When I first started playing Don’t Starve, I thought that the goal of the game was to make sure that you avoid losing Sanity at all costs. Although I knew that there were some resources you could only get if you were Insane, I assumed that these items were unnecessary for progression. I quickly learned that I was wrong, primarily because Nightmare Fuel fully fuels some characters like Maxwell.
Sanity is the measure of the mental wellbeing of Don’t Starve characters afnd is signified by the brain on every player’s client HUD.
Each character has a different pool of Sanity and will require different methods of raising their Sanity. Due to some characters’ traits, they will not be able to participate in all Sanity activities. You may notice some characters are significantly more difficult to make sane, and others are more difficult to become insane.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PLAYER IS INSANE?
When a player loses Sanity or becomes Insane, the world around them will slowly begin to change, altering the way The Constant and mobs inside it work.
80% SANITY (AESTHETIC CHANGE)
When players have 80% or less of their Sanity, they will begin seeing Mr. Skitts. Mr. Skitts is a serpent looking Shadow Creature that does not harm players or have a purpose. So, if you see Mr. Skitts, just let him be a friendly reminder to check your Sanity, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t look at their stats too often.
Mr. Skitts is not a targetable mob and will run away from players if chased.
75% SANITY (MECHANIC CHANGE)
When players have 75% or less of their Sanity, they will begin seeing Night Hands. Night Hands are a form of Shadow Creature that only appear during the night.
Night Hands will extend their arms in hopes of extinguishing Campfires, Fire Pits, Endothermic Fires, and Endothermic Fire Pits. If there is only one Night Hand present, it will reduce the fire by 50-60%; however, if there are multiple Night Hands, each will lower the light by about 30%.
Night Hands are signalled with the sounds of a music box and can be chased off into the darkness if players want them to disappear for the night. I would recommend doing this since Night Hands afflict players with -40 Sanity per minute and are generally annoying.
Tactics to avoid Night Hands include having two fires running at the same time or placing a series of Fireflies near the Fire Pit to ensure that no Night Hands can spawn. Night Hands can also be avoided entirely or cancelled out with Moggles.
At 75% Sanity gameplay will also begin to desaturate, and the screen will start to shake every so often. I wouldn’t consider this level of Sanity to be particularly tricky to deal with. So, if you don’t have the resources to get your Sanity back up immediately, don’t stress yourself out.
45-60% SANITY (AESTHETIC CHANGE)
When players have between 45-60% Sanity or less, more changes to the aesthetic of The Constant are implemented. Players will begin seeing eyes in the darkness, and the world will continue to become distorted. The game will progressively become even more desaturated unless players are in the Ruins, where the game becomes brighter. During this time, there will also be some changes in the sound design and characters will begin shaking their heads while idle.
Players will begin seeing a new Shadow Creature by their light sources; however, unlike the Night Hands, the Shadow Watcher is Passive. I don’t know how best to describe the Shadow Watcher… a creepy tree looking thing. Yes… that.
Players will also begin to see a very transparent version of the Crawling Horror, which is an aggressive Shadow Creature, although it is not dangerous at this point. Crawling Horrors do not have an Insanity Aura unless a players’ Sanity has decreased further.
At 45% Sanity players will begin hearing whispering.
40% SANITY (MECHANIC CHANGE)
When players have 40% Sanity, certain mobs around them will turn into Beardlings. Rabbits that are in a player’s inventory will also be included in this transformation only in single-player Don’t Starve and not Don’t Starve Together.
When murdered or killed, Beardlings have a 40% chance do drop Monster Meat and/or Nightmare Fuel and a 20% chance to drop Beard Hair, which can be used to craft a Meat Effigy. Since the Meat Effigy is one of the only ways players can resurrect themselves in a single-player version of Don’t Starve, players are encouraged to farm Beardlings whenever they can.
I will say, be careful while farming Beardlings though as they have an Insanity Aura of
*Note: Bunnymen also turn into Beardlords.
When players are below 15% Sanity, they will begin seeing what looks like red veins in their screens, and their whole gameplay will become warped. Any sound design that is heard, including day to transitional night music will change in texture, letting the player know that they are in dangerous territory.
As soon as the player is at 15% Sanity, they become susceptible to Crawling Horror and Terrorbeak attacks. Only one of each Shadow Creature can spawn, and to reverse the effects of Insanity players must return to at least 17.5% Sanity.
Say hello to multiple Terrorbeaks and/or many Crawling Horrors. You have just entered the danger zone, which isn’t actually that difficult to break out of.
All Shadow Creatures take a few hits to kill and have blatant attacks for players to kite. Upon killing a Shadow Creature, you will receive enough Sanity from having the other creature(s) disappear. Killing a Shadow Creature will not give you enough Sanity to go throughout the rest of your day, so expect yourself to grind some shadows until you find a way to regain some Sanity.
