Graveyard Keeper is, without a doubt, the most complicated crafting game I have ever played. And while I enjoy the challenge, it’s no joke that the game’s progression structure is built like a pyramid scheme. There’s very little handholding to guide you through the process. Whether you’ve been playing for five minutes or for five hours, you probably already have some questions that need immediate answers. We’re here to answer them for you with our Graveyard Keeper FAQ, with the answers to 20 questions covering everything from basic gameplay to the finer points you just don’t have the time to figure out through trial and error.
The early stages of Graveyard Keeper are not structured well in terms of mission delivery, which makes it really hard to initially figure out what you should be doing with your time. First things first, once you get past the game’s beginning sequences and are dumped into the graveyard, your concern should be burying any bodies that accumulate outside the mortuary (listen for the ring of the donkey’s bell), and collecting items to start building the machines and equipment you’ll need to refine materials.
If you haven’t already, at the start of the game, once you’ve buried a body and had a conversation with the talking skull Gary, you should venture into town and talk to the Innkeeper. This should start a series of events that will give you missions and goals to work towards. You should also talk to as many NPCs as you can. Then if you reach a point in the game where you have no idea what to do, you check your NPC log and go from there. There are many goals you can work towards with various characters in The Village, and fulfilling their wishes can open up anything from a new skill in the tree to a new recipe to use at home.
Other pastimes include Gardening, which is very important for Cooking and managing your energy, Fishing (which can only happen once you’ve earned or purchased a fishing pole from the vendor out at the Lighthouse) or gathering resources. Chop down some trees, mine for iron ore or rock, pick flowers or fruit, make building materials like Flitch or Simple Iron Parts, make Glass, and just generally stockpile anything you could possibly need later.
You should also be paying attention to how many Red, Green and Blue Gems you’re accumulating in order to keep gaining new skills from the tree.
As you’ve probably noticed, you can’t earn the Blue Gems, part of the game’s skill building system, at the beginning of the game. These Blue Gems, related to the theological aspects of the game, will open up once you complete the initial challenge of reaching a score of +5 in the graveyard.
Gems are earned through studying various objects at the Study Table beneath the Church, which opens up after you’ve reached a graveyard score of at least +5. You will need to first take some Clean Paper and “decay” those at the table to earn Science points, which are used in the studying process. For most items you will also need Faith, which can only be earned by delivering sermons in the Church once it has been unlocked.
Items related to building will give you Red Gems, as will creating building materials at a machine. Items related to nature, like insects or food, will give you Green Gems. Religious items like headstones or gravesite fences will give you Blue Gems. If you’re confused as to what kind of Gems an object will give you at the Study Table, check the description.
At a certain point, you’re going to hit a wall as you progress along the tech tree. Blue Gems are much harder to earn than Red or Green, which you’ll get more than enough of as you build machines and gather materials from the environment. If you’re stuck and need more Blue Gems in a jiffy, first check and see if you’ve studied all religious and alchemy items, including graveyard stuff like the headstones, and ingredients broken down for use in potions. You can also get Blue Gems from making Hemp Rope, Candles, Conical Flasks and Advanced Conical Flasks, or anything used in the graveyard, like Funeral Urns, Stone Crosses or Stone Grave Fences. Many tasks related to Marble will also give you Blue Gems, like breaking up Marble blocks, polishing pieces of Marble, or creating Marble headstones and plinthes. Making books and creating chapters at the Desk will also work.
After a certain point in the beginning of the game, you’re going to run out of spots to mine iron ore and rock. There are iron ore veins just north of the farm and out west in the swamp, but they do not regenerate—same with the stone. If you get on the path leading north, however, you’ll encounter two blockades, both of which will require 10 Wooden Wedges, one Wooden Beam, and four Simple Iron Parts (this will require either purchasing them from a vendor, or having the appropriate machine built to create the materials). Once the way is clear, head north until you hit the rock wall lining the outermost edges of the map, then head west (if you encounter a creek, use the small ramshackle bridge towards the south to cross over). When you see a burned cottage, you know you’ve reached the quarry.
The quarry itself can be repaired for marble, but ignore that for now. Check the wall carefully and you’ll find veins for both stone and iron. You can also find a vein for coal, but more on that later. At any rate, the iron and stone will come in large chunks that need to be broken down, but you can build the machines for that nearby if you don’t feel like carrying the blocks all the way back to the farm. If you correspond the timing of it correctly, you can open up this area just as you run out of resources in the vicinity near the farm, and also with at least the Furnace II upgrade, so you can process several pieces of ore all at once.
