I'm a mom (and grandmother, for that matter) and I just started playing Minecraft because one of my granddaughters plays the game and I thought I could learn to interact with her online when I can't drive over to visit. And having once mastered it (and learned some of the cheat codes and where to find them), I got fairly good at Vanilla Minecraft. In fact, it got a bit boring.
Someone suggested I try a "modpack" and after a lot of hunting, I installed the Curse client (a different one than I use for my Warcraft gaming mods) and went off to look for a modpack.
"Journey to the Core" looked like a fun Minecraft mod. So I installed it, tried it (on hard mode), and kept dying. Then I tried it on 'normal' mode and kept dying in the second part. I refused to try it on 'peaceful', so I put the modpack on 'easy' (this is a misnomer, folks) and forged ahead. I tried looking at videos, but most of the dialogue was some young-ish guy making lame jokes and giving a travelogue of what he was seeing - after about an hour of watching, I came away with only two tips and a sense of frustration. Most of the videos for Journey seemed to stop with the second level, and the one that reached the third level was a team of three people.
I'm playing in standalone mode and it doesn't look like I'm becoming triplets any time soon. So I'm writing this, my own "tips for survival" for "Journey to the Core." No lame jokes, no music, no voiceover. Just ... notes (what a concept.)
This is a totally safe area (even on hard mode), so you can do what you like and not get eaten or killed. My first action is to hit the chest with my hand (breaking it apart so I can take it with me) and put on the backpack. I do NOT start reading the quest manual at that point. The manual will put lots of lovely quest rewards in your inventory - but you're starting out with a very short inventory and there's some things you might want later. I put the jelly sandwiches and root beer (and the chest) in the backpack and then I usually catch Gertrud with the safari net and put her in as well - don't forget the leash and the fencepost. This keeps her from wandering into your work area later.
Next, I punch the DEAD trees (not the live one.) Don't stand under them because the leaves fall hard and will hurt you. Collect leaves and wood and go into the cave and collect a mushroom or two and all the gravel on the top level (don't descend the ladder.) The last block of gravel (a "slope")will also give you a Carpenter's Wedge Slope. Save these wedges - they burn nicely in furnaces and save your valuable wood for other things. Once you've started the Journey to the Core, you won't be able to mine coal right away. Collect the mushrooms because they can be made into a food, and then and go back to the tree.
Beat up on the leaves (don't bother using pickaxes or sword or shovel) - but don't stand under the tree. Falling branches ("widowmakers") will hurt. Use the leaf blocks from the dead tree to boost yourself up to harvest all the wood. Around the tree in a "plus" pattern are six blocks of regular dirt. Take them.
Caution: when you're harvesting the tree, it may get dark. DO NOT PUT A TORCH ON THE TREE. It will burn the tree up and the leaves (and you!)
Next, beat up on the grass and evaluate the seeds. I only take two that will give "nourishing morsels." If you can find a soybean seed, take that one.
Finally, sacrifice one of your blocks of wood and make a Wooden Shears. Go to the vines without flowers and start harvesting them until your shears breaks. In the next section you'll need oxygen, and these vines will provide it. Get as many as you can.
Once they break (or you're tired of cutting vines), grab those discarded wood planks, collect all the torches in the area, and head into the cave. DO NOT WEAR A TORCH ON YOUR HEAD. That can set things on fire. Grab wedges, all the mushrooms you find, and all the gravel. You can beat things up using the torch - if it goes out, click on another item in your inventory and click on the torch again and the light will come back on.
By the time you reach the elevator, you'll hopefully have around 60 stacks of leaves, more than 11 torches, more than 10 Deadpine logs, more than 20 Oak logs, more than 5 saplings, at least one apple, and at least 20 wedges. Before you start the elevator descent to the core (you can't come back up) make sure that your leaves AND your pick are where you can reach them. I usually click with pick.
You will end up in one of 3 situations - a nice cavelet (best option), a space in the middle of the water (second best), or a darkened plane (dig downwards VERY very fast!)