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I finally gave in to my curiosity this weekend and bought Minecraft 1.1. I had largely avoided learning too much about it because I wanted to play through it myself and discover things without the help of guides and FAQs. However, I had a very disturbing situation happen last night. I am reluctant to look through any FAQs to hunt down an explanation because I may come across too many spoilers, so if someone could give me a direct explanation without much spoilerage I'd appreciate it.

My shelter:

To start, here was what the main part of my shelter looked like:

enter image description here

The shelter was constructed of native (i.e. un-mined) stone and cobblestone. I had one 1-block chest and two 2-block chests with signs above them, a furnace/oven, a crafting bench, a couple torches, and a step up to a doorway leading outside. The top right chest contained various stone and iron material, along with coal, flint, charcoal, and gunpowder. The top left chest contained wood and glass material. The smaller bottom left chest contained tools, armor, and assorted bits. Not sure if it matters, but the floor of my shelter was actually the ceiling of an overhanging cliff that was around 40 blocks high off the ground.

The incident:

I had just finished remodeling my shelter, having just filled my new chests and placed the signs above them to help me remember what I put in them. I was in the process of crafting some new iron objects at my bench when BLAM!!! There was an explosion, my screen went red, and my precious treasures went flying. Unfortunately, I didn't have my sound on (since my wife was sleeping on the couch) and don't know if there was any noise going on beforehand to warn me of the impending disaster.

Luckily, my respawn point was close, and I managed to frantically make my way back. To my surprise, it appeared that nearly all my objects were still there. Most were sitting in the same spot that their chest was in. As best I can tell, I was able to recover nearly everything, with the exception of the signs and 2 of the 5 chest blocks. Oddly, the door and torches outside were gone, but the structure itself was untouched save for two holes in the floor (marked "Gone" in the above picture).

What happened?

I'm baffled by what could have happened. I can't imagine a creeper snuck up on me, since at the time there was no way in (I took away the bricks leading up to the door). I've tangled with them before and their explosions have never outright killed me, just wounded me. They also tend to leave big craters, and there seemed to be too little structural damage in this case.

The only explanation I can come up with is that I organized my possessions badly. Should furnaces not be placed next to chests containing combustibles? Should certain materials not be stored together in the same chest, like flint and gunpowder?

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20  
This was clearly a creeper. –  fredley Jan 30 '12 at 16:33
40  
@fredley That's called racial profiling, and we'll have none of it here, thank you. –  Alex Jan 30 '12 at 16:52
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Maybe it was a protonic reversal. Did you cross the streams? –  Dycker Jan 30 '12 at 18:14
6  
Welcome to Minecraft, that's a great attitude towards playing it! –  Zommuter Jan 30 '12 at 20:36
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Man, get yourself a pair of earphones. –  SF. Jul 16 '13 at 10:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 32 down vote accepted

As Ben Blank said, the only thing that will spontaneously cause an explosion, if you haven't made any TNT, is a creeper that got into your house. I see three possible directions for the creeper to enter from:

  1. The caves

    Most likely, either you have an insufficiently lit patch of floor in the connected caves (walls and ceilings don't matter), or there is a dark branch that you haven't found. I strongly recommend always installing doors at connections between caves and living space.

  2. The front door

    The damage you described seems to be focused around the doorward side of you. You say you removed "the bricks leading up to the door", but if there is still a one-block-jump path it is possible a creeper got in anyway. Next time, don't worry about removing the path, just close the door! If you have a wooden door, zombies can break them - this will cause a loud sound of someone punching some wood.

  3. The ceiling

    You haven't said anything about your ceiling design. Is it possible that your ceiling had a hole in it through which a creeper entered? There are [minimal spoilers] ways for dirt/grass blocks to go away, so if you had a dirt roof perhaps a creeper fell in.


Miscellany

To my surprise, it appeared that nearly all my objects were still there. Most were sitting in the same spot that their chest was in. As best I can tell, I was able to recover nearly everything, with the exception of the signs and 2 of the 5 chest blocks.

Chests drop their contents when destroyed, as you saw. If there had been two explosions, then the second one would have destroyed all of your resources, as they have almost no “health”.

They also tend to leave big craters, and there seemed to be too little structural damage in this case.

The size of an explosion crater depends on the strength of the materials. If you meet a creeper outside, then it will leave a large hole in the dirt, but the same explosion will do much less damage to stone.

