Stardew Valley Ectoplasm: Finding That Ghostly Treasure

Stardew Valley is a great game and one that has received an enormous amount of attention from all types of gamers. This farm-life sim has so much packed into it. On the surface it’s a relatively simple game that does a great job of continuing the almost forgotten tradition of those original Harvest Moon games from the late 1990s and early 2000s. A deeper dive reveals to players there’s a whole lot more going on under the surface.

The cut pixelated art is amazing, but Stardew Valley goes well above and beyond what the Harvest Moon games did and there’s a reason they are credited with bringing a complete revival to the Farm-Sim genre after taking it to the next level.

Even knowing this, ectoplasm tends to be something that throws a lot of players for a loop. Even the experienced ones. How can you gather something you’ve never found in hundreds of hours of playing?

The good news is that although the gather ectoplasm mission in Stardew Valley can be intimidating the first time it appears, there’s a very good reason you haven’t seen it before and with a little bit of knowledge you can give yourself the best possible chance of collecting this rarely appearing resource.

Let’s dive in and join the long tradition of ghost busting in Stardew Valley.

stardew valley ectoplasm pic
A close up of what ectoplasm looks like in Stardew Valley. Dropped only by some type of ghost when the quest is active.

What Is Ectoplasm?

Ectoplasm is a rare item in Stardew Valley that actually isn’t always available. In fact, it’s really unusual in this way in that it is only available when a player takes the “A Curious Substance” quest from the big jobs board outside of the Mayor’s House.

When the player actually accepts this quest, at that point that sets off a game mechanic where ghosts, carbon ghosts, and putrid ghosts all then have a chance of dropping ectoplasm as an item when the player kills one in combat.

There’s a roughly 1 in 10 chance of this (9.5% is the actual precise chance of ectoplasm falls).

How Do I Get Ectoplasm?

The first step is to take the quest from the Wizard once it’s posted on the board, but it’s important to note that you want to give yourself as much time as possible. If there’s only one day left, it’s a crapshoot at best on whether or not you will be able to even find enough ghosts to get a decent chance at a drop.

Once you have activated the “A Curious Substance” quest for the Wizard, then the next part of this often difficult quest is to hunt down ghosts who, despite seeming to be everywhere in huge numbers when you don’t want to deal with them, suddenly becoming very sparse compared to other enemies in the mines or Skull Cavern.

To find ectoplasm in Stardew Valley you need to farm for ghosts on the ice levels in the Mine or you can go to Skull Cavern to fight carbon ghosts. Either of these ghosts have a small chance of dropping ectoplasm.

Assuming I have at least the Galaxy Sword and plenty of energy from acquired Stardrop Fruit, I prefer Skull Cavern because the chances of getting ambushed by a huge number of ghosts is much higher.

Since there’s only a 9.5% chance of any ghost dropping ectoplasm, it’s important to get those numbers up to give yourself as many chances as possible to get a lucky drop.

Ectoplasm Captured Stardew
Success! Ectoplasm found in Skull Cavern!

In my experience, ghosts are still relatively sparse in the ice levels of the mines, but I’ve had a dozen carbon ghosts show up at once before in Skull Caverns, not to mention they just simply appear in ones and twos a lot more often.

That higher spawn rate means a much higher chance of getting that special Stardew ectoplasm that you need.

Plus getting extra gems, iridium, and cloth from mummies is a nice positive, as well.

Personal Experience Finding Ectoplasm in Stardew Valley

Admittedly the first time I did this particular quest, I was stupid lucky. The second ghost I killed dropped something that looked like a cross between an amoeba and vomit. It turns out, that is exactly what ectoplasm looks like from a slain ghost, so the same day I picked up the quest I found ectoplasm and was able to complete it.

That was a very lucky break, and it would turn out it was also an extreme outlier when it comes to how my experiences with this quest in the game would go.

The next two times I picked up this quest I didn’t give myself enough time and failed to deliver both times. So hard lesson learned on that one.

Whether or not the spawn rates on ghosts change when you really need them to show up – I don’t know. I haven’t seen any solid evidence that’s the case, but we all know what “gamer luck” is and this is one of those quests where at least in my experience it seems to kick in.

ghosts ambushing Skull Cavern
This is why I prefer Skull Cavern for ectoplasm missions. It may murder you – but you have a high chance at getting that drop when a dozen ghosts attack you at once.

What Uses Does Ectoplasm Have in Stardew Valley?

Basically the only good use for ectoplasm is to fulfill that quest the wizard gives out. Why? Because once the quest is over any ectoplasm that isn’t given to the Wizard disappears. So you can’t keep it, you can’t store it, you can’t craft with it, and it counts as a hated gift to every single character in Stardew Valley.

So literally, this is one of the only items in the entire game where this is one, and only one, good use for the item. Even garbage can be recycled. Since ectoplasm only shows up when the Wizard’s mission is accepted, this isn’t a big deal even if it is what D&D DMs would call some serious railroading.

stardew valley curious substance quest
You unlocked the quest, now it’s all about killing enough ghosts to find the ectoplasm the wizard needs…for some reason.

In Conclusion

Ectoplasm isn’t going to be a major part of any playthrough since it’s such a minor part of the game that only pops up once, but it’s a nice little side quest that is also a chance to earn some hearts with the Wizard, who can be one of the hardest characters to build full hearts with because of how out of the way he is to most activities.

Give yourself a few days to go ghost hunting after accepting the quest and hopefully with enough time underground you’ll get that ectoplasm to seal the deal.

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