= The Definite Guide to Vintage Story =

Welcome! This guide will give newcomers (aka. fresh wolfbait) an overview of mechanics, tasks and tips to start out in Vintage Story, but may even let experienced players find out the odd thing here and there that they did not know themselves.
How to use this guide
Info boxes like this one will appear throughout this guide. Click to open / close them.
The navigation to the left and any light blue links will bring you to their relevant section. Light pink links are to sections which have not been written yet. Links to external sites look like that.
You already know that you can use your browser's back button to return to the previous page, but the same applies to links that move you elsewhere on the same page. So you can click on a topic that interests you, and then return to exactly where you were before in this guide by going back.
When you encounter an item with a green link like this chest
, you can hover over or click it to see its recipe, for convenience. Feel free to try it out right now! But even if they're just shown like this stick, keep in mind you can always use the ingame handbook to find out more.
I hope this will prove to be useful to you!
~ copygirl 💚

Controls

You might already be familiar with games such as Minecraft, and the controls in Vintage Story are very similar, so it's likely you'll feel right at home. I would still recommend you glance over this section, since you do have a few more ways to interact with the game. This is just a quick overview of the most important controls and you can have a look at a more extensive list in the Controls settings.

Movement

WASDMove
ShiftSneak1
CtrlSprint2
SpaceJump3
1) Sneaking prevents you from falling off the edges of blocks.
2) Sprinting increases food consumption. I recommend avoiding it when starting out.
3) Once in the air, you lose most of your lateral control. Be careful when dropping down steep slopes.

Interaction

Break1 / Attack
Place2 / Interact
Scroll through hotbar slots
0-9Select hotbar slots 1 to 10
QDrop held item3
GSit down4
XSwitch offhand item5
FSelect tool mode (for voxel crafting)
1) Most blocks take time to break, so hold down . Some blocks require tools.
2) Some items need to be placed while sneaking (Shift).
3) Ctrl+Q to drop an entire stack. Dropped items remain for 10 minutes before they "despawn".
4) Sitting down can help when you're doing knapping and clay forming on the ground.
5) Only very few items can be held in the offhand slot, such as torches and lanterns. Doing so increases your hunger rate by 25%, so consider clearing it when you're not in need of light.
Changing hotbar keybindings
Personally, I like to keep my last 4 hotbar slots easily accessible on the keys ZXCV (or Y if you're on QWERTZ). This requires moving some keybindings however, so I put "Switch offhand item" on F, and "Open/close character inventory" on I.

Interface

EscOpen/close escape menu1
HOpen/close handbook
EOpen/close inventory2
COpen/close character inventory
MOpen/close map dialog3
F6Show/hide minimap
F4Show/hide all HUD elements
F12Take and save a screenshot4
1) Pauses game in singleplayer. Also a quick way to close all currently open dialogs.
2) Features a 3x3 crafting grid. No inventory space until you expand it.
3) A bit of a work-in-progress. Press to create / edit waypoints.
4) Will be stored in a Vintagestory folder in your user's Pictures folder.
Missing HUD elements
Some players might find themselves lacking an important HUD element, such as the minimap (F6), coordinates and facing (V), block/entity info (B) and block/entity interaction help (N). This may be due to having pressed one of those keys by accident. If you are prone to doing that, I may recommend changing the keybinding to something you won't accidentally press, such as Ctrl+\. Note that you can also enable and disable these in the Interface settings.
Immersive Mouse Mode and the Alt key
In the Interface settings, the game also offers an "Immersive Mouse Mode" option. Turning this on will prevent most ingame dialogs from taking away your first-person camera control, and block dialogs will appear floating above the blocks they belong to. Now you can move items between containers with the crosshair! To access your inventory, you will have to hold Alt to unlock the mouse cursor.
But even without Immersive Mouse Mode, the Alt key might still have its uses. It essentially inverts whether your mouse cursor is grabbed by the game. You can use it to rearrange your hotbar without opening your inventory, as well as turn your camera around even if you have any number of dialogs open, for example to access a chest that is hiding behind you.

Your First Day

Here is everything you might want to know for your first day(s) in Vintage Story.
When you start out in a new world, you're greeted by the outfit selection dialog, and another one that greets you, telling you about the handbook and a starter guide on the official wiki - which you won't need because you have this one!

