A 1001 Survival Guide. What are your best adventuring tips?

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Ok after reading Ivan_Ironskull's experiences, two posts back. And hearing what my DM had to say about Gnomes, I'm adding this general survival tip for DnD.

(232) Never allow a Gnome into your party. If you can't avoid it, then set-up the Gnome so he gets killed as quickly as possible. Many lives are at stake, lol.

Prom
Ok after reading Ivan_Ironskull's experiences, two posts back. And hearing what my DM had to say about Gnomes, I'm adding this general survival tip for DnD.

(232) Never allow a Gnome into your party. If you can't avoid it, then set-up the Gnome so he gets killed as quickly as possible. Many lives are at stake, lol.

Prom

Keep in mind, Prom, that this is just PHB "rock" gnome that everyone's talking about. There are other kinds of gnomes, and some of them are actually pretty cool (svirfneblin, anyone?).
"The Curse of Knowledge: When you know something, it's difficult to imagine what it's like not to know it."

~ Steven Pinker

 

D&D 5e Session Recaps:

Welcome to Icewind Dale (Legacy of the Crystal Shard)

DMing for My Wife (and Our Friends) (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

 

Ok after reading Ivan_Ironskull's experiences, two posts back. And hearing what my DM had to say about Gnomes, I'm adding this general survival tip for DnD.

(232) Never allow a Gnome into your party. If you can't avoid it, then set-up the Gnome so he gets killed as quickly as possible. Many lives are at stake, lol.

Prom

This is sooo true, I am currently playing a Gnome Wizard/Cleric and my party really should off me before it's too late. It's amazing what they will let you get away with. Wuahahhaahaha Gnome Power!!!
Needless to say, my character now hits gnomes with an antimagic shovel (some wierd treasure the DM threw in) when they're going to do something stupid, it lasts for a few rounds (30 seconds) which is plenty of time to beat them unconscious! (dont expect the barbarian to use diplomacy on anything, its not done). Noone plays a gnome anymore in my group, one new guy tried, but he was beaten unconscious In Game, everytime he said "I Cast...", and since he was a wizard it happened alot!
233) When fighting something that deals 2d12 + gratuitous alignment based damage polymorphing it into a kitten will indeed change the 2d12 into 1d2, however this will still be 1d2+ gratuitous alignment based damage. It's natural weapons are still axiomatic unholy and you're still chaotic good only now it's tiny so it's a hell of a lot harder to hit. Casters, choose your species carefully, nothing, but nothing is more embarrasing than having your rear handed to you by a six inch ball of devlish fluff.
(232) Never allow a Gnome into your party. If you can't avoid it, then set-up the Gnome so he gets killed as quickly as possible. Many lives are at stake, lol.

Prom

I wish I would of stood by this rule myself. I actually prefer Kenders to gnomes now days. As party members not as my own character.
Ok, moving away from the Gnome topic back to business.

(234) Get everyone in the party to agree to a process, that allows for decisions to be made reasonably quickly. It's not constructive if everyone is arguing for 20 minutes. You can have someone be the leader, who makes all decisions. Or use a voting system after everyone has presented their case for doing something a particular way. The majority vote directs the party's actions and blame is strictly prohibited. It doesn't really matter what process you use as long as it works and people are happy with it.

Prom
235. Always spend some of your hard earned gp or pp in the tavern making friends, you never know when you may need a favor from that group of dwarves you always buy drinks for.

236. Always have someone that will protect your dead body from looters.
237. Never underestimate how many guards are in a city

-First town we started in threw 43 guards at us

238. Necromancers are never out of allies

239. Never hide in a 10'x10' room if you're a caster

240. Thunderstones; Fun and easy to lob into enemy backlines or rob people of their initiatives
241: ALWAYS have a back-up weapon. I can't tell you how many times I've watched barbarians, fighters, etc. roll up their character, spend every last gold piece, and all they have is one set of really good adventuring gear.

