In Stellaris, space can be a dangerous place. You have just as much chance of falling into the cockpit of an experimental research vessel as cracking a sun like an egg and birthing a dimensional horror into your solar system. One of the more ominous events is the “Unexpected Mineral Seams” event, a chain with a very small chance of firing. It pushes you to keep digging into your planet for greater rewards but also has the vaguest idea of a threat lurking beneath the surface as it asks you for ever-increasing costs. While that threat is very real, this guide (and a lot of preparation) should ensure your victory if you happen to dig too deep.
Before You Begin: Choosing the Subterranean Origin
To get the most out of Unexpected Mineral Seams, you have to start with character creation. When you create your star-faring culture, make sure to take the “Subterranean” origin. This is an interesting alternate start that means your people were driven belowground and made their homes in the caves beneath a planet’s surface. If you don’t have it, don’t worry. The worst that’ll happen is you’ll stop the event chain early with some nice planetary modifiers for mineral production.
Getting any specific event to fire in Stellaris is difficult, but Unexpected Mineral Seams is even trickier. It’s an event with an incredibly small chance of firing, and you won’t even realize it’s fired until two or three (in-game) years after you set up all the conditions. So don’t worry too much, as with any event in the game, the uncertainty that you’ll trip the right flags and RNG will be in your favor are all part of the fun. Just keep an eye on your planets and stay hopeful.
Colonize A Planet
The first step in the chain is to colonize as many planets as you can. The event fires roughly two or three years (according to the wiki) after the founding of a colony with no mineral modifiers (Poor-Quality Minerals, High-Quality Minerals, or Exceptional-Quality Minerals). So get your little cave-dwellers to hoover up as much real estate as possible. After all, the more planets you colonize, the more chances you have for any event.
Since you won’t even know you’ve fired the event until roughly thirty months after you colonize a planet, it makes sense to colonize all the planets you can and increase your chances. So stockpile those resources and spread your empire all throughout the galaxy. It’ll also pay later in the quest chain if you beef up your defense armies on the planet, so when the quest pops, start pouring anything you can into planetary defense. You’ll see why.
Pay 1000 Energy To Start Digging
When the event chain finally pops up on screen, you’ll have two choices. The first is simple: all you have to do is just not grant funding when you’re asked to dig deeper. This immediately ends the event chain and grants the planet the “Ore-Rich Caverns” modifier, and that’s it. You won’t get another chance at the event, so hopefully you have the energy stockpiled to fund further expeditions into the mineral seams. This will then lead to the “Deep Veins” event after roughly ninety days.
Keep Digging, Until You Feel Something
At this point and after another 90-120 days, you have another decision to make. Either pay another 1.5k in energy costs, or alternately stop where you are with a planet full of high-quality minerals. If you somehow ended up with the event but didn’t take the Subterranean origin, it’s still worth paying the 1500 in energy credits, as your planet will get the “Ore-Rich Caverns” modifier and “Exceptional Quality Minerals.” This will also stop the event chain above the surface. For the truly weird parts of the quest chain (and really, that’s why we all play Stellaris, so we can have tales of happy fungoids building a death laser and whatnot), your empire has to dig deeper. When the “More Ore” popup comes up, make sure you have 2000 energy credits and keep digging for treasure.
You Live And Die By The Crystals
After another 90 days, you need a few things, so get ready. When the “Fiery Crystals” popup appears, it gives you another choice to continue funding your mining efforts to the tune of 2500 crystals, or stop. At this point, you can actually stop— saving yourself the 2500 energy doesn’t end the quest, and you’ll get another set of choices further down the line.
Either way, you’ll need a lot of defensive armies trained, a significant fleet presence in orbit, and a ton of assault troops ready to drop to the surface just to help seal the deal, otherwise there’s a decent chance you’ll deal with a powerful occupation by enemy forces.
It’s a lot safer at this point to save your money and let the event chain continue rather than risk fighting an incredibly powerful eldritch abomination within ninety days, but if you have the money, troops, and ships that you can easily expend, you can certainly wake up and choose violence. If that’s the case and you want to take the rougher, less recommended choice (for your trouble, you do get several modifiers: Ore-Rich Caverns, two Crystalline Caverns, and one Exceptional Quality Minerals), skip the next section and go right to “The Price of Greed.”
The Safe Route
If you decided to play it safe, you’ll have roughly 3000 days before the next event on the chain fires. This will give you a huge runway and enough time to decide if you want to see the whole thing through. Unsurprisingly, this is also the recommended choice. That event, “Unusual Happenings,” is the final “are you sure you want to do this” check before the mass destruction begins. If you want to pull out now, you’ll lose the modifiers currently on your planet. You also won’t wake up the eldritch abomination. If you just want to end the event chain here, pick “Safety First,” and the event chain will end. But if you really want to see this thing all the way to the end, then pick “it’s probably nothing” and spend every second before you see “The Price of Greed” pop up getting ready.
The Price Of Greed: Fighting The Crystalline Entity
Here’s where it gets nasty. Either 90 days (if you decided to fund more mining efforts into the caves) or 1000 days (if you decided to play it safe and keep your money), “The Price of Greed” pops and a crystalline entity wakes up on your planet. There’s no way to say it, this thing is deadly. “12k in troops might not be enough” levels of deadly. Chances are, your garrisons even with all the preparation we recommended aren’t going to be enough at first, but here’s the strategy our sources recommend:
- Make sure that you devote several nearby planets solely to pumping out assault armies. The accounts of the Crystalline Entity going down mark it as about 15k worth of military power, so you will need to commit just about all the troops you have to a hopeless battle against a giant angry piece of rock candy
- Because said giant angry piece of rock candy can swing for 2,000 morale damage, it’s useful to put troops in its path that don’t tend to have morale— now’s the time to dust off those xenomorphs, titans, and especially robot armies, who don’t suffer morale the way your sapient troops do.
- And as always, nuke the site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure. Seriously, though, have a fleet in orbit bombarding this thing as it tries to tear through your city. It might not take the thing down for good, but it’ll help your armies put a serious hurting on it and might make a long battle easier
Regardless of how well you prepare for horrifying crystalline doom, though, understand that this is going to be a grueling battle, as the Crystalline Entity puts up a massive fight even against prepared and relatively advanced empires. Many accounts of the fight against the Crystalline Entity have the fight finishing while drop pods are still heading towards the planet to take the creature out. Should you finish, though…
Rest On Your Laurels
In total, should you finally defeat the thing and not just leave it to rampage indiscriminately over your hills and valleys, you have quite the reward waiting for you. Not only do you get the “Crystalline Remains” planetary modifier added permanently to your planet along with all the others, but you gain a significant (if randomly generated) amount of Unity and, if played on the Ironman setting, the “Underlord” achievement. It’s hard-won, but entirely worth it.
For more help with enigmatic and difficult Stellaris events, check out How to Kill Stellar the Devourer and What to Study as well as our Stellaris Enigmatic Fortress Guide