Character

On first joining a world, you will be able to pick your clothes from a very limited selection of tattered rags. If you accidentally close this dialog without clicking "Confirm Selection", it will reappear next time you join. And, if you're wondering: Yes, you can discover more.
Opening your character dialog (C) ingame, allows you to change your clothing and equipped armor. But along with this dialog, an additional "Stats" dialog will appear next to it.
The nutrition bars will fill up as you eat foods in those categories. You will find that cooked meals are an especially good way to fill multiple at once. This is important because you can raise your maximum health from 15 health points (by default) to a total of 25 when all 4 categories are full.
Health and satiety displayed here are also visible above the hotbar as the red and green bars to the left and right, respectively. If you're curious what the cog in the center does, go and read up on the Temporal Stability mechanic in the handbook. The additional stats are affected by the armor you wear, and notably, carrying an item in your offhand raises your hunger rate by 25%.
Death, respawning and setting your spawn
Remember the location you first start in a fresh world, because it's where you will be reappearing whenever you die. That is, until you get a rare item drop called temporal gear, which you use by holding until it disappears, setting your new spawn point.
Beware that, with the default world settings, you will drop your items on the ground, which you have some amount of time to retrieve. And, at this moment, there are no automatic death waypoints.1
1) At least, not without the VSHUD mod.
Beware of the wolves! 🐺
Even if the game tells you that you have a number of days before monsters appear, you still have to watch out for the aggressive wildlife. Wolves and hyenas will hunt you down if you happen to get to close to them. If you hear howling, or even just the sound of a puppy barking, be very careful, and ready to run!
Male bighorn sheep - those with the large curvy horns - also don't like it when you get into their personal space, but fortunately they don't persue you unless provoked.

Handbook

Before you jump right into the game, you should definitely be aware of the ingame handbook, which can be opened by pressing H. You can also hover over an item in your hotbar, inventory or any container and press H to directly jump to its page, or Sneak+H to do the same for blocks in the world.
The handbook allows you to read information about certain mechanics (such as smithing), how to create an item and what it can be used for. Navigate it using the search, or click on icons and links to move around and use the back button to go to where you were previously.
In addition to this handbook, you can also use the already mentioned Vintage Story Wiki for more in-depth information about certain topics beyond what this guide can cover.

Resources

The following list shows some important resources you will want to be looking out for early on.
Waypoint everything
Especially when starting out, and you don't have the inventory space or place to call home, you might not be able to take everything useful or interesting with you. So be sure to set down waypoints by opening the map with M and pressing on it.
If you prefer, you can also use a command to create a waypoint exactly where you stand. Simply type /waypoint add [color] [name] into the chat (T). You can edit and delete any waypoint you've placed by pressing on an existing marker.
Tall
Grass
When harvested with a knife, drops a piece of dry grass. Can be made into hay
and cob
10
, used to create a firestarter and firepit.1
Sticks Sometimes found laying about, you can also get them from breaking leaves, in particular branchy ones. They're used to create tools, a firestarter, torches, ladders
3
, and may be used as fuel for the firepit.
Rocks Certain stones can be used to craft tool heads: Granite, andesite, basalt and peridotite. Other rock types, such as sandstone pictured here, are too soft. Can be thrown at enemies for minor damage.
Flint A bit more rare than stones, but found anywhere in the world. Slightly better material to make tool heads from, and unlike stones also arrow heads.
Obsidian Found only in areas where the top layer of rock is basalt. It's the best non-metal material for tools. Below patches of obsidian stones, you may find obsidian rock underground.
Copper Will yield 1 to 3 copper nuggets.2 Consider holding off on collecting them, due to your initially limited inventory space. Either way, be sure to create a waypoint where you find them, because there is a surface deposit of copper ore hiding below!
Cattail Found near water, cooper's reed will yield cattail.3 Use a knife, or you'll destroy the plant. Harvesting it a second time drops a root to replant or cook. Used for hand baskets
2
2
2
2
2
to expand your inventory and baskets
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
to store things at home.
Horsetail This special flower generally found in forests allows you to create horsetail poultices
4
2
4
early on, which heals 2 hitpoints. Also rarely spawns on empty farmland.
Clay Is used to form pottery and molds, important for cooking, preservation and moving into the copper age. There's also a much rarer varient called fire clay which is used in the process to create your first iron.
Terra
Preta
This dark and especially rare soil is the best block to till into farmland to grow your crops on the quickest, so keep a lookout for it. Just be aware that, once tilled, it can't be picked up anymore.4
1) Randomly grows on soil, up until it's fully turned into a grass block.
2) To get started into the copper age, you will need 40 nuggets in total.
3) Papyrus, which is exclusive to hot climates, also drops cattail, and its own root.
4) Unless you use the Farmland Drops Soil mod.