Budget a little bit and buy back-up weapons (as in, more than one). Light weapons save your life when:
-you get disarmed.
-you get grappled.
-you have to fight underwater (make sure one of them is piercing).
-you wind up fighting in an unexpected place, and you left your +5 Two-Handed Weapon of Ownage back at the inn.
-you need to kill a rust monster, you just saw your buddy get his weapon sundered, or you suspect a trap is going to somehow destroy your weapon. (IE: when your DM is having second thoughts about the loot you got last session)

I could come up with more, but I don't want to take the time. Suffice it to say, you will find a use for them. I recommend carrying at least one light weapon (short sword, light mace, throwing axe), and anywhere from 2-4 daggers. If you have sleight of hand, and spend the time to detail out your character's clothing will all kinds of hidden pockets (see Complete Scoundrel), hide them all over your body.

242: Even if it's cross-class, put points in use rope. No other singular item has a skill dedicated specifically to it. This should be a hint. With enough ranks, and enough rope, you can think up a way to do virtually anything. Don't be stingy either, but silk rope, it's ten times more expensive, but is half weight. You'll be angry when you find out you sunk all those ranks in the skill, only to discover you need another 20' of rope to get the job done, which you're not carrying because it weighs too much.

Also, grab a couple block-and-tackles and a hammer - and then use google to find out how awesome this can be. With three block and tackles, you can quadruple a character's maximum lift weight.

243: I don't know why no one ever thinks of this, but buy a pair of manacles. The next time one's still breathing after the fight's over, you can shackle him up. This way you can just leave him there after you get whatever information you might want from him. No worries about he might do if you let him out of sight.

244: Buy a lock. This can be used to secure the manacles you should be carrying around. But they have a much better use - locking doors behind you.

You should do this when you know there's a good possibility of creatures coming from behind you. This is especially useful if you're being chased. Slapping a simple lock on a door is almost guaranteed to buy you an extra 2 to 5 rounds to get farther away or rally your party and prepare to kill whatever is chasing you. Plus, slapping a lock on a door is (depending on your DM) probably a standard action or full round action. It would take quite a bit more time to find a sufficiently large piece of furniture and push it in front of the door. Think of this somewhat expensive investment as always carrying a big bookcase you can drop in front of a door.
245 - This is an Old Skool Rule - Always Look Up. You never know what the DM convienently left out of the room description.

246 - Hiring people to do things for you is a cheap and effective. Going into a dungeon, hire some guards for the horses. Nothing worse than coming out of the dungeon loaded with loot and walking back to town.

247 - Riding dogs make great 'extra" swords for low level PC's. Riding dogs know 6 tricks including attack. they can carry a large amount of weight and they are small enough to come into the dungeon. Low level casters can direct the dog to attack when out of spells and make up for low strength by having it carry your stuff.
246 - Hiring people to do things for you is a cheap and effective. Going into a dungeon, hire some guards for the horses. Nothing worse than comign out of the dungeon loaded with loot and walking back to town.

I'm sending this to one of my players later. They recently left his horse behind, along with the druid's pet cheetah, so they could attempt to approach a keep disguised as the ambush party they killed earlier (that didn't work, by the way).

Long story short, I rolled up a percentile dice for the cheetah and the horse and decided that something was definitely going to happen. Cheetah runs away, horse is eaten by a griffon.
248. Make sure you cover all possible forms of DR. Multiple weapons, arrows with special metal heads, silversheen, whatever. Few things suck more than getting flattened because you couldn't bypass a creature's damage reduction. This goes double for adamantine, because most spells can't hurt golems.

249. If any place is ever described as "peaceful", keep your hand on your sword hilt. It's a trap.

250. If all else fails, use fire.
251: Allways check the bodies. And by check I mean decapitate and burn.
252: This goes double for undead and enemy spellcasters.
253: It is -never- quiet, too quiet, it can -ALLWAYS- get worse, -nothing- is harmless, there is -allways- another one.
254: Do not assume you are safe because the enemy fighter with a greatsword 'can't get to us'. He knows the 'allways have a backup' rule aswell.
255: You see the mysterious guy in the corner of the inn? Yeah don't go there. Old guy in a shop? Yes he -was- an old adventurer actually and he -does- still know how to use the greatsword/spellbook.
256: Allways set a watch, especially when your somewhere safe. 'Downtime' just means they haven't quite caught up with you yet.
257: Everyone in the party needs some way to deal with walls of force.
258: Attacking the BBEG during his monologue is a great idea. Aslong as you can kill him in the surprise round.
259 - Respect the rules and the authority of the nation you're in. PO'ing the whole world is not going to look good at your insurance bill.

