Taking Inventory: Trident

Neptuning out

Fighting underwater is like a maths test to the death. It’s slow, difficult, and the consequences can be dire. Luckily, in the Update Aquatic the developers added something to make it a little easier. It’s our item of the week – the trident!

“It's a weapon that is intended to be used underwater,” Jens Bergensten told Tom back when the update was released. “You can both swing with it and throw it.” Tridents are pretty strong – they deal more melee damage than a diamond sword. But be aware that they have the durability of an iron one. So if you find a trident, you might want to keep it for special occasions.

Oh yeah – finding tridents. There’s only one way to get one – defeating a drowned. Only a few of the drowned carry tridents, and once killed only a few of them will drop will that trident. So don’t charge into a mob of drowned expecting to come out swimming in tridents. You might only get one or two at best.

Once obtained, you can swing it like a sword or press and hold the use button to pull it back. Once the button is released, you’ll throw it in a long arc, just like an arrow. If it hits a mob, it’ll land nearby. If it hits a block it’ll stick there. Either way, if you head on over to the landing site, you can retrieve any trident you’ve thrown. Tridents thrown by drowned can’t be retrieved, just like arrows shot by skeletons.

The other thing worth mentioning about tridents is their nifty enchantments. Tridents can get the unbreaking, mending and curse of vanishing enchantments that many other weapons can get – but they have four of their own special enchantments too – some of which are incompatible with each other.

Loyalty will cause a thrown trident to return to the player after a few seconds. Impaling will deal extra damage to aquatic mobs or regular mobs in wet conditions. Riptide will cause a trident to deal splash damage (geddit?) and propel the player forward when thrown – again, only in wet conditions. 

Finally, the channeling enchantment will cause a thrown trident hitting a mob during a thunderstorm to summon a lightning bolt. If you’ve ever wanted to be a god of thunder, this is the enchantment you’ll want to get.

Real-world tridents are best known in the Western world for their use in fishing and combat in Ancient Greece and Rome (and appearance in the hands of both cultures’ sea gods). Ancient Roman gladiators who wielded nets and tridents were called retiarii.

But they also appear in other cultures. Hindu god Shiva used a sacred trident to fight off evil, and in Taoism the trident represents the Three Pure Ones of the Taoist Trinity. Tridents were also used in 17th and 18th-century Korean martial arts. Oh, and they’re still used in modern spear-fishing.

So next time you’re exploring the ocean depths, keep an eye out for tridents hurled your way. You might gain a powerful new weapon!

Written By
Duncan Geere