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Anyone have useful strategies for finding a Nether Fortress in Minecraft's Nether?

I got into the nether and wandered around for quite a while, but didn't find anything. I'm not sure if there are giveaways (I was looking for large building-like things in the distance). I've got a map, and have explored a small, but not unreasonable part of it. Any idea how many fortresses a single map might contain?

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if you need help with directions, there will be an "L" in one of the top left corners of netherrack. it always points north. –  user31098 Aug 20 '12 at 15:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

There are infinite nether fortresses in the nether. They spawn in rows every 200-400 blocks along the world's North/South axis.

Once you find the first one, just keep walking north or south from it to find another.

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That is neat, but I am curious where you found that out? –  Zoredache Jun 29 '12 at 0:39
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Very handy for finding subsequent ones ... and I guess I should walk east/west (instead of walking north/south) when looking for the first? Hmm... how do I know which direction is which in the Nether? –  P.T. Jun 29 '12 at 0:42
    
@P.T. You can use the coordinate system to know the direction (-Z is North, +Z is south I think, I can't comment for sure since I usually use a minimap). I would walk either east/west, or perhaps NE/SE/NW/SW. I haven't crunched the math on which direction finds you one sooner on average. –  Darth Android Jun 29 '12 at 14:34
    
@Zoredache Load up a level.dat or seed in the AMIDST tool (biome mapper) and it'll display rough locations for the fortresses. The locations vary between worlds, but the pattern is the same. –  Darth Android Jun 29 '12 at 14:36

In my experience, you just got to look around a lot. They are big and black, and generally the main levels reside at a Z value of ... 64? I forget the exact value. The other piece of this, is if you are significantly higher than that, you'll just miss them (unless you can look down through big gaps in the netherrack), if you are down at the lava level, and the fortress extends down to that level, the fortress looks like a big black blocks, and you have to build a ladder or tunnel up them to get to the interesting stuff.

I felt like I had to look forever to find my first one. Keep it up, and you'll find one pretty soon.

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Thanks for the elevation hint, that will be useful for figuring out where to wander. Thanks for the encouragement, too. :) –  P.T. Jun 30 '12 at 5:13

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