Skull Cavern

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Warning: Spoilers

This page or section contains unmarked spoilers from update 1.5 of Stardew Valley. Mobile players may want to avoid or be cautious toward reading this article.

Skull Cavern Entrance
For ladder/shaft spawn rates, special monster drops, and the contents of crates and barrels, see The Mines.

The Skull Cavern is located in the northwest area of the Desert. It is initially locked and requires the Skull Key to gain access.


A shaft for faster descending

There is no practical limit to the number of floors, or levels, in the Skull Cavern.[1] Similar to the Mines, the player advances through floors in the Skull Cavern by finding a ladder on each floor, either by mining rocks or defeating enemies. The player can sometimes find a shaft, or hole, which makes it possible to skip 3-15 floors. Jumping down the shaft causes health damage equal to 3x the number of levels skipped (although jumping down a shaft will never reduce health to less than 1).

Unlike the Mines, there is no elevator to save progress, but on every floor there is a ladder at the starting point where the player can leave the Skull Cavern. Each visit must start again from the first floor. If the player runs out of health while exploring Skull Cavern, they will wake up sometime later on the same day in Harvey's Clinic. A fee of Gold.png1,000g will be deducted for emergency surgery. Some items may also be lost. Passing out at 2:00 am will cause the player to lose Gold.png1,000g or 10% of funds, whichever is less.


The chance to find Iridium Ore increases steadily as the player descends into the Skull Cavern. The monsters in the Cavern also have a chance to drop ore and Iridium Bars, as well as special items. It can be a good idea to bring the Lava Katana or Galaxy Sword, as enemies are particularly strong. High Luck increases the frequency of ore veins and the appearance of ladders/holes. Rapid descent to floors with a higher chance of spawning Iridium Nodes is often more efficient for acquiring ore than through exploration. Staircases can be stacked, so a single inventory slot can hold 999 staircases. Even blindly placing staircases will take some time though; the lower the player descends with staircases, the less time they have to explore.

Qi's Challenge

After entering the Cavern for the first time, a letter is received on the following day from Mr. Qi. The letter begins the quest Qi's Challenge, which is completed by reaching floor 25 in the Skull Cavern. Completing the quest awards Gold.png10,000g, delivered by mail the following day. If the player reaches level 25 of the Skull Cavern during the first visit, the quest will automatically be fulfilled the next day.

Qi's Hungry Challenge

"Qi's Hungry Challenge" is a possible, repeatable Special Order, that may be accepted in Qi's Walnut Room on Ginger Island. It is completed by reaching floor 100 of the Skull Cavern within the given time limit. While this quest is active, no food or drink can be consumed while in the Skull Cavern. Buffs from food/drink before entering the Skull Cavern will stay active. While this quest is active, Big Slimes may occasionally have hearts that will give 10 health points when slain. Another strategy to regain health without eating is to equip one or more Vampire Rings or to use a weapon with the Vampiric enchantment. The use of Staircases is permitted. Completing the quest awards Qi Gem.png 25 Qi Gems.

Skull Cavern Invasion

The "Skull Cavern Invasion" is a possible, repeatable Special Order, that may be accepted in Qi's Walnut Room on Ginger Island. It is completed by reaching floor 100 of the Skull Cavern within the given time limit. While the quest is active, stronger variations of Monsters occupy the Cavern; similarly to the Dangerous Mines. The use of Staircases is permitted. Completing the quest awards Qi Gem.png 40 Qi Gems.


Time runs more slowly in Skull Cavern than elsewhere in the game: whereas one hour of game time normally lasts 43 seconds, in Skull Cavern one hour lasts 54 seconds. However, time reverts to normal 43-second hours in multiplayer games and on Prehistoric Floors.[2] This has two main implications:

  • Players have more real-time available before the end of the day, and should be able to descend deeper than otherwise.
  • The game-time duration of any buff is decreased.

This adjustment in timing has no effect, however, upon other aspects of the game, such as equipment processing times. For example, Honey placed in a Keg at noon is ready with Mead at 10 pm even if the player spends most of that time in the Skull Cavern.



Shown below are foods with buffs that are useful when exploring the Skull Cavern. Note that eating a food with buffs will wipe out any active buffs and replace them with the buffs from the newly eaten food. If the newly eaten food has no buffs, the existing buffs will remain in effect. Coffee, Triple Shot Espresso and Ginger Ale are an exception to this rule; they will stack with other food buffs (but not each other).

