Taking Inventory: Totem of Undying

A second chance at life

Every Minecraft player has endured at least one embarrassing death, and often many. Maybe it was the time you were chasing a chicken and fell down a crevasse. Perhaps it was the time you got knocked off a one-block-wide lava bridge by a Ghast’s fireball. Or maybe that time when you failed to light up your house properly and walked in to find a creeper rifling through your belongings. Boom.

Luckily, there’s an item in Minecraft that can save you from these embarrassments. It’s not so easy to find, and it disappears after a single-use, but you can count on it to save your bacon when all other precautions fail. Oh, and it’s our item of the week. Allow me to introduce you to the Totem of Undying.

The Totem of Undying was added to Minecraft in the Exploration Update back in 2016, which also added llamas, the illagers, and woodland mansions. They’re pretty straightforward to use – equip one in your offhand slot when you’re heading into a dangerous situation, and if you receive fatal damage then it’ll spring into action.

The totem immediately restores half a health point and removes all status effects, then it gives you a good long dose of Regeneration II, Fire Resistance, and Absorption II effects, making you nigh-invulnerable. There are a few situations when it won’t save you though – like falling into the void, or being slain by a vengeful server admin using the /kill command.

You’re probably wondering where to get one, and for that, you’ll need to hunt down a woodland mansion or trigger a raid. The Evokers who lead these raids will always drop a single totem of undying when they die. This does, of course, raise the question of why they didn’t use the totem themselves. Perhaps it’s because they need both hands free to cast their nasty spells?

There is no item in the real world that’ll save you from death, unfortunately. But that doesn’t stop many people believing there is. Cultures all around the world have talismans, amulets and lucky charms that are believed to bring good luck and safety to their owner.

In Japan, the Maneki-neko is a sculpture of a cat with a waving arm that supposedly brings good luck to the owner. In the United States, the barnstar is considered lucky when hung on a barn, while some Native American cultures use dreamcatchers as a protective charm. In Turkey, the Nazar wards off evil spirits. Around the globe, people believe in the power of rabbits’ feet, horseshoes, and four-leaf-clovers.

But the truth – in both Minecraft and real life – is that the best way to avoid death is to exercise, eat healthily, and avoid dangerous situations. Like one-block-wide lava bridges. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Duncan Geere
Written By
Duncan Geere