View Full Version : Advice, from one Adventurer to another.

Dr paradox
2012-06-23, 01:39 AM
So. I'm in the midst of writing a lengthy work, basically a completely fluff guide for adventurers, to nudge players towards more analytic thinking and problem solving in their quests, but also to encourage consistency for DMs. things to rely on there being in dungeons, to add a layer of verisimilitude to dungeon design.

Anyway! I probably don't have nearly enough experience to write something this in depth, so I thought I'd take it to the vibrant RPG community. If you have any edition-spanning advice, please post it, better still, break out your creative writing skills and write it from the perspective of an adventurer. I'll post the rough draft of the introduction I have written. Thanks!

By Daeron Whitesnake
I know what you're thinking. Really, I do. You saw the cover of this book, and now you're thinking “Adventurer's guide? Why would I need this?”

Now, you could be thinking this because you're just a tradesman or a serf, and have no interest in learning what a beholder is, or how to outsmart a Rakshasa, or even the meaning of the word “Delve.” If this is the case, more power to you. The life of the adventurer isn't for the faint of heart, and it certainly isn't for anyone who doesn't know the word “Delve” by the time they can read. Seriously, what is wrong with you?

Of course, you could also be thinking this because you already are an adventurer. Kicked some kobolds, gutted some goblins, maybe even overthrew some orcs. You've tasted the bitter tang of a healing potion, and have felt the whispering weight of magic chainmail on your shoulders. “Who is this Whitesnake idiot, who thinks he can teach me something? Doesn't he know that my friends and I saved our whole village?”

Shut the hell up, you hopeless idiot.

You might well have delved into a hole or two in your time, but if you're thinking that you don't need advice, I'll tell you right now that you're not really an adventurer – you're just a mercenary with a shiny sword. In my day I've seen dozens of brash and confidant adventurer's parade proudly into the mouth of death – and these aren't the farmer's sons with delusions of grandeur I'm talking about. These were trained warriors and wizards who willingly jumped into the sphere of annihilation, because they were sure that they didn't need advice.

An adventurer isn't someone who saves the world. An adventurer isn't someone who can out fight a demon, or out-think a rakshasa, or who can out-magic a beholder. An adventurer isn't someone who kills kobolds or dragons for a living.

What IS and adventurer then, you ask?

An adventurer is someone who'll use every resource at their disposal to win. The guy who carries around fifty feet of rope for a year before it's useful is an adventurer. The wizard who takes the time to learn ghost sound “just in case” is an adventurer. The gal who trawls a tavern for rumors on an abandoned keep for two days is an adventurer. Anyone who brings a bard with them into a fighting situation is an adventurer, just based on the audacity of the idea that bringing a musician along will help them kick in teeth a little better.

And a person who's done all of these things, and has read this book? Well, they might just have a chance of surviving a career as an adventurer.

My name's Daeron Whitesnake. I was the resident trapsmith, scout, and survival expert in an adventuring party for twenty years. Do what I say, keep a sharp eye out, and keep your ten-foot pole close at hand, and you could even live to see thirty.

2012-06-23, 04:43 AM
I'll give it a try.

Right first things first. First we got weapons. You think a weapon is something made by a smith to be sharp or pointy or blunt and well balanced? Yhea, you're a city-guard, not an adventurer. Keep in mind that if you can hold it, it's a valid weapon. A sunrod is a valid weapon, that torch is most certainly a valid weapon, your waterskin is a weapon AND potentially extra armor and a way to put out a fire. (Unless you filled it with spirits you nutjob. Keep that crap in the tavern, it's just a fireball waiting to go off in a dungeon.) Heck the dirt on the ground is potentially a weapon. And even if you can't lift it, if you got some rope it might still be a weapon.

On that note, never leave home without a nice, long rope. And if you need to cut it into smaller pieces, replace the rope when you get to town. Rope is always useful.

Your 10ft pole is always 1ft too short. That is why you carry an extra spear and some extra rope and lengthen the pole when needed. And don't complain about breaking a spear in a trap, you'd rather break a spear than lose a hand.

If someone starts to get a little bit to interested in a magical item that hasn't been identified yet, especially wands, make sure you're out of the blast range. (40-ft is usually a safe distance between you and whoever is trying to blow themselves up.)

If you don't have a rogue, you probably have a barbarian, let them go first.

Never, ever underestimate the power of well placed (or well thrown) caltrops.

If you don't think you'll need it, you will. This is why you get the biggest bag of holding you can afford.

If the wizard is laughing, you better be running.

If the wizard is attempting to cast a Fireball in a confined area (like most dungeons tend to be) you REALLY better be running.

Don't upset your healer. Not only might he not heal you, he is also often disturbingly proficient in melee combat. Or offensive spell-casting. Or both.

If it's not nailed down and not trapped you can loot it. Bring a crowbar in case it's nailed down.

Using Detect Alignment spells on party members may be a tad bit rude, but at least you can sleep easier at night afterwards. Unless they hid their alignment.