Image Name Ingredients Restores Buff(s) Duration
Autumn's Bounty.png
Autumn's Bounty Yam.png Yam (1)Pumpkin.png Pumpkin (1) Energy.png220Health.png99 Foraging.png Foraging (+2)Defense.png Defense (+2) Time Icon.png 7m 41s
Coffee Coffee Bean.png Coffee Bean (5) Energy.png3Health.png1 Speed.png Speed (+1) Time Icon.png 1m 23s
Crab Cakes.png
Crab Cakes Crab.png Crab (1)Wheat Flour.png Wheat Flour (1)Egg.png Egg (1)Oil.png Oil (1) Energy.png225Health.png101 Speed.png Speed (+1)Defense.png Defense (+1) Time Icon.png 16m 47s
Cranberry Sauce.png
Cranberry Sauce Cranberries.png Cranberries (1)Sugar.png Sugar (1) Energy.png125Health.png56 Mining.png Mining (+2) Time Icon.png 3m 30s
Eggplant Parmesan.png
Eggplant Parmesan Eggplant.png Eggplant (1)Tomato.png Tomato (1) Energy.png175Health.png78 Mining.png Mining (+1)Defense.png Defense (+3) Time Icon.png 4m 39s
Fried Eel.png
Fried Eel Eel.png Eel (1)Oil.png Oil (1) Energy.png75Health.png33 Luck.png Luck (+1) Time Icon.png 7m
Fried Mushroom.png
Fried Mushroom Common Mushroom.png Common Mushroom (1)Morel.png Morel (1)Oil.png Oil (1) Energy.png135Health.png60 Attack.png Attack (+2) Time Icon.png 7m
Ginger Ale.png
Ginger Ale Ginger.png Ginger (3)Sugar.png Sugar (1) Energy.png63Health.png28 Luck.png Luck (+1) Time Icon.png 5m
Lucky Lunch.png
Lucky Lunch Sea Cucumber.png Sea Cucumber (1)Tortilla.png Tortilla (1)Blue Jazz.png Blue Jazz (1) Energy.png100Health.png45 Luck.png Luck (+3) Time Icon.png 11m 11s
Magic Rock Candy.png
Magic Rock Candy N/A Energy.png500Health.png225 Mining.png Mining (+2)Luck.png Luck (+5)Speed.png Speed (+1)Defense.png Defense (+5)Attack.png Attack (+5) Time Icon.png 8m 24s
Maple Bar.png
Maple Bar Maple Syrup.png Maple Syrup (1)Sugar.png Sugar (1)Wheat Flour.png Wheat Flour (1) Energy.png225Health.png101 Farming.png Farming (+1)Fishing.png Fishing (+1)Mining.png Mining (+1) Time Icon.png 16m 47s
Miner's Treat.png
Miner's Treat Cave Carrot.png Cave Carrot (2)Sugar.png Sugar (1)Milk.png Milk (1) Energy.png125Health.png56 Mining.png Mining (+3)Magnetism.png Magnetism (+32) Time Icon.png 5m 35s
Pepper Poppers.png
Pepper Poppers Hot Pepper.png Hot Pepper (1)Cheese.png Cheese (1) Energy.png130Health.png58 Speed.png Speed (+1)Farming.png Farming (+2) Time Icon.png 7m
Pumpkin Soup.png
Pumpkin Soup Pumpkin.png Pumpkin (1)Milk.png Milk (1) Energy.png200Health.png90 Luck.png Luck (+2)Defense.png Defense (+2) Time Icon.png 7m 41s
Roots Platter.png
Roots Platter Cave Carrot.png Cave Carrot (1)Winter Root.png Winter Root (1) Energy.png125Health.png56 Attack.png Attack (+3) Time Icon.png 5m 35s
Spicy Eel.png
Spicy Eel Eel.png Eel (1)Hot Pepper.png Hot Pepper (1) Energy.png115Health.png51 Luck.png Luck (+1)Speed.png Speed (+1) Time Icon.png 7m
Stuffing Bread.png Bread (1)Cranberries.png Cranberries (1)Hazelnut.png Hazelnut (1) Energy.png170Health.png76 Defense.png Defense (+2) Time Icon.png 5m 35s
Super Meal.png
Super Meal Bok Choy.png Bok Choy (1)Cranberries.png Cranberries (1)Artichoke.png Artichoke (1) Energy.png160Health.png72 Speed.png Speed (+1)Max Energy.png Max Energy (+40) Time Icon.png 3m 30s
Triple Shot Espresso.png
Triple Shot Espresso Coffee.png Coffee (3) Energy.png8Health.png3 Speed.png Speed (+1) Time Icon.png 4m 12s


Bombs make quick work of densely-clustered stones and ore veins. They can also be used for permanently defeating Mummies.

