How to Complete the ‘A Curious Substance’ Quest in Stardew Valley


Melizza Jane Tacang

Writer and Storywriter

Melizza is a part-time writer for PlayerAssist and a full-time mom. When she's not fussing over her kids, she writes game guides on cozy simulation games like Stardew Valley and The Sims 4. She's mostly seen playing cute indie games on her laptop and Nintendo Switch. Melizza also likes revisiting her childhood survival horror games and classic RPGs because she's a sucker for nostalgia. Aside from video games, Melizza is also into anime, philosophy, true crime, and Pedro Pascal.


Learn how to complete the “A Curious Substance” quest in Stardew Valley!

How to Complete the 'A Curious Substance' Quest in Stardew Valley

A Curious Substance‘ is a quest by the Wizard that will require players to find a rare monster drop called Ectoplasm. Here is what you must do to complete the quest and unlock a new crafting recipe.

The Wizard is an NPC in Stardew Valley who always seeks out strange objects. Items like Prismatic Jelly, Void Essence, or the Dark Talisman are pertinent to his arcane pursuits. Since he had his hands full with being the secret guardian of the valley, he had no time for laborious tasks like caving, diving, and fighting mobs for loot.

It can be challenging to look for an item with a low drop rate, but with enough preparation, you can complete the quest with minimal effort.

Quest Requirements

The Wizard’s quest can be found on the Special Order board. It is situated south of the Mayor’s House and across the bridge that leads to the Beach. The Special Order board is unlocked once you encounter a cutscene in the town square after reaching Fall 2 in your first year.


Unlocking Ginger Island is not required to get this quest. However, an enemy type carrying Ectoplasm will only appear during or after finishing the Danger in the Deep challenge. You can find Qi’s challenge when you access the board in the Walnut Room on Ginger Island.

After accepting the Wizard’s quest, he will give you seven days to fetch one Ectoplasm. You can only acquire this item while the quest is active, as it will disappear after you complete the task.

Completing the ‘A Curious Substance’ Quest in Stardew Valley

An ectoplasm is an item dropped by Ghosts. Ghosts have two other variants: Carbon Ghosts and Putrid Ghosts. There is only a 9.5% chance for Ghosts to drop an Ectoplasm. Here are some quick tips on how to raise your chances of obtaining one:

Equip a Heavy Weapon

ACS Gavel

As we all know, players need to be armed when hunting monsters. But considering the nature of your enemy, you must also know what kind of weapon to take with you. A Heavy Weapon like a Hammer is the best pick when killing Ghosts.

In this game, Ghosts behave like typical aerial monsters that go through walls. Ghosts are much slower than cave bugs or bats but have high HP. Unfortunately, they can be quite troublesome to kill. 

When you attack Ghosts, they get knocked back too far, even if you hit them with a sword or a dagger. You will have to wait in place patiently before you can strike them down. Moreover, they can teleport somewhere random on a floor when they attack by flying through you.

Using a heavy weapon that can inflict much damage takes down Ghosts faster, especially if you hit them with special attacks (right-click button on PC.)

Bring Rations


Ghosts do not deal much damage, but you must consider the other stronger and sturdier enemies surrounding them. When you get beaten up, the logical thing to do is to replenish your health before you pass out.

Try to make lots of Pumpkin Soup, as it can grant you +2 Luck and help you recover a good amount of health. Plus, it is not that expensive to make. You will only need 1 Pumpkin and 1 Milk to cook a healthy, nutritious Pumpkin Soup.

Apply Monster Musk


Monster Musk is a consumable item you can use to lure enemies. Spraying yourself with Monster Musk can make a horde of baddies come after you on every floor. Monster Musk will wear off after a few in-game minutes like all consumable items with temporary stat effects.

You can obtain this item’s crafting recipe after completing another Wizard quest, ‘The Prismatic Jelly.’

Ghost Locations

After preparing your battle gear, you may begin your quest to look for the elusive Ectoplasm. You can go after the basic Ghosts that do not pose too much of a threat. But if you are an advanced player, you can pursue the stronger variants of Ghosts that are much more difficult to kill. Here are all the types of Ghosts you can encounter in the game:


The first type of Ghost is the one that spawns on floors 51 to 79 in the Mines. Ghosts are a shy bunch, but they begin to appear frequently on floor 61.

A good, efficient strategy is to check if you see Ghosts in a room before exploring the area. You can zoom out the camera when you enter a level, and if you do not see a Ghost, exit the dungeons and return to the 61st floor. Ghosts can also appear in Skull Cavern, on floors infested with Mummies.

Carbon Ghost

Carbon Ghosts can be found in Skull Cavern. These translucent mobs are the stronger version of basic Ghosts. Therefore, they can take a lot of damage. If you have completed the Danger in the Deep quest and activated the Shrine of Challenge, Carbon Ghosts can spawn from the 31st to 39th levels in the Mines.

Read: How to Get Dinosaur Eggs in Stardew Valley

Putrid Ghost

Putrid Ghosts are another type of Ghost that spring up on floors 51 to 69 in the Mines after activating the Shrine of Challenge. Their attack power does not differ much from Carbon Ghosts, but they have a very high HP. Apart from being tough, when they attack, they can also inflict the Nauseated status debuff that makes you reject all food items and, thus, prevent you from healing.

A Curious Substance” Quest Stardew Valley Rewards

ACS Rewards

Once you successfully collect an Ectoplasm from a fallen Ghost, you can hand it to the Wizard in his usual hangout, the Wizard’s Tower. You will receive 2,500 Gold and a crafting recipe for the Mini-Obelisk as a reward for doing him a favor.

And that is all you need to do to complete the ‘A Curious Substance’ quest. More fun and challenging quests are waiting to be fulfilled in Stardew Valley, so take on more quests to earn more valuable rewards!

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