CHARACTERS WITH SANITY PERKS & BUFFS
The average character has a maximum Sanity of 200 Sanity, though the maximum Sanity a character can have in Don’t Starve is 300, with the lowest being 100.
The character with the most Sanity upon spawning into a world is Wickerbottom, coming in hot with 250 Sanity, though WX-78 can be upgraded to have 300 Sanity with Gears.
Wickerbottom is a character that requires a good knowledge on how to raise and drop a player’s Sanity as her books can drop her Sanity down by a maximum of 50 Sanity.
While WX-78 drains Sanity in the rain, especially if it doesn’t have an umbrella, you can raise it’s Sanity by 50 when it eats gears. Watch out though; if WX-78 gets hit by lightning, you will lose 33 Sanity.
If you’re looking for characters that have better boosts for Sanity, look at Maxwell, who gets 20 Sanity per Minute (6.75 in DST). Maxwell comes with other flaws, such as having low health, but Maxwell does make an attractive choice for a main.
Wendy, on the other hand, loses 25% less sanity when she is in the dark or around monsters, making mob farming a breeze for Wendy, especially with Abigail. Wendy recently got a new craft being the Sisturn, which allows players to place 4 Flower Petals into it, providing players with a whopping 25 Sanity per minute.
Warly can be useful if you use meals that give you Sanity as your primary source of Sanity. Warly gets a 33% boost from all Crock Pot meals.
Walani from Shipwrecked can be an interesting character to select since she dries off quicker, making water-related accidents or weather easier to deal with.
Wurt is a character who can either read Wickerbottom’s books for Sanity control or can hold a Fish, Eel or Ocean Fish in her inventory for 3.3 Sanity per minute.
Wigfrid is my favourite character to choose when dealing with Sanity problems, mainly because combat both heals her and raises her Sanity. The one difficulty with her, regarding Sanity, is that her maximum is 120.
CHARACTERS TO AVOID IF YOU’RE HAVING SANITY PROBLEMS
If you are having Sanity problems, I would recommend staying away from Willow. While Willow gains more Sanity by standing near a fire, Winters in Reign of Giants really sticks a pin in her balloon. Willow, in my opinion, can be one of the hardest characters to manage when trying to make it through your first year in Don’t Starve.
Similar to Willow, although Wormwood from Hamlet gains Sanity when he plants things, he loses Sanity for chopping down trees and picking flowers. Although this isn’t a big problem when you have a hang of the game, Wormwood’s pile of traits make him a bit more challenging to master.
Woodlegs is an interesting character as he loses 4.8 Sanity per minute if he is on land. Chances are you’re not going to play him anytime near when you start, so you’ll be good with Sanity by then!
Characters who have the lowest amount of Sanity include Webber from Reign of Giants and Wilba from Hamlet. Wilba also loses 1.5x more Sanity if she is in the dark. Wilba, however, will not lose any Sanity when she is the Werepig.
HOW SANITY IS LOST
Sanity is lost in a variety of ways; however, there is no real-time that your Sanity will stand still. The following are all of the ways a player can lose Sanity.
DUSK, NIGHT, CAVES, DARKNESS & INSANITY AURA
It’s unavoidable, but Dusk, Night and caves will all drain your Sanity by 5 per minute. The only time of day that you are safe is Daytime unless there are beings with Insanity Auras.
Certain mobs such as all Spiders, Slurpers, Depths Worms, Hounds, Snakes and Tentacles are some of the few mobs that will have an insanity aura. Insanity Auras can be as little as 25 per minute, but as much as 400 (Giants).
If you are ever left in the dark, you will lose 50 Sanity per minute, but chances are you’re going to be killed by Charlie first.
SOME RAW FOOD DROPS SANITY
The first time you’re going to experience food that drains your Sanity, it’s going to be Monster Meat. It’s a good idea to adopt the “if it’s raw, it’s bad for me” mentality and cook all foods on a fire or in the Crock Pot because some of these suckers can drop your Sanity up to 50.
MUSHROOMS ARE TRICKY
Mushrooms are quite frankly one of the most helpful resources to have in Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together. Each of the mushrooms provides different stats to players, and often the cooked version will swap one stat to make it worse.
I’d recommend memorizing these stats, or at least which one you think is the most useful.
COOKED RED CAP
COOKED GREEN CAP
COOKED BLUE CAP
RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY… DON’T COME BACK EVER AGAIN!
Rain is annoying and complicated, and sometimes it never stops. I played on a server where the Autumn, Spring and the beginning of Summer had rain. It was disgusting.
Rain can drain Sanity up to 5 per minute, but wetness will cause players to become more insane. Make sure you have at least an Umbrella or take off those soggy clothes of yours while you heat yourself by the fire.