Knapping

It's time to make your first tools! To do so, you need to hold at least 2 of any knappable material (Flint, granite, andesite, basalt, peridotite or obsidian) in your hand, then Sneak+ on the ground. Using flint, you will begin knapping right away. With stones, you have to "place" a second one against the first.
A dialog will appear, letting you chose what you want to make. You may want to start with a pair of knives, and eventually you'll also need an axe. You might want to consider a spear or two to hunt or defend yourself, but inventory space is precious right now.
Next, a flat grid of voxels will appear on the ground, some of them highlighted with an orange outline. While holding another item of the same material, knap away voxels either by holding down or clicking at your own pace, until no highlighted voxel remains. You can break away multiple voxels by disconnecting them from the main work piece.
Consider sitting down using G to get closer to the crafting surface. Once you're done and received your tool head (here, 2 knife blades) slap it into the 3x3 crafting grid in your inventory (E) with a stick below to receive your finished tool.
Voxelcrafting using mouse cursor
You might feel more comfortable working on these voxel flavored crafting recipes if your camera wasn't constantly moving around. To do this, open any dialog or hold the Alt to unlock the mouse.

Inventory Expansion

Especially once you have a knife, you can look around bodies of water for cooper's reed, which will give you cattail. Just 10 of these can be crafted into a single hand basket
2
2
2
2
2
1, and 40 is enough to fill all of the bag slots you can see to the right of your hotbar. Each hand basket adds 3 slots to your previously non-existant inventory.
1) Can be recycled back
5
into cattail once you have no need for them anymore.
2) A stored oiled hide
will eventually cure into a pelt. All you have to do is wait.
Dropped bags contain their items
Each of the slots in your inventory corresponds to one of the bags you have equipped. You might notice this when you pick up an item and it goes into your inventory: The actual bag it ends up in shakes briefly. When a non-empty bag is dropped on the ground, it can only be picked up when there's a free bag slot next to your hotbar.
Keep this in mind when you frantically run to to collect your items after a death, or want to collect the items a friend (or foe) has dropped, or you might unknowingly leave something behind.

Food Gathering

The next worry you might have is your dwindling food bar. Thankfully, there are a number of options when it comes to gathering food:
Veggies
and  Grain
(Crops)
Fully grown crops will drop vegetables or raw grain for you to eat. To check their growth stage, look at the block/entity info HUD (toggled with B). However, they also drop a seed bag, which is valuable and you shouldn't leave it behind, but it takes up equally valuable inventory space, and requires farmland to plant.
I personally find flax to be one of the few crops worth grabbing, as its fibers are valuable. For anything else, just create a waypoint for later.
Berries These bushes can be harvested for berries by holding down . Unlike crops, you can easily replant them by just placing them back down, making them a great first food source to relocate to your base.
Shrooms Found in humid forests, they come in three varieties: Field mushroom, bolete and fly agaric. When harvested with a knife, they will regrow after a few days. Can you guess which one is poisonous?
Small
Animals
Hares, chickens, raccoons and the predatory foxes are scared of you (most of the time). But they are also very quick on their little feet and don't give a lot of meat. Throw spears from afar and aim well for success.
Large
Animals
Bighorn sheep and boars have a good amount of redmeat on them, but they also don't like it when you poke them. Make sure you're at least somewhat prepared if you want to take them on.
Danger
Animals!
Once you're not scared of wolves and hyenas anymore, you can hunt them for their bushmeat for a change. Either keep your distance by throwing spears, or charge them with a longblade and ideally some armor.
Cattail This plant again? Yes, the cattail root can be cooked in a firepit and eaten, in case you're running out of options. They're not really renewable, though.
On wild crop growth
Crops that are not fully grown do not always drop a seed for you to replant. Therefore you might think it's common sense to leave these plants alone until they slowly grow up on their own. However, know that unlike crops that have been planted on farmland, wild crop growth only occurs in the areas that are loaded around players.
Therefore, you might just want to pick up crops when you go on long exploration trips, far from anywhere you might be staying for a while.

