Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dake the Rake's Guide to Adventuring

I’ve been an adventurer for fourteen years now.  Note that I did not say that I am a “great” and “mighty” adventurer, nor “brave,” nor “clever.”  No, it is enough to say that I have walked this path for fourteen years upon and beneath the face of Aerth, and I am alive to write this.  If that is not meaningful to you, then you should embark upon a life of adventuring, and if you still draw breath one month hence, I believe that you shall read my words with renewed eyes.

What follows is merely advice for one who would also seek to survive long in this profession.  If you observe the wisdom of the verses that follow, you stand a chance of enjoying the wonders and horrors of a life of adventure.  I will add no disclaimers that you have not already heard from mother, father, or friend with sense.

  • Never travel alone.  Ideally, travel with more than one, and less than eight.
  • Never draw blade or cast hex upon one’s companions.  Avoid splitting up, though there are exceptions.
  • Readily-available healing is indispensable.  A Cleric in the company is the best way to prolong life, although plentiful draughts may suffice.
  • You must be always ready for combat.  Warriors are the staple of battle like meat is the staple of a man’s dinner.
  • Retain the ability to bypass locks and devious traps.  A Thief is best for these, but magic and resourcefulness can also help.
  • Magicians (Wizard, Elves and their kin) are extremely valuable, vulnerable and dangerous.  Keep watch over them.
  • At least one of your party should be garrulous and capable in parlay.
  • Cultivate allies with your deeds, and don’t forget to call upon them when in need.
  • Legend, gossip and rumor should always be sought, and never accepted on face value.  Search for them everywhere, but especially proximate to ale, wine and spirits.
  • Always consider hiring henchmen to fill out your ranks (especially the front one).
  • Besides arms, every party should have:
    • Fire
    • Light (light and fire might be provided by a common source, but need not)
    • Water
    • Food
    • Rope
    • Tools of the trade (lockpicks, holy symbols, etc.)
    • Crowbar
  • Magic can solve, and cause, all of your problems.
  • Know your way in, and know your way out.
  • Move slowly and carefully.  Unless you are running for your life.
  • Be ready to run. When you do, avoid fleeing to places unexplored.
  • Assume that everything is warded by traps.  Illusions are another common trick.
  • Always try talking, but never trust the words.
  • Catalog the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of foes, and possible foes.
  • Some things can only be hurt with spells and enchanted arms.  Some things can only be hurt in a secret way, or cannot be hurt at all.
  • Look for alternate paths.  Look for hidden portals.  When advantageous and possible, make your own door.
  • Be as thorough as time permits.  Rifle through papers, dig through refuse and pick through laundry.
  • Danger can come from any direction.  Watch each approach, including the walls, ceilings and floors themselves.
  • When possible, fall back to resupply well-before your resources are depleted.
  • Everything you encounter has its own rationale, though you may not learn it.  Even the very strangest things have their purposes and reasons.
  • When no other explanation suffices, know that a wizard did it.
  • Be extremely careful when treating with gods and demons.  Even the ones you worship.
  • Instant power always comes with a great price, or a great risk.  The cost is usually not worth the gain.
  • Conversely, the rewards of adventuring never come without great risk.

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