The monster at the bottom of the dungeon is always load-bearing, try to loot the area before killing the monster.

And remember kids, you don't have to be the fastest when fleeing, you just have to make sure you're not the slowest!


Several things my characters have experienced over the years.

2012-06-23, 05:20 AM
Economics of Adventuring 101: Those people that offer you pathetic rewards for doing things aren't particularly important for the pathetic rewards they offer you. They are, rather, useful signposts pointing you toward monsters that have treasure that you want. The reward is a minor bonus. Don't get insulted when you get offered so little to do a task that it wouldn't pay to shine your fancy magical sword. Just go do it and get the actual reward from the things you have to kill.

2012-06-23, 06:09 AM

- Always, always discuss before going to adventure how the party will share the loot; this will save a lot of time and probably a couple of lives, too.

- See your companions? Good. Most of the times they're the only thing that stands between you and a gruesome death. Uh? No, no advice here. Just saying.

- Gathering intelligence is most of the times a good idea. Hit the taverns, hit the libraries, hit wherever you think you could find some knowledge of what you will face. And when you're out there use scouts and magic to know beforehand what dangers lie ahead. Remember: be prepared, be safe.

- Every party member should have some way to heal the others. Sure, give the healer healing items that only she could use. And when she goes down, no one knows how to save her.

- Draw a map. Everywhere you go, always have a map at hand, or be ready to draw one.

- Watch your back.

- Discuss with the others plans of battle. Like what target should your frontliner charge first, or how to signal the retreat, or who should try to save a fallen comrade if the healer is busy whacking heads.

2012-06-23, 06:12 AM
Wise words from a wise man: "Dude, don't touch that!"

2012-06-23, 06:17 AM
Now, ye've doubtless heard these stories of these almost-legendary types, the sort of adventurers that live in "epic" tales, or reached some sort of mystical 'level' of existence that makes them practically invulnerable, right? Enough so they can go wanderin' round the Nine Hell all by their lonesome and laugh at whatever Orcus throws at them, yeah?

They do exist, 'tis true. But unless you get to live that long, that generally won't be you. And in p'ticular, you won't be walkin' around anywhere especially nasty on your own unless you're doin' it completely wrong. You'll be one of a group.
A member of a team.

And it's perfectly right to be that way. Because versatility is the key to survival in the line of work we do. There ain't no one person who can do it all. What, ya think every door can be opened with your muscles? Ya think the Kobolds of Tuh-kahr are just going to line up for you to swing your pretty axe in their faces? Bet you even thought gettin' that fancy Healers' Kit would keep you out of trouble.

So when you're going off to find things, remember you work as part of a team. Even a big old dragon can only do one thing at a time. Four of you can do four things at once. You're part of a team; you're a unit. You're a single, well-oiled machine, some parts of which can deal with some problems, some parts which can't. And together there's damn few problems you can't find a solution to.

Dr paradox
2012-06-23, 12:02 PM
really great, guys. keep it coming if you can think of it.

also, I was thinking of adding more specific guides to types of dungeons. in you experience, what are things that make sense to count on there being in a dungeon or structure, based on purpose, builder, or even age. how would you expect a dwarven mine to be different from a Drow outpost?

2012-06-23, 12:49 PM
Never split the party. Together, you are strong. Apart, you will die. It's called "Divide and Conquer" for a reason.

If you see someone sketchy or disreputable on a mission, whose survival is not crucial to its completion, and have a half-decent reason, kill it. Kill it now. If you do not, you will live to regret it (assuming you live at all).

Buy the Restful armor enhancement so you can sleep in your armor. In case of a nighttime ambush, be the guy suited up and ready to go, not the guy fiddling with the Hastily Donned rules. Only about 500 gold (Dungeonscape).

If you know the spell, prepare at least one Feather Fall every day. If you're a Wizard and don't know it, learn it ASAP. That spell will save your life. And if you know somehow you'll be falling a lot, get a Ring of Feather Falling (2k).

If you need material components to cast spells, bring at least three component pouches with you, and keep at least one well-hidden.

If you use a Holy Symbol, keep a few spares and make your armor and shield Sanctified, in case your symbol is lost or destroyed. For 50 gold (also Dungeonscape), it's well worth the cost in an emergency.

If you can use wands, get Wand Chambers (100gp, Dungeonscape) on all your weapons. This will save you a hand in combat, as well as give you crucial time that would have been spent drawing a wand.

If you can use scrolls, get them. Even 1st level scrolls are an absolute pittance of cash (usually sold for 12-25gp), and give you massive versatility. Single-charge Wands can be used for this purpose, too.

Always have a crossbow, bow, or other ranged weapon. Many warriors have been helplessly slain by flying archers.

If you're one of the lucky ones who can afford it, keep yourself airborne at all times. Moving in three dimensions gives you a massive edge over anyone who can't, as well as all kinds of other goodies. Pit trap? Fly over it. River? Fly over it. Wolves? Fly over it. Barbarian? Fly over it. Tower? Fly to the top. Tarrasque? Fly over it. Enemy Flying? Fly at (or away from) it.

