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EDIT: Since version 1.0.5, Fire Imps aren't really a problem anymore. One needs only create some sort of shelter (for, instance digging a mine shaft with a roof) to shut out the demons and lava slimes. Bone Serpents and Fire Imps rarely spawn anymore and when they do, in much smaller numbers.


So it seems my tunnel won't get any deeper. I've reached a point where imps are spawning like rabbits. I mean this is just stupid. Any advice on surviving this crap?

I wrote "immortal" in the title because all the imps are behind stone walls and launching volleys of fireballs at me while I'm stuck in a narrow mine shaft.

Imps

You can see I did my best with my bow at the two imps in the lower left cave… but things went south when two turned into five

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Aside from your question, it seems way too early for you to be in the Underworld, anyway. You can't even mine Hellstone with that pickaxe. Whether it's Iron or Silver I can't tell, but it's true for both. –  lunboks Jun 14 '11 at 11:58
    
I really gotta agree with lunboks. I'd gather more hearts as well, as they really do add up. Getting that 2nd row of health makes you much more sustainable. Go natural caving! –  Robb Jun 14 '11 at 13:33
    
lunboks: What's challenging about that?? :P Anyway I find I find more gold ore the deeper I go. If you watch closely you see a huge area of gold ores to the lower left of the screen. –  Codemonkey Jun 14 '11 at 14:03
    
Floating Island can have gold ore. –  Robb Jun 14 '11 at 14:16
    
As of 1.0.5 the imps are no longer a huge problem, lava slimes, demons, and the bone serpents are worse. –  Maslow Jun 26 '11 at 21:18
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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Fire Imps spawn where there is enough room. You can build a grid with stone and make sure the holes in the grid are just small enough, so the Imps wont spawn there. That is how I do it.

Also, with advantage, you can use melee weapons to deflect the fireballs coming from the Fire Imps. Higher attack speed will of course make it easier to hit the fireballs.

For more information on Fire Imps, take a look at the Terraria Wiki.

Where it also states:

Fire Imps cannot spawn in tunnels three blocks high by two blocks wide.

So building your grid around that information should work. And thus keep Fire Imps from spawning.

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As of the 1.0.4 version, destroying the fireballs will no longer drop hearts –  jaminja Jun 14 '11 at 11:42
    
I just noticed that as well. Thank you. –  Simon Jun 14 '11 at 11:42
    
While using the nightmare pickaxe (fastest pick), fireballs will rarely get through it's arc. At that point you really only have to worry about imps firing from underneath you. –  tQuarella Jun 14 '11 at 11:51
    
So I'm going to have to start filling in all caves of air where I mine... Bummer :( But I suppose it's necessary –  Codemonkey Jun 14 '11 at 14:04
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Here's an interesting idea:

Bring 50 blocks of meteor ore with you when you venture into The Underworld, and place them in large chunk of contiguous blocks. This will create an artificial "Meteor Biome" identical to that which is created when you get the "A Meteor has landed!" message.

When the player is in a meteor biome, the normal enemy spawns are overriden to spawn only meteor heads instead. This means that instead of teleporting, fire-lobbing fire imps and screen-wide chasing bone serpents, you'll only have to deal with the relatively predictable meteor heads instead.

Just don't forget to move your artificial meteor along with you as you mine your way across the Underworld.

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Interesting! Have you tried this out? –  jos Jun 14 '11 at 15:07
    
Yup. It's a neat trick. –  Raven Dreamer Jun 14 '11 at 15:12
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+1 for lateral thinking :) –  jos Jun 15 '11 at 8:50
    
+1 for awesome idea –  Codemonkey Jun 16 '11 at 16:50
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Creating a small horizontal tunnel to help them spawn in can be helpful to kill part of the army.

Alternatively, you could throw down bombs or dynamites from the height where they don't spawn yet. This of course doesn't give you a tunnel and introduces lava, so you'll need a grappling hook right before you reach the underworld. You can then create a safer landing... :)

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