Descent to the Core proved to be frustrating after awhile, so I tried several other "quest/adventure" modpacks that were offered in the Curse interface.
The Regrowth modpack is the one I've liked best so far, though the first time I started it I quit after a few minutes since the regular recipes I was used to didn't seem to work. After reading some of the items on the Reddit Minecraft subreddit, I felt a little less lost and hit it again.
One thing that I really liked about the Regrowth modpack was the scenario setup - waking up in a bleak desert and trying to make a go of things. You've got some type amnesia and don't quite remember how things work. Your adventure book is a bit of help - and if you've ever wanted to learn some of the modpacks (thaumcraft, Mariculture) or explore these interesting mods, this is a good way to do it.
As a new Minecraft player, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out things since I have experience with only a few modpacks. The Internet was surprisingly little help. While there was some information on the Wikis, a lot of it was in videos. I find it annoying ot have to sit through 20 minutes of a video just to try and find out what fuel to feed the Hobbyist Steam Engine (more often than not, the video didn't actually have what I needed.)
So this blog is just a compilation of notes that I made as I went along. I started out knowing only basic Minecraft and a bit of Tinker's mods.
In The Beginning:
I made the crafting table, sword, mattock, and shovel (and hid the shovel since the mattock does double-duty) and headed out to get thoroughly lost. West is a good direction. Lets you know how long you've got before something wants to add you to the dinner menu.
This is a really bleak landscape and it's easy to get lost. I got lost lots. I carried a stack of cracked sand with me (20 high) and when night came, I'd build myself a nice pillar and wait till morning.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR AS YOU EXPLORE:
Stonehenge circles - they're inhabited (often) by one hostile witch - BUT inside the circle is a lot of dirt (that you'll need.) When digging around the altar, you'll find two monster spawners with witches (use your pickaxe to break them). Underneath the rock altar is a treasure chest with goodies (some useful, some not) that you can take or leave.
Hobgoblin houses; These guys are neutral (sort of "isolated villagers") and trade - but as with villagers, they often offer trades you can't use - or don't have the currency for. Help yourself to the cauldron, share the house as a temporary safe space, and if they have a chicken, collect feathers.
Beehives: you won't be able to collect them until you have lots of cotton for a scoop. (I'll talk about bees later)
Big Straw Men: These wicker men figures are made up of about 20 bales of hay, each one made up of nine sheaves of wheat. That's food for quite awhile and seeds for planting. Collect the flowers and dirt at their feet. Under one foot is a monster spawner with zombies.
Ruined farmhouses - I didn't find this useful as a base - too limited. They have a garden with alkaline soil and fence. Collect the fence to use later. Down in the basement is a lot of easy wood, the structure is the source of a lot of burned wood (for charcoal) and they very generously have two furnaces that you can help yourself to.
Dungeon - Big structure with flaming pots in front. Once you have metal armor, it's a great place to find treasures (the dispensers make good "hold this stuff that I will need to craft THIS thing" items) and it's a good place to find lots and lots and lots of bones and string. And when you need that "congealed blood" because you're trying to make a rune that requires slimes or blood, this is the best place to get Rotten Flesh (which you throw in the smelter and turn into blood.) Rotten Flesh thrown into mana pools also gives leather. I find these dungeons more fun than the mines in Minecraft.
Finding A Place To Live Make a first base but plan on moving - AFTER you get sugarcane so you can make paper and start crafting maps (no sense in wandering around the landscape only to end up back at the same place.) Your best final location is on the ocean with lava close and one of those big oil fountains somewhere nearby. And try to pick someplace with beehives somewhere near. I avoid islands (not enough resources.)
My strategy was to build a walkway out into the ocean itself and start my build from there. I put a layer of cracked sand one block down so that all around my house the water is "waist deep." This is useful if you decide to build a greenhouse room (you don't have to haul in all the water... you just have to set the dirt down.) I keep it modular (build up, build out in sections that have walls) which seems to keep the mobs down. I can then place rooms above the water - so when I put down my Petal Apothecary stone construct, I set it up next to a trap door. When I need water for a flower construct, I just flip open the trap door and haul up a bucket of water.
One of the best advice that I got from another site was to build a composter early so you can mix up fertile soil for your crops.
BOATS: Make the speed boat as soon as you can. Boats in this mod are extremely unreliable - they might carry you for a day or they might collapse within a minute of you sitting down in it.
Best source of food: fishing. Use the standard 3 sticks, 2 strings and toss your line out. Fish will strike within a 30 seconds or less (usually). Fish in an area of shallow water (or make one in your fortress - hip deep ) because they don't always land in your inventory. Fishing in shallow water makes it easy to retrieve the fish.
Collect charcoal and craft some of it into blocks. When you start the process to get diamond seeds, you will need 48 blocks of charcoal and you won't believe how annoying it is to try and get 480 pieces of charcoal together all at once. Start early.