2012-06-23, 01:07 PM
Chalk is useful.

Always bring charcoal for when you end up exploring the all-white maze in the dungeon.

2012-06-23, 03:14 PM
Chalk is useful.

Always bring charcoal for when you end up exploring the all-white maze in the dungeon.

Buy chalk of several colors, just in case.

Remember that you can tie party members together with rope when there's a significant chance of getting lost, like when you encounter a really dense or magical fog.

Bring lots of torches, as well as at least one Everburning Torch. If someone knows how to cast Continual Flame, cast it on something you don't mind holding or taping/tying your body. Buying a torch and casting Continual Flame on it will save you 49.99 gold over an Everburning Torch (50.01 gold as opposed to 100). Continual Flame can also work on any nonmagical articles of clothing (like hats or rings) if you don't want to worry about stacking rules.

Bring lots of rations, and/or buy a Ring of Sustenance. Adding six hours to every day can be supremely useful. You might be able to feed rations to animals to distract them, calm them down, or even befriend them. Rations also make a good present for any starving prisoners or wild-men you might encounter.

If you're not sure if it's an illusion, roll to disbelieve. If you're still not sure, throw a rock at it from a safe distance.

Portable Rams are cheaper, louder, unlimited-use versions of Knock Wands. Hand it off to the two biggest, hunkiest guys in the room, and watch them slam doors down like it's nothing.

Adamantium Doors are not preventing you from obtaining the treasure. They ARE the treasure. Break off the hinges, or excavate the stuff surrounding it. Each one is in the tens of thousands of gold, even if your DM is really stingy with it. Carrying these babies back home might be a good use of Shrink Item.

Keep a wand or scroll of Shrink Item handy. You never know when you'll see something valuable, but heavy. A good investment, if only for the look on the DM's face when you take his Adamantium doorways back to town and sell them. Particularly expensive furniture or other carpentry can be a good use too.

Everything is treasure. Strip all corpses clean. Remove all locks from all doors. That Iron Golem's body is worth a fortune in scrap metal (find the value of Iron per pound, because this f***er is 5,000lb of it. I'll put it at 70k, since the total cost is 80k, the admixtures are 10k, and it doesn't mention any other costs). Every part of a Dragon is used for something, from armor to material components: take as much as you can hold. Those dead guys won't need the contents of their fancy closet anymore, and they won't mind anyway. Knowledge is the greatest treasure of all, so take all the books too, especially the one which the Evil Wizard carries around everywhere. Make sure your bags are full by the time you get back in town to sell it.

Ensure that you collect the highest gold-to-weight ratio you can. If you find something while your bags are full, compare its ratio to that of what you would be throwing out for it. Some kind of sorting program may be good for this purpose.

Always pull the rope into the space created by a Rope Trick. You and your six buddies are now safe from harm, and may rest at ease. But keep someone on watch anyway: You don't want to be killed or burgled in your sleep. Magnificent Mansion is somewhat safer and much more luxurious, just remind your DM that only those you designate may enter.

2012-06-23, 03:16 PM
Watch your back,
shoot straight,
conserve ammo,
and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon

2012-06-23, 05:53 PM
The thing is... anything could be dangerous. And I mean anything. I’ve seen a lot of dungeons in my time, and I’ve spoken to some of the malicious gits who design ‘em. They go out of their way to make sure you don’t come out again. That’s what they’re being paid for after all. That lever by the portcullis, for all you know it’ll bring the ceiling down on you. Or make the floor collapse... Or make the walls start rumbling together to crush you, or... well you get the idea.

If a chest has something valuable in it then it’ll be trapped. Be it poison on the hinges, razor blades to take your fingers off or something else entirely. Hell I once came across a chest that was rigged so that the floor in front of it would collapse the moment anyone touched the damn thing. Before you climb up that grinning statue to pluck its jewelled eyes out make sure it’s not going to come alive and eat you, with a grin that big you can bet the thing has a lot of teeth. In fact best steer clear of it altogether. If my years of dungeoneering have taught me anything it’s that statues always come alive. That and not to make loud noises until you know what’s just around the corner, or at all for that matter. Loud noises in a dungeon are the best possible way to bring everything else in that dungeon down on you in an instant...

Where was I?
Oh yes. Traps.

Don’t think that it’s just mechanical traps that are dangerous either. There’s magical ones to consider. Might be only your wizard can see ‘em, so pay attention when they’re going on about “Perturbations in the Aethers” it may sound like a load of mystic mumbo jumbo, but noticing there’s some strange aura in the room can be the difference between life and death. Of course there are things that we non magically gifted folks can look out for too.

Traps often use Abjuration spells and its a little known fact that when two o’ them are active in the same area they interfere. You get this kind of friction, barely visible sparks in the air. Sparks that could warn you to step back the moment before you’re banished to another plane of existence! (3.5 phb p 172) Evocation spells can be nasty too, you’ve heard o’ them! click, whmm, whoosh and you’re a cinder! And it goes without saying that if you see a necromancy aura you run, cos like as not you’ll be dead, or worse if you don’t.