260 - Killing a sentient (sp?) being in a city usually constitutes to murder. Don't expect to just 'get away' with it.

261 - Be nice to people. Acting like a jerk will generally not get you a lot of help.

262 - Chaotic Neutral characters are still normal human beings. Don't play them like d1000s with 1000 options for each action, being chosen randomly.
262: Once past a certain level, Raise Dead becomes a viable option. Make sure your fellow party members are aware of your stance on the whole raise me/don't raise me issue. It's a bit disappointing when you want to be raised and get back into the action, and they instead give you the best funeral money can buy. (Or... not.) Likewise, if you're okay with passing on and rolling up something new, they shouldn't need to waste money on a spell that will fail anyway.

263: Establish a policy for divvying the loot. There are many ways you can do this: drawing lots, putting it where it's best used, etc. I once played in a group where almost all loot ended up in a communal pile; we could use it to best effect, but it - and the cash - was owned by the group as a whole. This takes a very special, dedicated group to pull off. Probably most of the time, you'll want clear ownership of every copper so there's no argument. Make sure beforehand how you'll do it so the Holy Avenger does not become the subject of a screaming debat between the paladin and the half-orc barbarian who thinks it'll look great in his collection. (And I really wish I made that up. Seriously.)
264. Nails and a hammer.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
Hi Mock26,

264. Nails and a hammer.

Could you explain this one please. I teach woodwork, so I know hammer and nails can be useful but I'm not sure why it's so important to you.

Prom
Hi Mock26,
Could you explain this one please. I teach woodwork, so I know hammer and nails can be useful but I'm not sure why it's so important to you.

Well with DnD the thing to remember is, anything it can be used for in real life, it can be used for in DnD and probably more.

Got a wooden door you need to secure but no lock? Nail it shut.

Need to fix that cart that the monster damaged? Nail it back together.

Need to rig a pulley system? Going to need something to hold it all in place, nails will do the job admirably.

The point with an item like this is, you never know what you'll need it for until you actually need it. It's like a piece of chalk, sit down and think about it and you'll probably only come up with a handful of uses for it. Play a couple of sessions with it and I guarantee more will crop up.
265. The first thing to do when you encounter an enemy is determine whether it is more dangerous when it's close to you (most beasts, people with swords, things that are on fire and trying to hug you) or more dangerous when it's far away (Flying dragons w/ breath weapons, archers, most casters). Your distance from your foe should be inversely proportional to the threat distance.

266. The second thing to do is figure out what weakness, if any, that it has, and how to exploit it. Not everything can be killed with swords, fire, or big explosions.

267. Never take on alone what you can take on with backup/meat shields.

268. The third thing to do is to note what attacks the enemy is using, and consider how best to defend yourself.

269. The easiest battle to fight is the one you never engage in.

270. While you should keep 269 in mind, also remember that the hardest battles to fight may involve enemies that you SHOULD have finished off earlier coming at you from behind while you're engaged with other enemies.
265. The first thing to do when you encounter an enemy is determine whether it is more dangerous when it's close to you (most beasts, people with swords, things that are on fire and trying to hug you) or more dangerous when it's far away (Flying dragons w/ breath weapons, archers, most casters). Your distance from your foe should be inversely proportional to the threat distance.

266. The second thing to do is figure out what weakness, if any, that it has, and how to exploit it. Not everything can be killed with swords, fire, or big explosions.

271. It's even better if you figure these things out before you encounter said enemy. Spells don't prepare themselves. Gather Information, Knowledges and long nights in the local library all have their place.
271. It's even better if you figure these things out before you encounter said enemy. Spells don't prepare themselves. Gather Information, Knowledges and long nights in the local library all have their place.

My group is finally starting to figure out that "screw preparing, let's just stumble blindly into one deadly encounter after another" isn't such a great strategy ... in fact, that's the main reason Prom started this thread in the first place. He's desperate to improve the party's tactics and survivability (the campaign's had a pretty high attrition rate so far, although I must point out that no one has died for the past 5 sessions - getting turned to stone notwithstanding). You guys have given him (and me) some great ideas. Thanks.
"The Curse of Knowledge: When you know something, it's difficult to imagine what it's like not to know it."

