I kept on working around the mansion I had found last week over the weekend, both to make it more livable and to connect it to our nether transportation hub.
Livability meant expanding my farm, exploring a bit, marking trails, and taming some of the local llamas.
The latter was the larger effort. As noted previously, I was into the nether and up into the roof after a couple of mishaps, but that still left the long dig to the nearest station or terminal on the nether rail line. Just looking at the rendered map of the rail loop and dividing by 8, the portal and rail terminus in the nether for the Mesa Biome Station seemed to be my best bet.
The question was how many picks would I go through in order to make it there.
In dying and respawning far from home, I was well away from the Zombie Pigman harvesting machine which can be used to collect gold as well as experience. Tools with the mending enchant on them can be repaired via experience gain with that machine, so tools rarely break for me as I just go top them up when I get low. Or I do when I have access to it. Now I would have to dig to get there.
I wore my enchanted diamond pick down to the very nub, eating through netherrak and an impressive pace, then stored it away to be repaired later, and started digging with the two diamond picks I had been able to make. I had about 2,000 blocks to go southward, and another 200 westward to hit the portal if my calculations were correct, and my tunnel was 3 blocks high and 1 wide. So a minimum of 6,600 blocks of netherrack to remove, though that number is low because I had to dig out waypoints along the run to store the netherrack.
As with every such infrastructure project I have done, having to run back and forth from your staging base begins to eat up more and more of your time the further along you get. So I had a stack of chests with me (no shortage of wood up an the mansion) and would dig out rooms at points to put down a chest to store the netherrack when my inventory got full. And then, once the second diamond pick was gone, to store the iron picks which wore out quickly and dug much slower to boot.
Eventually though I hit the point where I thought I needed to turn west. Just two hundred meters to go. And, as it turned out, my calculation was correct. I hit the northeast corner of the room where the Mesa Biome portal and rail line were located. But if I had cut west just two blocks earlier, I would have missed it completely.
That done, I rode a mine cart back to the hub, repaired my tools via the Zombie Pigman machine, and started scrounging about for material to make rails. I had excess rails all over the rail loop, but remembering exactly where was a bit of a chore. Once I had filled my inventory though, I rolled back out to the Mesa Biome portal and began laying track in the nether back along the tunnel I had dug.
Laying track goes quickly if the path has already been dug, though it helps if you do not forget to bring along the redstone torches necessary to light up the powered rails that actually propel mine carts down the line. There was still some running back and forth and I eventually ran out of rails and excess iron, but Aaron said I could tap into the stock he kept at his base. That was enough for me to finish the run. As with the ride out to Aaron’s mansion, riding out to mine takes nearly 10 minutes by rail through the nether. Still, much better than walking overland.
Aaron came out to take a look at my mansion, as it had some rooms his did not. He also found a secret room on the second floor that I had missed. But neither of us could find the secret location I knew existed.
In order for me to use the map tool to render a map of our world into Google map format, I have to download a backup of our world from Minecraft Realms. (And if I have to pick the best thing about Minecraft Realms, aside from price, it is the fact that they back up your world regularly with no fuss about disk space. And you can roll back to a save pretty easily.)
When I download the backup from Minecraft Realms, it goes into the Minecraft saves directory, where it acts like a local world. I can log into the save and tinker with things if I want, though I usually don’t. But after I had burned the woods around the mansion, carefully keeping it from catching fire, I wondered what would happen if it did catch fire.
So I went into a recent local save, got out my flint and steel, and ran around the mansion setting it on fire, then let it burn itself out to see what remained. Here is what I ended up with.
As you can see, fire is not efficient at spreading. While it burned plenty of the mansion away, it still left odd gaps in the middle of otherwise quite flammable wood. It also burned away part of another secret room, the one I was looking for when Aaron arrived. In the burned out mansion on the save I found the key elements of it, which were a trapped chest with two blocks of TNT, one on either side.
Being in a destructive mood… I had just set fire to a mansion… I stood back and fired a flaming arrow into the TNT, which ignited the fuse and set off the charge. *BOOM*
The charges broke the cobblestone blocks below the chest, which turned out to be infested with silverfish. When freed from the blocks, they came straight for me and I had a running fight for a bit as I tried to slay them with my bow while keeping some distance between myself and the attacking mob.
I survived, but the chest had been obliterated. I didn’t note down the coordinates, but recalled the general area of the chest and the fact that it was on green wool of all things.
The wool set me off in the wrong direction as close by where the chest room was there lay an Illager statue room, the statue made of wool. I thought the chest might be buried in the giant head that fills much of that room. So when Aaron arrived I had already been fruitlessly digging through the illager’s wool brain. I mentioned the room to Aaron, but neither of us could find it.
Later, I went back to look at the screen shots I took of the burned mansion. The picture of the chest exploding showed the area to be in a corner of the mansion. That, along with the wool, had put me in the statue room, which was in a corner of the mansion. However, the other picture showed a cobblestone wall, which gave me the bearing I needed. The mansion had a notch so that there were two corners at the back of the mansion, one at the statue room and then another behind a cobblestone jail room. (You can see all the room types on the wiki.) The wall in the picture with the chest had to be the back of that room, so I dug through the back wall of the cell and found the room.
Now, of course, the question is how to deal with this. How to deal with TNT that has been placed is a long discussed topic, however many of the threads I have seen are somewhat vague and often so old as not to be trustworthy anymore.
So the chest abides for now, though I think I will go in and clear out the silverfish blocks one by one before I try anything. No need to have an explosion AND get mobbed at the same time.
Meanwhile, back in the village where I spawned my cartographer, and where I went to collect rails and other materials once the nether tunnel was complete, I found that a second cartographer had been spawned in my rush to breed some new villagers. I stuffed him with paper and compasses and, thus sated, he offered up for sale a map to a third woodland mansion, this one in the southeast.
I sent out a note to everybody about the map, placing it in a chest in the nether transit hub if anybody wanted to go off on their own mansion hunting adventure. We shall see if Xydd or Skronk take the bait.