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I've died a few times before reaching the point where I can get some action going; after each death I was unable to recover the contents of my inventory.

  • Is my inventory lost forever after death?
  • Does storing items in chest help persist them after a respawn?
  • What happens to the contents of a chest if it is destroyed?
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8 Answers

Your inventory is scattered around your death spot, and will stay there for approximately 5 minutes. Run for it!

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+1 for correct answer... In the first or second episode of X's adventures in Minecraft he explains (and accidentally shows) this. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Sep 21 '10 at 16:13
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Yep, it's true, although I always have the impression that something is missing... –  badp Sep 22 '10 at 8:05
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I think a few items might get destroyed, specially if they touch something like Cactus. But sorry, I'm not very sure about this. –  Denilson Sá Sep 23 '10 at 3:09
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Items that fall in lava will also be destroyed. –  mithrandi Oct 9 '10 at 2:14
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Also, if you die in a chunk outside your spawn chunk, the countdown timer on items expiring doesn't start until you load the chunk. –  Spaz Medicine Nov 1 '10 at 20:43
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up vote 36 down vote accepted

No answer seems to get the full picture, so let's do a summary.

  • Items can be picked up.
  • When you die, all the items in your inventory are dropped to the ground.
  • Items on the ground are destroyed by explosions (creepers and TNT), lava and cactus.
  • Items sink. Water streams also move items.
  • Items on the ground expire after a certain amount of time.
  • Items are affected by gravity and have no explosion resistance, health, etc. which other blocks/objects have.
  • Items placed in a chest are stored infinitely until removed, or until the chest is destroyed. The rules above then apply to the items dropped. Chests cannot be destroyed by fire, lava, or water, but can be destroyed with explosions.
  • The rules listed above do not apply if the chunk is unloaded.
  • After you die, if you had any experience on you, you can retrieve a fraction of it.
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Careful dying near water, as it will 'wash' your items down stream. Be super careful if that water is running into lava! –  Tyronomo Sep 24 '10 at 5:53
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Never fall down a deep pit and lose your items, because the only way of getting them back is to build stairs down to them, which should take more than 5 minutes. –  user7385 Feb 25 '11 at 13:49
    
Note to Mana, @badp, that Tyronomo's post did predate this posting, which is why the info is included. –  Grace Note Feb 25 '11 at 13:58
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TIME PARADOX –  badp Feb 25 '11 at 14:01
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When you die by Creeper-explosion the items in your inventory are destroyed. If you die by any other means they are scattered and can be recovered.

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This would explain my inaccuracy. I've never died to anything other than a creeper explosion. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Sep 23 '10 at 15:06
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Items that fall in lava, fire, or touch cactus are also lost. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Oct 4 '10 at 16:04
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I don't know if this answer was accurate when it was posted, but it certainly isn't anymore. –  runaros Nov 16 '10 at 20:07
    
@BlueRaja: Yeah, fire does also destroy items...I just learned it the hard way while playing with my flintlock. :( –  Bobby Nov 16 '10 at 21:27
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@ruaros is correct, the answer is currently inaccurate. Creeper explosions may have some chance of destroying an item (at least I have occasionally seemed to lose things with no lava around), but not all. Most (if not all) will survive for the desperate run back, naked and lightless, while you try to grab that diamond sword you lost... :) –  Cyclops Feb 21 '11 at 23:19
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After you die, the contents of your inventory is lost. Items placed in the world, such as in chests are safe and you can rest easy knowing they will not despawn unless the chest is destroyed (i.e. by Fire, or Creeper explosion).

It is for this reason among others, that one of the first tasks suggested to every Minecraft player is to build themselves a small home, in which they can rest safely at night, and store any valuables not needed on a current expedition.

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I've had a chest light on fire several times, and neither it nor its contents were destroyed. –  Keaanu Sep 22 '10 at 17:46
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To answer your three bullets:

  • Is my inventory lost forever after death?

When you die all of your items scatter on the ground. On respawn you can go and pick them back up but they stay on the ground for a limited time. Unfortunately, if they disappeared then they are gone forever.

You can take advantage of this while raiding a dungeon, just charge in with a sword and upon dying run back to the dungeon, pick up your sword, and try again.

  • Does storing items in chest help them persist after a respawn?

Items in a chest remain in-game forever, or as long as the chest persists. So anything you have stored in a chest will be there after a respawn.

  • What happens to the contents of a chest if it is destroyed?

If a chest is destroyed its contents, and the chest block, will spill on the ground and can be picked up. If it's an explosion that destroys the chest, some of the spill will be lost.

Chests are not affected by fire.

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There is a small problem with all of these answers: they are slightly incorrect.

When you die, Lava and exploding creepers may destroy some or all of your items immediately. The rest are scattered on the ground around you, and a five minute timer starts (even while you are on the death screen). This timer counts down as long as the chunk the item is in remains loaded into memory.

For performance reasons, approximately a 20x20 block of chunks around the player are loaded into memory at one time (about 320x320 blocks, with you in the center). If your bed/spawn is farther than 160 blocks away, then the timer on those fallen items pauses when you respawn, and it will not begin again until you get within 10 chunks and the area they are in is reloaded into memory.

In single player, this means that the items will almost certainly survive until you return, as long as you do not dally, regardless of how far away they are. However, in multiplayer you are not the only person in the world... having someone else in the same general area as your fallen items will cause the timer to continue to count down, even if you are very far away.

But this is only for items that are on your person (and thus fall on to the ground when you die); items in chests remain permanently across saves and deaths. If the chest is destroyed they all fall on the ground around the chest, and the same 5 minute timer and rules about the chunk being loaded apply.

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if a chest is destroyed, say, by you mining it, the contents will fall on the ground as if you died.(scattered on the ground) cactus, fire, and lava will destroy loose items. If you are blown up by tnt or CREEPERS your inventory will be perfectly fine, for the explosion hits you and THEN your items come out. Believe me, ive been through my fair share of explosions. Hope this sets things Straight. :-)

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  • Is my inventory lost forever after death?

    Once you have died your items will be scatters around your death spot for 5 mins, but if you die in lava it will all be gone forever.

  • Does storing items in chest help persist them after a respawn?

    Storing stuff in a chest is usually a wise idea, mainly if your going into uncharted areas, like caves. You stuff will all be safe.

    Note: Always try to stay near spawn point, so if you die you can run inside fast.

  • What happens to the contents of a chest if it is destroyed?

    If a chest is destroyed all your stuff will be on the ground, in any case its kind of like dying, it will only stay for 5 mins.

    If I am correct, chest can only be destroyed by you for TNT, and creepers.

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protected by badp Jul 20 '11 at 10:12

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