It’s not the easiest way to make a living, especially since you never know if someone has come before you. Yet, people still take on the hobby known as dungeon crawling. For those who don’t know, this is the exploring of a location that is maze-like, possibly abandoned, and filled with danger. Ruins are a common type of ‘dungeon’ because they can hold long forgotten treasures. It isn’t even money that draws people into this type of adventure since you can uncover lost knowledge. So, what are some things to consider if you march into the deadly unknown?
- Try to make the situation as ‘known’ as possible. If you’ve heard about this location then somebody else has. The treasure and traps have waiting years for visitors, so another day isn’t going to make a difference. All you have to do is ask around any neighboring villages or check out a library that may hold books on the area. It might not be much, but every scrap of information can increase your chance of surviving whatever is lurking inside.
- Check out the entrance for signs of previous visitors. Footprints and discarded torch flint are fairly common. If you find very deep prints and tracks then it could mean that the area has already been pilfered. This exploration doesn’t end at the entrance either because you can search for abandoned gear as you travel. Some of these can give you a warning about potential danger depending on their condition.
- Do NOT put the healer at the front of the group. Even if this is a paladin and they are determined to take the lead, you don’t want to put that person at ultimate risk. All you need is one lethal trap and you’re all in trouble. Best to put someone in the lead who can either disarm traps or at least sense them. If the paladin continues complaining then tell him or her that you need someone with their power to watch the rear. Just feed the ego before they get killed.
- Bring extra torches because you never know when you will need a new one. It can burn out or get dropped or you can fall into water. Aside from torches, you should also bring extra flint and steel in case you have to spend a few days in the dungeon. Staying on the equipment subject, you should not forget: rope, rations, water, boots, weapons, and medicine to handle poison. Ancient civilizations loooove poison.
- If something looks suspicious then assume it is a trap. Also assume that everything within a five foot radius is a trap too. You never know if something has been made obvious to lead you into the real danger. Throw stones at the suspicious spots from a safe distance and be ready to run. Another thing that helps here is to have your caster summon anything that can set it off. This way you don’t need to carry all those heavy rocks and you don’t have to depend on your aim and strength to set it off. Nothing more embarrassing than bouncing a stone off a disguised switch that you trigger by stepping on it later.
- Every person should have one empty sack to fill with treasure. How silly will you all feel if you get to the hoard and you can only grab one handful each? Plan for success and stay positive.
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the monsters that you can wander into. Bring weapons, magic, bait, and whatever you can think of that might be useful against an ancient beast. Ask around to see if people know what might be down there even if it’s just a legend. Bringing someone who studied monster lore is helpful, especially if they can identify the potential dangers from marks and scat. Much like the traps, you can only do so much before entering the dungeon. Oh, you might not want to cough or sneeze while in there. That’s just asking for an ambush.