How Long Do Items Stay On the Ground in Terraria?

After spending half an hour in a fresh Terraria dungeon, it’s easy to lose track of how much money you have. You’re probably more worried about whether you can fit the latest cool item you found in a chest or on an enemy’s body into your inventory.

As you’re shuffling items around, an enemy sneaks up on you and takes your last sliver of health, forcing you to leave behind the items you were just about to pick up, as well as several gold coins collected during your expedition.

If you’re panicking at this point, you’re definitely not alone. Nearly every player who finds themselves in a similar situation suddenly wants to know whether items despawn in Terraria. Fortunately, I have good news for you.

Items in Terraria don’t despawn and can stay on the ground forever as long as your Terraria server remains active. The only exceptions to this rule are the Fallen Star, white rarity items falling too deep into lava, or if your world contains more than 400 dropped items.

What a relief! A death screen isn’t going to permanently condemn those last items and coins you really wanted to bring back for crafting in most cases. That said, there are a few exceptions to this rule of thumb, so let’s take a moment to go over each in more detail.

Terraria Death
I’ll be back for you eventually coins! Once I figure out how to get back to you…

Do Terraria Items Despawn?

The only way to despawn all dropped items on a Terraria server is to turn the server off. In Single Player mode, this means that if you Save and Exit, anything lying on the ground is going to disappear.

Multiplayer mode, however, is much more forgiving. As long as at least 1 person remains logged into your group’s Terraria server, any dropped items will still be around even if you log out and log back in.

If your Terraria server is set up using the TerrariaServer.exe application, as long as your command window stays open, nobody needs to be logged in at all!

To test this, I left a bunch of items strewn across the top of the NPC housing on our Patrons’ Terraria server for over a day (check out our Patreon if you’re interested in playing with us!). When I logged back in to check on them, the items were still there, patiently waiting to be picked up.

Terraria items
Mmmm… day old Chicken Nugget… -drools-

The primary exception to this rule is Fallen Stars. Fallen Stars that appear during the night will disappear after the sun rises (4:30 AM in game), or if they are dropped on the ground from your inventory or a chest during the day (between 4:30 AM and 7:30 PM in game).

The other exception to this rule occurs if there are more than 400 dropped items in a Terraria world. In these cases, newly dropped items can cause the oldest dropped items to disappear to make room for the new ones.

Does Lava Burn Items?

Lava is one of the few substances that can cause dropped items to despawn, but this only applies to items of white rarity. While this is only a problem that will come up if you are deep in a Cavern or in the Underworld, both can have wide pools to navigate, and if a white rarity item sinks more than halfway into lava, you can consider it gone.

For many items, including basic ammunition or common crafting materials, this isn’t the end of the world. Unfortunately, all coins are also white rarity, so if you die in or over a pool of lava, all your coins will disappear, up to and including the extremely valuable Platinum ones.

This can be a particularly obnoxious problem in Expert or Master Mode, as you will drop 75% or 100% of the money you’re carrying instead of half when you die. So if a fight above or next to lava is turning against you, do your best to reach dry ground so you can come back later and reclaim your hard-earned loot.

Fortunately, since an item has to sink over halfway into lava to be destroyed, items and coins can still be farmed safely if you create small moats that barely coat the ground with lava. This lets you collect a lot of loot in one place while still harnessing the massive damage lava can do to large groups of enemies during events like a Blood Moon or Goblin Invasion.

How Long Do Items Stay After Death In Terraria?

Items you drop as a result of death follow the same rules as items you drop on purpose or items dropped from enemies in Terraria. This means you have unlimited time to go back and retrieve them as long as you meet the following conditions:

  • You don’t close the Terraria server
  • You don’t allow approximately 400 new dropped items to exist on the ground in your Terraria world
  • You don’t drop items of white rarity into pools of lava

All pretty easy things to avoid even if you’re just starting out on your Terraria journey. If you die in a section of the world you can’t get back to easily with your current gear, you can simply explore somewhere else and take as much time as needed to build up your strength without worry.

Once you’re ready, you can then go back and retrieve your lost coins or other nearby items you didn’t get a chance to collect before your expedition was rudely cut short by enemies, traps or fall damage.

They’ll still be just as useful as before, and you’ll save yourself a ton of stress in the process.

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