Start breeding plants early. Breed sugarcane and then breed mandrakes and dandelions. It's a rather Byzantine process breeding common flowers to get mystical flowers but it's well worth it even though they don't always cross perfectly the first time. There are some processes that require 48 petals of one type, and if you're trying to get them by tossing out Floral Fertilizer, you will spend a lot more time and effort on that than if you'd just bred the flowers in the first place. Ssave at least one seed (but not more than three) of everything - the exception is Experience Seeds (you can make them with seeds from wheat if you have a mana pool...but in the earliest days you may not have one.)
FLOWERS TO GROW:
Breed three Snowbells (so when you have to do the Rune of Winter, you have snow available.)
Create the Endoflame. Yes, I know you're supposed to get mana from other plants but they have an annoying way of dying after a few days. The Endoflame sits there until you throw charcoal, coal, or wood at it (I use charcoal and coal) - when fired up, it produces a nice burst of mana. A field of about 12 plants will give you enough mana to "cook" your runes in less than 3 minutes.
Beegonia - if you've got beehives you'll end up with too many drones. You can turn an unnecessary drone into useful mana.
Mystical Flowers to grow
You'll need all of them, but the Green, the Black, the Brown, the Cyan are the ones that need more petals.
When you get mutagen, three plants to look for are the Glint Weed, the Sakura Cherry sapling and the Rowan Tree. These appear as random chances; sometimes you get them on the first try, other times it takes many fertilizings to get one. Glint Weed living torch (that multiplies when you put it on sand or dirt, so you always have a supply of ready-made torches.) Sakura Cherry is a tree that drops lots and lots of saplings and has a lot of easy to reach salmon-colored wood - it's easy to get a stack of 15 or more from a single tree. You will also need Rowan saplings later on for potions, so keep on laying down mutagen.
Collect all the trees - I use them as road and section markers. You can see some of them from quite a distance - the Citrine Autumnal Tree, the Sakura Cherry and the woods are interesting and colorful
Build lighted trails and lighted waypoints. The dungeon I was clearing was a day's ride from my base (by boat). Marking the shoreline with Sakura cherry trees and glint weed (and the occasional flaming Netherrack) made it very easy to find in the dark.
One of the most important things to learn in the Regrowth Modpack is how to breed crops. Most of them can be simply ignored once you've bred them because they'll be used on only a few occasions. But there's a group of them that you'll want to breed up to "Perfect Ten" - seeds have three characteristics when you look at them under the analyzer. Ten is as high as you can get any of them).
* cotton. You need bags and wool and strings
* Essence Seeds - you won't believe how much of this you'll need. A group of 9 of the "Perfect ten" seeds was adequate until I got to the advanced seed
* Wheat. Three "Perfect Ten" seeds are all you will need to keep you fed.
* Coal seeds - bunches of it
* Diamond seeds
* Emerald seeds
* Redstone seeds
* Fire seeds (this makes buckets of lava!)
* Blaze seeds for Blaze rods. Nine of them makes a wonderful light.
While it's not necessary to breed the metals up to a perfect 10, it's a good idea to at least breed them up to a 4 or better.
Basic plant breeding layout:
Put down dirt in a 3x3 (nine blocks) pattern. For crossbreeding, use just 3 blocks (one row) in an A-X-B pattern (where A is one plant, X is a blank square with the double crop stick and B is your other plant.
Plant Layout for Raising Seed Levels (basically a 3x3 grid Plus sign with a blank middle):
0 A 0
A X A
0 A 0
...where A is the plant type you want to turn into perfect ten seeds, X is the cross crop sticks, and 0 is anything you want to put there (or put nothing there). Once the plant at X is growing, dig it up, analyze the seeds, and replace the lowest "A" plant you have. It takes a number of generations (8 or more) to get your perfect 10, but the effort's worth it.
Hey! You can spawn cows, sheep, pigs, (but not horses) ocelots, and a lot of other stuff. You can spawn eggs...but not chickens (however, throwing them at the ground produces the occasional chicken.) Build a nice, tight, secure barn first because the very first night your lovely creatures are out, zombies will hunt them down and eat them. If you use a cheat code (I did) to get a horse, use the one to spawn a tame zombie horse with saddle. Zombies leave it alone.
A HANDFUL OF TIPS FOR THE EARLY PART OF REGROWTH MODPACK
After awhile, I used the minecraft command to keep my inventory when I died. I'm playing for fun, not for constant hunting of the (sometimes hard to get) stuff that I just found.
ALWAYS make a wooden plate to put behind your door. That way your doors will automatically close when you walk out or in and keeps monsters out of your house even if you're not paying attention.
SAND - Can be hard to find. I had been playing for quite awhile before I discovered that if you put a bucket of water next to cracked sand on a crafting table, it turns into regular sand.
PASTURE SEEDS - I worried about getting those. Turns out that if you make shears (once you have iron) you can cut grass with the shears, throw that grass in a mana pool, and voila! All the pasture seeds you need.
...turned out to be difficult. You'll need your good speedboat. Look for oysters in a place with lots of shallows. I had little luck finding gas until I got to the "make incense" quest, when potions/incense of Night Vision and of Gills (seeing in dim places and breathing underwater) made the whole thing much better.