~ Steven Pinker

 

D&D 5e Session Recaps:

Welcome to Icewind Dale (Legacy of the Crystal Shard)

DMing for My Wife (and Our Friends) (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

 

Hi Mock26,



Could you explain this one please. I teach woodwork, so I know hammer and nails can be useful but I'm not sure why it's so important to you.

Prom

See Die's response, which is nearly perfect and identical to anything I could write. The only thing I would add is that some strips of boards with nails driven through them double as caltrops.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
263: Establish a policy for divvying the loot. There are many ways you can do this: drawing lots, putting it where it's best used, etc. I once played in a group where almost all loot ended up in a communal pile; we could use it to best effect, but it - and the cash - was owned by the group as a whole. This takes a very special, dedicated group to pull off. Probably most of the time, you'll want clear ownership of every copper so there's no argument. Make sure beforehand how you'll do it so the Holy Avenger does not become the subject of a screaming debat between the paladin and the half-orc barbarian who thinks it'll look great in his collection. (And I really wish I made that up. Seriously.)

Ehm... we never had much of a problem with that. The system you describe started to come together naturally. In general, if anyone wants to shop for him/herself, they get their share of the money, the face-man of the party brokers to get the best price for their stuff and they some times set out on their own. If they come short, either the whole party invests in the character and the debt is noted, or they postphone buying something.

This never really leads to problems. At times, a debt is not even noted because the thing the party-member buys will benefit the whole party. I'm not sure it's a sign of dedication, or rather just the thought of your group being a singular 'organism'. Plus we try to avoid situations where 2 or more people really want something. And my group knows not to start keeping grudges over in-game items :P

On to the list:
272 - Unless you are on a timer, take enough time to rest. Resting 2 days in a dungeon while getting your group completely repaired, disease free and at full stats can go a long way towards surviving the next encounter.

273 - If it looks like just 'another wave of minions', the boss is trying to wear you down. Consider whether you need to save HP (full nuke) or spells (use lower level spells, take more damage as a group).

274 - If something obviously has no effect, don't continue trying! Any good DM's description will hold clues to whether the creature is immune, resistant or vulnerable to what you are doing (failing that, look at his head).
I have a few from experience.

275. Every character should have a slashing or piercing, bludgeoning, and ranged weapon. This includes the wizard at any level.

In one slug-fest, finale of battle of battles, with 2 Fighters, Paladin, Druid, Cleric, and Wizard. Wizard ran out of prepared spells, wand was sundered, scrolls damaged, the last two rounds all his party mates were dropping at 0 hp. The Wizard is the lone survivor and killing the lone survivor of the enemy (mano to mano) with his back-up short sword and 30 bodies of the enemy lying about.

Ahh..good times, good times.

276. Humans are not to be point, unless they have lowlight or darkvision which is hardly ever because you Do Not use light when scouting ahead in the dark.

277. Stay light for combat: Pack your items where you can drop your backpack or sacks with your equipment and stay to remain in light load while in melee. You can always come back and get your stuff after the combat. If you die, it does not matter where your stuff is. Sometimes moving your full movement matters when you in melee. Especially when you are working as a team to flank your opponent.
278. Never split up. If you must split up, make sure you have some means of contacting each other.

279. Spellcasters: You aren't adventuring alone (solo games notwithstanding). Keep your party and their abilities in mind when you prepare/choose your spells.

280. If you're going to sleep in a dungeon, find a room with as few doors as possible that you know is clear, and lock them. It won't necessarily keep everything out, but most things will make a lot of noise trying to get in.
281: keep yer rope pre-knotted.
281: keep yer rope pre-knotted.

Or better yet, make sure that your knotted rope is 50' long! When you knot 50' of rope you are no longer left with an overall length of 50'.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
Or better yet, make sure that your knotted rope is 50' long! When you knot 50' of rope you are no longer left with an overall length of 50'.

That's actually a really good point. How long would a standard knotted rope actually be?
"The Curse of Knowledge: When you know something, it's difficult to imagine what it's like not to know it."

~ Steven Pinker

 

D&D 5e Session Recaps:

Welcome to Icewind Dale (Legacy of the Crystal Shard)

DMing for My Wife (and Our Friends) (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

 

That's actually a really good point. How long would a standard knotted rope actually be?

