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This article is about the current version of Mystcraft.
File:White decay.png
Example of some white decay.

Instability is a balance mechanic in Mystcraft which is a result of poor or greedy writing.

Levels of Instability

Instability comes in several degrees of severity. The weakest form a world that is vaguely inhospitable to outsiders. These are worlds that inflict potion-style debuffs on you, or that give mobs in the world a benefit/positive buff. The weakest form of these only affect you when you are "outdoors" (exposed to the sky); stronger forms affect you when you are inside/underground.

The middle severity form worlds that are generally dangerous. Worlds that are so close to the sun that you (and mobs in the world) take damage from the environment. Etc.

The final severity are worlds that will be destroyed given enough time. This can range from meteors, to decay blocks, to runaway erosion.

Severity Mechanics

Internally, instability can be generated (or reduced) based on factors of writing. Some symbols, such as "lacking medium features", directly add; others, typically that duplicate an instability affect, directly reduce. Explicitly writing inconsistencies will add, as will using "clear modifiers" to remove dangling modifiers. Other factors include mod behavior (other mods can add or subtract instability) and general luck/variation as the world is explored (approximately every 100 chunks the instability level is recalculated based on what blocks the world contains).

Each type of instability can be individually disabled in the config file; if the nausea effect (for example) is a problem, one can disable only that and leave the others. On a server, the server must disable the unwanted effects.

Because instability levels can change over time, the current version of Mystcraft does not put block-based instability into the chunks at world gen, but alters the chunk during play.

Internally, there are 5 categories of instability levels. However, there is overlap at different levels of probability. World destruction is only found in the last 2 categories, for example, but different forms of world destruction are found at different probabilities in those 2 categories. Harmful environment can be found in the last 3 categories. Potion effects are found in at least the first 3 categories, can happen multiple times (will stack to a stronger potion effect level), and in later categories will affect you when you are not exposed to the sky (global/affecting the underground as well). These are managed internally using card deck mechanics.

Buffs and Debuffs

Negative potion effects sometimes occur in a Mystcraft Age. These can either be ambient, where they are unchanging, or due to sky exposure, where they can be counteracted by simply going underground (Note: To count as being underground, there simply needs to be at least 1 solid block separating you and the sky). Known potion effects caused by instability include:

  • Mining Fatigue
  • Slowness
  • Poison
  • Nausea
  • Hunger
  • Blindness
  • Weakness

-note that glass block doesnt count as a block that separating you from the sky Verify

There are also at least 2 things that give benefits to non-player mobs in the world.

  • Regeneration
  • Resistance

Because these are the first level of instability, it is possible for an age to show no outward sign of anything being unusual yet still have effects making mobs harder to kill.


Some modded blocks seem to not count as "solid" blocks, even though they are, and do not block Sky Exposure effects

Harmful environment

Random Explosions

Explosions are created randomly. These explosions can light blocks on fire, deal damage to the player and knock the player off the world if it is a Void, End, or Skylands world, but they are generally incapable of destroying blocks such as Stone.

Burning Effect

Mobs and players can be set on fire. The fire damage is done in short bursts at approximately 5 second intervals that tick for 4-5 points of damage to mobs, but less than half a heart damage to unarmoured players. Verify

World Destroying

Any of these will, unless countered by some sort of mod power, will ultimately result in the destruction of everything in the age, and potentially even leaving a void age in the case of meteors and black decay.


Meteors will fall randomly from the sky and destroy large sections of the world. Meteors can destroy the entire world if given enough time. Meteors may leave some ores around the crater.

Decay Blocks

Several types of Colored Decay exist.

Black Decay

Time to break with diamond shovel: "fast" (Needs better testing.)
Speed: Low.
Unique feature: Causes ground to collapse.

It only Verify spreads to existing blocks, and it spreads faster up and down than it does to the sidesVerify (( this seems really wrong; in 1.4.7 my memory is that it would only spread down and sideways, not up, and would spread faster sideways. I have not seen black decay in modern Mystcraft )). It also has the unique trait when two blocks form on top of each other, they will merge into one block of decay and cause every block above it to fall, even blocks that are normally unaffected by gravity. It can be blown up with TNT.

Black decay will spread through bedrock. If it reaches the bottom of the world, then the entire column of blocks above it will fall out of the world.

Black decay collapsing will stop at air blocks; because of the presence of caves, or even a manually placed/carved airgap, black decay will leave scattered islands, at least temporarily. Because new decay blocks will be placed over time, eventually those platforms will go as well.

When a column collapses, the 4 neighboring columns can have air gaps collapse if the collapsing column goes up to the top of the air.

Any water on top of a collapsing column is deleted (replaced with air) Verify the effect on other liquids such as lava.

Blue Decay

File:Colored Decay.png
Example of some colored decay.

Time to break with diamond pick: aprox. 2 seconds. Verify
Speed: Medium.
Unique feature: Spreads based on mining hardness.

Blue decay travels through blocks at a speed based on the mining hardness; blocks that are easier to mine will spread faster. It will not spread through bedrock.

It can be blown up with TNT.

Red Decay

Time to break with diamond pick: aprox. 3 seconds. Verify
Speed: Medium.
Unique feature: Spreads based on TNT resistance.

Blue decay travels through blocks at a speed based on the explosion resistance; blocks that are easier to blow up with TNT will spread faster. It will not spread through bedrock.

It can be blown up with TNT.

Purple Decay

Time to break with diamond pick: aprox. 10 seconds.Verify
Speed: Medium.
Unique feature: Spreads through liquids, other decay blocks, and air.

It breaks around as fast as obsidian Verify. If you are in the air, it's even worse than the feared White Decay.Verify It spreads rapidly through liquids, a little slower through other decay blocks, slower yet through air (but faster than red or blue spread through air), and very slow through ground blocks.

It has an 85% chance to spawn in a Dense Ores WorldVerify. It can NOT be blown up with TNT. Verify

Purple decay will not spread through bedrock.

White Decay

Time to break with diamond pick: aprox. 10 seconds.
Speed: fast.
Unique feature: Can damage player.

White decay after 20 minutes of instability, beginning to grow over meteor craters.

White Decay acts like the other colored decays, but eats through everything much quicker. It will eat through other decay blocks (tested in 1.4.7; even a black decay heavy world was calmed down. Verify for current Mystcraft), and slowly grows into the air. It is also the only decay that can physically harm the player. It deals an armor-penetrating half-heart of damage per second, but only if the player is moving. It can NOT be blown up with TNT.


"Crumble" will cause blocks to break down. Diamond ore will turn into coal ore. Smooth stone will turn into cobblestone. Gravel will turn into sand. Etc.

Given enough time, this will result in a world that is entirely sand.

In the most extreme form, bedrock will also erode, and the outcome will be a void world.