all move and attack in different ways. Meaning that some enemies are more accessible to burn than others.

For example, it’s easy to push Draugrs into bonfires with the roll mechanic. Wraiths are one of the easiest monsters to kill with a bonfire as you can kite them into the bonfire easily thanks to their pathing.

Abominations are difficult enemies to fight. They’re one of the biggest enemies in the game, located in the Swamps. Even the terrain makes it hard to fight them.

However, slap a bonfire down, kite the overgrown root until it’s on top, and watch it burn. Traping these creatures on top of the bonfire is very easy, so you only have to worry about dodging its attacks once it’s on.

You must be within a Workbench radius to place a bonfire down. So make sure that you’re fighting within this area. Monsters can destroy structures, so I recommend bringing enough resources for multiple bonfires and Workbenches.

Damage Types of Valheim

Valheim’s combat is relatively simple, but it feels excellent, thanks to the well-crafted animations. Big weapons feel heavy; overall, I feel like there’s a hint of Souls in the combat.

That is until I discard all that technique and skill, sit back, and watch the world burn from my bonfire. However, as powerful as the bonfire is, it does have some drawbacks. It’s a stationary structure, so you will be limited to fighting around it. Bonfires can also be destroyed, and if you lose your Workbench, you’ll struggle to get your bonfires up again.

There are different types of damage in Valheim, from physical such as Slash and Pierce to elemental damage like Lightning and Fire! Some creatures will receive more damage from a specific type of damage.

For example, Greylings and Greydwarfs are weak to fire damage and therefore take extra damage from being in contact with a bonfire and burn damage.

Defeating the Elder with Fire

Defeating the Elder with Fire

The Elder is a giant tree entity spawned within the Black Forest. It’s the second boss in the game and is a lot easier to defeat than Eikthyr. This is due to it being weak to fire. The Elder will always spawn in a rectangular arena featuring tall stone pillars. These pillars can be used to dodge a lot of its ranged attacks. 

The Elder can be tricky without the proper preparation; however, placing bonfires around the arena is a surefire way to deal extra damage and burn its health bar down. Because the boss fight occurs in the Black Forest, I had several Greydwarf gangs join the party.

This was very dangerous and difficult to deal with. However, bonfires and campfires allowed me to kite them into the fire and quickly kill them.

This is generally harder for small monsters, but it’s very easy to accomplish with The Elder. It’s a giant, slow-moving creature that won’t be able to avoid treading on campfires and brushing passed bonfires. 

Moreover, The Elder will take extra damage as fire from campfires and bonfires stack. It’s almost impossible to land melee hits on The Elder due to its size and lethal stomp attack.

It’s much easier to pop in and out of the stone pillars with a bow and fire arrows. As The Elder attempts to reposition you, it will walk through a trail of campfires and bonfires. 

Burn Bonemass to a Crisp with Bonfires

Burn Bonemass to a Crisp with Bonfires

Despite being resistant to Fire damage, bonfires can be used to inflict additional tick damage to Bonemass. The Bonemass is found in the swamps and is a giant amalgamation of filth and bone from creatures and doomed explorers.

The Bonemass is huge and slow, making it easy to exploit using bonfires. I had to replace bonfires as Bonemass destroyed them after some time. This was easy as the boss moves slowly, and it’s easy to avoid its attacks by retreating around the giant skull. 

The swamp is a wet biome. Therefore, I had limited space to place campfires around. I stuck to the land surrounding the giant skull to place my bonfires. Four or five worked a charm as the boss got stuck on them trying to move closer to me.

Moreover, the bonfires enabled me to continue damaging Bonemass when he spawns smaller mobs such as skeletons and slimes. Sometimes Bonemass will get stuck on the bonfires allowing you to focus on lesser enemies.

Overall, bonfires are incredibly useful when fighting this boss as they act as a buffer. They deal minor damage, but over time it mounts up, making the boss a lot easier to defeat.

To build bonfires, you need a workbench close by; therefore, I recommend building on top of the giant skull as this is out of the way. As a result, I didn’t have to worry about the Workbench being destroyed.


Question: How Long Does a Bonfire Burn for in Valheim?

Answer: A bonfire can be stoked ten times. At a maximum amount of fuel, it lasts just under fourteen hours. One piece of fuel will allow the bonfire to burn for a little over an hour. Rain won’t put out a bonfire. However, it will slightly reduce the bonfire’s light radius. 

Question: How to Stop Freezing to Death in the Mountains Biome in Valheim?

Answer: The temperature in the Mountains biome significantly drops, and without insulation from the cold, your character will take damage from the cold. You can keep warm by building bonfires and staying within their vicinity.

Building in the Mountains can sometimes be tricky due to the ground being rarely level. So make sure to bring a Hoe to level the ground. You can also stay warm by wearing insulating clothes such as Wolf Armor.

Question: Should I Play Valheim on Vulkan?

Answer: While running Valheim with Vulkan, you may encounter fewer bugs and crashes and get a much better FPS performance. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I highly recommend that you carry the required crafting materials for a Workbench and bonfire in your inventory at all times. Just in case you come across a pack of enemies or are caught out in the dark.

Bonfires are a fantastic structure that not only gives you shelter from the harsh elements of Valheim. But they are also an excellent weapon that can help you take out packs of enemies and help make boss fights much easier.

I thoroughly enjoy exploring the world of Valheim. It’s magical. Building in this game is complex but highly relaxing when you get into that creative zone. There are a ton of possibilities for base building, which is even greater from using the raise ground trick to build bonfires and campfires in buildings. 

On a closing note acquiring the resources to build a bonfire can be challenging. Collecting Surtling Cores can take a significant amount of time if you are far from Surtling spawns. Therefore I recommend collecting them before you can even build bonfires or chop ancient trees.

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