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Cataclysm: Bright Nights

forest survival

Being the most difficult part of Cataclysm, surviving in the woods with nothing is one of the most rewarding experiences. This guide will cover a tasklist that should keep you alive. Should you fall behind, continue the previous steps before moving onto the next day’s tasks. The exception is day 1. Day 1 tasks are in order of severity.

Day 1 requirements

  • Fire drill (1 Survival) or any fire starting device
  • Fire ring (20 rocks)
  • A water source & cooking container
  • Improvised shelter (2 survival) or sleep will be hard


The reason you need a fire is you can’t see to craft at night, and the cold kills. You can’t boil water without fire. You don’t want to use fire without a fire ring, as it’s incredibly annoying. Fires outside a container randomly stop and don’t tell you how long they will last. You can break small boulders with long sticks. You can forage shrubs by activating them, and this will give you tons of litter and trash, including containers for liquids. You can find a glass/steel bottle or cans. Once you can boil and make fire you’ve survived short term.

Firewood is not an issue in the short term as you can burn any plant or wood, including long sticks from young trees. Two or three long sticks will make a good fire.

An improvised shelter makes sleeping easier and only requires a digging stick, 2 survival, and a lot of sticks and pine boughs. Place near a fire for temperature management.

Natural resources

Shrubs, Food trees, and Berry bushes

Shrubs can be foraged once per season for trash, the most valuable resource of the woods as it is your only source of steel. Depending on your season, in spring and summer you will be relying on berries in trees for calories and possibly hydration but shrubs will give plenty of food later on.


If you can get fish it will be an excellent source of calories. You’ll need a river and a basic fishing rod.

Young trees

Young trees are how you get long sticks which you butcher into heavy sticks and then into splintered wood. Follow my first week guide for crafting tips, but in general it goes short cordage, stone knife, digging stick, wooden bead, wooden needle, stone adze, wooden clogs, stone shovel, stone axe. That will get you to survival of 4 and fabrication of 4.

Grass tiles and Cattails

Grass can be removed with a digging stick or shovel to give piles of straw, which can make cordage for your crafts, cattail plant fiber should be saved for making rags.


Clay terrain must be extracted in the construction menu. It can rarely be found from digging a large pit. You will need lots of it so find a river bank.

Week 1 requirements

Food preservation

To preserve food you need a charcoal kiln and smoking rack to smoke meat or dehydrate what you farm. You need cooking 2 so boil some water and cook the assorted food you find, this will likely come without training. The kiln is fabrication 3 and requires you to dig soil but you likely have some if you made an improvised shelter. Place wood in the kiln and light it, you’ll get tons of charcoal once it’sd one.

Water storage

Storing lots of water either requires foraging many containers or crafting a lot of clay containers. Your easiest option is clay pots but they can’t be resealed. This means you can’t carry them with you while full.


A wooden spear is your best early weapon, cudgels are practically free to make and better for when you can’t use a reach attack. You can upgrade to a quarterstaff if you get leather, with a working forge there will be tons of better weapons to make so these are temporary.


Firewood is going to be from chopping trees into logs with a stone axe. You may want to save the food-bearing trees.


Clothes are going to be made from rags made of plant fibers. Get knitting needles.

Longterm goals


Building a house is time consuming, painful, and not rewarding. If you choose to stay in the woods forever and not live in a pre-spawned structure or a car then you’ll want to do it eventually. With a pickaxe you can live in the ground but otherwise you’ll want to check a few of the walls and floors in the construction menu to see which kind of house to build. Log cabins are fairly sturdy and cheap but always at risk of fire. Mortar is not an obtainable item for you, so go with adobe mortar which limits you to stone walls or adobe brick.

Working forge

A forge is critical to get working. Building a rock forge and gaining charcoal from a kiln is easy. A clay crucible, metalworking chisel, metal tongs, and a hammer are all easy to make with the right requirements. An anvil is incredibly expensive. You’ll be searching shrubs forever, if you’re playing with the city still enabled you can smash a car into bits.


Depending on your mapgen you’ll either graduate to messing with real cars, or be stuck with wooden carts and horse carriages. Starting a vehicle is done in the construction menu. A canoe is a good idea, wooden frames take nails and planks, most wooden vehicle parts just need wood and nails. You’ll be grinding mechanics with wooden vehicle parts.


Electronics is specifically listed as long as you are playing with normal mapgen. If it doesn’t spawn in your world you’re out of luck. See normal gameplay for how to get started, but the jist is to deconstruct electronic furniture in town and make any low level craft you can to advance, such as flash lights and electric firestarters. If you get a solar panel, mounted battery and oven you’ll be in a good position.