I know that with my climbing rope a simply overhand knot takes up about 1.5 inches of rope. I think that for game purposes 1" would be easier to deal with. Granted, the amount of rope "lost" due to knotting won't be much for a 50' length of rope (figure that a knot every 2' will reduce the length roughly 22 inches), but every little bit can come in handy at times.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
I know that with my climbing rope a simply overhand knot takes up about 1.5 inches of rope. I think that for game purposes 1" would be easier to deal with. Granted, the amount of rope "lost" due to knotting won't be much for a 50' length of rope (figure that a knot every 2' will reduce the length roughly 20 inches), but every little bit can come in handy at times.

Thanks. That's useful to know.
"The Curse of Knowledge: When you know something, it's difficult to imagine what it's like not to know it."

~ Steven Pinker

 

D&D 5e Session Recaps:

Welcome to Icewind Dale (Legacy of the Crystal Shard)

DMing for My Wife (and Our Friends) (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

 

278. Never split up. If you must split up, make sure you have some means of contacting each other.

282. Remember that medieval worlds don't have mobile phones. When you split up in a big city, make sure everyone knows when and where to meet again.
283. Make X number of magical devices that allow communications between each itm.

This is taken from some items an old DM gave us back in the early days of 2nd edition. They a set of 6 small hollow horns that acted just like phones. You talked into the pointy end and could hear out of the large end. You couldn't talk to just one horn in particular, but so long as all the horns were in the possession of our group it didn't matter.


284. Learn sign language.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
See Die's response, which is nearly perfect and identical to anything I could write. The only thing I would add is that some strips of boards with nails driven through them double as caltrops.

I was going to go with nailing the vampire inside his coffin, but that works too. :P

285. If you wake up the great wyrm dragon, don't panic you don't need to be the fastest in the group, just faster than the dwarf/thief.
I was going to go with nailing the vampire inside his coffin, but that works too. :P

285. If you wake up the great wyrm dragon, don't panic you don't need to be the fastest in the group, just faster than the dwarf/thief.

And you'll get away easier if you use those nails and that hammer to nail the feet of the dwarf or halfing to the floor!

Also, nails are great for creating a distraction. If you need to distract a guard, toss some nails off to the side or behind them or somewhere.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
286. Regarding backup weapons, if you prefer heavier armor you might, at least at low levels, want to upgrade your standard gauntlets into spiked ones.
Sure, the damage is pretty low overall, but that's one (or two) simple light weapons you'll always have handy, don't add any weight (assuming you're using something with existing gauntlets) and cannot be disarmed from.. and let's face it, if you get disarmed by a goblin the little pest will *not* expect you to punch his lights out.
A major point between standard gauntlets and spiked ones is that attacking with a spiked gauntlet counts as an armed attack, therefore not triggering an AOO even if you don't have Improved Unarmed Strike.

My glaive-wielding cleric was saved by his spiked gauntlets at 2nd level when a trio of gobling got within his reach.. he just dropped the glaive, balled his fists and proceeded to lay the smack onto the little snots :D
287. An unarmed meleer can still grapple. Even a fighter with no equipment at all (Naked fighter FTW!!!) should have no trouble tackling and pinning the average druid.

288. Whenever you grapple and pin a caster, ALWAYS make sure to hold their mouths shut AND their arms down. They might have still spell, silent spell, or both.

289. If you get grappled and pinned, don't panic; just keep struggling and hope either for a natural 20 or for a rescue by your teammates.
205: NEVER GIVE THE DM IDEAS.

Or as Elan put it "If you help with their verse, you'll only make it worse." :D Of course, I usually have to remind myself of that at least once a session...
290. Tanglefoot bags = win, especially at lower levels.

291. Tanglefoot bags + Alchemist's Fire = EPIC WIN OF TOASTY BAD GUYS!

Also I agree wholeheartedly with the 'always carry a dagger' suggestions. Ya never know when the DM will throw something at you with the 'swallow whole' ability...
292)Consider banking some of your loot.A church or money changer might be willing to store a chest of your stuff.Why carry a diamond on you when it might get stolen or lost.(Had a party that gave a diamond to a paladin for safe-keeping,They had to retreat when he got killed and they were back in town before they remembered the diamond.)

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

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