I reckon you know that illusions can be nasty, most do. But it’s worth thinking about how to see ‘em, without all this true seeing lark. Suppose you’re in an old dungeon, The sort that’s stood empty for a thousand years. The dust should be thick on the floor. So if you see a nice clean patch you can be pretty sure you’re looking at an illusion spell. At the time it was cast it looked just like the floor, perfect to conceal a pit. But now, hundreds of years later... not so much. Of course the wizard who cast it might have thought of that, and made it so the illusion over the pit will keep with the times. There are no guarantees in this line of work.

Now not all the critters down in that dungeon are going to walk up to you and ask for a fight. There’s some nasty beasts that disguise themselves as all sorts. Mimics are the most famous. That treasure chest? It’s going to grow arms and try to eat you like as not. Most folk know that and so most folk are a little careful. But the thing is, mimics don’t just have to look like chests. They can be anything, the door for instance, or that chair the cleric’s just sat down in. Hell, I’ve heard of swords that lie around looking all shiny waiting for adventurers to come along and pick them up. They don’t turn nasty right away, no, they wait until the worst possible time to kill and eat you. The floor could be a Trapper, the ceiling a Lurker Above. That bit of rag’s a Cloaker and the stalactites that aren’t Piercers are going to be Darkmantles, you mark my words.

So what’s the solution? beyond poking everything in sight with a ten foot pole and hoping it’s not a trigger for that giant rolling boulder you passed a few minutes ago? If you do that you’re just as likely to trigger the next trap as to avoid it! Truth be told there’s no sure way to make it out of the dungeon alive, sometimes you’ve got to take a risk, gamble your life that the floor isn’t about to give way. Otherwise you’ll never get ten metres down the corridor, or someone else, someone who did dare the gauntlet, will beat you to the gold.
Paranoia is all very well; it’s a survival trait in an adventurer after all. But sometimes you’ve just got to trust your luck and cast the dice. You’ll be dicing with death, but I reckon that’s the thrill of it, else wise why would we keep going back?

I may have got a little carried away...

2012-06-25, 11:22 AM
The best advice I can give I gave to me son, Pappy Ironbeard. Maybe you've heard of his exploits in the bowls of the orc biffy. No, well maybe you'll follow this advice better than he did.

"Don't be stupid!". If the bar offers free beer, politely only take one and ask what the occasion is. If you are exploring a mine and you see a couple well-equipped bodies lying around in the hall, with at least one having a severe case of disembowlement - use caution. Why did they die? Why havn't they been striped? Maybe it's time to go back, get a small goat and have it go down the hallway first. Use your head.

Those scum sucking toad-infested midgits that pass for 'goblins' may not even be fit to use as shoe polish but don't be racist. Aside from rubbing people the wrong way, it's useful to be able to read the goblin sign saying "Bathroom left lever, right lever arms trap".

Them fancy pants wizards can re-write reality; but most of the time they do it to show off. Just be smart(difficult while being so book smart) about how you go about things and they won't need to. They may still show off but that's their mental problems. And don't insult them until early afternoon. At the earliest.

When dealing with religions, do your best to stay on their good side. If you can't, make sure to destroy all the bodies, every last one. You may also want to invest in code names, and learn to speak a different langage (so you can say "Oh **** we are about to be die" without them understanding you). Paranoid? Oh sure, but there's two types of adventures. The paranoid and the dead.

And for the love of, avoid glowing eyes!

2012-06-25, 08:30 PM
Tip # 47
She will smile at you. She will be kind to you, ask friendly questions, and flirt. She will be attractive, but not so much that you think she's out of your league. She will make promises. She will show generosity in your hour of need. She will tell you that she's one of the good ones, that she's turned a corner, that she'll never go back to her old ways. Do not believe her! She will be convincing, and confident, but show vulnerability when confronted. She might even cry. She will make you want to save her from herself. She will tell you she loves you, and wants to spend the rest of your life with you, that you've inspired her to do good in the world. These are all lies.

She is not your soulmate. She is not even your friend. She does not love you, or even like you, and will laugh at how you fell for the same old tricks she's been using to drag men's souls to Hell for the last thousand years, because she is a succubus, and that is what they do. And though she may be the best lay you'll ever get, it will never be worth the price.

And Gods help you if you think you can let her buy you a drink and leave with no obligations!

Dark Elf Bard
2012-06-25, 11:43 PM
Well, hey. My name's Skrint Tallcrippler, halfling ranger. Heard that this Daeron Whitesnake guy was writing a book. For you little lily livers who think you're adventurers. Well, I'd heard of this Whitesnake guy, and I decided to drop by and write a little for this thing of his. Well, really, I had Charles X. do it. Our psion. Really knows how to write. Me? Oh, I've just got the skills I need, on m'belt and by my side.

