This is probably a dumb question, but I don't play survival very often, but just started my third Hardcore world. It's the furthest I've gotten so far and just made my first trip to the Nether to see if I'd have any luck with some Wart and Rods.
So I portal in, and climb over the first big NetherRack hill, and down below is a fortress.
Is this normal? Or are these things usually much harder to find? Lol. Thanks
They're not all that rare. I had my portal spawn inside a fortress once, and I've only gone to the nether in maybe half a dozen or a dozen different worlds. If you're just stumbling blindly through the nether, then yeah, it'll take a fair bit of luck, but they're not even all that hard to find if you know the trick (go east-west or diagonally to find the first one, not north-south. Once you've found one, head north or south from there to find more.)
There is no limit to the number of Nether Fortresses available in a given world. If you wander in a given direction for 10-15 minutes or so in the Nether, chances are you will stumble upon one sooner or later, though it's not uncommon to get unlucky to the point where you don't find any at all and end up ragejumping in lava.
As many have said, it isn't too rare. Often they appear more difficult to find because traversing the Nether can be a pain, but it isn't so bad. I ended up finding 3 in my hardcore world to grab Nether Brick for my Nether house, all within 2000ish blocks of each other. It is luck based, though. Sort of like finding a specific biome in the regular world.
Be cautious, though. Wither Skeletons and Blaze's knocking me into lava were the cause for 2 of my hardcore worlds getting deleted.
I'VEhad loads of issues in finding them too, best bet if you get desperate enough, copy your seed down and copy into another world(creative works best), and freely fly around the general area your portal sent you. I found one to get some blaze rods, but it didn't have any netherwart. Doesn't help that its 600 blocks or so away, but now im on the hunt for more. GL on finding one. P:
I've never failed to find one. My very first one was difficult to find, but after that it just seemed to be very easy to find one. Usually with one either in sight from the portal to even portalling right onto one. If your portal ends up in an area that has large formations of netherack these can really make it difficult to find a nether fortress.
I can relate to this dilemma a bit. I was searching around the nether for one for awhile and couldn't find one. At one point, when I began to focus on this particular dark region next to my spawn point, it dawned on me that I was looking right at the supports to a bridge that was part of a fortress. In closing, just keep looking, you'll find one eventually.
They're not rare at all. From the one that's about a 30 second minecart ride from my portal I can walk to 4 more within 90 seconds and a 6th that is about 30 seconds past the fifth. There's a seventh one that's semi-close but I didn't feel like making an easy way to get to it and swimming though lava sucks.
They're about as rare as abandoned mineshafts. The reason they're hard to find is because it's difficult moving around quickly in the nether, plus they can be difficult to spot (especially on low fog distances).