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My villagers are all dead and I'm trying to suss out why. Passive mobs (pigs and such) won't walk off a cliff on their own if the drop would be enough to kill them. Will villagers?

What other ways can they kill themselves when i'm not looking? Will they walk into fire? Hug a creeper? Walk into the nether? Walk into a lake looking for a door at the bottom?

(and while I'm at it, are iron doors enough to keep them safe from such hazards?)

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7  
The AI have suddenly become self aware, knowing their life is pointless, thus committing suicide over the cliffs, trying to escape from the hellish nightmare they live in now. –  meme scientist Aug 8 '12 at 1:09
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I don't know if they'll commit suicide or not, but it's possible zombies killed them all. –  Mr Smooth Aug 8 '12 at 5:44
    
In 1.2 I have seen them walk into the top of a waterfall, that sent them into a crevas and then lava. –  Zoredache Aug 8 '12 at 7:52
    
@MrSmooth Zombies are unlikely, as we're playing on normal so they can't break down the doors, and they'd been thriving for several in-game weeks, then suddenly vanished. the current theory is that they noticed someone's underwater house and decided to go for a nice long swim to get inside and drowned. Last time they vanished, someone had left a tunnel into the mine open and they died down there, but we've got all that barricaded off now. –  Yamikuronue Aug 8 '12 at 11:05
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I've seen them wander off rooftops and hurt themselves ... I had to stupid-proof my village to keep them from dying. –  Sadly Not Aug 8 '12 at 20:06

4 Answers 4

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Villagers will not commit suicide without an accomplice, such as a creeper exploding, a zombie pushing them off a cliff, or an enderman enclosing trapping them in a water tube.

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Enough villagers will trigger a zombie siege. In a zombie siege, the zombies can spawn anywhere (on half slabs, in fully lit areas, on water) so no one is safe, unless you have some iron golems or you are close by and actively defend the villagers.

I always keep a couple villagers buried in a covered pit in the ground to avoid complete decimation.

The wiki doesn't state, and I don't have personal experience on the lower limit of villagers required to invoke a zombie siege.

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Zombie sieges are the thing where they attempt to break down the door? We've had several at night with as few as 2 villagers (we never had less than 2, when they all die I spawn two more and let them reproduce) –  Yamikuronue Aug 10 '12 at 1:00
    
A zombie siege is when a group of zombies spawns near a village (using different spawn rules than normal) and attacks the village. Generally they kill villagers, or break down doors to get at villagers to kill them. –  John Aug 10 '12 at 2:37
    
Note that during a Siege, zombies can break doors even on Normal difficulty, despite not being able to usually. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 21 '13 at 22:57
    
I never came back and said so, but zombies will try to break down doors without being part of a Seige as well, so I was wrong, I hadn't seen one with 2 villagers. –  Yamikuronue Sep 21 '13 at 23:12
    
Does this means that iron golem farms are not safe anymore? –  Sofffia Jan 20 at 20:03

I've seen villagers stay outside all night in some conditions. They seem to think as long as there's a roof over their heads (even just tree leaves) they are safe. If there are no walls around any overhangs, then it's easy for a roaming zombie to wipe them out. The best defense I have found so far (besides iron golumns that I can not yet afford) is to wall of and light up the entire town. They can't go through iron doors if you use a button to open them.

Be sure to pay special attention to the rules for what defines a "house." It's any door with more covered blocks on one side than the other within 5 blocks. If you put your buildings too close together and make them too thin then the OUTSIDE may be considered an INSIDE space by the AI.

XXXX XXX
|  X | X
    ^

This OUTSIDE space has more roof to the left 5 blocks than the right 5 blocks!

XXXXXXX
    | X
  ^ 

The overhang counts as a "roof" and therefore the left is considered inside by the AI.

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I've seen them cluster inside the cow pen -- do you know if they consider fences walls and gates doors? –  Yamikuronue Aug 8 '12 at 15:29
    
I have seen that behavior also.. I guess they do, even though there's no "roof" over either side of the gate. note that "walls" never come into the equation of what makes a "house" only doors and "roof" blocks in line with them. –  Chris Nava Aug 8 '12 at 15:56
    
I think I may have to dig into the code for villagers, it seems my questions are endless :/ –  Yamikuronue Aug 8 '12 at 15:58
    
I tried removing the outside (airlock style) gate and now the villagers are clustering inside the animal pens! WTH?! –  Chris Nava Aug 14 '12 at 16:29

My villagers stay outside all night staring into my house. It's creepy because they all gather around my house by my windows. I think they think their houses aren't good enough or something.

Anyway, your problem may have been that they didn't think they're houses were light enough so they refused to go in at night. My advise would be to make sure each house is properly light next time. TIP: if villagers keep coming into your house you can fence in a yard and put in a fence gate. They can't open fence gates!

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I keep finding them in cow pens, so they clearly can open fence gates. I had to move my animals further from the village. –  Yamikuronue Sep 21 '13 at 23:13

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