These are a few key tactics and tips that will allow you to survive longer and enjoy the game to it’s fullest.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Once you’ve determined the layout of the area you are exploring come up with a plan on confronting the baddest monster. How can you best leverage the environment? What happens if you get lost? Separated? Who should attack with what weapon to maximize your success? Having a good plan can be the difference between an epic story or starting over with new characters.
Why are we here?
Don’t forget to keep focus on why you are exploring in the first place. There is always more advancement when you characters don’t end up dead with an uncompleted quest.
Excuse Me, Sir?
Ask many many questions of townsfolk and other NPCs BEFORE going on a quest. They typically will yield important clues, rumors and information that can make the story, fun and game better.
Ask Lots and Lots of Questions
Do we hear anything? What is the floor made out of, does it seem ok? Can we search the whole room? Is there a breeze? As a player you need to use the DM to tell you all you need to know about your environment. God forbid you don’t check that floor before you walk across it and fall into the spike lined pit filled with acid. Remember you have to tell the DM that you’d like to search for traps specifically, “I’ll search the chest for traps”, or listen “I’ll put my ear to the door, can I hear anything?” in order for a check to happen.
It’s the map, it’s the map, it’s the map, it’s the map!
Keeping even a rough sketch of the flow of the dungeon can save lives. Know where you’ve been and being able to find your way around are very important to all explorers – especially in a game where there are no boards or minis. If you are in a dungeon with wandering monsters, knowing where they are can help the party to ambush or avoid them.
Not everything can be killed
Many monsters or collections of monsters will easily overwhelm and destroy a party. Total Party Kill (TPK) are very common for players who charge in with swords drawn. Explore other options when dealing with monsters, sneaking around, diversions or even *gasp* talking to intelligent monsters.
Things are not always what they seem
Not all creatures are evil, not everything needs to be killed, not all chests are safe, not all floors are solid.
Play To Your Strengths
There’s no sense in having a thief act like a fighter (unless you have a really awesome healer in your group).
Halflings and Thieves are excellent at stealth, leverage those characters to identify potential pitfalls before the whole party charges in.
Keep Ranged Attackers in the Back
Characters with ranged weapons or spells can attack creatures from long distances. Keep them in the back of the marching order to both protect them and to take advantage of their special attacks. A magic-user is an extremely powerful attacker when they’re not dead.
Get your party started today!
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