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My ultimate survival challenge

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I think i “beat” dont starve.

By that i mean i finally wrung the last drop of new challenge i can from it. 

WARNING: very long post ahead: tldr i played dont starve with almost all resources turned off in lights out, it was insane but i managed to survive through winter and have reliable renewable resources.

so i decided one day that i wanted a new dont starve experience, so like the autistic gremlin i am, i crafted a world that should be AS CHALLENGING as reasonably possible without completely removing the possibility of beating the game.


everything in world gen for the map and the caves are to be turned off, with a few notable exceptions. Note: some things are not able to be turned off, these are free to be used. 

the exceptions: tumbleweeds (your only source of grass, and thus light extreme earlygame) 

earthquakes (for convenience mostly, there are a number of resources otherwise unavailable to you but can be obtained with earthquakes)

the lights out chest (for obvious not dying instantly reasons) 

revival stones are optional, i did in fact use them myself, because i didnt wanna hope i got lucky with setpieces to get some pigskin, set them to less though, and none in the caves. 

oasis cactus to less, you need the flowers for pearl.

outside of those, you get nothing.

personally i also allowed turning on events POST WORLDGEN, no free pumpkins from halloween.

lets go over character choice and your “death timers” as i like to think of them. 

i think it’s theoretically possible to beat this challenge with wes even, but thatd be a nightmare so lets first go over the things that are going to kill you first, and general strategy.

you need to keep in mind, the second you spawn you have three timers counting down until you die: you have your hunger meter, two days to feed yourself, not long at all. light timer, how long until i run out of sources of light, light flickering helps but it speeds up your third timer: your sanity meter, how long until i am unable to accomplish anything anymore because of being constantly chased by nightmare creatures.

If you just use the torches outright, you have, maybe half a day of light. With torch flickering you can stretch this to around two days, but it really injures your sanity.

you have, with average character sanity, about three or four days until you start to suffer from insanity (5 sanity per minute and 8 minutes per day) if you flick constantly, you’ll be insane day two, and probably die shortly after, because you cant gather resources if you’re under attack, and you cant fight in the dark, and theres nothing to set on fire. 

so with that, lets go over character choice, because i’m sure ive made everyone super confident and excited.

your best choices will be characters that overcome one or more of these challenges with their perks. I’ll go over my near picks first, then my super obvious, almost cheating pick.

maxwell: puppets for gathering in the dark, and fighting without danger, sanity regen is VERY useful, but not enough to allow torch flicking recklessly.

Wilson: torch efficiency is actually super useful, and it would grant me the ability to refine resources for profit. 

Willow: the lighter and slight sanity regen from torches is super good for exploring, but petals are the limiting factor, you may not be able to replace it once its gone.

wendy: abigail is great for any combat at 40 damage constantly, and she has reduced sanity drain, however, we wont be doing much fighting until we are no longer threatened by imminent death by charlie or our own stomachs.

Walter: a surprise entry, but the complete lack of a drain from sanity means that you completely eliminate the issue with torch flicking, not even maxwell can match that, couple that with his movement abilities if he can get his hands on some monster meat and he’s all around VERY good. Just dont get hit :)

the final mention, and my second pick, is webber. He has something for every single problem. Silk can provide bugnets for fireflies (light for a long time), and a tophat to severely mitigate sanity drain, monster meat for food, and spiders are VERY handy for combat. Absolutely the character i would pick to do this challenge a second time.

but there is one character thats better, so much better that it’s practically cheating myself out of the real challenge:

W.X. 78.

I know what you’re thinking “the nightvision circuit” well obviously the nightvision circuit, and by extension the light emitting circuit are major reasons why one would choose WX, but they’re not the ONLY reason. 

the biggest advantage wx78 has for this challenge isnt actually the ability to cancel out one of the “death timers” (darkness) his biggest advantage is being able to eat gears.

let me explain. 

in the extreme early game, you have a grand total of two days before starvation. Other characters might be able to get underground and eat carrots left by unspawned bunny villages, or even make their way to the lunar grotto and kill its denizens who are completely unable to be turned off, but wx78 doesnt have to do that, he just needs to get lucky once a day. Gears have a 1% drop chance from tumbleweeds. Gears restore 75 hunger and 50 sanity. 

You get three drops from tumbleweeds, you will get gears fairly regularly because you will always be farming tumbleweeds for basic resources like grass and twigs. At three drops, its more like a 2.9% chance from each tumbleweed, and you’re liable to open one to two dozen tumbleweeds a day. With any luck you will buy yourself a lot of time to spare just by gathering resources that you’ll already be needing to gather. 

its not a long term reliable food, sanity or healing source, but its VERY powerful all the way to endgame, and there are other ways around the problems.

Now that we’re passed character choice, lets talk strategy. 

no matter who you will eventually pick, choose willow first, explore as much as possible before you die, then reroll to character selection and repeat until you have a decent idea of the map, and have at least discovered and can reliably reach the dragonfly desert. 

note: the dragonfly desert needs to be a peninsula, if its landlocked, or only half exposed to water, restart. You need every single tumbleweed and if they CAN wander off, they will, and no more will spawn if they all leave the desert. No tumbleweeds is death, and death hurts.


once you know the location of the desert and any other points of interest (pigvillages for carrots or trees, revival stones for pigskin, any helpful setpieces) you need to plan a path to hit only the most important ones before going directly to the desert. You only have two days max, so if you cant hit it on the way, it can wait. 