First things first. Saw some dwarf earlier in the shop- was writin' for this Whitesnake guy also, talkin' 'bout how great teams and companions are. It all depends. Me? I'm a ranger, a scout. I'm a bit of a loner. I've got my panther, though... always with me. But, still, you're always gonna need at least four different types of guys or gals in the party. One is somethin' Charles calls a striker. I call it a Gutbuster. These folks run in and HIT HARD. That's me. I got my knives and my panther, and we're takin in 'round three pounds of orc skin per minute. Usually, you're gonna want to run back under the protection of some armored guy. Tough one. For me, that's my bud Tordek. Real hairy guy- and a hell in a tussle. He's a dwarf, but he's actin' more like a giant. He's got this real loud an' wet roar that he does when I skirt my behind back behind him- then he starts clubbin' all them uglies over the head like nobody's business. You're gonna have to rely on these fellas to protect you in the fight. Then there's the artillery, who rains hell on people. You just keep on their good side, and run when they cackle. That would be another halfling, Astara Firestar, who- well, let's just say she ate a mushroom we found down in the Underdark. Never been the same since. Then, ya got crowd control. That's Charles, hitten' all the small ones at the same time. Finally, leaders. There's a warlord, lizardy dragon guy Aragash. Pretty bossy, but damn inspiring. One word'll get ya back on your feet.

Whoops, Out'a time. We've got somethin' to do- invasion of a hill giant fortress. I'll write more later.




Also, is this just for inspiriation, or will you actually use it? Because I would willingly let you use mine.

2012-06-26, 12:21 AM
Why, hello. In case you have not noticed, the following passage might be a mite different that the ill-written slabs of orcscrach that dominate this book. Mostly because these words are written in the runes of the gods themselves, and are imprinting these words into your head. While I assume you read Common (but perhapes it would have been wise to learn Undercommon to read this colection of half-truths and outright ingorent gibbering), these words are transcribed in this way to get the following points accross clearer to the readers head.

I myself am Slanic Nightshard, and I am Whitesnakes adviser on surviving things his pathetic mind cannot fathom the powers and tools of Evil. While I have no doubt you have some sort of need for a guide for walking across a hallway without get sliced open, considering you are turning to something written by Whitesnake for help, but I am mearly going to focus the extent of my writing her to the subject of Necromancy.

It is not a toy. Yes, readers, those words did in fact have a Stunning effect tied to them. In fact, those very words were tied to a potent spell of blackest power that, if I completed the rune wholy, your heart would have stopped. If you felt that, than you should keep reading and not skip to the next chapter, which I assume involves tight-skirted barmaids and how many portable holes they have in there inventories.

First of all, there is far more to Necromancy than the raising of the dead. If my warning above did not tell you, there is many options for a necromancer worth his salt for them to undertake, all of them bad for those who cannot counter them, like yourselves. I myself have seen plagues that turn whole communites slowly incorparal, great fortresses made of bone and blood raise from the sands, and fire elementals being burned with unholy flames. I myself once created a sound wave that causes flesh to slowly die.

Also, most necromancers are fairly well-knit. Say what you will, but like any group of wizerds, they send notes to eachother, at least. Unless they belong to a well known group or cult, or were there colors as they trot thru the streets, there is little difference physicly between loners who keep to themselves and those who belong to grand affares ruled over by the high preists of gods of darkness and dread (as myself was once, before that twit Whitesnake killed the entire Grand Councle of the Children of Secrets and offered me a job). Be wary when you must face a shadowy figure who sneaks into your typical town of inbred hillfolk graveyard, for they might have three more friends waiting outside the limits of the town preparing the undead animal army.

2012-06-26, 01:48 AM
Buy a whistle.
Buy a big length of chain.
Always have rope with you. And a grappling hook.
Buy a pack animal or a Bag of Holding.
Marbles are nearly as good as caltrops.
Buy chalk.
Buy a mirror. And maybe a mirror pole as well.
Buy a spyglass.
Keep empty flasks or bottles on hand. Make sure you have some that are glass, some that are ceramic, some that are metal, etc.
Lots of critters track by scent. Invest in aniseed.
Keep a flask or two of acid on hand. This is not for throwing at enemies. Sometimes, stuff needs dissolved.
Keep candles on hand.
Find any coin. Punch a hole in it. Have someone cast Continual Light on it. Put a leather strap through the hole. Hang it around your neck. (Alternately, find a locket. Glue a Thing inside. Cast CL on the Thing. Close the locket when you don't need the CL.)
Have somebody cast Continual Darkness on a few coins. Keep those coins in their own bag until you need to toss one at an opponent.
Keep extra bow strings on hand. A wet bowstring will turn your bow into a crappy club.
Buy a hammer.
Also, spikes. Or a bunch of shims (http://shimcoshims.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/GS-1040-4-lrg.jpg). Keeping doors open (or closed) can be useful.
A small piercing weapon can mean the difference between getting digested and getting out.
Soap. Does not go bad. Great for lubricating stuck things.
Bring a change of clothes.
Keep a few extra bags on hand.
Buy two drills. One for stone, one for wood.
Ten foot poles. They're iconic for a reason.
Everyone needs a missile weapon of some kind.
Buy a Ring of Free Movement (or whatever it is in your system) for all casters. Paralyzation is bad. Also useful underwater.