Oddly, the door and torches outside were gone, but the structure itself was untouched save for two holes in the floor (marked "Gone" in the above picture).

Wooden objects are generally weaker against explosions, and torches have no blast resistance at all.

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Thanks for addressing each point in the "miscellany" section. That has thoroughly convinced me a creeper was the culprit. The ceiling was all stone, and the door was shut with a one-block-jump outside to boot, so it must have gotten in through the caves somehow and sauntered up beside me. I'll have to be sure to keep my volume on at least a little from now on to warn me of such things. –  gnovice Jan 30 '12 at 18:26
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beside me — aha! I was wondering how the creeper got closer to the door than the cave, thus my looking for routes other than the caves, but I now visualize that that does exactly fit a creeper's attack pattern. I'm still a little surprised that only two stone blocks were destroyed, but I suppose the densely-packed furniture shielded everything but the floor directly below (and a creeper blast will only go through one layer of stone). –  Kevin Reid Jan 30 '12 at 18:48
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@gnovice: Creepers don't make any sound on stone, so sound won't be a cure all. Nice to see you make the leap from stackoverflow! –  John Jan 30 '12 at 21:53
    
@John: Creepers do make stone footstep sounds on stone (I just checked), but that is rather quiet. And there is still the sizzle before exploding, which is enough time to do something if you're really fast, or at least know what happened. –  Kevin Reid Jan 30 '12 at 22:24
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I think I've found the likely point of intrusion for the creeper, where one of my tunnels led to a small outcropping on a cliff face. It's conceivable a creeper managed to fall down onto it from a higher ledge. –  gnovice Jan 31 '12 at 3:59

Assuming no mods are involved, only a limited number of things in the game can cause explosions:

  • TNT
  • creepers
  • certain things in the nether (spoiler-free!)

So unless you had both explosives and an ignition source in your base (furnaces and items in chests don't count) which aren't on your map, that only leaves a creeper (which is absolutely capable of killing an unarmored Steve at point-blank range).

I notice a hole in the lower-right corner of your map. Is it at all possible a creeper could have entered your base through it?

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The hole in the lower right is an exit to some tunnels into the mountain. They are very well lit and closed off to the surface. I've never seen anything spawn in them before, but I imagine spawning is a random process and there are no guarantees that nothing will ever spawn there. –  gnovice Jan 30 '12 at 16:36
    
Torches would keep monsters from spawning in there, but if there's any darkened area in your mine, they could spawn there. Is it possible you left a door ajar without realizing? –  Fluttershy Jan 30 '12 at 16:39
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@gnovice — Spawning is random, but it plays by rules, one of which is lighting. I expect that there are spots within your cave system which are dark enough to allow mob spawning. This can be difficult to gauge without mods or counting blocks, so be generous with your torches! –  Ben Blank Jan 30 '12 at 16:41
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@gnovice — Not sure what to tell you then, but it was indisputably a creeper. They and TNT are the only sources of explosions outside the Nether, so unless you had TNT in your base (not in a chest, just plunked down on the ground), there aren't any other options. –  Ben Blank Jan 30 '12 at 17:08
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@tialaramex: Actually, all of the tunnels had been dug by me, so there were no surprises. I hadn't yet connected to any naturally-occurring tunnels. I think the point of intrusion may have been where one of my tunnels led to a small outcropping on a cliff face. It's conceivable a creeper managed to fall down onto it from a higher ledge. –  gnovice Jan 31 '12 at 3:55

Furniture being placed and chest contents can not cause explosions. However, everyone is convinced it's a creeper. But I need just a little more info so I can also be sure it was a creeper. What I need answered is this: were you on singleplayer or multiplayer? If you were on multiplayer, another player could have placed TNT or made a trap with TNT and a cleverly hidden pressure plate. It also could have been both a creeper and another player. Maybe the ccreeper didn't spawn naturally in your tunnels and the player used a spawn egg. The player could then have opened the path to your house and let the creeper in and quickly closed the path. Or the creeper may have spawned naturally on your roof and the player made a hole and lured the creeper in. If you were on multiplayer, there are many possibilites, and if you weren't, it was the creeper. Unless somebody just hacked your account and placed a TNT trap or a creeper. There are many possibilites. Please get back to me as soon as you can, and tell me if you ever gave away any of your account information.

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It was single-player. I have yet to hunt down a good server to try out multiplayer, maybe some tekkit. ;) –  gnovice Dec 22 '12 at 21:10

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