USING MAGIC ITEMS DRAINS SANITY
Although some magic items drain as little as 1 Sanity, some can drain up to 50 Sanity. Be aware of how much you are using Magic, especially when you are about to be in a battle or currently in one.
WORM HOLES AND ELECTRIC ISOSCELES DRAIN SANITY
Having quick travel is one of the greatest parts of the base versions of Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together. Worm Holes and Electric Isosceles (Shipwrecked Exclusive) are the only natural forms of quick travel in their respective games, but both reduce a player’s Sanity by 15.
THE BEST WAYS TO RAISE SANITY
There are several ways you can raise Sanity, though some ways can be more labour intensive than others.
The following are the best ways you can raise Sanity while playing Don’t Starve, Hamlet, Shipwrecked and Don’t Starve Together.
I’ll start by saying, the absolute best way to boost your Sanity is to Prototype. There is no downside to prototyping a new tool or object, but you should save prototyping for moments where you are especially Insane.
For you Wickerbottom players, I’m sorry to say that you’re going to be missing on a whole lot of Sanity from prototyping since you actually have all of the knowledge you need for Science Machine crafting. Sad trade-off.
WEAR SOME CLOTHES
Rule of thumb? Don’t ever leave the house naked; it’s not worth it. Always make sure you’re wearing some armour or a piece of dress that raises Sanity. The best is the Tam o’ Shanter, which requires you to kill MacTusk, though, in the early game, I recommend making yourself a Top Hat.
Most of the mid to late game gear will provide Sanity for wearing, so put down that Log Vest as soon as you can and grab yourself something a bit sturdier.
If you’re stuck, pick yourself some Flowers and get back 5 Sanity per flower; once you have 12, make yourself a cute little Garland. While Garlands don’t give you too much Sanity back, they are great for emergencies.
Notable pieces of clothing that provide 3.33 Sanity include:
Top Hat (6 Silk)
Cat Cap (4 Cat Tails & 4 Silk) – also provides warmth
Dapper Vest (3 Hound’s Tooth & 6 Silk) – also provides warmth
Floral Shirt (5 Cactus Flowers, 3 Papyrus & 3 Silk) – also provides cooling from heat
Thulecite Suit (6 Thulecite & 4 Nightmare Fuel) – also provides 90% protection from physical damage
Scalemail (3 Pig Skin, 1 Log Suit & 1 Scale) – also provides 70% protection from physical damage, immunity to fire damage and ignites mobs that attack you.
DON’T STARVE TOGETHER
Fashion Goggles (1 Pig Skin & 1 Gold Nugget)
Desert Goggles (1 Fashion Goggles & 1 Pig Skin) – also protects players from Sandstorms
SLEEP IT OFF WHEN YOU’RE AT BASE
As much as I believe players should spend as much time as they can on their feet, there are some nights you’re going to want to take a snooze in a Tent or Siesta Lean-to. Both give 2 Health and 1 Sanity per second. While the Tent drains 4 hunger per second, the Siesta Lean-to only grains 0.33 per second.
I recommend using Tents in the Autumn, Winter and Spring because they are cheaper, raise body temperature and reduce wetness. You can use the Siesta Lean-to in Summer and Autumn, though I wouldn’t recommend it in Spring since the rain can give you chills.
If you do not have enough resources for a Tent or Siesta Lean-to build yourself a Straw Roll or Fur Roll.
GET A CROCK POT AND START COOKING
Getting a Crock Pot early can be extremely helpful as foods can make or break you in some very rough situations. When exploring a Don’t Starve world, I recommend keeping a bit of food in your inventory. Although I usually recommend taking Hunger focussed foods, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a few Sanity focussed foods in the Ice Box.
The best food for Sanity is Ice Cream providing players with 50 Sanity and 25 Hunger. Icecream requires 1-2 Dairy (Butter or Electric Milk), Ice and Sweetener (Honey or Honeycomb), though it needs at least one of each.
Got a Tomato, Onion and some filler? Get your chips because we’re having Salsa Fresca for dinner! Giving players 33 Sanity, 25 Hunger and 3 Health, the Salsa Fresca is a decent second-tier Sanity item.
Is summer getting at you? Make yourself a Melonsicle with a Melon, Ice, Twig and a Filler. Let this tasty treat cool you down and give you 20 Sanity, 12.5 Hunger and 3 Health.
The easiest to make is Taffy which only requires 3 Sweetener and 1 Filler. Taffy will give players 15 Sanity, 25 Hunger and -3 Health.
Although these are the main recipes you will probably use, there are some more that are more expensive or simply reap worse rewards. I will cover all of those recipes in a later article.