Shelter & Fire

With sunlight being limited, and night approaching, you might want to look into creating a safe spot for yourself. Here are some materials / methods you can use:
  • Dig a 2 blocks deep trench, so nothing besides a leaping wolf can get to you.
  • Soil can be found anywhere, so why not build with it?
  • Cob
    10
    can be made by combining soil and dry grass.
  • Hay
    is also made from dry grass and quick to break. Works well to close up entrances.
  • Logs you chop down are perfect to look like load-bearing pillars!
  • Cobblestone
    2
    can be crafted if you have lots of stones and some clay.
  • Speaking of cobblestone, with some luck you can find and spruce up a ruin.
  • Light
    2
    2
    4
    4
    2
    2
    4
    and dark mudbrick
    2
    2
    4
    4
    2
    2
    4
    is made with any sand and low fertility soil, specifically.
Once you've made yourself reasonably comfortable, it's time to make a fire! First place a piece of dry grass followed by 4 firewood
4
on the ground using Shift+. This creates a basic, unlit firepit, which you now have to start using a firestarter
- again hold Shift+ until it succeeds. When the firepit starts burning its temperature will start to rise, and will continue burning as long as you provide it with fuel.
Next, use some of those excess sticks you've gathered and turn them into torches by just placing them in the firepit. Torches can start fires even better than the firestarter, so you can throw the latter away. In your inventory they last forever, but keep in mind that when placed, they burn out after 3 days, or simply go out when it's raining, if not covered by a block.
You may create some baskets
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
(8 slots) to store those goodies you find, or vessels (12 slots) which are made by clay forming - a good way to spend your night. Of course, if you don't like the darkness, 5 hours can also be skipped by making a hay bed
and sleeping in it.

Housekeeping

Once you've gotten yourself settled down a little better, here's a number of things you can learn about while you work towards getting your first copper tools, some of which you might want to apply sooner rather than later.

Clay Forming & Pottery

Clay can be found in areas of the world that are somewhat humid. Fire clay is about 5 times as rare as blue clay, the former being used to build a bloomery to start into the iron age.
To begin clay forming, hold Sneak+ while holding either type of clay - for most recipes, it does not matter which one you use. Now you can select one of the recipes.
  • Vessels
    Clay Forming
    35
    are quite useful for storage and food preservation.
  • If you want to start cooking, make a cooking pot
    Clay Forming
    4
    24
    4
    and some bowls
    Clay Forming
    4
    4
    .
  • To go into the copper age, start with a crucible
    Clay Forming
    2
    13
    4
    , pickaxe
    Clay Forming
    12
    and hammer
    Clay Forming
    12
    mold.
    Later, you will need an anvil
    Clay Forming
    28
    and at least 2 ingot
    Clay Forming
    3
    5
    2
    molds. This takes 59 clay total.
  • Now you will, similar to knapping, find yourself with a voxel grid, except this time you'll (mostly) be adding voxels rather than removing them, building the chosen item layer by layer. Remove orange voxels with and add them to where you see green outlines with .
    You start with 25 voxels worth of clay and when you run out, a piece of clay will be consumed from your hotbar to give you 25 more voxels to work with.
    When you press F you can switch the tool mode from 1x1 to 2x2, 3x3 and duplicate layer. This is especially useful once you've finished a layer and the next one is the same. You can then use the duplicate layer mode to easily and quickly fill in the same voxels as the previous layer.
    Get closer to the ground by sitting (G), and enjoy the company of your friends, who can help you work on the same recipe. When you're all done, either the items will pop off the ground or you have to pick them up. Burn the unfinished pottery and molds in the firepit to finish them.
    Cost of clay forming recipes
    The game does not display the usual cost for crafting clay items in the handbook, therefore I will provide you with this information in the following table here.
    Crafting result1x / CostQty. / Cost
    Ingot Mold3 2x5
    Bowl1 4x4
    Claypot4 4x24
    Crock2 4x14
    Crucible2 4x13
    Flowerpot4 4x23
    Shingle12x4
    Planter28
    Storage Vessel35
    Watering Can20
    Crafting result (molds)1x / Cost
    Anvil28
    Axe11
    Hammer12
    Helvehammer5
    Hoe12
    Lamellae8
    Longblade12
    Pickaxe12
    Prospecting Pick13
    Shovel11
    Due to starting out with 64 voxels for a single piece of clay, and only getting 25 more when you run out, the crafting cost can vary a lot when making multiple items at once using the batch recipes. While most batch recipes are more expensive, it is worth pointing out that 4 bowls cost the same as when made separately, and making 2 ingot molds is even a single clay cheaper.
    Voxelcrafting using mouse cursor
    You might feel more comfortable working on these voxel flavored crafting recipes if your camera wasn't constantly moving around. To do this, open any dialog or hold the Alt to unlock the mouse.