Most of your money will be earned by burying bodies and selling the deeds, but naturally, you’re going to run out of room in your graveyard before long. Other ways you can make cash include chopping firewood, which many vendors in town will purchase, or by making and selling stuff specific to certain vendors (for example, Wood Beams can be sold to the vendor in the north of town who sells wood-related items, like Wood Panels). You can also still earn and sell Burial Certificates from burning the bodies in the Crematorium.
One way to make a bunch of cash at once is to head north to the forest by the river and find the coal vein in the stone cliffs that line the quarry area. Coal can be stacked up to 100 per slot, and earns a hefty amount of coin when trading with the Blacksmith. It will also open up his vendor tiers much faster, allowing you to buy the Cauldron needed for the Witch’s questline.
This is a tricky one. For the most part, you can eat or make food to gain energy, but it will be a while before you can freely make and stock up on cooked recipes or dishes in your own home. Start by visiting the farmer at the southern end of the wheat fields between the farm and the village and buy some seed to start your own garden. You will need to pick fruit and flowers for consumption, and sell your Burial Certificates to the Innkeeper to buy food at the Dead Horse.
There are a few ways you can do this. First, you can leave a body on the autopsy table (which, unfortunately, will not prevent the corpse from decaying). Second, you can refuse to fill the carrot box with carrots for the delivery donkey. Third, to prevent decay of the body while also keeping new corpses at bay, you can dig a grave, drop the body in it, then leave it uncovered.
While you may hesitate at first to burn the bodies, keep in mind that certain cooking or alchemy materials, like Salt and Ash, can only be obtained that way.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, the score of each grave you dig depends on the quality of the body you put in the ground. There will be some red skulls, and some white skulls. The red skulls are “bad” and the white skulls are “good”. With careful surgery skills, you can change the ratio to improve the body’s potential grave score by removing the right body parts. However, if you take out certain items, like organs, it will remove the red skulls altogether, causing the body’s potential grave score to plummet. The grave score can only be as high as the number of total skulls the body has.
To get the best body score, only remove the fat and blood. If you need other body parts and the body is just too deteriorated to provide a good grave score, consider burning it instead.
More detailed help can be found in our Dissection guide.
Consider dumping them in the river (warning: this may have consequences), or burning them via the Crematorium. You will still receive a Burial Certificate if you resort to cremation instead of burial.
This will happen once you’ve progressed far enough in upgrading the church based on your graveyard’s score, and once you’ve befriended the Inquisitor. You will need to complete his request for Fliers and Firewood.
This will become available after you speak with the Witch in the Swamp.
The swamp is a bit tricky but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have no problem identifying patches of land that you can or cannot travel through. The basic rule is, if it doesn’t look like you can walk through it, you can’t. The swathes of land you can navigate are wide and slightly lighter in color and will not contain sticks or stumps.
When you reach the swamp, head slightly south and work your way clockwise inward until you reach the Witch’s Hut. Remember to fix the bridge before heading back and you’ll never have to take the long walk through the swamp ever again.
Use six Wooden Planks, three Wooden Beams, and 10 Nails. If you can’t make them yourself but want to progress quicker through the game, visit the vendor in the north of The Village or the Blacksmith southwest of the Dead Horse. Try to have them in your inventory before ever heading out for The Swamp.
Ink and Paper are needed for at least two of the early missions in the game, but it will take awhile before you’re at the point where you can make Black Ink at the Church Workbench (which won’t be accessible until the church opens up after the initial graveyard challenge) so if you’re still in the early stages, purchase it from the Astrologer on the edge of town, who is there on the days of the calendar marked with a crescent moon. Be aware, however, that you will also need to buy quills to create Pen and Ink, and all of the items are expensive. Sell a few deeds from burying bodies to the Innkeeper on your way through town to make sure you have enough cash.
Paper can be made from the skin of corpses at the Church Workbench by turning it into Pigskin Paper, and then Clean Paper. The Ink that the Flyers need will not be immediately available, so you will need to purchase it from the Astrologer instead. Be aware that the Ink is very expensive, and you will need to specifically make or purchase the Pen and Ink, which also requires Quills, which can be bought from the Astrologer as well. Later, when you’re ready to make the Flyers, you’ll need to unlock them in the skill tree and make them at the Desk beneath the Church.
Ashes are necessary for Ink, while Salt is used in Cooking and Alchemy. You will also need Salt to complete an early mission with the Merchant. Both of these can be obtained by building a Crematorium south of the church and burning corpses instead of burying them. Note that you will still receive a Burial Certificate for burning instead of burying.
You’ll need to first make Black Paint. You will also need Water, and Conical Flasks (which are made from Glass, which is made with River Sand and Water at the Furnace). Black Paint can be made with Ash and Oil (which can be rendered from Fat at the Vine Press). You can also use Water and Graphite Powder, or Death Powder and Water. This is done at the Alchemy Workbench. The Ink is made at the Church Workbench.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.