DON’T TELL MAMA YOU’RE HOGGIN’ ALL THE JERKY
Although Jerky only gives players 15 Sanity, I think it’s a great snack to keep on your person at all times. Jerky takes 20 days to rot and provides players with 20 Health and 25 Hunger, and the best part is… Wigfrid can eat it! (I say since I currently main Wigfrid.)
FIND YOURSELF HUTCH
Chances are along your journey; you’ve met an adorable moving chest by the name of Chester. Well, Chester has a buddy who lives in the caves named Hutch. If Hutch is given a One-man Band and a Light Bulb or Glow Berry, you will receive 40 Sanity per minute until the durability of the One-Man Band’s durability is used.
TRAIN SOME DUMMIES FOR BACKUP
Training yourself some Bunnymen, Pigs and Wildborne (Shipwrecked) will give you 25 Sanity per minute, but you must be extremely close to them.
USE A DIFFERENT SOURCE OF LIGHT
It can become second nature to chill by a Fire Pit or an Endothermic Fire Pit, but the reality is that players do not receive much more benefit than having a bit of light.
End game players may want to start thinking about crafting themselves a Star Caller’s Staff (4 Nightmare Fuel, 2 Yellow Gems and 2 Living Logs) which when activated will place a Dwarf Star onto the map.
Dwarf Stars last for 2 minutes, or 1/4th of an in-game day and provide players with 25 Sanity per minute, while providing the same amount of heat as a tier 3 Campfire (the highest being tier 4).
While Dwarf Stars are extremely useful, allowing players to cook on them and providing them with a great deal of Sanity, Dwarf Stars may accidentally set fire to flammable objects as they act very similar to open roaring Campfires.
It should also be noted that players will lose 20 Sanity immediately upon summoning a Dwarf Star, though this will be gained back within the first minute, effectively only providing players with 30 Sanity per each use.
Willow players, be ready, cause you get 35 Sanity per minute!
Note: The Dwarf Star will last for 3.5 in-game days if players are playing Don’t Starve Together (DST), making the Star Caller’s Staff a truly magnificent choice in lighting your base… as long as you have a safe area to keep it.
Players in Don’t Starve Together (DST) can gain access to the Moon Caller’s Staff by placing the Star Caller’s Staff in the Moon Stone during a Full Moon.
Not only will this spawn multiple Werepigs and Hounds, but players will also be able to leave the newly acquired Moon Caller’s Staff in the Moon Stone for an Endothermic Fire equivalent, or will be able to summon a Polar Light, which lasts for 2 in-game days, instead of 3.5 days (or a measly 2-minutes in the base game).
Although caution must be had when standing near Dwarf Stars and Polar Lights (the Moon Caller’s Staff equivalent) as they can respectively lead to overheating or freezing for standing near them for too long, they are both endgame god-tier sources of light, especially in Don’t Starve Together (DST).
HOW DO I RAISE SANITY IN DON’T STARVE TOGETHER?
The easiest way to get Sanity back in Don’t Starve Together is by collecting Cactus Flesh from Cacti in the Desert Biome.
Have a dead player on your server? Well, no worries because resurrecting your dead buddy with a Telltale Heart will give you 80 Sanity. Awesome perk for such a crappy event!
If players are using Wendy, or have a Wendy on their server, haver her build a Sisturn to help raise all player’s Sanity by 25 when they stand close by.
HOW DO I RAISE SANITY IN DON’T STARVE HAMLET
Don’t Starve Hamlet contains an item called the Magic Water which provides players with 150 Sanity upon consumption. Although 150 Sanity sounds fantastic, it will come at the cost of fighting a boss, the Pugalisk.
You may want to hold off on using Magic Water on its own though, as it can be used to plant Magic Flowers that have a Sanity boost of 36 per minute.
You can also make yourself some Ice Tea in the Crock Pot with two Orange Piko, Sweetener and Ice. If you’d like an extra speed boost and heat, make yourself some Tea with two Orange Piko, Sweetener and a Filler. Tea will turn into Ice Tea when it rots… interesting!
HOW DO I RAISE SANITY IN DON’T STARVE SHIPWRECKED?
Shipwrecked is an interesting DLC because it contains a raw item called Brainy Matter, which restores 50 Sanity, 10 Hunger, but drains 10 Health. Brainy Matter cannot be cooked or used for any other recipes other than the Brain of Thought.
You will not be able to store Brainy Matter as it loses its stats within half a day, so head on over to the Brainy Spout anytime you need extra Sanity.
If you’ve caught yourself a Wobster throw it into a Crock Pot with one Butter, two Twigs or two Honey, what does it all make? Lobster Dinner, which restores 50 Sanity, 60 Health, and 37.5 Hunger. Not bad for food, eh?
You can also make Caviar when you get your hands on Roe, Vegetables and Filler.