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Taking Inventory: Tripwire Hook

It’s a trap!

Picture the scene. You’ve just discovered a vast, unmapped, jungle biome while exploring your world. You spend an hour or so scrambling through the undergrowth, dodging spiders, spooking ocelots, and collecting melons. So many melons. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you notice some mossy cobblestone.

It’s a jungle temple! Crafted by ancient hands, its craggy pillars reaching into the sky. Taking a deep breath you step inside. It’s dark, damp, and smells disconcertingly of creepers. But you know there must be treasure here. Upstairs? Nothing. Downstairs, where it’s even darker, you light a torch. Down a vine-strewn corridor you spy your prize – a chest! You take a step towards it, and the last thing you hear is a “click” before you get a faceful of arrows.

That’s right, our item of the week is the tripwire hook! These dastardly creations are made from a handful of pretty basic ingredients, but are perfect for setting up traps for mobs, animals or even other players. To set up a tripwire, you need to place two tripwire hooks facing each other, and connect them with string. It’ll then sit there until a player walks through the string, at which point you’ll hear a “click” and the hooks will send out a redstone pulse.

Now that I’ve explained how to arm the trap, I should probably explain how to disarm it. You can’t just break the string with your hands – that’ll cause it to trigger. Instead, you can either break one of the tripwire hooks, or carefully snip the string with a pair of shears. That’ll disengage the trap without triggering it.

Tripwires have likely been around in the real world since the invention of string. The earliest string on record is about 90,000 years old, but because it rots away very easily it’s highly likely that the invention is far older. We know that prehistoric hunters used traps, which could have been made by constructing cages out of wood, and setting up a tripwire so they would fall onto anything that tripped it.

Today, tripwires are still widely used around the world. To detect these kinds of traps, soldiers have several strategies – some shine green lasers down suspicious corridors, which helps illuminate and expose any tripwires. Another, slightly more fun, option that was used by US troops is to spray Silly String down a corridor. It’s lightweight enough to settle on a tripwire without triggering it.

Unfortunately, there's no silly string in Minecraft, so next time you’re exploring a jungle temple you’re just going to have to watch your step. Sorry!

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere

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