Flight. Your whole team should have it as soon as possible.
Your whole team should learn sign language.
NEVER use ANY magic item before you identify it. EVER. Unless it's a "Maybe this will prevent our death" kind of situation.
Your party Face should probably be female. Most mook guards/people in power are male.
Someone in your group should know about boats and piloting them.
Someone in your group should know about traveling in the wilderness.
Someone in your group should know about heraldry. Whose guards did you just kill?
For god's sake, make a map.
The undead make EXCELLENT trapspringers.
When exploring a dungeon/cave, pick left or pick right. For this example, we'll use right. Take the most extreme right and explore it all the way, going right at every opportunity. Once you've reached some end, go back to the last fork in your path and take the next-most extreme right and explore it to it's end. Continue until you've cleared the complex.
Invest in protection from magical fire. Sometimes, dropping a fireball on yourselves is the only means of survival.
Establish a code word before you start slinging illusions.
Critters can make excellent loot. You killed an exotic critter? You can probably sell the eyes (or whatever).
Can't pick the lock? Hack off the hinges.
That chest is trapped? Get behind it and open it away from yourself.
Mobility trumps most everything. Make sure your mobility is better than the other guys' or just take theirs away.

Knowledge is power. Scout, scout, scout. Scry, scry, scry. Can't see inside something? Pay/convince some mook to tell you what's inside. Be on excellent terms with a few bards and librarians. Have a couple of sages on retainer.

Dr paradox
2012-06-27, 05:11 PM
General Posting From Daeron Whitesnake, Adventurer Author

Much obliged for all the input being written in from the nine corners of the globe. As I've written, only fools and emperors don't ask for advice, and you folks have given me a boatload to consider on top of my own experience in walking the less-traveled roads we've all come to know and love. No piece of information or advice is too small, however, and I'll take all the pearls of wisdom I can get from such an experienced bunch as yourselves. I'll take care to pencil you in the credits, if you so please.

As for the questions of what will be kept in entry form and what will be stripped down and repurposed, if you've been kind enough to spice your advice with a little more zing than may be strictly necessary, I'll almost certainly be including it in the original format, though perhaps dissected and placed in different pieces. Organization if such a harsh mistress.

In any case, keep the advice coming, and don't read Slanic's entry more than seven times an hour. Trust me on this. Interns are messy when they pop.

Daeron Whitesnake

P.S. Slanic, I'm sending you the laundry bill.

2012-06-27, 05:57 PM
*Always ask if a door opens in or out, the DM will almost certainly not know and you can decide on ways to abuse either once he has commited to a position-this is related to always having a means in which to block a door

*Never understimate the value in knocking on a door. It's neigh impossible to avoid answering a knock and sometimes confusion is better than surprise.

*If you kill something that has a stomach but no treasure, cut it open...there is a good chance any DM will not have stomach contents of the dire bear mapped out in advance and any chance to prod random treasure rolls can be fun.

*Amended for the above: wear gloves...smart DM's will punish previously alluded actions with blood born pathogens and disease

*get a Wagon...http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240332 I think Wagon hijinks start with sessions 2

2012-06-27, 06:09 PM
Watch your back,
shoot straight,
conserve ammo,
and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon

Heh. Somebody plays Shadowrun.

Don't fight it if you don't have to. He who runs away lives to fight another day. He who talks to it usually gets to know something he otherwise wouldn't.
If you can carry it, you're sure it's not cursed, it won't set off any traps, and won't make anyone mad, nick it. It might come in handy later, even if it looks useless.
If it's on an altar or pedestal, bloodstained, in the same room as a statue, all alone on the floor, or black, it's probably trapped, cursed, or both. Leave it well alone.
The statues always animate and attack you.
For the love of whatever deities you worship, don't drink anything you find lying around. It's poison. It will kill you.
Stay as far away from anything that could be dangerous as you can. This is where your ten-foot pole, your handy rock, your bow come in.

Belril Duskwalk
2012-06-27, 08:36 PM
Concerning Rubbish Heaps: Best I can figure, the goblin's word for rubbish is most adequately translated as 'thing I can't use at the moment.' As such, it stands to reason that most goblin rubbish heaps contain a good deal of useless trash. However, you must consider the difference between what a goblin can use, and what you can use. A wand or a spellbook might be worthless to a goblin chief, but your wizard may find it highly valuable. A Greataxe sized for a man over 6 feet tall is also quite useless to a goblin, but your friend the barbarian would likely trade his share of the treasure if you find a magical one in the detritus of a goblin camp. It's not just goblins either, I once found a wizard's staff half buried in a dwarven dump-heap. Truly, one humanoid's trash is another humanoid's treasure.

