Adventurer’s Blog: Dungeoneering 101

I do not own this image

So you’ve come to learn how to be an Adventurer, have you?Wonderful! Before you even decide which abandoned ruin to travel to, you need to be able to choose the right people for the right job. An adventuring party that is able to work together will be able to accomplish many things before death! Some people, however, are just not the most intelligent, wise, or pleasant beings to be around. Let’s discuss some types of adventurer’s to watch out for, and if you encounter any of them then we’ll discuss what you can do to potentially correct the issue.

There are different types of adventurers out there, some of them are not desirable to journey with due to their disregard for others safety. The Eager (or Greedy) Beaver is the type to rush into the dungeon without thinking about what may lie ahead, endangering the party and leaving the Rogue without a job. A great way to deal with this problem is to just let the thick-headed brute do what she wants. If she dies then that’s one less adventurer to pay. If she doesn’t, then maybe she’ll have learned her lesson. Of course you can always try talking to her, that might work too. If it doesn’t though, then I recommend using the first method. She’ll usually set off a number of traps before she succumbs, this can be quite comedic. If this adventurer is the leader of the party and “the talk” doesn’t work then it’s probably time for a new leader.

One of the less annoying, but equally as dangerous, adventurer archetypes is the Shy Adventurer: She plays her part well in the dungeon but might have a difficult time interacting with the party or voicing her opinion when the party is making the decision of which tunnel to go down. If she knows which tunnel to go down but omits the information because she’s too afraid to say something that is contrary to what an intimidating party member wants to do, then the party could end up choosing the wrong tunnel resulting in a Total Party Kill. If this happens then the fault is equally distributed. An easy way to solve this problem is to be 
welcoming towards this adventurer: ask her about her interests, where she comes from, or what her culture is like. This will make the adventurer feel safe and help her to open up and voice any information she may have.

Then there’s the Shopaholic: this adventurer can have grand schemes in her mind which only come to fruition in town and can only be accomplished by talking to all of the shop vendors and merchants in order to obtain all of the desired materials. When the party is ready to go and they are held up by one member’s diabolical plan to purchase all the mirrors in town then even the most patient of adventurers will soon be grinding her teeth. One way of dealing with this situation would be to give this adventurer a limited amount of funds and nominate someone else to be the treasurer for the party. If this is not enough and this adventurer still wastes the party’s time then give her a time limit: if she does not meet you at the city’s gate by [insert time of day here] then you will leave her behind. If this does not work then as a last resort you could talk to her about the issue, I guess.

Once you’ve chosen the best of the best, it’s time to go adventuring! Once you’re at your location, but before you delve the dungeon, you and your party should rest up. While you’re at it you’ll want to make camp, since you’ll be resting here if you return.

After a nice rest from traveling, you’re ready to determine who will be at the front of the marching order. This is incredibly important as the person in front keeps an eye out for traps, and if she finds any she disables them. The adventurer with the keenest senses is usually the Rogue. While she may not be the most trustworthy once you’ve entered the treasure room, you can be sure to count on her to get you there! The second most important person in the marching order is the last person: she doesn’t have to be a Rogue but she better be able to hear that boulder careening towards you or else she is no good. With these adventurers en pointe (that’s Elvish for “on the lookout”) you have decided between success and death before you even put your boot past the threshold!

I do not own this image

Now you finally get to make your way through the dungeon. While exploring larger dungeons it is very important for your party to contain someone that can draw maps. For smaller dungeons you can get by without one, though some dungeons can be deceiving and open up once you’re inside only to continue down into the earth. Once you’ve hit an Underdark cavern then you know you’ve gone too far. You can usually tell when you’ve reached one by the perpetual smell of death and mildew. In case of any unplanned situations, your party should have someone who is able to draw maps.

After you’ve explored a few of the rooms you’ll likely have encountered a few of the local residents. No doubt your front line Fighter will have taken care of 
them, that’s her only job after all,but she’ll have taken a few nicks and scrapes herself. Your friendly on-duty Cleric will have her feeling tip-top in no time at
all! The Cleric is the residential healer of the team and turns a battle away from being a TPK. Make sure you have one.

Alright, so you’ve fought some monsters! You might have even found a magic item or two! Not usually though, usually it’s just one. You’re probably itching to try it out before you leave the dungeon. In that case you’ll need someone who can appraise magical items! If you were able to convince a Wizard to come along then after a short time she should be able to identify the item for you and you’ll have a brand new toy to use. If not, then you’ll just have to wait until you’re in a city that has a Mage’s College.

If this is a larger dungeon then you’ll likely want to find a room where your party can barricade the entrances and rest for an hour. This way everybody will be able to catch their breath, bandage their wounds, and some abilities that they’ve will be renewed. It’s especially desirable to attempt this when you know there’s a big battle waiting ahead.

Speaking of which, it’s not always best to go in with swords drawn. There are times when the tongue is sharper than the sword. Maybe it’s not in the party’s best interest to slay the Sorcerer, or to bludgeon the bandits? In these cases it’s the job of the Bard to step up. The Bard can brandy words with the likes of the nobility and walk away with her dignity intact. If these situations are handled well then often you will get some extra information, or treasure, before you turn around and stab the other person in the back. Hey, you need to finish the first job you took on. You can’t come back empty handed. Unless, of course, they bind the agreement with magic, then you really do have to follow through on the second agreement.

If you cannot avoid a fight however, then hopefully you will have done some research before entering the dungeon. Any creature has home turf advantage whenever you don’t do your homework, but sometimes you’re not able to find out information on the location you’re exploring. In those cases you just have to toss the dice and hope for the best. After you complete the purpose of your errand don’t forget to obtain proof that you have cleared the cave. You don’t need an ear from every monster, unless that’s what you’re getting payed for, you just need proof from the most powerful or unique creature, including humanoids. Now that everything is taken care of it’s time to leave the dungeon. Don’t look sad; it was a fun ride but there will always be another!

When you get back to your camp outside the dungeon, hopefully everything is still there and anyone left to watch the camp is still alive. If your horses are still intact then you should have a pleasant trip back to the nearest city. You should always go back to a hub of trade or commerce after delving a dungeon, we wouldn’t want you held up by bandits or raiders after your excavation! Ah, but you rested before starting on your journey back, so you’re at full strength! My advice has already saved your skin more times than your Barbarian Goliath can count. Nevertheless, you should travel straight to a place where you know you can sell or trade all of your treasures for more useful items that will help in your future endeavors, unless you plan to keep them.

More on that next time, as I will be discussing affiliations with guilds, shops, and political parties! Until then, feel free to tell me about any misadventures or glorious deaths due to the neglect of Dungeoneering 101!

I do not own this image