Charcoal Pit

An important resource going into the copper age will be charcoal. It is one of the few fuels that burns hot enough to melt down copper nuggets in a crucible, so you can pour it into molds. This takes a lot of firewood
4
and some time. I recommend to do this sooner rather than later, so you can get right into smelting that copper when you have enough of it.
To turn firewood into charcoal, you need to create a structure called a charcoal pit. This can be as small as a single block or as large as 13x13x13, surrounded by solid, non-flammable blocks such as soil, filled entirely with firewood piles.
To begin the charring process, a firepit needs to be placed on top of one of the firewood piles, lit with a torch, and then covered up. If you hear a burning sound, get in there and save as much wood as you can! However, if done correctly, you will see smoke particles being emitted from the entire structure, and it'll be done in 18 in-game hours for you to dig out. Each of the piles of 32 firewood will turn into 6 charcoal on average.

Farming & Husbandry

Planting Bushes

Blueberry, cranberry as well as black, red and white currant bushes can be found in groups in many places. They're the most carefree food source that's also incredibly easy to relocate. Currant bushes can be stacked up to 2 blocks high.
They take about 4½ days to flower, another 4½ to ripen, and then you have 16 days to harvest them before they start to go bare on their own. Bushes are currently not affected by the climate or soil type. Be aware that friendly neighborhood raccoons will happily harvest berries from ripe bushes for you... and eat them.

Farming Crops

Soil Fertility
Low25
Medium50
Compost165
Terra Preta280
Nutrients Speed
>75110%
>50100%
>3590%
>2060%
> 530%
≤ 510%
Fertilizer N P K
Bonemeal 3300
Saltpeter 13044
Potash 0066
Crop Stages Days Nutrients
Rye 95.040 N
Spelt 94.440
Turnip 53.030
Cabbage4 126.540
Onion 73.635 P
Parsnip 86.020
Pumpkin4,5 83.530
Flax 94.250 K
Rice 104.250
Carrot 74.040
Soybean 115.435
Different types of soil can be tilled using a hoe. Higher quality soil, results in more fertile farmland, which also determines the natural maximum amount of nutrients. For example, Terra Preta will till into a farmland block with 80 nutrients for each nutrient type.
Each crop requires wet farmland and one of 3 nutrients (N, P or K) to grow. Water can hydrate up to 3 blocks away from it.3 The crop's growth speed depends on how many nutrients of its required type are available in the ground. For example, when the nutrient levels are at N=65, P=45, K=15, turnips will grow at 100% speed, onions at 90% and carrots at 30%.
Thus, you need to do crop rotation: When you harvest a crop, plant one that requires a different nutrient (ideally the highest), or leave the farmland bare. The block/entity info HUD (B) shows you the current nutrient levels.
Farmland slowly regains its nutrients, as long as a fully grown crop isn't currently residing on it. Another way to increase nutrients, is to use fertilizers, which will slowly release nutrients into a single farmland block over time, up to a maximum of 100.
Another function of bare farmland is that it grows tall grass and, quite a bit more rarely, horsetail as well.
You will have to build trenches, walls or fences around your crops, or else hares will snack on them. Thankfully, they will drop the seeds for you to recover, as long as you don't let them despawn.
1) Made by composting 64 rot inside a barrel
.
2) Very rarely generates in patches in humid areas.
3) Additional water sources can be created using a bucket
.
4) These seeds are only found rarely in seed loot vessels.
5) Requires decent amount of space, as it grows out vines, next to which the actual fruit will grow.

Farming Trees

Chopping down large trees takes a lot of time. The more logs and leaves will be broken once the breaking process finishes, the longer it takes to chop.1 Fortunately, axes will only take damage for each log broken.
If you want to gather more saplings, clear out the leaves away from trees before cutting them down, especially branchy ones.2 Whether you just use your hand, or some shears to speed up the process, you will gain significantly more saplings (and sticks) this way.
Once planted, saplings take 6½ days on average to grow into their respective tree.
1) If you're curious, chopping x blocks takes x times as long as a single log block.
2) It's about 2½ times as likely for branchy leaves drop saplings, and they always drop sticks.

Beekeeping

Animal Husbandry

Cooking Meals

Food Preservation