And now for a note on a few specific dungeon-dwellers:
Kobolds. Yes they barely come to the barbarians knees and they look like a halfling mated with a lizard. Yes they are cowardly when you get the jump on them, but whatever you do, don't underestimate them. There's a reason kobolds have survived this long, and it ain't cause you're the first person who took it in mind to try killing them. Kobolds be a clever race. If you find yourself in one of their caves you best start suspecting everything to be a trap. If you don't you'll wind up over your head in a pit with twelve of the little buggers chucking javelins at your sorry corpse. Trip-wires, false-floors, net drops, if a ranger can build one to trap his supper, a kobold has one to trap you.

Dwarves. Now, unless you're an orc or a goblin it's not very likely that you'll have need of raiding an active dwarven fortress, but on occasion one might find the need. More importantly, dwarven defenses are often canny enough to remain active for centuries after their masters desert them. Spotting pressure plates is often the order of the day in thwarting dwarven defenses. Sliding walls, rock-falls and even self-loading auto-fire crossbows, a crafty dwarf hold has more ways to kill you than you have years in your life.

Drow. What they might lack in mechanical cleverness they more than make up for in cruelty and magic. A tunnel defended by Drow will like as not have mystical defenses to couple with any mechanical devices. To add to this, they also keep a variety of vicious trained beasts, as well as armed slaves to stall and harm their foes while the drow prepare their final assault.

Dragons. Anything goes when you enter a dragons lair. Spells or mechanical defenses may hedge them in. They may keep minions to deal with lesser threats and to wake them from their slumber when greater foes arrive. Most unsettling of all is the dragon itself. A dragon is never an easy foe in combat and in his lair, a dragon is truly the master of his domain.

2012-06-27, 08:48 PM
Greetings, worthless drivel. You should consider yourselves lucky; i have chosen to take some time out of my busy schedule to help train some competent adventures -a demand that is never proportional to the supply, it seems.

I have been in all of the nine hells, I have slain a dragon. And, as much as it pains me to say it, those slobbering morons that follow you around and call themselves a 'party' will save your skin when you are pinned by an ogre with an axe at your throat. You don't have to like them, but at least tolerate them. Well, except for monks. Nobody needs a monk.

NEVER make a deal with ANYONE without understanding what they get out of it. If you are stupid enough to agree to let a balor help you on your journey without knowing what's in it for him, than you deserve to be culled like the dirty ape you are. Even if your surprised that they had the intelligence to crawl out of the cesspool they were born in and start walking around, never judge them on this. I once knew an Orcish barbarian who was so dumb that i was surprised he could get his meaty hands on the right end of his axe; however, my impression of this crude monster did not stop him from planning the siege of an entire city with nothing but a paladin, a bucket, some rope and yours truly, and living to tell the tale.

NEVER go down a seemingly empty hallway without checking for traps first. a good way to do this is to throw a body across the hallway. it will most likely set off any traps. when in doubt, paladin's also make good trap finders. just tell them that some old broad is being mugged at the end of the hallway, and they won't even check; they'll just charge right in. worst case scenario, you and your followers party end up running out of there, down a paladin. trust me, no one important will miss him.

It seems my busy schedule has caught up with me. I desperately hope that as many new adventures as possible read this guide, so that some competent adventures can replace the muck and rot that are parading around now, running down hallways and yelling in dungeons.

- Iccarthis Merkarv, High Warlock

2012-06-27, 08:56 PM
Follow these 5 Rules as my group has made:

1) Always question the sanity of your party members.

2) Always question the identity of your party members.

3) If you notice anything unusual, suspicious, interesting, or just generic noticeable, especially on watch, inform your party members immediately.

4) Do not be attached to your weapon. If a better weapon comes along, use it.

5) If a person you never met before speaks with you acting like your best friend in the whole world providing the exact item or information you are looking for, do not trust that person at all, never, no how, no exceptions.

2012-06-27, 10:29 PM
*Always ask if a door opens in or out.QFT.

Don't fight it if you don't have to. He who runs away lives to fight another day. He who talks to it usually gets to know something he otherwise wouldn't.OMG. This. So hard. Especially the last bit. Infernals make great NPCs.

One that my group lives by:

Good magic doesn't burn. Go ahead and toss a fireball down that tunnel. Any goodies that are really worth keeping will make that saving throw.

2012-06-27, 11:09 PM
From years of playing experience:

1) If you find an imprisoned creature you were not specifically meant to liberate, do not release it regardless of what it looks like or says it is.

2) Use your stuff. Drink potions. Read scrolls. Use wand/staff charges. Expend uses. Conservation is important. You can probably get by the random encounter or mook fights without using consumables, but when it comes to the BBEG fight or even his Lieutenant, use your stuff! You were given such items to use for precisely those fights. You'll get more.

3) Unicorns are bad omens. Should one ever cross your path, expect the excrement to hit the air circulation device very soon. Every single unicorn. Every campaign. Every DM. Always.

2012-06-27, 11:23 PM
Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you.

When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be cordial at all times.

Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other adventurers.

Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.

When no employment is available, make your own work.

Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals' treatment of other adventurers.

