The Nightmare Cycle is a state of magical flux associated with the Ruins. Nightmare Lights (and Nightmare Fissures) open and close with the cycle, spawning hostile Shadow Creatures, regardless of the player's Sanity.

There are four phases of the Nightmare Cycle: the Calm Phase, Warning Phase, Nightmare Phase, and Dawn Phase. The entire cycle lasts 600 seconds (00:10:00).

Calm Phase[edit | edit source]

Appearance of Runic Turf during the Calm Phase.

Wilson Portrait.png
All is well.

Wilson, inspecting a Thulecite Medallion during calm phase.

  • The Calm Phase will be active for 285–345 seconds (00:04:45 - 00:05:45)
  • Nightmare Lights are closed (Shadow Creatures do not spawn)
  • Runic Turf is blue
  • No ambient sound can be heard in the background

Warning Phase[edit | edit source]

Appearance of Runic Turf during the Warning Phase.

Wigfrid Portrait.png
It's starting...

Wigfrid, inspecting a Thulecite Medallion during warning phase.

  • The Warning Phase will be active for 60–90 seconds (00:01:00 - 00:01:30)
  • Nightmare Lights open up slightly (Shadow Creatures do not spawn)
  • Runic Turf is gray
  • A quiet ambient sound can be heard in the background
  • Ancient Statues begin to glow

Nightmare Phase[edit | edit source]

Appearance of Runic Turf during the Nightmare Phase

Willow Portrait.png
The fuel is coming to life!

Willow, inspecting a Thulecite Medallion during waxing nightmare phase.

  • The Nightmare Phase will be active for 150–210 seconds (00:02:30 - 00:03:30)
  • Nightmare Lights open up completely (Shadow Creatures will spawn)
  • Runic Turf cracks glow red
  • A loud ambient sound can be heard in the background
  • Ancient Statues are distorted, glowing brightly
  • Splumonkeys transform into hostile Shadow Splumonkeys
Woodlegs Portrait.png
Th'nightmare's at its peak!

Woodlegs, inspecting a Thulecite Medallion during steady nightmare phase.

During the Nightmare Phase, Nightmare Fuel begins to seep from the eyes and mouths of Ancient Statues. If statues are mined during this stage, there is a chance for a Shadow Creature to spawn from them. Earthquakes occur most frequently during this state.

Wickerbottom Portrait.png
Levels of ectoplasmic residue are high but seem to be decreasing.

Wickerbottom, inspecting a Thulecite Medallion during waning nightmare phase.

Dawn Phase[edit | edit source]

Appearance of Runic Turf during the Dawn Phase.

Warly Portrait.png
This nightmare is almost over!

Warly, inspecting a Thulecite Medallion during dawn phase.

  • The Dawn Phase will be active for 15–45 seconds (00:00:15 - 00:00:45)
  • Nightmare Lights remain open (Shadow Creatures will spawn)
  • Runic Turf is gray
  • A quiet ambient sound can be heard in the background
  • Ancient Statues continue to glow
  • Splumonkeys remain hostile Shadow Splumonkeys

Caves[edit | edit source]

A Fissure in a Cave floor as the Nightmare Cycle leaks through.

The Nightmare Cycle can also leak through to the Caves, in the form of Nightmare Fissures (similar to those found in the Ruins starting area). Nightmare Fissures are cracks in the floor that open and close, spawning Shadow Creatures the same way Nightmare Lights do. They are surrounded by an aura of white light and emit a bright red light.

Don't Starve Together icon.png Don't Starve Together[edit | edit source]

The duration of the cycles varies in DST.

Calm: 6 to 7.5 minutes

Warning: 1.5 to 3 minutes

Wild: 2.5 to 4 minutes

Dawn: 1 to 2.5 minutes

In Don't Starve Together, the Atrium Biome that was introduced in A New Reign is also affected by the Nightmare Cycle. Upon activating the Ancient Gateway by inserting the Ancient Key, the Cycle will be locked at its peak phase and will not change unless the Gateway is deactivated.

Prototype.png Tips[edit | edit source]

Using a Bush Hat to avoid Shadow Creatures.

  • Players can avoid getting attacked by Shadow Creatures in the Nightmare Phase by remaining away from the Nightmare Lights and Nightmare Fissures. During the Warning Phase, they can move to a location (particularly the Wilds) where they are a safe distance away (slightly past the character's line of sight, and away from Splumonkeys) and remain there until the cycle ends. The Shadow Creatures that spawn will remain by the Lights and Fissures and do not wander, therefore will not seek the character out nor chase them. Standing on glowing Runic Turf is safe.
  • A Bush Hat or Snurtle Shell Armour can be used just before the Nightmare Phase starts in order to avoid the Shadow Creatures that spawn. 
  • The Nightmare Lights will appear on the map, giving players an overall visual of safe versus dangerous areas.
  • Hammering down the Splumonkey Pods and killing the Splumonkeys will permanently remove them. During the Nightmare Phase they become Shadow Splumonkeys, a hostile creature, and chase players until the end of the phase. As a major challenge to the Nightmare Phase it is beneficial to remove them and will allow larger areas of safety, especially when kiting Shadow Creatures.
Gameplay Mechanics
Activities CookingCraftingFarmingFightingFishingSleepingBeefalo Riding
(Boating Shipwrecked icon.png)
Environment Day-Night CycleMoon CycleNightmare CycleEarthquakeLightningRain
(Strong WindsFogWavesFloodingVolcanic Eruption Shipwrecked icon.png) (Fog Hamlet icon.png) (Sandstorm Don't Starve Together icon.png)
Seasons SummerWinter • (AutumnSpring Reign of Giants icon.png)
(Mild SeasonHurricane SeasonMonsoon SeasonDry Season Shipwrecked icon.png) (Temperate SeasonHumid SeasonLush Season Hamlet icon.png)
Mechanics BeardBiomeCharactersCharlieControlsDeathDurabilityExperienceFireFood SpoilageFreezingHealthHungerInventoryLightMapNaughtinessNon-renewable resourcesSanitySavingStructures
(Wetness Reign of Giants icon.pngShipwrecked icon.pngHamlet icon.png) (Overheating Reign of Giants icon.pngShipwrecked icon.png) (Poison Shipwrecked icon.pngHamlet icon.png) (Hay FeverPeculiar ObjectsAporkalypsePig Fiesta Hamlet icon.png) (EnlightenmentEventsDiseaseGhostsWorld RegrowthSkins Don't Starve Together icon.png)
Mode Survival ModeAdventure ModeCavesRuinsVolcanoWorld Customization
Others Pig VillageRoad (Trail) • GraveyardOceanAbyssBridgeSet PieceThingsMorgue
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