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What do Effigies do in The Forest?

What do Effigies do in The Forest?

The Forest is a brutal survival game where you are stranded on an island infested with cannibals. Throughout your journey, you will be constantly looking over your shoulder in fear of running into one of these horrible mutants. However, there are ways of keeping the monsters in The Forest at bay using Effigies. What do Effigies do in the Forest? Let us find out.

Effigies are macabre structures in The Forest, made up of cannibals’ body parts, sticks, and rocks. The player can create them using the Survival guide, with the required materials, and place them wherever they want to create a zone of safety from any cannibals ready to attack them.

Once built, Effigies need to be set on fire for the effect on cannibals to occur otherwise they won’t work. The duration and radius of the effect will depend upon the type of Effigy you have built.

Effigies in The Forest


Effigies are player-made structures made out of body parts harvested from cannibals along with sticks and rocks. They are used to mark safe territories for the player from any incoming cannibal attacks. Effigies need to be lit with fire for the effect to commence. Unlit effigies have no effect. You can also place them as decorations if you want.


You can build them using the Survival Guide which will include 4 different types of effigies (more on this later). Your sanity level has to be lower than 90% to be able to build effigies. The materials required to create them depend upon the effigy you chose. The choice of the effigy will also impact their radius and duration.

Effigy’s Affect

Effigy affect

Effigies’ primary purpose is to cause fear in any cannibal out to get you. It functions similarly to how red paint works. A burning effigy will strike fear in most cannibals, causing them to avoid players standing in its radius.

However, you CAN NOT completely rely on this safety. There are instances where cannibals will ignore the effect and still attack you. The developers of The Forest have intentionally designed the enemy AI always to keep you on your toes. By doing so they have ensured that you can never totally predict cannibal behavior which in turn keeps the dreadful immersion of the game intact. This can get frustrating for the player sometimes so you are duly warned.

Cannibals react to burning effigies differently:

  • They may approach a burning effigy with caution.
  • They may run away from it,
  • They can even ignore the effigy entirely.
  • If the player approaches the cannibals, then they will often attack despite the burning effigy as approaching cannibals will be considered an act of aggression.
  • Killing female cannibals in front of male cannibals will make the latter more aggressive thus easily ignoring any effigies in the area.
  • Attacking a member of a cannibal patrol will also make the rest of them more aggressive.

Developer’s Note on Effigy Behavior

The Forest’s developers have given some responses to players asking about how Effigies work:

We don’t want to spell out exactly how the ai works, but for aggression there are lots of different triggers that can affect how they behave. Getting too close, killing females in front of male members and being in certain parts of the map can all change how aggressive they are.

And there is always some ‘fuzziness’ built into the AI, so they don’t always do the same thing each time.

The Forest Developers

Read the next comment to get an approximation of the effigy’s effect radius:

They (Effigies) do not make them (Cannibals) Flee, however they do keep them away from the effigy up to a certain radius. Small Effigies are about a few feet, Medium a bit more, Large Approx 10 feet, and Custom effigies should scale to a degree depending on how many body parts are on it.

These are most effective for temporarily driving them back from you for a moment of respite(they shouldn’t attack you in the radius unless you antagonize them further), or filling gaps in your walls and defenses if they are damaged or not yet ready.

The Forest Developers

Attacking the individual or a member of a patrol at the time while it is lit, will cause those mutants to potentially attack back, and charge you even in the Effigy’s radius. They will usually back out of it though.

The Forest Developers

Effigy Types

There are four different types of Effigies that the player can build in The Forest:

Small Effigy

Small Effigy

The Small Effigy is the cheapest of the bunch. You can potentially create it only by harvesting parts from 3 cannibals. It burns for 10 minutes and breaks into 5 bones, 3 skulls, and 3 rocks.

Materials required:

  • 4 Sticks
  • 3 Rocks
  • 3 Arms
  • 2 Legs
  • 3 Heads

Large Effigy

Large Effigy

Large Effigies aka Big Effigies are the most expensive effigy a player could build. It burns for 20 minutes and breaks into 14 bones, 9 skulls, and 6 rocks.

Materials required:

  • 10 Sticks
  • 6 Rocks
  • 9 Arms
  • 4 Legs
  • 9 Heads

Related: The Forest All Cave Locations, Item Guide, Best Order


Arm Effigy

Arm Effigy

Arm Effigy is made entirely out of arms including some rocks and sticks for structure. It burns for 10 minutes and breaks into 7 bones and 3 rocks.

Materials required:

  • 4 Sticks
  • 3 Rocks
  • 7 Arms

Custom Effigy

Custom Effigy

The Custom Effigy is a fully customizable effigy that the player can use to create all sorts of weird designs. Looking at the picture above, Custom Effigy does not seem like much but that is the base structure required to build upon. We’ll showcase some custom effigy designs from the community below.

The Custom Effigy has quite a robust system to create designs so it is up to the player to make it as simple or as complex as they can. Additional parts can be Once the base is crafted you can add parts to it, making it more effective.

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Base Materials required:

  • 2 Sticks
  • 3 Rocks
  • The following items can then be added to create your custom effigy:
    • Arm
    • Leg
    • Head
    • Torso
    • Skull
    • Bone
    • Stick

Custom Effigy Burn Time

The number and types of items attached to the Custom Effigy will determine its burning time. It burns for 10 minutes but additional Arms, Legs, Head, Skull, or Bone will increase its burning time by 65 seconds each, and Torso will increase its burning time by 50 seconds.

As a result, the Custom Effigy is the most cost-effective effigy in the game if utilized effectively. While Arm Effigy burns for only 10 minutes, Custom effigy with the same amount of materials burns for 17:35 minutes.

The “cheapest” effigy can be built with 10 bones and/or skulls and will burn for 20 minutes (same as an expensive Large effigy).

The maximum burning time for this effigy is 20 minutes, so adding many materials is unnecessary if you are going for effectiveness.

Effigies are a handy tool to get some respite from pursuing cannibals. However, you can not rely on them exclusively for safety. Effigies are great for decorating purposes, especially if you are into creating a gruesome piece of art.

Effigies can also cover any area of your base that might be under construction and lack perimeter walls.