When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another adventurer will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.

Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.

If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.

When traveling, ride your wagon respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the crew or host guild, act like an extra crew member.

Do not cause problems in a yard, another adventurer will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.

Do not allow other people to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.

Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.

Help your fellow adventurers whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

If present at an adventurer's court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!

If someone admits defeat, let them go peacefully. If you catch them in the act again, kill them.

Craft (Cheese)
2012-06-28, 12:45 AM
Not sure how relevant this will be, but last session I had the opportunity to roleplay an older Paladin giving advice to a younger recruit, and managed to produce a few lines I really liked.

(In a discussion about what types of enemies a Paladin should be most prepared to fight.)

Veteran: "Demons? Nah. They don't matter too much, in the long run."

Newbie: "What? Demons are horrible abominations! They're the greatest Evils in the world."

Veteran: "Demons are popular targets because they're easy, visible. The real greatest evils are the ones we all commit, silently, invisibly, unknowingly. The important battles are the ones you fight at home, with your neighbors and family, and the hardest ones those you fight with yourself."

Newbie: "So if slaughtering evil isn't my job, what exactly am I training for then?"

Veteran: "A Paladin's job is to scream at injustices when all the world remains silent; To do anything, even defy the will of the gods, if it means doing what's right."

(I understand this portrayal of a Paladin doesn't mesh well with how D&D alignment actually works, but eh, I don't like alignment anyway.)

2012-06-28, 06:45 AM
A letter found inside a Skeleton:

So You're Planning to Adventure...

For Wizards/Archivists:

1. Keep your books safe. All it takes is one stray blow and your life's work would be gone.

2. Keep slots open for item identification. That thing you thought was a scroll containing fireball? That was a Dragon's brown paper bag.

For All

1. One of the guys in your party should know about engineering and architecture. Especially considering you're in a dungeon. Do you want to take out that door which was holding up the ceiling?

2. Have at least a few guys with better than human senses. It will make finding things a lot easier.

3. This letter was infused with copious amounts of Terinav Root Extract. You were wearing gloves right?

2012-06-28, 07:50 AM
When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another adventurer will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.

Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.

If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.I don't know what any of these mean, but they're among my favorite bits of advice in this thread.

2012-06-28, 09:08 AM
Always carry chalk and/or shoe polish. You'll find them great for marking areas. You could mark where a pressure plate or trap is with the shoepolish, as its brush creates almost no pressure at all. Chalk can be used to mark directions, draw maps, leave notes, note dead ends.

I've found it best that if you find yourself in a maze to choose a wall (right or left) and follow it. This way you won't be backtracking as much or getting lost (in theory).

Be VERY careful how you word a wish. The powers that wield wishes often are crafty, unhelpful, and rather unforgiving for badly made wishes. Remember that many creatures that grant wishes aren't doing it as a favor, but because they are compelled to. Think of it as a slave licking your feet clean.

Never tell knock knock jokes to Mad Kings. Or ogres. Or Trolls. You know, maybe you should just avoid knock knock jokes all together.

Just because you can put a saddle on it doesn't mean you can ride it.

Mirrors are wonderful items to see behind you, around corners, signal other people in you party, shine light, assist in disguising yourself, and over all check to make sure nothing is wrong with your face.

Keep alchemist fire in a bag of holding.

Look both ways for a bridge before crossing a river.

Just leave the Deck of Many Things there. Trust me.

If there's a switch or button and you don't know what it does don't flip/press it.

Don't attack everything. Sometimes it's best to run. Many parties have run headlong into certain death believing the world runs on how experienced they are as a person. So when the Chryo-Pyro-Hydra is lurking in the woods and you're only level 4, get the heck out of there. Why are you still reading this!? RUN!

Beowulf DW
2012-06-28, 09:57 AM
Remember that wimpy bookworm in adventurer school that was always picked on by the jocks in Fighter class? Make him your friend. That religious nut-job that got the same treatment? Buddy up with him, too. That hippy nature freak? Her, too. Because gods help you all if they live long enough.

2012-06-29, 10:01 PM
(I once played a character who's shtick was that he grew up hearing all the tales of adventurers he could find, so he was incredibly paranoid about dungeons)

If you find yourself in a tomb, crypt, mausoleum, or necropolis (and you will, trust me on this), be prepared to destroy some corpses. Using your 10' pole, open every sarcophagus, coffin, cairn, or vault. If the corpse has refrained from attack you, smash it with a hammer or other blunt object. Try not to leave any pieces larger than a copper piece. If you have some to spare, sprinkle the remains liberally with holy water. You may then move on to the next corpse box. Some may find this desecration to be blasphemous, maybe even unholy. But as my Gaffer used to say, "It's easier to ask forgiveness than to fight an army of mummies."

The Bandicoot
2012-06-29, 10:08 PM
Hello my name is Flarg Wordscribe and in my many centuries of adventuring, planar traveling, reality hopping, and time traveling, I can really condense all my vast insurmountable knowledge into two rules.

1.Never tell someone everything you know.