Tutorials/Drowned farming

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Drowned farming is a way to harvest experience orbs and loot dropped by both zombie and drowned mobs. The purpose of this tutorial is to describe a basic farm that can be built easily in survival mode. This farm will yield tridents,‌[Bedrock Edition only] nautilus shells, occasional gold, and other items including weapons and armor (normal and enchanted) in various states of repair ranging from highly damaged to nearly new.

More complex farms are possible, particularly underwater farms for naturally-spawned drowned, which yield tridents in the Java edition. The basic farm described here is still useful in the Java edition for gaining a quick and easy way to harvesting zombie loot without requiring significant construction or materials.

Mechanics[edit]

There are two main ways to farm drowned, depending on the Edition and which drops you desire most. In most cases, it’s a good idea to kill the drowned manually to obtain the more valuable loot.

Flooded dungeon[edit]

The detailed instructions in this tutorial explain how to use a flooded dungeon that converts zombies to drowned. This is the easiest method to implement in survival mode.

In the Java Edition, this farm produces the usual zombie drops, but it doesn't produce the items specific to drowned (nautilus shells or tridents). This farm functions best in Bedrock Edition, in which the drops include nautilus shells and tridents.

A flooded dungeon works by spawning zombies naturally from the monster spawner in the dungeon. The zombies are funneled into an underwater chamber where they drown. Once converted to drowned, the player can manually kill them for their loot and experience.

Ocean floor[edit]

An ocean floor farm is the only known way to farm tridents and nautilus shells in the Java Edition. Drowned farms on the ocean floor are more complicated because they function similar to a dry-land mob farm.

In an ocean floor farm, naturally-spawned drowned are attracted to a location and funneled into one area where the player can kill them. A villager is typically used as bait to attract drowned, and the funneling can be accomplished with upwards bubble columns. Transporting a villager to an undersea room in survival mode is a complex undertaking that requires much forethought, preparation, implementation time, and risk. A turtle egg might also work as less reliable bait.[verify]

Survival-mode build: Flooded dungeon[edit]

Location[edit]

The simplest way to start a survival-mode drowned and zombie farm is to locate a dungeon room that contains a zombie mob spawner. Ideally the room should be reasonably close to the overworld surface, but can be any depth that allows for digging 5 blocks or so underneath the floor. Sometimes a dungeon is found a short distance inside a cave entrance. Unlike an XP farm that generally requires a long falling distance from the dungeon to bring the mobs to near death, no deep excavation is required for a drowned farm.

Preparation[edit]

To construct a survival-mode drowned farm, you will need a conveniently located dungeon with a zombie monster spawner, torches, pickaxes, a water bucket, and a few signs. Optionally, glass blocks are helpful for viewing when a zombie becomes drowned. Hoppers and a couple of chests also aid collection but are not necessary.

For convenience, it is nice to have nearby (outside the dugeon room), a source of water to scoop with the bucket, a lava block in a hole in a safe corner for easy disposal of unwanted items collected by the farm, gates or doors to keep mobs from wandering into your cave while you work, and a home base or temporary base with your bed, crafting table, and other helpful items a short walk away.

Construction[edit]

Side view of a drowned farm. It can be made with a single hopper but works better with more, so the zombies spread out for easier targeting of the drowned. The lower-level water is surrounded by glass blocks with slabs attached to the bottom to prevent any baby zombies from escaping. Signs are visible behind the slabs, holding up the water. The optional lava block allows for easy disposal of unwanted items.

The illustration on the right shows a side view of a basic survival-mode drowned farm, showing the dungeon above and the trap / collection room below.

Prepare the dungeon[edit]

Upon locating a dungeon and breaking into it:

  1. Quickly place a torch on the mob spawner block to prevent it from spawning further zombies.
  2. Kill any remaining zombies in the room.
  3. Close off any holes in the walls other than the entrance way you intend to use to get in and out of the rooom.
  4. Ransack and collect the chests; you will need them later.
  5. It is not necessary to dig out one layer of the floor around the mob spawner, but doing so provides additional volume in which the zombies can spawn. You may also optionally expand the room to 4 blocks from the monster spawner block (a 9×9 room). The room will still produce more than enough zombies without these expansions, however.

Take note of the coordinate location of the center block along the wall with your opening. This floor block is in line with the mob spawner. In the last step you will flood the dungeon with water and dig a hole in this location for the mobs to fall through.

After preparation, exit through your opening. We will close it off in the last step.

Prepare the trap[edit]

Next, underneath the dungeon, excavate the trap room. The room should be large enough to move around in, and contain the trap described below.

At the most basic level, the trap consists of a single water block that the zombie falls through from above, landing on a block (or a hopper) so the zombie's head remains in the water and drowns it. A sign on the wall holds up the bottom of the water block, and solid blocks enclose the water on all sides. The enclosing blocks may be glass to aid your identification of drowned zombies versus non-drowned zombies.