The desert is where runs either live or die. some deserts are too small and you cant get enough tumbleweeda because there arent enough spawners, other deserts are too big and it takes too long to circle it. 
give it three or four trys and if you cant get enough grass and twigs for more torches you need a new world.

if you dont have any food from your run over, you may have to leave the desert pretty quick and hope you can find a bunny village for carrots, if you try a few times and cant find 16 carrots before returning successfully yo the surface, you will probably need to restart on a new world. 

but if you do successfully have at least 3 days of food (if wx78 savescumming for gears is always an option) then gather tumbleweeds until you have at least 20 grass and sticks. Proceed to go underground and rush your alchemy machine. Some rocks are still mineable, but you’ll need to go aboveground and hope that theres enough trees randomly spawned by regrowth by now for the 17 logs you’ll need (you start with 3) make sure to bring a shovel, half the trees will be twiggy but a log is a log. 

if you’re like me, a week of irl time has passed but you’re now in a fairly good spot. And by good spot i mean you can hopefully survive a little longer. Go down into the caves and find the lunar grotto, welcome to your new temporary home. Lightbugs are here still and you can kill things for food, two lightbugs killed is a lantern, or alternatively if you’re as lucky as me, you’ll have two silk and can catch fireflies for a miners hat instead. 

if you’re playing as wx78 you can skip the “gather alchemy engine” step and instead rush lunar grotto asap, as scanning a lightbug and killing it gives you everything you need for a light circuit, i did not do this, because i thought they were turned off. You will need an alchemy engine soon anyway, but it’s more important to get to the ruins asap.

at some point while in the caves, catch a moleworm spawned by an earthquake, make sure to let him make a burrow before you attempt it, because you may kill him outright instead. (as wx you can make the nightvision circuit, i didnt find one until i was leaving the ruins on day 8) 

with either lantern or miners hat in hand, rush the ruins. Yes i mean without armor and weapons.

there wont be any splumonkeys, but there will be broken clockworks, treat it like a stealth mission and try not to get spotted even once you manage to make yourself some armor. You dont have a good enough weapon yet. 

you are here for three things: a magi, a thulecite suit, and as many construction amulets as possible. 

the magi is your long term light sourc if you want it to be, and a thulecite suit regens 4 sanity a minute while worn, and doesnt lose durability over time. 

crowns are nice but not 100% necessary, make them if you can but dont stress. Your primary concern is speed, unless you’re wx78, food is a major major concern, but thats the next objective. 

As a note, if you arent playinf as WX78 or webber, you need to find a large amount of food quickly, bunny and the two surface pig villages are pretty much your only options until you can enact the method described next. This makes them HEAVILY reliant on rng, but not impossible, on a test run i was able to gather 40 carrots in a relatively short timeframe, but its another layer of rng in an already fairy rng heavy challenge. And honestly just play wx. 

With the moleworm you grabbed (or waited for it to respawn then grabbed, head aboveground and use the moleworm to make a bunch of burrows (if you’re unsure as to how, take him aboveground, let him make a burrow, heal him with minerals 10 health each, then take him belowground let him make a second burrow, (and heal) and rinse and repeat until you are low on minerals, remember you need gold and some stone for an alchemy engine, and you need quite a few rocks for the next step. Once you’re done duping the moleworm, kill and eat him, and head aboveground for the final step. If you haven’t found any time to grab pigskin do so now, using the construction amulets, make as many pighouses as you can. Once winter hits you can make an ice flingo and light the houses on fire to make the pigs leave. You can get drying racks and make small jerky for sanity or alternatively fight nightmare creatures for nmf for light. With a crockpot, four small meat should equal a meatball, and you’ll be able to continue to expand your moleworm farm until it can completely sustain you and use the pig houses for weapons and armor.


at this point i decided the bulk of the challenge was over and activated the year of the kitcoon event, which is easily done even in lights out, and can provide a meal for 5 lucky nuggets, and has a lantern that lasts 10 days. So activate it early if you want to. 

sorry for the long post, but this challenge was a journey and i wanted to share how it was achieved

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1 hour ago, Copyafriend said:

oasis cactus to less, you need the flowers for pearl.

Not saying this because I want you to suffer more or because I want to sound smart, but the flowers aren't needed for pearl quests. I'm guessing you weren't even using the cacti for sanity to start with and they were just there for the pearl tasks, but I guess if someone wants to try the same challenge they could also disable all the cacti.

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20 hours ago, mr. brj said:

Not saying this because I want you to suffer more or because I want to sound smart, but the flowers aren't needed for pearl quests. I'm guessing you weren't even using the cacti for sanity to start with and they were just there for the pearl tasks, but I guess if someone wants to try the same challenge they could also disable all the cacti.

I didnt use the cacti at all yet, i thought they were required to upgrade her house. But after checking i guess I’m wrong, cacti burned thanks for the tip!

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38 minutes ago, MostMerryTomcat said:

Survive without eating. At all.

slasher342 did that challenge tho it was in DS not DST

but with all the self revival options on top of non food healing options in DST that's probably even easier.

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