Bombs can be crafted or purchased from Dwarf:

Image Name Ingredients Purchase Price
Cherry Bomb.png
Cherry Bomb Copper Ore.png Copper Ore (4)Coal.png Coal (1) Gold.png300g
Bomb Iron Ore.png Iron Ore (4)Coal.png Coal (1) Gold.png600g
Mega Bomb.png
Mega Bomb Gold Ore.png Gold Ore (4)Solar Essence.png Solar Essence (1)Void Essence.png Void Essence (1) Gold.png1,000g

The Slingshot's Explosive Ammo is also effective in dealing with small groups of stones, Iridium Ore deposits, and incapacitated Mummies. Loading the Slingshot with Gold Ore deals substantial damage, making it potentially useful for dispatching tough targets. Explosive ammo can be crafted or bought at the Adventurer's Guild for Gold.png300g.


  • Staircases can be used for rapid descent or skipping troublesome floors. If the player has access to one or more Crystalariums, it can be considered to make them produce Jade which can be traded for Staircases with the Desert Trader on Sundays.


  • Several Rings may assist in exploring the Skull Cavern. See the Rings page for full descriptions.

Warp Totems

  • A Warp Totem can be used to make a quick exit if supplies are running low or the day is almost over.


Image Monster HP Damage Notes
Armored Bug.png
Armored Bug 8 Cannot be killed without bug killer enchantment.
Big Slime Sprite.png
Big Slime 60 5 A chance to split into smaller Slimes when killed. Big Slimes are usually purple in the Skull Cavern.
Purple Slime.png
Purple Slime 410 28 Can drop Iridium Ore, Iridium Bars
Lava Bat.png
Lava Bat 80 15 Appears rarely; flies.
Mummy 260 30 Needs to be finished with a bomb of any type after being knocked out with other weapons. If a bomb does enough damage to knock the Mummy out, it will also destroy it. Using a weapon with the Crusader enchantment stops them from reviving.
Serpent 150 23 Moves quickly; default flying enemy.
Iridium Bat.png
Iridium Bat 300 30 Appears at level 50+. Very high HP and Damage.
Iridium Crab.png
Iridium Crab 240 15 Appears at level 26+.
Carbon Ghost.png
Carbon Ghost 190 25 May appear on Mummy levels. Frequently drop Omni Geodes.
Pepper Rex.png
Pepper Rex 300 15 Appears mainly on prehistoric floors; breathes fire.
Armored Bug Dangerous.png
Armored Bug (dangerous) 250 20-27 Only appears when the Skull Cavern is in a "dangerous" state.
Mummy Dangerous.png
Mummy (dangerous) 445 38-55 Only appears when the Skull Cavern is in a "dangerous" state.
Royal Serpent.png
Royal Serpent 675 28-41 Only appears when the Skull Cavern is in a "dangerous" state.
Purple Slime Dangerous.png
Purple Slime (dangerous) 403 20-30 Only appears when the Skull Cavern is in a "dangerous" state.

Prehistoric Floors

A Prehistoric Floor

Prehistoric floors are a type of infested floor containing mainly Pepper Rex monsters. Mutant flies and Iridium Bats can also attack the player there. Dinosaur Eggs and Fiddlehead Ferns can be foraged on Prehistoric floors. Foliage on this floor has a chance to yield Ancient Seed when cut down. Below floor 6 there is a ~2.2% chance to encounter a prehistoric floor.[3]

Because prehistoric floors are infested, all enemies on this floor must be killed before a ladder appears.

Treasure Rooms

Small rooms containing treasure chests, similar to those in The Mines, can randomly appear at level 10+. Daily luck and Luck Buffs affect the chance to find Treasure Rooms. Obtaining the Special Charm also increases the chance to find Treasure Rooms.

Below is a collapsible table of all possible treasures that can be randomly found inside Treasure Chests in the Skull Cavern.

