The main currency in Terraria is coins, with copper, silver, gold, and platinum coins. 100 copper coins are worth 1 silver coin, 100 silver coins are worth 1 gold coin, and so forth.

Despite coins being the main currency, there is also another, more exclusive currency. This currency is Defender Medals, and the purpose of this guide is to explain how to get Defender Medals in Terraria.

Defender Medals are much more difficult to get than the standard coinage, and can even prove a challenge for the late game.

Having said this, the rewards for obtaining Defender Medals are worth the challenge. 

What Are Defender Medals Used For?

Defender medals can be used to purchase exclusive items and equipment from the Tavernkeep NPC.

The Tavernkeep NPC has a shop for Defender Medals. Different items are unlocked in the shop as you progress through the game; there are two progression landmarks that the Tavernkeep’s shop is affected by.

These landmarks are defeating a mechanical boss and defeating Golem. After beating these bosses, new items will have become available at the Tavernkeep’s shop.

There are six items in the Tavernkeep’s shop that don’t require Defender Medals – instead, they require the standard currency in Terraria: coins.

Defender Medals are also used to purchase items that are predominantly utilized during the Old One’s Army such as the Ballista Rod, Cane, and Staff.

ballistic rod cane staff

Obtaining Defender Medals

The Tavernkeep NPC must be a part of the town to be able to acquire Defender Medals. You can add this NPC to your town by finding him as an “Unconscious Man” lying on the ground and talking to him. He can be found at any layer. 

Like other NPCs discovered in the world, talking to him will allow him to spawn into an available house the following day. He will also respawn if killed.

The Eater of Worlds or Brain of Cthulhu must have been defeated to be able to find him in the world. 

You can receive 5 Defender Medals by talking to him for the first time once he has moved into your town.

The majority of his items are bought with Defender Medals, however, there are a few items that are bought with coins. The availability of some of these items is affected by certain criteria.

Ale and the Eternia Crystal Stand are always available. The Eternia Crystals are available firstly before defeating a mechanical boss, secondly after defeating at least one mechanical boss (and before Golem), and finally after defeating Golem.

Defender medals are obtainable by progressing through the Old One’s Army. The Old One’s Army is an event that is triggered by placing an Eternia Crystal on an Eternia Crystal Stand. 

The different Eternia Crystals determine the difficulty of the Old One’s Army – getting more difficult in the order of bosses defeated. For example, the Eternia Crystal used after defeating Golem will spawn the most difficult Old One’s Army.

When the event is triggered, two portals will appear on either side of the crystal. From these portals, enemies will spawn in waves, in an attempt to destroy the crystal.

You must defeat these waves – which get progressively more difficult – in order to protect the crystal. If the enemies destroy the crystal, the event ends.

For defeating the first waves, you will get Etherian Mana, however, defeating the later waves yields Defender Medals. Additionally, the amount of Defender Medals is determined by the difficulty of the Old One’s Army.

When the Old One’s Army is defeated, Defender Medals will drop from the Eternia Crystal. The maximum number of Defender Medals you can get per Old One’s Army is:

  • Pre-mechanical boss – 5 Defender Medals
  • After killing one mechanical boss – 25 Defender Medals
  • Post-Golem – 100 Defender Medals

It is also important to note that defeating the last wave rewards you with the most Defender Medals.

Betsy is a boss that will spawn in the last wave of the tier 3 (post-Golem) Old One’s Army. When killed in expert mode, Betsy will drop a Treasure Bag that will give an additional 30-49 Defender Medals.

Tips For Defeating The Old One’s Army

Defeating the Old One’s Army is a very challenging task – particularly post-Golem. It is therefore recommended to fully prepare for such a challenge.

One of the best things you can do to prepare for any boss or event, including the Old One’s Army, is build a flat platform to battle on. This is because any obstructions in mobility could be detrimental to your success. 

The portals will spawn a maximum of 120 horizontal tiles away from the Eternia Crystal, each side. Therefore, it’s advisable to build a platform of 125-150 tiles on either side of the Eternia Crystal Stand. The platform cannot have holes wider than 1 tile. Additionally, there must be a minimum of 10 tiles of vertical space between the platform and the ceiling (if there is one). 

Buffs are an essential part of Terraria – especially for bosses and events. The best buffs for fighting the Old One’s Army are Ironskin, Endurance, Well Fed (or Plenty Satisfied/Exquisitely Stuffed if possible), Swiftness, and Wrath/Rage. 

Each of these buffs can be granted using potions of the respective name, except Well Fed, Plenty Satisfied, or Exquisitely Stuffed. These are granted using different food items. 

It is important not to use the buffs straight away, as they will run out as you progress further in the event. Use the buffs at the start of wave 4, as they will help you through the more difficult waves.

Campfires and heart statues are recommended for the event, as they will help keep your health up. If your class setup is minion-based it is best to also have a Bewitching Table to increase your maximum number of minions.

Health potions and mana potions are crucial. Ensure that they are bound to hotkeys you are comfortable with. Using a hotkey for potions will use them, regardless of their location in your hotbar or inventory.

When fighting the Old One’s Army, it’s a good idea to utilize sentries. The Ballista Rod can be purchased from the Tavernkeep for 5 Defender Medals (you will receive 5 Defender Medals for talking to him for the first time). It’s a fantastic weapon for your first attempt at the Old One’s Army.

During the event, Etherian Mana can be collected. Etherian Mana allows multiple Ballistas to be placed, the duration of which is permanent (until the event is over). Etherian Mana is only usable during the Old One’s Army.

During the early-game (early-game is generally considered pre-hardmode), make sure you stay near the Eternia Crystal. This is because, in the early-game, mobility is typically very limited. 


Overall Defender Medals are an interesting currency, exclusive to the Old One’s Army and only spendable at the Tavernkeep’s shop. They give access to a wide variety of different items and equipment – some is purely aesthetic, whereas some is practical. Regardless of their uses, they are a great addition to the game and add a nice tower-defense-like aspect to Terraria.