With a one-water-block trap, zombies will crowd into that one-block space, making it difficult to target the drowned zombies with your weapon. Allow the zombies to spread out as they drown by extending the trap to multiple blocks. In practice, a trap using a three-block water channel held up with three signs, with three landing blocks (or hoppers) below the channel, works sufficiently well.

  1. Place blocks (preferably glass) on the ceiling to contain the water channel. One long side of the channel can be bounded by the wall of your room. The channel should be directly below the floor block previously measured in the dungeon above. This is where the water will fall through into the channel.
  2. Place signs along the wall. The signs will hold up the bottom of the water blocks while providing air space for you and mobs to pass by the signs.
  3. Using a water bucket, place a block of water on each end of the channel. If your channel is 3 blocks long, you need only two water blocks; the center block will fill itself in.
  4. Only after filling the channel with water, place the hoppers under each sign, pointing toward at the end of the line. This is the last step in building the trap. Be outside the channel before you install the hoppers or you will end up drowning yourself.
    • Hoppers are needed only to collect drops and move them into the chest.
    • If you can't afford hoppers (due to the amount of iron required), you can use stone blocks. In this case, just dig a 1-block trench next to these stone blocks so that you can fit underneath the overhead slabs, to get close enough to the dropped items to collect them yourself.

Start the farm[edit]

Finally, go back into the dungeon above.

  1. Place two water blocks, one at each corner opposite your entrance opening. The water should completely fill the room, sweeping you toward the entrance. If you have expanded the room and the water doesn't cover the whole floor, you may need an additional water block in the middle of each side wall. The water should flow toward the center of the wall at your entrance hole.
  2. Stand on the threshold of your entrance, out of the water, or you will drown yourself in this step. Dig out the floor block at the center of the wall, causing the water to spill down into the channel in the collection room below. The reason to dig this hole after flooding the dungeon is because placing a water block near a hole will cause the flow direction rules to prevent the water from covering the entire room.
  3. Break the torch on the mob spawner. A zombie will spawn instantly. Quickly seal the opening of the dungeon. You can seal it with glass blocks as shown in the illustration, to let you see into the the dungeon.

Operation[edit]

Operational drowned farm as described above, showing a drowned and a zombie not yet drowned. The recessed area in the floor with stone slabs gives the player a better vantage point for whacking at the legs.

Go down into your collection room. You will see zombies fall into the water-trap channel and start wandering back and forth across the tops of the hoppers with their heads in the water channel. After 30 seconds of having its head submerged, a zombie will start drowning, quivering visibly for 15 seconds, and then change color. Its pants will turn from blue to brownish. Its eyes, visible through the glass blocks, will also change to a blue glow.

The legs of the mobs are exposed to you. Whack your weapon (or even bare hands) at the legs of a drowned. Five hits with a stone sword will kill it, less for better weapons. You will collect experience orbs, and the drowned's possessions will drop into the hoppers and end up in the chest (or if you didn't use hoppers, the drops will come to you if you get close enough). Eventually you will collect tridents,‌[Bedrock Edition only] nautilus shells, gold, enchanted armor, and of course rotten flesh and miscellaneous other items.

The chests will soon fill up because weapons and armor each occupy their own inventory slots. You may find it useful to have a garbage disposal unit (a block of lava) somewhere in a safe place in the room in which to throw unwanted items. They will disappear into the lava and be destroyed.

Baby zombies will occasionally spawn, but they won't drown because they're too short. Simply kill these when they appear. The slabs under the glass blocks will prevent them from escaping, and also prevent them from attacking you (although they can still hit downward if you get too close).

Complex variations[edit]

The basic zombie farm described in this tutorial is fairly quick and simple to construct in survival mode. It isn't automatic, however. It requires your involvement to harvest items from the drowned. Much fancier, and even automated variations of drowned farms are possible, usually requiring creative mode for construction.

Java edition trident farming[edit]

In the Java edition, harvesting loot from drowned zombies does not yield tridents; tridents can be obtained only from naturally-spawned drowned. The basic farm described in this tutorial, however, is still useful for a survival-mode zombie loot farm to get tools, armor, and weapons with occasional interesting enchantments, as well as other items — without needing to build a deep falling pit or a tall structure in the sky.

Drowned farms on the ocean floor are more complicated because they function similarly to a mob farm, capturing naturally-spawned drowned. First, the drowned should be attracted to one location. Once they are attracted, they need to be funneled into one area where the player can easily kill them. The attracting is often done with villager bait and the funneling is often accomplished with bubble columns.

Fancier variations[edit]

Some farms incorporate innovative ideas such as bubble-column elevators to bring items to surface level, and devices to sort items. The player can circumvent the hostile mob cap (but not the maxEntityCramming gamerule) by pushing the attracted drowned into the Nether dimension. If the Nether dimension is unusable for this purpose, then the bubble columns can transport the drowned up to the player’s AFK spot, typically high in the sky. These farms are more practical to build in creative mode.

YouTube examples[edit]