Image Name Number in Chest  Chance [4] 
Mega Bomb.png
Mega Bomb 5 1/26
Bomb 10 1/26
Cactus Seeds.png
Cactus Seeds 15 1/26
Life Elixir.png
Life Elixir 2-4 1/26
Omni Geode.png
Omni Geode 5 1/26
Warp Totem Farm.png
Warp Totem: Farm 5 1/26
Rain Totem.png
Rain Totem 1-3 1/26
Apple Sapling.png
Apple Sapling 1 1/156
Apricot Sapling.png
Apricot Sapling 1 1/156
Cherry Sapling.png
Cherry Sapling 1 1/156
Orange Sapling.png
Orange Sapling 1 1/156
Peach Sapling.png
Peach Sapling 1 1/156
Pomegranate Sapling.png
Pomegranate Sapling 1 1/156
Iridium Sprinkler.png
Iridium Sprinkler 1-2 1/26
Quality Sprinkler.png
Quality Sprinkler 4 1/26
Parsnip Seeds.png
Parsnip Seeds 5-20 1/702
Bean Starter.png
Bean Starter 5-20 1/702
Cauliflower Seeds.png
Cauliflower Seeds 5-20 1/702
Potato Seeds.png
Potato Seeds 5-20 1/702
Garlic Seeds.png
Garlic Seeds 5-20 1/702
Kale Seeds.png
Kale Seeds 5-20 1/702
Rhubarb Seeds.png
Rhubarb Seeds 5-20 1/702
Melon Seeds.png
Melon Seeds 5-20 1/702
Tomato Seeds.png
Tomato Seeds 5-20 1/702
Blueberry Seeds.png
Blueberry Seeds 5-20 1/702
Pepper Seeds.png
Pepper Seeds 5-20 1/702
Wheat Seeds.png
Wheat Seeds 5-20 1/702
Radish Seeds.png
Radish Seeds 5-20 1/702
Red Cabbage Seeds.png
Red Cabbage Seeds 5-20 1/702
Starfruit Seeds.png
Starfruit Seeds 5-20 1/702
Corn Seeds.png
Corn Seeds 5-20 1/702
Eggplant Seeds.png
Eggplant Seeds 5-20 1/702
Artichoke Seeds.png
Artichoke Seeds 5-20 1/702
Pumpkin Seeds.png
Pumpkin Seeds 5-20 1/702
Bok Choy Seeds.png
Bok Choy Seeds 5-20 1/702
Yam Seeds.png
Yam Seeds 5-20 1/702
Cranberry Seeds.png
Cranberry Seeds 5-20 1/702
Beet Seeds.png
Beet Seeds 5-20 1/702
Spring Seeds.png
Spring Seeds 5-20 1/702
Summer Seeds.png
Summer Seeds 5-20 1/702
Fall Seeds.png
Fall Seeds 5-20 1/702
Winter Seeds.png
Winter Seeds 5-20 1/702
Cherry Bomb.png
Cherry Bomb 15 1/26
Red Slime Egg.png
Red Slime Egg 1 1/26
Purple Slime Egg.png
Purple Slime Egg 1 1/26
Energy Tonic.png
Energy Tonic 2-4 1/26
Iridium Bar.png
Iridium Bar 2-3 1/26
Autumn's Bounty.png
Autumn's Bounty 5 1/260
Pumpkin Soup.png
Pumpkin Soup 5 1/260
Super Meal.png
Super Meal 5 1/260
Cranberry Sauce.png
Cranberry Sauce 5 1/260
Stuffing 5 1/260
Farmer's Lunch.png
Farmer's Lunch 5 1/260
Survival Burger.png
Survival Burger 5 1/260
Dish O' The Sea.png
Dish O' The Sea 5 1/260
Miner's Treat.png
Miner's Treat 5 1/260
Roots Platter.png
Roots Platter 5 1/260
Prismatic Shard.png
Prismatic Shard 1 1/26
Crystalarium 1 1/26
Seed Maker.png
Seed Maker 1 1/26
Auto-Grabber 1 1/26
Auto-Petter 1 1/26
Blue Cowboy Hat.png
Blue Cowboy Hat 1 1/26
Red Cowboy Hat.png
Red Cowboy Hat 1 1/26
White Turban.png
White Turban 1 1/26
Dark Cowboy Hat.png
Dark Cowboy Hat 1 1/26


After reading Secret Note #10, the player will find Mr. Qi at level 100 of the Skull Cavern. A cutscene ensues in which:

Mr. Qi will either congratulate the player for reaching level 100 while using 10 or fewer Staircases or say the player is "clever" but not "honorable" for using more than 10. In either case, he will award the player with Iridium Snake Milk, which permanently increases the player's Health by 25 points.




  1. The integer limit is 2147483647. To reach that limit in one Stardew Valley day, the player would have to descend over 2 million levels per real-time second.
  2. See MineShaft::getExtraMillisecondsPerInGameMinuteForThisLocation and Game1::UpdateGameClock in the game code.
  3. See MineShaft::loadLevel in the game code.
  4. See MineShaft::getTreasureRoomItem in the game code.
  5. See Locations.MineShaft::quarryMineShaft in the game code.


  • 1.3.27: Added Carbon Ghost, Iridium Bat, Iridium Crab, treasure rooms, and encounter with Mr. Qi. Removed exploit that allowed the player to avoid bomb damage by consuming food after placing a bomb.
  • 1.4: Added Pepper Rex. Added White Turban to possible Treasure Room items. All players entering a shaft in Multiplayer now descend to the same level. Qi's challenge can now be completed during the first visit to the Skull Cavern. Shafts will no longer drop the player past level 100 after reading Secret Note #10.
  • 1.5: Added Auto-Petter to possible Treasure Room items. Fixed chests spawned on certain floors being shifted down by 4 tiles. Fixed message appearing when opening a treasure room chest before opening the initial 15 parsnip seeds given by Mayor Lewis.
  • 1.5.2: Added Dark Cowboy Hat to possible Treasure Room items.