Dungeon delving is a jolly dangerous business. Some adventurers are lucky. Others are stupid while many are unprepared. Thus, the bones of countless adventurers lie mouldering far from the warmth of the sun.
With that in mind, and in no particular order, here are 25 tips to make your dungeon delving just a little bit safer.
- Noise attracts attention, and can kill you. Making a lot of noise in the depths of a dungeon is a bad idea.
- Light attracts attention. Many dungeon denizens don’t need light to see which puts them at a great advantage—and makes it a virtual certainty they’ll spot an approaching party of adventurers long before the adventurers spot them.
- Iron spikes are jolly useful. You can hold shut (or open) doors, pits and more. They can also be used to secure a climbing rope. However, hammering them into stone makes a tremendous amount of noise (see #1).
- Learn all you can about the dungeon before you go. Your foresight could ensure you have just the right piece of equipment or weapon—which could save your life.
- Always carry a coil of rope. It has literally thousands of uses.
- Only adventure with people you trust. You are entering a lethal environment—you need to be able to rely on your companions.
- Always carry a dagger—even if you are not skilled in its use. Daggers are easily concealable, light and great for using while in a tight space, being grappled or under water. You can also use them as a missile weapon and they cut rope (see #5).
- Never wander off on your own.
- Never steal from your companions.
- When resting, always set a watch. It might save your life.
- If a party member dies, 9 times out of 10 your objective should immediately change to getting out of the dungeon.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.
- If it looks like a trap, charging into it may not be the best option.
- Unless you can see in the dark, always have a backup light source. If you can’t see, you are easy prey for the dungeon denizens that can see in the dark (and that’s most of them!)
- Oil has many uses beyond fuelling lanterns. Flaming oil can injure foes, while oil pooled on the floor can cause enemies to slip and fall. Oil can also be used to stop door hinges and the like squeaking (see #1) when opened.
- Know your role in the group and stick to it.
- For a delve, always have a goal or objective. Knowing what you are trying to achieve helps you to prepare.
- Fighting in water more than a couple of feet deep is almost always a bad idea.
- Always make a map. It doesn’t have to be super accurate or a work of art, but it does need to be good enough for you to find your way about. It might also help you spot secret doors, hidden areas and more.
- Never split the party.
- Expect things to go wrong. Have a plan for when they do.
- You don’t have to kill everything. Sometimes, diplomacy or stealth is the best option.
- Fighting while climbing is almost always a bad idea.
- Teamwork is your most important skill; practise it rigorously.
- Running away is a good skill to develop. Sometimes you are outmatched and if you fight you will die. You can always come back later for revenge. See here for more on running away.
- More Principles of Successful Adventuring
- Principles of Successful Adventuring
- Run Away! Run Away!
- The 10 Commandments of Dungeon Delving
Do you have more tips for the adventurers in your life? Share them in the comments below and help more PCs survive their quests! Help me get to 100 tips!